Home > Interviews > Deidre Hall, HUGE game changers and Brandy in S4? Drop Dead Diva creator Josh Berman (almost) tells all!

Deidre Hall, HUGE game changers and Brandy in S4? Drop Dead Diva creator Josh Berman (almost) tells all!

by Jim on September 24, 2011 · 1 comment

Guest star Deidre Hall shares a court room scene with April Bowlby in Sunday's DROP DEAD DIVA finale

On the day I hung out with Josh Berman at his office in Hollywood (with an awesome view overlooking the Hollywood Hills and the iconic Hollywood sign) the news of the fourth season renewal for his show Drop Dead Diva. All signs were leading us both to believe it would be coming and thankfully it did a few days later, which only makes this Sunday’s third season finale even sweeter because, having it seen it in preparation for my chat with Josh, it’s a doozy of an episode.

No spoilers here but Josh and I did cover all the terrain for the several jaw-dropping “OMG” moments you’ll see in the finale so the following is the first half of our interview. What I can share with you here is how the writers approach a season finale, snaring Days Of Our Lives icon Deidre Hall for a guest role, tonight’s musical number (with star Brooke Elliott singing while flanked by some hunky dancers!) and about the future of Brandy on the show. (FYI: I’ll be posting the remainder of our chat on Sunday immediately following the West Coast airing of the finale.)

Jim Halterman: From having visited the set in Atlanta, you have one of the nicest casts!

Josh Berman: I’ve never experienced it! We don’t have a bad apple in the bunch.

JH: Ironically, I watched your finale and the Necessary Roughness finale pretty much back to back and I have to admit I liked yours better. It’s not a knock on their show but you had some great build-up and one of their characters was shot out of the blue, which didn’t really work for me.

JB: I think we’ve built up to that moment for three seasons and I’m very, very excited about it.

The season opened with a kick-ass dance number...and the finale has one just as HOT!

JB: We start thinking about the season finale on the first day of breaking the first episode. I think with this show in particular – compared to any other show I worked on – we really love our season finales. With the first season, Jane finds out she’s married. Second, Grayson almost dies. The third season…well, you know what happens. We start thinking about that and we use each season finale knowing that’s how we’re launching into the following season. You’ll never just have somebody get shot out of nowhere on the season finale of Drop Dead Diva [JH comment: Take note, Necessary Roughness!]. I’ll never forget season one, Brooke Elliott came over to my house to watch the season finale. She’d never seen it and it was an early cut. We were sitting on my sofa and we’re watching it and the episode is over and I look over to her and she’s bawling and then I realized that I was bawling. I want that sock in the gut because that’s what it is. I think the reaction is ‘Oh my God, everything is coming together in that moment.’ And then you get why we did X, Y and Z and you feel real and emotional and raw and also going ‘I don’t want it to end right now!’ That’s the feeling I want viewers to have.

JH: Lots to talk about but first, whose idea was it to get Deidre Hall?

JB: I worked at NBC years ago and I remember the commissary every so often when she would walk by everything would just stop because it’s Marlena. She’s just so iconic and the idea of getting her was great and she said yes! [Days] is also produced by Sony [which produces DDD] so it worked out.

JH: I wasn’t sure what to expect when Brandy first showed up for the arc since I know her more from Dancing With The Stars and her music. She was really terrific.

JB: Wasn’t she good? We’re probably going to get her back next year.

JH: I actually asked her on the press call she did recently if she’d be up for coming back…

JB: …and what did she say?

JH: She said if you want her, she’s there. And this isn’t taking anything away from your cast but she brought something different to the show and maybe that was because her story is a bit heavier. [Read the Brandy/Craig Meron interview HERE]

JB: What I love is that we could have used her anywhere we wanted in the season and strategically it would have made more sense to put her at the beginning of the season since she’s such a big guest star but I wanted more weight at the end of the season so that’s how we built the arc at the last three episodes.

Can Stacy (April Bowlby) and Fred (Ben Feldman) find their way back together?

JH: Let’s talk Fred and Stacy. The fact that Stacy became such a diva for awhile ruined everything for her but it also worked for her character and didn’t come off as contrived.

JB: Thank you! We spend a lot of time plotting the character beats and playing to the actors’ strengths. With Stacy, she’s everyone’s best friend but there is a diva side of her that kind of fell by the wayside so we thought ‘Let’s scratch that and let’s see what happens.’ Next year, we have this whole plan for her where she’s going to leave the acting business altogether and try to find herself and she’ll have some success in that. We knocked her down to build her back up.

JH: So she’ll try different jobs and careers?

JB: Yes! We know which one is going to work but, yeah, let’s just say she gets into food. She finds joy in food and really I think it’s going to be a whole new aspect to the show.

JH: Will the Stacy/Fred thing waiver back and forth or will the come back together? I have to say I loved it when Fred saw Stacy kissing the guy from the show she was doing. Ben Feldman just broke my heart in that scene

JB: He’s fantastic! We have an idea there that is going to surprise everyone. In season four we want to go a lot deeper for both their characters.

JH: I have to say, though, that I kind of miss Fred as the Angel looking out for Jane. I like where he’s gone but I kind of miss those scenes we had in the first few seasons of the show, you know? Have you moved on from that since he’s not really an angel anymore?

JB: The season opener he was very much the angel but then I wanted to take this year and turn him into a man, which is what he did. To me, he’s always the child on the show yet he’s the angel. What you’re saying, too, is what a lot of the fans have said about missing him as the angel but you can only write a boy angel for so long so we needed a season to age him up so now he’ll have the maturity to be more of an equal to Brooke.

JH: One thing I wanted to ask is about Ben Feldman being listed as a ‘Special Guest Star’ on the show. That concerns me because I feel like maybe he could just up and leave the show anytime!

JB:  First season he wasn’t in every episode and then when he signed on for season two as a series regular we decided to give him that credit, ‘Special Guest Star.’ But he could leave at any time but we want that. We want viewers to go ‘Oh my God!’

JH: The opening dance number the finale is really fun. Tyce Diorio (So You Think You Can Dance) did it, right?

JB: Yes! Tyce is a real friend of the show.

JH: I loved all the male dancers, of course! That’s when I should’ve come to the set!

JB: You should have but I was there that day and it was 1000 degrees that day. Brooke is such a trooper. She never, ever complains and she does a million takes. She’s incredible.

JH: Was that Brooke singing during that number?

JB: Yeah! That’s all her!

Jamie Lynn Sigler appears in Sunday's finale in an emotional case for Jane (Brooke Elliott) to handle

JH: I love that Jamie Lynn Sigler and Jonathan Schaech both did such great jobs on the show.

JB: They’re both friends of mine so that helps!

JH: I like that Jonathan wasn’t playing the usual dark and scary death penalty prisoner guy, you know?

JB: He made a mistake and he was ready to die for it. It’s only a couple of scenes. Jonathan read the script and just loved it. Who wouldn’t want to play that kind of role? He did such a good job. [My chat with guest star Jonathan Schaech coming ASAP so keep checking back!]

JH: So your show is on Lifetime but because it really appeals to me and a lot of my friends, I feel like it’s not really a Lifetime show in many ways. It’s not just TV for women, you know?

JB: It’s so interesting you brought that up. Worldwide, Sony Television distributes the show and we’re not on women’s networks. It’s only in America that it’s there. Originally the show was developed for Fox but it’s not a girly show. There are girl aspects to it but…

JH: Do you think it would be a different show if it had ended up on Fox?

JB: It didn’t change! I didn’t rewrite it for Lifetime!

JH: I didn’t think it would be quite as whimsical if it were on Fox.

JB: Remember Ally McBeal, though. They wanted that!

…………………TO BE CONTINUED…………………..

The season finale of Drop Dead Diva airs Sunday night at 9/8c on Lifetime. 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lindsey Jackson September 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I loved this interview, and I especially love the way you’re breaking it up into two parts! Great questions, awesome answers! I’ll come check out Part II as soon as it’s posted. <3

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