Sometimes I think the only way superstar TV producer Greg Berlanti does his job is that he somehow figured out how to have his need for sleep removed, ala the character Lorne in the fifth season of Angel. Along with Andrew Kreisberg, Berlanti co-created Arrow and Flash, and now he’s busy prepping Supergirl and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. He’s also responsible for one NBC’s buzziest new shows, Blindspot with Jaimie Alexander, as well as one of NBC’s few returning new shows from last season, Mysteries of Laura. On top of that, he’s adapting the comic book The Infinite Horizon for Warner Bros., either as a mini-series or movie, and his Archie comics adaptation, Riverdale, is still in development at the CW.
Because all of that wasn’t enough, now Berlanti’s moving forward with a NBC pilot which some are calling “Sex and the City with vampires.” It will depict three single women in New York City who happen to be vampires who were once Dracula’s Three Brides.
As exclusively revealed by Deadline, “What if Van Helsing did NOT kill the three brides of Dracula? What if they survived for centuries and are now living in New York City? That is the basic premise of Brides, a hot gothic soap drama from playwright, screenwriter and comic book writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and top TV producer Greg Berlanti.” Deadline went on to describes Brides as “a sexy reimagining of Dracula as a family drama with a trio of strong, diverse female leads, a show about empowered women and the things they do to maintain wealth, prestige, legacy — and their non-traditional family.”
So, like Sex and the City mixed with Charmed and Vampire Diaries? Still pretty cool. NBC granted Brides a pilot production commitment meaning that though an official green light is highly likely it’s not guaranteed since the network can still back out and pay a penalty that would be cheaper than the cost of actually producing the pilot. However, since Berlanti is the current golden boy of genre TV it would be surprising to see Brides not at least advance to the pilot stage. If it makes it to TV, that would give him seven different shows on the air, unless some of his current shows get canceled between now and then.
This is the age of the superstar TV showrunner/producer. Berlanti leads a pack which includes Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, The Catch), Chuck Lorre (Big Bang Theory, Mom, Mike & Molly) and Julie Plec (Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Containment). However, there is always the question of whether or these people are stretching themselves too thin, a topic Julie Plec previously addressed in an interview with KCRWr:
Why make so many shows?
It’s the big philosophical question. You have to make a decision as a creative person, as a storyteller, as an artist and as a business person trying to define a career for yourself. I use the dreaded “B” word, “Brand,” which I know is an incredibly controversial word when attached to writers and anyone whose name isn’t supposed to matter. But when you’re trying to build business there’s a line between – I could spend my whole life on one show, and by my whole life I mean 8 or 9 or 10 years, and then be worried what my next job was when that was over. Or I could continue to try and capitalize on the moment as it’s happening, and continue to find cool new ways to tell cool new stories. And as long as I’m excited about and invested in those stories, for me that’s a good thing.
Why is “Brand” a bad word for TV writers?
It’s kind of a new idea. The writer is supposed to be the humble one. The writer is notoriously the guy sitting locked in his room with the manual typewriter, suffering in silence. And I think a lot of that comes out of the movie business itself where even to this day with the writer they’re like, “Oh, thanks for your words. Now we’re going to hire 72 other people to re-write you, and maybe if we have your right address you’ll get to come to the premiere. And that’s if we haven’t outright fired you yet.” Television is such a different beast, and it gives so much power to the writer and to the storyteller that it’s just in the last little bit that the writer realized, “Hang on a second. I don’t’ have to be the one that nobody knows exists.” It’s not about ego. I want people to know my name in the same way that I grew up knowing the name David Kelley, like I wanted to see any show that David Kelley or Aaron Sorkin or in recent years Damon Lindelof. I want to watch what they’re going to do because I know I’m going to like it, and even when I don’t like it I like what it means and what it’s about.
How do you divide your time?
Showrunning and running your own show is the job for a complete control freak and complete perfectionist. If you yourself are handling and managing all the details you know that if it does well it’s because you worked your ass off and you followed your instincts and you should celebrate, and if does horribly you have no one to blame but yourself. It’s very comfortable to be in that role. The problem is that there is simply fundamentally too much work to do, even just running one show, for you to have your hand in all the details. So, you slowly but surely have to figure out which details and which areas you can delegate, where you can not have any control at all, and that when you have a control freak-esque personality is the first 3-4 years of show-running, is just figuring that out. Then once you get a handle on that, the challenge is not giving too much up. It’s really easy to do nothing. If you’re so good at delegating to other people then all you’re really doing is putting the pieces together and letting all the other people do the hard work. There’s an argument to be made for that, too.
That was coming from a person with a mere three shows. Berlanti has double that right now. Surely, he must have mastered the art of delegation at this point meaning Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa will likely do a lot of the work on Brides. Aguirre-Sacasa has written for Marvel comics s as well as for TV shows like Glee, Big Love and Looking. He also wrote the horror movie remakes Carrie and The Town that Dreaded Sundown. Combine that experience with Berlanti’s golden touch and Brides could turn into the Dracula TV show NBC wanted the short-lived Dracula to be.
At that point, hopefully Berlanti will get some sleep.