Robert Frost's oft-quoted poem ends with the lines:
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
It's funny to sit here on the eve of
's series launch and think back to the point where I stood at the proverbial fork in the road. It was about two years ago. We were finishing production on my first produced screenplay, Disney's family adventure film
. The phone rang. It was my agency. The agent on the line - who, by the way, is nothing like Ari Gold on
- asked me a simple question: "What do you think about TV?" To which I quickly replied, "I enjoy it. Regularly. Why?" The answer came back: "Because now that you have a movie made, you should
think about television."
And there it was, in all of its metaphorical glory - the fork. Should I go back to writing movies? Or should I take this new, less trodden path towards the land of TV? I, of course, went right back to the comfort of movies. But I couldn't stop thinking about the other road... the one not taken.
Cut to: Central Jersey. June 2005. My wife's 10-year college reunion. We met at school, graduated a year apart, and now make it back for reunions as often as life on the West Coast with two kids will allow. So there we are, standing in the mud of a recent thunderstorm, soaking up the late-night humidity I seldom miss about East Coast summers. And we're drinking. And talking. And I start noticing how much some of our classmates have changed. Don't get me wrong, some folks are exactly the same: 31-year-old dudes doing keg stands - you get the picture. But other folks have done complete 180s. And it gets me thinking, how well do we really know people? Our friends. Our neighbors. The people we trust most in life. This would become the central theme for
Yes, I know, it sounds paranoid. But so is a world in which Washington admits the existence of a domestic espionage program and the public barely raises an eyebrow. I couldn't stop thinking about those questions. And then I started looking around at that beautiful college campus. University is a time and place that everyone holds dear. If you could combine the collegiate world of innocence and friendship with a real-world feeling of paranoia and betrayal, you'd have something unique. And thus came the premise for
: Three friends from grad school set off on a cross-country road trip together. But at the first stop, New York City, one of them frames the other two for a terrorist attack. Within a month I was in my agent's office pitching the show. A few weeks after that, I'd been paired with the talented Oscar-winning producer team of
. By the end of summer, we'd sold
to the Warner Bros. TV studio and ABC networks. And not long after that,
, the most successful pilot director in Hollywood, came on board.
This new path was a nice one.
Nice and fast
. I mean we the people kind of lump TV and film together when we refer to "Hollywood entertainment." But they could not be more different. Movies are these incredibly cared-for creatures, the Kobe-beef cows of mass entertainment, if you will. Spoon-fed the finest foods. Massaged daily. On the other end of the spectrum, you have TV shows, given paltry budgets and ridiculously short shooting schedules. Pretty much the ballpark frank to film's Kobe beef. And yet, every year TV shows suck us in as movies never can. We become addicted to spending time with the characters, getting to know them in a way that even the
trilogy did not allow. And I can tell you from personal experience, those of us behind the scenes (from the creators to the gaffers) become addicted to
these stories. We love making ballpark franks. Why? Because they taste so damn good. And a hell of a lot more people get to enjoy them.
So, get ready for a fun ride. With these blogs, I'll be your guide on a trip down the road less traveled. First up, the pilot of
. It's fast and furious, filled with addictive characters, friendship, betrayal and even some ballpark franks. It will entertain you. And make you think. So tune in Thursday, May 10, at 10 pm/ET on ABC. And then I'll see you again on May 30 when we launch our eight-week summer run. Until then, safe travels.