Bitsie Tulloch, Quarterlife
, My So-Called Life
and Once and Again
were all the products of the mega TV-and-film power producing team of Marshall Herskovitz
and Ed Zwick. They have been critical successes as well as having huge and devoted fan bases. Now, Herskovitz and Zwick have done it once again, with their multimedia-platform Web-based series Quarterlife
. The initial season will feature a total of 36 eight-minute webisodes, all of them available for viewing on quarterlife.com
, as well as at MySpace (Thursdays and Sundays, 12 am/ET), YouTube, IMEEM, Bebo and Facebook. It's the first network-quality show made directly for the Internet and has already attracted a significant audience — averaging a total of 250,000 views for each of the webisodes it has posted to date. That exciting news comes on the heels of the recent announcement that NBC has picked up the series for a network premiere as an hour-long drama series, expected to air after it concludes its initial run on the Internet early in 2008. TVGuide.com talked with Herskovitz about this new and exciting project, as well as slipping in a few questions about his past hits.
TVGuide.com: Why did you decide to tackle this specific age group in Quarterlife?
Marshall Herskovitz: Zwick and I realized that we were surrounded by people in their twenties. The whole office was filled with people in their twenties, we both have kids in their twenties, and there was a lot of discussion about the issues that go on in their lives. You make the key decisions of your life in your twenties: Decide what career you're going to have, you often get married in your twenties, or meet the person you're going to marry, or meet the person you're going to get divorced from, or maybe have a child or lose a parent. These are all things that happen in your twenties that define the rest of your life.
TVGuide.com: What was the casting process like?
Herskovitz: Only one casting process was ever easy for us, and that's when we found Claire Danes [for My So-Called Life]. Otherwise, it's been really hard. It's really about being open to a lot of interpretations, and seeing a lot of people, and putting a lot of people together, and trying to open your mind. In this case, the girl who plays Dylan, Bitsie Tulloch, I had actually met before at jury duty.... She and I just struck up a conversation and she told me she was an actress. She's the wonderful combination of beautiful, goofy, and innocent and edgy, and hard... there are a lot of different qualities that she has that make her magnetic on screen.
TVGuide.com: How do you keep yourself up on all the new trends and technologies, so you could do something like Quarterlife? Are you a total computer geek at heart?
Herskovitz: No, I had to go back to school. I was a little bit idiotic, and maybe that helped me because I was ignorant. Had I known for instance how many social networks are out there and how many are being made, and how many big companies are trying to do them, I would have been scared off from creating this one... but luckily I was ignorant. [Our thinking was] our social network could serve a different function from what the existing ones were serving. We have thousands of people on there and they're coming because we're saying that [quarterlife.com] is about the creative process; what it means to be a creative, passionate person.
TVGuide.com: What has been the most satisfying moment creating Quarterlife?
Herskovitz: There have been several; the first time the site went live was pretty amazing. I mean we all just kind of went insane… to actually think that you could go there, and it was actually a place. Of course, when the show went live, that was amazing, [especially] when we started to see the comments and the responses from people. But in general I would say the most satisfying part of this has been the way people are embracing the site, and that includes the show.
TVGuide.com: So, basically, Facebook and MySpace are wonderful in their own ways, but they are more commercial, and about the crazy applications (Vampire bites anyone?), but if what I want is people to read my blog, or see my art, then [quarterlife.com] is the place for that to happen.
Herskovitz: That is so cool that you say that... that articulates exactly what it is we're trying to do... that's exactly it, that's the whole thing right there.
TVGuide.com: Has the strike affected you? Have people been negative toward you because you can keep making content and they can't?
Herskovitz: Well, there were some initial rumblings about that until we made it clear what our actual deal was, so now everything is fine. First of all, we were finished with all our scripts before the strike began. In fact, we were virtually finished with production when the strike began. It's not like we were doing anything against the strike or anything like that. I'm a loyal Writers Guild member.
TVGuide.com: Will Devon Gummersall (Brian Krakow from My So-Called Life and a writer on Quarterlife) make an appearance on the show?
Herskovitz: I almost cast him in the series, but he was in another series, so I couldn't. We're trying to make that work right now, it depends on what happens with his other series, but I actually think he will make an appearance. You know he's a writer [on Quarterlife] and will probably end up directing for us as well. He's a very talented guy.
TVGuide.com: What's on your TiVo these days?
Herskovitz: I've been working so hard in my professional life, so I'm afraid to see what's on my TiVo. But, The Daily Show... my daughter has put Degrassi on there; it's like my whole TiVo is filled up with Degrassi.
TVGuide.com: Are there any websites that you are addicted to right now?
Herskovitz: OK, I have to admit that I go on TheSuperficial.com. That guy is so funny, he's just so funny... you know, I'm a news junkie, so I regularly flip between HuffingtonPost.com, CNN.com, and a site that's called MyWay.com, which shows me six different news feeds. And I go on DrudgeReport.com about once a day. There's always something interesting on Drudge and his point of view on the world. So I make the rounds.
TVGuide.com: What questions do you get asked most by the fans of your shows?
Herskovitz: I get asked, "Were Angela and Brian [from My So-Called Life] going to get together?" I get asked when Thirtysomething is going to be on DVD a lot. I get asked if we're ever going to do a reunion show of Thirtysomething or Once and Again.
TVGuide.com: Do you ever answer the question about Angela and Brian?
Herskovitz: We knew something was going to happen with them. We didn't know if it was going to be successful, but we knew something was going to happen… eventually that was inevitable.
TVGuide.com: One final question about Quarterlife: What's the word on a second season... is it contingent upon its success on NBC only?
Herskovitz: Actually it's not. If we're a hit on NBC, then everybody's happy. If we're not a hit on NBC, we have all sorts of options open to us, because this is first and foremost an Internet series and we have contingency plans whereby we can continue to make the series even if we fail on NBC. And we will continue to make the series, but I'm just going to wait and see because obviously, if NBC wants to continue the relationship, that makes life easier for all of us. But believe me, we're going to continue one way or another.
Check out the latest issue of TV Guide on newsstands now, featuring CSI's "big shake-up" and a Survivor showdown! Try four risk-free issues of TV Guide now!
Send your comments on this Q&A to email@example.com.