As Ugly Betty's fourth season premieres, series creator Silvio Horta says it's time for Betty to focus on her career. She's an editor now and wants more than ever to be taken seriously. Horta tells us about making Betty pretty, whether she'll get her happy ending with Daniel and who will be involved in a much-talked-about love triangle.
TVGuide.com: Let's talk about last season. Hindsight being 20/20, can you look back and see what worked and what didn't?
Silvio Horta: We had Betty move out and get her own apartment, and from the get-go we were worried about losing her family life. We always had in our minds that she would move back somehow. But there was a very strong [negative] reaction, that to bring her back home wasn't taking her forward in a way that people liked. Now we want to make sure there is growth at every point.
TVGuide.com: Whose idea was that strange 2001 homage in the opening sequence of the premiere?
Horta: That was mine. The Mode offices have always reminded me of 2001.
TVGuide.com: We've heard a lot about Betty becoming less ugly. How is that going to unfold?
Horta: I think it's gradual; I don't think you see a huge transformation; it's a step. During the first two seasons, she was Homely Betty. Season 3 she was working at a fashion magazine, so she was inheriting some nice clothes, but she just doesn't know how to put it together. It was important to me and America that the change not come because someone says, "You need to change." I think the look is still her. Sure, she's never worn pants before, but she wears a butterfly pin. The trick is: How far do you take it?
TVGuide.com: Christina is gone. Matt broke up with her. Marc is mad at her for stealing his job. Hanging out with Daniel has become a burden. Betty must be awfully lonely. How long will this last? And... what's the point?
Horta: The stuff with Matt is going to continue in a very specific way toward a very specific place. Her relationship with Daniel is going to be refined. She no longer has him to protect her, and when she does, it might not be a good thing. They're trying to figure out what their relationship is.
TVGuide.com: Will Betty find love this season? Do you like her better single or attached?
Horta: I'd rather not say. But, well, Matt's not going away. He took the job at Mode because of her. When people are happy together, it's hard. Conflict makes for better writing and better TV. Nobody wants to see people hanging out being happy.
TVGuide.com: Can you confirm your previous statement that Betty and Daniel will not end up together?
Horta: Every other version has [had them end up together]. At this point, I actually know what's going to happen. I thought I knew when I made that quote, but you re-evaluate and reassess. What I said before may or may not still be true.
TVGuide.com: Will we ever see Connor again?
Horta: We'll see him in an early episode, but then it becomes unclear what happens.
TVGuide.com: Despite her conniving nature, Willy seems to like or at least appreciate Betty. Is that an intentional construct?
Horta: It's interesting. We're working on episodes now where they have parallel story lines. They have a lot in common. People aren't just born scheming. She sees herself in Betty. Who knows? Betty could go to the dark side and become Wilhelmina.
TVGuide.com: So was Paula Abdul really going to play the role that Kristen Johnston has? It's hard to picture.
Horta: We got many, many calls about her wanting to be on the show. The idea was Amanda sees a version of herself that has gone wrong and I thought, "Paula has expressed interest in doing the show. What about this part?" At that point, it was just one episode. There was any one of a number of miscommunications, and it got fouled up. But we wish her the best.
TVGuide.com: What's this I hear about a love triangle between Betty, Matt and... who exactly?
Horta: It begins earlier in the season, and then it really starts to come to a head in the Bahamas episode. I'm amazed that nobody has figured it out, so I'm just going to keep quiet about it.
The new season of Ugly Betty airs Fridays at 9/8c on ABC. Catch encore airings Thursdays at 7/6c on TV Guide Network.