Friday, August 31, 2007

Creator of Showtime's, "Weeds", and Former Tracey Writer, Speaks Out

Jenji Kohan.

You worked with Tracey Ullman on Tracey Takes On. What did you learn from that experience?

It was my first taste of the freedom of cable, and I loved it. And it was a chance to learn how to really appreciate acting talent. No matter what you gave her, Tracey made it come alive. She's really incredible - a dazzling talent. Plus, she ran the whole show and had two kids - a role model. I learned to hire people who are great at their jobs, and then get out of the way and let them do them.

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Kohan: The big-picture evolution is that the artists are losing power, and the executives and corporations are gaining power. Artists used to have a lot more freedom to experiment, even on the networks. Over time, it has become less creative and more like a business. Shows are perceived less as "art" and more as "product." It's becoming commoditized.

It wasn't always this way. Like back when I was working with Tracey Ullman on HBO, we had lots of freedom to experiment. Things are being more micromanaged now. You know, the culture of the various networks changes so rapidly. I've literally worked with all of the major networks by now, both broadcast and cable. And they all change over time.

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