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The Good Place was inspired by bad drivers in L.A., says creator Mike Schur

This week’s episode of EW’s What to Watch podcast also dives into the premieres of ‘This Is Us,’ ‘Pitch,’ and ‘Designated Survivor’

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Justin Lubin/NBC

Forget pumpkin spice: The best thing about fall is undoubtedly the TV. So much fresh programming. And one of the most charming additions to our DVR queue is NBC’s The Good Place (Thursdays, 8:30 p.m.), which stars Kristen Bell as a woman who accidentally ends up in heaven based on someone else’s do-gooder merits. And for this week’s episode of EW’s What to Watch podcast, hosts Ray Rahman and Amy Wilkinson welcomed the series’ creator, Mike Schur (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation), to chat about the new show, its ties to Lost, and what else inspired the show’s unique concept.

“It came from driving around LA, and having this feeling like… you know, driving around Los Angeles is a terrible way to spend your time. I don’t recommend it. I would experience this thing that many people experience, which is someone would do something annoying in traffic,” Schur said. “I started doing this thing in my brain where I just started going like, ‘That’s negative nine points!’ I just sort of felt like if there is any kind of numerical scorekeeping, than that person just lost nine points, and that just sort of started me thinking about, like, what if this system is simply like math?”

He added, “It’s like there’s a point value, good points and bad points, and we’re all sort of playing a video game that we don’t know we’re playing, and someone has an objective way to evaluate how much good or bad you’re sort of putting into the universe.”

But The Good Place wasn’t the only big premiere this week — Ray and Amy also sound off on NBC’s This Is Us, Fox’s Pitch, and ABC’s Designated Survivor. (Shouldn’t it just be called President at this point?!). And, as always, the two talk through the week’s big TV headlines, including the Emmy awards (yay Sterling K. Brown!) and West Wing actors stumping for Hillary Clinton in Ohio. It’s the most political episode of What to Watch yet! 

For more about The Good Place, listen to Schur’s interview in the new episode below. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast to be the first to hear a new episode each Friday.

The following time stamps reveal plot points for the following shows this week: Mr. Robot (8:15-12:45), This Is Us (12:45-16:00), Pitch (16:00-19:25), Designated Survivor (19:25-24:20)

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