Mindy Kaling and her The Mindy Project executive producer Matt Warburton told TV critics Friday how working for Hulu is far easier in some key ways than being back at a broadcast network (such as the show’s former home at Fox).
“The single best improvement in my life is not working for people who are focused on the number of people who are watching [the show],” Kaling said.
In fact, Hulu doesn’t even tell Kalling the viewership for her acclaimed comedy series, which moved to the streaming company last year after struggling in the ratings for three seasons on Fox.
The duo also revealed that working for Hulu is easier from a creative standpoint as well, since Hulu tells them up front exactly how many episodes would be ordered each season (as opposed to breaking up the season with 13 initial episodes, and then waiting to see how those episodes perform before potentially adding more midseason).
Notes from executives were easier to handle, too.
“I’ve found [Hulu’s] notes come from largely a very creative place rather than, ‘We have an [actor that] we have a holding deal with on another show, so can you use them on your show in a way that’s not organic?'” Kaling said. “[Broadcast network notes are] more business driven.”
Warburton added that broadcast network notes also come from several different departments, like standards and practices and casting, not just from the executive overseeing the comedy department. “Hulu has streamlined that process so you’re just getting things from one creative place,” he said.
The Mindy Project returns for its fifth season on Oct 4. And while Hulu doesn’t openly fret to them about their ratings, it’s perhaps notable that the show’s episode count was cut back from 26 episodes in season 4 to 16 episodes in season 5.
The season premiere, Warburton revealed, is titled “Decision ’16,” and it’s not about the election — Mindy, he noted, couldn’t care less about politics — but rather figuring out her love life. “She knows that Obama is, or has been, president,” he said. “She keeps waiting for The Apprentice to come back on TV, and she’s like, ‘Where’s Trump?'”
Kaling added she’d also like to do a high-concept episode where her character wakes up one day as a white man and goes through her day experiencing things very differently (with a white actor playing her, and Kaling providing the narration).
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