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Monday, January 02, 2006

Red Doors the Soap Opera

The press is a funny thing. Somehow word has leaked out that CBS has given us a script commitment to turn RED DOORS into a "primetime soap opera". First of all, we had not planned on going public with this information since a script commitment is still painfully early in the TV development process. After I told my family that CBS had bought a pilot script for a one hour drama (sorry day-time soap fans, we're thinking more along the lines of an Asian American Six Feet Under than Days of Our Lives), they were clamoring to know what day and time they could tune in on the telly. I had to explain that not only will the network have to greenlight the pilot to be shot (typical industry odds at this stage are less than 10%), they would then have to decide to order a series (roughly one in ten odds at this final stage as well). So we thought it best to keep our powder dry until there was a channel, day, and time to announce. Of course we are incredibly excited that a major network like CBS is even considering developing a one-hour drama about a Chinese-American family. Needless to say, if the show ever airs, it would be a quantum leap for Asian-American representation in mainstream Western media.

So somehow The Hollywood Reporter got wind of the pilot script and announced it on Thursday: (read the article at the Hollywood Reporter website). We don't know (a) how they heard about it and (b) where they got the soap opera concept. But it's definitely given us an idea for future TV ideas! I wish I knew how to do that sarcastic wink in html. Ah, ever the luddite. Note to self: ask Jane, our resident tech goddess. So here's the real story: Steve Tao, a TV guru (and one of the first Asian American TV execs in the business), happened to see our film at Tribeca. In fact, he was not originally scheduled to see RED DOORS at the festival. Having seen our posters around the neighborhood, Steve had made a mental note that he should "support Asian American cinema" and planned to see our film, probably more out of a sense of duty than talent scouting. However, due to his busy schedule, he never made it to any of our original three screenings. Lucky for us, Steve did attend the additional screenings of the festival's winning films. So that is the beginning of our story. Steve saw RED DOORS at the tail end of the Tribeca Film Festival and contacted us to develop a pitch based on the characters and story from the film. We had no clue how the TV industry worked (we're just beginning to figure out the film business!) and Steve has graciously taken us under his wing. Sometime in August, Jane, Mia, Steve, and I pitched the idea to the execs at CBS.

Another point I would like to clarify is that Jane, Mia, and I have written the TV pilot script together. The Hollywood Reporter mentioned that Mia co-stars in the film and that Jane and Mia will produce but they left out that all three of us have written the show together as well. And it's funny to see how facts get further distorted as news gets passed around. On they have posted: "Georgia Lee, the feature's writer and director, is on board to pen the pilot script as well as executive produce along with Mia Riverton, Jane Chen and Steve Tao. No other specifics were given." Ok, here are the specifics: Steve Tao is THE executive producer. Jane, Mia, and I are producers and writers. As Mia has joked, next thing we know Jane will be directing, Steve will be starring, and I'll be designing the action figures! So please send resumes and headshots to my dog Edison as he will be casting director. We are very happy to give specifics. Just ask. :)

Happy New Year to everyone!


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