D.J. Nash (‘A Million Little Things’ creator) on how a friend’s suicide inspired the show about coping with loss [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

D.J. Nash reveals that the idea for “A Million Little Things” came from a tragic personal experience. While he was working on another series, which he describes as “the worst gig of my career,” he ran into a friend on the lot and made plans for lunch. But shortly thereafter, his friend died by suicide. “I don’t think that our lunch could have saved him,” Nash continues, “but I do think, pretty much every day, that we could’ve had one more lunch.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Nash above.

After that experience Nash envisioned a series about a tight-knit group of friends whose lives are rocked when one of them (Ron Livingston) takes his own life. “It made me put things in perspective,” says Nash about the loss of his friend. “It made me realize things and look at life in a different way. So I wanted to do a show about that, about a group of friends who are all stuck in life for different reasons … This friend’s death is the wake-up call they all need to finally start living.”

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The group of friends on the show includes a stay-at-home dad (David Giuntoli), a filmmaker (Romany Malco) and a breast cancer survivor (James Roday), as well as their wives, lovers and children, played by Allison Miller, Christina Moses, Grace Park, Stephanie Szostak, Tristan Byon, and Lizzy Greene. “The show is not about one friend dying,” Nash explains. “It’s about seven friends living.”

A former stand-up comic, Nash previously created the half-hour sitcoms “Truth Be Told” and “Growing Up Fisher,” so he was interested in mixing laughs in with the drama. “It has been just delightful,” Nash says, “because anytime I want to put a joke in it we can, and anytime we want to end on drama we can do that.” He tells the writers that “every scene should make us laugh or make us cry. Hopefully it’s doing both, and if it’s doing neither, we should probably cut the scene.”

“A Million Little Things” wrapped up its first season on ABC, but it has been renewed for a second.

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