PGA nominees roundtable: ‘Hacks,’ ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ ‘Mare of Easttown,’ ‘Only Murders in the Building,’ ‘The Morning Show,’ ‘The Underground Railroad’

How much can awards impact a television series? How have awards changed your careers and the projects you’ve worked on in the past? What was the life trajectory that led you to becoming a TV producer?

These are some of the questions answered by six of the year’s most acclaimed television producers when they joined Gold Derby’s special “Meet the Experts” Q&A event with 2022 PGA Awards nominees. Watch our full group chat above with Jen Statsky (“Hacks”), Bruce Miller (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), Mark Roybal (“Mare of Easttown”), Mimi Leder (“The Morning Show”), Adele Romanski (“The Underground Railroad”) and John Hoffman (“Only Murders in the Building”). Click on each name above to view that Producers Guild Awards nominee’s individual interview.

“At the beginning of ‘Handmaid’s’ we had a TCA Award and I think that was the biggest thing in terms of putting us on peoples’ radars,” says Miller about the significance of awards. “Critics had seen it so far before. The success of our show is a lot about that part of the process. Nowadays, just making it is so hard and I feel so proud of my other producers. What they were able to pull off is astonishing. Now, under these circumstances, people are doing such great work.”

Roybal adds that for a show like “Mare of Easttown,” which is a limited series that premiered last spring, the awards mean more to the cast and crew working on the project. “It doesn’t help us for viewership or anything like that, but for the nominees it’s great,” he points out. “It means a lot for their careers. They’re getting recognized by their peers. It means a lot within the industry and I know it gets them attention amongst the studios and amongst their peers. It’s validating and hugely significant, especially for people who have been nominated for the first time.”

Leder has been producing for more than 20 years and has experienced both sides of the coin, in terms of winning and losing awards. “The first season of ‘The Morning Show’ we received eight Emmy nominations and this year a lot of guild nominations. It’s very rewarding. But I can also say that when we were doing ‘The Leftovers,’ it was one of the most life changing experiences for me, and for everybody, it was an extraordinary time. And the critics loved us. They loved us! But no love from the award community. It was interesting how you balance that feeling.”

Each of these producers has carved their own unique path to their careers today. For Statsky, she first gained attention on social media. “Weirdly enough, my break was on Twitter,” she explains. “I was writing jokes on Twitter like a decade ago and caught the attention of the head writer for ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.’ I got hired off of that and that was my first writing job. I transitioned into narrative when I started working on ‘Parks and Recreation’ and started at the lowest level of staff writer. I worked my way up, and as you do that, you become a producer inherently. Your role becomes expanded.”

Romanski calls her path to producing a series of mini-breaks. “Starting with being born to the parents I was born to,” she admits. “Being the oldest of five children and having the opportunity to have free education and dropping out of theater school in college to go to film school. Then I met the people that I now work with. I made one little indie film and it went well at festivals. It had some nice awards recognition. That parlayed into working with Barry [Jenkins] again after so many years. It is a cascading effect.”

“I have a very strange resume,” says Hoffman. “I’ve done a lot of different things. I was a screenwriter for many, many years in Hollywood and I was working for all of the studios. It took me forever to come to television. As a screenwriter I was writing alone so much. I was intimidated by a writers room. The entree for me there was HBO, who I had developed many projects with. They had come to know me and I guess pictured me as more of a producer in certain ways. They invited me to join up on this show called ‘Looking.’ I was brought on as the experienced television guy having not really done that! I had directed a feature family film and I had more set experience in certain ways, but that experience was the one that I immediately just dove in and found myself producing because the other guys didn’t know as much yet.”

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