“Empathy is a really important leadership quality,” Amanda Peet declares about her approach to her first time as a showrunner, which also happens to be a key theme of her show, the Netflix hit dramedy “The Chair.” “Empathy isn’t a weakness when you’re in a supervising role necessarily. The ability to take in multiple perspectives at once is an advantage,” she says about her approach to producing a TV series.
We talked with Peet as part of Gold Derby’s special TV showrunners “Meet the Experts” Q&A event with key award contenders. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
In “The Chair,” Emmy nominee Sandra Oh stars as Professor Ji-Yoon Kim, the newly appointed chair of the English department at fictional Pembroke University. As the first woman chosen for the position, she attempts to navigate the stuffy old boys club faculty, her relationships with colleagues and also parent her strong-willed adopted daughter. Peet co-created the series with Annie Julia Wyman, and it co-stars Jay Duplass, Holland Taylor, David Morse and Bob Balaban.
As a well-known actor herself, Peet agrees that her background in front of the camera helped her find her feet as the show’s leader. “I felt like I was at a huge advantage because I’ve been an actress for 25 years,” she admits. “First of all, I’m not afraid of actors for one thing,” Peet laughs. “I mean, certain actors, sure, but I’m afraid of none of the ones that I hired!” Thinking about what specifically prepared her for this huge step into TV production, Peet reveals that her time on set was the best education. “Just being on a set for so many years and understanding what everybody does. Not being, you know, hugely intimidated by that was really helpful. I don’t know what I would’ve done if it had never been on set before.”
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