‘The Hot Zone: Anthrax’ showrunners Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders: ‘We wanted to transport people the second they tuned in’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

“One of the things we loved about the first season is that it was a bit of a procedural, a bit of a horror story,” declares co-creator and co-showrunner Brian Peterson about revisiting the high-stakes tension of the acclaimed “Hot Zone” anthology series, particularly in a time when we are living within a shared experience of a real-lie pandemic. “it really, at the end of the day was a character study of these people caught in this impossible situation,” he explains, adding for our recent Q&A, “what ‘Anthrax’ gave us was another one of those situations.”

We talked with Peterson and co-creator and co-showrunner Kelly Souders as part of Gold Derby’s special “Meet the Experts” Q&A event with 2022 Emmy Awards contenders. Watch our exclusive video interview above.

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The Hot Zone: Anthrax” is the second installment in National Geographic’s “Hot Zone” anthology series, based on the 1994 non-fiction book of the same name by Richard Preston. Developed by Peterson and Souders, it stars Tony Goldwyn, Daniel Dae Kim, Harry Hamlin, Dylan Baker and Dawn Olivieri, taking place a few weeks after 9/11, when letters containing deadly anthrax powder were received by unsuspecting victims across the country. The limited series follows a team of FBI agents and scientists as they race to uncover who is responsible, as America was still paralyzed by paranoia and panic.

Peterson and Souders expertly depict a consequential moment in time for the country, on the eve of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, re-creating well-known personas like Tom Brokaw (Hamlin) and Rudy Giuliani (Enrico Colantoni), as the desire within government to pin these attacks on the Iraqi government led by Saddam Hussein reaches fever-pitch, despite that ultimately tragic turn of events was based on flawed data and misinformation.

“Everybody wanted to make it so visceral so that when you got into the show and you turned it on, you could feel the tension, you could feel the fingers pointing in every direction and the paranoia,” Souders explains about prioritizing the tension and fear as a key element of the show’s narrative. “Across the board, in every department, we constantly were talking about the tension and the stress and what it was like back then, which, you know some people haven’t or didn’t experience at all or they don’t remember it. We wanted to transport people the second they tuned in.”

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