Meet the Experts: Showrunners roundtable – ‘Christmas in Tune,’ ‘Impeachment,’ ‘The Sex Lives of College Girls,’ ‘Under the Banner of Heaven,’ ‘With Love’

“M*A*S*H,” “I Love Lucy,” “Six Feet Under,” “Beetlejuice” and “The Cosby Show.” What do these classic TV shows or films have in common? They all had a deep impact on five of today’s top TV showrunners. We discuss that and more during our “Meet the Experts” group roundtable panel with 2022 Emmy contenders.

This “Meet the Experts” panel includes showrunners and producers Melissa Joan Hart (“Christmas in Tune”), Sarah Burgess (“Impeachment”), Justin Noble (“The Sex Lives of College Girls”), Dustin Lance Black (“Under the Banner of Heaven”) and Gloria Calderon Kellett (“With Love”). Watch our full group chat above and click on each name above to view each person’s individual interview.

“I was obsessed with ‘M*A*S*H’ growing up,” reveals Black. “And one day I hope I can write like that. Where you can take really dark, deep, challenging subjects and get people to laugh. That would be great.” For Calderon Kellett, it is “100 percent ‘I Love Lucy.'” “I watched it as a kid just because I loved it and I thought it was so funny,” she explains. “Obviously there was a Cuban guy that sounded just like my dad, so that was super cool. But I didn’t really realize until years later, the scope to which Desi Arnaz’s life would have impacted mine. Him being on television in 1952 created a path for my parents to come here in 1962. Feelings about Cubans at the time, because of Desi Arnaz, made it so that they had a really clear path to citizenship.”

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Shirley Temple inspired me in my career very early on,” says Hart. “I just thought she was so talented. And how could she do so many great things? I want to be like that. But as far as television goes, it was ‘The Cosby Show.’ Just watching that family being able to work through problems together and have a dad who was so present. My father was a fisherman and he wasn’t always around. But also, once I found out Malcolm-Jamal Warner was directing, that spoke to me. As a teenager I was like, that’s cool. I want to do that!”

We also discussed the pitfalls of showrunning and what can turn into their worst nightmares on any set. “As a writer, writing so many scenes of a show, it is being faced with a scene that I can’t figure out at first, or that feels flat when you’re sitting there with actors,” reveals Burgess. “If I feel that I’m not in touch with the point of the scene or with something that the character is doing, it’s usually a sign of a larger problem.”

Hart was a Kids’ Choice Awards winner for “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “Drive Me Crazy.” Her producing career has included “Rent Control,” “Melissa and Joey,” “Broadcasting Christmas,” “The Watcher in the Woods” and “Mistletoe in Montana.” Burgess was a Writers Guild Awards nominee for “Impeachment.” Other projects have included “Five Difficult Situations,” “Compliance” and “Purity.” Noble’s credits include “Idiotsitter,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Never Have I Ever.” Black won an Oscar, Writers Guild Award and Independent Spirit Award for “Milk.” Other projects have included “Big Love,” “J. Edgar” and “When We Rise.” Calderon Kellett won an ALMA Award for “How I Met Your Mother” and was nominated at the Image Awards for “One Day at a Time.” Other projects have included “Rules of Engagement,” “Devious Maids,” “Mixology” and “iZombie.”

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