Liz Feldman interview: ‘Dead to Me’ showrunner
Earlier this year, “Dead to Me” showrunner Liz Feldman made a shocking announcement: her red-hot comedy series would be ending after Season 3. “It’s a difficult decision obviously to end your own show,” she reveals during Gold Derby’s TV Showrunners panel (watch above). “But I knew from the beginning, from the moment I pitched the show, that it wasn’t gonna be a five or six season show. I knew that it needed to be a shorter run.” She cites “Fleabag” as a series that took its fate into its own hands and called it quits when the time was right.
The second season streamed on Netflix in May, continuing the story of Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini) as they deal with untimely deaths in their lives. “Given the stakes in the show and the heightened realism, I knew that I could do one more season,” notes Feldman. “I came up with the ending while we were in the middle of shooting Season 2. It just sort of came to me, and I just knew that it had to launch off the finale of the second season.”
“Dead to Me” fans have grown accustomed to jaw-dropping twists and turns, but where did Feldman get the idea to end so many of its episodes with shocking cliffhangers? “It was something that I knew would be very helpful on a streaming platform like Netflix,” she explains. “I know that when I’m watching a show and they drop some crazy reveal or introduce a whole new idea, it gets me to keep watching. I sort of took it as a challenge. I’m a competitive person, I love playing games, and to me it’s a big game. If I can get someone to keep watching, then I feel like I’m winning.”
Season 2 raked in Emmy nominations for Best Comedy Series and Best Comedy Actress for Applegate and Cardellini. However, the ceremony had to be produced remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic that’s shuttered Hollywood for much of 2020. “I’ve been dreaming of that my entire life pretty much, so I would be lying if I said that it fulfilled all of my greatest dreams,” Feldman says about the virtual ceremony. “But I think they did an incredible job of doing the best version of the Emmys they could.”
Also in our exclusive video interview, Feldman talks about James Marsden‘s unexpected return in the new episodes, what her favorite moment was of Season 2, and how “Dead to Me” is really about “exploring the good and bad in all of us.” Feldman won multiple Daytime Emmys for writing and producing “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”