Josh Berman discusses ‘Drop Dead Diva’ (Exclusive Interview)

Josh Berman discusses ‘Drop Dead Diva’
Interview by Michael Aaron Gallagher of StayFamous.Net

From left, April Bowlby, Josh Berman and Margaret Cho celebrate the first season of “Drop Dead Diva” in 2009. Photo by Kevin Parry/Lifetime Networks.
From left, April Bowlby, Josh Berman and Margaret Cho celebrate the first season of “Drop Dead Diva” in 2009. Photo by Kevin Parry/Lifetime Networks.

With the growing ratings of cable networks and the influence of on-demand programming and global internet audiences, the landscape of television is rapidly changing. For “Drop Dead Diva” creator Josh Berman, who was an executive producer on the CBS drama “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (where he worked for six years) and a consulting producer on the FOX series “Bones” (for four years), having a show on the Lifetime Television Network provides him with greater flexibility as a writer and producer.

“‘Drop Dead Diva,’ creatively, is a lot more satisfying as cable networks tend to give creators a lot more freedom and latitude in what they want to write and the themes they want to explore,” Berman said. “The interesting thing about ‘Drop Dead Diva’ too, is that we’re not a cable show internationally, and we do have very broad appeal in other countries.”
Now in its third season, the popular series has attracted top talent in the industry, including guest stars Kathy Griffin, Wanda Sykes, Clay Aiken, Lance Bass, Brandy Norwood, and Jamie-Lynn Sigler (who appears in the season finale).

As the No. 1 program on basic cable networks in the 9 p.m. Sunday timeslot among women age 25-54, the show continues to be recognized for its unique, “feel-good” approach to complex social issues. It was recently named as a finalist for the 37th Annual HUMANITAS Prize, honoring great writing in television and film. 

Produced by SONY Pictures Television, the one-hour comedic drama tells the story of Jane, a model who dies and returns to life in the body of a plus-sized attorney. 

“I think the show itself, which really explores themes of humanity and what it feels like to be different on the outside is attracting such talent as Jamie-Lynn (Sigler)… we never got that kind of talent as easily on a network show,” Berman said. “I love the fact that our audience is so passionate about the show. When you have a lead character who looks different than lead characters on other shows, and people have embraced her and love her and appreciate her differences, it makes me feel really good about what I’m doing.”

“A friend of mine is a second grade teacher up North in Sonoma Valley and he just told me a story about the end of last summer. His class came back and he asked all the little kids to say what they most enjoyed about their summer. And some kids talked about their trips or their gifts, like one girl got a dog. And then he came to one little overweight girl and she said the best thing about her summer was watching ‘Drop Dead Diva.’ And I think it’s awesome for anyone in America to see a more realistic woman as the lead of a show, and that’s really satisfying for me.”
The Season 3 Finale of “Drop Dead Diva,” with guest star Jamie-Lynn Sigler airs at 9 p.m. Sept. 25 on Lifetime. To watch new clips from “Drop Dead Diva” visit The series was recently renewed for a fourth season, to premiere in 2012.
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Josh Berman discusses ‘Drop Dead Diva’
Copyright © 2011 by Michael Aaron Gallagher
Photograph courtesy of Lifetime Television Network

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