Exclusive: Drop Dead Diva Boss Talks 'Amazing' Renewal, Rumored Cuts and 'Best Season Yet'
What saved the series from death? It wasn’t “creative financing,” creator Josh Berman tells TVLine. Instead, he credits Diva‘s loyal fans.
But with cuts no doubt needing to be made, how many episodes will the show be back for? And will it look any different? Here, Berman sounds off on those burning questions and teases what’s in store for Jane, Grayson and Fred.
TVLINE | First of all, congrats! How does it feel to have the show resurrected?
It feels amazing. I love writing this show. I love the characters. I love the cast. I love the crew. For me, Drop Dead Diva feels like a family. It sounds corny, but it feels like the pick-up brought the family back together.
TVLINE | Were you surprised when Lifetime cancelled the show? Did you have any inkling?
I was disappointed when we were cancelled. Our ratings have always been strong, so I was surprised. Our finale was up over 30 percent from the prior year. I never would have left our fans with such a big cliffhanger if I thought we were going to be cancelled.
TVLINE | How did Drop Dead Diva get uncancelled? What was the deciding factor that changed Lifetime’s minds?
I believe the fans saved the show. When we were cancelled, we trended on Twitter, off and on, for days. Tens of thousands of fans signed petitions for the show to be brought back. Our Facebook numbers grew, and fans posted homemade videos on YouTube in support of Drop Dead Diva. I received thousands of messages of support from around the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on several popular shows, including CSI and Bones, but the fan base for Drop Dead Diva is nothing like I’ve ever seen. I’m grateful for such loyal fans.
TVLINE | Were some other options/homes for the show seriously explored? Or was it always about trying to work things out with Lifetime?
Lifetime was always my first choice. Other networks were interested, but Lifetime was our home, and it made the most sense to stay put.
TVLINE | According to Deadline, Sony was able to work out a new financial model for the show. Does that mean budget cuts?
The show will look and feel the same. There is some creative financing, but that won’t affect the viewing experience. Fans shouldn’t notice a difference. … I’ve had a singular creative vision for this series since Day 1. Nothing will change in Season 5 that hadn’t already been in the works. I’ve always thought the first four seasons served as a platform for Season 5. I believe Season 5 will be the best season yet.
TVLINE | Will it be a shorter episode order?
No, it will be a full order. And it will air later this year.
TVLINE | I have to ask about last season’s cliffhanger. How long will original Jane be in Owen’s body? And how do you balance that without it getting campy?
I can’t answer the first question without giving away too much information. I love the second question. The show lives in a bright, shiny world that’s grounded in reality. Our characters will remain relatable and flawed, and I’m not worried about going too camp. I can promise some very big surprises in the first episode back.
TVLINE | What’s ahead for Jane and Grayson now that they’ve kissed? Will he get closer to learning that she’s really Deb?
Ah! Stay tuned for that answer. The Grayson-Jane love story will feature prominently in Season 5, but I’m not ready to give away any secrets. I promise lots of twists and turns.
TVLINE | Any hope of getting Ben Feldman back for the Stacy/Fred lovers out there?
Ben Feldman has been very vocal about his appreciation and love of the show. He’s beloved on Drop Dead Diva by the actors, writers, fans, and me. The door is always open. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him back this season.
Drop Dead Diva fans, are you enthused by the show’s resurrection? And what would you like to see next season?Follow @VladaGelman