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The Player Boss Addresses NBC Drama's 'Ridiculous' Premise

The producers of The Player are well aware that the upcoming NBC drama is, well, not exactly realistic. But don’t say that like it’s a negative,  thank you very much.

“Ridiculous is a valid artistic choice!” creator John Rogers (The Librarians, Leverage) happily replied after a critic threw out the adjective to describe the outré premise — a former military operative-turned-security expert (played by Strike Back‘s Philip Winchester)  is drawn into a shady organization that gambles on crime.

“‘Pulp’ was the word we were really landing on when we were developing the show,” Rogers continued at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills on Thursday. “To me, Shonda Rhimes is pulp. Pulp is any story that’s high velocity, big characters making big decisions, big emotional stakes, and every episode is a thrill ride. We just decided to do it within the genre of action. … We’re going to knock your socks off every week.”

Addressing the balance of procedural to serialized elements in the series, “I like to say, ‘It’s consistency, not continuity,'” Rogers described. “The idea that when you show up, every week, you’re going to get a close-ended story with a beginning, middle and end. You’re going to have a great ride… But I’m not a big believer in stringing people” along for answers.

“By the end of [Episode] 13, you’ll have good, satisfying answers,” Rogers promised.

As for the similarities between Wesley Snipes’ mysterious pit boss Mr. Johnson and James Spader’s character on NBC’s Blacklist, with which The Player shares several producers, EP John Fox admitted that “there’s commonality” between the two men.

“As enigmatic as Red is, we, going in, knew a little bit more about Red than we know about Mr. Johnson,” Fox said. But do they do “both exist in the same kind of morally ambiguous universe.”

The Player premieres Thursday, Sept. 24 at 10/9c.