Veteran gay producer Greg Berlanti has his hands full executive producing shows like The CW’s “Riverdale,” “Black Lightning” and NBC’s “Blindspot.”
Best known for his work as executive producer and co-creator of The CW’s “Arrow,” “The Flash” and DC’s “Legends of Tomorrow,” Berlanti has numerous upcoming projects, like the live-action version of DC Entertainment’s “Titans,” as well as “Doom Patrol,” “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” for Netflix; and CBS Access’ “God Friended Me.”
All of which makes him one of the busiest guys in Hollywood.
To have so many scripted series on air at the same time is simply unprecedented. And he’s also delved into movies—did you see the brilliant “Love, Simon”? Yep, he directed that film too.
The WGA, DGA, and Golden Globe-nominated writer and director is executive producer/creator of Lifetime’s new psychological thriller, “You,” which has already been renewed for season two. He also oversees the new CW series, “All American.”
During the “You” panel for the Television Critics Press Tour, a reporter joked that the critics were three years away from every other show on television being executive produced by Berlanti and his Warner Bros. Television-based production company.
When asked how he juggles his various commitments, Berlanti acknowledged it depended on each show.
“On this one, I read the book and was just transfixed. I read it in a night, night-and-a-half. I passed it around to friends. We were all reading it. The studio said, ‘Is this something you’d be interested in making? We know this is maybe darker than some of the things you’ve done in the past?”
The veteran writer/director, who has worked on iconic shows like “Dawson’s Creek,” “Brothers & Sisters,” and “Everwood,” never has worked on a thriller television series.
“I was intrigued if I could, and I’d been wanting to work with (co-creator and executive producer) Sera Gamble. We had sold the pilot at least once before…this was just one that when we kind of got together and started pitching it out, I asked her if she’d let me write the script with her, just because I hadn’t written, co-written anything like that ever.”
Berlanti tried to conserve a certain amount of story time, usually to the newer shows, to be in the writer’s room or giving notes on scripts.
“And then there is usually a moment also where they do kind of just take flight mostly on their own, and I realize that they don’t need me as much anymore. And by then I’m usually dreaming something up with somebody else.”
This is the first time Gamble wrote a script with Berlanti and loved the collaborative experience.
“Greg is such a good writer, and he writes men brilliantly and he writes women brilliantly,” acknowledged Gamble. “So, really, the process between the two of us was much more about egging each other on.”
Gamble was delighted by the playful competitiveness they shared, which pushed her to bring her A game.
“The fun thing about writing with a writer that you admire is that they send you pages and you’re like, ‘Shit. Now my pages have to be better.’ Or darker or more interesting. Or I have to surprise him before I send it back. I have to figure something out that he’s not going to see coming,” Gamble said.
Berlanti is also executive producing “Batwoman” starring lesbian Ruby Rose, which is currently in development for the 2019-20 television season. The DC Comics character is an out lesbian and will appear in the CW’s DC Crossover event in December.
Next month brings a particularly noteworthy moment for the uber-busy producer. Along with his longtime love, former soccer star turned producer, Robbie Rogers, Berlanti is being honored by the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s upcoming Gala Vanguard Awards. The happy couple will be celebrating their one year wedding anniversary in December.
Berlanti has been an inclusive force to be reckoned with in the television industry. He ’s responsible for the first gay superhero to headline a TV series, (“Freedom Fighters: The Ray”) the first romantic kiss between two gay characters, (“Dawson’s Creek”) and the first legal gay marriage on network television, (“Brothers and Sisters”).
He also brought the first transgender recurring character to primetime television, (“Dirty Sexy Money”) as well as the first gay African-American male and female superheroes (Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt playing Mr. Terrific in “Arrow” and Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce in “Black Lightning”).