EXCLUSIVE: Writer-producers Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts have inked a new two-year overall deal with ABC Studios where they have been since 2010. At the studio, the duo served as executive producers on ABC’s medical drama Off The Map, as executive producers/showrunners on ABC’s GCB and most recently as consulting producers on another soapy ABC series, Revenge, this past season. Under the new pact, Berg and Harberts will serve as executive producers on the upcoming third season of Revenge, which is undergoing a showrunner transition, with executive producer Sunil Nayar replacing creator Mike Kelley.
ICM Partners-repped Berg and Harberts previously served as executive producers/co-showrunners on the NBC medical drama Mercy, as co-exec producers on the ABC dramedy Pushing Daisies and created/executive produced the WB dramedy Pepper Dennis.
EXCLUSIVE: There has been some behind-the-scenes drama on ABC’s upcoming dramedy Good Christian Belles. A fallout between writer/executive producer Robert Harling and executive producer/showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg on one hand and executive producer Darren Star on the other has led to a decision by producing studio ABC Studios to no longer have Star talk to Harling, Harberts or Berg, go to the set of the show, or go to his GCB office. He continues to give notes on scripts and cuts but to the studio, not to the series’ writing EPs — at least not for the time being. Star also oversees marketing and publicity for the series.
Star was never expected to be full-time on GCB for the long run because he is under an exclusive deal at HBO, where he has the Goldie Hawn-starring comedy project The Viagra Diaries awaiting a pilot green light. (He will go and run that show if and when that happens.) That’s why ABC Studios hired experienced showrunners Harberts and Berg after the pilot to help feature writer Harling. (For the duo, the assignment was part of their overall deal at the studio.) Still, the events of the past couple of months hastened that process, creating behind-the-scene tension along the way. As one observer put it, on GCB “the comedy is on the show, the drama is behind the scenes.”
I hear at heart of the problem was the fractured long-time friendship between Star and Harling. It was Star who originally optioned Kim Gatlin’s book Good Christian Bitches and brought in Harling to write the TV adaptation. Star also shepherded the pilot from development through postproduction. Some say there were signs of friction between the two as early as the pilot stage, but the cracks became very visible after the ABC upfront presentation and subsequent international screenings where GCB was heavily marketed as a Darren Star series with no mention of Harling, something that I hear upset Harling. Tension started building as Harling, Harberts and Berg convened the show’s writing staff to work on storylines and scripts, with Star chiming in from afar. (Star reportedly didn’t do much to defuse the situation). Read More »
Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts have been tapped to serve as executive producers/showrunners on the newly picked up ABC dramedy Good Christian Belles (form. Good Christian Bitches). The gig falls under the duo’s overall deal with ABC Studios. GCB, based on Kim Gatlin’s book, centers on Amanda (Leslie Bibb), … Read More »