Friday, May 28, 2010

Goodbye and Thank You

By now most of you will have heard: Ghost Whisperer will not return.

Obviously all of us involved with creating the show are heartbroken. We're all now working hard to find new homes for ourselves and our coworkers. It's a painful and uneasy process, but I'm confident everyone will find what they're looking for in time. They're too talented not to.

I wanted to take a moment to thank not only all of my co-creators behind the scenes, but also the rest of you: the viewers and fans who create an audience, who create a demand for our work, and ultimately, who are the reason we do what we do. It's always tempting to be cynical and say network television is just about selling soap. But the deeper truth is that it responds to a need we each have: to share experience, to connect to others, to process daunting emotions, and sometimes simply to feel something. Ghost Whisperer has always been a show that wore these needs on its sleeve, and to me there's no shame in that. There's only pride and joy.

Ghost Whisperer is also a show about loss, and now we've all lost something together. I've found it helpful to remember some of the things we've observed about loss on our show. That all things must come to an end. That there's a reason for everything. And that sometimes it's the burden of the living to search and search for that reason, even sometimes to create it from nothing, and by doing so to lend meaning to what may appear meaningless, sense to what seems senseless.

For me the meaning is not in how or why the show ended, but in how it lived: through a special bond between the hundreds of people who made the show and the millions who enjoyed it. It's a bond that can never be broken. In part because many of you will continue to enjoy the show in re-runs and on DVD -- but also because the bond will be rebuilt as each of the show's makers finds work on new projects, and each of you finds new characters and stories to enjoy, and inevitably, even if invisibly, many of those will be the same.

With all my love and appreciation, until we next meet --

P.K. Simonds
May 28, 2010

Monday, December 14, 2009

100 Episodes and counting...

We had a party today on the Village Square to celebrate 100 episodes of Ghost Whisperer. Speeches were made, cake was eaten, pictures were taken. It was great. I wish you could all have been there.

I said some words to offer thanks to the people who make the show possible. There were many folks I didn't single out, because there wasn't time. Everyone who works on this show deserves special praise, for lots of reasons, but a few need to be singled out here, mostly because of what they mean to me.

These are people who not only make the show possible, they make my life liveable. They're my fellow writers, who live and work with me, helping decide what stories we tell and how to tell them, helping write those stories and rewrite and rewrite them. It's very hard work, very intense and stressful, and without their imagination, patience, bravery and energy, none of what you see on t.v. would even be dreamed of, let alone real.

Start with Laurie McCarthy. Remember that name. She's one of the most brilliant writers I've every worked with, and I've worked with some greats. She's the engine of our writers room, constantly driving stories forward with the artfulness, specificity and craft required to make good film. She's also an exceptionally gifted writer on the page.

Then there's Mark Perry. I've worked with Mark for over a decade, and the day we were able to recruit him to the show this show became very blessed. Mark writes some of our most distinct episodes, since his voice is so much his own. They're often the funniest shows, because that's who Mark is -- one of the funniest and smartest writers I know. Winner of Emmy's and Golden Globe awards, and blessed with a biting wit (we sometimes call him Snark B. Perry), he keeps the room in hysterics day in and day out.

Jeannine Renshaw is in many ways the soul of the show. She's been here longest of anyone on the writing staff (except John Gray), and knows the rules better than anyone. It's a very hard thing to hold an entire episode in your head, with all of its complex ins and outs, but Jeannine has the kind of exceptional brain that does this without breaking a sweat. She's a multi-threat, with skills and experience in each of the genres we have to master every week: mystery, relationship drama and the supernatural.

The Blake Sisters, Melissa and Joy, have been here since the beginning of season four. If you're wondering who came up with all those clever show titles, now you know: it's Melissa, punster extraordinaire. Joy has a quick wit and a highly tuned b.s. meter that keeps us all honest. Together they're excellent writers, and separately they're masters of diplomacy and filmmaking in their frequent roles as "grownups" on the set.

Stephanie SenGupta is our newest writer and has instantly made herself indispensable. The single most joyful, professional and pleasant person I've ever worked with, she has a world class gift for combining all the oftentimes contradictory challenges of writing and producing for t.v.: storytelling, writing, collaborating, haggling, and always, no matter how difficult these other parts of the job become, laughing.

And we can't forget John Gray. He's not so much a day to day presence the way he once was, but he continues to contribute in countless -- and priceless -- ways. He writes and directs at least two episodes every year, including the season finale. This year he graciously consented to write the 100th episode, a special gift to the show and the fans -- and to Love, who gets to direct a John Gray script.

Lastly, a shout out to our amazing support staff in the writing department: my assistant Dan Sinclair, writers room scribe Ben Chaney, script coordinator Steve Gottfried, writers assistant Steve Cwik, and writers p.a. Andrew Steier. Awesome, funny, gifted guys, every one of them.

You're all the wind beneath my wings. And boy are my arms tired.

Thanks.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

DON'T MISS THIS EPISODE!!!

There are probably two episodes you absolutely can't miss this season. Okay, maybe three. And this is one of them.

Not just because it's a great show -- terrifying, heartbreaking, groundbreaking -- but because in this episode, "Lost in the Shadows," you're going to see more of the other dimension -- and what lurks there -- than at any other time this year. It's gripping, disturbing, fascinating, and very important.

Any parent who has ever lost a child, any child who has ever been lost, any friend who has had to watch another friend dying, won't want to miss this show.

Check it out, everyone. This is the show you've been waiting for...

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Come for the dancing, stay for the Shadows...

First off, let's put some rumors to rest. Love did her own dancing. No body doubles, no pros standing in. Trust me, she suffered the bruises to prove it. You try hanging upside down from a pole in fishnets. The woman deserves a medal. Or at least a day off. (Don't worry -- she got one.)

Second, this episode is about a lot more than dancing. There are some big surprises in store. You're going to see things in this show -- and the shows coming up -- that you've never seen before. But it's just the beginning.

And for at least one key character, the beginning of the end...

(Yes, you heard that right.)

Pay close attention, and enjoy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

They're heeeere....

Okay, now that you've seen episode 505, "Cause for Alarm" (if you haven't, go to http://www.cbs.com/primetime/ghost_whisperer/ and catch up quick!), you're beginning to glimpse where we're going this season. Aiden talks about some new "friends" which he sees but apparently Melinda doesn't. And, well, I'm not going to give anything away other than to say, everything you see on this subject is VERY IMPORTANT. Pay close attention, and don't miss an episode after this. Especially this week's Halloween show. And the one after that. And the one after that. And really REALLY the one after that...

Random factoid from recent episode: Believe it or not, the house Chad Lowe's character lives in (in the panic room episode that just aired), which looks like an industrial park or something, is actually a regular (rich person's) house. It's in Malibu, California. Move to Malibu, and you could live in a house like that too. (But don't forget to pack your winning lotto ticket.)

In the writers room we're breaking episode 514 right now, and things are really starting to heat up. Not in the writers room -- it's freezing in there. (Lousy thermostat. I wish I were kidding.) No, I'm talking about the season "arc" -- the big story we're telling in Season Five. We're starting to reveal a lot more about key supernatural elements, including the Book, and the Beings that you're going to meet soon. And man, are things going to get crazy and weird. I mean, CRAZY. And WEIRD. (You're supposed to pay attention to word choice here -- I don't have time to post a lot, so these infrequent items are clues...)

John Gray is busy writing episode 515, our 100th episode, to be directed by Love, which has been on the drawing board for some time, because it's so important. If you've been keeping up, you might have read that it's going to be "explosive." What can I tell you? Sometimes you need to believe what you read.

That's all for now. KEEP WATCHING. Because the season's big twists and developments (to borrow an AFI Top 100 Movie Quote, from the movie Poltergeist) -- THEY'RE HEEEERE....

Friday, October 2, 2009

Don't miss tonight!

Or any night, for that matter. We're starting to build this season's big mystery -- new enemies and new dangers, and maybe some new friends too -- and every week's episode has an important piece of the puzzle.

Tonight pay special attention to the ghosts. Oh, did I say ghostS, plural? I guess I did. I don't want to blow anything, but really, I'd be blowing it more if I didn't urge you to pay close attention. There's more to this episode than meets the eye. Don't miss a moment.

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

One week and counting...

It's sometimes an odd thing to work on a t.v. show and be experiencing it in your own time -- reading scripts, watching cuts, breaking upcoming stories in the room (we're currently conceiving episode number 11!) -- while knowing that the audience, who have us outnumbered about a million to one, has the entire fifth season still to catch up on. It's a lot different from doing a play in that way.

You do sometimes wish people could know what you know, though. I imagine folks out there have some anxiety -- what's gonna happen? Is it gonna be scary? Is it gonna stink?

Well, I won't try to predict your reactions. But I can tell you this. Networks and studios spend a lot of time trying to make entertainment more like a science. And why wouldn't they? They're in business to make money. How do you boil t.v. down to numbers? There's ratings of course. Then there's testing.

At regular intervals, most networks like to test all their shows. They want to know what you think about characters, season arcs, storylines, episodes, wardrobe, props, everything. They recruit audiences, give them dials to spin, and then sit them down for long "focus groups." Then they crunch all the data and discuss it with us. They could probably save themselves lots of time and money and just read some message boards. (But no t.v. professional will admit doing that...)

Anyway, why am I telling you all this? Because they tested our first episode, and according to all the analysis, you loved it.

Or you will, once you've seen it.

I sure hope they're right. I know I loved the show. But I'm kind of biased.

Love did a GREAT job directing. Connor, the boy who plays her new son, is an exceptionally talented young actor. And the rest of the cast and crew did exactly the kind of excellent work we've all come to expect.

Tune in next week and let us know what you thought. And we'll have some more tidbits and news as the season heats up. There's a LOT you need to catch up on, after all.