A fast Q&A with Mitchell Hurwitz of Arrested Development
JK: I interviewed Will Arnett about a month ago, and he told me a lot of the same stuff you mentioned during the panel, that Arrested kept getting renewed because it kept getting awards and it would make FOX look bad to ax it.
Hurwitz: You know, I shouldn't be talking about this, because it really sounds like sour grapes. But it was a privilege. It was a privileged experience, and I know it was a privileged experience. But nonetheless, it's such a high-stakes thing, that when you're cancelled very late, and all that work, that it feels like it didn't turn into a profit, you know. But the more I get away from it, the more I realize that, no, they... they put it on the air.
JK: Was there a particular reason why you didn't want to do the Showtime or ABC thing (both networks were interested in the show)?
Hurwitz: There were a few reasons. I mean one of the things -- I get nervous talking about it too much -- but 20th (Century Fox) needed three more years for that to be productive. And, you know what I did with the show, it took everything out of me. And I've got two little girls and a family, and it was going to be less money and more work, and the actors were all wanting to go out and pursue their feature careers, because they were all getting attachments...
And also, more than anything, I felt like the main thing was about keeping up the quality, and I don't know, it would have been hard for me. If we had been able to stay at FOX, I could have stepped away, and been a supervisor, and been less of the guy who does every little thing -- writing the posters, working with the actors, and all -- and somebody else could have gone in, like on The Simpsons, where they bring in other people. But on Showtime that wasn't an option; it would have been my services for three more years.
JK: Because of all the press hype of whether the show was going to stay around or not, was there a pressure factor in keeping up the quality of the show?
Hurwitz: It was definitely cancelled by FOX, so then 20th was hammering away at Showtime, and they had been through the thing at FOX, and I kept saying through my representatives, "You know, I think I'm done." But they wanted to get as much money as they could from Showtime, then I guess they got their number and they finally brought it to me, so it seemed like a long period of time. But I had sort of made it clear that I was going to be done (if we were done at FOX).
JK: Well, you gave us two-and-a-half-years...
Hurwitz: I know, it was controversial ... I did feel bad about it. But I was worried about my health, I was worried about my girls. And the other alternative would've been to change the way I work, which I think is important also. I need to develop that.