There is no denying that this past TV season was particularly brutal – especially for comedies. After a single season, TV viewers said goodbye to shows like “Enlisted,” “The Michael J. Fox Show” and “Trophy Wife,” among many others. While many shows struggled, one did rise above the rest – ABC’s “The Goldbergs.”
International Business Times spoke with “The Goldbergs” Executive Producer Doug Robinson at the 2014 ATX Television Festival about the show's success, its plans for Season 2 and more:
IBTimes: What do you think set “The Goldbergs” apart from the rest of the TV comedies this season?
Doug Robinson: Making comedy is really, really hard. Making any show is hard. But making comedy is really tough. [Creator] Adam Goldberg knows this show inside and out. It’s his life, but a lot of people think their life is show worthy … his actually is. The fact that he videotaped his entire childhood I think is an element of the show that sets it apart from everything else, that makes it feel real – because it is.
Then you just get that luck where you have a great script and then the right cast to execute it. It’s rare that that happens where I’ve seen good scripts that don’t turn into good shows because you don’t have the right cast. I’ve seen OK scripts become great because you have the right cast. And we just had that thing out of the box where all the elements worked. ... And thankfully we had ABC, who was great to us. Their marketing campaign was fantastic. That yellow poster with those ugly sweaters was everywhere. And they did such a great job of believing in the show, pushing the show.
IBTimes: What can you tease about Season 2?
Robinson: One of the things I think we’ll do every year now is probably do an event built around a movie in way that we did the “Goonies.” So we’re talking a lot about the John Hughes movies in the '80s and which one of those will make a good episode of “The Goldbergs.” ... You’ll see something that will be fun this year.
IBTimes: Will fans see Lainey Lewis (AJ Michalka) return?
Robinson: I think in the beginning we’ll see that relationship with Barry play out a little bit.
IBTimes: Will Season 2 introduce any other people from Adam Goldberg’s past?
Robinson: We’ll see some of the people we saw last year. Some of the kids will be back. I think you’ll see Dana Caldwell. We’ll see what happens with that relationship with Adam a little bit. I think we’ll see the Kremps every once in a while across the street, and I think they’ll be new people
IBTimes: Nostalgia plays a big part on the show. Did you ever struggle getting approval to include something?
Robinson: We did a “Goonies” episode, and the actor who played Chunk in the movie was one of the people all year – if not the only person – who would not give us any rights to his likeness. It was nothing more than a picture that we showed on a board with all the other cast members, when the young Adam character is telling each of the cast members who they’re going to play in this home movie version of the “Goonies.” He tried to get an exorbitant amount of money from us. For whatever reason he wouldn’t do it. That was probably one the few times we were turned down all year. But we had to write a lot of letters to people, begging and asking. It got easier as we went on.
IBTimes: One of the aspects of the show that’s great is the home video footage at the end.
Robinson: It was only supposed to be in the pilot. We needed it for time in the second episode. We were a little short. … and then people just started saying how much they really liked it. From our point of view when we first did it we thought: “Is this going to take away from our cast? Is it not going to make it seem like this is our family who we’re telling the story about, the TV family? Is the real family going to take away from it?” People have really embraced the fact that this is a real family, that this is really what took place. And it’s worked out really well. [Adam Goldberg] has thousands of hours of home video footage. He literally videotaped his entire childhood
IBTimes: The show is switching time slots for its second season. How do you feel about moving to Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.?
Robinson: That’s exactly where I wanted to be. We’re a real family show. I can’t tell you how many emails I get from people saying I watch this show with my family. And I think that one of the reasons that’s happening is that it’s a relatable family show. But more than that there’s a nostalgia aspect to it – where my kids will never really know what a pay phone is, let alone what a cable box is, or some of these things that we reference on the show. When I watch it with them they’ll ask me questions about it. And I get that from a lot of families.
So when we were trying to get that slot, that 8:30 time slot, I had the Sony research guys pull some stuff because I had read something early on that we were a big poll viewing show with families. And it turned out that us and “The Middle” were two of the highest, percentage-wise, of the audience watching it as a family together. So, that was the time slot I always wanted … 9:30 to me, after “Modern Family,” which is obviously a great slot, is just too late for our show. That’s where we wanted to be and ABC was great and continues to support the show.
IBTimes: Do you have any fears of losing fans with the new day and time slot?
Robinson: I think some people won’t find it. I think other people will find it and I think hopefully we’ll add new fans as well.
“The Goldbergs” will air new episodes this fall on ABC on Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. EDT