The NY Times reports that the producers of 24, LOST, THE OC, and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES have no clue how their seasons will end. As if you didn’t know. We know they don’t know. The presidents of the networks seem to know it, too (if you believe what they say in the article). The only people who don’t seem in-the-loop on this are development executives, who often want to know before the pilot is written every detail of the hero’s life…who all his relatives are and what they do… and who is best friend was in preschool. But the fact is…none of that matters. And even if the writers tell you, it’s bullshit. They’re gonna toss the bible as soon as they get the series order.
network ordered the first full season of "24," the writers presented a
huge map of the entire first season. The blueprint, however, didn’t
endure. "We used to obsess over that in Year 1," Mr. Cochran said. "You
know, Oh, God, let’s story out as many episodes as we can. We always
got in a lot of trouble with that because if you try it, you end up
locking yourselves into things that don’t really work and it gets
After his four seasons of "24," Mr. Cochran endorses the same approach:
save big decisions till the end of the season. The writers and the
audience, he insists, will then enjoy the benefits of a looser process.
"At the beginning of the season, we certainly don’t know," he said.
"Halfway through, we certainly don’t know. As we’re writing episode 16
or 17, we start thinking in a very general sort of way, where we’d like
to end the season."
It’s the same on shows with a far-less restrictive franchise.
"Lost" and "The O.C.," along with "24" and "Desperate Housewives,"
are high-profile serials with substantial, devoted audiences, but no
one – not writers, not network executives and not viewers – knows
exactly how they will end their seasons. Their writers, like others in
Hollywood, are trying to devise the perfect season finale – with little
time to spare. According to interviews with writers from all four shows, their finales are unshot, and mostly unwritten.
So forget about "bibles." They’re pointless. What counts is a strong pilot script and a showrunner with a vision.