Throughout the summer, we’re taking you backstage to meet our team and get behind-the-scenes details about the exciting changes for our upcoming season.
Earlier this week, you met Executive Producer Terence, who is responsible for the overall concept and creative direction of the show. Today, meet our Executive in Charge of Production, who says her job is to “make it a reality.”
Susan has been working in television production for 25 years, and is busy spearheading the build of our new set, along with new offices and much more. Susan shares details on the brand new “Anderson” set. Take a look…
As Executive in Charge of Production at “Anderson,” tell us about what you’ve been busy working on this sumer?
“We are re-launching the show. We moved ‘Anderson’ from an exciting first season launch, in a very unique space. It presented a lot of production challenges, but it was like nothing you’ve seen on television. Now that we’re up and running, I think it’s great that we’re going into a production space. It gives us a lot more flexibility and the ability to do a lot more TV-centric things.”
Tell us about what will be different about the new studio space.
“Before we were literally in a performance space — a bowl, with a window as the set. There was nothing we moved other than ourselves and boxes of files. The only set we had was furniture and a couple of fly walls. For season two, we are building a whole new set!”
What is the process of building a new set?
“The concept of building a set is pretty intense. Think of building a high-end home and having to build it in a month. That’s what the budget of those things are, and you come together with a lot of decision-makers.”
Who has designed the new set?
“We are working with Jim Fenhagen, Executive Vice President of Design for Jack Morton Worldwide, who is an amazing set designer. He is a TV wizard. He has done numerous sets. He put together a design. We went through many revisions with Anderson and everyone on the call. We finally got to where we wanted it to be.”
Where are you building the set?
“We are building the whole set at the CBS Scenic Shop, located in the same building as our stage. Which is amazing for us, because we can watch the whole process — especially when we are moving so quickly. We can watch firsthand. CBS has an amazing woodworking shop — their scene department is first rate. We were looking at brick and window treatments yesterday.”
How many weeks will the set take to build?
“We load in lighting and do pre-light for a couple days starting on Monday, July 30. The set starts moving-in August 2. It will be a seven-day build and then lighting comes back for another three or four days to refocus the lighting. There are many windows and all lights are controllable — each color can change, and they’re dimmable. In three and a half weeks they’ll build an entire house and an entire world.”
What else will be new about the season two set?
“We are building the producer area which is an interactive environment. This is where if there is breaking news — however we want to utilize it — it will be very organized. Also, we have numerous monitor opportunities and tons of entrances.”
How will the audience change?
“The number is a little smaller than season one. Jazz at Lincoln Center had the ability to put a high 300. This maxes out at about 200-210, which is still a really good number for daytime television. I don’t think the size of the audience will change the show. We kept Anderson intimate. We kept the audience on the floor. We like to blur the lines between stage and audience. Anderson likes to be very involved in the audience.”
How much was Anderson involved in the set design process?
“Very. He is very involved. He definitely respects the people who are contracted and hired to do it, and you can see that, but he has very good and very specific notes. If something hits him one way or the other, it’s always a really good point. He knows himself. Anderson is the best one to gauge what works for him, because he is the one who sits there every day. We can only surmise, but he feels it.”
What were some of Anderson’s notes?
“He was very concerned with comfortable entrances for his guests. We had to make sure on the center island that the stairs are not precarious. He has done so many appearances, and he brought up a good point — even as a trained professional, the minute you walk out on stage, you have to focus on everything around you. So, you have to make sure if walking on a platform it’s a standard one step. You don’t want to have to think about it because it will trip you up.”
What else were Anderson’s contributions to the new set?
“Anderson definitely wanted to personalize it. In the gallery, we’re calling it — in the back — we will probably display some of his mom’s artwork. He wanted to bring a bit of himself to the set. His home is a historic firehouse which is big and unique, and we tried to keep that character by creating a live/work space.”
Tell us about backstage area. What will it be like?
“Anderson has a great dressing room. It’s right off backstage we will have the ability to hook up a camera there. The control room is literally a door outside the studio. We hope to utilize the backstage as much as possible. The building also offers camera drops which means we can shoot the audience in their holding area before the show and it feeds right to the control room.”
What are you most looking forward to in Season 2?
“From a production point of view, I am looking forward to being in a real television facility. Anything we wanted last season… we had to build out of thin air. This is the CBS Broadcast Center and we have access to everything. They get television. And that is a huge plus in taking the show to the next level. Now that we have identified the show, we can amp it up and it will be exciting to see what we can do with the technology and being in a longstanding television studio.”
The new season of “Anderson” debuts on Monday, September 10.
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