Maureen Ryan from the Chicago Tribune got a chance to talk with FOX head honcho Peter Ligouri at the Television Critics Association press tour this week. During their conversation, they talked a little about Ron Moore’s Virtuality…
MR: What’s going on with “Virtuality”? It seems like there’s so much positive buzz about it, but that doesn’t always translate into a pickup [to series].
PL: Yeah, look, this is why do you pilots. Especially, the more ambitious the show, the more important the pilot is – just being able to do that exercise and figure out, do we have the characters right, can we [execute] this. Ron Moore, honestly, he’s the real deal. When you sit there and talk to someone and say, “Does he have a strategy? Does he have a 100-episode plan, does he have a grip on his characters?” He’s got it. It’s a very ambitious pilot, it’s a very ambitious premise. I think we cast it really well.
MR: It sounds like you’re more inclined to go with the whole pilot model versus what I’ve heard other executives say.
PL: It depends on the show. [Fox entertainment president] Kevin [Reilly] and I really wrestle [with the idea] of going directly to series with some shows. “Dollhouse,” [we made a] series commitment (that cast is pictured at left). That’s when you’re sitting there with a showrunner who’s proven, he sits there and talks you through the first 6-, 8-, 12-episode arc, and given a writers strike, you say, “Let’s go, staff up, do your thing.” In some instances it’s worth doing that. In something like Ron’s project – it’s a very ambitious concept. Even he wants to try it out.
MR: What’s ambitious about it – a lot of green-screen stuff, special effects and all that?
PL: It’s this delicate balance act between the claustrophobia of the spaceship and opening the world with [the scenarios glimpsed through technology known as] virtuality. I am sure they are going to take a long time to edit that pilot, because you don’t know exactly what is the right balance.
MR: So there’s a gay relationship on the show. Can you talk about that, about things you find interesting about the show?
PL: What I think is interesting about it is, it’s the first 21st or 22nd Century office show, office drama. It’s a bunch of people working in a claustrophobic environment, working for a business with a specific mission. Where do you have to go to with that? You have to go to character, you’re not going to go to “Star Trek”-ian moments. You’re really going to go back to the characters to get to the core. And that is the genius of Ron. Plus there’s a social commentary, he does that in “Battlestar” and he has that here. The gay relationship is one part of that.
The full interview can be found here.