On the latest edition of KCRW's The Spin-Off, we talk to "Homeland" executive producer Alex Gansa on how the show rebounded in Season 4-- and how bad buzz from Season 3 motivated them. The show is back in the Emmy race, and Gansa is now in the middle of producing next season. Details:
When Homeland creators Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon were first developing the drama, their goal was to devise a story so compelling, that by the end of the first season, viewers would be cheering for the terrorist to flip the switch on rotten, fictional American politicians.
The broadcast networks said no thanks, but the show found a home at Showtime, where it's been a powerhouse drama ever since. Many critics felt the show's storyline faltered in its third season, but Gansa says he tries not to let that feedback impact him too negatively while a season is in progress, so he now avoids reading online criticism of his show until an entire season has wrapped.
When Gansa joined us in the studio, he talked about the tough decision to let go of Damien Lewis's character Brody, and what that meant for then starting a fourth season of the show with a clean slate and almost entirely new cast.
He also addresses some of the most controversial scenes from that fourth season, including one particular one that Gansa and his team spent five solid days editing, just to make sure they could get the tone and sequence exactly right.
Gansa also gives some hints as to what's to come for Season 5, which is filming in Berlin as we speak. The topics they'll tackle this year come from real-life inspiration like privacy concerns and Edward Snowden. And while the show has previously used locations like South Africa to fill in for Pakistan, this time they'll actually be shooting in the city where the story is set. After all, Gansa tells us, “Berlin is a great spy town."