Recently, the FoF returned to Los Angeles and met with some of the most talented individuals that work on some of the biggest shows on TV. We had the privilege of sitting down with David Shore, the creator of the hit ABC show, The Good Doctor. Mr. Shore took time out of his busy schedule and we sat down in his office to discuss The Good Doctor and even what fans can expect next season.
David Shore is a TV writer and has worked on NYPD Blue, Due South and Family Law. David is also the creator for the critically acclaimed House M.D. as well as Battle Creek, Sneaky Pete and The Good Doctor. An avid hockey fan, David both plays in his limited free time and enjoys watching his favorite NHL teams, the Toronto Maple Leaf’s and L.A. Kings.
Q- Were there challenges bringing The Good Doctor to TV.
A- I saw the Korean pilot and took a great bit from that. It was interesting because this character moved me. I wanted to bring that character to America. It wasn’t so much about America as it was a universal story told in Korea. They did things really well. The stuff that wasn’t my style, I knew right away what I wanted to do with it. I would watch it and go, that’s great that’s good or I could do this with it…
I was lucky enough to be in a position to where I could. It wasn’t like the networks were looking for an autistic kid.
Q- While the show features an autistic character, the show isn’t about autism.
A- Exactly, that was the point of that going in. That is the point of the show. It is a character with autism but it isn’t a show about autism. It is very important to me and I pitched it from the beginning. I will take a certain amount of credit. I had a hit show before this, when I walk into the network. I got this impression from Sony, when I walk into the network and say I want to do a medical show. They seemed excited that David Shore wanted to do another medical show. I still have to do it right and we have a lot of support and get it. It wasn’t like they were, “I am not sure about this…”. They were interested almost right away. I responded to a certain emotional factor in the Korean version. I think I did a decent job in conveying that in the pitches and they teared up a little bit and said we would like to buy this and here we are.
Q- At what point did it become apparent to you that this is a hit?
A- No, even now it’s objectively a hit. I cannot argue with that. When it debuted, and got the number it got, I did go Oh wow that’s big. I am still going, next week it might drop off the table and next year it might drop off the table. You constantly feel that pressure to keep doing it as possibly good as you can and hope the audience keeps coming and that is where your head is at. You pop your head up on a Tuesday morning and go oh the numbers are good again and go back to work. You don’t walk around thinking, I’m doing a hit show. I knew we tested really well, I am very dismissive about testing. I was very proud of the pilot. They promoted us really well, which makes me sweat to because now the expectations are going to be high. I did call them before and asked, what number are you looking for and they gave me a number and we exceeded that number quite a bit. But I am still sitting there going, I wonder if they really meant that number (laughs). I wonder if they were just being nice to me (laughs). When people fly in from Fort Worth to talk to you, that’s a clue.
Q- Did you want to do another medical procedural after, House M.D.?
A- No and I wasn’t going no never again, it didn’t intrigue me. Then I saw this show and I went, I want to write for that character and he is a doctor so I guess that’s what I am writing. Having said that, I never really considered House M.D. a medical show like I don’t consider, The Good Doctor a medical show. It obviously is and it is a silly statement on a certain level but what intrigued me, the show doesn’t have anything to do with the medicine.
Q- You have such a big cast that is not only extremely talented and diverse. Is it challenging covering this storyline for this character or that storyline for that character?
A- Yes, it is difficult to give them all their due. It is, Freddy (Dr. Murphy) is kind of the hub. It’s not a true ensemble. It is a large cast and I firmly believe it shows that your lead character has to be great and in order to be great needs great supporting cast. But it is largely about your relationship to him and his relationship to them. Getting opportunities to give them a chance to interact with him is important. The show is living in that world, what is Dr. Murphy learning and what are we learning from Dr. Murphy. The show does kind of live in that world.
Q- What has been the feedback you’re getting from families of those who do have autism?
A- It’s been incredibly gratifying actually. We have seen the most moving writers and most moving comments for people dealing with this and their families. Their struggles and their achievements, just living their lives not having been represented before and finally seeing somebody who is a little bit like them.
We have heard wonderful stories about people being inspired and it’s amazing actually. I will tell you one thing, I found that a kid in his twenties with autism had depression and had given up and this inspired him to go back to get help. One thing that struck me recently. I have had a couple say, I found myself talking like Dr. Murphy and it’s cute and sort of sweet with a certain speech pattern and I realized and I was kind of moved by it. Because it used to be that somebody did an imitation of someone with autism it was a form of mockery and this is not being done as a form of mockery. This is being done as a form of respect and admiration and to some extent he has so much great insights that I want to be like him a little bit. I want to glimpse into what he does. The significant thing to me though was it’s being done as a tribute as to where it used to be done as mockery. That’s the most fundamental thing is all of us changing. Recognizing that people with differences aren’t so different.
Q- What has been like working with Sony and ABC? So far as their input or basic feedback?
A- It is the way it is with TV. They have given us largely free reign. I have a love/hate relationship with notes and I think all writers do. You want the phone call to be about, we love everything don’t change anything. That hasn’t happened to me yet, there is always a but attached to it. We like this but….. I think as a writer, a well-adjusted writer you have to recognize they’re not just your studio and your broadcaster, they’re your audience and if they aren’t responding to something then you have to adjust to it. The audience is smart and if they aren’t responding to something and aren’t moved by a character that I want them moved by then that’s my fault. So, I have to go back in and figure out how to fix it.
Q- Is there an overall story or I want to see this take the character to this point by the end of the shows run or is it looked at by season?
A- I think we attach to much importance to the finales in most cases. There are certain cable shows that are designed as one continuous story. Most network shows are not designed as 177 episode/hour story and it is a life of ups and downs, hiccups and things go well. House ran for eight years. If you were to follow my life for those eight years there wouldn’t be an arc to it. Moments in your life don’t have an arc to it. So, you build a bunch of arcs into it and you do a final episode that you hope summarizes things. It’s a series of shows that hopefully you like and like the characters and the growth. That’s the philosophical answer. The specific answer is no, I start the show thinking to an extent I want to continue to see those moments in a life that we all have from Freddy as I want to continue to teach us. Halfway through the season he kissed somebody. That’s all it was, was a kiss but at the same time it was huge as we cared about him and knew how much it meant to him. It’s moments like that and the end of the growth moments that I want to continue to explore through, I want to see him on a date….not specifically a date. Not just personal stuff but all those things but I don’t have a five or ten-year arc for the show.
Q- Are there any characters you find more challenging to write for than others?
A- They all have their challenges. Certain characters throughout my career have come more naturally to me. They’re always a challenge, not just doing a type. Next season Andrews will probably be president of the hospital for a while. I don’t want him to just be a bad guy, I want him to be a guy that does things differently than we want him to perhaps. I want him to have his reasons. That’s where the challenge lies with all these characters. I enjoy writing the proverbial bad character. I want characters with different points of view that surprise us with their different points of view. Freddy statement earlier this season, your very arrogant does that help be a better doctor. These are the moments I want to find for these characters.
Q- What can fans expect going into season 2?
A- We will be carrying forward with Glassman’s illness. I want to put Freddy in different situations. I want to put Dr. Murphy in different situations with different people and see how he rises to the occasion and how he fails. I think this season is paying off how this season began. Dr. Murphy is going to exceptional things and he is human, he is going to make mistakes and there’s a good chance he will make mistakes other people wouldn’t.
I want to continue to challenge the Glassman and Murphy relationship and take that into a different direction.
Q- With the first season, do you have a favorite episode?
A- The road trip episode might have been and I liked the finale. I think the finale went really really well. With the road trip episode, you are throwing him into a new environment. It’s slightly easier to have fun with that.
Q- Now that the season has wrapped, at what point do you start preparing for Season 2?
A- The writers room will reconvene on April 16th.
Q- There’s no downtime for you?
A- No not really and we will start filming at the end of June.
I would like to thank Mr. Shore for sitting down with the FoF during our visit. The Good Doctor returns for Season 2 this fall to ABC.
You can follow David Shore on Twitter – here
Be sure to visit the official site for ABC’s The Good Doctor – here