SDCC 2009: ‘Ghost Whisperer' Creators Talk Season 5


TV's loveliest psychic returns this fall, in what promises to be a darker, deeper season of spectral intrigue. Last weekend at Comic-Con, we caught up with executive producers P.K. Simmons, Ian Sander and Kim Moses (pictured above, from left to right) – and asked them about the changes in store for the supernatural world of the Ghost Whisperer.

On what's in store this season…

Simmons: The quick answer is it's about the child, it's about the baby. We heard at the end of last season that this is a special child, with special gifts that are at least equal to hers, and probably much greater, and we're going to find out this season that they are in fact much greater, and what that does for us is it just opens a lot of doors. We're going to have things that this child is able to see or sense that Melinda never knew were there, and those things are both miraculous and friendly and wonderful, and also terrifying and very dangerous. What it does is that it gives you very exciting storytelling, and it also does an interesting thing for her character and David Conrad's character, Jim. They're now parents and they're parents like any of us who take the parenting role very seriously. We want our children to be safe and contribute to the world. But this is a child who, because of his gifts, has a greater responsibility, which she understands because she's had this responsibility, only his is possibly greater than hers. So what that does is, she's got to be the right kind of mom to this very special child who has a very important role to play in keeping the world, their world, safe from a new kind of threat.

Sander: When you talk about responsibility, obviously we all feel a responsibility too, because we were very fortunate last year that the show grew. I mean we took some bold moves with the show, with Jim and Melinda's character. The show grew, and the audience really seemed to latch onto it and really jump on it. So, in addition, we also grew in many, many other areas, in other platforms. We have a videogame that's coming out this year; we have trading cards that are being sold here [at Comic-Con]. The video game is coming out, I think, the first quarter of 2010. We're going to hit our hundredth episode this season, which is kind of great, particularly if you have a kid in private school, as we all do. [Laughs.] We just launched a widget that we're going to be able to latch onto, that we hope will make the audience grow even more. What P.K. was saying, most importantly, is that when the show took a big leap last year… obviously one hopes that it is going to do what it ultimately did do. We take that responsibility seriously going into the fifth year. We'll take some big leaps again, and hopefully it will grow that much more. We're not finished telling stories yet.

Moses: Right, and it all folds back on Melinda Gordon, who of course is the star of the show. Everybody has hooked into her, as well as the other characters, and so by way of the audience, you can watch the show in two ways: you can watch it as a traditional television viewer, where you see what she does and you take the journey through her eyes. Then also, the parallel track that we've created, which is a new universe of Ghost Whisperer for the last four years, where the audience can pick and choose what experiences they have, whether it's on the internet, or interactive DVDs or all of the things that Ian said, that they have a very much 21st-century journey.

Sander: We will be doing another web series this season too. It will be our fourth installment of The Other Side, which will be another web-series we are going to launch this season.

On whether there will be any celebrity guest appearances this season…

All: We hope so

Moses: We had a lot last year, and it's all determined by the writers. What P.K. brings out of the writers' room dictates how we cast each episode. Last year we had a lot of them…

Sander: And I expect we will again this year. We don't have them yet; we're just starting to shoot our third episode. We have Barry Newman, who is going to play Eli's father in the show. Barry Bostwick plays his best friend, but we expect there to be a lot more exciting casting as the season goes on.

On whether – as one news outlet reported – the special effects will be reduced…

Sander: Not true! Anybody who told you that is not telling you the truth. [Laughs.] The show was just nominated for a visual effects Emmy; we were nominated for a music Emmy, for Mark Snow. And we know where our bread is buttered.