As I once heard, television is about filling up space in between the advertisements. As “Arrested Development,” “Freaks and Geeks,” “Terminator” fans know (and my hub would add, why is “Falling Skies” on and not “Terra Nova”), it’s not about great writing nor even about the fans. Once, it used to be about potential (“Seinfeld” took a season or two to catch on). No more, my friends.
It’s not even about total viewers. It’s about the 18-49 year old’s. “Grey’s Anatomy” was able to charge its advertisers double what “CSI” did despite 5 million less viewers because of the coveted demographic who tuned in. So did “The Mindy Project” live up to (or despite) the hype?
The Mindy Project clocked in at 4.7 million viewers. Its competitor, “New Normal” on NBC, was 5.4 million so they’re neck-in-neck. But it was down from its lead-in, “New Girl” (5.2 million viewers). Fox must be betting heavily on this because Tuesday prime time is tough given the behemoths over on CBS: “NCIS” (the world’s most watched show so millions and millions of viewers) from 8-9pm and Mindy’s competitor, “NCIS: LA.”
I read all of Mindy Kaling’s easy-to-read memoir, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and other concerns)” while on vacation. Great, easy read, highly recommend. True to form, like almost anyone else who is uber-successful in their field, Mindy knew what she wanted since childhood. She loved comedy, loved romantic comedy, and devoured the classics, like watching “Monty Python.” Despite growing up in New England into a typical Indian immigrant family with professional parents, she had her eyes set on entertaining. And luckily, her family supported her in this dream.
After graduating from Dartmouth, Mindy did the starving artist thing in New York. Fed up with not getting anywhere, she and her best friend wrote a spoof of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and the duo’s screen hit at the time, “Good Will Hunting.” Her most adamant advice to the up-and-coming: Do Something. Don’t wait around for someone to hand something to you. Of course you can’t control the outcome but you never know what may happen.
In Mindy’s case, the best case scenario-out of a dream happened. The play, “Ben and Matt,” in which Mindy played Ben, got chosen to be in the New York Fringe Festival. It became a breakout hit. I have it, read it, it’s good.
One of these audience members also thought it was great, and the hype didn’t hurt, and became Mindy’s manager. This manager got her a meeting with Greg Daniels, who was working on developing the American version of “The Office.” They had one meeting. Mindy’s only Hollywood meeting. She got hired. She was 24.
Mindy Kaling was a writer and actress on “The Office” since its debut in 2005. It’s currently starting its 9th and final season. She went from being a writer on “The Office” to a producer. She wrote a lot of episodes. She was in “People” magazine’s list of “Most Beautiful” (great story on that in her book that will make you appreciate just how strong and atypical she is). She went to the Emmys. She wrote a best-seller. She did not have a sex tape, addiction, or devastating celebrity breakup… but there’s still time.
Due to this success based solely on talent (love!), she got a development deal. The deal, as did the show went through its evolution and here she is. From “Ben and Matt” to being up against LL Cool Jay and Ellen Barkin.