Interview with Deborah Pratt

TV Interview!

 

QUANTUM LEAP -- “Quantum Leap at WonderCon -- Producer Deborah Pratt; Saturday, March 25, 2023 from the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, Calif.

Interview with producer Deborah Pratt of “Quantum Leap” on NBC by Suzanne 9/26/23

What makes this interview interesting is that Deborah worked on both the classic “Quantum Leap” as well as the new one. In fact, she was married to the creator of the show, Donald Bellasario. I’m sure she has many stories beyond what she revealed in our interview. I love both versions of the show, and I can’t wait to see what happens the rest of the season.

Suzanne: So, how many episodes are filmed already for the season?

Deborah: Eight. Are we lucky or what?

Suzanne: Oh, that’s good. Yeah, there’s so few scripted shows right now.

Deborah: Yeah, I think it was a great idea of NBC Universal, Martin, Dean, everybody said, “Let’s just keep moving forward.” And I’m really excited that we did.

Suzanne: Yeah. I just watched the first two episodes, I enjoyed them a lot.

Deborah: Oh, thank you.

Suzanne: I’m a big fan of the old Quantum Leap and the new Quantum Leap, and I know you’ve worked on both.

Deborah: I did. I was there from the beginning.

Suzanne: Wow. You should write a book about that?

Deborah: You know, I can’t tell you how many people have asked me to write a book about my experiences and how I got to where I got to, and when I brought Quantum Leap to Don and how it evolved the way it evolved. It’s exciting. I was very young and got to learn how to make a series.

Suzanne: And seems like now would be a good time to come out with a book since you‘ve got the new show.

Deborah: Yeah, yeah. Well, I have two new books coming out.

Suzanne: Oh, cool. That’s right.

Deborah: I’ve got Warrior One, and I’ve got the fifth book in my Vision Quest series. And truthfully, I started a Quantum Leap book, but it was not the history of. Matt Deal has that covered. I don’t know if you’ve ever read any of his books. He’s so good. He goes into all kinds of detail, and he just had a sequel come out. So, it’s really worth checking into. He’s from London.

Suzanne: It’s about Quantum Leap?

Deborah: There are things I read in those books that I either forgot.

Suzanne: So, he’s got a second book about the making of the original Quantum Leap, or is it about the new one?

Deborah: I don’t know if it’s come out yet. It’s called Beyond the Leap. And it’s the revival, so it gets into the new show.

Suzanne: Great. So, how have the strikes affected filming other than the obvious way?

Deborah: Well, yeah, of course, we shut down, which is the obvious way. In that sense, you know, how quickly will we be able to – knock on glass; I have a glass desk – How quickly will we be back up and running? And we’re standing by the the Screen Actors Guild, in that they have a lot to fight for…in the sense that creativity needs to be protected. But your voice, your face, your body are, are on the line here, and you need to have your rights to control them.

Suzanne: And now that they’ve got a tentative agreement with the Writers Guild, will the writers be returning to make more Quantum Leap scripts?

Deborah: Well, it’s got to go through the process of the legalese straightened out. The board of directors – I used to sit on the board of directors for the Writers Guild – will meet and vote on it, and then it goes out to the membership. All of that happens.

Suzanne: Does that take a few days, a few weeks, few months?

Deborah: It’s a process, it can be as short as, you know, this is, I think, my third strike that I’ve been involved with in my career. So, sometimes it happens quite quickly, and other times there are little snigs and snags. Right? I have great hope that the AMPTP is going to understand that they can’t make anything without us. Right. And truthfully, AI can build a streamer for you. [laughs] So, it’s not like it’s not in danger.

Suzanne: So, what can you tell us about what’s going on with Ben and the rest of them this season?

Deborah: Ben didn’t get home at the end of season one. I can tell you that. If he did get home, we wouldn’t have a series. Ben did not get home. You got to see Episode One and Episode Two you said. So, he’s got a real reality check. He’s been out there by himself. He hasn’t seen anybody. He’s still asking for Addison. So, he doesn’t realize or understand why. “Why am I alone on this on this leap?”

Suzanne: And would you say would you say things are ramped up more this season? Usually the second season is like more action, more this, more that, more twists and turns.

Deborah: Well, we certainly got a lot of that in in those first episodes. I know if you looked at the trailer, which is wonderful kudos to marketing at NBC Universal, we went to Egypt, literally got on a plane and went to Egypt. So, that’s really fun and exciting. We also went further back in time then the show has ever gone. I won’t tell you when. It’s further back.

Suzanne: Yeah, I think I saw that in the trailer. I don’t remember the date. But I remember seeing an old [unintelligible]

Deborah: 1692.

Suzanne: Yeah, that was it.

Deborah: I know. I’m supposed to remember all that stuff. [laughs]

Suzanne: That’s fine.

Deborah: I have to remember all that stuff. So, those things are really exciting and very adventurous, but the bigger things and what is Quantum Leap, is the heart of the show that the story’s really not just the the leaps. But the the stories with our main characters, Ben and [Addison], and Magic, Ian, and Jen. We get to know more about them, which is the fun thing. We get to know what’s at stake. You know, now that he’s been found, how did he get found? Those mysteries. Because we have the opportunity to solve those mysteries. And the first mystery, which was why he left in the first place, we solved it. We find out it’s to save his woman and ultimately, maybe even the world, and he gets to be a real hero in the first season. And Ben is so likable.

Suzanne: That’s true.

Deborah: Raymond Lee, I give huge props to him. Having worked with both Scott Bakula and Raymond Lee, I think the show will only accept exceptional people. It’s just how Quantum Leap is, you know.

Suzanne: And it was nice to go in a different direction then having to try to find a Scott Bakula clone, if you could even do that.

Deborah: If you could even do that. I don’t think you could even do that. But I think it, you know, it’s one of those things of time, space, Ziggy. I get to play a piece of artificial intelligence that, you know, needs more control than we know, that has more control than we know.

Suzanne: Right.

Deborah: So, all those things we get to play with, and we get to find out more of what happens to them when they go home at night. There’re two new characters. We know that Peter Gadiot, who’s now Tom Westfall is the United States officer, we meet him in the second episode and try to understand what magic had to give up to get the project going again, once they found him and then what Ian did to locate him and what Jen knows or doesn’t know. So, there’s all these arrays that are that are being set up to set the story threads for the tapestry that is Season Two.

Suzanne: Okay, and is there any chance – this is something that I’m sure all the fans have asked a million times, but is there any chance that we’ll get to see Sam Beckett again?

Deborah: There’s always a chance. You know, again, and I say this 100 times that, that I personally am working on this Quantum Leap movie. I think Sam could come back in a $100 million super star. I think that we have the opportunity to do what Star Trek has done. There are nine Star Trek spin offs and nine Star Trek movies. So, let’s expand the franchise to video games and motion pictures and rides. I always say, “Did you go to Comic-Con? Did you see the Quantum Leap ride?” I think the opportunity to really see what the show can do and let the imagination of not just the writers but also the fans write back and participate in it as they have always done, the stories that I’ve gotten, the letters that I’ve gotten, the important moments in history that teachers have used from the the original series to to teach history that is, in some cases, intentionally being forgotten. It is, I think, a great opportunity for conversation. And I think what the show has always done, and I so grateful for Martin and Dean is to give you both sides of the story. So, you have those two sides to figure out where do you stand on this emotional issue, this political issue, wherever we are in storytelling, right? And maybe you just stand in the middle as an observer. Maybe you’re just, you know, Addison now, and you are looking at what’s happening, but you’re looking at it from the perspective of a present day mind that knows some of this history. Then, there’s the fun of, you know, there’s a show, and it happened to be the year you were in high school. You get to hear the music and see the clothes, because it’s a little movie every week.

Suzanne: That’s true. There was an actor I recognized in the second episode we’ve just seen briefly. Vincent Irizarry. Will he be coming back? Do you know?

Deborah: The two characters that are coming back are Peter Gadiot, Who’s Tom Westfall, and Eliza Taylor comes into it. She’s Hannah in episode three. So, those are going to be our reoccur[ing] characters that are coming back. I don’t think Vince is –

Suzanne: He’s from the poker game. So, he’s not in the history part of it.

Deborah: Right. Right. Right. I remember him. And he’s wonderful, by the way. Are you a fan?

Suzanne: Yes

Deborah: He’s very, very good. You know, that’s the cool thing about the show. You never know. We can go back and find a character. That can be really fun to tell the story, because they have that recognition of time. So, it could happen.

Suzanne: Okay, I hope so. I hope so. You know, who would play poker with Jen? Do they not know what kind of brain she has?

Deborah: Thank you very much. Represent. Yeah, she’s smart. I love the women on this show. In that Addison and Jen and – And you want that opportunity. And then Sam gets to be a woman 50% of the time. I mean, that’s the other thing that is, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but he leaps into, 50% of his characters are women.

Suzanne: Wow. I know he went often, but I didn’t know it was that high.

Producer Deborah Pratt of "Quantum Leap" on NBC (from her IMdB.com)Deborah: It was funny. They did the episode where he was the stewardess, episode 107. And I’ll never forget, they came down in these incredibly comfortable shoes. And I said, “Those weren’t the shoes those women had to wear in the 60s. They wore pointy toes, spike heels. And Genevieve who’s a wonderful costume designer, said, “Oh, I was just trying to be kind.” And they did a whole bit on it in one of the episodes, but, you know, we as women wore those shoes, and it’s fun to let men experience it, you know, vicariously, more than vicariously, he gets to do it for real, and that’s some of the fun stuff. And again, I go back to Raymond’s physical comedy is just delightful.

Suzanne: It’s great.

Deborah: He went to school and studied clowning…If you look at his physicality and how he can interpret some of those characters, it’s magical. That’s a lost art. You look at people like Robert Downey Jr. and people like that, who have great physicality in what they do, and I think that Raymond has that. He’s a real find. We’re very blessed to have him, besides being a really nice person.

Suzanne: That’s good to hear. That’s always good to hear. So, any outstanding guest stars that you can tell us about?

Deborah: Well, the pilot we’ve got, oh my gosh, Melissa Roxburgh from Manifest. François Arnaud from Midnight Texas and Aaron Abrams from Hannibal and Blind Spot, and [PJ] Byrne.

Suzanne: I was trying to remember where I knew him from; it’s from Blind Spot. I remember now.

Deborah: [PJ] Byrne from The Boys and Shazam. And Peter Gadiot from Yellowjackets and Eliza Taylor. You know, these are going to be our reoccurs, our regulars.

Suzanne: Well as as executive producer, do you have any control over the writing or the stories or anything like that?

Deborah: I give notes; I give my thoughts. And I say this with great humility, in the sense that I want Quantum Leap and the franchise of Quantum Leap to expand. I want the fact that Star Trek has nines spin offs, three concurrently, right now. It had nine major motion pictures, and I fought 30 years ago to have that and could not get the team to see the potential that’s there. This is very exciting to me. And it’s very important for me to keep the lore and the core of the show true to what Quantum Leap is about. But it’s very important for me to let someone create it into a new entity, to create [unintelligible] But but let’s see what it can be. And in my mind, I know multiple other directions that the show could go. So, this is just the beginning of what Quantum Leap’s comeback could be if the fans are there, if people like you love the show and support it. We’re very blessed to have the press, who had their own childhood experiences, growing up watching it with their parents and their grandparents and having the opportunity to talk about what happened in time. So, to come back and have those those little morality plays that Quantum Leap can do sometimes, and little glimpses of history from a whole new side experienced through Ben, where we the audience, or Ben, when he steps into someone’s shoes, whether they’re high heels or flats, we get to feel what it feels like for him to to experience being a white female or a black male or a woman. And those are the things that I think will carry us into great storytelling, and then the story threads that are being created and pulled through. They’re going to weave a beautiful tapestry of what this Quantum Leap is and can be. It’s a great time.

Suzanne: I hope that you get your wish, because that would be great to see Quantum Leap go on for quite a while.

Deborah: I’m hoping so too, as well. You know, I’m being very judicious about bringing Ziggy back, letting Ziggy come back, other than doing her job.

Suzanne: Right. All right. Well, it’s nice to talk to the voice of Ziggy.

Deborah: Thank you very much. Thank you. Yeah, it was it’s it was really fun to create it to, to write that dialogue that people hear and get chills, because it brings back so many natural memories.

Suzanne: Right, right. Well, I appreciate you talking to me today. And I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

Deborah: Thank you so very much. I am grateful for you and what you’re doing.

Audio edited and transcribed by Jamie of SciFiVision

MORE INFO: Official Site  Trailer

Quantum Leap

Season Premiere Wednesday, October 4 (8-9pm ET/PT) on NBC. Streaming next day on Peacock.

It’s been nearly 30 years since Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished. Now, a new team, led by physicist Ben Song (Raymond Lee), has been assembled to restart the project in the hope of understanding the mysteries behind the machine and the man who created it.

Everything changes, however, when Ben makes an unauthorized leap into the past, leaving the team behind to solve the mystery of why he did it. At Ben’s side throughout his leaps is Addison (Caitlin Bassett), who appears in the form of a hologram only Ben can see and hear. She’s a decorated Army veteran who brings level-headed precision to her job.

At the helm of the highly confidential operation is Herbert “Magic” Williams (Ernie Hudson), a no-nonsense career military man who has to answer to his bosses who won’t be happy once they learn about the breach of protocol. The rest of the team at headquarters includes Ian Wright (Mason Alexander Park), who runs the Artificial Intelligence unit “Ziggy,” and Jenn Chu (Nanrisa Lee), who heads up digital security for the project.

As Ben leaps from life to life, putting right what once went wrong, it becomes clear that he and the team are on a thrilling journey. However, Addison, Magic, Ian and Jenn know that if they are going to solve the mystery of Ben’s leaps and bring him home, they must act fast or lose him forever.

Martin Gero and Dean Georgaris serve as executive producers along with Deborah Pratt, Chris Grismer, Alex Berger, Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt.

Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, produce in association with Quinn’s House Productions.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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QUANTUM LEAP -- “Quantum Leap at WonderCon -- Pictured: (l-r) Deborah Pratt, Executive Producer; Nanrisa Lee, Ernie Hudson, Caitlin Bassett, Mason Alexander Park, Raymond Lee, Dean Georgaris, Executive Producer -- (Photo by: David Yeh/NBC)

 

Interview with Diandra Lyle

TV Interview!

 

Diandra Lyle as Jess on "Secrets of Sulphur Springs" on Disney

Interview with Diandra Lyle of “Bel-Air” on Peacock and “Secrets of Sulphur Springs” on Disney by Suzanne 3/14/23

It was great to speak to Diandra, who plays Jess on the Disney show “Secrets of Sulphur Springs” (Harper’s mother).  She also plays Erica on “Bel-Air,” which was just renewed for a 2nd season, and she guest-starred on “Quantum Leap” a few weeks ago. She’s on fire! Make sure to watch “Bel-Air” Thursdays on Peacock and “Secrets of Sulphur Springs” Fridays on Disney!

 

MORE INFO:

  1. Diandra recurs in the 2nd season of Bel-Air on Peacock!
    • Fun fact: the first season was Peacock’s most streamed original series!
    • ‘Bel-Air’ Adds Five To Season 2 Cast Of Peacock Reboot [Deadline]
    • Premise: Bel-Air re-envisions the 1990s Will Smith sitcom The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air as a drama, hails from Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios and Universal Television, part of Universal Studio Group.
  2. She also reprises her role of ‘Jess Dunn’ in Disney Channel’s time-traveling mystery-adventure series Secrets of Sulphur Springs – Season 3 premieres Friday, March 24th at 8pm ET/PT on Disney Channel. In addition, the first 2 seasons are available to stream on Disney+.
  1. Lastly, she also guest starred in the current season of NBC’s reboot of Quantum Leap.

Diandra has also starred in Apple TV’s Beauty and the Baller, recurred on Paramount Network’s American Woman and on NCIS, and has had roles in ShamelessBones, A24’s Moonbase 8 and General Hospital, among other shows. On the film front, she has appeared in Foster Boy, starring Matthew Modine and Always A Bridesmaid, among others.

Instagram: @diandralyle

Twitter: @diandralyle

Facebook: Diandra Lyle

THE FRESH PRINCE CONTINUES HIS REIGN:
PEACOCK’S CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED DRAMA BEL-AIR LANDS A THIRD SEASON RENEWAL  

Series Comes From Westbrook Studios and Universal Television 

Season Two Trailer HERE
Watched it at https://www.peacocktv.com/stream-tv/bel-air**    

  • Peacock’s record-breaking drama series BEL-AIR has been renewed for a third season. Inspired by Morgan Cooper’s lauded short film, BEL-AIR is a modern-day reimagining of the iconic culture-defining ‘90s sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
  • Following its launch on Peacock last year as the streamer’s most-watched original premiere, Bel-Air is once again breaking records on the platform as Peacock’s most-watched original sophomore series to date.
  • BEL-AIR is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group and Westbrook Studios. Carla Banks Waddles serves as showrunner, writer and executive producer.
  • New episodes stream Thursdays through April 27. Season two stars Jabari Banks, Adrian Holmes, Cassandra Freeman, Olly Sholotan, Coco Jones, Akira Akbar, Jimmy Akingbola, Jordan L. Jones and Simone Joy Jones.
  • Season two saw the return of Tatyana Ali, who played the original Ashley Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and makes a recurring guest star appearance.
  • Morgan Cooper (executive producer) wrote and directed the four-minute spec trailer, debuting the video on social media in March 2019 and quickly went viral. The trailer currently has over 7.5 million views on YouTube.
  • The season three renewal of BEL-AIR joins the additional renewals of Peacock Original series POKER FACEPITCH PERFECT: BUMPER IN BERLINWOLF LIKE MEKILLING ITDR. DEATH and WE ARE LADY PARTS.

ABOUT BEL-AIR SEASON 2:
Set in modern-day Los Angeles, Peacock’s successful one-hour drama series Bel-Air imagines the beloved sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air through a new, dramatic take on Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air. As these two worlds collide, Will reckons with the power of second chances while navigating the conflicts, emotions, and biases of a world far different from the only one he’s ever known.

Season two of Bel-Air picks up with Will at a crossroads as a new figure comes into his life who challenges what he’s learned in Bel-Air and competes for control of his influence. He juggles this while navigating his home life with the Banks family and trying to rebuild the trust that was broken at the end of last season. We’ll see Will and Carlton’s brotherhood start to evolve as they grow closer, but still challenge each other about their differences. We’ll also see Hilary evolve as she becomes more of a boss in her influencer world and how that spills over into her relationship with Jazz, and also highlight the relatable struggles around Viv and Phil balancing marriage and family while trying to forge their own career paths and reconnect to the things that are important to them.

Inspired by Morgan Cooper’s viral trailer that reimagined the iconic, culture-defining ‘90s sitcom, Bel-Air takes a fresh and raw approach to this world of swagger, style, and aspiration, while exploring Will’s complex journey through a current lens. The series features an ensemble cast that introduces new sensation Jabari Banks as Will and a creative team that includes showrunner, executive producer and writer Carla Banks Waddles and Cooper, who serves as executive producer.

ABOUT SEASON 2:
Showrunner / Writer / Executive Producer: Carla Banks Waddles
Executive Producers: Morgan Cooper, Anthony Sparks, Malcolm Spellman, Will Smith, Terence Carter, James Lassiter, Miguel Melendez, Benny Medina, Quincy Jones, Andy & Susan Borowitz, TJ Brady & Rasheed Newson
Produced By: Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, and Westbrook Studios
Season 2 Format: Drama series, 10 Episodes X 60 min
Series Regulars: Jabari Banks (Will), Adrian Holmes (Phillip Banks), Cassandra Freeman (Vivian Banks), Olly Sholotan (Carlton Banks), Coco Jones (Hilary Banks), Akira Akbar (Ashley Banks), Jimmy Akingbola (Geoffrey), Jordan L. Jones (Jazz), Simone Joy Jones (Lisa)
Season 2 Appearances by: Tatyana Ali, Karrueche Tran, Saweetie, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Riele Downs, Jazlyn Martin, Brooklyn McLinn, Jerris DuPree, Al-Shabazz Jabateh, Nicholas Duvernay, Diandra Lyle, Justin Cornwell and Reno Wilson

What Is Lurking in Room 205?

Disney Branded Television Reveals Official Trailer and Key Art for Season Three of Disney Channel’s ‘Secrets of Sulphur Springs’

PressReleaseImage_SulphurSpringsTrailer_3:3:23

Disney Branded Television*

TRAILER: HERE

Disney Branded Television revealed today the trailer and key art for season three of the Disney Channel series “Secrets of Sulphur Springs.” The series, created and executive produced by Tracey Thomson and Charles Pratt Jr., who serves as showrunner and executive producer, follows the adventures of Griffin Campbell and his family when they move into The Tremont, a hotel with a paranormal past. The Children’s and Family Emmy® Awards-nominated series premieres on Friday, March 24. All episodes are available the next day on Disney+.

In season three of “Secrets of Sulphur Springs,” a new ghost checks into room 205 and starts wreaking havoc around The Tremont. After learning the evil presence will ruin their lives by 2024, the kids race to solve a tangled mystery in the past. This could be the key to defeating the ghost in the present and saving the Dunns and the Campbells from a very bleak future.

The series stars Preston Oliver (“This is Us”) as Griffin Campbell, Kyliegh Curran (“Doctor Sleep”) as Harper Dunn, Elle Graham (“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret”) as Savannah Dillon, Kelly Frye (“Criminal Minds”) as Sarah Campbell, Josh Braaten (“American Horror Story”) as Ben Campell, Landon Gordon (“Top Gun: Maverick”) as Wyatt Campbell, Madeleine McGraw (“Black Phone”) as Zoey Campbell, Diandra Lyle (“American Woman”) as Jess Dunn, Johari Washington (“The Walk-On’s”) as Topher Dunn and Eugene Byrd (“Bones”) as Sam Tremont.

About Disney Branded Television
Disney Branded Television encompasses the creative storytellers and production and content marketing teams responsible for Disney-branded television series, movies and other programming spanning live-action, animated and unscripted formats. The group fuels the Disney+ streaming platform and Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior linear networks with content geared toward kids, tweens, teens and families, with stories that are imaginative, aspirational and reflective of their world and experiences. Recent projects include “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” “Monsters at Work,” “The Mysterious Benedict Society” and “Marvel’s Spidey and his Amazing Friends.” Disney Branded Television has created some of the most iconic and award-winning properties and franchises, including Peabody Award winners “Doc McStuffins” and “The Owl House”; Emmy Award winners “Big City Greens” and “Elena of Avalor”; the beloved “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts plus the Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM) franchise, comprised of more than 100 titles.

Episode 301

Air Date: 03/24/2023 “Time Won’t Let Me”

Griffin, stuck in the future, learns the ghost ruins their lives. Harper and Savannah try bringing him back to the present.
Episode 302

Air Date: 03/24/2023 “Time in a Crystal”

Harper and Savannah retrieve Griffin from the future. Sam and Griffin face the grimmest truth, Topher is in a coma in 2024. The twins and Topher almost catch Savannah’s “ghost.”
Episode 303

Air Date: 03/31/2023 “Closing Time”

The twins arrive in the past and find Savannah. Griffin and Harper realize they need to go back to 1947 just as Ben makes the bunker off-limits.
Episode 304

Air Date: 04/07/2023 “Bad Judge of Time”

The kids learn the ghost has been listening to them and is changing up his malevolent plans.
Episode 305

Air Date: 04/14/2023 “Time Waits for No One”

In 1947, Harper and Griffin meet Ruby. Sarah becomes increasingly freaked out by the ghost.
Episode 306

Air Date: 04/21/2023 “Time Reveals All”

Returning to the past, Griffin and Harper watch a murder unfold. The twins and Topher go to an unknowingly familiar someone for help.
Episode 307

Air Date: 04/28/2023 “Scream Time”

It’s time to get rid of the ghost.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Diandra Lyle plays Jess on "Secrets of Sulphur Springs" on Disney

Interview with the cast and EP for “Quantum Leap”

TV Interview!

 

QUANTUM LEAP -- Pictured: (l-r) Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Song, Caitlin Bassett as Addison, Mason Alexander Park as Ian, Ernie Hudson as Magic, and Nanrisa Lee as Jenn (Most Photos by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC; Photo of Raymond Lee by: Todd Williamson/NBCUniversal)

Interview with Caitlin Bassett, Ernie Hudson, Nanrisa Lee, Raymond Lee, Mason Alexander Park, and showrunner/EP Martin Gero of “Quantum Leap” on NBC by Suzanne 9/15/23

I love this show, and I’m excited about the season. This was a TV Critics Association Virtual Panel, so there many press there.

NBC UNIVERSAL 2022 TCA PRESS TOUR
“QUANTUM LEAP”
Virtual via Zoom September 15, 2022
© 2022 NBC Universal. All rights reserved.

Opening remarks: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the “Quantum Leap” panel. I know many of you are fans of the original series, and we’re excited to bring this reimagined version back to NBC. The series will premiere Monday, September 19th, at 10:00 PM and will be available the following day on Peacock. It’s been nearly 30 years since Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished. Now, a new team, led by physicist Ben Song, has been assembled to restart the project in the hopes of understanding the mysteries behind the machine and the man who created it. Joining us for the panel from left to right, our executive producer and showrunner Martin Gero, Raymond Lee, and Caitlin Bassett. On the second row are Ernie Hudson, Mason Alexander Park, and Nanrisa Lee.

In an exciting unveiling during the NBC Universal 2022 TCA Press Tour, the reimagined version of the iconic series “Quantum Leap” was showcased, sparking a wave of nostalgia among fans of the original series while promising a fresh take on the beloved concept. The panel, hosted virtually via Zoom, featured the talent behind the new “Quantum Leap,” including Raymond Lee, Caitlin Bassett, Ernie Hudson, Mason Alexander Park, Nanrisa Lee, and the showrunner and executive producer, Martin Gero.

The introductory session began with a warm welcome from Matt Lifson of the corporate communications team, setting the stage for an insightful discussion. As fans eagerly awaited details about the upcoming series, the show’s premise and its connection to the original were teased.

A Nostalgic Revival

For fans of the original “Quantum Leap,” which aired nearly 30 years ago, the memories of Dr. Sam Beckett’s time-traveling adventures were brought back to life. The reimagined series, set to premiere on Monday, September 19th, at 10:00 PM on NBC and available the following day on Peacock, promises to revive the essence of the original while bringing new elements to the table.

The core concept remains intact: a team, led by physicist Ben Song, assembles to restart the Quantum Leap project and explore the mysteries surrounding the machine and its enigmatic creator, Dr. Sam Beckett. This fresh perspective allows for a continuation of the legacy while introducing a new set of characters and stories.

The Cast Shares Their Excitement

The panelists were eager to share their enthusiasm for the show. Raymond Lee, who plays Ben Song, acknowledged the enormous shoes to fill left by the iconic character of Sam Beckett. He highlighted the common thread that connects both characters: their commitment to doing good and their strong sense of empathy.

The cast, which also includes Ernie Hudson, Mason Alexander Park, and Nanrisa Lee, expressed their fondness for the original series. Ernie Hudson reminisced about watching the show with his children and shared his excitement about joining the new iteration, while Mason Alexander Park humorously revealed they had no one to watch the show with as a child.

Caitlin Bassett, who plays the hologram Addison, admitted to missing the original series but now relishes the opportunity to share the experience with her father, who was a devoted fan. Her portrayal of Addison adds a unique dimension to the show.

Martin Gero on the Essence of the Show

Showrunner and executive producer Martin Gero shed light on the essence of “Quantum Leap” and the character of Ben Song. He emphasized that the show centers on hope, heart, humor, and history, with Ben embodying the first three elements. Gero spoke passionately about the importance of humor, a key aspect of the original series, and how the new cast, especially Raymond Lee, continues that tradition.

Caitlin Bassett’s Remarkable Journey

One of the standout moments during the panel was Caitlin Bassett’s incredible journey to the role. A former military officer, Bassett decided to pursue acting after completing her service. She acknowledged the role as a dream come true, reflecting on the show’s ability to bring hope and positivity to viewers’ lives.

Gero praised Bassett’s performance, emphasizing her extraordinary talent, which shines through in her role as Addison despite her being relatively new to the acting world.

Time-Traveling Adventures Await

The cast and showrunner revealed their personal preferences for time periods they would like to visit if they could leap through time themselves. Nanrisa Lee expressed a desire to explore her family’s history in 1920s Korea, while Mason Alexander Park yearned for the vibrant atmosphere of 1920s Weimar Cabaret in Berlin or the opportunity to witness Judy Garland’s legendary performance at Carnegie Hall in 1961. Caitlin Bassett was drawn to the tumultuous era just before World War I as a history enthusiast.

Ernie Hudson’s choice was the 1960s, a time of significant cultural and political change, while Raymond Lee humorously mentioned a fondness for the early 2000s, complete with memories of board shorts and popular music of the time.

Continuity and the Return of “Magic” Williams

One burning question among press was how the new series would handle continuity and references to the original. Martin Gero confirmed that “Magic” Williams, a special name for “Quantum Leap” fans, would indeed return as the same character from the original series. Ernie Hudson, who portrays “Magic” Williams, expressed excitement about delving into his character’s backstory and providing answers to long-standing questions from the original show.

The panel concluded with an insightful look into the balance between the episodic nature of the series, its serialized elements, and the mystery surrounding Ben Song’s journey to leap home. Gero assured viewers that while answers would be provided, the focus would remain on the thrilling time-traveling adventures that have captivated audiences for generations.

As the premiere date of “Quantum Leap” approaches, fans can eagerly anticipate a nostalgic revival with a fresh and exciting twist. With a talented cast and creative team at the helm, “Quantum Leap” is poised to capture the hearts and imaginations of both longtime fans and a new generation of viewers.

 

MORE INFO: Trailer

QUANTUM LEAP -- Pictured: "Quantum Leap" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBC)Quantum Leap

Season Premiere Wednesday, October 4 (8-9pm ET/PT) on NBC. Streaming next day on Peacock.

It’s been nearly 30 years since Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished. Now, a new team, led by physicist Ben Song (Raymond Lee), has been assembled to restart the project in the hope of understanding the mysteries behind the machine and the man who created it.

Everything changes, however, when Ben makes an unauthorized leap into the past, leaving the team behind to solve the mystery of why he did it. At Ben’s side throughout his leaps is Addison (Caitlin Bassett), who appears in the form of a hologram only Ben can see and hear. She’s a decorated Army veteran who brings level-headed precision to her job.

At the helm of the highly confidential operation is Herbert “Magic” Williams (Ernie Hudson), a no-nonsense career military man who has to answer to his bosses who won’t be happy once they learn about the breach of protocol. The rest of the team at headquarters includes Ian Wright (Mason Alexander Park), who runs the Artificial Intelligence unit “Ziggy,” and Jenn Chu (Nanrisa Lee), who heads up digital security for the project.

As Ben leaps from life to life, putting right what once went wrong, it becomes clear that he and the team are on a thrilling journey. However, Addison, Magic, Ian and Jenn know that if they are going to solve the mystery of Ben’s leaps and bring him home, they must act fast or lose him forever.

Martin Gero serves as executive producer along with Dean Georgaris, Deborah Pratt, Chris Grismer, Alex Berger, Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt.

Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, produce in association with Quinn’s House Productions.

Raymond Lee

Dr. Ben Song, “Quantum Leap”

QUANTUM LEAP -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Song -- (Photo by: Brendan Meadows/NBC)

Raymond Lee stars as Dr. Ben Song on the new NBC drama “Quantum Leap.” Ben is a brilliant quantum physicist leaping through time to put right what once went wrong.

Lee also stars on the AMC series “Kevin Can F*** Himself,” which begins its second season Aug. 22. Previously, he was a series regular on Alan Ball’s HBO series “Here and Now.” Additional recurring roles include the HBO Max series “Made for Love,” Fox’s “Prodigal Son,” Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle” and ABC’s “Scandal.”

On the film side, he is currently appearing in the box office smash “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Theater credits include the world premiere productions of “Vietgone” at Manhattan Theater Club, for which he was awarded the Theatre World Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Debut; “Office Hour,” opposite Sandra Oh, and “Cambodian Rock Band” at the South Coast Repertory.
Lee speaks fluent Korean and resides in Los Angeles.

Caitlin Bassett

Addison, “Quantum Leap”

QUANTUM LEAP -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Caitlin Bassett as Addison Augustine -- (Photo by: Brendan Meadows/NBC)

Caitlin Bassett stars as Addison Augustine on the new NBC drama “Quantum Leap.” Addison is an ex-Army intelligence Officer who works in the Quantum Leap program. She is Ben Song’s guide in the past and, during his leaps, appears in a hologram that only he can see and hear.

“Quantum Leap” marks the professional acting debut for Bassett. A military veteran, she spent seven years in U.S. Army Intelligence and the National Security Agency, with two combat tours to Afghanistan and a third abroad.  After completing her service with multiple accolades, she began studying law in New York while moonlighting in theater classes. After being asked to audition, she was accepted full time at the Stella Adler Conservatory and later trained with Bob Krakower.

In 2020 she was selected from over 40,000 applicants to join the Disney Discovers Talent Showcase cast, leading to the start of her professional career.

Mason Alexander Park

Ian Wright, “Quantum Leap”

QUANTUM LEAP -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Mason Alexander Park as Ian Wright -- (Photo by: Brendan Meadows/NBC)
Mason Alexander Park stars as “Ian Wright” on the new NBC drama “Quantum Leap.” Ian is the lead programmer on the confidential program that has rebuilt “Ziggy,” the Artificial Intelligence unit which provides important information on Ben’s leaps.

Park is a nonbinary artist who will next be seen as Desire in Netflix’s highly anticipated adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman.” Previous TV roles include Netflix’s “Cowboy Bebop.”

Park is also an accomplished theater actor, most notably portraying the title role on the first Broadway national tour of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

Ernie Hudson

Herbert “Magic” Williams, “Quantum Leap”

QUANTUM LEAP -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Ernie Hudson as Herbert “Magic” Williams -- (Photo by: Brendan Meadows/NBC)

Ernie Hudson stars as Herbert “Magic” Williams on the new NBC drama “Quantum Leap.” Magic is the head of the Quantum Leap project and juggles taking care of his team while also answering to his bosses at the Pentagon.

Hudson recently reprised his signature character Winston Zeddemore in the new Jason Reitman movie “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and wrapped the Bobby Farrelly-directed “Champions,” opposite Woody Harrelson.

For television, Hudson executive produces and stars in the BET series “The Family Business” and will next be seen in the upcoming third season of Showtime’s “City on a Hill.” He will also appear in the Catherine Hardwicke film “Prisoner’s Daughter,” opposite Brian Cox and Kate Beckinsale. Hudson also starred on the award-winning Netflix series “Grace and Frankie.”

Nanrisa Lee

Jenn Chu, “Quantum Leap”

QUANTUM LEAP -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Nanrisa Lee as Jenn Chu -- (Photo by: Brendan Meadows/NBC)

Nanrisa Lee stars as Jenn Chu on the NBC drama “Quantum Leap.” Chu is the head of digital security and works alongside Magic in hopes of solving why Ben Song leaped in hopes of bringing him home.

Lee was born in Oakland, Calif., and is best known for her breakout recurring role on “Bosch.” She has also recently appeared in “CSI: Vegas,” “Westworld,” “The Morning Show” and “American Crime Story.”

Martin Gero

Executive Producer, “Quantum Leap”

Martin Gero serves as an executive producer on the NBC drama “Quantum Leap.”

Gero is an award-winning executive producer, creator, writer and director. He recently co-created and executive produced, under his Quinn’s House production banner, the Netflix series “Keep Breathing.” The drama stars Melissa Barrera as Liv, a lawyer from New York and the lone survivor of a plane crash who battles both an unforgiving wilderness and her personal demons to survive the remote Canadian frontier.

Next up, his Hollywood Critics Association TV Award-nominated show “Kung Fu” will return this October for its third season on the CW. Gero will once again serve as executive producer. The series focuses on a young Chinese-American woman who goes through a quarter-life crisis and drops out of college to go on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China.

On the film side, he wrote and directed the cult classic “Young People F—-” and the Paramount/MRC comedy “The Lovebirds,” starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani, which was released in 2020.

Gero created the hit drama “Blindspot” and was creator, director, and executive producer of the comedy series “Connecting.” He also created the critically acclaimed CW series “The LA Complex,” directing half of the episodes. Before that, Gero helped run all three seasons of the HBO series “Bored to Death,” which starred Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis. He also served as an executive producer on the magical drama “Deception.” Gero started out working on “Stargate Atlantis” for SYFY, eventually rising to executive producer

Gero currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

 

QUANTUM LEAP -- “July 13, 1985” Episode 101 -- Pictured: (l-r) Caitlin Bassett as Addison, Nanrisa Lee as Jenn, Ernie Hudson as Magic, Mason Alexander Park as Ian, Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Song -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

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