HitFix

Interview: ‘Halt and Catch Fire’ showrunner Jonathan Lisco on the TV tech zeitgeist and more

I like talking to the creative people who have jobs that folks outside of the industry bubble don't necessarily understand.

Last month, for example, I talked with Michael Spiller about what it means to be a directing producer on “The Mindy Project.”

Jonathan Lisco has a more glamorous and identifiable job. He is, after all, the showrunner on AMC's new drama “Halt and Catch Fire” and we've all learned to revere the showrunner. However, Lisco didn't create “Halt and Catch Fire.” The '80s-set computer drama was created by Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers, but The Chrises don't have a lengthy TV background, so Lisco was brought in as writer, executive producer and showrunner for the first season as part of an overall deal he signed with AMC.

Lisco has been a creator — FOX's “K-Ville” was the first series to shoot in New Orleans after Katrina — but his most recent credit was executive producing TNT's much-admired “Southland.”

I sat down with Lisco last month to discuss the process that brought him to “Halt and Catch Fire” and the challenges of running a first-year show that you didn't create. We also discussed TV's high tech zeitgeist, the struggles of not fetishizing the '80s and the struggles to get computer minutia correct.

Check out the full Q&A… Also check out my “Halt and Catch Fire” interviews with Lee Pace and Scoot McNairy.

HitFix: People in your shoes I know don”t have time to actually watch TV, right?

Jonathan Lisco: That”s interesting, you know. I try and keep that a little bit under my hat sometimes, but that is the dirty secret of a lot of people who run TV shows. We”re so busy making it that we often don”t have time to absorb it like a viewer. And when we do, it”s not exactly what you might call the most relaxing enterprise. So yeah, it is true. I struggle to keep up. Let”s put it that way. I do struggle to keep up.

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