What ‘The Family’ Creator Jenna Bans Learned From Former Boss Shonda Rhimes

TCA 2016: “She has so many overall rules for television that I think are so smart that you inevitably take with you,” executive producer says

ABC’s upcoming drama “The Family” will resolve its central mystery within the first four or five episodes of Season 1, according to the show’s creator Jenna Bans.

Bans, a vet of several Shondaland series including “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” said during a Television Critics Association panel on Saturday that it’s a lesson she learned from Shonda Rhimes herself.

“She has so many overall rules for television that I think are so smart that you inevitably take with you,” she said of Rhimes’ “fearless” style of writing. “She’s a big proponent of pushing story forward … that’s definitely something that I’ve taken to heart.”

The mystery introduced in “The Family’s” pilot episode — whether or not the teenager who reappears after ten years of being presumed dead is who he says he is — will be wrapped up “pretty early” in the season, but Bans said it will “spiderweb” out into other storylines that will drive the rest of the season.

“The question you ask yourself at the end of the pilot might not be the main question you care about in the finale anymore,” she said. “By the time we get to episode 4 or 5, there’s probably 10 more plot threads that weren’t in the pilot.”

She also credited the network for forcing her to consider what would come in future seasons during the development process. “They kind of make you do your homework before you even start,” she said.

“I think we were all surprised how fast certain storylines went,” said star Andrew McCarthy.

Scene at TCA 2016 Winter Press Tour (Updating Photos)

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