When asked about network diversity, the creator of Jennifer Lopez‘s new corrupt-cop drama “Shades of Blue” didn’t mince words.
“I think in general, broadcasters are realizing that the white man’s 15 minutes are up,” Adi Hasak joked in an interview with TheWrap. “I think everyone’s woken up to a new reality.”
It wasn’t Hasak’s plan for his series originally, but he’s glad it is now. Before “Shades,” he was a self-described writer of B action movies, having done three films with Luc Besson, when he wrote the spec script for the NBC series. The spec found its way to producers Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Barry Levinson and Ryan Seacrest Productions’ Nina Wass, but it was when Lopez got involved that things took off.
“We have a meeting and Elaine says, ‘You know who would be great for this? Jen.” And I’m like “Who’s Jen?” And she says, ‘Jennifer Lopez.’” Hasak told TheWrap. “I roll my eyes, because when guys like me make lists, they always begin with Jennifer Lopez, and if you’re lucky, you get to the bottom of the list.”
Fast forward a year and Hasak, with Lopez in tow, is at NBC pitching the show to entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt. Half an hour after the meeting ended, Hasak got a call telling him that the show had received a straight-to-series order — contingent on Lopez agreeing to star. She did, and the show premiered last week to solid ratings and positive reviews.
“Jennifer Lopez, for whatever reason I like to think it’s a good reason, decides to do this script, and we cut to the front of the line,” in development, Hasak said.
In “Shades,” Lopez, also an executive producer, plays a New York cop forced to work with the FBI to ferret out corruption in her unit. Hasak, as the cast, adjusted the show to fit his stars — for starters, Lopez’s role wasn’t originally written as Hispanic. The character was renamed Harlee Santos after she agreed to do the role.
Another adjustment was made to Ray Liotta‘s character Matt Wozniak, who was originally meant to die at the end of Season 1. Liotta agreed to do the show on the condition that the character not be killed off.
“It’s a no-brainer,” Hasak said. “Ray Liotta lives.”