“Mrs. Davis” star Jake McDorman says a streaming company turned down the show before it was picked up by Peacock because it claimed the show painted algorithms in a “negative light.”
The science-fiction drama series, which premieres April 20 on Peacock, follows a nun named Simone (Betty Gilpin), who uses her faith to take on technology.
This week, during a panel discussion for the show, McDorman revealed the series was originally pursued by another streaming company but was then rejected because of how it fictionally depicted the impacts algorithms and technology. McDorman was joined by Gilpin, and show creators Tara Hernandez (“Big Bang Theory”) and Damon Lindelof (“Lost”). Hernandez will serve as showrunner for the series.
“I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say this, but [Hernandez and Lindelof] were pitching the show before it had found Peacock — I won’t say what streamer — but an algorithmic-inclined streamer, they loved it, but said they couldn’t do it because it painted an algorithm in a negative light. That was creepy. It felt like an algorithm shut down our show about an algorithm.”
Lindelof chimed in, saying, “It was almost like, they were really interested then, ‘Hold on, and we’re not going to do it.”
The show analyzes how social media, religion and algorithms affect the daily lives of humans, at a time when technology is being heavily used. After the Q&A, TheWrap caught up with Lindelof and Hernandez, who shared their initial reactions to being turned down by the streamer.
“We were sort of like, ‘We should have seen that coming,’” Lindelof said at the panel discussion, which took place at the San Vicente Bungalows in West Hollywood. “I don’t think that the show is anti-tech any more than it’s anti-religion or pro-religion. It’s more so saying, ‘If we gave one person the power to turn it all off, should she?’ That felt like an interesting idea. “
From Hernandez’s part, she said she “totally” gets why the streamer was apprehensive.
“I felt like in that specific case, it was in regards to the algorithm — ‘We don’t touch stuff with algorithms,’” Hernandez said. “I think other places we pitched it to had other responses as you just witnessed. It’s a very specific show. It doesn’t just roll off the tongue, you won’t know exactly what it is, and we think that’s such an asset and we’re excited about that.”