Title: VP of drama development, ABC
Date of birth: June 20, 1973
Place of birth: Los Angeles
Big break: Being hired at Touchstone in 2000 by future ABC President Steve McPherson
Who knew?? Mr. Barry’s grandfather is the Golden Globe Award-winning actor Gene Barry (1953’s “War of the Worlds”). Mr. Barry used to hang out backstage while his grandfather performed in the original Broadway musical “La Cage aux Folles.”
Every new ABC drama premiering this fall — and there are quite a few of them — owes some credit to Josh Barry.
The 34-year-old VP of drama development is helping usher “Big Shots,” “Pushing Daisies,” “Cashmere Mafia,” “Dirty Sexy Money” and the “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff “Private Practice” to the air as part of the network’s bid to once again dominate the fall season.
The sensibility of ABC’s relationship-driven programming reflects Mr. Barry’s own — his all-time favorite program is HBO’s “Sex and the City.” He’s not interested in shows about “microscopes” and problem-solving procedurals, he said, but human dramas with a sense of humor.
“I like being able to develop shows right in my sweet spot of my personal taste,” Mr. Barry said.
That includes shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives,” all of which Mr. Barry helped develop while director of drama series development at Touchstone. In 2004 Mr. Barry followed the shows and his bosses (current Entertainment President Steve McPherson and Executive VP of Drama Suzanne Patmore-Gibbs) from the studio to the network.
“We developed the shows and then got to launch them. It was an amazing year,” he said.
Being a part of the same team of executives for seven years through two companies has kept the group close-knit, Mr. Barry said. He professes “fierce loyalty” to Mr. McPherson, whom he said has “great creative taste.”
“One of the things I love most is working with my friends,” he said. “I keep hiring my friends to produce and write for us, and that’s actually turned out pretty well for everyone.”
One of Mr. Barry’s friends is Dan Jinks, a producer on “Daisies,” which is generating early critical buzz.
“I’m so proud of this pilot,” Mr. Barry said. “They’ve made a bold pilot, and we’re in the business of taking risks here. It’s one thing to talk the talk about taking risks, another to do it — and we think they hit it out of the park.”
Mr. Barry describes the pilot selection process at ABC as very collaborative, with Mr. McPherson having the final say. But the pilot for which Mr. Barry fought the hardest still hasn’t made it to air.
When he worked at Touchstone, Mr. Barry championed a script by then little-known writer Shonda Rhimes called “War Correspondents.”
ABC shot it down, and Ms. Rhimes later revamped the script into “Grey’s Anatomy.” Mr. Barry hopes Ms. Rhimes’ ensemble comedic drama set during wartime, like a modern-day “M*A*S*H,” might still see the light of day.
In the meantime, Mr. Barry will continue to pull de facto double duty as both a drama executive and, in some ways, a comedy exec: Many shows Mr. Barry works on end up being hourlong programs that are more comedic than dramatic (especially when it comes to awards).
The next frontier is to score in the fall with shows such as “Dirty Sexy Money” and “Big Shots,” which focus on men to a greater degree than most ABC fare.
“I went into the development season with a strong desire to build on hits we already have, and what I’m happy about is we have shows that aren’t just about groups of women, shows like ‘Big Shots’ and ‘Money,’ that look into a man’s universe,” Mr. Barry said.
- Hot List 2007: Introduction
- Sean Cohan, A&E
- Janus Friis, Joost
- Alexis Glick, Fox Business Channel
- Chris Grant, Reveille
- Silvio Horta, ‘Ugly Betty’
- Ron Lamprecht, NBC Universal
- Maria Menounos, ‘Access Hollywood’
- Katherine Pope, Universal Media Studios
- Andrea Ross, Agent
- Hot List 2006: A Look Back