Photo Credit: iVillage
If you wrote a novel, which took you a decade to write, and you hear David E. Kelley, award-winning TV producer of such greats as Ally McBeal and Chicago Hope, wants to turn your book into a television show, what are you to think? Just ask Sanjay Gupta.
"I literally thought I was being punk'd," said Sanjay. He thought someone was playing a gigantic size prank on him, but it turned out to be true. The David E. Kelley wanted to turn his Monday Mornings, his first-ever novel, which centers around the secretive meetings surgeons have to discuss medical mistakes that sometimes result in death, into a television show for TNT.
"I remember I was waiting for him," said the chief medical correspondent for CNN during an hour-long chat at TNT's studios in Atlanta. "I was sitting in somebody's office and they said, 'Oh, he's going to come here, we're going to talk,' and (he) comes in. He's the most, sort of, low key guy. He's got his sneakers on. He's got his book," Sanjay said with a smile. "He's like, 'Hey, before we get started, got something to ask you on page 55... We went from zero to 60 in no time flat."
Kelley and Sanjay are both executive producers of Monday Mornings. "He is better than you expect, if that were possible, because people have pretty high expectations for him but he's even better than that," said Sanjay. "You can't say that about many people. He's really terrific."
Watch as Sanjay talks about what it was like to work with David E. Kelley:
As executive producer, Sanjay, who is still a practicing neurosurgeon in Atlanta, helped provide medical context on the show, wrote a few epsiodes with Kelley and also helped further develop the characters. But the show also has a team of writers, and that meant Sanjay had to learn to let go of his babies.
"When you write a book, these are your kids to some extent," said Sanjay. "And now when other people start writing about your kids, it's like you're letting the neighbors take care of your kids for a few weeks... Are they good neighbors? How are they going to take care of my kids? Are they going to come back eating chocolates or what's the deal?"
Sanjay, we'll be watching when the show premieres February 4th on TNT (10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT) to see just what kind of neighbors those writers are!!!
Be sure to check out our final post about Sanjay surrounding his new role as Hollywood executive producer when we reveal the ten things we loved learning about him.