Jane the Virgin EP/showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman and star Gina Rodriguez were on hand at the CBS TV Studios panel at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys on Sunday, along with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-creator/executive producer/showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna and The Late Late Show with James Corden executive producer Rob Crabbe.
The first panel was for Jane the Virgin, moderated by Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva. Rodriguez plays Jane Villanueva, a devout Latina virgin who is artificially inseminated by mistake and left to grapple with the challenges of motherhood at a young age. In Season 3 of the series, Jane endeavors to complete her graduate thesis, while dealing with the unexpected death of her husband, Michael (Brett Dier). The big question of the day was: “Why did Michael have to die?”
“It was always part of the journey that I envisioned at the beginning about a woman who really believed in fantasy and the magic of romance and had big dreams in her life. And things don’t work out like that all the time,” Urman told the audience. “It’s always been about the balance, the shift from leaving her relationship between fantasy and reality. Michael’s death — the show started with such a big earthquake for Jane when she found out she was unexpectedly pregnant, and Michael’s death was always going to be the midpoint of the show where everything changed again in her life and everything changed for everyone around her.”
Adding that in a telenovela you want to build to an ending and have that ending in sight, she continued. “Our show is about how do you go on. … Loss is always something that we all face … and I wanted to explore that and figure out how we could find the comedy and the joy after an event like that.”
Rodriguez, who was heartbroken about losing her onscreen husband, said that Urman had always kept them in the dark about what’s next said it was “a challenge as an actor because usually you know where your character is going. You know your character’s journey but it’s been really incredible to walk through this series and Jane’s story like walking through life, which is necessarily not knowing what’s going to happen next.”
So what’s next for Jane? The titular character will be getting back into the dating scene later in the season, which returns April 24 after being renewed for a fourth season in January. Tyler Posey is also guest-starring in the upcoming episodes as a potential love interest for Jane, though no additional details were revealed about his character.
“There is a lot of light and joy that are coming back. There are love interests, but it’s all, ‘how does she move on from all of this?’” Urman explained. “At this point in the story there is no life without Mateo, Jane is a mom, she can’t imagine her life without him. … For this character who is such a planner, these curveballs are really important to keep her growing and changing and moving and keep the storytelling not stale.”
Definitely also coming back is Rodriguez’s alter-ego Cecilia. “Because Jane, as a novelist – this is a spoiler alert for like five people who care – she will go back to the novel about her grandmother at some point,” Urman teased. “So that character will come back in.” As for finding out who the narrator is? “That you will not find out until probably the last episode.”
Following Jane was Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, moderated by Deadline’s Dominic Patten. The romantic musical comedy-drama airing on the CW was created by Aline Brosh McKenna and Golden Globe winner Rachel Broom, who serves as executive producer, writer and star of the series.
In Season 2, Rebecca Bunch (Bloom) makes allies of enemies, turning her life around before falling in head-over-heels once more, preparing to marry Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III) and being left when Chan realizes it’s all a terrible mistake. In Season 3, for which Bloom and McKenna have “a huge amount of detail and story” written up before they officially begin to dig in, Rebecca will be trying on a new persona. “[She’ll be the] person who is very, very, very romantically obsessed in the face of opposition and apathy from this person, with the added element of revenge and what she thinks she deserves,” explained McKenna. “She feels she deserves something now.”
McKenna also spoke about how those musical numbers come about and how “the story always drives the music.” “The storytelling and the theme are more important than the songs,” she continued. “So we have discarded many songs because they didn’t work with how the episode had evolved. And the genre is dictated by the jokes.”
The Late Late Show with James Corden executive producer Rob Crabbe joined Deadline’s Pete Hammond to talk about the success of the CBS late-night show.
Corden’s show differs in how the guests all come out at once and interact with one another, following a very British format that “gives it a different dynamic that make for some good moments,” Crabbe said. When asked if it made it difficult for bookings and if they had issues in the beginning, Crabbe replied: “I think it was hard at first because there is that expectation of who’s first guest and who is second guest. But I think we got lucky in that Tom Hanks was the first guest with Mila Kunis. Tom was open to it and liked the idea, and once he does it it’s hard for people to argue against it.”
James Corden’s show is perhaps most well known for its compelling viral segments, including “Carpool Karaoke,” “Drop The Mic,” and “Crosswalk the Musical”— an edition of which Corden recently filmed with the Beauty and the Beast stars and an enthusiastic ensemble. Crabbe also mentioned how Josh Gad was convinced it was set up and was surprised at how it was all filmed live right on the street.
As for “Role Call,” where the actors act out their best roles, they showed the Tom Cruise skit with Corden. “It’s a testament to our crew because what you see there is the choreography of James Corden and Tom Cruise. But what you don’t see until we pull out on the last shot is the 35 people in a semi-circle around them, passing things in, pulling things off, wardrobe, props — and we shoot it all live in the 7 1/2 minutes that you see on television. … Tom Cruise wouldn’t leave the stage after he shot that until he could get the entire crew together to take a photo with him because for him I think it felt like the wrap of a production. He felt like he had done something, this big thing, even though it was a seven-minute thing at 12:45 AM. … There’s a willingness to perform with James.”