Joanna Coles’ habit of journal-keeping is serving “The Bold Type” well.
Anecdotes from her time as editor in chief of Hearst’s Cosmopolitan, the inspiration for the show, produced by the ABC-Disney network Freeform, are weaved throughout and there’s no shortage. Coles recalled at a Freeform luncheon discussing some of the network’s shows, including “The Bold Type” where she’s an executive producer, one daily entry that involved a Yoni Egg previously promoted and sold on Goop’s web site.
She said a young editor came into her office one afternoon, awkwardly tried to tell her something about a story she’d been working on gone awry and left, only to return with a colleague able to explain the situation at hand.
“She’d got something stuck — a Yoni Egg,” Coles said. “It took two Cosmo editors going to the bathroom with her to extract it.”
“You can’t tell Tom anything, because it will get used,” Coles added, approvingly talking of Tom Ascheim, Freeform’s president since 2013. Ascheim visibly perked up at Coles’ recollection of covering O.J. Simpson’s appearance at Oxford Union in 1996, his first public outing after being found not guilty of murder. She secured an exclusive interview with him as he sat and drank water from what she described as a thick glass, which eventually “shattered” in his hand during her questioning. “We should work that in somewhere…” Ascheim said, not unseriously.
Ascheim also oversaw the network’s 2016 name change from ABC Family, which he admitted hasn’t been the easiest transition, but is now maybe glad of the brand differentiation since Roseanne Barr went on her racist Twitter tirade and got her revived and very popular ABC show canceled last week.
“It was eventful,” Ascheim said of ABC’s decision to cancel “Roseanne” within an hour of her offensive public comments. Although Ascheim said he had no more insight into the drama than any of the reporters in the room, he alluded to “a lot of discussions” between Barr and ABC about reforming her politically bombastic and crude public profile before the “Roseanne” revival got under way.
It was Coles who actually brought up the subject of “Roseanne” before launching into staunch support for her show as a much more modern evocation of women at work and an effort to eradicate the stereotype of women, working in media and elsewhere, tearing each other down.
“They’re actually trying to pull you up as fast as they can because it’s so thin up there at the top,” Coles said.
Having a woman at the top at ABC in Channing Dungey is likely the reason “Roseanne” was canceled as quickly as it was, and Melora Hardin, who plays the Coles-inspired role of Jacqueline Carlyle on “The Bold Type” and has been a working actor since she was six years old feels culture is overdue for some change.
Having spent decades working in film and television, Hardin said she had plenty of stories that would fit into the current mold of the #MeToo movement. Although she said she’s never been sexually abused, she’s had to stick up and fight for herself plenty on set, and sees what’s happened since the Harvey Weinstein scandal became public as a time for “women who haven’t gotten the chance to use their voice to use it.”
“The pendulum always has to swing really, really far before it rights itself,” Hardin said.
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