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McG on Nikita

Published August 30, 2010 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of CW
McG is lending his action movie street cred to another new series this fall. The CW’s Nikita is a new take on La Femme Nikita, and it’s a somewhat unusual foray for the network into hardcore action. At the Television Critics Association fall press tour, McG spoke about the new direction for Nikita and The CW.

McG on Nikita

“The show is a daring departure from what we traditionally say, ‘Oh, that's a CW show,’” McG said. “There's a Leslie Moonves component, there's a Peter Roth component, and the Warner’s guys and this, that, and the other. But it's really Dawn [Ostroff] who had the courage to jump up and go, ‘I'm going to put that on the air, talk about the first fall season where there's original programming every night.’ And it's just cool to get a shot to expand the brand, go beyond the shows that we know and love very much in regard to The CW, but do something that's a little bit more daring, designed to reach a few more eyeballs, different eyeballs And it's a lot of pressure, and we went for it.”

This Nikita picks up six years after Nikita was picked up and trained by a secret organization. She’s already kicking butt in the first episode. “I did the pilot for Chuck, and I think Chuck is doing great creatively and hasn't fallen off at all, which, of course, is a tribute to Josh Schwartz, who runs that show. And you look at "Supernatural" with what Kripke was able to do and Nutter did the pilot for that, who obviously is a big, flashy pilot director. I think we've all figured out the riddle, even though there's a great deal of pain that goes into Peter Roth and his group, and we fight about the dollars and cents and what goes into it, and it's an ever constricting world. But I think that creativity is the mother of invention, and sometimes if you have a big, fat circus behind the camera, that's not in the interest of great stuff going on in front of the camera. And if you run lean and you put everything into what you're trying to achieve, there's just nothing I would change if this had a $150 million budget for Danny [Cannon, the director] to play with. I think it looks absolutely immaculate.”

Nikita Nikita

Maggie Q plays Nikita this time around, and follows a tradition to which McG himself contributed with his interpretation of Charlie’s Angels. “I think we're all very excited about the notion of empowered female characters, and we like those shows. You meet someone like Maggie, and she's a very extraordinary talent. You meet someone like that, you get excited about the notion of a show like this being on the air. From my experience with <B>Charlie's Angels</b> on down, it's just I like the idea of empowered female characters that don't apologize for being beautiful, but are very, very intelligent and multi-dimensional, and I think Maggie nails that voicing.”

Keeping the action coming every week is now in the hands of the production team McG put together. “For me, the number one problem solved is to hire the most talented people, and that's naturally a question for Danny, who directed the pilot, who did an incredible job of making it feel like a motion picture. We've all seen the dailies, and we feel like this is going to be successful cinematic television week in/week out, and I say it with the greatest respect to the movies, what's happening every night in a television capacity, both with the networks and with the cable outlets, it supersedes what's going on on Fridays in the theaters. I think the most talented voices are working in a television construct, and you're seeing filmmaking of the highest caliber. So, Danny, take over. It's hats off to you, man.”

Nikita premieres September 9 on The CW.
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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of CW

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