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Exclusive interview with Jason Katims on new sitcom 'About a Boy' & more

Executive producer Jason Katims, left,along with "About a Boy" cast Minnie Driver, Benjamin Stockham, David Walton, and Al Madrigal.
Executive producer Jason Katims, left,along with "About a Boy" cast Minnie Driver, Benjamin Stockham, David Walton, and Al Madrigal.
NBC / Paul Drinkwater.

Jason Katims, the showrunner for “Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood,” and upcoming sitcom “About a Boy” gave an exclusive interview to discuss his latest project and his speech at the Dad 2.0 Summit in New Orleans. He shared how he has been able to touch the hearts of millions through his television series.“Friday Night Lights” proved to be a show that America embraced through the real meaning of football and the beloved coach and father, Eric Taylor. Katims’ ability to portray his characters (especially his male characters) in an authentic and relatable way is why Dove Men+Care is brought Katims to this year’s Dad 2.0 summit as a keynote speaker. Read the full interview with Katims below:

Examiner: How are you?

Jason Katims: “I am doing well thank you. Actually very, very well. I am in New Orleans at the Dad 2.0 Summit, where Dove Men+Care has invited me to speak with a great group of writers, bloggers and fathers on the portrayal of men and dads.”

Examiner: You have so many projects in the fire, how do you make sure all of your shows get your undivided attention?

Jason Katims: “What I’ve tried to do as much as possible is to focus my energies on one project at a time. Luckily with this year I was able to stagger my schedule a bit. We started “Parenthood” in the fall, where I had a good five months until “About a Boy” started, which was nice. I was able to get so far ahead, and then got to the point where there is a lot of overlap, over the next 2 or 3 months, I will be multi-tasking a bit – but by preparing ahead of time, I was able to make it work. I am also lucky enough to have such great people, actors, writers, directors, and producers to work with, and I try to utilize people I’ve worked with before as much as possible. Once you have a shorthand with people, it streamlines the process a bit.”

Examiner: How would you describe “About a Boy?”

Jason Katims: ““About a Boy” is different, and has been really fun, and a different style of story-telling. The comedy angle was new for me – and it’s been fun to play around with that. The main character, successful songwriter and bachelor Will Freeman lives a carefree life as the "ultimate man-child". However, this ‘perfect world’ of his is turned upside down when single mom Fiona and her 11-year-old son Marcus move in next door.”

Examiner: Will viewers and fans see a lot of celebrity guest appearances in “About a Boy?”

Jason Katims: “In the second episode, Lil’ John makes a cameo which was great. He is really delightful. We have some wonderful actors who are doing the show – Annie Mumolo has made re-occurring role in the show. She is in a very intense relationship with Will and it is fun watching it unfold. We just recently casted Adrianne Palicky for a new love interest for Will, and she is great. I have worked with her for years from “Friday Night Lights,” and this is the first time she has had the time to join the show.”

Examiner: In what ways will it differ from “Parenthood” & “Friday Night Lights?”

Jason Katims: “What I am most excited about is it is a half hour comedy. It’s a different format, I’ve never done a comedy before, and I have always wanted to – so I am definitely thrilled about that. It is also a smaller cast. Both “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood” have big ensemble casts, whereas here there is four series of regular characters. It’s a different story-telling angle for me. What is similar though is that you really feel like you know these characters – and are able to invest in each of them, which is what I strive for in all of my shows. I want the viewers to truly feel like they know the characters – and can relate.”

Examiner: You spoke at the Dad 2.0 Summit, what did you talk about?

Jason Katims: “I did – it was really great and I think the Summit itself is truly amazing, with a huge thanks to Dove Men+Care. We talked about the role of fathers, and how it relates to some of the work I’ve done over the years – and focused on my show “Parenthood.” We discussed the way dads are portrayed in the show, and how it is very different from what we may have seen on TV a generation ago. The stay-at-home-dad idea is becoming more of a norm, and these fathers are opening up to their kids. The archetypal dad stereotype is changing. We watched examples of clips, commercials, and scenes, all of which showing how the role of the father both in life and in the media is really evolving and changing. The goal of everybody at the Summit this morning is pushing that further in different ways.”

Examiner: Who did you root for on Sunday at the Super Bowl?

Jason Katims: “Oh! Well my son is a huge Patriots fan, and so I originally was rooting for them. I am drawn to both teams for different reasons, but I went with Peyton on this one.”

The series is set to air Feb. 22, with its premiere airing at 11 p.m., and then will move to its regular time slot on Feb. 25 at 9 p.m.