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David's "Traveler" Blog

by David DiGilio

originally posted at TVGuide online



Closure
09/28/2007 4:22 PM
Hello Porters, fans of Traveler, and any folks who may have randomly found this page. First off, on behalf of the cast, writers, and everyone involved in Traveler, I want to thank all those who fought so hard over the past two months to get our show back on the air. It was inspiring to see your effort and devotion. And you fought valiantly. But, in the end, I think the same thing that doomed our show — lack of awareness — also made it impossible to muster the kind of numbers needed to save it. So, while I will never forget the great — albeit frustrating — experience of Traveler, the time has come for all of us to move on to new season passes, new webpage bookmarks, and new "save the show" campaigns, as I'm sure there will be some deserving series this fall that will get the short end of the marketing/ratings stick. But before I get to your much-deserved (and lengthy) Traveler answers, I also wanted to say that it's been a blast interacting with you here and on the Traveler IMDb message board. Speaking with you and answering your questions was the best and most fulfilling part of the show's summer season. I hope our discussions can continue with my next show, DARWIN'S LAW, a one-hour action comedy about a CIA hitman who becomes a homicide detective, which you will hopefully see on ABC (yes, I aim to woo all angry Porters back to the network) in the fall of '08. Now, in my efforts to provide closure before people have completely forgotten what happened in our fun and fast 8-episode run, I offer this final blog entry… the once promised and now delivered closure that you guys deserve.

Q1. What is the Fourth Branch?
This was to be the driving mystery of Season 2, as Will, Jay, and Tyler attempt to expose the clandestine organization which Jack Freed mentioned moments before his limo exploded in "The Exchange." The Fourth Branch is a secret society comprised of the oldest families in America. Many people forget that when this country was founded, Democracy was not a proven, accepted form of government. There had not been a successful western Democracy since Athens. And, in many ways, America was looked at as a great experiment. Our founding fathers wanted independence from England, and they needed to unify a fledgling country populated by a multinational constituency to win the war. What better way to rally a disparate army against the oppressors than to promise the common man a voice in the new government? This was the great promise of early American Democracy. But what if the founding fathers were also scared of the common man's power? Would they have perhaps put safeguards into place? A branch that sits above the people's three official branches of government? That, my friends, is the Fourth Branch. A group comprised of the oldest families in America who implement checks and balances on the government to guide the true course of our country. Think about the iconic families of American politics. The Kennedys. The Tafts. The Bushes. Did you ever wonder how they managed to wield so much power and influence? Their membership in the Fourth Branch plays a big part. And while our Founding Fathers believed in using the Branch to foster a youthful nation, today the Branch has become a shadow government that uses economic, political, social, and legal influence to maintain strict control. Right now, their senators are making sure that their latest Supreme Court nominee gets appointed. Their members on the New York Stock Exchange are keeping the price of oil high so we support the effort to bring democracy to the Middle East. What is the Fourth Branch? It is the realization of one of our worst fears, that though we live in the world's greatest democracy, we are not the ones steering the ship.

Q2. What's with the Painting?
The second season was meant to have a DA VINCI CODE-esque historical fiction element, and Trumbull's "The Declaration of Independence" was the key that would start that engine. Trumbull is a fascinating figure. In 1773, he graduated Harvard at the age of 17. He went on to fight in the Revolutionary War. Then he traveled to London in 1780 and studied painting under Benjamin West. There he was captured and imprisoned as an American spy. Later, he returned to the United States, where he went on to become one of the most famous painters and politicians of his time, including a stint as Governor of Connecticut. He died at the age of 88 and was interred beneath the Art Gallery at Yale University… a crypt that Will, Jay, and Tyler would most certainly visit in Season 2. If you have looked into "The Declaration of Independence" painting, you know that the "signing" was a complete fabrication in regards to the document itself, and historians have always wondered why there are five people in the painting who were not actual signers of the Declaration of Independence. This sent our little, hyper creative minds spinning in the writers room, though I will admit that the painting was the object of much debate. But we came up with the idea that the painting was in fact the holy grail of the Fourth Branch. Because in truth, this painting does not depict the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but rather it captures the formation of the Fourth Branch itself. And looking into the families of the men present in the painting holds the key to finding the current members of the Branch. At the time of our story, rumors of the Fourth Branch have increased in the corridors of Washington. Freed and others have decided to start a campaign to increase their control of the country with the Drexler bombing. A bombing that would serve two purposes: to strike a new chord of fear in the American public, as suddenly young, well-educated white males would be seen turning against their own country; and to destroy a piece of evidence, which if discovered, could expose the existence of the Branch itself.

Q3. Who is the Porter?
The Porter is actually a rogue CIA agent named Jon Anselmo. He ran a CIA black ops team in Pakistan who was taken out because someone in the Fourth Branch did not want a certain high- level terrorist captured just yet. Anselmo was furious. Not only did he lose five good men, but he could not get answers about what went wrong. Despite being told that he'd wandered into a mystery well above his pay grade, Anselmo kept pushing. Eventually, he heard whispers about The Fourth Branch and tracked the conspiracy theories to a Colorado real estate baron. Rather than hide the truth from Anselmo, the Baron saw an opportunity to gain an important ally in returning the Branch to its proper purpose. As with most multi-level Hydras, the Fourth Branch had fractured due to infighting. After a lengthy battle in the 1960s through 1990s, two factions emerged, one, led by Jack Freed's family, wanted to completely wrest control of this country away from the people. The other, led by the Baron, had hoped to return the Branch to the benevolent presence it held at our nation's birth. And if that did not work, the Baron was ready to disband the Branch all together. In exchange for compensation to the families of the men Anselmo lost, Anselmo became The Porter, a man bent on destroying the corrupt side of the Fourth Branch. His first mission was to follow Will Traveler to the men who were giving him his orders. That leads us to the next question…

Q4. Is Jack Freed dead?
Though Neal McDonough would hate to hear me say this, Jack Freed is dead. Yes, he was in the limo when it blew up. And, no, he did not blow it up himself. The Season 2 premiere was meant to begin with the same scene that ended season one, only this time we would see it from a new perspective. We would open on a small, remote control bomb packed with C4 as it tore down the damp, dark streets of New York. Unnoticed, it would zip past Jay, Tyler, and Will as they had their final conversation at the phone booth. Then it would slip underneath the parked limo, and we'd cut to the person controlling the bomb… The Porter. As the Porter clicks the kill switch, BOOM! the limo, Freed, and our boys' alibi, would again go up in smoke. Why did the Porter kill Freed? Because the Baron had given him orders that once he had identified the tyrant, the cancer had to be removed before evidence of the Branch could leak to the public. Which leads us to…

Q5: You can't just keep the guys on the run forever, can you?
I'm sure this is something that the writers at PRISON BREAK are dealing with right now. And in a way, I am relieved that I will not have to deal with the same issue. But the answer is, no, we were not going to keep the guys "on the run." In fact, in the Season 2 premiere, after we see the limo blow up, Will and the guys would then escape Freed's forces and New York with the help of the Porter. Jay, Tyler, and Will would end up at a train yard, with Will getting onboard a freight train as it picked up speed. Jay would reach a hand out for Will's help. But Will would tell him, "It's better if we split up." "You don't honestly believe that?!," Jay would answer back. And in a moment of decision that would determine the fate of Season 2, Will would stretch out his hand and help the friends he betrayed on to the train. They will search for the truth together. As the train rolls away from the New York skyline, we FADE TO BLACK. And when we fade up, it is THREE MONTHS LATER. A mining town in Colorado. A news report in a locker room tells us that another month has passed without any sign of the Drexler bombing suspects, and officials now believe that the three "Ivy League Terrorists" have surfaced in the Middle East. Amongst the workers getting ready to head into the mine, we find Will Traveler… And yes, his appearance has finally changed! It turns out that Jay, Will, and Tyler have not left the country. They have laid low in a middle-of-nowhere town. And now that people have moved on to other current events, like more domestic bombings and the approaching election, Jay, Will, and Tyler are ready to start their search into uncovering the truth behind the Drexler bombing and The Fourth Branch.

Q6: Did Carlton Fog survive the season finale?
Most definitely. In Season Two, Carlton Fog would be remanded to a criminal hospital — similar to the one we saw Johnny Sack waste away in at the end of THE SOPRANOS — while his case bounced from one appeal to another in the justice system. While recovering, he would be visited by a young vet in Officer uniform just back from serving in Iraq. This Vet would sit at his bedside, an intensity in his eyes that speaks of devotion to the wounded man before him. And Carlton would tell this young man, "we have a problem with your brother." This is how we meet GABRIEL FOG, the nemesis that will be hunting down our guys throughout Season 2. Ultimately, we had planned for the two brothers to meet at either the midpoint or finale of the season. And Tyler would actually have fallen at the hands of his brother.

Q7: What happens to Chambers and Marlow?
To be sure, the Season 2 premiere would have picked up their story in the present day. Chambers realizes that Marlow was the one who called his cell phone, and after a major cat and mouse chase through the FBI field office, Marlow would disappear. Three months later, she's also gone underground, and the media has been sold a story that she was in fact in collusion with Will, Jay, and Tyler, and she helped them escape New York. Now, Marlow is on her own hunt to find out how Chambers was involved in the Drexler bombing. Meanwhile, Chambers has been promoted to Head of the entire New York Field Office. Everything is going great, except for the fact that Chambers' daughter, remember the one mentioned in season 1, becomes suspicious of her father's involvement in the Drexler conspiracy. His daughter, another new character for Season 2, would eventually become convinced that her father had framed Jay, Tyler, and Will. And when the boys resurface, she would reach out to them, eventually becoming a new love interest for Tyler. The Fourth Branch would learn of Chambers' daughter's indiscretion. And Jack Freed's mother, the woman now pulling the strings, would tell Chambers that his daughter would have to be removed. Through flashback, we would learn that Chambers faced the same situation when he was stationed in Israel. His wife discovered he was pulling off covert raids, kidnapping Palestinian soldiers on behalf of the Branch. And that time, he sacrificed his wife in hopes that it would help return his family to prominence in the Branch. This time, though, Chambers will choose his child over his loyalty to the cause, allowing one of our great villains to end his arc on a redemptive moment.

Q8: Is Kim still alive?
Yes. She's alive, though she's not doing well. At the end of season 1, we left Kim as she was about to experience "rendition" first hand. She has spent the past three months in a Central American prison. She is a broken woman. But not broken enough to stop believing in Jay. Jay has attempted to find her, risking everything to return to New York and reach out to Mr. Doherty for help. Unbeknownst to Jay, Kim was pregnant when he was forced to flee New York. And while in custody, being tortured, she miscarried. A major storyline for Season 2 was to be Kim's struggle to stay alive, while Jay slowly and surely tracked her down.

Q9: What is Jay's connection to the Fourth Branch?
In the finale, Jack Freed told Jay that his father had worked for the Fourth Branch. Throughout the first season, we hinted that there was a mystery surrounding Jay's father's death, questions that had haunted Jay his entire childhood. Without knowing the truth, he had held his mother accountable for his father's suicide, believing that she abandoned Tom Burchell in his hour of need. But in Season 2, Jay was going to look into his father's real work for the military and how it connected to the Branch. He would discover that his father was part of a unit in the first Iraq war that was run by none other than Jack Freed himself. While not a member of the Fourth Branch, Burchell's father had served Freed and his objectives with loyalty. But when the unit became dispensable, and their operations needed to be covered up, Tom Burchell was set up to take the fall. The person in the government who betrayed Tom Burchell? Jack Freed. With Freed dead, Jay will seek revenge from the person they find to be running Freed's half of the Fourth Branch – Freed's mother, a Washington socialite who shares more than a few characteristics with Angela Lansbury in THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. Rosalind Freed will offer to return everything Jay lost after the Drexler bombing: his high-power life as a New York lawyer, a normal life with Kim, and his freedom. But by this point, Jay will have found Kim and will know the end game of the Fourth Branch, and Jay will refuse Rosalind Freed's offer, ultimately having her arrested as the first step in bringing down the families that feel they can control our country.

Q10. Who was Will Traveler?
We answered the "current tense" of this question in season 1 (Who is Will Traveler? He is a domestic spy working for an undercover FBI operation meant to spy on American citizens), Will's mystery goes much deeper than the Drexler, and we were going to tell Will's origin story as we pieced together the mystery of the Fourth Branch. In fact, I was hoping that the flashback element of Season 2 would be Will putting together pieces of how he came to join Operation Hometown and work under Jack Freed. In a long ago reality, Will Traveler was Stephen Mailer. (Not even Aaron Stanford knew that name.) You are hearing it here first. Stephen was a lonely kid. Raised by a single mother in a small town in Arizona. Stephen was not the biggest kid in the bunch. So, he had to learn to defend himself early. He was aided in this by his uncle, who moved to the small town when Stephen was twelve. This uncle gave Stephen's mother money. Soon, they'd upgraded from a trailer park to a two-bedroom condo. This uncle also knew martial arts. He taught Stephen the fighting style of Krav Maga. And it was not long before young Stephen Mailer was the one to be feared on the playground. While Stephen's mother was frightened by her son's violent nature, his uncle seemed to foster it, using hypnosis and behavior modification to prepare Stephen for a life of service. To what end? Stephen never knew. All he knew is that he and his uncle were patriots. When Stephen turned 17, his mother said goodbye to him, and his uncle took him to join the military. Stephen understood weapons, combat, and battlefield strategy ten times better than the officers who taught him. But he was meant to be a foot soldier. Nothing more. He had always been taught to obey commands. And though over qualified for his service in Afghanistan and Iraq, he felt his uncle placed him here with a purpose. To save lives. He was known, jokingly, as Nightingale. Because when you were about to die on the battlefield, Stephen would swoop in and get you the hell out. But, amazingly, Stephen never was promoted and was never given medals for his heroics. Instead, he simply moved from unit to unit, and with each move, he was given new dog tags and a different name. During his three years in combat, he saw his uncle three times. The last time was in Baghdad's green zone, when his uncle arrived to take him home for his final patriotic assignment. A man named Jack Freed had started an FBI program called Operation Hometown. Something that was essential to winning the war on terror. It seems that domestic terrorism cells were on the rise. People who appeared to be normal citizens were in fact fomenting revolution. Taking a page out of the CIAs Family Jewels, Freed had established a covert operation to use human intelligence assets to infiltrate and spy on American citizens. Stephen would be one of Freed's best recruits. He helped bust up a Chechnyan sleeper cell before it could attack the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. He stopped a group of neo-Nazis from assassinating a black governor in the South. And then he was sent to Deer Harbor to train for what would be his most important assignment. By then, Stephen went by the name Daniel Taft. Against every rule in the book, he fell in love with the woman who ran the Operation Hometown safehouse in the small town that was used to ferry Hometown operatives in and out of the country. Maya helped Daniel create his new alias. And though it was exceedingly reckless, he picked his new name to remind him of the woman he loved. In the summer of 2005, "Will Traveler" left for New Haven, Connecticut, where he would live with two men with serious bones to pick with President Shears and the U.S. government. He was gradually given his orders, always by his Handler Joseph. He needed to get video of Tyler Fog speaking his true mind about President Shears. Jay Burchell was writing for the law review, and Will needed to make sure Jay wrote about the illegal detention of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay. Will had been raised to obey orders, not to question them, but even he knew something was not right. In secret trips to Deer Harbor, he began to make preparations to leave Operation Hometown and the country with Maya. And when the final directive came, his worst fears were confirmed. He was being asked to murder Jay and Tyler, innocent American civilians, while framing them for an attack on New York's oldest art museum. All efforts to reach his Uncle were unsuccessful. So, Will decided he would have to improvise. He would let Jay and Tyler live and then blow up the museum. But while researching the plan to blow up the Drexler, Will discovered that the Drexler bomb was to be placed in a gallery filled with paintings by John Trumbull, right below the crown jewel of the Shears' Collection, Trumbull's Declaration of Independence. He began to suspect that the bombing might also be connected to the paintings. Knowing that he'd be punished for betraying his orders, Will decided to steal the painting as a piece of leverage should his plan fail. The rest, as they say… well, you saw the rest in Season 1. Obviously, when Maya was killed (and yes, Maya is dead), everything changed for Will. Like Jason Bourne, he set out on a path to avenge his girlfriend's death and find out who was really running his corrupt government program. This led Will back to his old roommates, and ultimately to Freed.

Q11. How would it all end?

Well, I've touched on Tyler's untimely demise, and Jay's refusal to give in to the temptations of the Fourth Branch, but what about the ultimate end of the series? Well, I can tell you that this likely would have changed a bit as we moved through the show, but this is what I was thinking for the series' progression when we finished up:

Season 2:

In Season 2 our driving question becomes, "what is the Fourth Branch?" The Season 2 flashbacks reveal how Will was raised and groomed to become a leader in the secret society that has now turned against him (yes, Porters, Will is in fact the heir of the Colorado Real Estate Baron mentioned in the Porter paragraph above). And Jay, Tyler, and Will set out on a journey to find and expose members of the society, and this time they will have the help of Agent Marlow, who wants revenge for her partner's murder. The return of Tyler's brother, leads Tyler's murder. And Marlow will ultimately fall at the hands of her former boss Chambers.

But in the Season 2 finale, Will and Jay are miraculously saved from a brutal beating at the hands of Fourth Branch forces. When they wake up, they find themselves in the middle of the Oval Office. President Shears enters and they reveal everything they know. Unfortunately for them, it's here that we learn that Shears is not just our head of state, he's also the heir apparent of the Fourth Branch.

Season 3:

In season three we learn the truth about the Fourth Branch's plan. They have used the bombings against the Shears family interests (and there would be more bombings besides the Drexler) to instill fear in the country and create sympathy towards the administration. And just as they hoped for, a movement has arisen to change the constitution, allowing President Shears to stay in the White House for good.

In order to stop Shears, Jay and Will pretend to turn sides and effectively infiltrate the Fourth Branch on behalf of the Porter — Jon Anselmo — and his unknown boss. But in the season three finale, their efforts are thwarted when Anselmo is killed and President Shears successfully wins election for a third term.

The Endgame:

The word "traveler" evokes an image of a wanderer, a man without a country. In a way, that's how many Americans feel today. The Fourth Branch is really a metaphor for today's divisive political climate, the current disconnect between the people and their elected politicians. But Will Traveler is not willing to settle for a false government. He does what we all wish we could do. He changes things. In the final episode of our show, whenever that day would have come, Will sacrifices himself to save Jay from the corrupt Shears administration.

And as the series closes, Jay Burchell is the only one left of the three friends who started Traveler on a seemingly innocent road trip. With Kim's help, Jay completes Will and Tyler's legacy, exposing the lies and deceit of Shears, Carlton Fog, and all the privileged few who have tried to make America their private kingdom.

The End

And, yes, sadly, this really is the end. Thank you guys again for your passion. It was inspirational. And while this conclusion can not please everyone, I hope it at least answers your questions and allows you to move forward down the road.

"What Is the Fourth Branch?"
07/25/2007 3:38 PM
Hello, Porters! I figured there might be a few fans out there itching for a Traveler fix today. It's the first Wednesday in a while without an episode of the show, so I figured I would come online and say hello to everyone and give you an update.

First off, thank you for all of the reaction to last week's finale. There was a lot of food for thought in those 80-plus responses. And all of the feedback, positive and negative, has been processed by yours truly.

For those who were upset by the cliff-hanger ending, all I can tell you is that we certainly did not expect it to be a series finale. If you've read this blog, you know that we made that show at the end of last year under near-impossible time constraints, and we did our best to wrap five episodes of story line into a one-hour thrill ride.

The cliff-hanger finale was part of the construction of the series, which is meant to pose one large question for each season. The first season asked, "Who is Will Traveler?" And the second asks, "What is the Fourth Branch?" As promised, I will eventually answer this question and explain all other hanging chads, so that you get the sense of closure you deserve. But I am going to heed the advice of fans and friends who have asked that I hold off on doing this until I know the final result of the "save the show" efforts.

Currently, our status of "permanent hiatus" remains unchanged, but I also know that your devotion has been noticed at ABC. So, I will wait and see how this plays out. At the same time, I am in discussions with Warner Bros. about a DVD release. I will let you know the news on that front as soon as I get any official word.

In the meantime, how about a brief summary of what Episode 9 was going to be? The very day that our order got shortened, our staff writer Katie Wech turned in a very cool story treatment for the episode. In that alternate universe, Episode 8 was completely different and did not see the boys getting back together to stop Freed. Episode 9 was going to see Jay and Tyler contact Felicia Cruz (Jay's mom), who had stayed on the East Coast after the FBI questioned her earlier in the week. To get to Felicia, Jay had to delve into his working-class past — a past he had been trying to deny ever since he went to college. And Jay's efforts would be rewarded with the revelation that his father had served the Fourth Branch during the first Iraq war. Meanwhile, Will was going to form an uneasy alliance with the Porter to find Will's handler, Joseph (the man Marlow killed in the finale).

OK, hope that doesn't make your head spin too much. Just thought it would be fun to offer you some Traveler mystery on this, the first week of our official hiatus. I'm going to sign off from these blogs now. I will return when I get any official word on anything from Warner Bros. or ABC. I will also be checking in periodically on the IMDb message board with any news as well.

Thank you guys again for all of the support. Your devotion to the show is greatly appreciated by those who made it. And if by chance you are in San Diego for Comic-Con this week, stop by the Boom Comics booth so I can thank you in person. I'll be there this Friday from noon to 1 pm doing a signing for my first graphic novel North Wind. We're booth #2543, right near the Marvel folks.

See ya there or somewhere down the road,

Dave

"The Porters"
07/13/2007 3:38 PM
Nothing like having a posse get your back when someone throws dirt in your eye. That's what I was thinking as I read the 45 — yes, 45! — comments that came in response to last week's blog and the news that ABC has let our contracts lapse. With the enormous outpouring of support here, on IMDb and on the various fan forums, I wanted to make sure you guys knew that we at Traveler appreciate all the dedication you've shown to the series. And thus, I have affectionately deemed you "the Porters." This is, of course, an allusion to Billy Mayo's character, the guy who keeps an eye on Jay, Tyler and Will when Jack Freed's Homeland Security thugs get in the way. So, my "Porters," I have promised another Q&A for this entry, and I will get to answering the questions I managed to sift out from those wonderful 45 comments you left last week:

JKEB126 writes: Is there any way that the network will not cancel it for next season?
The million-dollar question. Right now, with the Nielsen numbers where they are, I'd say we're a step closer to an official cancellation announcement. But after the Jericho campaign, I'm never going to say "never." My goal right now is to make sure Traveler has a life after its eight-episode network run. Your loyalty and support helps us as we try to get Traveler released on iTunes and DVD so the folks who missed us this summer can find us down the road, and you guys have a permanent place in your collection for the show.

JENAH writes: Say, where was that petition again...?
The petition is at petitiononline.com/willtrav/petition.html.

Ico writes: Hey, David, ever thought about shopping the show to cable TV, like USA Network? This show seems like something they might be interested in.
This is a common question from the fans. Thus far, this has not seemed possible for two reasons: Our Nielsen numbers have not been high enough to garner significant interest from other channels, and our show is somewhat expensive to make due to its action component. I am looking into the "nontraditional" viewership numbers — DVR and digital downloads — to get a more accurate idea of our audience size. With the large online fan base, I have a hard time believing that the Nielsens fully reflect our viewership. Even if these numbers don't get the show picked up by another network, they will help in our fight to get the show released on DVD and iTunes.

Ilovee2dance09 writes: The show is absolutely amazing. Why would they want to stop the season early and not bring it back?
Thank you for this sentiment. It's very important that we all channel our frustration in a positive manner. I am upset with our show's treatment, but I also understand ABC's decision when I put myself in their shoes. Last fall every show in this genre, from Kidnapped to Vanished to The Nine to Day Break, was getting axed faster than a dame who married Henry VIII. At the same time, we were experiencing the growing pains that every first-year show goes through. The network had not even seen a cut of the episodes when Will comes back into play. The combination of seeing audience aversion to the genre and creative concerns about the show caused them to cut our season and release us without real promotion in the summertime.

Callmecrazy0814 writes: What's with the little parts in the field office where they are always saying, "Sir, you need to contact our bureau in Chicago. I'm afraid Los Angeles is outside our current search radius," starting at the second episode and repeated in other episodes? There must be a reason why the writers put that in multiple times.
Callmecrazy, you have caught what we call a gaffe. This was a piece of temporary ADR that did not get replaced in the final sound mix for Episode 3. (ADR is additional dialogue that is added by our voice group to fill in the background of large scenes. It can also be done by our lead actors when we need to trim scenes or add in an additional piece of information after the scene has already been shot.)

Lswanson63 writes: 1) Any news on a DVD release?? I'd love to get this show on DVD, as well as any behind-the-scenes commentary and/or bonus features. 2) Do you know what Logan [Marshall-Green] or Matt [Bomer] are up to now? Any possibility you'd work with them again on a new project? 3) I won't ask too many plot-related questions, since I know you won't answer them right now, but the scene where we find out that Tyler's dad actually tried to have them killed was really disturbing. Was that hard to shoot? Can you better explain Carlton's motivations? I don't think I quite understood what could have been so important as to sacrifice your own child. 4) Was there anything that was cut that you wished you hadn't had to?
1) No news yet. I'm working on it. 2) Matt and Logan have both returned to the stage this summer. Matt can be seen in Villa America at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. And Logan just finished a run in Geometry of Fire at the Powerhouse Theater in New York. I would love to work with them, as well as the rest of this cast. 3) Carlton's motivations will be fully explained in due time. 4) I always liked the idea of exploring Fallbrook Dunn, a crisis management firm in D.C. that might have had a hand in creating some of the chaos that it later helps control. In these days of Halliburton and its work in Iraq, I find the idea of private business influencing public policy fascinating.

Fx772k1 writes: When creating a new show, how far ahead do you plan out the concept? Do you have an idea of the story line if given 100 episodes?
We pitched the broad strokes of the first season, the second season and an ultimate endgame. No creator could tell you a 100-episode story arc upfront. And if they did, it would all completely change by Episode 4 once you were in production. TV is a fast-moving beast, and serialized shows consume story like we consume oxygen. That's why you have to hand it to the guys at Lost, 24 and Prison Break. They've been pounding out compelling full 22-episode seasons for years.

Fnich1 writes: How do the network bigwigs expect to attract viewers when they keep pulling the plug so early? It's getting to the point where I don't want to watch any new TV until the series has been established for a season or two.
I think you've hit on a real issue with network TV. Gone are the days when shows are allowed to grow an audience. Think what would happen if Seinfeld were released today. It most likely would have been cancelled due to low viewership. Seriously, I loved that show, but the first four episodes of Seinfeld are nothing like the show once it hit its creative stride and became a huge hit. As you guys head into the new TV season, all I can say is, "Don't be afraid to commit to a show." I think the perception that "serialized shows don't last" hurt Traveler more than anything. If the audience does not tune in because they think a show is going to get cancelled, then the ratings will never be there and the network has no choice but to cancel the show. Watch the shows you want to watch and then let the chips fall where they may. And if I can make one recommendation for the fall, check out Pushing Daisies. It is brilliantly written, well cast, incredibly original, smart, funny, and it's getting a ton of network support from ABC. If it does not work, I will lose all faith in TV.

Thus concludes our longest blog entry to date. Hope I got to all the questions. Now, a preview for "The Exchange," the big finale [airing Wednesday at 10 pm/ET]! Despite the amazing speed and pressure that was on us to make this show, I feel we still managed to save the best episode for last. We got to wrap five episodes of story into one. You will find out Will's role in the bombing. You will learn whether his loyalties lie with Jay and Tyler, Jack Freed, or himself. You will see the climax of the power struggle that has crippled the FBI's effectiveness in the Drexler investigation. And you will get another trademark Traveler cliff-hanger.

I know there will be questions. When/if we are officially cancelled, I will return to this blog to answer them all with a "series wrap-up" because "the Porters" deserve a satisfactory ending to this journey. Here's hoping we can provide it with more episodes. If not, you'll read it here.

See you down the road,

Dave

Let's Hit the Rewind Button....
07/06/2007 8:31 AM
Welcome back to Dave's Traveler blog. After a break for the Fourth of July holiday, on July 11 we return for the final two episodes of the season... and perhaps of the show. Yes, in my efforts to keep you guys up to date, we have sadly reached the point where our show is most likely not coming back. ABC has officially let our cast contracts lapse. While this is not a formal cancellation, we are meant to fade away quietly, as this article from the L.A. Times suggests.

The Traveler fans are doing everything they can to pull a Jericho, and if you want to see updates on their ideas and progress, you can check out the various fan forums on the Web. Here's hoping that I do not need to provide you with series closure on this blog. But if that is the case, it will be one hell of an entry.

Now, I am not a guy who has many regrets in life. But I realized that because so much time has passed since we actually filmed the shows, I have probably been robbing you guys of some good "behind the scenes" experience in favor of my personal musings on the entertainment industry. So, I thought today I would step into my personal wormhole and take you back to the week we made Episode 7, "The Reunion." This wormhole comes courtesy of the new iPhone which, if you have not yet heard, offers every feature and function imaginable including personal time travel and wash-and-fold laundry service. Thank you, Steve Jobs.

So, it's late November '06. We are working hard at Traveler headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. The Writers Room is cracking Episode 9. Post-production is editing Episodes 2 through 5. And up in Vancouver, the cast and crew are shooting Episode 6, "The Trader," while simultaneously prepping Episode 7, "The Reunion."

As we put a polish on the script for Episode 8, we get a call. We're being summoned to the studio for an urgent meeting. And at this meeting comes the news that our order is being shortened from 13 episodes to eight.

Whoa. OK. Here's the point in the blog where you might expect me to lay into a diatribe about how the network has just screwed us and how the studio let it happen. Nope. Not the case. Because that crazy two weeks in the show's life becomes one of the most amazing experiences of my young professional career. And I am writing this entry as a testament to the work that was done by everyone on this show so that we could complete Traveler's first season in eight episodes instead of 13.

So, back to that studio meeting. Our first thought is, "We need to shut down and figure this out." A "shutdown" occurs when a show temporarily suspends production so that it can solve creative and logistical issues. (I would not be spilling the beans if I told you that several of the successful first year '06 shows experienced shutdowns last season.) It is a fairly common occurrence. But it is costly. And because it so costly, it is not possible for Traveler. We will have to toss out the Episode 8 script, retrofit the Season 1 arc from 13 episodes to eight, and write a new season finale — all in less than 10 days.

Fortunately, we have an ace up our sleeve. Our writer/producer Vanessa Reisen has given us a fantastic script for "The Reunion," and we have the talented Tim Matheson directing. This means we can multi-task. Vancouver production focuses on its rigorous eight-day shoot, while L.A. goes to work on the enormous creative endeavor of reshaping a television season mid-shoot. What were 100-hour weeks are now 110-hour weeks. And, amazingly, nearly all of our cast, crew, and writing staff rally around the goal of giving our show the best chance to survive by creating the best eight episodes possible.

Now, there is a saying that goes the "strongest bonds are those born out of conflict." It was always a theme for our show. But during the making of "The Reunion" and the writing of "The Exchange," this theme suddenly became even more important to Traveler off the screen. And the passion that people put into their work on the show, despite the hardships we faced at the time, really give the final two episodes of Traveler an urgency and an emotion that befits the climax of Season 1.

So, thank you for all the comments and for all of the interest you've expressed in saving the show. Your passion for Traveler means that the efforts we made last November and December were worth it.

Now, enjoy "The Reunion." We've got some long-awaited moments in this episode, including Jay's reunion with Kim, the first time our guys reach out to Agent Marlow, more vintage Will Traveler ass-kicking, and hands down the best cliffhanger of the season. Also, please send me any and all questions via the comments section on this blog. For the final episode blog, I will do another Q&A. And then after that, I'll do an end-of-season wrap-up.

Thanks, and see you down the road,

Dave

Four-quadrant Television
06/25/2007 4:26 PM
Hey, fellow Travelers! We had a great week both in episode response and in the ratings. All of your hard work promoting the show paid off with a 23-percent ratings increase week-to-week in the 18-to-49 demo. So, a huge thank-you goes out to all the fans who continue to spread the good Traveler word! Please keep it up. The show gets even more fun, action-packed and emotional as we head into the last three episodes of the season.

Wow, "fun, action-packed and emotional?" Where have I heard those criteria for good entertainment before? Well, funny story. As you know from my earlier blog entries, I started out on the film side of this wild little town we call Hollywood. And in Hollywood, there's a special buzz term we use a lot when talking about the movie biz" "four-quadrant movie." But what exactly is a 4Q film? Well, there are about a dozen of them playing in your local cineplex right now. They dominate the summer movie season. They are films that appeal to all four of the major moviegoing demographics: male and female, old and young. Spider-Man, Pirates, and Knocked Up are just a few examples of movies that draw huge numbers by appealing to a wide audience.

But if so much time goes into creating and promoting four-quadrant movies, how come we so rarely hear about four-quadrant television? Sadly, from my experience, television seems to target a more fragmented audience. If you look at the networks, you see that they are constantly referred to by the one demographic to which they appeal. ABC is considered to have a female audience. Everyone talks about how old the CBS audience is, or how young the viewers are at Fox. NBC? Well, I think they used to be the closest thing to a four-quadrant television network. Now, people just tell jokes about them, even though they have some of the highest quality and most original network programming on the air.

So why then don't the networks make more of an effort to reach out beyond their labeled demographic? To be honest, I'm not entirely sure. But it would be a great case study for a business class. My guess would be that because of the volatility and risk involved in making TV shows, and the high rate of failure, networks want to stick to programming that they believe works for their audience. They would rather cater to the eyeballs they know, than spend money trying to attract the eyeballs they don't.... Does that make sense?

The result of this homogeneous programming mentality is that you will see a lot of clones of a network's bread-and-butter shows on the schedule. Think about the multiple CSIs on CBS, the Law & Orders on NBC, Grey's and the myriad of ensemble dramedies on ABC. Another result of this democentric programming, I think, is the rise of what I call the "I Network" — and I'm not referring to any proprietary technology owned by Steve Jobs. The I Network refers to those of us who do not want to see the same show played over and over again in a slightly different variation. The I Network is created by those of us who use our DVRs and computers to create a diverse slate of shows that we want to watch when we want to watch them. In my limited and humble opinion, the I Network is the way of the future.

So, why am I talking about four-quadrant television? And how does it relate to Traveler? Well, I have been inspired by the diversity of the fans who have given us feedback both here at the TVGuide.com blog and on the message boards at IMDB and the Traveler fan forum. We made Traveler as a four-quadrant show, and based on the response I've seen thus far from fans, I think we succeeded. Whether or not that is a good thing in television awaits to be seen.

Now, on to this week's episode, "The Trader." You guys got very excited about Will's re-entry into our story in "The Tells." In "The Trader," Will's story continues. You learn more about his training and his associates. In the meantime, we've reached a turning point in Jay and Tyler's story line. They have stopped running scared and come up with a plan of attack. This plan leads them back into the lion's den… New York City, that is. The emotional payoffs in this next episode are many, including one of my all-time favorite scenes from the story, which involves Carlton Fog, played by the brilliant William Sadler. Our third story line is for all you Marlow fans out there. Viola Davis has brought such a sense of compassion to this character, and in "The Trader," you'll see her strength shine through as well. Lastly, for any fans of Invasion who are reading this, keep an eye on this week's guest star: Another "Dave" joins the team.

Hope this blog has offered some good food for thought and helped whet your appetite for another fun episode of summer TV. I'll see you guys down the road.

ABC's Traveler airs Wednesdays at 10 pm/ET.

And Our Special Guest Is...
06/15/2007 12:57 PM
Hey, guys. Thanks for all the great comments last week. Nice to see the interest in the show picking up. Now, as the title of today's entry suggests, I've invited a special guest to join us here at Dave's Traveler blog. This coming week's episode, "The Tells," offers you the first heavy dose of Will Traveler since the pilot. I've reached out to the man who brought Will to life on the small screen, Aaron Stanford, to write this week's entry. Aaron and I are both young guys who established our careers in film. (You probably recognize Aaron from his work in the X-Men movies or in such indie faves as Tadpole.) We both made our first foray into television with this show. As you may have picked up from my earlier blogs, this is not an easy transition. And I thought it would be cool for you to hear about the challenges of making Traveler from an actor's perspective. So without further adieu, here's Aaron's entry to the Traveler blog. I'll make sure he's got the URL so he can check out your comments. Enjoy the read, spread the word about "The Tells," which is a great entry point for new viewers since it retells the events of the Drexler bombing from Will's perspective, and I'll see you down the road. — Dave

Hello friends, fans and those of you just trying to stave off boredom for a few more moments by reading this blog. First, I would like to thank you all for caring enough about the show to continue watching it and to continue voicing your support. It's nice to know that all the time and effort spent in production wasn't for nothing. Dave asked me to scribble down a few words for you all about what it was like to play Will Traveler: a double-dealing, backstabbing, low-down snake in the grass. My answer? It was liberating! But seriously, there's not a whole lot I can tell you without revealing tidbits and kernels of information that you're meant to work for and sweat over in the course of the eight episodes that will (hopefully) all be airing.

Preparation for playing Will proved complicated. This was my first real experience with TV (aside from a few day-player parts) and the insanely fast pace of production caught me completely off guard. I would be given a backstory and a history for Will one day, begin researching and coming up with ideas, only to be told a week later that the backstory had been revised. Dialogue could be changed five minutes before we began shooting it. I soon realized that the best thing to do was learn to roll with the punches. I focused on moment-to-moment interactions between Will and Jay and Tyler, and tried to work with the basic unchanging elements of Will's character such as his duality and the fact that he had been living a lie every day for the past two years of his life.

The most important thing I learned — and for you to know about Will Traveler — is that he is a survivor, as illustrated at the end of Episodes 3 and 4. The details of how he managed to survive the Drexler bombing, along with other key facts about Will's identity, will be revealed in the next episode, "The Tells," this Wednesday, June 20. Yes, fans! The namesake of the series will actually have a sizable role this week, thus proving to my friends and family that I actually do have a part in the series beyond flashback cameos dripping with suspicious subtext and hidden double meanings.

When all is said and done, Will is an interesting and complex character and, if I've done my job correctly (along with the writers), he will end up surprising the lot of you... unless you are so terribly clever that you've already figured out where this twisted plot of dark shadows and deep rabbit holes is ultimately headed. Which is entirely possible. Audiences are extremely clever these days, and I have an especially high estimation of the Traveler audience. However, I hope we have stayed one step ahead of you.

Once again, thank you all for supporting the show. A lot of people worked very hard under difficult circumstances to make a show that we hoped would be worthwhile. I, for one, am very happy that you have deemed it worthy of your time. If you keep on watching, and writing in, they'll keep showing them. I hope you all enjoy the next episode, where the real Will Traveler is finally revealed. Till then! — Aaron

Q&A
06/08/2007 3:31 PM
We're three episodes into the season, and it's "question and answer" time here at Dave's Traveler blog. But first, a big thanks to all of you who come back every week to check out the show. We had a great hold from last week's premiere, and ABC will take notice of that. Also, I appreciate the blog comments. Great to hear your theories and your passion for the series. As a reward, I'm going to dip my hand into my fishbowl here and pick out our first question. Here we go:

1. What are the show's future chances currently like? Please tell me there is some hope for a second season. — Posted by lswanson63

Starting off with a big one. I can only tell you what I've been told by ABC. It's up to the fans. I think that there are a lot of people afraid to engage this show because there have been so many serialized shows cancelled after three episodes this year. Well, do not be afraid to engage Traveler. I've been told by ABC that they will run all eight episodes this summer. But we need to build our audience if we want to come back for a second season. So if you like the show, please do two things: Contact ABC scheduling and show your support with an e-mail. Then tell your friends to start watching the show and do the same. We have an incredibly loyal fan base, as evidenced by the hold in the ratings from last week. We've got our best episodes yet to come... now that Will is alive, things really get fun. In addition, you will find answers to your questions, no matter what happens, even if I have to answer them myself on this blog.

2. Regardless of who Will really is, and how he came to be a part of Jay's and Tyler's lives, how much of Will's friendships with the guys was actually real? I'm wondering if the show is going to address Will's true feelings about Jay and Tyler as people and as friends, despite everything else that has and will continue to go on. — Posted by spartygirl1822

Spartygirl has hit the proverbial nail on the head. We will certainly be exploring this issue, as friendship, betrayal and the nature of identity are the central themes of the show. Will has returned with a mission of his own, but you can expect to see his path cross with Jay and Tyler. And it won't be an easy reunion.

3. I'm wondering if Tyler's "ex"-girlfriend has something to do with it... and who was the man that ran into Kim? Who was the man in the limo? — Posted by Biyanka

A lot of people have been asking about Nell. This is actually pretty funny as it's something our editor first noticed when he cut together the flashback scene in the library. I wish I could say it was intentional. But I'm an honest guy, and I will admit it was never intended to play that way. It's one of those great accidents that happen on set when someone finds something in the moment and it adds to the episode. As for the man who ran into Kim, you'll learn more about him in two weeks. And the man in the limo, played by Neal McDonough, is a key player in the Drexler conspiracy. More on him later.

4. How difficult was it for you to rewrite the episodes when the order was cut from 13 to 8? — Posted by losky2

Excellent question. We were literally about to start prepping Episode 8 of 13 when we found out our order had been shortened. It was November. By then, many of the serialized shows of the fall had ended in a bloodbath of cancellations. ABC listened to the chief audience complaint: These shows don't need 22 episodes to tell their stories. And they made the great Traveler experiment. We were cut to 8. One result? One hell of a season finale. We suddenly sandwiched five episodes of story ideas into one last blowout. The other result... reshoots. We had to literally retrofit our story lines from the first six episodes to fit the season-long arc. It made for the craziest month of my life. Just ask my wife. Or better yet, don't. She's still a bit angry about November.

5. And where has The Porter (Billy Mayo) been? He helped our boys a great deal in the first episode, but he's been MIA since. — Posted by Casey Marsella

This is from Casey's series blog. I hope you're checking it out. Casey does a great weekly analysis of the show's twists and turns. Thanks, Casey. Anyway, "The Porter." He is one of my favorite characters. A guardian angel? Or a bad guy with an angle? Well, you're about to see a whole lot more of him in the next two episodes. Why haven't you seen him since? Storytelling-wise, you need to use your omnipotent heroes sparingly. A little of these guys goes a long way. On the economic end of things, when we make guest-star deals in television, they are done for a specific number of episodes... unless you're Lost and you have enough money to hire everybody full-time. Because of this, we were forced to use Billy Mayo, the man who plays The Porter with all that strength, in a judicious manner.

6. Why hasn't Neal McDonough been given on-screen credit for his role as Homeland Security mystery man? His name isn't shown at any time, either at the beginning or the end, and he's now had two appearances, albeit short one-liners. But he still has a speaking role for which credit should be given. And he's a well-known actor! — Posted by jfkscw2

Neal is the man. The Mystery Man. Everyone perks up when he comes on screen. But you found the rub when you said "short one-liners," aka cameos. Just as big movie stars often do uncredited cameos in features, Neal is kind of doing that for us. But don't worry. He gets much more involved. And he will get credit when his character has a name. For now, enjoy those cameos. I know Neal enjoyed doing them.

7. There's got to be more behind this elaborate, two-year setup than just stealing art, priceless or not. Something an examination of the painting(s) would show that could bring down the president or expose some national secret? — Posted by Nunovyer Bidness

Nunovyer Bidness, love the screen name. You are the only person on all of the message boards I check who has caught on to the painting. Where are those TiVos, people? Anyone do a screen grab to see what that painting is? I'm not saying it's the secret to the whole series. But it opens some pretty hefty doors. Thanks for the observation, Nunovyer.

In closing, a few words about this week's episode, "The Out." Check out Jay's and Tyler's MySpace pages: (myspace.com/jayatyale and myspace.com/tyleratyale). They come into play in next week's show as our guys make it to Will's hometown of Deer Harbor, Maine. Once there, they start to discover the extent of Will's network. It's some fun, Hitchcockian madness in a small town. Enjoy, and keep spreading the good Traveler word. Let's make some noise next week with the ratings!

See you down the road,
Dave

Cloak and Dagger
06/04/2007 4:40 PM
Traveler's summer run has officially begun and, like you guys, I'm enjoying the ride so far. This show has been a labor of love for the people who made it, and it's great to see the show find such a devoted fan base after just two episodes. The fact that so many of you have started forming theories about Will Traveler and the Drexler Bombing has me fired up about where the show is heading. This interaction is one of the great hallmarks of the "cloak-and-dagger" genre, where individuals are placed into situations where their actions become representative of entire governments and political climates. And the audience starts asking what they would do if they were in that situation. Whom would you trust? How would you react? And most importantly for Traveler, where would you run?

I was watching a great show on the History Channel this week called Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed. (OK, OK. Now that I've admitted to being a Lost and Star Wars fan, you might be picturing me as a dude who spends most of his day in his bathrobe. But I assure you, I am wearing pants as I type this at 2 pm.) This show talked about the genesis of the Star Wars story line and how it reflected the times in which it was created. A time when America was locked in a war it wasn't sure it could win. A time when the American government had lost the trust of its people. A time when American values were changing. Hmmm. Sounds a lot like today, right?

Well, I won't even attempt to draw a parallel between Traveler and something as sacred as Star Wars. But the climate of uncertainty in the '70s also led to some of the greatest cloak-and-dagger thrillers ever made, specifically Three Days of the Condor and Parallax View. Movies that both entertained their audiences and made them think about the world in which they lived. This mantle has been passed down to television in the 21st century, with shows like 24 and Prison Break, as well as Battlestar Galactica, The West Wing and The Sopranos, taking an active role in reflecting society's unease with its current political leadership. Now, let me point out, this is not something divided down the party line of Democrats and Republicans. Regardless of party affiliation, it's getting harder to believe that one voice can make a difference in today's democracy. And that last idea will become key to Traveler.

As for the near future, things will get tougher for Jay and Tyler before they start getting easier. As you saw in "The Retreat" (which is available to stream on ABC.com if you missed it on Wednesday), Jay and Tyler's Carlton Fog safety valve is no longer an option. That Mystery Man behind the Drexler Bombing, so perfectly played by the chilling Neal McDonough, infiltrated Carlton's estate and nearly killed Jay and Tyler.

So where do you go now? Do you head for the border? Spend your life on the run, knowing that someday you'll awaken to find a man with a gun entering your musty hotel room in Argentina? Or do you turn back and fight? Try to figure out who you're dealing with and how to stop them? By now you know our two guys. You know that Jay and Tyler will head back to Yale. To New Haven. The place where this all began… and the title of this week's episode.

In "New Haven" you can look forward to learning more about Jay and Tyler's lives at Yale. You'll get a chance to see the FBI in action as they leave New York and follow their fugitive's growing trail of evidence while the Marlow/Chambers rift widens. And yes, there will be more Will Traveler. The enigma. An individual whose actions might one day have a lot to say about the world in which we live.

Enjoy the show. Continue to spread the word. And for those looking for some fun Traveler stuff on the web, check out whoiswilltraveler.com. And please keep the questions coming. Next blog entry will be a Q&A based on your comments from the last three blogs!

See you down the road,
Dave

Lost and Found
05/25/2007 3:50 PM
First off, I'd like to thank the nearly 9 million people who tuned in to Traveler's May 10 sneak preview. You guys made Traveler one of the most successful May sweeps premieres of all time. And a special thanks goes to those fans who have checked out the blog and left comments. I read all of them. In fact, Ranger99's comment from May 4, in which he asked about the number of episodes, has inspired this blog entry.

So, what's with this post's title? Well, it turns out the creator of Traveler, yours truly, is also a huge fan of another ABC serialized thriller: Lost. I just finished watching the Lost Season 3 finale, and it got me thinking about what makes good TV.

Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse (Lost's executive producers) and company have an unparalleled knack for blowing our collective mind. This season finale delivered. It was fantastic. It not only answered a few huge questions, but it also raised a new question to drive the series forward. So why then have Damon, Carlton and Co. taken so much flack this year for their extremely gifted storytelling? And how does this relate to Traveler, as we prepare to assume Lost's time slot for the next two months?

Consider the following situation. You have to catch a bus, and you ask a stranger about the schedule.

You: "'Scuse me, do you know when the next bus arrives?"
Stranger: "Do I know when the next bus arrives?"

And that's all he says. He's answered your question with a question. Why? Well, you see, it turns out this stranger has been told by someone else to make sure he distracts you for at least 10 minutes. So, what should be a 10-second conversation suddenly turns into a lengthy conversation. The exchange continues:

You: "So, you do know the bus schedule?"
Stranger: "Of course. I've been on this bus many times. In fact, I met my wife on this very same route."
You: "Really?"
Stranger: "Yeah. I was 20, working as a newspaper reporter. And I'd lost my driver's license the night before. I had to take the bus to work. And there, sitting in the back row was this gorgeous brunette...."

Suddenly, you're intrigued. You want to know this guy's story. How did he lose his license? What was his future wife doing on this bus? Was it fate that brought them together? But after a while, you realize the reason you started this conversation in the first place. And eventually you want an answer to your question.

Now, this is basically a metaphor for what we creators of serialized shows go through. Most serialized shows are forced to stretch simple, meaningful story lines into 22-episode seasons. And while we the fans enjoy the stories, we also start to sense when we're being distracted from the original question. Sooner or later, that man needs to tell us about the bus.

Lost has come roaring back this year by answering questions and giving us new ones to explore, returning the show to the quality of its Emmy-winning first season. But how does this relate to Traveler? Quite simply, we had the luxury of crafting a season-long arc that did not have to stretch over 22 episodes. In fact, our first season — beginning, middle and end — fits into eight. That means we can flip your expectations and create new turns any time we please.

On Wednesday, May 30, ABC will rerun our pilot at 9 pm/ET and then show Episode 2, "The Retreat," at 10 pm. Even if you saw the pilot on May 10, I urge to watch it again so that the questions it raises are fresh in your mind, because we start answering those questions right off the bat with "The Retreat." Remember that scene from the pilot in Carlton Fog's office? Well, you'll learn who Tyler's old man was talking to. And even as we answer questions, we will make sure to replace them with new, even more compelling ones… though you'll have to wait until the end of the episode to understand that.

So for any TV fans out there worried that Traveler will be one more serialized show struggling to stretch its story over the course of a full season, I say, "Fear not." The people who write and produce this show are TV fans themselves. We've seen the pitfalls of the genre and done our best to avoid them, giving you a blend of action, character and emotion that you will not find on any other show this summer. And best of all, you only have to wait eight episodes to answer the question, "Who is Will Traveler?" — an answer which will propel us into Season 2.

I hope you enjoy "The Retreat." Please keep the comments coming, and I'll see ya down the road.

Dave

The Road Less Traveled
05/04/2007 3:53 PM
Robert Frost's oft-quoted poem ends with the lines:

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

It's funny to sit here on the eve of Traveler's series launch and think back to the point where I stood at the proverbial fork in the road. It was about two years ago. We were finishing production on my first produced screenplay, Disney's family adventure film Eight Below. The phone rang. It was my agency. The agent on the line — who, by the way, is nothing like Ari Gold on Entourage — asked me a simple question: "What do you think about TV?" To which I quickly replied, "I enjoy it. Regularly. Why?" The answer came back: "Because now that you have a movie made, you should really think about television."

And there it was, in all of its metaphorical glory — the fork. Should I go back to writing movies? Or should I take this new, less trodden path towards the land of TV? I, of course, went right back to the comfort of movies. But I couldn't stop thinking about the other road... the one not taken.

Cut to: Central Jersey. June 2005. My wife's 10-year college reunion. We met at school, graduated a year apart, and now make it back for reunions as often as life on the West Coast with two kids will allow. So there we are, standing in the mud of a recent thunderstorm, soaking up the late-night humidity I seldom miss about East Coast summers. And we're drinking. And talking. And I start noticing how much some of our classmates have changed. Don't get me wrong, some folks are exactly the same: 31-year-old dudes doing keg stands — you get the picture. But other folks have done complete 180s. And it gets me thinking, how well do we really know people? Our friends. Our neighbors. The people we trust most in life. This would become the central theme for Traveler.

Yes, I know, it sounds paranoid. But so is a world in which Washington admits the existence of a domestic espionage program and the public barely raises an eyebrow. I couldn't stop thinking about those questions. And then I started looking around at that beautiful college campus. University is a time and place that everyone holds dear. If you could combine the collegiate world of innocence and friendship with a real-world feeling of paranoia and betrayal, you'd have something unique. And thus came the premise for Traveler: Three friends from grad school set off on a cross-country road trip together. But at the first stop, New York City, one of them frames the other two for a terrorist attack. Within a month I was in my agent's office pitching the show. A few weeks after that, I'd been paired with the talented Oscar-winning producer team of Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen. By the end of summer, we'd sold Traveler to the Warner Bros. TV studio and ABC networks. And not long after that, David Nutter, the most successful pilot director in Hollywood, came on board.

This new path was a nice one. Nice and fast. I mean we the people kind of lump TV and film together when we refer to "Hollywood entertainment." But they could not be more different. Movies are these incredibly cared-for creatures, the Kobe-beef cows of mass entertainment, if you will. Spoon-fed the finest foods. Massaged daily. On the other end of the spectrum, you have TV shows, given paltry budgets and ridiculously short shooting schedules. Pretty much the ballpark frank to film's Kobe beef. And yet, every year TV shows suck us in as movies never can. We become addicted to spending time with the characters, getting to know them in a way that even the Godfather trilogy did not allow. And I can tell you from personal experience, those of us behind the scenes (from the creators to the gaffers) become addicted to making these stories. We love making ballpark franks. Why? Because they taste so damn good. And a hell of a lot more people get to enjoy them.

So, get ready for a fun ride. With these blogs, I'll be your guide on a trip down the road less traveled. First up, the pilot of Traveler. It's fast and furious, filled with addictive characters, friendship, betrayal and even some ballpark franks. It will entertain you. And make you think. So tune in Thursday, May 10, at 10 pm/ET on ABC. And then I'll see you again on May 30 when we launch our eight-week summer run. Until then, safe travels.



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