‘Parenthood’: Cancer, Abortion Have Everyone Talking

parenthood cast
Teen sex and abortion are helping NBC’s PARENTHOOD finally emerge from the brink of cancellation.The network fully backed last week’s controversial episode in which high schooler Amy (Skylar Day) terminated her pregnancy, executive producer Jason Katims says.“(NBC) said they were going to support us to tell this story because they felt we would tell it in a way that was not politicized,” he tells me.“They wanted to make sure that we were responsible in terms of the facts and how we told the story.  But they did not ever suggest that we don’t do it.”In the emotional installment — which drew fire from several Right To Life groups — Amy decides to go through with the procedure, despite objections from her boyfriend, Drew (Miles Heizer).“There’s only one option,” she tells him.  “If I have this baby, my life is over.”

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Katims — who previously tackled the subject of abortion on “Friday Night Lights” — says his team “discussed every possibility” but never seriously considered having the teen keep her baby.

“This episode, obviously endorsed by Planned Parenthood itself, was more like a giant advertisement for the abortion provider than it was an entertainment show,” the human rights group Live Action wrote in a blog post.

But NBC appears to be standing by its show.

Last week, programming chief Bob Greenblatt said there is a “strong possibility” the drama will be back for a fifth season.

Until recently, PARENTHOOD — which draws about 5 million viewers each week — had been on unstable footing, with fans and producers unclear at the end of each season if the show would return.

Buzz began to build in late 2012 when one of the show’s main characters, played by Monica Potter, revealed she was fighting breast cancer.

“It kind of raised the stakes in a way,” Katims says. “The show itself has continued to creatively grow and deepen.

“I feel like what we are trying to do overall is find a balance between the more difficult stories and the ones that are lighter.  That, I think, is the charm of the show.”

Ratings also got a boost from the addition of recurring guest star Ray Romano, as the love interest of Sarah Braverman (Lauren Graham).

“Ray contacted me after last season,” Katims remembers.  “He left me a message saying how much he enjoyed the finale and said sort of half jokingly, ‘Hey, if you ever need a guest star…’ I didn’t know if her was being serious or not.
It is possible that — schedule permitting — Romano could return as a series regular next year, Katims says.

On Saturday, NBC announced Katims will also produce a pilot for “About A Boy,” a half hour comedy based on the Nick Hornsby novel and the 2002 Hugh Grant movie.

An alternate version of this story appeared in The New York Post

Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at TheTVPage.com
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly