‘New Girl’ writer Liz Meriwether talks ‘spoilers’ and keeping the show fresh

About 3.9 million viewers tune in to watch “New Girl” every week.

Even with three seasons, five Emmy nominations and almost 3.9 million viewers tuning in to Fox’s “New Girl” every Tuesday to her credit, show producer/writer Liz Meriwether says her job hasn’t gotten any easier. In fact, if anything, it’s only gotten more challenging. Besides performing the difficult and never-ending dance of keeping hundreds of people happy — co-show runners and writers, the studio, the network — Meriwether also works tirelessly to make sure the voice of “New Girl” remains her own.

Can you tell us about the episode where Coach and Cece go on a date? How did you decide to go in that direction with those characters?

Well, this is something that obviously causes a fair amount of stress for Schmidt. We thought it was sort of interesting to have this new character come in and not really understand the backstory between her and Schmidt, just swoop in and take her out on a date. But, I’m not sure if the Cece-Coach relationship is going to go forward; it might have just been this one date. I think that Cece just wants to get back out there and go out on a date with a really hot guy. [laughs] I think that’s what’s going on in her head. It was really fun to shoot them together — they have a really great chemistry. Plus they are both just gorgeous, you know, it’s fun to just watch them onscreen.

How long will Damon Wayans be on the series?

Damon is with us for the rest of the year, which is really exciting. We are so happy to have him back. He just fits in perfectly.

So we know Damon is signed on till the end of the year, but more importantly, what about Ferguson [the cat]?

Well it’s funny, because in the next episode there is this date between Cece and Ferguson and it goes really well. [laughs] I’m kidding, I don’t know; I don’t have an ending for Ferguson right now. He is the cutest thing. We all kind of fell in love with him and we actually have to hold ourselves back from writing him into so many episodes because we don’t want any Ferguson fatigue. I love Winston’s relationship with him. There is sort of an important plot development where Winston realizes he needs to take a step back from Ferguson because their relationship maybe has gotten a little too intense.

Well the storyline says he goes missing.

Yeah, he goes missing and that kind of leaves Winston to blame and makes him take a step back from Ferguson. Nick thinks that Winston has taken himself out of the game with women because he’s gotten too into the cat. Nick just wants to help him.

With Jess and Nick it seems like you have written it so they don’t go that typical TV relationship path. Can you talk about how it is to write their parts now, in a relationship, as opposed to before when they weren’t together?

As someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with happy relationships, it’s sort of interesting for me to write them. We didn’t want to have them breaking up every five minutes. We really wanted to invest in their relationship and see what would actually happen between them. It’s definitely changed the DNA of the show a little, but I think it’s important for a show to keep changing and growing and evolving so that it feels real and what would really happen to these people.

Did you ever want to be an actor?

In college I did a lot of acting, and started writing in the midst of that, just because I saw writing as an extension of acting and creating stories for characters. I think my experience really informs how I write. I try to think about the actors and what their strengths are and then write to those strengths. I think our show is really funny and I think there are a lot of jokes that are dependent on the performance.

Would you ever want to act again?

I like eating too much. I like to eat, so I don’t think I could ever be an actress.

This is only your third season on a TV show — do you feel like you have a better sense of what works for the show now than you used to?

I think there is some perception that in TV, you eventually get to go on autopilot and you can turn out episode after episode easily after a while. Sometimes I wish that was the case, but it just doesn’t exist with this show. For better or for worse, we’re always trying to challenge ourselves and change the dynamics of the show. I think we’re always trying to push what we can do with the characters and change things and keep it really fresh. I’ve never felt like I could just sit back and get my feet rubbed or whatever.

You guys are going to have a Super Bowl episode. Have you thought about any storylines yet?

I’m definitely a little nervous about it because it’s such as big audience, but in a good way. The story is going to be mostly about Ferguson. [laughs] Just kidding. We really want to create an episode that was group-centered and where everyone can be together. The group gets invited to a big fancy party and it’s sort of all of them at this party together … and I sort of can’t say more than that.

“New Girl” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Fox.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD: Man denied money punches 65-year-old at Bronx…

A 65-year-old man was punched and shoved at a D train station in the Bronx last week when he denied another man money, police said.

Local

New York Governor Cuomo's office intervened in corruption…

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office meddled with a commission he created to root out corruption in state politics, pushing back whenever it focused on groups tied to Cuomo, the…

International

South Korea ferry fugitive found dead with bags…

By Ju-min Park and Sohee KimSUNCHEON/INCHEON South Korea (Reuters) - South Korea's most wanted man, whose heavily decomposed body was found in an orchard last…

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Books

Art imitates life (almost) in David Shaprio's new…

David Shapiro talks about his book, "You're Not Much Use To Anyone."

Movies

Interview: 'Happy Christmas' director Joe Swanberg on making…

"Happy Christmas" filmmaker Joe Swanberg talks about the collaborative nature of his films with name actors and the difficulties of getting indies seen.

Gossip

Is Justin Bieber now a Calvin Klein underwear…

A source told the Daily Mail that Justin Bieber "has shot for Calvin Klein" and that they "hope the results will be released later this year." While probably…

Gossip

Peaches Geldof's death was drugs-related, coroner rules

LONDON (Reuters) - The death of Peaches Geldof, the daughter of musician and Band Aid founder Bob Geldof, was drugs-related, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.The…

NFL

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost

NFL

3 storylines to watch as Jets open training…

Jets head coach Rex Ryan might be in for an even tougher job in 2014 after arguably his best coaching job last season.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

Education

Elementary school students like their healthy school lunches…

  When the federal government first rolled out its healthier school meal guidelines in 2012, elementary schoolers weren't happy. Much was written about how America's…

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…