Everyone loves Mindy Kaling.
That’s just a fact. But after the end of “The Mindy Project,” and with Kaling’s starring performance in Disney’s “A Wrinkle In Time,” there was a concern that she might have left behind the small-screen for Hollywood.
Kaling has since quashed these worries by co-creating, writting for and starring in the new NBC sitcom “Champions.”
I recently spoke to “Champions’” other co-creator Charlie Grandy and he broke down Mindy’s involvement in the show, especially when it comes to her character of Priya.
“Mindy is in the pilot. We brought her in to help launch the show. And to be a character that Vince (Anders Holm) can contact on the phone for some parenting advice. She ends up being in 4 episodes.”
“She comes back in Episode 9, and she is really this nice kind of secret weapon that we can deploy when we want to.”
Grandy also explained why they resisted the urge to make Kaling a leading cast member on “Champions," which revolves around Michael (J.J. Totah), a gay half-Indian teenager, moving in with his father Vince (Anders Holm) so that he can pursue his dream of becoming a Broadway star. Gym owner Vince didn't even know Michael existed, until his high school fling Priya suddenly arrived and dropped him on his door step.
“We really felt it would be great if Mindy was in the show full time, but for the show to exist it would have to exist without her.”
“We found really quickly that it would work really well with and without her. She’s not a main character, she’s a guest star.”
For Grandy, though, after working extensively with Kaling on “The Office” and “The Mindy Project,” he was just happy that she’d had the idea for “Champions” in the first place, and that she had the time to sprinkle some of her creative magic on it.
“Mindy is the best writer I have ever worked with. I think of her as a writer first and foremost. She is such a talented performer, too.”
“I think she is just so creative that stories and jokes are just always spewing from her. The discipline that she has when it comes to story, character and making sure it builds and pays-off is incredible.”
“She really is just a master of this craft. Which is why I feel so lucky to work with her.”
“Champions” airs on NBC on Thursday at 9:30/8:30c.