Right now, Mindy Lahiri is the baddest, most queenly OB-GYN in Manhattan (if only the fictional Manhattan where all the other TV royalty of the ages hail from). Of course, there was a time before The Mindy Project, and eventually, there’s going to be a time after.
Mindy Kaling–creator, show-runner, executive producer, writer, and lead actress of Hulu’s The Mindy Project–credits the way her show has flourished in the last year to the network, or lack of network, that it currently lives on. At Variety‘s TV Summit yesterday, Kaling explained how much her work with the show has changed since being dropped by Fox.
She credits it all to the ratings. “I don’t know what the ratings are,” said Kaling gleefully. “They tell me we’re doing great, and that’s it.”
In 2015, Kaling was on a camping retreat in Montana with her script and friend, 30 Rock writer Tracey Wigfield when she got a phone call. Fox, which had picked up The Mindy Project after its original owner, NBC, lost interest, was cancelling the show after three years and three seasons. Initially, admitted Kaling, it was jarring but then almost immediately, she and her leadership crew had a plan.
The plan, presented by former Universal Television president Bela Bajaria to Kaling, was to dump Fox right back and take their business elsewhere.
“She told me ‘Fox is opting not to pick up the show and we’re going to have it on Hulu,’” said Kaling. “That was her plan. I think that’s very leader-y. When you’re a show-runner you’re not always bringing the best news to your staff. But I appreciated that she came with a plan. No one wants to see their leader say ‘I don’t know what we’re going to do.’ I really appreciated that she had a plan.”
Hulu was glad to have The Mindy Project, and Kaling attributes that to how well re-runs of her show did for the streaming service.
Now, with a successful fourth season of twenty-six episodes under her belt, Kaling’s peering towards the future. For one, the writer-show-runner-actress-producer already has the layout of the fifth season planned out. According to Kaling, season five will run smaller than its predecessor, carrying out sixteen episodes sliced into two eight-episode “blocks.” As for the story-line, Kaling’s tinkering with her endgame.
“I have an ending in mind. I don’t know when it would be,” she said, but with her sight moving towards the possibilities of the film world, she added, “I am tempted by a lot of other interesting things.”
One thing is for certain. Mindy Kaling will continue to blaze in the footsteps of her idols, which include not only fellow comedic writer Tina Fey, but also Emma Thompson–who was nominated for both writing and acting in 1996–and Carrie Bradshaw–yes, the fictional New York journalist and life-liver from Sex and the City.
Mindy Lahiri would approve.