Married showrunners in rival universes; 'Amanda Knox' directors
TV writer-producers and married couple Marc Guggenheim and Tara Butters recently found themselves running shows on opposite sides of the superhero wars: Butters at Marvel's Agent Carter and Guggenheim at DC Comics' Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow. Plus, the directors of the new Amanda Knox Netflix documentary on their quest to go beyond salacious headlines.
For married couple Tara Butters and Marc Guggenheim, the rivalry between Marvel and DC Comics got personal. Guggenheim was producing the DC Comics show Arrow for the CW, while Butters was running Marvel's Agent Carter on ABC. The couple talks about what it's like to work in the competing universes. Then, the filmmakers of the new Netflix documentary Amanda Knox knew they couldn't make their movie until they could get Knox herself to talk to them. That meant waiting years.
Photo: Amanda Knox in the new Netflix documentary Amanda Knox, directed by Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn. (Netflix)
Fall TV is officially underway, and while there's no breakout hits so far this year, there's potential in shows like CBS's Bull, ABC's Designated Survivor and NBC's This Is Us, thanks in part to the shows' success over delayed viewing periods.
Netflix has been hiring lots of executives away from other media companies, and now Fox is suing the streaming giant, accusing them of improperly poaching two of their employees.
Television writer-producers Tara Butters and Marc Guggenheim have been married almost 12 years. They recently sat down with Michael Schneider, host of KCRW's podcast The Spin-off, and told him about their careers -- including when they first met.
Guggenheim, who was a lawyer before he left to write full-time for television, was working on, appropriately enough, Law & Order. Butters and her writing partner, Michele Fazekas, were on staff of one of the show's spin-offs, Law & Order: SVU, and worked across the hall. Guggenheim was their go-to guy for legal questions related to the show.
Butters and Fazekas went on to executive produce Reaper on the CW and Resurrection on ABC.
Meanwhile, Guggenheim formed a partnership with mega-producer Greg Berlanti after working with him on several TV shows and a movie. One of their current hit shows, Arrow, returns to the CW for its fifth season on October 5. Guggenheim is also a co-showrunner on the DC comics show Legends of Tomorrow, which is back for a second season on October 13.
A few years back, while Guggenheim was thoroughly entrenched in the DC "Arrowverse," ABC made Butters and Fazekas the showrunners of its new Marvel TV series, Agent Carter, which ran for two seasons before it was cancelled earlier this year.
While Guggenheim and Butters were immersed in their respective universes, the philosophical and business differences between DC and Marvel came into sharp focus. They tell us how even though they were technically working for rivals, at home it was never too much of a challenge since they remained steadfast fans of each other's work.
After British student Meredith Kercher was found brutally murdered in Perugia, Italy, in 2007, news stories quickly focused less on the victim than her roommate, Amanda Knox.
Knox spent the years that followed as fodder for tabloids and more mainstream media. She was twice convicted of the murder and spent four years in prison before she was released in 2011, and finally acquitted last year by the Italian supreme court.
Well before that ruling -- five years ago -- Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn set out to make a documentary that would cut through the noisy media coverage and attempt to get to the truth. That meant getting Knox, who now lives back home in Seattle, to talk on camera. At first that was something she was loathe to do after nearly a decade of being hounded by the press.
Their documentary, simply titled Amanda Knox, is now available on Netflix.
When the filmmakers spoke to KCRW's Madeleine Brand, they said the impetus for the movie was the relentless media coverage of the Knox case.