‘Big Sky’: Why the Show Was Risky for Network Television

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images)

When ABC gave the drama Big Sky a place on its primetime lineup, the network was taking a risk by airing the show. Why was it a risk?

Outsiders, let us get some clarity about the situation with an article from TV Insider.

A fan of the show, which stars Kathryn Winnick and Kylie Bunbury, writes the publication’s TV critic: “I’m hoping Big Sky will get renewed but am concerned that ABC did the show a disservice by stopping and starting many times. David E. Kelley may have been better served to have the show air on cable. It is very gripping for network TV. I try to get friends to watch from [the] beginning as it is hard to jump into.”

The TV Insider critic replies that it was significant for show creator David E. Kelley to bring Big Sky to ABC.

He did enjoy years of success on ABC before moving to cable, premium cable, and streaming.

This happened with Big Little Lies, The Undoing for HBO, and Nine Perfect Strangers for Hulu. The TV critic adds that Big Sky’s more serialized thriller format is “a bit different and risky for network TV, and the erratic nature of network scheduling doesn’t work in its favor.”

Right now, ABC is sticking with it.

Other stars on Big Sky include Brian Geraghty, John Carroll Lynch, and Janina Gavankar.

‘Big Sky’ Star Janina Gavankar Talks About Getting Role On Show

Let’s look at what led to one actress joining Big Sky.

The opportunity to star in Big Sky fell in Janina Gavankar’s lap.

So, the actress chats with Collider’s Ladies Night host Perri Nemiroff. Gavankar says showrunner Elwood Reid made an offer.

Gavankar says to Nemiroff, “He talked to me about [Ren Buller].

“And the funny thing, he was like ‘I know you’re gonna ask me like who she is. Like you’re gonna ask me about this character. But the truth is like, I don’t really know,'” she says.

Reid doesn’t seem to fully create his characters before casting. So, in the development process, Elwood seeks out people that he wants to work with.

He will then collaborate with them. As a team, the showrunner and actors decide on a personality.

And Gavankar loved the idea of thinking up the inner workings of Ren on Big Sky.

She says that she told Elwood, “Hmm, yeah, you’re speaking my language, sir.”

Gavankar adds, “So, uh, he told me that she came from a crime family. I suddenly saw the opportunity to work with actors that are friends of mine and have a group of brown people that were just terrible people and that is something that we don’t get to often. And that was very exciting to me.”