- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The creator of “Orange Is the New Black” says Netflix purchased “terrorism insurance” to deal with the possible fallout over an upcoming “teen Jesus” project.

The Hollywood Reporter invited Jenji Kohan to a round table discussion this week with five industry insiders. All eyes turned to the producer when she was asked about the last time a project made her nervous.

“We’re developing a teen Jesus project [for Netflix] that got some people nervous,” she told THR’s guest in a video uploaded Tuesday to YouTube. “It’s like ‘The Wonder Years’ but with Jesus, and there are all sorts of things where we cross lines — and there are crazies out there.”

“The Wonder Years” was a hit ABC television show that aired from 1988 to 1993. It starred actor Fred Savage as “Kevin Arnold” growing up in suburban America in the early 1970s.

“I remember Shonda [Rhimes] telling a story of people camping out outside her house when she killed McDreamy [on Grey’s Anatomy],” Ms. Kohan continued. “People get crazy because they bathe in these characters, and they take it personally.”

The writer then went on to discuss the temptation to infuse her work with political commentary, along with the “pressure” to include Black Lives Matter rhetoric into “Orange is the New Black.”

“It was frustrating because during the election, we were already in [production], and we were stuck,” she said. “Season five is season five, but for six, I don’t think anyone can help but incorporate some of the feelings associated with what’s going on and the divisions and all that stuff. […]  There’s definitely that pressure [on BLM messaging]. Sometimes you get things right for a certain audience and wrong for another audience. You can’t please everyone.”

No date was announced for the producer’s “teen Jesus” series during the interview.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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