Major shake-ups are in store with tonight's episode of CBS's "Ghost Whisperer." To the dismay of diehard fans, it has been rumored that actor David Conrad's days might be numbered when it was revealed that his character of Jim may die. To clarify the new direction of the series as well as hint at what is to come for the Jim/Melinda relationship, executive producers Kim Moses and Ian Sander talked to Jim Halterman earlier today.
Moses started out by saying that "we are at a very important storytelling section of the season. When we started the series four years ago, the pilot opened up on Jim and Melinda's wedding. In the four year journey what we've found is that audiences really love their relationship and because we have two immensely popular actors � Jennifer Love Hewitt and David Conrad � who have amazing chemistry onscreen. And what we wanted to do was give the audience more of them because we'd been hearing from the audience how much they love them." Though the producers didn't go into exact detail as to what happens in tonight's episode, they weren't afraid to tease a little bit about the impact of the events. In tonight's "Threshold" episode, "there's a big surprise at the end of the episode," Moses offered. She then added that next week's "Heart and Soul" episode, can be considered, "the turning point for the season and for their relationship where we're going to reboot Jim and Melinda's love story so that the audience can experience them falling in love from the very beginning."
Sander chimed in by adding, "We know from the audiences that they have really fallen in love with these two characters and that it's obviously a very functional relationship with two people that are very supportive of each other, which in real life that's somewhat unusual and certainly on television it's been somewhat unusual and audiences seems to have attached themselves to that relationship. This was a way of going back and giving them a courtship, if you will, and a romance, if you will, in a way that we think is both very dramatic and very exciting."
Changing the dynamic and journey for the main characters of any series is risky but Sander had his own take on why it's a good thing to be risky. "Unless you stick it out there and try to do something that is brave," Sander said, "you will never do anything great. It's not as difficult to do something that is good and be very even down the line [but] if you want to ever do something great whether it's an actor's performance, whether it's a director directing a show or whether it's a painter painting, you have to try something bold and chancy and take those kinds of chances to do something great and this is our way of doing that."
And how do Moses and Sander think the audience will react to the coming changes? Moses offered that the chemistry between the two leads is only going to become increasingly richer. "You always hope for that magic but you can never imagine that you could get something this powerful. And moving forward, what we've done is we want to give their relationship more screen time. And so we have to balance out the ghosts and the way to do it is to take the journey we're taking�very few people get a second chance at true love and that's what this journey is about."
Mystery is an important element of the series that Sander feels will keep the audience invested in the upcoming twists and turns of the series. "All I can say to [the audience] is you must turn the page and see where this mystery is going if you want to be satisfied and all that we saw at the end of last week's episode was a page in the mystery. We now encourage you to turn the page and we promise you you'll both be surprised and satisfied with what's on the next page and the mystery will be fulfilled. Then, of course, we will continue to be mysterious as we go forward otherwise why would you turn the page for the next episode? So we hope that this will just be the beginning to kick off what we call our mythology for season four."
As with any drama, things are not destined to go smoothly as the characters that Hewitt and Conrad play go through this new chapter of their romance. "I think any time you start a new relationship there are many, many complications," Moses explained. "People are not always on the same page so without giving a huge amount away, the idea that they have to reconnect and find common footing is�it's a great challenge in a relationship."
One plot point that the producers gave away was that Conrad's character has to work to regain his memory in the course of the coming episodes and there are many complications that will arise from this plot point. Sander explained, "As Jim is recovering his memory, there will be surprises in that memory that can create certain kinds of complications that have to be overcome by the relationship. As he's finding out new things, there are things that both surprise him and he may also discover things in his memory that also surprise Melinda and those kinds of things could bring about complications that we will work to overcome and that will make the relationship stronger."
Besides the Jim and Melinda character, the supporting characters will also have to adjust to the changes afoot, particularly the Delia character, played by Camryn Manheim. "Delia has a big surprise in [next week's episode] and it's how that information and how this new relationship lands with the other characters and that also effects Delia and Melinda's relationship."
With actors often being very protective of the journeys that their characters (and the series) takes, how did star/series producer Jennifer Love Hewitt respond when Moses and Sander laid out their thoughts on the storyline that is currently unfolding? "Her reaction was remarkably positive," Sander shared. "She's a very romantic woman herself and so it's something that she was really positive about." Moses added that it is the unfolding of the story that has everyone very excited about where the show is going. "We believe that [the story] is going to be delivered in a surprising way and a very special way and the audience will be able to take that journey with them instead of finding about their history later."
With multi-platforms like webisodes and audience interaction on the Internet becoming just as vital to a show's success as Nielsen ratings, "Ghost Whisperer" audiences will be able to participate in the way that Jim's memory is restored. "We're going to ask the audience online to help [Jim] remember," Moses revealed. "What we've found with fans over the four years is that people watch the show, their devoted to the show, they pay attention to the details and they love the mythology of the journey and because they're holding onto this information we want them to share it to help bring back Jim's memory."
Watch the course of this popular series change tonight with the "Threshold" episode, which was written and directed by series creator John Gray and airs tonight at 8:00/7:00c on CBS.