This time, in a bold move, I FedExed it to him. I said, "You may remember calling me last year and asking to see any of my screenplays." He called me back in two days and said two things. One, "I'm at Sony and we have this new show called Dawson's Creek that we think is going to go, so I'm going to recommend you to those guys. And I really think you should do a romantic comedy for television, so why don't you come up to New York and pitch me some ideas."
I went up to New York. I had seven ideas, and I was through the first four when he was dozing off, and he said, "Let me stop you there. I helped launch Touched by an Angel and I have this idea, touched by a cupid, where we have a cupid figure who shoots people with a bow and arrow." And the last idea on my stack was Cupid.
To tell you how far away we were on these two ideas, they were both cupid, but his was Dean Cain as a true god shooting people with a magic bow and arrow, and mine was Wallace Shawn as a mental patient.
So Jeremy Piven was the compromise?
Jeremy Piven was where we ended up, and not knowing whether he was magic or not.
So Jeff Sagansky launched my career. He got me my job on Dawson's Creek, so I moved to LA for that and started to develop Cupid. It was a crazy time for me, because in the space of a year I went from living in Texas writing young adult novels to having my own show on ABC. Those were heady times. And everything came very easy for me at the very beginning, which set me up for the cautionary tale that was to come.
But comparatively, to a lot of people, you've had tremendous success.
Oh absolutely, and I'm thankful for all of it. But I had seven years of my career going like this [hand signal showing a steep upward trajectory] to the moment where David Kelley anointed me crown prince of television and asked me to run his new show (Snoops), to the day I quit that show and a four year slide into a miasma of failed projects and depression. Really to the moment where Veronica Mars got picked up and gave me renewed faith.