David Holden is the Executive Producer of ABC Family's new show “Young and Hungry.” Holden's writing and producing credits also include shows such as “Accidentally on Purpose,” Growing Up Fisher,” and “Shake it Up!”
Young and Hungry
Meet David Holden
How did you come to make a show about a young food blogger?
David: Here’s how it happened. The CAA is one of the biggest agencies out here. They represent actors, writers, and producers. One of the big agents was in bed one night and his wife was looking at BrokeAssGourmet.com. She was really admiring it and turned to her husband and said, “I think there might be a show here. And he looked at it and said, “Nah, nah, oh maybe, this is cute,” and really started getting into it.
They flew [Gabi Moskowitz] out here. They said, “We think there maybe a show here.” And she went and met with production companies to see if any of those companies were interested in thinking about it, and one of those companies was the Tannenbaum Company, which created Two and a Half Men among a million other shows. I had a deal with the Tannenbaums, a deal that’s called a blind script project, which means if we both agree on something, we’re doing a project together.
I come from a foodie background. I grew up in France, my parents write about food. I went in to meet with her, and I really liked her, thought she was great, but I didn’t see a show. A lot of sitcoms have tried to do food and failed; I don’t want to pig pile on that. But they were really persistent. They just kept calling me, “Please do it, please do it.”
Finally, I was like, “If I’m going to do it, here’s what I’m thinking about.” I talked about Gabi being a personal chef for a rich guy. I wanted her to be a flawed character. I wanted her to get into trouble like Lucy. You’re still a good person but you make mistakes and you figure it out and still thrive. I wanted this bubbly effervescent character. So I started writing it, and it was the end of the TV season right as we got done. We went to the networks, but they were out of money. So we went to cable networks. ABC Family was the first one we sent it to, and they bought in within 24 hours. It took a little while to the final deal, but the moment it was done, we started casting. I had Rex [Lee] in mind for Elliot. He’s perfect. I just felt his persona when I was writing. The other amazing thing about Rex is that I knew in my mind to classify him on the show, he’s a villain. That would give the show a kind of an engine. I wanted a likable villain. And how can you not laugh at that?
So he’s the Guardians of the Galaxy type Villain?
David: Yes! Yes! He can do bad things but he’s not a bad person. You’ll see more of that as time goes. We really flush out who he is. But he can still have lines like, “I felt like Indiana ones running from that boulder.”
Can we ask you for more physical comedy scenes like that where Kym barrels Rex over the couch because quite frankly, that was hysterical?
David: I know, that was so funny. We have them going there a lot, so I think you’ll see that.
On Kym Whitely
David: She is my sister. We really bond. She is one of the funniest people in the world, and I write obviously for her. I give her funny lines and then she’s always like, “Can I just do one take my way?” And I’m like, “Yes, you can! Absolutely.” She is just a hoot to work with, she is so funny and just amazing.
I don’t consider anyone the lead. We have 5 characters. Last night’s show was about Emily. The last show we shot was all about Kym.Notes: In some scenes, the audience laughs for so long at some of the lines, like Kym’s “Oh, Heeeellllll no” from “Young and Pregnant,” that they have to take it out and edit it. It was about 90 seconds where she had to stand and wait for them to get done laughing. And then she had a second one. It brought the house down. Similarly with Rex when he said, “Wonder Twin Powers activate.”
Where do the ideas for the individual episodes come from? O they come from the BrokeAssGourmet.com blog?
David: No, they’re totally out there. We have nine writers on the show, including myself. When we’re breaking a story, what I’m looking for are things that feel fresh, things with twists and turns and things you don’t see coming, and something that feels authentic to our show. What could be told on our show that couldn’t be told on other shows. The reality is that most other shows relegate a young girl to the sidelines. So this is the one sitcom that’s on the air right now where a young girl gets to make mistakes and have fun.
David's Favorite Cake
At the end of the episode “Young and Pregnant” when Gabi and Sofia are eating the Scandinavian Princess cake, it’s because it’s David Holden’s favorite cake in the entire world. Dave says, “If you’ve never had a Scandinavian Princess cake you’re going to be tweeting ‘Thank you @holdenmeister.’ I swear to god it’s the best cake in the world.” They sell them at Gelson’s Markets. I wanted to get one while I was there just to try it, but it will have to wait until I’m in Anaheim next week and go to the one in Irvine.
Believe in Your Selfie
Because “Believe in your selfie” is one of the themes of the show, David wanted to take selfies and photos with us. So he did.
Disclaimer: I was selected to attend an all-expense-paid trip to LA courtesy of Disney and ABC Family to experience these incredible events, along with a group of 24 other bloggers. All opinions, excitement, and smiles are my own.