Here’s proof positive that a great idea, stalwart conviction and perseverance can bubble into magic. The indefatigable Liese turned a homespun project filming 12 girls’ experiences throughout high school into a nationally viewed series that opened a dialogue between parents and their teenage daughters like few shows before it. A single mother, Liese felt others would benefit from an inside view of the dramatic transformation of the girls into women. So she convinced her conservative Midwest school district to allow her unprecedented access to her daughter’s high school and convinced the other girls and their parents to allow her access to situations like the hospital room where one of the girls was having brain surgery and a parent’s funeral, among other intimate moments. After documenting an unforeseen range of stories — and realizing she had to gain legal clearance to use most of the footage — Liese then convinced several networks of her work’s value and caused a bidding war. That was probably her easiest task.
Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman, Damages, FX Networks: The jaw-dropping psychological drama that unfolds in Damages is clearly the work of an executive team that sees not only the big picture for the series, but all the intimate details that intermingle to get there.
Greer Shephard, Michael M. Robin, James Duff, Andrew J. Sacks and Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer, TNT: Hats off to a winning ensemble. Although having a key actor as a co-producer is not always a winning equation, Sedgwick’s role clearly elevates the depth of her Closer character.