BAD TEACHER Creator-Showrunner Dishes About Her Job

Gotta listen to anything anybody who’s ever been on the writing staff of COMMUNITY has to say about writing, right? So, “Heeereee’s Hilary Winston! Yeah, baby!”

Hilary Winston of BAD TEACHER, et al
Hilary Winston of BAD TEACHER, et al

by Isaac Kozell

Comedy writer and producer Hilary Winston has been building quite the impressive resume these last few years, jumping from critically-acclaimed show to critically-acclaimed show. After spending four years on staff for My Name Is Earl‘s entire original run, she did two seasons atCommunity and then two seasons at Happy Endings. Now, after years of writing on other people’s shows, Winston has one of her own with Bad Teacher, a half-hour sitcom based on the film of the same name that premiered on CBS last [month]. Winston adapted the Bad Teacher to TV, serving as the show’s creator and showrunner.

Starring Ari Graynor, Sara Gilbert, Ryan Hansen, Sara Rodler, Kristin Davis, and David Alan Grier, Bad Teacherhas been picked up by CBS for 13 episodes, which will be airing on Thursday nights over the next several weeks.

I recently caught up with Hilary Winston to discuss her beginnings in television, what she learned from writing for My Name Is Earl and Community, and adapting Bad Teacher.

How did this project come about, turning Bad Teacher from a movie into a TV show?

My friends Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky wrote the movie, and I really thought that it was such a funny script. It was a hilarious script and such a great concept. And they told me, “We’re thinking about turning it into a TV show.” And every time I went to lunch with Lee, I said, “I think you should do this, and don’t do this, and I would not do this,” and then finally, after tons of those kinds of lunches, he said, “Would you consider writing it?” and I said, “Yeah, you know, actually I would.” But I said, “I think I’d want to dump pretty much all the backstories and stuff from the movie and just start over with just the concept.” Lee and Gene were really open to that. So for me, that put me on board. I love the concept, I love the archetypes from the movie, but I really wanted to start fresh with a clean slate for this new Bad Teacher.

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