Super Producer Allison Grodner Talks ‘Plain Jane,’ ‘Big Brother,’ Reality

Allison Grodner

Look for the Sept. 1 finale of the CW’s “Plain Jane” to “up the stakes” of the CW reality show in which insecure young women undergo makeovers while preparing to make confessions of affection to their dream crushes .  That’s according to Allison Grodner, who produces the show along with partner Rich Meehan.

“We have a woman who recently lost a lot of weight – she’s still not skinny, she’s average size for America – who has a workplace crush.  Imagine professing your love to someone, knowing that whatever the outcome, you still have to see them every day.  And her workplace colleagues were aware of what was happening.”

Grodner’s hopeful for a pickup of the summer show hosted by fashion expert Louise Roe.  “The idea was to make a show different from all other reality shows – to make a mini-movie, like a real-life romantic comedy.  I’m a lover of romantic comedies.  It’s so much fun to be rooting for the underdog, usually it’s the girl, hoping she gets her guy.”

If there’s a Season 2, will there be turnabout – a “Plain Joe”?

“I think that could be terrific, to see this from the male perspective at some point.  There’s a lot of room to tell a lot of different stories,” she notes.  “It’s not always the girl with the glasses in the corner.”

MEANWHILE:  Super producers Grodner and Meehan own a large chunk of summer viewership thanks to “Plain Jane,” “You’re Cut Off,” “She’s Got the Look.” – and the show that started it all for them, “Big Brother.”  The latter continues as a summer behemoth; last week, all three editions turned up in the Top 10 ratings.

Grodner shrugs off the apparent ripoff factor of certain current reality shows and her “Big Brother.”

“Yes, there are a plenty of imitators out there.  I think that’s okay.  We’re flattered by that,” she says.  “I like that we’re one of the shows that shaped reality television competitions, along with ‘Survivor,’ ‘Amazing Race,’ and ‘American Idol’ in this whole turn that’s really happened this century.   I can’t believe we’ve been going at this now for 10 years.  It’s a testament to the format that it’s stayed strong, that we still have diehard fans that are watching in the show on all its platforms – something we pioneered,” she says, speaking of the “Big Brother” house’s continual internet coverage and its Showtime After Dark offshoot.  She also feels “We’ve been helped by the fact we’re a summer show.  People have to wait for it, then they commit to it.  Other shows can work in higher frequency, but I think ‘Big Brother’ has benefited by being on only once a year.”

Still, “I think every year we’re surprised to come back again,” Grodner confesses.

“This season we have a likeable group.  I don’t think there’s anyone so hate-able they’re turning people off, as has happened in the past.”  She laughs.  “Though, there might be people who disagree with me.”