Exclusive TV Goodness Q&A: TV Producer Josh Ackerman [INTERVIEW]
If you grew up in the ’90s, the name Josh Ackerman is probably familiar to you. Â You see, Josh was a cast member of The New Mickey Mouse Club for all seven seasons. You may have heard of some of his costars: Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Keri Russell and so on. The actor has since made a move behind the camera. He and his college buddies formed a production company called Bodega Pictures. Bodega now has projects on the air and in development. TV Goodness recently got the chance to speak with Josh about his Food Network series, On the Rocks, as well as making the transition from actor to producer and more.
TV GOODNESS:Â Tell me a little bit about On the Rocks.
JOSH ACKERMAN: Absolutely.Â On the Rocks stars John Green who is a bar consultant/expert whoâ€™s done bars around the world. And what he does is, he goes in and helps out struggling bars, in America. Bars who are on the verge of losing everything. It could be financial problems, it could be problems with their staff… Itâ€™s definitely in the rescue kind of business vein/world of those type of reality shows. But it has a lot of heart and a lot of raw emotion.Â You know, there is a makeover component to it to the bar. But it also has a lot of raw emotion as far as seeing people that are in pretty dire straits, and how we hopefully transform them over 45 days.
TV GOODNESS: Wow thatâ€™s cool.
JOSH:Â It reinvigorates the owners of the bars. Gives them a new drink menu, new cocktails. We bring in chefs from the cities they are in — well-known chefs — and bring them in to revamp their menu. A lot of places use frozen foods, so we try to bring in fresh produce.
TV GOODNESS:Â Iâ€™ve noticed that when Iâ€™ve gone to restaurantsâ€¦itâ€™s interesting…frozen vs. fresh.
JOSH: Â One of the things that our host John notices, he embeds himself in the restaurant and watches. Thatâ€™s how he really makes his plan of attack to see what he is going to do. What the best way he thinks to help with the time that he has there. And one of the things he does, is he tries the drinks and he tries the food. In several times in the episodes weâ€™ve shot and that will be airing soon, we obviously noticed, heâ€™s obviously noticed from tasting that a lot of stuff is frozen. Even like the calamari that they bread and then theyâ€™ll say is fresh. Itâ€™s the little things he believes can go a long way in overhauling a menu.
TV GOODNESS:Â One of the things I wanted to talk to you about was how do you go from being on The New Mickey Mouse Club working with some of the biggest stars and then you go into producing. Just want to hear about that transformation.
JOSH: For me, what I loved doing [is] what I did as a kid. I loved performing and being in front of the camera. However what I really gravitated towards was being in the edit bay after something was shot. Like I consider that a huge component of the education I received when I was young. It was kind of like a school for the arts in a way. We had to have a certain number of hours, just general studies like normal kids would have but when I was wasnâ€™t rehearsing for a song or a dance or learning lines, I loved being in the edit bays. I loved spending time with the camera guys. I loved being in the writers’ room. For me, that was moreâ€¦..I just loved it. I loved the energy and the creative freedom you have behind the lens. More so when you are in front because when you are in front of the camera or youâ€™re on a stage, you kind of have people telling you what to do all the time.Â And now I still have to answer to networks and various other people when we are delivering a television show, but there is just a lot more creative freedom in doing what I do.
TV GOODNESS:Â Itâ€™s like creating your own â€œbaby,â€ I get it.
JOSH:Â Yeah, and thatâ€™s what we do. We find as a company, we find things that interest us, be it characters, or stories, or a concept, an idea, anything, we find things that we gravitate towards, we respond to. And we hope that other people will in watching it or a network buying it. That from the inception of an idea to be able to kind of come up with something that turns into, On the Rocks.Â We were introduced to John Green, the host of our show, who brought us a different idea. And when my partner, Zach [Werner] sat with him and talked with him, he saw in him a television show. Then we make a little tape and we say hereâ€™s our idea what the show could potentially be. Then we go out with that. And we hope that someone bites the apple. And we were fortunate enough that Food Network did.
TV GOODNESS: At this point you have a bunch of stuff in production. Tell me a little bit about that and where do you want to go in the future with your company, Bodega Pictures?
JOSH:Â I would love to be able to tell you because I think it is fascinating and cool. Things that Iâ€™m really, really excited about. Things that are new and characters that you have never really seen before. So we are really, really excited about that, about those projects that we have going on and hopefully that will be on TV soon. Thereâ€™s various stages where you have to work with the networks to mold the idea and hopefully get it to a series. So we have a bunch of that going on right now. I think future wise, we just as a company we love characters, we love story. Obviously, we want to continue to do what we are doing. We love what we do. You know, grow and evolve our company. We would like to get into more serious documentaries, I would say. We love the docs space. And hopefully, in a few years, once we build ourselves a little bit more, we definitely would like to get into the scripted space, for TV and Film. Thatâ€™s a goal of all of ours. Itâ€™s just that we are so invested right now in the alternative television space. Thatâ€™s what we really have to focus on. Because if we start to focus on three different areas of what we do we feel like we would be spread too thin. We just want to keep right now to alternative.
TV GOODNESS:Â Do you still want to do any acting or performing? Or is it Iâ€™m a producer, Iâ€™m a director, that’s what I want to do…
JOSH:Â To be honest with you about eight or nine years ago I had been doing a ton of commercials and various things like that. I had been doing it since I was 10 and a half years old. And then I came out here to L.A. I was doing it. It was a struggle to get my name back out there after The Mickey Mouse Club. It was hard in a lot of ways, because like you said, a lot of the people I was working with became huge celebrities. And I battled with, ‘do I want to do that or do I want to go full force into producing?’ And when I came out to L.A. I worked at the Sky Bar it is, it was the place several years ago. I worked there as a bar back. It was great for me. It was really humbling and I worked there for about a year. And I slowly built myself up as an actor again in commercials and this and that. And I was able to act full time. But I always felt like a void. When am I going to transition to do what I learned to do in college and kind of what I loved to do when I was younger? And I was at this audition for a commercial one day. At the audition, I was in the room. The director was there, the casting agent was in there, I kind of wanted to be there but I kind of didnâ€™t want to be there. And literally in the room they started talking about the group that was in before me and they were going to give the role to this guy that was in there.Â And something in me was just like, you know what, Iâ€™m done. Iâ€™m done. And I knew it that minute, it took like three hours out of my day, when you are an actor you have to be so invested in it, you have to want it. I just got to a point where I really didnâ€™t want it anymore. It was kind of like a chapter in my book that was closing. And I walked out of that audition. I didnâ€™t even finish it. I said, ‘thank you guys kindly, I really appreciate you taking an interest in me but Iâ€™m done.’ They didnâ€™t know what I meant by done. They were just kind of like whoa whatâ€™s this guy doing. I walked out and I called my manager and I called my agent. I said guys, I love you, I thank you for everything youâ€™ve done for me but Iâ€™m changing paths. And that was the end of it for me. I love like entertaining my kid. I donâ€™t think I will ever really have a desire to be in front of the camera again. I love what Iâ€™m doing too much. I just feel like that itâ€™s a chapter thatâ€™s closed.
TV GOODNESS: At TV Goodness, we talk about what we love about television and the different shows we cover. I just wanted to know besides your stuff, what do you have to watch on TV?
JOSH:Â Right now I am, probably like a lot of people, very addicted to Homeland.Â I wouldnâ€™t say I watch too much reality but maybe itâ€™s because I make it and Iâ€™m so in it all the time. I like watching scripted television thatâ€™s really, really great.Â Be it Homeland or a Mad Men or Game of Thrones.Â Those are pretty much â€œmy canâ€™t missâ€ shows. And what I say that I like to do, and people ask why donâ€™t you watch more reality? I say because I love the cinematic quality of those shows. And if we bring some of that to reality and not have it be so stagnant. Itâ€™s that life itâ€™s given to the stories of those type of shows, but you can tell it in like a doc/reality space. I think it would make viewers more interested to watch.
Start looking out for Bodega Pictures in the credits, because we have a feeling you are going to see them a lot.
Josh also has a show over at truTV. It’s called South Beach Tow and it airs Wednesdays at 10/9c.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Kelly McCormack Talks Favorite Moments in A League of Their Own
[Warning: Mild spoilers for season 1.] Now that you’ve had a chance to watch A League of Their Own, here’s the rest of my chat with Kelly McCormack about her favorite moments of the season. Seeing the iconic Peaches uniforms for the first time wasn’t just a goosebump moment for…
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People [streaming on Global TV in Canada and Roku…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
Ricky He Talks From “The Way Things Are Now”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode 102 of EPIX’s From.] Epix’s new series From is two episodes in and it’s already laying the groundwork for a seriously spooky season. Tonight’s episode demonstrated the careful balance of relief and horror that the show hits, with our characters’ worst fears realized, just not when…
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…