- Steve Addazio's inaugural press conference as Boston College head football coach (pg. 9)
- Wake Forest University president Nathan Hatch's keynote address at the Sesquicentennial symposium "Religion and the Liberal Aims of Higher Education" (pg. 34)
- David B. Couturier, OFM Cap., on "New Evangelization for Today's Parish" (pg. 42)
- Guerilla Orchestra: the Callithumpian Consort and student musicians rehearse John Zorn's Cobra (pg. 10)
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Television writer Oliver Grigsby ’04
Oliver Grigsby sits in a director’s chair at Hollywood’s Sunset Gower Studios intently watching a video monitor with a group that includes the key, behind-the-scenes figures for any television show—the director and the director of photography. Just beyond some plywood walls is the set of the Burnt Toast Café, a grimy diner that figures often in the NBC science-fiction drama Heroes. The program features a large cast of characters who, although outwardly ordinary, possess extraordinary powers (one can regenerate body parts, another can fly). Grigsby is a staff writer for the show, and on this late November afternoon an episode of his titled “Pass/Fail” is in its fourth day of production.
The 28-year-old former English major is at home with Heroes‘ comic-book style, which features short bits of action occurring in multiple locales that come together in an overarching narrative. He completed the first draft of his 45-page script in October. When the show aired January 18, it was the second episode to carry the credit “Written by Oliver Grigsby.”
Born in Great Britain and raised in Australia and Los Angeles, Grigsby is tall and amiable with a shock of dark hair and a show-biz pedigree (his father produces the ABC series Castle). He got his start in television just after graduation, as a gofer on NBC’s American Dreams. He spent a year making coffee runs before landing a job as a writers’ assistant (more coffee runs, but exclusively for the people hammering out the words) on Crossing Jordan, whose producer, Tim Kring, was also in the process of creating Heroes. “When NBC picked up Heroes,” says Grigsby, “Tim asked me to come along as the script coordinator. My job was to proof every revision of every script.”
The show has completed its fourth season. Last year Grigsby earned his first credit, for an episode titled “Shades of Gray”—a freelance assignment he got on the strength of his script supervisory work. Now a full-fledged writer, he participates in meetings with the producers and will contribute two episodes a year.
Grigsby has also branched into new media. He has written 12 of the program’s spin-off six-page, web-based graphic novels, and created two webisodes—one-and-a-half minute online installments that enlarge on plot points in the show.
“I hung out in the computer lab in college,” he says, “and I’m interested in the blend of technology and storytelling.”
Steve Oney is a Los Angeles-based writer.
Editor’s note: On May 16, 2010, as BCM was on press, the Hollywood Reporter broke the story that NBC had canceled Heroes after four seasons. Look for Mr. Grigsby’s name among the credits of another show in the future.