The unabashed comedy about two diverse couples stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Vanessa Lachey, Tone Bell, and Bresha Webb, and is based on the life of DJ Nash, who serves as writer and executive producer alongside Packer.
“Truth Be Told” chronicles the adventures of the fearless foursome who are both neighbors and best friends, as they navigate through life analyzing and obsessing about everything from sex to race. No topic is off-limits for this outspoken group, that Packer describes as “a group of friends that are so close and have such a natural chemistry that they don’t censor themselves with each other.”
EURweb chatted with Will ahead of the series premiere and he revealed that NBC wanted a show that was “organically, authentically diverse.”
Why is “Truth Be Told” a good fit for NBC?
Will Packer: NBC wanted a show that was authentic and organic to America as it looks today. That’s what this show is about. I love the fact that it is organically, authentically diverse, and that’s something that NBC wanted.
Packer explained that when DJ Nash pitched him the idea to produce a comedy series based on his life, Will said he “immediately responded” to it because “it felt so real and natural and so different than what else was out there on network TV.”
Will Packer: I was able to connect with an amazing showrunner, DJ Nash, who oftentimes, is the only white guy in his world, and that gives him a very unique perspective. A white guy (and his Asian wife), his black best friend and his best friend’s black wife – and how the world can be affected based on your perspective, and how we all come from different backgrounds and cultures but we have to interact and respect one another. There’s a funny way to look at the differences that we have and address topics that some people would see as awkward, we see as just real.
How did you get Mark-Paul Gosselaar involved? Did you have a prior working relationship?
Will: Packer: This is my first time working with Mark and first time getting to know Mark, it’s been so great. I’m kicking it with Zack Morris, how cool is that! He is somebody that likes to be challenged. This character that he’s playing is different than who he is in real life. His character is obsessive and has this persistent need for justice, and he’s got a lot of white guilt too. Mark-Paul in real life is not so much that guy. He’s great, very cool, very laid back – not nearly as obsessive as his character, but Mark responded to the opportunity to be challenged.
What else is going to surprise viewers about “Truth Be Told”? Casting alone, it’s not often we see black couples on network TV, so that’s refreshing.
Will Packer: It’s a fresh perspective on topics that have been touched on before but not in this way. I think that will surprise viewers in ‘oh, they went there…’ with how a Black female feels when she finds out that her husband used to be in a long-term relationship with a white woman. Or, when the white guy has learned all the Jay Z lyrics and forgot to censor himself on the N-word. Those are the kinds of things that are going to surprise audiences because not a lot of shows are dealing with them.
When you and DJ Nash were developing and packaging this project, what was the most crucial element you felt would make this series most successful?
Will Packer: A show that would resonate with viewers. Contemporary audiences have so many options when it comes to entertainment now. In order for a show to breakout, viewers have to connect with it. It has to resonate with viewers from the beginning, and we’ve got the potential to do that because I think this is going to be a breath of fresh air for what network comedies have been recently.
“Truth Be Told” premieres October 16 at 8:30/7:30c on NBC.