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Patterson: No ‘Animal of the Week’ for New ‘Zoo’

Season two of Zoo, which debuts on CBS Tuesday, is more unpredictable, and therefore scarier, than season one was, says James Patterson, whose novel inspired the series. Season one at times turned into “Animal of the Week,” said Patterson, addressing the press on a CBS summer series event earlier this month. Season two takes what worked in the maiden season, explores those avenues a bit more, and sprinkles in more element of surprise.  

“It’s the idea that, every time you go over the next horizon, you don’t know what to expect,” Patterson said. “All bets are off—expect the unexpected.”

Patterson and cast member James Wolk both spoke about the show. Wolk, formerly Bob Benson on Mad Men, said he felt no fall season envy for the summer series. “I think summer has become a really exciting time for television,” he said. “It’s a time for shows to distinguish themselves. I’m not a network executive, but it seems like networks take more of a gamble on higher concept shows in summer, and it’s fun to be on something original that’s finding a good audience.”

Patterson described Zoo as a “fable,” as in, retribution for “what man is doing to the world.” The new season ventures into apocalyptic, with shades of The Walking Dead and Lost, he said in terms of people forging a new society after a cataclysmic event. “The humans start to do some weird stuff,” says Patterson.

The prolific author said he had several book projects to bring to CBS and seemed to incur little of the anxiety many writers have about having their novels adapted by Hollywood. “I love movies. I like a lot of good television,” he said. “I don’t care if you change it—I just want to look at it and say, I love it, it turned out well.”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.