A Candid Conversation with UGLY BETTY Showrunner Silvio Horta


Things are looking up for our girl Betty. After surviving the only fate worse than a Lindsay Lohan guest appearance — also known as a Friday night time slot — UGLY BETTY is ringing in 2010 on Wednesday nights at 10PM. And here to talk about the move, along with what fans can expect from the rest of the season, the odds are on our dream Marc and Amanda spin-off become a reality, Justin, the musical episode and much much more is executive producer Silvio Horta.

UGLY BETTY really seems to have been firing on all cylinders this season with the writers finding the ideal balance between Betty at work and Betty at Mode. Has it been disheartening to get those ratings reports on Saturday morning only to discover that relatively speaking, nobody’s watching?
Silvio Horta: It is disheartening and we wish more people were watching as we’ve felt that everything has been gelling this season and we’ve been really doing great work. Would it be great to have three times as many viewers and not to have been on Friday night? Absolutely! But we’re proud of what we get to do and happy with the work and at the end of the day that’s ultimately what you’ve got to be happy with because everything else is out of your control.

Can you pinpoint anything specific that has attributed to the creative resurgence of the show?
I’m not sure I can. I will say that in season’s past we may have been guilty of introducing a storyline or character without really have an end game. While this season, we’ve really approached it like, “Let’s just go for it!” No longer are we writing these huge story arcs that go on for an entire season. This season we’re doing story-lines that audiences can easily follow. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, don’t worry, there will be something new in a couple of episodes.

Looking back on the first three seasons, any regrets with regards to story-lines or characters that didn’t work?
One thing I regret was moving Betty out of her apartment with Amanda and back home. It really felt like a step backwards and I kind of wish we kept moving forward. We were always so afraid of missing the family and not having them around but that really wasn’t the case. As for characters, there was one guest actress that comes to mind that did a couple of episodes…. I really wish we hadn’t gone down that road.

Speaking of Amanda… and Marc, my two favorite characters. Have you ever given any serious thought to a Marc and Amanda spin-off?
Obviously I think Michael [Urie] and Becki [Newton] are amazing but my focus right now is keeping this show going and getting it to a fifth season. That said, anything is possible and of course, out of all the character on the show that have spin-off potential, Marc and Amanda are the most natural choices. They’re terrific and the amazing chemistry they’ve got is so rare.

Having already seen tonight’s episode, I have to be honest with you. Complete with a guest appearance by Dr. Farkas (MODERN FAMILY’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson) I truly thought tonight was the night Betty would get her braces off!
[Laughs] They will be coming off within the next few episodes.

What else can you spill about the next few episodes?
There’s going to be some serious upheaval in Betty’s personal life over the next few weeks. She may not remain at home, as we continue to explore the journey Betty began last year. She’s also going to find an outlet to express herself in a way that she hasn’t necessarily had the means to at Mode. And as always, our big Fashion Week episode that we do every year will have something big happening that doesn’t involve a baby getting born on the runway!

Would the ‘something big’ have anything to do with the very divisive issue of Daniel and Betty?
Everything is on the table. (See Michael Ausiello’s far more revealing answer to this question by clicking here.)

Will we see Justin come to grips with his sexuality this season?
I think there’s going to be a lot of stuff happening with Justin towards the end of the season. Now that Justin’s 15, the actor [Marc Indelicato] is 15 and we see that this kid is clearly struggling with his identity, it seems appropriate and the right time and we’re anxious to explore that.

What’s the status on the much-talked about musical episode?
Listen. I would love for it to happen, but there are two problems: Time and money. In order to pull it off effectively it requires a degree of planning and knowing that we’re going to be around longer than hopefully this year. Essentially working on a musical episode involves all of my time and energy and most of the time and energy of the production team. And at this point, I’d rather keep going in the direction we’re heading rather than focus on one episode and let all the other good stuff we’re doing fall by the wayside.

And finally, how are you dealing with the fact that you may not learn if BETTY is being picked up for a fifth season until May, months after you’ve already wrapped production?
I definitely don’t want to just end, so we’re planning two different versions. One, if this is the last season and another if we get to continue for a fifth year, which of course is the one we’re hoping to use.

UGLY BETTY airs on Wednesday night at 10PM on ABC.

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  • bws

    Thanks Daniel; great interview. My wife and I have been really happy with Ugly Betty this season. It used to be the show that stacked up on our DVR… not anymore! I loved that little burn on that one guest actress… gee, I wonder who that could be. HA!

  • jess

    I hope we get a DETTY happyily ever after

  • bws

    Oh… and no, no, no a hundred no’s to ever putting Daniel and Betty together. Just because the original did it DOES NOT mean it should happen. It creeps me out.

  • Ace

    I really hope more people start watching with the move to Wed. b/c it is really good this year. It should have been there all along with Eastwick on Friday. I think then the ratings expectations for Eastwick could have been lower and it could have survived longer (btw, did anyone see the final episode where they just meshed together a bunch of the final epsiodes, it felt like you missed an episode and sucked? yeah, that was awesome…).

    I’m really undecided about the Betty/Daniel thing. Originally, I would have been creeped out like bws, but I feel like they may actually naturally be moving that direction… Just don’t make her end up w/ Henry!

  • Ace

    Oh and the burn on LL is funny, but perhaps not completely warranted (unless she was just impossible to work with). Her stint wasn’t that bad.

  • tim w.

    Love Ugly Betty. And I agree, Lindsay Lohan’s guest stink was pure promo with no thought. Blame Lohan, but UB’s gotta take some of it too. They invited her! lol Bet they don’t make that mistake again.

    Glad Ugly Betty is moving to Wed.’s. Here’s to ratings rising! This has been a great season so far.

  • anna

    Good interview. I PRAY we get a 5th season with a much deserved 100th episode (hopefully they will make it special by making it a musical one).
    Haha about Lindsay Lohan. I didnt think it was that awful but I think it was good they ended her stink early.
    And yeah people need to watch the show, this season has been fantastic.

  • BizarroP

    I thought the baby being born on the runway was one of the funniest parts of last season

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  • Harry Rix

    They can never stop ugly betty its so curious what her life will be like in the uk and justin with austin and hilda and bobby it's just so unfair that something great has to end please keep it going forever!

  • Harry

    You are so right eastwick and ugly betty its just to average every day story themes that made amazing tv shows and daniel and betty your wright if you watched from the begining that bit woulnt even be an option