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'Outsourced' producer upbeat on renewal prospects despite 'challenging' time slot

March 24, 2011 |  5:56 pm

Outsourced Robert Borden, the executive producer behind NBC's workplace comedy "Outsourced," has kept a low profile since last summer, when his show was criticized by some who felt it indulged stereotypes about people from India. The series stars Ben Rappaport as an American who moves to India to manage a call center staffed with zany characters.

But Borden is optimistic that "Outsourced" -- which airs Thursday at 10:30 p.m. -- can get a renewal for another year in May, and recently chatted with Show Tracker about that and other topics. Some excerpts:

Show Tracker: Is it possible to do a comedy set in another culture that doesn't indulge in some sort of stereotypes?

Borden: Yeah, absolutely. I don't think we do.

Show Tracker: At the TV press tour last summer, some critics were hard on the show because they suggested it contained Indian stereotypes.

Borden: It was hard in that press session. How often can I say, "Just watch the show and you'll see the characters are gonna grow and develop"? Now, where we're headed toward the end of the season, I feel like that's really not an issue anymore. We have so much support in the Indian community, that's really a positive sign.

Show Tracker: What has the reception been like in the Indian community? One news outlet actually showed the series to call-center workers in India.

Borden: We got a positive reception there. Some of them criticized us for having outdated phone technology. I'll be happily guilty of that, if people like the characters.

Show Tracker: How do you feel about the show's prospects for a return next season?

Borden: I feel really good about where we are creatively with the show. It doesn't have any of that first-year, "get out the kinks, have a bad half-season" kind of situation. We're finishing strong. As far as what the network thinks, I know they're happy. But they've got to look at all their pilots. So I think it's something we'll be talking about in May.

Show Tracker: What about the time slot? Thursdays at 10:30 p.m. is not known as a hospitable time for network comedies.

Borden: It's definitely a challenging time slot to grow. If you add in our DVR numbers, we've actually done quite well.

Show Tracker: Thursdays are all-comedy nights on NBC. Does the network have too many comedies?

Borden: I don't care how many they have as long as we're one of them.

-- Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)


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Photo: Ben Rappaport, Sacha Dhawan and Diedrich Bader in "Outsourced." Credit: Beth Dubber / NBC.