'1600 Penn' Set Visit: How to Build a White House in Hollywood (Video)
NBC's new comedy had a former Obama speechwriter behind it as it set out to create the president's home on the Fox lot in Century City.
This story first appeared in the Dec. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
For political junkies mourning the end of election-year gaffes and blunders comes a remedy in NBC’s series 1600 Penn.
Previewing after The Voice finale Dec. 17 at 9:30 p.m. (but officially premiering Jan. 10), the 20th Century Fox Television single-camera comedy conceived by former Barack Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett and Emmy-winning director Jason Winer (Modern Family) takes viewers inside the walls of the most famous address in the world.
But this spin on the first family sees a dopey oldest son, Skip (Book of Mormon’s Josh Gad), forced to move home after seven years in college to live with his president dad (Bill Pullman), hot stepmom (Jenna Elfman) and three younger siblings.
Winer says it took seven weeks and 25 crew members to construct a believable,family-friendly version of the White House, which included approximating such private spaces as the presidential bedroom and kitchen while staying true to the well-laid history of the POTUS’ iconic work space.
“In fact, our pilot’s Oval Office walls were used on The West Wing, and those on the permanent set were in a Nicolas Cage movie — I know this because I saw the words ‘National Treasure’ written in Sharpie on the back of them,” laughs Winer, who gleaned design inspiration for the 25,000-square-foot set during a White House tour last spring with Lovett and production designer Richard Berg. “We didn’t get a chance to meet Obama, but [campaign adviser] David Axelrod did stop by and was super excited about what he saw. ”
In turn, Winer shares an exclusive first look of the first family’s new living quarters.
Click here to see the set photos.