Deborah Pratt is one of the first, if not the actual first, Black Women executives in the Sci-Fi genre. She is the creator of Quantum Leap, which premiered in 1989 and ended with 97 episodes, in 1993. Deborah Pratt sits with EBONY to talk about diversity, her peers, and Quantum Leap season 2.
Is there any pressure to stay successful?
Deborah Pratt: There’s always pressure staying successful. You have to. Once you set a bar, you've got to tap that bar kind of every time you come out. And Quantum Leap was a very high bar. And probably when I brought this show to Don, you know, he said, “You're a black woman, this is gonna be a hard sell. Let me take the front and run with this.” And we got on the air. He has a legacy and a history of keeping shows on the air. So we were all shocked at year five. We get the first South Korean number one on a call sheet ever in the history of television. And Raymond Lee is a rock star. We got Ernie Hudson, as Magic, you can't ask for more there who ties back to the original show it in this second season. We're gonna get to really get to know their characters more. Not just Magic, but also EA and they are amazing. And Jen and Addison as well, but because we've solved the mystery of the first season, and Ben has saved the love of his life, and now he's lost in time, which is important, for the show, we get to do those little movies.
How is it working with Ernie? Wasn’t he a part of the revival process?
Yeah, he is actually the point to the government. And there's gonna be some little shifting that happens there for a reason, but he is the reason that Quantum Leap came back. He remembered that he was leaped into as a character, he remembers Sam Beckett, and what Sam Beckett had saved his life. So he, you know, he's that kind of no man left behind military guy that's going to bring him home. And we get to learn more about magic in this second season. You know, like I said, just like we get to know more about everybody Yes. So, Ernie personally, I knew since we did a film together called Space Hunter Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, back in the day, and we have been friends ever since. And he's just a professional, nice person, you want to go down to the set and hug, you know, he's that kind of guy. He's just good people. And so we're blessed on all the cast to have good people.
What should we expect in season 2?
So there's a lot more action. But we're not gonna walk away from the intimate stories, because ultimately, the show is about what it feels like to walk into someone else's shoes. And, and experience that which we need to do as human beings. If we could do it in real life, we could teach some real lessons to people if suddenly, they were in a body that they didn't understand what it was like to be black or woman or Asian or African or, you know, Russian? What I say is from the very beginning, I talked to the writers and I said “I want you to understand that you tell both sides of the story. You let the audience the intelligence of the audience, decide where they stand on that. But they get to hear both sides of the conversation, which doesn't happen in the real world.” So we're kind of special in that.
What are some words you’d like to say to the fans?
People forget the power of the fans. Don't let them take the shows that you love away, pick up a pen, start a campaign, send them frickin letters, emails, jam their boxes, fight for it, if it's good, if it's entertaining if it teaches you something, and you walk away from the episode, which is what I love about Quantum Leap, I think so often you walk away. Having learned someone, something having laughed, having invested your hope, and your heart in it. That's what's exciting to me about this show, and that's why I'm grateful it's back. And I hope we do nine new ones and nine movies and a video game and everything else.