Writing about faith in the golden age of television

“If you want to make a room full of liberal, compassionate people turn on you, talk about God in an unironic way.”

Joy Gregory is a writer who has worked on such shows as Joan of Arcadia and Madam Secretary. Before entering the television industry she worked in theater in Chicago. She has a particular interest in depicting people of faith in a way that, to quote one reviewer, “confounds people’s expectations.”

How were you drawn into writing for television?

I met producer Barbara Hall when she was planning a TV show about a teenager named Joan who speaks to God—what became Joan of Arcadia. She brought me in because of a pilot I had written about a 13-year-old girl in Cleve­land. During the interview, all we talked about was my first play, which was about two Catholic saints with two very different ideas of spirituality: Thérèse of Lisieux and Catherine of Siena.