Celebrities have been lining up to rave about the show. Who is your favorite celebrity fan?
Barry Jenkins was pretty cool. He just got on Twitter out of nowhere and straight-up said something like, “I hereby call myself leader of the ‘Ted Lasso’ fan club.” I’m like: “Barry Jenkins? Wow, that’s amazing!”
What has been the most surprising thing about the show’s reception?
How much of it there is! We never anticipated this at all. We thought the show would be decent, because we had a pretty good writer’s room, and we had a good time writing it. And once we were shooting it, it was like, “Oh, this cast is pretty good, actually.” But this groundswell, and the fact that people don’t just laugh at it, but it means a lot to them — hoo boy. None of that was foreseen.
“Ted Lasso” references have started appearing in sports culture — Alex Morgan did a Lasso dance on the field not long ago, and N.B.A. coaches have mentioned it in interviews. What’s your favorite example?
The Alex Morgan dance for sure, because that’s really going the extra mile. Someone sent it to me, and I didn’t even recognize it at first, but I was like, [in a high-pitched voice], “Oh my Gooood!” But the Coach Quin Snyder [of the Utah Jazz] thing is great, too, because that wasn’t the preseason press conference; that was before a playoff game. It was a high-pressure moment, but he took time to talk about our little skit. It’s pretty neat to think of.
Have you been surprised that the show is such a hit with professional soccer players?
When we shot the second commercial for it, we worked with [the American goalie] Tim Howard. And when we asked him if he’d seen the first commercial, he just laughed at us. He was like, “Yeah, we watched it; we watched it a lot.” We were like, “What?” I mean, we don’t get soccer right — we know that. This show is written from a place of love for soccer, not a place of intimate knowledge of it. So for so many soccer players to say that they’re digging it, even knowing that we’re getting a lot of basic stuff wrong, means that they’re connected to the spirit of it, which is far more important and really cool to see.
Season 2 is coming out next week. Does this Emmy haul raise the pressure on it?
It is what it is now, so we’re just going to cross our fingers and hope for the best. None of the praise or accolades really change anything for us because by the time the show came out, we already had Season 2 largely structured. We were just putting the finishing touches on scripts. I don’t think it would’ve affected us anyway, but it didn’t have the chance to affect us. The only thing it did was make us breathe an extra sigh of relief to know, “OK, our instincts are correct, we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing.”