In celebration of BACK TO YOU’s highly anticipated return to the airwaves tonight on FOX (Global TV in Canada), this TV Addict will be running interviews with series stars Patricia Heaton, Fred Willard, Josh Gad and Ty Burrell all week long.
First up, Patricia Heaton, who had a lot to say about what it takes to succeed in Hollywood, the perils of child acting and the possibility of a crossover with former EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND co-star Brad Garrett.
I’m not sure if you know this, but in Toronto [the TV Addict's hometown] you’re huge. Both yours and Kelsey’s [Grammer] heads were absolutely everywhere when the show premiered. Buses, Billboards, did you ever imagine your career would turn out how it did?
Patricia Heaton: I didn’t know if it would happen, but I always thought it should! [laughs] And I think you kind of have to have that ego as an actor, to suffer for the fifteen years where I didn’t have any work at all, watched all of my friends get married, buy houses, children. All the while I’m sharing an apartment with two other strangers in Hell’s Kitchen and waitressing and summarizing depositions from midnight to 8AM.
Was there a point in time when you were ready to give up?
Yes. I was in New York for nine years which I absolutely love and hope to retire to. But after nine years of banging my head against the wall, I couldn’t handle the pressure of the city.
I was given an opportunity to go to LA and I thought, why not give LA two years. If nothing breaks I’ll just go back to school and get a real job. I had no money and quite literally two dollars in my chequing account. To this day, whenever I fill up the car with a tank of gas I get this immense sense of relief because I remember moving to LA and never being able to afford to fill up the car. It was either eight dollars of gas or food for the day.
So things were going okay in LA, I brought a play over from New York that I wrote and produced and was slowly getting notice. I had one audition for THIRTYSOMETHING that I felt went really bad, but I ended up getting the role, was on for seven episodes. Little by little I won roles which was enough encouragement to see this through.
With all the tabloid madness surrounding the Lindsey and Britneys of the world, was there something beneficial about becoming famous at a more adult stage in your life?
Oh yes. I don’t think any eighteen year old is supposed to have ten million dollars. There are just too many people around who will just say ‘yes’ to you. There are too many drugs, alcohol, all kinds of stuff to get into it when you’re young. The reason I didn’t go down that road is because I had no money. I probably would have done all the things you see these kids doing. But thank God I wasn’t successful when I was younger. I got into enough trouble, I can’t imagine if people gave me free reign and let me loose in Hollywood.
Would you ever let your kids get into acting?
If they want to be actors that’s fine. But they need to finish high school first and then do some studying. Of course, when you’re Dakota Fanning or Hayley Joel Osment it’s hard to say no, as these kids are uniquely talented. But most of the kids on TV are weird little puppets who are behaving in strange little ways. It has nothing to do with acting. They’re really learning bad habits that will almost be impossible to grow out of.
With both yourself and former EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND co-star Brad Garrett on FOX, has there ever been any talk of a BACK TO YOU/’TIL DEATH crossover?
Since our show takes place in Pittsburgh, I would say the odds are slim.
Of course, it’s surprising what network execs can cook up in the name of ratings.
Anything is possible. But we’re just thrilled to finally be back on the air.
Brand new episodes of BACK TO YOU can be seen both tonight and Wednesday following AMERICAN IDOL at 9:30PM (est)