BATTLESTAR GALACTICA’s Michael Trucco isn’t the only familiar face returning to TV tonight. For sandwiched between DANCING WITH THE STARS and the start of Trucco’s multi-episode arc on CASTLE is none other than TV Addict childhood favorite Alyssa Milano (CHARMED, WHO’S THE BOSS) with her much-anticipated return to the small screen. Premiering tonight at 9:30PM (est), ROMANTICALLY CHALLENGED follows lawyer and mom Rebecca (Milano) who re-enters the dating scene after a 15-year marriage with the help of some truly clueless friends. And here to talk about the not-so-romantic challenges involved with launching a new series in an increasingly competitive entertainment landscape is Milano herself, with whom we had the pleasure of catching up with via phone earlier in the month.
ROMANTICALLY CHALLENGED was your fourth pilot post-CHARMED. What do you think differentiated it from previous shows you’ve tried to get off the ground?
Alyssa Milano: Oh it’s lighting in a bottle, you can never tell why something works and doesn’t. In the case of ROMANTICALLY CHALLENGED, we had elements that all came together and were really sort of special. The show is a great team, we have Ricky Blitt from FAMILY GUY who is our executive producer and creator, [Director] James Burrows who is a TV God and this amazing cast. I’ve gotten smart enough to know it’s about all the elements, not specifically about the character I would be playing. So when I look for projects I’m looking for a complete package. Regardless of whether it’s an ensemble or a show about me I want all the elements to be there, and this really has that from the get go and ABC has been wonderful and given us an opportunity because they believe in us.
Just how much has the industry changed since growing up on television in WHO’S THE BOSS?
As far as the work process and what the actors, especially on a multi-camera, I think it hasn’t changed much at all. On this show we taped in front of a live audience and rehearsed for four days before just like I did on WHO’S THE BOSS. What’s changed is the television industry. There is so much competition for entertainment. Not only just on TV with the different cable networks, but also with video games, computers, people are getting their entertainment from many difference places now.
While premiering behind DANCING WITH THE STARS will certainly benefit the show in terms of a lead-in, does the expectations, ratings-wise, that comes with it make you nervous?
Yeah there is definitely a feeling of pressure without a doubt. I hope that we hold onto that audience, at least some of that audience. Especially with CASTLE doing so well too, you don’t want people turning off the channel and turning it back on for another show. I’ve been in this business for 30 years now and I don’t think you ever stop being nervous when something premieres. I’m not worried about the reviews as much as I am about the numbers because it is a business.
Was that what attracted you to twitter, the ability to help you build audience and brand awareness leading up to the premiere?
No, my attraction to twitter has absolutely nothing to do with my career. My attraction to twitter is really about sharing and being apart of a community and feeling like you have a platform to share things that you’re passionate about like charities. When twitter is at its best it’s really about spreading awareness. I try to do very little self-promotion on my personal account. I’ve opened up another account for the show which a bunch of us tweet from and also my clothing line because I figure if people want to know about that part of my life they can follow those accounts.
Along those lines, since WHO’S THE BOSS, you’ve had the chance to witness first-hand how the public’s fascination with celebrity seems to only get bigger and bigger. Are you thankful that you didn’t grow up on television in the era of paparazzi’s and TMZ?
I don’t think it’s that different. I don’t think it’s the paparazzi that are causing young actors to have a hard time in life. I think that was going on when I was TV too. Look at Todd Bridges, Dana Plato and all those people during that era that struggled. It’s not an easy business to grow up in and I have the best circumstances, an amazing family that always kept my head on straight. I think that people that struggle are usually people that would have struggled no matter what they did for a living. Yes, they’re under a microscope because they’re followed around by paparazzi, but I don’t think the journey changes as far as the personal journey. I think if you grow up in a good family you can overcome anything. I think if you grew up in a family that was dysfunctional, you’re probably going to be a more dysfunctional person. That doesn’t mean you can’t overcome that and grow from that but I don’t think the industry is to blame.
ROMANTICALLY CHALLENGED premieres Monday April 19 at 9:30PM (est) on ABC