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In conversation with... TV stars

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Katherine Heigl

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Katherine Heigl

Every trip to Los Angeles for the semi-annual TV press tour results in a notebook overflowing with quips, observations and assorted amusing quotes about all things television. Here, in no particular order, are some of the most memorable talking points from this summer's tour:


"No, I absolutely (didn't) -- not even remotely did I see the success of Breaking Bad coming. Man, 12 years ago, I thought I'd be lucky if I'm not living in a mobile in half of a double-wide with the other half still with the plastic taped up... I mean, I did not see it coming. It was just a wonderful, wonderful lottery win on my part."

-- writer/producer Vince Gilligan, currently at work on the Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul.


"The situation this show is all about is, how do you deal with crime of this level when there are no superheroes, when there's just ordinary, mortal men and women trying to solve these issues? It's as much about the hope and the struggle that they're engaged in as (it is about) waiting for a saviour. It's about men and women, not about superheroes, and to me that's the more interesting story."

-- executive producer Bruno Heller discussing the upcoming Fox drama Gotham, which is set in a crime-infested Gotham City in the years before Bruce Wayne grows up to become Batman.


"To me, these recording studios are like hallowed ground. They're churches. They're monuments to me. Some people just think they're rooms with tubes and wires, but history has been made in these s&!#holes all over the country. You know what I mean?"

-- Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl on the legendary recording studios the band visited during filming of the upcoming HBO documentary series Sonic Highways.


"I can only say that I certainly don't see myself as being difficult. I would never intend to be difficult. I don't think my mother sees herself as being difficult. We always, I mean... it's most important to everybody to conduct themselves professionally and respectfully and kindly. So if I have ever disappointed somebody, it was never intentional."

-- Katherine Heigl, star of the new NBC drama State of Affairs, on the suggestion she and her manager/mother have been categorized as difficult people with whom to work.


"The No. 1 reward of this show was the pride that we got from completing the challenge... The feeling on Day 21, when we were rescued, was absolutely the best day of our life. That's why we did this challenge."

-- survivalist Jeff Zausch explaining what motivates him and others to take part in Discovery Channel's Naked and Afraid.


"Obviously, they both look quite like me. And they're similar heights."

-- actor David Tennant after being asked to compare the detective he played in the British drama Broadchurch to the American version of the same character he plays in Fox's U.S.-network adaptation, Gracepoint.


"I think that Minnesota, North Dakota... that region is a character in the show. I think it's part of the personality. Believe me, we would do Fargo in Honolulu if we could get away with it, but we can't."

-- series creator Noah Hawley on the quirky regional charm of Fargo, which is shot during winter months in and around Calgary.


"It's really that my kids, at 15 and 12, are ready. In fact, I turned to my 12-year-old son and said, 'This is going to be a little tricky; I'm not going to be sort of around as much, you know, to take you to school and all that kind of thing. Are you cool with it?' He said, 'Yeah. I was getting kind of sick of you.' So I'm back."

-- actress Téa Leoni of the upcoming CBS drama Madam Secretary, explaining her choice to return to TV-series work after a 15-year absence.


"Coming up under the Lorne Michaels (Saturday Night Live) umbrella, he always stresses, 'Try not to tell a joke about somebody that you then would want to leave the cocktail party if they showed up. Try to be fair enough about it that even if it's maybe a little negative, as long as it seems fair, you can get away with it.' ... That's the tone I think I want to try to strike, which is you want to have a couple jokes that you walk out not knowing exactly how they're going to play. But that makes it fun, that sort of walking on the tightrope with material... But I think it's more playful than cutting or biting or anything like that."

-- late-night host and SNL alumnus Seth Meyers describing his celebrity-friendly approach to hosting the Emmy Awards on Aug. 25.


"You know, any team is only as good as the members on it. We started all for one, one for all, four knuckleheads off the streets of New York who decided to put together a band they saw on stage. And we love and respect those guys for what they did at the outset of the band, and they succumbed to the cliché of clichés, which is drugs and alcohol... So if you are going to pass the ball to your teammate and they can't see where the goal is, they've got to leave."

-- KISS founder/bassist Gene Simmons on why he and singer/guitarist Paul Stanley are still in the band but original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss are not.


"I think he was crooked from the womb. He was a paranoid of an extreme form and a genius in law. A friend of mine saw him present at the Supreme Court and said it was just brilliant, his mastery of the case, his memory of things he cited without notes. The presentation was masterful. And this brilliant man, probably smarter than any four presidents before and after him... decided, also, to be president no matter what, and then to destroy himself."

-- pioneering TV host Dick Cavett, recalling U.S. President Richard Nixon in an interview promoting the PBS documentary Dick Cavett's Watergate.


"Lest we forget, it doesn't matter at all. Like, I feel there's this perception as though we're kind of upset about this. And I can speak only for myself, and completely honestly: I really don't give a s&!#."

-- Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam, assessing the Emmy Awards' ongoing failure to appreciate the show's quality at nomination time.


And finally, one from the TV press tour archives:


"What makes me happy? My family, work and, I think, being around, you know, and creating. Like, when I'm not doing this show (The Crazy Ones), I get to do something called Set List once in a while. It's like an improv show, where you get seven suggestions and you put together an improvised... standup comedy set. That's a joy... That's the happy clown. But the idea of just being around and riding a bike is one of my happiest moments."

-- Robin Williams in a July 2013 interview promoting his CBS comedy The Crazy Ones, which was cancelled after one season.

Twitter: @BradOswald

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 16, 2014 D3

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