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Patricia Heaton on Back to You

Published September 27, 2007 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of Fox.
Back to You Patricia Heaton and Kelsey Grammer in Back to You
Back to You not only represents Kelsey Grammer playing a new TV character for the first time in decades, but it is Patricia Heaton’s first TV comedy pairing with a new leading man since Everybody Loves Raymond. For Heaton, Grammer was the perfect foil.

Patricia Heaton Finds a New Man in Back to You

“We have the same agent and about a year or two ago, Martin and I were talking about doing something with [Grammer],” said Heaton. “It just seemed right. I thought, ‘Oh God, me and Kelsey together would be a lot of fun.’ And what can we do? We’re thinking maybe college professors, maybe that should be it. He’ll be the old, dead, white male writers and I’ll be the women’s lib professor and we’ll do something like that. I didn’t hear anything about it and then I was doing this play in New York for 600 bucks a week and they said there’s this sitcom, and I said, ‘Yes, whatever it is.’ But it was with Kelsey and then I read the script and it was really not only the funniest script that I had been offered, but the only one I had been offered. So that combination was a really winning combination for me.”

With Raymond residuals, Heaton would theoretically not have to work, but she likes to. “Joy is a great word when you’re talking about acting and you find a great part. When we did this pilot, we were together for eight days, more or less, and just the ease with every single cast member and the producers, just to come in and laugh and create and find things and find bits. It’s a great gig to have. Kelsey has children. I have kids. We are young enough to keep working and someday that is going to stop, I guess. As an actor, you find a project you love and why would you say no?”

The setting of the news desk is familiar to her. She can vouch for the accuracy of Back to You’s shenanigans. “I used to edit news film and NBC, channel five in Cleveland, in college during the summers, which just shows you in the ‘70s the caliber of the news there. They would hire me to edit their news films during the summer. There was one day I went in and there was nobody there at all. I had to put the whole thing together and type up the stories and stuff. I saw a lot of the stuff that went on in there. There were affairs going on and people vying for power and stuff and it’s in a market like Cleveland. People have ambition and want to go places so that’s all very interesting to me.”

As an actor, newscasters give Heaton plenty with which to play. “I also have always loved, Larraine Newman used to do this so great on Saturday Night Live when she would be that reporter speaking in that sort of monotone that they do. When you look, the tilt of the head when they finish a sentence or they emphasize something. I just love all that little kind of stuff. That’s so exciting to me, to have something concrete to hang your performance on, these little physical bits.”

As a news veteran, Heaton knows just where to place her character in the scheme of things. “I love the hairdos and seeing the different markets. You’ve got your local New York anchors, the gals who really could use a little wax on the brow. Then you get all the way to the West Coast, some of them look like hookers. It’s funny to kind of pick out what Kelly Carr’s thing is going to be. Also, I just think these poor newscasters, they have to be entertainment now. There’s no line anymore really. They’re having to promote shows that are coming on and they have to do goofy stuff and dress up or be funny and have those graphics come through. It’s tough for them, I think. They want to maintain their journalistic integrity but you have to get those ratings. I think that’s a cool thing to show people struggling with.”

Back to You airs on Fox.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Fox.

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