Kelsey Grammer Predicts a Clinton Presidency and Hates on TV News: Fox's First Day at Press Tour
He may be known as a not-so-secret conservative in Hollywood.
But even former Frasier star Kelsey Grammer thinks the Republicans are going to roll snake eyes in the 2008 election, despite his affection for as-yet-undeclared-sorta-front-runner-actor-turned-politican Fred Thompson.
"I don't think it's the Republicans' year..I think it's going to go to Hillary, actually," said Grammer, facing critics to talk about his new TV anchor comedy with former Everybody Loves Raymond star Patricia Heaton, Back to You. Though he'd also like to get into politics, Grammer said it's not going to happen until he's into his dotage -- say, 70 years old.
“(Politics) requires a level of selflessness that I haven’t reached yet…a level of responsibility to a greater idea than oneself,” said Grammer. “I think, by the time I’m 70, I might be mature as a 45-year-old was back when George Washington was walking around.”
Grammer spared few kind words for today's TV news coverage, either. Saying he consults about 10 different news stories stories each day -- he actually estimated he spend three hours each day consuming news; something I don't do, and I WORK for a newspaper -- the former Frasier star advanced ther not-so-new idea that TV news is no longer focused on news.
“They’re personality pieces rather than actually event driven,” he said. “Even Fox News, which I do watch, whenever they say alert, it’s supposed to mean something else. It’s supposed to mean Anwar Sadat got shot…(not that) a baby slipped off a subway platform and was rescued by a policeman.”
Grammer and Heaton, who earned a reputation as an extreme Catholic by taping public service announcements opposing embryonic stem cell research, denied that their shared political views led them to team up on Back to You. Based on producer Steven Levitan’s early days as a local TV news reporter, the series centers on an aging, egotistical anchorman who lands in Pittsburgh after a mistake in Los Angeles gets him fired (as opposed to Frasier, where he played an aging egotistical psychologist who landed in Seattle after a bad marriage got him to leave Boston).
Heaton, who made the critics laugh by admitting she jumped at the pilot offer with no idea who was attached to it because she had no other offers, also charmed by telling stories of her days working as a tape editor for an ABC affiliate in Cleveland during college – an experience which has helped her identify the different types of TV anchors across the country.
“You’ve got your New York City anchors, who could use a little tweezing on the eyebrows, and you get these West Coast anchors – some of them look like hookers,” she said, laughing (Heaton, a TCA veteran, must know we love nothing better than slagging off higher-profile, better-paid TV journalists). “They have to do all this goofy stuff and try to be funny while keeping their journalistic integrity, and that’s interesting.”
Grammer seemed to bristle at a question from me, centered on the idea that he seems to have a healthy film and TV producing career going (his Grammnet Productions oversees the CW’s Girlfriends and NBC’s Medium). So why would Grammer and Heaton jump into a new series just after completing gigantically successful runs on classic, immensely popular TV comedies?
Nothing. Except I've seen the pilot episode of Back to You, and I think he's setting an awfully high bar.