Grammer stars in his first TV drama 'Boss'

By KAREN BUTLER  |  Oct. 21, 2011 at 1:18 PM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Hollywood actor Kelsey Grammer says he is pleased Starz has demonstrated faith in his first television drama series "Boss" by renewing it for a second season with the first season yet to premiere on the cable network.

"I think it is [a vote of confidence]. Take it at face value. I think that is what it is," Grammer told UPI during a recent teleconference with reporters.

"I think they really liked the story and I think the producers and the network itself are interested in figuring out what the next story is for us," he explained.

"I've spoken to ['Boss' creator Farhad Safinia] about this, our approach to this show is going to be almost as though each season is a unique and individual show within a show, so that each season will have its own kind of arc and independent storytelling style that may not necessarily seem like it came out of the first season."

In the show, which premieres Friday night, the award-winning actor plays Tom Kane, fictional mayor of Chicago. Viewers will learn at the beginning of the first episode of the series that Kane is suffering from a degenerative neurological disorder, which he conceals from the public. Connie Nielsen plays the politician's wife and Kathleen Robertson his personal aide.

"There's certainly a cliffhanger at the end of the first [season,] but we're going to do our best to make it really uniquely individual each season," Grammer noted. "So, I mean, we don't know what it is yet. But I think it's partially that that made them think: 'You know what? We want to know more about what happens in this world.' And they have enough faith that the audience will find it and once they find it probably stick with it."

The 56-year-old actor, who trained at New York's renowned Julliard School for performing arts, is best known for playing Dr. Frasier Crane on the NBC sitcoms "Cheers" and "Frasier" for a span of 20 years.

Asked if he sees a big difference between working in cable television versus network television, Grammer replied, "Oh, sure, yes."

"There are a lot of things that go on," he added. "But, I mean, the cable world is, you know, has defined itself. It has found its kind of identity in this world of making unique and more I guess you can call it 'risky' television.

"But, in the end, it's really just about telling a great story if you can," he said. "And the narrative of this particular show does not lend itself to the more network-style show. It's not a procedural show. It's inherently dramatic. It is a bit of a mystery. It is also a tragedy. And it has colors and a look that you might not consider, you know, prime-time or network suitable. It certainly has, you know, it has some nudity and we have some classic language. But the content itself, I think, is probably not exactly, you know, network fodder."

So, did the actor talk to any real-life politicians or doctors to prepare for the role?

"Well, you know, we always do our homework," he said. "We always make sure that the malady exists, you know, we didn't make up something. ... We, certainly, yes, we spoke to the folks who are in major research ... And politicians, no, you know, listen. Politics is the sort of mainstay of theatrical behavior in our contemporary culture, so you don't have to talk to a lot of people to figure out what's going on. Or you don't have to talk to a lot of people to embrace a kind of political personality without having to actually talk to one. I have met Rahm Emanuel, [current Chicago] city mayor, and I have talked with [former Chicago] Mayor [Richard] Daley and had a nice dinner with him. And I assured both of them that I was not portraying either one of them."

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