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December 20, 2000
ET - Entertainment Tonight
SW - Steven Weber
"Steven Weber soared into TV stardom on "Wings." Now he's back on NBC with "The Weber Show" -- and that's no curse!
ET - Can you talk about what it was in particular about this show that made you decide to do it?
SW - I just thought it was different. I mean, personally, I was looking for a different approach to doing a half-hour comedy. I think a lot of the best shows are dialogue-driven and dialogue-heavy. They're not all on NBC, although most of them that I like are. But -- that was a little kiss-ass moment. I just think that this show will push the envelope a little bit and raise the bar. I think the audience is saturated with shows that are middle-of-the-road. We are just trying to do something just a little left, a little odd. And that's what I wanted to do. Reminiscent of maybe "Seinfeld" or the Coen brothers, or the Farrelly brothers, or the Smith Brothers or whatever brothers. It's something that's a little different.
ET - The "Cursed" name seems to have had a curse on it. Why choose that instead of "The Weber Show" in the first place?
SW - It is an ensemble show. It is strictly that. Because everybody is so strong and everybody is going to contribute -- I get paid a lot more, but -- I think it was important to let everybody know that Wendell Pierce, Chris Elliot, and Amy Pietz were going to be in it as much as I am. Besides, my name is too bland. I don't hate my name, but it's not a "showbiz-y" kind of name. It's not Ethan Hawke . (laughter) There's no danger to it. (laughter) It's sort of a bland, work in the garment-district name -- Steven Weber, dentist. You know, it's a decent dentist's name. It's not the name of a show. (laughter) Also, we have many ancillary characters such as Curtis Armstrong, John O'Hurley, and Lisa Darr - the girl who put the curse on my character. One of the things that we are thinking of is maybe having a kind of Where's Waldo? -type approach to her character down the line. She might be in the background. She might be over somebody's shoulder. She might figure in peripherally in some way. And it could be fun for audiences.
ET - Steven....
SW - Thank you for that. Thank God somebody stopped me. I said "peripherally." Anytime I say that, cut it off. (laughter)
ET - Were you done? (laughter)
SW - Oh, yes. (laughter)
ET - What do you think Jack can do to break the curse? Do you think there's anything that he can do over the long haul to get out of this place?
SW - I hope this particular curse lasts approximately seven to 11 years, so I don't know what is going to happen, but we have to play it out for that long. (laughter)
ET - Steven, between "The Shining" and "Cursed," do you think people have it in for you?
SW - I would like to think that all of "Wings" alumni are on shows with angry titles. You know, "The Fugitive" and "Cursed." And Tony Shaloub was on "Stark Raving Mad." So I don't know. (laughter) I think Crystal Bernard has a series like "You're Hurting Me" or something. So I don't know. I think I'm the man you love to hate.
ET - Does "The Weber Show" preclude your guesting on "Once and Again" at all? It seems like that relationship is a roller coaster. Could that happen?
SW - Hopefully, I will be able to go back. Maybe we can work out some sort of crossover thing -- the characters from "Once and Again" and "The Weber Show." It would be lovely to be able to do that. But I don't know.
ET - Viewers like to be able to peg their TV stars, especially when somebody is in a series that ran as long as yours did. Any concerns about how audiences might react to the various turns that you've taken along the way?
SW - No. I think that audiences are not the lumped mass that they're often characterized as being. I think that they can understand and accept somebody doing roles that are different and varied. And I think the audience enjoys watching actors change and be as different as possible. So I'm not worried about that. You know, "Wings" was kind of a funny experience because it ran for almost eight years, but yet it was sort of under the radar at the same time. It was never a critical success, but a lot of people watched it. So I don't think anybody on that show was particularly pigeonholed.
ET - Is there any chance of former "Wings" cast members guest starring on your show to remind us of those wonderful years?
STEVEN - I don't think so. Were they wonderful years? Were they? (laughter) They were wonderful for my ex-wife. (laughter)
ET - A follow-up on that, why weren't they wonderful years?
SW - Well, you know, alimony. No. I'm proud to have been associated with "Wings," believe me, and it's interesting that I'm getting questions about it -- I'm not quite sure why -- except that people did like the show. It was odd to me that so many people watched it -- maybe because it was force-fed them, being that it was on four times a day at one point, and it's still on. And yet, it was never critically acclaimed at all. It was never recognized. It had minimal press, not for lack of trying. And I find it interesting how something can be so widely disseminated and absorbed and enjoyed by people just by word of mouth."
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