Smits’ New Series to be Spiked With Real-life Controversy

Jimmy Smits

Expect Jimmy Smits’ forthcoming “Outlaw” drama to be fueled by hot button issues, attention-grabbing news blasts and tough controversies.  That’s the word from the star himself, who points out, “My years of working on ‘The West Wing’ did cement in my mind the fact that there is an audience out there for topical stories.”

“Outlaw,” as you may know, has him as a Supreme Court Justice who steps down.  “The way we’re positing the character is that during his time on the bench, he’s been one of the more conservative-leaning judges.  His father, you see in the pilot, is an activist, kind of liberal.  When his father dies, it causes him to reassess what he wants to do in his life,” Jimmy explains.  “He decides he can make more of an impact by going around the country, trying cases.

“It’s exciting trying to do something a little bit out the box there,” he adds.  “This character is edgy and not predictable.”

He reports that he’s seeing outlines for the shows’ scripts as the writers work away, with plans for production to start the second week of July.  Before he steps before the “Outlaw” cameras, however, the actor — who now holds the distinction of playing both the President of the United States and a Supreme Court Justice on TV series — heads to Washington, D.C., appropriately enough.  He’s hosting the 30thAnnual “A Capitol Fourth” Independence Day mega-event before a crowd of a quarter million on the lawn of the Capitol building – plus millions of viewers at home via PBS.

“I’m always psyched to do it.  My family loves it,” he says.  “They always try to be as eclectic as possible in terms of the performers, to have a real tapestry of our country, and this year they’ve done it in a really big way.  David Archuleta from ‘Idol,’ Gladys Knight, Reba McEntire, Darius Rucker, and the National Symphony Orchestra, which is going to do a wonderful tribute to Erich Kunzel” — who died last year, having conducted at the event for 20 years.  Then there’s the other big “Capitol Fourth draw.  Notes Jimmy, “I grew up in New York, so fireworks on the 4th of July is a way of life.”

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About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

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