Linda Lavin offers a very simple explanation for her return to series TV in NBC’s forthcoming “Sean Saves the World” with Sean Hayes: “I go where the material is best,” says the Tony winner and American Theatre Hall of Famer.
The actress who ruled the airwaves as title star of the classic sitcom “Alice”’ from 1976-1985 plays Hayes’ sometimes contentious, often pushy mother in the October 3-debuting show.
She tells us she’s been offered other roles of mothers. However, “This is the first best mother I’ve read in television in a very long time — because she’s not a joke, or the butt of a joke. She’s not a simplification. She’s a full-blown human being, and I choose to do women who are looking for their own identity beyond being someone’s mother,” adds Lavin, true to her consciousness of female equality that “Alice” fans no doubt recall.
She goes on, “Who she is, is an evolving, opinionated, alive, lively, sensible and attractive woman who wants to have a full life with her son, with her grandchild and for herself. I think she’s extremely identifiable with this generation of women who have adult children and grandchildren and are saying to the world, I’m also somebody – not just your mother, not just your grandmother. My identity, and her identity is very respected by the writer, Victor Fresco, and that means a lot to me.”
“Sean Saves the World” is getting much attention for bringing the gifted Hayes back to the tube, of course – in the role of a divorced gay dad who is attempting to balance his demanding job, his teenaged daughter and, yes, his mom, who is such a woman to be reckoned with. Lavin says she and Hayes hit it off like long-time friends right away.
She looks younger than her septuagenarian status. But she shrugs off compliments. “I know I’m aging, and I know my body is changing and my face has changed, but I’m happy with being here and being accepted and being alive and being well and working. I think a lot of that is why I have the energy I do.”
As for returning to the situation comedy game itself, it sounds as if Lavin finds it like riding a bike. “The process is the same. There’s a script, there’s a sit-down at a table, there’s rewriting, there’s rehearsal, there’s an audience. It’s not a whole different world.”
EATING SPORTS FOR BREAKFAST: With NBC’s Sunday Night Football ready for its new season – launching with its Thursday night (9/5) NFL Kickoff show with the Baltimore Ravens vs. the Denver Broncos – Al Michaels seems to be loaded with vitality. How does he account for that at age 68?
“I eat no vegetables,” he answers. “The guys I work with will tell you. I eat a lot of steaks and chops, fish and all that stuff.” Yikes! “No, I don’t know what it is. I’m just lucky. I married the right woman, so that has a lot to do with it. I’m just lucky – very, very blessed. I’ve had a lot of good things that have happened.”