[Update: Series ratings remained strong in week 2, and posted viewer gains for week 3, the latest episode of the show, which was basic cable’s No. 1 program Monday, averaging more than 5.7 million viewers.]
Mary McDonnell, up for Emmy honors for her work on “The Closer,” admits, “It was kind of a bizarre situation” to find herself accepting congratulations — even as she felt the sting of disappointment over her cast mate and friend, Kyra Sedgwick, being overlooked by the TV Academy voters for the first time in five years.
“She deserves everything in terms of recognition; her work was so extraordinary last year. I was very shocked by the nominations, frankly. I just assumed she’d receive one. But,” McDonnell is quick to add, “Kyra could not have been more gracious to me in expressing her happiness about mine.”
McDonnell is an Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series nominee. Sedgwick won for her work as lead actress last year.
With Sedgwick having decided this will be her final “The Closer” season, and McDonnell all set to pick up where she leaves off with her spinoff show, “Major Crimes,” next year, there could be an awkward dynamic between the two actresses. But McDonnell stresses, “The beautiful part of it is, this is developing totally with Kyra’s blessing and totally at her choice — when she felt she needed to leave — and nobody is going to try or come remotely close to repeating the iconic nature of ‘The Closer’ as it is now. It will be interesting to see how ‘Major Crimes’ is going to evolve into its own entity.”
Will the rest of the current cast — the “Closer” family — be part of that new entity? Answers McDonnell, “My hope is, all of them will be. I actually feel like that is what will happen. I think that is what will happen. And I know that is the goal of James Duff, the creator.” She says she’s looking forward to exploring the chemistry between her character, Internal Affairs Captain Sharon Raydor, and the guys on the “Major Crimes” team. And then there is her relationship with Kyra — as this season’s storyline goes into more and more difficult territory for her increasingly in-trouble Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson.
“We’re really lucky, aren’t we?” McDonnell says, speaking of the dynamic chemistry and sparks that fly between the two leading ladies. “The thing that was clear right from the beginning — which is, I’m sure, the reason all this started to happen — is that for some reason, we trusted each other. I think that’s a tough thing to find in Hollywood: this innate trust It was just there. I think that was a gift for us both.
MEANWHILE: Kyra Sedgwick doesn’t rule out visiting “Major Crimes” as Chief Brenda at some point. However, she tells us, “I think it would be a long time before that would happen. I want to let them stand on their own two feet for awhile.”
BY GEORGE: Proving that you just can’t get too much of a good dog, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3” is en route to production. Since George Lopez has already talked about the possibility of a third “Chihuahua,” it looks like he will reprise his role as brave and noble little Papi for this direct-to-video production, as he did for the second flick.
THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: They’re redoing the pilot of CBS’s fall-debuting “Two Broke Girls.” That’s the series, produced by Whitney Cummings, about two young waitresses from very different backgrounds who strike up a friendship as they work at a Brooklyn diner.
A funny reality show concept is in the preproduction stage at the Oprah Winfrey Network — OWN’s own flash musicals show. Currently being sought are people who have things they’ve just gotta get off their chests in a significant way — “I’m sorry,” say, or “I’m pregnant” or “I want to date you” or “I quit.” The show will arrange break-into-song musical numbers for lucky participants (who get $100 a day on top of it!), numbers that could occur anywhere. Shooting will take place in November.
Kyra Sedgwick tells us that she and her “The Closer” compatriots have yet to succumb to the feeling of the show’s days being numbered — despite the fact that they’re shooting their final season. “I think everyone is in a healthy state of denial. It’s a long year. It’s like a network year, and we’re not even half-way through shooting,” she says of the 21-episode season that premieres tonight (7/11) on TNT.
“Having to say goodbye — I think that’s going to be rough. I’m sure the last few episodes will have their share of boo-hoo moments, as well as picking fights,” adds the Emmy-winning actress, who celebrates her 23rd anniversary with husband Kevin Bacon this September. “I don’t know about anyone else, but with Kevin, I still have to pick fights — silly little fights when we have to spend time apart, I guess trying to make it easier to separate,” she admits. With her “The Closer” series family, “having spent seven years together, it’s going to be emotional. The quality of the time is really more than you spend with your real family. We’re going to miss each other terribly.”
This season’s “The Closer” will have Kyra’s inimitable interrogator extraordinaire, Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, doing something breathtakingly ununusal among TV’s legions of audacious, rule-bending cops. She is going to have to face up to the consequences of her audacious, rule-bending actions.
Kyra says she agreed to do the extra episodes because creator James Duff “really wanted to end with an epic journey. I wanted to be supportive of that.” There will be cliff-hangers along the way — when the summer’s run of “The Closer” closes, and its winter run, culminating at last with the series finale next summer.
Expect Brenda to seriously break down along the way. Kyra has already shot the episode in which it happens, and says, “That was a rough one. That was a really rough one. That was one I carried around for a few weeks before we shot it. I was fortunate I had to weekend to relax afterward. That was something I was happy to let go once I did it.”
After decades of juggling motherhood and her career, “The Closer” star Kyra Sedgwick says she’s getting used to life as an empty nester with husband Kevin Bacon.
“You know, it’s been okay so far,” observes the actress, whose son, Travis, turns 22 this week, and whose daughter, Sosie, is 18 years old. “For one thing they come home a lot, on spring break and such, which is great. My son is actually done with college now so he’s around. They’re home, but they’re not really home. It’s a little confusing. But you know, once they actually leave, go away to school, it’s never quite the same. It’s a huge transition, to no longer be a day-to-day parent. That’s done forever.”
Kyra acknowledges, “It’s a loss, but you also get to figure out, I guess, what fulfills you as a solitary person, and in being in a marriage without the children there. It can be a time for growth, but that doesn’t mean it’s super easy.”
As for more romance? “Oh, for sure!” she answers with a laugh. “Absolutely.”
Right now, Kyra is six epsiodes into shooting the final 21 of her acclaimed show, which returns to the TNT lineup July 11 — with a promise, according to her, of this being the most dramatic season ever. The reason she agreed to additional episodes in the final year? Creator James Duff, she says, “really wanted to end with an epic journey. I wanted to be supportive of that.”