Motherhood most challenging role for Marissa Jaret Winokur

Tony-winning actress Marissa Jaret Winokur has had some challenging roles in her career, but to hear her tell it, being a mom is by far her toughest.  It’s especially been difficult trying to balance motherhood with hosting the upcoming Oxygen reality competition “Dance Your A– Off.” 

Marissa Jaret Winokur

Marissa Jaret Winokur

“The show just wrapped so I’m being a mom right now.  I’m overwhelmed every day,” admits the former “Dancing With the Stars” contestant, whose son Zev was born via a surrogate almost a year ago. 

She is approaching this Mothers Day with a fresh appreciation for the generations of moms before her.  “I’m like, ‘How did our mothers do it?’  And I’m doing it with a job and my mom didn’t work.  I’m like, ‘How did she not go mad?'” 

Winokur admits that her life certainly is not as glamorous with her baby on the scene.  “Oh my God!  Twenty minutes before I’ll get to a party now I’ll be covered in spit up or changing diapers and then I’ll go do a press line.  You’re like, ‘Oh, none of this matters.’  So it definitely gives you perspective.”  

In her little free time, Winokur says she’s trying to get in better shape thanks to being inspired by the contests on her Oxygen show – on which contestants are judged not only on their dance skills, but also on their weight loss. 

“I think my having done ‘Dancing With the Stars’ really helped the contestants because it was really hard and I saw myself in each one of them.  Being on set all time, I kept feeling like I had to help everybody.  But I wanted to, because I’ve been through everything they’re going through and I’m going to go through it my whole life and so are they.” 

TAKE THAT:  “Southland” star Michael Cudlitz is downright annoyed by certain critics’ comments about the NBC police drama that debuted last month.  “Some people who have reviewed the show talked about it as a standard formulaic cop show.  With all respect to those people, I don’t know what show they’re watching,” says the actor, who’s at the center of “Southland” action as seasoned cop John Cooper, who is gay.  “Maybe they’re just looking at the surface and haven’t paused to see what is going on.  You cannot watch the show and not see a difference in the way it’s done.  Visually, there is nothing here like a typical cop show.  I’m not saying you have to like it.  If you say you don’t like it based on what is actually there, that is fine.  Otherwise, take a nap and reconsider your career choice.”

With “Southland” shot on L.A. and Hollywood locations with RED cameras that allow for a guerilla filmmaking style, “The only time they block off the streets for our production is for public safety when we have vehicles moving around fast,” says Cudlitz.  So much of the background color seen on the show is real.  “We had some stuff we were shooting at Santa Monica and Highland [Boulevards] and there’s a lot of life going on on those streets that’s just insane.  It’s very, very alive with the tourism that goes on down there and an active nightlife during the day.  There are not too many places where you can just walk out on the streets and see men in dresses that are doing it as a lifestyle and a profession.  Shooting on a street like that, you’re aware of everything going on around you.  It’s definitely invigorating.”

Production has wrapped on the first seven episodes of the generally well-reviewed series from Emmy-winning producers Ann Biderman and John Wells.  The good news is, the network has already renewed it.  The bad news is, the gritty show will have to air at either eight or nine o’clock in the fall, what with Jay Leno’s new prime time talk show taking up all the 10 p.m. slots.

A TIME AND A PLACE:  “Cupid” star Bobby Cannavale says he doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about which medium he’d like to perform in next.  “I’ve never mapped out my career that way,” notes the actor, who also has a long list of big screen credits – and who concludes his and Sarah Paulson’s run onstage in “The Gingerbread House” at Off-Broadway’s Rattlestick Playwrights Theater this weekend.  “The only choice I’ve made is to stay in New York City.  I spent my childhood in New Jersey dreaming I’d get across the river when I grew up and stay here.  When there’s an opportunity to stay at home, it makes the decision a lot easier for me.”

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW:  This season’s “In Plain Sight” has costar Lesley Ann Warren’s long-time alcoholic character continuing along her road to sobriety – while her daughter finds her increasingly healthy way of life hard to take.  That’s the word from series lead Mary McCormack, who explains that for her Mary Shannon character, “a lot of her self-esteem comes from being ‘the together one.’  So with her mother now straightening out, this is a role change.  If you love an addict or a person who is in dysfunction and you’re used to dealing with that, and then they become functional, you have to rethink your identity.”  She adds, “We have action, guns and all that” on the series in which she plays a Deputy U.S. Marshall with the federal witness protection program.  “But thanks to (series creator) David Maples we also have storylines that are fairly adult and complex.”

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster