Pa­tri­cia Heaton tries for an­other long run with ‘Carol’s Sec­ond Act’

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Cover Story - BY JAY BOB­BIN

Pa­tri­cia Heaton isn’t wa­ger­ing on an­other se­ries run that lasts al­most a decade, but she’s hope­ful.

Af­ter spend­ing nine sea­sons each on “Ev­ery­body Loves Ray­mond” (for which she won two Emmy Awards) and “The Mid­dle,” the ac­tress tests the sit­com wa­ters anew as CBS’ “Carol’s Sec­ond Act” pre­mieres Thurs­day, Sept. 26. Heaton stars as a di­vorced mom and re­tired teacher who seeks her “sec­ond act” as a med­i­cal in­tern, im­part­ing life lessons to muchy­ounger peers – and also, on oc­ca­sion, to an ex­pe­ri­enced doc­tor (Kyle Ma­cLach­lan) who’s mildly per­plexed to have Carol un­der his wing.

Also an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of the new show, along with her hus­band David Hunt and se­ries cre­ators Emily Halpern and Sarah Hask­ins (“Tro­phy Wife”), Heaton re­ports that “this came af­ter ‘The Mid­dle’ was all done. I think what was per­fect about it was that my kids are pretty much out of the house, and my sec­ond long-run­ning show was done, and I was feel­ing a bit at sea not know­ing what I was do­ing. I’m no longer a full-time mom, and I didn’t have a job as an ac­tress, and I very much felt the things that a per­son like Carol would feel.

“It’s been in­ter­est­ing to go on this jour­ney with ev­ery­one and with Carol and ex­plore that,” Heaton says. “I think it’s im­por­tant, at any time in your life, to keep chal­leng­ing your­self. I think it’s a good sign that I’m ex­cited about this. It’s very ex­cit­ing to go back to mul­ti­cam­era, too (as ‘Ray­mond’ was), and do it live in front of an au­di­ence.”

Also fea­tur­ing Ash­ley Tis­dale as Carol‘s daugh­ter and JeanLuc Bilodeau (“Baby Daddy”) as an­other in­tern, “Carol’s Sec­ond Act” is de­scribed by co-cre­ator Halpern as “that fan­tasy of the road not taken, the path not fol­lowed. We thought, ‘What char­ac­ter would we most like to tell this story through?,’ and we loved the idea of an older woman ... some­body at a time in her life where she might tra­di­tion­ally be ex­pected to re­treat or to be­come less vis­i­ble. And we thought. ‘Let’s put her cen­ter-stage and put her in an en­vi­ron­ment where her age is ac­tu­ally her strength.’ ”

Adds Hask­ins, the step­daugh­ter-in-law of the iconic Julie An­drews, “As Carol brings her ex­per­tise and her ex­pe­ri­ence and her tal­ent to the hos­pi­tal uni­verse, Patty (Heaton) has brought her ex­pe­ri­ence and her com­edy to us and has in­hab­ited this char­ac­ter and brought her to life in ways that have been so de­light­ful to see. And it was just mag­i­cal on the pi­lot, the first day we shot, to see Patty come out and read our lines and make them much fun­nier than they were be­fore. Which was the in­ten­tion.”

Sab­rina Jalees, Jean-Luc Bilodeau, Pa­tri­cia Heaton and Lu­cas Neff (from left)

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