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The view from three TV veterans

Kelsey Grammer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Christina Applegate have new shows — 'Boss,' 'Veep' and 'Up All Night,' respectively. They reflect on changes since the '80s.

June 07, 2012|By Christy Grosz, Special to the Los Angeles Times

"It's a luxury to try something new on a network that's looking for its own brand. It's a great symbiotic pairing," he says, adding with a chuckle, "Would we like bigger numbers? I think that's certainly within the realm of reasonable expectations."

Julia Louis-Dreyfus


When Louis-Dreyfus started researching her role as the vice president of the United States on "Veep," a scheduler in Washington told the actress that she slept with her BlackBerry on her pillow.

"She was very proud of that level of devotion," Louis-Dreyfus recalls. "It really speaks to the intensity of the political universe and the almost insular nature of it."

Finding the humor in the intensity of politics, plus the opportunity to work with "In the Loop" creator Armando Iannucci, combined for the perfect opportunity for Louis-Dreyfus to get back into TV. But, first and foremost, she wanted her portrayal of Selina Meyer to be nonpartisan.

"I was interested in political behavior in both parties across the board," she says, adding that she was careful to avoid Sarah Palin parallels. "I didn't want this to be a parody of any one particular candidate."

Running on HBO allows for some of that humor to be more bawdy than the "Seinfeld" actress could ever get away with on a broadcast network. But she said the real pleasure in working in cable was the protracted preproduction process.

"Before we shot a single frame, we rehearsed for six weeks, and HBO got behind that. It's an expensive enterprise, but they understood the value of it from an artistic point of view," says Louis-Dreyfus, who's also a producer on the show.

Not only did having the extra time allow the"Saturday Night Live"alumna to really inhabit the veep, but it also gave way to better scripts. "It was a lovely cocktail of scripted and improvisation all at once. Sometimes a script was born out of improvisation, then you'd improvise on top of that. Many layers of time and energy went into it."

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