Sunday, April 7, 2013

Blue Bloods - Los Angeles Times: Tom Selleck and the cop family drama rule Fridays

Source: The Los Angeles Times [follow link for complete article]


THE LOS ANGELES TIMES: 'Blue Bloods': Tom Selleck and the cop family drama rule Fridays

The CBS show starring the veteran actor, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan and Will Estes, is drawing a big crowd for its family dinner on a slow night for TV.

By Steven Zeitchik
April 6, 2013

NEW YORK — On a soundstage in an industrial Brooklyn neighborhood, Tom Selleck sits at the head of a prop-heavy dinner table filled with three generations of actors.

As a crew goes about its preparations, there's little wisdom that Selleck won't dispense: his March Madness pick (Duke, because "Coach K is a great guy, and his players graduate"), his aversion to gourmet vegetables, his favorite lines from "Airplane."

Then the cameras roll, and he's doling out nuggets all over again.

"It takes guts to stand by your principles, not just when it's easy but it costs you something," he offers sagely, this time in character as police commissioner Frank Reagan.

Welcome to CBS' "Blue Bloods." Now in its unexpectedly successful third season, the show not only has marked the "Magnum, P.I." star's triumphant return to series TV ("he's the patriarch of the cast the way he's the patriarch on the series," said costar Will Estes) but may very well be the most popular television show no one talks about.

Despite airing in prime-time's semi-wasteland of Friday night, "Blue Bloods" is now watched by nearly 13 million people, making it one of the most popular programs on network television (even if, with a median age of 62, it also has the oldest audience of any show on the broadcast airwaves). In a climate where network hourlongs tend to be either grisly crime thrillers ("Criminal Minds") or soapy mysteries ("Scandal"), "Blue Bloods" is an anomaly: a family drama that just happens to wear procedural clothing...

... For one shooting day each episode, Selleck & Co. gather for the scene they call "family dinner," hashing out professional and personal issues, all in the presence of their wisdom-dishing, frequently sighing paterfamilias. (On this day, as they butter rolls and crunch spinach leaves, Danny Reagan and his wife are tensely discussing an ethical dilemma that's put them at cross-purposes, Danny's son is nervous about a boxcar derby, and Erin is battling her own conscience.)

The dinner scene is a fixture of the series, made at the insistence of executive producer Leonard Goldberg when he pitched it to Les Moonves more than three years ago. Its existence is highly symbolic. Though one can't get around that this is a CBS crime show with an open-and-shut case in every episode — something the network insisted on, Goldberg said — those who work on "Blue Bloods" take pride in the family dinner and believe it's the type of scene that drives the program's success...


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