Rules of Engagement

It's on, it's off, it's on again. Rules of Engagement has served as a true utility player for CBS, but that means it never has a permanent place on the schedule — and is forever teetering on the bubble. But Rules (Thursdays, 8:30/7:30c) has nonetheless survived for six seasons and nearly 85 episodes, which may be why stars Patrick Warburton, Megyn Price, David Spade, Oliver Hudson, Bianca Kajlich and Adhir Kalyan are circumspect about their show's fate. The same goes for executive producer Tom Hertz, who filled out our showrunner survey to explain why it's not too late to get Engaged.

TV Guide Magazine: What happens if we don't watch your show?
Tom Hertz: Your doorbell will ring. You'll answer it. Huh? Nobody's there. But wait, there's a bag on the stoop and it's on fire! Better stomp it out! Phew, that was close. Wait, what's that smell?

TV Guide Magazine: Give us an equation for your show.
Hertz: Rules of Engagement equals the movie Diner plus Mad About You minus Paul Reiser squared, plus a dash of cumin.

TV Guide Magazine: What's the best thing anyone has said or written about your show?
Hertz: "Rules of Engagement airs Thursdays at 8:30!" CBS said that.

TV Guide Magazine: And what's the worst thing anyone has said or written?
Hertz: "We're going to put you on hiatus so we can try out Rob." CBS also said that.

TV Guide Magazine: Were they right?
Hertz: Yes. But it's not like they're psychics, the whole thing is up to them.

TV Guide Magazine: What makes your cast the best on TV?
Hertz: Not one of them has sued me for hitting them. This is why I keep doing it.

TV Guide Magazine: What's an alternate title for your show?
Hertz: Tom Hertz's Tyler Perry's Rules of Engagement, or The Thing That Wouldn't Die!

TV Guide Magazine: Showrunner battles are all the rage these days. Pick a rival show to start a fight with.
Hertz: Let's go, The Mentalist. You and me, out behind the school at 3 o'clock. No hitting below the belt, and no noticing things and drawing clever conclusions.

TV Guide Magazine: Let's scare the network. Tell us an idea that didn't make it out of the writers' room.
Hertz: In an emergency, Timmy has to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Russell. For his heroic act, he gets herpes. The writers thought we could make it clear it wasn't the sex kind of herpes, but the oral kind that results in a cold sore. I disagreed.

TV Guide Magazine: Of your cast members, who would fare best on Dancing with the Stars?
Hertz: I'd have to go with Oliver Hudson. He's got a great golf swing, which probably translates to being graceful on the dance floor. Plus he's the most comfortable with his body. If a scene calls for strategic covering of his parts to make it appear that he's naked, he's happy to just actually be naked — a real treat for the big union crew guys.

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