It's Show Time for Star Trek/Boston Legal's William Shatner
Show Me the Money
William Shatner, Show Me the Money
, once but a quotable from a Tom Cruise film, has finally found its rightful place as the title of a TV game show, premiering tonight on ABC at 9:30 pm/ET and hosted by William Shatner
. (Starting Nov. 22, the show's regular time slot is Wednesdays at 8.) Having once sported a full-size Captain Kirk poster on my bedroom door, this TVGuide.com reporter was more than excited to speak with the Star Trek
alum about his bold new mission, what's next for Boston Legal
's Denny "Denny Crane" Crane and the current fate of his Starfleet commander.
TVGuide.com: What kind of schedule have you come up with where you can juggle these two ABC gigs of yours?
William Shatner: If it were just the two shows, I think I could manage it. But it's also all the publicity around them. I did 13 interviews yesterday and today. You know, doing a game show, I thought, "Oh, I could do that." You start rolling, and you're on for an hour. And if you want to do two shows a day, it's an hour on, an hour to get ready, then another hour, so three hours total. So I was saying that to myself when it was 2 o'clock in the morning, and we had been there 14 hours.... [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: There is an obvious comparison between Show Me the Money and Deal or No Deal — both have a stage full of beautiful girls toting dollar amounts that affect the contestant's fortune....
Shatner: Well, there is some comparison in that Endemol's Dick de Rijk, who is the Dutch genius of game shows, is behind Deal or No Deal and several of the other [reality-TV series]....
TVGuide.com: Has he worked his magic again?
Shatner: I hope so. I played the game with him several times over several days, getting ready to understand how the game works and what the points of drama are, and it became more and more complex.
TVGuide.com: Help me understand the dancing element. The girls dance out with their scrolls [which raise or a lower a player's winnings]? What's that about?
Shatner: [Laughs] That's like being at a Broadway musical and saying, "Why do they sing those words when they could just as soon say them?" It's called entertainment. The dancing girls are part of the glitter of the show. The part that I didn't understand, and never thought deeply about, was the exploration of the contestant, of why they're doing this, how their winning money would help them achieve dreams that they've expressed. Once the contestant is being queried, there's no going back. They can be up $750,000, as somebody at one time is, and be joyful and ecstatic, and in the next instant have no money at all. And then be back up. [On Show Me the Money] you can't cut and run.
TVGuide.com: Do you find yourself getting caught up in the contestant's highs and lows?
Shatner: Absolutely! When they say, "I want to win this money to fix my boyfriend's teeth," and the boyfriend is there and he smiles, you realize he does need help, that it would change his life, her life... everything... if she could only win this money.
TVGuide.com: Switching topics to Boston Legal: What's ahead for Denny Crane during November sweeps?
Shatner: And lightheartedness.
TVGuide.com: OK, we'll take that. Boston Legal has been knocking down some new walls, referring to itself as a fictional show and such. What's your take on that?
Shatner: Sophocles uses the chorus in that manner, in a "Look at him, he's a sorrowful man" sort of thing. So [series creator David E.] Kelley is using it in much the same way, I think. He may have a different take on it, that he's using it for shock value, but that's what I get from it.
TVGuide.com: What has been your overall impression of David E. Kelley?
Shatner: He's a genius. A mad, and madcap, genius.
TVGuide.com: Boston Legal's Season 2 DVD set comes out Nov. 21. Did you record any extras for it?
Shatner: Yes, I did, some time ago.
TVGuide.com: Is there a blooper reel?
Shatner: Oh, we do very few bloopers! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: If you could have any one person guest-star on Boston Legal, who would you choose?
Shatner: I think Jesus Christ would be good.
TVGuide.com: Oh, he's not available.
Shatner: Is he booked?
TVGuide.com: At least through Christmas and Easter.
Shatner: How about Moses? He'd be a good foil for Denny.
TVGuide.com: Turning to Star Trek, have you seen any of the hi-def, CGI-enhanced original episodes?
Shatner: No, I don't watch myself. I don't even watch Boston Legal.
TVGuide.com: Have you had the opportunity to talk to J.J. Abrams about the new Trek film he's doing?
Shatner: I had a long talk with him, yeah. He's going to morph Spock into Kirk — I'm starting that rumor.
TVGuide.com: Who would you cast as the young Captain Kirk [a rumored premise for the new film]?
Shatner: I think it's essentially uncastable.
TVGuide.com: Unless you could get Jesus Christ.
Shatner: Or Moses. But Moses would have to shave.
TVGuide.com: Might J.J. keep the door open for you to cameo in the film?
Shatner: I don't know how they're going to do that. I'm dead.... It's one of those science-fiction puzzles that needs to be worked out. [Chuckles]
TVGuide.com: But you could be a different character, a "wisdom-filled elder."
Shatner: Well, now, I don't know that either one of those things, "wisdom-filled" or "elder," is in me. The words do not resonate.
TVGuide.com: You are looking pretty damn good in that new DirecTV/Star Trek commercial.
Shatner: They've got me CGI'd. I am doing [the new footage], but they've got a computer program trying vainly to make me look younger.
TVGuide.com: What do you say to some fans' concerns that this is the last we will see of you as Kirk?
Shatner: It's possible....
ABC's Show Me the Money previews tonight at 9:30 pm/ET. Starting Nov. 22, the show's regular time slot is Wednesdays at 8.
Send in your comments on this Q&A to firstname.lastname@example.org.