Fred Willard, Back to You
On Back to You (Wednesdays, 8 pm/ET, Fox), the Kelsey Grammer/Patricia Heaton sitcom vehicle, Fred Willard plays freewheeling sportscaster Marsh McGinley, whose lead foot alarms a coworker tonight when they carpool together. Marsh is the latest in a gallery of grinning goofballs that Willard has given us over the course of a career that spans 40 years.

TV Guide: What do you enjoy about Marsh?
Fred Willard: I love it that he's a sports guy and that he says whatever comes to his mind. He doesn't think things through too much. Nothing seems to perturb him. It's pretty much opposite to the way I am in real life — I tend to overthink things.

TV Guide: You have so many TV credits. Anything make Back to You special?
Willard: Kelsey Grammer is the kind of guy I love to work with because he doesn't want to overwork anything. As a result, you tend to focus more.

TV Guide: You excel at exaggerated stereotypes. Are you a cutup in real life?
Willard: If I'm in a good mood and around people I feel really comfortable with, I can be the life of the party. But I can also be the guy at the table who people turn to and say, "You're awfully quiet."

TV Guide: One of your louder characters was Fernwood 2-Night's Jerry Hubbard.
Willard:
I loved that show and working with Martin Mull. That's my favorite TV character. I think it was the first time I ever played a character who never thought twice before he said something. And there's been kind of a through line into the things I did with Christopher Guest, particularly in Best in Show when I was the dog-show announcer.

TV Guide: How is it working with Guest and his rep company?
Willard: It's like being called up with the Dodgers. I'm a longtime friend and fan of Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara. I just love [Guest's] quiet, offbeat sense of humor. I think everybody who does his movies is on the same wavelength.

TV Guide: You never seem to age. What's your secret?
Willard: [Laughs] I'm a big square, I love to exercise. I'm just a step away from being a hypochondriac. And a sense of humor helps.

Watch more of Back to You in our Online Video Guide.

Get an exclusive look at Alex's reborn romance with "Jane Doe" on Grey's Anatomy in the Oct. 22 issue of TV Guide. Try four risk-free issues now!

Send your comments on this Q&A to
letters@tvguide.com.