Although film star Freddie Prinze Jr. has turned his real life into a sitcom — the appropriately titled Freddie, airing Wednesdays at 8:30 pm/ET on ABC — don't confuse him with the character he plays on TV. Here, the actor talks to TV Guide about his real-life cooking skills, paying tribute to his famous father and being married to onetime vampire slayer Sarah Michelle Gellar.
TV Guide: You're not only producing, writing and starring in your new show, but it's also called Freddie. Could it be any more stressful?
Freddie Prinze Jr.: Actually, I didn't name it after myself, but that's what everyone decided would fit the show. So it added more responsibility and more pressure. We're fortunate that people tuned in, so it ends up looking good. But I have a lot of goals that are set higher than what anybody else has set for us. Until they're met — and they aren't anywhere near being met — I won't be satisfied.
TV Guide: What are those goals?
Prinze Jr.: Whether it's the No. 1 comedy on Wednesday night or the No. 1 comedy on ABC, that's far from good enough. I want it to be the best show on TV.
TV Guide: So how much of your real life is in the show?
Prinze Jr.: Quite a bit. As far as the family aspect — that's pretty much my life. Both past and present.
TV Guide: Were you always surrounded by women?
Prinze Jr.: Yeah, I was raised by women. There were seven of us at my mother-in-law's birthday last week, and I was the only guy at the table. I wouldn't have it any other way.
TV Guide: Were you ever a chef, like your character?
Prinze Jr.: I dropped out of culinary school when I got my first acting job. It's something that I have a lot of passion for.
TV Guide: What's your best dish?
Prinze Jr.: I can cook veal in a lot of different ways — and not only make it taste good but make it look pretty when I serve it.
TV Guide: Freddie seems like the sane one in his world. What are his flaws?
Prinze Jr.: He's too full of himself, and he has a hard time admitting he's wrong. And in his family, he's treated like a prince. No girl is good enough for him. That's how I was raised.
TV Guide: Like the TV Freddie, you grew up without a father. Your dad, the comedian Freddie Prinze, killed himself when you were a baby. Was your mother worried about your becoming an actor?
Prinze Jr.: She had massive concerns because people in the business don't necessarily want what's best for you. But once she saw that I wasn't really interested in what people said about me or my choices, she was more comfortable with it.
TV Guide: Is this sitcom a salute to your father, who starred in the '70s comedy Chico and the Man?
Prinze Jr.: At the end of every episode there's a picture of my dad and you hear his voice. Every choice that I've made has been motivated by my father.
TV Guide: Will Freddie Moreno find true love in the near future to more resemble Freddie Prinze Jr.?
Prinze Jr.: He won't be settling down anytime soon. He's a big kid who doesn't necessarily pursue the right women.
TV Guide: Will your wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar, be a guest star?
Prinze Jr.: Certainly not in Season 1 — that would be predictable — but we'll definitely do something for her. Maybe put her in rehab with Madchen Amick's character, Allison. She can be in Emotions Anonymous.
TV Guide: You've been in several movies with Sarah (Scooby-Doo, I Know What You Did Last Summer). Would you ever do a romantic comedy together?
Prinze Jr.: It's not anything we've ever thought about because I don't think it would be a funny story for audiences to watch two people struggle to be together for 90 minutes when they know they go home together every night.
TV Guide: What do you and Sarah like to do together?
Prinze Jr.: We read, go to the movies, hang at home with our dogs. I cook. On hiatus we come to our apartment in New York, see friends, walk around the city, have nice meals and shop for our house.
TV Guide: As a comic-book fan, is there a comic you'd like to option for a movie?
Prinze Jr.: There aren't any left that I think would make a compelling story. Maybe when I'm older, I'll be like the 55-year-old superhero.
TV Guide: Is the tattoo we see on Freddie real?
Prinze Jr.: Yeah, it's real. It's a dragon — [representing] the year I was born — in the shape of an eight, which is the day I was born.
TV Guide: Is it a lucky symbol?
Prinze Jr.: Well, the day and year I was born is good to me. I'm still around.