TVGuide.com: This is a really, really fun show. We were doing a podcast the other day and Matt Roush, Mike Ausiello and I all agreed that the operative word here is fun.
Peter Krause: Oh, good. It's interesting for me because I've spent the last number of years doing rather heavy material. Sports Night was probably the last semi-light thing I did, and while that show was fun, its content also sometimes got a little heavy.
TVGuide.com: Mike here actually summed up DSM as "Brothers & Sisters on crack." What do you think of that assessment?
[Chuckles] I have to confess that with my schedule, I haven't watched that much of Brothers & Sisters. I did devote some time to Dexter [starring Six Feet Under alum Michael C. Hall], but you get to that point when you’ve been around the business [long enough that] you can't watch everybody's show. I probably shouldn't say that because [Brothers & Sisters producer] Greg Berlanti's an executive producer [on Dirty Sexy Money]!
TVGuide.com: But hey, you do the best you can.
Krause: Exactly. If Rachel [Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters] reads me saying something about that, she'll call. [Affecting an Australian accent] "Peter! You watch Michael's show! I've seen quotes in the paper from you about his show!"
TVGuide.com: What ultimately sold you on DSM? Was it the array of colorful characters, the conflict going on with Nick, the quality of the cast...?
Krause: It was a number of things that mostly have to do with [series creator] Craig Wright, who wrote on Six Feet Under. I did want to depart from the heavy material. I've done an awful lot of it recently, and this movie Civic Duty that came out in May was particularly heavy. So I wanted to have some fun again. Craig made it a point to say to me that he wanted the show to be comedic, and I like the world of prime-time soap opera in the tradition of Dynasty and Dallas, but for modern times and with a little bit more perspective on human nature concerning wealth. About why, like any other animals in nature, we tend to hoard, especially to a point of gluttony. The Darling family is worth in excess of $30 billion. That's 30,000 million dollars! You could spend $300 million a year for 100 years, and still have interest money left over.
TVGuide.com: In a way it's the right show for the right time, with our celeb-obsessed culture and the Darling kids getting wrapped up in drug scandals, other illicit flights of fancy....
Krause: Yeah. But it was the fun that drew me into this, more than anything. For instance, Craig and I talked about a scene between Nick and Jeremy [a hard-partying Darling son played by Seth Gabel], in the back of a limousine. He's saying to me that he has the worst life in the world, and I let him know — and this is a real figure — that 30,000 people die of starvation every day. And he scoffs, "But Nick, that’s out of seven billion people." There is a way for a show like Dirty Sexy Money to have fun while communicating important things to the audience. People want to use television as a source of entertainment, an escape at the end of a long day. I'm happy to be doing this show now because I've done all sorts of stuff trying to get people to deal with things and what I found is, they can't stomach it. So Craig and Greg and I are trying to find a way, and certainly Donald Sutherland has his ideas, to have fun while getting information out.
TVGuide.com: In the series premiere, at the very least we have one Darling son's affair with a transgender. In what other ways, going forward, might the show push the envelope?
Gosh, I don't want to give anything away, but there are a number of things. Suffice it to say that Letitia Darling (Clayburgh) had an affair with Nick's father Dutch for 40 years... so there is the chance that some of those kids might not be Tripp's.
TVGuide.com: I have to wonder how long Nick's marriage can survive here. He's under so much stress and works such irregular hours, plus the character might be better served if he were "on the market."
Krause: And Karen Darling [played by Natalie Zea] is definitely after him. That's something Craig and I discussed early on, that if rather than just your typical evil soap-opera temptress, Nick and Karen actually were in love when they were younger. And that's one of those things you don’t really get over; when they're in each other's presence, there's still an immediate return to being teenagers. They can't quite behave as adults.
TVGuide.com: It seems that she genuinely pines for him, for that opportunity lost.
Krause: Oh, yeah. And I think Nick also has a fantasy about her. There are things you'll discover about Nick later. He's a good card player; he doesn’t reveal everything about himself in the beginning.
TVGuide.com: Dan Rather appears in the pilot. Will other celebs cameo as themselves through the series?
Krause: I think so, yeah. Depending on who wishes to be a part of the show and who Craig feels he can justifiably put into the show without it feeling like a stunt.
TVGuide.com: What did you think about ABC's promotions department flying that "We Love You, Paris – The Darlings" banner over the courthouse during Paris Hilton's jail ordeal?
I think it's fine for the show. It works on two levels — it's promotion, but it's also satirical. We're taking that culture seriously and satirizing it at the same time, because we want the audience to care about these people. The reshoots we did for the pilot and Episode 2 were because the network felt it was too serious at first, and wanted it funnier. It was a balance. One thing that Seth and I discovered, because Jeremy is going to go to Space Camp, is that the cost to go up in space is going up, to like $25 million. But people do have that kind of money to go into space privately.
TVGuide.com: Isn't it sort of redundant for druggie Jeremy to travel to space, though?
Krause: Oh, yeah. But actually, the network wanted to pull back on the drug use. The policy is that any sort of controlled substance use or abuse has to have repercussions; it can't just be enjoyed recreationally. That's the thing with network TV, that artistically you're not as free as you like. But as Craig put it, "I want to see how far I can stretch the limitations," and that’s what we're doing.
TVGuide.com: You have to admit it's some sort of funny coincidence that in the course of five days this week, your show, Dexter and Brothers & Sisters all premiere. If only Lauren Ambrose's Jezebel James wasn't being held for midseason....
Krause: And Josh Malina from Sports Night has Big Shots premiering Thursday, and Felicity [Huffman] of course is back with Desperate Housewives.
TVGuide.com: You hang with good crowds.
Krause: Yeah, I like the ensemble shows, I have to say.
TVGuide.com: Your Wednesdays-at-10 competition is CSI: NY and the new NBC drama, Life. The latter should be easy to take on, but CSI: NY could be a Goliath.
Krause: I think people will appreciate the presence of this show on television. With Cane, there's a slight return to the prime-time soap opera. But just the words Dirty, Sexy and Money together will get people to sample it, and once they meet the characters they’ll be back for more.
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