Women across the country swooned when Pete Wilder planted a wet one on Addison last season. Now the good doc is flirting up a storm with America's favorite redhead as a hunky herbalist on Private Practice. We caught up with actor Tim Daly on a rare day off from the Oceanside Wellness Group. Here, he reveals the real reason ABC cancelled The Nine, why he adores Kate Walsh and where he'll be when his new show finally premieres.
TVGuide.com: Private Practice is the antithesis of The Nine. What attracted you to it?
Tim Daly: You know, what really attracted me to it was Shonda. The writing on The Nine was very risky. This may be a little less risky in terms of the storytelling but the characters and the dialogue are so fresh. Shonda does such an amazing job of staying true to the characters that she creates [There's a loud interruption in the background]
TVGuide.com: Where are you?
Daly: Sorry if there's a lot noise. I'm in an airport in Washington D.C. trying to get home to Vermont. It's sort of an ordeal.
TVGuide.com: Thanks for squeezing us in!
Daly: Yeah, it is crazy. Anyway, I signed on before there was a script. Conversations with Shonda and watching Grey's Anatomy and seeing what she's able to do with characters really made me interested. I've worked with Kate before and Amy so I was looking forward to that too.
TVGuide.com: Is it true that Kate recommended you for the show because you worked together on the 2005 drama Eyes?
Daly: I believe that's a true story. I don't know if she recommended me before or after they got in touch with me. But she did at some point call me up and say, "Hey Daly, you've got to do this. Come on, let's go! We worked together before and we had fun." That went a long way towards convincing me that it was the right move.
TVGuide.com: What was it like working together on Eyes?
Daly: Actually, we did three shows together. She was in The Fugitive that I did in 2001 where she played a cop. I never saw her or worked with her because obviously I never got caught. Then in Eyes she played my surprise ex-wife very shortly before she played Dempsey's surprise ex-wife on Grey's Anatomy. So she was sort of cornering the surprise ex-wife market there for a while.
TVGuide.com: Are you having a good time working together again?
Daly: Yeah. She's a great kid. She's really fun and she's no bulls--t. We have a really good time together. That works really well for this kind of material. Everybody thought from seeing other stuff that we had good chemistry. So, hopefully, that will continue.
TVGuide.com: She kissed Pete last season on Grey's Anatomy. Do you think that they'll they wind up together?
Daly: Certainly, there's this epic flirtation evolving. On TV, it's as much foreplay as humanly possible until the only thing left to do is the deed. Knowing Shonda, it'll probably be a bumpy road. But, if I were betting, I would guess that there would be some sort of hook-up as the kids say.
TVGuide.com: What drew you to Pete?
Daly: I liked him because he's so into being a real healer and being gentle and making people feel cared for. He has a strong bond with his patients yet his personal life is a disaster. He sees all of these women and he can't commit to them. He has this interesting risk in his life where he went from being a doctor of Western medicine to being a doctor of Eastern medicine. I still don't think we've fully explored it but there's a lot of room to explore why he made that change. But, ultimately, he's a really non-judgmental, open-minded person who's sort of amused by the foibles of the people around him.
TVGuide.com: Does that give you a lot of leeway as an actor?
Daly: Yeah. The thing is there's a lot of leeway for him as a doctor. If he needs to he can be something that's more of a Western M.D. Or he can bust out some herbs or some acupuncture needles and do something much more alternative. There's a lot of leeway there but I think that is also represented in his personality.
TVGuide.com: Did you meet with any acupuncturists or healers before shooting?
Daly: Well, I've seen a bunch of acupuncturists and one of my sister-in-laws is an herbalist. So I know a lot about alternative medicine. I don't know a lot about the practice but I know about the world. Essentially, I know as much as I need to know. Eastern medicine is not about curing your sickness. It's about keeping you well. I think it's an interesting philosophical jumping off point for this guy to say, "I'm tired of cutting out people's cancers and giving them drugs for their illness. I want to make sure they don't get ill and keep them well."
TVGuide.com: Are you a big believer in alternative medicine?
Daly: In that sense, I'm kind of like my character. If any M.D. tells you that acupuncture is bulls--t and the only way to go is Western medicine, beware. It's the same if anyone tells you the only way to cure anything is with herbs. There's room for all of these things. Thank god for acupuncture. It's been around for 2000 years. It's not going anyplace and people use it all of the time for a variety of cures and to avoid illnesses. And thank god for Western medicine. It can do a lot to keep people alive and make them healthy. They're both right.
TVGuide.com: Did ask your sister-in-law any questions since she's an herbalist?
Daly: I really didn't need to. So far, the script hasn't contained anything that's really challenged my knowledge of what's going on. But I'm sort of a semi-alternative kind of guy anyway. My wife and I had both of our kids at home, which was just fantastic. When you take responsibility for something like that, y you have to do a ton of work. If you don't, you're just being really irresponsible. You have to educate yourself about a lot of things. I haven't really had to go to the experts yet except with the M.D. stuff that I've done. There's a lot more machines to deal with.
TVGuide.com: Do you mean the medical jargon?
TVGuide.com: Did you even audition with Shonda for this show?
Daly: We met and then I had a couple of conversations with her on the phone. I was sort of waiting around for a script but Shonda's process is her process. It got to the point where I had some other opportunities and I had to make a decision between those and this. I just decided to leap off the edge and trust that Shonda would come up with something great. It was everything that I hoped.
TVGuide.com: Were the other opportunities TV shows?
Daly: TV shows.
TVGuide.com: Anything you care to share?
Daly: No that would be mean. I don't want to be mean. "Yeah, I could have had that guy's part!" I'd feel horrible.
TVGuide.com: How hush-hush is Shonda with the storylines on Private Practice?
Daly: I know what was shot and, if I knew, I couldn't tell you. But there's nothing that's going to be headline news. I know what's coming.
TVGuide.com: How about a hint about what's coming up for Pete?
Daly: I'll just tell you that you find out something about his wife in his past. That happens relatively quickly, which makes his character a lot more interesting.
TVGuide.com: Were you a die-hard fan of Grey's Anatomy before you met Shonda?
Daly: I'm not a die-hard but I had watched it some and liked it very much. Then I started watching it more when I was trying to get a sense of what Shonda does. But I'm one of those horrible people who's not an avid TV watcher at all. I don't watch anything very much. I suppose I should spend time examining it all but, when I do it for a living, it's kind of like going home and there's the office hanging off my wall.
TVGuide.com: I've just got to ask: Do you know what was going to happen on The Nine?
Daly: I don't. I really don't. They had some big plans for years down the road but we didn't get there.
TVGuide.com: That show was so critically acclaimed. Were you shocked when it was cancelled?
Daly: I knew that it was a very risky concept. It's easy to look back on something and make judgments about what happened. But the fact is, for whatever reason, ABC has had a very difficult time with Wednesday nights at 10 o'clock. Eyes was there. It was a great show that died quickly. Taye's show Day Break died quickly. The Nine was there and died quickly. It's been a series of really good, well-produced shows that haven't caught on. And it's not because ABC wasn't supporting them. Maybe the expectations were too high. It's very hard to say but it's been a tough slot for them.
TVGuide.com: Are you at all worried about the high expectations for Private Practice?
Daly: Yeah! It scares the hell out of me. I think that the worst thing that happened to The Nine is we got spectacular reviews. We thought we were golden and the executive producer started talking about, "Well, this is going to happen in Season 2." I was like, "Whoa! Hang on. Everybody calm down." Now everybody is talking about Private Practice being this hit TV show. I'm like, "Dude, don't talk about it. It's not even on TV! It's not a hit TV show." A lot of things have to happen for a show to hit…luck, timing, good quality, whatever. I have a great feeling about this show but you don't know until it actually gets on the air.
TVGuide.com: Will you watch the premiere on Wednesday night?
Daly: I'll be at home in Vermont. So I'll probably watch it on my television set.
TVGuide.com: No TiVo?
Daly: I know. [Laughs]! Unless I can get them to send me a DVD…Then I can watch it at my leisure.
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