When you have a reputation of being a difficult actress to work with and haven’t been seen on television in a while, launching a splashy TV comeback is a tough feat. Just ask Valerie Cherish. But that’s what former Grey’s Anatomy star Katherine Heigl hopes to accomplish with Monday night’s debut of her new State of Affairs.
In it, the actress and now executive-producer plays Charleston “Charlie” Tucker, a topnotch CIA analyst who is in charge of presenting the President of the United States with a book of that day’s top threats. The catch? POTUS, played by Alfre Woodard, is her dead fiance’s mother, and Tucker has a lot of stress that she deals with through various sexual escapades. It’s all semi-explained in the pilot, which airs on NBC and Global in Canada.
But before then, here’s how Heigl attempted to explain the show (and her TV comeback) at the 2014 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Los Angeles:
This kind of stuff actually happens
“What was so compelling to me is that this is an actual job, and I had never realized that. I’m not sure why, but a lot of people have asked me, ‘Does this really happen? Does the President have a briefer?’ And I thought the opportunity to delve into that and show this side of the CIA,” she said. “This woman really believes she can make a difference and help protect her country and help her President do her job. And the idea that this is ripe with all kinds of fascinating stories about this country and this world and what goes on that we don’t really know much about. So it all felt like the perfect extraordinary role and story to tell for me.”
To her, this is a grownup job
“Acting and performing has always felt a bit more like kid’s play to me because it’s something I’ve always loved, and I love the opportunity to tell stories and be imaginative,” she explained. “The executive producing angle of it feels more like a grownup job.
I think I said that I felt I had stopped challenging myself and I was making choices that I loved that I was excited about. I love doing romantic comedies. I love them, and I love watching them. But I stopped exercising different muscles of my ability. And then in that moment I felt that I was sort of letting down my audience, that I wasn’t challenging them either.”
She apologizes if people see her as difficult
“I can only say that I certainly don’t see myself as being difficult. I would never intend to be difficult. I don’t think my mother (and State of Affairs executive producer Nancy Heigl) sees herself as being difficult,” she said. “It’s most important to everybody to conduct themselves professionally and respectfully and kindly. So I never — if I have ever disappointed somebody, it was never intentional.”
Need more convincing to check it out? Watch the pilot preview now:
State of Affairs debuts Monday, Nov. 17 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC and Global.
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