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Interview: Jerry O'Connell talks starring in WGN America series 'Carter'

Jerry O'Connell stars as Harley Carter in WGN Ameirca's "Carter," airing Tuesdays on 10pm
Photo: WGN America
Jerry O'Connell has seen a lot of roles in his career, including a cop on "Crossing Jordan," Georgie, the brother to loveable genious Sheldon Cooper on "The Big Bang Theory" and soon-to-be talk show host on Bravo's upcoming "Real Men Watch Bravo." 

In his role in the upcoming WGN America series, "Carter, premiering Tuesday, August 7 at 10:00 p.m., the actor takes on a role that's little more complex - at least on paper. O'Connell plays Carter, a former star of a TV cop show who goes to work as a consulting detective for his hometown police department after his life appears on the Hollywood tabloids. 

O'Connell described the series as a modern day but old-fashioned procedural along the likes of  "Monk," "Psych" and "Castle." 

"Admittedly, it's a lot like "Castle," except Castle was a novelist," O'Connell said on a conference call with TVMusic Network and other reporters. "It's almost like Castle on steroids because this guy's a TV actor, so if you're a fan of the "Law & Orders" and the "Monks" and the "Castles," this is going to be your show because it sort of makes fun of that world."

Upon his return to his childhood home, Harley Carter is reunited with high school best friends, police detective Sam and Dave a mobile coffee shop vendor, played by Sydney Poitier Heartsong and Kristian Bruun respectively. The three end up solving crimes again like they did as teenagers. 
(L-R): Kristian Bruun, O'Connell and Sydney Poitier Heartsong
star in WGN America's "Carter"
Photo: WGN America

"Sydney is gorgeous,"  O' Connell told TVMusic Network of his costar who is the daughter of Hollywood legend, Sidney Poitier. "She is the most important character in the show because I can be goofy and talk about TV, and how everything works in TV, and how we find a killer in TV, and how Columbo would do it, and that’s fine.  If there isn’t actual stakes, if you’re not actually really invested in the show, then it just doesn’t work.  Sydney’s ability to ground our show, that’s everything.  That’s what makes our show, so we’re all forever indebted to her and her ability to do that."  

"Kristian Bruun, for you 'Orphan Black fans,' is just so fun to work with as well," O'Connell said. "Getting to work with those two is just a dream.  We have a good old time on set.  We approach every scene like, let’s have fun making this, and I think it really comes across." [Writer and Creator] Garry Campbell just wrote us the funniest relationship.  It’s really funny, too, because in real life Kristian Bruun and I have a really funny, weirdly co-dependent relationship.  I text him every day, sometimes twice a day."

TV fans will be seeing a lot of O'Connell when he hosts Bravo's upcoming talker, "Real Men Watch Bravo." He credits hosting expert friends Andy Cohen and Kelly Ripa for leading down the path of hosting. 

"It really happened because of Kelly Ripa, " O'Connell said about hosting. "Before there was any sort ...when it was "Regis and Kelly," Regis had a heart procedure or something, where he took some time off.  It was really Kelly Ripa who was...I was doing a play here in New York...'hey, come on the show.'  I had known her a little bit ironically through Andy Cohen, through Mr. Bravo himself.  She said, 'Hey come on the show.  We need some co-hosts while Regis is on leave.'  I went in a bunch of times."

"It was just like blind luck that I did it and I really enjoyed it," O'Connell recalled. "I really enjoyed—it’s so easy when you do it with Kelly Ripa.  She’s just such a natural and just so amazing at bringing the best out of anyone she’s on screen with or anyone she’s with, period.  It was really Kelly Ripa that sort of got me into—I didn’t even realize I could—that was another avenue of the entertainment industry that I could do."

Catch O'Connell starring in "Carter," airing Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m. ET on WGN America. 


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