In Plain Sight - Mary McCormack and Fred Weller Conference Call Transcipt by daet

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									Final Transcript

  NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES: In Plain Sight Conference Call with Mary
  McCormack & Fred Weller
  April 5, 2010/1:00 p.m. EDT

Chrissy Fehskens
Mary McCormack
Fred Weller


Moderator           We first go to the line of Lisa Steinberg from Starrymag. Please go ahead.

L. Steinberg        Hello, Fred and Mary. Thank you so much for speaking with us this

                    afternoon. I hope everything is well and you both had a nice Easter.

M. McCormack        We did, thanks.

F. Weller           Yes, it was great, thank you.
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L. Steinburg   I read a little bit about the new season having a lot less focus on the side

               characters, Mary specifically with your mom. I was wondering if you feel

               that is a good direction to go into, or do you think fans will miss the


M. McCormack   I don‟t know how that got out there because it‟s actually not true. Lesley

               Ann is in it quite a bit. I think maybe her contract changed a little, but I

               think she‟s in it the same amount or maybe a teeny bit less. But certainly,

               Nichole Hiltz is in it just as much and her boyfriend, who‟s played by Josh

               Malina, and my boyfriend is Cristian de la Fuente. It‟s definitely, equally,

               I don‟t think the balance of the show has changed. It‟s definitely still half

               and half and half witnesses and my relationship, my friendship with Fred

               and then half personal life. So I think that balance is the same. I don‟t

               know how that got started, but I don‟t think that‟s changed very much.

L. Steinberg   That‟s good to hear for anyone watching the show because I love to see

               the interaction not only with your characters, but, of course, with your

               family members as well. I think that plays a big part into the show as

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M. McCormack   Yes, I think so, too. So I would be disappointed if that changed too much.

               I think Lesley Ann might be doing a teeny bit less, but Nichole is doing

               just as much.

F. Weller      I think I started that rumor.

L. Steinberg   That‟s good to hear. A follow-up question is, both Mary or your character

               and Fred‟s character have this amazing chemistry together. You

               mentioned you have a boyfriend on the show. You two just have such

               great chemistry, the fans are still wondering if there‟s going to be any kind

               of romance in the works for the two of you.

M. McCormack   We never know. That‟s a weird part about being on ... TV. It‟s like you

               just don‟t know what the writers have in store. I guess I could ask our

               show runner, but I never do because it‟s kind of fun not knowing. For me

               it‟s fun not to know what they have in store. It‟s a little more like life.

               But certainly there‟s chemistry.

F. Weller      Is that why you don‟t read the script in advance, because you—

M. McCormack   Yes, that‟s why. I don‟t know, Fred, what do you think?
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F. Weller      I think that it‟s a situation that has been set up considerably and I think

               there will inevitably be some payoff to it.

M. McCormack   You do; interesting.

F. Weller      I think so, yes, but not so far. We‟re teasing with it with the fake kiss in

               season one where you were just trying to smear ... my face and I started

               kissing you. There are a few little hints here and there. I think there‟s a

               lot of setup for it. Certainly, obviously I‟m upset when you were engaged

               to Raph last season. So there‟s a fair amount of setup.

Moderator      We now go to the line of Jamie Ruby from Media Blvd. Please go ahead.

J. Ruby        My question is how do you prepare for doing these roles when there‟s so

               much that they can‟t tell you? How do you know some of that of how to

               play that?

F. Weller      We do have a great technical advisor, Charlie Almanza. Of course, it is

               amusing sometimes his answers are pointedly not very helpful.
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M. McCormack   Vague. But he tells us as much as he can tell us. First of all, he tells us all

               the general marshal stuff or how to look like a cop, feel like a cop. All

               that stuff he‟s really, really helpful with, how you go into a room if it‟s

               this certain situation or whatever. But in terms of witness protection stuff,

               the reason the program works, of course, is it‟s really, really secretive.

               When Charlie retired after over 30 years of service, he was the chief of the

               LA division of WITSEC. His kids found out what he did for a living at

               his retirement party, so that‟s how secretive they are. They never, ever

               talk about it—they bring it to their grave, all of them, inspectors. And

               that‟s why witnesses stay safe. That‟s why WITSEC is so successful.

               Charlie does tell us what he can. He‟s been given to us approved by

               WITSEC to be our technical advisor. So we‟re never sure how much he‟s

               telling us is right or just misleading. We take it all the same. We figure

               no one knows.

F. Weller      As long as we feel like marshals—

M. McCormack   Yes, it‟s unlike ER. With ER, all those poor actors the doctors are always

               saying, “Well, the thing is,” or NYPD Blue. With us no inspector can

               approach and tell us we‟re doing it wrong. That‟s the upside.
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J. Ruby        My second question, Fred, you had talked last time in the one interview

               about you were doing Sheriff of King’s County, at least I guess you were

               calling it that then. Have you gotten any further…to you?

F. Weller      It‟s called Streetcar. I think it‟s playing right now at the Phoenix Film

               Festival and the Nashville Film Festival. It played at the NYC Downtown

               Film Festival and the Beverly Hills Film Festival and the World of

               Comedy Festival in Toronto. And it‟s doing the rounds and Mary

               McCormack is in it. Mary McCormack is very funny in it, as is Holland

               Taylor from Two and a Half Men.

M. McCormack   As is Fred‟s lovely wife, Ali Marsh Weller.

F. Weller      Ali Marsh Weller, who was on our show the—

M. McCormack   First and second. She played my therapist.

F. Weller      Wait a minute, was it the first or second?

M. McCormack   I thought it was both.
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F. Weller      Yes, second season. She played two episodes in the second season. She

               was great, Ali Marsh Weller.

M. McCormack   We now go to the line of Pattye Grippo from Please go


P. Grippo      The first question I have is sort of for both of you. Now that you‟re in the

               third season of the series, do you find that playing your characters is still a

               challenge or still fun for you? If so, in what ways?

M. McCormack   It‟s fun for me. It‟s fun for me certainly. I love this character. It‟s the

               best part I‟ve ever played. So I‟m having a ball. I love playing Mary

               Shannon. She cracks me up. I love working with Fred and he cracks me

               up. So, yes, three seasons, we‟ve only done, our first season was 13, our

               second was 16, this one is 15, so it‟s never so long that I feel overwhelmed

               by it. In fact, I miss it. Our hiatuses are so long, I miss doing it when I‟m

               off, so that‟s how I feel.

F. Weller      What makes some actors nervous about doing television is the same aspect

               of television that makes it kind of exciting, that is when you sign on to do

               it, you don‟t know what‟s going to happen. So as long as you are working
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               with writers that you like, it‟s exciting because you‟re always finding


M. McCormack   And the actors.

F. Weller      Yes, and the actors. You‟re always finding out new things about who

               you‟re playing. And as you give and take and they want to hear your

               opinions about where you think your character should go. So, yes, I think

               it‟s a lot of fun.

M. McCormack   Yes, I think that‟s fun and also we just have a good time together. Not

               every show‟s cast, I think, works as well as our does together. That‟s sort

               of just dumb luck. It‟s like you either have chemistry or you don‟t. Fred

               and I actually love hanging out together. We spend 15 hours a day on set

               every single day and then we eat dinner, our husbands and wives, we all

               eat dinner together on Saturday night. We hang out with our kids on

               Sunday. We enjoy each other, so I think that helps a lot, too.

F. Weller      Yes, that‟s big.
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P. Grippo      Actually, that‟s good to hear. My follow-up question would be either of

               you, could you describe what a typical day on the set of the show is like?

M. McCormack   Well, it‟s long hours. We work long hours. It depends. Everyday is

               different. That‟s part of the fun of TV. We never know what location

               we‟ll be at. Some days it‟s a gun fight and other days it‟s sort of WITSEC

               scene where we‟re sitting around our desks trying to make each other

               laugh. So it‟s hard to say a typical day. A typical day is long and fun.

               We laugh a lot and we work long hours. I‟d say that‟s the …..

F. Weller      A pretty good summation.

Moderator      We now go to the line of Kristyn Clarke from Pop Culture Madness.

               Please go ahead.

K. Clarke      I‟m just curious. What about your roles continue to challenge you?

M. McCormack   What do you think, Fred?

F. Weller      You have to keep on exploring it and investigating because the story is not

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M. McCormack   Yes, and also with TV, we don‟t really know, we make it up. Sometimes

               we‟ll say what do you think he does do on the weekend? We‟ll say you

               don‟t have every single detail worked out because you‟re creating it as you

               go. So Fred and I check with each other a lot. We‟ll always say do you

               think I do this or do you think I drive this or do you think he has this kind

               of collection or would he collect more of this? You want to keep it

               specific, so we have fun with that part of it.

               Another challenge, physical challenges are just how to stay honest and

               good and how to make the right choices and be careful and not get lazy

               while under really long hours. For both of us, Fred has two kids and I

               have two kids, so the struggle is how to come to work fresh and ready to

               actually do the best work you can do and not get lazy. ….

F. Weller      It‟s not like we‟re doing the same play that‟s been running for two years.

               It‟s still being written as we do it, so I think we‟re comfortable with the

               characters. But we‟re still coming up with stuff.

K. Clarke      As my follow-up as a fan of the show, I think the comedy and wit in the

               show is so impressive. How important do you guys feel it is to break up

               the tension and keep that wit and comedy as a part of the series?
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F. Weller      I think it‟s very important.

M. McCormack   Yes, me, too, otherwise we‟re doing Law & Order.

F. Weller      Yes, exactly.

M. McCormack   No, I love it. I love the sense of humor. It‟s a little bit off and a little bit

               dark and it‟s what cable allows. I think to me it‟s way more interesting

               than even funny shows on network and stuff because it doesn‟t have to

               reach gazillions and gazillions and gazillions. We want to reach just a

               gazillion. So the humor is, I don‟t know, a little more offbeat and it‟s

               allowed to be, and I love that.

F. Weller      Also because it‟s ultimately a drama, we can‟t get too whacky like you

               might see on a half hour comedy. We have to have a little more let‟s stick

               to reality a bit more, I think.

M. McCormack   Yes, our humor has to come out of a place that it feels more like M.A.S.H.,

               where the jokes came out of brute reality.
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F. Weller      Yes.

M. McCormack   When we do it right, hopefully, our humor comes out of the craziness of

               the situation or in my grumpiness clashing with Fred‟s personality. I think

               that‟s exactly right, Fred. If we get it just right, our jokes aren‟t just for

               jokes. It comes out of hopefully the reality of the drama.

F. Weller      I hope you think of me more as McIntyre than as BJ.

M. McCormack   I do for sure.

F. Weller      Okay.

M. McCormack   For sure, yes, he‟s way hotter.

F. Weller      Okay, cool, thanks.

Moderator      We now go to the line of Jenny Rarden from Please

               go ahead.
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J. Rarden      This week‟s episode includes flashbacks to the first time Mary and

               Marshall meet when Mary joined WITSEC. I‟m extremely excited about

               that. Can you talk about your characters and their relationship then

               compared to how well the characters work together now?

F. Weller      It‟s a great episode and it‟s coming up this week. We didn‟t get along at

               all when we first met, did we?

M. McCormack   No, not one bit, no. I called you a girl, I think.

F. Weller      All the kind of latent abuse that we have in our current relationship is just

               out in the open, totally….. Mary is on the fugitive task force, kicking

               down doors and thinks if I‟m in with witness protection I might as well be

               playing hop scotch.

M. McCormack   Yes,….babysitter.

F. Weller      And the course of the episode is how she winds up changing her mind

               about that. I think it‟s a great episode.

M. McCormack   And how you fall madly in love with me.
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F. Weller      That‟s true.

J. Rarden      My follow-up question, is Mary‟s shooting going to have any long lasting

               effects on her character or even Marshall or her family?

M. McCormack   I do think that there‟s some, yes, there‟s some tides that change. Marshall,

               the first episode becomes about his drive to make good on that, the guilt

               he feels. And my tides turn at home with my family and my mom comes

               after me for not quitting my job and there are some changes with that. I

               don‟t know how much I can give away, but there are some changes with

               my living arrangements and there‟s also some big changes with

               relationships I have.

F. Weller      That‟s already aired.

M. McCormack   No. Not that.

F. Weller      No? I got you, I got you.
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M. McCormack   There is some lasting, there‟s some ripple, there‟s some ripples that

               happen from the shooting, but it‟s Mary, so she wants to get right back to

               work and hide and work, which is where she‟s happiest. But I think there

               are some changes she makes in her personal life because she realizes life

               is short.

Moderator      We go to the line now of Lena Lamoray from Please

               go ahead.

L. Lamoray     Now this question is from both of you there‟s an episode coming up

               entitled when Mary met Marshall. Can you tell us what it was like when

               Mary met Fred in real life?

M. McCormack   I was talking about this the other day. I can‟t remember when we actually

               met. We‟ve known each other a really long time, just not very well. We

               have many mutual friends. My husband directed Ali, Fred‟s wife, in a

               play back in, golly, when, Fred, 2000 or something?

F. Weller      Yes. Mary and I did an indie film together in ‟97 in which we had a

               scene. We had no scenes together, but we hung out a little bit watching

               dailies. We were both friends of Slatter.
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M. McCormack   Oh, yes, yes, yes.

F. Weller      And then I met you once I was doing Richard Greenburg play down in

               …Orange County with Eileen Getz.

M. McCormack   Eileen, yes. And then I saw you do Take Me Out in London and I came

               backstage and I said hello. Fred and I have had a lot of friends, we have

               many, many mutual friends from the theatre community in New York and

               so we‟ve known each other for probably since the mid „90s maybe, but not

               well at all. So then when we got to work together, when they said they‟ve

               cast you, Fred, I was so excited. Then we got to working together and I‟d

               say we were fast friends right away.

F. Weller      Yes, pretty quick.

L. Lamoray     Fred, how much do you really know about Danish‟s?

M. McCormack   How much research did you do, Fred?

F. Weller      Well, I asked the technical advisor about it.
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M. McCormack   You did not. Don‟t be an ass.

F. Weller      I guess it‟s not my favorite subject, not my best. Can I take history for


Moderator      We now go to the line of Linda Seide from Series Nu. Please go ahead.

L. Seide       I know that both of you have done a lot of work on Broadway. Mary, you

               started you career in a musical, Gian Carlo‟s Christmas opera, Amah! and

               Night Visitors. Can you tell how does acting in the television genre differ

               from being on Broadway and which one do you prefer?

M. McCormack   I like both for different reasons. It‟s such a boring answer, because I wish

               I could choose one, but I really do like both for different reasons. There‟s

               nothing more fun than acting on stage, I think, with a live audience and

               that immediate feedback. But also, the thrill is different because there‟s

               no turning back. There‟s no take two, if you forget a prop, you forgot the

               prop and you‟re still on stage. It‟s much more alive and connected and all

               that. But I think I really love the challenges of television acting or film

               acting. The challenge is there‟s 100 people on top of you. Sometimes
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               there‟s a million people all around and you still have to try to just connect

               with that one other person and not think about what all the crew is doing

               and what we need. And you have to just to push everyone out and just be

               there with the other person and make it great and make it real in really

               unreal circumstances, so I like that, too.

L. Seide       I would think that‟s very difficult to do.

M. McCormack   It is. That‟s one of the big challenges. Another challenge is it‟s different

               everyday. You don‟t really know where the story is going, so it‟s hard to

               gauge. With a play you read the entire play. You‟re really familiar with it

               by the end of the rehearsal. You know exactly where you want each scene

               to be. Even if it changes over the course of a run, you have a general idea

               of the whole story. With television we really don‟t know and we shoot out

               of sequence. The challenge is to make it real and connected in

               circumstances that aren‟t at all. Fred?

F. Weller      I‟ve made the observation previously that for a theatre actor, this is a

               really good show to be on because as in theatre, you‟re dealing with a

               drama with humor, which is usually what you‟re dealing with in theatre.
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               It has to be funny, but it‟s usually drama; whereas in television, it‟s

               usually a rather humorless drama or a whacky, whacky comedy.

M. McCormack   That‟s true. Also another challenge I like is the difference in size and

               stuff. Obviously, you want to be detailed in both. But certainly if you‟re

               on stage, you‟re playing to a big thousand seat house or something, it‟s

               different than when you want to bring the entire thing---

F. Weller      Last season just continuing the similarities between this show and theatre.

               Mary got to scratch her musical itch. We actually sang a little bit of

               Gilbert and Sullivan, Modern Major General, which is just a kind of

               theatrical flourish that you don‟t usually see on television. The show gets

               good and weird.

L. Seide       My follow-up question is for you, actually. You worked on several crime

               dramas, such as the Law & Order Criminal Intent and Special Victims

               Unit. You had a large role in Missing Persons in 1993 and ‟94. How does

               playing a U.S. marshal in WITSEC different from other types of the law

               enforcement roles that you‟re played, especially as it concerns your

               preparation for embodying the character of Marshall Mann?
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F. Weller      I think it‟s more exciting because it‟s so secretive. It‟s just fun to play a

               character who had this—it‟s always fun to play a character with a secret.

               And when your whole career to which you‟re really devoted is a secret,

               that‟s a very interesting character. The whole undercover aspect of it, the

               fact that nobody knows really what we do, some people around us know

               we‟re U.S. marshals, but the fact that we‟re in WITSEC is something that

               we try to keep even from certain other members of law enforcement.

M. McCormack   I‟m back, Fred.

F. Weller      Awesome.

M. McCormack   I have a new phone and I can‟t work it.

L. Seide       Okay, so Fred was telling me about his preparation for embodying the

               character of Marshall Mann.

F. Weller      I was just getting into my animal work. Obviously this season, it‟s more

               chimpanzee. Last season it was penguin, but I think the audience picks up

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L. Seide       I thank you very much to the responses to my questions and I hope you

               have a wonderful season.

M. McCormack   Thank you.

L. Seide       And be back for more.

M. McCormack   Yay, me, too. I hope so, too.

Moderator      We now go to the line of Jamie Ruby from Media Blvd. Please go ahead.

J. Ruby        So what would be your ultimate dream role or is there maybe somebody

               specific that you‟d love to with in the future?

M. McCormack   I would say Jeff Bridges, but I was lucky enough to work with Jeff

               Bridges, although I‟d love to work with him again. Those are two

               goodies. Top that and don‟t come out with that old Meryl Streep trip

               because everyone has heard it.

F. Weller      Oh, that‟s right, I worked with Meryl Streep.
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M. McCormack   Don‟t say Meryl like an ass.

F. Weller      I almost forgot that Meryl and I ….. I‟d like to work with Al Pacino. I

               love scenery chewing actors in a good way.

M. McCormack   Yes, you‟re on your way to work with him I‟m sure now.

F. Weller      No, you think?

M. McCormack   That will take care of it.

F. Weller      Darn!

M. McCormack   Darn is right.

F. Weller      No, I like theatrical.

M. McCormack   Too late.

F. Weller      Gosh, Al, you know it‟s love.
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M. McCormack   You call Pacino scenery chewing. I‟m just saying.

F. Weller      No, I‟d really love to work with, of course, now any actor is going to be

               insulted, but I‟d love to work with another person that Mary has worked

               with, Mark Rilens. He won the Tony for that play for which you were


M. McCormack   I was nominated, but did not win. But have you been nominated, because

               I always forget?

F. Weller      What‟s that?

M. McCormack   Have you been nominated because I just always forget?

F. Weller      Yes, you forget, don‟t you? Not for a Tony, no, but—

M. McCormack   Okay, that‟s cool.

F. Weller      Thanks for making me remind you.

J. Ruby        My follow-up is for Mary.
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F. Weller      It‟s a little frustrating that I try to do a play every off season and Mary

               wings in after a few years out in New York and just gets nominated for a


M. McCormack   Sorry, Freddie.

F. Weller      Anyway.

M. McCormick   We give each other a hard time about it. It‟s an ongoing riff we have.

F. Weller      It‟s funny to us.

J. Ruby        Mary, this question is for you. I know that you‟ve been on a lot of

               different late shows and interviews and that. Could you talk a little bit

               about that because it must be a lot of fun?

M. McCormack   I don‟t mind it. I enjoyed it. I‟m going to do Ellen today, actually, after I

               hang up with you guys. I enjoy it. I don‟t mind it. I like Craig Ferguson a

               lot. I did a movie with him years ago and I enjoy him a lot and Ellen. I‟m
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               doing Leno this week, so it will be fun. Anything to get the word out, we

               all work really hard on In Plain Sight, so it‟s nice to get the word out.

Moderator      We now go back to the line of Lisa Steinberg from Starrymag. Please go


L. Steinberg   I know that, Mary, you‟re on Twitter now and Josh is on Twitter.

M. McCormack   ….is on Twitter now. Josh gets all the west wingers.

L. Steinberg   I was wondering how much that plays a part in connecting with the fans

               and, of course, keeping the word out there about the show.

M. McCormack   That‟s why I like it. I signed up as a joke and my husband teases me.

               He‟s like you‟re so pathetically trying to stay young. We have a big tease

               about it, but Josh Malina said it‟s a nice way for your fans to be able to ask

               you questions about the show or for you to say this person is guesting this

               week or what have you. Also in something that started, a conversation

               that started as a joke made a lot of sense. I thought how nice to be able to

               hear from fans or hear what they like or don‟t like and to be able to say

               Allison Janney is this week, tune in and have them tell friends. To me it
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               feels like a nice way to connect with people who care about the show.

               Even though I take a lot of heckling from both my husband and from Fred

               Weller for being too old to Tweet, they say, but I‟m doing it anyway. I‟m

               standing up to them for my fans.

L. Steinberg   It certainly looks like in the short amount of time, that you‟ve gotten a lot

               of followers, so they can‟t heckle you too much.

M. McCormack   I know. They will anyway, trust me.

L. Steinberg   You mentioned some of the people that you‟d like to work with. I was

               wondering how much input into the guest starring roles do you have,

               obviously Donnie Walberg, and Allison Janney.

M. McCormack   Yes, we have a lot. We have a pretty collaborative group. So anyone who

               suggest someone who‟s good, both our casting people and our producers

               are ready to listen. Any actor who has a friendship that they can take

               advantage of, we will listen.

Moderator      We now go back to the line of Jenny Rarden from

               Please go ahead.
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J. Rarden      I just had one follow-up question. Brandi has been getting mysterious

               phone calls. She got them throughout the first episode. I‟m assuming that

               most of us are guessing it has something to do with the whole bad half

               sister from the end of last season. When will we learn more about those

               phone calls and when will Mary learn more about all of that situation?

M. McCormack   I think episode eight is when you find out who was on the other end of that

               phone call.

J. Rarden      So not until then.

M. McCormack   Not until then, but there are some other clues along the way, but I think

               eight is when you actually meet the person.

C. Fehskens    We have time for one last question.

Moderator      We go to the line of Amy Harrington from Pop Culture Passionista‟s.

               Please go ahead.
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A. Harrington   Mary, I actually had a question for you. I‟m wondering if you‟re still

                watching realty TV.

M. McCormack    Oh, my God, I am.

A. Harrington   And if you‟re still using your laser pointer.

M. McCormack    I used my laser pointer two nights ago, but it was on a YouTube video, but

                it was brilliant. We have Apple TV, so we put the YouTube video from

                the TV and I was laser pointing all over the place. But my two new

                favorite shows are Locked Up Abroad and then my other one is Jamie

                Oliver‟s Food Revolution, which is just amazing.

F. Weller       What is Locked Up Abroad?

M. McCormack    Locked Up Abroad is based on an English show that was called Banged

                Up Abroad. And it‟s all about people who go abroad and then make one

                or two bad decisions and end up locked up abroad. Pretty good, you

                cannot believe how good. It‟s National Geographic and for some reason,

                they must have saved up all their money for years. They shoot it like a

                feature. It‟s gorgeous. It‟s well acted. Their reenactments are amazing.
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               It‟s gorgeous, Fred. It‟s so compelling. I can‟t say enough about it, the

               best show on TV except for In Plain Sight. And Survivor is better than


C. Fehskens    Ladies and gentlemen, that‟s all the time that we have to today‟s session.

               I‟d like to once again thank Mary McCormack and Fred Weller for being

               with us today and remind everybody to tune in to an all new episode of In

               Plain Sight this Wednesday with guest stars Allison Janney and Josh

               Cooke, which will be on 10/9 central on USA Network. Thank so much,

               everybody, and enjoy the rest of your day.

M. McCormack   Thank you, everybody. Bye, Fred. Send my love to Ali and the kids.

F. Weller`     Will do.

Moderator      Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude our conference for today.

               Thank you for using AT&T Executive Teleconference. You may now


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