STAR POWER: THE JUDGES
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Mary Beth Evans (Kayla, DAYS) and DAYS Head Writer Hooan Shefferjoin talent manager Michael Bruno on the panel for season four. Sheffer admits he was surprised. "They actually want to put this big head on TV? Are they out of their minds?" he laughs of his reaction to being asked. I was a little nervous at first because the truth of the matter is, I don't have what you would call. a camera-friendly face. But my ego was big enough that I thought, `Why not?' And I had more fun than I've ever had doing anything else. Of course, it didn't hurt to have Mary Beth Evans sitting to my left. I didn't know Michael Bruno, who everybody told me, 'Oh, you won't like him, he's a bitch,' but I thought he was lovely. The three of us just ended up clicking. I say this sincerely: I cannot remember laughing more than we laughed during the making of those shows and the energy was so high."
Evans admits she had to think about whether or not she was up to the task. "At first, I was nervous because I don't like to hurt people's feelings and the thought of voting someone off didn't really appeal to me because it would be heartbreaking," she explains. "Michael, Hogan and I took it all very seriously and really tried to be sincere and helpful. I'm not a brilliant actress or well-schooled, but I have maternal instincts and I definitely have a caring groove and I gave what I could on that. There were a couple of contestants with tattoos and I was like, `Oh, thank God, you covered that one today.' My kids will laugh when they see that part, because they know that's so me."
Bruno, who has judged the last three seasons and has seen success far a handful of the competitors (season one winner Mykel Shannon Jenkins appeared on UGLY BETTY as fashion designer Tavares, season two winner Alec Musser is Del on AMC, season three competitor BethAnn Banner is an OLTL as Talia and Shamika Cotton is an HBO's THE WIRE), says this season "is clearly the best group we've had. It doesn't seem illogical. It really is a great horse race. There are some shocks in there, but I don't think the audience is going to get angry this time. And people will work even if they don't win."
Since Sheffer will ultimately write the winner in, he says he kept an open mind when judging the contestants. "I didn't want to prejudice the way I was looking at these actors," he says. "So I measured each one for who they are and whoever is picked as the best actor, we'll find a way to fit them in. If the best actor happens to have nine heads and stutters, then we'll write a character with nine heads and stutters."
The finale will be live and for the first time ever, the judges won't determine the winner. "I'm. nervous that I'm going to say a bad word on live television, but I think it's wonderful that the viewers get to choose,"' says Bruno. "We really want the audience to think that this is their show." Adds Sheffer, "I am nervous, but this is a huge prize. This isn't just far fun. At the end of this, one of these actors is going to get a chance to be a star, which is great. But I hope they don't ask me to wear a tuxedo because I have to send away to Norway to get one that fits me!"