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Jon Stewart was the talk of the town at the Blunt Talk premiere Monday night at the DGA Theater in Los Angeles.
Stars of the upcoming Starz comedy — including Patrick Stewart, Jacki Weaver, Mary Holland and Richard Lewis — joined executive producers Seth MacFarlane and Jonathan Ames in gushing about the anticipated dark sitcom that centers on the life of Walter Blunt (Stewart), a British import who is intent on conquering the landscape of American cable news while managing his dysfunctional news staff and navigating his misguided personal life.
In preparation for the role, Stewart revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that he shadowed Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow. He also reached out to Piers Morgan, by whom the role is rumored to be inspired. “Jon and Rachel Maddow very generously invited me to be an observer for one whole day on their shows. I sat in top-level production meetings. I was on the set. I attended all the coffee breaks. It was an invaluable experience for me. I’d like for them to be on our show at some point,” said Stewart.
He continued, “I had breakfast with Piers. I was really interested in what it felt like being an English journalist coming to work on an American TV show. I’m pretty certain we will be inviting Piers to be on the show.”
MacFarlane, who vouched for Stewart for the role, couldn’t stop raving about the actor. He revealed his obsession with Star Trek: The Next Generation to the audience before the screening and shared his initial thought about Stewart that led to his casting: “Why is this great comedian wasted in drama?”
“Patrick Stewart, to me, is a guy that has conquered every single dramatic medium he could ever conquer,” said MacFarlane, who cast Stewart’s voice in his animated comedy series American Dad. “There is literally nothing that this guy hasn’t done — and done beautifully. I thought it was just downright criminal that no one has put him at the center of a single-camera comedy.”
Stewart, who has spent the past 15 years as part of Marvel’s X-Men franchise, got political when he imagined how an interview between Blunt and Professor Xavier would go.
“They would talk about difference and how difference in people has to be embraced and understood and not feared or suspected, but everyone has a desire to be happy,” Stewart told THR. “They would talk about how you would find a way to bring that about.”
When the castmembers revealed which newscaster they would like to see a behind-the-scenes glimpse of (similar to how the comedy gives a glimpse into the personal life of Blunt), the red carpet’s stars all had a particular Comedy Central host in mind.
“I would love to see Jon Stewart behind the scenes,” said Holland, who plays Shelly, the team’s ambitious segment producer. “I think, based on the last episode, where they did that montage where they were all backstage in one shot, it looked so incredible. It looks similar to Blunt Talk actually, where everyone was familiar with each other, and there were a lot of interesting relationships.”
Lewis, who plays Blunt’s troubled psychoanalyst, Dr. Weiss, admitted that his allegiance lies with another newscaster. “I just did my goodbye to Jon Stewart. You can’t get any better. He’s one of the most wonderful, humble political-talk-show hosts ever,” said Lewis. “But right now, I favor Walter Blunt.”
The series premiere of Blunt Talk will air on Starz on Saturday, Aug. 22, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
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