A few words with ... Paula Abdul, Kelsey Grammer and Amy Jo Johnson


Paula Abdul of "The X Factor" on Fox

Q: Is "The X Factor" fun to do?

A: I'm having a blast, and it's a whole different experience altogether.

Q: Why is this a good fit for you?

A: My forte is that of a producer, and I have mentored young talent way before I came in front of the camera. I have so much experience. I am fiercely competitive.

Q: Even with guiding the contestants, you need something to work with. What needs to be in place?

A: The voice. With these artists, now we are homing in on who they are as an artist. Once that is focused and narrowed in more, then it's learning how to connect with an audience. Most of them are up-and-coming acts.

Q: Given that "The X Factor" breaks down the talent into four groups, do you have a favorite?

A: Simon's been making fun of me because I've been saying I really want to work with the over 30s. I want to work with all of them -- the groups, the 12 to 30s, the boys, the girls.

Q: So how is it going with Simon?

A: As long as Simon gets to wreck me and make sure that I have no life, he will be extremely happy.

Q: Did you see some acts that were unspeakably bad?

A: It just amazes me that some people can wake up one day and say, "I think I am going to audition for some TV show and win $5 million! I think I'll start my singing career."

Kelsey Grammer of "Boss" on Starz

Q: What does it mean to you to go to cable to be able to switch from comedy to drama in "Boss"?

A: I would never kick my heels up at the idea that our industry exists on being successful, and I also understand what it is to be a casualty of that necessity. And I've been given this chance to play something I wouldn't be able to play on broadcast television.

Q: How is it to be working on a television series with Gus Van Sant, the filmmaker celebrated for such movies as "Good Will Hunting," "Milk" and "Drugstore Cowboy"?

A: I was on my way to pick up my kids at (New York's) Kennedy Airport when my agent called and said, "Gus Van Sant is interested in doing something in television." And I said, "Excuse me?" He was willing to read some things, so I said, "Tell you what. Why don't we send this over to Gus right now, and let's stop talking about other stuff?"

Gus read it that night and flew in the next day, and we sat down at the little bar next door to the theater where I was working. And he said, "I'm in." I've admired his work for years, and I guess he thought maybe this was a good thing for me to try to do. It all just came together.

Q: How does "Boss" stack up against "Frasier" for you thus far?

A: "Frasier" was an extraordinary thing to do, but this has a completely different dynamic. The whole thing is like being a kid again. It's been amazing for me.

Amy Jo Johnson of "Flashpoint" on ION

Q: What's your take on the move of your police drama "Flashpoint" from CBS to ION?

A: I'm just happy to have the show keep going. It was really fun and nice to be on CBS, but it continues to have its life, and people are still watching it ... and that's enough for me.

I find that this season, the writing and the stories are the best they have been. I've really enjoyed this one the most. Jules takes a journey that kind of figures itself out by the season finale.

Q: What do you make of Jules' romance with teammate Sam?

A: David (Paetkau, who plays Sam) is like my brother. I'm really good friends with his wife, and my husband is really good friends with that family. It's always like kissing my brother, but it's fun to have other things to do on the show than running around with a gun and telling people to put their hands in the air.

Q: What do you think about "Flashpoint" having led a new surge of Canadian-American co-productions?

A: If this is the last year for "Flashpoint," I have all these other opportunities. I'm not worried about not working.

Q: Now that you, your husband and your daughter have moved to Canada, how are you finding it?

A: I truly love Toronto. I just went to L.A. recently to see friends, and I like it there, but I have no urge to move back. I just like the energy up here. I like the seasons, the culture within the city, how contained the city is ... I like it.

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