Billy Baldwin Pleads for Return of Dirty Sexy Money

Actor William Baldwin is half of one of TV’s most groundbreaking couples -- his Dirty Sexy Money character is in love with a transsexual, played by Candis Cayne -- but it’s one plot that may not get to play itself out, as the show is in danger of cancellation. Baldwin sat down with Advocate.com to talk about rumors that ABC is "de-gaying" its lineup, what the future holds for Money, and whether network heads ever interfered with his controversial story line.

BY Kyle Buchanan

November 26 2008 12:00 AM ET

Actor William
Baldwin is half of one of TV’s most groundbreaking
couples -- his Dirty Sexy Money character is in
love with a transsexual, played by Candis Cayne -- but
it’s one plot that may not get to play itself
out, as the show is in danger of cancellation. ABC
recently announced that it would stop production of the
series, though the network hasn’t
confirmed outright that it won’t be renewed. We
spoke to Baldwin to find out what’s going on, whether
he thinks there’s anything fans can do to
save the show, and how he feels ABC treats its gay
story lines.

Advocate.com:How have you been?WilliamBaldwin: It's been kind of an odd
time for me, Kyle. My town, Montecito, is on fire, my
show's been canceled, and my wife has left me.

What? I'm only kidding about my wife. She's been
performing again and she's had a couple of concerts
this week. It's really a trip to see her back up
onstage. She's doing a quick little casino circuit with
Wilson Phillips and they played at the Club Nokia on
Sunday night and it was just wild to see them playing
in front of a thousand people.

Billy, you used the c word -- cancellation
-- which ABC still hasn't officially used to
describe Dirty Sexy Money. Have you heard
something we haven't?
No, but I have to say... I don't know the
television industry well enough, but people who are on
the show who've been around a lot longer than I have
were giving speeches on the set to the crew, and they were
saying stuff like, "You've got nothing to be ashamed of. We
did a great job, and we tried our hardest. It was such
an honor to work with you, and hopefully in the future
we'll be lucky enough to be able to do it again." When
[ABC] made the announcement, they very specifically
did not use the c word, and they were holding
the actors and holding the sets, I guess in contrast to
Eli Stone and Pushing Daisies. I
don't know, actually -- were those shows canceled, or are
they doing the same thing to them?

ABC announced all three shows were shutting down
production, but [Pushing Daisies creator]
Bryan Fuller said he's actually heard the term
"canceled."
Our executive producer Matt Gross said
they very specifically did not use that word, but they
had a tone and they were using words that led me to
believe that even though they didn't use the c word,
this usually means the show is over. I think what
could be happening is they want to see what happens over the
next couple of months, how people respond to them floating
this trial balloon that the show is in trouble, and
they also want to see how the programming they have
left performs. If they have another juggernaut like
Dancing With the Stars, then I guess we're
dead, but if some of this stuff goes in the crapper then I
guess they could do an order of nine [more episodes].

Do you think ABC made a mistake when they chose to
hold the series until the fall instead of resuming the
first season immediately after the strike?
I don't know. Look, these shows are very
expensive. They put a ton of money into launching it
in season one and relaunching it in season two. We had
some bumps in the road and [ABC head] Steve McPherson really
stuck by the show and poured tons of money into
getting it right. Looking back in retrospect, I don't
know if that was a problem. This is weird, and I don't
know if we'll ever be able to figure this out, but viewing
habits shifted this year in a way that people can't
quite explain to me. I don't know if it was because of
the economy or because everyone was caught up and
gripped by the presidential election, but every new show
that came back from last year had a significant dip in
their viewing in their second season. Dirty Sexy
Money
was one of the only shows that, on episode
one of season two, was on the same level as episode 10
of season one. That was encouraging news, but the rest of
it I can't quite figure out. Do you have enough expertise in
television to explain why these shows fell off the
cliff ratings-wise?

I think that the biggest serial drama this season
was the election, which sucked all the air out of the
room. In fact, there were some shows this past
week, like CBS's comedies, that suddenly hit
series highs with no attributable extra promotion, so
there's this idea that maybe people are settling
back into their old viewing patterns again. You
mentioned, though, that the network might be floating
this as a trial balloon -- I know that over at
NBC, Lipstick Jungle's gone through the same
thing, and there's been a fan outcry with people
mailing tubes of lipstick to the network. Do you
know of anything like that with Dirty Sexy Money?
I don't, but I'd like to strategize and coordinate with
people. People have told me that there's some Internet
and blogging activity and that people have been
posting on ABC's website and there's some petitions
online. I can't imagine that the outcry over the
cancellation of Lipstick Jungle is any more
significant than it will be for Dirty Sexy
Money
, for two reasons. Our audience was bigger
than theirs, number one, and our audience was very,
very devoted and very loyal to the show. I can't
imagine that Lipstick Jungle on the street and
at the watercooler had the buzz that our show had. Now, I've
never seen that show and I do love Brooke Shields, but
I've never had people come up to me, in my career,
like they do with this show all the time.

Tags: television

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