Peter Tolan’s 2005 line about Steve McPherson, “Steve, if you can hear me, fuck you,” has gone down in HRTS luncheon history as one of the most memorable panel moments ever. But five years later, Tolan was pretty subdued in his reaction to McPherson’s ouster at ABC. “Don’t speak ill of the dead,” is pretty much all he said at TCA today. But he also talked about how he and McPherson made up a month after the HRTS luncheon when they both happened to be lunching at the Palm. “We hugged at valet parking. That’s Hollywood right there.”
Within the past week, Tolan has taken out 2 more comedy projects, one of which has landed at ABC, and the other has garnered interest from several networks, including NBC. (Yep, he sold a show to ABC just before McPherson’s departure.) Tolan is writing the latter one, which revolves around the staff at a Plymouth Plantation-type living museum that have people reenact the way the Pilgrims once went about their days. The ABC one, which is being written by DJ Nash, centers on a guy who marries the girl of his dreams and at the same time gets the job of his dreams on the other coast, so he ends up living with his single friends all week and spending his weekends with his new wife.
So how does it feel going back in business with the broadcast networks? “Obviously, I have had great experience at FX and lousy experience at the broadcast networks,” Tolan said. “I’m sure I’ll have to be medicated for most of the time… With maturity, comes the need for cash, but it won’t be easy.”
While he is pretty open to all sorts of ideas for his new development, there is one “no-no” after 6 seasons on Rescue Me. “I’m not going to do anything with smoke.”
Rescue Me will have “much lighter and much more life-goes-on” ending than viewers may anticipate from the dark firefighter drama, which Tolan co-created with star Denis Leary. “The show ends in a very hopeful place, it’s more life-affirming, showing the resilience of people in the face of tragedy.”
He listed two alternate endings that were considered but ultimate discarded: one had Tommy (Leary) going into a burning house and sitting down on a chair amidst the flames. The other one also involved suicide. It would’ve had Tommy finding happiness with Maura Tierney’s character until one day, he takes off his clothes, goes into the ocean and keeps swimming away.
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