UPDATED WITH TCA TRAILER: “[USA] said ‘OK, listen, you can’t show the horse actually getting a blowjob’, and we said, ‘We know we can’t show the horse getting the blowjob,’ but, secretly, we were, ‘F*ck! We can’t show the horse getting a blowjob!’ ” Denis Leary told TCA critics this morning when asked the difference between making Rescue Me for FX and making his new series, Sirens, for USA Network.
Leary and Bob Fisher came to the winter TV press tour to talk about Sirens, premiering March 6 at 10 PM after the return of Suits at 9 PM. It moves to a single episode at 10 PM the next week, paired with a Modern Family repeat at 10:30 PM. The single-camera comedy follows three Chicago EMTs played by Michael Mosley (Pan Am, Scrubs), Kevin Daniels (Modern Family), and Kevin Bigley. It’s based on a British series of same name. Leary’s business partner, Jim Serpico, was approached by the British producers, who were fans of Rescue Me, wondering if they wanted to adapt it for the U.S. “We really liked those guys, and USA was pillaging the cast of Rescue Me and putting them into shows,” Leary explained. So they decided “we can make some money off these USA people,” he said.
Last May — three years after USA signaled a move into half-hour comedy with the off-network acquisition of Modern Family and three months before the ABC comedy launched on the cable network — USA announced it had greenlit its first original half-hour comedies in 15 years, including Sirens.
Like all press tour Q&As with Leary, this one went off the rails fairly quickly though, in its defense, the Sirens Q&A stayed on the rails an impressively long time for a session that began with a beefy lineup of young men in EMT uniforms holding flashing red sirens at their crotches for about as long as your average commercial break.
“How long have you guys been trapped in this hotel?” Leary asked TV critics during a lull in the conversation.
Critics: About 10 days.
Leary: Do you guys stay here? Do you go crazy?
Critics: Yes. Yes.
Leary: Is everything paid for?
Leary: You got to be sh*tting me!…You have to pay for your own hotel room? You have to pay out of your pocket and your newspapers are not paying?
Critics: Case by case.
Leary: Do you get free sh*t like food and drink?
Leary: Do you get free swag and free transportation?
Leary: Basically you could spend 10 days here just getting f*cked up …I’m very upset somebody has to pay for their own room.
Bob Fisher: Are these assigned seats?
Fisher: Do you get mad at each other for stealing your spots?
Leary: I think we hit a raw nerve!
Leary has populated Sirens with people you’ll recognize from Rescue Me, but Leary does not plan to appear on-camera this time. “I fucking love it — I just sit there and smoke and laugh and drink coffee — it’s the greatest fucking job yet,” Leary said. He’s also open to the idea of Sirens cross-pond crossover episodes if USA orders additional seasons. Should the series make it to a fifth season, Leary promised they’ll come back to the press tour, and “we’re f*cking paying for everything!”