Blunt Talk show creator Jonathan Ames says the genesis of the series came, in part, from the late, great Garry Shandling. Speaking at today’s Deadline TV Contenders event, Ames said Seth MacFarlane wanted to set up a comedy in the vein of Shandling’s The Larry Sanders Show that would star Sir Patrick Stewart (after the pair’s well-received comedic collaborations on Family Guy and American Dad!). With this in mind, Ames very quickly arrived at an image of what the show could be.
“I was channeling past CNN and happened to see Piers Morgan in front of a blue backdrop. In that moment, I thought Patrick Stewart would look amazing behind such a desk. We could live behind the scenes and create a world from there.”
Stewart noted that even Piers Morgan noticed the resemblance, recalling a run-in with his fellow Brit. “He said, ‘What the hell is going on? You’re playing me!,” Stewart remembers. Stewart and Morgan subsequently sat down for breakfast, with Morgan’s anecdotes as a British journalist informing Stewart’s work to some extent.
The character’s name of Walter Blunt comes via one of Stewarts’s Shakespearian theater productions. “Is this your hotel check-in name, Patrick?” joked Deadline’s Dominic Patten. “Not anymore,” he said.
Ames and Stewart are particularly happy with the opportunity to work with Blunt‘s all-star ensemble of Jacki Weaver, Adrian Scarborough and Timm Sharp, among others. But perhaps nothing brought Ames more joy than incorporating some unbelievable true stories from Stewart’s personal life. Most notably? “It came out that all his life, Patrick thought he was circumcised, but finally found out two years ago, from his wife, that he wasn’t,” explained Ames.
Added Stewart, “She told me, ‘You’re not circumcised.’ And I said, ‘How can you say that?’” Ames couldn’t resist adding the detail to the show: “This is a huge blind spot for a character to have!”