“I know personally, from being an actor who worked on a lot of scripted television shows, the pilot of Cougar Town was not indicative of the last episode we shot.”
The show’s recent move from 10 PM to 11 is a “vote of confidence” from the network, she enthused.
Asked if being of “two worlds” – mom of two and social media celeb – makes her a more interesting person, Philipps joked, “I do think I’m a very interesting person, yes,” and boasted her audience skews younger than her age.
Tina Fey signed on to EP the show because “I really liked Busy: she’s charismatic and knows her way around a joke.” A lot of being an EP, Fey explained at the Q&A, is “setting people up to succeed and then getting out of their way.”
“Busy knows herself and what she wants to say and do,” she added.
Joining them on stage, showrunner Caissie St.Onge got asked if TV is more progressive than film when it comes to giving women opportunities in positions of authority.
“It’s 100% true,” Fey agreed.
St.Onge speculated it may be easier to take a risk in television, whereas a movie is “a huge ship.”
Jumped in Fey: “Television is better than movies in all ways, though.”
Fey thought it might have something to do with women getting to decide what they’re going to watch on TV more often than they get to decide what movie they’re seeing on the weekend.
When talk turned to Busy’s late-night competition, Fey said it never made sense for Philipps “to come out and do five minutes about the government shutdown” and that the show always was going to be “a place to unwind at the end of the day.”
“Only a female late night host could go back in time and ask [guest] Julia Roberts about not shaving her armpits at the Notting Hill premiere,” Fey boasted.
Philipps described her show as a “little treat for viewers at the end of the night.”
“I was sick of watching Friends reruns before I went to bed,” Philipps said. “I’ve seen them all so many times I wanted to see a show I could watch before I went to sleep.”
Before the Q&A, E! played a clip of the episode in which Oprah called Philipps on the set’s Oprah Phone, taking Busy by surprise, who told Oprah she loved her. At TCA on Tuesday, Philipps got asked how high she was on cold medication at the time. She acknowledged she had been sick, but that the “adrenaline” of the Oprah call made her feel better for days.
“Oprah can heal people,” Fey explained.
And when asked if Philipps looks to any other late-night host for inspiration, or as cautionary tale, Fey interjected that Philipps is not trying to be “one of the Jimmys” but acknowledged that when a guest says something poignant or smart, Busy does typically respond, “Okay, that’s The Oprah Moment; say that again.”
“You repeat it and then she repeats it,” Fey said, describing Oprah’s shtick.
“We are all Oprah’s children,” she concluded.