You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ted Danson on ‘Fargo’ Season 2 and His Pre-‘Cheers’ Bartender Role

Though he rose to fame slinging drinks as Sam Malone in “Cheers,” Ted Danson’s first mention in Variety was for playing another bartender in the stage production of “Status Quo Vadis,” reviewed in Wilmington, Del. on Feb. 14, 1973, before its ill-fated Broadway debut. The actor has fared better with subsequent projects, including “Becker” and “Bored to Death.” And he’s in season two of the FX hit “Fargo,” starting Oct. 12.

The review for “Status Quo Vadis” is very positive, yet apparently the Broadway run didn’t go as well?

Yes, we opened and closed in one night. I remember walking to the stage door to do the show after opening night. The stage door man said, “Whoa whoa, where you going?”  I said, “I work here.”  He said, “Not anymore you don’t, bud.” And pointed to the closed notice.

What happened? 

It was back in the day of Clive Barnes, who could open and close a show with his review, and we had a horrible review. Maybe we deserved it, I’m not sure. Nevertheless, the party was over.

The play’s lead was Bruce Boxleitner, who also ruled TV in the 1980s. Have you worked with him again?

I don’t think our paths ever even crossed, strangely enough. He went on to do lots of great stuff. It was a very talented cast.

You always seem to find yourself in great ensembles.

I do like ensemble, and I think that came from basketball. That’s what I really wanted to do in life, and that dream ended for me abruptly freshman year at Stanford. But I love team sports, which is what I find acting to be.

You have an amazing cast in “Fargo,” as well.

It’s a wonderful cast, wonderful writing, and a really interesting time in history. It takes place in 1979, so it’s a prequel in a way. The only connection to the first season is that my granddaughter is Molly, the Deputy Sheriff from Season One. Her father, my son-in-law, is played by Patrick Wilson.

With so many great roles, what are you most recognized for?

It depends. Younger audiences seem to love “Bored to Death” and “Damages.” People who are in public service love “Becker”; “Cheers” obviously crosses every age group to some degree. Then there’s the “CSI” crowd, which is all over the place and international. This job kind of sneaks up on you. You look back and go, “Good heavens, I’ve been doing this awhile.”

More TV

  • Wendy Williams Sober Living House

    Wendy Williams Reveals She's Been Staying in a Sober-Living House

    Wendy Williams, during an emotional monologue on her talk show on Tuesday, revealed through tears that she has been staying at a sober-living house. “So you know me for being a very open and truthful person,” she began the segment on “The Wendy Williams Show,” fighting through tears. “And I’ve got more to the story [...]

  • Hong Kong Industry Executives Seek Clarity

    FilMart: Hong Kong Industry Executives Plead for Clarity on Mainland Chinese Tax Policies

    At a time of heightened scrutiny of tax affairs in China’s entertainment sector, even industry veterans in Hong Kong are struggling to figure out how to operate in the new financial environment and pleading for more clarity from the Chinese government. Hong Kong produces about 60 films a year, three-quarters of which are typically co-productions [...]

  • Michael Jackson R Kelly

    'Leaving Neverland,' 'Surviving R. Kelly' Composers on How They Scored Sexual Abuse Docs

    How do you put music to child sexual abuse — especially if the accused predators are musical icons? That’s the challenge composers Chad Hobson and Nathan Matthew David faced as they scored HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” and Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly,” respectively. The documentaries are built around interviews with the alleged victims of Michael Jackson (two [...]

  • Canadian Animation Shop Guru Studio Makes

    Canadian Animation Shop Guru Studio Makes Moves in China

    Guru Studio, an award-winning Canadian animation studio, is exploring the possibility of opening an office in Hong Kong or mainland China. The Toronto-based company is keen to get a slice of China’s animation market, which has been growing quickly. Louise Jones, Guru vice president of finance and business affairs, said at a FilMart panel discussion [...]

  • Viacom HQ LA

    Viacom Goes to War With AT&T Over DirecTV Carriage Deal

    Viacom has declared war against AT&T, blasting the telco giant on several fronts as the companies wrestle over a carriage renewal deal that is vital to Viacom’s long-term financial health. As of today, Viacom has begun running crawls and promo spots on its channels warning viewers that Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, MTV and other channels [...]

  • Maureen FitzPatrick Rob Silverstein

    Rob Silverstein Out as 'Access Hollywood' Executive Producer After 20 Years

    Rob Silverstein, exec producer of NBC’s entertainment newsmagazine “Access Hollywood” and its spinoffs, is leaving the syndication franchise after 20 years at the helm. He’ll be replaced by “Hot Bench” alumnus Maureen FitzPatrick. Silverstein’s departure was announced Tuesday morning at a staff meeting for “Access” producers. Silverstein was also exec producer of the hourlong talk [...]

  • '9-1-1' Billboard Vandalized With Anti-Beto O'Rourke

    '9-1-1' Billboard Vandalized With Anti-Beto O'Rourke Message

    A billboard for the Fox procedural “9-1-1” on Pico Blvd., adjacent to the studio lot, has been vandalized with an anti-Beto O’Rourke message, Variety has learned. The imagery was put up by a politically conservative man who goes by ‘Sabo.’ The promotional art for the series featured on the billboard shows a car wreck sticking out [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content