Transcript from The Ultimate TV online chat with Charles Shaughnessy at the beginning of the sixth season of "The Nanny"


amkm : How is it working with Fran Drescher?

Charles Shaughnessy : Well, she's very funny, very smart, she created the whole thing from scratch. She's happy with the cast, crew, the way everything's going.

bender : How did you get the part?

Charles Shaughnessy : I had done an episode of "Murphy Brown," and "Mad About You." Their studios and networks put together "The Nanny," and my name had gone out. The producers and Fran all thought we had the right chemistry, and that was that.

ochsghost : What is your favorite of the new CBS shows?

Charles Shaughnessy :I don't get to watch much TV, but I like "Maggie Winters" very much.

quiqweg : What makes a good actor in your estimation?

Charles Shaughnessy : The ability to get out of the way...so you can be un-self conscious, so you can get inside your character. You have to put yourself aside, so you can get inside the skin of another person. You can draw from your own experiences, but you have to see things from another person's perspective. The perfect actors were double agents during the cold war.

Blanche_l : Can you tell us what will happen on the new season?

Charles Shaughnessy : Well, now we're married, I guess after that, not too long after, you can expect the patter of tiny feet.

Mari73 : What is the best part about working on the Nanny? Fran?

Charles Shaughnessy : The hours we work. Although we're on our sixth season, we have a lot of time for ourselves, we don't have to work too hard. The best thing is that the hours are very user-friendly.

tashers : How many kids do you have?

Charles Shaughnessy : Two. 8 1/2 and 3 1/2

atseleon : How's the transfer of a Soap Opera to a sitcom changed your career?

Charles Shaughnessy : It's a bigger audience. The first most obvious difference. The soap operas have a more fanatical audience, but the primetime audience is much bigger.

jenjen : What projects are coming up for you?

Charles Shaughnessy : I did a TV movie for Disney that's going to be out on ABC, "The New Adventures of Spin and Marty." Then an independent film called "Denial."

atseleon : What's the difference between England sitcoms and American sitcoms?

Charles Shaughnessy : There is a difference in sense of humor. It's hard to put your finger on it. The English enjoy the comedy of manners based in behavior, social morays. British humour has a better sense of satire. Woody Allen could not be an Englishman, and John Cleese could not be an American.

ochsghost : Tell us about "Denial" --the movie not the condition.

Charles Shaughnessy : It's about 4 couples, an essay on monogamy and fidelity. Written by the man behind "Mousehunt" and "Toy Soldiers."

lucwil : What TV show is your guiltiest pleasure?

Charles Shaughnessy : "South Park." Whenever I can catch it. I do enjoy "Sports Night." It's very different and clever. My guiltiest pleasure should be soccer...I get to watch English soccer.

quiqweg : What is the worst thing about the TV biz?

Charles Shaughnessy : The disappointment. It's so unpredictable. You can work very hard on what everyone agrees is a wonderful show, but for whatever reason, it doesn't work, gets cancelled and you don't understand why. I worked on a pilot called "McBride and Groom" - a romantic thriller, where that happened.

Mari73 : What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Charles Shaughnessy : I coach my daughter's AYSO soccer team. I like to hang out on the beach with my kids. I'd like to play tennis.

bender : Did you play soccer as a kid?

Charles Shaughnessy : Yeah.

baby_sweet : I'm totally into cars, what kind of car do you drive?

Charles Shaughnessy : I have a 1991 BMW 325 convertible. When it conks out, i'm interested in getting an electric car, an EV1.

quiqweg : If you weren't acting...what would you do?

Charles Shaughnessy : I Trained to be a lawyer...I'd love to write, an op-ed writer for magazines. That or a teacher.

rollio : Have you done any scripts?

Charles Shaughnessy : No. I have so many bits of scripts written, very good first acts. But I can't get any further than that.

lucwil : What is the most useful thing you learned as a soap actor?

Charles Shaughnessy : The ability to be relaxed. You work 5 days a week under lots of pressure. After that for 8 years, nothing becomes fear for me. Also, the ability to think quickly as an actor.

AndreaJ : When are Niles and CC going to get together?

Charles Shaughnessy : They always like to hate each other. I'm sure if they ever get together, it will be under extremely strange circumstances.

quiqweg : What was the last book you read?

Charles Shaughnessy : I'm almost finished with "Cold Mountain." I'm waiting for Patrick O'Brien's next maritime adventure book.

Blanche_l : Does anyone from "The Nanny" ever visit any of the Nanny fan sites?

Charles Shaughnessy : I know Benjamin checks in quite a bit and I have ocassionally dropped in. I dropped in on one fan site and corrected the spelling of my name. I know the studio has someone who checks out things on a regular basis.

hoy : Do your children go online?

Charles Shaughnessy : No. Not because I don't want them to, but my oldest isn't that interested in going online yet.

katscratch : Have you done much theater?

Charles Shaughnessy : Yes, I used to. I did a lot of theatre. I went to the Williamstown Theatre Festival in New York and did a play. It takes a lot of time to rehearse and put on a play. Maybe when "The Nanny" ends, I might do a play.

neto : How much longer will you do "The Nanny"? <

Charles Shaughnessy : I don't know really, I think it'll go on longer.

magpie : Did the wedding help?

Charles Shaughnessy : Oh yes, it renewed interest in the show. The wedding was a big success.

Lucwil : Which classic TV character would you like to be stranded on a desert island with?

Charles Shaughnessy : Probably Samantha from "Bewitched." She was very pretty, she could make being on an island very comfortable.

Lucwil : What is the most annoying show on TV?

Charles Shaughnessy : Probably, one of those obscure sports channels that's always showing demolition derbies or flyfishing . Or those annyoing roundtable political pundit shows.

Evadenmark : Fran Drescher has said that all of "Fran" is in her, but not all of her is in "Fran." How do you feel about Maxwell??

Charles Shaughnessy : With characters like this, you have to match a personality to a part. It's not really acting. A lot of it is taking a part of Charles Shaughnessy and making it a funny character. There are a lot of shades of Charles Shaughnessy that are not in Maxwell.

bender : Do you find that frustrating?

Charles Shaughnessy : It can be, yes. But fortunately, there's the stage where you can do that...it's much more satisfying for an actor to do that. It's still a great job, but not as fulfilling.

Quiqweg : What work are you most proud of?

Charles Shaughnessy : I was real proud of this play I did 2-3 years ago called "Free Sailing." I did it in Williamstown. It was about pirates. It was a terrific play, a terrific character...a bold, reckless, romantic, swashbucking character. I was proud of my work and I enjoyed it. I look back on some of the things I did as a kid, and I was very proud of a lot of the things I did back then.

Quiqweg : Do you have any say in what happens to your character?

Charles Shaughnessy : A little. They'll listen to me, they're very good about it. They're very sharp.

Blanche_l : Would you ever create your own show?

Charles Shaughnessy : Funny you should say that...those unfinished scripts I have, I'll hopefully finish them one day. My wife writes too.

Andreaj : I think you and the cast have been overlooked by the Emmy people. Any regrets?

Charles Shaughnessy : Speaking personally, no, not at all. Winning an award is nice, but I can't get into that whole area, it doesn't interest me at all. I really don't know what they're awarding...I think "Frasier" is a funny show, but personally, I don't think it deserved to be called *the* best comedy. Any kind of art being awarded is very (dodgey) to me. I mean, they're fun, I watch the Oscars, but I don't lose anything from it.

saba : Did you go to the Emmys?

Charles Shaughnessy : No, I did go to the Oscars, they're fun. But there are so many awards shows, where do you draw the line? There's something very un-English with the awards. In England, people can play cricket all day and end up in a tie and both sides can enjoy that, but the American mentality has this thing with winning.

Quiqweg : What one thing about Fran Drescher do you love the most, and what do you hate?

Charles Shaughnessy : I love the fact she created the "Nanny," what I hate the most, we didn't call the series "The Boss."

Atseleon : What are your plans after you get out of the "Nanny?"

Charles Shaughnessy : Maybe develop one of these little script fragments my wife and I made. I'd love to do movies, to do 3-4 a year. Raising my kids.

Lauratnz : What's your favorite "Nanny" episode?

Charles Shaughnessy : I thought the lamb chop episode was real funny,I really like the pilot.

Atseleon : Who had inspired you to be in the acting business?

Charles Shaughnessy : An actor called David Warner. He was in "Titanic" and was big in England when I was a kid. I wrote an essay in school about him. Right now, no one really influences me...I don't really have a favourite actor. But I've always liked Michael Caine. Ian Holm, Helen Muren, Judy Dench, Meryl Streep. I read in the front of the book, "Howard's End."

Lucwil : What's the best advice you ever got?

Charles Shaughnessy : Just two words that blew my mind: "Only Connect."

Ochsghost : Do you get recognized a lot?

Charles Shaughnessy : You know, mostly as my character in "Days of Our Lives." I guess you have more impact on a soap.

Ochsghost : Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Charles Shaughnessy : Probably dabbling in theatre, my wife and I are investing in running out our own theatre by the ocean, maybe in Monterey. I'd be teaching acting part-time in a college...or I'll have my own successful show.

Nettled : What is the one thing that really turns Maxwell on about Fran?

Charles Shaughnessy : The voice.

Blanche_l : The Nanny has already been to Paris and London - will it ever come to Sydney?

Charles Shaughnessy : I hope so, I would love a trip to Sydney. I see no reason why not. There's a lot of possibilities of Fran and Maxwell in the outback. I'd like to thank you so much for being so supportive and interested for so long, it's been nice having this cyber-chat, and I hope you continue to enjoy my work.


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