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Exclusive: Nancy Travis Talks 'The Bill Engvall Show' And More

July 8th, 2009 10:20am EDT
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Nancy TravisNancy Travis joined us to discuss the upcoming season of "The Bill Engvall Show" -- premiering July 18 on TBS; an interview with co-star and SNL alum Tim Meadows will publish later this week -- and soon the conversation turned into an interesting elucidation of the current state of situation comedies on television. Oh, and, of course, about her experience on "So I Married an Axe Murderer."

Nancy Travis: Hi, Mike. How are you?

Mike: Good! How are you doing, Nancy?

Nancy Travis: I am good; I am very good.

Mike: So, how did you get involved with "The Bill Engvall Show"?

Nancy Travis: I had done another pilot for TBS and that one did not work out. And they sent me "The Bill Engvall Show," the pilot for that, and in all honesty I did not know who Bill Engvall was. So, I just thought it was the name of the guy who created the show -- The show runner (laughs)...

Mike: I'm sure he liked to hear that.

Nancy Travis: Yes, I know, I love to tease him about that. So, I read it and loved it and thought it had a good chance of being picked up; I met with Bill and liked him right off the bat. And soon after that I went to see his stand-up and if that didn't dissuade me (laughs) I was on board for the pilot.

Mike: I like the casting. Not just yourself but I also like they made Bill's best friend Tim Meadows.

Nancy Travis: And I have the biggest crush on Tim Meadows! I think he's enormously talented and makes me laugh by just saying, "Bill." He's the sweetest guy.

Nancy Travis and Bill Engval

Nancy Travis and Bill Engval © Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Mike: Right! I just watched the one that's premiering [July 18] and he has the line about the movie "Boomerang" ... that whole dialogue he did was so funny.

Nancy Travis: I think, frankly, he's the funniest when you just let him go and there's no script for him. You just say, "Here's the situation: Do it, Tim." He did this bit where we can't find Trent's baby pictures... did you see that one?

Mike: Yes, that's one of them that TBS sent me.

Nancy Travis: He's hysterical! The way he's losing it when Trent's setting fire to them... yep, he's terrific.

Mike: Yeah, the "Empty Gesture" scene.

Nancy Travis: Yes! That one. I love that scene!

Mike: I remember the ad campaign for the first season; it was running in a lot of movie theaters if I remember. I remember it had Bill on there talking about violence on TV and that there's not a lot of family shows and I remember thinking, "Well, that's a good point." There's not a lot of "Home Improvement" type shows on, now.

Nancy Travis: No. And we're definitely trying to go after that, sort of, relatable, nostalgic type of entertainment ... it's simple situational comedy. It's telling a short story in 20 minutes about this family. We're not going for a gimmick or a quirky thing -- though I guess maybe you could even say that a story about a family is a gimmick, in a way...

Mike: Well, today, it almost is.

Nancy Travis: Yeah, today it almost is.

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