'Blue Bloods' Tom Selleck: 'Friday didn't scare me'
"We are the No. 1 new show on television," the Emmy-winning home-screen veteran proudly notes to Zap2it about his CBS police-family drama. "To be that on Friday night is rather remarkable, because there are less TV sets on. Do I care where we go [on the schedule next season]? That's kind of above my pay grade, but Friday didn't scare me.
"When 'Magnum, P.I.' was going on the air, they said, 'Thursday is kind of a dead night.' Then we went on, then 'The Cosby Show' went on, and Thursday has been one of TV's biggest nights forever more. They moved 'Blue Bloods' temporarily to Wednesdays to set up a new show ( 'Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior'), and that obviously was a vote of confidence for us. I know they know how well we did there, and that's part of their bag of tricks now. What they'll decide to do, I have no idea."
Selleck is enjoying being the father figure of New York City's fictional Reagan police clan. "A long time ago, Vice President [ Al] Gore got me involved in something called the National Fatherhood Initiative, to talk about the importance of fathers -- both those who are screwing up and those who aren't. I'm still the spokesperson for it, doing tag lines like, 'It takes a man to be a dad.'
"That's a real bent of mine, when you realize that I read stories to my daughter every night when she was very young. I read 'The Berenstain Bears' to her, and I finished maybe the second book and said, 'I'm not going to read these to you, Hannah.' She said, 'Why, Daddy?' And I said, 'Because the dad's always an idiot.'
"Frank Reagan isn't," Selleck adds. "He's not perfect, and I want him to have flaws, but he is the patriarch in a family of heroes. If you're playing NYPD officers, in my opinion, you're playing heroes ... unless you find out otherwise."
Lifetime also has a police-family series in the works for later this year: "Against the Wall," starring Treat Williams and Kathy Baker. Selleck is very familiar with Baker, since she has co-starred with him in several of his high-rated "Jesse Stone" mystery TV-movies for CBS. ( "Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost" is the seventh of those, and it debuts Sunday, May 22.)
"I love Kathy, and good for Treat," Selleck says. "His taste is too good, as is hers, to just imitate us. There's plenty of room for good stuff, and there's certainly plenty of room on television for character-driven stuff. There's just not enough of it."