Interview: Dave Stewart Talks New ABC Series MALIBU COUNTRY
This Friday, November 2 at 8:30PM ET/PT marks the premiere of the new ABC-TV sitcom "MALIBU COUNTRY"--starring Reba McEntire and Lily Tomlin--that was created by Dave Stewart. The story is by STEWART and Dave Harris; STEWART is also an Executive Producer of the show.
In an interview below, STEWART--the British singer, songwriter and guitarist who's also an author, entrepreneur, filmmaker and philanthropist--talks about the series which follows Reba as a woman whose rock-star husband cheats on her and leaves her broke. She is forced to move her three children and mother from Nashville to Malibu, CA, where she attempts to resurrect her own singing career and shield her kids from the materialism of their new home. Tomlin plays Reba's free-spirited mom in the series.
What inspired you to create the show?
"My mind moves in mysterious ways! I became fascinated with Nashville after my first real stay there a few years ago when I got back to Los Angeles. I went with a few friends to Malibu to my friend [songwriter] Glen Ballard's house and for some reason insisted we all wear country outfits, cowboy hats, etc. (pic of that actual time included below). I made a little film too and put some music to it and then I started to invent a world where the two places collide. I then got a guy who worked at my management company to come up with some logos (also included below) and started to kick around the story in my head. I came up with the idea that a very messy and public divorce happens in Nashville between two country stars and the female moves as far away as she can to Malibu with her feisty mother, her kids, etc. I then proceeded to write the story and synopsis with my in-house writer at my company [Weapons Of Mass Entertainment] Dave Harris. Once we had that finished, I took the whole concept in a special box with story treatment, character breakdown, music, even hat and t-shirt in a wooden box to the late legendary producer Laura Ziskin and showed her. She immediately loved it and we became partners to pitch the project."
Did you have specific actors in mind when you thought of the storyline?
"Not at first but once Laura, Pam Williams and I started talking about it, we soon had lots of ideas including Reba [McEntire] as playing the lead. The weird thing was (this happens a lot in my life), almost the next day I sat down on a plane next to Reba's stepson, music manager BranDon Blackstock, we got talking and he mentioned he worked with Reba and I said I had a concept for a sitcom called 'Malibu Country,' can you get this to her and he said 'sure,' so I e-mailed him the whole presentation and then I sent the box full of stuff."
What made you pick Malibu as the show's setting over other areas of Los Angeles like, say, Beverly Hills?
"I think Malibu is a much better juxtaposition as it's on the sea and completely different lifestyle to Nashville. Nashville has their own parts like Beverly Hills, so it wouldn't have seemed so different."
You have two iconic women, Reba McEntire and Lily Tomlin, leading the show. Can you talk about what you feel each brings to the roles and their chemistry together?
"Reba is a force of nature, as is Lily Tomlin, but both extremely different people and both extreme characters. Reba is in class of her own for this kind of series in a sitcom she's timeless a character like Lucille Ball who is also timeless, Lily Tomlin has always had that surreal slightly edgy side which really creates a great dynamic. I mean Lily is a genius comedienne in her own right, so the two of them together is fireworks!"
Did you write any music for the show and can you talk about it?
"Yes I co-wrote a song with Reba in the pilot episode called 'The New Me,' which was fun. We actually recorded some of it backstage to the set in Narvel's [Blackstock, her manager] Production Office!!!"
For a full bio on STEWART, click here http://weaponsofme.com/employee/19/