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Information Diet: Maulik Pancholy

The '30 Rock' and 'Whitney' star keeps things balanced with a mix of Twitter, TV, and good old print

Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images

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What’s the first information you consume in the morning?

I use my iPhone as an alarm, so when it goes off, I pick it up and casually scroll through whatever emails may have come in while I was asleep. I recently joined Twitter as well, so I pop into the Twitterverse to see what’s going on. By the time I’m done, I’ve lost a good 15 minutes and am now seriously risking being late to work. Thank you, technology.

What do you read or watch or listen to at the breakfast table?

When I’m in New York, I have NY1 playing on my TV while I’m getting my morning coffee fix. They have a segment called “In the Papers” where they cover the top news stories from various newspapers. It leaves you feeling like you’ve read the New York Post, Newsday, the Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times in less than 10 minutes.

What occupies your mind in the car, on the subway, train, or bus?

Taking the subway in New York is such a great way to get things done. I’m usually answering emails or reading a script or reading a book. When I’m in L.A. and stuck in traffic, I’ll check out NPR. But, to be honest, if it’s a news story that I just can’t get into, I’ve been known to roll down my windows, pump up some '80s music on 93.1 Jack FM and sing my heart out like I’m the lead singer of Whitesnake.

Are you a TV junkie or on an airtime-restricted diet?

I’d say I watch a fair amount of TV, but I’m not a TV addict by any means.

If you’re a couch potato, what do you watch and how: TV, laptop, or tablet?

Well, I definitely watch Whitney and 30 Rock, so NBC gets a lot of play at my house.  Is that narcissistic? I’m actually proud of the things I’ve worked on, so I also watch Phineas & Ferb and caught Web Therapy this summer. But I’m also a big Modern Family fan. And then I love my cable shows—Dexter, True Blood, Game of Thrones.  Now I’m starting to feel like maybe I am a TV addict.

I watch TV on my TV, pretty exclusively. However, when I’m on that long flight between Los Angeles and New York, a great way to pass that time is to download movies on iTunes and watch them on my laptop.

Before bed, do you bite into a novel, graze on Twitter, or fast until morning?

One of my favorite ways to fall asleep after a long day at work is to get a blanket out, lay down on the couch, and fall asleep to the TV. But on a routine night, I like to read a book in bed until my eyelids just won’t stay open.

Which is more nutritious: print or Web?

Each offers different nutrients. It’s like balancing your protein and carbs, you know? I have my Google homepage set up with the news feeds that are interesting to me, and it’s a quick way to get the information I want. But on a rainy Sunday afternoon, there is something so relaxing about hunkering down with the Sunday New York Times and reading it section by section. It’s also nice to read a hard copy magazine—I subscribe to Entertainment Weekly and Details.

Give us the skinny on your favorite app.

Word With Friends and Twitter are probably my most opened apps. I also use The New York Times app and the AP Mobile News app. And my gym has an app which lets you see when classes are offered and even book your bike ahead of time for spin class.

What’s your biggest digital indulgence?

I just got a shiny new MacBook Air. I love it. I love it so much I bought special screen cleaner to keep it looking as shiny and new as the day I bought it.

With such a bloated media universe, how do you cut out the fat?

I was just driving down Sunset Boulevard and was struck by how inundated one can be by all the digital and print billboards and ads on the sides of buildings. I had to take a second to say to myself, “Hey. You’re driving. Focus on the road.” I think that’s how I cut the fat, by refocusing. I remind myself that I’m always more satisfied by human interaction than by a digital connection.