Ed Asner Explains How He Changed Up Lou Grant

LouGrantThe publication is called Smashing Interviews magazine. And certainly, Melissa Parker’s Q&A with Ed Asner for the Birmingham, Ala.-based outlet lives up to that lofty title.

The record holder for male actor Emmy Awards covers a lot of topics. One of the conversation highlights involves how Asner transitioned from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Lou Grant:

Asner: We continued to work on the [Lou Grant] first year, and finally I came to the realization that I was using my two older brothers as inspirations for the “Mary Tyler Moore Lou.” I realized in the different scripts that were being written, that same character would not work for me, and I began to plunge into myself to find that [less comedic] character of Lou in the hour show, and that’s what I came up with.

Parker: Very interesting.

Asner: I think so. Two sides of a coin, but not the same.

Parker: That must’ve been a difficult adjustment for the cast and the audience to differentiate between the “two Lou’s.”

Asner: Right.

Parker: I cannot remember that ever being done before or since on network television.

Asner: It hadn’t been done before. For instance, in TV Guide, they had “Lou Grant, a comedy,” for the first three weeks. That’s how stupid they were. I think CBS did that.

Asner was in therapy at the time of the transition, and he talks also about how he incorporated a critical piece of Lou Grant advice from his shrink. The actor turns 85 next month. Read the full convo here.

Image courtesy: CBS