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Out-of-Control Freak

In her new sitcom, Bonnie Hunt gets a little hyper on both sides of the camera.

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In the new sitcom Life With Bonnie, you play a Chicago morning-show host with an out-of-control family life. The pilot sort of feels like Diane Sawyer on acid.
I don't write like that! This character is a mother and a wife who also has a talk show. I draw from my own life -- there were seven kids in our family.

Where were you in the lineup?

No. 6. That was my family name for several years. "Six."

How much of your show is scripted, how much is improv?

It's all scripted except for the talk-show segments, which have an authentic guest. You have to have some kind of structure. But who knows where this journey will take us?

You do everything on this show, behind and in front of the camera. Can you keep that pace up?

With the pilot, I wrote, produced, and directed it. My training is from Second City, and that's what you did, writing on your feet, directing yourself onstage. For the first four or five episodes, Don Lake and I will do the most writing. But we have a great staff of writers, from the ages of 25 to 75.

I read the actor who plays your husband is also in a coma on a soap opera.
In One Life to Live. Hopefully, his coma will go on for nine or ten years.

The network is putting you up against Frasier, which isn't the most nurturing time slot.
We're at the mercy of the network. It's a challenge. There's no surefire spot, and what I need is time. Kelsey will be willing to pass the baton at some point.

Life With Bonnie
Tuesdays, 9 p.m., ABC.


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