CBS The Early Show
November 19, 2003


 

Hannah Storm: Shades of the Yankees and Red Sox in the playoffs, huh?.

DJE: Yes!

Hannah Storm: Good morning!

DJE: Good morning!

Hannah Storm: Congratulations on the continuing succes of the show. It's just ...

DJE: Amazing!

Hannah Storm: I tell you! You guys have switched networks; you switched nights - on Friday nights now ...

DJE: This is a drama!

Hannah Storm: It is! The drama behind the drama.

DJE: JAG, the 2-hour movie.

Hannah Storm: The neat thing about JAG is that it's not just a drama though. You know, it's funny at times; it's got courtroom; it's got the action. What do you think has been the secret to the success and a really loyal core following?

DJE: It's been a wild journey, yeah! I think it's a lot of things. People want you to put your finger on one thing ... fans have been loyal to this show. The core audience - and that was one of the reasons CBS picked it up. It performed well wherever they put it. We just moved to Friday nights and we win Friday night. In the top 20.

Hannah Storm: Even up against monster shows - Millionaire, American Idol ...

DJE: We're really like the only show that ever did business against those shows!

Hannah Storm: I tell you what, what's so interesting is you really go, even though you obviously have to do the show well in advance, you stay on top of current events.

DJE: Tricky.

Hannah Storm: Afghanistan, Iraq ... How do you make that work?

DJE: We used to get lucky! In the old days, we would do something and then it would happen. And maybe that's how we wound up on that path. ... Obviously when we went to war with Iraq, it was tricky. Just prior to that where we didn't know whether we were going. We were like, well, what do we do? deal with it , do we not deal with it?

Hannah Storm: Right!

DJE: We would just refer to it. Then we got into the Iraq War and it was depressing. It was sure depressing on the set. God! We can't be just all of that.

Hannah Storm: Get away from the storyline a bit. You guys have been lauded by the military community for your attention to detail. Do you find yourself after nine seasons standing straight at attention? Has your posture improved?

DJE: Yeah. At the beginning of this season I resigned from the JAG Corps and wound up working for the CIA. So it was nice not to have that, to be able top put my hand into my pockets, cross my arms, what normal people do.

Hannah Storm: Relax a bit. ... I want to talk about Friday's storyline. It's a really interesting one. Features a famous baseball pitcher, Barry Zito, Cy Young Award winner with the Oakland A's. How was he?

DJE: He's a nice guy! Low-key cat. We weren't quite sure what to expect - big macho guy coming in, wealthy young ...

Hannah Storm: Baseball stud.

DJE: Really sweet guy, mild-mannered. We played guitar together a little bit in the trailer.

Hannah Storm: Did you really?

DJE: Oh Yeah!

Hannah Storm: Because you used to be in a punk rock band, right? In high school

DJE: I was in a lot of bands, a punk rock guy!

Hannah Storm: Are we talking mohawk here?

DJE: I had long hair. Then I cut it. This is where the short hair come from and look where I wound up!

Hannah Storm: This is a really interesting story. Because you actually went back and got your high school degree. And then how, tell me about reading King Lear in English class?

DJE: We read King Lear and the teacher said, "I think you should be an actor!" "Really?"

Hannah Storm: Never thought of that before!

DJE: never occurred to me before. So I auditioned for what I was told was the best theatre school in Canada and I got in. Started doing theatre and now I'm in New York on CBS this morning.

Hannah Storm: It works out. ... Congratulations! You and your wife have had a baby, which is wonderful. Managing to balance all of that?

DJE: Yeah! It's a lot easier this time around. I have a ten-year-old daughter but now I have an eight-month-old son. So we're a lot more relaxed .... at this point, we're seasoned pros.

Hannah Storm: Yes! I'm sure. David James Elliott, thanks so much for joining us.

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