The nice-guy Irish actor says it is clear to him the show’s horrific time slot, and lack of promotional support from network ABC meant it was pretty much doomed from the start.
ABC first scheduled the new series from “X-Files” mastermind Frank Spotnitz against the top-rated CBS show, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” then dropped “Night Stalker” altogether after six episodes. Fans will now be able to watch those, plus four episodes never before shown on TV, on the Sci Fi Channel Friday nights. “Night Stalker: The Complete Series” is also available on DVD.
Inspired by two “Night Stalker” movies and a 1970s TV series, this new version of the weekly mystery features the 34-year-old Howth native as Carl Kolchak, a brilliant newspaperman with a mysterious past and a passion for stories about things that go bump in the night. Gabrielle Union plays his equally talented and gorgeous reporting partner, Perri Reed.
“I think someone high up didn’t like ‘X-Files’ and those kinds of shows. That’s the only explanation I ever heard,” Townsend told the Irish Echo in a recent phone interview. “We didn’t get that much promotion from the get-go compared to the other new shows. … I’ve never watched an episode of ‘CSI’ in my life, so when they said, ‘You’re on Thursdays at 9,’ I didn’t realize how bad that would be.”
Although the star of “About Adam,” “Queen of the Damned” and “The League of Extraordinary Gentleman” says he loved his character, and found working on the series creatively satisfying, he admitted, “It wasn’t much fun doing a show nobody was really behind.”
Still, working on the series wasn’t so much of a nightmare that Townsend is scared off of television permanently. In fact, the actor says the show has raised his visibility amongst TV folk, and he confides he might even consider another series, should the right one came along.
“The idea of doing a show for six years terrifies the life out of me,” he laughed, adding that he likes having time to pursue a variety of different projects, instead of being locked into one for a long period of time. “It’s always tricky because you have to sign a six-year contract if you do anything on TV. But I did love the work. I did love going in every day and learning.”
“It’s all about story,” said Townsend. “If it’s good, I’ll do it, but (working in television) is very different. When you do a movie you jump in and out of a world, and there is closure.”
Aside from offering him exposure and loads of time to explore his character, working on a regular television series shot in Los Angeles also gave Townsend the rare chance to work AND return each night to the home he shares with his stunning fiance