September 5, 2008

Walsh ‘Enjoying Every Second’ of Shows’ Fame


Kate Walsh was charming and every inch the star Tuesday night at a glitzy party celebrating the release on DVD of her ABC drama "Private Practice," a "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff that returns for its second season Oct. 1.

On "Grey's," her surgeon character of Dr. Addison Montgomery was not only busy saving the lives of children, she was caught up in turbulent romances with both Dr. McDreamy and Dr. McSteamy, the nicknames for the hunky docs played by Patrick Dempsey and Eric Dane, respectively.

But the decision to branch out in to her own show was an easy one.

"It's sort of an offer you can't refuse, doing a spinoff," Kate told me before entering the party at The Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood.

"Of course, there's always a little anxiety, but I was mostly excited because I was ready to take Addison to the next level. ... It's sort of unbelievable. I get a whole new show, a whole new cast and, in many ways, a whole new character. There's all sorts of different stuff with Addison, so the sky's the limit."

Addison left Seattle behind in "Practice" and began a new life in Los Angeles at a medical practice staffed by characters played by Tim Daly, Audra McDonald, Amy Brenneman and Taye Diggs, among others.

But the show had only completed nine episodes when a writers strike halted all television production midseason. While some shows hurried back into production to do a handful of episodes once the strike ended, "Practice" did not, with new episodes set to be part of the second season.

"I think everyone felt so strange that it was an abbreviated television season, but it was a season in its own right and they are great episodes," said Kate, who celebrated her one-year wedding anniversary to 20th Century Fox executive Alex Young on Sept. 1.

For the 38-year-old actress, the newfound level of stardom in recent years took some getting used to. But she is not complaining one bit.

"It's been a massive, fantastic transition," she said. "I feel grateful that I was prepped for it, being on "Grey's." I came in a little late to that show, eight shows in, so I got to watch other people handle it before me. We were all there as a group, then I left the nest. It's been fantastic and I could not have dreamed up anything like this. I'm thrilled and grateful and enjoying every second of it."

5th anniversary of Ritter's death coming next week

Hard to believe, but on Sept. 11, John Ritter will have been gone for five years. His widow, Amy Yasbeck, tries to make the day a happy one, though, because it is also the birthday of their daughter, Stella, who turns 10 this year.

But Amy said in the new issue of TV Guide that she got some important advice on how to handle this from her husband a few years before he died, when terrorist attacks against the U.S. gave 9-11 a whole new dreadful meaning.

He told her: "This will remind her for the rest of her life that every day, horrible and beautiful things happen, but life is meant to go on."

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