From CBS' "Early Show" 5/09/2000
Thanks, Bryant. Emmy Award-winning actress Amy
Brenneman is wearing many hats these days as creator,
executive producer and star of her very own hit TV series,
(Excerpt from "Judging Amy," courtesy Twentieth
CLAYSON: Amy Brenneman, good morning.
Ms. AMY BRENNEMAN ("Judging Amy"): Good morning
CLAYSON: Nice to see you. And congratulations on the
Ms. BRENNEMAN: Thank you so much.
CLAYSON: Creator, executive producer, lead actor, all of
this based on your mom, right?
Ms. BRENNEMAN: Right. Right.
CLAYSON: How did that come about?
Ms. BRENNEMAN: Well, I hadn't done television in a little
while, and I thought if I'm going to do it, like why not, you
know, get in on the ground floor? And my mom actually
had this idea years ago. She's a juvenile court judge and
CLAYSON: And the second female judge in Connecticut.
Ms. BRENNEMAN: That's right. That's right. And she said,
'You know, why doesn't anybody do law shows about
juvenile justice?' And she's right. Nobody ever had.
CLAYSON: You say you depend on your mom because
she is so "un-Hollywood," right? She just sticks to the
script, you know. It's got to be this way, right?
Ms. BRENNEMAN: Yeah. Yeah. She is a real stickler for
details and it's very important to her to get all the details
right about the law. And, you know, every once in a while,
I have to remind her like it is television, it is entertainment,
it's OK. But we've gotten really great feedback from
judges and social workers and lawyers who appreciate
how--how truthful it is.
CLAYSON: She works on the show as an adviser as well.
Ms. BRENNEMAN: Yes. She's my--she's my personal
CLAYSON: You say you get a different sort of a
recognition level now, different from movie-making.
People really identify with you differently.
Ms. BRENNEMAN: Yeah. It's--it's very intimate; I think
partly the--the simplicity of the name. You know, people
come right up to me. And...
CLAYSON: Yeah. You're Amy. She's Amy on the show.
Ms. BRENNEMAN: Everything's Amy. You know, got it.
CLAYSON: She's the same person. Yeah.
Ms. BRENNEMAN: And I think just the nature of television.
I mean, you know this--it's--it's very intimate. You're in
people's, you know, living rooms, you're dealing with
things they're dealing with. It's not sort of up on a, you
know, 50-foot screen.
CLAYSON: Why do you think the show has caught on?
Ms. BRENNEMAN: I--I don't know. I think it's the
combination of--of the law that people haven't seen
before. I think that issues with children are really in the
news every day, and I think...
CLAYSON: But you didn't think it was going to do so well.
Ms. BRENNEMAN: I did not think it was going to do so
CLAYSON: You were skeptical.
Ms. BRENNEMAN: I was skeptical. I figured, well, I--I--lots
of things I like nobody likes, so I figured I--my
expectations were low.
CLAYSON: Does it feel good to be up against and
regularly beating "NYPD Blue," a show you were on and
won an Emmy on?
Ms. BRENNEMAN: Yeah. It--it feels wonderf--I mean, it
feels wonderful that we both have our audiences. And I
think--you know, I think people were expecting sort of
battle of the titans, but, we--you know, there's an audience
for both of us.
CLAYSON: We asked our view--our viewers--invited
viewers to send in questions. We got a lot of them for you,
Amy Brenner--Amy Brenneman.
Ms. BRENNEMAN: Oh, no.
CLAYSON: And this is one--one is from Texas. We need to
ask you--our viewer writes, 'How do you keep such a
busy schedule and when do you find time for any
Ms. BRENNEMAN: I have no hobbies anymore.
CLAYSON: Well, that answers that.
Ms. BRENNEMAN: I stroke my dog and I talk to my
husband when I come home. That's pretty much it.
CLAYSON: It must be grueling, though.
Ms. BRENNEMAN: It is grueling. Yeah. That's been the big
adjustment. The days are, you know, 15-, 16-hour days
every day. And that's been the big, big life change, for
CLAYSON: Your husband directed you in "NYPD Blue."
Ms. BRENNEMAN: Right. He did, and then in his movie
"Casper" and then he directed the pilot of this. He got us
on the air. So it's definitely a family affair.
CLAYSON: Another viewer asks, 'Beyond your mom,
what kind of research did you do to prepare for your role
in "Judging Amy," because you're so convincing?'
Ms. BRENNEMAN: N--not a thing. I--I really ripped off her
style on the bench, actually. I--she--she says that I'm
much more harsh than she is, but I--I think--I think she's
wrong. I am basically--it's really her style on the bench, I
have to say.
CLAYSON: No kids yet?
Ms. BRENNEMAN: No kids yet. No.
CLAYSON: And big summer plans?
Ms. BRENNEMAN: I think I'm going to go to Bali, actually. I
think I'm just going to kick back.
CLAYSON: Oh, gosh, take me with you.
Ms. BRENNEMAN: Yeah. I'm going to get out of Dodge for
CLAYSON: That sounds great.
Ms. BRENNEMAN: Yep.
CLAYSON: Well, good luck with the show, and thanks for
getting up early this morning.
Ms. BRENNEMAN: Thanks so much. It's a pleasure.
CLAYSON: It's a--it's a big hit. Yeah. Thanks, Amy.
Ms. BRENNEMAN: Thank you.