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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Why is the Web so full of Katherine Heigl haters?


Maybe you've been too busy following the California budget crisis or the healthcare reform debate in Washington to have noticed that "Grey's Anatomy's" Katherine Heigl has been pilloried all across the Web during the last week.

The hating got into full swing after she showed up on David Letterman to promote her dreadful new movie "The Ugly Truth" and managed to come across like a true dilettante, complaining that she'd returned to her TV show only to be forced to put in a horrific, sweatshop-style 17-hour day. As she put it: "Our first day back was Wednesday and it was -- I'm going to keep saying this because I hope it embarrasses them -- a 17-hour day, which I think is cruel and mean."

OK, while some of you may be thinking "I'd be happy to put in 17 hours for the weekly salary Heigl is pulling down," I confess that I was a teeny bit sympathetic to her position, figuring that 17 hours is a pretty steep workload, even if a bunch of those hours are spent in a cozy, air-conditioned trailer.

But just as I was building up some Obama-style empathy for Heigl's plight, I came across a blog post from Ken Levine, the Emmy-winning TV writer-producer who's worked on oodles of TV shows, from "Cheers" to "Everybody Loves Raymond" to "Dharma & Greg," and who was -- shall we say -- supremely unsympathetic to Heigl's position, apparently having done a little digging into the real reason why she got stuck with a 17-hour workday. As Levine writes:

Poor Katherine Heigl. What she neglected to add was this: This "cruel" shooting schedule was only to accommodate HER and her needs. The producers graciously shuffled things around so she could go off and do promotion for her new film. Also, with union rules, the producers had to pay a ton of overtime and penalties to make this happen. The thanks they get is Katherine Heigl going on national television hoping to embarrass them.

This is an extreme case of chutzpah, but it's not uncommon that when shows become big hits cast members become much in demand. They're offered movie parts, plays, free cruises, you name it. All of a sudden, the show that launched their success is now sort of an imposition. [...] So producers are put in the sticky position of either denying them these outside projects or moving heaven and earth to accommodate them -- as if it's easy to complete principal photography on a normal schedule. (This is of course irrelevant to Katherine the Ingrate who only thinks of herself).


Levine goes on to detail the unhappy Hobson's choice that TV showrunners often have to make to keep their star talent happy, an especially difficult task when, as he puts it, "if you say 'No' your actor sulks and becomes a huge pain in the ass. If you say 'yes' you inconvenience 200 people who are already hopelessly overworked and behind schedule anyway." Maybe the next time Heigl goes on Letterman, she could bring along a couple of key grips from her show and persuade Letterman to let them read the Top Ten list or sit in with the band. Or maybe she could just spend a few minutes of airtime begging their forgiveness. It would be a good way for her to climb out of the deep hole she's dug for herself. 

You can watch Heigl digging that hole right here:

Photo: Katherine Heigl in "The Ugly Truth." Credit: Saeed Adyani / Columbia Pictures

Comments () | Archives (39)

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I guess you're one of those idiots who also took her joking comment seriously. Are there any smart celebrity bloggers left?

As both you and Levine clearly didn't grasp was the fact she was joking! That is plainly obvious from the interview. Nor did he research his facts or he would have realised Heigl spoke in the press conference a few days earlier mentioning the exact same thing and then having to tell the press she was joking because she was worried it wouldnt come across in print and some idiot would write a headline like "Heigl bashes Grey's producers for long working hours".

This article explains it quite well:

One of the reasons she is getting so attacked is newspaper like the LA Times which has been at her throat since her Emmy comments. Stop turning a talent and very pleasant actress into some kind of media punchbag. The treatment of Heigl in the press is bordering on vindictive and malicious. Shame on you.

The web is not full of Katherine Heigl haters - the media is. Everything this poor woman says is turned against her. She makes a joke about working long hours and suddenly she is an ingrate. Whatever.

Come ON!!
I've read Mr Levine's more than a little whiny text and he was giving an example of what it COULD be like when an actor has a lot on her plate, he doesn't know whether this was the case with Ms Heigl!
Also... Why has America had its sense of humour surgically removed? It was obvious to anyone without prejudice that Ms Heigl was JOKING. If you've ever watched Katherine Heigl on a chat show before, you know she likes to be sarcastic. Seriously... This has become more than a little ridiculous...

Since I'm an admirer of Heigls, I read Ken Levine's text and that's just not what it says at all. He's merely guessing as to the reasons for Heigl's schedule. The LA Times should know better than to publish gossip like this. Week.

Are you daft? It's pretty plain that all the comments here are from her PR flacks and that they are clearly JOKING if they think anyone is going to believe these are real posts.

I love that Katherine Heigl is sarcastic and feisty. No hate here. I'm a little surprised at the mobs who are trying to tear her down. I think she's fun and smart and wildly appealing. And undeserving of your catty little article. I can't believe I'm posting in a blog. Look what you've driven me to!

She's not joking. Stop making excuses. She too often puts down others to elevate herself. Not good behavior.

She sucks as an actress.

When an actor talks about "working" for 17 hours here's how that day breaks down:
(for example)
7am Call time (eat some breakfast)
7:30 Hair/Makeup call (Sit and have your hair/makeup done)
8:30 Wardrobe call (get dressed in wardrobe laid out for you by the set costumer)
9:00 Set call (rehearse the first shot)
9:30 Go back to your giant cushy trailer while they finish lighting and dressing the set
10:00 Return to the set to shoot the first scenes
1:00 (six hours after call) go to lunch, nap in your trailer
2:00 go back to set to rehearse next scene
2:30 go back to your trailer
3:00 go back to set, shoot some more
4:00 go back to your trailer while they shoot the hallway scene that you are not in
5:00 go back to set to rehearse some more.

It goes on like this. Actors are never NEVER trapped on set and forced to sit around in discomfort. Out of 17 hours in that day she probably spent about 8 actually on set acting. And at the rate they're paid, that probably works out to something like $3000 per hour. I never feel sorry for these overpaid commercial-gap fillers when they complain about long days, filming hot weather, etc.

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