Taye Diggs Talks About Private Practice

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Just seven days remain until Private Practice premieres and TV Guide is counting down the show's arrival with interviews with the cast.

Today: Taye Diggs, a hot actor who typically plays the guy most women would trade anything to date. But he breaks the mold in his newest role as best-selling author Dr. Sam Bennett, a flawed internist who co-owns Oceanside Wellness Group with his heartbroken ex-wife, Naomi.

Here's what the 36-year-old had to say about ABC's decision to cancel his 2006 series Day Break, meeting executive producer Shonda Rhimes and what cracks him up about Private Practice star Kate Walsh.

Taye Diggs Photo

TV Guide: What attracted you to the show?
Taye Diggs: Day Break had just gotten canceled and I had decided that my next job would be drastically different. I wanted to do something involving comedy. Then, almost as if it were destiny, Shonda Rhimes called me. At the time, I thought it was to come on Grey's Anatomy because of the craziness going on with Isaiah Washington. But she told me that she was going to have this new show about doctors. As soon as she said that, I was in because I'm a huge fan. I follow Grey's Anatomy like nobody's business.

TV Guide: Did she write the character specifically for you?
Taye Diggs: I don't know. The only thing I know is I told her I have a Yorkie and people look at that as being humorous because I'm this big guy walking around with a small dog. I have a small dog on the television show as well.... Other than that, I told her that I wanted to go against type. Instead of being the cool, suave, perfect character, I wanted to explore the more unconventional, awkward, sometimes nerdy side of myself.

TV Guide: Did you audition or did Shonda just offer you the role?
Taye Diggs: It was kind of both. Like I said, she called me into a meeting to see what my vibe was, to see what I was like in the room. Then she expressed her interest. I don't know what goes on behind closed doors.

TV Guide: But you never had to read a script?
Taye Diggs: No, no I didn't. I'm definitely grateful that I've reached that level.

TV Guide: Did you and Shonda Rhimes hit it off right away?
Taye Diggs: They made me feel very comfortable. It was her and two other producers. We immediately started talking about whatever. I forget. It took a while to bring the conversation back to work.

TV Guide: Did you do any research for your role?
Taye Diggs: I had to figure out what kind of doctor I was, but for each episode, they type out all of the technical terms. So we have our own study sheets right there. If I had the capacity to memorize all of those little study sheets, I could do something! But, unfortunately, I spit them out and they leave me.

TV Guide: Spin-offs tend to have a stigma attached to them. Why will this be more successful than, say, Joey?
Taye Diggs: Obviously we've been asked this question quite often. I think, at the end of the day, we're a little better off than if we were starting fresh. Whether or not people watching are Grey's Anatomy fans and want the show to succeed, they're going to show up to see what we've got to offer. After that, it's up to us. Hopefully, the proof will be in the pudding.

TV Guide: Is it a relief to be on such a high-profile show after Day Break?
Taye Diggs: Yeah, sure! People immediately started saying it would be a home run. That's not the case. It's never the case. But if you had to gamble, I would gamble on us. You know what I mean?

TV Guide: Are you a longtime fan of Grey's Anatomy?
Taye Diggs: Yeah. I jumped on pretty early on and watched everybody else climb on the bandwagon. Unlike Day Break, it's the type of show where you don't really have to work to understand it. You see yourself and your friends in a lot of the characters.

TV Guide: Do you stay home to watch TV on Thursday nights?
Taye Diggs: I'm not ridiculous. I set the TiVo and then, when I have a chance, I watch. But when my wife [Wicked star Idina Menzel] and I are in the same city, it annoys me if she catches up on episodes before I watch them.

TV Guide: She'll probably be begging for scoop on Private Practice. Did Shonda swear you to secrecy?
Taye Diggs: I don't know any of the secrets! Oh, my god, no. I asked one of the writers what the future holds for Sam Bennett and he didn't know. It's either deliberate or Shonda has sworn him to secrecy.

TV Guide: Do you like not knowing what's next?
Taye Diggs: It would be nice [to know], but it's also kind of exciting. As actors, we tend to be kind of cerebral. So I'm sure she wants us to stay in the moment as opposed to knowing what's going on four episodes in the future.

TV Guide: How would you describe your relationship with the rest of the cast?
Taye Diggs: It's great. Everybody in that cast has enough talent to man their own shows. A lot of people already have. So, first and foremost, that's great. I feel privileged to be working with such a highly esteemed cast. I know you hear this constantly, but everybody seems like they're really good people. If I had kids, I'd let any one of them babysit my kids!

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Private Practice Quotes

Charlotte: My mom always says God doesn't give with both hands. You're young, beautiful, brilliant. There has to be something you can't have.
Amelia: Some days I'd give that all up.
Charlotte: That's just the craving talking. The longer you go without a drink...
Amelia: I drank at your wedding. I thought it was ginger ale. I spit it out.
Charlotte: OK, since then?
Amelia: Nothing, but I can't stop thinking about it.
Charlotte: It was an accident. Don't let a slip turn into a fall. Get your butt to a meeting.

This kid has a gift. Who are we to take it away from him?

Amelia

Private Practice Music

  Song Artist
Song Lost The Mary Onettes
Down in the valley Down In The Valley The Broken West iTunes
Song Message From Yuz The Switches
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