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Gail O'Grady: Hellcats Team Feeling Positive - American Restoration Back April 15

Apr 13, 2011

"Hellcats'" Gail O'Grady was surprised to hear that TV prognosticators are giving the CW teen comedy-drama about a cheer squad no better than even odds for renewal next season. The show, in which she plays Aly Michalka's intrusive mama, has an ardent following of loyal fans, she points out, and "I think everyone is feeling positive." On the other hand, with new season announcements coming up next month, it's tension time for even some successful shows that are now on the bubble.
Gail O'Grady: Bubble or No, 'Hellcats' Team Feeling Positive.

Gail O'Grady: Bubble or No, 'Hellcats' Team Feeling Positive.

"I ran into my buddy Gary Sinise the other day, and he said that for the first time in seven years, they're not sure," she notes of the "CSI: NY" star. "You know how TV is these days: Unless something is a runaway hit, unless you're 'Modern Family,' nothing is certain."

O'Grady is certain about her feelings toward "Hellcats" and Michalka.

"From the get-go, we had kind of an instant chemistry," she notes. "Usually, over hiatus, it's kind of nice to have a break, but yesterday, I found myself thinking, 'I have to call her.' I miss her."

Coming up on "Hellcats" are episodes in which her character, Wanda, finally opens up to daughter Marti about her mysterious father.

"That's one thing my character has refused to discuss with her - not out of denial, but feeling she's protecting her, which has caused friction in the mother-daughter relationship."

Viewers will find out why as the series unveils new episodes beginning April 19.

O'Grady considers "Hellcats" a dream job for personal reasons as well. The former "American Dreams" and "NYPD Blue" cast member has a 6-year-old son. The ensemble show allows her time at home between camera calls - but, inconveniently enough, it requires her to fly back and forth between her L.A. home and Vancouver production.

She admits, "I think it's the most flying I've done within a few months."

Her work life and mommy life don't leave the six-times-divorced blond beauty much time for grown-up activities.

"The last movie I saw was 'Rango,' so that pretty much tells you," she says.

But for now, she's getting a kick out of hanging out with her son at hot spots like Legoland and Disneyland.

THE GOOD STUFF: With "Pawn Stars" a runaway hit for the History Channel, its amiable spinoff, "American Restoration," is bound to be welcomed, too.

The show that debuted with a quick four episodes last fall returns April 15 with a new set of half-hour installments, showcasing the work of Rick Dale, who brings myriad items from the past back to their full glory. There's also his lively crew, including his cute, dual-hair-color-sporting teenage son. And, of course, there's all their interesting stuff.

According to Dale, his intake of items has increased dramatically since his TV exposure began.

Even from his first "Pawn Stars" appearances, "People have been sending me stuff. You'd be really surprised how many things out there need restoring," he says. Those things have included arcade rides, barber poles, mailboxes, a punch-a-bag amusement park attraction, an X-ray shoe-fitting machine and a fuel-oil delivery wagon from the early 1900s for which Dale sought help from Amish woodworkers to restore.

Then there was the instant-coffee machine from the 1940s.

"The mechanics were very, very complex," notes the Las Vegas-based artisan. "This machine had to have come from the first hotel ever here, so it had all that history. I put it together and put wild paint on it, going back to the frontier days of Vegas. I put a lot of heart into it."

Dale's fondness for restoring things began at age 9, when his father gave him a bike that was "a junker. He said, 'If you want a bike, you have to fix it' - and he helped me with the process a lot."

Next came a Soap Box Derby car. A few years later came a motorcycle, then an automobile. "Everything he bought me was a pile of crap," Dale relates - which he would then transform into a gem.

With the increase in recognition, surely his work is commanding bigger prices as well. But Dale informs us with great sincerity that his greatest satisfaction comes from the fact "I'm capable - or allowed - to restore people's histories. There are things in people's lives that mean so much to them - maybe something their grandfather owned, something sacred to them. When they come in and see it all finished, they cry, they break down. It's an amazing feeling."

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: With AMC's "The Killing" proving to be successful, what might be the future for the series, which follows a single murder investigation into the death of a teenage girl? "Definitely there could be a Season 2, absolutely," says the show's Billy Campbell aka Seattle City Councilman Darren Richmond. Just because it's a single case, in other words, don't expect things to necessarily be all wrapped up at season's end. "That's kind of the nature of the show. If you've seen the original Danish show, you realize there's more than ample drama."




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