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Boxleitner is glad to return to ‘Cedar Cove’


Bruce Boxleitner will return to the second season of “Cedar Cove” on the Hallmark Channel (premiering Saturday), where he portrays a neighbor of the program’s star Andie MacDowell, who has returned to her hometown of Cedar Cove to be a judge. Recently the veteran actor and Elgin native Boxleitner — whose long career has included such popular TV series as “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” and “Babylon 5,” plus sci-fi adventure films as “Tron” and the more recent “Tron Legacy” — called to chat about “Cedar Cove,” and his approach to acting today.

Q: You have strong Chicago area roots, don’t you?

A: Yes, I was born in Elgin, and my first 10 years were in Crystal Lake. Then from there we moved to Mt. Prospect where I spent my high school years. Right after high school. I left for downtown Chicago and the Goodman Theatre and I started my career at a very young age there.

Q: So many good actors have come out of Chicago. What are your thoughts on that?

A: That was true in the past and is still true. Chicago is a great theater town, despite what New York might think! Very prolific and very alive theater. That’s where my roots go to, because that’s where I started.

Q: Tell us about this new season of ‘Cedar Cove’.

A: The new season continues where we left off. In the first season we had numerous characters and relationships left hanging, the way we do it these days. So some of those storylines will be wrapped up and some will continue. In this second season, I think we really have ramped up over the first season. But that’s to be expected. During the first season of a series like this there’s a lot of character establishment that needs to be done.

It’s all about the lives and loves of the people who live in this small town on the coast of the Pacific Northwest. You realize the things that can go on in a small town in America! [Laughs]

I think for Hallmark, needs to be applauded. For them, they are going into some new territory for them — a bit edgier. However, they still remain loyal to their basic Hallmark family-friendly brand.

But we’re dealing with such subject matters you don’t normally find on Hallmark, like alcoholism and issues like that.

Q: Your series is based on super-bestselling author Debbie Macomber’s novels. Why do think her books are so popular?

A: I think in the general sense she knows how to connect to a female audience. But I even got hooked on a few of her books, beginning with “44 Cranberry Lane.” Of course, I play the character she created Bob Belden and my wife is Peggy, and we have this bed and breakfast inn, called the Time & Tide — and a lot goes on in that bed and breakfast!

Debbie is the salt of the earth. She comes from the Pacific Northwest in Washington and I think the characters and the situations are relatable — and that’s why they connect with the audience.

Everyday folks like that. In this contemporary Hollywood environment, you often get programming regular people cannot relate to.

So, it’s nice for people to see characters they can relate to from their own lives — in their neighborhoods and in their towns, and in their families.

You can’t argue with success! Debbie has sold something like 170 million books!

Q: What are you thoughts in general about television today? You have the perspective of having working in the media for a number of decades.

A: A lot of television today is very dark and cynical. A lot of it is pretty much the same. I think a good thing on our series is that you have people you can root for from week to week.

As for so-called reality TV — there’s nothing real about it. It’s all carefully edited to make for controversy. Now the talent contest shows are a valid genre, and always have been. Some of these others, I can’t believe them.

My other problem is with the drama shows. It’s all about vampires or zombies or so much of the same. There’s no good guys, they’re all bad guys. We root for the bad guy. It’s dark. It’s not the TV I started in, but what the heck!