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Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In this week’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV, Debra Birnbaum, talks with Nathan Fillion, star of the new ABC drama “The Rookie.

The project marked the first time Fillion ever pitched and sold a show to a network without having a pilot written. He jokingly likens the experience to selling a sandwich.

“If I told you I was gonna make you an amazing sandwich — the bread’s gonna be fresh, it’s all your favorites, the tomato’s perfect, the shredded lettuce — you haven’t tasted it yet, but you know it’s gonna be a great sandwich,” he says of his blind confidence that the show would work.

Fillion’s character, John Nolan, is based on a “kernel of truth” — the true story of a cop who changed career paths in the middle of his life, leaving his construction job to become the oldest rookie on the LAPD. And it’s not easy playing a cop.

“Here’s what they don’t tell you,” he says, launching into a description of the police “costume” he wore to play a rookie officer. First of all, the garments are made of wool — not ideal for shooting in the L.A. heat. Plus, he had to wear a belt clipped with “heavy equipment that they’re wearing around their waist,” like a gun and a four-pound walkie talkie. The belt alone gave Fillion “a big purple bruise.”

But the biggest challenge, he says, was playing a police officer in a respectful and accurate way in a time when police face so much criticism in the media.

“Unfortunately, police doing their jobs and doing a good job…it doesn’t make for good news stories,” Fillion says. “When everything goes wrong for us, that’s when we call the police. That’s a heavy burden. You have to want to help.”

ABC is getting behind its new cop drama, The Rookie. The Nathan Fillion-led series made its debut this past Tuesday. The good news? While the numbers weren’t spectacular overall, the premiere delivered ratings the Alphabet Network is proud to point out. That is because the series powered ABC to record heights in the time slot.

The Rookie is now ABC’s most-watched drama debut in the 10 p.m. Tuesday slot in a long time. Seven and a half years, to be exact. The series catapulted to those levels with a total viewership of 5.4 million. ABC also reported that it tied as its top-rated show in the highly-coveted 18-49 demo in over 4 and a half years with a 1.0 rating. The impressive stats from The Rookie’s premiere did not end there.

685 HD Screen captures of Nathan Fillion in The Rookie 1×01 The Pilot have been added to the gallery. Head over to Nathan Fillion Online’s photogallery to view the entire album!


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The Edmonton Journal caught up with Fillion by phone in Toronto, where he was doing publicity for The Rookie. The below interview has been edited and condensed by the Edmonton Journal.

I’ve added a few UHQ (Ultra high quality) promotional photos of Nathan Fillion into the gallery. Head over to Nathan Fillion Online’s photogallery to check out the entire album!


I’ve added UHQ (Ultra high quality) episode stills of The Rookie 1×02 Crash Course and 1×03 The Good, the bad and the Ugly to the gallery. You can head over to Nathan Fillion Online’s photogallery to view the entire album.


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