August 7, 2004
Even former Scottsdale actress Marguerite MacIntyre isn’t getting her hopes up about "The Days," her television family drama that is in the midst of a six-episode run this summer.
The show — which explores the dilemmas of a slightly-above-average family, from a concurrently pregnant mother (played by MacIntyre) and teenage daughter to a father who gives up his career as a lawyer to be . . . well, he doesn’t know just yet; all through the skewed perspective of a cynical, insightful, very Malcolm McDowell-looking teenage son — is simply too quirky, too funny and, frankly, too good to last on network television.
"It’s critically quite popular. It’s just trying to find its audience," MacIntyre says, then adds with a laugh: "That’s two strikes against it, isn’t it? Let’s face it."
MacIntyre, 42, is back in Los Angeles, having recently returned from Vancouver, British Columbia, where "The Days" was shot. She won’t know for another month or so whether Disneyowned ABC will pick up the show for a full run in the fall.
But "The Days" — which airs its fourth episode Sunday — has an edge over the typical TV series whose fate rests on a single pilot episode. The co-executive producer of "The Days" is advertising agency MindShare North America, whose in-show product placement allows the firm to finance the show entirely, then hand it over to the otherwise riskshy network.
Though the blend of advertising and programming has raised industry eyebrows, the series’ credibility is redeemed by the other co-execs, the producing team of Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins, the Hollywood darlings behind shows like The WB’s "Smallville" and "One Tree Hill."
MacIntyre admits she was skeptical about working around product placement.
"I thought, this could be bad," she says. "But they do it so beautifully. You can’t hardly tell."
Last Sunday’s episode, boosted by a 9 p.m. encore episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" that preceded it, pulled in a respectable 6.1 million viewers, according to estimates from Nielsen Media Research. "The Days" has been charting well with the coveted 18- to 49-year-old demographic.
MacIntyre, a 1979 Coronado High School graduate, performed to critical acclaim in the Broadway musical "Jane Eyre." That 2001 show, offering her first Broadway role since a replacement stint in the 1990 Tony Awardwinning "City of Angels," lasted only six months but garnered five Tony nominations, winning none.
After it closed, MacIntyre took a look at her career ("I was close to getting a lot of big things," she says) and her budget ("Living in New York, I was broke") and decided Hollywood was the place to be. She moved permanently to the West Coast.
Since 1990, MacIntyre had been working on both coasts. Her first television guest appearance was as the illfated Miss Rhode Island in a 1994 episode of "Seinfeld" ("I’m so proud I did a ‘Seinfeld,’ she said. "The thing is, it just airs and airs and airs"), followed by recurring roles on "The Shield" and "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place."
Before "Jane Eyre," MacIntyre acted as a teacher in a Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen flick, "Our Lips are Sealed." After moving to L.A., she appeared in the "Silence of the Lambs" sequel, 2002’s "Red Dragon."
For now, MacIntyre — who is unmarried but in a longterm relationship — exists in that television holding pattern, waiting to hear on the fate of "The Days." She hopes it gets a chance to come back in the fall. If not, at least she’ll have fond memories.
"Something like ‘The Days,’ where the entire experience was integrated and good, I’m old enough to know that’s rare," she says. "So I loved every day really hard. You don’t know if it will come back, or if another thing like this will come along."