CBS sitcom ‘Carol’s Second Act’ is Patricia Heaton’s third act

Three-time Emmy winner Patricia Heaton stars in “Carol’s Second Act” on CBS.
(Photo courtesy of CBS)

The simple premise of the very funny new CBS show Carol’s Second Act has Carol embracing a new beginning. Patricia Heaton stars as Carol, a woman who starts over following a divorce and becoming an empty nester. She retires from teaching and goes to medical school to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a doctor.

In the hospital-set comedy, 50-ish Dr. Carol Kenney becomes the oldest person in her group of fresh new interns. She’s closer in age to the senior attending physician at the hospital, Dr. Stephen Frost played by Kyle MacLachlan, who takes a liking to her.

Yes, it’s Carol’s Second Act, exploring a new life and career for someone who enjoys the ride and creates lots of laughs along the way. That describes Patricia Heaton in many ways, but this show is not her second act, it’s more like the third act for the sitcom veteran. She starred opposite Ray Romano in Everybody Loves Raymond for nine seasons, and The Middle with Neil Flynn, which also ran for nine seasons.

Heaton, a three-time Emmy winner, is one of the most recognizable faces on TV thanks to her long-running strong “mom” roles. Now Carol’s Second Act is all about her playing a strong career woman, and she loves it.

Executive producer and star, Heaton was at the Television Critics Association’s Summer 2019 press tour to talk about the new series, along with her castmates Ashley Tisdale, who plays her daughter, JeanLuc Bilodeau, Ito Aghayere, Sabrina Jalees, and Kyle MacLachlan. Plus creators-writers, executive producers, Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins, who welcomed Heaton’s help to develop the show. They hope the character-driven sitcom will be inspirational and aspirational. Halpern said, “We really want to celebrate the idea that a person can start over at any time and also add value to a field at any age.”

Heaton’s husband, actor-director David Hunt, is also an executive producer on the sitcom, and Patricia said this opportunity came along at the right time. She explained, “My (four) kids are pretty much out of the house, and my show (The Middle) was done. I was feeling a bit at sea not knowing what I was doing. No longer a fulltime mom, and didn’t have a job as an actress, and I felt the things that a person like Carol would feel—‘who am I without these things?’ It’s been interesting to go on this journey to explore that.”

Patricia is not shy about revealing her age— “I am 61, and I don’t have a problem with that.” But she reported that her character is in her 50s for practical reasons. “Just realistically, to be able to get into medical school, if you start at 60, and you don’t get into your internship until you’re 65, that might be a problem.”

Heaton doesn’t want to take it easy any time soon. She revealed, “I’ve been working since I was about 16. I started at a department store in high school, because I never wanted to have to ask anybody for money. I wanted to make my own decisions about what I want, and I value that independence. So I’ve been used to working for a really long time. I think it’s a thing that you’re born with. You want to go out and challenge yourself and put yourself in scary positions to see if you can do it.”

Carol’s Second Act, starring Patricia Heaton, airs Thursdays at 9:30 pm on CBS. Tune in.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.