It's not Dennis Quaid's first time on TV, but it has been quite a while. At the Television Critics Association panel for Quaid's fall CBS drama "Vegas," he reminisced about the last time he was on series television.
"It was 'Baretta,' back in the '70s," Quaid said.
"That's a long time ago!" said his co-star, Michael Chiklis, who plays a casino operator in the '60s-set drama.
"Your parents wouldn't even let you watch it," joked Quaid, who plays Ralph Lamb, the sheriff of Las Vegas as it was being transformed from a small-time destination into a famous gambling and entertainment mecca.
It's a time he has a lot of affection for, he said: "I guess it's the era I grew up in," Quaid said. "I guess my haircut fits better in [roles set in the past]. I'm still fascinated with that era, what America was then. There was such vibrance and optimism and exploration and sexiness -- it was in the air. It was electric. We didn't have cell phones."
As for Chiklis making a move back toward bad guy characters again, he clarified that his character, Vincent Savino, doesn't wear the "black hat" in contrast to Quaid's good-guy "white hat" sheriff, who is based on a real Vegas sheriff of the era.
"It's really dark navy blue," Chiklis said of the topper he wears occasionally (and, in fairness, Quaid's hat on the show is more of an off-white/light beige). He added that his character was on the "darker spectrum," compared to his character on ABC's short-lived family drama "No Ordinary Family," but not necessarily in the realm of his iconic "Shield" character Vic Mackey.
"A lot of these guys saw a tremendous opportunity, they wanted to make a lot of money and become successes and go legit," Chiklis said. But he's "a different guy in a different set of circumstances."
Another of the show's stars, Jason O'Mara, took a mild shot at his former network, Fox, in talking about joining the show after the cancellation of "Terra Nova."
The network's decision to ax the dinosaur family drama "took an awfully long time" and it "could have been made earlier, either way." He also said he thought the decision was "premature" in that the show could have continued on, but that was not meant to be.
In any event, O'Mara said he was happy to join "Vegas" as Jack Lamb, the brother of Quaid's law-enforcement character.
"I said, 'Sign me up, when do we start?' And the answer was Tuesday," O'Mara said. "I think I was on a plane the next night to New Mexico" where the show shoots.
"Vegas" premieres Tues., Sept. 25, 10 p.m. ET on CBS.
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