The NY Post has a story about "Blue Bloods". It's mostly about Tom Selleck, but there are a few quotes from Donnie towards the end.
Sunday dinner is where a cop drama like “Blue Bloods” settles down and reminds its audience that no matter how dangerous the streets of New York are, family is what’s important.
For many viewers, these scenes with the Reagans of Bay Ridge are nostalgic, summoning memories of a time when their own multigenerational families observed more traditions than they do today, when everyone didn’t live so far apart.
“A lot of families don’t have family dinners,” says Tom Selleck, who plays NYPD commissioner Frank Reagan. “Some people had them when they grew up but they don’t have it anymore. Some unfortunately never had it. A lot of people would like this to be the way it is. I wish I had that. Or wish I could go back to that.”
At the Broadway Stages on Diamond Street in Greenpoint, the family, who all seem to work in law enforcement, has gathered again, arguing about football and getting ready to dig in to a feast. We have a grandfather (Len Cariou), father (Tom Selleck), his children (Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan and Will Estes), the eldest son’s spouse (Amy Carlson) and the next generation, three grandchildren.
These scenes are special for the cast as well, Selleck says.
“You can work on a series — I don’t think most people realize this — even about a family like the Reagans and not see anybody for six weeks cause you’re off doing your part and they come in on a separate day. The thing I look forward is, once a show, there’s a family dinner,” says Selleck, who likes the show so much he flies in from his beloved 60-acre ranch in Ventura County to do it. “I get to see everybody. It’s just welcome and we reacquaint.
“We’re not the Waltons,” Selleck adds. “We’re not running around the table saying how much we love each other If you analyze our best dinners, it’s usually about a fight.”
Selleck talks about the show in the makeup room, his he-man frame filling a chair, his scratchy baritone as familiar as, well, a rerun of “Magnum, P.I.,” the series that made him an icon.
After starring on that show for eight years — it was still No. 1 when it went off the air — he left to have a family and now that his daughter, Hannah, is a student at LA’s Loyola Marymount University, Selleck was so ready to work again he even grew his mustache again for CBS.
To make sure the 67-year-old actor doesn’t drop dead from exhaustion, the show arranges the shooting schedule around Selleck’s life in California so that he has plenty of down time.
“When I’m at the ranch, I clear brush or plant a tree and it’s very real. I do a lot of physical work because I hate the gym,” he says. “I’ll go out at 10 in the morning and come in at 6 at night. It gives me time to think.”
Although he has kept his hand in the business in the last 20 years, most recently in the successful “Jesse Stone” TV-movies (the eighth installment will be broadcast in May), Selleck is keenly aware of how much things have changed — and how they haven’t.
“When I went to the [network] upfronts, it brought back a lot of old ‘Magnum’ memories,” he says. “One of the questions we got when we did ‘Magnum,’ in 1980, was about Thursday night. Thursday night was death. Not because there was competition. Nobody was watching TV. Between us and [Bill] Cosby, we kind of changed that and I guess that’s still the case. I like low expectations. It didn’t really matter whether I was uncomfortable with Friday night or not. If you build it, they’ll come. Hopefully.”
And they have come. “Blue Bloods” is the exception to the rule that Friday nights is a death trap for series. Its average audience for the season is 12 million viewers — about 3 million higher then CBS’ critical darling “The Good Wife” — and it has already been sold around the world.
Donnie Wahlberg, who plays Selleck’s eldest son, Danny Reagan, attributes the show’s success to old-fashioned story telling.
Staying under the radar turned out to be the best strategy.
“We don’t have the pressure other shows have. On Friday night, we have time to build an audience,” he says. “And we did that. Some people say it’s because of the economy. People can’t afford to go out and this show works for them.
“I think it’s a bunch of elements. They don’t make shows like this anymore,” Wahlberg says. “They don’t make shows about a family. Everyone started making a show about the murderers or the crack dealers down the block. They sorta kinda forgot about the regular family in the middle of the street. That’s what we are.”