After nine years on Scrubs, Zach Braff was “planning to direct more features between what I had written and studio fare,” he tells us, but he was lured back to TV with ABC’s new sitcom Alex, Inc. In the series, premiering Wednesday, March 28, Braff plays Alex, a husband and father who commits a spectacular act of irresponsibility. Alex has spent 16 years on the “Cheer Up!” radio show, which is described as “NPR on Prozac.” He desperately wants to tell stories that will change the world, but during a disastrous pitch meeting, he quits. His producer Deirdre (Hillary Anne Matthews), who’s besotted with him, does a Jerry Maguire and tags along. Determined but clueless on starting a podcast company, Alex enlists his shady cousin Eddie (Michael Imperioli, The Sopranos) as his salesman. But when Alex lies to his wife Rooni (Tiya Sircar) after raiding their 401(k) to pay rent for an incubator space — a loft where entrepreneurs work — things don’t go over well. As furious as she is, Rooni can’t help but love Alex, who’s hapless but passionate. The show’s banking on audiences feeling the same way about him. Luckily, it’s easy to love Braff, who answered our “5 Questions.”
1. If your TV only had three networks or shows, what would you be watching?
Netflix, HBO and now I have to say ABC.
2. What are three things that have to be in your fridge or pantry at all times?
I have nothing in my house because I am a bachelor workaholic. Gluten-free soy sauce, a nice white wine and protein bars.
3. Tell us about a time you were starstruck.
I have been a few times. I was in a photo shoot for Interview Magazine and a bunch of actors were on the cover. Dennis Hopper was sitting next to me, and David LaChapelle was shooting. I turned to David and said, “May I take a picture?” and I took a picture with my point-and-shoot camera. Because David LaChapelle had lit it, it makes me feel like I am an amazing photographer. And the first time I met Obama … I said, “Oh my God!” and someone said, “You are a star to him.” “No, I’m not a star. He’s a star and oh my God, Obama knows who I am!”
4. If you were not an actor and director, what would you be?
Probably a photographer.
5. What would surprise people to know about you?
That I have my pilot’s license.