Michael Cudlitz Finds Tremendous Heart in ABC’s ‘The Kids Are Alright’

© 2018 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Credit: Tony Rivetti.

The Kids Are Alright

ABC

Premieres: Oct. 16

Airs: Tuesdays at 8:30pm ET/PT

Who’s In It? Mary McCormack, Michael Cudlitz, Sam Straley, Jack Gore, Caleb Foote

What’s It All About? It was over two years after Michael Cudlitz said goodbye to his beloved ginger-haired Abraham on The Walking Dead that the actor first read the script for ABC’s endearingly funny The Kids Are Alright. He was looking for something lighter after his postapocalyptic run on TWD and an unsuccessful ABC pilot. He found that in Mike Cleary, an Irish-American father to eight boys and husband to Peggy (Mary McCormack) in the 1970s. Together, they do the best they can to raise their rambunctious boys in a three-bedroom, one-bath, way-too-much-testosterone home.

“I think he’s like most parents — he certainly is like me as a parent, which for the most part, you’re figuring it out as you go along, and trying to do the best you can,” tells Cudlitz, a father of twin boys. “We didn’t have a tremendous amount of money growing up. We were really very much like the Clearys, if not worse off, in the sense of having to make ends meet — both my parents had to work, and they worked multiple jobs.”

For Mike Cleary, however, life is definitely colored and shaped through the lens of the Catholic church and how he was raised. And in the turbulent ’70s, that proves to be challenging. Cleary’s quick to discover that some of his sons don’t see their future quite the same way as he does.

“I think one of the great things about the show is that you have two parents that are wise, doing the best they can, but they also love their children very much. And as hard as we are on them, and as much as we don’t appear to have all the time in the world to spend with them individually, we do love them, and we do carve out time to make sure that we are parenting each of them in the way that they need to be parented,” Cudlitz shares. “And I think that’s, for me, one of the strengths and the attractions of the show — the tremendous heart that there is in the show.

“I’m wonderfully surprised the more we read the scripts and the more scripts that we get. I’m kind of amazed at how what we want for our kids is universal,” Cudlitz continues. “All we want for our kids is something better than we had, whatever it is that we had. That’s what you strive for — you want to raise healthy, smart kids that go out in the world and make a difference and do more than you. That’s kind of the goal, I hope.”

Amen to that. That’s some feel-good TV and messages we all can live by.

Cudlitz Returns To The Walking Dead

About four years ago when Michael Cudlitz first came on The Walking Dead, he had a talk with showrunner Scott M. Gimple about his life interests, one of them being directing. Over the years, the topic would come up, but the opportunity was never there. He got a call last winter from Gimple and then senior writer now showrunner Angela Kang, and they asked him if he still was interested. He immediately said yes but asked them to call back in an hour because he needed time to let it process. He hung up the phone, called his wife and walked around Manhattan for about 40 minutes crying. “It wasn’t sobbing, but there was definitely tears,” Cudlitz says. “I was just really excited and honored. It was very humbling knowing where the show is so far as one of the biggest shows on television.” He will be directing Season 9’s Episode 7 airing in November.

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