‘EXTRA’ RAW: ‘CSI’ SET VISIT WITH MARG HELGENBERGER
October 7, 2010
“Extra’s Jerry Penacoli stopped by the set of “CSI” to chat with actress Marg Helgenberger about starting the 11th season, hints to this year’s action, and how she stays so trim! Plus, her first TV gig as a weather girl!”
Jerry: Here’s the thing about you. You just keep getting better and better.
Marg: You say that to all the gals.
Jerry: No, no, no. Look at this (makes a hand motion up and down Marg’s body). I mean is it yoga? Is it pilates? What the heck? What are you doing?
Marg: I do yoga, yes, actually. I used to do a lot of spinning, in the…ten years ago when we first started the show. And I just don’t do it anymore. It’s harder on my body, so that’s when I switched to yoga. I mean, I do a little – some weights too, but mostly I prefer yoga.
Jerry: You’ve got the lean, lithe yoga body.
Marg: Thank you.
Jerry: Eleven seasons going strong, The original CSI.
Marg: Oh gee, that’s right. Yeah, WOW I mean eleven seasons. When I see that on the clapper, I go “Really? Eleventh season?”. Because that really, that’s, you know…you’re heading into a completely different territory when you’re entering your second decade.
Jerry: Well, sure. because not many shows a) Make it to that point…
Jerry: And they’re still as relevant and successful.
Marg: Yeah. Sometimes I’ll think of shows that have been on, have come and gone, and some of them were…had long runs. You know, some of them had like five year runs, six year runs…(Marg laughs) and we’re still here. No complaints, no complaints whatsoever.
Jerry: The question always remains when you do a show for so long, how much more do you have in you? (Marg laughs)
Marg: I really only negotiated for this season.
Jerry: Might this be your last?
Marg: Yeah, it might be my last. Yes.
Jerry: Breaking news, Marg Helgenberger…
Marg: Well, I don’t know about, I mean I hate saying too much because I really should have to talk to the producer first.
Jerry: So you’re underlining might?
Marg: No, we have sort of talked, but I mean we haven’t really figured out is this is how Catherine will leave the show.
Jerry: How would that be for you after so many years?
Marg: Oh, I mean, mixed feelings completely. There’s just far more pros to this show than there are cons. I mean the cons are the obvious — the hours, and you know, the fact that it’s a long season etc, etc. But, you know, the pros are just, you know, numerous. So…and the hardest I think will always be this group of people that I’ve been with for eleven years. That’s going to be the hardest part, you know, letting go of… but we can still obviously see each other. It just won’t be like an ongoing basis like we have now, day to day.
Jerry: If you were to leave would you want them to recast your role or would you want them to transition somehow differently.
Marg: You mean have someone else play Catherine Willows? No. Uh uh. There is only one Catherine Willows! (laughs)
Jerry: That’s right. I was hoping you would say that.
Jerry: I learned something about you that I never knew. And maybe I did but never asked you about it. You started as a weather girl?
Marg: Well, okay, look. I was in (Marg laughs) I’m qualifying it like I’m embarrassed by it, but I’m not. I did it for a summer when I was still living Nebraska, where I’m from. And it was a tiny little station in Kearney, Nebraska. It was the weekend report, Saturday and Sunday evenings. And a very, very long time ago. But I did all the…I assembled my own maps off the UPI, API wire services etc, etc. It was a lot of work and for that I got fifteen dollars a broadcast.
Jerry: Woo! And what was your name? What did the news director want you to change your name to because he didn’t like Marg Helgenberger. Because he thought it was too long.
Marg: Margi McCarty.
John (does a little dance)
Marg: It has a nice sweet ring to it, doesn’t it?
Jerry: I kind of like it.
Marg: Margi McCarty.
Jerry: Margi McCarty. This is Margi McCarty with the weather.
Marg: You know why I was asked to change it though?
Marg: Because the anchor team consisted of Joyce Eisenminger on news. Harvey Knocklinger on sports. Then it would have been Margi Helgenberger on weather, so it would have been the Knocklinger, Eisenminger, Helgenberger report.
Jerry: (Laughing) It’s the Inger report.
Marg: (Laughing) So I was asked because I was, like, the newbie. I was asked to change my name.
Marg: So McCarty is my grandmother’s maiden name.
Jerry: You really can’t make this up, can you?
Marg: No, Harvey Knocklinger, Joyce Eisenminger. Yeah.
Jerry: So did you ever think of continuing on with it.
Marg: No! It was hard work, pressure you know. I mean for a nineteen year old. And I wasn’t particularly good at it either…