Last week Heroes actor Greg Grunberg (who plays Matt Parkman on the show) declared that Heroes will be back next season—and that fans have a lot of cliffhangers to look forward to. This week, I caught up with Grunberg for a chat about his confidence in the show, his love of the Food Network, and how the Heroes cast is helping Haiti.
TV.com: You recently said that, even with its declining ratings, Heroes won't be canceled. Why is that?
Greg Grunberg: If you look at the state of NBC altogether, they've got a lot more trouble than worrying about the dip in the ratings that we've had. NBC just needs to figure out their identity. We're talking about, in my opinion, the number-one network, forever, has faltered and kind of lost its way. So I think they're in the process of figuring that out, and a show like ours is very, very highly regarded all over the world. It's an international hit. The DVDs sell really well.
They just moved us from 8pm to 9pm and didn't tell anybody—I mean anybody. So people were trying to watch our show at 8pm, and it wasn't on, so they didn't think to watch it at 9pm after Chuck. It was a mess that just happened last week. That's all out of our control. We just need to do the best show we can possibly do, and I think we're pretty close to that right now.
Heroes might be the most pirated show on the internet. Your thoughts?
It's the number one most pirated show, most illegally watched, most illegally downloaded show. I'm just a firm believer in 'get it out there and the money will find its way.' We sell a ton of DVDs. We're dealing with a sophisticated audience, a sci-fi audience. They are smart. They are tech-savvy, so you get that. ... This is a show you can watch on your cellphone. You can watch on your laptop. You can download it. Watch it on Hulu. It's one of those things that I don't love how it's mixing up the traditional model for the ad space. I'm in the advertising business right now with Yowza [a coupon app Grunberg created for smart phones]. I understand advertisers support everything. They pay for the show and everything. So they're trying to figure out where their dollars are being spent and how best to spend their money. But at the same time, there's no doubt that our show is reaching a massive, massive audience whether it's at nine o'clock on Monday nights or on the computer or on DVD or whatever.
Speaking of Yowza, how'd you come up with the idea for it?
I'm not a coupon freak. I appreciate saving money and saving a dollar. Especially today. No one is immune to the economy and everything. So I was walking into Bed Bath & Beyond, a store I love and a store I only go to with my 30% off coupon or 20% off coupon and I forgot the coupon, and I thought, "God, why doesn't somebody create an app."
Do you think Sylar will ever pull out an iPhone and use Yowza on the show?
[laughs] Since we don't have our own little beautiful little GPS Molly, sure! Let's use Yowza. If somebody said: Sylar's in Sears. Oh. Which Sears? I don't know. Use Yowza to find the closest Sears! [laughs]
You're in a rock band called Band From TV with other well-known TV actors, including Hugh Laurie and Jesse Spencer from House, and former Heroes co-star Adrian Pasdar. Have you guys ever considered just ditching the TV shows and going on the road?
Oh yeah. We literally talk about it all the time. It's one of the things Hugh and Jesse, not being US citizens, both talk about, how they would love to get into a tour bus and drive across the country going from gig to gig to gig, but we don't have time. None of us has enough time! Our schedules are just insane.
Do you ever play small gigs?
We would love to. The problem is, every time we get together it's for charity. We try to make the biggest splash to raise the most money we can. It's tough. But at the same time, don't be surprised if me and Scott Grimes, John Stamos, and Hugh Laurie show up at a little shitty bar in San Francisco and are playing a set. If we're doing something at Sundance or whatever we will pop in and play somewhere.
Monday night's dinner on Heroes was ratatouille. Do you like to cook in real life?
That was scripted, obviously, but if you saw the way I was cutting you can tell I love to eat, and I love food, and I love to cook. The Food Network is always on in our house. I just love—I love—Guy Fieri. That's the show I watch all the time—triple D—Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. I love Alton Brown. They're just shows I have to watch. I just have to TiVo them. I'm passionate about cars, food, and charity, those are the three things—and obviously entertaining and making movies and stuff and TV shows. I just absolutely love food and cooking.
My favorite thing to cook is anything with my kids. We cook brisket. I love cooking chicken. I do a mean beer-can chicken—stand-up beer-can chicken—in the oven. Incredible. My wife's a good cook too. I love savory stuff. I'm not a very good baker yet, but I'm working on that.
Speaking of charity, you work with Jimmy Jean-Louis, a Haitian actor, on the show. How is the cast reacting to the tragedy?
We're a very tight group and we're being touched very personally by the fact that Jimmy Jean-Louis, who plays the Haitian on our show, his whole family is there. And he still has yet to confirm that his family is okay. I don't think all of them are okay. He created Hollywood United for Haiti—which is hufh.org—and I've been tweeting about it and also about supporting the Red Cross. We have to do something right now! Not, let's watch the news, but let's watch the news then get to the point where we say "I'll give $5."
Anything you can tell us about what's happening on the show next week?
I would say what's happening on the show next week is there's big, big things for Parkman, and he finally takes care of Sylar once and for all. That's a teaser.