Lauren Graham: Replacing Tierney Was “Emotionally Difficult”

by | January 10, 2010 at 10:03 PM | TV News

Lauren Graham (Chris Haston/NBC)

Lauren Graham (Chris Haston/NBC)

Gilmore‘ gal Lauren Graham says that stepping in for Maura Tierney on NBC’s ‘Parenthood‘ was “really emotionally difficult… an unusual situation.”

Tierney announced last July that she would not be able to play sister to Peter Krause (‘Six Feet Under’), Dax Shephard (‘Employee of the Month’) and Erika Christensen (‘Six Degrees’) because she required surgery for the removal of a breast tumor. ‘Parenthood’ subsequently pushed back its fall premiere, and now will debut March 1.

Though the transition was tricky and dictated by unfortunate circumstances, Graham says that soon enough, “Everybody made me feel really welcome.” All told, she says, the new gig “has exceeded all my expectations.”

Tierney, meanwhile, continues to recuperate from her surgery, and her prognosis is promising.

“I spoke to [Maura] a few weeks ago and she’s doing good,” ‘Parenthood’ executive producer Jason Katims shared at the TCA winter press tour’s Sunday session.

With Graham filling Tierney’s role (the single mother of two obstinate kids), ‘Parenthood’ seized an opportunity to revisit and dial down the original pilot’s rather dramatic and angsty tone.

“When we went back to [reshoot Tierney's scenes using Graham], there was a second chance to do some other things as well,” says Katims. “And some of the stuff we decided to do… lightened the tone.”

Krause, who is playing a variation on the ‘Parenthood’ film’s Steve Martin role, confirms that with Graham on board – and the writers adjusting to her particular strengths – “the show has gone on to be quite funny.”