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As one of the bestselling country music stars of all time, Reba McEntire is used to delivering hit after hit. Now she’s going for follow-up success on TV.
After six highly rated seasons as the star of the WB sitcom “Reba,” which earned her a Golden Globe nomination, McEntire spent the next half-dozen years repeatedly hitting the top of the country charts as she focused most of her attention on her music career. Now she’s back on the small screen with the ABC sitcom “Malibu Country,” playing a divorced mom who relocates from Nashville to the California coast in an effort to start her life – and her country music career – anew. And if her real-life TV stardom proves as durable as her radio airplay and download dominance, McEntire promises she’ll work twice as hard to stay on top.
Were you hearing from your music fans that they wanted you back on TV?
Oh, definitely, and when we announced that we were going to do 'Malibu Country' they were ecstatic. My fans have always been very loyal and very nice to travel with me, whether that's Broadway, television, movies, whatever.
What appeals to you about doing comedy?
It entertains me, totally. I love to be entertained, and we've got the best writers. They come up with new lines for me to say and I totally enjoy it. It's entertaining to me, and so if I'm entertained I can entertain other people…I think I'm going to appreciate it more. I don't know if I appreciated it as much. I missed it for six years, so I'm going to appreciate it and work harder and be there better.
Would you ever consider doing one of the singing competition shows, where you'd be a judge?
No. I like this a lot better! I could not tell someone that they do not sing well or that they're not good at something. That's not my personality. I only sang on 'American Idol’ – that's what I do best. That's what I'm going to stick with.
Do any of your Nashville buddies ask about being on the new sitcom?
No, they haven't yet – I hope they will! I hope that they'll come on and do guest stars and all of that. Dolly Parton would be the first on my list. I just love Dolly. I've always been a huge fan; Blake Shelton – I think he would be a hoot. Kelly Clarkson, of course; Tim McGraw and Faith Hill; Vince Gill. There's just lots of them – any of them.
What do you love about what's happening in country music right now?
Country music has changed so much. The regime is not like it was two years ago, at all. The players have changed, and I'm not sure if we're going to have those superstars that last forever. It seems to me that it's a little bit more like the pop world where they may be having several singles, but I don't know if they're going to have the longevity. That will be what we'll have to see in ten years.
It's the technology that's really changed our business drastically. Everybody is scrambling to try and catch up and make sure that the talented people who write the songs, who publish the songs are getting paid instead of the pirating and duplication when they're not getting paid. So, it's tearing our industry apart, unfortunately, and there's a lot of talented people not getting their money's worth.
What's the biggest struggle for you, career-wise?
Maintaining. Maintaining is the hardest thing in my position, where I am right now. I enjoy the success. I enjoy traveling. I enjoy touring. I enjoy doing television shows, movies, Broadway. There's not enough time in the day for me, but to be able to continue doing that, keeping your health right, that's the challenge.
Do you fear the day when it's all gone?
I don't fear that. I'll be very grateful with what I've gotten to do and I know that it'll be my time that I don't get to do it anymore. So, that's why I said I'm getting a second chance on this television show. I appreciate it more now and I will work twice as hard on this one as I did the other one.
Is there something that you haven't done yet that you want to do?
The things that I really want to do – like, the personal end of it – is I want to get a motorhome or a bus and start at the very south tip of California and go all the way up to Alaska. I want to travel. I know that sounds silly because that's all I do, but I do love to travel. I want to stop and smell the roses while I'm traveling.
Are you the kind that wants to stop at the world’s biggest ball of twine and all those kinds of roadside attractions along the way?
Yes, and take a picture with it!
"Malibu Country" airs Friday nights at 8.30 p.m. ET on ABC