Interviews
Photography by Peggy Sirota. Styled by Jordan Grossman.

By Malcolm Venable

Originally published in Watch Magazine, September-October 2018.

Season 3 of The Neighborhood premieres Monday, Nov. 16 at 8/7c on CBS and CBS All Access. Catch up now on CBS All Access.

Magazine cover shot of Cedric the Entertainer in a sequined sports jacket

Blazer, shirt, and pants by INC International Concepts. Hat by Bailey Hats. Earrings and watch, Cedric's own.

Photography by Peggy Sirota. Styled by Jordan Grossman.

Except for the smoke-colored Maserati he eases into his parking space, Cedric the Entertainer arrives for his interview on the CBS lot in uncharacteristically low-key fashion, dressed in an NFL T-shirt, athletic shorts, and a baseball cap pulled low over his tired eyes. He deserves some slack for not appearing in one of the suave ensembles and sharp fedoras he's become known for: He's just landed in L.A. after an overnight gig in Las Vegas and came straight to the set of The Neighborhood, the family sitcom costarring Max Greenfield, Beth Behrs, and Tichina Arnold.

As both an executive producer and a Midwesterner with an unrelenting work ethic, Cedric is not a man who lets either wardrobe or a lack of sleep get in the way of the work, and you'll never hear him complain. "I love this job," he says. "I'd rather stay busy than sit still."

Clearly. Born Cedric Antonio Kyles in Jefferson City, Missouri, Cedric the Entertainer may be best known as one of the Original Kings of Comedy, the group whose 2000 concert film made him (along with Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, and Bernie Mac) a household name, but he's also king of the Hollywood hustle. From playing cantankerous coot Eddie in the Barbershop franchise to hosting Who Wants to Be a Millionaire to doing stand-up in clubs, performing voice work for animated hits (Ice Age, Madagascar), and even popping up on rap albums (Jay-Z, Nelly), Cedric the Entertainer has the most apt moniker in the business. He's been entertaining across every conceivable platform—more than 30 shows and 20 movies under his belt—for more than three decades.

But it's his latest turn, as Calvin Butler in The Neighborhood, that marks a new milestone for him: playing the lead on a network comedy in front of his widest audience yet.

It's a role that hits home for Cedric, who is a strong believer in the importance of community—his philanthropy includes raising funds for a wing of St. Mary's Hospital in St. Louis named after his mom. And though he's never been one for partisan fights (he headlined the White House Correspondents' Dinner for George W. Bush in 2005), he feels that America's new, divided climate makes it vital to bring people together, make them laugh, and reconcile tough issues. It's a tall order, but for a man who makes high-stakes multitasking look as smooth as, well, pulling up in a Maserati, getting it done is just another day at work. Watch spent some time with Cedric [for our September-October 2018 issue] as he prepared to invite America into his Neighborhood.

Cedric the Entertainer standing on a chair arms outstretched, hat in the air

Coat and sweatshirt by Vince. Pants by INC International Concepts. Shoes by Gucci. Hat by Hollywood Hatters. Watch, Cedric's own.

Photography by Peggy Sirota. Styled by Jordan Grossman.

What attracted you to this project?

The context. The original story was about a white family moving to a black neighborhood. That was something I started to see when I came to L.A. in the early '90s. My kids' godparents lived in Ladera Heights [a neighborhood home to affluent African-Americans since the 1960s], and you would see white guys jogging with headphones on. We recognized that property values were starting to go up and people were beginning to be displaced—the texture changed in neighborhoods they grew up in. This was the idea I wanted to express, to show that [African-Americans] had great cultural neighborhoods, yet when you see the money coming in, it's going to change. I felt it was a great thing to explore through comedy.

Tell me about your character, Calvin Butler. How'd you approach playing him?

Cal Butler is a guy I knew: the patriarch of the neighborhood. There were guys who would be the fathers of the whole neighborhood. If you went by Mr. Chapman's house, you better turn your music down and don't go on the grass. You'd better say hello. That was the idea I was trying to capture: He cares about the neighborhood.

Cedric the Entertainer in a suit drinking a slurpee on an elliptical machine

Suit and shirt by INC International Concepts. Shoes by Mezlan. Hat by Hollywood Hatters. Watch and earrings, Cedric's own.

Photography by Peggy Sirota. Styled by Jordan Grossman.

You've been on so many scripted shows, but none with as much reach as The Neighborhood. Do you feel like mainstream audiences know you, or will this be an introduction?

I've been around a long time, and people know who I am. I am surprised when people know some movies and programs. Kings of Comedy was one. It was such a big phenomenon as a concert and concept that when it broke out as the No. 1 movie, there were some white people who were like, "Who are these guys?" Even as popular as I am, there's still a large group of people who don't know who I am. I had to take that and be motivated by it in a positive way and not think that I'm at a plateau where I can't afford to grow and hustle. That's what I look forward to in trying to make sure this show is dope. Even if you think you know me, you've never seen [me] like [this]. There are things you have to take on for growth.

Do you feel pressure to make The Neighborhood successful?

To be on a major network, yeah, I feel that pressure. When the opportunity came for me to play on the biggest platform, which CBS is, as an African-American lead, you see you have the opportunity to tell our culture, and our storytelling. If you hit it out of the box, there's an opportunity to have a long run. I desire that, but I don't put it at the forefront; I'm focused on being funny and having a great show.

My run on Broadway [a revival of David Mamet's American Buffalo in 2008] was a master class in becoming a great actor. I always say each week that we are literally doing a live play in front of you guys. You are going to ride the story for 30 minutes. We're going to take you and drop you off somewhere where you should laugh, feel something, have opinions. I want all these things to happen with The Neighborhood.

Cedric the Entertainer in a denim shit and bowtie

Shirt by Rag & Bone. Bow tie by Kenneth Cole. Hat by Hollywood Hatters. Watch and earrings, Cedric's own.

Photography by Peggy Sirota. Styled by Jordan Grossman.

You work a lot. Where'd that work ethic come from?

I think it's Midwestern. I think that's the way I approached my career early on; you had to prove a lot because you weren't on either coast. The idea that you've got to hustle is where that ethic came from.

What was your neighborhood like growing up? Was your situation at all like the story in The Neighborhood?

I lived most of my life in a small town called Caruthersville, located between Memphis and St. Louis. There was a lot of family around. We lived with my grandmother for a minute; my mom went to college and came back to teach. We lived close to uncles and cousins; I could walk over to another aunt's house. It was a very Norman Rockwell version of what America was supposed to feel like—catching lightning bugs, june bugs, real country stuff.

Then we moved to St. Louis, which was inner city. My mom got her master's degree; we stayed with my mom's sister who had 11 kids. We got thrown into another lifestyle: throwing rocks at people's windows and stealing bikes. Especially without a paternal figure, other kids teach you that. In the early '80s, at an early age, I saw this was where life was going. Mom moved again, to an African-American suburb, with maybe one or two white folk.

Cedric the Entertainer in the backseat of a Rolls Royce wearing a designer robe

Robe by Versace. Shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo. Hat, watch, and earrings, Cedric's own.

Photography by Peggy Sirota. Styled by Jordan Grossman.

You're known for always looking dapper, with the fedoras and smooth outfits. What did clothes mean to you growing up?

Thinking back in Caruthersville, clothing was a big thing. My mom was a young mother. She was ahead of the game. She went to college, she ordered things from catalogs. As kids we would always be fly to the point where people thought we were rich.

What's your hometown like now, and why's it been important for you to do the philanthropic work you do there?

The town is still separated by race to this day. The thing I like to do is taking people outside their environment—trips for kids so they can visualize beyond their few blocks. In older times, the area was dope. We had pride and self-identity. We knew each other. It was great to have our own restaurants. Now you're not hot if you are not at Starbucks. So that kind of thing I think is important as a celebrity, as a brand, to be able to show our culture is real. That's what I want to do with this show.

Cedric the Entertainer in a suit posing silly on an elliptical machine

Suit and shirt by INC International Concepts. Shoes by Mezlan. Hat by Hollywood Hatters. Watch and earrings, Cedric's own.

Photography by Peggy Sirota. Styled by Jordan Grossman.

You have a reputation for being super nice, which is rare in Hollywood. Why?

It's important to lead with the attitude you want to receive. I try to operate from that space, where everything is calm, everybody has a good time. The thing about being nice is, it leads to an efficient job. It won't feel like a hard job as opposed to when you go in and people are mean and ornery. If you are going to spend time doing anything, you might as well take a positive route. I try to lead. If somebody is gonna be ugly around me, I shut it down.

You and your wife, Lorna Wells, have two children, Croix, 20, and Lucky Rose, 17. Does your family have a spiritual practice?

My wife and I pray together. Not every night, but that's our thing. When I came here, I visited a couple churches, but it didn't feel right—it was very Hollywood, with VIP parking. You realize as a celebrity you've got to have those things, but it doesn't feel like church, it feels like a club. I went to one and they made people get up so we could sit down. People clapping for you. At another, as soon as the service was over, nine people were up in the front with their phones, ready to take a picture. I don't think they closed their eyes during the prayer.

What kind of dad and husband are you?

I'm engaged. I spend a lot of time with my son. He's on a gap year in kung fu camp in China, living in a monastery. He's never had that kind of regimen. I told him, "For you to go forward in life, it's very important for you to have that kind of structure." Next he'll go to France to cook—he already speaks French. My daughter has a dance class, and I learned [a routine] with her. It's fun to have a good time with them. My wife and I laugh a lot—we've got a great relationship. She's such a dynamic individual and one of my greatest protectors.

Cedric the Entertainer in a denim shit and bowtie

Shirt by Rag & Bone. Bow tie by Kenneth Cole. Hat by Hollywood Hatters. Watch and earrings, Cedric's own.

Photography by Peggy Sirota. Styled by Jordan Grossman.

What makes you angry?

Rudeness. Bullying. People who misuse power. If somebody is a jerk to somebody else, that ticks me off.

Will we ever see another Kings of Comedy?

I would love to do another Kings of Comedy. But how do you do it without Bernie Mac? I don't know. It's always been our dilemma. Bernie Mac was such a unique and strong figure. Do we try to replace that? Do we go out with just the three of us? It never felt quite right.

For me, being in the Kings of Comedy, it's like the Rolling Stones going on tour. Like, how old are these guys? But people are going to come up to you and say, "I know all your music. You are a part of my life." That's what The Original Kings of Comedy is like. Of course I would love to do it.

Is performing where you're most happy?

Yeah, doing comedy, acting. I love the opportunity to perform for people, living in the moment of discovery where you connect with people. I still remember in the beginning, when I was working a corporate job [at an insurance company]; I wrote a joke and told my mom I wanted to be a comedian. She laughed so hard [at the joke], she went to the ground.

Cedric the Entertainer pretending to blown away by a wind machine

Suit, shirt, and shoes by Stacy Adams. Socks by The Tie Bar. Tie by Ted Baker. Hat by Bailey Hats. Watch and earrings, Cedric's own.

Photography by Peggy Sirota. Styled by Jordan Grossman.

Flash forward years from now. What would you like to be doing?

I see myself directing TV shows, finding young talent. I would love that as a choice to have for later as opposed to looking for roles. I've lived that life.

And you're getting recognized for doing it well—not only with your own television show, but with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! How does that feel?

That's exciting. When you start your career, you have no idea where it's going. When I first moved [to L.A.], I lived one block from Hollywood Boulevard, so we would go and see stars. Then you start seeing the ceremonies, watching people get recognized for what they do. I'm just thankful to be even wanted!

Originally published in Watch Magazine, September-October 2018.

Season 3 of The Neighborhood premieres Monday, Nov. 16 at 8/7c on CBS and CBS All Access. Catch up now on CBS All Access.

Photo Credit: Andrew Eccles.


By Deanna Barnert

Melody Thomas Scott is nothing like her The Young and the Restless character Nikki Reed Newman … but that doesn't mean the Daytime diva hasn't seen her share of drama! In her new memoir, Always Young and Restless: My Life On And Off America's #1 Daytime Drama (Diversion Books), Scott opens up for the first time about the cruelty inflicted upon her by her own grandmother, the abuse she experienced as a child coming up in Hollywood, and how she ultimately took control of her life and career.

Melody Thomas Scott pictured on her memoir  Always Young and Restless My Life On And Off Americas No 1 Daytime Drama

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Diversion Books.

Known for playing stripper turned well-heeled heroine Nikki for 41 years and counting, Scott started preparing for her 60-year career when she was only three-years-old. After her big screen debut in Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie at only eight, the powerhouse worked with the likes of Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, and Brian De Palma.

Melody Thomas Scott in a white dress

Photo Credit: Andrew Eccles.

While Scott doesn't hold back in sharing the personal and professional challenges she's faced along the way, she also celebrates her successes. Her story is one of finding her own path to healing, love and family—and how Y&R has fit into that journey! Not only will fans read about how Melody Thomas Scott found her husband and built a family on the Y&R stages, but there are plenty of juicy tidbits about life in Genoa City and what it's been like to team up with co-star Eric Braeden (Victor) to sustain "Niktor"—one of television's most iconic super couples–for decades.

Black and white photo of Melody Thomas Scott and Eric Braeden of The Young and the Restless

Y&R stars Melody Thomas Scott and Eric Braeden, circa 1984.

Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive. ©CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

Watch spoke to Melody Thomas Scott about her character Nikki and the release of her memoir Always Young and Restless: My Life On And Off America's #1 Daytime Drama, which hits the market on August 18.

Catch all-new episodes of The Young and the Restless Weekdays on CBS and CBS All Access.

Watch is all about television's hottest shows. How do you feel about your 41-year (and counting!) run as Nicole "Nikki" Reed Foster Bancroft DiSalvo Newman Abbott Landers Newman Newman Chow Sharpe Abbott Newman on The Young and the Restless?

Being a part of Y&R for all these years is truly a blessing.

Tell us about your iconic character. Why do you think she's continued to resonate with fans? And did we get that list of last names right?!?

The fans have always wanted to guide Nikki back onto the right path when Nikki takes the wrong road. They never get mad at her; they instead feel protective of her. And regarding all of Nikki's husbands, you are correct with 12!

Eric Braeden and Melody Thomas Scott of The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: Aaron Montgomery/JPI Studios.

What was the first day on the Y&R set like?

It was a joyous day, working with so many talented people and immediately liking so many of them. Many would become lifelong friends.

Tell us about your TV family and co-stars like Eric Braeden, Joshua Morrow, and Amelia Heinle.

Adore.

Amelia Heinle, Eric Braeden and Joshua Morrow at a 40th anniversary celebration for Melody Thomas Scott.

Amelia Heinle, Eric Braeden, and Joshua Morrow at a 40th anniversary celebration for Melody Thomas Scott.

Photo Credit: Howard Wise/JPI Studios.

Tell us about the creative/writing process for penning your memoir. How did it all come about?

My family and friends had always told me I have to write a book. So I thought about it for a long time before putting it on paper. It was a 10-year effort, with a few false starts, due to not being emotionally ready.

Watch usually asks how people decided to become an actor, but you were 3 when you got your start. How did that come about, and was there a point when you realized you were in fact doing what you wanted to do?

I guess those wondering about this complicated question will have to read the book!

Melody Thomas Scott in a silver gown

Photo Credit: Andrew Eccles.

Who's your biggest inspiration?

The late Lee Phillip Bell (co-creator of Y&R and The Bold and The Beautiful was someone I always looked up to and learned so much from. Music has always been my greatest inspiration.


This may not be fair… but who are you most thrilled to have worked with beside outside of Y&R and why?

Robin Williams [in an episode of The Crazy Ones]. Because he's, well… Robin Williams! Also Geraldine Page. She was such a gifted actress. I loved watching and learning from her [on The Beguiled set].

Black and white portrait of Melody Thomas Scott by a piano

Photo Credit: Andrew Eccles.

What TV shows are you currently binge-watching or catching up on right now?

Finally got around to The Kominsky Method. Am enjoying it so much. Also, still love Everybody Loves Raymond. Of course, I Love Lucy is still the mold from which all comedies should emulate!

Watch all-new episodes of The Young and the Restless Weekdays on CBS and CBS All Access.

Photo Credit: Michele Crowe/CBS.

As told to David Hochman

Editor's Note: This interview took place in January, before COVID-19 took hold in the United States.

60 Minutes airs Sundays at 7/6c on CBS. Stream full episodes on CBS All Access and cbsnews.com.

6:00 a.m.

On days I'm not traveling for work—which isn't often—the dreaded alarm goes off and I drag myself into the bathroom to dress with the news on our little TV. After I feed our dog, Parker, I try to get through the papers—yes, real paper!—with multiple cups of coffee.

8:00 a.m.

I go to a slow-weightlifting gym two mornings a week. It's what it sounds like: You push or pull heavy weights slowly till you cry! I do not love it.

\u200bLesley Stahl in the 60 Minutes studio taping a segment.

Lesley Stahl in the 60 Minutes studio taping a segment.

Photo Credit: John P. Filo/CBS.

9:00 a.m.

I live 20 New York City blocks from the 60 Minutes office on West 57th Street. If the weather's good, I'll walk. I'm determined to lead a normal life. I love being out on the streets: I get a lot of "Hi! We love 60 Minutes!"

Lesley Stahl interviews Tom Cruise for a segment.

Photo Credit: Tony Esparza/CBS

10:00 a.m.

One of the best parts of the job is that no two days are the same. My schedule depends on where I am in the cycle. After traveling to do an interview, I might be at my desk reading research, or working with a producer on a script or questions, or having our boss look at our finished stories and call for changes—often many.

I've worked on stories that take a year (like the one on a choir of teenage gospel singers) or a single day. I once did a live interview. This is rare: Virtually all our interviews are on videotape. It was with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld the day Saddam Hussein was captured.

Lesley Stahl in a boat with a commerical fisherman

Lesley Stahl reporting on commercial seaweed farming off the coast of Connecticut.

Photo Credit: 60 Minutes.

Noon

I go out to lunch with my girlfriends whenever possible. When I started out in the early 1970s, there were hardly any other women in TV news. A small group of us—this was in Washington—had lunch once a week. The group included Cokie Roberts, Linda Wertheimer, and Nina Totenberg, all of NPR. I'm in another lunch group in New York. The same women for 30 years.

4:30 p.m.

I'm thrown off when I'm asked about my hobbies. I don't have any. Lately, though, I've been FaceTiming with my granddaughters. Does that count? I like to play the piano (though I'm not very good at it), and I did find time to write two books. Working mothers become adept at managing their time.

7:30 p.m.

I don't cook. So my husband and I eat out a lot, or order in. After the 6:30 news (we're creatures of habit) on CBS, we either read in bed or watch TV. We like crime dramas, the History channel, and now a show called Servant on Apple TV. Our daughter is the producer.

The aurora borealis

The aurora borealis.

Photo Credit: Dave Moorhouse/Getty Images.

9:00 p.m.

Because we at 60 Minutes travel so much, I often wake up in New York but go to sleep in some far off place. Once it was near the North Pole. I woke up in the middle of the night in a toasty warm tent. To go to the john, I had to get fully dressed in multiple layers and heavy boots, step out gingerly onto the ice, and find the outhouse (with the wooden toilet seat).

There was a really good part: The sky was bright emerald green. The most beautiful sight, at the top of the world. More important than the places are the extraordinary people I've met and interviewed, from heads of state to school teachers.

\u200bLesley Stahl walking on the beach with Steve Kroft.

Lesley Stahl interviewing Steve Kroft for a segment marking his retirement from 60 Minutes.

Photo Credit: 60 Minutes.

11:00 P.M.

I do think about retirement, just not mine! The job is my hobby. I still love to travel. I get to work with an A+ team of brilliant journalists who are also decent and honorable. So I plan to stick around—as long as they'll have me.

Originally published in Watch Magazine, May-June 2020.

60 Minutes airs Sundays at 7/6c on CBS. Stream full episodes on CBS All Access and cbsnews.com.

Photo Credit: Timothy Kuratek.

By Brantley Bardin

She's that prolific comic actress whose work you adore, even if-until now-you've had trouble recalling her name. No worries: The fabulous Michaela Watkins is chill with that.

"People always have to download their brains with what I've done to remember who I am," she says with a laugh. "But unlike Jennifer Lopez, whose best friend I played in The Back-up Plan, that gives me the benefit of walking through life totally normally."

Actress Michaela Watkins Of The Unicorn smiles broadly while wearing a green top with black polka dots.

Photo Credit: Timothy Kuratek.

In addition to starring in a passel of films including last summer's Brittany Runs a Marathon and October's Torrance opposite Ben Affleck, Watkins is a Saturday Night Live alum and a recurring television MVP on everything from The New Adventures of Old Christine with Julia Louis-Dreyfus to Transparent and Casual.

Although she's renowned for her portrayals of comically unhinged women—"I love playing terrible people!" she exclaims—she's currently having a blast playing the take-charge pediatrician Delia on The Unicorn, the hot new sitcom about a recent widower (Walton Goggins) who is encouraged to get back into the dating pool by Delia and his three other best friends, played by Maya Lynne Robinson, Omar Miller, and Rob Corddry. Says Watkins, "I love that our show is about something so worthwhile: grief, and how to come out of it with the help of your friends."

Rob Corddry as Forrest, Michaela Watkins as Delia, Omar Miller as Ben, Maya Lynne Robinson as Michelle in The Unicorn.

Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/CBS.

A beautiful thing. You're married to entrepreneur and non-profiteer Fred Kramer, but The Unicorn deals with online dating when one is hitting 40 and beyond. What have you learned about that world?

That dating's easier for men! Kidding. Listen, thank God I didn't have to put myself out there on the internet thing, but I'll say this: It's intriguing, because it's so normal and unstigmatized now. I love how it's all, "We're just swiping and if it doesn't work out, no harm!" That said, no thank you.

So, are you an old-school matchmaker instead?

It's in my bones! I have an instinct with how people will get along. Now, I'm not saying that every date turns into a marriage. Or that some marriage doesn't end in divorce. But I am saying that some of those people maybe had kids before they got divorced. And that's a success, OK?! [Laughs.]

Actress Michaela Watkins Of The Unicorn smiles and looks to the sky while wearing a green top with black polka dots.

Photo Credit: Timothy Kuratek

OK! You've said that Joan Rivers was your biggest childhood inspiration.

My mother took me to see her in Syracuse, New York [where Watkins lived as a child], and I laughed so hard I peed my pants. I thought her filthy, foul mouth was a wonderful thing coming out of a woman. I also felt like, "Somebody gets me"—and I was 10! It taught me that women can do whatever the hell they want if they allow themselves.

You went to Boston University College of Fine Arts, did repertory theater in Portland, then moved to L.A. and trained as a Groundling before being discovered by SNL when you were 37-

The oldest woman they'd ever hired at that point! I was actually taping The New Adventures of Old Christine when I found out I'd just booked my life dream. I got the call at 10 p.m. The audience was clapping, and I turned to Julia [Louis-Dreyfus] and said, "I just got SNL," while we were bowing. I looked like a deer in headlights. Julia said, "We're getting a drink." And I was like, "I'm flying to New York in five hours and I have to pack, I have two cats, I don't know what to do!" And she said, "We're getting a drink."

Michaela Watkins and Kristen Wiig performing a "Today" skit on Saturday Night Live.

Michaela Watkins as Hoda Kotb and Kristen Wiig as Kathie Lee Gifford during the "Today" skit on Saturday Night Live.

Photo Credit: Dana Edelson/Getty Images.

Then, boom, your beloved SNL character, Angie Tempura, only got to say her catchphrase, "Bitch, pleeze!," for one season.

Yep. I always have to remember the attitude of "We don't know how we're protected." Because some of life's greatest disappointments end up becoming our biggest highs. I did one season of SNL and wasn't asked back, but then I wrote a script [Benched] which made it to series, and then I got my husband, and then [the Hulu series] Casual, and now The Unicorn! It's the That's Good! That's Bad! books come to life.

Or The Little Engine That Could. Here you are at 47, and you've never been more in demand.

I've got no complaints. So my pace is sometimes a little slower than others. But you know what? I get there! I've loved my ride.

Originally published in Watch Magazine, September-October 2019.

Stream full episodes of The Unicorn on CBS All Access.

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