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Rob Morrow Actor

Rob Morrow

Morrow stars as "FBI agent Don Eppes" on CBS's new drama "Numb3rs". Morrow is best known for his portrayal of Joel Fleishman in the hit series "Northern Exposure," which garnered him three Golden Globe and two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Dramatic Series. Morrow portrayed John Wilkes Booth in the TNT movie "The Day Lincoln Was Shot" and starred in "Only Love," opposite Marissa Tomei, on CBS. He recently starred in the Showtime original series "Street Time." In addition to being an established actor, Morrow has received critical acclaim as a writer and director. He directed an episode of HBO's crime drama "Oz," three episodes of "Street Time" and three episodes of CBS's "Joan of Arcadia." Morrow made his directorial debut with "The Silent Alarm," which premiered at the 1993 Seattle Film Festival, and went on to screen at the Hamptons, Boston, Edinburgh, and Sundance Film Festivals, with its television debut on Bravo. In 2001, he starred in his most ambitious project, "Maze," an independent feature that he wrote, directed and produced. His film credits include lead roles in Robert Redford's Oscar-nominated film "Quiz Show," "Mother" and "Last Dance." Morrow recently starred off Broadway in "The Exonerated." A founding member of the nonprofit theater ensemble Naked Angels, Morrow's additional stage credits include "Third Street" at the Circle Reparatory Theatre and London's West End production of "Birdy."
Morrow serves on the Board of Directors of Project ALS, an organization committed to funding research for finding effective treatments and cures for people living with ALS, a fatal neuromuscular disease.

Born September 21, 1962, and raised in New Rochelle, New York, Morrow is the son of Murray Morrow, an industrial lighting manufacturer, and Diane Morrow. Rob's parents divorced when he was 9 years old. He began pursuing a professional acting career fresh out of high school. A number of theater odd jobs led to his first break. While working as an assistant to Michael Bennet on Dream Girls, Bennett cast him for a major role in the play Third Street at the Circle Repertory Theater.

Among Morrow's many stage performances are leading roles in Chaim Potok's musical adaptation of The Chosen, Michael Bennett's Scandal, Soulful Scream of the Chosen Son, The Boys of Winter, and Slam. He also performed with The Naked Angels in New York. Morrow made his film debut in 1986 in the comedy Private Resort (1985) with Johnny Depp. In addition to his leading role on the television series Tattingers (1989), Morrow guest-starred in the series Fame and Spencer for Hire.

In 1994, Rob opened the healthy, dairy-free Josie's Restaurant and Juice Bar with his childhood friend and chef, Louis Lanza, in the Upper West Side of New York City. Much like the hot spots of Cicely, Alaska, Josie's accommodates a range of possibilities and personalities (e.g., meat-lovers can enjoy a meal with a macrobiotic, dairy-free friend -- or foe) in a colorful and harmonious atmosphere ('50s retro with a slick '90s edge). Josie's lovingly caters to the health-nut, but forget about bland granola and soymilk -- the menu features a mouth-watering palette of treats from ginger-grilled calamari to three-grain veggie burgers, dairy-free wild mushroom ravioli, and organic wine. Cook along with the former doc, as Rob Morrow shares his favorite selections from Josie's and some recipes soon to be featured in Louis Lanza's new cook book, Totally Dairy-Free Cooking. Don't worry, just because you're cooking fancy food, we won't think you're a descendent of French aristocracy. [Josie's Restaurant and Juice Bar is located at 300 Amsterdam Avenue (74th Street), New York, NY 10023.]

After leaving Northern Exposure, Morrow has appeared in films such as Quiz Show (1994), Last Dance (1996), Mother (1996), and in the made-for-TV movies, The Day Lincoln Was Shot (1998), starred opposite Marisa Tomei in the CBS/Hallmark Entertainment mini-series, Only Love (1998). Morrow has also appeared in The Emperor's Club (2002), and The Guru (2002).

He performed in the theatrical adaptation of William Wharton's novel, Birdy, in London's West End and three independent features: Into My Heart (1998) with Claire Forlani, Labor Pains (2000) with Kyra Sedgwick and Mary Tyler Moore, and Other Voices (2000) with Stockard Channing and Campbell Scott. He wrote and made his directorial debut with the short film The Silent Alarm (1993), which premiered at the 1993 Seattle Film Festival and shown at festivals around the world and in rotation on Bravo. He appeared in the TV movies, The Thin Blue Lie (2000); Sam the Man (2000); and Jenifer (2001) about a woman with ALS. He directed his first full-length feature from a script he co-wrote, Maze (2000). He co-stared with Laura Linney and Craig Scheffer, as an artist with Tourette's Syndrome.

Rob married Debbon Ayer in 1998. On April 25, 2001, they welcomed their first child, daughter Tu Simone Ayer Morrow.

In 2002, he starred in a short drama Night's Noontime, based on a true story of two 'remarkeble lunatics' trying to find the meaning of the word 'art' while confined in a mental asylum.In 2002, Morrow returned to TV in the Showtime series titled Street Time, as Kevin Hunter, a parolee who battles falling back into a life of crime while maintaining his family life. Morrow directed several episodes of Street Time as well as an episode of HBO's "Oz" (1997) and CBS's "Joan of Arcadia" (2003), which was created by NoEx writer Barbara Hall.

In the Spring 2005, Morrow returns to CBS in the mid-season replacement series "NUMB3RS." The show premiers on Jan 23, 2005 (and then settling in on Friday nights 9/10pm slot), Morrow stars as FBI agent Don Eppes, who recruits his mathematical genius brother, Charlie (David Krumholtz), to help the Bureau solve a wide range of challenging crimes in Los Angeles. From two very different perspectives, the brothers take on the most confounding criminal cases, aided by Don's partner, Terry Lake (Sabrina Lloyd), and new FBI recruit David Sinclair (Alimi Ballard). Although their father, Alan (Judd Hirsch), is pleased to see his sons working together, he fears their competitive nature will lead to trouble. Charlie's colleague, physicist Dr. Larry Fleinhardt (Peter MacNicol), urges Charlie to focus more on his university studies than on FBI business. Inspired by actual events, NUMB3RS depicts how the confluence of police work and mathematics provides unexpected revelations and answers to the most perplexing criminal questions.

At the end of 2004 into 2005, Morrow is heard as the voice of the Moving You Forward ad campaign for Toyota.

In addition to acting and directing, Rob is on the Board of Directors of Project ALS. Co-founded by Jenifer Estess, who was diagnosed with ALS in 1997, Project ALS is committed to funding the research necessary for finding effective treatments and a cure for people living with ALS, a fatal neuromuscular disease.

Morrow maintains a residence in New York City, where he is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theater , The New York Stage and Film Company and a founding member of the Naked Angels Theatre Company. In his spare time, he enjoys his long-time hobby of photography and has developed a new and unlikely obsession, golf, a sport he grudgingly learned in order to realistically portray the golf-obsessed Dr. Joel Fleischman. During the run of Northern Exposure, Morrow shot many behind-the-scenes photographs and published them in Northern Exposures, Morrow shares some of his favorite photos perfectly capture the surreal quality of this imaginative show and, along with the introduction and warm and personal reminiscences Rob has written, Northern Exposure offers a unique mix of real life and make believe that fans will love.

"Northern Exposure allowed me to be able to make a living doing the work I want to do. In terms of the experience of making it, it crystallized the process of acting and making films for me." - Rob Morrow

More fun facts about Rob Morrow

Rob got married to actress Debbon Ayer in 1998. Rob and Debbie welcomed their first child, daughter Tu Simone Ayer Morrow on 25 April 2001. The baby weighed 7lbs 3oz.

Was an extra as a jury member in court in a Saturday Night Live skit with Rodney Dangerfield as host.

Published a book of original photographs called "Northern Exposures". New York: Hyperion Books

Awards and Nominations:
-An independent film "Maze" that Rob wrote, directed and co-produced with wife Debbie" won the audience choice honerable mention award at Cinequest at the San Jose' Film Festival in March 2001 and it also won the AFI Fest New Directions Award - Special Mention.
-In 2000 at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival he won the President Award for Spirit of Independents.
-In 1992 and 1993 he was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for: "Northern Exposure" (1990).
-In 1992, 1993 & 1994 he was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Drama for: "Northern Exposure" (1990).

An independent film, Maze (2000), that he wrote, directed and co-produced with his wife, Debbon Ayer, won the Audience Choice--Honorable Mention award at Cinéquest at the San José Film Festival in March 2001, and it also won the AFI Fest New Directions Award--Special Mention.

The Emperor's Club interviews: Rob Morrow as Charles Ellerby

Rob Morrow is probably best known for his role as Dr. Joel Fleischman from TV's "Northern Exposure" and such films as Quiz Show, Mother, and Last Dance. Rob is currently starring in (and directing some episodes of) the Showtime series "Street Time".

How did you get associated with this film?

Kevin Kline and Rob Morrow in 'The Emperor's Club'I talked to Mike Hoffman... I was a fan of Ethan Canin, read a bunch of his stuff. He asked me to come and audition for the older Sedgewick. Then they asked if I'd do this [role instead]. I went to a school similar, so I always wanted to do a prep school movie. I had always wanted to work with Kevin, knowing him from New York. Knew Mike socially too, so always wanted to work with him. And then Ethan's material had really resonated with me. All his stuff.

How do you usually choose your projects?

I think it's a lot of luck, and it's what interests me. I am interested in these issues. It was no accident that Quiz Show was my first movie after "Northern Exposure". I had a lot of stuff come my way, but that seemed socially reflective. I'm into that. I learned a lot about morality from fiction, from movies. I'm into the idea of responsibility and edification and these things have found me and I have found them. I wanted to be in the movie and I made it known to Mike.

Who do you think is the best audience for this movie?

Rob Morrow in 'The Emperors Club'I know I'm the audience. I'd like to think that the notion of inspiration will transcend cultural things that are going on. There's something classic about this movie that I'm hoping reaches kids. I don't know if it's teenagers. College on for sure... I'm scared to say it cause it sounds like a family movie, but if my kid was 7, 8, 9 I would take her to this quickly and gladly! So the kids that still go to movies with their parents will see this. And I think it's very important that the movie is seen by a lot of people.

What kind of effects do you hope to see in viewers?

I love the idea of rectitude. It seems like we as a whole have swung to the other extreme away. (Scandals with the Catholic church, business scandals, political scandals). These are classic, perennial ideals we are dealing with. If it awakens in us as a whole how important that is--the theme of how conquest and ambition are meaningless without contribution--I think then as a society we're in better shape. I hope people are inspired to be the best.

Once this comes out on video and DVD, how do you think it can be used even further?

**joking** I see they can use it at the prep school I went to: "look what happened; he still wears the uniform!" It's the kind of movie you can show in schools. In terms of reflecting on what's important and why, I could see it being a great tool.

Editor's Note: See MovieMission.com for a short study guide from Fuller Seminary.

Do you think a prep school environment is good for kids?

Scene from 'The Emperor's Club'The school I went to, [a] Junior Prep, was great! In my case, I think it saved me. It gave me a structure and focus (I came from a divorced family). I was a ne'er-do-well big time. I was a Sedgewick without the smarts. It infused its way into me and I feel like it formed my character in a big way because of what I was exposed to. [In] a lot of these schools, these kids are from families where the parents couldn't be around. So, in that case, I think it's perfect. But it's idealistic and oppressive too.

Do you find yourself looking back at films from the '30s or '40s and studying where Hollywood has been and where it is headed?

I consider myself a student of Hollywood. I see lots of cycles, for sure. There's the whole post-Star Wars era, but I don't think it's the whole story. It's kind of dovetailed with vertical integration to create these juggernaut entities known as blockbuster movies. But I don't think they overshadow everything because the fact that this was made for next to nothing relatively is a good thing. It's a good time to be making movies, despite the cynicism people have about Hollywood. They made this one.

Rob Morrow: One on One

Doing time on the streets is not something easy for Morrow in his Showtime series. His Kevin Hunter character seems to end up in prison too much.

Warning: this roller coaster does not slow down to let passengers exit ... and that is exactly what "Street Time" is. It's a Showtime entertainment ride in the form of a crime drama, a fast-paced hour fueled by emotion. Once one enters, there's no time to think about turning back.

The gritty series is about parole officers who work for the United States Probation Department and the lawbreakers who come under their watchful eyes after spending time locked up for various crimes.

Scott Cohen stars as James Liberti, an officer on the edge of sanity because of problems with his wife that stem from his gambling and their kinky sex habits. The stress of his overall life often causes Liberti's temper to flare up with the same force level as the Vesuvius volcanic eruption that buried Pompeii in 79 AD.

Rob Morrow stars as Kevin Hunter, a fairly decent chap who always thinks that he can provide a little extra security for his wife and two children with another illegal drug deal, an occupational hazard that lands him back in prison on a parole violation after he just finished serving five years in Federal prison for smuggling Mary Jane.

I got a chance to preview the advance screener for "Lockdown" last week, a "Street Time" episode scheduled to debut on Wednesday, August 20 at 10pm on Showtime. In less than one hour of action, Liberti goes ballistic in the office when he thinks that his wife might be seeing someone, Hunter finds out that he won't be getting out of the joint anytime soon, and one young parolee considers using a box cutter to redesign his wrists because his fellow cons turned him into a floor whore. Morrow, who directed the episode, agreed to talk with me about that episode, the series and how it affects him as an actor. Our interview follows.

The Rob Morrow Interview with Tony Bray

It's been tough getting viewers to notice your show.

We've been up against it in terms of getting the word out there, but I'm feeling a momentum growing. I personally love doing the show. The feedback I've been getting is that it really should have a life.

The writing on "Street Time" is as good as it gets. In the "Lockdown" episode you directed, a misplaced pen becomes the instrument that ties characters together.

That's funny you said that. I wrote that actual part. I called my office in New York and asked them to send me any pens with the word Liberty on them. The script called for any pen. It ended up being a little McGuffin, something associated with Liberti.

You don't find planning like that on many shows.

The series has the flexibility to allow us to evolve the scripts even as we are shooting the scenes. That's rarely done in television work. It's even rare in the movies these days. If you come up with something that works, you get to see it for the first time on film. There's a real energy about it.

Has anybody ever told you that you almost need a valium to watch Scott Cohen's scenes as Liberti. We're talking major intensity.

Just wait. You don't even know, man. This season he is totally wild. "Lockdown" was just the beginning for him. He is really good.

Terrence Dashon Howard really impressed me the moment he joined "Street Time." He will be a major star.

I agree. He's just coming on. I couldn't tell where he was coming from in the beginning, but by the third episode I got a good vibe about what he was doing and where his character is going. We are shooting episode nine now. His story has emerged and he gets more and more interesting to me. He's the real deal.

"Street Time" interests me because it is socially relevant. The scenes shot in Liberti's waiting room with all those nervous parolees also remind me of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

That's exactly what it's like. The scene in "Lockdown" with the guy who kept going up to the window was totally Nurse Ratched time.

He was just plain nuts.

That guy was out there, wasn't he. I wish that I could have included half the stuff I had to cut out of that episode. We had stuff with that guy just bouncing off the walls.

All the actors in the waiting room were great.

I agree. We shoot in Toronto and most of our guest stars are from up here. They're just really good actors. They've learned a lot with so many television shows being shot in the area over the last ten years. There's a lot of theater work up here too. All of those actors are very well trained. I've been up here so long it's like a second home for me.

Your show also reminds me a lot of George C. Scott's 1963 series called "East Side, West Side." I hope "Street Time" doesn't get treated like his did.

I didn't know he ever did television.

His character was a social worker who tried to deal with controversial issues in the slums ... things like rape, abortion, hunger, poverty, violence. Viewers were not ready for the subject or Scott's intense work in the role. Help me convince readers that "Street Time" has the same care for its subject matter.

Most viewers who come back think that it is a thrill to watch the show. They end up on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what will happen next. They can't wait to see the next episode. Even when I was doing "Northern Exposure" that series did not get the reaction I get from people who watch "Street Time." Because the characters are so unusual, people get interested in them. My character, Kevin Hunter, is marginally on the wrong side of the law, but is still basically a good person. He loves his family, would put his life on the line for them in a second.

He's like a non-violent criminal who should be monitored with a bracelet instead of locked up in the slammer at taxpayer's expense.

Absolutely. If you look at the Rockefeller laws in New York, this show smacks right in the face of all that stuff. Black and white thinking is too antiquated. We live in a multi-hued world and need to acknowledge that in our remedies. Our show is not out there to change the system, but it was created by Richard Stratton, who lived the life. As far as I know, it is the first crime drama to be created by someone from the other side of the tracks. David E. Kelley was a lawyer.

Stratton basically lived my character's life, which results in a roundness for all the characters. Nobody on our show is a hero. Yet, everyone is the hero. Everyone is human. Viewers can empathize with them. Liberti at his worse still commands empathy. He cares, but he is troubled.

Even though Keven Hunter gets into more and more problems this year, you can understand it. That's the way life is sometimes. He can try to be the good guy, but ends up in a predicament that causes him to make the wrong choice, one that starts a chain reaction that can last a lifetime. Our show really captures the human dilemma in a dramatic, entertaining way.

I think all of us on the show believe in the potential of people for rehabilitation versus the lock 'em up and throw away the key mentality. If ever anything I was associated with had a social impact, I would feel like a real success.

All of us on the show came together in strange ways. It wasn't until we were shooting the pilot that we realized we all had the same feelings. We started to take what was on paper and make it better through execution. We said "wow, this is unique." It felt sort of like Cassavettes time, but on a budget.

I think your show provides a weekly dose of David Mamet.

I've been trying to get David to watch the show. I had another project with him that I was producing, a television series. It fell through. Mamet is a big influence on me. Sometimes I write some stuff on the show, take a step back and go, "that's just cheap Mamet."

Do you get time to do much theater work anymore?

I directed a little play this spring that was part of the Naked Angels theater company that I have been involved with forever. I'm just waiting for a Mamet play to pop up. Just waiting for some good revivals to come along. I need to do theater work.

The sad thing about the web site for Naked Angels is the fact that millions of browsers with kid filters will block out the site because of the name.

That never occurred to me, but you're right. It's a brand name almost. We're about thirteen years old.

Before we end this, I'd like to compliment you on the episode you directed. It moves so fast it almost takes your breath away.

It moved fast. It had a good script. The cool thing is that I'm so inside the series that I can move in ways that other directors can't. I know the actors so intimately from working with them. I know the camera department so well. It's fun. I feel grateful. I learn a lot. The whole way of working comes from Marc Levin, who I consider to be a creator de facto. He's a documentary filmmaker who has a great way of finding the key moment for a scene and then building the whole scene around it. I've taken from that example and use it whenever I'm directing.

Like the pen bringing Liberti and the kid Phillip back together again. Even when Phillip is fixing Liberti's PC, Liberti is reminding him that what he is doing violates his parole.

We deal with the ambiguities at every possible turn. Whenever we can find an ambiguity in something, we try to express it.

Last question. Do you think that the subject matter and graphic nature of the show might turn off viewers who really need to pay attention to what you are saying every week?

It's not "Little House on the Prairie." It will be limited because of that. It's not for everyone. I don't let my sixteen and thirteen-year-old nieces watch it. I hope though that people who deal with or around law enforcement matters check it out, maybe go away with some food for thought.

They should if they aren't already brain dead. You have a great show. I will be watching and encouraging my readers to do the same.


I hope you direct some more. Your episode was like a train that left the station and never slowed down.

I'm just getting ready to direct another episode next week. It will be the third one I've done overall. You mentioned the train thing. The whole season will be like that. Around episode five it starts going so fast that viewers will be losing their breath.

I'll be one of them. Thanks for so much of your valuable time.

Thank you, Tony.

Rob Morrow Stung by Contract "Exposure"

Things seem to be back to normal in Cicely, Alaska--or at least as normal as it can get in the fictional outback town that is the setting for the quirky CBS hit "Northern Exposure." The owls are hooting, the moose is walking through town and Chris-in-the-morning, the philosophical radio deejay, is back on the mike spouting his metaphysical sayings to the oddball residents.

But perhaps more important, the doctor is in--although it looked for a while as if he might be out for a long time. Rob Morrow, who was just nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of Joel Fleischman, the yuppie New York doctor reluctantly spending his residency in Cicely in return for the financing of his education, said last week that he is "happily" back at work on episodes for the fall season after resolving a contract dispute with Universal Television and CBS.

News stories reported that he was seeking to increase his salary of about $20,000 per episode to $45,000 and that he staged a 12-day strike when his demands were not met. Universal filed a breach-of-contract suit against him, and rumors that he might be replaced began circulating. Saying he was stung by the "erroneous" reports, Morrow made a house call to Los Angeles late last week from the show's Washington state location to counter the perception that he was greedy and unappreciative about a show that turned him from a struggling unknown into a star. He also said he received support from his co-stars and that the dispute has not resulted in any tension on the set.

"I would say about 75% of what was reported was erroneous in terms of figures and requests," Morrow said as he munched a pepper-laden salad near the pool of the St. James Club in West Hollywood. "I mean, I didn't miss one single day of work. Not a minute. I was characterized as someone who was not grateful or was biting the hand, which was so off the mark. There were many extenuating circumstances." Morrow and officials for Universal and CBS have refused to discuss specifics of the settlement, or how much of a raise Morrow received, but Morrow said all parties are pleased.

But when asked if he had been prepared to leave the show if no agreement could be reached, Morrow paused. "I don't know if I should talk about it," he said quietly. He said that he never told the studio he would walk out but that "the inference that I was very serious was there. I guess that was implied through my attorneys." In Morrow's case, the situation was difficult for producers and the studios because of the nature of the show.

When the series started out, it was largely about Fleischman and his "fish-out-of-water" predicament. But it has evolved into more of an ensemble drama, although Morrow remained an important part of the ensemble. "If Rob had not reported back to work, it would have created production problems," said co-executive producer Joshua Brand. "I was distressed professionally and personally. I do think the series could have survived without Rob, just as it would survive without me or other people here. It's not a single-lead show. But I wasn't hoping to find out if I was right or wrong."

As he discussed his dispute, Morrow seemed to have left his days as a struggling New York-based actor far behind him. He also appeared to be the complete opposite of Fleischman. His outfit, from his small-brimmed fedora to his intricate leather sandals, was black. His left ear was adorned with two earrings--one dangling, one a diamond stud. Only a few years ago, Morrow probably would not have been seen inside the swanky St. James Club. His biggest credits before "Northern Exposure" were a Johnny Depp film, "Private Resort," and a role in the 1988-89 NBC series "Tattingers." He was so deeply in debt and unable to make ends meet as an actor, but agreed to lower his asking price when he was offered "Northern Exposure." He said he made a long-term commitment because of his belief in the series.

Explaining why he took such a hard line soon after the turning point of his career, he said, "You have to look at the whole history of television, you have to look at the nature of a television contract, what the life of an actor is like as far as the uncertainty. You have to look at where I was when I made the contract." In addition, he said, he is so closely identified by the public with Fleischman that he may have difficulty getting work for a while after the series came to an end. Most of all, Morrow insisted, he he felt he had to renegotiate a contract that he considered something of a "Faustian pact" that he made when he was first offered the show, which premiered in 1990.

"Everyone entered into the show the sense of taking a personal risk," Morrow said. "I believe in that. I really strongly believe in sacrifice and in being a team player. If you believe in something and it hits, you get rewarded in the back end. If it doesn't, that's life." He added, "This wasn't a case of an actor saying, 'I'm a big star now, the show's a hit, give me whatever I want.' It was not about that. I just wanted to be brought up to at least the low side of someone who does what I do. I'm nowhere near the excessive level. Not even close."

He argued that his salary should not be considered out of context from the rest of his career. "If you amortize what I've made over the last 11 years, the figure is not all that impressive," Morrow said. "Plus now I have agents, I have publicists, I have accountants. I have, like, a company. That's easily 20% off the top." Morrow noted that he still receives less that many television stars. "There are performers who get $100,000 to $600,000 per episode, and they work less of workweek than I do." Mark Linn-Baker and Bronson Pinchot of ABC's "Perfect Strangers" make about $70,000 per episode. Ted Danson of NBC's "Cheers" reportedly makes about $250,000 per episode. In 1985, it was reported that Gavin MacLeod was making about $58,000 an episode for "The Love Boat" while John Forsythe of "Dynasty" was making roughly $62,500 per episode. At the high end, Tom Selleck was making about $200,000 for an episode of "Magnum, P.I."

Morrow is just the latest in a long line of celebrities who became stars in a successful series and then demanded more money. Michael Chiklis, star of ABC's "The Commish," was also threatening to walk off his show if his salary were not raised. He reportedly withdrew his demand when officials threatened to take the show off the air. Brand said that he spoke to Morrow briefly only when it looked as though there would be an impasse in the bitter dispute.

"I just wanted to tell him that whatever happened, I thought it would be hurtful for the show," Brand said. "But I told him, not as a producer, but as a friend, that I thought it would be unfortunate for him, and that several years from now, he would question whether he was happy that he left the show."

So far, the controversy does not seem to have affected the atmosphere on the set between cast members, Brand said. Janine Turner, who portrays Maggie, an independent bush pilot who is reluctantly attracted to Fleishman, said, "I feel that Rob and I have a respectful and rewarding relationship together.... We all have a lovely ensemble family bond and chemistry. I would hate to see that messed up. As far as I'm concerned, this will not strain things." Morrow said that he didn't sense misgivings on the first day of shooting.

"I think people are supportive. I think we're all in the same boat up here. They benefited from me taking a stand." Right now, Morrow just wants the episode to blow over. "I'm just someone who loves to act; I hope people like my work. I feel really fortunate to be making a living at what I chose, and I hope that's how people think of me."

Rob Morrow stars in the new TV series 'Numb3rs'

Rob Morrow had seen all the usual TV scripts with cops and courts and comedy and such.

Then came "Numb3rs," which caught him by surprise. "I didn't know that math was a hook for a mass audience," he says.

Hey, anything is possible. Small-town Alaska was a TV favorite in Morrow's "Northern Exposure."

Now "Numb3rs" -- yes it's spelled that way -- links math and crime fighting. It premieres at about 9 p.m. Jan. 23 on CBS after football's AFC championship game. Then it gets a regular spot at 9 p.m. Fridays after "JAG."

This show spans two worlds via brothers.

One is an ace FBI agent named Don Eppes, played by Morrow. The role is a change for him. "It's fun to play the heroic guy who knows what he's doing," he says.

The other brother, Charlie Eppes, is a math whiz who helps with cases. He's played by David Krumholtz, which is pretty good for a guy who says he was very bad at math as a kid.

"I was the kid in algebra class who had no idea what's going on. ... I always thought it should be an optional class, like gym."

Now the 26-year-old has to seem passionate about it as he uses mathematical equations to help his brother hunt criminals.

Some of the chalkboard close-ups uses Krumholtz's stunt double, a math student. For the rest, he's on his own.

"Numb3rs" is CBS' latest effort to increase ratings by employing filmmakers with impressive credentials.

The network has already scored with Jerry Bruckheimer's "CSI," "Without a Trace," "Cold Case" and "Amazing Race." Now it has "Numb3rs," produced by Tony Scott (who directed Bruckheimer's "Top Gun") and his brother Ridley (who directed "Gladiator").

Morrow is accustomed to working with Hollywood veterans. Robert Redford cast him as the star of the acclaimed movie "Quiz Show."

For Krumholtz, however, meeting the Scotts was imposing. "I've always been a big film fan," he says. "I've always been a little too starstruck."

When he was 16, Krumholtz was in both a TV series (as David Schwimmer's brother in "Monty") and a movie (as Bernard the elf in "The Santa Clause").

The TV show failed, but the movie and its sequel soared. "When you meet a 4-year-old and to him you actually are Bernard, you take that seriously," Krumholtz says.

Hollywood soon saw him as a rarity -- a young guy with perfect comedy timing. He did three more series, "Chicago Sons," "The Closer" and "The Trouble With Normal."

Then it all faded. "There was a period of time where I was auditioning for a lot of the biggest comedies and I couldn't get one."

Krumholtz did lots of independent movies. He was surprised to be cast in two "ER" episodes as a slasher. "I didn't know if I would always be remembered as the guy who killed Kellie Martin and almost killed Noah Wyle."

Then came two drama series -- last year's "The Lyons Den" and now "Numb3rs."

While Krumholtz's character is furiously thinking and scribbling, Morrow gets to chase and fight. "Late in life, I'm getting into the physical scenes," he says.

Morrow, 42, grew up comfortably in suburban New York, went to college "for a minute," and then jumped into acting. "Northern Exposure," with Morrow as a big-city type reluctantly working as a doctor in small-town Alaska, opened quietly in 1990 and became a cult favorite.

Most recently, he was playing a troubled parolee in the Showtime series "Street Time." Now he moves to the law-and-order side.

He had plenty of current or former FBI agents advising him.

"They seem like a lot of regular guys," Morrow says. "The whole (J. Edgar) Hoover image is really an anachronism."

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