LOS ANGELES - Rick Schroder's explanation yesterday for his departure from NYPD Blue after 2 1/2 seasons - "There's no story, there's no big drama" - was lucid and clear-eyed.
"It was a personal decision, a time-management decision," Schroder explained to the nation's television press assembled at Pasadena's Ritz Carlton. "I'm about to have a fourth baby [due in eight weeks], and I had to prioritize."
A season of NYPD Blue represents a 9 1/2 -month shoot, and Schroder, who lives with his family in Arizona and Colorado, simply didn't want to devote that much time to being in Los Angeles, he explained.
"One-hour television is consuming work. It's hard, hard work, and it doesn't leave much time for anything else," he said.
"I had a great 2 1/2 years, and I'm grateful for the opportunities that [series creators] Steven Bochco and David Milch gave me," continued Schroder, who was appearing to promote an upcoming A&E World War I docudrama, The Lost Battalion.
"I loved everybody there. [NYPD Blue] did great things for me - I have a different career because of it. I'll miss my character very much."
Still, he added, "There are other stories to tell, there are other characters to play," he added.
He declined to suggest how his character's storyline might be resolved, but he would reveal his impending infant's gender: "It's a girl, at least if the ultrasound is correct." Schroder also has two boys, ages 9 and 8, and a 5-year-old daughter.
Tuesday afternoon in Pasadena, Naomi Judd presided over a presentation diplomatically described by journalists as "bizarre" and "spooky."
Judd, the former country singer who will be host of a series featuring self-empowering homilies on the Women's Entertainment Channel, Between Us With Naomi Judd, wandered offstage and into the press area, and delivered a rambling, extended monologue that recalled the scene in Nashville where the country singer implodes onstage at Opryland.
Referring to something she called "butt-extender food," Judd added, apropos of nothing, "Sometimes Wynonna, Ashley and I call it the fourth food group: sour cream, butter, whipped cream, chocolate. So this is the deal. I'm sort of perceived as a country artist. I have no idea what this is, I just hope it's all true. But, actually, I've been to the city a few times, and I think Americans are going to be really shocked when they find out what I've been up to the last 10 years.
"What happened was when I was told I had three stinking years to live, because of an illness, I went on a voyage of self-discovery, sir. And I've been hanging out with all these brilliant experts in all these other fields: behavioral therapists, psychologists, brainiacs, you know? Molecular biologists. Some of my best friends are Nobel Prize laureates. Who'd have thought it? I wrote a song called `Big Bang Boogie' actually, that's on our last CD."
She tried to tell a joke: "You know why they call it mad cow disease? I mean PMS? Because mad cow disease was already taken."
She spoke of the importance of self-esteem: "Why do us girls pick these slime buckets? 'Cause that's where their self-esteem is at the time," and launched into a tale of when she lived in "Holly-weird" and left a "psycho" who "beat the crap out of me." "Escaped there that night with my little kids crying in their jammies," she recalled.
As for her show, when asked, Judd couldn't really describe it - she wasn't sure whether she'd have guests or not - except that it wouldn't be like Oprah, even though, naturally, she loves Oprah dearly.
"I'm not an expert," she declared. "I mean, I don't do June Cleaver. Uh-uh. I wouldn't even watch The Donna Reed Show when I was growing up. But I think there's a certain enlightened imperfection. I think the fact that I've been a nurse, I raised the kids alone, I've been on welfare, I'm a victim of domestic violence, been in the homes of the rich and famous and kings and queens and all that far end of the spectrum - but yet, I also hang out with rednecks in trailers - gives me a very authentic take."
Who would think to argue?