‘Blue Bloods’ Star Tom Selleck Explains Why the Series Family Dinner Scenes Are Not ‘The Waltons’

by Josh Lanier
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The Reagans’ weekly dinners are a staple of Blue Bloods. And an episode isn’t complete until the family has sat down and hashed out the family business. But Tom Selleck said while it sounds wholesome, the show isn’t The Waltons.

These family dinners can get heated, he told CBS This Morning in 2017.

“Our best ones, and oddly enough, our most emotional ones, are when we fight,” Selleck, who plays the Reagan family patriarch.

Selleck added that that the dinners also provide the audience with a secret. The dinners aren’t a recap of the show, but the audience knows that what’s transpired earlier in the episode will get hashed out at the dinner — for good or ill. So, it provides a tension lever for each episode.

This Morning co-host Gayle King was curious if the appeal of the family dinners in Blue Bloods was nostalgia or wish fulfillment.

“I think some had it and don’t anymore (and) some never had it and wish they did,” Selleck said. “I think, mostly in our culture, it doesn’t happen anymore.”

But Bridget Moynahan, who plays Erin Reagan, said she’s heard from families who make it a weekly tradition. They’ll have a large family meal then sit down to watch Blue Bloods together.

First ‘Blue Bloods’ Shoot Was A Dinner Scene

Bridget Moynahan told The Early Show in 2011 that the first thing they shot for Blue Bloods was a dinner scene. It was a trial by fire for the cast because this was the first time some of them had met, she said.

“Our first day all together was a family scene. We shook hands, introduced ourselves, and dove right into our relationships,” Moynahan said.

Tom Selleck joked it was a bit unfair, almost as if the producers were pranking them.

“The family dinner scene was our first day at work. So it was kind of ‘How do you do, we’re family,’” he added.

Interestingly, while it was the first thing they shot for the show, Selleck assumed it would be the first thing CBS would cut out of it. He never believed the dinner scenes would make it into the final pilot edit. But executive producer Leonard Goldberg told him to prepare to eat crow … or whatever they would be serving the cast each week. The dinner scenes weren’t just staying in.

“I met with Leonard – I knew Leonard – for the show and read the script. I said, ‘You know what I really like in this thing is this family dinner. But it’s about eight pages long and the network’s going to cut that out right?’” Selleck said in a 2017 interview. “And he said, ‘No, that is a set piece of the show. So that was a deliberate design of Leonard’s from day one.”

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