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Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for Radio Free Entertainment
March 27, 2007

Unlike most TV shows that only use the internet to broadcast reruns, CBS' Ghost Whisperer has been embracing the medium to enhance both its storyline and the viewer experience. For the second season of the hit TV drama about a young woman named Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) who communes with spirits and helps them resolve unfinished business with the living, the show creators have developed a series of independent webisodes called Ghost Whisperer: The Other Side. These episodic serials tell a story from the perspective of a spirit, and will lead up to and cross over with the climactic finale of Ghost Whisperer's sophomore season. The result is original and exclusive web content that isn't required viewing to understand the television show, but rather a bonus option that will add another layer and that much more depth for fans who choose to explore the internet side of the series.

We had the wonderful opportunity to speak to Ghost Whisperer star and producer Jennifer Love Hewitt about the show's landmark second season and its upcoming finale. As usual, she lives up to her reputation of being one of the bubbliest, earnest, and sweetly entertaining of interviews. We were also able to speak to series producers Ian Sander and Kim Moses earlier in the day, who gave us a glimpse into the show's creative endeavors and a guided tour of the set at Universal Studios, from Melinda's house to the iconic town square also used in Back to the Future's classic clocktower sequence.

In this first half of our two-part interview, Jennifer Love Hewitt talks about the evolution of the show and her character, Melinda's relationship with her husband Jim (David Conrad), and alleged hauntings on set.

Enter our Ghost Whisperer Giveaway to win the third season on DVD!

The Interview

MEDIA: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview.

JENNIFER: Yeah, sure!

We heard you had a long night of work...

JENNIFER: Yeah, it was long. But it was good.

Are you ready to just relax and finally take a break?

JENNIFER: Oh boy, you can't even imagine. Yeah, I'm really excited. [laughs] Really excited not to talk to the dead for a small amount of time and chill out. [laughs]

In retrospect, how did working on the second season of Ghost Whisperer differ from the first season?

JENNIFER: Ummm...It's different on a lot of levels. I think it was more exciting, even, than the first season. Because the first season, there's so much of it that I don't remember, to be honest. It was just like, "Wait a minute, the show's actually going to be on television? People are actually watching it?" And I was so nervous and kind of in this fog the first season. I was still figuring out who Melinda was and what she was going to be and what it all meant, and playing a wife for the first time, and sort of all of those things--it was kind of overwhelming. So there's so much of the first season that like...Because sometimes I'll sit and try to remember things, and I'm like, "I just don't remember doing that. I have no idea what I did that month." [laughs] So this year, I got to be more present in it, because Melinda, for me, was sort of taken care of. I knew kind of who she was and who I wanted her to be, and so I could relax into her a little bit and have more fun with her. And we knew all the ghost stuff, we knew kind of what it was like for her to talk to the dead, where she had come from, and all of those things. So I got to play around more with her sense of humor...So it was just fun. It was nice to sort of get to be a little more relaxed.

How would you like to see Melinda change or grow as a character?

JENNIFER: I'd like to see her stick up for herself, once, when somebody slams the door in her face. [laughs] That's always my thing! I'm like, "Can't I be more feisty?" And they're like, "No, you're a nice person." I'm like, "I know, but still!" Because people are always like, [sarcastically] "Oh, you're the best. Can you really help us with your gift?" Slam. "You're full of baloney and a fake." And she's always like, [politely] "That's okay, I'll come back tomorrow." That's where Melinda and I are very different. If it was me, I'd be like, [screaming] "Open the door!" [laughs] So I'd like to see her get to stick up for herself a little bit more.

And what changes in direction would you like to see plot-wise?

JENNIFER: You know, I'm always shocked. Even with our season finale, I was shocked as to sort of where things were going. And you know, they keep me surprised as much as the audience, sort of, with what Melinda's life is and everything. You know, I'd like to (and we've kind of talked about it) get to do more with kids and her. Because I think that interaction is really special. And it's fun for me as an actor, because I just love kids. But it's fun to see Melinda with children, because I think part of what makes Melinda unique and special is that to be able to do what she does, she does have to have a sort of innocence that isn't captured in most grown up people. And I think there's a part of her that's still the 5-year-old whose grandmother's kind of saying, "You do this weird thing. You can talk to dead people." And she kind of goes around the earth every day as sort of this 5-year-old trapped in a 30-year-old body, which I think is kind of neat. So I hope that we get to do more stuff with kids. I really like doing that stuff.

Female fans often clamor about Melinda being married to the perfect man...

JENNIFER: I know. He's perfect, isn't he? It's terrifying. I know. [laughs]

How do you feel about the overall fan reaction to Jim and Melinda's chemistry?

JENNIFER: It's great. I think people love Jim and Melinda's marriage. And I love Jim and Melinda's marriage, particularly selfishly for Melinda, because I think that...You know, normally it's the guy in the relationship who sort of puts on the superhero cape and goes out into the world during the day. And Jim does that being a paramedic and doing what he does for a living and saving people's lives. But in this relationship, Melinda's kind of Superman, you know? And she sort of goes out and she has to be a million things for a million people all day long. And then when she comes home, I think it's great that she has this person who is completely willing to just let her be a girl, and be supportive of her, and he's the only person that doesn't ever think she's a freak. And he's just such a kind of...I don't know. He's her hero, and I think that that's really neat. And the audience has enjoyed that a lot. I get so many women that walk up and they're like, "You are so lucky to be married to that man!" [laughs] I'm like, [sheepishly] "I'm not really married to him." [laughs] But they really like it, and it's fun. And I think for David and I, it's fun, too, because finally on television, there's actually a good marriage. You know, we have all these stats out there in the world right now about marriage not going so hot for us as a whole. And then on television you watch it, and the marriages are either falling apart or they're fighting about this or they're fighting about that. And that's stuff that happens in real life. So it's nice on TV to sort of go, "You know what? Jim and Melinda have those arguments off camera, and here's just a really good marriage." And hopefully we inspire people to want to get married instead of want to run from their marriage. [laughs]

And how's your own chemistry with David?

JENNIFER: Our chemistry is great. I adore David. He's a great guy. And from the first audition...It's funny, I read with a bunch of people, and he was the first person. He came in and he had something on his shirt. And I'll never forget it, because I was like, "What is that on your shirt?" And he just looked at me and he's like, "You are so my wife!" [laughs] And I was like, "Well..." And ever since, I've picked on him. So it's good. It works. [laughs]

To flip things around, certainly male fans must be coming up to David and saying that Melinda's the perfect wife...

JENNIFER: No, I don't think they feel that way! [laughs] She's always gone. I mean, maybe in the nightgown scenes they feel that way, but other than that...Ummm... [laughs] I think Melinda tries really hard to be the best wife possible, but you know...Her world is a little bogged down with other things. She wins wife of the year half the time, I think. [laughs]

What has been your experience with alleged hauntings on the set?

JENNIFER: I think it's really cool. I think it's exciting. And yeah, we've had all kinds of things happen. My make-up artist...We took a picture of her and she had sort of this white film over her face. And then we took a picture of her ten minutes later and there was nothing. And we had [consultant and medium James Van Praagh] sort of look at it, and he was like, "Yeah, absolutely, there's a ghost attached to her." We've had lights explode. That's Jay Mohr's favorite story, because he's so excited that it was his head that it exploded over. Why...Who in the world would be excited about glass exploding over their head? No one but Jay Mohr. But he's very excited about that. And then yeah, the ghosts sort of showing up...I've had them show up around me a lot on film. I think it's exciting. I think it's neat. And you know, for people who don't believe, if it's just a weird sort of coincidence, that's kind of cool. And for people like me who do believe, I feel like...You know, we tell their stories every week. The spirits are really the star of the show, and if they stop by to say, "Hey, thanks," and make an appearance every now and then, it's their show, they should. [laughs] So I think it's cool.

Do you think they're the spirits of old Universal actors?

JENNIFER: [laughs] Probably! Who have been out of work for a long time, and they're like, "God darn it!" [laughs] Yeah. [gestures to our surroundings] This is supposed to be the most haunted stage, by the way, so enjoy yourselves. [laughs]

Continue to Part 2 of our Ghost Whisperer interview with Jennifer...

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