‘Scandal’: George Newbern Predicts B613 Unit Will Survive

“I don’t know exactly where the writers are going with it, but I suspect that B613 will survive no matter what. It will just take on a different form."


george newbern

George Newbern has been getting a lot of strange looks lately.

“People my age know me from FATHER OF THE BRIDE, as being the guy that marries the girl, and they [usually] want to come up and talk to me,” the SCANDAL star says.

“But now they kind of recoil a little.  They seem to be like, ‘I am a little scared of you.  I like you but I am not sure I should like you.’”

Two decades after arriving in Hollywood, the Northwestern alum is has stumbled upon a whole new level of fame as “Charlie” — a contract killer for the top secret B613 black ops program.

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“It’s actually gold for an actor to get to play a role where people are kind of repulsed but at the same time attracted to them,” he tells me.

With just two episodes left before the season 3 finale, George says he’s guessing the fictional CIA-funded program will ultimately live on — despite attempts by Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) to bring it down.

“I don’t know exactly where the writers are going with it, but I suspect that B6-13 will survive no matter what.  It will just take on a different form.  And they will still call it that because it is such a catchy title.  It sounds like a vitamin, right?”

I spoke with George yesterday as he was on his way to preview tonight’s episode.

Here’s more of what he had to share:

Where would you like to see the B613 storyline go?
Gosh, you know… I think that they need to keep the tension sort of alive.  I think that B6-13 and the sort of motives that they have running, they have to keep that running because it feeds the story and feeds the characters and has created the backdrop for all of this beautiful, sexy soapy stuff that we do.

The show has changed so much since it started.  Some people are very grossed out by the violence…
It is a really different show. I think that, kind of like with LOST, I don’t think they knew exactly what the show was and it sort of became its own animal.  Then they sort of massaged it and worked on it as it was happening.  Sometimes it becomes a little more about the characters and sometimes it is more Washington spy intrigue.  I think that is the genius of [creator Shonda Rhimes] and those writers.  They are listening to the audience’s response to the show and creating this sort of cool amalgam of styles and worlds.

This show is becoming a game changer for you…
It’s true.  I have been out in LA for 23 years and I have done everything from nice guys to animated stuff.  I have played bad guys here and there.  Some of the movies have been big, but this show in particular has been such a great thing for me career-wise because it is great quality and it is being seen by people.  I have always been on series that stay on for a year and die.  So it is lovely to finally get a little traction after being here for so long.  It is a little bit of catching lightning in a bottle.  You can do great work for a long time, but if nobody sees it, but t doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t help you make a living.  This has been a pure gift.

Do your kids watch SCANDAL?
My 11 year-old boy does not watch.  But my two teenagers do.  It is not appropriate family viewing.  You have got to do a lot of explaining.  But I think it is a guilty pleasure for a lot of people.

What can we look forward to in the last two episodes?
Lets just say the love triangle between gets very uncomfortable.  And by the time we get to the finale, the whole show kind of gets turned in on itself and goes in another direction — as it should.  That is the way you have to keep moving with this animal.  You can never stay in the same place.  People constantly want to be surprised and moved.  So you can’t stay in that one place at all.  But it is really cool what they do.

Do you look ahead at scripts and find out what is going to happen?
We all sit at the table reading each week and everyone gets the script right then.  No one gets it ahead of time.  We all sit there and turn each page together.  Shonda doesn’t let anyone read ahead.  They should put a camera on that each week.  It is hilarious.

Are you surprised that a Disney-owned network is broadcasting a show where characters are having their teeth ripped out with pliers and being tortured with power tools?
A little bit. Disney definitely has a different side of its distribution arm that looks the other way.  This show is great adult entertainment.  It is certainly not [traditional] Disney fare.

What was your life like when you first arrived in Hollywood?
I went to Northwestern [University] in Chicago.  I was a theater major.  David Schwimmer was in my class.  And Dermot Mulroney.  And Steven Colbert. We all came out to LA around the same time and just started pounding the pavement.  I was lucky to get a couple of cool jobs up front.  Then you go through periods of drought, of course.  It is feast and famine.

So wait…they were all your friends in college?
Yes!  And Laura Linney was in my dorm.  She was my suite mate.  But she transferred to Brown after freshman year.

Were you sleeping on David Schwimmer’s couch when he was making $2 a week on FRIENDS?
No.  I worked a little more than he did when he first came out.  He didn’t hit it until about 6 or 7 years before he had been here.  I was lucky enough to get some more work up front.  But he eventually came into it pretty good.

Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at TheTVPage.com
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly