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Courteney Cox admits that "Cougar Town" is helping her to get her through the rough times she's experienced since her separation from husband David Arquette, calling the show her "saving grace." She also talks during the Television Critics Association press tour about her former "Friends," daughter Coco and how age makes her more sensitive to all the scrutiny.
ETonline: How do you keep ending up in shows with great ensemble casts?
Courteney Cox: It is the only way to have a show. There is no great show that doesn't have a great ensemble surrounding it. "Cougar Town" has always been an ensemble show. The show went from me spending time with outside characters a week at a time to the concept of me spending time with my friends. These interesting characters are going to be here every week anyway. That is why the story changed.
ETonline: When Jennifer Aniston came on, did it feel like old times, or have you moved past that?
Courteney Cox: It just felt like fun. It didn't feel like Monica and Rachel at all, which is great because our characters are so different. But it felt natural and we had a ball.
ETonline: Will she be back?
Courteney Cox: I doubt it. Maybe. She literally did, I think, four movies this year, so she is just going to be …
ETonline: Any other stars you would like to have return?
Courteney Cox: I loved working with Lisa [Kudrow]. That was fun, too.
ETonline: Have you seen Matt LeBlanc's new series, "Episodes"?
Courteney Cox: I haven't, but I can't wait to see it. I just saw him on a bus and he looked so cute. I will be watching it.
ETonline: How about Matthew Perry's show, "Mr. Sunshine"?
Courteney Cox: I can't wait. I hear it is great. He is replacing us for a while.
ETonline: Do you let your daughter watch this show?
Courteney Cox: If I say "yes," am I a bad mom? I do, and I tell her to close her eyes when it is inappropriate. She really thinks that Dan Byrd is her brother. She calls him Brownie. This is her family. She comes down here.
ETonline: Is it easier to do a comedy after doing "Friends" all those years? Is this less work, or do you have to really throw yourself into it?
Courteney Cox: This show is so much my passion, but so was "Friends." But now I am older. I think "Cougar Town" is written tailored for my personality. I am having a ball. The format is so different. Doing a filmed show is so different from doing a four or five-camera show. I like doing this. I am not huge on having an audience for some reason. It made me nervous, even in year 10, though, not always. I like that you have to have more than one chance at it. I like the changes all the time. Monday through Friday doing the same show all week, I would rather do a new scene every day and move on. But let me tell you something, I loved "Friends." I would have done another couple of years. That show was amazing. This is easier for me in some ways.
ETonline: Is it hard to find the comedy in some ways when you don't have the reinforcement of the studio audience?
Courteney Cox: Jennifer loves it. She was in New York last week doing a play reading. I thought, "Why would you do that? It is horrible." For me, it is too much pressure. I think I am a high anxiety person. I do better when there is a controlled number of people around me that I know and I feel safe and then I am free.
ETonline: You have been famous for quite a while now. Is it easy to deal with the trappings of celebrity, or do you still have to get used to all the media attention?
Courteney Cox: I think I am kind of used to it. But, I think, as I get older, I am more sensitive, so it might be harder in some ways. Also, because I love this show so much, I feel so thankful. I do take personally anything involved with this show. Also, my life is so crazy right now, so I am getting a lot of that. It is probably a little harder than it used to be. I think I didn't notice. [Exec Producer] Bill [Lawrence] says that I am on the Internet all the time. I am not. I actually barely know how to get on the Internet. I do care about the reviews of the show. I don't go searching too hard because I don't know how to find it.
ETonline: Has "Cougar Town" been an escape for you during this time?
Courteney Cox: Thank God for this show. There have been times when Bill has asked, "Do we need to take a break?" And I was, "Are you kidding?" This is my saving grace.
ETonline: Matthew Perry said recently that he wished he had been more present during the "Friends" era. He said, "We were worried about who was getting a movie, who was going to do the next thing." Do you share that at all?
Courteney Cox: I have a lot of things to say about what you just said. There are a lot of reasons he wasn't present. [laughs] I actually was present. I may have been hypervigilant. The one thing I wished I hadn't been back in those days that I have changed is I am not a competitive person at all, but I am a comparative person. I don't even want to be that. I don't want to compare any more. There is a lot of stuff that can mess with your ego being on a show that is an ensemble of six people. You are all equal. It was hard. It was a lot of learning for me. I wish I hadn't spent time comparing. It was a waste of time. We all have our path and we all did pretty well.
ETonline: How easily did you slip back into 'Scream?'
Courteney Cox: That had been a long time. That character is really over the top. That was 10 years ago. All the new actors on the set, the new group, were very subdued and kind of quiet. I thought, "I am going to stand out like a sore thumb in this film. I was like, Gale Weathers is back! Are they going to talk any louder at all?" They are very cool, but I am older and not as cool. We will see what happens.
"Cougar Town" airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.