Nina Dobrev is in a whole different world with her new TV show. No, it’s not because of a magic spell or something mystical, it’s a whole new genre and frontier for The Vampire Diaries veteran: multi-camera sitcoms. She stars in Fam on CBS.
“It’s very different. They’re so different. The live audience aspect is one big one, the fact that it’s a straight comedy, the fact that it’s a lot broader, you have to be bigger on sitcoms. You have to enunciate and project for the people in the audience,” Dobrev explained. “It’s kind of like doing a mini play every single week and you get a new script every week that you have to memorize, and they change the lines every day up until—and ever during—the live taping. They’ll come in and whisper a new line in your ear and you have to test it out in front of the audience for the first time.”
Talk about a lot of pressure! “It is, but it also makes it fun and keeps you on your toes. You have to, sort of, be very sharp and focused. You can’t really slack off in those environments, which is good, it’s…a cancer for complacency,” she said.
In Fam, Dobrev plays Clem, a “bit of a hot mess, train wreck type” who is inspired to try and change her ways by the new love in her life, Nick (Tone Bell). However, there’s a little lie involved, Clem told Nick her family is dead because she doesn’t want them in her life. All that changes when her half-sister, Shannon (Odessa Adlon), shows up and threatens to ruin the perfect Clem has created for herself. Fam is a departure from the world fans know Dobrev from, it’s filmed live in front of a studio audience.
“I just focus into the zone and have someone I run lines with over and over and over again,” Dobrev said about quelling her nerves. She leaves her phone in her dressing room in an effort to eliminate distractions and mistakes.
“Because it’s live, so if you make a mistake people see it and I don’t like making mistakes in front of people,” she told E! News’ Erin Lim.
The cast for Fam also includes industry veterans Sheryl Lee Ralph and Brian Stokes Mitchell. Dobrev said her costars are “incredibly funny and talented.” She relied on her costars “a lot” for “tips and advice.”
“They’ve definitely had my back and helped me out a lot, as I am a baby in this world,” she said.
Click play on the video above to hear more, including about when her Vampire Diaries costar surprised her in the audience of Fam.
Fam premieres Thursday, Jan. 10 at 9:30 p.m. on CBS.