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Denis Leary is jumping from fire trucks to ambulances

1:51 PM, Jan 18, 2014   |    comments
(Photo: Scott Schafer, USA Network)
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USA TODAY - Denis Leary is dumping firetrucks for ambulances.

The former star and creator of FX's firehouse drama Rescue Me is coming back to TV on March 6 as writer and producer of USA's first original half-hour comedy, Sirens. Based on a British hit, Sirens stars Michael Mosley, Kevin Daniels and Kevin Bigley as three Chicago paramedics.

As he did on Rescue Me, which was loosely based on the experiences of firefighters in his family, Leary is drawing again from real life. "A lot of the stories that we're using come from EMTs that we know, that I know. My wife is a volunteer EMT."

The difference, he says, is that the stories he's telling in Sirens are far less dark than those of Rescue Me, which was born out of the angst of 9/11. "It does allow us to be absolutely, insanely funny," says Leary, "without have to carry the weight."

On Rescue Me, Leary was given a lot of leeway to push ad-supported cable's boundaries - but that was on FX, which is known for edgier programming than USA has historically aired. His new network has had notes, many involving what could be hinted at, rather than shown, in an episode about porn. But in general, he says, "they have been great....but we can only really get away with it if it's funny."

Leary has found roles on Sirens for many of his Rescue Me co-stars, including Lenny Clarke and John Scurti, but he has no intention of being on the show himself. He likes writing lines rather than learning them, and going on set in his own clothes.

"I can wear sweat pants or whatever I want. I love it ... I just sit there and smoke and laugh."

(Copyright © 2014 USA TODAY)

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