After all that nastiness, McDermott is a funny pilot

There's a light, loopy quality to "LA to Vegas." It's the sort of thing you expect to see on Fox ... and the sort you don't expect to see with Dylan McDermott as one of the stars. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

Dylan McDermott has spent decades in TV's darkest corners.

He saved murder
suspects on “The Practice,” caught killers on “Stalker” and
“Dark Blue.” As a cop in “Hostages,” he schemed to kill the
president; as a psychiatrist in the first “American Horror Story,”
he lived and worked in a haunted house.

So what's he up to
now? In the Fox comedy “LA to Vegas,” he's a pilot known for his
mustache and his ego.

“This is a great
way to go to work,” McDermott said. “After doing so much dark
stuff for so long .... They feed me, they pay me, I get to laugh.”

And they worry about
life's little questions, including: 1) How do you haul a body down an
aisle? And 2) How do you tell Dylan McDermott from Dermot Mulroney?

“LA to Vegas”
was created by Lon Zimmet, recalling the days when he would fly to
Las Vegas for quick poker weekends. “You just kind of get used to
the rhythms of that flight,” he said. “And you start seeing the
same sort of people.”

One time, he said, a
fellow passenger helped him when he had a coughing fit. He happened
to ask her why she'd been to Vegas and she casually mentioned it was
for a quick weekend of making porno films. “She was the sweetest,
most unassuming girl in the world, and she (mentioned) it like it was

So this version
includes a sweet-spirited stripper, played by Olivia Macklin. “I
tried to do research,” she said. “(But) there really are not a
lot of comedic strippers out there.”

And it includes
crises that are sheer fiction. In the second episode (Jan. 9), a
passenger quietly dies. The flight attendant (Kim Matula) asks a
regular passenger (Ed Weeks) to help casually move it.

“I remember
saying, 'Just cast a little guy, (because) we're going to have to
believe they can move him around,'” said producer Steve Levitan.
“And then somebody was friends with Tim Stack and they cast him.
And he shows up and he's like 6-3 and 210. I mean, he's a big guy.”

Eventually, the crew
concocted a way to hide a small gurney under a large man covered by a
sheet. Stack – the former “Son of a Beach” star – was
“stellar at playing dead,” Levitan said.

And for the third
episode (Jan. 16), the show had an inside joke: The pilot (Dylan
McDermott) was unable to fly that day and his replacement was his
nemesis ... played by Dermot Mulroney.

People have been
confusing those two names almost forever; there was even a “Saturday
Night Live” sketch about it. “It's been 30 years,” McDermott
said. “It's a very long joke .... When I would do a bad movie or
bad show on television, I would blame him.”

And now?. “Here we
are for the first time on-camera together ... and we had the best
time,” McDermott said. Pleasant things can happen, when you exit
the dark corners.

-- “LA to Vegas,”
9 p.m. Tuesdays, Fox

-- Debuted Jan. 2;
the dead-guy episode is Jan. 9, the Dermot Mulroney one is Jan. 16