Ten years ago today, TV audiences were introduced to a simple pieman with a very complicated problem. Bryan Fuller’s Pushing Daisies premiered on Oct. 3, 2007 on ABC, launching the fanciful story of Ned (Lee Pace), who has a magic touch with pastries and an even more magical touch involving the re-animation of the dead. He uses that latter gift to resurrect the love of his life, Chuck (Anna Friel), but is then condemned to never experience skin-on-skin contact with her again lest she return six feet under. Oh, and did we mentioned that Ned and Chuck also solve crimes alongside P.I. Emerson Cod (Chi McBride)? That unique mix of narrative and tonal elements made Pushing Daisies a show unlike any that had come before or since: a pie-laced procedural with a supernatural rom-com hook. Unfortunately, it also made it a hard sell for audiences; while the Barry Sonnenfeld-directed pilot secured sizable ratings (and favorable reviews), those numbers steadily declined and the show was cancelled after an abbreviated second season.
A decade later, the stars of that series are all too aware that they were part of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. When Yahoo Entertainment caught up with Kristen Chenoweth — who played lovelorn waitress Olive Snook — earlier this year at an American Gods press event, she described Pushing Daises as “my favorite memory of being on a TV show.” It’s also the show with the most devoted fanbase. “More people approach me about Pushing Daisies than you would think! It’s the topic that comes up the most. They miss it.” (Watch our video interview with Chenoweth above.)
Fans will be happy to know that onscreen lovers Ned and Chuck are still close in real life. Speaking with Friel at the Toronto International Film Festival last month for her upcoming role in Season 2 of Starz’s The Girlfriend Experience, the actress revealed that she and Pace — who is currently starring on the acclaimed AMC series, Halt and Catch Fire — recently grabbed dinner together in New York. “We had so many anecdotes! Lee would say, ‘Remember that? And remember this?’ We didn’t stop for ages.” Friel says that she’s also had reunions with Fuller as well as with Broadway legend, Ellen Greene, who played one-half of Chuck’s agoraphobic pair of aunts/guardians. “I adore them all,” she remarks, wistfully, of her extended Pushing Daisies family. “It was so ahead of its time, that show. It told the sweetest love story.”
Both Chenoweth and Friel make it clear that they wouldn’t need any persuading to reunite for a Pushing Daisies revival should Fuller find a home for it. (The creator originally intended to continue the series in comic book form, but those plans fell apart in 2010 when the publishing label was discontinued.) “There’s been talk of a musical, and there’s been talk of a film,” Friel says of Fuller’s ongoing attempts to make Pushing Daisies flower again. “I’d love it if we even just came back and did a six-episode miniseries!” For her part, Chenoweth says that another season of Pushing Daisies is a literal dream project. “Sometimes I dream we find ourselves back in production, and I’ve got the waitress uniform on, and my cute little bob.”
Pushing Daisies is available to rent or purchase on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes and YouTube.