Sarah Michelle Gellar Reveals the Two Reasons Why She Has Returned to TV

There are two reasons why Sarah Michelle Gellar, TV’s erstwhile Buffy Summers, elected to return to the small screen after an eight-year absence — and one of them is a 20-month-old girl named Charlotte Grace Prinze.

Speaking with TVLine before The CW’s upfront presentation announcing the premiere of Ringer, on which she plays dual roles, Gellar explained, “As a mom, I decided it was something that was going to afford me the chance to do both” — that is, act and be an attentive parent (aka “the most rewarding experience of my life,” as she put it).

Fall Preview Videos: Check Out Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Ringer and The CW’s Other New Shows

Gellar, who is wed to Freddie Prinze Jr., isn’t the only Ringer cast member with a young’un on hand. Kristoffer Polaha (Life Unexpected) just welcomed his third son this January, while Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four) has a daughter almost exactly the same age as Charlotte Grace.

“We’re a show of all young parents, and we’ve made it so that the babies feel just as welcome as we do,” she shares. “It’s really been a nice environment.”

The CW’s Fall Schedule: ‘Buffy’ Returns to Tuesdays, Nikita Makes Move

The other huge draw for Gellar was Ringer‘s premise, which has her playing Bridget, a troubled young woman who, to escape the mob, adopts her MIA twin’s identity — only to realize that her sis, Siobhan, has heaps of problems of her own.

“I was just fascinated by the show,” Gellar says, “and by the people I got to work with.”

Among Gellar’s costars, the aforementioned Gruffudd plays Bridget’s brother-in-law, while Polaha is her BFF’s husband (with whom she was having an affair!). Lost‘s Nestor Carbonell plays an FBI agent hot on one of the ladies’ trail.

That’s a lot of good-looking guys even for one gal leading a double life. To whom does Gellar think Bridget will gravitate? “All of them!” she wagers. “Have you seen the men on my show? All of them.”

Fall Preview: TVLine’s Guide to All the New Shows

As for tackling a dual role, Gellar says that while “you might see a little more of Bridget, Siobhan won’t be long-lost” by any stretch. In fact, as seen in some preview clips, Gellar will have numerous opportunities to act opposite herself.

As the mysterious narrative unfolds, “We’re discussing doing some of it from one twin’s perspective, some from the other, you’re going to see flashbacks that explain how they got to where they are…,” Gellar previews. “I want to make sure that the story for both of these girls comes to life.”

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  1. Jimmy says:

    And it’s not because she’s had little to no career since leaving Buffy?

    • Damon says:

      So true.

      • Esta says:

        Men! It’s pretty obvious, if you put down the hunting rifle and musk long enough, that she was just fine being a SAHM (stay at home mom, for the cro-magnons). And was just looking for right tv job unlike movies don’t require constant traveling.

        • Claudia says:

          And she did different movies since Buffy ended…

        • Christina says:

          I’m going to say Jummy pretty much hit the nail on the head with that one. My math says that being a SAHM to a 20 month old doesn’t equal eight years of virtual non-existence (I even factored in gestation time). Her movies have tanked and since it doesn’t look like Freddie’s bringing in the bucks she probably had to take a t.v. role. I really liked her character in Buffy but she came off somewhat pretentious and huffy in real life. And I happen to be a female who’s never touched a hunting rifle and is quite well versed in child care vs. being a working mom.

          • Lauren says:

            ‘Had to take a tv role’? I don’t think any single regular actor from Buffy would have to take a role they didn’t want, ever. Seven seasons and millions of hardcore fans would help with that. I’m glad SMG is returning to tv, I don’t think movies were the right fit with her. And thank god she named her child something normal.

          • to Lauren says:

            You would be wrong, Lauren. Do you see Nicholas Brendon, James Marsters or Charisma Carpenter doing big movies or headlining their own shows? Nope. Syndication money isn’t what it used to be, and “millions of hardcore fans” don’t actually translate into automatic big ratings success. All those Whedonites couldn’t put “Dollhouse” over the top, could they?

            SMG is a talented actress, but make no mistake: She wanted a film career and it didn’t pan out. TV may indeed be a better fit for her.

        • Lisa says:

          “Men. And their sales.”

        • sadtroll says:

          Lol! Really, did you all get the troll boners at the chance to jump on this article with the same “oh she’s crawling back to tv” tired hook every third rate troll loves.

          Whatever, yeah SMG is such an unsuccessfull actor – all unemployed actors out there, raise your hand if you’d take that career in a heartbeat.

          • Ace says:

            Okay, “troll boners” is a term that DEFINITELY needs to be incorporated into my vocabulary.

    • Alex says:

      haha. Touché.

    • XK says:

      I figured the two reasons were: (1) Cash, and (2) Get out of the house and away from Freddie Prinze Jr.

      Cannot really blame her for either reason!

    • Jake says:

      I was thinking the same thing actually. Probably needs the income.

  2. Tucker says:

    Bridget and Siobhan seem like very disparate things to name twins.

  3. Liz says:

    I just can’t wait to see her on tv again!!! :)

  4. Lalla says:

    Real reason?

    The failed movie carear.

  5. Mark says:

    I have no problem with SMG, although I’m hardly a huge fan, but…

    1) Paycheck
    2) Work/spotlight/fame (however small)

    These other reasons are nice PR, but let’s get real. Series TV is brutal work for several months of the year. You do not do this for your kid. And while I agree the premise is intriguing, this would be a more compelling line if she had, say, turned down 4-5 other opportunities in the past couple of years. Anyone know if she has?

    • Em says:

      I’m not a huge SMG fan, but I have noticed that she does not need the spotlight, nor does it seem that Freddie does either. They live a very quiet life so I would take her at her word on this. They are not the typical Hollywood couple who is always out in the tabloids.

    • lipsticksocialism says:

      i agree with this. primetime shows have brutal hours especially for someone who is playing TWO roles! and even opposite each other

    • MB says:

      @ Mark: She had a pilot last season or the season before for a cable show. Huge buzz lots of promise of being picked up and then dumped at the 11th hour.

  6. ggny says:

    that is awesome that Nestor Campbell and Ioan Gruffudd are still apart of the show i really didnt think they would want to be on The CW

  7. PaulH says:

    The question that should’ve been asked, but wasn’t, was this:

    Sarah, you specifically filmed the Ringer pilot for CBS. That was the understanding. Did you feel at any time, double-crossed that CBS farmed it out to a network that gets only a fraction of the ratings, budgets, etc. that the CW is?

    • Tucker says:

      Or do you feel less pressure to perform on a network where the median ratings would get you sacked in two or three weeks on CBS?

      Personally, it sounds like Ringer wouldn’t have been a great fit on CBS. It doesn’t entirely fit the CW’s profile either but has a better chance at longer life there, especially with CBS’ merciless standards for ratings. And it’s a smart way to start improving the quality at the CW in general.

      • PaulH says:

        Tucker, they’ve set her up to fail by programming it to follow 90210, and every show, just about, that’s followed 90210 has been cancelled. 90210 will face Glee and get clobbered which means Ringer will be lucky to break 2.5m viewers. If they had stayed on CBS, maybe they could’ve been on Wednesday 10PM or Sunday at 10PM. This reeks of idiocy.

  8. jen says:

    I take her at her word as well. She obviously enjoys being a mother, and a wife, so she may have been waiting for the right project to come along. She seems to be prioritizing her personal life; I admire that, and it’s hard to find jobs to allow you that freedom to choose. I’m sure a steady paycheck is nice, as well, and she probably missed working/acting. I hope Ringer does well; I’m very much looking forward to it.

  9. Carrie says:

    It sounds like an interesting show with great actors. I honestly can’t wait. I’m excited that SMG is back on TV and it’s very cool that the show will be in “Buffy’s” old time slot. This is the most excited I’ve ever been about the CW’s lineup. “Supernatural” is my favorite show and it sounds like “Ringer”, “Secret Circle” & “Hart of Dixie” are all worth a try.

  10. sasburgerr says:

    I am a HUGE SMG fan. I don’t believe she is the type of person who needed to be famous and would’ve been devastated that her movies didn’t do that great. She was on buffy for 7 years straight, she took a break, she needed it. She loves acting but she isn’t like every actress out there. She wanted to live life for a little while and she did. Anyone who thinks she isn’t an amazing person must be a little blind. Do you know what else she has been doing in the time she wasn’t on tv or doing a movie? She was traveling the world working with charities and trying to make the world a better place. Obviously she has some huge priorities but probably misses acting. She jumped on this because it actually appealed to her and what she thinks her fans would want to see her doing. Just like someone else said, she isn’t huge with the spot light, she likes to be semi-normal. She isn’t on twitter talking about everything she does all the time, she is a private person. The little we do know about her and her life is amazing.

  11. Girish says:

    With the very awesome Supernatural, Vampire Diaires, and Nikita and now Ringer, the CW have a hardcore fan in me!! I’ll probably watch The Secret Circle too if its anything like VD or Supernatural. Great going CW. Also can’t wait to see SMG back on tv.

    • Girish says:

      Oh and can’t wait to see Rachael Bilson in Hart Of Dixie! Man, CW has a killer schedule this fall! I don’t wanna miss any of these shows.

  12. Jake says:

    I always laugh at the the people who post to boards. The use the term “trolls” but seriously wouldn’t you be one too? You are quick to post your response to something you don’t like. I think that makes you just as much a troll as the next person.

  13. BHM1304 says:

    Glad she’s back on tv but the show idea sounds ridiculously stupid. I was hoping her other pilot for HBO, “The Wonderful Maladys”, would have been picked up, it sounded much much better than this show. She is hiding in plain sight as her twin sister. Um…OK. How is that a smart idea? I can hear the clock ticking on this bomb already.

  14. Kerri says:

    I am excited to see SMG back in television, I loved her on buffy, it was my favorite show! She is an excellent actress. Just because her movies haven’t been super successful doesn’t mean, she is settling. Television is offering way better roles for women now a days. Movies still don’t offer that many great roles for women. This show sounds intriguing to me and I’m glad she waited for a role that she thought her fans would be excited about. I really hope her new show is great! Boo to all the trolls, that just have negative things to say.

  15. Dana says:

    I for one am super pumped to see her back on TV and really SMG’s career initially started with television so I am sure she doesn’t look down on it. As many people have said here, she doesn’t throw herself out there like the typical hollywood actress. And I agree with the comment that there are not many great roles for women in movies these day, Jennifer Aniston can’t catch a good role that doesn’t involve searching for a man… it’s sad really.

    The premis for Ringer is interesting but I really am not sure which network this would be best suited for. It isn’t a teen drama and it isn’t a procedural so that rules out every other network since all I ever see are NYPD and CSI remakes everywhere. It will be nice to have something fresh and new on tv. I hope this does well because I really miss SMG!

  16. Heidi says:

    Here’s the real reason for her lack of TV career… How do you make people get over BTVS (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)? It’s like a cult! She was stereo typed by playing Buffy for so long. Even when she went to the Silver Screen as Daphne in the “Scooby Doo” movies she had to use martial arts. It was either sci-fi and horror movies for her or take a break. She did the right thing taking a break because she is a great actress and deserves a chance to play a different type of character.

    It’s like David Duchovney from “X-Files” or what it will be like for Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki from “Supernatural”, DD is always going to be seen as Fox Mulder (I don’t care about Californication, when you say his name I automatically think X-Files) and for JA and JP they will always be Sam and Dean. There are some roles that follow you when you are an actor/actress. SMGP just happened to get one of those. When someone mentions Allison Hannigan everyone thinks of BTVS or American Pie. No one thinks about her role on “How I Met Your Mother”. Even AH played similar roles for Buffy and American Pie. She was a geek in both of them, the difference, in American Pie she was a sex addict.

    I say lay off of SMGP if you don’t want to see her you don’t have to. She’s able to come back to TV because she has been out of the lime light and Buffy has faded some and also because she can be a FTM (Full Time Mom) on the set of this show. She doesn’t have to leave her home and travel. She will be with her family and be recognized as another character besides Buffy.

  17. blverha says:

    Although I don’t post much I definitely needed to post for those morons our there saying she’s doing this for fame and $$$. I agree with @sasburgerr post. Do you even know what she was doing all these years of absence? yes @Christina you dimwit with her math and the “I even factored in gestation time”, did you forget to add the movies she did after, let me help you… 12+, some episodes for robot chicken, her CARE work as embassador? how about factoring the work for Coalition of Skin Diseases? oh no, let me think hmmm you did not factor “The Nestlé Share the Joy of Reading Program” work she did either, did you?…. *sighs* your math is quite off.

    Also for the dingbats talking about fame, really??? LOL the Prinze are one of the most reserved couple in Hollywood and that’s why their marriage has been so successful.

  18. Jocelyn says:

    I’m a very, very, huge fan of SMG. Although, I accidentally just flicked a channel last summer of 1997, I have no regrets. I loved what I’ve run into that day. I was at worked, turned on the tv, and there I was hooked up on tv watching a vampire show. Well, at that time so excited, started watching it every week. Wow!!! Eversince, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” was born in front of my eyes, through tv. Thank God, there’s Sarah Michelle Gellar, my idol. You’re truly a real person, an actress, and a person to be admired.

  19. ManWithSword says:

    The pilot episode has the worst bit of blue screen I’ve ever seen, when Sarah Michelle Gellar is supposedly in a boat out at sea. It’s so fake looking that I stopped watching. In the half that I watched, there was also a singular moment when she slipped into her Buffy Summers voice, with that annoying as hell Jane Espenson woman-child / Ally McBeal speak: “Waiting? I’m not waiting, waiting I am not, I am definitely not of the waiting kind, waiting is for others who like to wait in a waity kind of way, definitely not waiting, there is no waiting, waiting….” STFU !!!!
    But the show itself will probably do quite well and last two or three seasons. She is a good actress, even if she doesn’t challenge herself that much with the roles she goes for.