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Setting Is Key for ‘Battle Creek’ #TCA14

Beverly Hills, Calif. — Vince Gilligan, who 12 years ago wrote the original script for Battle Creek, the new CBS cop drama, has actually never been to Battle Creek, Mich.

He admitted that he was embarrassed about that fact on Thursday during the TCA summer press tour for the series.

Josh Duhamel, who stars as FBI agent Milton Chamberlain in the show, noted that Gilligan told him that he saw the name as a kid when eating cereal, since Battle Creek is the world headquarters of Kellogg.

“It’s such a great name because it has the word battle in it,” Gilligan said.

Gilligan, however, won’t be running the show, as the Breaking Bad creator will be working on its spinoff Better Call Saul for AMC. In his stead will be David Shore, the creator of House, who said he was grateful to Gilligan for giving him a great script and set of characters.

Shore believes he and Gilligan share a “similar sensibility,” though he admitted that trying to replicate Breaking Bad would be “a fool’s errand.” Instead, Shore spoke of Battle Creek in contrast to his own former project.

“With House I was kind of exploring cynicism, and with this I’m kind of exploring optimism,” he said.

And while Battle Creek may look like another TV cop show on paper, the members of the panel talked about the importance of Battle Creek, a small-town setting unlike the big cities we usually see on TV.

“We want to tell small town versions of big city stories,” Shore said. “We want to play with expectations.”

“It’s a city we can all relate to. It’s really American, blue collar,” Duhamel added. “A lot of interesting stories can come out of this (place) that doesn’t necessarily have all of these glamorous crimes.”

Although Duhamel has not yet been to Battle Creek, he is going this weekend. Co-star Kal Penn has already visited. He said he did a police ride-along and that everyone was welcoming and excited.

“Kal actually scored a bag of crack there,” Duhamel joked.