Now more than ever, JoAnna Garcia Swisher knows it takes “Practice” to be a series star.
The wife of New York Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher previously was a regular on “Reba,” “Privileged” and “Better With You.” Also following a guest arc on “Gossip Girl,” she resumes weekly work as NBC gives the fall sitcom “Animal Practice” an early premiere at 9:30 p.m. Sunday after the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Garcia Swisher plays the new boss at a veterinary clinic where the main doctor (Justin Kirk, “Weeds”) gets along much better with animals than with people, including the woman he now must answer to.
“I knew what I was hoping to bring to it,” the actress says, “and I was very blessed to have such a creative and collaborative team behind me.” That includes executive producers Anthony and Joe Russo of “Arrested Development” fame.
The regular run of “Animal Practice” begins Sept. 26, and its nonhuman stars make it fortunate Garcia Swisher is fond of animals anyway.
“I'm obsessed with them,” she says, “and that was also a huge draw of this for me. At one point, I think I had collected 11 animals; I'm a little bit of a rescuer, so anything that needs a home finds its way to me, which is fine. Now we have four dogs, and I still have a horse and a goat, so I'm very animal-friendly.”
Garcia Swisher's route to the fall season has taken her through all of the Big Three networks: She had deals for ABC and CBS pilots that ultimately weren't picked up, leaving her free when the makers of “Animal Practice” recast the female lead.