PASADENA, Calif. - Former "Will & Grace" star Megan Mullally isn't afraid to get her hands dirty for comedy's sake, but she draws the line at her feet.
While shooting Cartoon Network's satirical medical series "Childrens Hospital," returning at midnight EDT Thursday (June 2), Mullally and her co-stars had enough of the mangy carpet in their dressing room, and Mullally paid to replace it.
"Our dressing-room carpet was covered with stains of unidentifiable origins," she says with a laugh. "None of us would take our shoes off to walk barefoot on it, and that made it hard to get dressed."
This is no big-budget production.
Centering on the irreverent staff at a medical facility, the take-no-prisoners "Hospital" casts Mullally as The Chief. She uses a walker to get around and doesn't wear makeup. The male staff members find this sharp-tongued boss irresistible, though they aren't sure why.
The Chief is as far away from Karen Walker, the pampered Manhattan socialite from "Will & Grace," as Mullally can get. Her speaking voice is even deeper.
Once a web series before leaping to late-night cable, "Hospital" has a guerrilla-filmmaking approach. Production takes place in an abandon hospital, and an episode is wrapped in a couple of days.
Mullally isn't the only name actor attached to the show. Henry Winkler and Lake Bell (" Boston Legal") are in the regular cast. Film stars such as Michael Cera appear in recurring roles.
Creators Rob Corddry, Jonathan Stern and David Wain have backgrounds in underground sketch comedy. "Hospital," one of the few non-animated series in Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" late-night programming block, has been a clear hit, especially among the highly coveted traditional college-age demographic.
The down-and-dirty style of the show is appealing to Mullally. "I love it," she says. "It's sort of like putting on a show in your backyard. I love the feeling of being under the radar."
After being all dolled up on "Will & Grace" for years, Mullally says she's lapsed into being "a bit of a hair-and-makeup actress," but "Hospital" is changing that for her. "I like the fact that, on this show, I can do things (a star) isn't supposed to do," Mullally says. "There's something really fun and freeing about all of that. I like looking so horrible all the time."
She adds: "This is broad comedy. To me, this character is a really tough woman who is horrible in every way. She has a traveling mole. Her hunchback moves from side to side. It's so totally wrong, and I have learned so much about myself as an actress through this.
"I've learned to become more open to letting anything fly my way."
Other highlights for the week of May 29-June 4 (all times EDT; listings subject to change; check local listings):
The National Memorial Day Concert (8 p.m., PBS). The star-studded show, airing live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, is scheduled to be co-hosted by actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna.
"Star Trek" marathon (11 a.m. to 4 a.m., SyFy). Movies starring the original and "Next Generation" casts are featured.
"My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" (9 p.m., TLC). The hit series from the United Kingdom looks at the rituals of Gypsies and their views on marriage, gender roles, communions and christenings.
"Gettysburg" (9 p.m., History). Filmmakers Tony Scott and Ridley Scott look at the Battle of Gettysburg and why it was a turning point in the Civil War.
"Platinum Hit" (10 p.m., Bravo). Singer-songwriters, perhaps the most overused and overrated term in music, perform their own compositions in this "American Idol"-like competition -- complete with former "Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi. Jewel is the host.
"Surprise Homecoming" (10 p.m., TLC). Billy Ray Cyrus is the host of this heartwarming series that reunites soldiers with their families.
"Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" (10 p.m., ABC). A personal trainer, who specializes in dramatic transformations for his clients, takes on the obese in this new makeover series.
"America's Got Talent" (8 p.m., NBC). The talent competition opens its sixth season with the same judges and open auditions.
"Haunted Collector" (9 p.m., SyFy). A family of paranormal investigators tracks down bedeviled objects for this new reality series.
"Franklin & Bash" (9 p.m., TNT). Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer star in this new legal drama about two brash attorneys working for a buttoned-up firm.
"The World According to Paris" (10 p.m., Oxygen). Want to see inside Paris Hilton's sexy and fun world? Well, it doesn't matter. You're going to have to see it anyway!
"Love in the Wild" (10 p.m., NBC). Couples on a first date are dropped in a jungle and told to work together to get out in this new game show.
"The First 48" (10 p.m., A&E). This series looks at the first few hours involved in a missing-person case and what can be done to recover loved ones.
"NY Ink" (10 p.m., TLC). Tattoo artist Ami James, from the series "Miami Ink," gets his own series, set in New York City.
"Whale Wars" (9 p.m., Animal Planet). A fourth season launches in this docu-series following a crew trying to save whales from poachers.
"Honeymoon for One" (8 p.m., Hallmark Channel). Nicollette Sheridan plays an ex-bride who ditches her groom-to-be and goes on her honeymoon to Ireland alone.
"Red Faction: Origins" (9 p.m., SyFy). In this adventure movie, an Earth family adjusts to the dangers of starting a colony on Mars.