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2 Pennsylvanians bring supernatural laughs to CBS comedy 'Ghosts'

Joshua Axelrod, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Entertainment News

PITTSBURGH — The house on "Ghosts" is as much a character as any of the apparitions haunting the place or the humans mucking it up.

Each new episode of "Ghosts," which premiered earlier this month on CBS and Paramount+, features a Victorian-style mansion whose interiors and exteriors are an amalgamation of a real home in Los Angeles and sound stages in Montreal. This adaptation of a 2019 British series of the same name was developed for American television by Joe Wiseman and Altoona native Joe Port.

The house was inspired by the Baker Mansion, a 19th-century structure built on a hill in Altoona that served as a prime sledding spot for a young Port. Also of note: The mansion was originally owned by Elias and Hetty Baker, names that Port lifted for the spectral character of Hetty, played by York native Rebecca Wisocky, and her oft-mentioned husband Elias.

So this version of "Ghosts" has a Pennsylvania flavor, with one Keystone State native in front of the camera and one making many of the show's big decisions behind it.

"It's certainly different than anything on broadcast TV right now," Port told the Post-Gazette. "It has sort of a streaming feel. I think the line between broadcast and streaming is becoming more and more blurred, so it's a good time for CBS to try something like this."

Both Port and Wisocky are television veterans who take great pride in their Pennsylvania roots. Port described his formative years as a "very normal, kind of all-American upbringing in western Pennsylvania" and said he remains a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

 

Wisocky spent much of her adolescence sharpening her acting chops at the York Little Theatre, now called The Belmont Theatre. She also attended the now-defunct Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts and did a summer program at Carnegie Mellon University in high school.

Port has been a writer or producer on some big-time projects, including Fox's "New Girl" and NBC's "The Office" and "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist."

You've almost certainly seen Wisocky in one of your favorite shows over the past two decades. She's had guest roles on "Sex and the City," "The Sopranos," "True Blood," "American Horror Story," "Once Upon a Time," "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" and the final season of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine."

"I've been lucky to be afforded a pretty wide range of what I've been asked to do," Wisocky said. "I love doing comedy and lighter things, and I've done a lot of dark, bleak drama as well. ... I've been haunting your screens for years."

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