Erin Cummings could've left Detroit behind once the ABC show "Detroit 1-8-7" got cancelled more than a year ago.
But this Huntsville, Texas native, who currently lives in Los Angeles, found a love for the Motor City and is determined to keep supporting it through her Mittens For Detroit program.
The Mittens For Detroit program will launch its third season Nov. 1, and has already collected more than 20,000 mittens for needy families.
"Without our incredible volunteer base, we wouldn't be able to do what we're doing," Cummings said. "As much as people like to give me credit, I can't get credit for it because our work really takes a village.
"We're a small village right now, but we're growing every year. The more people help us out, the more we're able to help Detroit."
Cummings is proud of the effort and is fully vested in Southeast Michigan because she found out during the filming of "Detroit 1-8-7" that she has 22 relatives scattered in Bloomfield Hills, Southfield and Ann Arbor.
"I consider this a home now," she said.
Mlive Detroit caught up with Cummings during Sunday night's private Sheryl Crow concert at DTE Energy Music Theatre, one that kicked off the Pistons-Palace Foundation's "Come Together" charity.
She touched on a variety of topics including the future of "Detroit 1-8-7," the importance of film credits in the state of Michigan and the experience of creating a TV show in Detroit.
And Cummings, now on the cast of CBS' "Made in Jersey," certainly didn't lack passion when asked to respond to the Michigan state legislature's decision to set a $50 million cap on film incentives starting Oct. 1.
When Michigan's film industry was at its peak in 2010, the state awarded $115 million in incentives.
Any chance of a "Detroit 1-8-7" comeback - on any network?
"There's no possibility of it coming back. It was getting great, but here's the thing: The reality of it is that when you work on network television such as ABC, NBC, CBS or FOX, it's very difficult (to survive as a show) because they have to appease their advertisers. And so if they're not getting the ratings they promised advertisers, then they yank the show; they don't really give it a fair shot to develop. I feel very strongly that if "Detroit 1-8-7" had been on one of the cable networks like AMC, A&E, or TNT, it would have (stayed on) the air because they would've nurtured it. Those (types of networks) also seem to embrace more of an edgier show."
What was your experience like filming the show in Michigan and seeing what kind of impact the state's film credits made during a down economy?
"It was fantastic. (Critics of film credits) keep saying they want to give the money (otherwise used for film incentives) back to the state, but the state is the people. People kept saying (the state) was giving the (incentive) money away to Hollywood, but there were a very limited number of people from Hollywood who came to Michigan to work on the show. A majority of the people - the catering people, the seamstresses, the extras, a lot of the day players (the smaller roles) - those were people living in Detroit.
"And all of a sudden (the film incentives) gave those people every day an opportunity to work. I testified before the Michigan state senate economic development committee, and literally right before I testified (in May 2011), my phone blew up and I got messages that Detroit 1-8-7 was officially taken off the air. And I had to make the announcement, and a lot of people sitting in the room were people on our crew. We had local teamsters, Liz Jackson our caterer was there with her husband, and you could hear the audible gasp of people who knew that they wouldn't know where their next job was going to come from."
What would you say to the people, though, who claim film credits aren't needed in Michigan, and that those who support them are all for bribing people to do TV shows, movies and comericals here?
"I would ask those critics if they've ever shopped at sale. That's what it is (throughout the industry). Obviously if it works for the state of Louisiana, (it can work in Michigan). Louisiana is bustling and booming (with work due to film incentives); I know so many people who are working, and that's what we need in Michigan. We need people working. We just got to get the people who make the decisions to make the right decisions."