‘Ted Lasso’ Star Sarah Niles on the ‘Blurred Lines’ Between

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It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine. Learning you’ve been nominated for a Prime Time Emmy can also be a nice boost! Sarah Niles was in bed battling COVID when she learned she’d been nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Dr. Sharon Fieldstone on the hit Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso.

Cast members recently traveled from England to Beverly Hills to take part in an FYC (For Your Consideration) panel to celebrate Ted Lasso’s 20 (!) nominations. TV Insider caught up with Niles on the pre-panel red carpet to get the actress’ thoughts on Sharon’s relationship with Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis).

You were recovering from COVID when you learned you were nominated?

Sarah Niles: Yes. I was so happy. There’s so much you want to do when you’re at home and resting. It’s hard. To get this nomination, which is the stuff of dreams? I’m so happy.

Is there a particular episode submitted that got you the nomination?

[Pauses] I actually do not know. I’m just so happy that people love the character.

What is it about Sharon that you think people like?

She’s unwavering in her care for people. She’s steadfast in that. She’s able to open up and discuss her own vulnerabilities with Ted. She appreciates that. There’s a friendship between them.

Ted’s concern for Sharon after her bike accident helped bond them; that dynamic developed even further when he shared with her that his father had committed suicide when he was 16. Can you talk about Sharon and Ted’s relationship?

They’re open [with each other]. They’re brave enough to discuss things we don’t want to bring to the table. She’s professional. She doesn’t let people in. And Ted’s the same way. He’s overly positive. They meet in a middle ground.

Why doesn’t Sharon let people in?

I think she’s just professional. There must be so many barriers for her to get to that place. Sports is heavily male-oriented. She needs to navigate places as she’s [a] woman [dealing with male athletes]. Of course, the players have resistance to discussing mental health. They’re about physical strength.

The show’s backdrop is football but — no pun intended — it tackles so much.

Yes. So many things. Some of the best athletes talk about being mentally ready. Mental strength that allows you to get to that point of success. That’s in everything we do. That fear can hold us back, really.

Sharon was brought in to help Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernández), not Ted per se. But they ended up talking a lot and a friendship developed. Did you see The Prince of Tides?

Yes. Yes.

It’s like Nick Nolte…

And Barbra Streisand…

Ted Lasso Jason Sudeikis Sarah Niles

Apple TV+

He wasn’t really her patient. The lines were blurred.

There are some blurred lines [with Ted and Sharon]. There’s an understanding that to create the best kind of team you have to have [a] discussion. “Heavy is the head that wears the visor.” Ted’s looking after a whole team.

Production for Ted Lasso’s Season 3 started earlier this year. How much do you like to know ahead of time in terms of story for your character?

I never know anything. I’m happy for it to be that way. Just like in real life — we never know the ending.

There’s been positive response to Ted and Sharon’s relationship. How does that make you feel?

It makes me feel great. When people hold a character very dear to them [as viewers have with Ted] and then, someone comes in to challenge that character…there were people resistant to [Sharon]. But, as it’s gone on, you see that she wants the best for Ted — and the team.

Do you have any other roles coming up?

Yes. I have a few projects coming up including Riches for Amazon. Sharon and the character I play in that show are total opposites. Riches is about a rich black family in the UK [that owns a cosmetics company]. I have a role in Toxic Avenger. I’m excited to see that, too.

The Emmys are coming up on September 12. Are you looking into gowns? Borrowing jewelry? All that fun stuff.

I haven’t gotten to that point yet. I’m just enjoying being in the moment. I know I watched [awards shows] growing up but they felt so far away from my world. To be in this space now is really a gift.

Do you have a speech?

I’m thinking about one. I have bullet points. They’re all coming from the heart. A lot of love.

Ted Lasso, Season 3 Premiere, TBA, Apple TV+

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