Patricia Heaton leaps generation gap in 'Carol's Second Act'

Patricia Heaton is starring as an empty nester who decides to pursue a medical career in 'Carol's Second Act'

LOS ANGELES -- Patricia Heaton is known for playing the wife and mom in "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "The Middle."

She's taking on a workplace comedy for her latest TV project, starring as a divorced empty nester who pursues a medical career in "Carol's Second Act."

Heaton is also an executive producer for the sitcom, a job she's found daunting but fulfilling. She considers it vital to keep challenging yourself and offers this advice: step out in the unknown and keep learning.

There's a generation gap between the middle-aged Carol and her younger colleagues, but Heaton says there's an effort to avoid the cliche jokes about old age. She says that means no computer illiteracy or adult diaper humor, she said.

"Carol's Second Act" debuts 9:30 p.m. EDT Thursday on CBS.