Tag Archives: ABC

Managing Dancing and Motherhood — Edyta Could Write the Book on It

DANCING WITH THE STARS - EDYTA SLIWINSKA - The stars grace the ballroom floor for the first time on live national television with their professional partners during the two-hour season premiere of "Dancing with the Stars," which airs MONDAY, MARCH 21 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Craig Sjodin)

DANCING WITH THE STARS – EDYTA SLIWINSKA – ABC Television Network. (ABC/Craig Sjodin)

“Dancing With the Stars” pro and ballroom dance great Edyta Sliwinska is thinking of adding book authorship to her professional repertoire. She’s been managing to keep up her career — not to mention her great physical shape — while being a fully engaged mother to her and husband Alec Mazo’s 2-year-old son, Michael.

“I know I’m not a writer, but I think the way I tried to be a mom and go back and forth to work — I’d like to share these experiences with other moms out there,” says the Warsaw-born beauty.

“I feel like so many women are guilty about going back to work, and it is tough. Maternity leave is so short. Some people have to go back to work. I feel there is a way to go back to work and raise your child yourself.”

Her work has included the rigors of a five-month cross-country tour of Edyta’s and Alec’s dance show tour with infant Michael along. “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, taking baby on a national tour. I went through a lot. I’ve competed since I was 10 years old and I’ve trained for ‘Dancing With the Stars’ and I’ve toured with ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ but touring with a baby was something else!” she says, and laughs.

One important key to making it all work for Edyta:

“My child was breast-fed till maybe like three weeks ago,” she reports. “Breast-feeding is the easiest thing that mom can do. It’s very convenient, and it’s the best way to keep your child feeling connected, feeling secure and happy.”

She realizes that might raise some eyebrows. In fact, she admits, “Honestly, I thought, ‘I’m not going to go longer than a year,’ and I was probably so judgmental of women who breast-feed for so long, before I had a baby. Now my answer is, ‘You’ve got to do whatever works for you.’ For me, with all the changes in my life, it made sense. We moved around so much. We traveled for different projects. It was that one thing consistent for my baby to make him feel happy and keep us connected.”

As far as the physical demands, Edyta finds, “Yes, breast-feeding takes a lot out of you. It does require a lot of energy. So it actually helps you stay in shape.”

By the end of her breast-feeding time, she says, “It was more for comfort than for feeding. I really, really don’t know how I did it. I was trying to quit last year and there wasn’t a good opportunity that I would be at home and we wouldn’t have something going on.”

It turned out that her and her latest “Dancing With the Stars” celebrity partner, Geraldo Rivera’s early elimination from the show this season gave her enough of a peaceful time at home with her son to make that transition.

Now, she says of that disappoinment, “Perhaps I would like to give it one more try with ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ because it wasn’t that much of a challenge for me this season.”

She’s quick to add that she loved working with Rivera. “The tough part is he is 72 years old and he doesn’t really have any experience (in dancing) so it was hard to learn anything. So that was tough. It took a lot of patience. But he’s a great person and I had a lot of fun getting to know this person who is so amazing at what he does, coming to my world, learning to do what I do best.”

Still, she didn’t get much chance to show off the choreography and dance talents that made her a favorite mainstay on the first 10 seasons of “DWTS.” Coming back after a five-year break, she is still enjoying dancing on the show as part of the group choreography, but she’d like to do more.

Then, there are her and Alec’s live shows. Edyta says they might like to take one to Europe. Of course, they might also do more instructional videos — as in her and Alec’s DVD “Dancing like the Pros” and fitness DVD “Fitness with the Pros.”

As for Michael, thanks to his early months on tour, he’s used to “hanging out with dancers and hanging out in my dressing room as I was doing my makeup and getting ready,” says Edyta. She stresses that she only hires nanny help when she’s in the midst of performing engagements. And her husband’s parents “are wonderful” about babysitting here and there.

“He actually started walking while we were on tour. I can’t say that his first steps were onstage, but that’s where he practiced a lot.” She laughs.

So, is he showing signs of following in Mom’s and Dad’s dancing footsteps?

“Unfortunately, yes!” Edyta responds cheerfully. “We both wish he would be something like a doctor or lawyer, and then his life would be more stable and secure, but he is very much into performing, and he’ll probably end up doing that.”

LOUIS VAN AMSTEL WELCOMES GETTING BACK TO PAULA DEEN

Louis Van Amstel relished working on a full-on samba with Tamar Braxton for last night’s (10/12) “Dancing With the Stars” switch-up week performance — but the popular pro says he welcomes getting back to the rather different challenge of dancing with his partner of this season, 68-year-old Paula Deen. He certainly has his reasons. For one thing, he and the Georgia-based foodie have struck up an off-beat friendship. That’s real chemistry the twosome have been showing, ever since their introduction, when Paula planted a surprised Louis’ head upon her ample breast.

There are other kinds of chemistry besides romantic chemistry, he points out.

He’s quick to add that Paula “has come furthest of the older group” of this year’s contestants. “There’s a change in her demeanor, from nervous to less nervous. She’s gone from screwing up big to screwing up less big.” Not surprisingly, Louis disagrees with Gary Busey’s complaints over his axing from the competition two weeks ago, when plenty of viewers anticipated Paula getting cut: “I don’t think it was unfair. He went out exactly where, in my opinion, he should have gone out.”

The other, probably most important reason Van Amstel is happy to be teamed with Paula this season is that it’s a perfect promo for his LaBlast Dance Fitness program. LaBlast Dance Fitness is seven years old now, complete with DVDs, online options and trained LaBlast leaders doing his thing all over the country.

“I really do better with someone like Paula, or Kelly Osbourne, than someone like Tamar,” he says. “My last seven years have been about teaching people to dance and convincing people who don’t think they can dance that they can — people who have to lose a lot of weight, I want to support them. When they see me dance with Tamar, they say, ‘That’s great, but I could never do that.’ When they see me dance with Paula, when they see her transformation, they say, ‘Maybe I can do that too.'”

Paula has lost more than 40 pounds. Osbourne shed 35 in her transformation.

 Van Amstel is hoping to induce more women and men who wish to lose weight and get into shape with his ballroom dance-based program via his Oct. 21-starting “Dance the Pounds Away With LaBlast Fitness” DietBet.com challenge. Participants will have a chance to win money by losing weight via his LaBlast program over four weeks.

Helping people get in shape and get healthy has become much more than a side activity for Van Amstel. It’s now a mission.

Remakes, Breakups and Bad Blood Highlight News Out of Summer Press Tour 2015

The broadcast and cable networks and Internet streaming outlets have wrapped up the 17-day promote-athon known as the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour. Many shows were touted by many creators and stars in many panels and parties — so many, it was easy to get lost in the swirl of it all. So here’s a blitz recap of 10 of this year’s top news bites.

Lee Daniels says it’s inevitable, “without question,” that his massive hit “Empire” yields a spinoff. That spinoff will be a prequel that delves into the life of everybody’s favorite flamboyant Cookie, Taraji P. Henson’s one-of-a-kind matriarch character. No word on when the new series will come along, but “Empire” returns Sept. 23.

Jimmy Fallon has signed on to keep doing “The Tonight Show” into September of 2021.

Donald Trump has definitely been fired from hosting “Celebrity Apprentice.” NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt told critics the show will be back in 2016 with a new host, someone who must be big and make a lot of noise.

Maybe there will be a “Downton Abbey” movie. Executive Producer Gareth Neame says there’s been talk of a film and it just might happen, though there is no script or projected start date. Putting money on this one doesn’t seem like a good idea. Nevertheless, it takes a teensy bit of the sting out of the forthcoming farewell at the end of season six (which begins airing on PBS Jan. 3).

THE MUPPETS - The Muppets are back in prime time like you've never seen them before. Romance! Breakups! Success! Failure! Muppets are opening the doors to their homes and offices in this fresh documentary style series that explores these beloved characters as they live their lives in Hollywood. This real-world Muppet series will have something for kids of all ages. (ABC/Andrea McCallin ) DENISE, MISS PIGGY, JANICE

Denise, Miss Piggy, Janice “The Muppets” (ABC/Andrea McCallin )

Kermit and Miss Piggy broke up and he’s purportedly dating a pig named Denise in the ABC marketing department. Well, we all know how celebrities gin up their feuds to create interest in their new movies and shows. Would anyone be surprised if the showbiz savvy Piggy was behind this tactic to bring attention to their new “The Muppets” coming up on ABC Sept. 22. Co-created by Bill Prady (protege of Jim Henson who went on to create shows including “The Big Bang Theory) and Bob Kushell, the new “Muppets” looks like a good prospect for another TV hit.

Louis K.C. is going to take an extended hiatus after season five of his award-winning FX show. He wants to focus on other things and there is no telling when he’ll resume.

FX Chieftain John Landgraf believes that with all the outlets scrambling to put on more and more — and more — shows, we’ve reached a point of “Simply Too Much Television,” so expect a dropoff. But Showtime President David Nevins contends “There may be too much good TV. There’s never enough great TV. We’re trying really hard to make great TV.” So there.

There’s certainly a lot of retread TV. For example, Showtime has a “Twin Peaks” revival going into production next month for a 2016 debut. In addition to “The Muppets,” there’s “Heroes: Reborn” launching Sept. 24. Come midseason, we’ll see the return of Craig T. Nelson as “Coach.” “Prison Break” will return to Fox next year. Everyone involved wants to do a “Law & Order” revival, if the timing can be worked out, according to super producer Dick Wolf. And NBC’s Greenblatt raised the frightening prospect of a new “Alf.”

Wolf also disclosed plans for crossovers between his series, including a “jumbo” four-way crossover, with a story shared by “Chicago P.D.,” “Chicago Fire,” the new “Chicago Med” and “Law & Order: SVU.” That will be in February. In time for sweeps, of course.

Britney Spears will be on the CW’s “Jane the Virgin.” “The Muppets” guests will include Imagine Dragons and Nathan Fillion. But no show is a match for “Empire” when it comes to featuring famous names. This coming season, the show’s Who’s Who includes Pitbull, Chris Rock, Alicia Keys, Al Sharpton and Lenny Kravitz.

All About ‘The Goldbergs’ Rollicking Panel at TCA

(ABC/Eric McCandless) WENDI MCLENDON-COVEY, JEFF GARLIN

(ABC/Eric McCandless)
WENDI MCLENDON-COVEY, JEFF GARLIN

Puberty will loom large, big hair will be an issue, and “Thriller” will not be given an homage when “The Goldbergs” return for their third season on ABC. Those were a few of the topics in the wide-ranging and very funny panel featuring series creator and executive producer Adam Goldberg and the cast of his 1980s sitcom at the current Television Critics Association summer press tour.

“The Goldbergs” first episode this coming season Sept. 23 will take off on “Risky Business,” because “I kind of wanted to start with a big splash,” Goldberg said. “So we’re crashing cars and we’re doing the whole thing. It’s going to be awesome.”

As far as other big ’80s hit movies that might get the “Goldbergs” treatment, the creator noted, “It just has to happen kind of organically. We start with a story first. It’s not like I go, ‘I love “Short Circuit.”‘ I want to do an episode about it.” We started talking about an episode where Murray and Adam are forced by mom to build a robot together, which is something that happened with me and my dad. And then that turned into a ‘Short Circuit’ episode” — which will be seen later this year. “I just love all those movies and they’re part of me, so they’re going to be part of the show.”

The movie episodes are also highly promotable, noted a reporter, and ABC runs with them — last season’s huge “Ferris Bueller” episode featuring Charlie Sheen being a prime example. So how does Goldberg keep from allowing such episodes to overrun the show?

Goldberg acknowledged that the movie episodes have wrought behind-the-scenes controversy: “It started with “The Goonies” episode, which no one wanted me to do, and I insisted on doing, and people — the writers in the room were like, ‘This is going to destroy the show. You’re working way too hard on it. It’s driving you insane.'”

Then came the “Ferris Bueller” episode, which was the biggest of all, nicknamed “Adam’s Folly.”

“So I decided once a year, I’m going to do a big, just — it almost operates outside of the realm of the reality of the show. It’s like a direct homage. So I am doing one a year. And we’re negotiating right now with the movie studio. We’ve decided what the movie is, but I don’t know if — it’s so complicated to get these movies on the show,” he said.

Series dad Jeff Garlin jokingly guessed, “Charlotte’s Web”?

“It’s ‘Charlotte’s Web,'” Goldberg deadpanned, to laughter from the assembled press.

Then he went on, “So ABC definitely loves the big promotable stuff. But for me, it’s just, can we do it logistically? Just because I want to do ‘Indiana Jones’ doesn’t mean I can get Spielberg to sign off. It’s almost impossible. There’s so many stories that we want to tell, we just can’t do right now.”

He was told “Thriller” was impossible to get, but wrote a “Thriller”-themed Halloween episode anyway, “which I think is the best script we’ve ever written. And we were just told by the writer of the song, it’s never going to happen. … He doesn’t want his song to be aired on television. Movies, OK, but not TV. So we just kind of have to throw away the script.”

“Has he seen movies lately?” asked Garlin.

Of course, the Goldberg family members have their own lives to deal with, starting with young Adam, who will have a difficult year ahead.

“Every episode this season is about how I struggled with puberty, transitioning from middle school to high school,” revealed Goldberg, who takes his inspiration from his own life. “That’s what it’s going to be for a little bit, which will be really fun, because those stories are pretty brutal.”

Sean Giambrone, who plays Adam, said he’s fine with that, “Because the writers are great and I know they’ll be very nice about it. But it’ll be good comedy, I feel, so I’m OK.”

Garlin teasingly pointed out that Adam’s voice is changing: “How are you? I’m Sean. I still look very young, but my voice!”

Giambrone’s hair was in its natural curly state at the press conference, leading a reporter to ask him whether it will be his new look on the series. “This is my off-season hair. I don’t know about on-air. Because, like, usually I just have the part, you know, the well-coiffed part,” replied the 16-year-old. “But in regular life, it’s just kind of like this.”

“If we want to give Adam a Jewfro, we will,” added Goldberg.

Garlin chimed in, “I think that is a Jewfro. Having had one, that’s what it is, yeah.”

Speaking of hair, Goldberg admitted, “I get a lot of comments like why don’t the women have, like, big, giant hair. And it’s just we tried it in the pilot and it looked so ridiculous that I just thought it would take away from kind of the enjoyment of the show. So I wanted to do an episode about giant ’80s hair which I thought would be really fun this year at some point.”

Asked to comment on 1980s styles and fads seen in the show, Hayley Orrantia confessed that “I can’t stand the jelly shoes. I never understood it. They’re just so uncomfortable and your feet are sweaty and it’s just not that attractive. I think they’re like the Crocs of the ’80s.”

But AJ Michalka said she loves those plastic shoes.

Not series mom Wendi McLendon-Covey. “I hate all the fashions of the ’80s,” said the former “Reno 911” funny lady. “None of them need to come back in daily life. I’m pretty much horrified every day when I get dressed, but it’s what the character would wear. And what I love/hate on our set are all the little — do you remember when geese were a thing in the ’80s? You would decorate your house with little geese that had bows around their necks? That makes me laugh. Why did we think that was cute?”

The panel commented on some of the more attention-getting activities of their fans, such as the woman who had Beverly Goldberg’s face tattooed on her arm the other day.

“That’s your face,” Orrantia stressed to her series mom.

“Yeah. Wow,” McLendon-Covey replied.

Garlin joked that a tattoo shop in the Valley is “offering free Goldberg tattoos. Yeah. It’s a promo thing. ABC’s behind it, I think.”

“That was disturbing/flattering,” McLendon-Covey admitted. She also said there was a woman who crotcheted dolls of all the cast. “We’ve got some talented fans out there with some skills.”

“I’m glad I don’t know about that stuff,” Garlin said.

The fantastically funny actor and comedian was asked about the talk of a new season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” — and was quick to say that although “The Goldbergs” is in first position for him professionally, he has a deal that will allow him to go back and do more episodes of the much-honored HBO show if creator Larry David decides to do another season. “It’s been such an honor to work with him. I hope he does. I’d love to,” Garlin said.

Will he?

At this point, Garlin is giving it a 51 percent chance. He pointed out, “‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ is the only show that I know of in the history of television that only moves forward because the creator is basing his decision entirely on creativity. … Larry David is so g———- rich that he doesn’t have to do anything unless it’s good.”

Speaking of having to do things, the panel got into Garlin’s many underwear scenes. He let it be known that having to wear the infamous tighty-whities on camera is no picnic.

“In order to match my face, they have to put makeup on my legs, and it’s with water and a brush. Not enjoyable,” he complained, as reporters laughed. “Tighty-whities — not enjoyable. As a matter of fact, when we first started doing the show, I just wore a pair of tighty-whities. Then, the censor said, ‘I see movement.’ And so they added another layer. And then she said, ‘I see shadows,’ so there’s a special thing …”

“A codpiece,” offered Goldberg.

“It reminds me of kneepads when I played football — over my weiner. And she still comes in and says, ‘I see movements and shadows,’ which, I guess, is a compliment.”

Garlin let the media know, “I do it cause it’s my job. You know, when I get home, I wear boxer briefs. And when I get home to my actual home, my pants are off. I’m thrilled to not wear pants. I’m always disappointed if there’s guests, because then I have to keep my pants on out of respect. I have no respect for my family. So I do it. But there have been times where I have said — and it’s gone upstairs — ‘Jeff doesn’t feel it’s necessary in this scene for him to be in his underwear.’ And 9 out of 10 times, they’ll go OK.”

He added, “By the way, I go to craft service in my underwear and I hang out like that. They’re all pretty much used to it.”

“We love it. It’s a gift to all of us,” McLendon-Covey enthused.

So will “The Goldbergs” be like “M*A*S*H,” outlasting the actual time frame in which its story exists?

“The good thing about setting the show in 1980-something is it can go on for as long as we want. I don’t really specify any kind of time,” Goldberg responded. “In fact, I haven’t even aged the kids yet in terms of their grades, and no one’s even really seemed to notice. So it’s definitely not chronological. They’re like ‘The Simpsons.’ It’s basically a live-action ‘Simpsons.’ So I think that’s a great thing, I’m not locked into any time. So it’s as ’80s as long as we say it is. And then if we’re on long enough and we get bored, maybe we’ll go to the ’90s. Who knows.”

 

From ‘Wizards’ to ‘Cristela,’ Maria Canals Barrera Keeps Priorities Straight

MARIA CANALS-BARRERAHollywood can be very hard on couples, as anyone who has seen “A Star is Born” — any version — can readily attest. However, tackling the challenges of husband and wife dual acting careers is all in a day’s work for Maria Canals and David Barrera, who have been married for 15 years and are the parents of two daughters, Bridget, 10, and Madeleine, 8.

Maria, best known for her 106-episode run on the Disney Channel’s “Wizards of Waverly Place,” returns to the series game Friday, Oct. 10, playing the sister of breakout comedy star Cristela Alonzo in ABC’s new “Cristela.” She was up for the series with her husband. She got the job. He got a couple of callbacks, but ended up not being cast. Still, he’s very supportive, she says.

“He works all the time. He’s very fulfilled. It would have been fun to work together, but it’s OK,” says Maria, whose series spouse is being played by Carlos Ponce. She adds, “We’ve been up for husband and wife and boyfriend and girlfriend before, and sometimes we’ve gotten it.”

When it’s noted that some couples couldn’t handle such tricky ego territory, she is quick to shoot back, “I would question their priorities if they couldn’t handle it. I mean, we’re a team. We see things very much as a team. He works a lot. He just had a great big juicy guest star role on the first episode of this season of ‘Big Bang Theory.'”

In fact, David, whose credits range from big screen roles including Gunnery Sgt. Ray “Casey Kasem” Griego in “Generation Kill” to numerous TV gigs, was possibly better known to Cristela Alonzo at the outset of her sitcom’s casting than was Maria.

“The funny thing is she’s from the same small town in Texas that my husband is from,” notes the actress, referring to hamlet of San Juan in Hidalgo County. “They even attended the same high school, albeit 10 years apart. My husband was like the small town big star — everybody in that tiny town knows of David Barrera, the famous actor in Hollywood. Now it’s Cristela: ‘Oh, wow Cristela is our girl! She’s doing so great.’

“So, she knew who he was, she knew of him and knew I was his wife and about ‘Wizards’ and all of that.

She told me that she told the casting lady to make sure to bring us in because we’re a husband and wife team.”

Maria recalls that she and her new on-camera sister clicked immediately. “I did not know her personally before, but it was something that instantly felt great. It was so much fun — she’s so much fun to play off of, she’s easy to love like a sister. We both have sisters in real life, so we get the sister thing, how the sisters interact, how they keep bringing up things from the past.”

“Cristela” could have been even more of a Barrera family affair. Her elder daughter is in the “Cristela” pilot. “It was so much fun. The part of the kid was a recurring character. And then when the show got picked up, it became a regular. My daughter said, ‘Mom, I love doing the show, but I don’t want to miss middle school.’

“I said, ‘You know what? You’ll only have sixth grade once in your life. You can always do a show’ — because she’s really talented. So she chose school! Let me tell you, we were very blown away,” notes Maria with pride.

She keeps in touch with her former series daughter, Selena Gomez. She keeps in touch with all of her former “Wizards” family, in fact.

“We don’t see each other that often because we’re all doing so many different things, but we do talk, we do connect. I just connected with Jennifer (Stone). I saw David DeLuise recently. I see David Henrie. I was at the premiere of his film — he had a short film he wrote and directed that was terrific. I see Jake (T. Austin). And I do see Selena a little bit, but it’s been several months because she’s been so busy. We all stay connected, we support each other, we text,” she says. “It was a very special thing we had there. We’re grateful for it and we’re grateful for each other.”

Maria reports that she’s reunited with former occasional “Wizards of Waverly Place” director Victor Gonzalez, who’s been directing “Cristela.” And Peter Murrieta, a former writer-producer on “Wizards,” works on her new series, too. “It’s a small, small world,” she says.

So far she is having a blast on “Cristela.” “I love doing sitcoms with a live audience. There’s nothing like it. I love interacting with the people out there. It’s exciting to laugh with the audience. And it’s a family show, which is unusual and wonderful,” she adds. “You can watch with your kids and not flinch because of something highly inappropriate.”

Perhaps David Barrera will come in for a guesting some time?

Maria laughs. “Of course!”