Tag Archives: CBS

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.

Kim Wayans Talks ‘Reckless’ and Gender Equality of Steaminess

103576_D0106bKim Wayans has little doubt that at some point she and her famously funny siblings will work together again — but it won’t be for awhile. “Everybody is really off doing their own projects and raising their families and things of that nature,” says the actress, who debuts as sleuthing paralegal Vi in CBS’s sizzling summer series “Reckless” tonight (6/29)

“Part of the artist’s journey is fulfilling your own personal desires and everybody has different ideas about things they’d like to accomplish creatively. But we do love working together and we have such a good time doing it, when the right things come along we’ll get back together.”

“Reckless” reunites Kim with director Catherine Hardwicke, who was production designer on
Keenen Ivory Wayans’ wacky 1988 “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” blaxploitation film spoof. “Catherine was just the best — such a fun, kooky, creative individual. I always really dug her,” notes Kim, speaking of the talent who would go on to direct the first “Twilight” movie among other credits. “She was really one of the primary reasons I got in on ‘Reckless,’ which is a whole different direction than some of the projects I’ve been working on. I thought the script was great, well-written. Then when I heard Catherine was going to be directing it, and she wanted me to come in and read for her, you know, I couldn’t say no.”

The legal drama, set Charleston, S.C., stars Anna Wood and Cam Gigadent as super attractive
sexy legal eagles set on opposite sides of a police corruption case involving a gang rape. The steaminess quotient, including the camera’s long, lingering shots on bodies beautiful, is mighty high — including beefcake such as a shirtless Gigadent.

“That’s the wonderful thing about a woman director. You get to see both sides, so to speak — good for the goose, good for the gander.” Kim laughs. “This is the new world. With cable the way it is, I guess the networks are trying to push the envelope as much as they can so they can stay competitive with these shows where it’s like, everything’s out there.”

She’s hoping that her character gets a chance to expand if there is a Season 2. Meanwhile, viewers will get to see more of Vi’s story toward the end of this season. While waiting for word on the series’ future, Kim has her plate full of her own creative projects, including big and small screen comedies she’s written, and expansion of the Amy Hodgepodge children’s book series that she writes with husband Kevin Knotts. They’re working on an animated “Amy Hodgepodge” project as well as interactive digital possibilities for their multiracial school girl character.

Should “Reckless” be picked up for a second series, the Knottses wouldn’t mind at all going back to Charleston. “My husband and I just loved living there. It was so peaceful. You don’t even realize how much stress you’re under living in a big city until you pack up and go somewhere else for an extended period of time. It was so stress-free and peaceful and beautiful. I mean, it was like being in a little European town every day walking down those cobblestone streets, looking at those beautiful old buildings from the 1700s, the 1800s. It was a magical six months.”

‘The Mentalist’s’ Robin Tunney Talks Series’ Future, and Hers

“The Mentalist’s” 100th episode has aired and the team that makes the popular Simon Baker drama has made it clear that this season, they’re going to get closer to solving the central mystery of Red John — the serial killer that took the lives of Baker’s character’s wife and child.  Does all that indicate that Baker and series creator Bruno Heller are envisioning an ending for the series?

Not according to leading lady Robin Tunney.

“I think it’s a creative conversation,” she says, speaking of the show in general and the Red John storyline in particular.  “I feel like they’ll go along as long as the audience wants to, as long as they keep it interesting and not too frustrating.  Historically, with television, people will get on the bandwagon with something and then it’s very clearwhen they’ve given up,” she continues.  “Everybody wanted to know who killed Laura Palmer in ‘Twin Peaks’ — but it went to a certain point and then everyone turned on (creator) David Lynch.  I think there’s a certain point where you resolve something when the audience needs it.”

According to Tunney, Heller and the other writer-producers “read everything that’s written about the show, I think. Bruno actually reads letters that people send in.  I think they are genuinely curious.  Both Bruno and Simon are really into what the fans think, and sort of servicing them.”

The fans’ devotion has helped “The Mentalist” remain a strong show despite the fact, “the move to Sunday nights has been rough, because we get pre-empted by football,” Tunney acknowledges.  “People can’t watch when the show starts at 11 o’clock — and they can’t even properly TiVo it, because they don’t know when it’s going to start.

The Chicago-born actress, who rose to fame as the suicidal teen who shaved her head in “Empire Records,” and as a girl with occult powers in “The Craft” — and counts the series “Prison Break” among her credits — says she is happy to continue playing Agent Teresa Lisbon of the fictional California Bureau of Investigation.

In fact, she says, “I love playing this character, and I think as far as female roles on tv, it’s one of the great ones.  I feel like she’s incredibly three-dimensional.  She’s strong, she’s powerful.  I think she’s effective, but at the same time I think she’s human.  I don’t get bored.  I think that’s largely due to Simon because I do most of my scenes with him and I enjoy acting with him.

“At the same time, this has created a perfect atmosphere for me.  It’s not soapy, where I have to jump into bed with men or wear negligees, or cry, or play something ridiculous, like I’m the twin,” she adds with good-natured distaste.  “Or comedy like you watch sometimes and think, ‘Oh my God, this is not working’.  I’ll watch a show  that’s meant to be humorous and think there’s something wrong with me because the laugh track is laughing, but I don’t think it’s funny.”

Tunney, who is divorced, has a family of sorts among her “Mentalist” cast and crew mates, particularly Baker.  They are close enough, as she disclosed in a CBS video, that their relationship even survived her throwing up on him one day when she was working despite a stomach virus.

“He has three children so he’s had his kids throw up on him,” she cheerily observes, when the incident is mentioned.  “I think if you’re going to throw up on somebody, you should try to throw up on somebody who has children.  It doesn’t freak them out quite as much.”

As far as the show’s marking of 100 episodes and what it means to her, Tunney says,   “I was just reading about the 300th episode of ‘SVU.’  That just dwarfs this achievement.  Television actors are sort of like athletes.  You don’t admire it as much until you do it yourself.  You spend your life going, ‘Oh my God, Meryl Streep is so amazing.’  And she is amazing.  But Mariska Hargitay is like Muhammad Ali.“

She feels that Simon is a champ as well.  “He has an abnormally strong work ethic.  The fact that our show has stood up so well is really a testament to him and Bruno.  They both work astonishingly hard and, you know, it all comes from the top.”


Christine Baranski Amused by Her ‘The Good Wife’ Sex Life

With “The Good Wife” back in production for its fourth season, Christine Baranski is enjoying the fact her Diane Lockhart character is carrying on relationships with two men. At least.

“I’ve got two guys so far, but I’m ready for three or four, why not?” asks the actress, dead pan. “I’m a busy woman. I actually got a Twitter question today: ‘You seem to have the most active sex life of anyone on the show.’ That’s pretty damn funny. I love it!”

But seriously, Baranski is understandably proud of the multi-dimensional Diane, whose skills outside the bedroom are at least as formidable as therein. “What I really love? She’s a powerful, well-educated woman, very well-spoken, and she can just go toe to toe with the guys.  Women love that, they love to see it. There are so many powerful women in the world now, running companies, running countries, running the international monetary fund. They know how to talk to guys. They don’t, you know, bend and try to be all cute to try to deal with the guys. It’s a new world, and I love that Diane is totally comfortable with men. She actually likes men. You get the feeling, this is a woman who can sit down and drink scotch with the guys, and talk sports.”

Baranski herself loves to talk sports — she can keep up with any guy on the crew, she says. And nowadays, with her showcase role as the head of Julianna Margulies’ firm on the CBS series, Baranski loves to talk law.

“Why do lawyers get such a bad rap? It’s really hard,” observes the two-time Tony-winning actress. “I have a daughter in law school. I admire people who get through law school. It is really difficult. I often get the script and I think, ‘This is like speaking Arabic. What is this?’ So I learn more and more about the law and about how things work, and I’m happy for that because that’s really fun — when you have a job that actually educates you.”

In fact, Baranski is so convincing, “I’ve had people, heads of law firms, tell me, will you come and talk to my female lawyers about how to do it, because people on juries, they watch television, and they think lawyers should be like Diane Lockhart.”

According to Baranski, when Season 4 kicks off, we’ll find her law firm, Lockhart Gardner, in crisis mode. “We’re in a bad way, so we’re going to have to work our way back up or be liquidated. There’s a lot of layoffs. You know the show is good about reflecting what’s going on in America. We’re still in a recession, and frankly Lockhart Gardner hasn’t been able to bounce back the way they thought it would.”  As they say, stay tuned.

‘Blue Bloods’ Amy Carlson Savoring Mommy Time

Donnie Wahlberg, Amy Carlson CBS photo

What a grand time for the “Blue Bloods” troupe.  Ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange earlier this month and being feted at CBS’s Upfront presentation for advertisers, Tom Selleck and the rest of the cast must be feeling duly appreciated by now.

Amy Carlson, who plays Donnie Wahlberg’s wife Linda on the show, tells us she and her family will be heading off to Fire Island for a vacation after the promotional fest.  And after that, “I would love to do a movie, but if it doesn’t work out, that’s fine.  I have two children who are still quite little — 2 1/2 and 5 1/2 — and I love having time to spend with them.”

In fact, her schedule is one of the reasons the actress considers “Blue Bloods” her “best job in the world…My scenes are pretty specific and they’re all in one place, so I end up not having too crazy a schedule which is great.  They tend to give me more to do every third episode.”

She could be moving around a lot more next season, if talk of having Linda return to work as a nurse comes to fruition.  Opening up a medical aspect of the cop show would certainly add possibilities, and Carlson is ready.  “On ‘Third Watch,’ I was a paramedic, so I have a TV medical background,” she says with a laugh.  Hey, but no kidding — the experience won’t hurt.  “It’s true,” she responds.  “You do end up with a lot of knowledge you can bring with you.”