Tag Archives: TBS

Jodi Long Enjoying the Tweet Life

photo by Bobby Quillard

photo by Bobby Quillard

Jodi Long – known as the tart-tongued Ok Cha Sullivan, Korean immigrant mom of Steve Sullivan (Steve Byrne) on TBS’s “Sullivan & Son” – got a wave of social media love when news broke of the series’ third season pickup last month.   She says of her Twitter followers, “They’re so excited.  It’s fun.”

She tells us, “I’m really a newbie to Twitter.  It was one of those things where I said, ‘Okay, I’ll do it for you.’  I did the Facebook thing and the Twitter.  It’s really rewarding on a certain level, getting people to watch the show and just connecting with fans in a way that I would never, ever have imagined.  They tweet right away when something happens.”

It’s nice to note that the actress/filmmaker/playwright hasn’t faced the annoyance of haters posting mean missives.  To the contrary.  “I know certain actors — everybody’s grousing, ‘I can’t deal with the negativity.’  But people have been really so supportive and very sort of vocal about what they like.”

Ok Cha has given them a lot to like.  A role that might’ve been one-note has wound up dimensional and full of surprises.

Long has been busy while on seasonal hiatus.  She reprised her one-woman play, “Surfing DNA,” in which she opens up her biological journey growing up, at West Hollywood’s Working Stage Theater in June and July.

 

Despite ‘Cheers’ Parallels, Steve Byrne Says His New Show Is a Comedy Unto Itself

With a bar setting, a cast of colorful characters and former “Cheers” show runner Rob Long among its executive producers, Steve Byrne’s July 19-debuting TBS “Sullivan & Son” won’t be able to avoid comparisons to its mighty predecessor of the 80s and 90s.

But Byrne is quick to insist that the similarities between his show and that vintage favorite are merely on the surface.  “‘Cheers’ is ‘Cheers’ because of Cliff, Norm, Sam, Diane, Carla…It’s the characters that make it ‘Cheers’.  The bar is just the setting,” he says. “Our show is a lot edgier — it’s a cable show, not a network show,  so we do get to push the envelope a little bit.”

Also, notes the popular standup comic, who has a Korean mother and an Irish-American father on the show — as in real life — “I hope that America sees that it’s reflective of America itself.  It’s a diverse cast without trying to be about diversity.  These are my real friends, and they just happen to be a black guy, an Egyptian, and a goofy white guy.”

In fact, Byrne will soon be setting off on a “Sullivan & Son” promotional comedy tour with his barfly/comic pals Roy Wood, Ahmet Amed, and Owen Benjamin.  “We’ll be in a different city each of the 10 weeks the show is on,” says Byrne.  Jodi Long, Dan Lauria, Christine Ebersole and Bryan Doyle-Murray are also in the series’ cast.

“Sullivan & Son” wouldn’t exist without exec producer Vince Vaughn, Byrne says.  “It all starts and ends with him.  He’s been so supportive of my career, and as a friend.  He saw how hard I was working on the road as a standup comedian and he said, ‘Why don’t you create something for yourself?’  I’d never done anything like that before, but he said, ‘Oh, you can do it.’  The conversation lasted for about two minutes and I said, ‘Okay, I’ll try it.'”

Byrne spent months studying books and honing his sitcom-writing skills.  He created a pilot script, and then he and Vaughn met with writers and he wound up collaborating with Long — flying back and forth to L.A. to write with Rob each week, doing comedy gigs and seeing his wife at home in Chicago.

It was Long’s idea, he says, to move the show’s setting from its original placement in a diner.  “He said, ‘Why don’t you make it a bar?  I think it’s a little more accommodating if you put it in a bar.’  And I said, ‘You know what?  If you sign on, and you worked on one of the most iconic bar shows — one of the most iconic sitcoms of all time,  if you feel comfortable putting it in a bar, then, yeah, let’s put it in a bar.”

Vaughn, he says, read every script along the way.  They had something written for him to appear on “Sullivan & Sons,” but, “He had to go start his movie, ‘Interns,’ in Atlanta.  I think he’ll be on the show at some point if we go on a second season.”

‘Glory Daze’ Actors Get 80’s Style Frat House Experience

Kelly Blatz, Drew Seeley, Harley Sawyer, Matt Bush TBS photo

Kelly Blatz, Drew Seeley, Harley Sawyer, Matt Bush TBS photo

“Aaron Stone” cutie pie Kelly Blatz is finding a welcome dividend in making TBS’s Nov. 16-debuting  “Glory Daze” series about a group of fraternity pledges in the 1980s.  The 23-year-old actor notes, “I backed out of college before I even went, and even though I visited friends in fraternities a few times, I kind of felt like maybe I missed out.  Pledging this fraternity with these guys, I get to have all the fun and camaraderie without having to do the school work.”

Blatz is part of an ensemble including Tim Meadows and Drew Seeley (with interesting guest stars like Kevin Nealon, Teri Polo and Fred Willard).  He reports that the show’s creators, Walt Becker and Michael LeSleur, informed them “They didn’t want to hit anyone over the head with the 80’s thing — this is inspired by their own college experiences — but they did give us a packet of things to work with.  We do riff a lot, improvise, and we wanted to have a grasp of who the celebrities were at the time, the big athletes, the supermodels, so we’d say the right things.  We wanted to use the right slang, and not talk about cell phones and things like that.”

He adds, “I’m so used to my wardrobe now, it feels like what I’d actually wear.  I’m always wanting to tuck in my shirt.”

Then there’s the music aspect, of vital importance to college students of any generation, of course.  The producers supplied their guys with “like, 12 full CD mixes — R&B, pop, rock.  I definitely have a huge catalogue of 80s music in my brain now,” Blatz says.

As it happens, he’s working on his own music while finishing up the last few episodes of the first season’s worth of “Glory Daze.”  He and his band, Capra have been developing a sound of their own for the last four years, he lets us know, and are now recording an album for Hollywood Records, to debut in 2011.  “When you hear it you’ll understand,” he says.  “It’s a fun, funky hip hop and rock.”

BAD MAMA:  Daphne Zuniga’s been having a blast on “One Tree Hill” of late, what with her character, the notorious Victoria Davis, incarcerated over her dirty business dealings and her recent disowning of her daughter, Brooke (Sophia Bush), over her decision to sell the family company.

“I love the drama they’re bringing, but the possible dissolution of the company is, you know, kind of a big deal.  I’m not sure what they have in mind for us.”  She enjoys the fact the writers “are always surprising me.  I love that they write for Victoria.”  However, she admits, “It’s hard for me to do these scenes where I scream at Sophia.  It’s hard to say these awful things to her face.  We’re good friends.”

In fact, the one-time “Melrose Place” actress credits Sophia and cast mate Austin Nichols with being more open and mature than she was at their age.  She enjoys their company, and, in fact, credits them with helping her get into the Twitter universe.

“I had someone post things for me for an environmental auction I had, but sitting around the set one day, I said, ‘I don’t even know how to tweet myself.  I don’t even know my password.'”  Bush and Nichols helped her out, and now, she says, she tweets them to stay in touch.

Zuniga shows a whole different side — make that two — in her delightful Hallmark Channel movie, “A Family Thanksgiving” that premiered over the weekend and has repeat airings coming up.  The fantasy romantic comedy, also starring Faye Dunaway, has Daphne as a high-powered attorney with a walk-in closet full of designer clothes — who gets the chance to see what her life would have been like had she become an everyday suburban wife and mother.

THE BIG SCREEN SCENE:  Forget those reserved and respectful presidential flicks and get ready for “FDR: American Badass.”  Yes, casting is now underway for a film billed as an action comedy in which the leader of the free world from the Great Depression through World War II will be depicted, according to casting notices, as “a hip, foul-mouthed badass in a customized wheelchair.”   Famous and infamous names from the 1940s — including Eleanor Roosevelt, Mussolini, Hitler, McArthur, Churchill and Eisenhower — are part of the action, along with “a hot nurse.”  However, in this case, FDR is intent upon thwarting “a dastardly plan to take over the world via polio-infected werewolves.”  Well, at least you can say one thing for it: this is not a plot you’ve heard before.