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Showing posts from July, 2010

TCA Awards: Critics Honor Glee, Modern Family, The Pacific, Lost, Breaking Bad, Jane Lynch, Julianna Margulies, and More

At an awards ceremony hosted by Parenthood 's Dax Shepard this evening in Beverly Hills, the Television Critics Association announced their award winners for 2010 as part of the annual summer press tour held twice a year by the professional organization. Among the winners: Glee, Modern Family, The Pacific, Lost, Breaking Bad , Jane Lynch, and The Good Wife 's Julianna Margulies. Glee took home the top prizes for both Program of the Year and Outstanding New Program while the FOX musical-comedy's Jane Lynch walked away with the prize for Individual Achievement in Comedy. Her counterpart on the drama side? Julianna Margulies, who walked away with the award for Individual Achievement in Drama. ABC's Modern Family was named the recipient of Outstanding Achievement in Comedy, while Lost and AMC's Breaking Bad tied for Outstanding Achievement in Drama. In the other categories, James Garner received the Career Achievement award, while the Heritage Award went to M*A*

Not All Conspiracies Are Theories: Brief Thoughts on AMC's Rubicon

While you can read my feature piece on AMC's conspiracy thriller Rubicon here , I thought I'd also offer my brief thoughts on the first four episodes of the drama itself. I found Rubicon --which stars James Badge Dale, Miranda Richardson, Lauren Hodges, Arliss Howard, Jessica Collins, Dallas Roberts, and Christopher Evan Welch--an intriguing glimpse behind the curtain of the intelligence community, where the focus wasn't on dashing Jack Bauer types but rather the analysts who are forced to pull together information and offer suggestions to an array of agencies on supported actions. It's this specifically that provides the series' fourth episode--the best of the initial installments--its emotional heft, as the analysts at API are forced to content with a weighty moral decision that will impact the lives of countless people. However, while there's a biting intelligence to Rubicon (which was created by Jason Horwitch and now overseen by Henry Bromell), it'

The Daily Beast: "Rubicon's Paranoia TV"

Looking to dive deeper into AMC's new conspiracy thriller Rubicon ? Head over to The Daily Beast, where you can read my latest feature, entitled " Rubicon 's Paranoid TV," where I talk to showrunner Henry Brommel and stars James Badge Dale and Miranda Richardson about the AMC drama and place in within the context of both 1970s conspiracy thrillers like The Conversation, All the President's Men, Klute, The Parallax View , and Three Days of the Condor and our current political climate post-9/11. Rubicon premieres Sunday evening at 8 pm ET/PT with a special two-hour launch (which includes the pilot that received its own sneak peek a few weeks back) on AMC.

Channel Surfing: Ellen Quits Idol, Kara Out and J.Lo In, Charles Dance for Thrones, Lizzy Caplan Heads to HBO, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. First up: the swirling rumors, news, and confirmations emanating from FOX about the changes at American Idol ... The big news from last night of course is the departure of Ellen DeGeneres from FOX's American Idol after just one season. DeGeneres released a statement yesterday evening that confirmed her departure from the musical competition series. "A couple months ago, I let FOX and the American Idol producers know that this didn't feel like the right fit for me," said DeGeneres via a network press release. "I told them I wouldn't leave them in a bind and that I would hold off on doing anything until they were able to figure out where they wanted to take the panel next. It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for. I also realized this season that while I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes

TCA Diary: Season Five of Dexter About "Atonement"

At today's Dexter session at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, the cast and crew of the Showtime serial killer drama united on stage--a week after appearing in San Diego to promote the series--to discuss the fifth season, how Julie Benz's Rita fits into the overarching storyline, whether there will be another season-long big bag, and other bloody good fun coming up on the series. Joining the panel: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, James Remar, C.S. Lee, executive producers Sara Colleton and John Goldwyn and newly minted showrunner Chip Johannessen, who took to the stage after a teaser trailer that showed the bloody aftermath of the carnage in the fourth season finale. "No," said Sara Colleton answering a question as to whether Seasons Four and Five were planned in concert with one another. "We rarely go beyond one year because we have to have a season arc that has a beginning and a finish... At the end of Season Four, it quickly became

Crossing the Pond: Showtime's Episodes Session at TCA

On the comedy front, if there's one series that I'm anxiously awaiting, it's Showtime's Episodes , co-produced with Auntie Beeb. The Hollywood skewering series--which stars Matt LeBlanc, Tamsin Greig, Stephen Mangan, John Pankow, Mircea Monroe, and Kathleen Perkins--was created by former Friends writer/producers David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik and executive produced by British television god Jimmy Mulville. Episodes explores just what happens to a pair of British television creators when an American broadcast network brings them over to Los Angeles to create a US version of their hit show... and saddles them with Matt LeBlanc. For LeBlanc, he maintains that he's not playing himself. At all. "It's not really myself," said LeBlanc. "It's a character that David and Jeffrey wrote that happens to have the same name as me. There are some similarities. For the most part, it's a fictitious character." "Things go from bad to worse,&

TCA Diary: Showtime's The Big C Session

Showtime kicked off the second official day of the TCA Summer Press Tour with a session for its upcoming comedy The Big C , which launches next month. After screening a selection of scenes from the first few episodes, Laura Linney, Oliver Platt, Gabourey Sidibe, executive producer Jenny Bicks, creator Darlene Hunt, and executive producers Vivian Cannon and Neal Moritz took to the stage to answer questions about the series, which revolves around the life changes undertaken by a woman after receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis. "When this script came to me, what hit me the most was the theme of time," said Linney about what attracted her most about the project. "What do you with time? What are the choices that we make, how we spend our time? How much time to we get? It's a privileged to grow old... It was meaningful to me." "Everyone who shows up is so happy to be there," said Linney about shooting the series in Connecticut. "It was important to

TCA Diary: Showtime's Matt Blank Teases Upcoming Programming

Showtime's Matt Blank kicked off the festivities on Day Two of the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour by offering a look at what's coming up for their slate of original programming over the next six months or so. "Showtime continues to thrive in every part of our business," said Blank. "We received more 2010 Emmy nominations for our original series than any other premium cable network." Here are some highlights from the very brief session, during which Blank acknowledged the behind-the-scenes changes going on at the pay cabler, where Robert Greenblatt has stepped down and will be succeeded by David Nevins. Weeds comes back in August. Guest stars this season will include Richard Dreyfus, Alanis Morrissette, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Linda Hamilton, and Peter Stomare. The Big C , which launches on August 16th as well, will feature Idris Elba, Cynthia Nixon, and Liam Neeson, whose participation was announced earlier this week. Dexter 's lates

Supernatural Stars of Being Human Tease Season Three, US Version, Barry Island

Last year's Comic-Con featured a huge crowd for BBC America's supernatural drama series Being Human , which hadn't even premiered in the US yet when the stars of the BBC Three series made their way to San Diego. A year later and the enthusiasm for the series--part Gothic horror, part soap, part buddy comedy--hasn't diminished. Televisionary special correspondent Lissette Lira attended the press room for Being Human and spoke to the cast about illegal downloading, the US version of Being Human that Syfy is developing, what's coming up on Season Three of the UK version, and Barry Island. Wait, Barry Island? Yes, you read that correctly. Just why are Mitchell, George, and Annie headed to the pleasure park? Read on in Lissette Lira's full report on just what went down behind the press room's closed doors at the Marriott Marina last weekend: After a warm reception at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the Being Human cast--Russell Tovey, Lenora Crichlow, and

Channel Surfing: Details on Kanakaredes' Exit from CSI, Alphas Lands Two, More on McPherson, HIMYM, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello talks to CSI: NY executive producers Pam Veasey and Zachary Reiter about the departure of Melina Kanakaredes from the crime procedural and how they'll handle Stella's exit, given that Kanakaredes will not be reprising her role this fall. "We’re giving her a noble exit,” said Reiter. "We chose not to go the route of killing her off or having her go missing. We felt that would weigh too heavily on the team." However, the action will instead pick up a few months after the events of the season finale and reveal that Stella moved to New Orleans. "She left to run a lab there," Veasey told Ausiello. "And she picked that city because it’s the city of Katrina, the city of BP oil, the city where people are looking for someone to lend a hand. She’ll essentially be Mac in New Orleans. We wanted to do something that was respectful and made a lot of sense."

TCA Report: CBS Executive Session with Nina Tassler

TCA's Summer Press Tour began this morning with CBS' executive session, featuring Nina Tassler, President of CBS Entertainment. While there wasn't much news announced this morning, save the latest twist on Survivor --which will see 20 castaways split between two age groups: those over 40 and those under 30--and the companies participating in the next season of reality series Undercover Boss (DirecTV, NASCAR, Chiquita Brands International, and Great Wolf Resorts). However, Tassler did take questions from the critics, answering queries about the GLAAD score for CBS, Hawaii Five-O, Bleep My Dad Says, The Good Wife , and more. Tassler began by praising series from across the broadcast networks, saying that the 2009-10 season produced "one of the best freshman classes in years" and acknowledged that "all of the network shows are programming engines for all of the other platforms," including online, etc. "It was a terrific year for us and we are rest

Channel Surfing: Syfy Plans BSG Prequel, McPherson Leaves ABC, NBC Confirms Carell Departure, Parenthood, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. The Chicago Tribune 's Maureen Ryan is reporting that Syfy is developing an online prequel to Battlestar Galactica entitled Blood & Chrome , which would focus on the life of William Adama during the first Cylon War and will be written by Caprica 's Michael Taylor. Project, which would consist of nine to ten episodes of roughly ten minutes each, would focus "about a young man's initiation into war: both the realities of war as fought by soldiers on the ground (and in Battlestars and Vipers), and the somewhat less real version portrayed in the media," according to Taylor. Interestingly, should the online series be a hit, it could serve as the basis for a backdoor pilot or a full-blown series set during the first Cylon War. And, given the fact that it's running online, don't look for any content restrictions. "We're not going to be shying away from R-rated blood and guts and sex," Tayl

Channel Surfing: Damages Season Four Details, Susan Sarandon Gets Miraculous, RTD Teases Torchwood, Fringe, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. Now that the ink has dried on Damages 's DirecTV deal, Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello talks to executive producers Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler, and Daniel Zelman about whether the format for the serpentine legal drama will be altered for its fourth and fifth seasons, whether the budget will be affected, why Ellen has gotten past the fact that Patty tried to have her killed, who will be returning, and a host of other issues. "DirecTV wants us to do the show that we’ve been doing," said Zelman. "If anything, they want us to push what we’ve been doing even further . They’re encouraging us to be as bold as possible, which is something we strive for anyway. There have been no discussions about altering the show in any fundamental way." Except for the fact that the episodes will be longer, that is. "What’s exciting for us as creators is that on the 101 Network there are no commercials, so it’l

The Daily Beast: "Mad Men's Slap-Happy Return"

Looking to process last night's sensational season premiere of Mad Men ? Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my interview with Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner about the fourth season premiere ("Public Relations"), entitled " Mad Men 's Slap-Happy Return," in which we discuss Sunday’s Season Four opener, Don and Betty Draper, the return of Joan (Christina Hendricks), and, yes, that slap. Be sure to head over to the comments section as well to share your thoughts on Weiner's answers, your reactions to the fourth season premiere, and just where you think this season will lead.

The Unseen Second Floor: Mad Men's Fourth Season Premiere

"Who is Don Draper?" It's those very words that are asked at the start of Season Four of AMC's slick and stylish period drama Mad Men but the question isn't just asked of Don Draper himself but posed to the audience as well. Just who is Don Draper? Is he a man so desperate to create a life for himself that he borrowed an identity from someone else? Is he an adulterous family man and distant father? Is he a divorced man attempting to navigate the uncertain waters of dating once more? Is he a modest Midwesterner or is he the public face of the fledgling Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce agency? In the fourth season opener ("Public Relations"), written by Matthew Weiner and directed by Phil Abraham, Don wonders the answers to those questions as well, finding no solace in the quest of self-discovery. Throughout the series, Don Draper has been an enigma, a man whose purpose in life is to sell products, to craft deliciously beautiful creative work, but he'