News, scoops, reviews and more from TV land.
Christopher Walken as Captain Hook in "Peter Pan?" There is something deliciously obvious about this - so obvious that it will in fact happen. Walken-as-Hook was arguably the big TCA news Sunday - and a surprise too. (As a sidebar...NBC confirmed it had approached Kristen Bell for the role of Peter Pan; she demurred due apparently to work conflicts...) NBC's live telecast of 1954 musical based on...Read more »
Beverly Hills - Bill Cosby - or should I say, THE Bill Cosby - will be returning to NBC, possibly as early as next summer, in a still-untitled multigenerational family comedy, NBC Entertainment chief Jennifer Salke told reporters at the biannual "critics tour" here Sunday. Cosby's return to NBC had been reported some months ago, but it was unclear at the time whether he would actually star in the series.
Unclear no more: He will play the patriarch of a large clan which doesn't sound whole lot different from that famous Huxtable clan, in fact. NBC execs said there was no rush to get the series on the air, while the 2015 season could be just as likely a starting place. Meanwhile, Mike O'Malley - of "Glee" - has joined the series as a writer along with Mike Sikowitz, formerly a show-runner on "Rules of Engagement." O'Malley could have a starring role as well.
The idea of a "writer" on any Cosby-starring show, by the way, is an interesting concept: He went through many of them during the "Cosby" years in part because he ad libbed a lot of material, and disdained the sitcom beat that was and is endemic to multi-cam comedies. He drove some of his writers batty and batty writers tend to leave... (Not making this up, not that I would: It was well known during the show's run that he was a tough boss, and Mark Whitaker, in his forthcoming bio of the star, adds more detail.)
"True Detective," HBO's first-year anthology series that was expected to make a showing at the 66th prime-time Emmy nominations announcement Thursday morning, made a showing -- and then some. The series scored a nod for best drama, catapulting it instantly into a rarefied orbit with multiple nominees "Breaking Bad," Downton Abbey," "Game of Thrones," "House of Cards" and "Mad Men" -- each of which also received a best drama nod.
In addition, both Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson -- the series' leads -- scored best actor nominations. That was a bit of a surprise, in that only McConaughey was considered an absolute lock. McConaughey is, by the way, almost certainly the favorite to win going into the August ceremony.
Meanwhile in terms of sheer numbers, FX's "Fargo" and "Game of Thrones" ended up in the winner's circle. "Fargo" got a total of eighteen nominations. "GoT" got nineteen.
The list of comedy award nominees was virtually a mirror of last year's list, with one notable exception: HBO freshman "Silicon Valley" also made the cut. Yes, indeed, it was a very, very good morning for HBO -- much less so for Showtime which got shut out for "Masters of Sex," but which did score one very big hit: Lizzy Caplan in the best actress category.
Meanwhile, "Modern Family" -- nominated of course -- now has a chance to win five best statues in a row. Here's your list... and do check back for more analysis, and head here for the snub list.
"Breaking Bad," "Downton Abbey," "Game of Thrones," "House of Cards," "Mad Men," "True Detective"
What it means: That the strong remain strong. This list was absolutely predicted by everyone on the planet with a Twitter account and love of good-to-great TV. Certainly "TD" will have a few detractors -- HBO managed to get it into the prestigious drama category as opposed to the much less prestigious miniseries one. "TD" deserves to be here but "Fargo" fans would argue that it does as well. "Fargo" did well this morning - both Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton got nods - but it was still relegated to the mini cat. Will "TD" upset "Bad," which is looking to repeat? I kind of doubt that -- in Emmys, advantage usually, but not always, lies with the incumbent. But, of course, we shall see.
Comedy series: "Big Bang Theory," "Louie, "Modern Family," "Orange is the New Black," "Silicon Valley," "Veep"
What it means: "Orange is the New Black" is a comedy? Did voters happen to see a different version from the one I saw? "Orange" is not a comedy, but it is a drama, although Netflix -- now a powerhouse in this industry -- managed to convince voters and the Emmy management apparatchiks otherwise. "Bang" certainly has the advantage here.
Lead actor in a drama: Bryan Cranston, Jeff Daniels, Jon Hamm, Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey
What it means: Clearly it means just one thing -- will Jon Hamm finally win for crying out loud? I mean enough already.
Lead actress in a drama:
Lizzy Caplan, "Masters of Sex"; Claire Danes, "Homeland"; Michelle Dockery, "Downton Abbey"; Julianna Marguiles, "The Good Wife"; Kerry Washington, "Scandal"; Robin Wright, "House of Cards"
What it means: As always, the lead actress is the most hotly contended category is all of Emmydom; this extremely strong list still managed to leave out other quality candidates, yet no one can really argue with what's here. Caplan's inclusion is not a surprise but given the tough competition, a real achievement nonetheless. My hunch is that this race will come down to Wright and Margulies.
Lead actor in a miniseries or movie:
Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, Martin Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Billy Bob Thornton
Lead actor in a comedy:
Louie CK, "Louie"; Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"; Ricky Gervais, "Derek"; Matt LeBlanc, "Episodes"; William H. Macy, "Shameless"; Jim Parsons, "Big Bang Theory"
What it means: Gervais is the huge upset here. I certainly didn't see this coming. But again, Parsons remains the fave.
Lead actress in a comedy:
Lena Dunham, "Girls"; Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"; Melissa McCarthy, "Mike and Molly"; Amy Poehler, "Parks and Rec"; Taylor Schilling, "Orange is the New Black"
What it means: Without knowing just yet which episodes were submitted, it's hard to know how this will shake out. But I very much like Dunham's chances here. Nevertheless, this is Louis-Dreyfus's to lose -- which she pretty much has not yet. She's won the last two lead actress awards, and has to be absolute favorite to win again. Under normal circumstances, I would complain bitterly about the Emmys' utter predictability -- except that she is excellent and so is her show. No crime at all if she does win again. But still, Dunham is your dark horse.
Lead actress in mini/movie: Helena Bonham Carter, "Burton and Taylor"; Minnie Driver, "Return to Zero"; Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, both "American Horror Story"; Cicely Tyson, "Trip to Bountiful"; Kristen Wiig, "The Spoils of Babylon"
Jennifer Love Hewitt has joined the cast of "Criminal Minds" -- news announced Tuesday but I didn't have the heart to post until now. She'll play -- per CBS -- "Kate Callahan, a seasoned undercover agent whose stellar work at the FBI has landed her a coveted position with the Behavioral Analysis Unit," and begins with the 10th season premiere.
Why no heart in the matter? I like Hewitt, think she's a perfectly good actress, and was good in the "The Ghost Whisperer." ("The Client List" I can't speak to.) What's ominous here is "Criminal Minds," which has had something of a revolving door with female leads or semi-leads in the last few years (Jeanne Triplehorn just left, but A.J.Cook and Kirsten Vangness have stuck around almost since season one).
What's the problem with "CM"? The show certainly had what we politely refer to in the critical trade as "content problems" -- a veritable parade of butchered people often women. CBS staked a claim in this type of programming years ago, known as "women in peril," which was once a staple of its long-gone movie franchise.
I have no idea whether "CM" is as awful as it once was; maybe it's turned into "The Good Wife," for all I know. But it was awful. Not that this is the only series on TV that traffics in blood porn; it's everywhere or in far too many places in fact and seems to be an absolute requirement for entry into the prestigious FX club. But "CM" entered the debate when Mandy Patinkin abruptly quit without explanation, then said this years later:
I didn't pay attention to the material, because once you get yourself locked onto the one need that you think you have [money, steady employment], which was the security of the job and having the job to go to every day, which I love, and the economic false security, 'cause I wasn't in trouble, I was doing fine -- I ignored the fact that there was a woman in a cage being tortured. I thought, "Well, this is just the pilot. You can't do that every show, for God's sake. How long would that be interesting?" Yet it remained interesting for now, I think, seven or eight years they're into.
So welcome, Ms Hewitt. And good luck. You may need it.
Shaun Cassidy -- certainly one of Hollywood's most interesting multi-hyphenates -- is getting back into TV, or more specifically, the Internet, with a drama on Amazon titled "Hysteria," starring Mena Suvari and James McDaniel ("NYPD Blue"). Amazon just announced, and this joins a reasonably full pilot season on the web service, which is heck-bent on joining the exclusive club that Hulu and Netflix...Read more »
For those obsessed "Mad Men" fans who wondered whether Don Draper, Peggy Olson, Joan Holloway, Roger Sterling and Company would ever fade from the scene, to become part of our cherished TV memories, the moment has arrived. "Mad Men" has slipped into history.
The show held its wrap party during the weekend in Los Angeles, and -- old show biz maxim -- that which has been wrapped cannot be unwrapped, except for the TV movie or perhaps special limited-run series. (Another old show business maxim: Money always talks.)
But "Mad Men" is over and it is inconceivable that it could ever again continue in any fashion, even though "Breaking Bad" has reinterred part of its soul for "Better Call Saul." Now consider this: All those stars and producers who congregated Saturday at The Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles know something you and I don't know -- how it all ends.
What a perfect place for a burial. The old Roosevelt is one of those grand, beautiful, dowdy, heavily rouged LA landmarks -- the Norma Desmond of hotels. (Some might also imagine it evokes the "Barton Fink" Hotel Earle, but that was shot in the lobby of a classic silent era theater on Western Boulevard, so no relation.)
The Roosevelt is also haunted or reputed to be, and of course Don saw a ghost in the closing seconds of the midseason finale. (Actually, not exactly a "ghost," but we've already discussed this at length.)
Also: This was the Roosevelt hotel where the first Academy Awards were held. Maybe "MM" held the wrap here to confer good karma onto Jon Hamm, who will most certainly be honored with another Emmy nomination for best actor next week and most certainly deserves to finally win.
Or maybe this is just practical: A large part of the seventh season after all has been West Coast-based, and maybe the West Coast is where it will all end up.
The Manhattan-based Roosevelt, or just The Roosevelt, like its West Coast counterpart, is of the same vintage. Both were built in the middle of the Jazz Age, honoring a president who at that moment must have seemed the epitome of American ambition and energy. It also happens to figure prominently in "Mad Men" history, as this was the place Don repaired after Betty kicked him out of the house in one of the early seasons.
The Roosevelt of the 1960s -- and like the LA one, has since been refurbished -- was a perfect place for a disgraced ad man looking to hang his hat for a night or two -- a seen-better-times dinosaur that did in fact look like the Hotel Earle, and a quick overnight stop if one missed the last train out of Grand Central, or one's wife had just kicked one out of the house.
The wrap party in LA was sponsored by Johnnie Walker. Why booze? Why need you ask with regards to "Mad Men?" Plus, Christina Hendricks was JW's prominent spokeswoman star not too long ago.
(Brooks Brothers was also a sponsor, and as fans know, BB -- just across Madison Avenue from The Roosevelt -- supplied Don's classic suits over the years, and even began a "Mad Men" line. )
I'm going on at length here only for reasons of sentimentality. It's over. Maybe you too feel the slightest sense of loss.
The last half of the seventh season arrives sometime next year. I'll hold my own private wrap party then, maybe at The Roosevelt.
"The View," a daytime TV pillar and until last month headed by a TV legend, has come undone: ABC and its production partners on the franchise late Thursday fired Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy, leaving just Whoopi Goldberg, who joined the show in 2007, as the only current castmember.
"The View will be moving in an exciting new direction next season and ABC has made decisions to evolve...Read more »
Gary Oldman tried to diffuse the controversy generated by comments made to Playboy by apologizing Wednesday night on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" -- a long cri de coeur that disavowed a whole range of observations (about Mel Gibson, "political correctness" and Jews) which were quite obviously idiotic and bizarrely out of sync with anything anyone in the world is apparently talking about these days. "Especially to younger fans I should be an example and an inspiration and I'm an [expletive] and I should know better."
Kimmel instantly punctures the moment, however: "I'm so surprised you call your fans 'Team Oldman.' " (What's especailly peculiar about this clip is that it concludes with a billboard from "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" -- a commercial! So, in the end, everything really is just about ticket sales.)
Here's a good Washington Post blog that lays out the oddity of this whole Oldman controversy.
Some late-night skits are funny, some are funny and weird.
But it's a rare trick when a late-night host, even Jimmy Kimmel (who's essentially become the nation's master TV prankster), pulls them off so successfully, as he did on Tuesday night's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," with an assist from the Knicks' Amar'e Stoudemire and the redoubtable Cousin Sal.
Check out (former Laker) Metta World Peace's limo ride from heck.
What do you think -- is Jimmy Kimmel the best prankster on late-night TV?
"The Knick" -- not to be confused with the Knicks, heaven forbid -- arrives on Cinemax Aug. 8.
About the frontiers of hospital medicine in New York circa 1900 and starring Clive Owen and Andre Holland, you may expect -- reliably, I would imagine -- horror and much blood.
Tuesday, the first full trailer arrived.
This a huge project for Cinemax, attempting to climb into the Serious Drama forum with a very rare Steven Soderbergh TV initiative. (He did in fact produce the much-awarded "Behind the Candelabra" for HBO.)