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May 2009 Archives

Video: CW’s ‘Life Unexpected’ and ‘Body Politic’

May 20, 2009 5:07 PM

The CW announces its 2009-2010 schedule tomorrow and while it’s a sure thing that “Vampire Diaries,” “The Beautiful Life” and “Melrose Place” will be joining the network’s fall slate, midseason is a little less clear.

Among the midseason contenders are “Life Unexpected” (starring Shiri Appleby, Kerr Smith and Brittany Robertson) and “The Body Politic” (starring Minka Kelly, Jay Hernandez, Jason Dohring and Gabrielle Union). Their fate may be uncertain at the moment, but you can check out scenes after the jump from their pilots, which may be The CW’s next new show or simply development season’s leftovers.

You can also watch previews of “Vampire Diaries,” “Beautiful Life” and “Melrose Place” at TVWeek’s New Season Preview Player, which is part of our Upfront Navigator. Episodic and cast photos from the pilots can be viewed here.

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Behind the Scenes on CBS’ Fall Shows

May 20, 2009 3:49 PM

CBS unveiled its fall schedule today, including several new dramas, a new sitcom and, of course, the return of Alex O’Loughlin (“Moonlight”).

Mr. O’Loughlin stars in the medical drama “Three Rivers,” which joins “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “The Good Wife” on CBS’ new drama slate. On the comedy side, Jenna Elfman stars in “Accidentally on Purpose.”

Check out behind-the-scenes trailers after the jump.

All sneak peeks and preview clips from the broadcast networks are available on TVWeek’s Fall Preview Player, which is continuously updated as part of the Upfront Navigator.

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Pretty Pictures From The CW’s Fall Series

May 20, 2009 12:01 PM

Meet the new troublemakers of “Melrose Place.”

The CW has released cast shots and episode photos of new fall shows “Melrose Place,” “Vampire Diaries” and “The Beautiful Life.”

Laura Leighton is back as Sydney for the new “Melrose Place” and, judging from the pictures, back to her old ways. Check out photos after the jump of her getting up close and personal with Shaun Sipos’ David and looking none too pleased with Ella, played by Katie Cassidy. The photos also offer a little peek at the title character itself—the new Melrose Place apartment complex.

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Check Out Fall Shows From ABC, NBC

May 19, 2009 1:51 PM

ABC and NBC have announced their schedules for the 2009-10 TV season, and TVWeek has the sneak peeks.

While ABC is bidding farewell to “Samantha Who” and “According to Jim,” it welcomes four new comedies, two dramas and a reality show for the fall, with additional series to debut at midseason. Check out the network’s press release here.

NBC had already announced its new shows at its “Infront” presentation earlier this month. Earlier today, the network announced where each show will debut on the schedule. And, as you can see here, there’s a whole lot of Jay Leno and a big post-Winter Olympics shakeup.

All sneak peeks and preview clips from the broadcast networks are available on TVWeek’s Fall Preview Player, which is continuously updated as part of the Upfront Navigator.

Check out previews for ABC’s “Cougar Town,” starring Courteney Cox, and NBC’s “Mercy,” with Michelle Trachtenberg, after the jump.

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VIDEO: Fox Previews New 2009-10 Series

May 18, 2009 3:15 PM

Fox announced its 2009-10 schedule plans Monday, Fox
kicking off the 2009 Upfronts week. Advertisers got a sneak peek of new sitcoms “Brothers” and “Sons of Tucson,” dramas “Past Life” and “Human Target,” as well as more on “The Cleveland Show” and “Glee."

Straight from Fox to viewers, check out the trailers for these shows after the jump below.

Don't forget to check out TVWeek’s Upfront Navigator and New Season Preview video player for the latest news and videos straight from the presentations.

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McHale: Hardy Hopes for Doing Double Duty

May 17, 2009 8:01 PM

Joel McHale, host of E!’s “The Soup” and star of NBC’s new comedy “Community,” is excited to be doing double duty on both shows this fall.

Joel McHale

Mr. McHale, who will remain very much a part of “The Soup” despite his new show, thinks the weekly frequency of the E! show is optimal: “If the show went daily, it would not be the same show,” he said. “I think it would be a mistake.”

Since “The Soup” requires him to be in studio only one day a week, he’s free to appear in the new primetime series and write (and watch the requisite television) for “The Soup” from home.

When asked to describe his new NBC comedy, Mr. McHale made a couple of attempts, including “‘Short Circuit’ meets ‘Pretty Woman’” and “‘The Accused’ meets ‘Without a Paddle,’” before finally settling on “‘The Breakfast Club’ meets ‘Stripes.’”

In “Community,” Mr. McHale plays a lawyer who must go back to community college to re-secure his degree. In the process, he forms a ragtag study group that includes comedy legend Chevy Chase. Working with Mr. Chase is a dream come true for Mr. McHale, who said he continually quotes Mr. Chase’s lines from “Fletch” on the set.

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Unlikely Pairing on History’s ‘America’

May 17, 2009 8:00 PM

It would take something awfully big to get one-time rivals History General Manager Nancy Dubuc and former Discovery Channel President Jane Root working together. How big? How about a 12-part series called “America: The Story of Us,” which will be executive produced by Ms. Root’s Nutopia production company and air on History. “There’s always an automatic kinship when someone’s been in your shoes or you’ve been in their shoes, and it took all of about 30 seconds for us to be able to relate to each other,” says Ms. Dubuc, who praised Ms. Root’s ability to create event programming. There may be some translation issues in having a Brit tell the story of America, but Ms. Dubuc says Ms. Root speaks her language from a programming point of view. “She knows what audiences want to see and how to get that dollar on the screen and how to talk to our advertising partners and how to relate to this as a business, not just as a special,” she said. “This has legs beyond the 12 hours it’s on our air.”

—Jon Lafayette

TV Academy Honors Laud 'TV With a Conscience'

May 4, 2009 12:08 PM

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presented its Television Academy Honors to eight programs from the past year that embody “television with a conscience.” The dinner and awards ceremony was held at the Beverly Hills Hotel Thursday night.

Spurlock

FX’s “30 Days” was honored with the first award of the night. Creator and executive producer Morgan Spurlock said, “I thank you for recognizing that there is a world that exists beyond shiny floor shows, that where you think and what you do matters, where the impact could be measured long after the ratings have come in, and where at the end of the day, just maybe, we played our small part in making this world a better place.”

Mr. Spurlock also took his moment on stage to ask the voting members of the TV academy to vote for “30 Days” for an Emmy nomination, and to joke that NBC Entertainment Co-Chair Ben Silverman was not in attendance due to prior commitments with Deadline Hollywood Daily blogger Nikki Finke.

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Shepherd in Support

May 3, 2009 7:31 PM

While the ladies on “The View” can get into some fierce arguments, they’ve never come to blows … until now. On Friday’s edition of “WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown,” “View” co-host Sherri Shepherd showed up in the corner of Montel Vontavious Porter, aka MVP, as he defended his United States Championship against Dolph Ziggler. Ms. Shepherd was festooned in a Ric Flair-inspired robe covered in feathers and rhinestones for the event, which was taped at Madison Square Garden. Mr. Porter ended up retaining his title, while Ms. Shepherd gave Mr. Ziggler a hard slap during the matchup. This isn’t the first time “The View” and the WWE have crossed paths—sort of. In 2007, the WWE heavily promoted a match between former “View” co-host Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump, only to produce two look-alikes who duked it out. The fake Mr. Trump won the contest after using his signature coif as a battering ram. The match was a setup for the real Mr. Trump’s involvement with Wrestlemania 23 in Detroit, as he faced off in a head-shaving match against WWE CEO Vince McMahon.

—Andrew Krukowski

A Different Kind of Chocolate Joint

May 3, 2009 7:30 PM

Cable has already produced reality shows focusing on bounty hunters, tanning salon owners and virtually every washed-up celebrity of the 1970s and ’80s.

Frank Sheftel of 'Grass Roots'

So why not a series about a Willy Wonka-like chocolatier who (legally) deals pot? That’s the idea behind “Grass Roots,” an unscripted project in the works from producers Jonathan Reiner (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”) and Julio Kollerbohm (“Pam: Girl on the Loose”). The show focuses on Frank Sheftel, who runs Los Angeles-based chocolate store the Candy Factory, as well as a medical marijuana dispensary.

The drama—and comedy—in the show will come from Mr. Sheftel trying to balance his dual identities as well as his very different customer bases. While networks traditionally have been leery of any program with drug themes, there are signs those attitudes could be going up in smoke. Fox recently aired a half-hour episode of “Family Guy” that paid musical tribute to the pro-pot movement. And the Obama administration has signaled that it likely will be tolerant of California’s medical marijuana laws. In the meantime, Mr. Reiner and Mr. Kollerbohm have shot a pilot presentation for “Grass Roots” and are in the process of pitching it to cable networks via their agents at APA.

—Josef Adalian

What Is: 2.1 Million ‘Jeopardy!’ Contest Entries?

May 3, 2009 7:30 PM

Fans responded positively to last month’s “Jeopardy!” Galapagos Islands sweepstakes, which garnered nearly 2.1 million online entries from 350,000 viewers for a chance to sail to the exotic locale with show host Alex Trebek.

Jeopardy Galapagos Contest Website'

Harry Friedman, executive producer of “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune,” said he was surprised by the big response to the contest—in which the show is partnered with National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions—saying it’s the largest turnout for any “Jeopardy!” sweepstakes yet. “Were we hoping for it? Yes,” he said. “Were we expecting it? No.” Mr. Friedman said Mr. Trebek will be more than just a passive celebrity on the trip; he will hang out with the fans.

Mr. Trebek also will use the cruise to shoot visual clues from the Galapagos to air on “Jeopardy!” next season, Mr. Friedman said. While Mr. Friedman wouldn’t say if “Jeopardy!” is up for another cruise any time soon, he noted that viewer response has sent a clear message to producers that fans want something unique from the program.

—Andrew Krukowski

Branagh’s ‘Masterpiece’ Moment

May 1, 2009 2:09 PM

Kenneth Branagh has taken his first recurring television role, but fear not, highbrow fans: It’s for PBS’ “Masterpiece Mystery.”

medium

A 'MASTERPIECE MYSTERY' PBS' Rebecca Eaton, left, and Kenneth Branagh discuss "Wallander." (Kevin Parry/The Paley Center for Media)

Branagh stopped by the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills on Wednesday to talk about “Wallander” with PBS’ Rebecca Eaton, Variety’s Brian Lowry and an audience of devoted fans (of which the Daily Blink is one). The hyperarticulate multihyphenate charmed one and all with his thoughtful, modest responses to questions about the Swedish books on which “Wallander” is based as well as his HBO film “Conspiracy” and even his upcoming comic-book film “Thor.”

“Wallander” is a series of three fairly self-contained films centered on a Swedish police detective, based on a series of books by Henning Mankell (he recently completed writing the 10th in the series, Branagh said). They’re shot on location in the Swedish coastal town of Ystad, and Branagh said he’s going back this summer to film three more of the books.

The Swedish locations, beautifully shot by “Slumdog Millionaire’s” Oscar-winning cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, create a strong sense of place. Branagh described the country as similar to the American West: “It’s the land of big sky,” he said, “very flat. You always feel as if you’re in a massive wide shot in a movie, or in a landscape painting.”

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