The Insider

Nov 5, 2001  •  Post A Comment

`Angel’s’ Darla: Pregnant with meaning
As those who have seen the previews for Monday’s episode of The WB’s “Angel” know, Darla (Julie Benz) is back, and she’s haunting for two. Her pregnancy raises many questions about the mythology of Angel (David Boreanaz), not the least of them whether it could be his kid (sex plus vampires is not supposed to equal babies) and whether Angel, who ate his own parents, at 200 years old is mature enough to be a father. “He’s both the oldest and the youngest 20-something,” said co-creator and executive producer David Greenwalt, who wrote Monday’s script, titled “Offspring.”
Over the next three episodes, those and many other questions will be kicked around. “Maybe it’s a hysterical pregnancy,” a wishful Angel says on the show.
“Most of the big questions will be answered by the end of Episode 9,” said Mr. Greenwalt, adding that this twisted plot arose from a between-season lunch with co-creator and executive producer Joss Whedon and co-executive producer Tim Minear and a “dirty joke” one of them made about one of Darla’s earlier returns. The Insider, in a rare moment of reserve, didn’t ask for details. However, Mr. Greenwalt did say that an earlier wish for Angel to become a sort of foster parent “never panned out.”
The Insider pounced. “Is that a hint?”
“It’s kind of a hint,” Mr. Greenwalt said. Not for nothing is “Angel” all about exquisite torture.
Powells, past, present and future
These days, Adam Clayton Powell III is looking ahead and back. Having decided to leave the recently downsized Freedom Forum, where he’s been VP of technology and programs, he is thinking about career choices and preferences. He’s also looking back because of his involvement with “Keep the Faith, Baby,” the biopic about his controversial father, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the Harlem minister turned congressman who cut a larger-than-life swath through several decades and many layers of modern history. The movie, Mr. Powell said, has been in development at several different studios since 1975. Paramount and Showtime picked it up several years ago and have scheduled it for February as part of the cable channel’s Black History Month observance. It was finally filmed earlier this year, with Mr. Powell’s late father being played by Harry Lennix (“Matrix 2”) and Vanessa L. Williams playing Mr. Powell’s mother, jazz pianist Hazel Scott. “Their portrayals are almost eerie,” he said.
Let’s hope they don’t spend it all in one place
The Insider recently received word that Christina Gonzalez, a reporter at Fox-owned KTTV in Los Angeles, had won the television category in the Third Annual Ruben Salazar Awards, which recognize journalism excellence that also contributes to a better understanding of Latinos. Ms. Gonzalez, producer Alfred Romero and camerafolks Patti Ballaz and David Henry won for a two-parter about undocumented immigrant laborers and the “coyotes” who deliver them into virtual slavery in the United States.
The Insider wanted to know how Ms. Gonzalez and her team celebrated the win, which brought with it a $250 prize. The Insider is told they haven’t decided what to do with their winnings. If The Insider were so careful with her money, she could stop buying Lotto tickets every week.
Two to remember
Last week brought news of the deaths of two women who occupied very special places in the heart of the television community and Viacom family: Kathleen Ankers and Laura Hunter.
David Letterman paid bittersweet tribute on his show last week to Ms. Ankers, the Emmy-winning production designer who, like many other members of his production crew, was sometimes pressed into comic and occasionally foul-mouthed duty, and the late-night host ran a montage of some of her funnier bits.
But her day job was turning out those wonderful sets for many people for many years. She did the backdrop for every one of Mr. Letterman’s shows (one from the NBC days made it into the museum of the city of New York), including the singular set for Mr. Letterman’s trip to Los Angeles, where you’re nobody without a pool, for May 1994 sweeps. Ms. Ankers whipped up a Hockney-hued skyline set that included a large bottom-lit wading pool in which Mr. Letterman ruined at least two expensive suits and pairs of shoes and in which Billy Crystal, Michael Keaton and a dog took dips during their guest appearances.
She died Oct. 24 in New York of complications from lung cancer.
Ms. Hunter was 39 when she died Oct. 30. Only a year earlier-and shortly after she had traded a Nickelodeon development position in her hometown of Los Angeles for a TV Land programming position in New York-she had been diagnosed with cancer. She never lost her addiction to the National Enquirer and the Star, her deep appreciation for shopping, her biting sense of humor or her work ethic, said Paula Kaplan, a senior VP for talent at Nickelodeon and TNN who was also a close friend. Ms. Hunter would have chemotherapy on Thursday and be at work on Friday, “just like everybody else,” Ms. Kaplan said. “She never wanted to be a sick person.”
Among her small-screen monuments: a three-part special, “TV Land: African Americans in Television,” scheduled to air in February, and the recent 50th anniversary celebration of “I Love Lucy.”