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TCA Press Tour Wrap-Up: The Good, The Bad & The Tweet-able

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 8:23am PDT

TCA Press Tour Wrap-Up: The Good, The Bad & The Tweet-ableThe TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014 wrapped up last night after its 16-day run. Here are some highlights:

Most Changed Executive
NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt — last Press Tour’s Mr. Flat Is The New Up — spoke happily this tour about Up Being The New Up: “We had a pretty great season so far this year. We’re No. 1 in the demo. We’re the only network up, year to year, almost 10% to date. Even if you take the Olympics out of our numbers, we would still be No. 1 for the year…lisademoraescolumn__140603223319We’re also leading in the 25-54 demo, and all key adult female demos as well. We also had a huge growth in total viewers where we’re running No. 2 season to date. In fact, we’re up 27% year over year, which is our strongest performance this far into the season in eight years.”

Biggest News
Abner Mares v Jonathan Oquendo
CBS Corp CEO Leslie Moonves, telling reporters after his Q&A for the network’s new Thursday night football that he’s interested in buying CNN should Rupert Murdoch prevail in his bid to by the cable news network’s parent Time Warner and spin off CNN. “We’ve always talked about doing things with CNN in the past… It’s something I’m sure we’ll look at if it becomes available,” Moonves said. Last month, when CBS took the final step in the spinoff of its billboard company, “that was our intent, to get rid of billboards and potentially buy more content,” Moonves said, adding, “We’re in a very advantageous position.”

Enough About Me. Let’s Talk About You. What Do You Think Of Me?
“I think of my name very highly, and I would not attach my name to any film that I think was not up to my high standards, and that speaks for itself,” Spike Lee said, when asked what he thought of aspiring filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe, whose autobiographical film, Evolution Of A Criminal, is about his decision in high school to rob a Bank of America with two classmates to help his financially strapped mother. (Monroe decided to become a filmmaker while serving five years in prison for that robbery, and subsequently got his MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where Lee is artistic director and Monroe one of his students; Lee has exec producer credits on Monroe’s film.) “I will say this, though. I didn’t know he robbed a bank till he told me,” Lee continued. “I mean, no one knew. And there was a question earlier and I think my man made the right decisions. Because if he had told people he robbed a bank, he would not have gone to NYU Graduate Film School.” Read More »

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Heather Graham Signs On For Neil LaBute’s ‘The Money Shot’

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 8:23am PDT

Heather Graham Signs On For Neil LaBute’s  ‘The Money Shot’Heather Graham, absent from the New York stage since 2003′s Recent Tragic Events at Playwrights Horizons, will return to off-Broadway next month to star in the world premiere of Neil LaBute‘s new play, The Money Shot, directed by Terry Kinney. The play is the season opener at Bernard Telsey and Robert LuPone’s MCC Theater, which operates at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in Greenwich Village. Performances begin September 4, with an official opening on September 22 for a limited run slated to end October 12. LaBute is MCC’s Playwright-In-Residence.

171654192Graham (Boogie Nights, Drugstore Cowboy, etc.) co-stars with Gia Crovatin, Callie Thorne and Frederick Weller. In The Money Shot, Karen (Graham) and Steve (Weller) are formerly glamorous movie stars desperate for a hit. Will it be the latest movie by a hot shot European director? The night before filming a big scene guaranteed to make news, Karen, her partner Bev (Thorne), Steve, and his aspiring actress wife Missy (Crovatin) meet to discuss how far will they will go to reclaim past glory.

The Money Shot reunites LaBute with Kinney (Reasons To Be Pretty). Co-Artistic Director of MCC Theater, Will Cantler said, “This is our ninth collaboration with our Playwright-in-Residence, and this time he’s delivered everything we expect in a Neil LaBute play, and funnier — with a wrestling match.  We can’t wait to bring this play to life with this great cast and reunite Neil with director Terry Kinney.”

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Michael Landes To Star In ABC Series ‘Members Only’

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 8:01am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Michael Landes To Star In ABC Series ‘Members Only’Michael Landes is set as one of the leads in ABC‘s straight-to-series Members Only (formerly The Club), an upstairs/downstairs drama set at a private country club from CBS TV Studios and ABC Studios. Landes, repped by UTA and attorney Harris Hartman, will play Malcolm, an athletic, charming, recently-widowed pediatrician and father of two who has mixed feelings about the Club. He and Leslie (Betsy Brandt) become fast friends. Coincidentally, Landes appeared in BBC’s recent remake of classic Upstairs Downstairs. He also starred opposite Anne Heche in the NBC comedy series Save Me.

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DreamWorks Animation Unwraps DreamPlace, Its Christmas Shopping Mall Attraction

DreamWorks Animation Unwraps DreamPlace, Its Christmas Shopping Mall AttractionCoca-Cola and merchandisers have been appropriating Santa Claus for years. Now DreamWorks Animation hopes to put its stamp on the (SPOILER ALERT) myth by having Shrek introduce kids to St. Nick when they visit him at shopping malls featuring the studio’s DreamPlace location based experience. DWA just disclosed some details about the attraction to begin this holiday season — part of its effort to boost sales of character-related toys, clothing, and other licensed merchandise — which CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg unveiled last month at the industry’s Licensing Expo.
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Hot Hot Trailer: ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’

Hot Hot Trailer: ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’Mr. Grey will see you now. But when has there been a major studio film with two less recognizable actors playing the leads? Universal and Focus Features are squarely banking on the numbers here — the E.L. James erotic novel Fifty Shades Of Grey has sold over 100 million steamy copies around the world — and less concerned that, as they deliver those signature bawdy lines in the erotic love story, newcomers Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey (“I don’t do romance”) and Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele (“Enlighten me then”) are less recognizable than some of the actors you see regularly in TV commercials. Did Universal make the right choice in discovering stars who’ll bare all over a three or four movie arc, after Sons Of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam got cold feet? Set to a remix of Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love”, the promo seems like tasty foreplay that only hints at the serious relationship dynamic (a girl’s seemingly perfect first love, who turns out to be damaged perhaps beyond repair and must dominate his partners). Sam Taylor-Johnson directs the adaptation of the mega-bestselling book. The global rollout starts February 11, 2015.

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Chinese ‘Transformers’ Sponsor Files $3.36M Suit Against Producers

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 4:56am PDT

Chinese ‘Transformers’ Sponsor Files $3.36M Suit Against ProducersWhile a dispute with Transformers: Age Of Extinction sponsor Pangu Investments was swiftly resolved around the time of the film’s release, the folks at the Wulong Karst National Park are not relenting. Earlier this month, the tourism group said it was going ahead with legal action against the producers of the highest-grossing film of all time in China. Unhappy with its portrayal in the film, the UNESCO World Heritage site has now filed a lawsuit at Chongqing No. 3 Intermediate People’s Court, accusing Paramount Pictures and Beijing-based 1905 Internet Technology, of violating their contract. The State-owned Xinhua new agency reports the court has accepted the suit. Wulong says its name was due to be featured on screen announcing the locale, but is not in the finished film. There also is concern that because the scenes immediately following take place in Hong Kong, it mistakenly gives the impression the two are nearby. Wulong is understood to be seeking 4M yuan in losses for the days the park was closed for filming, compensation of expected profit losses of 12M yuan and the return of 4.8M yuan of a contract payment. This despite reports that there’s been a hike in visitors since the movie came out. Paramount has not previously commented on the Wulong issue, but the head of 1905′s M1095 earlier told local press that Wulong delayed payment to Paramount for five months which resulted in a squeeze on production time and a misunderstanding … Read More »

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Venice Film Festival Lineup Announced: ‘Manglehorn’, ‘Good Kill’ In Competition; Bogdanovich, Franco, Levinson, Von Trier Also In Official Selection

Venice Film Festival Lineup Announced: ‘Manglehorn’, ‘Good Kill’ In Competition; Bogdanovich, Franco, Levinson, Von Trier Also In Official SelectionI’m here at Rome’s St Regis Hotel where Biennale president Paolo Baratta and Venice chief Alberto Barbera are announcing the lineup for the 71st edition of the world’s oldest international film festival. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Birdman world premieres in competition as the opener on August 27 and we’ll see 55 movies across the Official Selection through September 6. Yesterday, I wrote a primer for today’s reveal with such films as David Gordon Green‘s Manglehorn and Peter Bogdanovich‘s Squirrels To The Nuts expected to be announced today; and they have been.

Twenty films will compete in the main competition, 19 of which are world premieres with one international premiere. There are an abundance of titles from Italy, France, the U.S. and the UK. Among the U.S. titles in competition are Manglehorn with Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Harmony Korine and Chris Messina, and Andrew Niccol’s Good Kill with Ethan Hawke, Bruce Greenwood, January Jones and Zoe Kravitz. Both of those will move on to Toronto next. Inarritu’s opener Birdman is in competition with a starry cast that includes Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts. The closing night movie, as previously announced is Ann Hui’s The Golden Era. Among the other expected players that are turning up in competition are Fatih Akin with The Cut starring Tahar Rahim (Carlos); Xavier Beauvois’ La Rançon Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: First Trailer For Fox’s Indian ‘Knight And Day’ Remake ‘Bang Bang’; Will Ferrell Getting Deauville Fest Tribute; More

Global Showbiz Briefs: First Trailer For Fox’s Indian ‘Knight And Day’ Remake ‘Bang Bang’; Will Ferrell Getting Deauville Fest Tribute; MoreBang Bang, Fox’s anticipated Indian remake of Knight And Day, has dropped a teaser in what is shaping up to be a hot week for Bollywood. The film stars Hrithik Roshan, who underwent brain surgery last year to remove a blood clot, causing a delay in production and moving the release date from May to October 2 this year — the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth. It’s also the start of the four-day Dussehra Hindu festival weekend holiday. Siddharth Anand directs Bang Bang, which also stars Katrina Kaif. Roshan, who’s a bona fide star at home with a growing international profile (his wax likeness stands at Madame Tussaud’s in the UK), most recently starred in superhero pic Krrish 3. That film broke records in India in 2013. A special screening of the Bang Bang teaser was hosted in India this week and set social media abuzz. Here’s a look:

Will Ferrellwillferrell is set for a tribute at the 40th annual Deauville American Film Festival in September. The Saturday Night Live veteran’s recent credits include The Lego Movie, Anchorman 2 and the upcoming Get Hard, and his Gary Sanchez Productions this week announced a film adaptation on the 1980s TV series Manimal. “The Deauville American Film Festival is, as its name suggests, the festival of all kinds of cinema, of every genre, and therefore considers nothing as off-limits,” fest director Bruno Barde … Read More »

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Five Reasons Why Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studios Is An Ex-Empire

By | Wednesday July 23, 2014 @ 8:44pm PDT

Five Reasons Why Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studios Is An Ex-EmpireSome in Hollywood may have been surprised by Microsoft’s announcement that Xbox Entertainment Studios, its much-touted experiment in new kinds of interactive TV programming and headed by former CBS President Nancy Tellem, would be shut down. But really, didn’t we see this coming? Here are five reasons why the announcement was, ultimately, long in coming but not long in shock value, at least to veteran watchers of the uneasy, evolving boundary between Hollywood and Silicon Valley:

Deadline tech column David Bloom Shuffle the Deck. Of course, the greatest “sin” committed by Tellem and her crew is being an organizational outlier when the new guy took over. XES was launched two years ago under longtime Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who ran the company for 14 years before retiring in February.

The new CEO, cloud-computing specialist Satya Nadella, had no particular organizational connection with Xbox before taking over. And indeed, in announcing 18,000 layoffs last week (which particularly hit Microsoft’s recently acquired Nokia mobile divisions), Nadella signaled his company focus would be in the cloud, and on mobile. And without buy-in from the company’s new chief, XES was vulnerable — a common situation in Hollywood, where entertainment properties are routinely marooned when their institutional champions depart. Read More »

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Comic-Con: TV Promos Dominate As San Diego Marketing Blitz Begins

By and | Wednesday July 23, 2014 @ 7:38pm PDT

Comic-Con: TV Promos Dominate As San Diego Marketing Blitz BeginsOnce again it’s the networks that have poured big money into blanketing downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter in promo materials, with a few exceptions. Besides Showtime’s Penny Dreadful being on all the lanyards for the more than 130,000 attendees, here’s what’s greeting Comic-Congoers on the ground as Wednesday’s Preview Night kicks into gear ahead of the Thursday-to-Sunday rush (check back for more glimpses from geek ground zero throughout the week):

Related: Comic-Con 2013: TV Outrunning Film As Race To Blanket San Diego Hits High Gear (PHOTOS)

sdcc-legendsNBC’s Constantine (above) has a blazing standee of star Matt Ryan on display to get audiences used to seeing the Welsh thesp as DC Comics antihero John Constantine. Show debuts October 24. Elsewhere around Comic-Con’s downtown HQ, a massive banner for TNT’s August-premiering series Legends, starring Sean Bean and Ali Larter, has taken another chunk of prime eyeball real estate. Read More »

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Fanboy Overload: Photo Of Henry Cavill Wielding A Lightsaber

By | Wednesday July 23, 2014 @ 7:31pm PDT

Fanboy Overload: Photo Of Henry Cavill Wielding A LightsaberAs Hollywood and fans began to train their focus on Comic-Con tonight, Batman v Superman director Zack Snyder fired off a head-scratcher of a tweet — apparently from a galaxy far, far away. He sent out this shot of his Man of Steel Henry Cavill with #SuperJedi. OK, two questions: 1) Why so serious, Hank? 2) Captions, anyone?

Henry Cavill Light Saber

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Comic-Con: Legendary Unveils ‘Warcraft’ Title Card (Photo)

By | Wednesday July 23, 2014 @ 6:53pm PDT

Comic-Con: Legendary Unveils ‘Warcraft’ Title Card (Photo)Last year at Comic-Con, Legendary confirmed Duncan Jones as director of its videogame adaptation. During Preview Night at this year’s confab, it unveiled the title card for Warcraft, which Universal has slated for March 2016. The Warcraft reveal was part of an invite-only event tonight where Crimson Peak director Guillermo del Toro walked participants through a Gothic Gallery based on one of the sets from the upcoming pic. Needless to say, it was a bit of time and space bender that made a very small space seem very long and dark. Also there was an Oculus VR Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot virtual reality experience that del Toro worked on with Industrial Light and Magic that simulated what it would be like to be one of the pilots of a 250-story monster fighting robot. The Legendary booth opens for the general public tomorrow.

Related: Legendary Locks Ben Foster To Round ‘Warcraft’ Cast

Warcraft Comic-Con

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UPDATE: Obama Praises ‘Scandal’ At Shonda Rhimes & Kerry Washington Fundraiser; Producer Says POTUS “Doing His Job Like A Boss”

By | Wednesday July 23, 2014 @ 6:52pm PDT

UPDATE: Obama Praises ‘Scandal’ At Shonda Rhimes & Kerry Washington Fundraiser; Producer Says POTUS “Doing His Job Like A Boss”UPDATE, 6:52PM: President Obama addressed a crowd of about 450 supporters tonight during a fundraiser hosted by Shonda Rhimes and her Scandal star Kerry Washington. According to White House pool reports, the president gave his traditional fundraising remarks but couldn’t resist citing the ABC drama about a D.C. fixer and her capital intrigue. “No offense — Scandal is a great show,” Obama said, “but it’s not something that we necessarily want to be living out day in, day out.” Earlier, Washington introduced Rhimes as “my boss,” then the prolific producer said of the president, “He’s been doing his job like a boss.” Obama later complimented Washington, saying “there were few people who worked harder” on his campaign than she did. Rhimes also was Obama-Hollywood-c__131126053020__131207184450__131212224847__131217180859__140130070536a big supporter of both of his presidential bids as a donor and a volunteer – even pitching in at a campaign phone bank. Singer Janelle Monae also was there, and the president joked about her having a video of him trying to keep up with Usher on the dance floor. ” Now, this is top secret,” he said of the video. “She has promised that this will never be released. But she can blackmail me at any time.” He joked later, “I did not drop in splits, but I did bust a move.”

Related: Obama Names ‘Scandal’ Creator Shonda Rhimes To Kennedy Center Board 

Pool reports say the commander in chief arrived at Rhimes’ Spanish-style Hancock Park home a little after 5PM. With tickets ranging from $1,000 to $32,400, the event was held in the backyard, which was adorned with white umbrellas and U.S. and California flags. Among the guests were various members of the Scandal cast such as on-air President Fitz Grant, played by Tony  Goldwyn. HBO’s Michael Lombardo, who held an event recently at his home with Michelle Obama, and ABC’s Paul Lee were also in attendance this evening. The President is staying overnight in Beverly Hills and has another fundraiser set for tomorrow at the home of Live Nation head honcho and transplanted Canadian Michael Rapino – so expected more traffic delays on Wednesday.

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Sony TV Options Jenny Mollen’s Memoir ‘I Like You Just The Way I Am’

By | Wednesday July 23, 2014 @ 6:34pm PDT

Sony TV Options Jenny Mollen’s Memoir ‘I Like You Just The Way I Am’EXCLUSIVE: Jenny Mollen (Angel, Crazy. Stupid. Love., Wilfred, Girls) has inked an option sale on her recently released memoir I Like You Just The Way In Am, which Sony TV nabbed in a competitive situation. Mollen will adapt and star in the series, based on her tome about life as an actress and best-selling author (not to mention Twitter celeb and wife of Jason Biggs). She’ll also executive produce alongside Jamie Tarses (Happy Endings, Franklin & Bash, Marry Me) and Karen Kehela Sherwood (A Beautiful Mind, Tower Heist, The Good Lie). Mollen is repped by Gersh, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Stone Meyer.

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Toy Soldiers’

Hot Trailer: ‘The Toy Soldiers’The trailer is out for the feature The Toy Soldiers, a set of five interwoven coming-of-age stories set in the 1980s and skating around a particular location, the Toy Soldiers Roller Rink, as it prepares to close permanently.

The film features Najarra Townsend, Nick Frangione, Constance Brenneman, and Jeanette May Steiner and was directed by Erik Peter Carlson (Transatlantic Coffee). After a run in VOD and other digital platforms, the film will open in theaters Nov. 14 from Mance Media, which just acquired the film and announced it will show the title at AFM.

Here’s the trailer:

THE TOY SOLDIERS OFFICIAL THEATRICAL TRAILER from Mance Media on Vimeo.

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Former UTA Agent Steven Fisher Joins Underground As Manager

By | Wednesday July 23, 2014 @ 5:49pm PDT

Former UTA Agent Steven Fisher Joins Underground As ManagerEXCLUSIVE: Former UTA and ICM talent agent Steven Fisher has joined management and production company Underground as a manager. Fisher exited UTA last month after working out of the agency’s NYC office for three years. Before that he was at ICM for seven years. Fisher’s making the move cross-country with his family to L.A., where he’ll work with Underground’s Trevor Engelson, Evan Silverberg, Chris Dennis, and Josh Turner McGuire while Noah Rothman works out of Underground’s NYC offices. “I wanted to get back to L.A. and roll up my sleeves, and most of my clients are writer-performers in L.A.,” said Fisher. He joins Underground with clients Desi Lydic (MTV’s Awkward), Jamey Sheridan (Homeland), John Phillips (Pittsburgh Heat, Dirty Grandpa), Liz Carey (Chelsea Lately, Walk Of Shame), Mike Zegen (Frances Ha, Boardwalk Empire, Girls), Miles Fisher (Bad Advice, J. Edgar, Final Destination 5), Rus Blackwell (Banshee), and Jessie Ennis (G.B.F., Shards). Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Jake Gyllenhaal In ‘Nightcrawler’

Hot Trailer: Jake Gyllenhaal In ‘Nightcrawler’“I believe that good things come to those who work their asses off,” Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Lou Bloom says in Nightcrawler. He’s the wide-eyed new kid on the scene of LA’s underground world of freelance crime tele-journalism, and he’ll do anything to get the shot and the story. To wit: Police are harassed and their cars chased and T-boned, amid other general mayhem. Rene Russo and Bill Paxton co-star in the directorial debut of The Bourne Legacy scribe Dan Gilroy, who also wrote the pic. Open Road acquired the thriller for about $4.5 million after a bidding war at Cannes, and it will hit theaters October 17 following its world premiere at Toronto. Check out the first trailer:

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TCA: PBS ‘Nova’ Panelists Scorch Jenny McCarthy Over Vaccine Position

By | Wednesday July 23, 2014 @ 5:06pm PDT

TCA: PBS ‘Nova’ Panelists Scorch Jenny McCarthy Over Vaccine PositionDuring a PBS Q&A session for its Nova program, Vaccines: Calling The Shots, the conversation eventually wound its way around to Jenny McCarthy. Which is to say a TV critic asked the panelists to weigh in on McCarthy, who has become the celebrity most closely associated with the vaccine debate. (McCarthy has said in interviews she is not “anti-vaccine” — she’s demanding “safe vaccines” and to “reduce the schedule and reduce the toxins.” In a 2009 interview with Time, she was quoted as saying, “If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want the measles or the autism, we will stand in line for the f**king measles.”)

“I made a decision that we didn’t want to go down the path that wasn’t scientifically solid,” the program’s writer/director/co-exec producer Sonya Pemberton said by way of explaining why the show makes no mention of McCarthy. “As far as I can tell, Jenny McCarthy hasn’t published any scientific papers, and doesn’t have a degree” in the field. Read More »

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Aimee Garcia & Mircea Monroe To Star In TV Land Pilot ‘Impastor’

By | Wednesday July 23, 2014 @ 5:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Aimee Garcia & Mircea Monroe To Star In TV Land Pilot ‘Impastor’EXCLUSIVE: Dexter alum Aimee Garcia and EpisodesMircea Monroe are set as leads opposite Michael Rosenbaum in TV Land’s single-camera dark comedy Impastor. Written by Christopher Vane and directed by Robert Greenberg, the story centers on Buddy (Rosenbaum), a lowlife on the run from his debts who hides away in a small town by conning its residents into thinking he’s their new gay pastor. Garcia plays Buddy’s put-upon girlfriend, LeeAnne, is a bartender in San Francisco who is used to Buddy leading a chaotic, trouble-jammed lifestyle. A little bored with all the constant upheaval in his life, she dismisses his latest tale of danger and drama. But after Buddy disappears, an apparent suicide, LeeAnne has a new set of problems: dealing with her snarky mother, dealing with the cops, dealing with a funeral director, and (most complicated of all) dealing with Buddy’s criminal creditors on top of the guilt of “abandoning” him.  Monroe plays Alexa Cummings, the sexy Head Trustee of Loomis Lutheran Church, who’s instantly attracted to the new pastor in town, Buddy. Alexa’s sophistication hides a mysterious past. Garcia, repped by Dave Fleming at Mosaic, Paradigm and Ginsburg Daniels, recently appeared in MGM’s Robocop. Monroe is with Gersh and LINK.

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