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R.I.P. Rosemary Murphy, ‘Mockingbird’, Broadway, Emmy-Winning Legend

By | Wednesday July 9, 2014 @ 4:32pm PDT

R.I.P. Rosemary Murphy, ‘Mockingbird’, Broadway, Emmy-Winning LegendRosemary Murphy, thrice nominated for Tony Awards and a favorite of writers as disparate as Edward Albee, Horton Foote and Woody Allen, died July 5 at home in New York City. She was 89. The Germany-born actress had a distinguished film career that began in 1957 with That Night and included key supporting roles in Foote’s Oscar-winning 1962 adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird and the Broadway (1964) and screen (1966) versions of Any Wednesday. For Allen, she had roles in September, the telefilm of Don’t Drink The Water (1994) and Mighty Aphrodite (1995).

Adept in comedy and drama, she was best known on Broadway for her performance as Claire, the boozy, immovable houseguest of her sister and brother-in-law Agnes and Tobias, in Albee’s 1966 Pulitzer Prize winner, A Delicate Balance. Murphy’s death comes on the eve of  a major revival of the play starring John Lithgow, Glenn Close and, as Claire, Lindsay Duncan, which will open this fall on Broadway. Murphy revisited the play in a 1996 Broadway revival, replacing Elizabeth Wilson as Edna. Read More »

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EMMYS: Greg Nicotero Of ‘Walking Dead’

By | Thursday August 18, 2011 @ 1:21am PDT

Deadline contributor Elizabeth Snead files this Emmy report:

Greg Nicotero is the go-to special effects makeup artist for gore and 3-time Emmy winner who got his start with the Godfather of Zombies, George Romero, on Day Of The Dead (1985). Now he’s part of the team nominated for AMC/AMC Productions’ zombie-palooza The Walking Dead in the 2011 Emmy categories Outstanding Special Visual Effects For A Series as well in his capacity as Special Makeup Effects department head for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup For A Series. But unlike many contenders he had no trouble choosing his prosthetic makeup submission episode: he picked the season premiere. Because there are lots of goodies in the opening episode — like zombies devouring a live horse and a shocking scene in which the sheriff shoots a little zombie girl still clutching her teddy bear. The premiere also features the infamous Bicycle Girl, a half body FX so realistic that it sparked an Internet controversy over how it was achieved.

Nicotero explains: “We did a whole life casting on Melissa Cowan, who has a great face for zombie makeup. We took our guide from the graphic novel to simulate that classic walking dead desiccated and rotting look. She just looked like she was whittling away. We did a one-piece foam latex face and neck, two more for chest and back. We put the custom dentures in first and then applied the latex over it so you could see her rotting gums and … Read More »

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EMMYS: Academy Chief John Shaffner Q&A

By | Thursday May 26, 2011 @ 6:44pm PDT

When he leaves his post as Chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences following a pair of 2-year terms at the helm, John Shaffner goes out on a high. The art director helped to forge a new 8-year Emmy telecast wheel deal with the 4 broadcast networks that brings a license fee of at least $8.25 million annually and $66 million over the course of the pact (an increase of $6 million over the previous). Shaffner spoke with Deadline TV contributor Ray Richmond about why it took nearly 9 months to get the agreement finalized, where the Emmys go from here, and why the Emmycast’s lukewarm ratings don’t trouble him:

DEADLINE: Congratulations on the new 8-year Emmycast deal. It only took about 9 months to negotiate. Why so long?
JOHN SHAFFNER: You know these things just take time to work through. When we began conversations last year, there were two new guys in there heading up entertainment at the broadcast networks: you had Paul Lee at ABC, and huge uncertainty at NBC with Comcast coming in. The business affairs people were all trying to answer for their bosses and ascertain what the goals should be. Plus, there was the fact we were trying to get this started at the beginning of the fall season with all of that anxiety. Now we’re 4 to 6 weeks out and things aren’t working and everybody’s reordering their schedules. Then you turn around and, bam, it’s Christmas. Then everybody’s busy reading pilot scripts.

DEADLINE: So you’re saying you couldn’t get everyone in the same room to focus on banging out a new Emmy contract even for a day or two?
SHAFFNER: No, we couldn’t. Assembling the leadership of the networks together just wasn’t happening. It’s not the way it was done 8 or 16 or 20 years ago. It’s a new age where no one has time to set a meeting. It’s all done on the Internet. So the process goes around the loop and around the loop and takes a very long time. Even once you get around to finalizing a document and closing escrow, it takes weeks to get everything in order.

DEADLINE: So how does anything ever get done?
SHAFFNER: It’s very difficult when you need everyone’s attention when there are so many things competing for their time. These are incredibly busy people we’re talking about. But it was never a case of our being far apart. From the first meeting, I knew we’d get to a pretty good place. The network guys are all really good people who love television and were tremendously supportive of the TV Academy and the work we do.

DEADLINE: We had heard that a sticking point in the contract negotiations was opposition to keeping the writer and director awards in the primetime telecast. Was that ever on the table?
SHAFFNER: The Hollywood Guilds have nothing to worry about. I personally would have been opposed to any sudden proclamation changing the way we honored members of the WGA and the DGA. There has to be consensus, and sometimes the most interesting thing in an Emmy program is the acceptance speech given by a winning writer. We’d hate to lose that. Maybe we could discuss the way we set up the category on the show rather than changing it out. However we do it, they will continue on the show.

DEADLINE: But I noticed that in the announcement of your new contract, there was a line that read, ‘For the subsequent 7 years of the agreement, the designated network broadcasting the Primetime Emmys and the Academy will give due consideration to reviewing the award categories and the manner of presentation of awards, taking into account the interests of various constituencies of the Academy.’ Doesn’t that basically say the telecast could undergo radical changes with each passing year?
SHAFFNER: What our agreement says, first off, is that we decided not to mess with it at all this first year. Let’s breathe. What that other line means is, we wanted to indicate in writing that there would be a continuing conversation annually about how to make the best telecast, without committing to having to do anything.

DEADLINE: But it says you’re also open to the possibility of a major overhaul.
SHAFFNER: Yes. But one of the great things about this institution is we have discussions to keep the lemmings from jumping off the cliff. There will be no rush to judgment. Do you know what the market research tells us? That one of the things the audience likes best is the ‘In Memoriam’ sequence. We figured that was the time everyone ran to the bathroom. But we were wrong. Everyone’s glued to the TV. That serves as a reminder that the meat and potatoes of the telecast is very important to people. It can all just be frosting. Read More »

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‘Mad Men’ Ladies Elisabeth Moss And January Jones In First Emmy Faceoff

Nellie Andreeva

In a move that may shake up the lead drama actress Emmy field this year, for the first time since the launch of Mad Men, co-stars Elisabeth Moss and January Jones will go head to head at the Emmys by competing in the same category, according to TVLine. For the first two seasons of the AMC drama, Moss was submitted as lead actress, Jones as supporting, with the two switching for Season 3. Now Michael Ausiello reports that Moss, whose character Peggy was very prominent in Season 4, and Jones are  both being submitted for lead actress, which could jeopardize their chances to both land nominations like they did last year. The two also entered the most recent Golden Globes race in the same lead actress category, with only one, Moss, getting a nom.

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