EXCLUSIVE: Alec Baldwin will be the on-air host of National Geographic Channel‘s Friday primetime programming block Night Of Exploration, which features programming that celebrates the spirit of exploration and groundbreaking discoveries. His duties begin June 14 with Crossing The Ice, which follows two Australians as they attempt to become the first to journey from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back unassisted. The network also has unveiled premiere dates for five new summer series, including the newly announced The Castle (TBA August), a spinoff from Nat Geo’s popular series Doomsday Preppers, and Inside Secret America (July 10 at 10 PM). The Castle, from Doomsday Preppers producer Sharp Entertainment, features American prepper Brent Bruns who builds a castle deep in the South Carolina woods that will serve as a bunker in case an electromagnetic burst results in a massive power outage. On Inside Secret America, a Nat Geo TV production, investigative journalists Mariana van Zeller and Darren Foster go inside the nation’s underground networks to the heart of America’s most controversial issues. The two series join previously announced new series Battleground Afghanistan (July 1, 9 PM), Eyewitness War (July 1, 10 PM & 10:30 PM), and Inside The American Mob (July 28, 9 PM), as well as returning shows Doomsday Preppers, Ultimate Survival Alaska, Life Below Zero, Taboo USA and Diggers.
SAG Awards TV: ‘Modern Family’ Leads, ‘Homeland’ Lands First Noms, Alec Baldwin And Betty White Keep Rolling, Edie Falco Ties Record
More than any other awards race, the SAG Awards have proven to be a popularity contest. Alec Baldwin and Betty White have won the best actor/actress in a comedy series SAG Award every year their current shows have been on the air — a whopping six consecutive times for 30 Rock‘s Baldwin and two for Hot In Cleveland‘s Betty White. Both are nominated again, with Baldwin having a chance to complete his streak with a seventh statuette for the seventh and final season of the NBC comedy. With Baldwin and White having a stronghold on the comedy categories, awards darling Modern Family is yet to win an individual award. (It won for best comedy ensemble the past two years). The ABC comedy has three more chances this year as it once again leads the list of series nominees with four noms: best ensemble and best actor/actress mentions for Emmy winners Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet as well as Sofia Vergara. Two-time Emmy winner Julie Bowen, nominated last year, did not make the cut this time.
Related: SAG Awards Nominations Announced
There was very little fresh blood in the series SAG nominations — no Lena Dunham or the Girls cast, no Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Veep, no mention of any new broadcast series. The only first-year shows to land nominations were HBO’s The Newsroom for star Jeff Daniels and USA’s short-lived Political Animals for Sigourney Weaver in the movie/miniseries category.
But the SAG Awards did correct some anomalies from last year. The guild had many scratching their heads last December where it completely ignored Showtime’s drama Homeland, which would go on to dominate the Golden Globes and Emmy Awards. No snub this years as Homeland landed three noms — best ensemble and best actor/actress for Emmy winners Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. Despite four Emmy nominations and two wins, The Big Bang Theory‘s Jim Parsons had never received an individual SAG nomination until today. (His show nabbed its second consecutive ensemble nom.) Also, FX’s Louie finally got on the board with a first nomination for creator/star Louis C.K.
EXCLUSIVE: As he is wrapping his first starring TV series role on NBC‘s 30 Rock, Alec Baldwin is staying in business with the network and the studio behind the departing Emmy-winning comedy. I’ve learned that Baldwin, whose turn on 30 Rock has earned him two Emmys, has signed a two-year overall deal with Universal Television. Under the pact, Baldwin, who also serves as a producer on 30 Rock, will develop and produce series projects for the studio, including potential new starring vehicles for him. Baldwin joins his 30 Rock co-star, the series’ creator Tina Fey, who recently signed a new four-year overall deal with Universal TV. The pact assures Baldwin’s continued presence in the TV business. He had indicated that he may leave acting post-30 Rock for “more of a normal life,” and also has been constantly rumored for a potential political career. The current seventh and final season of 30 Rock ends January 31.
For today’s runup to the Super Bowl, NBC put together this little ditty:
It is unlikely Alec Baldwin will ever get an apology from American Airlines, so he decided to take things into his own hands. The popular Saturday Night Live host returned to the NBC sketch comedy show last night impersonating the captain of the American Airlines flight that kicked him off earlier …
At Saturday night’s third annual Governors Awards, Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno) was seated next to me and before the show unexpectedly said of being in the room with Oprah: “This is extreme for me. I am an Oprah worshipper.” After this year’s recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award earned a trio of standing ovations and ended her emotional acceptance speech to bring the big night to a close, Cody concluded, “I feel like I have just freebased Oprah”. Indeed it was Oprah’s night in this room. But it also belonged to the other honorary Oscar winners, too – makeup legend Dick Smith and actor James Earl Jones, who accepted his award from London’s Wyndham stage in a segment taped earlier in the day after a matinee performance of Driving Miss Daisy in which he is appearing alongside Vanessa Redgrave.
So far I have been to all three Governors Awards ceremonies and I would say this seemed the most emotional of them all with both Winfrey and Jones referencing their long journey from Mississippi to this Hollywood moment. One attendee told me afterwards, “I was really moved by this more than any other year”. If only the speeches could be this good on the Oscar show itself. Then the Academy wouldn’t have to worry about who hosts or produces the show.
Academy President Tom Sherak made his entrance in a Darth Vader uniform (in tribute to Jones) and opened with the same line he used to introduce a screening of the Jones film, The Great White Hope on Friday night: “How was your week?” It was an obvious reference to the tumultuous events surrounding this year’s Oscar show. But that was the only time the week’s events came up all evening. This was a night for the honorees and they all made the most of it. Before dinner a stirring reel was shown highlighting the entire 84-year history of honorary Oscar winners, followed by a touching tribute to past Oscar show producers Laura Ziskin and Gil Cates who both died this year.
Alec Baldwin got the show rolling after dinner by honoring his The Hunt For Red October co-star Jones saying, “Unlike many actors, James Earl Jones never had to get his career back because he never lost it. He is one of the greatest actors in history”. Glenn Close came out to praise him by referencing his Broadway triumph Fences. “He is the only actor who has broken me apart and transformed me until I was a screaming slobbering mess. James Earl Jones is indeed a world treasure.” Redgrave via tape surprised her co-star by bringing on Sir Ben Kingsley with an Oscar to present to Jones. ”You achieve what every actor is striving for. You are always so damn good,” Kingsley praised.
Jones was genuinely taken aback. “If an actor’s nightmare is being onstage butt-naked and not knowing his lines, then what the hell is this?” he laughed. ”This is an actor’s wet dream. I am gobsmacked at this improbable moment in my life. You cannot be an actor like I am and not have been in some of the worst movies like I have. But I stand before you deeply honored, mighty grateful, and just plain godsmacked.”
J.J. Abrams, Glenn Close, John Travolta, Alec Baldwin, Larry Gordon, Rick Baker, Mary J. Blige, and Maria Shriver were some of the names who helped the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences present Honorary Awards to actor James Earl Jones and makeup artist Dick Smith and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to philanthropist Oprah Winfrey. It was the Academy’s 3rd Annual Governors Awards dinner last night at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center. Photos on next page: