EXCLUSIVE: Cara Buono, Ally Sheedy and Samantha Futerman are set to co-star opposite Eric Stoltz in Lifetime’s dramedy pilot Modern Love, from Sony Pictures TV. Created and executive produced by Sex and the City alumna Jenny Bicks, the project weaves actual stories from New York Times columns to explore the state of modern relationships. It follows newspaper science editor Simon McElvane (Stoltz) as he faces a deteriorating marriage, the ramifications of potentially starting over and balancing his relationship with his adopted 15-year-old daughter (Futerman). Unexpectedly handed the job of editor of the newspaper’s Modern Love column, Simon discovers he has a lot to learn about life and love. Buono will play the ambitious Styles Editor at Simon’s paper who is torn between her career and her family. Sheedy will play the paper’s ballsy and no-nonsense Assistant Managing Editor. Also cast in the pilot are Alice Ripley in the recurring role of Simon’s wife and Charlie Semine, who will guest star as a NYC fireman. The project is executive produced by Bicks, Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun, Gene Stein and Alan Poul. Poul is set to direct the pilot, which will begin filming shortly. Buono is with UTA; Sheedy and Semine are with Innovative.
Cloris Leachman today landed her 22nd career Emmy nomination for her role on Fox’s freshman comedy Raising Hope and may add to her haul of eight Emmy Awards, which is already a record for a female performer. But, despite being featured in the main credits of the show before the title card, listed as a cast member on Fox’s website and included on panels for the series, Leachman, who appeared in 20 of Raising Hope‘s 22 episodes, was nominated not as a supporting actress in a comedy series but as a guest star. The move probably helped the Oscar winner to snag a nomination in the less-crowded guest star field, but it also raises the issue of what really constitutes a guest star on a TV series as the line between a guest and supporting actor has blurred in recent Emmy races.
According to Emmy’s rulebook, “Comedy/Drama series guest performers with ‘guest star’ billing, or who are contracted as such, are eligible in the guest performer categories without regard to the number of episodes he/she appeared in.” The definition was originally limited to a single episode but was later expanded to three episodes and eventually the limit on the number of episodes was lifted altogether. Per 20th Century Fox TV, which produces Raising Hope, Leachman was technically a guest star on the first season of the show despite appearing in virtually every episode, so she was eligible for the guest starring category, something she won’t be next year as she is being promoted to a regular for Season 2.
Leachman’s guest starring nomination is part of a growing trend of the TV Academy moving away from the traditional guest starring stints involving a splashy performance in a single episode and awarding nominations for playing characters built over the course of one or more seasons that often feel like supporting roles. Not a single actor from a primetime series nominated in the guest starring categories this year has done only one episode of the show they got nominated for.