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Comic-Con: ‘The Blacklist’ Adds Mary-Louise Parker To Season 2 Cast

Comic-Con: ‘The Blacklist’ Adds Mary-Louise Parker To Season 2 CastThe Blacklist star James Spader may have been snubbed for an Emmy nomination this year, but he got a lot of love today from the Comic-Con crowd. The actor drew a roar from the more than 1,000 fans in the packed room 6A of the San Diego Convention Center. “It’s been quite a journey, this craziness — and the craziness really started last year right here at Comic-Con,” Spader said after the applause died down. Then again, one year after his debut at the confab and with a breakout show success in the crime drama, the Mary-Louise Parkerman who plays former super-fugitive Raymond Reddington is a geekfest multitasker this time round thanks to his part as the primary villain in next year’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron pic – which got a big cheer when Spader mentioned his work on the Marvel movie.

Related: TCA: NBC Drama Series Showrunners Tell TV Critics How It’s Done

Not that the panel didn’t cut to the Blacklist chase. There was a big casting announcement with the revelation that Mary-Louise Parker would be joining the NBC series in Season 2 in a recurring role as a character named Naomi Highland. EP/creator Jon Bokenkamp didn’t reveal any more details of the former Weeds star’s Blacklist involvement, but he described the character as “completely tied to Reddington.”

Related: Emmy Snubs: ‘The Blacklist,’ James Spader And More

James Spader comic con 2014Then there is the question of relationships on a show all about unknown relationships. “The question of who is Reddington to Elizabeth Keen is the central conceit to the show,: responded Bokenkamp to questions of whether Reddington is the rookie FBI agent’s father, “but we’re really not going to answer that.” From burn marks to pocket photos and the secrets of a dying man, the May 12 Season 1 finale set up a lot for the show’s return – especially about who Reddington really is and what his relationship with Keen might be. Spader himself had some thoughts on the big question. “The real relationship is their present relationship,” the lead actor said. “Destinations aren’t enough. The ultimate answer should be that looking backwards.” Read More »

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TCA: NBC’s Bob Greenblatt On Broadcast TV’s Emmy Woes, Thursday Challenge, Abortion Ad Controversy, ‘Community’ Comeback

By | Sunday July 13, 2014 @ 1:43pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

TCA: NBC’s Bob Greenblatt On Broadcast TV’s Emmy Woes, Thursday Challenge, Abortion Ad Controversy, ‘Community’ ComebackDays after the broadcast networks slipped to a new Emmy low, with only two best series nominations between comedy and drama and no drama series in the top category for a third consecutive year, NBC topper Bob Greenblatt was asked about the struggle to get broadcast dramas that produce 22 episodes a season the same Emmy consideration that cable and online shows receive despite making only 8 to 13 episodes a year.

Cable can be darker, more interesting, feels cooler than some of the things we can do, it’s just a fact of life,” he said. The snubs for broadcast dramas included NBC’s freshman The Blacklist and its star James Spader. “Should we debate the fact that James Spader is one of the best actors working who is not nominated? At the end of the day, I’m not sure what good it does,” Greenblatt said.

Abortion was a main topic at the executive session in light of the controversy over NBC’s rejection of a trailer for the movie Obvious Child because of the use of the word “abortion” in it. Greenblatt recalled how, during his tenure at Fox, he and his team caved in and changed a storyline that would’ve had Neve Campbell’s character having an abortion. “I don’t think we cop out anymore but writers and producers are still nervous about it because it is an issue that divides people,” he said. “But we … Read More »

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UPDATED Emmy Snubs: ‘The Blacklist,’ ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine,’ James Spader, Andy Samberg Join ‘The Walking Dead,’ Tatiana Maslany And Jay Leno On The Dissed List

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 7:08am PDT

UPDATED Emmy Snubs: ‘The Blacklist,’ ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine,’  James Spader, Andy Samberg Join ‘The Walking Dead,’ Tatiana Maslany And Jay Leno On The Dissed ListEvery year on this day we pay tribute to those who made The Dissed List, giving you a place to foam over:

The Good Wife. Neither the violent bumping off of Will Gardner (Josh Charles) in one of the TV season’s most buzzed about developments, nor the extremely aggressive For Your Consideration ad campaign, in which the show pointed out how easy is life for its competition with their 7-episode (Mad Men), 8-episode (Breaking Bad), and 12-13 episode (Homeland, House of Cards) seasons, compared to the grueling challenges of a CBS drama, appears not to have impressed the Academy in the best-drama category (though Charles and star Julianna Margulies are nommed).

First Look TWD S5_1The Walking Dead. Despite high hopes among its fan base that this would be the year AMC’s  Dead broke out of the makeup and special effects nomination categories, the show instead will have to stagger along with its astounding demo ratings success — including a take-down of NFL football –  but no Best Drama Emmy prestige.

Tatiana Maslany. After being snubbed by the TV Academy but showered with love by TV critics for her groundbreaking performance as not one, not two, but eight clones and counting, on BBC America’s Orphan Black,  many industry navel lint gazers thought this would be the year the TV Academy finally got it right. They were wrong. Read More »

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NBC’s ‘The Blacklist’ Renewed For Second Season

By | Tuesday December 3, 2013 @ 1:45pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

the-blacklistOn the heels of a strong ratings finish of its fall run last night, NBC‘s hit freshman drama The Blacklist has been given an early second season renewal with a 22-episode order. The Sony TV-produced series starring James Spader is the No. 1 drama and the No. 2 scripted series on the Big 4 networks in the 18-49 demo, averaging a 4.9 rating/13 share (most current). It is the No. 1 new show in 18-49 and total viewers and NBC’s most watched new drama in 19 years, since Earth 2 in 1994. In addition to a strong Live showing, The Blacklist is a monster DVR gainer. Its November 4 episode  delivered the largest total-viewer increase from Live+Same Day to Live+7 ever, growing by 6.589 million (from 10.337 million to 16.926 million). The Blacklist, which commanded the highest ad price for a new series this fall, now holds the top three L+SD to L+7 rises among total viewers in U.S. TV history. “The success of ‘The Blacklist’ demonstrates that inspired storytelling is alive and well in broadcast television,” NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said. “With gratitude to both our partners at Sony Pictures Television and our NBC development executives who took a great script and shepherded it into a great series, I hope that Red Reddington never runs out of names to bring down on his list!”

The Blacklist, produced by Davis Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures TV, … Read More »

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James Spader Joins Marvel’s ‘Avengers’ Sequel As Ultron

The Avengers sequel has its villain. James Spader will play Ultron in The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Marvel announced today online. A fixture of the Marvel universe for decades, the evil robotic Ultron has repeatedly fought the Avengers collectively and individually in attempts to take over the world. At Comic-Con this year, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige announced the title of the upcoming Avengers tentpole and who the villain would be. Disney will release the Joss Whedon-directed sequel on May 1, 2015. Last seen on the big screen in Lincoln, Spader returns to the small screen September 23 as the star of NBC’s new drama The Blacklist. Spader is repped by ICM Partners and attorney Melanie Cook at Ziffren Brittenham.

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TCA: ‘The Blacklist’ Star James Spader Says He Took ‘The Office’ Gig To Finance ‘Lincoln’ Role

By | Saturday July 27, 2013 @ 4:08pm PDT

The Blacklist is NBC’s best hope for the coming TV season. It’s a procedural crime drama; it stars James Spader. Heck, it’s a total CBS show. And it has been given the plum post-The Voice timeslot, Mondays at 10 — where, ironically, CBS has scheduled it’s most NBC-ish series: the super-serialized, 15-episode, Toni-Colette-starring Hostages. It’s like NBC and CBS got together and agreed to role reverse, on Mondays at 10. And yet, what TV critics wanted to talk about during The Blacklist Q&A at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013, was star James Spader’s haircut. And how much he will cherish his time playing Robert California on The Office. The Office gig, they were shocked to learn, was something to which he agreed for the paycheck, after playing California first in a one-off in the show’s seven-season finale.

“I had a ball doing that one episode… and two things happened,” Spader said. “I was offered Lincoln – a film everybody was doing [long pause] for very little money, and yet the commitment was going to be eight months in advance. And I had just finished doing a play in New York and need to make some money” — a job “that actually paid my bills, and lo and behold … Read More »

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Comic-Con: James Spader Debuts Whitey Bulger-Inspired ‘The Blacklist’

By | Thursday July 18, 2013 @ 5:20pm PDT

James Spader was the main attraction at the at-capacity Comic-Con panel and preview for The Blacklist, NBC’s DC-set crime show. The network has high hopes for the high-testing series which debuts September 23. In his first return to broadcast drama since Boston Legal, Spader turns up the acerbic charm as Raymond “Red” Reddington, an enigmatic ex-operative turned mercenary who kicks off the series by turning himself into the FBI with vital information, hiding his own secret agenda. “Imagine if Whitey Bulger started talking to the feds — which he ultimately did — he’d be the Rosetta Stone of crime,” said exec producer John Fox of the show’s initial concept envisioning a Bulger-esque central character. Fox joined creator Jon Bokenkamp alongside stars Spader, Megan Boone, and Diego Klattenhoff at the Comic-Con panel and pilot screening. Boone stars opposite Spader as FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen, a self-described narcissistic bitch struggling to start a family with her loving husband while balancing the demands of her top secret job. Reddington starts feeding info on the FBI’s most wanted — the criminals on every government agency’s wish list — while trying to get close to Keen for unknown reasons as the duo team up to stop a terrorist attack in the inaugural episode.

Spader’s character is being aggressively promoted around the convention center grounds in a campaign provoking the question “Who is Red Reddington?” Even Spader enjoys the mystery. “You’d better make a choice to play a character that’s going to sustain, where questions are going to go unanswered for a while — not only for audience but for me as well,” he said. Read More »

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James Spader To Topline NBC’s ‘Blacklist’

By | Tuesday March 12, 2013 @ 4:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Former Boston Legal and The Office star James Spader is set to star as the male lead opposite Megan Boone in NBC‘s drama pilot The Blacklist. Written by Jon Bokenkamp, the project centers on Red (Spader), the world’s most wanted criminal who mysteriously turns himself in and offers to give up everyone he has ever worked with. His only condition is he will only work with a newly minted FBI agent, Elizabeth Keen (Boone), with whom he seemingly has no connection. Red is described as a former Army intelligence officer who went AWOL and now serves not as a spy but a facilitator…brokering deals for criminals. Emmy winner Spader, repped by ICM Partners and Melanie Cook, had been pursued for multiple pilots this season, ultimately settling on the Sony TV-produced drama.

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James Spader Not Staying At ‘The Office’

By | Monday February 27, 2012 @ 5:43pm PST

The Office executive producer/showrunner said today that James Spader will not return to the NBC comedy next season. The actor, who parlayed a two-scene appearance at the end of last season as Robert California into a full-season gig, had only signed a one-year deal. “James always wanted this to be a one year arc, and he now leaves us having created one of the most enigmatic and dynamic characters in television,” Lieberstein said. “He’s been a great friend to me and the show, helping us successfully transition into the post-Michael Scott years, and I’m grateful for that.”

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TCA: NBC Renews Overall Deal With Greg Daniels, Signs Pacts With Gary Sanchez Prods, Sean Hayes & More From Exec Panel

Nellie Andreeva

NBC has signed a new major two-year overall deal with The Office executive producer Greg Daniels, co-creator/exec producer of another NBC comedy series, Parks and Recreation. NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt announced the pact, which will encompass scripted live-action and animated programming as well as unscripted series, at the top of NBC’s TCA session today. “He is one of the founding fathers of our Thursday comedy lineup,” Greenblatt said. “We had a chance to work together at Fox when he was launching King of the Hill. The new deal is to develop all kinds of programming, but we also want to emphasize animation, I think he is going to do great things.” NBC also has inked a development pact with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Prods., marking the company’s first network pact. And former Will & Grace star Sean Hayes, who segued to producing over the past few years, has signed a development deal to headline a half-hour series. “Sean is a friend, and I think it’s time for him to star in a comedy again,” Greenblatt said.

On the development side, NBC is developing a firefighter drama from feature writers Michael Brandt and and Derek Haas, produced by Dick Wolf and his new development exec Danielle Gelber. Greenblatt also confirmed the deal for a karaoke bar comedy produced by The Voice star Adam Levine who … Read More »

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TOLDJA! James Spader Joins ‘The Office’, But Not To Replace Steve Carell

By | Wednesday July 6, 2011 @ 10:41am PDT

We told you a week or so ago that James Spader was returning to NBC’s The Office in a boss role after his memorable guest stint at Robert California last season, but outlets like The Hollywood Reporter got it wrong when they reported he was arriving to replace Steve Carell. He will actually be the CEO of Sabre, the parent company of Dunder Mifflin. From the release:

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. (July 6, 2011) Multiple Emmy Award winner James Spader (“Boston Legal,” “The Practice”) will be joining the regular cast of NBC’s “The Office” (Thursdays, 9-9:30 p.m. ET) as CEO Robert California of Sabre, the parent company of Dunder Mifflin.

“James will reprise his role as Robert California, this uber-salesman that has a power to convince and manipulate, like a high-class weirdo Jedi warrior,” said Paul Lieberstein, one of the series’ executive producers and a series regular. “He’ll have been hired over the summer as the new manager, but within hours, got himself promoted. Within days, he took over the company. James has an energy that is completely his own, and ‘The Office’ has no tools for dealing with this guy. We’re thrilled he’s joining our cast.”

From 2004-08, Spader won three Emmy awards for his seminal role as shameless attorney Alan Shore in “The Practice” and “Boston Legal,” making him the only actor to win consecutive Emmys playing the same character on two different series. He is represented at ICM and

Read More »

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James Spader Picking Out An ‘Office’ Chair?

By | Friday June 24, 2011 @ 2:12pm PDT

James Spader is working on a deal to return to NBC’s The Office this season — but he might have loftier ambitions than Michael Scott’s desk. According to Entertainment Weekly, Spader is in talks to return as Robert California, who appeared last season interviewing for Scott’s office-manager job (thanks to Steve Carell’s pending departure from the series). But the twist is that Robert might actually be in the running for Dunder Mifflin CEO, currently played by Kathy Bates, whose Harry’s Law was renewed for next season. More on all of this from our pals at TVLine.

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Steven Spielberg’s Abe Lincoln Film Casts Up

Mike Fleming

LOS ANGELES, CA (May 5, 2011) – Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Hal Holbrook, James Spader, John Hawkes, Tim Blake Nelson, Bruce McGill and Joseph Cross are in negotiations to join the cast of DreamWorks Studios’ “Lincoln,” it was announced today by DreamWorks partners Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider. Also in negotiations to join the film are David Costabile, Byron Jennings, Dakin Matthews, Boris McGiver, Gloria Reuben, Jeremy Strong, and David Warshofsky. This group joins the previously announced casting of Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field in the Spielberg directed film about the 16th President of the United States.

Based on the best-selling book, Team of Rivals, by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, the screenplay has been written by the Pulitzer Prize winner, Tony Award winner, and Academy Award nominated writer Tony Kushner. It will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Steven Spielberg.

The film will focus on the political collision of Lincoln and the powerful men of his cabinet on the road to abolition and the end of the Civil War.

Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones will play Thaddeus Stevens, a Republican leader and powerful congressman from Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives. Stevens was a staunch supporter of abolishing slavery and was critical to writing the legislation that funded the American Civil War.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, known for his roles in “Inception,” “(500) Days of Summer,” and next year’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” will take on the role of Robert Todd Lincoln, eldest son of President Lincoln and the only one

Read More »

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Who Are The Most Sought-After Actors This Pilot Season?

Nellie Andreeva

It is the end of January, and pilot offers to actors are going out fast and furious. Like every year, there are several actors that attract the lion’s share of offers. In the leading man category, two 40-something actors, Friday Night Lights star Kyle Chandler and Brotherhood alum Jason Isaacs, are red-hot, fielding a half-dozen offers each.

Among the ladies, Ugly Betty alumna Becki Newton is once again in demand despite the fact that her pilot gig could be in second position to her current series, NBC’s midseason dramedy Love Bites whose prospects are dim with a cut-back order and no premiere date set. (Love Bites co-star Greg Grunberg already booked the lead in the A&E pilot Big Mike in first position). Also sitting on multiple offers is Gilmore Girls alumna Krysten Ritter. Casting directors on several projects are also sending out feelers to Christina Applegate, who just gave birth to her first child. Other TV actors lured to return to series TV are Debra Messing, Jason Bateman, James Spader, Daniel Sunjata, Ali Larter, Lizzy Caplan  and Katee Sackhoff.

As usual, pilot casting directors’ wish lists include a lot of movie … Read More »

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