Broadcasting the Primetime Emmy Awards may seem a thankless task for the broadcast networks that take turns airing the ceremony. The license fee is pretty stiff, considering it’s a three-hour infomercial for the basic and premium cable networks (and now, Netflix) that have siphoned off a good chunk of their audience. Cable networks long ago took over the Emmy longform derbies, then they took over the best-drama derby, and now they’re moving in on comedy. CBS can expect to make a few million on the show, after factoring in the cost of production, etc. And, yes, it’s still a good platform for launching its new TV season, which officially starts the next night — not to mention the in-show plugs, like this year’s host Neil Patrick Harris, who’s the star of CBS’s How I Met Your Mother. And Allison Janney and Anna Faris are among this year’s lineup of notable female TV duos who are presenting — only because they star in the new CBS comedy series Mom. The other duos are far more newsworthy: Kerry Washington and Diahann Carroll are, respectively, the first African-American in nearly two decades to be nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and the actress who broke color barriers when she starred in the 1968 series Julia; Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are the reigning TV-comedy co-queens; Zooey and Emily Deschanel are the Barrymores of Fox.
Still, the Emmy Awards ranks high on the Aggravation-o-Meter at times for the broadcast host. For instance, when the Academy decides to have Netflix’s House Of Cards star Kate Mara read off the names of nominees in July. As luck would have it, Mara’s plane had a mechanical malfunction, so she had to bail, and Harris stepped in — CBS plug!
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Emmy winner Margo Martindale (Justified) is set to co-star opposite Will Arnett in CBS‘ untitled Greg Garcia comedy pilot. The project, written and executive produced by Raising Hope and My Name Is Earl creator Garcia, centers on Jack (Arnett), a recently divorced guy whose life gets more complicated when his parents have marital problems of their own. Martindale plays the mother, Carol, a vibrant but meddlesome and slightly controlling character who has to have her finger in every pie. CBS Studios is producing. Last season Gersh-repped Martindale also was cast in a comedy pilot, ABC’s Counter Culture, which was not completed after co-star Delta Burke sustained an injury on set.
In another CBS comedy pilot casting, Christian Barillas has joined the untitled Jim Gaffigan project, about Jim (Gaffigan), a guy who lives with his wife Jeannie (Mira Sorvino) and five kids in a 2-bedroom New York apartment. Barillas plays Arlen, the neighborhood’s drag queen who is one of Jim’s closest friends and a friend to his family as well.
Margo Martindale, whose turn on FX’s Justified earned her an Emmy, is back at the cable network, joining the cast of FX’s upcoming drama series, The Americans. The Americans, which premieres on January 30, is a period drama about the complex marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. shortly after Ronald Reagan is elected President. The arranged marriage of Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) – grows more passionate and genuine by the day, but is constantly tested by the escalation of the Cold War. In at least eight episodes, Martindale will play Claudia, a KGB illegal living in the U.S. who delivers assignments to Philip and Elizabeth. The gig also reunites Martindale with Justified creator/exec producer Graham Yost, who executive produces The Americans alongside creator Joe Weisberg, Joel Fields, Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank.
EXCLUSIVE: Margo Martindale has joined the cast of August: Osage County. The Emmy winner will play the jaded sister of Meryl Streep in the feature adaptation of Tracy Letts’ family clan play. Martindale’s character is Mattie Fae Aiken, the wife of Charles Aiken, played by Chris Cooper, and the sister of Violet Weston, played by Streep. The actress will start filming in Oklahoma on September 24. Martindale won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2011 for her role on FX’s Justified. Julia Roberts also stars in August: Osage County as Violet’s daughter Barbara. Abigail Breslin, playing Barbara’s daughter, recently joined the film, as did Juliette Lewis. John Wells is directing August: Osage County, Letts is writing the adaptation of his Pulitzer and Tony-winning play. George Clooney and Grant Heslov are producing along with Jean Doumanian, Steve Traxler and Claire Rudnick Polstein. The Weinstein Co. is financing and distributing August: Osage County. Martindale is repped by the Gersh Agency.
Justified alumna Margo Martindale has been cast as one of the leads in ABC’s multi-camera comedy pilot Counter Culture. Additionally, Martindale has been taped for a guest-starring role in the Showtime pilot Masters Of Sex. Written and executive produced by writer-actress Stephnie Weir and executive produced by Claudia Lonow, Counter Culture revolves around three sisters running their family diner together in West Texas who find that sibling dynamics are always getting in the way of getting the job done. Martindale will play Joyce, the bossy eldest sister, the glue of the family and the rock, who is also a cancer survivor. It’s another matriarch role for Martindale, who won an Emmy for her portrayal of drug kingpin Maggs Bennett of the Bennett crime family on FX’s Justified. Counter Culture reunites Martindale with Sony TV, which produces both the ABC comedy pilot and the FX drama series. For Martindale, the casting is in second position to CBS’ softly rated freshman drama A Gifted Man, on which she is a regular. On Counter Culture, she joins another Emmy winner, Everybody Loves Raymond‘s Doris Roberts, who plays a cashier at the diner. As for Masters Of Sex, also produced by Sony TV, Martindale is joining the pilot along with Beau Bridges as guest stars/potential recurring. Bridges will play University Chancellor Barton Scully; Martindale will play his by-the-book secretary.
Emmys Live-Blog; Emmys By The Numbers; Emmy Analysis: Broadcast TV’s Big Awards Comeback; Red Carpet Executive Arrivals
Deadline’s Diane Haithman and Ray Richmond were backstage at the Primetime Emmy Awards tonight to hear what the winners had to say.
Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell came backstage together after winning the awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. The Modern Family stars were asked first about being part of a show that is breaking ground for gays. Burrell said, “I don’t know, in terms of America, it feels very, very good to be on a show that seems like it’s slowly changing a lot of minds. Eric [Stonestreet] and Jesse [Tyler Ferguson] deserve all of the credit for that, and our amazing showrunners. It’s a great thing to just peripherally go to events and just basically start to talk about those characters like any other characters, relating to their life — it’s pretty cool.” Bowen joked, “As a straight woman, and part of a straight couple on the show, I feel marginalized.” On a more serious note, she added: “It’s absurd that it’s even an issue, but where it’s an issue, I’m glad that we are part of helping change minds.” Using the word “straight” in a different context, Burrell praised Bowen: “It’s even greater credit to what Julie does that the straight-person wins an Emmy, I don’t think that happens very often. In a couple there’s usually a straight-man and a wilder character. It’s due to her resourcefulness as an actor.” On going back to the set with an Emmy when other cast members were also nominated, Burrell said: “Eric won last year, and Ed [O'Neill] actually just said something really sweet right before the award, ‘whoever wins deserves it.’ I feel like we’re trying to enjoy this moment more than anything — we know this doesn’t last forever; we’re having a lot of fun.” Bowen said about her surprise win, “I kinda thought it was a lock on Betty White. If I didn’t have a dog in this fight, and I had two, I would have voted for Betty White. Claire is not necessarily fall-down funny every time.” She credits the writers for having found ways to make her character have many dimensions and “not just be the mom.” …
Later, Steve Levitan and Jeffrey Richman, winners for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, were asked how it feels for Modern Family to be sweeping the awards so far, with wins in every category they’ve been eligible for. Levitan: “We’re beyond thrilled with the way things have gone, obviously. It’s an embarrassment of riches, and from the bottom of our hearts we feel that Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen deserved to win. (Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series winner) Michael Alan Spiller, not so much. To tell you the truth, it’s a little surreal.” They were then asked what they did to ramp up the stories and quality of Modern Family in Season 2. Levitan: “We feel like we know the characters a little bit better this year. There was such dedication this year to keeping the quality up. We all live in fear of the quality dipping so we work extra hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. … I’ll also tell you that our kids are the unsung heroes of the show. What they do on this show is amazing. We ask them to do such complicated turns and they nail it constantly. They’re playing at the same level as the adults and that’s a rare thing.” … Read More »
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. Read More »
In a recasting, Margo Martindale has been tapped for a co-starring role in CBS’ untitled Susannah Grant supernatural medical drama pilot. Jonathan Demme is directing the pilot, which centers on Michael (Patrick Wilson), an ultra-competitive surgeon whose life is changed forever when his ex-wife (Jennifer Ehle), a doctor running a free clinic, dies and begins teaching him what life is all about from the hereafter. Gersh-repped Martindale will play Michael’s sassy and strong-willed assistant Rita. Martindale replaces Law & Order veteran S. Epatha Merkerson who was originally cast in the role. The recasting was made shortly after Merkerson began filming the pilot. Tony-nominated Martindale has been recurring on FX’s Justified.
Veteran Hector Elizondo has joined ABC’s untitled Tim Allen comedy pilot. The multicamera project, from writer Jack Burditt, centers on Tim Fitzgerald (Allen) who, even though the world around him has declared the traditional male an “endangered species,” is fighting for his manhood in a world that is being increasingly dominated by women. Elizondo, repped by Gersh and manager Mark Teitelbaum, will play his boss at the Euclid Demolition Company who steps down from his post and makes Tim the president of the company.
Stella Maeve has landed the last lead in the NBC comedy pilot Lovelives. The multi-camera comedy … Read More »