The upcoming fourth season of Showtime‘s flagship drama Homeland will debut October 5. The announcement was made at the top of Homeland‘s TCA presentation when the show also unveiled its first Season 4 trailer (watch it below). Set in the Middle East, the season was shot in South Africa after three years in North Carolina. It sees Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) assigned to a volatile and dangerous CIA station in the Middle East.
“We’re incorporating almost everything from the mythology into it and have added a whole new backstory” with the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator, Geoff Johns, CEO of DC Entertainment, said today during the panel for the new CW series. The series, starring Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash, is a spinoff of CW’s Arrow.
The producers also announced today that Wentworth Miller will guest star on the series as Leonard Snart, aka Captain Cold. The series premieres October 7 in the Tuesday 8 PM slot.
Johns said “the most faithful DC Comic adaption ever” includes using as many characters from the comic series as possible. He appeared on the panel with executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg and cast members. Read More »
CW‘s new series Jane The Virgin, is not a straight adaptation of the Venezuelan telenovela Juana La Virgen - more telenovela meets Gilmore Girls, writer Jennie Snyder Urman told TV critics attending Summer TV Press Tour 2014. Jane The Virgin chronicles the story of aspiring writer Jane Villanueva, a virgin, who accidentally is artificially inseminated at a hospital, and subsequently struggles to navigate her relationships with the biological father, her boyfriend and her mother and grandmother.
“The show is a little less broad [than ABC's telenovela adaptation Ugly Betty],” Urman explained, calling it “the strange mark I’m trying to hit….I wanted it to have a fairy tale, whimsical quality.” At the same time, she hopes to use the tropes of the telenovela – “Evil twin” and things like that, while keeping the characters “grounded and relatable” which she acknowledged, is a “tricky tone” to pull off.
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The CW president Mark Pedowitz likes to set the tone for his TCA executive session with a music theme that plays while he is walking out. Today it was a Buena Vista Social Club tune in honor of the network’s new dramedy Jane The Virgin. Expectations are high for the charming comedic soap in the mold of Ugly Betty, which also put the CW on the list of networks with high marks on diversity this season. A couple of years ago, touting Beauty And The Beast‘s Kristin Kreuk as Asian American was the best Pedowitz could come up with when pressed on the whiteness of the network’s new series. Now, the network has a Latino family show. “I believe shows need to reflect what America looks like,” he said today.
Pedowitz was asked to lay out the distinction between BeautyAnd The Beast, which was renewed, and fellow bubble series Star-Crossed, The Carrie Diaries and The Tomorrow People that wasn’t. “Beauty And The Beast has a very engaged fan base, and it is a very profitable show,” Pedowitz said of the remake, which is a big international seller for sister studio CBS TV Studios. As for those that didn’t make the cut, Pedowitz admitted to having received 90 boxes of pasta from angry fans of cancelled alien romance Star-Crossed. Read More »
Maybe it was because the preceding panel dealt with NFL football, but TV journalists butted heads repeatedly at today’s TCA panel with executive producer Kevin Williamson, asking how his new series Stalker is different from his older show on another network that features many similar elements. The EP/creator appeared with stars Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott, but Williamson spent most of his time on the panel explaining why the drama about detectives tracking stalkers is different from his Fox series The Following, which is about an FBI agent tracking a serial killer and his murderous cult (Williamson said Jennifer Johnson has taken over as showrunner of the Fox series).
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Gary Glasberg, executive producer/creator of CBS’ new drama NCIS: New Orleans, said at the new series’ TCA panel today that Rob Kerkovich (Cloverfield, The Rebound) will join the cast as a forensic scientist. Glasberg, who appeared on the panel with co-EPs Jeffrey Lieber and Mark Harmon and cast members Zoe McLellan, Scott Bakula, CCH Pounder and Lucas Black, said the series will begin shooting in New Orleans on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, CBS entertainment chief Nina Tassler called NCIS and its spinoffs a “billion-dollar franchise.” The newest member of the club was introduced as a planted spinoff via two episodes of NCIS earlier this year. Read More »
Brian Gallivan began a Q&A for his semi-autobiographical CBS sitcom The McCarthys by announcing his family never actually had a DUI, and never carried a dead man’s baby. Addressing TV critics at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014, Gallivan said he’d explained to his family that a TV comedy requires the characters have flaws – so he had to add them, and “that sitcoms also require heartwarming moments so I had to add those.” His family has not yet seen the pilot, and won’t until the series debuts on CBS because, he said, he’d like to continue his relationship with his family until then.
The McCarthys revolves around a big, sports-crazed Irish Catholic family in Boston, and the gay son (Tyler Ritter) who is anxious to spend less time with them.
The series was first shot as a single-camera pilot for the season previous to the one that just wrapped, Gallivan said “because my family expresses love through insulting each other and being hateful….” The single-cam format wound up being too dark.
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CBS‘ new drama series Madam Secretary, in which Tea Leoni plays the Secretary of State, came about because of Hillary Clinton and Benghazi, exec producer Lori McCreary told TV critics today at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014.
McCreary said she and Morgan Freeman had lunch with CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler about producing a scripted series for the network, after which, McCreary says, they set about “trying to come up with a great character…And then, guess what happened — the Benghazi hearings,” McCreary said. They went back to Tassler with the idea of a series about what it’s like to be the female Secretary of State, “and how it translates overseas when rights for women are not what they are here,” she said. Tassler introduced them to Joan Of Arcadia creator Barbara Hall, who “took that kernel of an idea” and ran with it.
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TV critics want to heap a lot of responsibility on Shonda Rhimes. Rhimes already has her fill, thank you very much, what with overseeing ABC’s entire Thursday lineup in the fall, including Grey’s Anatomy at 8 PM, followed by Scandal at 9 PM, and new How To Get Away With Murder at 10 PM. At TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014 this morning, she resisted their efforts to get Money Quotes for their TV Diversity Navel-Lint Gazing pieces.
Scandal’s debut in the spring of 2012 marked the first time in 30 years American TV featured a primetime series with a black female star. Now, just three years later “We have two shows,” marveled one TV critic, who asked Rhimes to speak to the “lesson” to TV in this, also asking for her thoughts on “the impact of having two shows on network TV that star black women.”
“Do I think there are any lessons? No, I don’t. The shows speak for themselves,” Shonda responded curtly.
In re the impact of having two shows starring black women on American primetime TV, Rhimes brushed it off with, “It remains to be seen. It hasn’t happened yet.” Read More »
“Is this a therapy session?,” ABC president Paul Lee asked jokingly after another long-winded question about the network’s new series. That about sums up an uneventful executive session, which also could double as a drinking game over the great number of times the words “diversity” and “specificity” were repeated. There was no mention of ABC’s ratings woes but the diversity of the network’s new slate — which includes comedies about a black family (Black-ish), Asian family (Fresh Off The Boat) and Latino family (Cristela), as well as dramas American Crime, created by John Ridley, and How To Get Away with Murder, exec produced by Shonda Rhimes and starring Viola Davis — was front and center. Asked what the tipping point was, Lee was quick to point out, “we’re not there yet,” in terms of level of diversity. “To be able to pull this off, you need not just stars on air… you need the storytellers and you need the executives to truly reflect America as it is,” he added, giving a shout-out to the network and sister studio’s diverse group of creative executives.
Lee indirectly referenced 21st Century Fox’s move to put both Fox and 20th Century Fox TV under the same leadership, Dana Walden and Gary Newman, as part of a growing trend. ABC and ABC Studios have operated that way for years, and Lee, who oversees both, praised the model. “We’ve used that combination of network and studio to develop a lot of great shows,” he said.
Asked about the perception that cable dramas are cooler than their broadcast counterparts in light of another Emmy shutout of broadcast dramas from the top category, Lee spoke in support of broadcast shows. “I’ll put American Crime or Scandal against any cable drama series,” he said. “Sometime limitations can provide you with better storytelling, and Shonda Rhimes is a beacon of that.” Read More »
Salaam Coleman Smith has been named EVP strategy and programming at ABC Family, the network’s president Tom Ascheim announced this morning at Summer TV Press Tour 2014. “You may know her best from her work at Style or E!,” he said, calling her hire a “key part of building our future. She’s a great exec and an even greater person.” Smith’s hire seems to confirm sources’ reports ABC Family is looking to make a bigger push into the unscripted genre. Meanwhile, Ascheim said, “I am actively looking for Kate Juergens’ replacement.”
Kate Juergens, the executive behind ABC Family‘s defining original programming including Pretty Little Liars, The Secret Life Of The American Teenager, Switched At Birth and The Fosters, last week exited her post as Chief Creative Officer and EVP Original Content. The move was announced last week via a staff memo from Ascheim. He said her departure will result in a restructuring at the Disney cable network that includes the exit of SVP Acquisitions and Scheduling Lynn Stepanian, the odd person out in a new plan to combine Business Strategy, Planning & Development and Scheduling & Acquisitions under one roof and one leader. Both Juergens and Stepanian departed last week.
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Syfy left 12 Monkeys off the Comic-Con schedule this month. And while it might seem like a missed marketing opportunity to tubthump the series before its potential fanbase, executive producer of the series and production exec on the 1995 Terry Gilliam film Richard Suckle explained that the confab “coincides with when we start shooting. We wanted to put the show first as we’re set to premiere in January. It was a production decision with Syfy and we wanted to have the actors on the set.”
Nonethless, the fanboy press corps was out at TCA and ready to grill about the beloved time-travel film, which sent Bruce Willis’ convict James Cole back into the past to stop a virus destined to kill humanity. Co-exec EP Terry Matalas assured that the series is a “complete reimagining. We didn’t want to redo the movie and so we changed everything from the top down.” Read More »
A scheduled hiatus in production on USA Network‘s new series Dig has been extended a week while producers assess the situation and decide if they can continue to shoot the six-episode series in Jerusalem. ”This caught us off-guard and we are assessing,” Gideon Raff told TV critics at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014, of the violence in the region. The network is “looking at all options and hopefully things will calm down, and we’ll go back” to Jerusalem to shoot the remaining episodes. “If not, we’ll sort it out” he said, noting “Jerusalem is a key element in our show. We chose to shoot there because of its history.”
The action adventure drama, from Tim Kring and Raff — creator of the Israeli series on which Showtime’s Homeland is based — centers on Peter (Jason Isaacs), an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem who, while investigating a murder of an archaeologist, uncovers a conspiracy 2000 years in the making that threatens to change the course of history. The series is a production of Keshet Media Group for UCP in cooperation with the city of Jerusalem. Anne Heche co-stars. Read More »
Faced with a series title like A to Z, it’s no surprise TV journalists were like dogs chewing a bone at today’s TCA panel on the show, demanding that producers and cast of the new NBC comedy series reveal whether the show will be done in one season.
No, EPs Rashida Jones, Ben Queen and Will McCormack explained patiently. The idea is that each season will complete a phase in the relationship of new couple Andrew (Ben Feldman) and Zelda (Cristin Milioti). No, the title doesn’t mean each season will feature a new couple.
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TV critics seem to have reservations about NBC’s new comedy series Bad Judge. The single-camera comedy stars Kate Walsh as Rebecca Wright, a tough judge serving in the Los Angeles County courts, whose private life is pretty wild. In the comedy, co-created by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay and Anne Heche, Wright meets an eight-year-old boy whose parents she’d put in the hoosegow.
Walsh said she loved the idea of playing a character who, in the first four pages of the script, wakes up with a hangover, gets a pregnancy test and is revealed to be a judge. “It was super appealing,” she said, describing her initial reaction to the role as the sensation of having her nose pressed up to a candy-store window.
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“In the pilot, a couple of times, the word ‘f***’ is used,” a TV critic said, kicking off the Q&A session for NBC’s new comedy Marry Me at Summer TV Press Tour 2014. “Is that it?” series creator David Caspe asked, after waiting in vain for the “question” part of the TV critics’ comment. The critic elaborated: “Are you going to be writing it this way, and…let Standards cut it out?”
“Come on! Do it!” urged cast member Tim Meadows, who plays one of Casey Wilson‘s gay dads on the comedy series. “I haven’t thought about it much,” Caspe answered. “Maybe a little bit, here and there, and then I cut it.”
There’s been a lot of talk about pushing broadcast-content boundaries during NBC’s portion of the semi-annual tour. Entertainment division chairman Bob Greenblatt talked about the challenges broadcasters face in trying to compete against cable at the Emmys, given broadcast TV’s time and content disadvantages.
And, during a session for new drama State of Affairs, executive producer Joe Carnahan said his goal for the series was to push content boundaries to create a drama that would “out-do what cable has become, (which is), let’s face it, the standard bearer.” To which, his fellow State of Affairs EP Ed Bernero, responded, “We have to use a little bit different language, and can’t show sex as much,” but the … Read More »
Katherine Heigl’s appearance at Summer TV Press Tour 2014, to discuss her return to series TV, was as dramatic as you’d expect. The hall was packed with media to hear Heigl talk about her new NBC series State of Affairs, in which she plays a CIA analyst who presents the U.S. President’s daily briefing on security issues facing the country. Heigl, you’ll remember, is the actress who became a major star on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, then left that series to focus on her film career — but only after alienating some on Grey’s for, among other incidents, telling the media she had not submitted herself for Emmy consideration one season because she did not think she had been given good enough material.
Then there was that Vanity Fair interview she gave after filming feature comedy Knocked Up, from writer/director Judd Apatow, starring opposite Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Leslie Mann, in which Heigl said she enjoyed the work, but not so much the film, because it was “a little sexist,” “paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.” For those comments, the media described her as an “ungrateful traitor,” among other yeasty comments.
Before Heigl’s Q&A, a TV critic asked NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke why Katherine’s mother, “stage mom” Nancy Heigl, was scheduled for that Q&A and listed as one of State of Affairs’ executive producers. Salke explained that Katherine came with … Read More »
The TV Academy probably should take another look at the categories for its Primetime Emmy Awards, academy chairman/CEO Bruce Rosenblum told TV critics this morning at the TCAs summer press tour after TV critics began to flog him and the academy for not doing a better job “policing” which categories series and actors are competing.
TV critics nicked him for a number of this year’s nominees — one TV critic, for instance, noted, “it’s nice Treme got nominated, but it’s in the miniseries category and it’s been on the air about five years.” Another expressed disbelief the academy would let Shameless submit itself for consideration as a comedy series for a season that included a storyline “in which a baby overdoses on cocaine.” And harsh words were said about “certain” actors who’d submitted themselves as guest stars “even though they have regular series contracts.” Plenty more where that came from.
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Christopher Walken has been cast as Captain Hook in NBC’s live broadcast of Peter Pan. “He might be the first tap-dancing Hook you’ve ever seen,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told TV critics this morning at Summer TV Press Tour 2014.
Walken, who is currently seen dancing in Clint Eastwood’s screen version of Broadway hit Jersey Boys, began on the Broadway stage in musicals, and has appeared in a number of film musicals, including Hairspray, and the Steve Martin film Pennies From Heaven. He’s well known to NBC’s audience, what with his having hosted Saturday Night Live seven times — where he sometimes performed song-and-dance numbers. Walken won the Academy Award for his role in the Oscar-winning The Deer Hunter, and is also known for his performances in such films as Sleepy Hollow, Pulp Fiction, Wayne’s World, True Romance and Annie Hall. He did his own choreography for the memorable Fatboy Slim video Weapon of Choice, for which he won the MTV Video Music Award for best choreography.
NBC has yet to say who’s been cast in the lead role of Peter Pan, though Greenblatt admitted that they’d approached Kristen Bell who was not available. Last January, following the successful live staging of The Sound Of Music, NBC announced its followup musical — James M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, which will be broadcast Dec. 4. The Sound Of Music‘s exec producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will return in that role … Read More »