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EMMYS Q&A: Mindy Kaling Of ‘The Mindy Project’ On Pushing The Envelope

By | Wednesday June 11, 2014 @ 3:09pm PDT

Anna Lisa Raya is editor of Awardsline.

Mindy Kaling Emmys Mindy ProjectMindy Kaling — creator, star, executive producer and writer on Fox’s The Mindy Project – is living her childhood dream, albeit with backbreaking, endless days on set. Her big break into TV comedy came when she was the first woman hired — at 24 — as a writer on NBC’s The Office. She’s now the first and only woman of color to run and star in her own network show. With these firsts has come great responsibilities, some of which Kaling bristles against, such as viewers’ demands that her Indian-American character date more ethnically diverse men on the show. She can’t make everyone happy, but Fox certainly is. Despite middling ratings, the critically well-received show was renewed for a third season.

AWARDSLINE: What would you say were the biggest differences between Season 1 and Season 2?
MINDY KALING: We try every season for there to be certain scenes and journeys that each Awardsline logo_use this oneof the characters go on, certainly the leads. But it’s harder because, unlike a cable show, we have 22 or 24 episodes a year so we can’t do that wonderful thing I’ll see on some of my favorite cable shows where they’ll have 12 episodes to do a full arc that in the course of two and a half months is done. Our journeys have to be longer, so usually what we do is set up a couple of different arcs, which is something I learned on The Office. The single biggest difference is that you just know the characters more this year.

Related: Women Crowd Season Finale Screening Of ‘The Mindy Project’

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What TV Series Do Rich And Smart People Watch? You Might Be Surprised

the-bachelor-season-18-juan-pabloIn the TV season just concluded, the highest indexing primetime broadcast series (non-sports) among demo viewers, in homes earning $150K+ per year, was ABC’s The Bachelor. This might come as a surprise to critics who’ve described Bachelor as that hook-up-in-a-hot-tub show, those who would have put money on the most upscale broadcast reality TV series to be something more along the lines of, say, ABC’s pitch-a-venture-capitalist series Shark Tank, or CBS’ tony, often-Emmy-winning world-traveling The Amazing Race, or NBC’s extremely popular singing competiton series The Voice. And, if you stop 10 people on the street, odds are eight of them would swear the season’s most upscale broadcast TV series in young-demo, high income homes would something along the lines of CBS’s lawyerly The Good Wife, or maybe ABC’s Washington-set soap Scandal. They would be wrong. Read More »

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Produced By: It’s Not Just The Hair – How To Court The Female Audience

As women’s roles continue to expand in society, so too are their roles growing on television. More than ever, capturing the female audience is vital to a show’s success, and that was the subject of Sunday’s smart and funny “Courting the Female Audience” panel at the Producers Guild‘s Produced By conference.

Mara Brock-Akil“Women are looking for nuance,” said Mara Brock-Akil, creator and executive producer of Being Mary Jane and The Game. “We’re not all beautiful and gorgeous.”

Women are also, it would appear, looking for zombies, or at least one particular set of them. “The Walking Dead is the No. 1  show for women,” said Marc Juris, WE TV president and general manager. Either way, “Female viewers are much more demanding and discerning,” said Matt Warburton, executive producer of Fox’s The Mindy Project. “They care about the quality of a show. For men, fart jokes and an explosion are enough.”

So-called “procedurals” – those ubiquitous, based-on-a-real-story crime dramas – remain popular with older women in particular, the panelists agreed, although moderator Debra Birnbaum, a contributing editor at Variety, said she finds it “hard to deal with” all the genre’s “rape and torture.” Notwithstanding The Real Housewives of Pretty Much Everywhere, reality shows offer some of the best opportunities for female viewers to see real women like themselves dealing with everyday issues that affect their lives. “Reality does a much better job,” Juris said.

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Women Crowd Season Finale Screening Of ‘The Mindy Project’

'The Mindy Project' screeningIf the TV networks are wondering where their female under-25 audience was last night — they were at the Awardsline screening of Fox’s The Mindy Project. Fox always knew better than to cancel Mindy Project, and for anyone who ever had their doubts about the show’s popularity, given its low nightly ratings, look no further than the stampede of women who showed up at the Landmark Theatre in West LA to catch the season finale “Danny and Mindy” and to get a chance to meet star/executive producer Mindy Kaling and castmembers Ike Barinholtz, Adam Pally, Ed Weeks, Xosha Roquemore and Beth Grant.  Making good with those who couldn’t get into the overbooked screening, Kaling threw herself into the crowd for selfies, autographs and hugs. One fan exclaimed to Kaling, “To have an Indian woman like you onscreen, who is so nuanced, so smart and witty, who has flaws and strengths, it means so much to girls like me.”
Related: ‘Mad Men’ Cast Reflect On Season Ending & Bert Cooper’s Final Dance Number

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘New Girl’ Finale Falls From Last Year, ‘Mindy Project’ Finale Even, ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’, ‘Voice’, ‘Trophy Wife’, ‘Originals’ & ‘Growing Up Fisher’ Down

new girl may 6 season 3 finaleIt was a night of ends and the beginnings of the end on primetime on Tuesday as the 2013-2014 TV season moves into its final weeks. Fox had two finales back-to-back last night with New Girl (1.2/4) and The Mindy Project (1.3/4) The former took to the high seas to wrap up its third season with a 9% rise from last week. However that good news sours with the comedy also cratering 42% from the 2.1/6 of its Season 2 ender on May 14, 2013. The Mindy Project was a homage to Mindy Project may 6 season finaleMeg Ryan rom-coms of the 1990s as the series ended its second season. The throwback to two decades ago and the show’s pilot paid off as the comedy was up 18% from last week and even with its Season 1 finale last May. Both New Girl and Mindy will be back next year having unsurprisingly been picked up again in early renewals back in March. Kicking off the night for Fox on an evening that saw overall TV usage between 8 – 10 PM was down 8% from April 29, Glee (0.8/3) was even with last week’s broadcast of the Ryan Murphy series.

Backstories and secrets were the core of the penultimate episode of Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1.8/6) first season. Virtually a shoe-in for renewal, … Read More »

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NBCU Press Day: Comedy Stars Not Fans Of Multi-Cam, Question ‘Shameless’ Decision To Compete For Emmy As Comedy

Mindy KalingIt is the golden age of comedy now, Mindy Kaling told reporters at NBCU Press Day, because whereas once you used to have to wait 2 1/2 years for Larry David to get around to writing another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, “now there’s always something happening” in comedy on the TV landscape. She was joined by stars of other Universal TV comedies airing on NBC and elsewhere.

Related: Mindy Kaling Exits UTA

andy-sandbergJenna Elfman is a big fan of single cam comedies, like her new Growing Up Fisher, because “with the Internet … audiences are more savvy, and with a single camera you can home in on nuance more than with multi-cam and capture the smarter side of the story.”

Related: NBC Press Day: Bill Lawrence Talks ‘Undateable’

Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andy Samberg chimed in: “I was on SNL, which was live, but everything I did was pre-taped, so I was already headed in that direction. Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott said there a “weird thing” about doing comedy on a multi-cam. “If you don’t say a joke with a particular inflection, the laughs just don’t occur. I did very badly in that format.” But he acknowledged, “Shows like Cheers were able to make it work.” Read More »

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Mindy Kaling Exits UTA

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 12:33pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

kalingMindy Kaling, creator, executive producer and star of Fox’s The Mindy Project, has departed UTA. She is going agent-less for the time being and has not set up meetings with other agencies but continues to be manged by 3 Arts Entertainment. Kaling was a breakout on NBC’s The Office, where was a writer and co-star, before segueing to creating her own show. Sophomore Mindy Project, which has been well received but has struggled to attract wide audiences, already has been renewed for a third season.

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘NCIS’ Slips, ‘Mindy Project’ Craters, ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ & ‘The Voice’ Down

NCIS APRIL 1Looks like the next NCIS (2.3/8) spinoff has gotten off to a slightly unsteady start. After seeing a small rise last week, Tuesday’s second episode of the “Crescent City” two-parter with Scott Bakula dipped 8% from its March 25 episode. On a night that didn’t give big jumps to anyone, that’s a season low for the long-running procedural. The setting up of a Big Easy-based version of NCIS was again the night’s most-watched show, with 16.84 million tuning in, though down a slight 2% from last week. A little bit ahead of its lead-in in the adults 18-49 demo, NCIS: LA (2.4/7) remained even with it March 25 airing. Coming off a big gain last week, Person Of Interest (1.9/6) dipped 5% last night from its previous episode. With all that, CBS took the night in the demo (2.2/7) and in total viewers with 14.49 million.

On Fox’s Glee (0.9/3) it was all New York, New York with the former McKinley High gang starting to strut their stuff in the city that never sleeps. It was a move that didn’t seem to garner much goodwill among the demo: The 102nd episode of the series fell 18% from last week to tie a series low. If Glee’s fall stung, the cratering of The Mindy Project hurt worse. Back for the first time in two months, a double dose of the comedy at 9 PM and 9:30 each drew a 1.0/3 result in 18-49 – that’s a 33% free-fall from the series’ last 9:30 PM original January 31. Read More »

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Hulu Inks Exclusive Streaming Deal With NBCUniversal Series

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 8:56am PDT

hulu5__131120195159-275x122The exclusive licensing deal announced today makes Hulu Plus the exclusive destination for all previous seasons of Universal TV’s The Mindy Project and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, with BrooklynNineNine.episodicBravo series like The Real Housewives and Top Chef franchises and E!’s Keeping Up With The Kardashians also available exclusively in the coming weeks — and Parks And Recreation coming non-exclusively. The multi-year SVOD rights deal follows similar Hulu pacts inked in February — one an extension with CBS for 2,600 new episodes of shows including Undercover BossUnited States Of TaraEverybody Loves Raymond, Ghost Whisperer and library fare like The Brady Bunch and Laverne & Shirley; and another with Disney/ABC Television group that netted SVOD rights to Nashville. Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins announced the deal via a blog post today.

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PaleyFest: ‘The Mindy Project’ Cast Discusses The Kiss And James Franco

By | Tuesday March 25, 2014 @ 10:50pm PDT

nOdJLOY - Imgur“The death of comedy is political correctness,” Mindy Kaling said at The Mindy Project Q&A at PaleyFest.  The comment was apropos of some lines delivered on the show, but could be a response to the group Media Action Network for Asian- Americans which wants Kaling’s character to stop dating so many white guys on the series. “We are concerned that in the course of two seasons, her character, Dr. Lahiri, has had a ‘white-only’ dating policy involving about a dozen men,” the org wrote the other day to Fox, noting Kaling’s “strangely defensive” response to Entertainment Weekly on the subject: “Do people really wonder on other shows if female leads are dating multicultural people? Like I owe it to every race and minority and beleaguered person. I have to become the United Nations of shows?” At PaleyFest tonight, Kaling said of her show, “My writing staff on this show is the best writing staff on television…they love women and love their characters”

Related: TCA, ‘The Mindy Project’ On Returning Guests, Haiti And That Haircut

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Fox Gives Early Renewals To ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’, ‘The Mindy Project’, ‘New Girl’ & ‘The Following’

By | Friday March 7, 2014 @ 4:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Brooklyn-nine-nineThis is gutsy. Fox has handed early renewals for next season to comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl and The Mindy Project and drama The Following. Golden Globe-winning freshman Brooklyn Nine-Nine is picked up for a second season, Mindy and The Following for a third and New Girl for a fourth. They join three other Fox scripted series that already have been picked up for next season: freshman drama Sleepy Hollow; veteran Bones, renewed for a 10th season; and Glee, which has a final sixth season as part of a two-year pickup. That is a lot of programming already locked in for next season though Fox has extra holes to fill following the cancellation of The X Factor. Networks are not required to make any renewal decisions until May, and most wait to see their pilots before making decisions. Fox, of course, declared in January that it was breaking away from the pilot cycle, so the network also may be going on its own timetable with renewals. But most of all, today’s pickups are about Fox brass giving a vote of confidence to series they feel strongly about creatively.

Related: Fox’s Abolishment Of Pilot Season: Practical Guide To How Will It Work

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TCA: Fox In Talks For Season 10 Of ‘Bones’, Kevin Reilly Bullish On ‘The Mindy Project’ Renewal, Wishes ‘The Voice’ Goes Away

By | Monday January 13, 2014 @ 12:19pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

TCA UPDATED: The move to Friday didn’t dent Bones‘ longevity one bit. “We are in negotiations on another season of Bones and expect it would be back (for a 10th season),” Fox chairman Kevin Reilly said during the executive session today, indicating that Season 10 will likely be the show’s last. He confirmed Bones110916155920what we had already reported: that Bones creator/showrunner Hart Hanson will move onto his newly picked up Fox series Backstrom, with his top Bones lieutenant Stephen Nathan, who has performed day-to-day showrunner duties on the long-running Fox procedural, taking over next season. Hanson still will be involved in major decisions.

Reilly also spoke of the renewal chances of softly rated sophomore comedy The Mindy Project, which is going on hiatus in the spring. “It’s really on the money (creatively) right now,” he said. “Ratings are not where they should be, the show deserves more viewers. But is a highly upscale show we make money on.” He said Mindy‘s “little hiatus has nothing to do with its renewal chances. “I’m highly bullish on it being back next season.” Read More »

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Bravo Lines Up ‘The Mindy Project’ Marathon On New Year’s Eve

By | Wednesday December 18, 2013 @ 11:31am PST

MindyProjectMindy Kaling‘s show has struggled on Fox, but maybe a little home cooking will help. Bravo has a set a marathon of corporate sibling Universal TV‘s The Mindy Project for New Year’s Eve, running all 11 of the current second season’s episodes in the ordered they aired. The news comes less bravo__130422184121__130801235541__131023174409-200x147than a month after Fox said it will bench the sitcom from January 28 to April 1, an announcement made days after Mindy posted a series-low 1.2 rating among  adults 18-49. The show is getting a monthlong production hiatus during the holidays as producers to plan for its spring relaunch. Meanwhile, Bravo’s Mindy marathon runs from 8:30 AM-2 PM Pacific, leaving viewers plenty of time to prep for “Auld Lang Syne.”

Related: ‘The Mindy Project’ Kicks Fox Decency Police

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘The Voice’ & ‘Dads’ Rise, ‘Goldbergs’ Hits Low, ‘Mindy Project’ Down, CW Hits 5-Year Tuesday Viewership High

By | Wednesday December 4, 2013 @ 9:04am PST

The Voice - Season 5UPDATE, 2:25 PM: Looks like there’s even more holiday cheer out of  The Voice’s Tuesday performance. Final numbers are in and the NBC singing show saw an addition 3% rise among adults 18-49 to 3.4/10 over the fast nationals that had the show up 10% from last week’s Tuesday low tie. The Voice’s 13% rise over its November 26 show may have been helped by the 5% bop up that The Biggest Loser got in final numbers. Previously steady with last week in fast nationals and now at 2.1/6, last nights show is tied with the reality series October 15 premiere for a season high.

PREVIOUSLY, 9:04 AM: There were no holiday specials on the Big 4 last night but it certainly was Christmas on The Voice (3.3/9). With holiday tunes galore from both contestants and judges, the live one-hour show trimmed to a final five contestants with a single elimination from the singer pool and the end of the TwitterSave experiment. After being beaten by Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and tying a Tuesday series low last week, the NBC competition series also got a present in a 10% rise over its November 26 show. The Voice was the night’s highest-rated show and the second-most-watched with 11.89 million viewers. NBC had a good night overall: The Voice’s lead-in The Biggest Loser (2.0/6) was steady with last week while the singing show’s 10 PM lead-out Chicago Fire (2.3/7) was up 10% over its November 26 episode. With a 2.6/7 rating, NBC was No. 1 among adults 18-49 on Tuesday while a repeat-filled CBS was in the top slot viewer-wise with 10.124 million. Read More »

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Fox Midseason: ‘Glee’ Returns To Tuesday, ‘Brooklyn’ Moves Behind ‘New Girl’, ‘Mindy’ Takes Hiatus, ‘Following’ Gets NFC Launch

By | Thursday November 21, 2013 @ 4:30pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Fox is making some scheduling changes for midseason. The underperforming two-hour Tuesday comedy block will be scaled to an hour beginning February 25, when Glee will return to the Tuesday 8 PM slot where it did pretty well during the 2011-12 season. Fox brass hope that the move would help the show regain some footing, which it has lost airing behind a very weak The X Factor this fall. The hourlong Fox comedy block will consist of New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which will move to the 9:30 slot on February 4. It will replace The Mindy Project, which will go on hiatus after a winter finale on January 28, returning on April 1 after Brooklyn Nine-Nine ends its freshman run. The move comes after the sophomore comedy starring Mindy Kaling hit a new series low (1.2 in 18-49) this week. The show’s crew already has been told of the scheduling change, and Mindy is planning a month-long production hiatus around the holidays which the writers will use to regroup and plot the show’s April re-launch.

Fox also is changing its launch plans for midseason dramas The Following and Rake. Instead of premiering new legal dramedy Rake behind the NFC Championship Game on January 19 as previously announced, Fox will launch the second season of  gritty drama The Following after the big game for a two-night season premiere on Sunday, January 19 and Monday, January 20 when the series will debut in its regular Monday 9 PM slot, following the season finale of Sleepy Hollow. The argument is that the dark, male skewing Following would be more compatible with the football game than the lighter, more female-friendly Rake. The new series starring Greg Kinnear will premiere January 23 in its regular Thursday 9 PM slot, following American Idol. As previously announced, new Fox comedy Enlisted will premiere on Friday, January 10, and original episodes of New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine will air after the Super Bowl on February 2. Remaining unclear if the spring scheduling of comedy Dads, which will air its last originals in its Tuesday February 4 and February 11 before going on hiatus to make room for Glee. It could come back later in the season, a return date is TBD. Here are Fox’s updated winter premiere dates: Read More »

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Ratings Rat Race: ABC Scores With David Blaine Special, CBS Nabs First Tuesday Win

By | Wednesday November 20, 2013 @ 9:57am PST
Nellie Andreeva

ABC needed some ratings magic this fall and it got it last night from a professional. David Blaine’s Real Or Magic celebrity special from 9:30-11 PM drew a 2.5 rating in 18-49, winning its time period, posting ABC’s best numbers in the time frame this season and helping the network score its best 18-49 finish on the night since premiere week. (Check out a clip of Blaine wowing Ricky Gervais below.) Even more impressive, Blaine topped Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2.3) as ABC’s highest-rated program of the night on a fraction of the budget of the superhero drama. It also did better than ABC’s scripted magic franchise, Once Upon A Time, has been doing this fall. Since TV is a copycat business, expect more magic specials to pop up soon. Fox already has one in the can with close-up magician JB Benn, which could be scheduled soon.

Here’s a clip of Blaine needling Ricky Gervais last night:

There was more good news for ABC last night, as S.H.I.E.L.D. finally posted a week-to-week uptick (.1) after slipping since the premiere, an indication that the freshman drama may have bottomed out. But sandwiched between S.H.I.E.L.D. and David Blaine, The Goldbergs (1.6) was down 6%.

By looking at the ratings for CBS’ Tuesday dramas, you wouldn’t tell how eventful they were, with NCIS introducing new main character Ellie Bishop (played by Emily Wickersham) to replace Ziva, and Person Of Interest bidding a shocking farewell to one of its main characters. NCIS (3.0) was even with last week (up a tenth from the fast national), POI (2.0) too was flat, while NCIS: LA (2.5) was up a tenth. POI still won the 10 PM hour, topping NBC’s Chicago Fire (1.9) for a second time. The firefighter drama dropped 14% to a season low. Its lead-in, The Voice (3.1), also was down, by 9%. The Biggest Loser (1.9) was flat. With NBC’s 9-11 PM declines, CBS’ steadiness paid off — the network logged its first outright Tuesday night win in adults 18-49 (2.5) this season and was once again the most-watched network with 15.5 million. Read More »

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‘The Mindy Project’, Beaten Up By ‘The Voice’, Kicks Fox Decency Police

By | Wednesday October 23, 2013 @ 4:15pm PDT

The Mindy Project showrunner appears to be fed up with notes from the Fox Decency Police, and has tweeted one such memo — presumably to embarrass the division. In its pre-shoot memo about one of the comedy’s episodes, The Fox Decency Police made these requests:

Page 13: Please substitute for Peter’s “balls” reference.

Page 28 Please substitute for Mindy’s “penis” reference.

Please substitute for Mindy’s “69″ reference.

Decency Police and their “We’ll trade you one penis for two vaginas” memos are always good for a laugh on a slow day, which may explain why today The Reporters Who Cover Television glommed on to showrunner Matt Warburton‘s tweet of several days ago (you know how it is: TV critic re-tweets it, Defamer posts it, more media pick it up). In the Twitter post, he took a photo of the memo and added, “The Mindy Project is a classy show for grown ups”, like he meant it to sting. And yet, ask someone attached to the show’s production or broadcast why it’s still on the air with the numbers it’s getting these days and you probably ARE going to get an earful of “Mindy is a very upscale show, with a 142 index in the demo in $100K+ homes, ranking No. 9 among major broadcast network shows in this category, and the highest indexing of any Fox entertainment series.”

Still, you can’t help but feel for Warburton. His series is getting clobbered by NBC’s The Voice in its time slot (last season NBC had little-watched comedies Go On and The New Normal in the second hour of primetime on the night). Read More »

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Fox Gives ‘The Mindy Project’ Early VOD/Digital Debut

By | Tuesday September 10, 2013 @ 7:39am PDT

In a move we’ve come to expect for freshman series — but for returning ones, not so much — Fox will preview the season debut of The Mindy Project on VOD and digital platforms beginning today. That’s a full week in advance of its primetime debut on the broadcast network. In the debut episode, Schulman & Associates welcomes its new resident OB/GYN, Dr. Paul Leotard, played by guest star James Franco — a charming, former model who also happens to be a sex therapist and offers sex therapy advice to Danny (Chris Messina) and Christina (guest star Chloe Sevigny). So if the Comedy Central roast/love letter of/to Franco didn’t give you your Franco-fill, you can now catch the season premiere episode on Fox.com, Fox Now, HULU, Fox on Demand, Xbox 360, Samsung, Windows 8 and Roku, and online distributors including iTunes, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, Vudu and YouTube.

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TCA: ‘The Mindy Project’ On Returning Guests, Haiti And That Haircut

By | Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 2:21pm PDT

Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

During an on-set visit to Fox‘s The Mindy Project as part of the TCA Summer Press Tour, the cast and producers revealed that Season 2 of the series will feature the returns of first-season guests Bill Hader, Anders Holm, Chloe Sevigny and James Franco. In addition, panelists confirmed that that the planned trip to Haiti introduced last season will indeed be part of the comedy’s storyline when it returns to the schedule September 17. “We thought it would be sort of lame if we didn’t go to Haiti, so we do,” said executive producer Matt Warburton today on Stage 34 of the Universal Studios lot. Star Mindy Kaling said the show has broken “7 or 8” episodes to date. Read More »

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