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Comic-Con: Guillermo Del Toro Stresses Diversity On ‘The Strain’ & Circular Route To Series

By | Sunday July 27, 2014 @ 4:27pm PDT

Comic-Con: Guillermo Del Toro Stresses Diversity On ‘The Strain’ & Circular Route To Series“For me, it is very important for this show to have Latin characters and Mexican characters that defy the stereotype of gang bangers,” said Guillermo del Toro today at Comic-Con about his series The Strain.

del toro cuse the strain comic con 2014In what was a wide-ranging panel discussion of the new show, the Mexican-born director wasted no time revealing to a packed Hall H his specific intentions for the characters of the vampire series. “I want Gus to become not only a complex character but a full-fledged hero who will kick some ass,” del Toro said of the just-out-of-juvie Augustin “Gus” Elizalde role played by Miguel Gomez. The director also noted that the sense of cultural difference was part of the casting of Mia Maestro and the Dr. Nora Martinez character she plays. “Her being a Latin woman and me being a Latin man, we are very aware of otherness and I thought she could be a good counterpoint to Eph’s (Corey Stoll’s Dr. Ephraim Goodweather) scientific method. “God willing, next season, we have a masked Mexican wrestler to also kick ass,” del Toro added to big laughs.

The vivid and highly stylized The Strain chronicles the NYC head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, played by Stoll as he, fellow scientists and others try to figure out a mysterious viral outbreak that seems to have arrived in America via a European-originated plane of seemingly dead passengers. There … Read More »

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TCA: FX’s “Revolting” ‘The Strain’ Bucks Romantic GQ Vampire Trend, Creator Guillermo Del Toro Says

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 4:32pm PDT

TCA: FX’s “Revolting” ‘The Strain’ Bucks Romantic GQ Vampire Trend, Creator Guillermo Del Toro SaysBefore FX developed The Strain for its lineup, Guillermo del Toro says a broadcast network suggested developing it as a comedy. The Strain, based on the trilogy of novels by del Toro and Chuck Hogan, follows Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) as the NYC head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team, leading the effort to discover the root of a viral outbreak that seems to have killed all the passengers and crew of a Berlin-originated airplane that turns out to be a strain of vampirism.

Back in 2006, del Toro told TV critics this afternoon at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014,  the project was sent around for possible development as a TV project. At that time he said, the the only way anybody envisioned vampires was “as a romantic conception of vampires — that sort of GQ version of vampires,” he said. But he was pitching a show in which vampires would be “truly revolting, physically and spiritually.” At one network, he said, he got asked, ” ‘Could you turn it into a comedy?’ I said ‘no’.”

thestrain01-is-the-strain-posterSeries exec producer Carlton Cuse, meanwhile, says that while there are horror elements to the show, he thinks of it much more as an adventure show, along the lines of Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, he worked on in its development. “It’s not that scary — it’s not just a horror show,” Cuse insists of The Strain. “The material lent itself to a big pulpy engaging type of storytelling.” Read More »

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TCA: FX’s John Landgraf Talks ‘AHS: Freak Show’ & ‘Fargo’, Freshman Renewals, W. Kamau Bell

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 11:24am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

TCA: FX’s John Landgraf Talks ‘AHS: Freak Show’ & ‘Fargo’, Freshman Renewals, W. Kamau BellAt TCA today, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf sent a love letter to creators. “I love artists. I really, genuinely do. I want us to be the wind in their sails,” he said during the network’s executive session. Landgraf also assured critics that he plans to continue to take risks with concepts that are off-mainstream. “We’d rather fail spectacularly & nobly than succeed in a quiet, middling way,” he said. He gave an update on the evolution of FX and its up-and-coming sibling FXX, which has been running only comedy programming since its launch last fall. That may change. “It’s going to take awhile for the two brands to shake out… There wil be drama on both channels I think,” he said.

Related: TCA: The Gritty Reality Of Sex On FX’s ‘Married’ & ‘You’re The Worst’

Landgraf revealed details about the latest installment of American Horror Story, which has been flirting with Neil Patrick Harris for a part. “It will be set in 1950s and has a very different look from a designer standpoint. Some years, the show is big, brash and campy like Coven, some are dark and brooding like Asylum. Freak Show is half-way between these two.”

Related: TCA: Casting Directors Say They’re Color Blind When Choosing Actors

Landgraf gave AHS co-creator/executive producer Ryan Murphy props for introducing the “analogical miniseries” genre that has “created new opportunities for writers and creators” like Nic Pizzolatto with HBO’s True Detective and Noah Hawley with FX’s Fargo. Read More »

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FX To Stop Reporting Live+Same Day Ratings

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 4:55pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

FX To Stop Reporting Live+Same Day RatingsThis afternoon, the ratings for last night’s premiere of comedy series Married on FX came out. But the network made no mention of that. Instead, FX put out a press release for the Live+3 delivery of the series premiere of drama The Strain. It was accompanied by a note from the network that going forward, it “will no longer issue releases, analysis or comments related to ratings on a Live+Same Day basis.”

2014 Winter TCA Tour - Day 6FX topper John Landgraf, along with Fox’s former chief Kevin Reilly, have been probably the most vocal opponents of the Live+Same Day ratings, slamming them for paining a skewed picture of a show’s performance. “With the exception of sports, news and live events, Live+Same Day ratings no longer accurately reflect the audience delivery for a scripted entertainment program,” FX said in its note about the change in ratings reporting. “We believe they grossly mischaracterize the actual audience due to the multiple data streams and platforms. Therefore, our first acknowledgement of any ratings will be on a Live+3 basis and beyond. That said, while Live+3 delivery still doesn’t measure the total audience, it is a significantly more accurate measurement than Live+Same Day.”

Fox earlier this year also tried to pull away from Live+SD ratings with the introduction of projections for Live+3, Live+7 and a 30-Day Multi-Platform totals. The network continues to issue those every morning though they have not caught on, with Live+SD … Read More »

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FX’s ‘The Strain’ Debuts Strong With Nearly 3M Viewers

By | Tuesday July 15, 2014 @ 8:32am PDT

FX’s ‘The Strain’ Debuts Strong With Nearly 3M ViewersIt was icky, dark and something bloodier is definitely going on with The Strain, but that seems OK with viewers.  FX’s new series based on the novels by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan pulled in an audience of 2.99 million Sunday night for its 1-hour and 42-minute debut at 10PM. That’s 42% better that the cabler’s most recent other drama debut Tyrant did on its June 24th premiere. Showing good DVR life in Live+3 numbers, the Middle East-based series drew 2.1 million viewers for its initial 1-hour and 22-minute opener that Tuesday night. With the first heavily promoted episode directed by del Toro and EP’d by the Pacific Rim director, Hogan and Carlton Cuse, the vampire drama was also 12% higher in terms of its audience than the 2.65 million viewers that the 97-minute debut of limited series Fargo got on April 15.

The Strain follows Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, played by Corey Stoll, as the NYC head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team. Goodweather and his crew are trying to figure out a mysterious viral outbreak that seems to have arrived via a Berlin-originated plane of seemingly dead passengers. That outbreak reveals itself to be a strain of vampirism. While the series hasn’t officially been picked up for a second cycle, Cuse and del Toro have already said that they don’t want The Strain to go more than 5 seasons.

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‘The Strain’s Showrunner Carlton Cuse Admits Yanked Graphic Billboards Were “Not For Everyone”

By | Wednesday July 9, 2014 @ 1:14pm PDT

‘The Strain’s Showrunner Carlton Cuse Admits Yanked Graphic Billboards Were “Not For Everyone”“It may have been too far out there for some people but I personally liked it,” said The Strain showrunner Carlton Cuse today about the graphic billboards FX pulled in some LA locations last week after getting grossed out complaints. The billboards of the upcoming series based on the trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan depicted a close up illustration of a worm coming out of a human eyeball. “I think that the ad was bold and imaginative and clearly not for everyone,” added the former Lost producer today on a strain billboard fxconference call. “I feel the same way,” said del Toro. “I think FX has a great sense of who their audience is,” he added, “the worm with the eye is very powerful.”

“Much as I think that the show has many layers of appeal,” the Pacific Rim director noted the vampire drama might not be for a mass TV audience. “We do go to territories that are pretty extreme and graphic,” del Toro said describing the show as “a thriller with horror elements.”

Despite the pulled billboards, both reiterate the strong support they’ve had from their first meeting with FX. “John Landgraf read all three books and he made the decision that The Strain fit into the portfolio of shows on FX,’ Cuse said. “They give you time to find your footing,” added del Toro as he spoke of the long pre-production time he requested for … Read More »

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FX & FXX Set Summer Premiere Dates

By | Friday May 16, 2014 @ 12:16pm PDT

TyrantFX has laid out summer premiere dates for four new series and a returning drama, and sister channel FXX announced the launch date for a veteran comedy’s swan song. FX’s Middle East-set series Tyrant, which stars Adam Rayner as the son of a dictator of a war-torn country who returns to his homeland after FX logoa self-imposed 20-year exile, will premiere at 10 PM June 24. FX’s high-profile vampire drama The Strain from EP Carlton Cuse and Guillermo del Toro premieres July FXX logo13. And the new FX comedies Married and You’re The Worst will bow back-to-back on July 17. As for returning shows, the second season of FX’s The Bridge kicks off July 9, and the fourth and final season of FXX’s comedy Wilfred arrives June 25.

Related:
FXX’s ‘Legit’ & FX’s ‘Chozen’ Cancelled
Summer Premiere Dates For New And Returning Series

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TCA: FX’s Vampire Series ‘The Strain’ – A Statement About “Empiricism And Religion” Without Sex

By | Tuesday January 14, 2014 @ 5:17pm PST

TCADeadline__140109155905FX’s new vampire series The Strain is a “really original re-imagining of vampire lore” that “says something about the precariousness of our modern world” and also about the 2014 Winter TCA Tour - Day 6intersection of “empiricism and religion,” exec producer Carlton Cuse told TV critics this afternoon.

Then he showed critics a clip from the pilot episode.

“I got a massage just watching that,” Cuse tittered when the gore-tastic clip wrapped. Critics, who looked like the clip had had the same effect on them, were disappointed to learn from Cuse that the vampires of The Strain won’t engage in actual sex. That’s because the particular strain of vampire in Chuck Hogan’s novel trilogy on which the series is based sloughs off genitalia – no use for them. Read More »

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Ray Ford Joins Fox Comedy Pilot ‘Fatrick’; ‘Gang Related’, ‘The Strain’ Add Recurrings

By | Wednesday December 18, 2013 @ 3:15pm PST

Ray FordDon’t Trust the B—- in Apt 23′s Ray Ford has been cast in the Fox pilot Fatrick, reuniting with the pilot’s co-creator/exec producer Nahnatchka Khan, who created Apt 23. He will play Maurice, the longtime best friend of Patrick, a thirtysomething guy realizing that his life isn’t quite where it should be and forced to face the damage caused by years of being the chubby kid called “Fatrick”. Maurice is the only one who knows “both Patricks” and now serves as his therapist. Ford, whose credits include and Grey’s Anatomy, is repped by Rectangle Entertainment and Amsel, Eisenstadt, Frazier & Hinojosa. Dante Hoagland (30 Rock) has also been cast in the comedy as the 12-year-old Maurice and Lucy Rust has been cast as the younger version of Patrick’s sister.

Pasha Pasha-lychnikoffLychnikoff has joined the upcoming Fox drama Gang Related, from 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine TV. He will recur as Slotko Yegenev, the head of a Russian organized crime family. The series centers on a gang member (Ramon Rodriguez) sent in to infiltrate the San Francisco Police Department. Lychnikoff, whose TV credits include The Big Bang Theory and Deadwood, next will be seen in the Nicolas Cage pic Tokarev, and he starts filming The Dancing Bull in February. He is repped by Don Buchwald & Associates. Read More »

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Regina King Joins FX Series ‘The Strain’

By | Thursday December 5, 2013 @ 6:06pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

reginalingSouthland alumna Regina King is set to recur on FX‘s new drama series The Strain, from Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan and Carlton Cuse. The Strain is a high-concept thriller that tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called on to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. King will play Ruby Wain, the smart and accomplished manager of philandering rock star Gabriel Bolivar (Jack Kesy). Also cast as a recurring on the series is Melanie Merkosky as Jim Kent’s (Sean Astin) wife Sylvia, who is suffering from cancer. She is repped by The Characters Talent Agency in Toronto. King, repped by  ICM Partners, John Carrabino and Del Shaw, also is starring in Lifetime’s The Gabby Douglas Story.

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David Bradley To Play Professor Abraham Setrakian In FX’s ‘The Strain’

By | Thursday November 21, 2013 @ 1:41pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

FX has found a replacement for one of the key roles in its upcoming drama series The Strain, from Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan and Carlton Cuse, which is based on the best-selling vampire novel trilogy of the same title written by del Toro and Hogan. David Bradley (Game Of Thrones, the Harry Potter franchise) will play Professor Abraham Setrakian. The role was recast after the pilot where it was played by John Hurt. The Strain is a high-concept thriller that tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called on to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. Setrakian is a holocaust survivor who immigrated to the United States after World War II and now runs a pawn shop in Spanish Harlem. As the outbreak spreads, he may be the only one with answers – if anyone will listen.

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FX’s ‘The Strain’ Gets Official 13-Episode Order, Abraham Role To Be Recast

By | Tuesday November 19, 2013 @ 12:36pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

While Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse‘s drama The Strain, based on del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s vampire novel trilogy, formally had a pilot order at FX, its series pickup was considered a pure formality. It just came in today. From the onset, when FX landed the project in a bidding war, it hired a full writing staff, with the network committing some $500,000 to creature creation. The Strain now is heading into production on its first season, with the bulk of the scripts already completed and one major casting change. The role of Professor Abraham Setrakian, played in the pilot by John Hurt, is being recast. Filming is slated to begin this month in Toronto for a July premiere. As FX CEO John Landgraf indicated in August, the plan for the series is to run for 39-65 episodes.
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Pilots ‘Line Of Sight’ & ‘Strain’ Add Regulars

By | Tuesday September 3, 2013 @ 5:19pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Samantha Mathis has been cast in AMC‘s pilot Line Of Sight, from creator Blake Masters and director Jonathan Demme. It tells the story of Lewis Bernt (David Morrissey), a National Transportation Safety Board investigator who survives a mysterious plane crash, bringing him on an emotionally disorienting quest to discover the accident’s cause. Mathis, repped by Paradigm and the Schiff Co, will play Tony’s (Kai Lennox) wife. She comes off a recurring role on CBS’ breakout Under The Dome.

Canadian actress Natalie Brown (Being Human) has booked the FX pilot The Strain, directed by Guillermo del Toro. It tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team who are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. Brown will play Eph’s ex-wife Kelly Goodweather fails to heed her husband’s warning about the contagion spreading in Manhattan. She replaces Lauren Lee Smith who was originally cast in the role. Brown, repped by Thruline and Amanda Rosenthal Talent, recurs on Canadian series Cracked and Bitten. Read More »

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TCA: FX’s John Landgraf Signals End Of ‘Nuclear Arms Race Of Darkness’, Talks ‘The Strain’ Game Plan, FX Brand Expansion

By | Friday August 2, 2013 @ 10:51am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

With The Shield, FX was one of the first networks to introduce the proverbial anti-hero that has taken over cable drama in the past decade. Asked today how much darker cable dramas can go, FX CEO John Landgraf, giving a nod to David Chase for starting the trend with The Sopranos, said, “I can’t imagine a protagonist darker than (Breaking Bad‘s) Walter White. That’s the end of the road for out-darking each other — this nuclear arms race of darkness has ended.”

Related: TCA: Billy Bob Thornton Cast In FX’s ‘Fargo’

Landgraf confirmed what Guillermo del Toro said when FX greenlighted a pilot for The Strain — that the project will have a limited run spanning three to five seasons. The Strain series, based on del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s vampire novel trilogy, will produce “39-65 episodes, no less, no more,” Landgraf said, adding “What if a television show could be just the length that is optimal for that story?” The Strain‘s order is technically for a pilot but has a writing staff that has completed five scripts already, and a series pickup is considered a formality. Also pretty certain — a second season renewal for freshman drama The Bridge, with Landgraf touting ist story trajectory.

Landgraf also further discussed the plans for the FX brand expansion with the upcoming launch of FXX and rebranding of FXM. Read More »

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Nicole Ari Parker To Recur On ‘Revolution’, Roger Cross Joins FX Pilot ‘The Strain’

By | Wednesday July 24, 2013 @ 12:15pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Nicole Ari Parker is set as a recurring guest star in season 2 of NBC’s drama Revolution. She plays Secretary Justine Allenford, a strong and smart leader. Parker, repped by Gersh and KLWGN, recently starred in the Broadway production of Streetcar Named Desire.

Roger Cross has booked a recurring role in the FX pilot The Strain, directed by Guillermo del Toro. The project, which del Toro co-wrote with Chuck Hogan based on their vampire novel trilogy, tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team who are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. Cross, repped by Red Management and KLWGN, plays Mr. Fitzwilliams, Palmer’s (Jonathan Hyde) Head of Security, as well as, his caregiver. Cross has been recurring on CW’s Arrow, Syfy’s Continuum and ABC’s Motive.

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Guillermo del Toro Sets ‘Pacific Rim’s’ Robert Maillet As Main ‘Strain’ Villain

By | Wednesday July 10, 2013 @ 6:21pm PDT

Guillermo del Toro must really like working with Robert Maillet. First he directed him in the soon-to-open Pacific Rim, and now the actor has snagged the role of the world-conquering vampire The Master in FX’s drama pilot The Strain. The Canadian former wrestler and actor joins John Hurt, Corey Stoll, Mia Maestro and Sean Astin in the drama from del Toro and Carlton Cuse. Based on the best-selling vampire dystopia novels by del Toro and Chuck Hogan, The Strain is being eyed for a 13-episode pickup by FX. Maillet’s The Master comes to NYC aboard a plane from Europe and begins a strategic and systematic takeover of the world despite the efforts of Stoll’s CDC Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and others. The actor plays Lt. Kaidanovsky in Pac Rim and has appeared in Sherlock Holmes, where he delivered quite the dockside beatdown on Robert Downey Jr. Repped by Characters Talent Agency, Maillet also was in 300 and Immortals, in which where he played a Minotaur.

Related: Sean Astin Joins FX Drama Pilot ‘The Strain’

Veronica Mars’ Francis Capra also has joined The Strain. Capra will play Crispin, a mid-30s scammer who is always on the lookout for the easy and high-paying way out. The role would be a recurring one if the pilot goes to series. Capra is repped by Talent House LA and Read More »

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Sean Astin Joins FX Drama Pilot ‘The Strain’

By | Tuesday July 9, 2013 @ 7:18pm PDT

Showrunner Carlton Cuse tonight tweeted casting of Lord Of The Rings veteran Sean Astin in the FX pilot directed by Guillermo del Toro. Astin will play CDC administrator Jim Kent in the dram starring Corey Stoll, Mia Maestro and John Hurt. The Strain, which Pacific Rim helmer del Toro co-wrote with Chuck Hogan based on their vampire novel trilogy, tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Stoll), the head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team, of which Astin’s Kent is a member, are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism.

Related: John Hurt To Co-Star In FX Pilot ‘The Strain’

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John Hurt To Co-Star In FX Pilot ‘The Strain’

By | Monday June 17, 2013 @ 4:06pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-nominated actor John Hurt has been tapped as the co-lead opposite Corey Stoll and Mia Maestro in FX‘s high-profile drama pilot The Strain, from Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse, which is being eyed for a 13-episode pickup. The high-concept thriller, directed by del Toro  from a script he co-wrote with Chuck Hogan based on their vampire novel trilogy, tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Stoll), the head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. Hurt, who first worked with del Toro in his 2004 feature Hellboy, will portray Professor Abraham Setrakian, a holocaust survivor who immigrated to the U.S. after World War II and now runs a pawn shop in Spanish Harlem. As the outbreak spreads, he may be the only one with answers — if anyone will listen. Read More »

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FX Pilot Castings: Lauren Lee Smith In ‘The Strain’; Brett Gelman, Jenny Slate In Gurland

By | Wednesday June 12, 2013 @ 4:01pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: CSI alumna Lauren Lee Smith has landed a regular role in FX‘s high-profile drama pilot The Strain, from Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse, which is being eyed for a 13-episode pickup. The high-concept thriller tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. Smith will play Eph’s ex-wife Kelly Goodweather. After winning a bitter custody battle, she embarks on a new life with her boyfriend, but when she fails to heed her husband’s warning about the contagion spreading in Manhattan, she pays the ultimate price. Smith, repped by Gersh, Industry Entertainment and Play Management, is starring in the indie Cinemanovel, which she also produced.

Brett Gelman (Go On) and Jenny Slate (SNL) have joined FX‘s untitled Andrew Gurland comedy pilot, about the lengths to which two best friends are willing to go to salvage their marriage. Lina Bowman (Judy Greer) and her husband Russ Bowman (Nat Faxon) get along great in every room except the bedroom. In order to save their otherwise great marriage and family, Lina gives her husband … Read More »

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