Character actress Kate Williamson, who played Mrs. Rogers on ABC’s Ellen and turned in supporting roles in films including Barry Levinson’s Disclosure, Dahmer, Dream Lover, and Racing with the Moon, died Friday evening at her Encino, CA home. She was 83. Williamson, born Robina Jane Sparks, was the daughter of actress/singer Nydia Westman and producer/writer Salathiel Robert Sparks. In 1954 she married actor and acting teacher Al Ruscio, whose credits include The Godfather, Part III , Life Goes On, and Seinfeld. Ruscio had served on the SAG board of directors and died less than a month ago on November 12. The couple leaves behind four children, three of whom also went into showbiz: Actress and poet Elizabeth Ruscio, director and editor Michael Ruscio, production designer Nina Ruscio and teacher Maria Ruscio. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The Actors’ Fund of America, 729 7th Ave., Floor 10, New York, NY 10102-1841, in the name of Jane Kate Ruscio aka Kate Williamson.
Not a bad week for Jehane Noujaim’s film about Egyptian activists battling the establishment. The Square scored the Best Feature trophy tonight at the 29th annual IDA Documentary Awards, three days after it made the Oscar shortlist. The film, which also is up for a Spirit Award, is the first documentary picked up by Netflix. Other winners announced at the ceremony hosted by Paul Provenza at DGA headquarters in Los Angeles included Slomo for Best Short, PBS’ Independent Lens for Best Continuing Series and CNN’s Morgan Spurlock-hosted Inside Man for Best Limited Series. Alex Gibney, who won an Oscar for Taxi To The Dark Side and was nominated for Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, received a Career Achievement Award. Here is the full list of winners at the 2013 IDA Documentary Awards, presented by the International Documentary Association:
The freshman season of Fox comedy Dads will consist of 19 episodes, three fewer than full-season 22. The network gave the live-action sitcom a back order in October, but the exact number was fuzzy. It now has been …
You’re hearing a big sigh of relief from broadcasters today. New FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a blog post that he wants to postpone the voluntary auction that will enable wireless broadband providers to use airwaves now controlled by TV stations. It originally was planned for 2014, but Wheeler says he believes “we can conduct a successful auction in the middle of 2015.” It’s easy to imagine that his decision was influenced by the troubled web rollout for the Affordable Care Act. “I have often defined the complexity of this multi-part simultaneous [auction] process as being like a Rubik’s cube,” Wheeler says. “As part of our auction system development, we will check and recheck the auction software and system components against the auction requirements, and under a variety of scenarios replicating real life conditions. … Only when our software and systems are technically ready, user friendly, and thoroughly tested, will we start the auction.” Wheeler also has to make a controversial policy decision about whether the government should limit how much spectrum might go to wireless giants Verizon and AT&T.
Real-life married couple John Ross Bowie and Jamie Denbo are set to play one on TV. The husband-and-wife duo has been tapped for a multi-episode arc on NBC‘s new comedy series About A Boy, based on Nick Hornby’s feature. The show centers on bachelor Will (David Walton) and his new neighbors, needy single mom Fiona (Minnie Driver) and her 11-year-old son. Bowie and Denbo will play a married couple and business partners in an organic toy company, who hire Fiona to work with them. Denbo, a standout in the hit Melissa McCarthy-Sandra Bullock feature comedy The Heat, along with Jessica Chaffin, are getting a spinoff movie, with Paul Feig and Peter Chernin producing for Fox.
EXCLUSIVE: A&E Network’s upcoming drama Those Who Kill doesn’t debut until March, but this weekend there’ll be sneak peek shown during the network’s two-part Bonnie & Clyde miniseries. Why wait until then to see Chloë Sevigny as police detective Catherine Jensen in the series from Imagine TV and Fox 21. …
Endemol Studios, Endemol North America’s scripted studio operation based in Los Angeles, has signed its first pod deal, bringing in Christina Wayne and her Assembly Entertainment shingle to develop and produce scripted projects for cable and other TV distribution platforms. “Christina’s taste in material, her relationships with top talent and her experience as a writer, director, producer and as a network and studio executive will be incredibly valuable as we expand our development slate,” said Endemol Studios CEO Philippe Maigret. Former AMC senior development executive Wayne most recently served as president of Cineflix Studios, Cineflix’s scripted television arm, since its 2010 launch, but the division was recently dissolved after the cancellation of its BBC America drama Copper as the unscripted producer decided to retreat from scripted series.
Under Wayne’s deal with Endemol Studios, she will develop existing and new projects, including MDX, an international medical disaster drama produced with Tony Krantz‘s Flame Ventures. ER alum Carol Flint will write the script and serve as executive alongside Jonathan Klein, Krantz and Wayne. “MDX is a dramatic series nod to the classic disaster films of the ’70s and ’80s, but done real,” Krantz said.