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August 28, 2014

The Daily Best

Jimmy Kimmel: The TV Squad Interview

by Joel Keller, posted Sep 7th 2006 11:01AM
Jimmy KimmelAt the end of my conversation with Jimmy Kimmel, I fired off a question that's been bugging me since my first days at TV Squad: "Why did you start wearing a tie?"

Unfortunately, Jimmy had a meeting to attend, so all he could say before politely kicking me off the phone was "It's a long story." But it's understandable that he might not have time to go over his sartorial choices. His late-night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, has just been picked up for a fifth season, and his first prime-time special, Jimmy Kimmel Live's All-Star Salute to Jimmy Kimmel Live!, will air on ABC on September 13 at 10 PM. In addition, he has just been named host of a new ABC game show called Set for Life. Oh, and he's also planning his football-watching activities for this coming Sunday (as you'll see, it's quite involved).

I spoke to the 38-year-old host on Tuesday about his football parties, his flirtatious relationship with Ben Stein, and other topics, all of which you can find after the jump.

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Will Arnett: The TV Squad Interview

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 2nd 2006 11:43AM
Will Arnett as GOB BluthArrested Development might be gone -- for now -- but Will Arnett is still basking in the show's afterglow. Last month, Arnett, who played illusionist and ne'er-do-well "Gob" Bluth, was nominated for an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on the defunct cult classic. In addition, the 36-year-old actor has been extremely busy shooting a number of different movies, from the Will Ferrell-starring comedy Blades of Glory to two projects being directed by Bob Odenkirk of Mr. Show.

The man was so busy, that I only had about twenty minutes to talk to him. But we were able to cover a lot of territory when we spoke, from his Emmy nod, to why he thought Arrested didn't make it, to the prospect of an AD movie. And, of course, he was very funny, even rolling with my lame jokes when I dared utter them.

The interview was conducted by phone on July 24.

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Billy West: The TV Squad Interview

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 15th 2006 11:15AM
Billy West of Futurama
If you've watched any cartoon on TV in the last fifteen years, chances are you've heard Billy West's voice. West is one of the premier voice actors working today, and during those fifteen years, he's used his versatile voice to create new characters -- and resuurect old ones -- all over the television and movie landscape. From Shaggy to Bugs Bunny to Woody Woodpecker to the Cherios Honey Bee to the Red M&M, the 54-year old West has put his imprint on all of them. But most people know him from two classic cartoon series: On Ren & Stmpy, he did the voices of both main characters (he picked up Ren after creator John Kricfalusi was fired after the first season), and on Futurama he did the voices of Philip Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Dr. John Zoidberg, and Zapp Brannigan, among others.

In this wide-ranging interview, conducted by phone on May 31, Billy and I talked about his history with John K., the way he went about creating some of his Futurama characters, his early-'90s role on "The Howard Stern Show", and the influx of celebrity voices in current cartoon movies (let's just say he's against it). We also went over all the Futurama Season One episodes in the 90-minute (!) interview, which you will see in my Retro Squad coverage of the show. He was even nice enough to do a Futurama / R&S -themed intro for our APB podcast, which we used to open podcast #13 last week. Needless to say, Billy West is a mensch.

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George Takei: The TV Squad Interview

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 26th 2006 11:06AM
George TakeiGeorge Takei is a busy guy. Believe it or not, of all the interviews I've done, his had the most regimented procedure: I was supposed to call him and immediately begin the interview, because he had other interviews scheduled around mine.

Apparently, his itinerary has been a bit crowded lately. And for that, Takei -- best known for playing Mr. Sulu on the classic series Star Trek -- can thank the combination of his public coming out late last year and his addition to Howard Stern's Sirius satellite show as its announcer. In fact, the 69-year-old actor's voice was the first one that people heard when Howard first debuted in January. He spent the entire first week there telling graphic stories about his first sexual encounters, cutting goofy IDs, and trading wise-ass remarks with sidekick Artie Lange. He also got pranked not once, not twice, but three times by the crew: once with a David Letterman impersonator and twice with an Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator. As always, though, he was a good sport, giving the audience his trademark halting laugh whenever he got scammed.

Since the Governator vetoed the state's same-sex marriage bill, Takei has spoken out passionately for gay rights. He is currently on a speaking tour for the Human Rights Campaign he has dubbed an "Equality Trek". So between that, his appearances at Trek conventions, and his negotiations to return to the Stern show, it's a wonder he has time to talk to any reporters at all.

In our conversation (after the jump), George and I talked about the speaking tour, Howard, his guest turn on Will & Grace, and his appearance as Sulu on a web-only Star Trek series. Oh, and I couldn't leave without asking him about Bill Shatner at least once.

Because Takei needs to be heard as much as he needs to be read (I mean... that laugh!), I've made the audio version of the interview available for download. It's available here.

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Christopher Gorham of Out of Practice: The TV Squad Interview

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 17th 2006 10:25AM
Christopher Gorham of Out of PracticeWe at TV Squad tend to think that we're blogging in a bubble; we post from homes and offices that are scattered around the country and truly don't expect many people to see what we write (at least I don't... just a little quirk of mine). So when not one, but two actors from a show you've covered comment on a post about that show, you sit up and take notice.

That's what happened last week, when both Christopher Gorham and Paula Marshall wrote comments on a post I wrote about their show, Out of Practice, getting shelved, along with fellow Monday at 9:30 exile Courting Alex. So, I reached out to both of them to respond and vent. Both answered, and Chris was the first that was willing to talk. We spoke by phone this past Friday.

In Out of Practice, the 31-year-old actor plays Benjamin Barnes, youngest son of a family of doctors. Ben's the only one who didn't finish medical school, instead becoming a marriage therapist. The ironic thing is, he's probably the sanest person in the Barnes family.

The show boasts a top-notch cast, which -- besides Marshall and Gorham -- also includes Henry Winkler, Stockard Channing, Ty Burrell, and Jennifer Tilly. It's executive producers are Chrisopher Lloyd and Joe Keenan, who were long-time producers on the classic sitcom Fraiser.

In this interview (after the jump), Chris discusses his frustrations with how his show is being treated, gushes on the writers and his castmates, and responds to people who say he and Marshall are "show killers".

[Photo: Lester Cohen/WireImage]

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The TV Squad Interview: Howie Mandel

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 4th 2006 10:52AM
Howie Mandel of Deal or No DealLike many stand-up comedians, Howie Mandel likes to be the center of attention. But as host of NBC's Deal or No Deal, the sometimes-manic comedian is showing another side of himself; the one that lets the game be the star. In the show, the 50 year-old host is using his improvisational as well has his dramatic acting skills to keep the simple game -- where a contestant picks cases with money amounts in them, hoping the amounts are smaller than the amount in the case he or she possesses -- going while helping build tension and drama at the same time.

It's been a winning formula; since it's debut in December as a special one-week strip of shows, Deal's ratings have steadily increased. It started a Monday and Friday run in February, which has been scoring well. NBC has even aired a third weekly episode from time to time; the episode that aired two Wednesdays ago ended up being the twelfth-most watched show of the week. So obviously Howie's doing something right.

Howie called me on Monday, March 27, from Los Angeles. Even though it was 11:30 AM at the time he called (2:30 my time), he was dead tired. Still, we had an entertaining conversation where I found out about fainting contestants, how Howie was pitched the Deal job over pastrami, and how he deals with the show's mean old banker.

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The TV Squad Interview: Mindy Kaling of The Office

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 21st 2006 11:16AM
Mindy Kaling as Kelly in The OfficeOne of the things I like about this blogging job I have is that I get to interview people that I find interesting. They don't always have to be the biggest stars, but they have to have something about them that makes me curious. So when I started seeing more of Mindy Kaling on The Office, I decided to dig a little.

As I said in my February "In the Limelight" profile of her, the 26-year-old has accomplished quite a bit so far: besides being a writer and actor on The Office, Mindy also teamed with her friend Brenda Withers to write the play Matt & Ben, which won awards at the 2002 New York International Fringe Festival. She's also appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm and in the mega-hit movie The 40 Year Old Virgin.

In The Office, Mindy plays Kelly, a Dunder-Mifflin drone who lately has been given a few interesting plotlines -- she has a crush on indifferent office temp Ryan. Kelly also has her very own annoying characteristic -- she can't shut up.

Needless to say, I was very interested in finding out how Mindy was able to go from Dartmouth to the writer's room of a hit network show in less than five years. So the Thursday before last, I managed to find her on the set of the show as she was wrapping up filming for the day. She called me back on a land line (maybe from the set itself... the phones there do work) and we talked about a number of topics, including how she's going to spend her April:

[Photo: Chris Haston/NBC]

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Covering the In2TV launch party

by Deidre Woollard, posted Mar 16th 2006 11:12AM
Here on TV Squad we already covered the launch of In2TV, a new service that lets you indulge your nostalgia for old shows via the magic of streaming video. Last night, I got to indulge in a little nostalgia first hand at the In2TV launch party. I am the worst person to send to events like this; I'm a lurker, too shy to talk to anyone and not the best with a camera, but as the only L.A.-based member of TV Squad, it was my honor to check out the scene.

The  event took place at the Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills. Gabe Kaplan took the stage, made a few jokes about the new Welcome Back, Kotter movie and showed off the In2TV concept. He was a good sport and even brought out a paper airplane to put on his head, joking that it didn't stick as well as it used to (aw, Gabe, you're thin on top but we still love you.)  He introduced George Lopez who gave a heartfelt tribute to Freddie Prinze, showing clips of the comic's career and snippets of episodes from Chico and the Man. Somehow, in George's speech, he managed to reference the fact that he has one kidney and his wife gave it to him (is there anyone who hasn't heard this story yet?) He announced the In2TV Influencer Award and handed the strangely shaped trophy to Freddie Prinze Jr. Freddie made a brief speech, then Jose Feliciano was brought to the stage to play the Chico and the Man theme (with just a bit of "Light My Fire" thrown in). The crowd was full of old favorites from the TV days of long ago. After the jump, a few familiar faces.

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The TV Squad Interview: Fred Goss and Nick Holly of Sons & Daughters

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 14th 2006 11:02AM
Fred Goss and Nick Holly of Sons and Daughters

For two guys who have never written for TV before, Fred Goss and Nick Holly are off to a fast start. Their new ABC comedy, Sons & Daughters, which airs Tuesdays at 9 ET, has been universally praised by critics (including me), and the first two episodes gave the network better ratings than it's had in that timeslot.

Goss, who also stars on the show as Cameron Walker, mostly had acting and editing credits before this project, most notably on the Bravo comedy Significant Others. Holly, believe it or not, was a literary agent who partnered with Goss to create this and other pilots. As they pitched their ideas around, demand for their services increased; an ABC executive actually pitched them the idea for this show, for instance.

There's a good reason for that, though: the show's improvisational style and realistic extended family dynamic have hit a nerve with everyone... including Arrested Development fans, of which Goss seems to be very aware. The AD issue and others came up last Friday as the two spoke to me by phone from their office in Los Angeles.

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A preview of AOL's In2TV

by Keith McDuffee, posted Mar 14th 2006 10:30AM
in2tv buttons
By now I'm sure you've heard of AOL Television's new venture into the world of online delivery of television shows, In2TV. Though In2TV officially opens to the public this Wednesday, I was recently lucky enough to get a preview of its interface and offerings. So, what can you expect to see this Wednesday and beyond? Read on to find out.

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My ABC will offer free downloads of hit shows

by Adam Finley, posted Mar 2nd 2006 1:10PM

ABC logoABC offers some of its shows on iTunes, but a new venture set to launch in May called My ABC will allow fans to download free (but ad-supported) episodes of Lost, Desperate Housewives, and Grey's Anatomy. This sounds like a pretty cool idea, and it would be even cooler if I actually watched those shows. The "selling" point, however, will be in how ABC incorporates ads into these downloaded shows. DVR has spoiled some of us, but television watchers are used to seeing commercials. People who are online, however, don't take as kindly to intrusive advertising. It's a necessary evil, but ABC would be wise to consider the medium they'll be utilizing.

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The Five: Best single-word catchphrases

by Keith McDuffee, posted Mar 2nd 2006 10:41AM
homer simpson dohOriginally I was going to list the best catchphrases in general, not limiting my choices to single words. But, as we only list five in our The Five posts, I knew early on that it would be a near impossible task to list only five favorites. So, here we have it, the five best single-word catchphrases of popular TV characters.

1. "Aeyyy!" OK, so technically this isn't a "word," but you can't deny the popularity of the trademark call of coolness from the one and only Fonz of Happy Days.

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Lost: Maternity Leave

by C.K. Sample, III, posted Mar 1st 2006 11:20PM
Here's the backstory you need to know going into tonight's episode of Lost: Claire is Australian. Claire was preggers. She was kidnapped by Ethan, who we think was one of the Others and whom Charlie shot dead. Then she had a baby. Then Charlie went a little nuts, she stopped hanging around him so much, preferring the company of Locke instead, then Charlie tried to steal Aaron from her, and Locke punched him, but Claire still decided to heed Charlie's warning and baptized her baby. Also, in the last episode, One of Them, the group caught one of the Others. (Yes, I know within the world of the show, it is still not clear whether he is an Other or not, but since the name of the episode was One of Them, I think that should be telling us something).

Caught up? Good. Here we go. The episode begins with Aaron crying with a rash and fever in the middle of the night, and Claire waking Locke to go get Jack. Danielle shows up saying, "You don't remember, do you?" and Kate shows up yelling for Danielle to go away. She asks Claire what happened and Claire says that Danielle said "there's something wrong with my baby." Cue Lost intro graphics.

More after the jump...

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New TV on DVD releases today

by Keith McDuffee, posted Feb 28th 2006 10:20AM
Every Tuesday here on TV Squad , we will highlight the week's TV-on-DVD releases. Some noteworthy releases today, February 28, 2006:

  • charmed logoThe Avengers - Emma Peel Collector's Edition
  • Beast Machines: Transformers - The Complete Series
  • The Beverly Hillbillies - Ultimate Collection Volume 2
  • Bleak House - Bleak House
  • C.O.P.S. - Volume 1
  • Charmed - The Complete 4th Season
  • Combat! - Best Of Hanley; Best Of Saunders
  • The Drew Carey Show - Television Favorites
  • Ellen - The Complete Season 3
  • House Party - Kids Say the Darndest Things: Vol. 2
  • The Lawless Years - Season 1
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus - Graham Chapman's Personal Best; John Cleese's Personal Best; Terry Gilliam's Personal Best; Terry Jones' Personal Best
  • NewsRadio - Season 3
  • Night Court - Television Favorites
  • The Real Ghostbusters - Vol 1: Creatures Of The Night; Vol 2: Spooky Spirits; Vol 3: Slimefighters
  • Rosemary & Thyme - Season 2
  • Rumpole of the Bailey - Megaset
  • Weird U.S. - Vol 1: Strange But True / Road To Weirdsville; Vol 2: Weird Worship / Weirdly Departed; Vol 3: Rebels And Traitors / Crimes And Punishment
  • Welcome Back, Kotter - Television Favorites

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The Five: American Idol contestants who wouldn't go away

by Anna Johns, posted Feb 27th 2006 7:21PM
nikki mckibbonThe funny thing about each and every season of American Idol is the contestants with mediocre talent who continue to sail through to the next round. You know what I'm talking about. They're cute and cuddly and have oodles of personality, but they're a little short on the talent category. There's a faction of television-watching, telephone-using Americans out there who insist on keeping these people on the show while other contestants with more talent get the boot.

I have five examples of American Idol contestants who wouldn't go away:

5. Constantine Maroulis. Yeah, I said it. Constantine thought he was sexy and talented. Not an attractive characteristic on a man who only has mediocre looks and talent. Constantine regularly sang out of tune and falsely advertised himself as a rocker. He was in Rent, for crying out loud! A musical! The dude was a poser and I wanted to slap that pout right off his face. I think we all know who the true rocker was last season. (P.S. More proof he's a poser: his new album is Adult Contemporary. Watch out, Clay!)

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