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October 23, 2014

TV Royalty

Patrick Stewart Talks About 'Hamlet,' 'Macbeth' and His IT Guy... Wil Wheaton

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 20th 2010 2:02PM
Sir Patrick StewartMost people know the recently-knighted Patrick Stewart from his movie and TV roles, many of which are of the sci fi / fantasy variety. Of course, there's Jean-Luc Picard of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation,' but there's also Charles Xavier in the 'X-Men' series and the voice of Avery Bullock on 'American Dad.'

But back in his native England, Sir Patrick is just as well known for his Shakespearean work, both on-stage and on the screen. Some of that work will be on display on April 28, when he reprises the role of Claudius (he first played the role on TV 30 years ago) in PBS's production of 'Hamlet' on 'Great Performances.' As Nick mentioned yesterday, the production, with David Tennant in the title role, mixes the classic dialogue with modern dress and settings to give the play a more contemporary feel.

Stewart will also perform in the title role of 'Macbeth' for a similarly-staged production airing on PBS later this year. I sat down with Sir Patrick in January, when he presented at the TCAs; we spoke about the two productions, what his classic training brought to his 'Star Trek' role, his guest turn on 'Extras' and how his first ever IT guy was none other than Wil Wheaton.

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Andy Rooney Angers Some Viewers (But He's Right)

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 22nd 2010 3:02PM
Andy RooneyI've never understood the animosity that Andy Rooney attracts by a certain segment of the TV viewing population. Take his segment on last night's '60 Minutes' (video after the jump). He talked about the jobless rate and the jobs that are available now and how maybe - just maybe - we need more plumbers and other people who actually do something more than we need, well, people who do my job.

This isn't a new stance by Rooney. He's been saying the same thing for years. Rooney just turned 91 years old so he's earned the right to repeat things if he wants. But I know that Rooney has talked about this before because, well, I've actually read what Rooney has written over the years. Most people who dislike Rooney know him for only one thing, his weekly segments on '60 Minutes.'

But the guy has been a journalist since World War II and has written several books and a weekly column for decades, but the people who find him "unfunny" or "irrelevant" only know him from the CBS show.

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Betty White News of the Day: She's Going to Be on 'The Middle'

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 12th 2010 4:03PM
Betty WhiteIt seems like there's a new piece of Betty White news every day, doesn't it? Either someone has created a Facebook page to get White to host 'Saturday Night Live' or she's in a Super Bowl commercial or has actually signed a deal to host 'Saturday Night Live.' That's not a bad thing at all. I'd rather see daily news about White than about what celebrity is going to be on 'Dancing with the Stars' or which actor is sleeping with which actress.

Here's the latest from everyone's favorite veteran TV star: she's going to guest star on an upcoming episode of ABC's 'The Middle.'

White will guest star on my favorite ABC comedy as a librarian who goes after Brick because he has a lot of overdue library books. I assume she'll butt heads with Frankie or Mike too. This episode will be the season finale of the show (it has been renewed for a second season).

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Betty White's 'SNL' Hosting Gig Set For May 8

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 11th 2010 10:32AM
Betty WhiteThis whole "Betty White as 'SNL' host" movement has been fascinating to watch. Think about it: the users of a decidedly 21st century technology, Facebook, got together in support of a star who started working before the vast majority of the site's users were even born. No one on FB is looking to have Tony Curtis be a guest panelist on 'The Marriage Ref,' or want Dick Cavett to be the new host of 'The Tonight Show,' for instance.

Most people were overjoyed to hear that the online movement to get her on the show was a success; now, according to WNBC and People magazine, White's 'Saturday Night Live' hosting gig has an air date: May 8. She'll be part of a Mother's Day-themed episode which will feature former cast members who are also moms, including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Molly Shannon. Rachel Dratch will also be there; she's not a mom but tended to play one in a lot of her sketches when she was a cast member.

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You Win, Internet: Betty White To Host 'Saturday Night Live'

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 8th 2010 3:00PM
Betty WhiteFacebook fans, your plan has worked: Betty White has confirmed that she's going to host 'Saturday Night Live.'

There's no word yet on when she will host or under what circumstances, but White tells People that she is indeed going to host the show. She says she "doesn't know why or how, but it's been wonderful."

There was talk that because of her age (she's 88), she would be a part of a "Women of Comedy" episode of 'SNL,' but producer Lorne Michaels says that's not true.

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Roger Ebert to Appear on 'Oprah' March 2

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 26th 2010 5:31PM
Roger Ebert and Oprah Winfrey in the 1980sIt's interesting how quickly the wonderful Esquire profile of Roger Ebert, written by Chris Jones, rocketed around the interwebs last week. It speaks to the power of two things: a) Ebert's endearing popularity, almost four years after he stopped being an on-camera movie critic, and b) that a well-written magazine profile can give a reader more insight into a person than sometimes talking to the person himself can even do.

But the article, and the stark pictures of Ebert that accompanied it, has led Ebert in some interesting directions. For instance, he'll be going on Oprah Winfrey's show on March 2 to do his first interview since various cancer surgeries robbed him of his voice, most of his jaw, and his ability to eat and drink. Ebert will speak through the use of a computer.

The two Chicago titans have a long history together; five years ago, Ebert revealed that the two of them even went out on a couple of dates in the 1980s, where Ebert gave Oprah the idea to syndicate her talk show rather than take it to the network level.

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Looks Like Betty White Might Host 'Saturday Night Live' After All

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 22nd 2010 10:30AM
Betty WhiteWho says that internet campaigns don't work? Remember that Facebook campaign to get Betty White to host 'Saturday Night Live?' You thought it was just one of those goofy things that wouldn't lead anywhere, but it looks like it might happen after all (though there's a twist...).

White has said she wants to do the show, and now Michael Ausliello over at Entertainment Weekly is reporting that negotiations are underway for White to host the show later this season. But she wouldn't host it alone. The episode would be a "Women of Comedy" episode, with people like Molly Shannon on board and possibly Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Seems like they might not want White - who is 88 years old - to have to host the entire live show herself.

This could still be a great show anyway. But if they're getting White, why not get some other classic female TV personalities? Wouldn't it be great to have, say, Mary Tyler Moore, Rue McClanahan, and Cloris Leachman join White on the show? I'm sure we could think of other women from TV history that could co-host with White.

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This is the Weirdest Mary Tyler Moore Thing You'll Ever See

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 17th 2010 12:33PM
Even people who have a great memory for TV won't remember this. It's a special from 1976 called 'Mary's Incredible Dream.' It was a...well, bizarre experimental variety show starring Mary Tyler Moore where she dreams and...well, you just have to watch it, and thanks to the web you can! Here's the first part, and Jamie Weinman has the rest at his great blog.

This was only a one-time special (thankfully). Moore went on to do another variety show, 'Mary,' which had people like David Letterman and Michael Keaton in the cast but it only lasted a season.

[via Pop Candy]

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Alan Alda's Take on the Super Bowl Besting 'M*A*S*H' Record

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 9th 2010 11:41AM
MASH_hawkeye_trapper_cbsYou gotta love the feisty attitude of former 'M*A*S*H' stars Alan Alda and Wayne Rogers about Sunday's Super Bowl broadcast being a record-breaker. Alda was gracious about the 'M*A*S*H' finale being topped by the Super Bowl broadcast. The New Orleans Saints victory over the Indianapolis Colts had more total viewers than the 1983 'M*A*S*H' finale. But Alda and Rogers both added a shot of vinegar to their honey coated responses.

Alda said in a statement to the L.A. Times, "If they broke our record, I'm happy for New Orleans and I hope it gives even more to cheer about to a city I love." However, he did wonder about how Nielsen measured the audience. It's a good question and one many people ask.

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Facebook Group Wants Betty White to Host 'SNL'

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 5th 2010 10:31AM
Betty WhiteNow here's a Facebook group I can get behind. Close to 10,000 people have joined the Betty White To Host 'SNL' (please?) group at the networking site. There's been no talks with NBC about White hosting the show, this is just something that fans cooked up and want to happen.

This is one of those things where you say to yourself, "hey, why not?" White is a TV icon, and even though she's 88 years old she's still spry, and I bet she could handle an hour or so of sketches. Besides, if the show can have people like Charles Barkley, Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris, and Ellen Page host, why not White? She's been around for several decades, is one of those TV stars who is known to both people in their 50s (if they even watch 'SNL') and also people in their 20s ('The Golden Girls' is actually quite popular on college campuses). She was even on '30 Rock' this season.

Lorne Michaels, your move.

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WGA to honor Curb Your Enthusiasm's Larry David

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 20th 2010 2:00PM
larry_david_stairsIf you're one of the millions, nay billions, who's laughed at the antics of Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer or if you can't pick up an order of kung pao shrimp without wondering if they shorted you on the number of shrimp, then you -- my friend -- are a Larry David fan. The brain behind Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, David has a unique comic view of the world and on February 20, the Writers Guild of America is giving Larry David a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The actual award is called the Paddy Chayevsky Laurel award for television, and Larry has most definitely earned the recognition. Seinfeld remains a masterpiece of character and comedy with or without a plot. The very nothingness of Seinfeld made it historic television. It was a show that NBC nearly canceled because the suits didn't get it (what a shock!), then went on to become America's favorite half-hour. Twenty years later, Seinfeld is embedded in the psyche of pop culture. Not bad for a nothing kind of show.

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Burn Notice reunites Cagney & Lacey stars Tyne Daly & Sharon Gless

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 20th 2010 10:00AM
gless_daly_burn_notice_usa
Back in 2008, I was lucky enough to get to visit the set of Burn Notice and interview Sharon Gless. At that time, Sharon said that she was trying to get her co-star from Cagney & Lacey -- and good friend -- Tyne Daly to guest on Burn Notice, but Tyne was only interested if she could play her part sans words. "Tyne said, 'I'll do it, but I want to play her as a mute.' Only Tyne Daly! And believe me, she'll steal the show. Matt said he wants to use her -- but not as a mute!"

Tomorrow night, Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless will be reunited on TV in an episode of Burn Notice called "The Dark Road." Tyne Daly will not be playing a mute. In fact, according to Sharon, "It's very, very unusual the situations that they put me in with Tyne. They had me go undercover." It sounds like a fun way to kick off the second half of season three. And hopefully, Tyne Daly will get to watch it. You see, in a recent conference call with the two stars, Ms. Daly and Ms. Gless talked about working together again and more.

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Happy Birthday, Andy Rooney!

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 14th 2010 7:02PM
Andy Rooney is one of my favorite writers and one of my favorite people in general. He turns 91 today, and he's still going to work and writing and doing his weekly essays for 60 Minutes. His work there is still my favorite part of the show, but to get an even better sense of the man you should read his books.

Here are a few samples of his work on 60 Minutes over the years. Happy Birthday, Mr. Rooney.

On New Year's Eve:

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What's your favorite Twilight Zone episode?

by Jane Boursaw, posted Jan 1st 2010 3:00PM
The Twilight Zone, Rod SerlingWe're participating in our annual New Year's tradition in this house and watching episodes of The Twilight Zone, one after the other on the Syfy marathon. It's amazing that the series is 50 years old and still offering stories that are relevant in today's world. The genius of Rod Serling.

So I'm contemplating my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, and it's really hard to choose. But if I had to narrow it down to three, I'd probably go with these:

"Time Alone At Last": This is the one where a book lover finds himself joyously alone with books after a nuclear blast. Until ... I keep thinking he'd be able to remedy that situation by trolling through optometry shops -- if he could see well enough to find one, that is.

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What You Missed Last Night: Carl Reiner auditions for Snoop Dogg

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 10th 2009 5:04PM
I was going to post this interview with Carl Reiner that Conan O'Brien did on The Tonight Show last night anyway, but it's an added bonus that the clip also includes Snoop Dogg, who listens to Reiner auditioning to sing on one of his CDs. I never really thought I'd ever include the words "Carl Reiner" and "Snoop Dogg" in the same sentence.

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