Weiner just completed shooting season three, and he took time out of his post-production process to sit down with me on Monday and talk about how the season has been going so far. I tried to get him to talk about what seems to be the show's inevitable roll towards the cataclysmic event of 1963, the Kennedy assassination, but Weiner was tight-lipped as usual. However, his observations on how he approaches events like that is an interesting read. Oh, and we also touch upon how he came up with the idea to run over a British ad exec's foot with a lawn mower, which is a good story by itself...
Dear Hugh Laurie,
Hugh (can I call you Hugh?), do you know how the next episode of House is being promoted by FOX? The show that you executive produce and spend hours and days getting just right? Care to give a guess? Okay, I'll let you know. . .porn.
Not like the porn you get online, or porn you find on Cinemax. We're talking about over-the-air, PG-rated network porn. To be more specific, FOX is featuring a promo of the show (seen after the jump) with the first 43 seconds of a girl-on-girl scene starring Thirteen and her 'one-night-stand' that eventually gets sick and becomes the week's Mystery Patient (coming out soon as a board game by Milton-Bradley). I understand that network executives may be catering to the base feelings of the average male viewer, but I'm sure there is an equal, if not stronger, female base that may be a bit disturbed about this preview.
Take a look yourself, Hugh, and let us know if this is the way your show should be promoted. Oh, and the rest of you can tell us as well.
Reportedly, Ruggiero unexpectedly quit The Ex List on Friday morning. Rick Eid, executive producer of the show, will continue on in her place as showrunner. However, the writing staff will have to continue without their guiding light because make no mistake, the heart and soul of the main character -- Bella Bloom -- was a reflection of Diane Ruggiero. She's a strong writer with a distinct voice, one she lent to her other success (with Rob Thomas) Veronica Mars.
When I wrapped up my interview with Bruce McCulloch -- executive producer of ABC's Carpoolers and a member of the legendary comedy troupe Kids In The Hall -- I asked him if there was anything else he might be working on. "Yeah, I'm going to have a heart attack next March, and I wanted people to know about that," he joked. For a guy who has worn a lot of hats in his career, nothing has kept him busier than being the boss.
Carpoolers, a single-camera comedy premiering on ABC tonight at 8:30 PM ET, is about four guys who use their carpool to explore what's going on in each other's lives. The show is McCulloch's brainchild, which means he's involved with everything from the writing to how many donuts will be on the craft services table. Yet he still has time to write and perform his own surreal works, as well as perform occasionally with the Kids, who have been together for almost a quarter-century.
I got a chance to speak to McCulloch last week, and we talked about what it's like to premiere after the season's most lambasted new show (Cavemen), what parts of himself he sees in each of his main characters, what it's like to work with Fred Goss and Jerry O'Connell (who spoke to our friends at AOL last week), and why the Kids have managed to stay together for so long. Highlights are after the jump, as well as an audio embed of the interview (35 minutes).
Miss/Guided is a single-camera sitcom staring Judy Greer (Love Monkey). She plays a former high school nerd that comes back to her alma mater as a guidance counselor and finds that high school is still high school, even for the adults. It was created by Caroline Williams, a writer on The Office; I'm guessing Thomas is being brought on to guide this show with an experienced hand, since Williams has never run a show before.
Here's something from the "I'd take that job as only a last resort" category: Star Jones is looking for an executive producer for her Court TV show.
While the position has all of the usual requirements for an executive producer gig, including the management of talent and staff, several years experience, and a big list of contacts, it also says that whoever gets the job will have to "oversee administrative functions like human resource issues, deal with Turner's legal department when necessary, and supervise budget allocations." Wow, doesn't that sound like fun?
But you're going to be working with Star Jones, which basically means puppies and rainbows all day, so if you want to apply for the job click on the link above.
Hartman was named executive producer in November 2005, and helped reshape the broadcast after Couric took over the anchor slot in September. After the requisite curiosity period wore off, the ratings for the newscast deteriorated; it now pulls in lower ratings than it did at the same time last year, when Bob Schieffer was anchoring. The soft-news components of the broadcast were apparently what turned viewers off, and, even though those issues were already being addressed by Hartman, it apparently wasn't enough to save his job.
Martin Scorsese is developing a new series for HBO along with Mark Wahlberg about the development of Atlantic City. The new series will based on the book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson, which was optioned by HBO.
Scorsese has been getting into television more and more, and it will be interesting to see what he and Wahlberg (who will both serve as executive producers) will come up with for this new series, but if it has to do with gambling, power struggles, and back stabbing, I can't think of anyone better suited to helming the project than Scorsese.
Wahlberg is also developing an English language version of the Israeli drama In Treatment for HBO.
He's pretty sure that the show will come back for a seventh season. "It's becoming apparent that it'll be up to us if the show is on again this year, so we'll do one more year," he told me. "Again, the same as last year, I came into this year going 'Ah, it's the fucking last year of this show,' and now we're downstairs scrambling because our studio is like, 'This isn't the last year.' So now we have to re-outline all the stories and change it and all that shit."
Because Zach Braff has mentioned that this season might be his last, I asked Lawrence if a seventh season will include Braff. "I think I'd only do the show with Zach, personally," he said.
It's a little Sliding Doors, a little Run Lola Run. All of my favorite themes are there -- fate, regret, choices, connection, what's unchanging about a person and what's not. Ever since 24's success, networks have been looking for high concept shows like this. Hugh Jackman has a Rashomon-like project in the works. There are a slew of part-scripted, part-documentary Borat-y projects in the works, too. What will float, and what will sink? We'll have to wait and see. Let's just hope the lead in Ordinary Joe gets a haircut in each version of his life so we can tell the difference.
If he leaves, head writer David Javerbaum is set to take his place. Rachel Sklar over at Huffington Post's Eat The Press reports that Javerbaum himself was set to leave the show to pursue a career writing lyrics for Broadway musicals. No word from either source on a) why Karlin is leaving and b) who will replace Javerbaum as head writer. ETP does go on to mention that TDS has hired some new producers, including Daniel Sterling, a former writer and producer for Kitchen Confidential and King of the Hill.
(By the way, on the rare occasion I write something over at Huffington, Rachel edits my stuff. Just wanted to give you full disclosure.)
"We're in a bad place," Bright said. "Since Will and Grace I haven't seen one original idea on network TV." (Update: here's a link to the original Boston Globe article this quote came from. Looks like he doesn't absolve himself from blame here -- remember Joey? Thanks to Katie S. for pointing this out.)
Mind you, this includes The Class, which is being produced by David Crane, one of Bright's partners on Friends. I wonder if Mr. Crane gave Bright a call when word of this got back to him. Anyway, I think Bright is being too harsh; yes, there are not a lot of sitcoms out there right now, but most of the ones that are on are pretty fresh and funny (at least until According to Jim comes back from hiatus). Even The Class started with a pretty unique premise, even if it's taking time for it to figure out how to juggle all its characters (last night's episode was the first that did a good job of it). It's not like Bright should be bitter; Friends made him a nice pot of "F you" money.
While his son's friends are starting to watch the show, he refuses to let his own son hunker down with the Griffin clan. "I think children are growing up a little too fast and are exposed to things that they shouldn't be. I don't want to have to explain some of the things that are happening on the show. I don't like lying to my kids so I don't let them watch it...They have plenty of time to be adults and to understand all the sex jokes."
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