Beginning this Sunday (Oct. 23, 10PM ET on ABC), Visnjic is back on TV for a four-episode arc on 'Pan Am' -- he's playing Yugoslavian U.N. diplomat Niko Lonza, a complicated man who woos stewardess Kate (Kelli Garner) -- in a role that takes him back to a very different time in the neutral but still Communist country.
Having grown up in Yugoslavia himself, Visnjic had a lot to add to the character, who was crafted for him by fellow 'ER' alums, executive producer Jack Orman (who's showrunner on 'Pan Am' now) and writer Lydia Woodward. And while he started off our chat saying he couldn't say much about Niko, he ended up spilling quite a bit.
Keep reading for more on their whirlwind romance, the political turmoil involved, an upcoming trip around the world for the 'Pan Am' crew and his storyline's sad ending. "Well, let's say they don't kill him. On screen," Visjnic teased with a laugh.
According Entertainment Weekly, Visnjic will play a Yugoslavian immigrant on four episodes of the 1960s-set drama.
The character is said to be torn between his communist homeland and the opportunities presented by life outside the Eastern Bloc.
After leaving 'ER,' Visnjic did a guest spot on 'Leverage' and appeared in the BBC minseries 'The Deep.'
'Pan Am' stars Christina Ricci and Mike Vogel and follows the exciting lives of Pan Am flight attendants and pilots. The series takes place during the height of Pan Am's high-flying jet-setting days.
Catch a preview of the new series after the jump.
Deadline reports that Stephen Amell, Aiden Turner and Liam McIntyre are the final three actors in the running from the role, which Whitfield bowed out of after his cancer returned in September. The three are flying to New Zealand for screen tests with the cast, and a new Spartacus could be named within the next week.
In other TV news ...
• Former 'ER' star Goran Visnjic will appear on the two-part season finale of 'Leverage.' The actor will play Damian Moreau, the "ruthless" international businessman the team has been chasing all season long. [TV Guide]
• Fox will air an extended promo of its new show, 'Bob's Burgers,' on Thanksgiving night. The series, about a diner owner and his family, will premiere in January. [Variety]
• The planned 'Bones' spinoff/new series launching pad has been postponed until the spring due to "creative reasons." The episode would introduce a new character, an eccentric man who's good at finding things named Walter Sherman, who would then get a new show based on the 'Locator' book series by Richard Greener. [Movieline]
Christine Woods of 'FlashForward' has landed a role in NBC's 'Perfect Couples.' a comedy about three different married couples. 'FlashForward' fans shouldn't panic over this casting though. Woods would stay with that show if it gets a second season. Besides, there are many other reasons to panic about FlashForward.
In other news, 'ER's' Goran Visnjic and Katee Sackhoff will star in ABC's 'Boston's Finest,' about an ex-cop and a detective trying to figure out some mysterious conspiracy that has hurt them both. Yup, another show will a conspiracy angle, and yet another show with a good-looking man and woman team up to fight evil (see also 'The X-Files,' 'Fringe' and several other shows).
More casting news after the jump.
ER has a way of either killing off beloved characters or sending them off in some other unnecessary, shitty way (remember Jeanie just leaving without saying goodbye to anyone because they were too busy?), but now a top star on the show actually wants them to kill off her character.
Maura Tierney tells AOL's TV Tattler that she wants the show to kill Abby. Tierney isn't coming back full time next season (she'll be on a handful of episodes) and she would like to see Abby killed off instead of walking into the sunset with Luka. But breathe easy, Abby fans. Tierney says that the producers have no plans to kill Abby off. I'm not sure why Tierney would want to have her character killed off. I mean, she's not going to be on the show anymore so why tick off fans?
But let's speculate, shall we? I'll leave it up to you, ER fans: if they do kill off Abby, how should she go? Helicopter chopping her head off? Drinking herself to death? Buffalo stampede? Caught in a black hole?
There's been talk for the last several months - and common wisdom would logically conclude - that this was going to be the last year for NBC's long running medical drama ER. The show has been on for 14 years and the ratings don't really justify spending the money on another season. But hold on ER fans ...
At a party celebrating the show's 300th episode (300 episodes? Yikes), producer John Wells said that he is going to being negotiations with NBC later this month to bring the show back for another year in the 2008-09 season. The ratings aren't that bad, and the network could cut costs in some way and make it doable.
There are two bits of news in this post about ER (scroll down). One is that it looks like this is going to be ER's last season, and two, star Mekhi Phifer is leaving the show.
I'm not sure if either one of these news items is surprising though. It's a bit of a miracle that ER is still on (it has a revival last year, that's for sure), so if this is the last season it wouldn't be that much of a shock. And if it is the last season, I don't know if Phifer leaving will have that much of an impact. Actually, I don't know if his departure would have as much of an impact anyway. Certainly not as much impact Maura Tierney leaving would have or Goran Visnjic (Visnjic is in fact leaving this season too). But his Dr. Pratt character has become one of the main players the past couple of years I guess.
(Note to ER: you don't have to have a helicopter fall on him or give him a brain tumor to write him off the show, OK?)
- Aaron Brown's contract with CNN ended last week, and now he can talk. Here's part one of his interview with TV Newser, and here's part two (parts three and four coming this week).
- Gordon Ramsay says the parents of fat kids should be hauled off to court and fined.
- A woman has filed a paternity suit against ER's Goran Visnjic.
- Fans are mounting a bring back The Black Donnellys campaign, a la Jericho fans.
- Catherine Crier might be gone from Court TV, but she's blogging over at The Huffington Post.
- In the middle of a summer of reruns, Martha Stewart suddenly has new shows starting July 16.
- What is The Dynamite Action Squad?
The show didn't end for me when Greene died-- but I haven't been as enamored with it since Luka and Abby were being stalked by Curtis Ames (the fabulous Forest Whitaker).
Casting news from ER: Stanley Tucci, star of the very short-lived CBS drama 3 Lbs last year, will join the show later this year for a multi-episode stint.
He's going to play "a brilliant ICU turned ER chief," in just one of many big changes that are coming to the show. TV Guide wonders if this means that Goran Visnjic will be replaced, since it has been reported that Visnjic might not return next season (though producers are trying to get him to agree to star in a few episodes here and there).
This is interesting casting, going for an older guy instead of a resident hunk (sorry, nothing against Tucci's hunkiness). This guy deserves a weekly show. I remember a TV movie from years ago, a pilot for a series produced by Tom Selleck, that had Tucci as a detective. The show never made it, so I hope this works out.
[via TV Tattle]
The news is not so good for the ABC midseason replacement Traveler, about a friend who frames two best friends for a bombing (the preview looks great). ABC has chopped that order from 13 episodes to 8 episodes, so they can wrap up the storyline. Hmmm...maybe this is the first proof that the networks are beginning to understand viewer frustration at getting into serialized dramas and then leaving viewers hanging by cancelling the shows after only a few episodes.
(S13E05) ER tends to get some pretty big names as guest stars. Sally Field has a recurring role as Abby Lockhart's mother, and Danny Glover has appeared has Greg Pratt's Dad. Alan Alda appeared in several episodes, and so did Bob Newhart. Last season, James Woods appeared as a mentor of Abby who was stricken with Lou Gherig's disease.
This season is no different. In this week's episode (and for five more afterwards) we are treated to a guest appearance from Forrest Whitaker, fresh off of his role in The Shield (and as Edie Amin in The Last King of Scotland, at a theater near you). However, he's not one of those warm and cuddly guest stars you normally see. No, he's pissed at County General in general, and with Doctor Luka Kovac in particular, and he wants his day in court to prove how poorly he was treated.
His attorney for this case? Chandler Bing's on-again, off-again girlfriend Janice. No, seriously! Read on, if you dare.
But this episode was actually one of the better season finales the show has ever had. A bit crazy, but well done and rather suspenseful, with more than one plot twist I didn't see coming at all.
I gave up on ER years ago, even before George Clooney left, because I couldn't handle having a major emotional breakdown each week. I tuned in for a couple of key episodes over the years: i.e. when Lucy and Carter got stabbed in the kidneys, when Doug left, when Carol left, and when Dr. Green died.
So tell me, is it any good?
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