Mindy Kaling Voicing and Writing New Animated Series, 'Secret Circle' Promotes Hunk and More Casting News
According to Deadline, she'll write, executive produce and voice a character on the series about a girls high school volleyball team.
'Parks and Recreation' producer Alan Yang is also working on a new animated project with Daniels. Yang's series is about a group of Los Angeles twentysomething guys who share a house in Hancock Park.
In other casting news ...
Well, as the show has improved so has viewers' opinion of Ron, played by Nick Offerman. In the first half of 'Parks and Rec's' second season, Swanson has become a favorite of fans and critics; we've seen his love of breakfast food, his ability to build a small harp while drinking, and his secret life as smooth jazz stylist Duke Silver. And the 'stache... oh, the 'stache. It's the best one on primetime since Tom Selleck's.
When I was at the NBC party at the TCAs last month, I spoke to Offerman about how Swanson has developed, having his real-life wife (Megan Mullally) play Swanson's ex, and if we're going to see more of Swanson's jazzy alter ego.
Your guess is as good as hers. "They keep that (the plans for Holly) under wraps, if they are indeed thinking of it. There's no plan there." When I asked her if she was under contract for any episodes next season, she said she wasn't.
What is she hoping Greg Daniels and company do with Holly in the coming years? "The viewer in me, the fan of the show, hopes that they (Michael and Holly) get together. The actor in me would love to see that there's still conflict along the way. That's where it's fun."
I'll have the complete interview with Ryan next week.
(S01E01) While at its heart, and based on its creators (Michael Schur and Greg Daniels of The Office), you can't help but compare Parks & Recreation to The Office. They both film in that mockumentary style, they both feature clueless leads, and they have some of the same comic sensibilities. But how many multi-camera family sitcoms were on the air back in the '80s? Seinfeld and Friends clones in the '90s? Crime procedurals in the '00s?
It doesn't matter if a show shares similar traits with another if it has a voice all its own. And as I indicated in my "Early Look" of Parks & Recreation, they even use the documentary-style camera work differently. But the real difference for me is in the work of Amy Poehler.
There's good news for fans of Michael and Holly on The Office, and potentially even better news. When Amy Ryan first stepped in to fill Toby's shoes as the HR rep for the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin, I wasn't sure how well she'd fit with the regular cast. The last time we got a massive infusion of new blood on the show via the branch merger, we wound up losing every one of the new cast members except for Andy (Ed Helms).
But then her wacky synergy with Michael really clicked, and suddenly I was happy for the both of them. And it was genuinely painful when she had to leave. I'm pleased to see that Greg Daniels, who steers The Office ship, really does get it. In the release announcing the return of Amy Ryan to The Office this season, he stated "I don't think she can blow in and out every so often. It would be too hard for [Michael] as a human being." He barely survived her leaving the first time, so it's good to see that Daniels has too much respect for the characters to just bring her in when convenient for ratings, or whatever.
However, if I was there, I would have apparently received the pilot script to the new Amy Poehler-led sitcom that's being written and produced by the folks from The Office, as Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette did yesterday. He revealed some details about what the show's going to be about, and they're... interesting.
The show will be shot documentary-style like The Office. In it, Poehler plays Leslie Knope, who is, according to Owen, a "mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana." She works with a local nurse (Rashida Jones) to turn a construction site into a park, and has to battle the usual local-government nemeses at every turn, including those "traffic and noise" complainers and a town official (Aziz Ansari). All the while, she's followed by an intern (Aubrey Plaza) that she hopes to inspire.
Now maybe we'll get to learn even more about his background. In a major time-slot coup, it looks like a one-hour episode of The Office will air directly following the Super Bowl on Feb. 1, 2009. Exec producer Paul Lieberstein said these longer eps offer a great opportunity to delve into the characters:
Got that? Neither did the critics, who repeatedly asked mostly Silverman to clarify the situation during both the panel and the scrum that followed.
What's interesting about this news is that Ansari was also tapped to play one of the new interns on the eighth season of Scrubs, which is produced by and will now air on ABC. What I'm guessing is that, since Scrubs will finish shooting in August, this deal will start after his deal with the veteran medical comedy ends. If there happens to be a ninth season of the show, as Bill Lawrence told me might happen, I'd imagine he'd come back after his Universal deal ends or they'll just replace him with someone else.
NBC's press tour day continued with a panel on Sunday Night Football.
When it concluded, panelists including Tiki Barber, John Madden and Al Michaels tossed out signed footballs to 10 or so lucky members of the press. Score! I caught the ball thrown to me by 2006 Super Bowl champion Jerome Bettis, formerly of The Pittsburgh Steelers, now an NBC sports analyst.
In my dreams. It actually sailed over my head to a journalist behind me. "Fumble," he said as he scooped it up.
Sometimes press tour swag can be elusive.
I often watch King of the Hill reruns on FX in the evenings as I'm making dinner, but I forgot that it's actually still on. When it resumes next month, it will be season 11 for the animated series.
The move from 7:30 to 8:30 bumps War at Home to Thursdays with unfunny 'Til Death. American Dad slides into possible oblivion at 9:30 pm.
The focus is on The Office as many of the members of the cast are also the writers of the show. Executive producer Greg Daniels (The Simpsons) goes through his reasons for choosing to move people from the writers room in front of the camera. And it's not just because he's lazy. There is a method to his madness. Given the mockumentary style of the show, he feels that unpolished actors that may seem awkward at times add to the realism of the show.
They also touch on the character of Toby. Played by Paul Lieberstein, Toby was originally intended as a bit part. But when NBC President Kevin Reilly saw the character he responded, "He's funny. More of him." And Paul's acting career was born. The story for Mindy Kaling's character, Kelly, is much the same. Both of them say that they prefer writing to acting. Joel talked with Kelly about this back in March as well. It's a good behind the scenes piece, and worth a look.
This past Wednesday, television's top showrunners got together for a Hollywood Radio and Television Society luncheon where they got to grouse collectively about the twin evils of Mark Burnett and broadcast standards. Chiming in were Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane, The Office's Greg Daniels, Lost's Damon Lindelof, Gilmore Girls' Amy Sherman-Palladino and Battlestar Galactica's Ron Moore (pictured) among others. The discussion was facilitated by Jimmy Kimmel. How much would you have loved to be in that room? How much would I love to be working for any single person in that room - really, any of them?
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