Blog: News & Views

Mike O'Malley pulling double duty acting on 'Glee,' writing for 'Shameless' [Video]

By Chris Beachum & Rob Licuria
By Chris Beachum & Rob Licuria
Jun 06 2012 08:40 am

Most television viewers currently know Mike O'Malley from his Emmy-nominated role as Burt Hummel on "Glee," but he has been pulling double duty this past season as a producer and writer for the drama series "Shameless."

In a video chat with Gold Derby, O'Malley said, "It's really different work. To work as a writer on a show is extremely lonely sometimes because you're there at your desk trying to figure it out, although you have other writers supporting you so you don't get any writer's block."

O'Malley wrote two of the Showtime program's second season episodes, "Summer Loving" and "Parenthood." That latter installment, which will be on the Emmys ballot for writing, featured Oscar winner Louise Fletcher ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") as the cancer-stricken mother of Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy). Said O'Malley, "It was a very, very compelling performance by her, and I have to give all credit to her. She approaches her work with real authenticity and real focus. She inhabits that character in a way that she's not really performing anything."

O'Malley also continues to play the father of Chris Colfer's character Kurt Hummel, a gay high school student and glee club member. He received his first Emmy Award nomination in 2010 as Best Comedy Guest Actor, ultimately losing to Neil Patrick Harris (also from "Glee"), who praised O'Malley during his acceptance speech. He was then on the ballot last year as a supporting actor but will once again be eligible as a guest star this summer.

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Regarding his role on the Fox comedy, he said, "They've just done a really, really great job of writing that character. When material is really well-written, as an actor you just have to get out of the way. To act opposite Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer and Matthew Morrison, these three guys who I have most of my scenes with, they're really locked in as actors. Specifically Cory and Chris, where a lot of our scenes have been very emotional scenes, they have a real presence when you're acting opposite them."

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Tony Goldwyn on playing 'madly in love' President on 'Scandal' [Video]

By Rob Licuria
By Rob Licuria
Jun 06 2012 06:15 am

In “Scandal,” ABC's newest series from Shonda Rhimes ("Grey's Anatomy), Tony Goldwyn plays the President of the United States, or "Fitz" as he is known to his staff and his mistress Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington).

This passionate romance between the President and a crisis management guru has become the heart of the show. "He's madly in love with Olivia Pope, and it's a terrible problem he's got, to be desperately in love with a woman that is not his wife," said Goldwyn in a video chat with Gold Derby.

"The pace of 'Scandal' overall is so fast, and Shonda was always on us about 'Scandal' pace, 'Scandal' pace, you've got to go faster. Except, when Fitz and Olivia have a scene, and then everything stops ... there's lots of pauses and silence in our scenes ... It's a really bold choice to have a script that goes like a bat out of hell and then silence for literally, on two occasions, a full minute," he added. "When we have those opportunities, the tension is built up so much that it gave us so much to play."

On the more intimate aspects of the love affair storyline, Goldwyn is of two minds. "In terms of the intimate stuff, you know sex scenes are just really tricky to do. It's bizarre and embarrassing, but I've done them a lot, and you just need to have a sense of humor about it and take care of each other and make the other person feel safe and not vulnerable," Goldwyn said, adding a laugh. "Kerry is one of the more beautiful women on the planet, so that made it a little easier."

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Goldwyn will be on the Emmy Awards ballot this summer in the Best Drama Supporting Actor category. Actors playing the President have fared well at the Emmys in recent years, including Martin Sheen, nominated six times for "The West Wing," Geena Davis nominated once for "Commander in Chief", Gregory Itzin nominated twice for "24," and Cherry Jones, who won as Best Drama Supporting Actress for "24" in 2009.

Although playing the leader of the free world was a little daunting for Goldwyn at first, he relished the challenge of bringing a flawed, sexier, and certainly more human President to the screen. In bringing this character to life, Goldwyn was inspired by past and present commanders in chief. "There's a Kennedy-esque quality to the way Shonda wrote him, but the two people I most paid attention to were Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, even though Fitz is a Republican," he said. "They're both absolute rock star public speakers."

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News Nuggets: Seth MacFarlane responds to criticism over 'Family Guy' Emmy mailer

By Daniel Montgomery
By Daniel Montgomery
Jun 05 2012 14:02 pm

Seth MacFarlane responds to the controversy over "Family Guy" Emmy mailer: "Seth MacFarlane apologizing? As if. The 'Family Guy' head honcho kicked up some controversy last week when his show released Emmy consideration mailers and ads addressed to 'Brentwood Jews.' We just talked to MacFarlane and this is what he had to say to his critics ... 'I put it in the same category as Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes a few years ago—Hollywood must be able to laugh at itself,' MacFarlane told us at Spike's Guys Choice Awards in L.A." E!

"Revenge" creator Mike Kelley talks about the challenges of making a network series compared to cable: "The tone of 'Revenge' is elusive and a tricky one to hit … There’s tremendous competition from shows I’m a fan of such as 'Boardwalk Empire' and 'Homeland.' Cable shows have a built-in advantage [with the TV Academy]: They’re not producing as many episodes as we produce. In some ways, the [drama Emmy] category isn’t equitable. Maybe they should break cable from broadcast because the challenges are different." DEADLINE

"Godspell" producer hopes that Tony performance will boost box office: "Ken Davenport, producer of the Broadway revival of Stephen Schwartz's 'Godspell,' is counting on the show's Tony Awards performance to help boost box-office grosses, which fell to $168,049 (51.5% capacity) for the week ending June 3. Should ticket sales not increase, the show may end its run June 24, according to a posting on Davenport's blog, 'The Producers Perspective.' In his blog Davenport writes, 'This is my way of explaining that at this point, "Godspell" has a heck of a lot riding on that Tony performance, as well as tourist traffic over the next couple of weeks.'" PLAYBILL

"Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan reveals the secret behind realistic-looking meth: "Gilligan also revealed that he sometimes hears from real-life Walter Whites. 'We do hear from the occasional partaker of meth and former cooks,' he said. 'I assume they are former. They are impressed with our meth skills.' He added that the show gets input from the DEA in Los Angeles, Albuquerque and even in Dallas. 'We have a DEA chemist who oversaw our very first meth-cooking sequence in our RV, back in the pilot. "OK, this step here, this is where you detract the blah, blah, blah." I asked, "What would it look like?" He said, "Sort of like Strawberry Quik." So I said, "Go get some Strawberry Quik!"'" HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Louis C.K. joins new Woody Allen movie: "Louis C.K., whose career path is very similar to that of fellow filmmaker/comedian Woody Allen, will appear in the legendary filmmaker's next movie. Variety reports that C.K. has been cast in the currently untitled film. Also announced in the cast for the film are Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, Bobby Cannavale, Andrew Dice Clay, Michael Emerson, Sally Hawkins and Peter Sarsgaard. Not only are Allen and C.K. both talented stand-up comedians, but they also both transitioned into film and TV careers marked by prolific outputs and near-total control of their art." HUFFINGTON POST

Tony Awards will be simulcast in Times Square: "The 66th Annual Tony Awards, which will be hosted by Emmy winner Neil Patrick Harris, will be simulcast live to Times Square June 10. The annual event will be hosted by puppets Rod and Lucy from the 2004 Tony Award-winning musical 'Avenue Q.' The evening will include the broadcast of the Tony Awards Red Carpet, courtesy of NY1, and the entirety of the Tony Awards show, including the Creative Arts Awards, on Clear Channel’s SpectacolorHD screen in Times Square beginning at 6 PM ET. (From 7:30-8 PM Stephanie Simon will welcome guests from The Great White Way.)" PLAYBILL

 

'Community,' 'Mad Men,' 'Parks and Recreation' lead Critics' Choice TV Awards nominations

By Gold Derby News Desk
By Gold Derby News Desk
Jun 05 2012 06:00 am

The Broadcast Television Journalist Assn. announced nominations for the second annual Critics' Choice TV Awards Tuesday. Leading with six bids is "Community," which has been snubbed by the Emmy Awards for its first two seasons. (See full list of nominations here.)

With five nods apiece are "Parks and Recreation" (another NBC laffer that has yet to win a top Emmy) and "Mad Men," a four-time Emmy winner for Best Drama Series. 

The organization emphasized the "broadcast" part of its name with over-the-air nets leading the nominations. NBC may be in fourth place in the ratings but came first with 14 bids while ABC has 13 and Fox 12 (CBS has nine). Cablecaster HBO, which has reaped the most Emmy nominations for years, was cited a dozen times while AMC and FX each have 11 noms. 

"Community" and "Parks and Recreation" contend for Best Comedy Series against last year's champ "Modern Family" and freshman series "Girls" and "New Girl," all of which reaped five bids as well as "The Big Bang Theory" (2 noms).

"Mad Men" defends its Best Drama Series title against "Breaking Bad" (4 noms), "Downton Abbey" (2), "Game of Thrones" (2), "The Good Wife" (4) and "Homeland" (3). 

The BTJA is an offshoot of the group that gives out the Critics' Choice Movie Awards. However, unlike those prizes which include many of the Oscar categories, these do not include any recognition of the directors and writers responsible for television's finest programming.

Last year, the BTJA did not acknowledge the TV movie and mini-series genres but remedied that this time around. Indeed, they preview what the Emmys will look like next year by combining the lead and supporting categories for this genre. 

Last year, the top comedy and drama races included 10 series each. This year, those fields, as well as all others, are restricted to six nominees, echoing the Emmy races. 

Last year, the combined talk show race overlooked most of the primetime Emmy contenders. This year, only one daytime talker, "The View," contends. 

 

Jared Harris reveals all about his shocking 'Mad Men' exit [Video]

By Chris Beachum & Rob Licuria
By Chris Beachum & Rob Licuria
Jun 04 2012 20:30 pm

Jared Harris has been keeping a big secret for the past few months. SPOILER ALERT ahead!!

His character of Lane Pryce on "Mad Men" committed suicide on this week's penultimate episode ("Commissions and Fees") of the fifth season by hanging himself in his own office.

In an exclusive video chat with Gold Derby, Harris admitted, "I was not surprised, but I was disappointed. You know, I was sad to not be working with all these guys. That was going to be coming to an end... I shed a little tear in the car on the way home."

The character of Lane Pryce joined Sterling Cooper at the beginning of the third season when his British company took over the New York advertising firm. He became the financial chief of the office and then helped them break off from his bosses and became a partner in the new firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

However, during this season, he started to spiral out of control by kissing and flirting with office manager Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks), having a fist fight with junior partner Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), and ultimately embezzling funds by forging the signature of partner Don Draper (Jon Hamm).

Series creator Matt Weiner decided to kill off the character and told Harris after the table reading for the tenth episode, two episodes before the event actually happened. Harris recalls, "After everyone leaves, he says 'Let's go up to my office.' You know that's a bad sign ... We were sort of hanging around waiting for the lift and some sort of chit chat or small talk, which seemed a bit odd. We get to his office, and he offers me a glass of really, really expensive brandy. OK, that's clue number two that this is not going to go well. Then he says, 'I've got something I need to talk to you about,' and I went 'Uh oh, that doesn't sound good,' and he went 'Awww, it's not. I'm really sorry.'"

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Harris will be on the Emmy Awards ballot this summer contending as Best Drama Supporting Actor. Co-star John Slattery has been nominated all four previous seasons, but no other "Mad Men" actors have competed in this category.

In summing up his role as Lane Pryce, Harris said that he was "somebody who had the courage to try and break free from his personal glass ceiling if you like, the company that he was with, and start working for other people and own a piece of the rock himself. In that sense, he embraces the American dream. The hardest thing to do is change yourself, and in the end, that's what pulls him up short."

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Jessica Pare on 'fresh' journey from guest shot to starring role on 'Mad Men' [Video]

By Rob Licuria
By Rob Licuria
Jun 04 2012 15:20 pm

Jessica Paré‏ was in the dark about whether her character Megan Calvet would amount to anything more than a minor guest role when she first joined Emmy juggernaut "Mad Men" last season. "I had to take every episode as they came, whether I had one line, or none," she recalls. 

Megan was the office receptionist but soon became engaged to Don Draper (Jon Hamm). This season she worked as an adwoman alongside her former superiors and married the boss. As her character unexpectedly became more important, Paré‏ admits in a video chat with Gold Derby that she was having a similar experience, noting the "journey was as fresh for me, as a performer, as it was for Megan."

Paré‏ was given one of this season's highlights -- a musical performance of "Zou Bisou Bisou" in the two-part season premiere "A Little Kiss." "Initially I thought, 'what is Megan thinking?'" laughs Paré‏ on first hearing about the scene. Showrunner Matthew Weiner shared it with her in advance to allow her time to work with a choreographer because, as Paré‏ notes, "I'm not a dancer [and] ... it's not something I feel that comfortable with, in my wheelhouse."

She recalls the long day of shooting the dancing scenes over and over again, admitting, "for the first episode back to be literally doing a song and dance routine in front of everybody was a little daunting!"

As was recently reported by Gold Derby, Paré‏ has been promoted from Drama Guest Actress (where she missed out on a nomination last year) to Drama Actress at this year's Emmys, much like her character Megan, who moved up from lowly receptionist to adwoman and Mrs. Don Draper within a year.

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This pits her against co-star and previous nominee Elisabeth Moss. Paré‏ could break into this tough category because of the prominent role she played throughout season five. If nominated, she is leaning towards submitting the two-part season opener because "it shows a lot of Megan's perspective on things; a new perspective."

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Chris Messina on challenges of playing vet turned whistleblower in 'Damages' [Video]

By Daniel Montgomery
By Daniel Montgomery
Jun 04 2012 15:10 pm

"In 'Six Feet Under' I was cast as a Republican lawyer, and then Woody Allen cast me as a Republican [in 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'] … so when I went to meet with those guys I was very adamant about not being a lawyer on their show or a Republican," says Chris Messina referring to his first casting call for "Damages." He got his wish. Instead of a Republican lawyer, he plays Chris Sanchez, a traumatized soldier who becomes a whistle-blower against a powerful private defense contractor. He's a contender for Best Drama Guest Actor at the Emmys.

Messina's character suffers from post-traumatic stress following an assignment in Afghanistan. To prepare for his scenes, he says, he would "stay awake and not sleep, and then I'd go to work and right before action … I would drink two Red Bulls … I didn't have to act jittery – I was jittery and tired and kind of confused and emotional." Despite his treacherous storyline, which also saw his character kidnapped and tortured, he lives on and will appear in the fifth and final season of "Damages" this summer.

"I was really happy to go out with the show and that team of people," says Messina of appearing on the series through its last year. Though he was nervous to join a show in the middle of its run, he was welcomed by the cast. He explains, "At that point they had been on for three years, so they're a family … I remember when I first met [Rose Byrne], her just being so kind and inviting and really opened her arms to me joining this family."

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Messina joins a very different television family in the fall. He is a regular on Mindy Kaling's upcoming sitcom "The Mindy Project." "I don't find myself very funny," the actor admits. "She wrote that part for me, and I was very grateful that she did … and I think I was afraid of it and turned it down a couple of times." But eventually he relented, and the show begins production this summer. Of the challenges of comedy versus drama he says, "You know what, acting, the whole thing is really challenging. There are often many days where I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing or why I'm doing it, and it's just a matter of time until the people I'm working for find out that they hired the wrong person … I just feel lucky, to be honest with you, to be working."

"The Mindy Project" is a far cry from his "Damages" role, to which Messina suggests, "Maybe I'll grow a beard on the show and she can torture me or something."

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Videos: Our exclusive chats with Emmy contenders

Join the fierce discussion in our forums

Should the Emmys abandon at-home voting and return to viewing panels?

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News Nuggets: Tony Awards announce more performances than ever before

By Daniel Montgomery
By Daniel Montgomery
Jun 04 2012 14:36 pm

Tony Awards will feature more performances than ever before. From the press release: "The evening, which will be packed with more entertainment than ever before, will feature performances by  2012 Tony Nominated Musicals including: 'Evita' featuring Ricky Martin and Elena Roger; 'Follies' featuring Tony nominated actor Danny Burstein; 'The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess' featuring Tony nominees Audra McDonald, Norm Lewis and David Alan Grier; 'Jesus Christ Superstar' featuring Tony nominee Josh Young; 'Leap of Faith' featuring Raul Esparza; 'Newsies,' featuring Tony nominated actor Jeremy Jordan; 'Nice Work If You Can Get It' featuring Matthew Broderick and Tony nominee Kelli O'Hara; and 'Once' featuring Tony nominees Steve Kazee, Cristin Milioti and Elizabeth A. Davis."

Neil Patrick Harris discusses why the Tonys are his favorite show to host: "'I think the celebratory tone of it makes it my favorite show to host,' says Harris, who previously celebrated Broadway’s biggest night with successful hosting gigs in 2009 and 2011. 'In the Emmys and in observing the Oscars, it’s a bunch of individuals that hardly know each other that all work in their own business bubbles, and I think the opposite is true on Broadway. Most everyone is a) thrilled to be there, b) even more thrilled to be nominated but c) and I think most importantly, they all know and are supportive of each other, so you end up with this great evening where it’s not a lot of sour grapes.'" EW.COM

Mike Nichols discusses why he decided to revive "Death of a Salesman": "It was so clearly a great play. And as the decades and finally the century passed I would keep thinking about 'Salesman' simply because it was more and more about the moments instead of less and less. ['A Streetcar Named Desire'] is no longer about the moment at all. There is no Blanche DuBois anywhere; south, north, east or west. We don’t have Blanche DuBois at the moment. But we have Willy Loman; everywhere we look we see Willy Loman. We are Willy Loman. We’re on Facebook; we need to be known; we’re selling all the time. I’m selling our show right now to you. There is stunning foresight in this that really made me want to do it." DEADLINE

BBC will air "Sherlock" around the world as part of its London Calling program: "The dashing duo is at it again and the World will be able to enjoy the exploits of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. BBC Worldwide Channels is bringing the team of sleuths to television screens across the globe as part of the London Calling season of special programming. 'Sherlock' shows the quintessential London character in a contemporary light with leading actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman playing the title roles with aplomb ... Please visit http://www.londoncallingbbc.com or your regional BBC website to find out when 'Sherlock' series 1 and 2 air in your region, and to learn about London Calling’s Olympic-themed programmes that will add to the building anticipation for watching the Olympics on TV later this summer." TIMES UNION

Eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken looks for his first Tony Award: "With eight Academy Awards won for his musical contributions to Disney films, New Rochelle native Alan Menken has collected more Oscars than any other living person — but he never has won a Tony Award for his Broadway scores. At the June 10 Tony Awards ceremony, to be broadcast on CBS, Tony voters can rectify that for Menken, who says he’s 'thrilled' to receive a 2012 nomination for Best Original Score for 'Newsies.' The musical is the Broadway adaptation of the 1992 movie that he scored, but the award-winning composer says he didn’t figure the movie would amount to much more beyond the theatrical release." NEWSDAY

Adele admits she would be moritified if her exes wrote songs about her: "She has made a career out of baring her soul over her ex-boyfriends. But now Adele has revealed that she would be ‘mortified’ if they did the same and wrote songs about her. The ‘Rolling in the Deep’ singer said she would ‘f****** s*** myself’ if one of her former partners went public about their relationship. She also told of her regret that she’d put so much of her personal life into her music and said she would now like to 'take some of it back.' On her Grammy award winning album '21' - which has sold more than 20 million copies - Adele sang with a brutal honesty about the pain her break-ups put her through." DAILY MAIL

 

Kristen Bell discusses being a woman in a man's world on 'House of Lies' [Video]

By Daniel Montgomery
By Daniel Montgomery
Jun 04 2012 13:44 pm

She's come a long way since Neptune High. Former "Veronica Mars" star Kristen Bell currently plays management consultant Jeannie Van Der Hooven on Showtime's "House of Lies," her first regular role in five years. On returning to series TV she admits, "I missed being on a show. I like the consistency; I'm very much like a dog in that way that I like the routine, and I like seeing the same people at work. I feel like it bolsters my creative process, makes me a happier individual on- and off-set. I love doing movies, but it feels so nomadic sometimes."

The series is based on the book "House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time," which Bell hasn't read, explaining, "It's a little above my intellect level." The book's author, Martin Kihn, was a consultant on the show. "It really is based on his life. We obviously sexed it up a little bit and made it a bit more provocative, but a lot of the storylines are based on things that happened to him."

Indeed, airing on a premium cable network gives the show license to be raunchier, but Bell doesn't think sex is the primary reason premium cable is liberating. "To me, it's nothing to do with whether or not you can show boobs. That seems sort of the juvenile way to look at it," she explains. "What you can do on cable is you can have a storyline where a single father has a son who's eleven-years-old and a cross-dresser … That's what's so liberating to me about cable is you can discuss taboo topics."

Among other hot-button issues addressed by the show is sexual harassment; Jeannie, a woman in a predominantly male industry, has an affair with her boss to get ahead. "There's no approach other than survival," says Bell of playing the tricky gender dynamics on the series. "It's very much how I feel hanging out with [co-stars Don Cheadle, Ben Schwartz, and Josh Lawson] socially. You either join in on the raunchy jokes or you sink to the bottom … She's so desperate to fit in and be one of the boys that it makes her tiny bit more calculated."

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If nominated for an Emmy, Bell is leaning towards the season finale, "The Mayan Apocalypse," as her episode submission. In it, she gets on stage and publicly announces her affair with her boss in the hopes of saving her and her co-workers jobs. "[Series creator] Matt Carnahan just wrote such a beautiful, vulnerable, sort of disgusting speech for her to deliver at the end," says Bell of the climactic scene, "and it really takes a girl with a lot of moxie to stand up in front of all her co-workers and let everybody know she's been sleeping around."

It would be the first Emmy bid for Bell, who despite the acclaim of critics never contended for "Veronica Mars." "If I were able to play Veronica Mars anywhere, I would do it in a heartbeat," she says of her breakthrough role. It's been five years since the series ended, and efforts to bring the character to the big screen never materialized. Half a decade later, Bell speculates that Veronica probably works for the government: "I think Veronica Mars was scorned enough working on her own that she probably grew up and joined a force of fighters like the FBI or the CIA … I don't think she runs her PI business anymore."

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