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    Natasha Lyonne And Simon Baker Join 3000 Pictures’ ‘Klara And The Sun’ Adaptation

    (2/21/24) As production is about to begin on 3000 pictures’ adaptation of Klara and the Sun directed by Oscar winner Taika Waititi, Natasha Lyonne and Simon Baker have rounded out the cast, with Jenna Ortega playing the titular character. Academy Award-nominated actress Amy Adams, Mia Tharia and Aran Murphy also star in the film.

    Eying a fall theatrical release, the film is based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s New York Times best-selling novel, and is being produced by Heyday Films’ David Heyman, Garrett Basch and Waititi. Ishiguro will also exec produce. Heyday’s Jeffrey Clifford and Rosie Alison brought the project to Heyday. Drew Reed was instrumental in bringing the project to 3000 Pictures and Sony. Elizabeth Gabler and Aislinn Dunster are overseeing the project for 3000 Pictures. Dahvi Waller-penned script.

    The novel tells the story of Klara (Ortega), an Artificial Friend designed to prevent loneliness. Klara is purchased by a mother (Adams) and a bright teen named Josie (Tharia) who adores her new robot companion, but suffers from a mysterious illness. This is the story of Klara’s quest to save Josie and those who love her from heartbreak and how, in the process, Klara learns the power of human love. Lyonne will play the shopkeeper.

    The novel, published in March 2021 by Alfred A. Knopf in the US and Faber in the UK, debuted on the New York Times’ Hardcover Fiction Best Sellers List at No. 3 and the Indie Hardcover Fiction Best Sellers List at No. 1.

    Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Lyonne is coming off some of the best reviews of her career in Rian Johnson’s mystery series Poker Face, which she executive produces under her Animal Pictures banner. In addition to writing and directing an episode of the series, Lyonne plays Charlie, a smart-mouthed detective in the episodic anthology, which earned her a fifth Emmy nomination for Lead Actress, and her second Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series – Comedy Or Musical.

    Lyonne also co-created the Netflix series Russian Doll, which won three Emmy Awards, a total of 14 Emmy nominations including Comedy Series and Lead Actress for Lyonne, and a Golden Globe acting nomination for Lyonne.

    Next up for Lyonne The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy, premiering on Prime Video in February, which she exec produces and also stars in. She also has Azazel Jacobs’ film His Three Daughters, where she stars alongside Carrie Coon and Elizabeth Olsen.

    Baker can currently be seen in the limited series Boy Swallows Universe, based on Trent Dalton’s critically acclaimed and award-winning book of the same name. He is currently filming The Narrow Road to the Deep North with Jacob Elordi for director Justin Kurzel. His other credits include hit comedy drama The Devil Wears Prada, Margin Call andThe Ring Two. He was also, of course, the lead in CBS’ long-running hit The Mentalist.

    Lyonne is repped by CAA. Baker is repped by CAA and United Management.

    Tilda Swinton, Simon Baker, Mads Mikkelsen & Naomi Kawase Announced For Marrakech’s ‘In Conversation With’ Program

    (11/7/23) The Marrakech International Film Festival has unveiled the 10 cinema figures who will participate in its In Conversation With program at its 20th edition running from November 24 to December 2.

    They include Australian actor Simon Baker, French director Bertrand Bonello, U.S. actor Willem Dafoe, Indian filmmaker and producer Anurag Kashyap; Japanese director Naomi Kawase; Danish-U.S. actor and director Viggo Mortensen, U.K. actor Tilda Swinton; and Russian director and screenwriter Andrey Zvyagintsev, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen and Moroccan director Faouzi Bensaďdi.

    Baker’s was seen most recently in Toronto title Limbo and Tribeca 2022 selection Blaze, with early features including L.A. Confidential (1997), David Frankel’s The Devil Wears Prada (2006), and J. C. Chandor’s Margin Call (2011), followed by hit series The Mentalist (2008–2015).

    Bensaďdi’s first feature A Thousand Months world premiered in Cannes Un Certain Regard in 2003 Subsequent films include WWW – What a Wonderful World (2006), Death for Sale (2011) and Volubilis (2017) and For Summer Days (2022). His latest feature film Deserts debuted in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight this year.

    Bonello broke out internationally with second film Pornographer which played at Cannes Critics’ Week in 2021. He returned to Cannes with Tiresia (2003), On War (2008); House of Tolerance (2011), Saint Laurent (2014) Nocturama (2016) and Zombi Child (2019). More recently, Coma was in the running for the Golden Bear at the Berlinale in 2022 while his latest film Beast premiered in Competition at the Venice this year.

    Iconic actor Dafoe has been Oscar nominated four times across his career: three times for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Platoon (1986), Shadow of the Vampire (2000), and The Florida Project (2017), and one for Best Leading Actor for At Eternity’s Gate (2018). His most recent credits include Venice 2023 Golden Lion winner Poor Things and a third collaboration with director Robert Eggers in Nosferatu, slated for release in 2024.

    India’s Kashyap is the acclaimed director of Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Ugly (2013), Psycho Raman (2016), Dev.D (2009), and Black Friday (2007), and was one of the directors of Netflix’s first Indian series, Sacred Games (2018–2019). His most recent film, Kennedy (2023) premiered in Cannes Midnight section.

    Combining elements of documentary and fiction, much of Kawase’s work is set in her home city of Nara. She broke out internationally with first film Suzaku, which won Cannes Caméra d’Or in 1997 and has been a regular guest there ever since. Recent films include Still the Water (2014), Radiance (2017), Vision (2018) and True Mothers (2020).

    Mikkelsen got his first break Nicolas Winding Refn’s debut film,Pusher (1996). Their collaboration continued with Bleeder (1999), Pusher II: With Blood on My Hands (2004), and Valhalla Rising (2009). Later prominent Danish-language credits include Men and Chicken (2015) A Royal Affair (2012), Another Round (2020), with international credits including Casino Royale (2006), Doctor Strange (2016) and Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny.

    Mortensen has clocked up a string of Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Actor on films including Green Book and Captain Fantastic. In 2020, he moved behind the camera to make Falling is preparing to unveil his second directorial work The Dead Don’t Hurt in 2024.

    Swinton broke into cinema with Derek Jarman in 1985 with Caravaggio, the first of seven films together which included The Last of England (1987), Edward II (1991) and Wittgenstein (1993). Swinton has established ongoing relationships with numerous renowned directors, appearing in Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) and The Dead Don’t Die (2019); Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love (2009), A Bigger Splash (2015), and Suspiria (2018); Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir Parts 1 and 2 (2019, 2021) and The Eternal Daughter (2022); and Bong Joon Ho’s Snowpiercer (2013) and Okja (2017). More recent credits include George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing (2022), Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City (2023), and David Fincher’s The Killer (2023).

    Zvyagintsev broke internationally with debut feature The Return, which won the Golden Lion and the Lion of the Future at the Venice International Film Festival. His second film The Banishment (2007) debuted in Competition in Cannes, where actor Konstantin Lavronenko was named Best Actor, a first for a Russian artist. Subsequent films include Leviathan (2014) and Loveless (2017), which both played in Competition at Cannes.

    Blumhouse’s ‘The Exorcist’ Finds Pastor In Raphael Sbarge

    (2/9/23) More additions to the cast of Blumhouse-Morgan Creek-Universal-Peacock’s The Exorcist with Raphael Sbarge joining as the pastor in the feature.

    Previously announced cast members include Olivia Marcum, Ann Dowd, Ellen Burstyn, Lidya Jewett and Leslie Odom Jr in the David Gordon Green directed movie which is a continuation of the 1973 film. The movie, which Uni and all parties scooped up rights for $400M, hits theaters on Oct. 13.

    Jason Blum will produce on behalf of Blumhouse. David Robinson and James Robinson will produce for Morgan Creek. Green, McBride and Couper Samuelson will executive produce. Ryan Turek is overseeing the project for Blumhouse. Scott Teems (Halloween Kills, The Quarry), Danny McBride (Halloween Kills, Halloween) and Green teamed up for the story being penned by Peter Sattler (Broken Diamonds) and Green.

    The original 1973 The Exorcist counts a global box office of $441M, making it the highest grossing horror film for a 44-year-long run. The picture was also nominated for ten Oscars, including one for Burstyn, who was nominated for Best Actress. The film also nabbed the honor of being the first horror film ever nominated for Best Picture.

    Sbarge was most recently seen in a recurring role on Starz’s Sean Penn helmed, limited Series, Gaslit. His series regular credits include Once Upon a Time and Murder in the First and he’s had notable recurring roles on Law & Order: True Crime, The Menendez Brothers and Law and Order: SVU. The actor is represented by Main Title and BRS/GAGE.

    Netflix’s ‘Boy Swallows Universe’: Travis Fimmel, Simon Baker & Phoebe Tonkin To Front Aussie Drama From Brouhaha Entertainment, Anonymous Content & Chapter One

    (8/13/22) Netflix’s series adaptation of Australian novel Boy Swallows Universe has unveiled its cast, and first images from the shoot have been released.

    Travis Fimmel (Vikings, Warcraft, Raised by Wolves), Simon Baker (The Mentalist, Breath) and Phoebe Tonkin (Babylon, Kid Snow, Westworld) topline an ensemble cast for the eight-part limited series, which is based on Trent Dalton’s book and is now in production in Brisbane, Australia.

    Deadline first revealed news of the project in May 2019, and Netflix boarded it earlier this year.

    The book, set in the violent working-class suburban fringe of Brisbane in 1983, follows Eli Bell, an articulate 12-year-old boy, and his mute brother Gus. A synopsis for the novel reads: “Eli Bell’s life is complicated. His father is lost, his mother is in jail and his stepdad is a heroin dealer. The most steadfast adult in Eli’s life is Slim — a notorious felon and national record-holder for successful prison escapes — who watches over Eli and August, Eli’s silent genius of an older brother… A story of brotherhood, true love, family, and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe is the tale of an adolescent boy on the cusp of discovering the man he will be.”

    Felix Cameron (Penguin Bloom) will play the young Eli, and Lee Tiger Halley (The Heights, Featherweight) will appear as Gus Bell. Fimmel will play their violent stepfather Lyle Orlik, Baker will be absent father Robert Bell, and Tonkin will play the mother Frances Bell. Bryan Brown (Cocktail, Breaker Morant), Anthony La Paglia (Nitram, Without a Trace) and Sophie Wilde (You Don’t Know Me, The F*ck It Bucket will play other characters central to the boys’ lives, with Christopher James Baker (True Detective, Ozark), HaiHa Le (Hungry Ghost, Back to the Rafters), Deborah Mailman (Total Control, Mystery Road), Ben O’Toole (Hacksaw Ridge, Detroit), Zachary Wan (Never Too Late, The Unlisted), Millie Donaldson and Eloise Rothfield also landing roles.

    John Collee (Master and Commander, Happy Feet, Hotel Mumbai) is adapting the novel for the small screen, with Australia’s Brouhaha Entertainment teaming with Anonymous Content and Chapter One, which counts Anonymous among its investors, to produce.

    Executive producers are Joel Edgerton, Brouhaha’s Troy Lum and Andrew Mason, Sophie Gardiner for Chapter One, Anonymous Content’s Kerry Kohansky-Roberts, and Toby Bentley. Directors are Bharat Nalluri (Spooks, Hustle), Jocelyn Moorhouse (Proof, How to Make an American Quilt) and Kim Mordaunt (The Rocket, Fires). Director of photography is Shelly Farthing-Dawe, production designer is Michelle McGahey, costume designer is Kerry Thompson, hair and makeup designer is Angela Conte and casting director is Nikki Barrett.

    The Queensland government has supported the production through Screen Queensland’s Production Attraction Strategy.

    Denise Dowse, From Insecure and Beverly Hills, 90210, Dead at 64

    (8/13/22) Veteran TV actress Denise Dowse, whose roles spanned from Beverly Hills, 90210 to Insecure, has died after a battle with viral meningitis. She was 64 years old.

    The news was announced by Dowse’s sister Tracey in an Instagram post on Saturday.

    “I want to take this moment to thank our friends and family for all of the love and prayers,” she wrote. “It is with a very heavy heart that I inform everyone that my sister, Denise Dowse, has gone forward to meet our family in eternal life.”

    She continued, “Denise Yvonne Dowse was the most amazing sister, a consummate, illustrious actress, mentor and director. She was my very best friend and final family member. Denise loved all of you. I know that she is watching over us with all the love she has.”

    Dowse was hospitalized in a coma earlier this month after contracting meningitis. Her sister Tracey asked fans for their support in an Aug. 6 Facebook post: “I am requesting support and prayers be offered me and my sister, and my only immediate family Denise Dowse. She is currently in the hospital in a coma brought on by a virulent form of meningitis. Her doctors do not know when she will come out of the coma as it was not medically induced.”

    A frequently seen face on ’90s TV shows like Seinfeld, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and ER, Dowse played West Beverly Hills High vice principal Yvonne Teasley on the Fox primetime soap Beverly Hills, 90210, appearing in two dozen episodes. (She also played a vice principal on NBC’s Saturday morning teen sitcom California Dreams.) She went on to recur on Simon Baker’s CBS legal drama The Guardian as family court judge Rebecca Damsen.

    Ian Ziering, who worked with Dowse on 90210, paid tribute to her on Instagram:

    So heartbreaking to say Denise Dowse has passed away. Throughout all my years working on Beverly Hills 90210, my scenes with Denise will alwars be remembered with the utmost in respect for her talent, and fondness for the loving soul she was. Some of my heartiest off camera laughs were between she and I hammering out the the discipline her Mrs. Teasley would dish out to my Steve Sanders. My sincere condolences to her family, and all others who she was dear to. God bless you Denise, pay forward that Legacy Key A

    More recently, Dowse played Molly’s therapist Dr. Rhonda Pine on HBO’s Insecure, debuting in Season 2 and returning for two more seasons. Her film credits included Ray, Starship Troopers and Pleasantville.

    'Insecure' Star Denise Dowse in Coma After Case of Meningitis

    (8/9/22) Actress Denise Dowse, famous for her roles on "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Insecure" is currently fighting for her life in a coma, TMZ has learned.

    Denise's sister, Tracey, revealed the news late last week, saying, "I am requesting support and prayers be offered me and my sister, and my only immediate family Denise Dowse."

    Tracey continues, "She is currently in the hospital in a coma brought on by a virulent form of meningitis. Her doctors do not know when she will come out of the coma as it was not medically induced."

    It's unclear where Denise is currently hospitalized, but Tracey says her sister should have many years ahead of her, and all thoughts, prayers and support are greatly appreciated.

    Denise played Dr. Rhonda Pyne on "Insecure" from 2017-2020 and has had roles in "Coach Carter" "Grey's Anatomy," "Good Trouble" "The Guardian" and "Rocket Power" throughout the years.

    Many fans will recognize her for her 10 years on "Beverly Hills, 90210" where she played Mrs. Yvonne Teasley.

    We spoke with Tracey Tuesday who said Denise's condition remains the same.

    Wendy Moniz recurs on FBI: Most Wanted 5/24/22

    (5/21/22) “A Man Without a Country” – The team chases an oligarch who goes on a terror spree in New York City in a desperate attempt to escape his impossible situation, on the third season finale of the CBS Original series FBI: MOST WANTED, Tuesday, May 24 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*.

    RECURRING CAST includes: Wendy Moniz (Judge April Brooks), Rebecca Brooksher (Claire Scott), Matt Mercurio (George Kouka).

    Kathleen Chalfant guests on Bull 5/26/22

    (5/5/22) “Goodbye” – Bull and the Trial Analysis Corporation team head to court one last time to finalize a negligent homicide defense that will change the nature of their company and their lives forever, on the series finale of the CBS Original series BULL, Thursday, May 26 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*.

    GUEST CAST includes: Rod McLachlan (Ed Wilson), Eric Stoltz (Matthew Price), Kathleen Chalfant (Judge Steiner).

    Kathleen Chalfant guests on Bull 5/19/22

    (5/5/22) “Silent Killer” – When Bull handles the negligent homicide defense of a building owner accused of killing tenants by carbon monoxide poisoning, the case rocks Bull and the TAC team to their core. Also, TAC’s trial defense is made more difficult when the ADA prosecuting the case is Chunk’s ex-boyfriend, Rob Jones (Erich Bergen), someone very familiar with Bull’s tricks; and Taylor is forced to reevaluate her work-life balance when she gets shocking news about her son, on the CBS Original series BULL, Thursday, May 19 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.*

    GUEST CAST includes: Rod McLachlan (Ed Wilson), Kate Burton (Aurora Clifton), Kathleen Chalfant (Judge Steiner)

    Simon Baker Strikes First-Look Deal With MGM International Television Productions

    (2/14/22) Simon Baker, star of CBS’ The Mentalist, has partnered with MGM International Television Productions.

    The actor and director, who made his directorial debut in 2017 with Breath, an adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel, has struck a multi-year, first-look deal with the production company behind series including Epix’s From and Peacock’s Last Light.

    The deal will see Baker, who also starred in The Devil Wears Prada, develop scripted projects with MGM with an international focus, with an eye for him to director and/or star.

    Other on-screen roles include LA Confidential, Margin Call and CBS’ The Guardian. He recently starred in and exec produced High Ground, directed by Stephen Johnson, and starred in Blaze from Del Kathryn Barton. On the scripted side, MGM is also behind international series such as Amazon’s El Fin del Amor and Shelter, Epix’s Billy the Kid, HBO Max’s Mariachis and France Television’s The Reunion.

    Baker said, “It’s definitely a great time to use the medium to bridge cultures and evolve perspectives on storytelling. I’m excited to put together a talented and creative team to present bold and engaging stories that can enrich, entertain and connect with international audiences. MGM International TV Productions are the perfect partners, I believe together we can grow something very special.”

    Rola Bauer, President of International Television Productions, MGM, added, “Simon Baker is an international star whose creative instincts and expertise as a director, producer and clearly as an actor, puts him in rarefied company. We are thrilled to support his passion to tell global stories with the amazing talent coming out of Australia.”

    Baker is represented by United Management in Australia and CAA in the U.S.

    Raphael Sbarge guests on The Resident 2/22/22

    (2/7/22) When things from Billie’s past begin to come to light, she is the subject of whispers and stares around the hospital and the team struggles to find the best way to support her. With the nurse shortage in full swing, a simple cleaning job turns into a horrific disaster that calls for all hands on deck. Meanwhile, Trevor discovers a shocking secret and Padma has a proposal for Leela in the all-new “Hell in a Handbasket” episode of THE RESIDENT airing Tuesday, Feb. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (RES-514) (TV-14 D, L, V)

    Cast: Matt Czuchry as Conrad Hawkins; Bruce Greenwood as Dr. Randolph Bell; Manish Dayal as Devon Pravesh; Malcolm-Jamal Warner as Dr. AJ Austin; Jane Leeves as Dr. Kit Voss; Morris Chestnut as Dr. Barrett Cain; Jessica Lucas as Billie Sutton; Anuja Joshi as Dr. Leela Devi.

    Guest Cast: Tasso Feldman as Dr. Irving Feldman; Glenn Morshower as Marshall Winthrop; Denitra Isler as Nurse Ellen Hundley; Jessica Miesel as Nurse Jessica Moore; Miles Fowler as Dr. Trevor Daniels; Kaley Ronayne as Dr. Kincaid Sullivan; Aneesha Joshi as Padma Devi; Remington Blaire Evans as Gigi Hawkins; Scott Cohen as Dr. Robert Porter; Mick Szal as Janice Bonner; Raphael Sbarge as Lt. Governor Beaumont; Casey Zeller as Tara; Spence Maughon as James; Danielle Lewis as Ramsey; Judy McDowell as Irene Wharthon; Jeff Campanella as Male Executive; David de Vries as Dr. Abernathy; Leslie France Dr. Dianne Elkins.

    ‘Terror Lake Drive’: Pascale Armand, Yolonda Ross, Charles Malik Whitfield & More To Lead Season 2 Of AllBlk Anthology Series

    (1/6/22) Tony-nominee Pascale Armand (Eclipsed), Yolonda Ross (The Chi), Charles Malik Whitfield (Chicago Med), Denise Boutte (Meet The Browns) and Kendrick Cross (Ambitions) will lead Season 2 of AllBlk’s horror anthology series Terror Lake Drive.

    From creators Jerry LaMothe and Kajuana S. Marie, Terror Lake Drive follows the terrorized tenants of the fictional Freeman Lake Apartments in Atlanta. Season 2, titled Terror Lake Drive: Single Black Female, takes place two years after the chain of events that haunted the Freeman Lake Apartments in the first season. The inaugural installment followed a single mother from Baltimore who relocates to Atlanta in an attempt to escape her troubled past and starred Shannon Kane, Malik Yoba, Donielle T. Hansley Jr., and Lamman Rucker.

    Armand will play Deja, a traveling nurse who has recently completed an assignment in Austin, Texas announces her new assignment at the recently constructed Atlanta University Hospital – much to the dismay of her friends and colleagues. Amid her housing quest, she meets an awkwardly shy and eclectic Doula named Shana (Ross), who happens to be a nursing student at the university and is seeking a roommate – single Black female preferred.

    Oblivious to its checkered past, Deja makes herself at home with Shana at Freeman Lake…unknowingly becoming a target of the latest eerie coincidence to inhabit the troubled community.

    Whitfield will star as Mayor Brown, an Atlanta native tasked with getting his city back on track amidst a string of missing Black women and a crime rate at an all-time high. Boutte plays the role of Deputy Mayor Kenya Sanderson, a single mother of two and rising star within the political circuit who plots to become Mayor Brown’s replacement.

    Cross takes on Dr. Eric Matthews, a director and lead Neuroscientist at Austin Medical’s Behavioral Health Department. A brilliant and passionate physician who takes a liking to Deja, he is determined to pursue a relationship with her despite her impending relocation.

    Terror Lake Drive: Single Black Female is directed by LaMothe, who also serves as executive producer alongside Marie, and Jumaane Ford under LaMothe’s J. LaMothe Entertainment banner. Errol Sadler, Chris Bongirne and Samad Davis serve as producers on the series. The 7-episode second season is slated to premiere in June 2022.

    Charles Malik Whitfield guests on NCIS: Los Angeles 11/21/21

    (10/28/21) “Sundown” – Sam negotiates and Rountree goes undercover, when a man takes a busload of hostages and threatens to blow it up unless his daughter’s war crimes are posthumously cleared, on the CBS Original series NCIS: LOS ANGELES, Sunday, Nov. 21 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

    GUEST CAST includes: Charles Malik Whitfield (Gary DeMayo), Kiff Vanderheuvel (Carl).

    ‘Gaslit’: Patton Oswalt, Erinn Hayes, Patrick Walker, Raphael Sbarge Among 14 Cast In Starz’s Watergate Drama

    (10/15/21) Patton Oswalt (A.P. Bio), Nat Faxon (The Way Way Back), Erinn Hayes (Childrens Hospital), Patrick Walker (The Resident), Carlos Valdes (The Flash) and Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon a Time) are set for heavily recurring roles opposite Julia Roberts and Sean Penn in Starz’s Watergate drama Gaslit. Also joining in recurring roles are Anne Dudek (House), Chris Conner (Altered Carbon), Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker), Nelson Franklin (Veep), Reed Diamond (Moneyball), Johnny Berchtold (The Wilds), Adam Ray (The Heat) and Billy Smith (Sully).

    Based on the first season of the Slate podcast Slow Burn, Gaslit is a modern take on Watergate that focuses on the untold stories and forgotten characters of the scandal – from Nixon’s bumbling, opportunistic subordinates to the deranged zealots aiding and abetting their crimes to the tragic whistleblowers who would eventually bring the whole rotten enterprise crashing down.

    The story will center on Martha Mitchell (Roberts). A big personality with an even bigger mouth, Martha is a celebrity Arkansan socialite and wife to Nixon’s loyal Attorney General, John Mitchell (Penn). Despite her party affiliation, she’s the first person to publicly sound the alarm on Nixon’s involvement in Watergate, causing both the presidency and her personal life to unravel. As attorney general, Mitchell is Nixon’s most trusted adviser and best friend. Temperamental, foulmouthed and ruthless – yet hopelessly in love with his famously outspoken wife – he’ll be forced to choose between Martha and the president.

    Oswalt will play Chuck Colson, a close advisor to Nixon who served as Special Counsel to the President and played a role in the Watergate cover-up.

    Faxon will portray Bob Haldeman, White House Chief of Staff to President Nixon. With John Ehrlichman, he operated as the “Berlin Wall” standing between Nixon and the rest of the administration.

    Hayes is Peggy Ebbitt, a friend of the Mitchells from the early days of their marriage.

    Walker will play Frank Wills, the security guard at the Watergate who is the first to find evidence of the break-in, raising the alarm on one of the biggest political scandals in American history and altering the course of his own life.

    Valdes will portray Paul Magallanes, one of the FBI Agents assigned to the Watergate case. He and his partner, Angelo Lano (Chris Messina), come up against the full force of the White House as they investigate the events of June 1972.

    Sbarge is Charles N. Shaffer, attorney to John Dean (Dan Stevens) during his testimony to the Senate Watergate Committee.

    Dudek will portray Diana Oweiss, secretary to Attorney General John Mitchell (Penn).

    Conner will play John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s right-hand man and, with Bob Haldeman, the “Berlin Wall” protecting the President from accountability and enacting his every whim.

    Geraghty is Peter, a security guard hired by John Mitchell to protect the Mitchell family, who plays a direct role in a traumatic experience which changes Martha Mitchell’s (Roberts) life.

    Franklin will play Dick Moore, White House Special Counsel and John Dean’s right-hand man, getting in over his head in both the Watergate cover-up and the ‘72 Republican National Convention.

    Diamond will portray Mark Felt, Associate Director of the FBI under L. Patrick Gray, who leaked information from the FBI to the Washington Post as Deep Throat.

    Berchtold is Jay Jennings, son of Martha Mitchell (Julia Roberts). A Vietnam veteran, Jay is the reason Martha bucks the Nixon party by objecting to the Vietnam War.

    Ray will play Ron Ziegler, Nixon’s White House Press Secretary, tasked with fielding questions about Martha Mitchell (Julia Roberts) and the Watergate scandal.

    Smith will portray Ken Ebbitt, an old friend of John Mitchell (Penn) and the one who first introduces Mitchell to Martha (Roberts).

    The series is created and executive produced by Robbie Pickering (Mr. Robot, Search Party). Matt Ross (Captain Fantastic) will direct and executive produce.

    Along with Pickering, Matt Ross (Captain Fantastic, 28 Hotel Rooms) will direct and executive produce, and Sam Esmail (Homecoming, Mr. Robot), via his overall deal with UCP, and Chad Hamilton (Mr. Robot, Homecoming) serve as executive producers under their production banner Esmail Corp. Roberts will executive produce under her banner Red Om Films along with co-executive producers Lisa Gillan and Marisa Yeres Gill. Anonymous Content and Slate’s Gabriel Roth and Josh Levin will also executive produce. Leon Neyfakh, who created the podcast, will consult on the project. Gaslit is produced by UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group, for Starz.

    Raphael Sbarge guests on CSI: Vegas

    (10/12/21) “Long Pig” – The CSI team investigates when a body is dug up in the luau pit of a Hawaiian-themed hotel. Also, Internal Affairs begins to question Grissom and Sara’s return to the crime lab, on the CBS Original series CSI: VEGAS, Wednesday, Oct. 27 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

    GUEST CAST includes: Tripp Pickell (Captain Wilson), Sean James (Detective Will Carson), Raphael Sbarge (Scott Jackson)

    Karen Robinson, Joe Regalbuto Among Five Cast In CW Pilot From Jennie Snyder Urman

    (3/17/21) Karen Robinson (Schitt’s Creek), Joe Regalbuto (Murphy Brown), Kathleen Chalfant (The Affair), Maxwell Whittington-Cooper (Human Capital) and Abubakr Ali (Power Book II: Ghost) are set as series regulars opposite Caitlin Kinnunen and Bella Ortiz in the CW’s untitled drama pilot executive produced by Jennie Snyder Urman.

    Written by Claire Rothrock and Ryann Weir and directed by Tessa Blake, the Untitled Urman/Rothrock/Weir Project centers on two millennial nuns – a devout true believer (Kinnunen), and a new arrival (Ortiz) who has yet to take her final vows – who start as strangers and become sisters on a funny, spiritual journey to understand their own faith and place in the Catholic church.

    Robinson will play Sister Mary Annette Shiloh (“Smash”), the loving, defacto head-nun-in-charge, slyly trying to slingshot the Church into the 21st Century by mentoring the next generation.

    Regalbuto is Father Quinn, the power of the Church personified. A charming, political, old-school priest who believes that nothing and no-one can ruffle his feathers, especially not one of the sisters.

    Chalfant portrays Sister Joyce, the elder-states-nun with a heart of gold and a belly full of brandy. From the breakneck pace of her mobility scooter, she’s raisin’ hell and out of damns to give.

    Whittington-Cooper is Laurie, a musical prodigy and the parish choir director, trying to spread a radical message of love, compassion and joy.

    Ali plays Rahim, the sensitive heartthrob whose wit and charm are matched only by Sr. Maggie, who he will try and tempt into a tricky grey-area.

    Rothrock and Weir executive produce with Urman and Joanna Klein via Urman’s Sutton St. Productions for CBS Studios where the company is based.

    Robinson is known for her role as Ronnie Lee in the hit comedy series Schitt’s Creek, which swept the 2020 Emmy TV comedy categories and just won a Golden Globe for Best TV Series – Musical or Comedy. Robinson next will be seen recurring in the upcoming Netflix series Tiny Pretty Things. She is currently shooting recurring roles on Titans for Netflix, A Million Little Things for ABC, and a series regular role on the CBC buddy cop comedy Pretty Hard Cases. Robinson is repped by OAZ and Innovative Artists.

    Regalbuto portrayed Frank Fontana on the original Murphy Brown series and most recently reprised his role on the revival, for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award. He also guest-starred in dozens of series including Curb Your Enthusiasm, Castle and Major Crimes. He also has amassed more than 150 directing credits on top-rated comedy series, including Murphy Brown, George Lopez, Hot in Cleveland and Friends, among others. Regalbuto is repped by Worldwide Artists Group & The Michael Abrams Group.

    Chalfant’s numerous television credits include The Affair, The Strain, The Americans, House of Cards and Rescue Me. On the film side she can be seen in Isn’t it Delicious?, R.I.P.D., The Bath, In Bed With Ulysses, Lillian, Duplicity, The People Speak, Lackawanna Blues, among others. She was nominated for the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for her role in Angels in America on Broadway and received the 2018 Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement. Chalfant is repped by DGRW and AMT Artists.

    Whittington-Cooper can be seen in the Maven Pictures feature Human Capital with Marisa Tomei and Liev Schreiber, as well as Universal’s The Photograph, with Issa Rae. He’s also appeared on Mrs. Fletcher for HBO, Godfather of Harlem for Epix and Ava DuVernay’s award winning miniseries When They See Us for Netflix. Maxwell is repped by A3 Artists Agency and Authentic Talent & Literary Management.

    Ali recurs on the Starz series Power Book II: Ghost and also recurred on the CW’s, Katy Keene. Other credits include CBS’ Tommy and Apple TV+’s Little Voice. Ali graduated from the Yale School of Drama in 2019. He’s repped by APA and Authentic Talent and Literary Management.

    ‘Mentalist’ star Simon Baker calls it quits with wife Rebecca Rigg after 22-year marriage

    (1/30/21) All good things must come to an end, even Hollywood marriages.

    Simon Baker, the star of the CBS hit drama “The Mentalist” for seven seasons, has officially split from his actress wife, Rebecca Rigg, reported People on Friday.

    The pair reportedly separated last April.

    The ruggedly handsome Baker, 51, and Rigg, who had been reportedly together for 29 years, have three children: two sons, 22-year-old Claude and Harry, 19, and 27-year-old daughter, Stella.

    “We remain close friends and our three children will always be the most important focus of our lives,” said Baker and Riggs in a dual statement, as reported by People.

    The 53-year-old actress and Baker worked together in 1992 on the short-lived Australian soap opera “E Street,” which went off the air in 1993.

    Baker previously discussed his union with Rigg to People in discussing why they weren’t keen on celebrating wedding anniversaries.

    “We’ve never really been big on it. Anniversaries, they’re an odd thing, aren’t they?” explained Baker in 2018. “I think we put too much pressure on it. It’s not like that with us. We’re a team. Most of the time, 99% of the time, we’re really great friends. So I don’t need to mark it with great things.”

    Baker has kept a relatively low profile since “The Mentalist” concluded its run in 2015. Among his most memorable film roles are “The Devil Wears Prada,” in which he played Anne Hathaway’s love interest, and the 2011 Oscar-nominated business thriller “Margin Call.”

    Rigg is best known for her recurring role on the late 1990s medical drama “L.A. Doctors.”

    Frank Grillo and Actress Wendy Moniz Divorce After 19 Years of Marriage

    (3/6/20) ( Frank Grillo and Wendy Moniz are calling it quits after nearly two decades of marriage, PEOPLE confirms.

    Court documents obtained by PEOPLE list their date of separation as February 21.

    Moniz is asking for joint legal and physical custody of their two minor children — Rio Joseph, 10 and Liam, 15. The two also shared Remy, 23, who is from Grillo’s previous marriage to Kathy Grillo.

    The couple, who met on the set of the soap opera Guiding Light in the late 1990s, were married on October 28, 2000.

    A rep for Grillo has not commented.

    According to the LA Times, the pair recently bought a four-bedroom home together in California’s Pacific Palisades in 2017.

    Moniz is best known for her work on The Guardian, where she appeared from 2001 to 2004, and on Guiding Light from 1995 to 1999.

    She later earned acting credits on Nash Bridges and Damages.

    Grillo, best known for his work in the Captain America and Purge franchises, along with the TV series Kingdom and Fight World, will next be seen in Showtime’s Billions and the films Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard and Boss Level.

    Tyler Perry's If Loving You Is Wrong to End With Season 5; Final Episodes Begin in March — Watch Trailer

    (2/5/20) (Video) There goes the neighborhood! The upcoming fifth season of Tyler Perry’s If Loving You Is Wrong will also be its last, OWN announced Wednesday. The drama will return for its final season on Tuesday, March 10 (10/9c).

    According to a release from OWN, “the much-anticipated final season promises to be explosive and sexier than ever before while revealing some long-awaited answers to viewers’ burning questions. Life-changing catastrophes will leave the town reeling and changed forever.”

    “We are grateful to Tyler Perry and the talented cast and crew for giving us five incredibly entertaining seasons,” OWN President Tina Perry said in a statement. “We can’t wait for fans to see the jaw-dropping storylines that are going to unfold this season. It delivers all the juicy drama like only Tyler Perry can.”

    If Loving You Is Wrong, which premiered back in Sept. 2014, stars April Parker-Jones, Amanda Clayton, Edwina Findley Dickerson, Zulay Henao and Heather Hemmens as a group of friends (and occasional frenemies) looking for love. The show also stars Charles Malik Whitfield, Eltony Williams, Joel Rush and Aiden Turner.

    ‘Yellowstone’: Dabney Coleman To Guest Star As Kevin Costner’s Father In Season 2 Finale

    (8/23/19) (Photo1) John Dutton (Kevin Costner) will be getting a visit from his father on Yellowstone. Prolific character actor Dabney Coleman will appear in a flashback scene in next week’s season 2 finale of Paramount Network’s flagship drama series. See photos above and below.

    Coleman will portray John Dutton Sr. in the episode titled “Sins of the Father.” The network can’t confirm if the character will appear in additional episodes in season 3 and the storyline is under wraps.

    Co-created by Taylor Sheridan and John Linson, Yellowstone follows the Dutton family, led by John Dutton (Costner), who controls the largest contiguous ranch in the United States, under constant attack by those it borders – land developers, an Indian reservation, and America’s first National Park.

    Yellowstone continues its strong ratings run in season 2, averaging five million viewers per episode, as cable’s most-watched summer series, and is up double digits across all key demos compared to season one to-date averages.

    Yellowstone is co-produced by 101 Studios. Executive producers are John Linson, Art Linson, Taylor Sheridan, Kevin Costner, David C. Glasser and Bob Yari.

    Coleman, best known for his roles in features The Towering Inferno, 9 to 5, and On Golden Pond among others, most recently appeared in guest roles on For The People, NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Ray Donovan. He’s also known for his role as Commodore Louis Kaestner on Boardwalk Empire. (Photo2)

    For the People: One Big Happy Family (4/4)

    (3/19/19) “One Big Happy Family” – Sandra urges Kate to take on a case against a very powerful and well-respected judge who is accused of wrongfully sentencing young children for profit. When Judge Bryne is asked to testify in the case, he questions his role in the rigid justice system and must make a very difficult decision. Elsewhere, Seth temporarily moves in with Jay until a leak in his apartment is fixed on “For the People,” THURSDAY, APRIL 4 (10:00–11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network, streaming and on demand.

    “For The People” stars Britt Robertson as Sandra Bell, Jasmin Savoy Brown as Allison Adams, Ben Rappaport as Seth Oliver, Susannah Flood as Kate Littlejohn, Wesam Keesh as Jay Simmons, Regé-Jean Page as Leonard Knox, Ben Shenkman as Roger Gunn, Hope Davis as Jill Carlan, Charles Michael Davis as Ted, Vondie Curtis-Hall as Judge Nicholas Byrne and Anna Deavere Smith as Tina Krissman.

    Guest starring is Dabney Coleman as Donald.

    Raphael Sbarge on NCIS New Orleans 2/12/19

    (2/2/19) “X” – NCIS investigates the disappearance of a Navy entomologist after a deadly shooting at a research lab. Nero (LeVar Burton), with Naval Intelligence, joins the investigation when the team discovers a rare and deadly virus was also stolen, on NCIS: NEW ORLEANS, Tuesday, Feb. 12 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

    GUEST CAST includes: Julee Cerda (LT Ford), LeVar Burton (Nero), Raphael Sbarge (Grassley).

    Dabney Coleman on NCIS 1/15/18

    (1/5/18) “The Last Link” – An old family friend, Army Corporal John Sydney (Dabney Coleman), beseeches Gibbs to join him on a road trip to search for a missing military I.D. bracelet. Also, a Navy Lieutenant in NCIS protective custody is poisoned by an infamous drug dealer, on NCIS Tuesday, Jan. 15 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

    Dabney Coleman in the dark about potential ‘9 to 5’ remake

    (10/31/18) Original “9 to 5” star Dabney Coleman said that so far he’s in the dark about any remake of the 1980 comedy.

    Deadline reported earlier this year that Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin could return in a new version of the film with comedy writer and actress Rashida Jones potentially updating it for a younger audience in the #MeToo era.

    But Coleman — who played the chauvinist boss Franklin Hart Jr. — told us of the project that was reported to be in the very early stages of development, “I have no idea about that.”

    Coleman — whom pals describe as genteel off-screen despite being cast as comic baddies in classic films such as “Tootsie” — is instead currently focusing on producing his first movie, “Someday Sometime,” with Chris Noth and Noel Ashman.

    Coleman will also star along with Noth, and he joked to us of the “Sex and the City” star, “Reluctantly, I’ll say he is one of the finest actors around.”

    The music-filled “popcorn film” from writer-director Charles Kipps is currently casting.

    It follows college sweethearts, one of whom is a singer whose career stalled after one hit, who get another chance 20 years later.

    Kipps says he’s written a “great role for a mid-40s actress.”

    Simon Baker feels directorial debut challenges ‘traditional notions of masculinity’

    (5/26/18) Simon Baker says the women’s empowerment movement has led to the the realization that men need “to grow.”

    “That’s one of the obvious fantastic byproducts of [the movement] is that men are being forced now to have to grow and develop,” he told Page Six at a screening of his directorial debut, “Breath,” on Thursday night. “The notion of ‘toxic masculinity’ [is] being handed down through generations … now is the time that people need to understand that becoming who you are doesn’t mean you have to conform to a prescribed identity.”

    Hugh Jackman and his wife, Deborra-lee Furness, hosted the screening of the 48-year-old Baker’s film, a coming-of-age story about two boys in Australia, based on the 2008 novel of the same name by Tom Winton. Baker also stars in the film.

    “This film is in a lot of ways representative of a period that I’m hoping is ending, which is about prescribed identity,” the actor-turned-director said, adding, “the traditional notions of masculinity should be dissolved and rethought.”

    Also known for his roles in “The Mentalist” and “The Devil Wears Prada” — which Baker was appropriately dressed in for the night — said he could relate to the book, having also grown up in Australia and struggled with conforming to gender norms.

    “For me there’s a lot of times where I was a young man [and] I felt like I failed to comply to what was accepted as masculine and there’s a heartbreak to that and I think it should be a strength,” he explained.

    As for his relationship with the “Greatest Showman” star and fellow Aussie, Jackman, Baker is grateful to have a friend who supports his venture into directing.

    “He is involved in massive blockbuster films,” he said of Jackman, whom he knew before he came to the States. “Small independent films like this need every chance they can get and I’m eternally grateful to him [for wanting] to help to get it out there, its just a really nice gesture.”

    Jackman. who was dressed casually in jeans and a white button-down shirt, was seen purchasing a Coke and a root beer from the theater’s concession before heading into the screening.

    MacGyver 4/13/18

    (3/26/18) “Skyscraper - Power” – Mac and Jack attempt to rescue a billionaire’s son after he is kidnapped by a former Navy SEAL who uses an EMP weapon to cut off power and communication lines to the Shanghai skyscraper where the boy lives, on MACGYVER, Friday, April 13 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Ed Asner and Piper Laurie guest star as a couple on a private jet commandeered by Mac and Jack to fly to Shanghai.

    GUEST CAST includes: Edward Asner (Saul), Raphael Sbarge (Ralph Jericho).

    Blue Bloods 2/2/18

    (1/12/18) “School of Hard Knocks” – When a student is shot by a rival gang member in his high school courtyard, Danny and Baez try to get a grasp on the situation to prevent a reoccurrence, but the principal, Darryl Ward (Ernie Hudson), recklessly takes matters into his own hands. Also, Erin tries to help her friend, Mickey (Raphael Sbarge), who is mixed up in an illegal gambling ring, and Governor Mendez (David Zayas) tries to frame Frank after one of his top legislative aides is shot by an NYPD officer, on BLUE BLOODS, Friday, Feb. 2 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

    GUEST CAST: Tamara Tunie (Monica Graham), David Zayas (Governor Martin Mendez), Ernie Hudson (Darryl Ward), Raphael Sbarge (Mickey Tate).

    2017 AACTA Awards Winners

    (12/6/17) (The second installment of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts AACTA Awards)


    Charles Malik Whitfield on Blue Bloods

    (11/7/17) “Pick Your Poison” – Eddie’s judgment is clouded by her past when she arrests a loathed acquaintance from college on questionable charges. Also, Frank is hesitant to mar the spotless record of a member of the force, a decorated U.S. military veteran, who tested positive for marijuana, on BLUE BLOODS, Friday, Nov. 17 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

    GUEST CAST: Charles Malik Whitfield (Deputy Chief Devin Jones), Peter Mark Kendall (Kyle Wentworth), Anthony ‘Treach’ Criss (Tyrell Green).

    Simon Baker On Making His Feature Directing Debut With Surf Drama ‘Breath’ – Toronto Studio

    (9/16/17) (Video) A 20-year movie career aside, Simon Baker is perhaps most familiar to American audiences from CBS’s The Mentalist as Patrick Jane, consultant to the California Bureau of Investigation crime-fighting unit. His directing debut, however, takes him back to his roots as a kid in New South Wales. An adaptation of Australian novelist Tim Winton’s 1970s-set 2008 novel of the same name, Breath stars newcomers Samson Coulter and Ben Spence as Pikelet and Loonie, two chalk-and-cheese teenagers who form a surprising bond with reclusive surfing legend Bill “Sando” Sanderson (Baker) and his bohemian wife (Elizabeth Debicki).

    Sitting down to talk at the Deadline studio, Baker enthused about having the chance to combine two of his passions: filmmaking and surfing. “Having been someone that has surfed since a very young age,” he said, “and [as] someone that’s worked in the industry from my early 20s, they’re the two things that I’ve done most of my life. So it was a nice melding of the two.” Although the story is mostly Winton’s work, Baker noted that his decision to direct stemmed from his desire to see it treated with respect. “Certain aspects really resonated for me,” he said, “because they were so similar to characters that I had grown up around, in an environment I was familiar with. I was close enough to that sort of material, and that story personally, that I didn’t want to see it handled poorly.” Mulling over the themes of Winton’s book, Baker noted that the themes he carried over into the film involved issues of identity, while not glossing over the pressures and stresses of masculinity that exist within the surfing world. “I think this movie is a lot about empathy,” he said.

    Baker has more to say in the video above.

    ‘Yellowstone’: Dave Annable, Gil Birmingham Set As Leads, Wendy Moniz To Recur In Paramount Network Series

    Brothers & Sisters alum Dave Annable, Gil Birmingham (Hell or High Water) are set as leads, and Wendy Moniz (House of Cards) will recur in Yellowstone, the first original scripted series greenlighted by the new Paramount Network. The straight-to-series period drama starring Kevin Costner is from Oscar-nominated writer/executive producer Taylor Sheridan (Hell Or High Water, Sicario).

    Yellowstone, from the Weinstein Company, follows the Dutton family, led by John Dutton (Costner), who controls the largest contiguous ranch in the United States, under constant attack by those it borders — land developers, an Indian reservation, and America’s first National Park. It is an intense study of a violent world far from media scrutiny — where land grabs make developers billions, and politicians are bought and sold by the world’s largest oil and lumber corporations. Cast also includes previously announced Kelsey Asbille, Wes Bentley, Luke Grimes, Cole Hauser and Kelly Reilly.

    Annable will play John Dutton’s oldest son Lee, a cowboy, who serves as his father’s right-hand man in running the ranch. Birmingham will portray Thomas Rainwater, a steely and proud Chief of an Indian Nation challenging the Dutton family. Moniz will play Montana Governor Lynelle Perry, who’s convinced John Dutton’s (Costner) son, Jamie Dutton (Bentley) is a natural for the political life.

    Annable, known for his lead role as Justin Walker on all five seasons of Brothers & Sisters, will next be seen in two lead roles, in action film Armed Response opposite Wesley Snipes and in Discovery’s Final Vision opposite Scott Foley. He’s repped by UTA and manager Sue Leibman/Barking Dog Entertainment.

    Birmingham co-starred in Sheridan’s critically praised film Hell or High Water and recently reunited for the upcoming release, Wind River. On TV, he currently recurs on Netflix’s The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Birmingham is repped by Amsel, Eisenstadt, Frazier & Hinojosa.

    Moniz can currently be seen on House of Cards in her second season playing widow Laura Moretti. Her other recent credits include recurring roles on Kingdom for DirecTV and Pure Genius for CBS, as well as the upcoming movie Wheelman for Netflix. She’s repped by Sanders Armstrong Caserta Management and Don Buchwald & Associates.

    Yellowstone begins production this month in Utah for premiere on Paramount Network in 2018.

    Wendy Moniz Recurs on Pure Genius 12/8

    “A Bunker Hill Christmas” – When a young leukemia patient comes to Bunker Hill in need of a miracle, James hopes a new t-cell cancer treatment will save her life, as her optimism inspires him to become a better person. Also, Malik and Zoe agree to go on a date just as James confesses his feelings to her, and Julianna’s Christmas visit with Walter uncovers the strain in their long-distance marriage, on PURE GENIUS, Thursday, Dec. 8 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Musician Phillip Phillips guest stars as himself.

    RECURRING CAST: Wendy Moniz (Julianna Wallace).

    Wendy Moniz & Doug Savant on Pure Genius

    “It’s Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider Silk Surgery” – When a young boy’s legs are crushed after being pinned by a car, Malik is determined to use a revolutionary procedure using spider silk to save his limbs, while Zoe lobbies in favor of the safer route of amputation. Also, James, Walter and Talaikha care for Amelia (Laura Seay), a young woman in dire need of a liver transplant, but they’re puzzled by her resistance when they tell her the donor is her estranged father, Simon (Doug Savant), on PURE GENIUS, Thursday, Nov. 3 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

    RECURRING CAST: Wendy Moniz (Julianna Wallace).

    GUEST CAST inlcudes: Michael Johnston (Luke Wallace), Doug Savant (Simon Monroe).

    Wendy Moniz on Pure Genius

    “Pilot” – Silicon Valley tech titan James Bell enlists Dr. Walter Wallace, an exceptional veteran surgeon with a controversial past, to run his state-of-the-art hospital with an ultramodern approach to medicine, on the series premiere of the new drama PURE GENIUS, Thursday, Oct. 27 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Dermot Mulroney, Augustus Prew, Odette Annable, Reshma Shetty, Aaron Jennings, Ward Horton and Brenda Song star.

    Billionaire genius James Bell built Bunker Hill Hospital determined to revolutionize health care and treat the rarest and most challenging medical mysteries, at no charge. Previously, his chief of staff, Dr. Wallace, believed medicine was a human endeavor, not technological, until a eureka moment at the hospital convinced him otherwise. Bell’s team of trailblazers includes Dr. Zoe Brockett, an exceptional, fearlessly frank physician; Dr. Talaikha Channarayapatra, an idealistic, maddeningly literal neurosurgeon who believes the hospital is a beacon for change; Dr. Malik Verlaine, a former gangbanger now spearheading efforts to provide 24/7 health monitoring in poor neighborhoods via computer; Dr. Scott Strauss, an intense neurologist with an Ivy league pedigree; and Angie Cheng, an enthusiastic 3-D printer programming whiz. At Bunker Hill, Bell pairs the most brilliant minds in medicine with the most forward thinkers in technology and cuts bureaucracy out of the equation, all in the interest of saving lives, including his own.

    RECURRING CAST: Wendy Moniz (Julianna Wallace).

    GUEST CAST Includes: Guilford Adams (Will), J. Rene Pena (Administrator), Matthew John Armstrong (Paul Byer).

    WRITTEN BY: Jason Katims, one of the series’ executive producers, and Sarah Watson.

    DIRECTED BY: David Semel.

    Once Upon a Time's Archie Hopper to Return — But Who Is His Patient?

    After being MIA for nearly two full seasons, Storybrooke’s resident shrink is taking appointments again.

    TVLine has learned exclusively that Once Upon a Time original cast member Raphael Sbarge is set to reprise his role as Jiminy Cricket’s human alter ego, Dr. Archie Hopper, in the ABC drama’s Season 6 premiere — “and our favorite cricket-shrink is going to find himself with a new patient,” says series co-creator Adam Horowitz.

    Archie was last seen in the early Season 4 episode “Rocky Road,” as the Frozen storyline was getting underway. Since going on recurring status with Once, Sbarge has played SFPD homicide inspector David Molk on TNT’s Murder in the First and guested on such series as Hawaii Five-0, iZombie, NCIS: Los Angeles and Better Call Saul.

    Once Upon a Time returns on Sunday, Sept. 25, with its first season in a while to move away from the 11-episode storyline arcs.

    Kingdom: Wendy Moniz Cast as Love Interest for Real-Life Hubby Frank Grillo

    Dinah and Hart, reunited!

    To the six of you who understood that reference, congratulations. To everyone else, listen up: Kingdom is staging a Guiding Light reunion!

    Wendy Moniz, recently seen in House of Cards Season 4, is joining DirecTV’s MMA drama as a major new love interest for her onetime GL squeeze (and current real-life husband) Frank Grillo, TVLine has learned exclusively.

    Moniz will appear in multiple episodes as Roxanne Dunn, a smart, stylish and tough attorney who can stand toe-to-toe with Grillo’s Alvey. She’ll first appear during Season 2B, which kicks off Wednesday, June 1 at 9/8c on DirecTV’s Audience Network.

    This marks the couple’s first significant onscreen pairing since their late-’90s Guiding Light collaboration (they also previously co-starred together in the short-lived NBC drama Battery Park).

    Vineyard Theatre to honor Kathleen Chalfant and Sam Rudy

    The Vineyard Theatre will next year honor both a Tony Award-nominee who has graced its stage and a man who gets the word out about the powerhouse off-Broadway company's shows.

    Actress Kathleen Chalfant and press agent Sam Rudy will be celebrated at the Vineyard's March 14 fundraiser gala at Edison Ballroom. Individual tickets start at $1,000 and tables start at $10,000.

    Chalfant, who earned a Tony nod in "Angels in America," made her Vineyard debut in 1983 in Brian Friel's "Faith Healer" and has appeared there in "The Party," ''True History and Real Adventures" and "Somewhere Fun." She has served on the theater company's board for 20 years and is its newly elected president.

    "Kathleen Chalfant is one of those rare artists whose extraordinary gifts as an actress are matched by her remarkable humanity and service to the community," Douglas Aibel, co-artistic director of the Vineyard, said in a statement.

    Rudy has spent 35 years as a publicist for Broadway and off-Broadway shows, 25 of them representing the Vineyard, including the groundbreaking shows "Three Tall Women," ''The Scottsboro Boys" and "How I Learned to Drive." He is the press agent for the Broadway smash "Hamilton" and also represents Cherry Lane Theatre, La MaMa and Ma-Yi Theater Company.

    "Sam Rudy has been a vital part of Vineyard Theatre for 25 years. He is what we call a good old-fashioned press agent, a true gentleman of the theater. Sam is respected in the New York theatre community because of his work and his smarts, but he is beloved because of his heart," Vineyard Executive Producer Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell said in a statement.

    ‘Class Rank’ Rounds Out Cast

    SSS Entertainment and Single Cell Pictures’s Class Rank has rounded out its cast, with Bruce Dern and Kristin Chenoweth joining the indie comedy about two teenagers and two grandparents whose worlds are upended when love walks in the door.

    Directed by Eric Stoltz and written by Ben August, the film follows teenagers Bernard, who lives with his quirky grandfather Oswald, and Veronica, a type-A personality with Ivy League aspirations who aims to step out from under her TV Producer-mother’s shadow. When Veronica approaches Bernard to run for the Board of Education, he sees it as a chance to reform the local school system to enable him to better care for his grandfather. Veronica meanwhile schemes to eliminate the class-ranking system to better her chances of getting into Yale. While wooing the local paper’s Editor in Chief for an endorsement, Bernard sees her as a potential partner for his grandfather. As Bernard and Veronica’s campaign progresses, the two discover the meaning of love and the importance of helping others.

    Joining the previously announced Olivia Holt as Veronica, Skyler Gisondo has been cast as Bernard, with two-time Oscar nominee Bruce Dern as Oswald, Emmy and Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth as Janet, Veronica’s mother, and Kathleen Chalfant as the local Editor in Chief. Also appearing in the film are Nick Krause and Peter Maloney in smaller roles.

    SSS Entertainment’s Shaun Sanghani is producing alongside Sandy Stern of Single Cell, with August, Lee Broda, Jordan Yale Levine and Scott Levenson executive producing. Benjamin Bickham and Aimee Pestoni are co-producing. Class Rank began production this week in Alexandria, Louisiana. Shaun Sanghani and SSS Entertainment recently wrapped King Cobra, starring James Franco and Christian Slater.

    Chenoweth is repped by Untitled and ICM, Dern, who next will be seen in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, by Alan Somers and Innovative, and Gisondo by Paradigm and Untitled.

    Simon Baker Trades His 'Mentalist' Cap For That Of Film Director With 'Breath'

    (Video) He may not be psychically solving crimes on CBS’ The Mentalist any more, but Simon Baker is going to the next level of his career with his feature directorial Breath, in which he will direct and star. The film is based on the dramatic thriller novel by Tom Winston and follows the lives of two teenage thrill-seeking boys and their unlikely bond with reclusive older surfer and his enigmatic wife. Baker will play the elder wave runner, Sando. Baker quickly took to the book when it was sent his way by producer Mark Johnson; transporting him back to his youth as a surfer. Baker has been on the Croisette before, but as an actor promoting films. However, his first time at the market was a rather different experience. As he says in our DeadlineNow video, he’s more in his skin talking to a grip on a film set, then at the auctioneer block under the Palais. Screen Australia is funding Breath. Arclight Films is handling sales. Production begins this fall.

    'The Mentalist's' final season will deliver on Jane and Lisbon's happy ending

    Season 6 of "The Mentalist" essentially gave its characters -- and fans -- the happy ending they've been wanting for some time.

    With its renewal status uncertain, the show went all in, giving Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) his revenge on Red John early in the season. After a reset that put him and Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) in the employ of the FBI, the season concluded with the two characters finally allowing themselves to start a romantic relationship.

    CBS, however, decided on a seventh and final season, which starts Sunday (Nov. 30) and which creator Bruno Heller calls both a "final statement" and an "encore," meaning fans will get to see what they love about the show and the Jane-Lisbon relationship before it definitively wraps in February.

    "Essentially this season is about what happens when life turns out the way you had hoped it would," Heller says on a conference call with reporters. "What happens when you do have a happy ending, what happens after that? Jane and Lisbon have been engaged in this epic journey for six years, trying to capture Red John ... and now that they've done that, how do you live again after that? How do you re-create a different kind of life?

    He continues, "Leading on from the end of Season 6, how do you create a different relationship out of the relationship that was born in the kind of trauma that theirs was, so it is that story. It is also in a larger sense -- it is an encore. It is a last hurrah for the show, and we wanted to give the fans as strong a season of 'The Mentalist' as we could."

    Of course, it seems nothing is ever truly gone from TV lately, with the proliferation of new services like Netflix and Amazon that are reviving beloved shows as their own original content. But while Heller, Baker and Tunney all seem to have a "never say never" attitude, they also all clearly think it's the right time to end the series.

    "I think that the show this year is really strong, and it is wonderful to be able to get out without feeling tired," Tunney says. "And we have a whole season where we know we are not going to have to follow it up. So even thinking it might come back, [that] we are leaving a door open, seems like it would be inauthentic."

    Heller -- who's also running FOX's "Gotham" this season -- does say he's grateful there's still enough interest in the show to even warrant the question of continuing it.

    "It is a testament to what these two guys have done and the characters they've created that they still have a life," he says. "These are still living, breathing characters that people are interested and they want to keep looking at. I mean, you wouldn't be asking that question if there wasn't still a certain appetite to keep these characters alive. But ... a breath needs to be taken."

    "The Mentalist" premieres at 9:30 p.m. ET/CT (pending delays for late-afternoon NFL games) and 9 p.m. PT Sunday, Nov. 30 on CBS.

    2015 People's Choice Awards: TV Nominees

    Mom stars Allison Janney and Anna Faris will host the live awards ceremony, which will air on CBS on Wednesday, Jan. 7, at 9/8c.

    Favorite Crime Drama TV Actor
    David Boreanaz
    Kevin Bacon
    Nathan Fillion
    Shemar Moore
    Simon Baker


    As part of a year-round strategy of more original programming and fewer repeats, CBS announced today the season premiere dates of THE MENTALIST and UNDERCOVER BOSS. Both programs will bridge the time periods between the fall finales and the spring premieres of SURVIVOR and THE AMAZING RACE.

    The seventh and final season of THE MENTALIST will premiere Sunday, Nov. 30 (9:30-10:30 PM, ET/9:00-10:00 PM, PT*), where it will air new episodes for five weeks through December. When THE GOOD WIFE returns on Sunday, Jan. 4 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT), THE MENTALIST will shift to its regular Wednesday (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) time slot on Jan. 7. The series will conclude with a special two-hour finale on Wednesday, Feb. 18 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT). MADAM SECRETARY will also return Sunday, Jan. 4 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT).

    The sixth season of UNDERCOVER BOSS will begin with three special Sunday broadcasts, Dec. 14 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT), and Dec. 21 and 28 (8:30-9:30 PM, ET/8:00-9:00 PM, PT*). On Jan. 2, it will move to its regular Friday (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) time period.

    “One of the goals this season was to keep expanding our lineup of year-round, original programming and have fewer repeat cycles,” said Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President, CBS Primetime. “We’re fortunate to have two popular, proven ratings winners in THE MENTALIST and UNDERCOVER BOSS to seamlessly join our schedule.”

    The ultimate “Survivor” will be revealed during its finale on Wednesday, Dec. 17 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT). The two-hour episode will be followed by the one-hour live reunion show (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT), hosted by Jeff Probst. The season finale of the multiple Emmy Award-winning THE AMAZING RACE, hosted by Phil Keoghan, will be broadcast Friday, Dec. 19 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT).

    The spring cycles of SURVIVOR (30th edition) and THE AMAZING RACE will both premiere on Wednesday, Feb. 25, each with a special 90-minute episode, 8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT and 9:30-11:00 PM, ET/PT, respectively. THE AMAZING RACE will then move to its regular time period on Friday, Feb. 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT).

    'The Mentalist': Simon Baker and Robin Tunney discuss Jane and Lisbon

    When "The Mentalist" creator Bruno Heller and stars Simon Baker and Robin Tunney spoke with Zap2it this week (May 9), one of the questions we had was about crafting a season finale that could also serve as a series ender. The show was one of only a handful of current series CBS hadn't renewed, and Heller had prepared accordingly.

    "I'm not giving away any secrets when I say neither of them die," Heller tells says of Jane (Baker) and Lisbon (Tunney). "It's very much written and designed as a perfect season ender, a perfect series ender, but it also opens up a whole new chapter, a very different chapter that will be compelling TV."

    That's a good thing, because on Saturday "The Mentalist" was renewed for a seventh season -- the only of CBS' bubble shows to make the cut for 2014-15.

    "'The Mentalist' is a baby that I and Simon and Robin have been nurturing for many years," Heller says. "So if we get another season, we're sort of sending him to college. We're not going to send him to a c****y college and give him a c*** car and say goodbye. The last season of 'The Mentalist' will be the best season of 'The Mentalist.'"

    Before the May 18 finale, though, there's the matter of Lisbon's potential move to Washington with fellow Agent Pike (guest star Pedro Pascal), which gets closer in Sunday's episode, "Black Hearts." Jane's and Lisbon's feelings for each other have long bubbled just under the surface, and Pike may force them to the surface -- if Jane can bring himself to let them.

    "There are two relationships really. There's the relationship between the characters and there's the working relationship, which has always been in pretty good shape, and only ever really improved," Baker says. "[That has] kind of helped and informed in some ways the relationship between the characters. So the good thing is we get on really well as people -- we actually genuinely like each other, even though we've spent so much time with each other [laughs]. We're able to discuss a little bit more the nuances of what's going on between the two characters."

    Tunney adds she's glad Pike is actually a good guy, which gives Lisbon a real choice.

    "Sometimes ... it's like, OK, you don't want the character to end up with that guy because he's a Lothario or a liar," Tunney says. "Making [Pike] a genuinely nice, sensitive guy was great. Because it's not about that guy being bad for Lisbon, it's about Jane's feelings and their feelings toward each other. I think that's often what [shows] do -- you have your regulars, and you bring in this new person and he has to be a hideous human being in order to justify them not ending up together. I thought it was interesting they made him a nice guy."

    As for whether Jane will be able to declare himself? Heller says it won't necessarily be easy.

    "He'd gotten into a comfort zone, or a rut if you like, where the relationship with Lisbon was enough as it is," Heller says. "It was comforting and it was secure and it was there and it was safe, and he didn't have to reveal himself. What Pike did was force the issue. It's one thing to never declare your love, but for Jane to suddenly start visualizing a world in which she wasn't there under any circumstances really puts the world in perspective for him at that point. He realizes that he has to act, or not, as the case may be. But it certainly forces him to make that decision."

    "The Mentalist" airs at 10 p.m. ET/PT Sunday on CBS.

    CBS Renews The Mentalist

    CBS has renewed The Mentalist, but canceled The Crazy Ones, Intelligence, Bad Teacher, Friends with Better Lives and Hostages, has learned.

    Though The Mentalist is still a strong performer, the end of the Red John era, the promised "closure" of Jane and Lisbon's relationship in the upcoming Season 6 finale, its absence from CBS' early renewals, as well as creator Bruno Heller's upcoming departure for Fox's Gotham made it seem the procedural was prepared to call it a day. But the show will be able to explore its post-Red John reboot for at least one season longer. It is unclear if next season will be its last.

    Many of CBS' freshmen series weren't so lucky. Despite an all-star cast with Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar, The Crazy Ones failed to live up to CBS' high standards for Thursday night ratings, while Hostages also failed to live up to the hype. Midseason shows Intelligence, Bad Teacher and Friends with Better Lives will also not return for second seasons.

    'The Mentalist' Season 7 could move to another network if CBS doesn't renew

    CBS has already renewed 19 shows for the 2014-2015 TV season, but its Sunday night drama "The Mentalist" wasn't among them. According to a new report, in the event that the network decides not to pick up more episodes of the six-season drama, the show could survive on another network.

    According to Deadline, Warner Bros. TV, the studio behind the Simon Baker-starring drama, is already shopping the show to cable and broadcast networks. TNT, ION and ABC are all reportedly considering picking up what would be the drama's seventh season.

    With an average of 11 million viewers per week, "The Mentalist" is still quite popular -- it's just that CBS has so many other successful shows that there might not be room on the schedule. Star Simon Baker has a deal that lasts one more season, so whichever network potentially picks up the show would have to renegotiate a new deal.

    "The Mentalist" is the No. 1 scripted series in France and commands a high price for its off-network repeats, so is very lucrative for the studio.

    Shirtless Simon Baker and Liev Schreiber Play Handsome, Doting Dads On the Beach in Australia

    (Photo) G'day, mates!

    Simon Baker and Liev Schreiber, both spending their Christmas breaks in Australia with their families, coached their sons in the art of surfing on a Sydney beach earlier today.

    Samuel and Alexander, Schreiber's fair-haired sons with longtime love Naomi Watts, and Baker's boy (one of his three kids with wife Rebecca) donned wet suits and rode the waves with their dads.

    At one point Schreiber toted Samuel on his shoulders while they splashed around in the ocean.

    Baker is from the Australian state of Tasmania and his wife is from Sydney. Watts was born in England but grew up in Australia.

    The Diana star was spotted on the beach with the kids yesterday, though unlike her partner she didn't strip down to her swimsuit.

    Who knows how long she and the fam plan to stay Down Under, but they should be back in L.A. by Jan. 12—Schreiber is nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Drama, for Ray Donovan.

    Having played President Lyndon Johnson, he's also part of the Screen Actors Guild Award-nominated cast of Lee Daniels' The Butler—the SAG Awards will be handed out Jan. 18.

    The Mentalist's Simon Baker on Ending the Red John Arc: "There's a Level of Disappointment"

    Patrick Jane isn't the only person who's eager to bring his decade-long hunt for Red John to a close on The Mentalist. Simon Baker says the conclusion of the story line, after Sunday's final showdown, is a relief for him as well.

    "This last five, six months that we've been working on the show, it's been really exciting for me," Baker said on a conference call this week. "It's felt like I've had the sort of enthusiasm that I had in the first season because it's new and fresh from week to week and it's going somewhere. Sometimes the frustration for me as an actor is that we're not going anywhere, not moving forward. In this, we're definitely going somewhere, and the stakes are high and it gives me something to do that I can really get my teeth into."

    As Jane has worked to narrow down the Red John suspects at the start of this season, Baker says he tried to keep himself in the dark as well. "I didn't have any theories at all," Baker admits. "Actually, I made a point to not read too far ahead on a lot of these episodes, the first six or seven. I would read the outlines, but I didn't really want to read scripts too far in advance, because I didn't want to get ahead of myself."

    Still, after five and a half years of tracking Red John, Baker says it was somewhat of a letdown to finally come face-to-face with the mysterious killer, and that he felt a sense of loss after filming Jane's final showdown with his enemy. "I always felt what was scary was the fact that it could be the guy that you see every day on your way to work that's watering his lawn two blocks away ... the everyday guy that is a serial killer," Baker says. "So when we found out it was who it was — I think, ultimately with anything like this, there's a level of disappointment. When there's mystery, you paint the picture in your head of what it's going to be, and particularly when it's a mystery that holds you under water for so long, the mystery of who it is is mythical. The truth is, it's just a person."

    After Sunday's installment, The Mentalist will jump ahead two years, so the immediate aftermath of Jane's final confrontation with Red John will have already been dealt with. But questions about where Jane (and the show) will go moving forward still loom large.

    "What this fresh version of this show is about is what happens afterwards," creator Bruno Heller said on the same conference call. "In a very real sense, Jane is a happier person. A weight has been taken off his shoulders, and to that degree a weight has been taken off the show. So, it's going to be the same show to some degree, but it's going to be a show with less darkness at the edges, and more freedom to roam. Jane has more freedom and more of a sense of possibility and liberty."

    With that in mind, Baker says he's still trying to work out how to play Jane in a post-Red John world. "To be honest, it's been strange," Baker says. "It's been really strange, because whatever happens in the course of the series, there's reasons that you sign on to that show for, and there's very important elements to the character that you make a connection with immediately. And a lot of those things were laid to rest in this episode. So it did feel incredibly personal to me. I've always been very invested in what my character does and how he reacts to his personal story, which is the Red John story."

    But Jane's character isn't the only one who's thrown for a loop. The time-jump reveals that his former CBI comrades are scattered around the country after their agency was shut down, with Lisbon (Robin Tunney) in San Francisco, Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) and Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) in northern California, and Cho (Tim Kang) in Austin with FBI agent Dennis Abbott (new series regular Rockmond Dunbar).

    "It's a little like they're the children of divorce," Heller says of the disbanded CBI crew. "They've been enthralled with somebody else's mission, and now that mission is gone. They were in a world that they didn't choose and now they're in a world that is changing around them, again not of their own volition. So what this is going to be for these characters is a process of growing up. They're leaving home. Jane has big questions to answer about what he's going to do with himself, and Lisbon, Van Pelt, Cho and Rigsby also have to make those choices."

    What remains to be seen is whether viewers will stick with The Mentalist after the Red John story line is wrapped up. Baker, who directed the first post-Red John episode, airing Dec. 1, said he was adamant that the name "Red John" not even be uttered in the hour. "We've said, 'Red John' about four million times, and three million times in the last seven episodes, I think," Baker quips. "It's really nice to have a good, clean, fresh cut from that and not mention Red John for a while at all, and have Jane not even speak of him."

    Heller is also confident about the decision to put the Red John story line to bed once and for all. "It's kind of like a marriage or any kind of partnership," he says. "How long is Red John driving the story forward, and at what point does it become an anchor — in both sense of the words an anchor? It just seemed like this was the right time. ... It felt very much to all of us like that chapter of the story was done.

    "I think it's going to be a great show after Red John," Heller adds. "And then it's up to the audience to decide whether they like it or not."

    The Mentalist airs Sundays at 10/9c on CBS. Do you think the show will be able to go forward without the Red John plotline?

    'Mentalist's' Simon Baker: 'Is Red John the spine of the show?'

    Since the beginning of CBS' crime drama "The Mentalist" - currently airing its sixth season on Sundays - faux psychic-turned-criminal investigator Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) has pursued Red John, the serial killer who murdered his wife and child before the story began.

    Jane's single-minded obsession with Red John has been the thing propelling him forward through his pain and grief. His quest for justice -- both in the pursuit of his hated foe and in his crime consulting work for the California Bureau of Investigation - has, in some ways, ameliorated his guilt over fleecing the gullible in his previous life.

    But having a single overriding goal could become a problem for Jane if he hasn't considered what his life will be about if that aim is reached. If he doesn't give this some serious thought, the end of the hunt could be the end of the line for Jane.

    Since the beginning of the season, the list of suspects has been whittled down. In October, suspect Bob Kirkland (Kevin Corrigan) was first eliminated when it was revealed that he was actually on the hunt for the serial killer, blaming him for the death of his twin brother.

    Then Kirkland also became a victim at the hands of a fellow suspect. At the same time, it's become obvious that there are people keeping close tabs on Jane.

    In the episode airing Nov. 3, he begins a journey that may lead to the revelation of Red John's identity, currently narrowed to suspects Ray Haffner (Reed Diamond), Reede Smith (Drew Powell), Sheriff McAllister (Xander Berkeley), Bret Stiles (Malcolm McDowell) and Gale Bertram (Michael Gaston).

    Having discovered that Red John has a particular tattoo, Jane hatches a plan to lure the suspects to his Malibu home -- the site of his family's murder -- and finally identify his nemesis.

    The fascination with Red John extends beyond the show to its loyal fans.

    Speaking between scenes -- and just before his nap -- in his trailer at Warner Bros. Studios, Baker tells Zap2it that fans who see him want to know, " 'Who's Red John?' That's the standard question."

    His standard reply is " 'Can't tell ya.' They're always pretty nice. They smile. Occasionally I say, 'I don't know, but if you find out, let me know.' That one always goes down well."

    There are rumors that this is the season Red John finally is identified, but Baker, who's also a producer on the show, responds to some skepticism about that, saying, "You don't believe the talk, the chatter that's out there that we are going to find him this season? Wouldn't you want, just for the sake of it, to close that off? Because if the network decided to cancel you, you would never close that story up.

    "It's tricky. Is Red John the spine of the show? I don't know. Is he? Is he the spine of the show. or is ambition the spine of the show, in the main character? My question is this: Is Red John the spine of the show, or is Jane's desire to seek revenge the spine of the show?"

    This leads to the question of, since Jane's desire to seek revenge is directed at Red John, aren't the two the same thing?

    "We've built Red John as Keyser Soze," says Baker, referring to Kevin Spacey's mystery man in "The Usual Suspects." But if we don't really know who Red John is, what if he's little Jim out at the corner? It's really about seeking revenge. As long as you keep the desire for the carrot, what happens when you get the carrot? What happens when you obtain a goal in life?"

    Told that a person who experiences this might either feel lost without his or her driving force, or might just set another goal, Baker launches into a playful speculation.

    He says, "OK. What if you're singularly focused on one goal, and you've put everything into seeking your goal? What happens when you obtain that goal? What does Jane have to live for?

    "If someone lives for a goal, if their sole purpose in life is to seek revenge, what does that leave Jane? That could be an interesting show. I'm just talking story. If you want to talk about, from an audience standpoint, is it no longer entertaining?

    "Do we care, once he's reached that goal? Do we care? Do we like Patrick Jane enough to care what happens to him after the dust settles? My wife has a little timber plaque. It's not attached to anything. It just floats around the kitchen. In red print it says, 'Protect me from what I want.'

    "All I'm doing is giving you a question mark."

    Whether it's the romantic dance of private detectives Dave and Maddie on "Moonlighting," Mulder's quest for the shadowy alien-government conspiracy and the secret of extraterrestrial beings in "The X-Files" or biker Jax's attempt to recapture his dead father's vision of his outlaw motorcycle club on "Sons of Anarchy," unresolved desires can keep a series alive. But as "Moonlighting" discovered when it brought its lovers together, resolution can be a death sentence.

    Is there TV life for Patrick Jane and "The Mentalist" after Red John? Stay tuned.

    Necessary Roughness Recruits Once Upon a Time, Ringer Vets

    Once Upon a Time's Jiminy Cricket is hopping from Storybrooke to New York.

    Raphael Sbarge, who plays the iconic character on the ABC fantasy drama, has booked a two-episode arc on Necessary Roughness, has learned exclusively.

    Sbarge will play Carl Webber, a high-level employee at V3, the sports and entertainment management company headed by Connor McClane (recurring guest star John Stamos). Carl seeks Dani's (Callie Thorne) counsel after a traumatic incident. The gig reunites Sbarge with fellow Once Upon a Time actor David Anders, who will recur as Connor's second-in-command.

    Fantastic Four star Ioan Gruffudd will also pop up this season as Nolan Powers, a successful self-help guru embarking on a book tour. Nolan despises anything have to do with therapy which — surprise! — doesn't sit well with Dani. Gruffudd starred on last year's short-lived CW drama Ringer, and most recently appeared on Castle.

    Necessary Roughness' third season premieres on Wednesday, June 12 at 10/9c on USA. Are you excited to see Sbarge and Gruffudd log some couch time with Dr. D?

    Simon Baker Dishes on His Givenchy Fragrance Campaign

    (Photo) While we don't have the ability to get inside people's heads like Simon Baker's character on the Mentalist, we're pretty sure most women who've peeped his ad for Givenchy's new Gentlemen Only fragrance can't help but think the Aussie actor is undeniably hot!

    Despite being drenched in rain in the French fashion house's ad, the 43-year-old nevertheless manages to look-oh-so-dapper in a navy suit, while chivalrously offering his umbrella to a damsel in distress. Swoon!

    But what does Baker think about his latest starring role? He dished all about his stint as a model in an exclusive on-camera interview with E! News.

    "I like the idea of the fragrance reintroducing the concept of being gentlemen," he shared. "I think men have developed enough sort of emotionally and mentally to be able to carry themselves in a way where they put their best foot forward."

    The handsome man from the Land Down Under definitely puts his best foot in as a gallant guy in the ad. And as if that wasn't enough, this Givenchy gentleman's also got brains. In fact, he helped come up with the concept for the ad campaign, which draws inspiration from a previous ad for that merely shows a man's hand as he holds an umbrella over a woman.

    So, is Baker the type of guy to give up his umbrella for a gal caught in a downpour?

    Yes, but he also thinks being a gentleman involves being "thoughtful and kind."

    You read our minds, Simon.

    'Castle' casting: Raphael Sbarge of 'Once Upon a Time' will guest-star

    Is "Castle" going to have a crisis of conscience about anything in the near future? If so, the show is in luck -- Raphael Sbarge, who played Archie/Jiminy Cricket on "Once Upon a Time," will make a guest-starring appearance on the mystery show.

    The news first came from Sbarge himself, who tweeted photos from the show's set. The first such photo appeared on Friday (March 15), featuring a chair and the hash-tag "#GuessWhereIAm. In case people were not immediately sure of what show he was at, Sbarge followed up with a photo of himself and "Castle" star Nathan Fillion:

    What is Sbarge doing on "Castle"? Give Me My Remote reports that the actors guest role will be as a Dr. Darrell Meeks, appearing in some capacity on the 20th episode of "Castle" Season 5. Per yet another tweet from Sbarge, the episode will be directed by Jonathan Frakes ("Star Trek: The Next Generation").

    Everything else remains a mystery, at least until Sbarge tweets the solution.

    "Castle" airs Mondays at 10pm while "Once Upon a Time" airs Sundays at 8pm. Both shows are on ABC.

    'Once Upon a Time's' Raphael Sbarge: There's 'turmoil in Storybrooke'

    Raphael Sbarge stars as the lovable Archie/Jiminy Cricket on "Once Upon a Time," who is reeling just like the rest of Storybrooke with the knowledge and memories that came flooding back when the curse was broken. He tells Zap2it that Storybrooke is in for some troubled times.

    "We are now faced with the crisis of consciousness that is the curse has ended and now what's to be done?" says Sbarge. "With the awareness that the curse is ended, the fact that the person who has perpetrated the curse does also come front and center. There's some turmoil in Storybrooke for sure and we're seeing some fallout."

    He is speaking in reference to the faction of Storybrookians who are trying to leave town in Sunday night's (Oct. 7) episode. And David is one of a few voices of reason.

    "In general, I think everyone's kind of reeling with the information, trying to adjust ... Snow White and Emma have disappeared," says Sbarge. "There's a huge crescendo that occurs that does include David and his knowledge. By virtue of having seem what happened and by virtue of being a de facto leader in this case, you'll see some pretty dramatic events occur as related to his knowledge of what happened."

    Sbarge also teases for us all the new faces we're going to be seeing this season in both Storybrooke and Fairytale Land.

    "[The creators] are really expanding the canvas of the characters that we know. There's a small army of them coming," says Sbarge. "And in the course of that, those of us who were at the center of the original Storybrooke universe are more on the periphery. It's very similar to what happened on 'Lost,' where things kind of expanded out a bit. We're all there, no one's going anywhere. But there's really an expansion of our family."

    "Once Upon a Time" airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

    Stand Up to Cancer 2012

    Hollywood is ready to Stand Up to Cancer for the organization's third prime-time television fundraising special.

    Gwyneth Paltrow and Joel Callen of Tenth Planet Productions will produce the broadcast as they try to rally support in the fight against cancer.

    The star-studded event will include appearances by Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Jessica Biel, Samuel L. Jackson, Seth Rogen, Emma Stone, Simon Baker, Chelsea Handler, Joe Manganiello and others.

    Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Alicia Keys and Tim McGraw will perform.

    The first two Stand Up to Cancer telecasts aired Sept. 5, 2008, and Sept. 10, 2010. The organization has already earned $180 million in donations toward their innovative cancer research.

    The commercial-free fundraiser will air live Friday, Sept. 7 at 8/7c simultaneously on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, E!, HBO, Showtime, TBS and VH1.

    Wendy Moniz Moves Into ABC's 666 Park Avenue

    666 Park Avenue is getting a few new residents.

    Without a Trace alum Enrique Murciano and The Guardian's Wendy Moniz (ex-Dinah, Guiding Light/ex-Mayor Finn, One Life To Live) have landed multi-episode arcs on the new ABC drama, has learned exclusively.

    In 666, an innocent Midwestern couple (Dave Annable and Rachael Taylor) get hired as resident managers of an Upper East Side apartment building in New York owned by Gavin (Lost's Terry O'Quinn) and Olivia Doran (Vanessa Williams). Unbeknownst to them, the residents have all made deals with the devil to have their desires fulfilled.

    Murciano (CSI, NCIS) will play Dr. Todd Scott, a handsome young surgeon living at The Drake. He unwittingly drives a wedge between Louise (Mercedes Masohn) and Brian (Robert Buckley) when he calls in a few prescriptions and makes some neighborly house calls to a recovering Louise. Naturally, like the other residents of The Drake, Dr. Scott will be battling some hidden demons of his own. He'll first appear in the fifth episode of the freshman season.

    Moniz (Guiding Light, Damages) will play Ingrid, the therapist of Drake resident Nona (Samantha Jade Logan). Despite Nona's resistance to dig deep in their sessions, Ingrid shows a genuine concern for her young patient and hopes that if Nona cannot trust her, perhaps she can open up to the trusting Jane (Taylor). She'll first appear in the Oct. 14 episode.

    666 Park Avenue premieres on Sunday, Sept. 30 at 10/9c on ABC.

    Simon Baker Invited to Join the Academy

    A slew of our favorite celebs are going to rock the vote.

    Yup, it's that time of year: when a select group of Hollywood A-listers are invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the prestigious organization responsible for handing out the Oscars.

    At the top of this year's list of 176 invitees are Matthew McConaughey, Melissa McCarthy, Jonah Hill, Kerry Washington, The Help costars Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer along with The Artist's Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo.

    So, why'd they make the cut?

    "These film professionals represent some of the most talented, most passionate contributors to our industry," Academy President Tom Sherak said in a statement. "I'm glad to recognize that by calling each of them a fellow Academy member."

    The Artist's stars aren't the only celebs from across our borders to be asked: Simon Baker, Demián Bichir, Richard E. Grant, Diego Luna, Janet McTeer and Michelle Yeoh are on the list, too.

    Brad Pitt's The Tree of Life director Terrence Malick has been asked, as has Michel Hazanavicius, the French director behind The Artist.

    Rounding things out are Bryan Cranston, Sam Rockwell, Nia Vardalos, Lili Taylor, Tom Berenger, Clifton Collins, Jr. and Andy Serkis.

    If they all accept—and we can't imagine they won't—voting membership will stand at just under 6,000.

    Independent Spirit Award Winners

    Robert Altman Award: Margin Call (ensemble cast including Simon Baker)

    'Once Upon a Time's' Raphael Sbarge: 'Consciousness always comes with a price'

    "Once Upon a Time" is back Sunday (Nov. 27) with an episode that centers around Jiminy Cricket/Archie Hopper, played by Raphael Sbarge. The episode description says that Cricket is looking to get away from the family business in Fairytale Land. So what is this family business and what is Jiminy looking to do instead?

    "I'm not actually allowed to divulge that information," laughs Sbarge.

    "What we get to see in the episode essentially is the person who is Jiminy Cricket. Essentially how he evolved," says Sbarge. "Jiminy Cricket is ultimately an icon of doing the right thing, 'let your concience be your guide.' What we get to see is the struggle, the fire that he has to walk through in order to have a sense of what the right thing is. Consciousness always comes with a price."

    We wondered if Jiminy's real-world counterpart Archie being a therapist has anything to do with Jiminy's desire to strike out on his own.

    Sbarge says, "I think it's so clever that they made him a therapist. In the world we live in now, it's so complex, with so many gray areas, so many perceptions of right and wrong. There is genuine right and wrong, but there is a big whole world."

    "The focus on helping people find their way through and to effectively do the right thing, it's such a wonderful metaphor for the modern world. Someone who helps you find your conscience," says Sbarge.

    "Once Upon a Time" airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Watch a sneak peek of Sunday's episode, titled "That Still Small Voice."

    Baker's movie 'Margin Call' is ripped from reality

    On CBS' "The Mentalist," Simon Baker's character has things all figured out. He's able to read people, surroundings and situations so well that he can solve crimes.

    In real life, Baker, along with most people, was unable to anticipate or make sense of the financial crisis that hit the U.S. in 2008.

    His latest film, the financial drama "Margin Call," focuses on a 24-hour window on the eve of the collapse. He plays a banker fighting to keep control. The movie also stars Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons and Demi Moore.

    The 42-year-old Australian actor says he remembers the general confusion felt by the public during that time.

    "It was all over the news and in the papers. ... It was so hard to see people in the position of making those decisions. It was such a gray area, certainly for me. How do they make these decisions? Who's there in the room? Yesterday it was fine and today it's all a mess."

    The timing of "Margin Call" coincides with a monthlong protest called Occupy Wall Street in New York City against financial corruption. The protests have spread to cities around the world.

    "We're learning sort of every day globally the economy has been so rattled that we aren't over it and it doesn't look like we are going to be over it and I think it's good people are taking a stand and protesting as long as it remains peaceful."

    "Margin Call" opens in theaters Friday.

    Baker recently directed an upcoming episode of "The Mentalist," which is now in its fourth season. He says it's something he likes to do once a season.

    He says it's not difficult to go back to just acting on the series after he's directed an episode.

    "I never really turn it off. I just shut up," he jokes. "It still happens in my head."

    Baker's also hoping the series will begin to focus more on its supporting cast, but he's undecided as to whether his character should ever become romantically involved with the character of Teresa Lisbon, played by Robin Tunney. Fans of the show have noticed the two have chemistry.

    "Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe you'd be like, 'Ew. That's like brothers and sisters kissing each other.' I don't know."

    "The Mentalist" airs Thursdays on CBS (10 p.m. EDT).

    Simon Baker Talks About The Mentalist's Shocking Season Finale

    Did CBS cancel The Mentalist and forget to tell us? The smash-hit crime drama just wrapped its third season with Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) shooting and killing serial slayer Red John (Bradley Whitford) in the crowded food court of a shopping mall. But wasn't Jane's vengeful pursuit of Red John his raison d'ętre and the very point of this series? How could the plot wrap up so soon? Then again, did Jane kill the real Red John? Whether he did or he didn't, he's in deep doo-doo. "Patrick has just murdered a man in cold blood in front of hundreds of people and next season he will be tried in court," creator Bruno Heller tells us. "We won't dodge any issues. Patrick won't wake up and discover it was all a dream. There will be consequences." TV Guide Magazine spoke with Baker to get his take on the daring cliffhanger and where his show is headed from here. Will that impish little devil Patrick Jane ever be able to charm us again?

    TV Guide Magazine: Those who follow The Mentalist might well be shocked by what Jane has done, but they can't claim to be surprised, right?

    Baker: Exactly! My character has always said, very coldly and matter-of-factly, that he would kill Red John if he ever got the chance. That was always his modus. And he's told that to Agent Lisbon [Robin Tunney] many times. Of course there will be repercussions, but Patrick clearly doesn't give a damn about that.

    TV Guide Magazine: How will this murder change him? Is this closure? Can he get on with his life now, even if that life is spent in prison?

    Baker: I think he feels great about finally getting revenge. But you never know. This could be the false bottom to the suitcase. Maybe this isn't the bottom.

    TV Guide Magazine: Meaning what? That Jane killed the wrong man? He certainly thought he had the right guy once Red John described how Jane's wife and daughter smelled at the time of their murders — the exact soaps and shampoos they used. But, theoretically, the real Red John could have passed that information to Bradley Whitford's character, no?

    Baker: There's a lot to play around with. I think it was a brilliant choice to have the murder happen in such a public place. Bang! Bang! Bang! Then Jane's totally calm. People are running around in a panic. Jane just sits down and has his cup of tea. It's done. He's finally done what he needed to do. After this season, you're going to have the lead character on a network TV series being a cold-blooded, vengeance-killing murderer. That's heavy.

    TV Guide Magazine: He certainly can't claim to have killed in self defense.

    Baker: And how do you get around that? There are too many witnesses who saw him go after Red John. I had some issues with the way the killing was originally written, which had Red John getting up and walking away and my character shooting him in the back three times. That wouldn't have been fulfilling enough for Jane. The whole idea of vengeance is the fulfillment factor! Patrick had already said in a really powerful scene in Season 1, "When I find him I'm going to cut him open and watch him die." A big part of the show — and the fan speculation — has always been whether or not Patrick really has what it takes to carry out that threat. Does he actually have it in him? So we played around with the scene. My idea was that Red John talks about how the wife and child smelled and it just cripples Jane. You see him go from this guy who's this close to having his vengeance, having his closure, and he just crumbles into a bit of a paralyzed mess. Then Red John walks away. Jane says, "Please, wait." Almost like he needs to hear more detail. I've always played the murders as still being so raw, so present, despite Jane's bravado. I like the perverseness of him needing to hear more, as macabre as it is. So Jane goes up to him and looks like he's shattered, then when he gets this close to Red John, the need for cold revenge kicks in. And he's thinking, "Not only am I going to kill you, I am going to mind f--k you at the same time." I wanted the audience to still think in that moment that, despite all Jane's talk, he just can't kill Red John. But then he does! It's very operatic. Bruno loved the idea.

    TV Guide Magazine: You two seem to have a remarkably close, almost symbiotic relationship. A lot of exec producers in town would freak if an actor wanted this level of creative involvement.

    Baker: Believe me, I know! [Laughs] I get such profound satisfaction working with Bruno, because he understands me and I understand him. It's really pure luck we found each other. It's very rare. I can be a real pain in the ass with the wrong types of people. The last thing I want to do is come to work each day and not be challenged. What's the fun in taking it easy? Let's push it! I'm very happy that Bruno and I have been able to juggle the procedural and the serialized aspects of the show without swinging too much either way. Bruno appreciates the genesis of the Patrick Jane character, what drives him, and that he comes from a very tragic place. And you can't fluff it off. You have to honor that. That hasn't been easy because sometimes there's been a lot of pressure from CBS to avoid the dark stuff, because the lighter stuff is so much easier to swallow. But without the dark, the light isn't as enjoyable. The light can't exist without the dark.

    TV Guide Magazine: William Blake!

    Baker: Exactly! One hundred percent.

    TV Guide Magazine: Word is, CBS has been a bit uneasy with this finale.

    Baker: There have been so many little arm wrestles to get this stuff through, but in the end I think we have the confidence and the support of the studio and the network. With Bruno and me there has been a lot of, "We can do this! We can get away with this!" Because this isn't cable where you can do what you please. In network TV, you have to present the box before you can step outside it. CBS has always wanted the fun procedural stuff, and that remains a big element of The Mentalist. But this show has a lot of different personalities. I think there's a sense with the network that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And I understand that because you can make some really bad mistakes that way. But we have to keep this show moving. I don't ever want to mess up the experience for the audience. I want them to enjoy the show as much as they do, from the first episode to the very last. I don't want to screw up that relationship at all. But at the same time, living and breathing this show every day, I have to challenge Bruno and he has to challenge me. In a way it's so much easier to be subversive in cable: "Oh, look at us! We're wacky! We're daring! We say 'f—k; a lot!" When you're on a network, you have to slide the subversive in the back door. And you don't have to be depressing in order to have gravity. A few episodes back we had Jane help the coroner kill himself. The guy had a terminal disease and the viewers were really touched and involved in that story. But it was all so subtle, I'm not sure they really realized what Patrick had done. And now we've moved on to total cold-blood vengeance. [Laughs] I know how this is going to play out. Trust me, this is a great setup for next season!

    Report: Simon Baker Strikes $30 Million Deal with Warner Bros.

    The Mentalist's Simon Baker is finalizing a deal with Warner Bros. Television for more than $30 million, reports.

    That figure includes money already promised to Baker in his current contract. As part of the new deal with Warner Bros., which produces The Mentalist, Baker will add another year to his six-season contract. He'll also get a producer credit on the series beginning in Season 5 and he will receive an additional piece of the show's royalties. Warner Bros. sold the syndication rights to TNT in November 2009 for $2.2 million per episode.

    E-mails to reps for both Warner Bros. and Baker were not immediately returned.

    The Mentalist was the No. 1 new drama when it debuted in 2008. The show has averaged 16 million viewers in its third season, and consistently ranks as one of the most DVR-ed shows on television.

    The Mentalist's Simon Baker Goes Behind the Camera

    As bad-boy crime whiz Patrick Jane on The Mentalist, Simon Baker takes orders from no one. But he sure knows how to give 'em! The Aussie Adonis turns director for tonight's episode, a sprawling story — written by series creator Bruno Heller — that finds the CBI team investigating an artfully staged triple homicide, which appears to be the work of a complicated maniac. It's soon revealed that the small-town murders are part of a wider slaughter of California policemen, which could lead to a media nightmare.

    "It was a masochistic challenge," says Baker with a laugh. "When you direct, it's the luck of the draw which episode they give you. When I read the script, I was like, 'Holy s--t! This is a tough one. Gee, thanks, guys!'" He has high praise for his guest cast, including Star Trek: Enterprise vets Connor Trinneer, as a redneck cop, and John Billingsley, as a geeky psychic who claims the killer is affected by the moon. "I was most critical of myself," Baker admits. "You can't let your acting suffer because you're thinking about 14,000 other things."

    The hour also drops some unnerving hints about the show's phantom supervillain Red John, echoing the recent episode where Bret Stiles (Malcolm McDowell), the creepy leader of a Scientology-like church, appeared to be a Red John accomplice. "It's like we're slowly creating our own conspiracy theory here," says Baker. "Who or what exactly is Red John? Is he one person or many?"

    The Mentalist airs Thursdays at 10/9c on CBS

    People's Choice Awards 2011 Nominees

    Winners will be revealed during the live broadcast of the PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS 2011 at the Nokia Theater, L.A. Live on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011 (9:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network. Tickets to the awards show are now available for fans to purchase through Ticketmaster. Voting begins today at for the finalists in all 44 categories and will end on Dec. 7, 2010, except for "Favorite New TV Drama" and "Favorite New TV Comedy," which will remain open for voting until the night of show.

    Emily Deschanel - Bones
    Mariska Hargitay - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
    Mark Harmon - NCIS
    Simon Baker - The Mentalist
    Tim Roth - Lie to Me

    For The Mentalist's Simon Baker, Good Looks Plus Hard Work Equals Success

    Go ahead and stare at Simon Baker. Gawk at his curly golden locks and his winning smile. He doesn't mind, really.

    "It doesn't bother me because I know time is ticking," the 41-year-old Baker tells "I've been doing this for almost 20 years, and I'm able to see myself age on film. Eventually I know what I'm going to become — I've seen my father."

    When Bruno Heller was looking to cast a leading man to play the role of Patrick Jane in The Mentalist, he was won over by Baker's looks as well. But he quickly learned there was much more beneath the surface. "What Jane does is get in people's physical space and inside their heads, and in order to do that, you have to be someone that people want to be close to, whether they know it or not," Heller says. "It needed a very magnetic personality playing the part.

    "Simon has a physical and mental grace. He's always switched on — he's always alert, always alive," Heller continues. "If you watch him working on a stage, he's never just going through the lines. He's always looking for the extra grace notes. It's actually a much tougher job. Very few actors can do the hard physical work that must be done on a show like this."

    But back in the late 1980s, when Baker first began acting in commercials in his native Australia, he laughed at the idea of considering acting a form of labor. "I couldn't believe that it was called work," Baker says. "Everything I was doing was sort of the opposite of work. It was just like, as the old song goes, 'act naturally.' You sort of had to just be, and you were getting paid for it — a lot more than any of the other harder-work jobs that I did."

    Bartender. Pizza maker. Construction worker. Electrician. Time-share salesman. These are a few of the jobs Baker held before making appearances on such Australian TV series as E Street, Home and Away and Heartbreak High. Years later, Baker still credits those jobs as his foundation for the love of the art of filmmaking.

    "I learned a lot on the job. On those shows, I got an understanding of how things come together — the craft of how it's all collected and filmed and put together," he says. "For an actor working in television or film, I think it's important to understand how the medium works — how the camera and lenses work and how the sound and the editing works. I probably paid more attention to that stuff than most other actors I know. ... I'm a sponge for that kind of stuff."

    When Baker made the move to America, he got to soak up knowledge from a much larger working community. He quickly earned a small role in the film L.A. Confidential. After some independent films and a role in Ang Lee's Ride with Devil in 1999, Baker worked alongside Val Kilmer, Carrie-Anne Moss and Benjamin Bratt in Red Planet.

    "The reason that I came here in the first place was really out of a sense of adventure," Baker says. "Once I got here, the actual demand for actors and sheer amount of work available blew my mind. In Australia, we don't have the audience or the demand. It's more of a cottage industry."

    As the 2000s began, Baker, who has three children with wife Rebecca Rigg, decided to settle into a regular gig for the sake of his oldest daughter, who was beginning school. In 2001, Baker was cast as Nick Fallin, the lead role in CBS' The Guardian, a drama about a corporate lawyer who is sentenced to 1,500 hours of community after a drug conviction.

    "I wanted to pursue a film career, but I just thought that as a parent and as a husband, the idea of doing television was a bit more responsible," Baker says. "I could tuck my kids into bed, or at least come in and see them at night."

    Baker earned critical praise and a Golden Globe nomination for his performance. He says he was originally drawn to the "depth and rawness" of the character, which he thought recalled the antiheroes of serialized cable shows. But Baker says he soon began to feel trapped in the role, as the show's procedural elements began to make Fallin more of a one-note character.

    "The character was so defined; he was a hobbled, limited character," Baker says. "As the show goes on over a number of years, that repetition can become boring creatively. You want the character to suddenly start to shift and change, and it kind of goes against it to do that."

    The show was canceled after three seasons, which gave Baker the chance to explore a variety of film roles. In 2005, he starred as the hero of George A. Romero's zombie flick, Land of the Dead. A year later he played writer Christian Thompson in The Devil Wears Prada.

    But Baker soon realized there was something missing in his work. "There's more of a family connection when you're working on a TV show," he says. "That's not to say that you don't make great connections when you're working on films, but it's different unless you're there working every day. Prada was a really great experience with great people, but I wasn't there a lot of the time. I always felt like I was visiting their set."

    When Baker went back to work on TV as a member of the ensemble on CBS' short-lived heist drama Smith, not having to carry the show was appealing. But it also made him a bit stir crazy. "I have a work ethic that way that's very old-fashioned," he says. "I do like to muck in and get amongst it. Sometimes when I work a few days and then have a few days off, it starts to feel like I'm using someone else's set. It feels like, to do my share, I should also pick up a broom and sweep a path or something."

    So when Baker settled back into the leading role on The Mentalist, playing a former fake psychic who uses his intuition to help the California Bureau of Investigation solve crimes, Baker says he instantly knew that the show had what he'd been missing. "All of the things that were difficult about The Guardian, The Mentalist didn't have those problems," he says. "The character is so mercurial and playful and can go in so many directions."

    One of those other directions is intensely serious. Jane's wife and daughter were brutally murdered by a serial killer known as Red John. Through his involvement with the CBI, Jane searches for vengeance. "There's an enormous amount of humor in the show, but the essence of the show is rooted in tragedy," Baker says. "It can be frightfully dramatic. When I have to play the same role every day, I have the flexibility to play the character in so many different ways. It's almost like playing five different roles."

    Baker also quickly formed a family-style bond with co-star Robin Tunney. "Robin and I actually spend a lot of time with each other," he says. "More often than not, I look over and she's there with me in the wee hours of the morning. She's reliable, hard-working, and has a good heart. When it's tough at work, it's good to know you have someone like Robin there."

    And unlike those days in Australia, Baker seems to now view acting as work. "Sometimes the intensity and the grind of doing television can wear you down, but at the same time there's something about the repetition, the sheer mass of work that you do that's also liberating," Baker says. "Some artists just painted and painted and painted, and through that they found out what their strengths and their weaknesses were. Sometimes I feel that does pertain a bit to television: you do it and do it and do it. I never feel that we get it right completely, but somewhere in that mass of work, something starts to develop in you in other ways."

    The Mentalist's combination has worked. Now in its third year, the show anchors CBS' Thursday night. Baker earned an Emmy nomination in the show's first season. "That one's a mystery to me," Baker says with a laugh, noting that nominations, like success on network TV, are always uncertain. "The mass appeal of the show is that it's entertaining," Baker says. "If I knew the exact formula, I'd bottle it and sell more of it."

    But Heller isn't shy in giving a good deal of credit to Baker. "I think the show could have been successful with another actor of equal qualities, but I think it would have been a much more ordinary show," Heller says. "The show depends on Simon being able to deliver what the package promises, which is wit and grace and humor and redemption and a certain kind of ability to rise above tragedy. There are very few people who can pull that off convincingly."

    And those good looks don't hurt, right? "I hope that when I'm really, really old and wrinkly that I'm still able to work," Baker says. "Looks will always fade, my friend. I just hope that my other qualities can have a bit more longevity."

    The Mentalist: Has Jane Lost Red John's Cat-and-Mouse Game?

    Patrick Jane got closer than ever to his psychopathic nemesis, Red John, in The Mentalist's Season 2 finale, but an end to Jane's quest for vengeance couldn't be further away.

    "Jane was pretty badly traumatized by his encounter with Red John," creator/executive producer Bruno Heller tells "It wasn't on Jane's terms. He felt ... violated and to a degree humbled by the experience. Jane had always had some sense that this was an equal duel of wits. But the last episode showed it was certainly more of a cat-and-mouse thing going on, and that Red John was holding all the cards."

    Worse, Red John abducted psychic Kristina Frye (Leslie Hope), the first woman Jane (Simon Baker) had allowed himself to get close to since the murder of his wife and child at Red John's hand. Heller says Jane will pull away from Lisbon (Robin Tunney) and the rest of the team at the fictional California Bureau of Investigation out of fear that they might also become victims.

    "[The experience] certainly makes him much more wary of making those connections with people," Heller says. "And it makes him realize that until this primary relationship with Red John is sorted out, no other relationship is going to be able to play out in any kind of healthy way."

    The result is a more intense, serious Jane, Baker says. "There's still humor obviously, but I think everything is a bit closer to the bone — more raw, more sensitive," he says. "Jane has sort of opened himself up and then he's been damaged even more because of it. [In] the first couple of episodes, there is kind of a psycho Jane. Not that he's a psycho, but you can tell that he's been hurt. .... Everything gets ratcheted up a little bit dramatically."

    While Heller agrees that Jane's much tougher this season, he notes that a reunion between Jane and his brother-in-law (guest star Kevin Rankin) will also play up Jane's more sensitive side. When his con-man brother-in-law is suspected of murder, Jane will have to prove his innocence, despite bad blood between them.

    "It gives us a little insight into the person Jane was before all this happened," Heller says. "It's the first time we've seen him with genuine family, and the love he had for his wife is sort of transferred to [her] ne'er-do-well brother. Jane is sort of morally obliged to treat him well because he's the last living connection to everything Jane held dear. Jane has affections and is willing to follow through with him when need be."

    Jane will also show a new affection toward Lisbon when she persuades him to come back to work with the CBI team. "Her faith in him and her willingness to go to bat for him means they're much tighter," Heller says. "As much as he wants to protect her by pulling away from her, he feels more love for her this year because they've been through so much, yet she's proven that she'll be there for him."

    The show's other relationship, however, will be tested when Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti), much to the chagrin of former beau Rigsby (Owain Yeoman), creates some sparks with a new FBI liaison (guest star Eric Winter). "How they keep working together and how that relationship plays out is a big part of the season," Heller says.

    But the relationship that will always drive the show is the antagonistic one between Jane and Red John. Although Heller maintains that the show will remain a week-to-week detective series, he concedes that Red John must inevitably become a bigger focus as Jane's obsession grows.

    "The ongoing story gets wrapped up in Red John in much more detail as the season rolls on," he says. "We're very cognizant that Red John is a big part of Jane's life, and it will become more and more a part of the show. ... This season we will get many answers, but you will also discover that Red John's world and his reach and his power is deeper, darker and wider than even Jane suspected to begin with. We will both learn more and learn that there is to more to fear."

    The Mentalist returns for its third season Thursday at 10/9c on CBS.


    Naomi Watts chasing her two kids around while noshing at Bostwick's Chowder House in East Hampton with "The Mentalist" Simon Baker and his family. Watts is godmother to Baker's oldest daughter, Stella

    Stewart, O'Neal dedicate Farrah Fawcett Foundation

    Farrah Fawcett's closest friends marked the first anniversary of her death by dedicating a cancer-research foundation in her name.

    Alana Stewart, Ryan O'Neal, Tatum O'Neal and Redmond O'Neal were among guests at an intimate gathering Friday at the new offices of the Farrah Fawcett Foundation, which funds alternative cancer research and treatment methods and aims to improve the quality of life of those with the disease.

    Fawcett, the "Charlie's Angels" star who detailed her battle with anal cancer in the 2009 documentary, "Farrah's Story," died at 62 on June 25, 2009.

    Stewart said Fawcett started her namesake foundation during her own struggle with cancer, and Stewart was determined to keep her friend's efforts alive.

    "If I can help carry on Farrah's mission for the foundation, it's an honor for me," Stewart said. "I feel almost like she's a guardian angel watching over me, and I feel like she's smiling down on us and very happy that she died for a cause."

    "She felt that she could help a lot of people and she could give a lot of people inspiration, courage and hope," Stewart continued. "That's why she did the documentary and that's why she started the foundation."

    Ryan O'Neal said the first anniversary of Fawcett's death had been an emotional one for his family. Their 25-year-old son, Redmond, who has been dogged by drug problems and was jailed during his mother's final days, visited Fawcett's grave for the first time Friday.

    The soft-spoken redhead said he is now clean and sober.

    Ryan O'Neal said he still worried about his son, especially since Fawcett is gone: "He lost her, and he's fragile."

    But, O'Neal said, her mission will continue.

    "Farrah was extremely loved around the world," he said. "We will try to keep that feeling in play."

    We Hear...

    Simon Baker has revealed he still has "fond memories" of Home And Away.

    The Australian actor appeared in the soap in 1994 for a few episodes, before he moved to Hollywood and made his name starring as psychic consultant Patrick Jane in The Mentalist.

    "I have fond memories because I was broke at the time and I needed to pay the rent - and you can't complain about the location," he said.

    "It's on Palm Beach on the northern beaches of Sydney, which is pretty fantastic. And at the time, it was a good opportunity, and it's continued to be a great opportunity for a lot of actors."

    Asked if he would consider a return to Summer Bay, Simon merely laughed and remained tight-lipped.

    The Mentalist is shown on Fridays on Five at 9pm in Australia.

    We Hear...

    That Dabney Coleman was so good in the first five episodes of the new HBO Martin Scorsese series "Boardwalk Empire," he's been cast in five additional episodes.

    'Mentalist' star a healthy skeptic

    Simon Baker’s character in The Mentalist doesn’t believe in psychic or supernatural phenomena. But the actor himself has a more open-minded brand of pessimism.

    “I believe in belief,” said Baker, the native Australian who has the lead role in The Mentalist, playing Patrick Jane.

    “I believe in belief, in the sense that, whatever works for you,” Baker continued. “The idea of believing in something is really about focusing, concentrating energy toward something in a positive way, right? Is that what believing is?

    “I believe that you can, through committing to something in your mind and your body, it can exist for you. Do you understand what I mean?”

    Uh ... sort of ... I guess.

    “I don’t,” Baker said.

    He then took one more crack at summing up his views succinctly.

    “I don’t believe in psychic powers,” Baker said. “But that’s not to say they don’t exist.”

    Hmm, still clear as mud.

    Luckily, there’s no grey area when it comes to the success of The Mentalist, the second season of which airs Thursdays on CBS and CTV.

    Patrick Jane (Baker) is a former celebrity psychic who now claims he was faking it the entire time. However, his strong powers of observation aid him in his new venture, which is helping law enforcement solve cases.

    Jane was still working as a psychic when he first helped police profile a serial killer. But that infuriated the still-at-large serial killer, known as Red John, who retaliated by murdering Jane’s wife and daughter.

    Despite that dark undercurrent, The Mentalist is a fairly light drama most of the time. And much of that has to do with Baker’s playful portrayal.

    Baker sees the series as a throwback to an era in American television when the lead characters in so-called crime procedurals were “charactery characters,” as he put it.

    “I grew up with the sort of standard Australian fare,” said the 40-year-old Baker, recalling his early TV influences. “But where I lived we only had two television stations at the time, so we got reruns of American television shows.

    “After school it would be Happy Days, Gilligan’s Island — and old Gilligan’s Island, black-and-white Gilligan’s Island.

    “This is an exciting interview.”

    Actually, it’s interesting. Come on, keep going.

    “Get Smart, I always liked that one,” Baker added. “And then after dinner it would be Bewitched — obviously I watched too much television — Kojak, Streets of San Francisco, Quincy, Trapper John, M.D., Columbo.

    “The one thing I noticed — and this has a parallel with The Mentalist — is that most of those American cop shows were procedural shows, but they had a very distinctive main character. I think for a time here in America (over the past decade or so), the main character probably has been the least ‘charactery character’, very stoic and straight and earnest.”

    Patrick Jane, as played by Simon Baker, certainly is not that. But given the pressures of American TV in the 21st century, it’s a struggle.

    “On network television in America, you really have to fight to keep character in there, particularly on procedural shows,” Baker said. “The networks over here, if it’s serialized, it’s really hardcore serialized, like 24 or Lost, where every little detail is uber-serialized.

    “With our show, we kind of balance it in a way.”

    Well, something is working on The Mentalist. You don’t have to be psychic to see that.

    Jaclyn Smith remembers fellow 'Angel' Farrah Fawcett

    Jaclyn Smith knows Heaven isn't missing an Angel, even if she is.

    Smith and Cheryl Ladd will be on hand to accept the Pop Culture Award for their classic detective series "Charlie's Angels" at the 8th Annual TV Land Awards, to be televised by the nostalgia-oriented cable channel Sunday, Apr. 25. As the ceremony gets closer, Smith is feeling the absence of original co-star Farrah Fawcett, who died last June after a very public battle with cancer.

    "I can't imagine her not being here," Smith tells Zap2it, "because she was so full of life and so funny. That's what I think people miss about Farrah; she was really funny, and such an interesting person, always full of surprises and always doing things her own way. It doesn't seem right that she wouldn't be on that stage with us. Let's face it, she was a true angel, bigger than life.

    "To be there without her will be hard," Smith adds, "and to think of what she went through is hard. I was there through a lot of it, and I saw her bravery and her fight. You can't imagine how hard she fought."

    Smith -- who also lost her mother last summer ("the hardest thing I've ever gone through") -- actually will be back on the home screen much sooner. She's featured in tonight's (Wednesday, March 31) episode of NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" -- in a part she prefers to leave a mystery.

    "It was really challenging, and it was fun." Smith says. "I hadn't really done episodic television in a while, so I had to go toward the fear and get out there and do it. It was good to get back on a set. Once you get there, you feel so at home. You're surrounded by artists ... and boy, Mariska and Chris (Hargitay and Meloni, the show's stars). They've got it down."

    Producer claims Fawcett money being misused

    A producer being sued by Farrah Fawcett's estate has fired back in a court filing by claiming the late actress' money is being mishandled.

    The trustee of Fawcett's estate has withheld money from some of the actress' beneficiaries, including her father, according to a filing by producer Craig Nevius. The document filed last week in Santa Monica is in response to a lawsuit filed by a Fawcett's estate against him in January.

    Nevius, a one-time Fawcett confidante, also claims the lawsuit against him filed by trustee Richard B. Francis is a misuse of the actress' money.

    The filing takes numerous swipes at Fawcett's longtime companion, actor Ryan O'Neal, and friend Alana Stewart. Both were constant figures in Fawcett's final months and worked on the documentary "Farrah's Story," which aired on NBC.

    Nevius sued O'Neal, Stewart and Francis over the documentary last year, claiming it didn't adhere to Fawcett's wishes and improperly cut him out of the process. His recent filing repeats an allegation that O'Neal threatened him in a phone conversation.

    The filing claims Stewart misused her relationship with Fawcett to sell a book.

    "I've read Mr. Nevius' response to our complaint which I think contains spurious and outrageous allegations," said Howard Weitzman, who represents Fawcett's estate and O'Neal, Stewart and Francis. "I'm confident the truth will all come out during the course of the litigation."

    Attorneys for Fawcett's estate claimed in their lawsuit that Nevius botched a first edit of the documentary and "embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars" from the actress' company. Nevius first teamed up with the former "Charlie's Angels" star on a reality television series called "Chasing Farrah" and later teamed up in a business that produced the NBC documentary.

    Nevius is not seeking any money from Fawcett's estate, his court filing states. The filing states any business decisions Nevius made were done in good faith.

    Fawcett died at age 62 on June 25 after a three year battle with anal cancer.

    Ryan O'Neal Disappointed By Oscars' Farrah Fawcett Snub

    Farrah Fawcett's longtime partner, Ryan O'Neal, has joined other Hollywood figures including Jane Fonda and Roger Ebert in expressing dismay that Fawcett was left out of the "In Memoriam" segment of Sunday's Academy Awards.

    "There is no comment other than we were disappointed that she was not included," a rep for O'Neal tells PEOPLE.

    Fonda and Ebert both Tweeted about the snub during the broadcast. "No Farrah Fawcett in the memorial tribute? Major fail," Ebert wrote. "And where was Farrah Fawcett? She should have been included #oscars #FAIL," wrote Fonda.

    The "In Memoriam" portion of the broadcast features a montage of film-industry figures who have passed away in the previous year. Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences spokeswoman Leslie Unger says the segment can only honor so many people.

    "Every year it's an unfortunate reality that we can't include everybody," she tells the Associated Press.

    Even before the show, Academy executive director Bruce Davis spoke about the difficult process of creating the segment. "It is the single most troubling element of the Oscar show every year," he told AP last week. "Because more people die each year than can possibly be included in that segment."

    Davis explained that he and a small committee narrow an initial list of more than 100 people down to about 30. "It gets close to agonizing by the end," he said. "You are dropping people who the public knows. It's just not comfortable."

    Fawcett, who died last June at age 62, was primarily a TV actress, though she did appear in a number of feature films.

    Oscars bosses defend Fawcett snub

    Bosses at the Oscars have defended their decision to leave Farrah Fawcett out of the memorial montage - insisting it's impossible to pay tribute to every star who passed away in the last year.

    The Charlie's Angels actress, who died in June, was absent from the Academy Awards' tribute section on Sunday night, which marked the deaths of stars including Brittany Murphy and Patrick Swayze.

    The snub sparked speculation she was left out because of her predominant television career, with some online critics slamming the ceremony heads for not adding her to the clip.

    Jane Fonda was also shocked Fawcett was left out, and wrote on "Where was Farrah Fawcett? She should have been included."

    Screenwriter Roger Ebert added, "No Farrah in the memorial. They have a whole lot of 'splaining (sic) to do."

    And U.S. TV personality Star Jones is fuming the actress was not included, because she appeared in movies including The Cannonball Run and The Apostle and was even nominated for a Golden Globe for 1987 film Extremities.

    Jones writes on her Twitter page, "FYI (for your information)... Farrah had a very diverse career... that included Broadway, TV & Film. She even received a Golden Globe nom (sic)."

    But Oscar bosses have defended their decision. Bruce Davis, the executive director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, says, "It is the single most troubling element of the Oscar show every year. Because more people die each year than can possibly be included in that segment. You are dropping people who the public knows. It's just not comfortable."

    Kidman to present Baker with award

    Nicole Kidman will return to the scene where she first met Keith Urban.

    Organisers of the G'Day USA: Australia Week festival in Los Angeles revealed on Friday that the Oscar winning actress will attend next weekend's black tie ball to present close friend and star of hit TV show The Mentalist, Simon Baker, with an award.

    Kidman and Urban were honourees at the 2005 G'day Ball in LA, where they were introduced before falling in love and marrying in Sydney just over a year later.

    Baker and Australian actress Toni Collette will be presented with Excellence in Film and Television Awards at the G'Day Ball on January 16th, a sell-out event in the Hollywood and Highland Ballroom where the 850 attendees have paid up to $US10,000 ($A10,906) for a table.

    The third honouree is golf great Greg Norman, who will receive an Excellence in Sport Award.

    G'Day USA: Australia Week 2010 runs from January 9 to 22 and showcases all things Australian, including food and wine, travel, film, arts, culture, fashion, business and investment.

    The ball is the centrepiece of the festival.

    Past ball honourees include Mel Gibson, Rod Laver, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts, Steve Irwin, Cate Blanchett and Kylie Minogue.

    It is also a magnet for Hollywood's A-list, with past guests including John Travolta, Harrison Ford, Sacha Baron Cohen, Sally Field and tennis champ John McEnroe.

    Ball attendees will feast on a dinner prepared by celebrity chefs Curtis Stone, Pete Evans and Wolfgang Puck and entertainment will be provided by Las Vegas-based Human.

    Nature, a dance performance by Dancing with the Stars LA-based Kym Johnson and a fashion show involving Jennifer Hawkins.

    G'Day USA is produced by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Qantas Airways, Tourism Australia and Austrade.

    The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards Nominations



    BILL Bratton and Rikki Klieman back at Elaine's with Murray ("Don't Worry") Richman and his rising-star daughter, Stacey Richman, plus Dabney Coleman and Carol Higgins Clark.

    "The Mentalist" sold into syndication at TNT

    The Simon Baker crime drama "The Mentalist," which just began its second season on CBS, has netted a rich off-network syndication deal with TNT.

    The cable network will start airing reruns in fall 2011.

    The show is said to have fetched more than $2 million an episode, a broadcast-series record, but neither TNT nor syndicator Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution would comment.

    "The Mentalist" was the top new series last season, and has been a solid performer this fall in its new Thursday 10 p.m. slot.

    But the economic downturn and a glut of procedurals have pushed off-network prices down from the heights of late 2004, when Spike TV shelled out a record $1.9 million an episode for CBS' "CSI: NY." That was followed by the USA Network/Bravo pact for "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" for just shy of $2 million an episode and the current record-holder, A&E's deal for "The Sopranos," valued at $2.5 million an episode.

    By comparison, last year, another solidly performing CBS procedural, "Criminal Minds," was sold to A&E and ION for a combined license fee of about $850,000 an episode.

    On TNT, a corporate sibling of the show's producer Warner Bros. TV, "Mentalist" will join a slate of off-network procedurals that includes "Law & Order," "Bones" and fellow CBS series "Without a Trace," "Cold Case" and "Numbers."

    Created by Bruno Heller, "Mentalist" stars Baker as an independent consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation who solves crimes using razor-sharp observation skills.

    With its light tone and quirky central character, "Mentalist" had been considered a good fit for USA, which is said to have been interested. But the show might have been considered too similar to that network's original series "Psych."

    TNT has been an active buyer of late. The network also recently acquired the Warner Bros.-produced cop drama "Southland" after it was canceled by NBC.

    'The Mentalist' looks masterful in its second season on CBS

    Success doesn't count for much in TV if you only do it once.

    Last season's sole real breakout hit, The Mentalist returned for a second season this fall with a higher-profile time slot and higher expectations to match. Tonight's savvy, carefully plotted outing, which cleverly plays off TV's tendency to draw a bright line between background and foreground, is an example of how it has lived up to the challenge.

    This dexterously twisty episode shifts the focus from Patrick Jane (played to a Peck's-Bad-Boy, charm-personified turn by Simon Baker) to Robin Tunney's Teresa Lisbon. When a paroled child molester she had arrested is murdered, suspicion falls on Lisbon and she's removed from the case. Which doesn't stop her team from sticking their noses in.

    By now, fans of the show know how the characters will behave. Jane will insult a witness, spar with Bosco (new addition Terry Kinney) and leave Lisbon alternately annoyed and amused. Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) will make puppy-dog eyes at Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti), and Cho (Tim Kang) will find some deadpan way to torture him for it.

    As for the plots, fans of this show and of any other show that has ever aired will immediately realize that Lisbon could not have executed someone in cold blood; The Mentalist is not that kind of series, and Lisbon is not that kind of character.

    Wisely, the writers don't try to sell you on that exaggerated a crisis. All you have to believe is that she could have killed him in some other way and for some other reason. And thanks to strong work by Tunney and some admirably well-planted clues, the possible solutions are all acceptably plausible.

    Still, the best indicators for the show's long-term health are the mistakes it avoids and the growth it exhibits. This is the first episode this season that doesn't make a significant mention of the Red John serial killer case, which has been taken away from Lisbon's team and reassigned to Bosco.

    Red John is an important aspect of the series; it gives the show a continuing-story backbone, and Jane a depth and motivation he would otherwise lack. But if the writers want this story to keep running — as they apparently do — they can't let it dominate the proceedings, because the more it does, the more pressure there will be to resolve it.

    In some ways, that dilemma makes Bosco a tricky character, as Red John is his sole reason for being. Yet by providing a new antagonist for Jane, he has freed Gregory Itzen's increasingly amusing boss from the burden of always being the obstacle. Plus, Bosco is another force pushing Lisbon and Jane together — though please, not too closely and not too quickly.

    Odds are The Mentalist has a lot of seasons ahead of it. There's no need to do everything at once.

    Emmy presenters include Tina Fey, Simon Baker

    The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences says Tina Fey, Kiefer Sutherland and Simon Baker will be among the presenters at this Sunday's primetime Emmy Awards.

    Each is a nominee. Baker's freshman hit "The Mentalist" earned him a nomination for best actor in a drama. Sutherland won that award in 2006, and is nominated this year for his role in a special "24" movie. Fey is up for best actress in a comedy, the award she won last year.

    The live telecast is scheduled for 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday.

    The academy says other presenters include Jon Hamm of "Mad Men" and the "Gossip Girl" twosome of Blake Lively and Leighton Meester.

    Also taking the stage to hand out trophies will be Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel of "How I Met Your Mother," Stephen Moyer of "True Blood," NBC late-night host Jimmy Fallon, Dana Delany of "Desperate Housewives" and Chandra Wilson of "Grey's Anatomy," the academy said Monday.

    Ryan O'Neal: I Should Have Been Much Kinder to Farrah

    Speaking publicly for the first time since the death of his longtime partner Farrah Fawcett on June 25, Ryan O'Neal says he wishes he could have a second shot at the 30-year relationship, and wonders if his own sometimes cruel character somehow led to her fateful illness.

    The grieving actor, 68, tells Vanity Fair in its September issue that he'd love to "do it over," given the chance, and in the process would change some unpleasant flaws in himself that caused Fawcett pain. "I would have been much kinder, more understanding, more mature," he says. "I'd lose some of the savagery. I don't know how she got cancer; maybe some of it was me."

    O'Neal and Fawcett split up in 1998 after a tumultuous 20 years, and reconnected in 2001, after he was diagnosed with leukemia. O'Neal blames that split on, among other things, her menopause – and his own lack of sympathy.

    "I believe Farrah was going through some kind of life change," he tells the magazine, which has Fawcett on the cover of half the September issues and pop star Michael Jackson on the cover of the other half. "I didn't have a change of life. I was always a jerk. But they're hard work, these divas; I was sick of it, and I was unappreciated. I just don't think she liked me very much. So I excused myself."

    He adds: "We pulled apart, but we never popped loose."

    O'Neal says his deficiencies extend beyond his relationship with Fawcett, calling himself a "hopeless father" and relating one disturbing incident from Fawcett's funeral.

    "I had just put the casket in the hearse and I was watching it drive away when a beautiful blonde woman comes up and embraces me," said O'Neal. "I said to her, 'You have a drink on you? You have a car?' She said, 'Daddy, it's me – Tatum!' I was just trying to be funny with a strange Swedish woman, and it's my daughter. It's so sick."

    The latest Vanity Fair hits newsstands on Aug. 5.

    Redmond's Final Words to Farrah: A Promise to Be Good

    Redmond O'Neal's final conversation with his dying mother Farrah Fawcett allowed him to express a vow to turn around his troubled life, says his father, Ryan O'Neal.

    "I held the phone to her ear, so I'm not exactly sure, but I think it was about regret," the elder O'Neal tells Meredith Vieira in a Today show interview airing Tuesday. "And the horror of, of not being able to see her again. And the promise – the promise of a good life. Of a life that she would have be proud of."

    Fawcett, who died of cancer on June 25, had not seen her incarcerated son since April, when the 24-year-old was granted a court-approved personal visit to her bedside. He was also permitted to attend, in handcuffs, her June 30 funeral. Redmond is currently serving time at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic, Calif., for violating probation on a previous drug conviction.

    O'Neal, Fawcett's longtime companion, says he is personally answering every letter of condolence received. His other job, the 68-year-old admits, is being strong for Redmond, whom the actor calls "her legacy. And he knows that, finally. It's clear. And he has a plan – a wonderful plan in mind to restore order in his life. And he will, with my help."

    Her Final Days

    Describing Fawcett's passing at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica as "awful," O'Neal says her physician, Dr. Lawrence Prio, alerted him and Fawcett's close friend Alana Stewart to gather at the bedside once he "thought she would live just another couple of hours. She lived a couple of days," says O'Neal.

    "I had a bed put in the room for me. And I just lay by her side. And she wouldn't – move on. She wouldn't pass. She just, she just looked at us with a slight smile. It was awful. And then, all of the sudden, the machines flat-lined. After about 16 hours she was gone."

    Simon Baker's Emmy Nom: Get the Guy a Beer!

    Want to congratulate Simon Baker on his first Emmy nomination for his work on The Mentalist? Well, you should forget about champagne.

    The Aussie actor is much more about a nice ice-cold one.

    "Our show runner brought me a case of beer," Baker told us at the Life Rolls On Foundation's "They Will Surf Again" event at Zuma Beach in Malibu. "I got into my trailer after lunch, and there was a big esky—you guys call them coolers, but we call them eskies in Australia—filled with beer and ice."

    He actually didn't have one until they finished the day's 15-hour shoot. "I didn't touch them," he said. "I couldn't."

    Baker said he believes his chances of taking home the Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama series are pretty narrow. He's up against Hugh Laurie of House, Gabriel Byrne of In Treatment, Michael C. Hall from Dexter, Mad Men's Jon Hamm and last year's winner, Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad.

    "It's just the way I was brought up—to always assume I'm the underdog," Baker explained. "I think it's a cultural thing."

    "Mentalist" Simon Baker says he's Emmy underdog

    Australian actor Simon Baker was as surprised as anyone when he got his first Emmy nomination on Thursday -- although his "Mentalist" character would have seen it coming.

    Baker, 39, was among the new faces when the nominations for best actor in a drama were announced after just one season of his new crime series "The Mentalist."

    The CBS show, in which Baker plays the arrogant but playful and possibly paranormal crime consultant Patrick Jane, was one of the biggest new hits on U.S. television this past season that ended in May, averaging 17.7 million viewers.

    It has already been sold to some 30 nations in Europe, parts of Asia and South America.

    "The Mentalist" could have been just another of the popular so-called "procedural" crime series that dominate primetime television but make less impact during award seasons.

    Yet Baker, whose previous work includes the movie "The Devil Wears Prada" wasn't interested in sticking to tried and true formulas.

    "I didn't just want to do a television show and be told what to do, where to go, and how to play it. It is creative death to me," Baker told Reuters.

    Baker said he worked closely with Bruno Heller, the creator of "The Mentalist", on the subversive side of his character, who once faked being a psychic but does have acute observational powers.

    "The character wasn't 100 percent on the page and I thought that was good and I could interpret it in my own way. I thought it could be a refreshing take on the procedural show and meld comedy with drama and procedure with character," Baker said, during a break from shooting the second season.

    Baker said he wasn't awake when the Emmy nominations were announced early on Thursday in Los Angeles. And he rated his chances of winning as slim given competition from Hugh Laurie of "House", Gabriel Byrne of "In Treatment", last year's winner Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad", Michael C. Hall from "Dexter" and Jon Hamm's enigmatic 1960s ad executive in "Mad Men".

    "I am happy to be the new guy. But I always feel a bit like an underdog," Baker said. "I've been incredibly fortunate to have the people involved in ("The Mentalist") be so supportive of me, and willing to play around with the character a bit."

    The Emmys will be handed out on September 20 in Los Angeles.

    Emmy Reactions

    "It's very bittersweet. Farrah passed away three weeks ago today. It's quite a coincidence that three weeks later we find out about the Emmy nomination. I know that she would be so, so happy. This was so important to her, this project. She's been nominated before, and I just know that this would be the most important one of all. It's a wonderful way to honour her legacy ... I'm thrilled about it and I want to cry at the same time." - Farrah Fawcett's friend Alana Stewart, a producer of NBC's "Farrah's Story."

    2009 Primetime Emmy Nominations

    The Emmys will air live on CBS, Sunday, September 20 with How I Met Your Mother’s Neil Patrick Harris as host.

    Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
    Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
    Michael C Hall, Dexter
    Hugh Laurie, House
    Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment
    Jon Hamm, Mad Men
    Simon Baker, The Mentalist

    Outstanding Nonfiction Special
    102 Minutes That Changed America
    Farrah's Story
    Michael J. Fox: Adventures Of An Incurable Optimist
    Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired
    The Alzheimer's Project: Momentum In Science (Parts 1 & 2)

    Farrah Fawcett Receives Posthumous Emmy Nod

    Three times nominated for her acting, though never a winner, Farrah Fawcett received her fourth Emmy nod posthumously on Thursday, as an executive producer of Farrah's Story, the May 15 NBC special that tracked the three-year cancer battle that eventually claimed her life on June 25.

    Fawcett, 62, was best known for her portrayal of Jill Munroe on Charlie's Angels, though she only remained with the show its first season, 1976-77. Her acting nominations were for roles in The Burning Bed (1984), Small Sacrifices (1989) and The Guardian (2004).

    In a statement Thursday, Fawcett's longtime companion, Ryan O'Neal said, "For the Television Academy to recognize Farrah's Story with this nomination is such a wonderful acknowledgment for Farrah and her legacy. I know that she is smiling that fabulous smile right now in heaven, and that she is grateful that the show has been so well received not only by her peers in the industry but by the public at large."

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