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News & Cast Updates(News section last updated August 30, 2019)
TV icon Valerie Harper loses cancer battle(8/30/19) Actress Valerie Harper, who won four Emmy awards playing budding feminist Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and her own sitcom, died on Friday at the age of 80.
Harper died on Friday morning, her daughter Cristina Cacciotti said, declining to give further details.
Harper’s husband, Tony Cacciotti, said in July that doctors advised that the actress, who was suffering from brain cancer, be placed in hospice care.
Harper had revealed to People magazine in March 2013 she had leptomeningeal carcinomatosis – cancer cells in the membrane of her brain.
She made a surprising comeback after the 2013 diagnosis, which had given her only months to live. Just seven months later she competed on the “Dancing With the Stars” show and in 2015 made an appearance on the sitcom “2 Broke Girls.”
Harper, who also was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, stayed busy campaigning for cancer research and taking occasional acting and voice-over jobs as recently as 2019.
She won three straight Emmys for best supporting actress in a comedy on Moore’s show – 1971 through 1973 – and in 1974 Time magazine featured the two of them in a cover story titled “TV’s Funny Girls.”
That same year “Rhoda” was given her own show, which ran for five years and earned Harper another Emmy for best actress in a comedy in 1975.
Olivia Cooke, Ben Hardy & Alec Baldwin Set For Comedic Thriller ‘Pixie’(8/19/19) Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One, Thoroughbreds), Ben Hardy (Bohemian Rhapsody, X-Men: Apocalypse), and Daryl McCormack (A Very English Scandal, Vikings) will star in Pixie, a comedic thriller directed by Oscar nominee Barnaby Thompson and written by Preston Thompson. Rounding out the cast are Colm Meaney (Layer Cake), Dylan Moran (Black Books), and multiple Emmy and Golden Globe winner Alec Baldwin.
Filming is currently underway. The plot centers on Pixie (Cooke), who wants to avenge her mother’s death by masterminding a heist, but her plans go awry and she finds herself on the run with two young men (Hardy, McCormack) who are way out of their depth being chased across the Wild Irish countryside by gangsters. She has to pit her wits against everyone, taking on the patriarchy to claim the right to shape her own life.
Thompson, who picked up an Oscar nom as a producer of the short film, Dear Rosie, is producing the pic with James Clayton (My Generation, Pride). Thompson has produced films such as Spiceworld, Wayne’s World 1&2, An Ideal Husband, and produced and directed the indie films St. Trinian’s 1&2. He most recently served as executive producer of the UK film, Fisherman’s Friends.
“I am excited to be returning to the Emerald Isle, the birthplace of my father and where I started my career directing documentaries, to make a comedic thriller with a wonderful cast against an extraordinary landscape. I’m also thrilled the film is going to be distributed in the UK and Ireland by Paramount, where I started my career producing movies,” said Thompson.
Peter Touche and Samantha Allwinton from Ingenious Media are the executive producers of Pixie.
Funded by Ingenious and Fragile Films, with support from Northern Ireland Screen, Pixie will shoot in and around Belfast, Northern Ireland for seven weeks, with additional photography in the West of Ireland.
Endeavor Content is handling worldwide sales. Paramount Pictures has acquired distribution rights in the UK and Ireland.
Jamie Dornan, Alec Baldwin & Christian Slater To Star In ‘Dr. Death’, UCP Limited Series Based On Podcast(8/9/19) “First do no harm.” Jamie Dornan, Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater are set to star in Dr. Death, a limited drama series from UCP based on the Wondery podcast about a sinister doctor who treats his Hippocratic Oath about the same way he treats his patients.
With the high-caliber talent on board, UCP is shopping the project to networks and streaming platforms. The studio took the same approach with two other series based on podcasts, Homecoming, which was sold to Amazon with Julia Roberts attached, and Dirty John, which landed at Bravo with Connie Britton in negotiations to star. Both those projects scored two-season pickups.
Dr. Death explores the twisted mind of a sociopath and the gross negligence of the system designed to protect the most defenseless among us. It tells the disturbing true story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch (Dornan), a rising star in the Dallas medical community. Young, charismatic and ostensibly brilliant, he was building a flourishing neurosurgery practice when everything suddenly changed. Patients entered his operating room for complex but routine spinal surgeries and left permanently maimed or dead. As victims piled up, two fellow surgeons (Baldwin and Slater) and a young Assistant District Attorney set out to stop him.
Baldwin plays Robert Henderson, a quiet, deliberative and methodical neurosurgeon who believes wholeheartedly both in the system in which he rose through the ranks and that anything worth doing shouldn’t be rushed. It should be gotten right. Slater is vascular surgeon Randall Kirby, who, on the other hand, is brash, impulsive and more than willing to burn that system to the ground in the name of justice. There’s a time and a place for deliberation and there’s a time and a place to just get things done.
Together, they form something of a Woodward-and-Bernstein duo who constantly will be at odds in terms of their personalities and their methods but on the exact same page as it relates to their endgame.
Dr. Death is executive produced by Patrick Macmanus (Happy!) under his overall deal with UCP, the studio behind The Act, Homecoming and Dirty John, which is shopping the project. Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch executive produce via Escape Artists, as well as Hernan Lopez and Marshall Lewy of Wondery, whose Dr. Death podcast has been heard by more than 50 million people.
UCP acquired the rights to Dr. Death before the podcast had premiered.
Dornan is repped by UTA, Troika and Sloane Offer; Baldwin with CAA and Cavalry Media; and Slater is repped by UTA. Wondery and Escape Artists are with UTA.
Hulu Picks Up All Seasons Of ‘Designing Women’; Will Launch Classic Sitcom On Women’s Equality Day August 26 – TCA(7/28/19) Hulu has acquired classic 90s sitcom Designing Women and will launch all seven seasons of the Linda Bloodworth-Thomason-created show on August 26, Women’s Equality Day.
The digital platform will air all 163 episodes of the series, which was produced by Bloodworth/Thomason Mozark Productions in association with Columbia Pictures Television for CBS, after striking a deal with Sony Pictures Television.
The series, which ran from September 29, 1986, until May 24, 1993, centers on the lives of four women and one man working together at an Atlanta interior design firm. Designing Women starred Dixie Carter (The Edge Of Night/The Doctors), Annie Potts, Jean Smart (Another World), Delta Burke, Meshach Taylor, Alice Ghostley (Passions), Julia Duffy (The Doctors/Passions/Love Of Life), Jan Hooks and Judith Ivey.
The pick up comes after a reboot of the show, written by original creator Bloodworth-Thomason, was developed last year by ABC.
Hulu’s head of originals Craig Erwich said that the show was “ahead of its time” when it launched. “We saw these four fabulous women balancing work and home lives, running businesses, handling setbacks and dating. But the show never shied away from tough topics like domestic abuse, homophobia, racism and women’s rights and its themes and storylines continue to have revelance today,” he added.
In terms of other holidays, Erwich claimed that The Act, starring Patricia Arquette and Joey King, was the “most watched original” on Mother’s Day. The anthology series follows Gypsy Blanchard (King), a girl trying to escape the toxic relationship she has with her overprotective mother, Dee Dee (Arquette).
Erwich said, “I guess after the disturbing scenes between Patricia Arquette and Joey King, we all feel better about our relationships with our moms.”
Baldwin's Roaster Revealed(7/23/19) Sean Hayes has been named Roast Master for The Comedy Central Roast of Alec Baldwin, airing Sunday, Sept. 15 at 10/9c.
Kathy Bates Joining Clint Eastwood’s ‘Richard Jewell’(6/14/19) We hear that the Misery Oscar winner is joining Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell.
Bates will play the role of Bobi Jewell, Richard’s mother who was an insurance claims adjuster.
The news follows yesterday’s announcement that I, Tonya actor Paul Walter Hauser will play the title role as the security guard whose life was turned upside down after he was believed to be a possible suspect in the Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Sam Rockwell is playing Jewell’s defense attorney in the film.
Eastwood’s movie, scripted by Billy Ray, centers on Jewell, who discovered a suspicious backpack in the Olympics compound, cleared the area and saved lives that day, but after he was falsely accused he became a pariah. Even though the FBI cleared Jewell as a suspect three months later, the true American hero never fully got his reputation back or his confidence in himself, and his health was forever damaged. Jewell, who later became a police officer, died in 2007 of a heart attack at age 44.
Producing Richard Jewell are Tim Moore, Jessica Meier, Kevin Misher, Jonah Hill, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jennifer Davisson. Production companies are Malpaso, Misher Films, 75 Year Plan, and Appian Way.
Bates is repped by ICM.
Alec Baldwin Weighs In on Game Show Revival Craze(6/12/19) It is, more than ever, “game on” for ABC this Wednesday night, as the newly launched Press Your Luck revival leads into a new hand of Card Sharks and then the summertime run of Match Game (airing at 10/9c).
What’s behind this game show revival craze, aside from a need to help people recover from Daenerys Targaryen’s reign of terror? And does Match Game‘s host ever have private thoughts about the more, um, eclectic contestants? TVLine spoke with Alec Baldwin about those topics and others, including 30 Rock‘s psychic powers, why the [BLANK] his own wife is doing Match Game, and how his take on Trump is ultimately powerless.
TVLINE | As excited as I was for ABC to bring back Match Game years ago, I’m equally jazzed to be getting Card Sharks this week from Joel [McHale] and Press Your Luck with Elizabeth Banks. Why do you think game show revivals do as well as they do for ABC?
[Tongue planted semi-firmly in cheek…?] My career has been so groundbreaking, when you think about it. I mean, no one has done what I’ve done. I’ve done movies and Emmy Award-winning TV shows… I’ve been nominated for a Tony on Broadway… and then I fake everybody out and I go and host a game show. Everybody in the business — even Christian Bale, I bet — sat there and said, “You know, maybe I oughta be hosting a game show? Doing all these really important roles and Oscar-nominated films is so much work. Why don’t I go and just hit a bucket of golf balls like Alec Baldwin?”
No, I think that there’s such an incredible variety of programming these days, and some of those shows I love and watch are very dark, and very violent, and very traumatic. In a world where people want sweet and sour on the menu, game shows have enjoyed a resurgence. People just want to have some fun. They don’t want to stress too much about, “Which character’s head is the dragon going to bite off of in the next episode?”
TVLINE | There’s a steady influx of new celebs rotating in and out of the Match Game panel. Do you have any say in that?
I only have one rule, which is, “Don’t bring any of my brothers on the show.” That’s the critical rule here.
TVLINE | None. Ever.
None. Bring on people named Baldwin, but none of my three brothers.
But in all seriousness, we have great casting people and we have great returning people who I love and some of whom are dear friends, but we also have people who I get to learn about, people I don’t know. I don’t watch a lot of TV — I watch some — so I’ll say [to producers], “Who’s Bob so-and-so?” “Well, he’s in his fifth season of this white-hot comedy” that I’ve never heard of. This gives me a chance to learn about people who are out there in the whole constellation, and it’s been fun.
TVLINE | Is there anybody you’d like to have on the show? Personal friends or past co-stars?
All the usual suspects. We’d love to have some of the great comedy actors and actresses. Who wouldn’t want Julie Louis-Dreyfus and [Jerry] Seinfeld, Tina [Fey], Jimmy Fallon, Howard Stern… Bill Clinton? We have a whole list of people like that. But do you want to know something? We’re not missing anything. Everybody we have, we love. We’ve always had people on who are just blackbelt comics, like Adam Carolla, Ali Wentworth, Kenan Thompson, Joel McHale, Sherri Shepherd…. We have Wayne Newton coming on! We are not lacking.
Alec Baldwin Wife HilariaTVLINE | You do have a Baldwin coming up [next season] — your wife Hilaria. Whose idea was that?
We have four kids so we need all the money we can get our hands on. [Laughs] I tried to book my wife for all 12 shows — and my daughter Carmen, who I think would do well; she’s pretty funny. No, we were going to do a show with a bunch of my family — like my brother Billy’s wife Chynna [Phillips], and my brother Stephen’s daughters and so forth, and my daughter Ireland — but scheduling-wise it didn’t work out. But they stayed with the idea of bringing on Hilaria, and she is quick to do any show where really smart writers give her the opportunity to let the air out of me on TV. She can’t wait for that.
TVLINE | When a Match Game contestant reveals a very, very, very specific, and peculiar, hobby, do you ever have an internal monologue where you’re like, “Oh, come on“?
[Laughs… a lot] I’m glad you said internal monologue, because….
TVLINE | I mean, someone who “makes tiny foods”…?
Please come and write for the show. You need to come be with us. Where are you? New York? We’ve got to get you out of TVLine and over here.
TVLINE | This seems to be a long way of you answering, “Yes.”
It’s such a funny thing, because when [the contestants] come around the corner, the way they present themselves when we first introduce them tells you everything you need to know about them. Some of them look like they’re in a seat with a taser in the cushion, and they’re hopping up and down like a robot. Some of them are so animated! And some of them are like, “Let’s ease our way into the craziness.” But you can tell so much about them when they come around that corner.
TVLINE | Do you have a favorite instance of 30 Rock predicting the future? For example, Tracy Jordan once filmed a political ad in which he claimed that Martin Luther King’s dream was to build a 200-foot wall between Mexico and the United States.
[Laughs] I still believe that Jack McBrayer is going to become the president of NBC one day. I still believe that prediction. They could use him.
TVLINE | At this moment — at 1:59 pm on Monday, June 10 — what is your current answer on doing more Trump for Saturday Night Live?
Lorne [Michaels] is my dear friend; if he wants me to continue, I probably will. I get sick of it and Iv’e whined about it regularly, because in the zeitgeist, I’m a pretty political person, and where I would normally put that energy is into voter registration, to work with MoveOn.org, to get involved in an actual candidacy which I used to do a lot of but stopped for a while. My wife and I have four little kids, so what I choose to do, I’m a bit precious with my time. But Lorne is my dear friend and that’s like another home to me, so if they want me to do it, I probably will. I’m just afraid that come the fall, I’m going to be very busy.
TVLINE | TVLine actually did an op-ed saying that maybe your time at SNL is up. That, at least the way they’re writing for you, they are not saying anything fresh anymore with the Trump character. Maybe it is time to turn it over to someone else, or drop it for a bit.
I do believe that their cold openings that don’t include Trump have been some of the best cold openings of the year. The thing is — and I don’t say this with any pride, or any crowing at all — that evvverywhere I go, people thank me. People say, “I love you doing that.” “It’s such a great thing for us to be able to make fun of this.” There are a lot of people out there who are still deeply disturbed by where we are [as a country] and I think probably there’s a right amount of it [to do on SNL], regardless of who is playing Trump.
But for me, I hate phrases like “move the needle” and so forth, because who knows what needle that is and what we’re trying to move. I’m not in the business of trying to leverage impeachment, though I have my own opinions about that. The thing that people keep reminding me is Saturday Night Live is a comedy show, it is an entertainment show. And Lorne has been political, Lorne has been acerbic, Lorne has buffed off the edges as it suits his purpose. He kind of feels what the public-at-large wants. He doesn’t want to appeal to just one half of the country, and I trust his judgement. If you’re really out to get Trump, if you’re somebody who wants to affect a change in the White House and get Trump out of office, well, you’ve got your work cut out for you next fall. You’ve got a whole path you can get into, registering people to vote….
When Huffington Post writes something like, “Stephen Colbert Gives a Stinging Reply to Trump!,” they all talk about these things like they matter. Like John Oliver matters, and Colbert, Samantha Bee, all of them that are hyperpolitical, and I really don’t see any difference between them and SNL. You’re just helping people massage a type of bile gland they have, and it’s not really leading to any course of action. It just isn’t.
For me, I’m doing a comedy show with a bunch of old friends of mine, and when Lorne says to me, “I think we’re done” and the audience is sick of it, I would certainly take his advice. But in the meantime, for those people who want to change things in this country, there is only one way to do that — and that is to put their shoulder into a campaign next year and give it everything they’ve got.
Alec Baldwin Changes Tune on Being 'So Done' as Trump: 'If SNL Wants Me to Continue, I Probably Will'(6/10/19) After declaring himself “so done” with playing Saturday Night Live‘s Donald Trump, Alec Baldwin is leaving open the possibility of extending his ersatz presidency.
In a recent USA Today profile, Baldwin said of playing Trump, “I’m so done with that. I can’t imagine I would do it again.” As he explained, “My wife [Hilaria] and I had a son a year ago, and since he was born, I’ve worked minimally because I wanted to be there for my wife and kids…. SNL just crushes my weekends, and now weekends are going to become much more precious to me because that’s time with my kids.”
But in speaking to TVLine on Monday afternoon, Baldwin put his future as FauxTUS in SNL boss Lorne Michaels’ hands. “Lorne is my dear friend, and if he wants me to continue, I probably will,” he said.
“I get sick of [appearing as Trump] and I’ve whined about it regularly, because in the zeitgeist I’m a pretty political person and where I would normally put that energy is in voter registration, to work with MoveOn.org, to get involved in an actual candidacy and get more into that,” he went on to explain. “But Lorne is my dear friend and [SNL] is like another home to me, so if they want me to do it, I probably will.”
That is, if his ever-busy schedule allows. In addition to swinging by ABC’s New York studios now and again to bang out fresh batches of Match Game episodes (Season 4 resumes this Wednesday at 10/9c), Baldwin steadily banks film roles. In the past year alone, he appeared in A Star Is Born, Mission: Impossible — Fallout and BlackKklansman, while in the newly released documentary Framing John DeLorean he fills the title role (via reenactments).
“I’m just afraid that come fall, I’m going to be very busy,” he says.
TVLine very recently opined that SNL would be wise to give Baldwin’s Trump a rest or turn the role over to someone else, seeing as the sketch comedy series has had little fresh to say about the controversial commander-in-chief. Responding to that op-ed, Baldwin at first offered, “I do believe that the cold opens that don’t include Trump have been some of the best cold opens of the year.”
That said, “Everywhere I go, people thank me,” he relates. “People say, ‘It’s such a great thing to do, to make fun of this.’ There are a lot of people out there who are deeply disturbed by where we are [as a country], so I think maybe there’s a ‘right amount’ of it [to do on SNL], regardless of who’s playing Trump.”
Could SNL perhaps use less soft of a touch when it comes to spoofing the president? Politico, for one, recently suggested that Baldwin’s take on Trump is practically a favor to POTUS, seeing as it suggests he has little sense of the damage he is arguably doing.
“I’m not in the business of trying to leverage impeachment and so forth, though I have my own opinions on that…,” Baldwin said. “But people keep reminding me that Saturday Night Live is a comedy show, an entertainment show. And Lorne has been political, Lorne has been acerbic, Lorne has buffed off the edges as it suits his purpose. He kind of feels what the public at large wants. He doesn’t want to appeal to just one half of the country, and I trust his judgement.”
Alec Baldwin “So Done” With ‘SNL’ Trump Gig: “I Can’t Imagine I Would Do It Again”(6/9/19) Alec Baldwin says he likely won’t be playing Donald Trump on NBC’s Saturday Night Live anymore. “I’m so done with that,” the actor told USA Today yesterday.
In an interview to promote the hybrid feature-documentary Framing John DeLorean, in which he plays the notorious car designer (opening in New York and on-demand today), Baldwin was asked whether he’ll return to SNL when the late-night sketch comedy show returns in the fall.
“I can’t imagine I would do it again,” Baldwin said. “I just can’t. They should find somebody who wants to do it. They’re all my dear friends and I love going there, but the other thing is that I’m going to go to work this fall in a way I haven’t done in a while. My wife and I had a son a year ago, and since he was born, I’ve worked minimally because I wanted to be there for my wife and kids. But the party’s over this fall and I’ll be traveling. SNL just crushes my weekends, and now weekends are going to become much more precious to me because that’s time with my kids.”
Asked who should replace him, Baldwin said, “I don’t know. Darrell Hammond did it and is a far better impressionist than I’ll ever be. When Anthony Atamanuik (started impersonating Trump on Comedy Central’s The President Show), all these people were attacking me, saying, ‘Oh, your impression sucks and you suck. Please go away.’ It also was something I thought to myself: ‘I really don’t have a lot invested in my Trump impersonation, so please find someone and convince Lorne (Michaels) to replace me.’ I’m completely down with that. Winning the Emmy for that show aside, it was not some career goal of mine.”
Baldwin said he’s enjoyed the gig, especially at first. “I mean, I had a lot of fun with (the cast), and when Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider wrote (Trump sketches in 2016 and 2017), that was new, it was fresh and the ratings were good. But I feel like I’m done with that now. I’m so done with that.”
Comedy Central to Roast Alec Baldwin This Summer — Watch First Promo(6/5/19) (Video) After spending the past few years roasting President Trump on Saturday Night Live, Alec Baldwin is getting a taste of his own medicine. The Comedy Central Roast of Alec Baldwin will be filmed this summer, TVLine has learned, and will assemble a yet-undecided group of A-listers — and Jeff Ross, probably — for an evening of good-natured ribbing.
“Getting roasted will be the greatest honor of my lifetime besides being a father, a husband, hosting SNL 17 times, receiving Golden Globes, Emmys, and working with Martin Scorsese,” Baldwin said in a statement.
“Alec Baldwin has done so many great things, it will be a unique treat to spend a night focusing on everything he’d rather forget,” added Jonas Larsen, Comedy Central’s Executive Vice President of Talent and Development.
This is technically the second time Baldwin has been roasted in his own cable special, having been the subject of Spike TV’s One Night Only: Alec Baldwin in 2017. That star-studded event included appearances by Robert De Niro, Julianne Moore, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Jack McBrayer, Horatio Sanz, Daniel Baldwin and even former President Bill Clinton.
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