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News & Cast Updates(News section last updated September 5, 2019)
Disney Channel’s ‘The Owl House’ Sets Voice Cast, Secures New York Comic Con Berth(9/5/19) Wendie Malick, Gravity Falls‘ Alex Hirsch and Boss Baby‘s Sarah-Nicole Robles have been set to lead the voice cast of The Owl House, Disney Channel’s upcoming animated fantasy comedy series. They will be joined for the first season, set to premiere in early 2020, by guests including Matthew Rhys, Isabella Rossellini and Mae Whitman.
Tati Gabrielle (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Bumper Robinson (The Game), Issac Ryan Brown (Raven’s Home), Parvesh Cheena (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and Eden Riegel (All My Children) will voice guest roles for Season 1.
The news for the series comes as it secured a berth at next month’s New York Comic Con. Malick, Hirsch and Robles will join creator/executive producer Dana Terrace (DuckTales) and art director Ricky Cometa (Steven Universe) for the New York Comic Con panel, set for October 4.
The Owl House follows Luz (voiced by Robles), a self-assured teenage girl who stumbles upon a portal to a magical realm where she befriends rebellious witch Eda (Malick) and tiny warrior King (Hirsch). Despite not having magical abilities, Luz pursues her dream of becoming a witch by serving as Eda’s apprentice at the Owl House and ultimately finds a new family in an unlikely setting.
The series is produced by Disney Television Animation.
Dickinson Trailer: Hailee Steinfeld Is a Literary Rebel in Apple TV+ Comedy(8/26/19) (Video) Apple is taking some poetic license with its forthcoming Emily Dickinson series. The tech giant on Monday released the first trailer for Dickinson, its Hailee Steinfeld-fronted comedy series that is slated to bow on its Apple TV+ streaming platform this fall, and it’s literally crazy-pants.
“She’s wild,” Jane Krakowski matriarch bemoans at the start of the trailer, before adding, “She will be the ruin of this family. And she doesn’t know how to behave like a proper young lady.”
Dickinson — starring actress-singer Steinfeld in the titular role — “audaciously explores the constraints of society, gender and family from the perspective of the rebellious young poet. Set in the 19th century, Dickinson is a coming-of-age story that finds Dickinson to be an unexpected hero for our millennial era.”
Created and written by Alena Smith (The Affair), who serves as an EP alongside Steinfeld, the cast also includes Jane Krakowski, Toby Huss, Anna Baryshnikov, Ella Hunt and Adrian Blake Enscoe.
Apple TV+ is expected to launch in November with a reported $9.99 monthly subscription price.
City on a Hill Renewed for Season 2(8/2/19) City on the Hill is standing its ground at Showtime.
Despite unspectacular ratings, the Kevin Bacon-Aldis Hodge drama has been renewed for a second season, the cabler announced Friday at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour.
City on a Hill averages nearly a half-million total weekly viewers (in Live+Same Day ratings), although that audience swells to 3.5 million across all platforms.
“City on a Hill is that addictive kind of meaty and messy show we love at Showtime,” said the cabler’s president, Gary Levine, in a statement. “With the inspired pairing of Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge and the inspired writing of Tom Fontana and Chuck MacLean, we believe there is a rich future for this compelling series.”
Denise Nickerson Dies: ‘Willy Wonka’, ‘Dark Shadows’ Actress Was 62(7/12/19) Denise Nickerson, who played the bratty, bloated Violet Beauregarde in 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and a sweet-natured orphan bedeviled by ghosts and werewolves on the classic ’60s supernatural soap Dark Shadows, died Wednesday night at a hospital near her home in Colorado. In declining health since suffering a stroke last year, Nickerson was removed from life support by her family earlier that day. She was 62.
Nickerson’s son Josh Nickerson posted news of his mother’s death on Facebook after keeping friends and fans apprised of her health issues. Denise Nickerson was a longtime attendee at fan conventions for both Wonka and Dark Shadows.
“She’s gone,” Nickerson’s family posted on Facebook.
Born in New York City in 1957, Nickerson began acting on shows including The Doctors and Flipper before landing her breakthrough role in 1968 as little Amy Jennings on Dan Curtis’ gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. Teamed with young David Henesy, the two child actors were at the center of a wildly popular storyline inspired by Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, in which the kids were haunted and eventually possessed by a ghost named Quentin Collins (David Selby, in his own breakthrough role).
Nickerson, along with the rest of the cast, was soon appearing on covers of teenybopper magazines, with fans waiting outside ABC’s Hells Kitchen studio each day for autographs.
But the soap’s outsize popularity vanished as quickly as it arrived, and upon its cancellation in 1971 Nickerson soon found herself one of the few cast members to land a role that would prove as durable in memory and pop culture as the Collins family curse.
But first there was a flop – and a big one: Nickerson played the title role in 1971’s Lolita, My Love, a notorious stage musical failure by John Barry and My Fair Lady’s Alan Jay Lerner, based on the Nabokov novel. Co-starring John Neville, Dorothy Loudon, and The Boys In The Band‘s Leonard Frey, Lolita, My Love played pre-Broadway engagements in Philadelphia and Boston, ravaged by critics and closing before hitting New York. With a reported loss of $900,000, Lolita, My Love would quickly enter the annals of infamous Broadway flops.
Fortunately for Nickerson, then 13, a better booking soon followed when she was cast as Violet Beauregarde, the gum-chewing mean girl of 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Giving star Gene Wilder’s exasperated Wonka plenty to play against, Nickerson stole some gum (and each of her scenes), paying a hefty price: As her skin turns purple, she swells to the size of a giant, round blueberry. As she’s rolled to the “juicing room” by the Oompa-Loompas, Nickerson’s ready-to-blow Violet has become the film’s most memorable villain and kids movie cautionary tale.
A few roles followed – Search For Tomorrow, The Brady Bunch, Allison in The Electric Company, in Michael Ritchie’s Smile. Nickerson would later say in interviews that she auditioned for the role of the possessed Regan in 1973’s The Exorcist but her parents thought the material too disturbing. After appearing in Don Weis’ 1978 film Zero To Sixty opposite Darren McGavin and Sylvia Miles (who died last month), Nickerson retired from acting to pursue a nursing career.
Nostalgia conventions and cast reunions kept her in touch with fans of both Willy Wonka and Dark Shadows, and last summer her son Josh shared news on social media that Nickerson had suffered a severe stroke. Her health deteriorated throughout the year, and, according to a Go Fund Me page set up by her son to pay death expenses, she had recently been in a “coma-like state” after suffering a seizure and pneumonia. She was removed from life-support Wednesday.
Nickerson is survived by her son Josh Nickerson and daughter-in-law Jasmine.
Talk Show Appearance(6/12/19) LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS – NBC
Monday, June 17: Kevin Bacon
Talk Show Appearance(6/7/19) THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT, CBS
Th 6/13: Kevin Bacon
Talk Show Appearance(6/7/19) THE VIEW, ABC
Fr 6/14: Kevin Bacon
Jane Krakowski on Match Game 6/19/19(6/4/19) “Chris Parnell, Whitney Cummings, Tony Rock, Jane Krakowski, Rob Riggle, Sarah Chalke” – We’ve got a bunch of posers this week and it’s going to be BLANK! Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award-winning actor Alec Baldwin hosts an all-new episode of “Match Game,” airing WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network, streaming and on demand. Produced by Fremantle, “Match Game” features four contestants each week vying for the chance to win $25,000, as they attempt to match the answers of six celebrities in a game of fill-in-the-blank.
Celebrity panelists for June 19 include the following:
Joining the celebrity panelists are contestants Mike Brown (hometown: Harlem, New York), Christina Floriza (hometown: Chevy Chase, Maryland), Brett White (hometown: Queens, New York) and Julee Snitzer-Levine (hometown: Northridge, California).
Susan Sarandon To Star In ‘Kill Your Darlings’ Director John Krokidas’ Next Film ‘Tunnels’ – Cannes(5/17/19) Susan Sarandon has been set to star in Tunnels, the new film from Kill Your Darlings director John Krokidas. The drama based on Victoria Rose’s debut feature screenplay is being produced by Lucidity Entertainment and Circle of Confusion. Highland Film Group is now handling international sales and UTA Independent Film Group domestic at the Cannes film market.
The movie is set in the wake of a school shooting, when an unlikely friendship develops between Ruby Love (Sarandon), the grandmother who raised the shooter, and Grayson Mitchell, the teenage brother of one of the victims, when paired to work together at the local supermarket. The two outsiders help each other to find hope in a town still too stuck in its recent history to see the potential of something beautiful on the horizon.
Colin Bates and Michael Jefferson are producing for Lucidity, which is now in production on Son of the South, along with Circle of Confusion’s Matt Smith and Brad Mendelsohn. Ethan Terra, Cindy Bru and Circle of Confusion’s Frank Frattaroli are executive producers.
The Oscar-winning Sarandon this spring was set to co-star with Elisabeth Moss in the women’s rights drama Call Jane, along with recent credits including playing Bette Davis on FX’s Feud with earned her an Emmy nomination. She’s repped by UTA.
Krokidas, who recently has been directing TV with credits including Fox’s Star and Empire, is repped by UTA and Circle of Confusion.
City on a Hill Trailer(5/4/19) Showtime has released a new trailer for Boston-set crime drama City on a Hill, starring Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge. The series premieres Sunday, June 16 at 9/8c; watch the trailer here: Video.
Dallas' Ken Kercheval Dead at 83(4/24/19) Dallas vet Ken Kercheval, who played Cliff Barnes, the longtime archenemy of Larry Hangman’s J.R. Ewing, on the original CBS series and subsequent TNT revival, has died. He was 83.
Kercheval died Sunday evening in his hometown of Clinton, Indiana, according to THR.
After making his acting debut in 1962 in the Broadway play Something About a Soldier, Kercheval went on to appear on stage in The Apple Tree, Cabaret and Fiddler on the Roof. He segued to television via roles in soaps Search for Tomorrow, The Secret Storm and How to Survive a Marriage. His film work included roles in the ’70s pics Network, The Seven-Ups Rabbit Run and and F.I.S.T.
But his big break came in 1978 when he landed the role of Cliff on Dallas. He appeared in the pilot through to the 1991 series finale, one of only two cast members to appear in all 14 seasons of the show (the other one being Hagman). He reprised his role as Cliff in a 1996 TV movie version as well as the TNT revival.
Kercheval and Hagman were the only two castmembers who were on Dallas through its entire 1978-91 original run, from pilot to finale. He appeared on 342 of the Lorimar series’ 357 episodes in its first incarnation — and directed a pair of installments as well — before returning as Cliff for a 1996 telefilm and for TNT’s revival, the latter of which ran for three seasons (concluding in 2014).
On playing Cliff, Kercheval admitted back in 1987 to the Chicago Tribune, ‘He just makes you cringe sometimes. The only reason he works is his own sincerity and the humor I inject into him. If I wasn’t able to convince people that Cliff really, really believes in all his schemes, it would never work.”
Elisabeth Moss & Susan Sarandon To Star In Women’s Rights Drama ‘Call Jane’ — EFM(2/3/19) The Handmaid’s Tale star Elisabeth Moss and Oscar-winner Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking) will star in women’s rights drama Call Jane for Tallulah director Sian Heder and producer Robbie Brenner (Dallas Buyers Club) under her Unburdened Entertainment banner. The Blacklist script comes from Hayley Schore & Roshan Sethi with Moss also set to produce.
Protagonist will launch sales at the EFM on the project about Joy (Moss), a traditional 60’s American housewife, who is desperate for a child. When she receives news of her pregnancy, complications mean that what should have been a joyous moment is instead an imminent threat to her life. She has nowhere to turn until she stumbles upon the Janes, an underground abortion movement led by Virginia (Sarandon).
The film is currently in pre-production and, along with Moss and Brenner, Kevin McKeon and David Wulf are producing. Michelle Mason Vella and the script’s writers, Hayley Schore & Roshan Sethi, will serve as executive producers. Endeavor Content and ICM Partners will handle North America.
“As a producer, I strive to tell stories that are meaningful and provocative, but also to help put a mirror up to our world in order to move and inspire the audience with honesty and relatability”, said Brenner. “As a woman and a mother of two girls, I feel a responsibility with Call Jane to tell the incredible story of these brave women at a time when women’s rights and empowerment hangs in the balance. I have no doubt that Sian will craft a beautiful and important film with our dedicated and amazing cast, Elisabeth and Susan.”
Moss said, “I’m so excited to be bringing this beautiful script to life with Sian and Robbie and to be working with Susan, who I admire tremendously. The Jane Collective is an important and fascinating part of our history, especially for women. We see their story unfold through the eyes of Joy, a complex character who represents many women caught between one period of time and the next. It’s also frighteningly relevant and timely to be telling this story right now and I know, with Sian at the helm, it’s going to be an honest and brave film.”
Moss is repped by WME, Ribisi Entertainment Group and Viewpoint. Sarandon is repped by UTA. Heder is repped by ICM and Stone, Genow, Smelkinson, Binder & Christopher. Schore and Sethi are repped by ICM and Madhouse.
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