Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lauren Ash and Nico Santos Talk Tonight's Superstore... and what they hope for the show's future

With Lauren Ash and Nico Santos
for NBC's "Summer Press Day"
Beverly Hilton hotel, Beverly Hills,
March 20, 2017
 This past Monday, NBC held a soiree in Beverly Hills to preview the network’s upcoming summer series.  Throughout the day, we critics saw clips of new shows like Midnight, Texas, and previews of upcoming seasons of The Wall, Hollywood Game Night and The Night Shift.  Then that night, the casts and producers of many of the shows mingled on the rooftop of the Beverly Hilton hotel.  And although I did talk a little about the new stuff coming up, I was most excited to see two stars of NBC’s hilarious comedy Superstore.

Tonight, we get to see an important episode of this second season, as Matteo (Nico Santos) deals with the repercussions of the revelation of his relationship with Jeff (Michael Bunin) – which includes being forced to transfer to a different store.  The episode, titled “Matteo’s Last Day,” is also notable in that it was directed by that series’ multi-faceted star, America Ferrera.

I spoke with Santos and with Lauren Ash – aka Dina, although in her glam blue hostess-pant outfit, you’d never see the resemblance – about tonight’s episode, the future of Superstore in season three, and what they’d like to see happen for their characters.


Must-Hear TV:  How does life at Cloud 9 change now that Dina and Matteo’s secrets are out?

Nico Santos:  We’re out of the closet now!  As you saw from the end of the last episode, Matteo has to transfer stores for the romance to work.  So this next episode – which America directed, and is a lot of fun – is titled “Matteo’s Last Day.”  To what capacity, the audience will just have to wait and see.  But there’s a lot of drama that happens with his undocumented status, and with Jeff, there’s some drama. 


MHTV:  I’ve been fooled by the show before, like with the walkout at the end of season 1.

NS:  Well if you thought the season 1 finale with the walkout was crazy…

Lauren Ash:  …You’ll have to wait for the season 2 finale.  Which we can’t give details about, but…

NS:  …It makes the season 1 finale look weak!

The cast of NBC's Thursday night comedy
Superstore
LA:  What I will say is I don’t know how they’re going to get us out of it, and I don’t know that they know how they’re going to get us out of it.  Which is amazing.


MHTV:  I wrote a book about Will & Grace, and those writers used to say that every season they deliberately painted themselves into a corner with the finale, because the fun was figuring your way out.

LA:  Absolutely.  That was also Dexter.  That constantly happened at the end of seasons of that show, where it was like, “Now what?!”  Not that we’re a murdering type show, but…  Who knows!


MHTV:  Would you think it was unusual if you found out Dina had a closet full of bodies?

LA:  I feel like she’s too much of a rule follower to actually commit a murder, but….

NS:  Matteo would totally have bodies. 

LA:  Yeah, he would bury a body for sure.  But there’s great stuff coming up.  Obviously the Dina/Garrett storyline is so much fun.  Yes, they know that they are sleeping together, and that they like sleeping together – but they also hate each other.  So it’s pretty fun.  I think it’s a great metaphor for modern romance and dating, in the app world that we live in, where people date a bunch of people at the same time.  It’s kind of a different world than it was even like 10 years ago.  So there’s some really fun stuff coming.  And the other thing we can tease is that this season’s second-to-last episode does not set foot in the store.  That’s a first.  Because we’ve seen us outside the store, but we’ve never had an episode that’s completely out of the store.  Fans are going to go crazy.


MHTV:  Is it set at some kind of retreat?

NS:  We’ve said too much!


MHTV:  How does Dina and Garrett’s relationship change now that everyone knows?  And how does it change life in the store?

LA:  It’s somewhat business as usual, but now that the other characters know, their awkwardness is a fun thing.  We explore that [tonight’s] episode for sure.  How does this define them in the workplace?  Because they’re not in a relationship, they’re not married, they’re not engaged, they’re into even dating – in fact they hate each other.  But they do have this existing connection which has to be acknowledged.  But how do you acknowledge it?  There’s really fun play with the human resources aspect of what that would look like.


MHTV:  Yes!  If Matteo has to leave because of Jeff, then…

LA:  Exactly.  So what does that mean?  And Matteo and Jeff is a real relationship, but we don’t know what this is [with Dina and Garrett.]


MHTV:  But this is almost worse, because it could go wrong in so many different ways.

LA:  That’s right!  And the other great thing about tonight’s episode is that America directed it, which I don’t feel is getting enough press.  I think that should be out there more!  Because she did a fucking killer job!  She was great!  It was amazing.  No one knows the show better than us, and so what a gift, to have somebody who knows and has been there literally from day one be your director! 


MHTV:  Comparing the show to The Office, I think it’s pretty clear that Dina is very similar to Dwight, the weird rule followers.  Would you say that, Lauren?  And Nico, who would be Matteo’s Office counterpart?

LA:  I have to admit something, and I don’t normally do this because I feel bad about it, but I actually didn’t watch The Office.


MHTV:  You were in Canada!

LA:  But I did watch the British Office, that’s the thing.  So people often bring up “you’re the female Dwight.”  And I love the comparison, because I know he was a beloved character and he’s so funny.  But any similarities were not deliberate.  I don’t really have a frame of reference for him.


MHTV:  I would think some of it comes from the writing.

LA:  I think some of it is, certainly.  But I think ultimately, we all know somebody like that.  There’s always somebody in our lives who is that stick-in-the-mud, for lack of a more modern term.  So there’s something relatable about that archetype.  I think some people think I’m doing an impression of him, which is not the case.  I wouldn’t even know where to begin.  But any comparisons to that show are amazing.  That show was so successful and had so much heart, and people loved it.  So that’s a great statement.

NS:  I’m also not that familiar with a lot of characters from the Office.  But in season 1 of our show, people were asking, “Is Matteo like a Dwight-esque character as well?”  And I don’t think so.


MHTV:  I don’t know who he would be.

NS:  He’s Pam!


MHTV:  I was thinking maybe Angela.  They were both uptight, but had a romantic side.

NS:  Okay, I’ll take that!


MHTV:  Angela also dated a gay man!

LA:  But Parks & Rec I think is another comparison you can make.  A show which I loved.  And again, there’s Ron Swanson.  He isn’t necessarily like Dina or Dwight, but is.  It’s still that kind of character.  The really strong, confident, bold type.


MHTV:  But completely out of touch.

NS:  That’s the thing about our show.  You watch it, and you see somebody like Dina and somebody like Matteo or Garrett, and you realize, “Oh, I’ve worked with them before!”  We all play somebody who people have worked with before.


MHTV:  Why is everybody so mean to poor Sandra?

LA:  For the most part, it’s Dina being mean to Sandra.  People often ask me why, and my answer is always to say that I think Dina just smells weakness.  If Sandra were super-confident, Dina wouldn’t mess with her.  But because there’s a vulnerability there, she doesn’t respect her.

NS:  It’s so crazy, because Kaliko Kauahi, who plays Sandra, is so not her character.  She’s amazing.  She’s from the islands, very low-key.  She’s got a very laid-back, Hawaiian attitude.  So it’s so funny to see her portray Sandra, and people expect her to be that meek person, but she’s not.

LA:  She’s so sweet, too.  I feel bad screaming in her face.


MHTVSuperstore did something great, which was adding more secondary characters over time as they proved themselves popular.  Was that the case with Sandra, and Marcus the warehouse guy, and Myrtle?

NS:  Somebody like Johnnny Pemberton who plays Bo, Kaliko as Sandra, Jon Barinholtz as Marcus – these three actors have really added so much to our show.  From the moment they were on the show for their first appearances, they meshed well.  I’m excited for them to get more into the show, and for other additions in the near future.

LA:  Because the reality of those stores is that people come and go like crazy.  You have some people who have been there for 30 years, and some who have been there for 3 weeks.  And there’s a lot of turnover.  So it’s great, because it opens up the writers to trying different people and characters.  Certainly, a character like Sandra, the audience responded to right away.  So it would have been silly for them not to pursue that.  And she’s become a huge storyline this season.


MHTV:  Lauren, has any of your real-life experiences at [Canadian retailer] Zellers been pitched as storylines?

LA:  So many have been pitched…


MHTV:  Have any landed?

LA:  No!  They love them but they haven’t done any of them yet.  So I’ve got to keep pushing.  There are some good ones that I feel like we’ll get into the show for sure eventually.


MHTV:  What do you hope happens in season 3 for each of your characters?

NS:  I really hope that we get to meet some members of Matteo’s family.  We almost never see a Filipino family on television.  Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is the first time.  And just like with any other family, Filipinos are just kind of crazy.  So I would love for our audiences to be introduced to them.


MHTV:  Who do you want your parents to be?

NS:  America is actually really trying to pitch me portraying my own mom!  Which I would do!

LA:  Nico Santos, Nico Santos and Nico Santos!

NS:  We’ll do a Nutty Professor thing.  I would love it!


MHTV:   How about for Dina?  What would you like us to see in season 3?

LA:  Dina’s birds!  This is the thing that the fans are crying out to see on social media.  And I have been pushing to Justin, so we’ll see.  We’ve talked about them so much, and what is it they say – “if you’re going to pull out a gun, you have to use it”?  So I think we have to see the birds.


MHTV:  What do you think Dina’s birds have been trained to say?

LA:  They pledge allegiance to the flag.  I think she runs them through military drills.  I just think it would be such a gift to see that.  There have been people on twitter who have also been pitching that Camryn Manheim should play my mother on the show, and that’s actually awesome!  Not that I’m suggesting that she looks old enough to be my mother at all, but I think she’s amazing.


MHTV:  She’d be a young mother, which would explain a lot about Dina’s upbringing.

LA:  Exactly!  And I think it would be great to see Dina’s mother, somebody in Dina’s family who makes Dina look like Sandra.  I would like to see the person in Dina’s life who makes her shut down, whoever that may be.  Someone from her past.  And, the other thing that I’ve forgotten to say earlier:  America and I are pushing so hard that Dina and Amy knew each other in high school, and we want to see a flashback.  This is our dream.  We have been pushing this with [executive producer] Justin [Spitzer], and he keeps giggling and saying “okay…”  But I love the idea that they went to high school together!  My opinion has always been that Dina would consider Amy to be her best friend, even though there’s no basis for that.  We never see each other after work.


MHTV:  I can’t imagine Dina has a lot of female friends.

LA:  She has no friends!  But in her mind, she thinks Amy is her best friend.  Which I always improv into different things, “Well, she’s my best friend, so…”  So I’d love to see what that dynamic was.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

RIP Bill Paxton, 1955-2017

Justin Cornwell and Bill Paxton
in CBS' small-screen adaptation
of the 2001 film Training Day.
It's hard to believe that the vibrant, talented and from all accounts good-hearted actor Bill Paxton passed away earlier this weekend at the age of 61, after complications from surgery.  Paxton rose to fame in film: he had a notable run with director James Cameron, in Aliens, True Lies and Titanic; he chased tornadoes with Helen Hunt in Twister;the native Texan was a gunslinger in Tombstone and Frank & Jesse; he was the piece-of-shit older brother (literally) in Weird Science.  And of course, Paxton found big success on the small screen, with his lead roles in HBO's Big Love, The History Channel's Hatfields & McCoys, and his current role as dirtyish cop Frank Rourke on CBS' recent debut, Training Day.

Training Day wrapped production of its first -- and especially now, probably its only -- season back in December, meaning that there are still episodes about to unspool, keeping Paxton's talent that much more alive through the end of this TV season.  The show debuted to only so-so ratings, and slipped thereafter, meaning it was probably a long-shot for renewal anyway.  There's been no word from CBS as to the show's fate -- contrast that, of course, to the cancellation of the network's other big midseason drama entry, Doubt, which was cancelled after just two episodes aired -- but here's hoping that, at the very least in tribute to Bill, we get to see all thirteen.  (Later this year, audiences will get to see Paxton's final film role, with the release of the sci-fi thriller The Circle, in which he co-stars with Tom Hanks.)

Last May 18 -- just a day after Paxton's 61st birthday -- I had the pleasure of interviewing him and his Training Day co-star Justin Cornwell about the upcoming show, and about how the Rourke character fit into the collection of characters in Paxton's career.  You've played a lot of bad guys, I remarked to him -- well, make that bad-ish guys.  Do you think these guys are what you'd call "justifiably bad?"

"Justifiably bad?  You bet.  To me, the characters I’ve played -- and I’ve played a few antagonistic characters – usually have more justification than the protagonist.  They have a real reason to be the way they are.  And certainly my character Frank Rourke in this, he’s been in this business a long time.  He’s a 30-year veteran.  He’s seen everything.  He’s seen stuff that would appall most normal people, who wouldn’t be able to go back to the job.  But it’s in his blood.  He’s a hunter.  I start off [Training Day] with a narration, talking about how LA has always been a hunting ground, going back to the Pleistocene days, ten thousand years ago.  The La Brea tarpits for God’s sakes!  And is hasn’t really changed.  [In playing a morally grey character in that setting], you have to have a reason for doing what you’re doing.  You’re not just the 'bad cop.'”

Having grown up in the '60s, Paxton later added, he was happy for today's emergence of "antihero" shows, and was happy to take on such a character in Training Day.  It's just one of the latest examples of a career's worth of characters, made memorable by a talented actor.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fox renews freshman series "Lethal Weapon" and "Star"

Two more early pieces of news from Fox today: the network has given early renewals to two freshman series, this past fall's adaptation of Lethal Weapon, and a much more recent show to debut, the musical series Star.

Check out the press releases below, with details about each show's current-season performance, as well as loglines of upcoming episodes.





“LETHAL WEAPON” RENEWED FOR A SECOND SEASON ON FOX

An All-New Episode Airs Tonight on FOX

FOX has ordered a second season of the hit action drama LETHAL WEAPON, it was announced today by David Madden, President, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.

“LETHAL WEAPON continues to fire on all cylinders,” said Madden. “Every week, it delivers a big, fun rollercoaster ride, but also remains touchingly human and genuinely emotional, and that’s due to the chemistry that’s developed not only between Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford, but the entire cast. We want to thank our producing partners, Warner Bros., as well as Matt Miller, McG, Dan Lin and Jennifer Gwartz, who have done a fantastic job in crafting a series for which a second-season order is well deserved.”

LETHAL WEAPON delivers a total Multi-Platform average audience of 11 million viewers and ranks among the Top 5 new series this season.

In tonight’s all-new episode, “Unnecessary Roughness,” airing 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT, on FOX, a murder involving a high school football phenomenon draws Riggs (Clayne Crawford) and Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) into the lucrative – and corrupt – world of college recruiting. Meanwhile, Murtaugh considers a big change in his professional life, and Riggs contemplates an even bigger shift in his personal life, as he spends more time with DEA Agent Karen Palmer (guest star Hilarie Burton).

Combining action and drama with ride-or-die friendship and humor, LETHAL WEAPON reimagines the hit movie franchise, as it follows classic cop duo Riggs (Clayne Crawford, “Rectify”) and Murtaugh (Emmy Award nominee Damon Wayans, “My Wife and Kids,” “In Living Color”), who work a crime-ridden beat in modern-day Los Angeles. Grief-stricken after the loss of his young wife and unborn child, ex-Navy SEAL-turned-detective MARTIN RIGGS moves to California to “start over” at the LAPD. He’s paired up with ROGER MURTAUGH, who’s just coming back to the job after a near-fatal heart attack. Riggs’ penchant for diving headfirst into the line of fire immediately clashes with Murtaugh’s prudent, by-the-book technique. One has everything to live for, the other has nothing to lose.

LETHAL WEAPON is a production of Warner Bros. Television in association with Lin Pictures and Good Session Productions. Matt Miller (“Forever,” “The 100”), Dan Lin (“The LEGO Movie,” “Sherlock Holmes”), Jennifer Gwartz (“Forever,” “Veronica Mars”) and McG (“The Mysteries of Laura,” “The O.C.,” “Charlie’s Angels”) serve as executive producers. The pilot was written by Miller and directed by McG. “Like” LETHAL WEAPON on Facebook at facebook.com/LethalWeaponFOX/. Follow the series on Twitter @LethalWeaponFOX and join the discussion at #LethalWeapon. See photos and videos onInstagram by following @LethalWeaponFOX.

All episodes of LETHAL WEAPON are available on FOX NOW, Hulu and On Demand. To watch episodes on FOX NOW, visit http://fox.tv/watchlethalweapon.





FOX ORDERS A SECOND SEASON OF “STAR”

An All-New Episode Airs Tonight on FOX

FOX has renewed the drama series STAR for a second season, it was announced today by David Madden, President, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.

“Lee Daniels is a true visionary and he and Tom Donaghy have delivered a series with a unique and meaningful point of view,” said Madden. “Our incredible cast, led by Queen Latifah and Benjamin Bratt, instantly infused their characters with tremendous depth and passion, and the show has proved to be both powerful and really entertaining. We are thrilled that this STAR will continue to shine for a second season.”

Delivering an average Multi-Platform audience of more than seven and a half million viewers, STAR is an emotionally powerful drama that follows three talented singers – running from their pasts and desperate for a new start – with ambitions of stardom, as they navigate the cut-throat music business. The series features Queen Latifah, Benjamin Bratt, Jude Demorest, Brittany O’Grady, Ryan Destiny, Amiyah Scott and Quincy Brown.

Only three more episodes of STAR remain before the jaw-dropping season finale, airing Wednesday, March 15 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. As the season comes to a close, news of Otis’ murder continues to wreak havoc on God’s Blessings Beauty Salon and threatens to break up the family, as the girls will face life-changing decisions that could tear them apart. Special guest stars set to appear on STAR over the next four weeks include Naomi Campbell, Big Boi, Rickey Smiley, Missy Elliott and Paris Jackson. 

STAR is a production of 20th Century Fox Television in association with Lee Daniels Entertainment. Lee Daniels and Tom Donaghy are the creators and executive producers of the series. Pamela Oas Williams and Effie Brown also serve as executive producers. Chuck Pratt is an executive producer and serves asshowrunner of the series. “Like” STAR on Facebook at facebook.com/STARonFOX. Follow the series on Twitter @STAR and join the discussion by using #Star. See photos and videos on Instagram by following @STARonFOX. 
All previously aired episodes of STAR are available on FOX NOW and On Demand to subscribers of participating pay-TV services. To learn more about FOX NOW, please visit www.foxnow.com.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Watch out, Greenwich: Fox Renews "The Mick" for season 2

l-r, Sofia Black-Delia, Jack Stanton, Carla Jimenez,
Thomas Barbusca, Scott MacArthur and Kaitlin Olson
in Fox's comedy The Mick

This morning, in advance of the usual barrage of renewals and cancellations in May, Fox announced a season 2 pickup for its midseason comedy The Mick, a show of faith in Kaitlin Olson and her "bad aunt" sitcom.

No word yet on whether The Mick will be on Fox's fall schedule, or will be held, like this year, until after the World Series or beyond for a midseason debut.  Stay tuned!

Below, Fox's full announcement:


“THE MICK” RENEWED FOR A SECOND SEASON ON FOX
 An All-New Episode Airs Tonight on FOX Hit comedy THE MICK, starring Kaitlin Olson, has been renewed for a second season, it was announced today by David Madden, President, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.
“From the earliest stages of development, all of us at FOX had enormous faith in THE MICK, and it hasn’t disappointed,” said Madden. “Kaitlin is a fearless comedic force, and the rest of the cast has just proven to be phenomenal. John and Dave Chernin have a very clear vision of what this show is, and they execute on that vision each week to perfection. We really couldn’t be happier with THE MICK, and we’re so thrilled to renew the series for a second season.”
On tonight’s all-new episode of THE MICK, “The Baggage,” airing 8:30-9:00 ET/PT, on FOX, Mickey’s (Kaitlin Olson) unwanted suitors team up to thwart her new romance. Meanwhile, Sabrina (Sofia Black-D’Elia) and Alba (Carla Jimenez) teach Ben (Jack Stanton) a lesson in responsibility.
Delivering an average Multi-Platform audience of eight million viewers, THE MICK is a comedy about an unapologetic degenerate (Kaitlin Olson) who suddenly finds herself stuck raising her spoiled niece (Sofia Black-D’Elia, “The Night Of”) and nephews (Thomas Barbusca, “Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life”; newcomer Jack Stanton) in affluent Greenwich, CT. It’s pretty much everything she never wanted. Regardless, she’s determined to rise to the occasion and transform these little monsters into honest, hard-working, decent members of society – something she knows absolutely nothing about.
The series also stars Carla Jimenez (“Last Man Standing”) and newcomer Scott MacArthur. Produced by 20th Century Fox Television, THE MICK was created/written by John Chernin (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) and Dave Chernin (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”). The Chernin brothers, Nicholas Frenkel (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) and Oly Obst (“Barely Famous”), along with Randall Einhorn (“Nurse Jackie,” “The Office”), who directed the pilot episode, are executive producers. Kaitlin Olson is a co-executive producer on the series.
“Like” THE MICK on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMickFOX/.
Follow the series on Twitter @TheMickFOX and join the discussion at #TheMick.
See photos and videos on Instagram @TheMickFOX. All episodes of THE MICK are available on FOX NOW, Hulu and On Demand.
To watch episodes on FOX NOW, visit http://fox.tv/watchlthemick.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Henstridge Era Continues, as E! renews "The Royals" for season 4

News coming out of Britain...er, Los Angeles today, as E! announces a fourth-season renewal for its scripted series The Royals.  Ten episodes will air at an unspecified date, after the season 3 finale airs this Sunday night, February 19.  Read on for the official royal proclamation:

E!, LIONSGATE, AND UNIVERSAL CABLE PRODUCTIONS PROCLAIM “THE ROYALS” REIGN WILL CONTINUE FOR A FOURTH SEASON
Season Three of the Delightfully Scandalous Original Scripted Series Starring Elizabeth Hurley Averages 1.1M Total Viewers, with More Than 600k in the A18-49 Demo, and 1.6M Weekly Social Engagements  
Third Season Finale Episode Airs This Sunday, February 19 at 10pm ET/PT on E!, Followed by “The Royal Hangover” on Facebook Live at 11pm ET
Los Angeles and Santa Monica, CA, February 16, 2017 – E! Entertainment announced a season four pick-up of the hit original scripted drama series “The Royals,” co-produced by Lionsgate and Universal Cable Productions.  Created by Mark Schwahn (“One Tree Hill”), the hour-long drama follows a fictional modern day royal family as they find love, conspire against one another, and are forced to face long-hidden secrets, all in the name of the crown.  “The Royals’” fourth season will consist of 10 one-hour episodes, to be followed each week by The Loyals’ favorite after show, “The Royal Hangover,” on Facebook Live. 
The third season has been a fun, sexy romp filled with battles for the throne, unexpected trysts, secret relationships, impossible returns, and complicated reveals from the past.   Events have included Queen Helena’s (Elizabeth Hurley) bitter battle against Cyrus (Jake Maskall) to prove Prince Liam (William Moseley) and Princess Eleanor (Alexandra Park) are rightful heirs to the throne after King Simon’s murder; the presumed dead Prince Robert’s (Max Brown) return to the palace; Queen Helena’s obsession with the Crown Prince of Lichtenstein (Elizabeth Hurley’s son, Damian Hurley) from the “Royal & Beautiful” television series; Princess Eleanor and her bodyguard Jasper (Tom Austen) taking a romantic turn in their relationship while he struggles to keep his past from catching up to him; and finally, Cyrus fighting for his life and the throne. 
In the upcoming third season finale episode, airing this Sunday, February 19 at 10pm, Prince Liam finds himself in unexpected places while looking to validate or dismiss the latest palace scandal. Queen Helena is heartbroken over a recent loss, while Jasper makes a final play for Princess Eleanor’s heart, and historic changes assure that nothing will ever be the same behind the palace gates.
Following the episode, the cast of “The Royals” joins creator Mark Schwahn to talk about the latest vices, skirmishes and not-so-secret rendezvous the nobles have taken part in throughout the season on “The Royal Hangover” on Facebook Live at 11pm ET on Sunday, February 19.
 “The third season of ‘The Royals’ has proven to be an entertaining mix of secrets, deceit and desire that our fans can't get enough of,” said Adam Stotsky, President, E! Entertainment and Esquire Network.  “We are excited to see what new scandals await our royal family, and how their dynamic evolves in season four.”
“We’re proud to extend our partnership with our friends at E! and Universal Cable Productions, and we’re pleased that the dedicated fans – the ‘Loyals’ –  are getting another season of their favorite show,” said Lionsgate Television Group Chairman Kevin Beggs.  “’‘The Royals’ is the kind of original and provocative series that has become a Lionsgate trademark, and we look forward to an all-new season of saucy palace intrigue and badly behaved sovereigns.”
“Mark Schwahn has created a sensational and opulent world filled with high stakes, scandalous drama and fairytale love stories. We’re excited to continue working with the talented cast and crew along with Lionsgate and E! to deliver more of ‘The Royals’ to loyal fans,” said Jeff Wachtel, President, Chief Content Officer, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment.
"E!, Lionsgate, and Universal Cable productions are wise and benevolent rulers and the Loyals are the true aristocracy,” said Mark Schwahn, creator, writer and director of “The Royals.”  “The writers, cast and crew love making this show, and I'm thrilled to once again play the role of court jester and humbly entertain our dedicated fan base with many more scandalous, sexy, heartfelt and addictive tales from the House of Henstridge." 
The third season of “The Royals” is averaging 1.1M total viewers, with over 600k in the 18-49 demo.  The scripted series ranks among the Top 5 Primetime destinations on Sundays (8p-11p) among W18-34 (#4), and is a Top 10 Primetime destination for 2017 to date among A/W 18-49 and A18-34.  Season three is averaging 1.6M weekly social media engagements, up 52% versus the same season two window.
Source: Nielsen, Live + 3, A18-49, premieres only (12/4/16-1/29/17); Primetime ranks based on 2017 premieres only (1/1/17-1/29/17; Social = ListenFirst
“The Royals” is co-produced by Lionsgate and Universal Cable Productions.  The series is executive produced, written and directed by Mark Schwahn (“One Tree Hill”), and executive produced by Brian Robbins, Joe Davola (“One Tree Hill,” “Smallville”), and Shauna Phelan.  “The Royals” stars Elizabeth Hurley (“Queen Helena”), William Moseley (“Prince Liam”), Alexandra Park (“Princess Eleanor”), Jake Maskall (“King Cyrus”), Tom Austen (“Jasper”), Max Brown (“Prince Robert”) and Genevieve Gaunt (“Wilhelmina”).

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Galentine's Day!

Just a reminder for tonight, as you snuggle with your partner or sit in front of the TV with a new box of bon bons (no judgments here!):  As of yesterday, all 180 half-hours of The Golden Girls became available for streaming on Hulu.

Yes, it's a fun ritual to tune in at 11 PM to see which episodes Hallmark is featuring for the night.  But now, for the first time, you can stream at any time any episode you want.  Like Rose, jonesing for a pain pill, or Dorothy, making surreptitious calls to her bookie, you can find on Hulu the fix you're craving.  Again, no judgments!

Happy Gal-entine's Day!

Attention, Cloud 9 Shoppers: Superstore Renewed for Season 3

The cast of NBC's hit Thursday night comedy Superstore

A smart buy for NBC: giving an early season 3 renewal to its hilarious sophomore comedy Superstore.  Read on for the network's official announcement about the 22-episode third season to come this fall.


UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — Feb. 14, 2017 — Renewal on aisle 3 … NBC’s “Superstore” is coming back for a 22-episode third season. 
The announcement was made by Jennifer Salke, President, NBC Entertainment.
“We are extremely proud of ‘Superstore,’ which is one of the smartest and funniest comedies on television today,” said Jennifer Salke, President, NBC Entertainment. “Through the show’s expertly drawn characters, our producers and cast do a remarkable job touching on many issues in which audiences can relate. To its credit, not only does ‘Superstore’ make us laugh, but it makes us think as well.”
So far this season, “Superstore” originals have averaged a 1.8 rating in adults 18-49 and 5.7 million viewers overall in “live plus seven day” ratings from Nielsen Media Research, lifting the network +29% above its 1.4 average in the Thursday 8 p.m. half-hour last season in 18-49 (excluding sports). Last summer a special post-Olympic telecast of “Superstore” delivered 9.7 million viewers, making it broadcast TV’s most-watched Friday comedy in 12 years.
Last season “Superstore” ranked as NBC’s #1 show on digital platforms, generating more than 33 million full-episode views on Hulu, NBC.com and video on demand.
“Superstore” centers around Amy (America Ferrera), the store’s most stalwart employee as well as the glue holding the place together. Jonah (Ben Feldman), who is often the target of his colleagues ribbing, is joined on the floor with his fellow associates, including sardonic Garrett (Colton Dunn), the ambitious Mateo (Nico Santos) and sweet teenager and new mom Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom). Overseeing the store is Glenn (Mark McKinney), the affable, clueless store manager, and Dina (Lauren Ash), the aggressive assistant manager who enforces Cloud 9 policy with an iron fist.
From the bright-eyed newbies and the seen-it-all veterans, to the clueless seasonal hires and the in-it-for-life managers, together they hilariously tackle the day-to-day grind of rabid bargain hunters, riot-causing sales and nap-worthy training sessions.
“Superstore” was created and written by Justin Spitzer, who also serves as an executive producer with director Ruben Fleischer, David Bernad and Gabe Miller & Jonathan Green. “Superstore” is produced by Universal Television, Spitzer Holding Company and The District.
 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Lady Gaga Joins RuPaul for Season Premiere of Drag Race

Well, it looks like Gaga survived that jump off the Super Bowl roof after all.  This morning, I got the email from Citibank about pre-sale tickets for her "Joanne" world tour.  (The pre-sale starts Feb. 8).  And now, Logo has announced that Gaga will be joining RuPaul to judge the season 9 premiere episode of Drag Race.

Check out the announcement video and press release below:


COME THROUGH, MOTHER MONSTER
Logo’s Emmy® Award-Winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Lands Lady Gaga For Unforgettable Season Premiere
Snatch The Moment This March
  
NEW YORK, NY – February 7, 2017 – Fresh off a stunning Super Bowl halftime show performance, Lady Gaga is set to appear on the season premiere of Logo’s Emmy® Award-winning competition series,  "RuPaul’s Drag Race."  Logo today announced that the new season will kick off with “Mother Monster” and RuPaul this March.  

The season nine premiere event features a shocking opening that will go down as one of the most jaw-dropping moments in “Drag Race” history.  Additionally, the premiere event will unveil a court of cut-throat Queens each competing to snatch the crown and strut away with a $100,000 cash prize and the coveted title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar.” Along the way, they’ll face an unpredictable competition and deliverwatercooler moments as these talented ladies of drag join the fabulous 100 Queens who fought for the crown before them.

The 13 previously announced Queens include:  Aja (Brooklyn, NY), Alexis Michelle (New York, NY), Charlie Hides (London, UK), Eureka O’Hara (Johnson City, TN), Farrah Moan (Las Vegas, Nevada), Jaymes Mansfield (Madison, Wisconsin), Kimora Blac (Las Vegas, Nevada), Nina Bo'nina Brown (Atlanta, Georgia), Peppermint (New York, New York), Sasha Velour (Brooklyn, New York), Shea Coulee (Chicago, IL), Trinity Taylor (Orlando, FL) and Valentina (Los Angeles, CA).

"RuPaul's Drag Race" season nine is produced by World of Wonder Productions with Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, Steven Corfe, Mandy Salangsang and RuPaul Charles serving as Executive Producers.  Tim Palazzola serves as Executive Producer for Logo.

After an epic Super Bowl halftime show performance that still has the world talking, Lady Gaga announced the Joanne World Tour set to begin this summer.  For dates and tickets, go to http://www.ladygaga.com


Friday, February 3, 2017

All My Children reunites on Home & Family

All My Children cast members l-r:
Taylor Miller, Peter Bergman, Kathleen Noone,
Michael E. Knight, Eva La Rue, Susan Lucci,
Jill Larson, Eden Riegel, Kim Delaney and Laurence Lau.
February 1, 2017
Photo by Erica Berger
For fans of daytime TV's classic series, this past week of Hallmark Channel's Home & Family was a real treat.  All week long, daytime diva Susan Lucci guest-hosted the two-hour daily program -- and on Thursday, Lucci joined in for a reunion of many of her former All My Children co-stars.

The vibe was familial as the actors joined in different combinations not only to talk about their days on the soap, but to work with Home & Family correspondents such as Debbie Matenopoulos, Lawrence ZarianKym Douglas and Paige Hemmis for segments on beauty, cooking and crafts.

Home & Family hosts
Mark Steines and Debbie Matenopoulos
February 1, 2017
Photo by Erica Berger

Later, over cocktails in Home & Family's backyard, I talked with Michael E. Knight, aka AMC's Tad Martin, about how he got his start.  Not long after graduating, he found himself on AMC -- and acting opposite one of his idols.  As a kid, Knight had broken his wrist, and during his recuperation, home from school, he discovered All My Children and its resident vixen, Erica Kane.  So years later, when he got the job on AMC himself, he approached Susan Lucci like a real fan -- and, he admits, probably scared her.  "I know you!  I love you!"


Check out Hallmark's Home & Family, airing weekdays at 10 AM Eastern/Pacific.
All My Children's Kim Delaney (l) and Kathleen Noone
February 1, 2017
Photo by Erica Berger
With the delightful Eva La Rue
at Hallmark's Home & Family
February 1, 2017
Photo by Erica Berger



Colucci meets Lucci at long last!
With Susan Lucci and my husband Frank DeCaro
at Hallmark's Home & Family
February 1, 2017
Photo by Erica Berger

RuPaul Selects Her New Queens

A much anticipated announcement yesterday from Logo, and its flagship series,RuPaul's Drag Race.  Ru has selected her season 9 queens/contestants, and you can meet them here:




Below, the press release with more info about what Ru has in store for us in the coming season:

LOGO’S EMMY® AWARD-WINNING COMPETITION SERIES
“RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE” RU-VEALS CAST
OF GAG-WORTHY NEW SEASON
 
 
Link to All-New Promo:  logotv.com/video-clips/o1pvd9
 
NEW YORK, NY – February 2, 2017 – Emmy® Award-winning host RuPaul is taking the new season of Logo’s "RuPaul's Drag Race" to the nines with the highly anticipated return of the groundbreaking competition series and revealing the next royal court of Queens set to compete for the crown. 
 
"‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 9,” said executive producer RuPaul Charles. “Now more than ever!”
 
Coming this spring, the season nine premiere extravaganza features a shocking opening that will go down as one of the most jaw-dropping moments in “Drag Race” history.  Additionally, it will unveil a court of cut-throat Queens each competing to snatch the crown and strut away with a $100,000 cash prize and the coveted title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar.” Along the way, they’ll face an unpredictable competition and deliverwatercooler moments as these talented ladies of drag join the fabulous 100 Queens who fought for the crown before them.
 
Logo kicked off the season nine cast announcement with a three-day story on the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Instagram account featuring a behind-the-scenes look at the season nine promo shoot, dropping hints to the day, date and time for the official cast announcement.  The story culminated in a Facebook Live, hosted by “Drag Race” judge Michelle Visage where fans got a first, exclusive interview with season nine Queen, Valentina, before the cast was officially announced.   
 
The 13 Queens who will compete in the pop culture phenomenon that has taken the world by its weave include:
 
  • Aja
Brooklyn, New York
TW: @ajathekween, IG: @ajathekween
 
  • Alexis Michelle
New York, New York
TW: @AlexisLives, IG: @AlexisLives
 
  • Charlie Hides
London, UK
TW: @charliehidestv, IG: @charliehidestv
 
  • Eureka O’Hara
Johnson City, TN
TW: @eurekaohara, IG: @eurekaohara
 
  • Farrah Moan
Las Vegas, Nevada
TW: @farrahrized, IG: @farrahrized
 
  • Jaymes Mansfield
Madison, Wisconsin
TW: @JaymesMansfield, IG: @jaymesmansfield
 
  • Kimora Blac
Las Vegas, Nevada
TW: @kimorablac, IG: @kimorablac
 
  • Nina Bo'nina Brown
Atlanta, Georgia
TW: @atlsexyslim, IG: @nina_bonina_brown
 
  • Peppermint
New York, New York
TW: @Peppermint247, IG: @peppermint247
 
  • Sasha Velour
Brooklyn, New York
TW: @sasha_velour, IG: @sashavelour
 
  • Shea Coulee
Chicago, IL
TW: @SheaCoulee, IG: @sheacoulee
 
  • Trinity Taylor
Orlando, FL
TW: @TrinityTheTuck, IG: @trinitythetuck
 
  • Valentina
Los Angeles, CA
TW: @AllofValentina, IG: @allaboutvalentina
 
"RuPaul's Drag Race" season nine is produced by World of Wonder Productions with Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, Steven Corfe, Kate Fisher and RuPaul Charles serving as Executive Producers. Chris McCarthy, Pamela Post and Tim Palazzola are Executive Producers for Logo.
 
For up-to-date “RuPaul’s Drag Race” news and exclusives, join the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Facebook page or follow #DragRace conversation on Twitter at @RuPaulsDragRace. Follow along with live gifs from the show on Tumblr and additional content on the show’s Instagram page.