After the morning's contentious panel for "2 Broke Girls" at CBS' press day, maybe it shouldn't be surprising that the expected hot potato "Rob," which the Washington Post said would leave viewers "horrified and nauseated" and which the Daily Beast decried as "racist and unfunny," received a surprisingly friendly response from the assembled critics.
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Each time I sit down with Sam Worthington, I am struck by just how resolutely unpolished he is, and how refreshing that can be.
No matter how many press junkets and interviews he does, I get the feeling no one is sanding any rough edges off of Sam Worthington any time soon. He doesn't have that filter that is so carefully trained into most movie stars, and he doesn't seem terribly political in terms of what he will or won't say.
As a result, I've always enjoyed talking to him. If you do get a reaction out of him, it's genuine. If you want to talk '80s metal bands with him, you'll get him to talk all afternoon, and you'll see what passion looks like. But he'll be equally frank and critical if you want to talk about his own movies.
For example, as we sat down last week to discuss his new film "Man On A Ledge," I wanted to ask him about returning to play a character in a sequel, something he just did for the first time, and something that he's going to do soon (relatively speaking, considering the "Avatar" sequels aren't going to arrive until at least 2016) when he returns to Pandora for James Cameron.
The upcoming SAG Awards have lined up a formidable array of stars to act as presenters at the televised 18th Annual event. Natalie Portman, Ed Helms, Julianna Margulies, Armie Hammer and Regina King will hand out trophies to the winners.
SAG President Ken Howard will also act as a presenter.
Portman received The Actor last year for her mesmerizing turn in Darren Aronofsky's “Black Swan, and has recently appeared in "No Strings Attached” and “Thor." Portman may be re-teaming with her "V For Vendetta" producers The Wachowskis for the upcoming "Jupiter Ascending." She'll also be among the presenters at this coming Sunday's Golden Globe Awards show,.
Hammer is nominated this year for his supporting performance in “J. Edgar” opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and was nominated last year as a member of “The Social Network” ensemble. He'll soon be seen in the Snow White riff “Mirror Mirror,” opposite Julia Roberts and Lily Collins.
SAG award winner Helms is nominated again this year as part of the ensemble of NBC's "The Office.” He was also recently seen in "The Hangover Part II," and will appear opposite Jason Segel in the upcoming comedy "Jeff Who Lives at Home."
As an eight-time winner (and sixteen-time nominee), Margulies holds the SAG Awards’ record for the most awards received. She's taken home awards both for her current show "The Good Wife,” and for her work on NBC's long-running “ER.”
Regina King currently stars in TNT’s “Southland” and serves as the SAG Awards social network ambassador. She was nominated as a cast member of “Ray,” alongside Jamie Foxx.
The 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will air on TNT and TBS Sunday, January 29 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT from the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles.
See the complete list of nominees here.
Alright, you know the drill. Rifle off your need-to-knows and we'll try to address a few in the podcast. We'll surely be previewing the Golden Globes and talking about DGA, ASC, the Critics' Choice Movie Awards and other news items from the week as it is, so steer away from that and give us something fresh to chew on.
Drake has returned to where he rightfully belongs: the video for Mary J. Blige’s “Mr. Wrong.”
The first video released for the tune featured Blige, some background dancers and a largely unused stripper’s pole, lamenting the joys and sorrows of loving a man who makes it hurt so good in all the wrong ways. However, Drake was nowhere to be found.
[More after the jump...]
Jason Mraz will release his fourth studio album on May 8.
There’s a pent-up demand for Mraz’s music, apparently: first single the sweet “I Won’t Give Up,” debuted on Billboard’s Digital Songs chart at No. 1, selling 229,000 copies in week one, after Mraz released a lyric video of the song on his website on Jan. 3.
As the door closes on phase one of the Oscar season and nomination ballots are finalized, Kenneth Lonergan’s “Margaret” takes the stage in the final moments. Screeners of the film were finally sent out to all voting members of the Academy recently, and now, supporters of the film wait to see if said members may have responded to the material.
The actress at the center of the story, Anna Paquin, delivered her performance six years ago, when she was 23. And yet the experience still seems fresh and vivid in her mind, as if she were leaving the set after a day of emotional Olympics on “Margaret” rather than an evening of stunt-heavy work on Alan Ball’s southern-fried vamp camp phenomenon “True Blood.”
What the intermittent years have done is give her a sense of perspective akin to the kind of enriched self-understanding only attained with the passage of time. But then the actress already had the benefit of chronological distance from her character, Lisa Cohen, when production began, providing the space necessary for her to find what was lovable in a girl who she concedes is so often eristic in the film.
BAFTA announced the five candidates for the always popular BAFTA Orange Wednesdays rising star award this year and the publicly voted honor features a face-off between the God of Mischief, the God of Thunder, a "Bridesmaids" star and a one-week lover of Marilyn Monroe.
Who does Madonna think she is? MGMT? No, she’s “M.D.N.A.” Or at least that’s the title of her 12th studio album out in late March. Actually, it's kind of cute, when you think it's also short for not just her name, but Madonna DNA.
She announced the title to the world during a taping of the BBC’s “Graham Norton Show.” That episode will air on BBC One in the U.K. on Friday (and eventually on BBC America here), but before that, you can watch Madonna on “Nightline” on Thursday night.
In the downright embarrassing promo for the “Nightline” interview, correspondent Christina McFadden acts as if she and her BFF are reuniting because “Madonna has never had any problem expressing herself to me.”
[More after the jump...]
PASADENA - Welcome, friends, to the executive session that was never supposed to take place.
TCA members were unhappy.
CBS decided to schedule a brief and last-second executive session with Tassler.
I don't mean to suggest causality between those last two sentences. I'm sure it's totally coincidental.
It is true, though, that CBS has been TV's most-watched network for almost the entire duration for my time on this job, which means that the network doesn't have the same number of failures or big gambles as the other networks and that can mean controversy-free executive sessions, which aren't necessarily high in drama
But perhaps this morning will be different. Click through....
8:29 a.m. We almost didn't get this panel, but instead it's been scheduled for a very early-morning slot and it promises to only be a truncated 20 minutes.
8:32 a.m. "You spoke, we listened," Tassler says, regarding the previous absence of executive session. She explains that this is a forum that makes her nervous. It's unclear what to make of that, since she's been doing this with us for years. She begins by trumpeting the success that CBS has had this past year and whatnot. "It really wasn't a sign of disrespect," she swears.
8:34 a.m. CBS has no announcements at all this morning. "We are very proud of the success this year," Tassler says, before praising the "Two and a Half Men" rebooting, plus the addition of Elisabeth Shue to "CSI." She keeps calling Shue "Lisa," which I guess is how she's known to friends.
8:35 a.m. Tassler knows her SEO keywords and she makes sure to thank Tim Tebow, who gave CBS a huge ratings bump this past weekend. Anyway, though, CBS is up year-to-year and CBS is No.1 in everything that matters to CBS. So there you go!
8:37 a.m. Tassler is still giving her opening statement, meaning that we're going to have only 13 minutes of questions for her.
8:37 a.m. "We do hear from a lot of viewers about the overruns, but that means we have a very passionate and engaged audience," Tassler says of the fall NFL impact on "The Good Wife." She still feels that the shift to Sunday was a very good move and that the audience is upscale and engaged and that "Good Wife" fits well on Sunday.
8:39 a.m. Tassler praises that writers and cast of "NCIS" for showing continued growth after all of these years, praising "the balance in tone, style." She says the show is in its "later years," but I think she just means "later" rather than "earlier."
8:40 a.m. What's up with "The 22"? "Everything is fine and it's probably going to have a later spring launch," she says, noting that the police drama was pushed to later in spring because of the strength of the fall. Yes. Just like "Miami Medical" and "Chaos."
8:40 a.m. Is the network taking a hands-off approach to "2 Broke Girls," since it's a hit? "We have a really great working relationship with Michael [Patrick King]," Tassler says, adding that it's the network's policy to try to give showrunners the chance to find their shows. She uses "Big Bang Theory" as her example of a show that dimensionalized characters gradually. Asked for her opinion on the diner scenes, Nina says "They're equal opportunity offenders," but again mentions dimensionalizing characters.
8:43 a.m. Is CBS looking for more competition reality? With "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race," CBS is in good shape, but the network has a heavy development slate. The network doesn't want to follow the same path the other networks are following, emphasizing shows with a greater "narrative drive."
8:44 a.m. Does Tassler think NBC is making a mistake by scheduling "The Voice" against CBS' comedies? "I don't know what that matchup is going to do," Tassler says, but she notes that a lot of people are watching TV, so everybody should still be able to get maximum exposure.
8:45 a.m. Regarding development, Tassler says that "relevance" is a major goal, trying to find characters who are relatable to audiences. The key, naturally, is "strong storytelling." She says, "Audiences need to engage with characters," calling TV "an intimate medium." She says that the network tries to present flawed characters who are on their own personal journeys, but also have a core morality. The goal is to produce shows that aren't there just for a good pilot, but for the 100th or 200th episodes. She wants showrunners who feel their shows personally. She references Jonah Nolan ("Person of Interest") as a showrunner who felt his show deeply.
8:48 a.m. Social media is important to CBS.
8:48 a.m. What challenges is CBS having programming 8:30 on Thursday? "Looking for a show that is a companion isn't limited to just another multi-camera show. It could be a single-camera show," Tassler says. But "The Big Bang Theory" is a big hit and they're dedicated to finding a companion for it. Poor "Rules of Engagement."
8:49 a.m. What happened with "The Talk"? Shows in their first season go through changes and Tassler compares those changes to changes on a sitcom or drama. "We saw an opportunity moving forward into the next season and we took advantage of it," Tassler says, though she adds that unlike on a scripted show, you don't need to give explanation for those changes. She says that there may be continued evolution over time. "It's sorta par for the course," Tassler adds, praising the content and the "spirited" discussion.
8:52 a.m. What is CBS' summer ideology? "We're being very aggressive. We have a number of shows in development in the unscripted space that we have early triggers on," Tassler promises, though she also says that CBS' hit shows will repeat all summer, because that's what CBS does. The network's summer strategy is keeping the audience engaged and happy.
8:54 a.m. Is "Person of Interest" doing well? Tassler says it's performing "very well" and the network is "extremely pleased" with the show, but nobody's making any decisions about anything so far. "There's a lot of talk about 'Person of Interest,'" Tassler says. She says, not surprisingly, that everybody has realized that the Taraji P. Henson character has been "too peripheral." Geez. Why did that take so long to figure out? They're planning on bringing the Carter character into "the superhero cave" a bit earlier than originally planned. "We feel that that was a key ingredient to really letting the show build and expand," Tassler says.
8:57 a.m. Could "Smash" lead CBS to get into the musical business? And are there ever nights Tassler feels like the Monday comedies are too lewd, collectively? "We don't bring people in for a mass meeting about that quality of the shows," Tassler says. "They're a little risque, but the characters are... living truthfully within their relative situations," she says. Tassler adds that because there's ratings growth for the shows, they're resonating [and therefore above charges of crudeness?] . Everything that happens on the comedies happens within the bounds of their standards and practices. As for "Smash"? "I'm a big 'Glee' watcher. I hope it does well for them. I think it's important that in all of our respective jobs that we continue to explore," Tassler says. Did the critic forget that "Viva Laughlin" was just a few seasons ago?
That's all, folks...
The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has announced nominees for excellence in the field this year, and missing from the nominees was Janusz Kaminski's work on "War Horse," which marks yet another key snub for the film in the precursor season.
I've been critical of the lensing of Steven Spielberg's World War I epic, which was commendable in intent more so than practice and felt a bit uneven throughout. Nevertheless, it's a surprise to see Kaminski miss here, and further indication that the industry has not responded well to the film.
The happy surprise, though not all that surprising still, is Hoyte van Hoytema getting in for "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," a moody, atmospheric piece of work with photography as observational and patient as the directorial vision. It's the second guild nod for the film, following an Art Directors Guild citation, showing that the film has support through the craft branches even if it's not registering with groups like the PGA and DGA.