Category: Greg Braxton

Dorothy Lucey purges co-host's 'mean' at 'Good Day L.A.' [Video]

Dorothy Lucey joked about her promise not to cry during her guest shot Monday on her former rival "The KTLA Morning News," her first TV appearance since being let go a little more than a week ago from "Good Day L.A.", the Fox 11 news/entertainment show where she had worked for 17 years.

But Lucey, whose contract was not renewed, almost teared up when recalling how distraught she was by unflattering comments the show's "weather and lifestyle" anchor Jillian (Barberie) Reynolds had made about her on Howard Stern's radio show. Reynolds in 2009 spoke to Stern about her dislike for Lucey, calling her "very Christian and Bible-thumpy."

Lucey said she would call her friend, KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin, on her way to work, sobbing and saying, "I don't know if I want to be there anymore," she was so upset by the "mean."

The KTLA morning news team and Lucey were discussing Reynolds' apology to Lucey about those insults on the morning before Lucey's farewell. Footage of the apology -- and the conciliatory hug between the women with anchor Steve Edwards between them -- has provoked considerable buzz from some observers and bloggers who felt Reynolds was insincere and faking tears.

Rubin on Monday told Lucey that he felt Reynolds had taken "this unfortunate thing that happened to Dorothy, and made it all about herself." Weather anchor Mark Kriski said he felt Lucey was being blamed because things at KTTV "are not going well."

Lucey said she was also surprised by what she called her firing, since station management had told her that they wanted a "nice" newscast and that she fit right in. "I'm the nice Christian girl, the charity girl," she quipped.

She said she had a sense that she was going to be let go: "People were looking at me for a few weeks with sad eyes. I knew for a couple of weeks. I went through a period of denial."

But Lucey noted that despite the hard times, "for the most part, it was really fun." Saying she loved Edwards and Reynolds, who she called "a sister," Lucey added that she was touched by Reynolds' apology.

"I thought it was something that was deep and lovely, because [the comments] had been gnawing at me," Lucey said. "It helped me say goodbye." She suggested she had never confronted Reynolds about the statements: "You like to think you're the bigger person, that you forgive and forget, but it had gnawed at me."

Edwards remains on "Good Day L.A." while Reynolds will appear on a more limited basis that will allow her to participate in other projects. Executives said they would soon start holding auditions to replace Lucey.

 

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-- Greg Braxton

'Hatfields & McCoys' is a hit, but Kevin Costner is missing

Kevin Costner in "Hatfields & McCoys"

Not only is History's miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys" a smash hit, but it's earned star Kevin Costner glowing reviews while giving his career, which has hit a few bumps in recent years, new life and vibrancy.

But Costner is not exactly basking in the acclaim. In fact, he's doing just the opposite.

Leslie Greif, CEO and founder of Thinkfactory Media, the key driving force behind "Hatfields and McCoys," has been reaching out to Costner to congratulate him on the project's huge success, but he's been unable so far to connect with the Oscar winner.

"He's MIA, he's out of the country, he's incommunicado," said Greif, who is also executive producer of the miniseries. "No one can reach him. We're all desperate to reach him. He has no idea what's going on."

But don't panic. Greif has a pretty good idea where Costner is.

"He's off the coast of Africa somewhere," Greif said. "He has a company that goes on explorations, and he's on a treasure dive in parts unknown. He's diving for treasure."

Costner has always been around for the premiere of his movies. The only other time he's missed an opening was with his epic "Dances With Wolves" in 1990.

And we all remember what happened with that film -- it pulled down a bunch of Oscars, including one for best picture and a directing award for Costner.

"So this is a good omen," Greif said.

Tuesday, the second night of the three-night miniseries about the 19th century family feud, attracted 13.1 million viewers, only a slight decline from the massive audience of 13.9 million viewers who tuned in for Chapter 1 on Monday.

"Hatfields & McCoys" has been a passion project for Greif for 30 years. He first tried to produce at the height of popularity of network miniseries, thinking it would be an instant hit.

"I never wavered," he said. "Someone asked me if I feel vindicated. But I really feel validated more than vindicated. It's a story that's timeless."

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--Greg Braxton

Photo: Kevin Costner, center, in "Hatfields and McCoys." Credit: Chris Large 

 

Miami Dolphins to play ball with HBO's 'Hard Knocks'

Miami dolphins
The Miami Dolphins are teaming up with HBO Sports and NFL Films for the latest installment of "Hard Knocks," the cable network's series which offers an all-access pass into the daily lives and routines of a successful NFL team.

"Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins" will kick off its five-episode season on Aug. 7. This edition will also mark the 40th anniversary of what some sports fans call the greatest season in NFL history -- Don Shula's 1972 Dolphins, who had a perfect undefeated record.

Said Ken Hershman, president of HBO Sports: "This marks the first time that the series has featured a first-year head coach (Joe Philbin), and we are extremely grateful to both Coach Philbin and the entire organization for agreeing to participate. As always, there will be plenty on the line for veterans, free agents and rookies."

The Dolphins are in the competitive AFC West division. A 24-person NFL Films crew will live at the team's training camp in South Florida, shooting more than 1,000 hours of video over the course of the series.

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-- Greg Braxton

Photo: Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) warms up with other rookies and tryouts during training camp at the team's practice facility in Davie, Fla. Credit: Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel/MCT

NBC's 'Smash' brings the curtain down on several regulars

Smash
The road to Broadway has ended for several members of NBC's musical drama "Smash."

Series regulars Raza Jaffrey, Jaime Cepero, Brian D'Arcy James and Will Chase will not be returning when the series returns for its second season. The exits follow the departure of creator and show runner Teresa Rebeck.

The characters played by the four actors were among the most heavily criticized, and many fans of the show, which explores the behind-the-scenes turmoil surrounding the making of a Broadway-bound musical about Marilyn Monroe, are likely to cheer their absence. 

Jeffrey played Dev, the fiance of actress Karen (Katherine McPhee), who slept with Ivy (Megan Hilty), Karen's chief rival, near the end of the season. Cepero was Ellis, an assistant who was also scheming and plotting.

James portrayed Frank, the put-upon husband of songwriter Julia (Debra Messing), while Chase played Michael, the married leading man who had a brief but obsessive affair with Julia.

There's a chance the charcters may show up in an episdoe or two to wrap up their story lines.

Are you happy these characters have been "Smash"d?

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Photo: The cast of "Smash." (l-r) Brian d'Arcy James as Frank Houston, Jaime Cepero as Ellis, Christian Borle as Tom Levitt, Megan Hilty as Ivy Lynn, Raza Jaffrey as Dev Sundaram, Katharine McPhee as Karen Cartwright, Debra Messing as Julia Houston, Jack Davenport as Derek Wills, Anjelica Huston as Eileen Rand. Photo by: Mark Seliger/NBC.

'Good Day L.A.' to hold auditions to replace Dorothy Lucey

Good day la
"Good Day L.A.," KTTV's news and entertainment morning show, will soon be holding auditions for a replacement of entertainment reporter/anchor Dorothy Lucey, who is leaving the show after her contract was not renewed.

Jillian (Barbarie) Reynolds, who has been a "weather and lifestyle" anchor alongside main anchor Steve Edwards, is remaining with the show, but will appear on a more limited basis that will allow her to participate in other shows and events, officials said.

Insiders say "Good Day L.A." needed a fresh "jolt of energy," which may have led to Lucey's departure. "We love Jillian, and she's not going anywhere,' one insider said.

Edwards and Lucey have been working together on the morning show since 1995, and they have teamed up on other projects.

There has been friction on the set in the past. Reynolds in recent years has made unflattering comments about Lucey on Howard Stern's radio show, and has also made outrageous sexual comments on that show ranging from how many celebrities she had "done" to bragging about engaging in fantasy sex games with her husband using a gun.

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--Greg Braxton

Photo: Dorothy Lucey, left, Steve Edwards and Jillian (Barberie) Reynolds last year. Credit: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.

'The Game' stars Tia Mowry Hardict, Pooch Hall to leave BET series

Tia pooch

Tia Mowry Hardict and Pooch Hall, the stars of BET's comedy "The Game," is leaving the series.

BET said the stars, who play a couple on the sports-flavored series, will not return for the sixth season as regular cast members.

"As a result of Pooch's involvement on a new project, BET is in the process of reworking the casting and storyline of the show," said a statement from the network. "That said, we hope both Pooch and Tia will make several guest appearences. While we miss the incredible adventures of Melanie and Derwin on 'The Game,' we appreciate all of their hard work, the laughs and wish them both the best in their future endeavors."

"The Game," the cable network's most popular series, premiered to record ratings on BET in January 2011. The series had been canceled by the WB in 2009, but BET's revamp of the show gave it new life.

Hardict said she will continue to appear with her identical twin sister, Tamera Mowry, on their Style Network reality series, "Tia & Tamera."

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— Greg Braxton

PHOTO: Tia Mowry Hardict, left, and Pooch Hall in "The Game." Credit: Paul Abell / PictureGroup.

 

 

Upfronts 2012: 5 buzzed-about pilots that didn't make the cut

Snoop dogg

Lost in all the hoopla surrounding the fall lineups on the major broadcast networks were updates about pilots with major stars and producers that received a lot of buzz in the last few months but for whatever reason didn't make the schedule. Those missing shows include:

The "Snoop knows best" sitcom: NBC had been developing a sitcom that would have featured rapper Snoop Dogg as a father. Deadline Hollywood last October reported that TV comedy veteran Don Reo was producing the pilot. Snoop had been featured in a reality series about his family on E! and has appeared in several movies and TV series. Still, it's hard to imagine the gangsta rapper being on the same network that showcases upscale series like "Smash" and the freshly scrubbed Whitney Cummings.

The Sarah Silverman project: The comic was developing a pilot for NBC about a woman reentering the dating world after the decline of a lengthy live-in relationship. The comedy was loosely based on Silverman's life, and Jeff Goldblum and Ken Leung ("Lost") were among the stars attached. With the failure of Chelsea Handler's "Are You There Chelsea?" and the renewal of the struggling "Whitney," perhaps NBC felt there was room for only one edgy female comic voice.

VIDEO: Watch 2012 TV previews

—The return of Roseanne: One of the most-buzzed-about pilots reunited Roseanne Barr with her "Roseanne" co-star John Goodman in a comedy that would have featured them in a trailer park setting. Instead of playing a married couple, Roseanne starred as the manager of the park, while Goodman played a friend who also worked at the park. Despite the failure of her talk show and several reality series, Barr remains a compelling performer. Perhaps instead she can dedicate herself to her  presidential campaign.

The return of Martin Lawrence: Martin Lawrence, whose film career has sagged, was set to star in a sitcom for CBS playing a widower with two teenage sons who decides to become a police officer after he loses his construction job. The pilot always seemed like a long shot for CBS, whose comedies generally revolve around young, predominantly white casts. The network is the one major broadcast network that does not have a minorty in a lead role in a comedy or drama.

—"Devious Maids": One of the most anticipated fall ABC pilots was "Devious Maids," the follow-up series from "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry and co-executive produced by actress Eva Longoria, about four Latina maids who work for rich families in Beverly Hills. Some observers speculate that the series' chances were not helped by potential controversy over Latina stereotypes.

Which of these shows would you like to have seen on the fall schedule?

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—Greg Braxton

Photo: Snoop Dogg. Credit: Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images.

Ken Burns' 'The Dust Bowl' highlights PBS fall lineup

Ken burns
PBS has announced a fall lineup that will include a Ken Burns documentary and a British historial drama.

"The Dust Bowl,' a two-part, four-hour documentary by Burns ("The Civil War," "Baseball") on Nov. 18 and 19, chronicles the enviromental disaster that devastated the farmlands of the Great Plains and unleased deadly dust storms in 1930s America. The PBS will also celebrate the centennial of Woody Guthrie's birth with a repeat of Burns' "American Masters" profile on the artist Nov. 16.

The network's season will launch Sept. 30 with the premiere of "Call The Midwife," which depicts midwifery in 1950s London. The series, already a hit in Britian is based on a bestselling trilogy by the late Jennifer Worths. The six-part series will air on consecutive Sundays.

Also coming is "Broadway or Bust," a three-part documentary premiering Sept. 9 that tracks the real-life stories of America's top high school musical performers competing in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards. The second season of Masterpiece Classic's "Upstairs Downstairs" will debut Oct. 7.

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— Greg Braxton

 Photo: Ken Burns. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times.

Johnny Carson's near-comeback, and other stories from his friends

Johnny Carson
One of the lingering mysteries surrounding talk show legend Johnny Carson was why he walked away from "The Tonight Show" and never returned to the spotlight, despite numerous pleas and attempts from those who wanted to see him perform again. Carson achieved something nearly impossible for those who have reached such a high level of success: He walked away and didn't look back.

But David Steinberg, one of Carson's closest friends, recalled that Carson came very close to making at least one low-profile return. The story is one of several revealing tales shared by Steinberg and other dear friends, including Angie Dickinson and Dick Cavett.

Steinberg, a veteran comedian who in the last few decades has devoted his attention to directing television shows, remembered that when he was directing episodes of "Mad About You" during 1993 and 1994, the writing staff convinced him to do a stand-up gig. A reluctant Steinberg agreed only if he could perform in a small establishment and the act not be publicized in any way.

A date was set for Steinberg to perform at the Moonlight Tango Cafe in Sherman Oaks. But much to his dismay, word leaked out, and his show was listed in the Los Angeles Times. A furious Steinberg called the club and threatened to pull out, but the manager begged him not to and said he had learned that Carson would be coming to watch Steinberg perform.

"So Johnny comes to the show, and he's with [former "Tonight Show" executive producer] Peter Lassally and his wife, Alex," said Steinberg. "And it was the scariest evening. But I talked a lot about our relationship, and it turned out to be a great set because Johnny was in the room."

Soon afterward, Steinberg said, Carson said to Steinberg, " 'You know, seeing you up there made me think, maybe I should have a shot at doing something like that.' I said, 'You should absolutely do it.' And Johnny was actually considering it. We spent a week talking about it, saying he could do it at a small place with no publicity.

"But just as it seemed like the idea was really starting to get traction, he said to me, 'You know, I just don't have the desire to be out there.' He had gained a little bit of weight, he didn't like the way he looked. And now he was thinking about doing a show in front of a live audience. He finally decided not to, and that was it."

Dick Cavett, another close friend of Carson's, tells how Carson could be having a bad day, looking glum, but would almost magically transform into his charismatic persona around show time. "He was able to escape into appearing to be one of the chattiest guys in the world," Cavett recalled. "In his case, it was a lifesaving escape."

Continue reading »

NBC axes 'Bent,' 'Awake,' 'Chelsea,' 'Best Friends Forever'

'Are You There, Chelsea?" won't be anymore

Four of NBC's freshman shows won't be returning to prime time.

The casualties include three comedies — "Bent," "Are You There, Chelsea?" and "Best Friends Forever." All three shows premiered in midseason and drew mediocre ratings.

The network has also canceled "Awake," which starred Jason Isaacs as a detective caught between two realities.

[Update: 2:44 p.m.: NBC just announced it has also canned "Harry's Law," which is actually one of its most-watched shows.]

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Photo: Laura Prepon, left, and Chelsea Handler in NBC's "Are You There, Chelsea?" It's one of the shows the network has canceled. Credit: NBC.

NBC renews '30 Rock' and 'Parenthood,' adds two new series

30 Rock
NBC's veteran series "30 Rock" and "Parenthood" have been picked up for another season, and the network this fall will add two other series, "Do No Harm" and "Infamous," the network announced.

The new season of "30 Rock" -- its seventh and final season -- will be abbreviated, with only 13 episodes. "Parenthood" will be entering its fourth season.

"Do No Harm" is a medical drama that puts a twist on the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story, revolving around a neurosurgeon with a dark alter-ego. "Infamous" features a female detective who goes undercover to the rich family she grew up in — as the maid's daughter — to solve the murder of the heiress who had been her best friend.

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— Greg Braxton

Photo: Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey of "30 Rock." Credit: Ali Goldstein / NBC.

 

 

 

Amber Riley sings her 'Glee' swan song — or has she?

Amber riley
Is Amber Riley leaving "Glee"?

According to a tweet from the actress reported on the Grape Juice.tv website, she has departed the series.

The website posted a tweet from Riley that read, "That's a wrap on Amber Riley. Just closed a chapter in my life, the only thing I've known day in and day out for three years. I'm going to miss the whole 'Glee' family, seeing them everyday! I have so many brothers and sisters now. but I am looking forward to a much needed and deserved summer vacation. SCHOOL'S OUT 'Glee Kids! Let's play!"

Fox would not confirm or deny whether Riley, the only African American regular member of the cast, is leaving the show.

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Photo: Amber Riley. Credit: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

 

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