Category: Raising Hope

Fox renews 'Raising Hope,' 'Glee' and 'New Girl'

Fox renews Raising Hope, New Girl and Glee
Fox announced Monday that it is renewing "Glee," "Raising Hope" and "New Girl."

For those keeping tabs, that means "New Girl" is back for a second season, "Raising Hope" will return for a third and "Glee" makes a go at a fourth.

The "Glee" renewal is hardly surprising. One of the network's most prized posessions, the musical dramedy has averaged 8.9 total viewers and a 3.8 rating in the ages 18 to 49 demographic. And the buzz surrounding the show extends behind the scenes as well, especially this season as some of McKinley High's chirpers (Chris Colfer, Lea Michele and Cory Monteith) gear up for graduation. New episodes of "Glee" will begin Tuesday, following the musical dramedy's brief hiatus, and it will likely lay the groundwork for what viewers can expect in the fourth season.

And it's just as unsurprising that Fox is bringing back freshman comedy "New Girl."  Starring Zooey Deschanel, the Tuesday laffer is averaging just over 8 million viewers and a 4.2 rating in the 18-49 demo.  Meanwhile, fellow Tuesday comedy "Raising Hope" is standing steady with an average of 5.6 million viewers per week this season and a 2.6 rating in the young-adult demo.

The renewals come a week after the network announced it would be bringing back "Bones" for an eighth season. But still no announcements on the status of "Fringe," "Alcatraz" and "The Finder."



Dermot Mulroney talks 'New Girl': 'I would happily come back'

Fox renews 'Bones'

'X-Files', 'Married ... With Children' casts reunite for Fox special


—Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Garret Dillahunt, left, Martha Plimpton and Lucas Neff in a scene from "Raising Hope." Credit: Fox.

Fred Willard imparts his comedic wisdom on 'Raising Hope'


Fred Willard guest stars on 'Raising Hope'

Get out your No. 2 pencils! Comedic whiz and TV veteran Fred Willard is getting class into session on “Raising Hope.”

In Tuesday’s episode, Jimmy (Lucas Neff) is moved to take his G.E.D exam after baby Hope shows signs of being a smartypants. Not one to watch their son shine, Burt (Garret Dillahunt) and Virginia (Martha Plimpton) decide to take the test, too. Only Jimmy is surprised to find his former high school teacher and tormentor, Mr. Swift (Willard), instructing the G.E.D. course.

“They’re trying to outdo themselves being smart,” Willard said during a break from filming the episode a few months ago. “And one is dumber than the other!”

“Oh, and there’s a flashback to when Jimmy first came in in 1988 — when he was in his goth period,” Willard continued. “All I’ll say about that look is, ‘yikes!’ ”

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TV actors take on drama and comedy


Actor Garret Dillahunt is solemn as he reflects on his acting career, picking at the knee of his jeans as he composes his thoughts on his road from "Deadwood," where he played a throat-slashing geologist who preyed on prostitutes to his turn as the boorish patriarch on the Fox comedy "Raising Hope." And yet his seriousness is offset by the fact that, minutes earlier, he goofily strolled into the dressing room  on the Chatsworth set of "Raising Hope"--for the interview--on a scooter.

It's the sort of light-switch shift that has worked in the 46-year-old actor's advantage in moving from comedy to drama and back again.

"It's just what I wanted to do," Dillahunt said. "A good thing about doing this for a while is that it becomes your thing--you get a reputation for being versatile. I like the thought that people might think of me for a wide roster of roles. Even if it's a mistake, I like having the shot."

Being a skilled actor in one performance arena is already a difficult endeavor. But the rise of cable television,and the big four networks becoming less cookie-cutter, has provided actors an opportunity to play against type and branch out into other genres.

Bryan Cranston went from a buffoonish dad on "Malcolm in the Middle" to a cancer-stricken, meth-producing dad on AMC's "Breaking Bad." John Goodman's surly role as Dan Conner on the long-running sitcom "Roseanne" has since been followed by more serious turns, including his role on HBO's "Treme." And there's many actors like them, known for one role in one genre and trying to branch out: Kelsey Grammer, Ted Danson, and Edie Falco, to name a few.

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Michael C. Hall, Jon Hamm, Cloris Leachman, more to join Emmy Week panels

Michael c hall 
The L.A. Times is ushering in Emmy season with Envelope Emmy Week -- five days of television series screenings, cast Q&As and roundtable panels starting June 1. Fans of “Mad Men,” “True Blood,” “Dexter,” “Justified,” “Shameless” and many others will get a chance to hear the series' stars discuss their shows and characters. 

As noted on our sister blog, Awards Tracker, Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks and Kiernan Shipka will join “Mad Men” creator and executive producer Matt Weiner for a screening and Q&A on June 1. William H. Macy and other cast members of Showtime's "Shameless" take the stage on June 2, and Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins and others talk about “Justified” on June 6.

Leachman The final two roundtables mix things up thematically; the Alternative Families panel on June 7 will be hosted by Times TV critic Mary McNamara and will feature Katey Sagal (“Sons of Anarchy”), Jennifer Carpenter (“Dexter”), Denis O’Hare (“True Blood”), Emmy Rossum (“Shameless”), Cloris Leachman (“Raising Hope”) and Peter Krause (“Parenthood”). The Geek TV panel on June 8 will be moderated by Times television critic Robert Lloyd and will feature Joel McHale (“Community”), Sam Trammell (“True Blood”), Jayma Mays (“Glee”), Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) and Johnny Galecki (“The Big Bang Theory”).

So, what would you want to ask this eclectic mix of actors? Leave your questions here for possible inclusion in the panels.

Guild members can get additional details and RSVP to attend any of the events at

-- Elena Howe

Top photo: Michael C. Hall. Credit: Randy Tepper / Showtime 

Photo at right: Cloris Leachman. Credit: Stefano Paltera / For The Times

Mary Lynn Rajskub of '24' talks about 'Raising Hope,' polygamy and her new E! pilot

RaisingHope_Cultish-Sc11_0320 "24" fans remember Mary Lynn Rajskub as Chloe O'Brian, the tech whiz who gave Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) secret and usually unauthorized help during his anti-terrorism capers. Now she's following up that breakthrough with one of her most, um, demanding roles yet.

In Tuesday's episode of Fox's comedy "Raising Hope," Rajskub plays "a reverse-gender polygamist" with four husbands, including the highly suggestible Cousin Mike (Skyler Stone). The clan's unexpected arrival in an RV offers new challenges for Virginia (Martha Plimpton) and her family. As Rajskub's character puts it, "Marriage isn't a two-way street; it's a five-way intersection."

The actress admitted that roles like this are rare, because reverse-gender polygamy is not widely practiced. "It’s sort of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity unless I’m so good in this role that I get typecast as a reverse-gender polygamist," Rajskub said in a phone chat. "I sort of liked having four husbands to boss around."

Especially noteworthy are the character's teased bangs, which Rajskub said she helped style. "You’ve got to think a lot of yourself to think that you could have four husbands — in which case, she’d spend a lot of time on your hair."

While "24" viewers may not have realized it, Rajskub's background is really in comedy, and she's pursuing several sitcom ideas at the moment. On Sunday, she also filmed a pilot for a talk-show she'd host for E! Guests included Mike O'Malley of "Glee," a psychic — and a barista from Rajskub's neighborhood Starbucks. "We'll see what happens," she said of the pilot.

Meanwhile, she remains optimistic about prospects for a "24" movie. "I hope that it happens," she said. "I'm not sure if it will or not. The sooner the better, before it does disappear from people’s memories."


Coverage of "Raising Hope" on Show Tracker

— Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: Skyler Stone and Mary Lynn Rajskub in "Raising Hope." Credit: Greg Gayne/Fox.



TCA Press Tour 2011: All about the funny men and women [Updated]

Juliety The 2011 Press Tour headquartered in Pasadena went off campus Tuesday, traveling to studios and sets to give reporters an up-close look at the shows they cover. The morning festivities were highlighted by a visit to 20th Century Fox Studios, where the scribes were treated to two distinct panels featuring "the funny men and women of 20th Century Fox," featuring cast members from several hit comedies, including "Modern Family," "How I Met Your Mother" and "Glee."

Jason Segel of "How I Met Your Mother" looked a bit concerned when he first gazed out on the sparse audience in Fox's Little Theatre gathered for his "Funny Men" panel.

"This looks like the opening night of 'Gulliver's Travels,' " said Segel, referring to the recent Jack Black flop. It wasn't a cheap shot — Segel was one of the stars.

The theater eventually filled up — the bus ferrying reporters from Pasadena was late — and Segel and his fellow panelists discussed the business of being funny.

Ty Burrell, who plays Phil Dunphy on "Modern Family," gave enormous credit to the show's writers, who channel some of their experiences to characters on the series:  "We constantly pray for catastrophes on our writers' lives."

Lucas Neff downplayed some of the difficulties he has working with a baby in "Raising Hope," the Fox comedy in which he plays a young single father of an infant: "Babies are really truthful. They never break character. And you can't blame them. So it helps with learning how to be patient."

The panelists kept referring to the current popularity of TV comedies, arriving only a few years after many in the industry speculated that comedy was dead. Said Segel: "The pendulum swung too far the other way on reality TV. Eventually people got tired of it. They wanted to watch something nice, that could make you laugh in a calm world at the end of the day."

Other panelists included Jesse Tyler Ferguson ("Modern Family"), Neil Patrick Harris ("How I Met Your Mother") and Mattew Morrison and Chris Colfer ("Glee").

Said Colfer: "I'm not funny. I'm not sure why I'm here."

When the stage was turned over to the female performers, much of the discussion centered on the changing role of women. Julie Bowen ("Modern Family") said she was often cast as girlfriends whose main attribute revolved around her sexuality. Now women in comedies have more complex and dimensional roles in which they are involved in the humor rather than just reacting to it.

Added Lea Michele of "Glee:" "There are fresh rules. You can be beautiful and funny too."

The panelists included Alyson Hannigan ("How I Met Your Mother") and Martha Plimpton ("Raising Hope").

A slight buzz erupted when Jane Lynch ("Glee") was asked about recent comments attributed to Ed O'Neill ("Modern Family") that his TV wife, Sofia Vergara, should have won last year's Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy instead of Lynch. O'Neill later said his comments were taken out of context and apologized to Lynch.

"I love Ed," said Lynch, who sat next to Vergara on the panel. She said the fracas was stirred up by the media. "That was you guys, not us."

[Updated, 8:30 p.m.: A previous version of this post misspelled Jason Segel's name as Segal.]

— Greg Braxton

Photo: Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell of "Modern Family." Credit: Adam Taylor / ABC

2010 Favorite TV Duos


TV's full of wonderful pairings. It was hard to narrow it down to 10, so we offer you our Baker's dozen.

1. Sally and Glen of "Mad Men." Our dear Little Sally (played by Kiernan Shipka) has grown into a pre-teen -- one who likes boys. And Glenn (Marten Weiner) is the perfect crush candidate: he's a fellow kid of divorce AND her mother isn't fond of him. Plus, he gets Sally. And their phone calls kind of make us swoon.

2. Virginia and Burt of "Raising Hope." Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt have amazing comedic chemistry together and are totally believebale as this hapless but loving couple.

3. Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) and Blake (Scott Porter) of "The Good Wife."  She's a badass with killer detective skills. He's a badass with killer detective skills. So, naturally, they're rivals--despite working for the same people. And we love every minute of their tortured chemistry.

4. Eric and Tami Taylor (Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton) of "Friday Night Lights." Is there a better husband and wife on TV? Not by a longshot.

5. Cameron and Mitchell (Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson). "Modern Family" is full of winning combinations but just for trying so hard to get Lily into a good daycare, we recognize this hilarious romantic pair. (Also: Mitchell's flash mob and Cameron's biker shorts).

6. Sue and Becky of "Glee." If you don't love the sweet and wise Becky, you have no heart. The sweet and sour combination of Lauren Potter and Jane Lynch is one of "Glee's" best gifts to its fans. (Campaign for Becky as ruler of the free world starts now).

7. Mike and Molly of "Mike & Molly." The only thing excessive about this couple is their adorableness factor. He buys her tubs of shampoo and conditioner. She puts up with his overbearing mother. Together, they bring RomCom moments to the small screen every week. We're dreading the day when there's trouble in paradise.

8. LaFayette and Jesus of "True Blood." Besides all the hotness this pair exudes, how can we not be happy for LaFayette after all he's been through? Who cares if his new man is a brujo? Kudos to Nelson Ellis and Kevin Alejandro.

9. Jacob and the Man in Black on "Lost." Mark Pellegrino and Titus Welliver's mental chess game was riveting to watch. Why couldn't they both be right?

10. Raylan and Boyd of "Justified." Who needs Blair and Serena? Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins play the best frenemies on TV these days.

11. Olivia and Peter of "Fringe." Finally! There is love on "Fringe." We realize technically it was between Bolivia (Anna Torv) and Peter (Joshua Jackson) but there is hope.

12. Hank and Britt of "Terriers." What makes the cancellation of this FX series so heart-breaking is how wonderful these two actors were together. Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James need to be cast on another show together pronto.

13. Lisa and Giggy of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." For weeks we've been oh-too-happy to get jiggy with Giggy. The miniature pooch and his loveable owner, Lisa Vanderpump, put Danielle Staub and her yanked weave to shame. The Gigga man even has his own Twitter account.



--Yvonne Villarreal and Maria Elena Fernandez

Photo: Kiernan Shipka and Marten Weiner as Sally and Glen on "Mad Men." Credit: AMC

2010's coolest TV characters under 30


They’re the folks whom we welcome into our living room, even when it’s messy. The personalities that fill up 99% of our DVR space. The lives we get a glimpse into week after week.

Coolest-gallery They are TV characters. And we at ShowTracker are reliant on them to keep this blog running. But  rather than shell out kudos to all the leading men and women that kept this season bright (since, uh, the Emmys take care of that), we're casting a spotlight on the young-uns that often get overlooked in the sea of Don Drapers, Liz Lemons and Sue Sylvesters.

Click on the gallery to the right for a list of our picks of the coolest TV characters under 30 — from a high school clique with a haunting secret to a pint-sized pickle-loving guidette to a baby with all the right spunk.

 --Yvonne Villarreal and Maria Elena Fernandez

Photo: Baby Hope (Rylie or Baylie: it's a mystery) on "Raising Hope." Credit: Fox

Lucas Neff breaks out on 'Raising Hope' and laughs a little along the way


Keeping a straight face is not an easy job for TV comedy newcomer Lucas Neff.

But it beats cleaning toilets.

Before the almost-25-year-old Chicago actor was hired to play the noble and perpetually confused Jimmy Chance on Fox's "Raising Hope," he was performing in storefront theater and occasional commercials and cleaning houses to make ends meet. Then he answered a nationwide casting call last fall and, using 10 pages from the pilot script, taped his audition for creator Greg Garcia ("My Name Is Earl").  What Neff didn't know is that he was the executive producer's first choice from that very first tape, even though the young actor still had to go through all of the audition hoops that actors endure during pilot season, Garcia told reporters during a conference call on Friday.

"I had just scrubbed my first few toilets when I got a chance to audition for this," Neff said Friday during a phone interview. "I was just one of hundreds. I went on tape for it in Chicago, and luckily for me, Greg Garcia actually watched the tape and he liked what I did and he had me fly out in October 2009. I tested, and luckily enough, got the job. I've been having the time of my life."

Now, if only he could stop laughing when Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt deliver their lines or Cloris Leachman ... well, anything she does is pretty funny. Plimpton ("The Goonies," "Parenthood") plays his mom (yes, she was a teenager when she had him), Dillahunt ("The Terminator") plays his father and Leachman is the senile Maw Maw in a bra.

"Working with Martha and Garret, it’s so hard for me not to laugh," Neff said. "They’re both so incredibly funny. That’s my goal every day — to try to be as professional as possible and keep a straight face. But that’s one of the great things about the job. We all have such a good time doing it. It’s a blessing. I’m so grateful and fortunate."

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Fox's 'Raising Hope' is the fall's first freshman TV series to earn a full-season order

RaisingHope_SayCheese-Sc21_0203 Raise a glass to "Raising Hope," the first new show to earn a full-season order this TV season.

On Wednesday, Fox ordered nine additional episodes of the single camera-comedy, which stars  Lucas Neff, Martha Plimpton, Garret Dillahunt, Shannon Woodward and Cloris Leachman, in a recurring role.

The series, which airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m., was created by Greg Garcia of "My Name Is Earl." It follows the Chance family as they unexpectedly raise a baby girl.

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

Photo: Martha Plimpton and Lucas Neff as Virginia and Jimmy in the Oct. 12 episode of "Raising Hope." Credit: Greg Gayne / Fox


Television reviews: "Raising Hope" and "Running Wilde"

Pilot View: Fox's new comedy 'Raising Hope'



Editor’s note:  We offer you our first impressions of the original pilots for fall shows. Keep in mind that these are not reviews and that the networks may make significant changes to these shows before they air. We reserve the right to love them or hate them more later.

"Raising Hope" is a single-camera comedy about a family that finds itself adding an unexpected member to its dysfunctional group. Jimmy Chance is a 23-year-old slacker who lives at home with his parents, his great-grandmother and cousin. He becomes a father as a result of a one-night stand with a woman who eventually gives birth in prison.

Who's in it: Lucas Neff ("The Beast") as Jimmy; Martha Plimpton ("How to Make It in America") as his mother; Garret Dillahunt ("Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles") as his father; Skyler Stone ("The Mentalist") as his cousin; and Chloris Leachman as his "maw maw."

Who made it: Greg Garcia ("My Name Is Earl").

Thumbs up: If you missed your weekly dose of Garcia's take on white-trash America, here's another slice of it. Well-written and has plenty of colorful characters played by a terrific cast. Plus, Cloris Leachman in a bra and a baby named Princess Beyoncé.

Thumbs down: You might get tired of the toilet humor.

Verdict: We're hopeful.

— Maria Elena Fernandez

Video credit: Fox


Upfronts: Fox's lineup banking on the 'Glee' effect

Upfronts: Fox announces its 2010-2011 prime-time schedule

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