Category: Ugly Betty

'Ugly Betty': Justin comes out as the ABC series heads toward its finale

For a show that made its mark with over-the-top characters, fashions and plots, "Ugly Betty" has an understated surprise tonight. The series' penultimate episode features a moment fans know is coming, but its restrained execution proves that "Ugly Betty" still deserves a special place in TV history.

It's been four years since "Ugly Betty" introduced TV viewers to then-11-year-old Justin Suarez, Betty's (America Ferrera) artsy, fashion-forward nephew. Played by then-newcomer Mark Indelicato, Justin immediately stood out as a fresh TV character, a child too young to understand or proclaim his sexual orientation but compellingly comfortable in his own skin. That he was part of a traditional Latino family that embraced him no matter what Broadway tunes he was singing or what designer he name-dropped only made Justin more distinct in the TV landscape.

Tonight, Justin comes out to his family -- not in a melodramatic way or as a result of being outed by someone else -- but in his own sweet, adolescent Justin way. For weeks, viewers have seen Justin struggling with his feelings, forcing himself to like a girl and then allowing himself to like who his heart truly likes, his friend, Austin (Ryan McGinnis). Last week's episode ended on a cliff-hanger, with Bobby (Adam Rodriguez) catching his soon-to-be-stepson kissing Austin on the front steps. That's where the story picks up tonight, and though we won't reveal the details, be warned. By the time Amanda (Becki Newton) tells Marc (Michael Urie), "Don't cry, it makes you look like a girl," it will be too late.

"I think the writers have really done this whole transition, this whole discovery, with such grace and in not a cliche way," said Indelicato, 15, during a telephone interview on Tuesday. "I definitely thought there was going to be a cliche dramatic breakdown crying moment. And I don't think it should be like that because that's not the message we wanted to put across. We don't want people to be afraid to tell their family and friends who they are. In the episode, you're going to see how the family deals with everything and how Justin deals with everything and it's an eye-opener for people that need some clarity."

Continue reading »

Pilot Season: First look at CBS' 2010 comedy pilots

Editor's note: Over the next several days, Show Tracker will cover the pilots under contention for the fall season at the five broadcast networks in the following order: ABC, CBS, CW, Fox and NBC. (Yes, it's alphabetical).


The big news in CBS' comedy development got out last week when the first TV show to be developed from a Twitter page was announced. "Stuff My Dad Says" indeed sounds very promising, with the very funny William Shatner (pictured above) as the stuff-talking dad. Based on Justin Halpern's popular Twitter feed, it will be executive produced by David Kohan and Max Mutchnik ("Will & Grace").  Halpern is co-writing the script with Patrick Shumacker. No one has been cast. It is one of seven sitcoms CBS has ordered.

The network also ordered one multi-camera, single-camera hybrid from the "How I Met Your Mother" producing team, which has been making fans laugh in that style for five seasons. Carter Bays, Craig Thomas, Kourtney Kang and Joe Kelley, all from "How I Met Your Mother," have written a pilot centered around an unmarried couple and their friends in Pittsburgh. Sounds like "How I Met Your Mother" when Lilly and Marshall were single in a less glamorous city, doesn't it? Joe Manganiello ("True Blood" and "One Tree Hill") is the only cast member, and veteran comedy director Pamela Fryman is directing it.

The other nontraditional comedy is by Ant Hines ("Da Ali G Show") about a British lowlife who moves to Los Angeles to reconnect with his teen-celebrity daughter. The teen celebrity in question has not been cast, but British actor Paul Kaye plays the lowlife and Nicollete Sheridan ("Desperate Housewives") is her mother. Wayne Knight ("Jurassic Park") was cast Monday and the project is untitled at the moment.

Continue reading »

It's the end of the Mode: ABC's 'Ugly Betty' will wrap its run in April

Uglybetty "Ugly Betty" has gone out of fashion.

ABC has decided not to continue the show beyond its current fourth season, Variety reports. The cast and crew were informed of the bad news this morning. The series finale will air in April.

With four episodes still left to produce, executive producer Silvio Horta said they will be able to send "Ugly Betty" off in style.

"We’ve mutually come to the difficult decision to make this Ugly Betty’s final season, and are announcing now as we want to allow the show ample time to write a satisfying conclusion," Horta and ABC Entertainment Group chairman Steve McPherson said in a joint statement. "We are extremely proud of this groundbreaking series, and felt it was important to give the fans a proper farewell.”

The news is hardly shocking: After ratings began to cool during the show's third season, ABC moved "Ugly Betty" to Fridays last fall, where viewership plummeted. At the beginning of the year, the network gave the show a final chance to perform, sticking it on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. The last-ditch effort didn't help. This season, “Betty” has averaged 5.3 million viewers, a big drop from the third season's 8.1 million viewers.

In its later years, "Ugly Betty" had toned down the outrageous storylines that had been its signature. When it premiered, the show was the surprise success of ABC's 2006-07 fall lineup, creating buzz by scaling new melodramatic heights week after week. The series even won an Emmy for star America Ferrera. But the upkeep of the multiple super-soapy storylines soon became overwhelming, and Horta and ABC executives felt as though "Ugly Betty's" original conceit -- a Queens, N.Y., girl with journalism dreams works her way up from the bottom at cutthroat fashion-mag Mode -- had been lost in all the intrigue.

-- Denise Martin

Photo credit: ABC


"Ugly Betty's" Identity Crisis

ABC moves 'Ugly Betty' to Wednesdays at 10 -- but will it help?


Will ABC's move of "Ugly Betty" from the Friday-night dead zone to Wednesday be enough to save what was once a watercooler show?

The network is expected to announce today that "Betty" will begin airing Wednesdays at 10 in January, replacing the ill-fated "Eastwick."

But is the move too little too late?

On one hand, the Wednesday move does give the fourth-season show a strong lead-in with hit comedy "Cougar Town." Meanwhile, some critics are rallying behind what they've deemed a creative comeback this season, which has seen Betty undergo a makeover and become an editor at fashion magazine Mode.

On the flip side, "Betty's" most recent episode -- which concluded the major storylines revolving around Daniel joining a Scientology-esque cult and Wilhelmina's demonic daughter -- drew just 3.26 million viewers. Ten o'clock might also be too late for the "Betty" audience, which stuck with the show through three seasons Thursdays at 8 but did not all follow it to Fridays at 9. And "Betty" has lost more viewers in its new time slot than any other returning show.

Drawing viewers back to its heavily serialized stories, after many have already abandoned it, will be the show's real challenge -- one that will determine whether or not those braces come off in time to see Season 5.

-- Denise Martin

Photo: America Ferrera stars in "Ugly Betty." Credit: ABC

No ‘Betty’ for Paula? Talks with ABC collapse


Two steps forward, two steps back: Turns out a role on "Ugly Betty" is not in Paula Abdul's future.

ABC confirmed exclusively to Showtracker on Sunday that talks between Abdul and the network have fallen apart and she will not be guest-starring on "Ugly Betty," as had been rumored.

The former "Idol" judge had been in talks to play a temp who befriends Becki Newton's Amanda at Mode magazine. The episode had been scheduled to shoot in the coming week. That story leaked to the press early last week -- much like Abdul's "American Idol" negotiations -- and it now seems that she may not be working with ABC at all.

TMZ reported that part of the reason might be because Abdul is holding out on an offer to return to "American Idol" and that Abdul is also not likely to be among ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" contestants.

That lineup will be announced on the network's "Good Morning America" on Monday.

-- Denise Martin

Photo credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Will Paula Abdul compete on ABC's 'Dancing With the Stars'?

On Tuesday, Paula Abdul was merely going to guest star on "Ugly Betty." Today, word is she might also find herself competing on "Dancing With the Stars."

Yes, ABC has it bad for Abdul.

According to TMZ, she met with ABC Entertainment chief Steve McPherson yesterday to discuss her possible involvement as a contestant on the show. McPherson said last week during TCA press tour that he thinks Abdul is "a huge talent" and would "love to have" the former "American Idol" judge on "Dancing" in any capacity -- as a judge or a participant. (But since "Dancing" doesn't typically employ guest judges...)

If they can make a deal, we'll find out soon enough: Contestants for the new season of "Dancing With the Stars" will be announced Monday on "Good Morning America."

McPherson is not the only one who wants Abdul back in her dancing shoes: Nigel Lythgoe, a former "Idol" producer and now an executive producer of "So You Think You Can Dance," told The Times last week that he planned to talk with Abdul about opportunities for her on "SYTYCD."

"With Paula's background as a dancer, choreographer and reality judge now, I don't know anyone more qualified than Paula Abdul," he said. 

Abdul has already shot a guest-starring role on Lifetime's "Drop Dead Diva" this summer, though that deal was signed before her decision to leave "Idol."

And there are also reports that Abdul could still return to "American Idol" should Fox decide to back up the money truck.

-- Denise Martin

Paula Abdul wastes no time: 'Ugly Betty' could be next on her horizon


We can just hear Paula Abdul going "Idol, Schmidol" as her career turns from reality TV to the world of scripted programming.

Abdul, who has a recurring turn on Lifetime's "Drop Dead Diva," a gig that began before she quit-tweeted her judging gig on "American Idol" last week, now might have a role on "Ugly Betty" next season, reports Entertainment Weekly.

ABC confirmed Monday that the network is in talks with Abdul, just days after ABC President of Entertainment Steve McPherson said publicly he'd love for her to appear on "Dancing With The Stars."

Abdul also is being courted by her former "Idol" boss Nigel Lythgoe to become a choreographer and guest judge on the sixth season of "So You Think You Can Dance."

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

Photo Credit: Anne Cusack/Los Angeles TImes

'Ugly Betty's' life is in the balance

With the show's ratings down 15% in Season 3, producers want to bring back the focus to America Ferrera's title character and tone down the outrageousness. But some fans are already grumbling.

Uglybettyduo At some point during the second season of "Ugly Betty," creator-executive producer Silvio Horta felt the show's operatic shenanigans had gotten out of control. A little too telenovela, if you will.

"There was one episode where Betty was talking to a ghost in a fridge, there was this dwarf, and Betty and Daniel were trying to break someone out of rehab," he says. "And I just thought, 'Oh my God, what are we doing?' "An ugly-duckling story set in the fabulous, fantastical world of fashion journalism, "Ugly Betty" was the surprise success of ABC's 2007 fall lineup. In its Thursday night time slot, the show won an Emmy for star America Ferrera, became a ratings boon for the network, and created buzz for scaling new melodramatic heights week after week -- a transgender sibling returned from the dead, dark corporate secrets (including a hidden "love dungeon") infested the workplace, and one evil baby mama in Season 1 alone.

But the upkeep of the multiple story lines soon became overwhelming, and both Horta and ABC executives felt as though "Ugly Betty's" original conceit -- a Queens, N.Y. girl with journalism dreams works her way up from the bottom at cutthroat fashion-mag Mode -- had been lost in all the intrigue. Viewership began to slip.

Read more: 'Ugly Betty's' life is in the balance

-- Denise Martin

Photo: "Ugly Betty" creator-executive producer Silvio Horta (left), and America Ferrera as Betty in the ABC show. Los Angeles Times / ABC


- Exclusive: Christopher Gorham talks up Henry's return

Christopher Gorham talks up Henry's return to 'Ugly Betty'

Christopher gorham Watching Betty choose herself after getting offers from the lovably nerdy accountant Henry and impish sandwich boy Gio last season was, well, painful.

Nothing against her move to become an independent woman, but this season she followed them up with soft-rocker Jesse -- what an ill-conceived detour that was! -- and now rich nice guy Matt.

Boy, is he nice.

Too bad Henry's about to sweep the floor with him. OK, that's not exactly for sure, but Betty's first love -- and "Wicked"-loving soul mate -- returns to give Matt a run in Thursday's "Ugly Betty" season finale.

Christopher Gorham, who currently stars in CBS' horror anthology "Harper's Island," spoke with us about why Henry was written off the show in the first place, why's he back and why -- heaven help us -- the actor thinks Henry might not be the guy Betty should end up with. Let's just agree to disagree:


So Henry's back to win over Betty -- your appearance in the finale is just he beginning right?

Well I’m only coming back for one episode. One is all that I know about. I certainly could go back and do more, but for now it’s just that.

I'm still hopeful. How did Henry's return come together?
I got a call from creator Silvio Horta [who also worked with Gorham on "Jake 2.0"] When I left the show the first time, he made it clear to me that he was hoping that I would be able to come back at some point. So it wasn’t a totally unexpected phone call. He wanted me to come back and do an episode near the end of the season and, of course, I was happy to do it.

Whose decision was it to have Henry exit the show?
It was the writers. It was a story problem. I always felt that Henry was kind of accidentally written off the show.

How did it happen?
Everybody got so excited about America Ferrera and I together, so the writers immediately tried to save that relationship for the long term on the show, and their way of doing that was to start throwing obstacles in the way to keep us apart. I think what they underestimated was deciding to give him a baby. I don’t think that they realized what that really meant.

Continue reading »

ABC renews 'Ugly Betty' for Season 4

Ugly betty This just in: ABC confirms that "Ugly Betty" will be back for another season.

News comes from actor Michael Urie -- the ever-fabulous Marc St. James -- via his official Twitter on Thursday morning: "Ugly Betty gets official season 4 pick up!!! Whohoo!"

This follows the most excellent news that Christopher Gorham will be reprising his role as Henry before the third season ends. Sorry Matt, we're Team Henry all the way.

Will sparks fly once more? Perhaps. Henry comes back to New York with a new lady friend, Chloe ("Gossip Girl's" Dream Walker). But executive producer Silvio Horta tells that he and Betty may not have entirely moved on. "As Henry and Betty reconnect, it could potentially threaten her relationship with Matt," he said. "Chris has always been, and will always be, part of the 'Ugly Betty' family."

-- Denise Martin

Photo credit: ABC


'Ugly Betty' returns; 'Samantha Who?' and 'In the Motherhood' vanish

Ugly "Ugly Betty" fans will be happy to learn that ABC has decided to bring it back to its lineup one week earlier than had been planned.

The show will return April 30 with Betty (America Ferrera, pictured) still having a crush on Matt, and Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams) wondering if William is her biological son.

The move means that "Samantha Who?"-- which has been struggling in the ratings since the writers strike -- will go off the air indefinitely, along with new comedy "In the Motherhood," which has been plagued with behind-the-scenes problems for months, according to sources.

In other announcements ABC issued today: The 100th episode of "Grey's Anatomy"-- the big Meredith and Derek nuptials -- will air May 7, and the season finale -- probably series finale -- of "Scrubs" airs May 6.

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

Photo: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times

‘Ugly Betty’ preview: The boys are coming to blows

Conner_2 By now, it’s pretty clear that there’s a fistfight brewing between Connor Owens, the strapping Australian chief financial officer of Meade Publications, and Daniel Meade, his long-time rival and fiancée thief.

The actor who plays Connor (Grant Bowler, whom some might remember as the ill-fated freighter captain from the previous season of “Lost”) says it’s all coming to a head tonight. While hipster neighbor Jamie comes back into Betty’s life, Connor will find out whom Molly, the former fiancée, ditched him for. And it won’t be pretty.

Fans needn’t fret that this might mean the end of Wilhelmina’s most recent paramour — even Bowler doesn’t know his fate just yet.

What can you tell us about tonight’s episode?

There’s a bit of fire and brimstone, a few sparks and a lot of mounting tension with Daniel that starts to boil over.

Meaning . . .
There’s a showdown in Little China between Connor and Daniel, which Daniel’s not quite aware of until it happens. So his chickens come home to roost, that boy! Naughty boy. Boxing will be involved. I actually box, so I had a ball shooting it. I got to go to work and do my hobby at the same time.

Oh, Daniel won’t stand a chance!
Eric Mabius, who plays Daniel, was fantastic. It’s more to do with telling the story and a bit of comedy than shooting “Rocky 6,” but it was a lot of fun to kick his butt.

Whom do you think Connor truly prefers? Molly or Willy?
I think definitely Wilhelmina. He’s just wrestling with that alpha male inability to let go. He’s allowed to move on, but she’s not. It doesn’t make any sense, but we all feel that a bit.

True. It’s not like Connor and Willy waited long to get it on, either.
Well, the fact that Daniel and Molly hooked up six and a half minutes after Connor and her had broken up doesn’t help matters. Since Daniel and Conner are supposed to have been friends for years and years, there’s the duplicity and secrecy that also feeds into Connor’s anger.

Continue reading »

Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: