Jersey Shore Star Gets A Life: Jenni "JWoww" Farley just landed a recurring role on the long-running soap One Life To Live, which is re-launching on April 29th on Hulu, Hulu Plus and iTunes thanks to The Online Network. She will play Nikki, a bartender hired at the trendy nightclub Shelter, and can mix an Alabama Slammer as well as she can flirt with customers. As Shelter’s newest barmaid, club owner Blair Cramer (Kassie DePaiva) knows that it’s best to keep an eye on Nikki so things don’t get out of control. [Via Press Release]
Scorsese Heads to TV: Miramax and Martin Scorsese have teamed to develop a television series based on Scorsese’s 2002 movie Gangs Of New York (which was released by Miramax). The series will focus on organized gangs at the turn of the century and shortly thereafter in America, not only in New York but in other cities such as Chicago and New Orleans and the birth of organized crime in America. "This time and era of America’s history and heritage is rich with characters and stories that we could not fully explore in a two-hour film," Scorsese says. "A television series allows us the time and creative freedom to bring this colorful world, and all the implications it had and still does on our society, to life." [Deadline]
Grey's Anatomy Hires One Tree Hill Alum: A new doctor is coming to work in Seattle. One Tree Hill alum Hilarie Burton has signed on for a recurring guest role on Grey's Anatomy as a craniofacial specialist who visits Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital to work on a case. She'll make her debut in early May. [E!]
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Once Upon a Time Spinoff Castings: Sophie Lowe and Michael Socha has just been cast as one of the three leads in ABC‘s possible Once Upon A Time spinoff presentation, Once: Wonderland. OUAT creators Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz focused the presentation in pre-curse Wonderland and the story is told through the point of view of Alice (Lowe), who is surrounded by two major characters, The Knave of Hearts (Socha), a sardonic adventurer, a man of action, a loner and a heart-breaker; and Amahl, described as exotic, soulful and optimistic. Additionally, Peter Gadiot has been cast as Alice's mysterious love interest, Cyrus. Production is slated to begin April 7 in Vancouver, immediately following the season wrap of OUAT. [Deadline, THR]
Dads Casts New Wife: Vanessa Lachey has just joined Fox’s six-episode multi-camera comedy series Dads. She is now a regular after a recent recasting. From the creators of Ted, Dads centers on two successful guys in their 30s, Eli (Seth Green) and Warner (Tommy Dewey), who have their lives turned upside down when their nightmare dads (Peter Riegert, Martin Mull) unexpectedly move in with them. Lachey will play Camilla, Warner’s (Dewey) wife and, the mother of their two children (replacing Erin Pineda in the role). [Deadline]
From a Partner to a Friend: David Krumholtz (Partners) has joined NBC’s Brenda Forever pilot. He will play a close friend of Ellie Kemper's Brenda, a 31-year-old who does her own thing. He’ll appear as a guest star in the pilot, but if the project goes to series, there’s a good chance he’ll be back. The potential series would consist of stories from Brenda Miller’s past and present, creating a unique portrait of how a chubby, awkward but incredibly confident 13-year-old grew up to be the woman she is today. [TVLine]
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: Patrick Harbron/The Online Network]
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Sometimes I’m totally fine with letting shows collect dust on my DVR. I know that like Sour Patch Kids or my little black dress, those shows will never let me down and they’ll wait patiently until I have time to enjoy them. Unfortunately yesterday in my haste to make sure I could record the Pretty Little Liars finale, I did the unthinkable: I deleted my entire DVR library. My world is in shambles, I literally called my mom and cried, and I’m pretty sure I put a straw directly in my wine bottle last night. Can we please have a moment of silence for all the precious episodes of Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, Glee, and Chopped that I lost? … Thank you.
On a happier note, this week’s edition of Leanne’s Spoiler List features five phenomenal shows that will make you twirl with excitement. I chatted with Shameless star Shanola Hampton to bring you updates on the year’s most important, yet bizarre, baby-watch, and gushed with the Mayim Bialik and creators of The Big Bang Theory about taking Sheldon and Amy’s relationship to the next level. Plus, you’ll find delightful details on upcoming episodes of The Good Wife, Grey’s Anatomy and The Mindy Project. Read on for all the TV wonder below!
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1. Shameless: Baby Maybe?Whenever some one asks me what my favorite shows are — and believe me when you’re a TV reporter that happens a lot! — Shameless is always in my top three. This season has featured the most jaw-dropping, mind-blowing, heart-pounding episodes that have ever graced my TV screen so naturally I needed someone to discuss all the chaos with.
Last week I giggled with the incredible Shanola Hampton as she filled me in on all the baby mama-drama that V and Kev are currently dealing with — namely, the fact that since V can't conceive, her mom and hubby are doin' it so her mom can be the surrogate for their child. Hampton explains that even though V is using a rather twisted method to get a baby, she understands how her desire to be a mom clouded her logic. “The options were limited for her and that’s what she chose to do. For a woman like V who is determined to always get what she wants when she sets her mind to it, I get it,” she says.
But Hampton says Kev and V's mother’s last baby-making session officially snapped V out of her crazed pregnancy plan. The actress says, “Once she saw her mother getting into it with the music and stuff she’s like, ‘Okay no! This has gone to a whole new level!’” In fact, the Shameless star was so in tune with V’s horror and digust that she almost got sick on set filming that day! “The episode that you saw with the final sex scene where V finally stopped it and said, ‘No no no no no!’ By that point I was nauseous, literally threw up in my mouth a little bit shooting,” she says with a laugh.
We saw at the tail end of “Where There’s a Will” that Kev received a sexy text from Carol, so could this intimate event come back to into play? Hampton teases, “There will be some other craziness that comes out about my mother by the end of the season and Veronica will flip her lid, but it wont be that message.” As we all so clearly know, if there’s one girl in Chicago you don’t want to eff with, it’s Veronica. Isn’t that right, Cheryl?
Potential ass-kicking aside, will all this craziness finally let V get her “little punk” with Kev’s pretty eyes and smile? Not to brag or anything, but I’ve already seen this Sunday’s episode, “Civil Wrongs,” and I can tell you that there will be a pregnancy test involved. I can’t tell you whether it’s positive or negative but I can tell you that my girl Shanola is truly a master at sprinting in heels.
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2. Grey’s Anatomy: Practically Perfect in Every WayDr. April Kepner finally found some luck in the love department last week when her hot new EMT boyfriend revealed he was a virgin and was waiting until marriage to have sex, just like she was! (Well, minus her little dalliance with Jackson, of course.) And according to April's lovely portrayer, Sarah Drew, he's only going to get more perfect when we see him again.
"He’s not actually in this week’s episode but I talk – quite a lot – about him in the episode, and he shows up in two weeks where he gets injured in a gas explosion trying to shield a child from the blast," Drew reveals to Hollywood.com. Risking his life to save a child? Yeah, we agree with Drew: "He’s just perfect in every way."
Too bad April didn't tell him the whole truth about her brief sexual past with Jackson. We have a feeling that won't end well for one of our favorite Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital doctors. "She has lied to him and she is stuck in this in-between where she doesn’t know how she feels about Jackson," Drew says. "I don’t think she can fully articulate that she is in the middle of a love triangle but she is, whether she believes it or not."
But despite her feelings for Jackson, April's lie is the biggest obstacle in her new relationship right now. "She’s so excited that she’s met someone that’s exactly on the same page about sex that she is that she didn’t want to screw it up," Drew explains. "In that moment she felt like it would be such a disappointment to try to explain, 'I was a virgin and then I wasn’t and now I am again.' Who understands that? That’s absurd. I think she should have told him, and if she told him right off the bat he would have been fine. But she didn’t want to screw with it. It’s going to come back and bite her in the ass." Yikes!
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3. The Big Bang Theory: Mother May I?There are certain things in this world that I love with all my heart: the teeny-tiny meows of a kitten, the first cup of coffee in the morning, the word “adore,” and last but certainly not least: The Big Bang Theory! So you can imagine my delight when I caught up with the scientifically gifted cast and creators on the PaleyFest red carpet last week.
Those who follow me on Twitter know that I one of my goals in life is to be besties with Amy Farrah Fowler and that I consider this moment to be one of the greatest 43 seconds ever created on television. So of course I had to talk about one of my all-time favorite couples: Shamy!
“We are constantly amazed that Amy is able to make progress with Sheldon in the relationship,” creator Bill Prady reveals. “It’s actually fought when it happens in the writers room because someone will say, ‘Amy wants this.’ and someone else will say, ‘Sheldon would never do that. Then the work is what could Amy do to make him do that? She’s a strong and smart, character so it usually works out.”
So what should the next step in their relationship be? Go on a scientific retreat together? Write a thesis together? Or maybe (gasp!) coitus? Well I have an idea that I’ve been wanting to see for months: Amy meeting Sheldon’s mom! Prady agrees that this would be the perfect next step for the couple. “That a good idea! We’ll talk about that.” Executive producer Steven Molaro agrees, saying, “We would love to see that as well, so do not be surprised if in the future that occurs.”
Just thinking about Sheldon’s Christ-loving Texan mother talking with our Sheldon-obsessed Amy makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. When I pitched the idea to Mayim Bialik she was equally excited. “Oh I think that would be really clever!” she smiles. “I mean Laurie Metcalf is just so amazing, so anybody with her would be incredible.” Squee! So keep in mind Big Bang Theory lovers, whenever we see this amazing interaction it was my hypothesis that started it all!
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4. The Good Wife: Best Episode Ever!I kind of feel a little like Saturday Night Live's Stefon trying to describe the next episode of The Good Wife, "The Death of a Client." While I can't tell you exactly what happens, just know that It. Has. Everything! Murder, lawsuits, fistfights, life-changing job opportunities, ball gowns, Fringe star John Noble, drunk Stockard Channing, and some steamy Alicia/Will makeouts.
Yes, that's right — Will and Alicia totally make out. I know. OMG! But before you freak out, know that much of the episode is told through flashbacks after Noble's character, Alicia's eccentric and extremely litigious client, is murdered and the police enlist her help to figure out who killed him. Things only get scarier when we find out Alicia may be the next target. Dun dun duuuuun!
But despite the serious premise, don't expect non-stop drama — although they're trying to find a killer, the episode is pretty funny! What you should prepare yourself for is plot development after plot development. That too vague for you? Okay, fine. Here are some more teases: Someone gets decked in the face, Diane gets a very intriguing career opportunity, Channing's character (Alicia's mom) reveals some secrets about her daughter's marriage to Peter, and there's a well-timed "go f*** yourself."
Of course, as always, Juliana Margulies looks gorgeous, but especially so in a red gown as she heads to an important political event with Peter. (Did I mention the sexy Will/Alicia scenes? Because they're pretty damn hot.)
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5. The Mindy Project: Romance and Bromance The Mindy Project has explored the love lives of two of its main stars, but we haven't seen much of the action the sexy yet womanizing Dr. Jeremy Reed has presumably been getting (aside from the pilot, where he and Mindy ended their ongoing fling).
That's about to change, Ed Weeks promises Hollywood.com. Score! Jeremy is about to spark up a relationship with Mindy's old college friend, Maggie (Mary Grill), and the "fun mismatch" will heat up quickly. "He normally goes for models and 10s and bimbos, and she is slightly more rough hewn," Weeks spills. "She’s a gym teacher, unreconstructed, doesn’t give a s**t about all of Jeremy’s bulls**t, isn’t seduced by his accent or his hair or his clothes. I think Jeremy finds that really intriguing, like a challenge."
While Weeks stayed quiet on how long the relationship will last, you should know that the couple just filmed their first screen kiss. "It was pretty good. My action was bad but I tasted fine," Weeks jokes after popping a piece of gum.
But a new fling isn't all we'll see of Jeremy in the second half of Season 1. "We might meet some of his family," Weeks teases. "We might learn a little bit about his past, how he got to America from England, which will be really fun. We’ll see his bromance with Morgan develop. We’ve shot a few really fun stories of recently."
Like what? Prepare yourselves: "There’s an amazing scene in a sweat lodge where Morgan and Jeremy are topless and are embracing — and are arguing. Buckle up."
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
—Additional Reporting by Jean Bentley and Sydney Bucksbaum
[Photo Credit: Showtime, CBS, FOX, ABC]
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In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
Top Story: Man Charged With Stalking Sheryl Crow
A former Navy diver was charged Wednesday with three counts of stalking and harassing singer Sheryl Crow, Reuters reports. Ambrose Kappos, 37, of New York, was also charged with burglary for breaking into the Hammerstein Ballroom near New York's Herald Square on Monday when Crow was rehearsing for a benefit show. Bail was set at $15,000 cash or a $45,000 bond but Kappos' court-appointed lawyer said it was doubtful his client would be able to raise the money to be released. He is due back in court on Friday to learn if he has been indicted on the charges. If convicted, Kappos could face seven years in prison.
Shyamalan Boards Pi Project
Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan could make his first film outside the Walt Disney Co. banner since his supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense in 1999. According to Variety, Shyamalan is looking to adapt the survival-at-sea tale Life of Pi, the prizewinning novel by Yann Martel, for 20th Century Fox. Pi is about a deeply religious 16-year-old Indian boy en route to a new life in Canada with a Noah's Ark of animals from his father's zoo in Pondicherry when the freighter transporting him sinks. The boy escapes in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg and a hyena, and becomes convinced that his own survival hinges on the wild cat. Shyamalan reportedly connected with the project because the protagonist, Pi, hails from his birthplace--Pondicherry, Tamil-Nadu province, in India. Fox is hoping Shyamalan will make Pi his next pic after wrapping The Village (previously titled The Woods), set for release in August. The pact breaks Disney's hold on the director, whose The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs have grossed $1.3 billion worldwide for the studio.
Siegfried: Tiger Was Protecting Horn
Speaking of one whose life was affected by a tiger, Siegfried Fischbacher, half of the Las Vegas performance duo "Siegfried & Roy," said in an interview on CNN's Larry King Live Wednesday that the 600-pound white tiger was trying to help Roy Horn after the magician took a fall in the middle of a performance on Friday at the Mirage hotel-casino. "I just saw that the tiger grabbed him on the sleeve ... and Roy said, 'Let go,' and the tiger let go and Roy bent back and he slipped," Fischbacher said. "The tiger (grabbed) Roy in the neck and he pulled him back on stage." Fischbacher added that the tiger sensed heightened danger when he and an animal trainer ran to Horn's aid and suggested the animal took him backstage to protect him. Horn is in critical but stable condition at University Medical Center in Las Vegas.
Roger Moore Knighted
Former James Bond actor Roger Moore was knighted by Queen Elizabeth Thursday for his work as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nation Children's Fund, Reuters reports. Moore took over the role of secret agent 007 from Sean Connery in the 1973 film Live and Let Die. His last Bond film was 1985's A View to a Kill. The 75-year-old actor also had a word for fellow actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will become California's next governor. "If he does all the things that he says he will, then California will be an even better place to live in," Moore said.
Tribeca Announces Dates for Third Fest
The third annual Tribeca Film Festival will run from May 1-9, 2004 in Lower Manhattan. According to Variety, the festival announced a call for screenplay submissions to the Tribeca/Sloan development program for feature projects with a scientific or technological theme. The screenplay program, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, provides financial support and mentorship over a one-year period from an advisory panel of filmmakers and experts in science and technology. Submission information for both the festival and Tribeca/Sloan program is available at www.tribecafilminstitute.org.
McCartney, Starr Attend Premiere of Harrison Tribute Pic
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the two surviving members of the Beatles, joined family and friends of George Harrison for the British premiere Wednesday of Concert for George, a filmed tribute concert for their bandmate who died of cancer nearly two years ago. "It's a great film," McCartney told The Associated Press. "It was a great night and it was lovely to take part in it and to be here with all our friends." Other guests included Eric Clapton, Robbie Coltrane and former race driver Damon Hill. Concert for George, which was performed last year at Royal Albert Hall, will have a limited theatrical release Oct. 10, and will be available on DVD Nov. 17.
Napster 2.0 Debuts in Limited Release
A new pay version of Napster debuted today in limited release almost a year after the pioneer file-swapping service was salvaged from software maker Roxio Inc. The company shelved its former online music service, pressplay, and is moving subscribers to a beta version of Napster 2.0, the AP reports. Napster 2.0 will launch with more than a half-million songs from all the major music labels and offer individual song at $1 per song and album downloads for about $10. Monthly subscription services will also be available. Roxio is betting the Napster brand will help set its service apart from other digital music retailers, including Apple Computers' iTunes, Buy.com's BuyMusic.com, RealNetworks' Rhapsody, MusicNow and MusicNet.
ABC To Air Wife-Swapping Show
ABC has agreed to air a local version of the UK reality series Wife Swap for a six-week run next summer. The show follows women from different social backgrounds who switch families for two weeks. Wife Swap, which will be renamed Trading Moms in the United Sates, has been a hit on the UK's Channel 4, drawing 5 million viewers. According to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC had previously commissioned a pilot show from the show's producer, RDF Media, which declined to provide further details.
Group Opposes Embedded Product Placement
When judge Simon Cowell takes a sip from a red Coca-Cola cup right in th