Veteran TV screenwriter/producer Wilton Schiller has died, aged 95. Schiller passed away peacefully at his home in Studio City, California on Sunday (27Jul14).
Schiller began his career in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois as a stand-up comic and writer for radio. He served as a psychiatric assistant in the Army during World War II, and became a literary agent in Hollywood after the war ended.
He went on to write for a number of classic U.S. TV series, including The Adventures of Superman, Leave it to Beaver, Dragnet, Rawhide, Adam-12, and Lassie.
However he is best known for producing the 1967 series final of The Fugitive, which garnered a then-record breaking 78 million viewers. At the time, it was the most-watched episode in TV history, until the record was broken by the 1980 episode of Dallas which revealed who shot J.R. Ewing.
Schiller is survived by his wife of 39 years, writer/producer Patricia Payne Schiller.
Royals singer Lorde is laughing off a planned protest outside her upcoming Missouri concert by members of ultra-religious group the Westboro Baptist Church, urging her fans to hug the extremists. The activists, who regularly demonstrate outside the gigs of music acts they disapprove of, have attacked the teenager for taking the Lord's name in vain - and adding an E.
And they don't like the fact she has become a huge star, adding, "New Zealand came forth with a young lassie that doesn't have enough sense to put in a thimble. Now the world has elevated her to the status of an idol."
So they're planning a protest outside the Midland Theater in Kansas City prior to Lorde's show there on Friday (21Mar14), prompting the singer to urge fans to welcome the WBC members.
In a tweet to fans, she writes, "Everyone wear rainbow clothing to that show. Everyone try to kiss church members who are same sex as you they will so love it."
The extremists, led by Fred Phelps and his son Nate, are fervently opposed to homosexuality and have staged many protests against artists who are gay or who promote same sex relationships.
Veteran TV producer and film distributor Sandy Frank is suing his former fiancee for the return of the $300,000 (£187,000) engagement ring he gave her. The Lassie producer has filed papers at Manhattan Supreme Court in New York City claiming the ring he gave to Patricia Berg was not returned following the couple's split in June, 2009.
In the lawsuit, Frank orders Berg to hand back the piece.
His lawyer, Suzanne Bracker, insists the engagement was "very short-term", adding, "He was extremely generous to her.
"He was a gentleman and she should behave as a lady. A lady does not keep what does not belong to her."
Frank subsequently wed another woman in 2010, but they later divorced.
From Lassie to Gentle Ben, there have always been animals on television that we wish could be our pets. (Maybe a pet bear would be dangerous, but it would also be awesome.) However, everyone knows about those iconic animals. Now it’s time to usher in a new generation of animal television stars. These are the four TV pets on currently airing shows that we wish we could adopt.
ABC via Getty
Stella from Modern Family
Though she’s adorable, Jay and Gloria’s dog Stella isn’t the most well trained canine. But that wouldn’t mean we’d love her any less. If Gloria can love Stella, then so can we.
Clyde from Elementary
Whether acting as a paperweight or playing an ambulance in a demonstration for Sherlock, Clyde is one well-mannered tortoise. Though he’s only appeared in three episodes, The A.V. Club keeps a Clyde Watch because fans eagerly await the tortoise’s reappearance.
Ferguson from New Girl
Winston steals Ferguson from his ex, Daisy, when she breaks up with him and, to be honest, we can’t say we blame him. This adorable smush-faced cat is too cute to pass up. Instead of Coach moving in, the gang in the loft should have given that extra room to Ferguson.
Ghost from Game of Thrones
Anyone who knows what a direwolf is and says they don’t want one is a liar. Direwolves like Ghost are companions for life, they’re huge, and they can fight with you in battle. Who wouldn’t want a giant wolf-dog as their best friend? (No one, that’s who.)
Top Hollywood casting agent Marvin Paige has passed away. Paige died from injuries he suffered in a car crash in Los Angeles last month (Oct13). He is believed to have been in his 80s.
He worked across the TV and film industry for several decades and his castings projects included Breakfast at Tiffany's, the big screen debut of Star Trek and several Woody Allen films.
He also worked across 100 episodes of hit U.S. soap opera General Hospital, hiring Demi Moore for her early role on the show.
Paige also worked on Planet of the Apes the TV series and Lassie.
Warning: Don't even consider reading this article if you haven't seen the latest episode of Breaking Bad yet, you loon.
After about 59 minutes of causing you to vomit out your entire central nervous system, Breaking Bad set its dear viewer to a state of blissful melancholy as Walter White rode off into a silent sunset, shotgun to a faceless criminal who specializes in making people "disappear." Not in the dead way, in the starting life anew way. But after Saul Goodman's phantom associate whisked an all-but-defeated Heisenberg off to the Granite State (as far as we can surmise from the flash forwards), we caught glimpse of a stray dog skipping across the road, hopping swiftly aboard the curb as the screen faded to black.
What the hell was up with that?
After an episode that packed an impossibly chaotic rise and fall, plot turns that contort every theory and preconceived notion to which we might hold fast, a stampede upon all of our emotional investments in the Breaking Bad characters, we close on a dog. After what felt like a veritable sweep of each of the tall drama's many chapters, a border collie scampers along the Albuquerque highway. After Walt watches his brother-in-law get shot in the face, knife fights his wife, gets tackled by his teenage son, kidnaps his baby daughter, and tells his best friend that he watched the love of his life choke to death on her own vomit, we fade out on f**king Lassie.
The extended canine metaphor dates back, most memorably, to the fourth season episode "Problem Dog," in which Jesse Pinkman, crushing under the weight of his own guilt, subs in the titular moniker to identify Gale Boetticher, whom he murdered at the behest of Walt. Two years later, we revisited the theme with "Rabid Dog," in which Saul batted around an Old Yeller analogy to suggest that Walt put a paroxysmal Jesse to certain rest. And two weeks after that, we see Jesse chained up by Todd — weird, weird Todd — after Walt chokes up from a stomach full of resentful agony an abandonment of his friend and partner and casts him off to the clutches of the neo-Nazis.
Jesse is leashed in the ad hoc meth lab by Todd, who baits the tortured young man with a snapshot of his cherished ex-girlfriend Andrea and her son Brock. Closing in this image, of Jesse itching with horror over the idea of these monsters having his family in their eyeline, we know that Jesse must find his way to freedom... we hope it, anyway. And perhaps the galloping hound is meant to all but shout this outright. Walt is out of the picture, New Hampshire bound to leave the mess he has created behind him. But this story, as we know, is not over — even if we hadn't seen the flash forwards, there are still two more episodes to go. There are still dogs left runnin' around.
But is this an inherently good sign for Jesse? The tone attached to the final seconds of the episode was terrifically ominous, as has been every mention of dogs this show has ever produced. Breaking Bad's utilization of the canine race is far more in line with The Sopranos' use of the dead Christopher's cat than with Lost's use of life-affirming Vincent. To this viewer, the border collie sauntering across the ABQ highway didn't quite have the feeling of a spirited pup throwing caution to the wind to make the world his oyster (or whatever a dog's equivalent of an oyster would be... like, maybe, a rubber squeak toy shaped like an oyster? Would a dog be into that?), rather an on-the-run, cold-and-alone, doom-around-the-corner feeling. Jesse's story might not be over yet, but it's on its last flea-bitten legs.
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Besides cute kids, another thing that can make a show great is a dog. They jump around, they frolic. They cover their faces with their paws when somone on the show does something dumb. Here's five TV dogs that don't belong in the doghouse.
1. Eddie (Frasier)
Frasier Crane's dad's dog probably was a boon to Jack Russell Terrier breeders. He was the perfect foil for the three Crane men: Frasier's pompousness, Niles' prissiness and Martin's crankiness. He could be cheeky, but also sweet.
2. Buck (Married With Children)
Even the DOG gave Al Bundy crap. Well, who wouldn't, having an owner who was a shoe salesman that was married to an obnoxious redhead and had two of the most conniving, but ultimately stupid, teenagers on the planet. Buck's voiceovers were always awesome.
3. Lassie (Lassie)
Lassie was ultimately about the bond between a boy and his dog. Poor Lassie was always rescuing Timmy from all kinds of trouble, like him falling down a well or something equally dangerous. It was set in a simpler time though. In a modern show, they'd be saying, "What's that, Lassie? Timmy fell for another Nigerian scam e-mail and is in danger of being kidnapped?"
4. Rin Tin Tin (The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin)
Representing really old school here: this show aired in the fifties, when there were like only three channels and even satellites were a novelty. This dog gave German Shepherds their good name. Of course, this being set in the time that it was, it was almost unbearably squeaky clean and wholesome. If filmed today, he'd be getting in trouble when off-duty, getting in fights, just being generally gritty.
5. Brian Griffin (Family Guy)
This dog isn't included just because he shares the same last name as the author. He really makes a good foil for Stewie Griffin. The fact that no one on the show is even fazed by a walking, talking dog just heightens the absurdity. I hope they never do something dumb and make a live-action Family Guy movie and try to use a real dog for Brian.
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Canine TV and film heroine Lassie has topped a new poll to find the best animal star ever to grace the small screen. The beloved collie, who spent 19 years on TV in America beat out horse Mister Ed and Frasier's pet Jack Russell Eddie in the TV Guide magazine countdown, which was released on Wednesday (04Sep13).
Chimpanzee J. Fred Muggs and Scooby-Doo round out the top five.
The Waltons star Joe Conley has died at the age of 85. The actor passed away on Sunday (07Jul13) at a care facility in Newbury Park, California. His cause of death is unknown but reports suggest he had been suffering from dementia.
Conley appeared in episodes of several TV shows during the 1950s and 1960s, including Lassie, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Green Acres and The Brady Bunch.
His big break came when he landed the role of shopkeeper Ike Godsey in family drama The Waltons, starring in more than 170 episodes of the 1970s series before it ended in 1981.
Conley appeared in some of the show's reunion movies, and more recently boasted a role in Tom Hanks' 2000 film Cast Away.
Mary Beth McDonough, who played Erin Walton in The Waltons, has paid tribute to her co-star, writing in a post on Facebook.com, "It is a a sad day... please keep him, (his wife) Louise, and his family in your prayers. RIP Mr. Godsey."
Barbara Walters' reported retirement at 83 doesn't just mark the end of an illustrious, wildly successful career that spans 52 years. It marks the end of a dying breed: The larger-than-life woman TV journalist.
It's without an ounce of sentimentality or nostalgia that I say, no one will ever be able to replace Walters — because Walters' position no longer exists.
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Most famous for her incredible interviewing skills, Walters is often named on the list of the industry's best female journalists of all time, a list that sadly doesn't usually inch past 20 names. (The Atlantic's recent list makes it to 22 while top journalism school New York University stops short at 21, but both include Walters.) But her impact goes beyond the practice of TV journalism, in which she excelled by becoming the first ever female national nightly news co-anchor, followed by her newsworthy interview series The Barbara Walters Specials. Walters covered all angles of our culture, leading her to become a pop culture icon in addition to her success as a newswoman, even landing a spot on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time — a list that included Dick Van Dyke, Lassie, and Miss Piggy. In a way, Walters became the most famous face of women in journalism throughout her career. Now that she's stepping down, it's hard to imagine anyone, even the likes of Katie Couric or Christiane Amanpour, taking up her mantle.
Couric and Amanpour are important examples because they both represent different segments of Walters' legacy. Couric is forging the path as the "new Walters," coming up through the Today Show machine, being outsed as a nightly national news anchor (Walters was booted when viewers failed to accept her as a female nightly news anchor), and starting up her own series that makes headlines for its interviews. But Couric's career slides a little away from Walters' monumental example, with her daytime talk show Katie angling more towards Oprah than a Barbara Walters Special with episodes titled "Tina Fey & Paul Rudd’s College Confessions" and "How to De-Stress Your Life with Goldie Hawn and Deepak Chopra."
Amanpour, on the other hand, is all business. Known primarily for her reporting, Amanpour is more of an investigative journalist than Walters, but it's her nightly news interview series Amanpour (in addition to her position as CNN's chief international reporter) that could put her at an angle to take up mantle of Walters' long list of landmark interviews, including Fidel Castro, Indira Gandhi, and Hugo Chavez.
The issue, however, is that there is no singular woman in TV journalism who is primed and ready to take up Walters' post, effortlessly balancing the seriousness of hard-hitting journalism and the pop culture appeal of a host on The View. And there never will be. Amanpour, Rachel Maddow, and MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell may be some of the leading women in TV journalism, but they're not Walters, and it's not entirely clear that they even want to be.
RELATED: Why Barbara Walters Thinks These People Are So Fascinating
Part of that comes from the way in which online journalism is segmenting TV reporting. Because of the rise of online journalism and the ability to access it through mobile devices, TV news is slowly declining. A recent study from the Pew Research Center for People and the Press reports that the number of people under 30 who get their news from television has decreased from 49 percent in 2006 to 34 percent in 2012. Meanwhile the number of people who get their news online, through social media (which includes through journalists' own Twitter feeds) has increased from nine percent to 19, and it's growing.
At the same time, few serious women journalists on TV could even qualify for a gig like Walters' post on the view. It was about a year ago that Anne Curry was pushed out of the Today Show, a spot she'd more than earned, because her style was too austere and weighty, where the show was seeking light-heartedness and fluff. Now, the morning program is reportedly seeking Anderson Cooper as a potential savior — not because of his extensive experience as a reporter, but rather his ability to cuddle Grumpy Cat, field Kathy Griffin's sexual advances on live TV, and become a giggling mess at the mention of a Gerard Depardieu bathroom pun. At this rate, it seems more likely that we'll see Miss Grumpy Cat herself or Kid President take over Walters' yearly "10 Most Fascinating People" program, than a serious personality like Maddow or Amanpour.
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But this lack of a Walters' successor isn't necessarily something to mourn — Barbara, herself, will be missed, but her position won't be, necessarily. While women journalists still have a long way to go to match the numbers and fame of their male counterparts, her placement as a sort of catch-all persona for the plight of the woman reporter has done all it can. It proved that a journalist at the top of their field doesn't have to be a man; it proved that an interview with a political leader can be just an influential as one with a pop icon; it proved that a woman could become wildly famous for more than her beauty or her charm, but for the brain inside her head.
And as we move further and further into an age of famed Internet-based journalists and more specialized TV journalists like Amanpour — who has a lock on international news — and Maddow, who built her career on her outspokenness and honesty rather than her universal appeal, the echo of Walters' influence is everpresent. And in a way that's the highest compliment she could be paid: she's infinitely influential and completely irreplaceable.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credits: Donna Svennevik/ABC; Peter Kramer/AP Photo]
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Updated version of "Lassie," the series which aired on CBS from the mid-50's through the 70's. This series is set in Hudson Falls, Vermont, where Karen Cabot, a recently widowed veterinarian has moved with her young son Timmy. Timmy, who is lonely, meets a collie named Lassie in a junkyard, and the two become loyal friends. The town's former vet, Doc Stewart, is a mentor to Karen and a surrogate grandfather to Timmy.