Saturday, January 30, 2010

Supernatural Saturdays: The Song Remains The Same...

A slightly confusing and out of context clip from next Thursday's episode of Supernatural. Only on the CW!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Austin Basis: The CW's New 'It' Man...

Austin Basis is a busy man these days, pulling double duty as Math, the lovable yet sensible roommate to Baze on Life Unexpected, as well as reprising his role as Spruce, the lovable yet sensible sidekick to the Ghostfacers on Supernatural in their new web-based spin off. Seeing as how those are my two favorite hour-long programs currently on television, I consider Austin to have the best spot in Hollywood right now. Needless to say, I was psyched when he was able to take time out of his busy shooting schedule to chat with me and "My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture" earlier this week.

First I just have to say congratulations on the success of Life Unexpected. It seems like a great time to be you!
- Oh thanks! [Laughs]

But I have to ask: Math can't possibly be your character's real name! Do you know what his name actually is and where he got this nickname??
- Well, it comes out later. It's not like a big, crazy mystery, but when I first saw it I thought it was because he's a nerd. I mean, he kind of reads like the [typical] nerdy sidekick, so I was like "Is he really good at Math?" 'Cause Baze has the nickname because of his last name.

- I didn't think it was like a name nickname, like Matt being short for Matthew. But apparently Liz Tigelaar, the executive producer who wrote the pilot and created the show, she worked on Brothers & Sisters and said in trying to think of unique names for characters, she had obviously worked with Matthews Rhys on that show. People sometimes refer to him as Math instead of Matt, short for Matthew. So she said to me that was kind of the reasoning. And then she came up with a last name in like episode five or six. "Rogers" because I'm a teacher and kids make fun of me that I'm "Mr. Rogers."

So these days you're living and working part time in Vancouver and part time in Los Angeles, right? It's a far cry from the streets of Brooklyn, isn't it?
- [Laughs] Since we did the episode back in I guess 2008 now-- it's been almost two years since we did the [Ghostfacers] episode-- but we've been bouncing around ideas and doing these web videos and working on our character bios and stuff. I guess the web series has been a year coming because they pitched it just over a year ago to Warner Brothers, and it looked like it was going to happen, but I think they got put on the back burner because of the economy. The schedule had to work out where we could all do it, and I think Brittany [Ishibashi] had a movie or two, and I obviously was on Life Unexpected, but we shoot seven days, and out of those seven, I average like two to four days. So it's usually three days plus weekends that I'm free so the producers worked out a little pocket of time in which I was able to come down to LA and shoot the four days this past week actually.

It's hard because for the two years we weren't really getting paid to do the Ghostfacers stuff; it's just really fun to do, and we were having a good time doing it, so it was always something we'd do when we all had the opportunity and weren't working on other projects. Obviously AJ [Buckley] has CSI: NY so he's constantly busy and he knows his schedule a little better than most of us who audition for something and then all of a sudden are gone for two weeks. It was always a back burner priority for all of us that we'd make time and be available if something like this came up.

I grew up in Bay Ridge, and I ended up in a math/science magnet high school. You went from the artistic Mark Twain JHS to a medical science program at Midwood; what made you decide to seemingly switch gears like that when you were still a kid? Did you have second thoughts about making acting-- or the arts in general-- into a long-term career?
- Those are the programs that were called, like, Talent, and I auditioned for Phys Ed-- the athletic department-- and the drama department, and [Mark Twain] was two years of just having so much fun. I had more fun in junior high than I had in high school...And then [for high school] I had to take a train or a bus, and it was like an hour and a half just to and from my house, so that was a factor, and they didn't have any sports teams. I wanted to play baseball, and I wanted to play sports, so that was kind of the biggest factor of not going [to an arts high school].

But when I went to college, I was dead set on being pre-med and being a theatre major, but when it came down to the decision-making, I decided that I had taken the first semester in every science, and I just hated it, and if I'm going to not like things and be rejected...I made the choice of taking this journey and trying my hand at acting.

I was always taking the classes, but in junior year, I said this is it and this is what I want to do; if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out, but I have to full commit to it before I know if it was worth it.

Okay so, so far LUX seems to be known for kids who are mature before their time and adults who still need to grow the hell up. Math might be the one exception; he seems to be the sensible one-- almost Baze's moral compass-- at least with what we've seen so far. Will you be utilizing any of that "dad" attitude toward dealing with Ed and Harry in the new Ghostfacers web series?
- Well, I feel like the two characters are separate but they're still extensions of who I am-- or who I think the characters are translated through me-- but to answer the moral compass question, I feel like the whole pitch of the Ghostfacers series and what we bring, while we have the bumbling idiots running around not knowing what they're doing, there's real horror and terror in it. In the first episode that we did for Supernatural, you know, one of our interns [played by Dustin Milligan] gets brutally murdered with a rebar shoved through his throat. We wanted to keep that. We wanted to keep the dynamic between the members of the team. There's comical elements to everything that we do, but there's also the drama of the life or death situations or the horror of facing ghosts and dealing with this other world of spirits. It's a constant balance of not going too far over the top but going committedly so that when we come back and have a poignant moment, it's believable.

They're very different characters-- Math and Spruce!
- Yeah, definitely different. But it's fun! I was nervous shooting the web series in between Life Unexpected. Not that I'm doing anything crazy with my physical appearance or character choices and stuff, but there is a definite personality shift. Math is a little more emotional and reactionary than Spruce! Spruce is a delayed reaction and pretty much all dead-pan.

How is shooting a short form series for the internet different, if at all, from shooting for the slightly larger screen?
- The main difference is just the arc of the story in each webisode. It's smaller; it's kind of like an incubated episode of TV...We have to make sure there's a beginning middle and end to each of the three minutes. The whole series is ten three-minute webisodes, that's a total of thirty minutes, and there's one overall arc to the whole thing. Obviously there's less time to shoot it, and the budgets are lower. It's kind of a little more guerilla style whereas in the TV episode two years ago, we had professional cameramen...In this one, we shot everything.

Also, one of the other things is that we just shot so much footage! There's so many different cameras going at once because we had little time. Almost every take there's three to five cameras going, so every take they have to look through all of that footage.

I know your first episode of this spin off will feature an alleged haunting by a one-time starlet who was killed in her dressing room. In the first season, will you ever stumble upon something that is nothing more than a prank or a misunderstanding, or will each episode feature some sort of mythology ala the original series Supernatural?
- First of all, I like how you say the first season of the web series. [Laughs] It implies there will be more.

I think there should be! I've worked on some that have had multiple seasons, and if there ever is a web series where they should come back, I think it's this one!
- [Laughs] Well, the point of it is it is a spoof. It's Reno 911! meets Ghostbusters or Paranormal State. Not to say those shows aren't valid or truthful or reality, but most of the time you don't see spirits on the show. The contrast is that we don't know what the hell we're doing but we always seem to run into ghosts. If you switched it up and put ghosts on their shows and [none] on ours, it might not work. The show where they're like "Oh my God, something moved!" or the wind blew or something happened where they try to validate the experience, whereas with us, it's like we'll see the ghost but for some reason we won't get it on videotape or be able to prove it.

Well that being said, any chance you will "encounter" your Dead Gay Intern in this web series? After all, now he is a spirit!
- I think there's always a possibility with the web series because with the [ones] we did before that we posted on YouTube and stuff, we seem to always encounter Corbett. He's a part of the web series, but I'm not sure how much I'm supposed to explain it. Let me just put it this way: "it's not out of the realm of possibility."

I sense a "wink, wink, nudge nudge" punctuating that! And it always helps to have some help from the other side, I guess.
- A major premise of the web series is trying to find an intern that will replace Corbett here on Earth. We're not necessarily interviewing people, but there are a few candidates that are used as interns while Corbett is, you know...on the other side.

A lot of fans are already buzzing about Creation Entertainment's LA Salute to Supernatural convention. Will you be joining your fellow Ghostfacer guys there?
- I'm not sure. I'm still up in Vancouver shooting the [Life Unexpected] finale. We start on Friday (today), and I get back to LA for good on the tenth of February, so after that I'll kind of come back down to Earth [Laughs] and try to figure out what's next.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Do We Really Need Another HIMYM?...

The internet was all abuzz earlier in the week upon hearing that a new pilot script by How I Met Your Mother's Craig Thomas and Carter Bays has been ordered to production. Also penned by HIMYM writers Kourtney Kang and Joe Kelly, the comedy is currently titled Livin' On A Prayer. And yes, folks, it is ala the Bon Jovi song!

Livin' On A Prayer follows a young Philadelphia couple-- yes, Tommy and Gina, just like in the song!-- as they get set up and endure an awkward first date. Things aren't looking so good for their future as Tommy suggest they karaoke and Gina wants no part of it, but then we cut to them belting out the song...a year later.

The pilot deals with the couple deciding to finally move in together, but one of them is having second thoughts even upon initially saying yes. The whole thing reads like a slightly quirkier episode of HIMYM, and while reading (or watching, if it gets picked up), one might be able to make a nice drinking game out of "How I Met Your Mother already did it!" (ala "Simpsons Already Did It" on that one very special episode of South Park).

Along for the ride with Tommy and Gina are Tommy's female best friend and co-worker at the zoo, Gina's male co-workers at the sports bar in which she works, a lion, a giraffe, and a couple of monkeys, and the audience itself, as the characters often break the fourth wall and talk directly to the camera.

The pilot for Livin' on a Prayer wraps the simple conflict of "Will they or won't they?" move in together up pretty nice and neatly, making the script read more as a complete short film than the start of anything long-term. The characters are fun, interesting, and funny but simple. It is doubtful that if some unknown had the "Written by" credit on the front page, networks would have given this particular pilot the same treatment it received due to the star power Bays and Thomas have come to know!

Help The CW Help Haiti...

Please visit The CW online to find out how you can help
raise money for Haiti and to see more PSAs from other
shows and stars.

With "The Wyoming Project" in the Works, What Does That Mean For A "Gilmore Girls" Reunion?...

Amy Sherman-Palladino will not be outdone.

Three years ago, her "baby," Gilmore Girls
went off the air after seven seasons. That last year she and her husband Daniel were not involved in the writing but the network opted to keep the show going without the original creators' input, writing, and direction. Sherman-Palladino didn't get to end the series the way she said she always had in mind.

However, now she is back and trying her hand at television again through a new pilot script called The Wyoming Project. Set on a horse ranch in the titular state, The Wyoming Project features small cast of characters when compared to the fictional world of Stars Hollow (at least so far). Gideon (like in the Bible, as one character likes to point out) is the patriarch of his newly orphaned family at only twenty-two years of age. He has taken over running the ranch while his teenage sister has taken over running the house and caring for their even younger siblings.

Gideon seems to be all about just getting through one thing to get onto another...until a stranger from New York shows up. Wearing a cowboy hat fresh off the rack (with tags still on), Lucy steps off a plane from New York to care for her (assumedly) bedridden grandmother who has just suffered a stroke. With her grandmother actually in fine health and unwilling to take on a houseguest (think Mrs. Kim but even pricklier), Lucy isn't quite sure with what she'll fill her days, but she knows she doesn't want to go back to New York.

Lucy is not the only complication entered into Gideon's way of life, though. He has a local businessman trying to buy some of his land, a college-educated brother who doesn't want to come home to help the family, and a much easier time relating to horses than people.

With things looking much better for The Wyoming Project
than Sherman-Palladino's last television attempt (The Return of Jezebel James) it just appears that she will be moving on, rather than stepping back into her once beloved Gilmore Girls' world to try to tie up the characters a bit more permanently and to do them more justice. Though in the past Sherman-Palladino has said [a reunion] is not something she'd completely rule out, her one-time star, Matt Czuchry, admitted in an interview last week that such a thing is not a real possibility at this time.

"I've seen things written about that on the internet, but just so everybody knows, I have not heard the first word about that-- not through my agents or managers or hasn't even been brought up," Czuchry explained.

Besides, Alexis Bledel is still trying to be a movie star, off promoting The Good Guy, and Lauren Graham is co-starring in Parenthood for NBC. But fans of her writing style on Gilmore Girls will definitely want to tune into The Wyoming Project to get their fix of fast-talking, spunky characters!

Preview Tonight's Supernatural...

Thanks to The CW for sending over a couple of special clips from tonight's Supernatural. For those of you who saw the return of "Supernatural Saturdays" this week, you already saw the explanation behind the weird behavior in the clips below, so enjoy and make sure to tune in at nine for the full episode!



New Mariah (Remixed)...

At least someone got something good out of the ridiculous, flooding LA rains...

And this new video makes my second favorite song off her "Memoirs of an
Imperfect Angel"
climb up to Number 1. It's just a fun ride!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Very Special Message From The Winchesters...

It's really sad that it's come to this. No one should have to defend their identity so vehemently. If you're a fan of Jared, Jensen, or any celebrity, really, they are in the public eye enough that you have a good idea of their personality, interests, and demeanor. Therefore, if and when you encounter a so-called online persona claiming to be them, there are certain ways you can tell if they are real. For one thing, if they're on Twitter, and they're not verified, it's not looking good for the person's case. For another, if none of their real-life celebrity friends, fiances, or co-stars are following them, it's most likely a fake. And of course, if the person starts arguing with fans (especially over whether or not they are real), their defensiveness should speak for itself.

Woof Wednesday #37...

Madison finally back outside after the long Los Angeles rain.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lux Is The Kind Of Teenager We All Wanted To Be...

Check out this exclusive clip from next Monday's episode of Life Unexpected, entitled "Rent Uncollected."

Supernatural Gets A Spin-Off!...

Timing is everything in the film and television industry. With just a few months until Supernatural's fifth and rumored-to-be-final season airs its finale, Eric Kripke has already embarked on a spin-off project for the series. Currently shooting in Los Angeles, Ghostfacers will be a ten-episode web series starring AJ Buckley and Travis Wester. Their characters first became popular on an episode of Supernatural entitled "Hell House." Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) encountered some "do it yourself" ghostbusters while investigating a bizarre death at an abandoned but potentially haunted house.

The Ghostfacers crew (also consisting of Austin Basis who is pulling double duty now, also appearing on Life Unexpected) are going to be encountering some "real" ghosts (including one of a young starlet who was, according to legend, murdered in her dressing room at a theater). This will stay true to the original mythology of the show that demons, ghosts, and mosters do exist. However, how they manage to not bungle things up without the aide of the Winchester Brothers still remains to be seen.

Or maybe not. Maybe, just maybe, there is room for a cameo by at least one of the brothers...depending on if they meet their demise in the season five finale or not.

I am particularly excited about the timing of this web series because just the other day I was scouring the Ghostfacers website looking for a tee-shirt I could wear around LA that only the "in the know" would nod and smile at. Maybe now that those boys are finally getting their due, they will finally have one available.

And hopefully the confirmation of this spin-off will mean Kripke can leave the original television series alone, as planned, and not come back for a sixth and forced season.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Baby Maker!..

Okay, this is the funniest, most creative creepy promo items for a television show that I have ever seen. In honor of Life Unexpected, The CW has come up with an interactive game for kids who crush on those in their homerooms or math classes that don't know they exist, uber-fans to try to trap celebrities, and those like Jennifer Garner's character in The Invention of Lying who are oddly obsessed with the genetic make-up of their potential mates.

Taking a photo of one's self and one of the other person, you can create your own baby pictures. Actually, the tag is "Build Your Baby Now!" You know, like Build-a-Bear but with more permanent results. And if you like the cute face that stares back at you through some sort of Photoshop/hodge-podge results, you can even share it will all of your friends on your Facebook profile!

If that doesn't say stalker, I don't know what does!

In The Event of a Gilmore Girls Movie, Who's Team Are You On?...

When I spoke with Matt Czuchry last week I had to ask him about the possibility of a Gilmore Girls movie. As a fan of the show (well, the Amy Sherman-Palladino seasons), I have always pushed for this reunion movie more than any other (including Saved by the Bell and Friends, but I'll probably get to those eventually, too). After all, upon hearing that Sherman-Palladino had designed a very specific end to the series in mind that she never got to bring to fruition, I felt like the world needed to give her a chance to give her baby it's proper to speak.

Though Czuchry admitted to me that he had heard nothing real (yet) about the possibility of one such reunion, he did also point out that he has so much respect for Sherman-Palladino and her talent that he would be interested should the opportunity present itself. But Czuchry was quick to point out that even if a movie gets written, there might not be a part for him in it. His character of Logan Huntzberger proposed to Rory (Alexis Bledel) at the end of the WB-turned-CW series, but she turned him down. When she did, his pride was hurt, and he said it was "now or never" and since she was saying no to the life-altering change, he was walking away completely.

Other past boyfriends of Rory's had less "permanent" exits from her life and from the show. First, foremost, and preferred by most was Dean Forrester (Jared Padalecki), her first boyfriend who she then lost her virginity to when he was married to someone else. Dean and Rory had a great "puppy love" rapport but as cute as they were together, everyone seemed to think they were on different paths because she was Ivy-league bound, and he was a blue collar working kid.

Jess Mariano (Milo Ventimiglia) was the bad boy who stormed into Stars Hollow and took Rory by surprise. He wore leather jackets, skipped school, and crashed her car, but they shared a deep love of literature, and he was actually an almost perfect match for her intellectually. He just wasn't living up to his potential.

Now, depending on when a reunion movie would pick up in the lives of Rory and her mother Lorelai (Lauren Graham), it is not necessarily any of these three who Rory would find her way back to. Maybe it would be a one-time supporting player like Marty (Wayne Wilcox) or even Tristan (Chad Michael Murray), or maybe someone completely brand new that Rory met on the campaign trail, in a writer's room, or through a friend. But if it was going to be one of the original three, based on the compatibility of the characters alone and ignoring actor availability and interest, I am on Team Jess.

Dean and Rory were both timid when they first got together. It took awhile for them to have their first kiss, and they were both shy when it came to a lot of things. Dean never really felt comfortable around her extended family because of how well-off they were, and Rory didn't feel comfortable telling him she loved him...even after he built her a car and said those three magic (scary) words first. They found their way back to each other when she was in college because it was familiar and comfortable, but being that she was "the other woman" at that point, it wasn't a relationship built to last. It was just wrapping up old business.

Logan and Rory were moving at completely different speeds and toward different things when they first got together. Rory was a serious student who had only been the "boyfriend girl" before, while Logan was a serious partier who had never called anyone his girlfriend before. They were both from well-to-do families and were the kind of "it" couple that some seem to be born and bred for, but Rory compromised a lot of who she was and what she always said she wanted to first be with Logan. She told him she was okay with being casual and ended up getting hurt; she went along with him on his spontaneous self-destructive trips and ended up in jail for stealing a boat. She went through a phase when she was dating Logan, but one would hope she would have grown out of it by the time the movie comes around.

Now Jess and Rory had their ups and down, too; don't get me wrong. Jess may have been more sexually active that Rory, but he was even more emotionally stunted than she was. In fact, he was too immature to even say good-bye to her, so he just left her, confused and broken-hearted. But they pushed through it in the most mature way and managed to be able to be friends. And when he saw her with Logan, he could see how lost she was, and he wanted to help her but knew he couldn't unless she asked for his help. So he kept working on getting his life together and accepted her friendship.

I like to think that at the point a reunion movie would come around, Jess would be a slightly more successful writer than when we last saw him. Maybe that's even what catches Rory's eye-- seeing a new novel of his reviewed in the New York Times or seeing him promoting an upcoming signing on a national talk show. Maybe she reads the book and realizes it's about a young couple, smarter than most kids in their town but still dealing with adolescent issues of angst and insecurity. Maybe in it he apologizes in his own way for how he treated her back when they were both just kids, and maybe she realizes there's still something there. Whether it's a spark more than just friendship, though, remains to be seen based on what else Sherman-Palladino can build into Rory's "adult" world. But I, for one, would be more than looking forward to finding out just what it is!

An Open Letter To Ted Casablanca...

Oh Ted. Dear Ted. Teddy Boy...

As Michael Mancini once pontificated: "Why do people gossip...? Why do they create vicious rumors that they then spread around with such enthusiasm? Because [they have] no life of [their] own, that's why."

You have started a lot of rumors in your career as an entertainment "journalist" at E!. Some of them have seemed to be all in good fun that just got out of hand due to the fact that your readers don't know how to take a joke and also it's hard to sense tone online. Others, though, seemed to be what you automatically reached to when it was a slow news days in other areas. Maybe it has even been a way for you to be creative in an often tedious world.

And believe me, I truly understand the latter! As someone who started out wanting to be a novelist and creating elaborate stories ranging from crime dramas to psychological thrillers to romantic comedies...well, let's just say I have plenty of material on which to draw. I can just throw in celebrity names where the characters I created once were and post it as "breaking news" and call it a day. But I have a sense of ethics. And I still respect those I write about (most of the time).

But as someone who has been scrapping the bottom of the barrel, begging and pleading for access to events and interviews (instead of simply pitching or the dream: being pitched to), I have to admit it severely pisses me off that you can get away with what you do and still walk away with a nice salary from a (cable, but it still counts) network with a column called "The Awful Truth." There are very few truthful things in it, I have found.

I'm not quite sure from where your fascination with claiming certain male celebrities are gay comes. Maybe it's wishful thinking; maybe you are hoping at least once you'll hit the nail on the head and convince someone the jig is up and he should just come out and be open and honest about who he is. The latter part of that I also somewhat understand. After all, in 2010 it's really sad that managers and producers are still convincing young talents they have to be straight in public if they want to play straight on screen.

But at the same time we as entertainment "journalists" have to draw a line somewhere. It's one thing to suspect someone is gay and another to know and yet even another to berate him into coming out through not-so-blind items. I can't, for the life of me, understand why the things you write do not give your network pause. You are nothing more than a glorified gossipmonger like the Queen of All Media (and what's worse you're second-rate at it, and you started first)!

Therefore, I'm willing to pay my dues. I'm willing to watch followers and Facebook fans trickle in a handful at a time. I'm willing to do all my own marketing and publicity. I'm willing to keep fighting for interviews and proving my questions are respectful and thoughtful and designed to deliver scoop on creative aspects of this industry and not the personal lives of those in it. Because I know the difference between fact and fiction, and I'm not going to blur that line when others' lives are at stake.

Networks Are Changing The Way They Look At Demographics...

Part of the phenomenon that has been Fox' musical comedy Glee this past fall has been due to the fact that two not completely separate groups gravitate toward it. First, there are the kids: the tweens and teens and everything in between who identify with, crush on, and perhaps even look up to those McKinley High singers. Then, of course, there are also the "older" group: the one that spans those just out of college demographic all the way through the middle aged, and probably the parents of that first group (you know, the not-so elusive 25-49 demographic). These are the people who are more invested in the "adult" storylines-- what will happen between the teachers, what witty thing Jane Lynch will say next, etc.

In other words, there are those who crush on Finn (Cory Monteith) and those who crush on Will (Matthew Morrison).

And I can't believe I'm going to say this, but for the first time in my life, I fall into that latter, "older" group!

Though networks have long often divided their demos-- conglomerates like Nickelodeon and Disney Channel target those tweens while the "big three" (NBC, CBS, ABC) go for the grown-ups-- these days it appears they are finally starting to think outside of the box and realize the benefits of greenlighting programs that can hit both markets. Maximum eyes on the programming equals more potential for non-niche advertisers! And if Fox made the biggest splash with this experiment, the CW is not far behind!

Life Unexpected (because, let's face it, what else do I write about these days??) will have the so-called younger audience heavily invested in the life of Lux (Britt Robertson), her boyfriend Bug (Rafi Gavron), and their friends. They'll smile knowingly at the secrets Lux keeps with them, look on with envy as she just plops down at a random lunch table in a new school and manages to make a new friend, and experience similar a similar push-pull between the family that they're related to versus the family of friends they have created.

My demographic, however, already had those coming of age moments (and ironically for many of us they existed with cast members Shiri Appleby and Kerr Smith when they starred on Roswell and Dawson's Creek, respectively). Instead, we will tune in every week to watch the so-called adults adjust, cope, and mature suddenly having a teenager in their lives. We will laugh knowingly as Lux pulls one over their eyes, remembering the not-so-long ago time that we did something similar, and we will nod and relate when the romantic relationships are placed under strain, stress, or simple misunderstanding.

In other words, there will be those who crush on Bug and those who crush on Ryan and/or Baze (Smith and Kris Polaha, respectively).

And though CBS' The Good Wife definitely skews, and aims for, the more mature audience, they, too, are seeing ratings boosts due to gradual increase of screen time for Chris Noth and Julianna Margulies' on-screen children, in addition to fan favorite boy wonder Matt Czuchry, who brought younger viewers over from his days on Gilmore Girls. If the show is smart, they will capitalize on that to hold their position as Tuesday night at 10 winner.

Regardless of who is watching whom, though, as a collective audience, we, week after week, see ourselves reflected in these characters. And that is what makes these shows so much more than just products of flash in the pan marketing.

Friday, January 22, 2010

How Can You Not Love This Show?...

Life Unexpected's second episode airs this Monday at nine p.m only on The CW!

An Open Letter To Michael C Hall...

Dear Michael:

I know you didn't want to tell the world about your cancer. I know being a talented actor on a hit show on a powerful network forced the news out of you because you are in the public eye at all times, especially awards season.

I know you probably didn't want to show up to the Golden Globes with a scarf on your head. I know you probably would have preferred to watch your co-star be honored from the comfort and warmth of your bathrobe in bed with your lovely wife feeding you soup. I know you probably ended up putting on the brave face and attending only because your absence would have raised more questions and rumors.

I know you weren't feeling well-- or feeling like yourself-- when you took the stage to accept your much deserved own statue. I know you were probably self-conscious, shaky, and somewhat still weak from the chemo. I've seen it all before.

But I want to applaud your courage and honesty and willingness to step out and be with your peers to show that you are fighting and working hard to go into remission so you can get back to set. And I want you to know that your fans, just like your friends and family, are hoping, wishing, praying, and sending out positive vibes (for those of us that do those sort of things) that you recover fully and fast.

In fact, I personally am hoping you will be better fast enough for the Dexter panel at Paley Fest 2010. It just wouldn't be the same without you, and not just because you are the lead and title character of the show.

So, in closing, please take as best care of yourself as you can. And if you think you're almost back to fighting weight, so to speak, but just need a little bit extra to push you over the edge to feeling 110%, please come out on March 4th at the Saban Theater. We will understand if you can't stay the whole time and simply wave to the crowd for a few minutes. We just want you to know we're hoping our favorite serial killer will be strong enough to start slicing guys up again soon!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Eric Kripke Is As Generous As He Is Talented...

A few weeks ago, I told you about all of the good work is doing for the A Dog Life rescue organization locally out here in Los Angeles. But those fangirls are something else these days. Despite having already pledged to raise $30,000 this year for the animal avengers, they are now expanding their efforts globally to aid the people of Haiti whose lives were devastated by two major earthquakes within the last few days.

Supernatural creator Eric Kripke approached with an amazing opportunity, very generously donating the pair of Waterford Crystal commemorative flutes that he received when Supernatural was nominated for a 2010 People’s Choice Award (which the show subsequently won). The flutes are one of a kind and cannot be purchased. The pair of flutes come with a letter written to the cast of Supernatural and each stem has an etching on it. One is etched with “People’s Choice Awards 2010 Nominee” and the other is etched with “Supernatural.”

The cast and crew of Supernatural hope that the exclusivity of this item will help raise a significant amount of money for the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund (CBHF).

At the request of the show, the eBay auction will begin TONIGHT at 9pm eastern on January 21, in sync with the mid-season premiere of Supernatural (episode #5.11, "Sam, Interrupted"). Please visit at that time for the link to the auction.

And be prepared to outbid ME!

Will The Nicest Guy In Hollywood Soon Be Out Of A Job?...

Matt Czuchry is the nicest guy in Hollywood. I have said that before, referring to other guys, but I think he is going to hold onto the title for a while. During a phone interview with him this week, we experienced some technical difficulties most probably due to the weather interference with our phone lines (as it was, I had to put him on speakerphone because the craziest storm I've seen since 2005 began shooting hail at, and therefore rattling, my window). Czuchry couldn't have been more gracious, apologizing time and again, even though it was by no means his fault. And he waited patiently while I repeated my rambling questions. His current show The Good Wife just got picked up for a second season (and it's star Margulies just won a Golden Globe), so I truly hope the writers Robert and Michelle King know what a gem they have on their hands and find a way to keep Czuchry and his character of Cary around for a good long while.

You have a history of playing characters that manage to tow a thin line between serious and serious partier. Cary Agos, though, seems to be more the former (though what we don't know about his personal life could probably fill episodes all to itself!) What first attracted you to the role of budding lawyer Cary?
- The script! The pilot script was a great [one], and there were already great people associated with it. The producers-- Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, David Zucker, the writers, and Julianna [Margulies] was attached at that point. The material was fantastic.

I'm sure you formulated an opinion on how to play the character just based on the material in that first script. But then learning who else you would be working opposite [Julianna, and then Christine Baranski, Josh Charles, et cetera], how did that change the way you decided to play Cary, if at all?
- When you're in scenes, so much of what my job is is to listen and react. So what Julianna gives me from her character is definitely something that changes my performance. Her ability as an actress, which you know, she's one of the finest actors we have, changes my performance just in how I react.

In the pilot, we learned that Cary and Alicia are in essence competing for one position at this law firm. Being that her character is the 'wife' in the title of the show, can you tell us how Cary gets to stick around for season two?
- You know, I haven't officially been picked up for that second season so anything is possible in regards to that contest. I will say that there are certain storylines where Cary falters under the pressure and where [he] rises above the pressure. A first associate is going to make mistakes, but you can also see his potential. There's also some stuff hinted at about them laying people off because of money situations and the economy, and that could collide...

Well being that the show is consistently winning Tuesday nights at ten, and you have brought in so much of that key 18-35 demographic networks covet, I don't think they will want to lose you or your talent!
- Aw well thank you very much.

The online fandom seems to write a lot about Cary and Kalinda's flirtation; is that something that was written or something you and Archie [Panjabi] decided to play around and have fun with?
- That's something that kind of developed in the episode that Rod Holcomb directed-- the episode titled "Conugal" (which re-ran this past Tuesday). It was just something that wasn't necessarily on the page, but Archie and I and Rod talked about putting in there a little bit. Based off of what they saw, the Kings-- the writers-- [responded well] to that interaction and added more to it.

Can you give any teasers or any spoilers about their relationship? I am sure you guys have shot a bunch of scenes and episodes that we have not yet been privy to.
- There's actually a couple of big plot points as far as that relationship is concerned, so I can't really hint at it without giving some major plot points away.

Fair enough. We've seen Cary be shrewd in the courtroom and relentless when it comes to research, but he's not so good with consoling witnesses, despite his charm. Logan Huntzberger from Gilmore Girls was just as charming but far less serious. What do you see as the major differences between these two characters that have become so popular?
- I think the main difference was Logan was pretty lost and young, and he didn't really have any idea of who he was. He was spontaneous and would do whatever he wanted for him. Cary is essentially the opposite in that he's very focused, very driven, and you know, he went to law school young and is focused on what he wants to do with his career...Cary has a maturity about him and has his sh*t together when Logan didn't.

So I take it you're not playing Cary like he has this secret personal life where he's stealing boats and taking exotic cliff-diving trips!
- Uhhhhh, no [Laughs]. There are certain things about Cary's life that are going to be revealed that are layers. There's an episode we just got finished shooting where a friend comes in from the Peace Corps, and that's a storyline there where we get to see a little bit more of his personal life in that way.

And I have to ask, the rumors have been flying ever since Amy Sherman-Palladino left Gilmore Girls in the sixth season, if there IS a Gilmore Girls movie, and they want Logan to come back, would you do it?
- I've seen things written about that on the internet, but just so everybody knows, I have not heard the first word about that-- not through my agents or managers or hasn't even been brought up.

It's a big if.
- As far as I'm concerned, it's not really anything real in my world, but that being said, anything that Amy writes is going to catch my eye, and I'm going to read it and take a look at it and see if it would make sense for me to be a part of. That was a great character to play. I care for Amy a lot; she's a great writer, so if she were to write something that's definitely something I'm going to pay attention to.

How would you want things to play out for Logan and Rory?
- It's so up in the air as far as the whole world because there's so many ways it could play out...First and foremost the show was always about Alexis [Bledel] and Lauren [Graham], and so that relationship is the most important one, and then each of their boyfriends and fathers is the periphery to that so a lot would depend on where those two characters are in their lives to see who makes sense to be there. Milo [Ventimiglia], Jared Padalecki, and myself, we were the three major boyfriends for Rory, so it would really depend on where her character is in life to see if one or any of us is the right fit...It's really just too complicated to say where I'd want my particular character to be just because Amy could create a whole new world if she wanted to.

Ryan Kwanten: More Than Just A Pretty Face...

When most people interview Ryan Kwanten from HBO's True Blood, their first question is about how it feels for him to be half-naked for the duration of his shooting. Not this girl (though don't think that image didn't cross my mind!). Since I write for "small potatoes" outlets, I know I need a good hook to get people to stop and chat for me. With Angelina Jolie, it was asking about her work in Namibia. With Kwanten it was asking for information on his upcoming independent film, Griff the Invisible.

A project by fellow Australians, Kwanten lit up when discussing his character, who's "very much like a sociophobe. He's introverted, an office worker by day and a superhero by night. He's the only one who thinks he's a superhero, though."

Kwanten is the only real name in the film, which looks at and begins to reevaluate this bored and lonely "every man's" psychological fantasy world when he starts to fall for a beautiful woman who also shares his passion for the seemingly impossible.

"It's the most proud I've ever been of a film that I've done. And it's one hundred percent different from True Blood!" Kwanten laughed. But that's not to say his fans from the HBO show won't enjoy his star turn in this film. Especially if he's half-naked even a fraction of the time (it's a bigger screen, after all)!

Of course I had to ask about the new season of True Blood, too. Kwanten confirmed he has started shooting but says that "Jason [his character] is always off doing his own thing. Even with Anna [Paquin, Sookie], I rarely get scenes with her. People just assume we're best friends, and I love her and the character, but I rarely work with her."

The same goes for fellow Aussie True Blood star Grant Bowler. Kwanten is never scheduled on set on the same days as he, so he laughed that there isn't much of a chance of slipping back into his accent or any "hometown isms."

In fact, he hadn't even heard the casting news that Southland's Kevin Alejandro would be joining their ever-expanding cast. "Our cast is becoming so diverse (Evan Rachel Wood did a stint, as did Glee's Kevin Mchale, for example), I can't even keep up! But I'd love to work with him; hell I'd love to work with anyone on our cast! Everyone is just so good!"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

1 More Day!...

If you ask me, the wrong brother was asked to pull down his pants...

But all jokes aside, this episode is sure to hit on some very serious moments as well:

Woof Wednesday #36...

The holidays may be long over now, but Madison is still relishing the treats!!

Melrose Place’s Lauren Appears Doomed; Is The Show?…

For someone who has a thick, native Austalian accent, Stephanie Jacobsen does a really good job of making her Melrose Place character of Lauren Yung the typical All-American med student...who is also a call girl. In fact, she does such a good job that some people can't seem to tell the difference between actor and role.

"I don't [get approached]. No one comes anywhere near me! I guess maybe people find it a little bit difficult to approach a woman who plays a prostitute every week on television," Jacobsen shrugged with a big laugh when "My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture" interviewed her during Aussie Week.

Or perhaps they're just somewhat surprised to see her out, up, and about at all. After all, last we saw young Lauren, a john had slipped her a roofie and she was ODing. The best bad guy in the world, David Mancini (Shaun Sipos) got her to the hospital, but she was already unconscious, and her colleagues were hooking her up to a variety of machines. Melrose Place has been on an extended hiatus, but Jacobson teased that "things don't get any better for her in a hurry" when the show returns March 9 on The CW.

And since it appears Jacobsen will be lying fake-comatose in a paper hospital gown for a while, she can relax about memorizing any tough medical jargon. Her co-star Thomas Calabro and I both attended the same math/science magnet high school, a fact which Jacobsen didn't know but seemed excited to learn. "I can so see Thomas in a science school now that you say that!" She laughed. And when asked if she thought his educational background made him a geeky pro at learning such difficult and technical terms, she smiled and said: "One of the pearls of wisdom that he imparted to me in the hospital set one day was not to make it look too easy or we would have to do it all the time." That's a very Michael Mancini way of doing things, if you ask me!

Jacobsen can also retire her stilettos and skintight cocktail dresses for a bit, too, as she won't be entertaining any new guys while recovering. But when asked if she wants Lauren to end up with David, her response was "That's not a fair question! Shaun is like my brother!" Maybe in real life they are close in a lovingly platonic way, but on-screen they have a very nice and easy romantic chemistry that just seems to fit.

In a show that was once so known for villainous characters scheming to break others up, it is nice to find at least one (character...and couple) for which to root! Hopefully when the show returns in March, it is re-booted and re-energized so it has a shot at a second season!

Curtis Stone: A Cutie Chef I'd Like To Take Home...

Chef Curtis Stone has only been living and working in America for the last four years. A native Australian, he was living and working in London when he just decided to shake up his life a bit and move to the left coast. Okay, that might be giving his adventurous spirit a bit more reality he moved to L.A. because he had an opportunity from TLC (where he hosts Take Home Chef). When "My Life, Made Possible By Pop Culture" interviewed Stone at Australia Week's Black Tie Gala at Hollywood & Highland, he was feeling good about his status within the industry, and within his culture.

"This is exciting, being here with so many successful Aussies in the industry. It feels really good to think they consider me important enough to be invited. Though I am cooking for them, so maybe they just consider me the help," Stone laughed as he looked around at the sea of actors, directors, and singers being interviewed simultaneously. "And I have to admit, cooking for eight hundred people is not fun. It's a bit intimidating; I'd rather just be kicking back enjoying myself, but I have to hustle in the kitchen."

Stone has much experience cooking for various groups, though, and through his show as well as his partnership with The Biggest Loser, he even takes on the teaching role in the kitchen. He has inspired millions at home to pick up some fresh veggies and lean meat and prepare a healthy meal with their family instead of running to the fast food shack on the corner. But Stone is open to learning, as well...which is exactly what he did when he stripped off the apron and slapped on a power suit to work for Donald Trump on The Celebrity Apprentice.

Stone's past experience in reality TV no doubt helped him feel comfortable in this new venture, despite the fact that he was somewhat a fish out of water in some of the challenges, not to mention the boardroom. "I learned a lot; I mean, he's Donald Trump, so you kind of have to learn something. But I like to think I taught him a little something, too," Stone winked with another laugh.

Stone stayed mum during his chat with me on how well he did under Trump's not-so watchful eye, so I guess we'll all just have to tune in when the new season premieres on NBC on March 14 in a very special two-hour episode.

Announcing Paley Fest!...

After weeks of speculation and rumors (and some online leaks), The Paley Center for Media has finally announced their line-up for Paley Fest 2010. Confirmed panels will include new fan favorite programs like Glee, The Vampire Diaries, Modern Family, Community, FlashForward, and Cougar Town, as well as long-time favorites LOST, Dexter, Breaking Bad, NCIS, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. There will even be a panel called "Seth MacFarlane and Friends" honoring his animated shows, and a panel for the absolutely brand new Men of a Certain Age. Paley Fest is certainly diverse this year, reaching out across all demographics!

This year's event will be taking place at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills (last year's took place at the Arclight). The Saban seats a whopping 1,900 and will therefore change the face of Paley Fest as we know it. What we have come to know and love about Paley Fest is the intimate setting it provides for fans who want to see their favorite stars and hear inside stories from the set up close and personal. This year they'll still get the celebs and the stories, just not so up close and personal (unless they buy the premium seats which are being sold in packages from $750 to $1200!).

Tickets go on sale on Friday to members of the Paley Center and then on Sunday to the public. Since most of the shows selected do have such devout followings, there is sure to be a mad rush for entrance into panels, but due to the bigger venue, it seems more than likely that nothing will sell out before tickets go on sale to non-members (which was not the case in earlier years).

Paley Fest is the leading source of revenue for the Paley Center for Media, and this year they will surely bring in enough to keep making their events bigger and better!