PODCAST: “THE GOOD WIFE” FINALE SPOILER: IT’S NOT A ROMCOM!!

 

 

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Emmy winning actress Doris Roberts dies at 90

  
Having met Doris Roberts I can say she was a delightful woman. Her work on ST. ELSEWHERE, REMINGTON STEEL, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND and countless other shows was always stellar. She reunited with her RAYMOND costar Patricia Heaton on THE MIDDLE in recent years as a foil for the harried mom played by Heaton. Throughout her career she was awarded 5 EMMY AWARDS. 
Click here for more on the story from TMZ. 

Why CBS should END this version of “THE GOOD WIFE”

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Fist off, I’ve loved “The Good Wife” since it premiered in 2009. The story of Alicia Florrick, played by Emmy winner Julianna Margulies, as she tried to rebuild her life and law career after her husband Peter’s affair with a call-girl was exposed combined juicy family and political soap opera with weekly law cases (keeping with CBS’ staple of procedural dramas).  But “The Good Wife” transcended any procedural drama on CBS or any other network quickly becoming the best drama on broadcast television.

Co-creators of “The Good Wife” Robert and Michelle King announced this week that they are leaving the series at the end of this season. They’re vision for the show was a seven season story arc and for them this is the end.  It’s rumored that CBS is trying to negotiate deals for an eight season of the show, which means a new show runner and vision for “The Good Wife.”

I believe CBS should allow the Kings to complete their vision for “The Good Wife” at the end of this season and viewers should say farewell to Alicia Florrick and company.  Alicia deserves her happy ending and be allowed to walk off into the sunset gracefully.  However, “The Good Wife” is such a good brand that there is a way for CBS to evolve the show with new protagonists and stories.

Other networks have had success with anthology storytelling in recent years and “The Good Wife” could be a way for CBS to get into the game. The show should focus on a woman of color who is running to replace her late husband as Governor. Her only political experience has been that as First Lady of her state. She’s built a career as a successful Chief Financial Officer of a Fortune 500 company.  Her opponents will of course use her lack of political experience against her.  And even though she was able to turn her company’s financial turmoil around when she came on board, he opponents will spin things to make it look like it was her fault.  And, because she’s had a success full career, they’ll call into question her dedication to her family because she wasn’t a stay-at-home mom.  The show can focus on many themes including women in politics, race in politics, the effect of local politics on the community and the double standards when it comes to women and power.  There could also be an umbrella mystery surrounding her husbanding dealing while in office and the circumstances surrounding his death.For continuity, CBS could enlist one or two, at most, of the current characters to make guest appearances on the new incarnation of “The Good Wife” as legal counsel, or old love interest from the new “wife’s” past.

“The Good Wife” in its current incarnation should go out while still in a good place creatively.  This season hasn’t been its strongest, but it still stand out as one of the only quality dramas on broadcast tv.  CBS should give the show the dignity of going out with the vision of its original creators, the Kings.

What do you think? Should “The Good Wife” wrap up at the end of season 7?  Would you watch a new incarnation of the show in a new setting?  Comment below.

 

 

The 5 Best Gifts TV Gave Us in 2015!

With over 400 scripted series on television and countless reality shows, there really is something for every spread across broadcast, cable and digital platforms.  But quantity does not equal quality.  With Christmas right around the corner, here’s my list of the 5 Best Gifts TV (including digital platforms) gave us in 2015 (in no particular order).

  1. Live Scripted Performances on NBC – In the pioneering days of television almost every program was performed live, but in recent history live performances have mostly been relegated to awards shows, reality show finales, the Super Bowl and 2 soaps during sweeps months (“One Life to Live” & “General Hospital”) and sitcoms like “Roc,””Will & Grace” and more recently “Hot in Cleveland.”  But in the spring of 2015, NBC aired a one hour live edition of its struggling sitcom “Undateable.” With musical performances from British pop star Ed Sheeran and guest stars including “Scandal’s” Scott Foley, the show served up it’s funniest episode up to that point prompting NBC to order of third season of all live episodes.  “Undateable” has become the most creative, daring and by far funniest sitcom on broadcast television this season.  While the live production isn’t without it’s technical problems, which have vastly improved, it all still works.  Watching the cast make each other laugh and use timely, real world references is just plain fun, something most returning sitcoms are missing this season. During the past few years NBC has also been staging live productions of classic musicals during the holiday season.  While “The Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan” fell flat, this year the the network wisely chose to update “The Wiz” featuring new-comer Shanice Williams as Dorothy and an all-star cast (Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, and Ne-Yo). “The Wiz” was a success on all fronts. It was expertly directed, choreographed and performed. The success of “The Wiz”should signal a change in the way NBC approaches its live musical productions. With FOX airing a live production of “Grease” this winter I’m hoping other networks look for creative ways to deliver more live scripted programs, especially on the one hour drama front. I would love to see a live episode of “The Good Wife” set in a courtroom during a big trial.
  2. “Empire” (FOX) – “Empire” premiered it’s first season in January of 2015 and became an instant hit and pop culture sensation.  Oscar nominee Taranji P. Henson gave the break-out performance of the year as mother and ex-con Cookie Lyon, but it should be noted that Terrence Howard’s underrated and under appreciated performance and patriarch Lucious Lyon is giving other classic primetime soap villains JR Ewing (“Dallas”), Alexis Carrington, (“Dynasty”) and Angela Channing (“Falcon Crest”).While season 2, which premiered this fall hasn’t benefited from the strong narrative of season 1, and has had some story missteps (Jamal sleeping with a woman, sigh…) “Empire” overall delivers soapy goodness.
  3. “Looking” – Season 2 (HBO) – In 2015 HBO delivered the second season of “Looking,” the half hour dreamed about a group of gay men in San Francisco facing challenges in romance, family and career. The show delivered a sexy and nuanced love triangle between Patrick, Kevin and Richie which I’m sure the writers planned on diving deeper into in season 3 if there was one.  Unfortunately HBO decided to cancel the quiet series that didn’t make as much noise as the creatively challenged “Girls.”  The second season of the show was also notable for introducing HIV positive character Eddie and being the first tv show to have a characters talk about PreP (Truvada) a drug the FDA has approved for use to help prevent HIV infections in conjunction with other safer sex practices such as condom use. HBO ordered a two-hour wrap up movie of “Looking” to air in early 2016, but it still stings that a thoughtful show about gay men as leads had such a short life.  Luckily, for fans of the show and for those yet to discover it, episodes of “Looking” will live on HBO GO (HBO’s digital platform) forever. And if we’re really lucky, the “Looking” movie will do well enough for HBO to revisit the characters with more tv movies.
  4. Mature Audiences Matter on Digital Platforms – With the broadcast networks still chasing the 18-49 demo, digital platforms such as NETFLIX and AMAZON PRIME proved that stories featuring older characters still matter and can draw an audience. Shows like “Bloodline” (NETFLIX), “Grace and Frankie” (NETFLIX), “Transparent” (AMAZON PRIME) proved that older, mature characters are still compelling and can carry story.  With few exceptions, broadcast television has abandoned storytelling for older characters unless they’re male leads on procedural dramas or supporting characters.  Digital platforms have embraced these characters and delivered high quality series centered around them. A few weeks ago I was watching “The Golden Girls” and realized that today that show wouldn’t exist on broadcast television and if it did, it would be a watered down version not nearly as relatable or timeless as what we got in the 1980s.  Digital platforms have created a space for the diversity in story-telling that doesn’t exist on broadcast television.
  5. Regina King wins an Emmy! (“American Crime, ABC) – Regina King is that rare actress who started out as a child star and was able to stay out of trouble as she transitioned into an amazing adult actress.  I always thought her performance on the NBC/TNT drama “Southland” should have been earned her multiple Emmy nominations but it was her performance in the limited series “American Crime” that earned her an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.  With every performance, whether on tv or the big screen, comedic or dramatic, King gives strong and nuanced performances.  Based on the reviews and buzz she could find herself back in the race for her performance in HBO’s “The Leftovers.”  King returns for the next edition of “American Crime” in 2016.

NIECY NASH is the ALL STAR of the FALL SEASON!

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While Niecy Nash’s face certainly isn’t new to television viewers (RENO 911, CLEAN HOUSE, THE SOUL MAN), she’s definitely having her moment in 2015, starring in two primetime series.  Nash earned an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Didi Ortley on the HBO comedy GETTING ON.  This was such a well deserved nomination, as Nash has incredible comedic timing and her line delivery is spot on every time. But more impressive is what she’s able to convert without uttering a word.  Her face can convey empathy, disgust, annoyance and joy effortlessly.  Now in its third and final season, GETTING ON is wrapping up Didi’s story but hopefully HBO will be back in business with Niecy Nash soon.

While her performance as Didi is quite and internalized, the FOX dramedy SCREAM QUEENS gives Nash the opportunity to show up and show out as Denise Hemphill, a security guard determined to catch the serial killer terrorizing a college sorority.  I suspect Denise has a tie to one of the sorority girls that will be revealed during the final five episodes.  Nash gives an over-the-top comedic performance that has me howling in every week.  Again, her line delivery is brilliant and I can’t imagine anyone else in the role.

GETTING ON and SCREAM QUEENS  gives Niecy Nash an opportunity to showcase herself as a brilliant actress.  If Hollywood is smart she’ll get more high profile feature film roles as well.

SCREAM QUEENS is an anthology series so if FOX renews the series for season two, I hope Ryan Murphy has Nash on his short list of actresses to be featured in the new season. If the television academy is smart Ms. Nash will be a multiple Emmy nominee next year.

Check out Niecy Nash in GETTING ON and SCREAM QUEENS below.

2015 PRIMETIME EMMY PREDICTIONS

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It’s time for the 67th Annual Emmy Awards. This year the categories are filled with a lot of diversity and history could be made if either Viola Davis or Taraji P. Henson become the first African American woman to win the Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama Series. Click here for a printable Emmy ballot.

Below are my picks for the major categories:

BEST ACTOR, DRAMA

JON HAMM, MAD MEN
KEVIN SPACEY, HOUSE OF CARDS
LIEV SCHREIBER, RAY DONOVAN
JEFF DANIELS, THE NEWSROOM
KYLE CHANDLER, BLOODLINE
BOB ODENKIRK, BETTER CALL SAUL
I’m going with the sentimental vote in this category. It’s shameful that Jon Hamm hasn’t won an Emmy for MAD MEN. His  heartbreaking performance in the series finale should finally right that wrong.
BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA
VIOLA DAVIS, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER
ROBIN WRIGHT, HOUSE OF CARDS
CLAIRE DANES, HOMELAND
TARAJI P. HENSON, EMPIRE
TATIANA MASLANY, ORPHAN BLACK
ELISABETH MOSS, MAD MEN
This is by far the toughest category. My gut tells me that voters will want to take the opportunity to award the first Emmy in this category to an African American actress, both of whom are well deserving. My fear is that Davis and Henson will split the vote. I think with all the buzz surrounding Henson’s performance as Cookie on Empire, it’s her award to lose. If Henson and Davis do split the vote, Tatiana Maslany could take home the gold for playing multiple roles on ORPHAN BLACK.
BEST ACTOR, COMEDY
ANTHONY ANDERSON, BLACK-ISH
WILL FORTE, THE LAST MAN ON EARTH
MATT LEBLANC, EPISODES
JEFFREY TAMBOR, TRANSPARENT
WILLIAM H. MACY, SHAMELESS
LOUIS C.K., LOUIE
DON CHEADLE, HOUSE OF LIES
This is another strong category, but I think Jeffrey Tambor has the edge.  With Louis C.K. winning the Emmy for Best Writing in a Comedy Series at the Creative Arts ceremony this past weekend, he could be the spoiler in the category.
BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY
JULIA-LOUIS DREYFUS, VEEP
LISA KUDROW, THE COMEBACK
AMY POEHLER, PARKS AND RECREATION
AMY SCHUMER, INSIDE AMY SCHUMER
EDIE FALCO, NURSE JACKIE
LILY TOMLIN, GRACE & FRANKIE
Everyone loves a comeback and Lisa Kudrow certainly had the comeback of the year. Kudrow earned her second Best Actress nomination for her role in THE COMEBACK ten years after she was nominated for the first season of the show.  Lisa Kudrow gave such an honest and vulnerable performance making her quite deserving of the award. Julia-Louis Dreyfus could of course win, again, for VEEP. Or, if Academy members are feeling edgy and daring Amy Schumer could be take the gold.
SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
PETER DINKLAGE, GAME OF THRONES
JIM CARTER, DOWNTON ABBEY
JONATHAN BANKS, BETTER CALL SAUL
ALAN CUMMING, THE GOOD WIFE
MICHAEL KELLY, HOUSE OF CARDS
BEN MENDELSOHN, BLOODLINE
The two front-runners in this category are Jonathan Banks, for the BREAKING BAD prequel BETTER CALL SAUL and Ben Mendelssohn for BLOODLINE.  Both actors give strong performances, often stealing focus from their respective series leads.  I give the edge to Mendelssohn whose performance as the tortured younger brother in a family full of dark secrets, gave energy to every scene in which he appeared.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
JOANNE FROGGATT, DOWNTON ABBEY
CHRISTINA HENDRICKS, MAD MEN
EMILIA CLARKE, GAME OF THRONES
LENA HEADEY, GAME OF THRONES
UZO ADUBA, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK
CHRISTINE BARANSKI, THE GOOD WIFE
I think this category goes to Lena Headey for her role as Cersei Lannister on GAME OF THRONES. Her naked walk of shame in the season finale stands as one of the most iconic moments of the series. Uzo Aduba could be the upset. Last year she won the Emmy for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in ORANGE IS THE BLACK. With the new rule changes, the show is now in the drama category and Aduba had great dramatic material during season two. If Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss are overlooked in the Lead Actor and Actress categories, the Academy might honor Christina Hendricks, giving the show its only acting win during its seven season run.
SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY
TY BURRELL, MODERN FAMILY
KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY, KEY & PEELE
ADAM DRIVER, GIRLS
ANDRE BRAUGHER, BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
TONY HALE, VEEP
TITUS BURGESS, UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
Titus Burgess stole the show with his star-making turn as Titus Andromedon in THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT. A win in this category gives voters a chance to acknowledge the Netflix comedy. Pino Noir!
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY
NIECY NASH, GETTING ON
GABBY HOFFMANN, TRANSPARENT
ALLISON JANEY, MOM
JULIE BOWEN, MODERN FAMILY
MAYIM BIALIK, THE BIG BANG THEORY
KATE MCKINNON, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
JANE KRAKOWSKI, UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
ANNA CHLUMSKY, VEEP
I think Anna Chlumsky takes this one for her amazing monologue where she gives President Salina Meyers a dressing down that was years in the making. Chlumsky can play confident and neurotic at the same time and is never over-shadowed by the amazing Julia-Louis Dreyfus.
BEST COMEDY SERIES
LOUIE, FX
MODERN FAMILY, ABC
PARKS AND RECREATION, NBC
SILICON VALLEY, HBO
TRANSPARENT, AMAZON
UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
VEEP, HBO
It’s time for MODERN FAMILY to be dethroned and LOUIE is just the show to do the honor.  The edgy drama from FX won the Best Writing for a Comedy Series award this past weekend and the unorthodox comedy deserves the win.
BEST DRAMA SERIES
BETTER CALL SAUL, AMC
DOWNTON ABBEY, PBS
GAME OF THRONES, HBO
HOMELAND, SHOWTIME
HOUSE OF CARDS, NETFLIX
MAD MEN, AMC
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, NETFLIX
This category is a battle between MAD MEN and GAME OF THRONES.  I’m going with MAD MEN. In its final moments it delivered a water-cooler moment when it was revealed or alluded to that series lead Don Draper would go on to create the iconic “I want to buy the world a Coke” ad. GAME OF THRONES had an action packed finale and the scope of its production is award worthy, as demonstrated by its multiple wins at the Creative Arts ceremony.  But, my final vote goes to MAD MEN.
FULL DISCLOSURE:  I am a voting member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
The Emmy’s air on Saturday, September 20th at 8pm EST on FOX.
Who are you picks to take home the gold? Let me know in the comments below.
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“GAME OF THRONES” Leads in Creative Arts Emmy Wins


The HBO drama GAME OF THRONES walked away with 8 Emmys at the Creative Arts ceremony held on this past Saturday. When nominations were announced GAME OF THRONES lead all series with 24 nominations.

Among the acting categories, Joan Cusack finally won for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role of Shiela in the Showtime series SHAMELESS.

Cusack had been previously nominated for the same role as Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series before SHAMELESS moved into the comedy category.

Go to TVLINE for the complete list of winners.

FOX will air the 67th Annual Emmy Awards this Sunday, September 20th at 8p EST/5p PST.
Check back later this week for my Emmy picks in the major categories.