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News, Cast Updates and Scoop(News section last updated January 23, 2015)
Michael Nouri Joins NBC's The SlapMichael Nouri will soon have a hand in The Slap.
The Damages vet has landed a recurring role on NBC’s upcoming miniseries, TVLine has exclusively learned.
Nouri will appear in five of the show’s eight episodes as Thanasis Korkoulis, a super-sleazy attorney who will do anything to win.
Although Thanasis agrees to help Zachary Quinto’s Harry — who finds himself in hot water after slapping another couple’s misbehaving child — he makes it clear that everyone must play by his rules.
In addition to his run as Glenn Close’s Damages husband, Nouri’s TV credits include NCIS, All My Children and The O.C.
The Slap bows Thursday, Feb. 12 at 8/7c.
Whitney Houston Biopic: How Yaya DaCosta Became The SingerWhitney Houston is one of the most recognizable singers in the history of music, so Yaya DaCosta did not take it lightly when she was cast to portray the icon in the Lifetime movie Whitney.
"I initially wanted to become her exactly. I was just set to do everything in my power to make the audience almost forget that they weren't really watching Whitney," the former America's Next Top Model contestant, 32, tells PEOPLE. "But then I realized that I only had a few days to prepare. It was more important to try and capture her essence than to go crazy because that could have come across as a mockery."
So just how did DaCosta capture Houston's essence?
1. She pulled from her own modeling history.
"Whitney modeled too and that really informs the way you carry yourself," says DaCosta, who was the runner-up in cycle 3 of the Tyra Banks-hosted reality competition and was the face of a Tom Ford campaign in 2014. "Even when she wasn't modeling, she looked like a model on stage. And she was so elegant in her music videos."
2. She worked on her voice – but not in the way you would think!
Though DaCosta lip-synced to recordings of Houston's songs sung by Deborah Cox, the actress still wanted to make sure she sounded like the "I Will Always Love You" singer.
"I went to my voice coach," she says. "I didn't want to imitate her but I kind of tried to swallow her rhythm. I tend to speak slowly. She spoke quickly."
3. She practiced her smile.
"Not just how much Whitney smiled, but the way she smiled – it was with her whole being," says DaCosta. "It's not like I don't love to smile but you don't always see all my teeth."
4. She perfected her poses.
"When she was singing, there were specific things where she would pat her hips and hold the mic a certain way," DaCosta says of Houston. "Her fingers had a lot of life in them. They would kind of flicker. She was like a hummingbird."
5. She found similarities in their backgrounds.
"We're both from the east coast. We both grew up slender girls in the African-American community, that can affect your psyche," says DaCosta. "She was also spiritual and strong on the outside but vulnerable on the inside. These were things that I saw in her that I completely understood."
Whitney premiered Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
Yaya DaCosta Admits How Terrifying it Was to Play Whitney Houston-and the "Magic Words" That Saved HerAlmost three years after the death of one of music's greatest icons—and perhaps the greatest voice of all time—Lifetime's biopic about Whitney Houston is finally coming out.
Titled Whitney, and executive produced by Angela Bassett, the TV movie airs tonight, and is bound to elicit strong reactions from viewers. Some will love it. Some will haaaaate it.
One thing few will dispute, though: Star Yaya DaCosta nails it. Big time. (And big hair. And big shoulder pads.)
What is perhaps most surprising, though, is that the story focuses only on the early portion of Whitney's career, from the time she met Bobby until about 14 years before her death. So really, none of the truly salacious and controversial years are included—aside from an occasional shot of Whitney doing drugs, her miscarriage on the set of The Bodyguard, and the allegations that Bobby Brown cheated on her. The latter years really aren't addressed at all, until a graphic card is flashed briefly at the end.
"It would have been impossible to pack this great life into one movie," Bassett tells E! News. "We wanted to unpack a lot of those scenes."
The primary focus on the "good years" might be a disappointment to some viewers looking for answers as to what happened toward the end of her life, but should serve as some relief to Whitney's mother Cissy Houston, who has made it clear she's not happy with the film, and that she wishes people would just "let my baby rest." This biopic is really much more tame than it could have been, and for the most part, deeply respectful of Whitney and her legacy.
Still, given the controversy, and the monumental task of portraying Whitney Houston, actress Yaya DaCosta (who previously starred in Lee Daniels' The Butler, and was a former runner up on America's Next Top Model) told us that she found the role overwhelming and nerve-wracking at times.
"All the scenes were difficult to portray," DaCosta tells E! News. "And I've never said that before. I think no matter what kind of scene it was, remembering that there has to be a through line where you're staying true to a character that is not an invention of someone's imagination. And that this is a real person who really lived that everybody knows and loves. It was always very difficult. There was a pressure to keep it real and not be offensive and be as much as like the essence of her as possible."
Though some of the script pages leave something to be desired, it's worth noting how much DaCosta resembles Houston in this role, and she mostly knocks it out of the park. And with very little time to prepare.
"I did a lot of research on YouTube and everything," DaCosta tells us. "But the preparation time was so short that the magic words and the key was really to accept that there was a reason I was doing this and that there was enough in myself that was similar to Whitney and I had to trust that. Angela would say, ‘You are everything.' And that echoed what I had been told by really only one person before, my acting coach when I was 11. ‘You are enough. You have enough. Just trust yourself.' Those are the magic words. At the end of the day, when you're on set especially when it's such a fast-paced project, I just had to trust myself."
The History and Influence of Soap Operas(Listen) Earlier today, Julianne Moore got an Oscar nomination for "Still Alice." She is by far the betting favorite to win the best actress award. But you may remember her better as Franny Hughes Crawford on "As The World Turns." And four or five years before Ellen said "I'm gay," Bill Douglas came out as a gay teenager on One Life to Live. That character was played by Ryan Philippe. In fact, Leo DiCaprio, Maria Tomei, Tommy Lee Jones, Parker Posey, Kevin Bacon, Meg Ryan, they all worked on soaps before they moved on.
Now there are only four soap operas left – drawn out, dramatic stories that used to be sponsored by soap manufacturers, and now are struggling to maintain relevance to house wives who have a lot more options in the middle of the day. We'll talk about this slice of Americana with those in the industry, and a professor who co-directs “Project Daytime.”
Barbara Irwin - Professor of Communication Studies at Canisius College, co-director of Project Daytime
Susan Lucci: My Husband Saved My Life(closerweekly.com) In a recent interview with 'Closer Weekly,' Susan Lucci exclusively opens up about how her husband, Helmut Huber, saved her life during a scary skiing trip back when they first got married in 1969.
“Very early on [in our marriage], we were skiing in Tignes Le Lac in France, and I fell off the lift,” she reveals to 'Closer.' “We were only midway up the mountain, and I slipped and was sliding and it was above the trees, so there was nothing to grab onto.”
Luckily, Susan had wed an experienced skier. “He schussed down below me and managed to stop my fall. It was a good sign that he saved me. Otherwise, I would have fallen thousands of feet off a cliff!” she tells the mag.
“I got a good one” says the soap star. She jokes: “A lot of husbands would’ve let me go.”
For more on Susan and all celebrity news, pick up the new issue of 'Closer Weekly,' on newsstands now!
Matt Bomer Wins the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV MovieMatt Bomer came away with the Golden Globe award for best supporting actor in a series, mini-series or TV movie on Sunday for his work on The Normal Heart.
"To all the people we lost from this disease, I just want to say: We love you, we remember you," Bomer, 37, said while accepting the award.
Seth Meyers and Katie Holmes presented the award at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.
Bomer was up against Bill Murray for Olive Kitteridge, Jon Voight for Ray Donovan, Alan Cumming for The Good Wife and Colin Hanks for Fargo.
After thanking director Ryan Murphy and Larry Kramer, who wrote the original play, Bomer also gave love to his husband Simon Halls and their three children – Kit, Walker, and Henry – saying, "I want to thank you for putting up with me when I was 130 lbs. and really grumpy when you ate pizza in front of me."
Fergie and Josh Duhamel Get Nostalgic on Instagram for Sixth Wedding Anniversary(Photo) Fergie and Josh Duhamel spent some time flipping through the old wedding album on the eve of their sixth anniversary – posting one adorably happy moment from the ceremony to Instagram on Friday.
"Married 6 years tomorrow! #flashbackfriday 2009 #happyanniversary," the Black Eyed Peas singer, 39, captioned a photo from their star-studded wedding at the Church Estates Vineyards in Malibu.
Fergie first met her future husband back in September 2004 when the Black Eyed Peas filmed a cameo for an episode of Duhamel's show Las Vegas.
Like any couple, the Duhamels have endured their fair share of ups and downs through the years – but their greatest joy came in August 2013 with the birth of their son, Axl Jack.
And with Axl getting bigger every day at 16-months, the couple say they're open to expanding the family.
"We'd like to. Yeah, for sure," Duhamel told Wendy Williams in October about having a second child. "[Fergie's] an amazing girl. She's a great mom and she's working on her album, so she's able to manage [both work and motherhood] now for sure."
NEW SERIES FOR AMC ALUM CAMERON MATHISONAt last night's Hallmark Winter Press Tour, it was announced that Cameron Mathison (ex-Ryan, AMC) will star alongside Alison Sweeney (ex-Sami, DAYS) in the new franchise CHOCOLATE CHIP MURDER for Hallmark Murder & Mystery Channel. "So fortunate to be part of this family:)," he tweeted, later adding, "Can't wait to begin working with you @Ali_Sweeney :)." The first installment will air this spring.
Fail! Josh Duhamel Takes a Tumble While Trying to Hop a Rail(Pic1, Pic2, Pic3) Nice try, Josh Duhamel.
While at the L.A. Lakers game at the Staples Center last night, the 42-year-old actor tried to show off for the paparazzi but failed right in front of the cameras.
Fergie's other half, who was dressed in white sneakers, blue jeans and a white button-down shirt, attempted to hop over a metal railing barricade outside of Staples. Duhamel managed to get one leg over the railing but something must have messed up his moves because he ended up on the ground on the other side of the barricade.
After a little roll on the pavement Duhamel got up, brushed himself off and seemed unfazed by the harmless accident. He smiled and went on his way into the game.
It's OK, Josh. We still love you.
Meanwhile, during last night's Lakers game, his wife Fergie took the court for a super-hot performance.
Check out the funny photos of Duhamel's tumble for yourself.
Matt Bomer To Play Montgomery Clift In HBO BiopicFollowing his praised performance in The Normal Heart, Matt Bomer has re-teamed with HBO Films for another project, a biopic of iconic Hollywood actor Monty Montgomery Clift.
Like with Ryan Murphy’s The Normal Heart, Monty Clift too started off as an indie feature, which was put together more than a year ago with Bomer attached to star and Larry Moss set to direct from a script by Christopher Lovick. The project was shopped for financing by Pier 3 Pictures’ Michael Din, Janine Giaime and Juri Henley-Cohn.
The way HBO stepped in to bring The Normal Heart to fruition with its A-list talent intact, it is doing the same with Monty Clift.
The Love Is Strange duo of Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias will rewrite Lovick’s script. Din and Moss will serve as executive producers alongside Anonymous Content’s Tony Lipp and Alix Madigan.
At his prime, Clift rivaled Marlon Brando and James Dean as Hollywood’s biggest male stars and, along with them, was one of the first method actors in Hollywood. Clift also was the first Hollywood actor to refuse to sign a studio contract, choosing independency instead. He graduated from stage roles to screen success in films that includes A Place In The Sun and From Here To Eternity. His matinee idol good looks were destroyed by a devastating car accident that left him with a broken nose and partially paralyzed face. Though he continued to make movies, the accident haunted him until his death, even though he received an Oscar nomination, his fourth, for one of his last performances in Judgment At Nuremberg.
Clift had a complicated personal life, which he refused to put on display. He struggled with his sexual orientation and resorted to alcohol and drug addition following the accident.
“To see the kind of intense vulnerability and realism that he brought to his work at a time when that was not the style—it’s profound,” Bomer said in an interview last year. “He knew everything he was feeling inside—or if he didn’t, you wondered, why was he feeling that when the scene was this? To get to portray someone who was so formative to me as an artist would be terrifying and daunting and thrilling.
Bomer’s role in The Normal Heart earned him a Critics Choice TV award and an Emmy nomination. He is also up for a People’s Choice Award tonight for favorite TV Cable Actor (for his starring role on USA’s White Collar) as well as a Golden Globe award this weekend for The Normal Heart.
Sony Pictures Classics’ Love Is Strange, which Sachs also directed, starred John Lithgow & Alfred Molina as a longtime couple forced to separate after losing their home. The film has received four nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards including Best Picture and Best Screenplay.
Fergie's Son Axl Looks Exactly Like His Mama in His Adorable Christmas Card!(Photo) He clearly got it from his mama!
Fergie and Josh Duhamel's son, Axl, is honestly too cute for words.
The proud mama posted the family's holiday card on Twitter early Christmas day and wrote, "Happiest holidaze."
Duhamel added on his own account, "From ours to yours…"
The little toddler is seen with antler ears showing off his huge baby blues in the precious pic.
We already see how much he's going to look like his famous mother!
Just last month, the Black Eyed Peas lead singer gushed about her son on the 2014 American Music Awards red carpet and even spilled the beans to E! News excluviely about Axl's latest milestone.
"He's starting to say words," she dished while wearing striking Halston Heritage black maxi dress that showed off her killer figure.
"His favorite song right now is ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat.'" Aw!
And earlier this year, Duhamel explained how he and his wife have a rule where they try not to go more than two weeks without being together as a family.
"[Fergie's] here with me now. She's staying with me. We've got a house and the whole thing," the actor, who was in Austin shooting his film Lost in the Sun at the time, told E! News.
"We're one happy family in Austin, Texas. I can't stay away from my boy for that long or her."
Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos Send Gingerbread Houses to Anderson Cooper and Andy CohenKelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos‘s recent Christmas gifts to pals like Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper gives new meaning to the phrase “Home Sweet Home.”
The celebrity power couple seems to enjoy giving gingerbread houses from The Solvang Bakery in California, a locally loved spot that’s known for their gorgeous edible homes. Calling Ripa “kind of our favorite client,” bakery owner Melissa Redell tells PEOPLE that the Live with Kelly and Michael host had been sending the gingerbread homes for almost 10 years.
“The gingerbread houses are like her signature gift or tradition … I think a lot of people have started ordering them because of her,” she says.
CNN anchor Cooper shared a pic of his gift on Instagram, calling it “such a great Christmas present” and saying that Ripa and Consuelos were “the best friends ever.”
(Photo1) Cohen’s house came with signs over the door saying “Andy” and “Wacha” (his beagle-foxhound mix), and there’s even a tiny gingerbread version of the dog. The Watch What Happens Live host wrote that his apartment was now a “holiday wonderland.”
(Photo2) Ripa gave Solvang some Instagram love back around Halloween, and Redell confirmed that the couple ordered “about 40? houses, though so far we’ve only spotted postings about Cooper’s and Cohen’s. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for anyone else lucky enough to score some of these stylish sweets.
Lots of sex keeps Kelly Ripa's marriage goingWhat’s the secret to a long-lasting marriage?
Kelly Ripa thinks sex — and lots of it — is key.
“I fundamentally believe that the more you do it, the more you do it, the less you do it, the less you do it,” the 44-year-old “Live! with Kelly and Michael” co-host, who’s married to Mark Consuelos, said on “Watch What Happens Live” after host Andy Cohen shared her tip from a personal conversation.
Ripa and Conseulos, 43, tied the knot in Las Vegas in 1996. Today, they’re parents of three.
“We just like each other a lot,” she explained. “I love my husband. I think he’s awesome. We’ve been together a really long time. We try to do spicy things together all the time.”
Ripa has given marriage tips in the past. In 2013, she told Your Tango that couples often quit after one fight.
“Don’t get divorced after your first argument!” she advised. “I have a lot of friends that have one fight and that’s it, they get divorced. I go, ‘Wait a minute! Oh my gosh, you guys! Calm down!’ You’ll forget in three days what you were fighting about. I promise. So just let it marinate a little bit — that’s the best love advice.”
Kelly Ripa Shares Adorable Throwback Pic of Her 3 Kids at Christmas(Photo1) Kelly Ripa is one proud mama this Christmas!
The beloved morning talk show host couldn't help but get into the holiday spirit by embarrassing her adorable three kids: Lola Grace Consuelos, Joaquin Antonio Consuelos and Michael Joseph Consuelos.
Like any good mother, the bubbly blonde shared photos of her little ones from their days as youngsters celebrating the most wonderful time of the year.
The thing is, most moms don't have hundreds of thousands of followers witnessing their childhood pics, like Ripa. But that's half the fun!
"Another holiday flashback," the star wrote. "Christmas 2006 with da Mouse! Shhhhhhhh.......the kids don't know I'm showing these."
Newsflash: They most certainly do now!
All three are seen showing off their precocious little grins as they pose with Mickey Mouse—who is dressed in a little Santa Claus suit, no less!
And it seems that Ripa was on quite the roll this week, as just a few days ago she posted a photograph of her three kids circa 2003 all posing together in white tops and jeans.
Look at how cute they are—and my, how time flies!
Ripa wrote, "Angels of Christmas past" next to the heartwarming snapshot.
Considering we're only days away from this year's Christmas celebration, we're hoping to get more family shots of the Ripa-Consuelos household!
Josh Duhamel and Fergie Celebrate Game Day With the Cutest Pictures of Baby Axl(Pic1, Pic2) Sunday football just got a whole lot cuter thanks to one young fan!
As Fergie and Josh Duhamel cheered on their favorite teams—the Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings, respectively—the proud parents couldn't help but show off their bundle of joy!
"This is what happens when daddy's team plays mommy's team," the Black Eyed Peas singer tweeted Sunday afternoon with a picture of baby Axl. "GoFins! #sundayfootball @MiamiDolphins @Vikings @joshduhamel"
Their growing boy sported a Dolphins T-shirt. Duhamel, however, got the better deal as Axl also rocked Vikings pants and a jacket.
"Mom thinks I'm rooting for the Dolphins," Duhamel later tweeted. "Let's let her keep thinking that…#SkolVikes."
So who came out the big winner at today's matchup? Well besides the obvious winner that is Axl, the Dolphins ended up beating the Vikings by just two points! Sorry, Josh!
"Man it ain't easy being a Vikings fan sometimes," the Battle Creek actor wrote after the tough loss. As least Fergie Ferg is happy. And what do they always say? Happy wife, happy life!
The couple's adorable son continues to grow up into a handsome young boy. Earlier this month, Axl proved his love for sunny Southern California by enjoying a beach day with mom.
And while he doesn't turn two until August of next year, the young stud continues to impress his parents everyday.
"He's starting to say words," Fergie told E! News while promoting her single "L.A. LOVE." "His favorite song right now is ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat.'"
We just can't with this cuteness!
Emmy-Winning Daytime TV Director Larry Auerbach, Dead At 91(Photo) Larry Auerbach, considered by many to be a pioneer in daytime television, died today at 91 in La Jolla, Calif. Auerbach helmed CBS’s soap Love of Life, from 1951 to 1980. Such faces as Warren Beatty, Jon Voight, Christopher Reeve and Roy Scheider would pass through the show during its lengthy time on the air. Given the never-ending cycle of soaps, it’s estimated that Auerbach clocked a notable 3,000 hours as a TV director. Following Love of Life, he helmed a number of New York based soaps including All My Children, One Life to Live, Another World and As the World Turns. Born in Mount Vernon, NY, Auerbach cut his teeth in the trade in Chicago during the late 1940s as the stage manager on Kukla, Fran and Ollie. Studs’ Place and the daytime soap, Hawkins Falls. He was named a DGA Honorary Life Member in 2004, joining an elite group that includes Charles Chaplin, Walt Disney, Jack Warner, Lew Wasserman Jack Valenti and he received the union’s 1991 Robert B. Aldrich award. Auerbach won a Daytime Emmy in 1984 for directing on ABC’s One Life to Live. DGA president Paris Barclay made the following statement today on the passing of Auerbach:
“Larry emerged as a vigorous presence right after the merger that created the modern DGA, diving headlong into a long career of service to the Guild and his fellow members. Larry worked tirelessly, out of love for his Guild and his profession, to ensure better working conditions and stronger protection of creative rights for Guild members, and he was instrumental in raising the profile of daytime serial directors, the genre to which he dedicated his career. Under his watch as National Vice President and a member of the Eastern Directors Council, Larry helped organize the renovation of the New York headquarters, and he played a major role in ensuring greater health and fiscal security for Guild members through the DGA-Producer Pension and Health Plans. He was a dynamo – a strong and powerful voice for our members for decades – and we will miss him greatly.”
Slater Series Picked Up By USAThis is a timely order by USA. In the wake of the unprecedented hack attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, the cable network has given the first series pickup to a pilot from its current slate to Mr. Robot (working title), an intense hacker drama starring Rami Malek and Christian Slater.
Written/executive produced by Sam Esmail, Mr. Robot centers on a young programmer, Elliot (Rami Malek), who suffers from a debilitating anti-social disorder and decides that he can only connect to people by hacking them. He finds himself in the intersection between a cybersecurity firm he works for and the underworld organizations that are recruiting him to bring down corporate America. Slater plays Mr. Robot, a mysterious anarchist who recruits Elliot. Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin (True Detective) and Chad Hamilton (Breakup At A Wedding) also executive produce.
“Mr. Robot could not be more timely and relevant,” said Chris McCumber, President of USA Network. “Rami gives a masterful performance as a hacker and unlikely hero, alongside Christian, who is perfectly cast as Mr. Robot.”
The pilot for Mr. Robot was directed by Niels Arden Oplev (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) who “has given the show a breathtakingly original look,” said Jeff Wachtel, President and Chief Content Officer, NBCU Cable Entertainment.
Co-starring in the series are Portia Doubleday, Carly Chaikin and Martin Wallstrom.
Mr. Robot was the first of five drama pilot orders made by USA this year, along with Carlton Cuse’s Colony, starring Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies; Stanistan, starring Jennifer Carpenter; Queen Of The South, based on the international best seller “La Reina del Sur,” starring Alice Braga; and recent pickup Evil Men, starring Dallas Roberts and Clifton Collins Jr.
USA recently announced a pullout from half-hour comedy to focus on its drama brand with an intention to pick up as many of its five drama pilots to series as possible.
Christina Bennett Lind on Blue Bloods"Baggage” – Danny is conflicted when he learns that a group of highly trained Army veterans are responsible for a robbery. Meanwhile, after a bomb scare in a subway turns out to be the work of a famous street artist, Garrett and Gormley argue about how to deal with the fallout, on the 100th episode of BLUE BLOODS, Friday, Jan. 9 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Guest cast includes Richard Sullivan (Tyler Elliot Burke) and Christian Bennett Lind (Robber # 3/Angela Cabot)
Holiday stocking stuffer: 'DWTS' Jonathan Bennett's house smells like 'Christmas trees and dog pee'Jonathan Bennett -- you know, that seriously attractive guy with the pushed back hair in "Mean Girls" -- just finished dancing his butt off on Season 19 of "Dancing with the Stars," and now he's ready to sit back and relax just in time for the holiday season.
Not quite done having some fun with Zap2it (who else totally loved his Instagram takeover?) Bennett revealed a few Christmas secrets for our holiday Q&A. Spoiler: He definitely has no qualms unbuttoning his pants at the dinner table.
1. What are you most looking forward to this holiday season?
2. This year, are you on Santa's naughty or nice list?
3. Opening presents: Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
4. What are the top 3 items on your stocking stuffer list?
5. What are your all-time favorite holiday songs?
6. What are your all-time favorite holiday movies?
7. Best holiday scent: cookies baking, roasting chestnuts or a fresh evergreen? (Or name your own!)
8. What's the quirkiest tradition your family has during the holidays?
9. What's the most embarrassing homemade ornament from your childhood that your mom and dad still hang on the tree?
10. Sledding or ice skating?
11. Do you prefer to spend your holidays somewhere with snow on the ground or somewhere warm?
12. What is the best gift you have ever given and the best gift you ever received?
13. Hot cocoa, warm apple cider, mulled wine or a hot toddy?
14. Have you ever kissed anyone under the mistletoe? Will you tell us who?!
15. Do you go out or stay in on New Year's Eve?
Unbroken Actor Recalls Meeting Angelina Jolie For the First Time: Kids Toys and a TrampolineWhen Finn Wittrock met Angelina Jolie for the first time it was at her house to talk about him playing Mac in Unbroken.
"I remember waiting to meet her and I was sort of skittish, a little nervous and I had butterflies in my stomach, but in literally like 30 seconds, it was just all distilled and out the window," the American Horror Story actor tells me. "She was just sort of talking to you just as a person. You know, I think we put her on a pedestal, but she didn't build the pedestal. She's on there with grace, but she talks to you just like a person."
He added with a laugh, "She breaths. She's warm-blooded."
Wittrock actually auditioned for the lead role of Louis Zamperini.
"I got a call a few weeks later and Angelina wanted to meet at her house," he said. "So I went to her house and saw the trampoline and the kids toys. She then talked to me about the part of Mac…Not like she had to talk me into it, but she had these poster boards of her research and sort of a look book that she had actually used to pitch Universal because she kind of had to audition for it herself. She had to fight [to direct the movie]. And then she was like, 'I hope to see you starving on a raft in a few months.'"
Fast forward to the Australian set. Wittrock dropped to 129 pounds (he weighs 175 today) to play one of the three WW II airmen who were lost at sea after their plane crashed into the ocean.
His dad wasn't too pleased by the weight loss. "He really didn't like it," Wittrock said. "He was really concerned by it because I think you spend your whole life trying to make sure your kid has enough to eat and then there was this. He was like, 'Please, is this role done yet?'"
Unbroken has become an awards season favorite. Look for all sorts of nominations for Jolie's directing, the film for best picture and stars Jack O'Connell and Miyavi for acting kudos.
"Angie is hands-on, she's experimental, she wants to try it different ways," Wittrock said. "She's curious. She wants to know what you're thinking. She's eager for your thoughts and your input."
He also said, "She was under a lot of pressure for this. She herself had something to prove. She didn't have it all figured out. As sprawling and epic and big as it is, it's a personal film for her."
Nickelodeon Star Denyse Tontz, All Grown Up, Talks Music & Mark Salling Romance(Music Video) Denyse Tontz has fallen in love with a hipster.
And we're not talking about Glee actor Mark Salling, whom she briefly dated last summer.
Tontz, 20, a singer-songwriter and actress best known for her roles on Nickelodeon's Big Time Rush and on the Disney Channel's Dog with a Blog, is enjoying a burgeoning music career – she just released the single and video for "Mr. Hipster," a tongue-in-cheek ode to the counter-culture guy so many girls seem to end up dating.
"I definitely want to try something a little different," she tells PEOPLE about her music. "I'm getting older now, and it's been kind of a struggle juggling my fan base with what I am naturally inclined to write."
She adds, "I definitely want to surprise people. I think that [my fans] will be pretty surprised by what's coming next – I hope in a good way!"
Still, she says she won't compromise on her "weird, quirky, kind of sarcastic" style. "It's just my personality. My music is going to have that same lyrical quality to it. I definitely like to insert a wink and a smile."
Beginning as a child model, Tontz got her first big break when she booked a campaign for Mattel's Barbie. Later, she made her TV debut on E-Ring before landing her Nickelodeon and Disney roles.
Still, music remained her first love, and her songwriting skills are now so well-honed that Tontz earned a Daytime Emmy Award for outstanding original song for a drama series. She was only 19 years old.
As for her love life, over the summer Tontz met Glee actor Mark Salling through her producer for a collaboration and they dated for a few months, before busy schedules ended their romance.
"But you never know what could happen down the road," she says.
When it comes to Salling's own music in his band, Camp Coyote, Tontz gushes: "That's one thing that Mark will never let people down on – he's incredible live. Honestly, as an artist, I have so much respect for him because he is the most talented musician."
Their relationship happened to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Cory Monteith's death in July 2013 at the age of 31, a "touchy subject" for Salling and the rest of the Glee cast. As Salling said earlier to PEOPLE: "I still think about him all the time."
"It wasn't something he talked about much, but it definitely took a toll on him. … It left everybody shocked, and especially [Salling]," Tontz says.
That said, 2015, it seems, looks to be Tontz's year.
Sarah Michelle Gellar Says Freddie Prinze Jr. Is ''Recovering'' After Spine Surgery, Talks Holiday PlansRest assured, folks: Freddie Prinze Jr. is on the mend.
The 38-year-old actor, who underwent spine surgery just one week ago, was unable to attend the 4th Annual Santa's Secret Workshop event in West Hollywood on Saturday night, which benefitted L.A. Family Housing, but wife Sarah Michelle Gellar was there to represent on behalf of the star couple, toting along the pair's two children, Charlotte, 5, and Rocky, 2.
"Oh my god, you mean Freddie that's like learning how to walk again?!..." she quipped, poking fun at her hubby's recent tweet when asked how Freddie is feeling, adding, "My poor husband couldn't make it."
"By the way, he was coming, he was in tears," she said, turning to pal Bill Horn (who organized the star-studded event), expressing her hubby's sympathies. "He was like 'I promised Bill and Scout they're so good to me, I have to be there.' But he's just so tired. I mean he did have spine surgery…" she said before adding with a smile, "But he's not learning now to walk."
So, how is Freddie, who has been sharing numerous health updates on social media, feeling these days?
"He's recovering..." she said, reassuring fans that her hubby will soon be in tip top shape for the holidays. "He'll be cooking. I handle Thanksgiving, Christmas will be all him."
Gellar's two children were having a blast at the event, which featured plenty of gift tables filled with kid-friendly goodies, including Jenny Cookies and a room filled with "snow" where children could take photos with Santa. Hot chocolates and holiday drinks were also served by Keurig while kids test drove the latest in gaming in the Kurio Extreme gaming lounge.
"It's also about introducing the act of giving back," the mother of two said of the holiday season. "So the holidays are not just about getting, it's about giving. And they're at the age now, Rocky not as much, but Charlotte where she understands…and so to me that's the other big tradition of the holiday."
The happy couple, who wed in 2002, also plans to spend New Years as a family.
"We do have New Years plans!" the erstwhile Buffy star said with excitement. "It's our first year that we're actually going to be celebrating New Years and we're going out with the kids. And we're doing a 9 o'clock New Years and our children have never stayed up until 9 o'clock. Charlotte has never seen 9 o'clock," she said, before turning to her pal and joking, "10 bucks I send you a picture of Charlotte passed out in a chair."
Lifetime's Whitney Houston movie trailer promises a heartbreaking story(Video) Check out the official trailer for "Whitney," Lifetime's Whitney Houston biopic starring Yaya DaCosta (ex-Cassandra Foster, All My Children) in the title role and Arlen Escarpeta ("American Dreams," "We Are Marshall") as Houston's husband Bobby Brown.
The TV movie marks Oscar-winning actress Angela Bassett's directorial debut. From the looks of the trailer, promises magnificent music and tragic heartbreak, as it chronicles the troubled diva's rise to fame and subsequent downward spiral into drugs and dysfunction with Brown, all of which culminated in the singer's untimely passing in 2012 at the age of 48.
"Whitney" premieres Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.
Agnes Nixon Fast Facts(erietvnews.com) (CNN) -- Here's a look at the life of Agnes Nixon, creator of "All My Children" and "One Life to Live."
Personal: Birth date: December 10, 1927
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Birth name: Agnes Eckhardt
Father: Harry Joseph Eckhardt, owner of Perfection Burial Garment Company
Mother: Agnes Patricia (Dalton) Eckhardt, bookkeeper
Marriages: Robert Nixon (April 6, 1951-November 22, 1996 his death)
Children: Catherine Agnes, Mary Frances, Robert Henry, Emily Anne
Education: Attended Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, 1940-1944
Agnes Nixon grew up in Nashville, Tennessee.
Known as the "Queen of Soap Opera writing," she has nine Daytime Emmy writing nominations and four wins between her two shows "All My Children" and "One Life to Live," and a Lifetime Achievement award.
Her storylines often included socially conscious topics of the time, such as uterine cancer and Pap smears, racial identity, interracial relationships, abuse and abortion.
She created roles specifically for these actors: Laurence Fishburne, Tommy Lee Jones, and Tom Berenger on "One Life to Live".
She patterned her soap opera cities after an area in Philadelphia known as the "Main Line."
Nixon was one of the early writers on "The Guiding Light" (1953-2009), the longest running soap opera in history.
The character Agnes Eckhardt appeared on both "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" played by Nixon. She also played the characters Agnes Dixon on "One Life to Live" and Aggie on "All My Children".
The production company Prospect Park teamed up with Apple and Hulu, to save "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" by making both shows available online.
1944 - After college Nixon begins writing for the radio soap opera, 'Woman in White."
1950 - She relocates to New York and begins freelancing for live television prime-time broadcasts.
1951 - Writes for 13 weeks for daytime television as head writer for the soap opera "Search for Tomorrow."
1952-1954 - Writes for prime-time drama "Robert Montgomery Presents."
1957-1959 - Nixon writes for the soap "As the World Turns."
1959-1965 - Head writer on "The Guiding Light."
1965-1967 - Becomes head writer for "Another World"
July 15, 1968 - Nixon's creation "One Life to Live" debuts. She is the head writer.
January 5, 1970 - Another Nixon creation debuts, "All My Children," also with Nixon as head writer.
June 26, 1983 - The soap opera "Loving" premieres. Nixon is co-creator with Douglas Marland.
1988 - Wins Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team for "All My Children."
June 25, 1994 - Nixon becomes the first female writer to be inducted into the Soap Opera Hall of Fame.
November 1995 - The storyline of "The City," created by Nixon, James H. Brown and Barbara Esensten, picks up where "Loving" left off.
1996-1998 - Wins Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team for "All My Children".
May 12, 2010 - The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announces Nixon as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
April 14, 2011 - ABC announces the cancellation of "One Life to Live" as of January 2012. "All My Children" is also being canceled.
June 30, 2011 - ABC announces "All My Children" will air its final episode on television on Friday, September 23, 2011.
January 13, 2012 - "One Life to Live" airs its final episode on television.
April 29, 2013 - "One Life to Live" and "All My Children" come back to life, airing twice weekly online at Hulu and Apple's iTunes. Nixon is the creator of the new "All My Children."
Fall 2013 - The first online seasons of "One Life to Live" and "All My Children" end. Further production is then put on indefinite hold, due to legal proceedings between ABC and Prospect Park, which produces the shows.
Y&R Star Needs Your Help For A Good CauseTHE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS' Amelia Heinle (Victoria) recently launched a fashion and lifestyle Web site called Dear March, and in addition to the articles and peeks into the actress' personal life is an on-line store where a percentage of the sales are donated to the American Cancer Society in honor of Heinle's sister, Jane, who is currently battling cancer.
Now, Heinle is hosting a special charity event for BelieveBig.org on Sunday, December 14, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Maggiano's Little Italy located at The Grove in Los Angeles, CA. Her husband, Thad Luckinbill (ex-J.T.) will be on hand as one of the special guests, and there will be a limited number of tickets available for a VIP meet and greet with the actors. Tickets are available exclusively at DearMarchShop.com, and money raised by the event will be donated to the cancer charity Believe Big in Jane's name.
The Bay Returns!Throughout December, the award-winning Web drama THE BAY will return with two more exciting chapters of story which will be told weekly over the course of eight 20-minute episodes. The chapters will feature another tragic death, as well as address last summer's cliffhangers. Will Lianna (Jade Harlow, ex-Sheryl, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) find out about Janice's (Lilly Melgar, ex-Lily, GENERAL HOSPTIAL) scintillating affair with young Peter? Will Lex (Tristan Rogers, Colin, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS) reveal the identity of the person that he thinks Peter's socialite mom, Sara (Mary Beth Evans, Kayla, DAYS) killed? And how might the return of Liz (ONE LIFE TO LIVE's Ilene Kristen, Roxy) affect his recent efforts to revive his relationship with Sara?
To help play out all of these storylines and more, a host of new faces will be joining the cast. "Alicia Leigh Willis (ex-Courtney, GH) and Eric Nelsen (A.J., ALL MY CHILDREN) will play Sara's niece and nephew, Avery and Daniel, respectively," series creator Gregori J. Martin reveals. "Lindsay Hartley (Cara, AMC; ex-Arianna, DAYS) is coming in as a woman from Marly's (Martha Madison, ex-Belle, DAYS) past, Eric Martsolf (Brady, DAYS) will appear in flashback as a younger Lee Nelson, and Judith McConnell (Sophia, SANTA BARBARA) will bring to life a role that fans have been anticipating for years!"
However, the news that has the Internet buzzing is that soap opera veteran A Martinez (best known as SB's Cruz) reunited with former castmates Lane Davies (Mackenzie; Mason, SB) and Nicolas Coster (Jack; Lionel, SB) on set when he taped his December 16 appearance on the show. "I'm playing Janice's father, Nardo. I'm trying to get information out of Lane's [police detective] character, whom the family thinks is not being forthcoming," Martinez offers. "And I got to be the voice of reason with Janice, as is a father's wont to do." Tune in to catch the first two new episodes, which will be released back to back, on Thursday, December 4, at 3 p.m. EST. thebaytheseries.com
Lights, camera, kids! Walt Willey leads acting school for juniors in Ottawa(mywebtimes.com) The next Matthew McConaughey or Jennifer Lawrence could be in the making at the Ottawa Dance Academy.
But any such future stars must establish more immediate goals than walking down a red carpet amid paparazzi and designer dresses: graduating from grade school.
Last month, Ottawa television and stage actor Walt Willey launched Starved Rock Country Children's Learning Theatre. Almost 20 children attend classes with Willey three days per week at Ottawa Dance Academy. The youngest child is six and the oldest 16, but most are in grade school.
The training will culminate in a production of "All I Really Need to Know I Learned by Being in a Bad Play," at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, in the auditorium above Jeremiah Joe Coffee, 807 La Salle St. Tickets, which are $10 each, are available at the Ottawa Visitors Center, 106 W. Lafayette St.
"We have some very talented kids, who are working very hard," Willey said.
During a recent class session, Willey — no doubt tapping his years on the television soap opera "All My Children" — took his young charges through stage directions, prop handling and line delivery, as they rehearsed scenes.
"Walt knows his stuff," observed 13-year-old Emily Walker.
Willey indeed showed his stuff as he gently told one girl to get into her role a bit more.
"Use your snotty voice. I know you have one," Willey instructed the aspiring actress.
To another girl who spoke her lines too quickly, Willey advised, "Take your time. Enjoy every word. Savor them." He then asked the girl what she loved, to which she answered, "Chocolate." Willey then told her, "Savor your words like chocolate."
The room had confidence, as exhibited by one youngster with his eyes set on the big time.
"I want to work up my acting skills and get on TV," said 14-year-old Noah Blakley.
However, Noah also set his sights on the decidedly smaller time.
"I have a lot of brothers and sisters, and I want to be able to beat them at something."
Another young thespian, 16-year-old Chase Ochsner of Ottawa, also has taken acting classes in Chicago. With such experience, Chase described Willey's approach.
"Walt gets everyone involved and engaged. He's taught me to use my emotions to get into my character."
How Kelly Ripa Keeps Her Family Organized the 'Old-Fashioned' WayRaising teenagers is a whole new world for Kelly Ripa.
"We're in outer space as parents! We are in uncharted territory," she tells PEOPLE.
Back when she was growing up, "there was no social media, no distractions like they have now," she explains. "We had one phone, it was in the kitchen, and if we wanted privacy, then we would have to stretch the phone cord as far as it could go down the basement stairs."
A mother of three, the Live with Kelly and Michael co-host manages a busy household with her husband, Alpha House star Mark Consuelos.
Her secret: getting good advice.
"Everything I've learned that is beneficial to me, I've learned from a fellow mom," says Ripa, 44.
That made her the perfect partner for the Children's Motrin Unstoppable Moms campaign, which takes Live's feature highlighting real mothers to the next level.
For every tip or trick a mom shares on Motrin's Facebook page, the company will donate $1 to the nonprofit Safe Kids Worldwide. And for every suggestion, participants are entered to win a $100 Target gift card.
So what are Ripa's top tricks? When it comes to 13-year-old daughter Lola, she recommends an old-school hobby.
"My daughter always says she wants more privacy, and I respect that, I understand that," she says. "I said, 'If you want to keep a diary instead of Instagram, then you will have privacy. I will not read your diary, but if you're going to be on Instagram, I'm going to read that, because that's not private. That is social media.' That's how we work it out in our house."
But her biggest tip for working parents is staying organized with a classic calendar.
"I know it sounds old-fashioned, I know it sounds simplistic, but it really does help," Ripa says. "To see a calendar say, 'Don't forget you're taking the bus home today.' 'Don't forget you have a hip-hop lesson today.' 'Don't forget you have wrestling today.' It really paints a very clear picture, and that has been the single greatest lifesaver, instead of me just sort of trying to remember stuff in my head or writing it down in my iPad where only I have access to it."
Christian Campbell Joins 'True Detective'Christian Campbell (Big Love) has been added to the cast of HBO’s True Detective. He will recur on the second season of the crime drama that revolves around three police officers (Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch and Rachel McAdams) and a career criminal (Vince Vaughn) who must navigate a web of conspiracy in the aftermath of a murder. Campbell, repped by by Untitled and Charles Bodner at BRS/Gage, will play Richard Brune, the therapist husband of Alicia (Abigail Spencer).
Injured veteran J.R. Martinez urges perseverance(columbiamissourian.com) COLUMBIA — J.R. Martinez was always known as the handsome kid.
Family, friends and even strangers would compliment his suave looks, telling a young Martinez how he had such an stunning face.
So in 2003, after a roadside bomb in Iraq burnt one-third of his body, the 19-year-old soldier could only glance in the mirror before despair overwhelmed him.
"I thought 'I'll be alive, but I'll never live,'" Martinez said.
Eleven years later, Martinez has acted on the soap opera "All My Children," won the 13th season of "Dancing with the Stars," and plays Alfonso Rivera on the show "SAF3." He also tours the country as a motivational speaker, and Monday night he spoke to about 200 people at the Missouri Theatre about overcoming adversity and emerging stronger. The speech was part of Mizzou Veterans Week.
Even before the burns, Martinez was no stranger to hardship. His dad left the family when he was 9 months old. His mother raised him on her own, and she couldn't afford to send him to college. He had hoped football would be his ticket to university — and university would be his ticket to the NFL — but he didn't have the grades. So he enlisted in the Army.
It wasn't the trajectory he had planned, but he immersed himself in the military — the culture, the camaraderie, the sense of purpose. "You can't control what happens, but you can control your attitude about it," Martinez said.
That outlook was tested after the blast. He was unable to walk, bathe or feed himself. Reckoning with the full extent of his injuries deflated him.
Once he regained some mobility, he began visiting other injured and hospitalized soldiers. He said it helped give him some perspective.
"I was helping myself," he said. "I love the idea of being something bigger than myself."
After leaving the hospital, he began speaking to veterans groups about overcoming tribulations large and small. Soon other groups invited him to speak, and as he honed his message of perseverance, he looked to TV as the next step — both for his message and his personal journey.
Kim Gonzalez, an Army veteran, said Martinez' story touched a nerve.
"I got a little teary," Gonzalez said. "I'm actually in the middle of a (career) transition myself, and he made me feel like there's a light at the end of the tunnel."
Mad Men's Sam Page Gets Married! Find Out Which Mean Girls Star Was in Attendance(Pic1, Pic2) Sam Page is a married man!
The 38-year-old actor, most recently known for playing Christina Hendricks' ex on Mad Men, wed fiancée Cassidy Boesch over the weekend surrounded by family and friends. The nuptials took place on Saturday at a villa just outside Santa Barbara, Calif., a source confirms to E! News. "It was truly a fairy-tale weekend," the source adds.
Page also posted a gorgeous wedding pic of him and Boesch sharing their first kiss as husband and wife. "Making it official," Page wrote on Instagram.
In the shot, Page and Boesch wrap their arms around each other while locking lips in front of wedding guests during the outdoor garden ceremony. Behind them is a beautiful canopy covered in white roses.
Page also took to Instagram to share a photo of him and his groomsmen. "On the runway, first class, about to walk down the aisle, and this is my groomsmen detail. Great men all of them. #cassidyandsam," he wrote. Among Page's groomsmen was Mean Girls star and recent Dancing With the Stars cast-off Jonathan Bennett.
In addition to Mad Men, you may recognize Page from his appearances on shows like Desperate Housewives, House of Cards, Switched at Birth, Scandal and Gossip Girl.
Congrats, you two!
Kelly Ripa Doesn't Care if Her Daughter Doesn't Like Her, Reveals Why 13-Year-Old Lola Lost Her Phone and Computer Privileges(Video) Kelly Ripa may be America's sweetheart on her morning show, but she has no qualms about being the least popular person at home when it comes to her teenage daughter.
"She recently lost her computer and phone privileges, so it's like taking away oxygen," the Live! With Kelly and Michael host said on The Wendy Williams Show this week, expanding on a story about 13-year-old Lola that Ripa's hubby, Mark Consuelos, touched upon but didn't delve into when he sat down with Williams beforehand.
Asked what prompted the punishment, Kelly explained that Lola didn't do anything too crazy, she just "broke the rules."
"We are like very fair parents and we will give you certain freedoms," she continued. "When you want privacy in a not-private world—like, you can't have privacy and be on Instagram. I'm sorry, that's not how it works. Privacy is for if you want to write a letter or write in your journal, I'm not going to read that. But if you want to tweet about what a pain in the butt your mom is, I'm gonna see that."
And it's not even that Lola did that, but she was fooling around with her phone when she was supposed to be studying for Spanish class.
"I walked into her room and she wasn't there," Ripa recalled," but there was her phone and it's not supposed to be there during study hours. So I was like," she mimed leaning over innocently, '"let me just dial in her code'...She knows I know her code, but she doesn't think I would ever abuse that privilege."
So it turns out that no one's hands are entirely clean in this matter--Ripa also joked that Lola was taking a shower when this went down and probably would never do so again--the former All My Children star doesn't seem too concerned that she may have provoked some sulky stares coming her way.
"No, I don't think she likes me, but I don't care," Kelly said matter-of-factly. "I'm like, 'I'm not your friend, I'm your mom. I'm not your friend.'"
Asked if she felt any pressure to come off as nice all the time, she said, "I just feel an obligation as her mom to keep her living in the real world. I don't care who you are or what you do, ify our'e a mom you're a momm. Everybody's a mom. Beyoncé's a mom, you're a mom, I'm a mom—do you like the way I lumped myself into that group?"
Hey, star moms unite!
Kelly and Mark, married for 18 years, are also parents to sons Michael and Joaquin.
'True Detective': Kelly Reilly, Michael Irby, Abigail Spencer, Leven Rambin Eye RolesHBO is putting finishing touches on the cast for the second season of True Detective ahead of the Friday table read. I have learned that Kelly Reilly (Black Box) is finalizing a deal for a regular role, while Michael Irby (Almost Human), Abigail Spencer (Suits) and Leven Rambin (Hunger Games) are either set or close to deals for recurring roles.
Reilly and Spencer had been on the short list of actresses invited to meet with True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto for the female lead, which was ultimately offered to Rachel McAdams, but sources cautioned at the time that Pizzolatto was eyeing some of the actresses on the list for other parts.
Season 2 of True Detective revolves around three police officers, played by Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch and McAdams, and a career criminal (Vince Vaughn) who must navigate a web of conspiracy in the aftermath of a murder. Reilly would play the self-possessed Morgan. Irby is poised to play McAdams’ partner, now named Elvis. Rambin would likely play Sophia, a beauty with a history of drug problems, while Spencer is in line to portray Alicia, the survivor of a sexual attack.
Reilly and Spencer are repped by ICM Partners, Irby is with Greene & Associates and Coronel Group; Rambin with Paradigm and Management 360.
CHRISHELL STAUSE OFF DAYSChrishell Stause, who first aired as DAYS’s Jordan Ridgeway in August, 2013, is leaving the show. "Sadly I have wrapped up my time over at @nbcdays. It's been an amazing journey & the best is yet to come for Jordan. I taped scenes in Nov I'm really proud of and I will air into March. I've made great friends and memories in my time there. I would like to thank NBC/Corday for the opportunity. I love my daytime family & am looking forward to what the future has in store :)” she tweeted in announcing the news. With the show’s production schedule, look for her air well into 2015. The popular actress previously played AMC’s Amanda.
Sarah Michelle Gellar and the Curse of Buffy the Vampire SlayerThere's a Buffy the Vampire Slayer curse, but it's not what you think it is.
Sarah Michelle Gellar played the titular hero for seven seasons across The WB and UPN from 1997-2003. Since then she's gone on to big screen roles and returned to TV in both thrillers and comedies, but the Buffy curse still lingers.
"There is only one curse and it's not what people expect," Gellar told Confidential, an Australian publication. "The one curse is, as an actor, you get very spoiled because you think all female characters are going to be that exciting, that interesting, that flawed—and that's really not the case in Hollywood. That's the drawback—you have a standard of what to expect in the characters you play."
See? Not the curse you were expecting.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer hailed from Joss Whedon, a man known to many for his talents at bringing three-dimensional characters—particularly women—to life.
"The show proved it was OK to have a strong female character, a heroine, on television…Buffy was a human. As humans, we fight the horrors of our life to get through the day," she said. "It was an elevated drama, an elevated comedy and a metaphor for the different parts of life."
Since Buffy, Gellar starred in the short-lived Ringer, a CW drama that she also produced. Last season she appeared opposite the late Robin Williams in the David E. Kelley comedy The Crazy Ones. She won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Actress in a New TV series for the now-canceled comedy and thanked her loyal following.
"For seven years, I had the privilege to be a part of one of the most amazing television shows and I've never gotten the chance to publicly thank them, the cast, the crew, and all the fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer," she said, "so thank you!"
The adventures of Buffy Summers continue in a Whedon-sanctioned comic book series from Dark Horse. Even so, Whedon obliged a fan who asked for more Buffy the Vampire Slayer by drawing one heck of napkin doodle. Hey, it's better than nothing!
Christian Slater To Star In USA Pilot 'Mr. Robot'Christian Slater has been cast in the title role of USA Network?s cyber-crime drama pilot Mr Robot. The project, from Universal Cable Prods, centers on a young programmer, Elliot (Rami Malek), who suffers from a debilitating anti-social disorder and decides that he can only connect to people by hacking them. He will find himself in the intersection between a cybersecurity firm he works for and the underworld organizations recruiting him to bring down corporate America.
Slater will play Mr. Robot, a mysterious anarchist who recruits Elliot into an underground hacker group. Co-starring in the pilot are Portia Doubleday, Carly Chaikin and Martin Wallström.
Mr. Robot is one of four drama pilots at USA along with Carlton Cuse and Ryan Condal?s Colony starring Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies; Stanistan starring Jennifer Carpenter; and Queen Of The South, based on the international bestselling book La Reina Del Sur by Arturo Pérez-Reverte.
Slater most recently toplined the ABC series Mind Games and co-starred in Nymphomaniac.
American Horror Story: Freakshow Star Finn Wittrock Marries Sarah Roberts!(Photo1, Photo2) An AHS star is single no more!
American Horror Story: Freakshow's Finn Wittrock, who plays deranged rich kid Dandy Mott on the hit FX show, married fiancée Sarah Roberts over the weekend.
The 29-year-old actor shared pics from the ceremony on Twitter Sunday. "Yes, this happened," Wittrock wrote yesterday along with a cute photo of him and Roberts. In the snapshot, the newlyweds flash giant smiles while standing on a balcony together. Wittrock is outfitted in a dark suit while his bride wears a simple long-sleeved wedding dress.
Wittrock also tweeted a pic of the pair posing with their bridesmaids and groomsmen. In the photo, the bride and groom stand on a patio outside with their best friends lined up on either side of them. Roberts and her gal-pals are all holding beautiful bouquets while Wittrock and his buds share a laugh.
One of the wedding guests also shared a sweet pic of Wittrock and Roberts getting ready to cut their two-tiered wedding cake. "Congratulations to the wonderful and happy newly weds! #sarahfinnhitched @sarahroberts26 @wittyrock1," their pal wrote on Instagram.
Congrats, you two!
Wow! Sarah Michelle Gellar Reveals Short New Haircut(Photo) Not everyone can pull off changing up their look to something completely different! Sarah Michelle Gellar, however, is one person who can.
Gellar took to Twitter Saturday to debut a whole new set of locks. The Cruel Intentions star tweeted with the caption, "Time for a change. Thanks @mararoszak for cutting and @rachel_goodwin and @TaraSwennen for talking me into it."
This mother-of-two showed off the chopped look with a collage of three shots while posing for the camera.
While the actress is always a beauty, we have to say we're digging the new, shorter hair!
The celebrity has switched up her hair quite a bit in the past years. For example, in Cruel Intentions, she had brunette hair. Recently, the star had a shoulder length do.
If only we could all switch up our style that often and still get away with it!
Gellar is well known for her recent role in The Crazy Ones where she played Robin Williams' daughter.
She mourned the death of her co-star by saying, "My life is a better place because I knew Robin Williams. To my children he was Uncle Robin, to everyone he worked with, he was the best boss anyone had ever known, and to me he was not just an inspiration but he was the father I had always dreamed of having."
Gellar also referred to the late star as "a legend," saying he was the "greatest stand-up comedian of all time."
After the show concluded, Gellar jokingly opened a lemonade stand to "earn a living." The actress tweeted, "Got to earn a living somehow rt?"
We are thrilled to see Sarah is still hilarious and not to mention, looking so good!
Dondre Whitfield Joins 'Real Husbands Of Hollywood' On BETDondre Whitfield has joined BET’s Real Of Husbands Of Hollywood as a regular for Season 4. BET announced a fourth season renewal earlier this month and production began this week in LA. Created by Kevin Hart and Chris Spencer, Real Husbands Of Hollywood was a breakout hit for BET, debuting with more than 4 million in 2013. Its cast includes Hart, Boris Kodjoe, Duane Martin, J. B. Smoove, Nick Cannon and Nelly. Smoove will continue on the show but is not expected to be a regular in Season 4 because of his duties as a co-star on CBS comedy The Millers. Real Husbands‘ Season 3 wrapped production before Smoove started on the sitcom last season. Season 3 of Real Husbands debuted on Tuesday. Whitfield most recently recurred on ABC’s Mistresses. His other TV credits include All My Children, Grey’s Anatomy, Cold Case and CSI: Miami. Real Husbands Of Hollywood airs Tuesdays at 10 PM on BET.
Just Dandy: Get to Know Freak Show's Second-Creepiest CharacterRead the interview with former All My Children star Finn Wittrock here.
Lifetime Renews Devious Maids for a Third SeasonAfter a down-to-the-wire negotiation, Lifetime has sealed a deal to bring back the Marc Cherry-produced soap Devious Maids for a third season.
Lifetime picked up 13 new episodes to air sometime in 2015. "Marc Cherry has created a uniquely twisted world that blends his comic wit with devilishly ingenious characters and plot twists," says Rob Sharenow, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Lifetime.
Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramírez, Roselyn Sanchez, Edy Ganem, Judy Reyes and Susan Lucci star on Devious Maids, which focuses on the close-knit group of maids who work for wealthy and powerful Beverly Hills families.
The show's Season 2 finale aired July 13, attracting 3.5 million viewers according to live + 3 data, a healthy 58% bump over its same-day viewership.
Inspired by the hit telenovela Ellas son... la alegría del hogar, the show is executive produced by Cherry, Sabrina Wind (Desperate Housewives) and Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives).
'One Life to Live' Producer Plans to Liquidate(hollywoodreporter.com) Plus, the role of Apple Inc. in the ongoing story of an alleged "mega soap" fraud.
Anyone want a piece of soap opera history?
Prospect Park Networks, the company that attempted to re-launch One Life to Live and All My Children as web-only series, has announced its intention to liquidate assets in its ongoing bankruptcy case. The prize might be a front-row seat at a trial against ABC that could be coming soon.
The producer is suing ABC, alleging a fraud, wherein the network allegedly asked to "borrow" OLTL characters for use on General Hospital, then changed storylines, killed some characters and began scheming "in its quest for a mega soap." The claimed interference is estimated to have caused tens of millions of dollars in damage for Prospect Park.
When Prospect Park filed for bankruptcy last March, the pending dispute in Los Angeles Superior Court was put on hold. But the judge in the case is conducting a case management conference next week, and in recent papers lodged in the bankruptcy proceedings, an attorney representing the debtor states, "It is anticipated that the LA Court will terminate the 'dark period' and allow the ABC Litigation to proceed expeditiously to trial."
ABC has noted in prior legal filings that Prospect Park didn't complain while it used OLTL characters and even renewed a license agreement. ABC is also counter-suing Prospect Park for $5 million in claimed breach-of-contract damages.
The cost of litigation is undoubtedly expensive. According to more documents in the bankruptcy case, the law firm of Andrews Kurth says it is owed more than $700,000 in unpaid fees. The law firm of Lavely & Singer says it is owed more than $120,000.
If or when Prospect Park goes to trial against ABC, the bankrupt company will likely be represented by a new law firm. There were at least three firms that were interested in picking up the "mega soap" fraud case, and the firm of Jones Day emerged as the one to take the reigns.
And what will Jones Day be getting? Secured by a $400,000 retainer, the law firm will see 33 percent of any settlement money and 40 percent of any money recovered if the case goes to jury.
Meanwhile, on the road to liquidation and in need of paying its creditors, Prospect Park came to an arrangement with Apple, Inc.
The soaps producer was eligible for a 30 percent tax credit for shooting OLTL in Connecticut, and racked up production expenditures of nearly $20 million. With tax money then due from Connecticut -- nicknamed the "Provisions State" -- the debtor entered into a loan and security agreement with EP Financial Solutions, which concurrently sold the tax credit to Apple for $5 million. Yes, Apple not only runs the iTunes store, which once carried the OLTL web-only series, but it apparently bails out producers of soap operas at a modest price.
Jim Parrack and Leven Rambin are engaged!The True Blood star, who took the stage alongside friend James Franco in Broadway's Of Mice and Men this summer, has popped the question to the Hunger Games actress, his rep confirms exclusively to PEOPLE.
The couple began dating in the spring, and Parrack, 33, divorced his wife of six years in June after separating in September.
Leven, 24, has also appeared on The Tomorrow People and One Tree Hill. This will be her first marriage.
David Rasche Joins TV Land Pilot 'Impastor'David Rasche (ex-Robert, All My Children/ex-Wes, Ryan's Hope) is set as a series regular on TV Land’s single-camera dark comedy Impastor. Written by Christopher Vane and directed by Robert Greenberg, the story centers on Buddy (Michael Rosenbaum), a lowlife on the run from his debts who hides away in a small town by conning its residents into thinking he’s their new gay pastor. Rasche, repped by Liebman Entertainment, Innovative Artists and Schreck Rose Dapello & Adams, will play Owen Schmidt, a businessman and President of Loomis Lutheran Church. Although he welcomes Buddy as the new pastor, he’s warily suspicious of this outsider and quite baffled by Buddy’s utter lack of Scriptural knowledge. Rasche will next be seen on Broadway in The Country House with Blythe Danner. His recent TV credits include recurring roles on Veep and Black Box.
Duo Added To NBC's 'Aquarius'Ambyr Childers (Ray Donovan, We Are What We Are) and Beau Mirchoff (Awkward) have been cast as recurring in NBC‘s upcoming series Aquarius, a gritty 1960s drama about a cop (David Duchovny) who goes undercover to track Charles Manson and the Manson Family before their infamous murder spree. Childers, repped by McKeon-Myones Management and UTA, will play a seductive woman that lures Emma’s boyfriend away as part of Manson’s plan to recruit her. Mirchoff, repped by APA, Velocity Entertainment Partners and Ginsburg Daniels, will play Rick Zondervan, a fictitious UCLA student who takes his girlfriend to a drug party in Laurel Canyon where they run into infamous Charles Manson.
Hollywood Walk of Fame 2015 starsThe Hollywood Walk of Fame will add 30 new stars in 2015, with recipients including Melissa McCarthy, Julianna Margulies, Seth MacFarlane, Jim Parsons, Amy Poehler and more.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame Selection Committee announced that celebrities from film, TV, music, theater and radio. Check out the full list below.
In addition to the above, the TV category will also add: "The Simpsons" producer James L. Brooks, producer and director Ken Ehrlich, Food Network star Bobby Flay, "NCIS: LA" star Chris O'Donnell, Kelly Ripa and Sofia Vergara.
From the movie category: Jennifer Garner, Peter Jackson, Eugenio Derbez, Daniel Radcliffe, Paul Rudd, Christoph Waltz and Will Ferrell will all get stars, along with posthumous ones for screenwriter Raymond Chandler and Batman creator Bob Kane.
Kristen Chenoweth, Dick Gregory and Ennio Morricone will be added to the theater category, while music additions include Dr. Luke, Kool & The Gang, Pitbull, All Schmitt and Pharrell Williams. Larry Elder is the lone radio recipient.
AMC ALUM LANDS ON HOUSE OF CARDSChristina Bennett Lind (ex-Bianca, AMC) has landed a role on the upcoming third season of Netflix's acclaimed drama HOUSE OF CARDS, TVLine reports. No word yet on who she'll play. Congrats!
Matthew Cowles, Actor and Husband of Christine Baranski, Dies(playbill.com) Matthew Cowles, a soap opera star and the husband of actress Christine Baranski, died at age 69 on May 22.
Mr. Cowles played Billy Clyde Tuggle on the daytime soap "All My Children" for many years. He was twice nominated for Daytime Emmys for his work, in 1978 and 1981.
Other daytime drama gigs included "Loving" and "The Bold and the Beautiful."
On the big screen Mr. Cowles had roles in "Nurse Betty," "Shutter Island," "The Juror" and "The Cowboy Way."
On the stage, he played the title role in Malcolm, Edward Albee's short-lived 1965 Broadway adaptation of James Purdy's novel. He subsequently appeared in Broadway revivals of Sweet Bird of Youth and The Time of Your Life.
Off-Broadway, he was in the original production of Israel Horovitz's The Indian Wants the Bronx, acting alongside Al Pacino and John Cazale. His most recent New York stage appearance was in The Taming of the Shrew, a Theatre For a New Audience production at the Duke on 42nd Street in 2012.
He was nominated for a 1976 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play for Dirty Jokes, at the Academy Festival Theatre in Chicago.
Matthew Cowles was born on Sept. 28, 1944, in New York City, NY, as Matthew Chandler Cowles.
He married Baranski in 1983, and the two have two children together. Baranski survives him. He was previously married to the actress Kathleen Dezina.
All My Children Vet Matthew Cowles Dead at 69; Husband to Christine Baranski(tvline.com) (Photo) Matthew Cowles, a two-time Daytime Emmy nominee during his run as iconic All My Children ne’er-do-well Billy Clyde Tuggle, passed away on May 22. He was 69.
Cowles is survived by his wife of 30 years, The Good Wife‘s Christine Baranski, and their adult daughters Lily and Isabel.
Cowles’ manager Tsu Tsu Stanton broke the sad news on Twitter, noting: “[Matthew] was a very gifted and kind man who loved life and everyone.” Onetime AMC headwriter Jean Passanante acknowledged the actor’s passing by hailing “AMC’s one and only Billy Clyde Tuggle” as “a sweet man and a uniquely talented actor.”
In addition to his AMC run — which he capped one year ago with an encore during the sudser’s Internet revival — Cowles’ TV resume included ABC’s Life on Mars, Oz, Lonesome Dove, The Bold and the Beautiful (as Curtis Love) and Loving (as Eban Japes).
Born in New York City to Broadway producer Chandler Cowles, his Great White Way credits included Malcolm (1966), The Time of Your Life and Sweet Bird of Youth. The actor also appeared in many films, and worked as a playwright.
AMC ALUM RELEASES MUSIC VIDEOAMC 2.0 alum Denyse Tontz (ex-Miranda; Nikki, DOG WITH A BLOG) debuted her first music video for "Use It" on her YouTube Channel, Denyse Tontz Music. Check out the video here!
ABC Fails To Trim Prospect Park Soap SuitABC took a hit this morning in Prospect Park’s multimillion-dollar legal action over licensed soaps All My Children and One Life To Live. The network was denied its motion to strike the part of the production company’s amended complaint in which Prospect Park asked to have the license agreement for the online shows extended and payments to ABC “excused” while the nearly year-old breach of contract suit for more than $100 million moves forward. The ruling came after a 50-minute hearing in LA Superior Court before Judge Robert Hess. Trial lawyer James Edward Maloney of Texas’ Andrews Kurth represented Prospect Park, while Susan Klein and Nuritsa Ksachikyan of LA’s Valle Makoff were there for ABC. “Prospect Park exercised its option — it produced an entire season of the series,” Klein argued early in the hearing. “It can’t ask the court to rewrite what the parties have negotiated.” Hess saw it differently: “After hearing the arguments from them and you, I’m going to let them leave it in,” he told Klein.
Prospect Park's Jeff Kwatinetz Takes Company To Court Over Non-Compete Clauses(deadline.com) Prospect Park’s multi-million dollar legal battle with ABC over licensed soaps All My Children and One Life To Live isn’t the only courtroom drama the production company is now facing. Co-Founder Jeff Kwatinetz has filed a complaint against the company and ABRY Senior Equity IV, L.P., ABRY Investment Partnership, L.P., and ABRY Senior Equity Co-Investment Fund IV. The producer and talent manager is seeking a declaratory judgment over non-compete clauses in a December 31, 2012 employment agreement he signed with Prospect Park when the Boston-based investors came on board late last year. Long story short, Kwatinetz wants a judge to decide if the “unenforceable non-competition and non-solicitation provision” would actually prevented him from working for another company for 5 years and if Prospect and ABRY could get an injunction to force him to work for them for 5 years if he attempted to leave. “In addition, the Guarantee contains what is essentially a $5,000,000 liquidated damages penalty for a ‘breach’ of the unenforceable non-competition provision and employment term requirements in the Agreement,” the 10-claim complaint filed on November 21 in LA Superior Court adds (read it here).
The catalyst of the complaint was a difference of opinion that Kwatinetz has with ABRY over the direction of the company, sources tell me. Specially, that disagreement has to do with the future of AMC and OLTL and whether they will continue or not. Kwatinetz was advocating the continuation of the two series. Having said that, the producer had his lawyer Michael Taitelman file the complaint not because he intends to leave Prospect Park, I’m told, but because he wants to explore his options in what is a very complicated and multi-tiered agreement. Otherwise, all parties seem to be in sync right now at the busy Prospect Park and Kwatinetz continues to work there. Besides the online soaps, whose legal machinations could drag on for years, PP currently has Wilfred on FX and Royal Pains on USA with drama Salem debuting on WGN America in the spring of 2014. The company also has 10 sold scripted pilots in various states of development on both cable and broadcast TV and a music management and label revenue stream. Kwatinetz formed PP with ex-Walt Disney Studios president Richard Frank in 2008. A spokesperson for Kwatinetz declined to comment on the November 21st complaint when contacted by Deadline.
For the most part, non-compete clauses are redundant in California unless the individual in questions is an owner of a company and even then they can be voided. That is distinctly not the case in other states such as New York. Hence, Kwatinetz’s complaint notes its disagreement with PP and ABRY’s desire to have the Empire State and its laws used as a venue for the non-compete provisions. “Furthermore, the Agreement and the Guarantee attempt to impose New York law and venue on the parties even though the Agreement was negotiated in California, with a California resident, for his employment in California at two California-based companies, and none of the parties are based in New York,” the 109-page filing notes. By filing in LA Superior Court, the complaint seeks a judicial determination that the Golden State’s laws and jurisdiction will apply in the matter.
Attorney Michael Taitelman’s firm Freedman & Taitelman have also served as outside counsel to Deadline’s parent company PMC.
‘Deadly Affairs’, Hosted by Susan Lucci, Renewed for Season Three by Investigation DiscoveryInvestigation Discovery has greenlit real-life soap opera DEADLY AFFAIRS for season three. Hosted by daytime TV queen, Susan Lucci, DEADLY AFFAIRS was one of ID’s top five shows during 3Q 2013 in delivery for W25-54, W18-49, and P25-54. The series continued to entice fans with titillating stories all season long reaching over 9.7 million unique viewers P2+. The new season promises to deliver stories of passionate love affairs turned crimes of passion when it premieres summer 2014.
“We just can’t get enough of Susan Lucci -- our affair with her is out in the open and we couldn’t be happier to continue for a third season,” said Henry Schleiff, Group President, Investigation Discovery, Military Channel and Destination America. “Our viewers are often tempted by the suspense of ‘will they or won’t they?’ -- and with DEADLY AFFAIRS, we already know they did -- and they probably shouldn’t have!
“I am so excited to be going into Season three with DEADLY AFFAIRS,” said Susan Lucci. “And I’m even more excited that so many fans are telling me that they are ‘addicted’ to the show!”
DEADLY AFFAIRS tells real-life tales of love gone terribly wrong – from wandering eyes at the workplace leading to adulterous romps in the supply closet to bible-study couples tempted by lust to commit the ultimate sin – proving affairs can be murder on the heart. Episodes feature stories interlaced with expert commentary from local authorities and true-crime experts, as well as first-person accounts from friends and family of the victims.
DEADLY AFFAIRS is produced for Investigation Discovery by Sirens Media. For Sirens Media, Valerie Haselton Drescher, Rebecca Toth Diefenbach, and Anne Rothwell are executive producers. For Investigation Discovery,Pamela Deutsch is executive producer, Sara Kozak is senior vice president of production, and Henry Schleiff is group president.
Susan Lucci Talks Legacy, Acting And Life After Erica KaneSusan Lucci Talks Legacy, Acting And Life After Erica Kane: Video.
What Really Happened At AMC?In her newest blog, Soap Opera Digest columnist Carolyn Hinsey talks to AMC Supervising Producer Sonia Blangiardo (executive producer of the upcoming web series TAINTED DREAMS) about the behind the scenes goings-on at the reboot that has now been shelved. "All I can say is that every effort was made to make this show a success, but there were obstacles that could not be overcome," says Blangiardo. To find out the obstacles - and a lot more dish - go to: carolynhinsey.tainteddreamstheseries.com.
Jill Larson Speaks Out On AMC's EndJill Larson (Opal) released a statement about the end of AMC on her Facebook page. Wrote the longtime star, "Greetings all, well I finally got the official call, saying PP is not going forward with AMC 'at this time', left the door open a crack, hmmm! As disappointing as that news is, it was not a surprise. Just as they did the first time, PP chose to remain silent regarding their activities, and now that I've had some experience with them, I do believe that it was because Jeff [Kwatinetz, PP's co-chief] just kept on beating the bushes trying to raise the money, never willing to cry uncle. I am sad for all of us, from Jeff to all of you, but gosh I'm grateful for the chance we had to make something new and wonderful from our beloved shows. Maybe when more fans are computer-savvy, and go online for content as a regular habit, investors will feel comfortable putting money into what was a grand experiment, perhaps ahead of its time, and only time will tell. Take care of yourselves, my lovelies, sending love to you all!"
Prospect Park Now Seeking $125M In ABC Soap Lawsuit(deadline.com) The on-going multi-million legal drama between Prospect Park and ABC over licensed soaps All My Children and One Life To Live looks poised to get much rougher and much pricier. Nearly seven months after Jeff Kwatinetz and former Walt Disney Studios president Rich Frank’s company first filed a breach of contract lawsuit against ABC, their lawyers Wednesday entered an amended complaint in LA Superior Court. One big change is how much money the plaintiffs are seeking. “As a direct and proximate result of ABC’s breaches, Prospect Park has been damaged in an amount to be determined at trial, but including at least $30 million in out-of-pocket losses and/or at least $95 million in lost profits,” says today’s filing. That’s way up from the $25 million the plaintiffs were looking for in April. Claims that ABC called “baseless” then. The now amended suit also includes claims of promissory fraud and declaratory relief and seeks Prospect Park’s continued licensing fee payments to be waived and an extension of that agreement while the case goes on – which could be years.
In addition to previous allegations of dirty dealing on ABC’s part, today’s filing says that the network inked long term agreements with OLTL actors behind the production company’s back. in the hope of creating a new property of its own. “Unbeknownst to Prospect Park, at the same time the ink was drying on the Licensing Agreement granting Prospect Park an exclusive license for OLTL through January 31, 2013, ABC insiders were developing a plan to create a mega-soap through the amalgamation of OLTL and GH, intentionally disregarding Prospect Park’s rights,” the amended complaint adds. This comes on top of the April filing’s claims that ABC has been breaking the licensing agreement, killing off OLTL characters on loan to General Hospital and deliberately attacking Prospect Park’s efforts to continue AMC and OLTL online.
This latest legal move comes amidst speculation that at least one of the shows is going down. AMC cast members recently said on social media that they were told not to anticipate a return from their current hiatus.
Prospect Park is represented in the case by a plethora of LA and Houston-based attorneys led by trial lawyer James Edward Maloney of Texas’ Andrews Kurth. ABC is represented by Jeffrey Valle, Susan Klein and Nuritsa Ksachikyan of LA’s Valle Makoff.
Soap opera 'All My Children' washed up?(latimes.com) It appears to be curtains again for "All My Children," the soap opera that ran four decades on ABC before being canceled, then resurrected as an Internet series.
An actor on the series, Debbi Morgan, announced on Twitter that the show was "officially done" after one season on the Internet. "Thanks for the memories," Morgan tweeted late last week.
Prospect Park, the production company behind the effort to keep the show alive, this week refused to discuss the situation or confirm Morgan's comment.
On Wednesday, lawyers representing Prospect Park filed an amended lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against ABC. The suit claims that the Walt Disney Co.-owned television company undermined its efforts to produce "All My Children" and a second ABC soap, "One Life to Live," for the Internet.
Prospect Park spent $30 million in the last 18 months to re-create "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" after ABC ended long-running daytime dramas in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Lack of money, the legal battle with ABC and collateral damage to the shows will make it nearly impossible to proceed, people close to the production said.
"At this point, the whole franchise is irreparably damaged," said Jim Maloney, a partner in the Houston, Texas, law firm Andrews Kurth, which is representing Prospect Park.
"Life has become very difficult for Prospect Park, and ABC has done everything that it could to see that Prospect Park failed," Maloney said.
Prospect Park's 33-page suit accuses ABC of promissory fraud and breach of contract. In addition to borrowing "One Life to Live" characters for use on "General Hospital" and then killing some of them in a car crash, ABC also refused to accept advertising from Prospect Park or let the production company use social media or websites to help market the shows, the suit contends.
ABC went so far as to forbid soap stars from appearing on ABC talk shows, Maloney said.
ABC countered that it did nothing wrong, saying in a court filing it had "acted reasonably and in good faith at all times."
On Wednesday, ABC declined to comment further, saying it had not been served with the updated complaint.
Prospect Park had figured that half the TV audience would follow the shows to the Internet, but fewer than one-fifth of the viewership did.
The shows were intended to be used as part of Prospect Park's ambitious effort to create a next-generation online network.
In the summer of 2011, several months after ABC announced it would kill the shows, Prospect Park's chief Jeff Kwatinetz and business partner Rich Frank, a former Disney executive, stepped in and acquired the licensing rights for "All My Children" and "One Life to Live," as well as an option on a third ABC-owned soap, "General Hospital," should ABC cancel the show.
ABC's surviving soap, "General Hospital," remains on the ABC schedule and is enjoying some of its best ratings in years. Maloney contends that ABC turned "General Hospital" into a "mega soap," signing popular actors and borrowing elements from the other shows to boost the show's appeal.
"ABC decided to literally strip-mine the shows for the benefit of 'General Hospital,'" Maloney said. "This happened after ABC came to the conclusion that its new daytime shows were not working."
Prospect Park's Web productions almost didn't get off the ground.
After struggling to get financing in 2012 and tussles with labor unions, Prospect Park received the green light from investors in December 2012, allowing it begin production on the two shows early this year.
Cast and crew members were hired, sets were quickly built and "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" lurched back in to production in February, just in time to meet an ABC-mandated deadline.
The two shows debuted online in April, but then writers struggled to adapt to the new format and speed the pace of the shows to engage online audiences. Late this summer, Prospect Park said it would suspend production on "One Life to Live" while the lawsuit against ABC moved through the courts.
Prospect Park had planned to keep "All My Children" in production in a Connecticut sound stage -- but money apparently ran out.
The news of the apparent demise of "All My Children" comes after ABC's parent company, the Walt Disney Co., alerted cable distributors that it was pulling the plug on SOAPnet, a cable channel it created in 2000 to rerun soap episodes at night when women were home from work.
Instead, Disney has turned its attention on building a replacement channel for preschoolers, Disney Junior, which launched in 2012 and has become a profitable vehicle for the Burbank giant to create new toy franchises.
The End Of AMC & OLTL (Again)(abc.soapsindepth.com) Fans of ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE were on pins and needles last week as rumors were flying that Prospect Park was due to make a big announcement regarding the future of the two soaps. Unfortunately, while there has been no official word from the company, a source close to actors from the shows tells Soaps In Depth, "It's over." Debbi Morgan (Angie, AMC) essentially confirmed as much when she responded to upset fans on Twitter. "Well we're all pretty much sad now for real since we've definitely been told it's a wrap," she posted. "My manager was given the news that we were officially done by PP's lawyer. Yeah, we've been canceled."
Prospect Park originally bought the rights to AMC and OLTL following their cancelations on ABC, but struggled to bring them to air online immediately following their network runs as originally planned. Fans were elated when financing was eventually secured, cast and crew were hired, sets were built in a studio in Stamford, CT and Hulu.com was set to air the episodes. The OnLine Network originally planned to broadcast daily half-hour episodes, but within weeks, that number was cut back to just two episodes of each soap a week, leading to rumors of production difficulties. Still, both AMC and OLTL were regularly among the top ten most-watched shows on Hulu.com, and many viewers were thrilled to watch as many shows as they were willing to broadcast.
However, while fans assumed the soaps would again be ongoing series, Prospect Park announced in August that both AMC and OLTL would instead have season finales after which production would take a break before beginning a second season. Viewers immediately worried the shows would never return, and after production of OLTL was shelved indefinitely due to the ongoing lawsuit with ABC, it seemed those fears were justified.
And now it seems that this grand experiment to bring the soaps back to life online has come to an unfortunate end. And sadly, because there was no notice or time to plan for the grand finales these venerable soaps deserve, this time they will not be ending with a bang, but with a whimper. And despite returns from the dead being commonplace on soaps, another resurrection for AMC and OLTL seems highly unlikely.
All My Children Dead (Again), Cast Members Say(tvguide.com) All My Children has been reportedly been canceled for a second time.
The long-running soap ended its first online season more than two months ago in the middle of a legal battle between ABC and Prospect Park, the production company which resurrected both All My Children and another recently axed ABC daytime drama, One Life to Live.
Cast member Debbi Morgan was the first to reveal All My Children's sad fate on Nov. 9, when she said her manager was told the show was done by a lawyer representing Prospect Park. "I'm so very sorry 2c U disappointed yet again & believe me we feel the same!!!," she tweeted.
Cast member Cady McClain confirmed Morgan's story and said that, until recently, all involved had been reassured that the show would return. "[We were] very recently contacted and told that, with great regret, AMC won't be going back online this year, or in this particular incarnation," McClain wrote Monday on her Facebook page. "Certainly hope springs eternal that we will yet again, spring from the dead." Soaps In Depth also confirmed the end of All My Children — as well as One Life to Live — with "well-placed" sources. A rep for the series could not immediately be reached for comment.
All My Children, which most famously starred Susan Lucci, was on the air for 42 years before ABC pulled it in September 2011. Prospect Park bought the rights shortly before the broadcast series finale and, after one failed attempt, successfully premiered new episodes of All My Children online in April 2013. The half-hour episodes were available online via YouTube and Hulu, and later began airing on OWN. Although Lucci did not return, many longtime cast members reprised their roles for the series.
Overall, 43 episodes of the resurrected series were produced before the first season via The Online Network ended in September.
This is just one of several hits for soaps fans. The Los Angeles Times reports that cable channel SOAPnet, which is known for airing recent episodes of currently airing daytime dramas such as General Hospital, as well as episodes of now-canceled dramas like Beverly Hills, 90210, will shut down on Dec. 31 after 14 years.
Will you miss All My Children?
Cady McClain Confirms AMC's EndProspect Park still has offered no comment or official statement regarding the fate of AMC, but hot on the heels of Debbi Morgan's (Angie) statements on Twitter revealing that the show will not go on, Cady McClain (Dixie) is speaking out, too. On her Facebook page, the actress released the following statement: "If you aren't hearing anything about the ending of AMC as we know it, it's really out of shock. I am also trying to allow PP to have the moment to contact all the actors and explain what is and has been going on with AMC, and then gather themselves to try and explain it all to you, the fans.
I can confirm what Debbie [sic] Morgan has shared already, that we were given assurances that we would be continuing with the series and then were very recently contacted and told that, with great regret, AMC won't be going back online this year, or in this particular incarnation. Certainly hope springs eternal that we will yet again, spring from the dead.
I do feel confident in sharing my opinion that PP and all 'the powers that be' involved in making AMC and OLTL truly loved the shows and did their utmost to make continuing them possible. The premiere in NYC was one of the most exciting moments I have had the privilege to be a part of in my career. I am not privy to the behind the scenes decisions, however. Like you, I can only experience those choices second hand and guess at the reasons why this is happening now.
Instead of going into the 'What Went Wrong' question, I think I'd rather focus on the gratitude I feel for having been asked to continue with the show. If I am still wanted as an actor on daytime, it is all because of YOU, the FANS.
I am so very grateful for your support. To have had the opportunity to be a part of an innovative experience that strived to keep American soaps alive via a new medium, to be a part of the continuing fabric of your lives through daytime storytelling, and to be able to work with dear friends who I've known all my life was a very special experience for which I have you to thank.
So THANK YOU for all the cheering, love, and support, daytime family. You've been AWESOME."
Debbi Morgan On AMC's Fate: "I'm So Very Sorry"While no official word has come from Prospect Park regarding whether AMC will return for a second season, Debbi Morgan (Angie) has tweeted several comments that seem to support the rumor that the show is done. "I guess what really hurts my gut R all the positive proclamations I gave 2 all of U that we'd definitely [be] coming back," she wrote. "Bcuz those were the earnest proclamations we'd been given! I'm so very sorry2 2c U disappointed yet again & believe me we feel the same!!! Thanks 4 all the support & luv U gave hoping this would work. We never know what's in God's plan. I do know there's always a bigger picture! Thanks For The Memories..."
Susan Lucci: My New York(nypost.com) Susan Lucci grew up in Garden City, Long Island, but she fell in love with Manhattan when she got the job of a lifetime in 1970: playing the iconic Erica Kane on the long-running soap opera “All My Children.” Lucci would study her lines in the car on the way to the show’s Upper West Side studio only putting down her script to gaze at the skyline through Central Park. Today, she’s back living in Garden City and filming in Manhattan — her Investigation Discovery series “Deadly Affairs,” which just premiered its second season. This is her New York.
1. Cafe Sabarsky in the Neue Galerie, 1048 Fifth Ave., between 85th and 86th streets
“My husband is Austrian, so when he’s feeling a little homesick, we go here, and it’s like being in Vienna for the afternoon. The quark is very authentic — it’s like a cheesecake, but that does not begin to do it justice. It’s so light and has a lemon taste to it. Last November, we were trying to squeeze in a trip to Paris, but we had so many commitments and we couldn’t get away. So we checked into the St. Regis — we didn’t tell anyone except our children. We went to a French restaurant to feel like we were in France and Cafe Sabarsky to feel like we were in Austria. It was like being in Europe for the weekend, and we had the best time.”
2. The Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302. W. 45th St., between Eighth and Ninth avenues
“We try to see a Broadway show a couple times a month. We mostly go to musicals. I grew up loving Broadway musicals. I’d put on my parents’ cast albums and stand on the stool and sing in the mirror. One of the first ones was ‘Damn Yankees.’ I was about 3 years old. The last show I saw was ‘Kinky Boots.’ Oh, I thought it was fabulous.”
3. Central Park, 110th Street and Central Park North
“For most of my adult life, I drove through Central Park every morning going to work. I’d enter at the North Drive, at 110th Street. I was always studying on my way in, but the minute we turned into the park, no matter where I was in the script, I’d put it down. Central Park is one of the treasures of this country — the light, the landscaping, the people. I just can’t say enough about it. My very favorite season there is spring. After the long winters in New York, you see green buds and weeping willows, forsythia coming out and daffodils poking through. I’ve also filmed in the park, and my husband and I have gone on a gondola ride in the lake. It’s just magical.”
4. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., at 82nd Street
“I have great memories of taking my children to the Met. They would say, ‘Can we take a later train home?’ They love the Egyptian wing and all the mummies. And I love the café. I’m looking forward to going there for jazz nights this fall.”
5. Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Ave., at 58th Street
“Bergdorf’s has it all! I go to the seventh floor for inspiration. I just walk around and look at the table settings and accessories — they’re so beautiful. I bought a fabulous black-and-white photograph there for my husband for our anniversary. It’s from a Harper’s Bazaar layout in the ’60s. It’s a man and woman, and he’s lighting her cigarette with his. I thought it was sexy and fabulous. It reminded me of when we first met.”
6. Campagnola, 1382 First Ave., at 74th Street
“If a Martian came from outer space and wanted to experience a real New York Italian restaurant, they would go to Campagnola. You’ve got Freddie (below) playing the piano when you walk in, they’re four deep at the bar, there’s a wooden floor — it’s so cozy. We’ve taken our son, and now he takes his friends. For us, it’s more of a dinner place, and they serve late, so we’ve gone after the theater, on the way home. There are so many colorful characters there: politicians, ballplayers, Wall Street bankers and actors.”
7. Barneys, 660 Madison Ave., at 61st Street
“There’s a very New York vibe, and you feel that the minute you’re in the store. They curate their collection of jewelry so well. Everything is cutting-edge, and I love that about Barneys. I have done some damage in that shoe department, too — my husband will tell you! He is not a shopper, he hates to shop. So he ushers me through as quickly as possible, then we go for lunch at Fred’s.”
8. The Frick Collection, 1 E. 70th St., between Madison and Fifth avenues
“I went for the first time two years ago with my college roommate and her husband when they came up from Washington, DC. The fact that it was a private home, it feels so accessible and personal — you get to see the Monets and the Rembrandts in an environment that feels like a home. We had the best time and then, after that, we went Christmas shopping for our daughters and stopped at a pashmina cart, and bought a bunch of them.”
9. Gramercy Tavern, 42 E. 20th St., at Park Avenue South
“When I was getting ready to appear in ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ in 1999, my voice teacher was on 16th Street. After my lessons, my husband and I started going to Gramery Tavern quite often, and we just love it. The pastry chef is fantastic. I try everything she makes!”
Maiden season of Internet soap operas yields vital lessons, says company co-founder Jeffrey Kwatinetz(nydailynews.com) The pioneering first online seasons of the soaps “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” are wrapping up, with the producers saying that, as expected, they learned some lessons.
The season’s last original episode of “One Life to Live” airs Monday, with the season’s last original “All My Children” on Sept. 2.
The Prospect Park production company’s The Online Network (TOLN) says both will return at an unspecified date for a second season. The network says both have been successful enough for to justify continuing.
“We have tackled more business, creative and logistical challenges than most shows experience in a lifetime of production,” said Prospect Park co-founder Jeffrey Kwatinetz.
Reviving two canceled soaps with most of the casts intact was unprecedented — as was the gamble in producing them only for the Internet.
Kwatinetz and his partner Rich Frank said they expected to make adjustments on the fly, and the biggest one came a couple of weeks into the season, when the number of shows per week for each program was cut from four to two.
Since the shows run a half hour, this means only an hour a week of new programming.
In a statement, Frank and Kwatinetz said that’s all that most of the online audience had time to watch.
“We are finding that asking most people to regularly watch more than a half hour per day online seems to be too much,” they said.
They promised next season will have extra content and more interactivity.
As for this season’s wrapups, “One Life to Live” ends with the whole town of Llanview attending the Man of the Year dinner. “All My Children,” the producers say, will end by “wrapping up many of the season’s burning questions.”
Susan Lucci Cried Tears Of Joy Over 'All My Children' Lesbian Storyline(ontopmag.com) Susan Lucci has said that she cried tears of joy when she learned of a lesbian storyline involving her television daughter on the ABC soap All My Children.
On the show, Bianca Montgomery (played by Eden Riegel) came out gay to her mother, Erica Kane (Lucci), in late 2000.
Appearing on cabler Bravo's Watch What Happens Live, Lucci was asked how she felt about the storyline.
“The storyline was presented to me by our executive producer at that time. She called me into her office and we both just sat there with tears because it sounded like it was going to be such a great storyline, and it was,” Lucci said. “She told me that a lot of gay kids, and even gays in their 20s, they would rather commit suicide than come out to their parents. And I thought to myself, 'Oh my god, if I can be part of a storyline here that would help one person feel good about themselves, and be who they really are, and know that their parents can love them anyway – they just have to be themselves. I was thrilled to be part of it.”
“That storyline really had a lot of impact, I'm very proud and happy to say,” she added.
'Fruitvale Station' Duo Ryan Coogler And Michael B. Jordan Team With Sly Stallone On MGM 'Rocky' Spinoff 'Creed'(deadline.com) MGM is setting Ryan Coogler to direct Creed, and the studio is in early talks with Coogler’s Fruitvale Station star Michael B. Jordan (ex-Reggie, All My Children) to play the grandson of Apollo Creed in a continuation of the Rocky saga that Coogler is going to write with Aaron Covington. Sylvester Stallone will reprise Rocky Balboa as a retired fighter-turned-trainer. This comes in the wake of a strong summer platform opening for Fruitvale Station, the film that won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Awards at Sundance, and captured Prize Of The Future at the Cannes Film Festival, where Coogler and Jordan were the toast of the Croisette. Coogler intends for this to be his directorial follow-up to Fruitvale Station so the intention is to make it happen quickly.
Now, I know the knee-jerk reaction is to say it’s hard to get excited about what amounts to the seventh film in the Rocky series. This feels different to me, mostly because of how it came together. Much the same way that Coogler burned with the desire to tell the tragic story of Oscar Grant in his feature debut and begged Jordan to play the role in the $900,000 budget film, this whole idea also came from Coogler. When he signed with WME, Coogler identified Creed as a dream project. While Coogler already had the relationship with Jordan, the agency put him together with Stallone. Stallone, who is right now heavily involved in a stage musical transfer of his original Oscar-winning 1976 film Rocky, loved the idea and felt it was strong enough for him to bring back his signature screen character. Stallone and Coogler then approached MGM’s Gary Barber and Jon Glickman, and they flipped for it. The film will be produced by Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, who produced the original, along with Stallone and Kevin King.
The intention is for Jordan to play the grandson of Apollo Creed (played in the early movies by Carl Weathers). Raised in an upper-crust home thanks to the ring riches earned by his grandfather, the young man doesn’t have to box and his family doesn’t want him to. Yet, he has the natural instinct and gifts and potential that made his grandfather the heavyweight champion until Rocky Balboa took his crown in 1979's Rocky II. Creed’s grandson needs a mentor and turns to Balboa, who is out of boxing completely and not eager to return.
Balboa was Creed’s father’s greatest opponent and later his best friend until that fateful moment when Balboa heeded Creed’s wishes and didn’t stop the fight against the Soviet fighter Drago (played by Dolph Lungdren in 1985's Rocky IV) before the giant delivered what proved to be a fatal beating.
What is intriguing is how Coogler intends to plug back into the mythology of the first three Rocky films, which were the best ones, and then move the story forward. Jordan seems perfect for the role, given his charisma and intensity, and the fact he’s a natural athlete and was a most convincing quarterback in the final seasons of Friday Night Lights. Coogler played college football on a scholarship as a wide receiver, so he has a background in jock culture. The deal is being finalized by WME, which reps Coogler, Jordan and Stallone. Jordan is managed by The Schiff Company and lawyered by Gregory Slewett.
Agnes Nixon Fast Facts(CNN) Here's a look at the life of Agnes Nixon, creator of "All My Children" and "One Life to Live".
Birth date: December 10, 1927
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Birth name: Agnes Eckhardt
Father: Harry Joseph Eckhardt, owner of Perfection Burial Garment Company
Mother: Agnes Patricia (nee Dalton) Eckhardt, bookkeeper
Marriages: Robert Nixon (April 6, 1951-November 22, 1996 his death)
Children: Catherine Agnes, Mary Frances, Robert Henry, Emily Anne
Education: Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (1940-1944)
Agnes Nixon grew up in Nashville, Tennessee.
Known as the "Queen of Soap Opera writing", she has nine Daytime Emmy writing nominations and four wins between her two shows "All My Children" and "One Life to Live", and a Lifetime Achievement award.
Her storylines often include socially conscious topics of the time, such as uterine cancer and Pap smears, racial identity, interracial relationships, abuse and abortion.
She created roles specifically for these actors: Laurence Fishburne, Tommy Lee Jones, and Tom Berenger on "One Life to Live".
She patterned her soap opera cities after an area in Philadelphia known as the "Main Line."
Nixon was one of the early writers on "The Guiding Light" (1953-2009), the longest running soap opera in history.
The character Agnes Eckhardt appears on both "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" played by Nixon. She also played the characters Agnes Dixon on "One Life to Live" and Aggie on "All My Children".
The production company Prospect Park teamed up with Apple and Hulu, to save "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" by making both shows available through the internet.
1944 - After college Nixon begins writing for radio soap opera, 'Woman in White".
1950 - She relocates to New York and begins freelancing for live television primetime broadcasts.
1951 - Writes for 13 weeks for daytime television as head writer for the soap opera "Search for Tomorrow" (1951-1986)
1952-1954 - Writes for primetime drama "Robert Montgomery Presents" (1950-1957)
1957-1959 - Nixon writes for the soap "As the World Turns" (1958-1978)
1959-1965 - Head writer on "The Guiding Light".
1965-1967 - Becomes head writer for "Another World" (1964-1999) another soap opera.
July 15, 1968 - Nixon's creation "One Life to Live" debuts and she's head writer.
January 5, 1970 - Another Nixon creation debuts, "All My Children" also with her as head writer.
June 26, 1983 - The soap opera "Loving" (1983-1995) premieres. Nixon is co-creator with Douglas Marland.
1988 - Wins Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team for "All My Children".
June 25, 1994 - Nixon, the first female writer, is inducted into the Soap Opera Hall of Fame.
November 1995 - "The City" (1995-1997), created by Nixon, James H. Brown and Barbara Esensten, picks up where "Loving" left off.
1996-1998 - Wins Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team for "All My Children".
January 11, 2005 - Agnes Eckhardt's first appearance on "All My Children".
July 21-22, 2008 - Agnes Eckhardt's first appearance on "One Life to Live".
May 12, 2010 - The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announces Nixon as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
April 14, 2011 - ABC announces the cancellation of "One Life to Live" as of January 2012. "All My Children" is also being canceled.
June 30, 2011 - ABC announces "All My Children" will air the final episode on Friday, September 23, 2011.
January 13, 2012 - "One Life to Live" airs its final television episode.
April 29, 2013 - "One Life to Live" and "All My Children" come back to life airing twice weekly online at Hulu and Apple's iTunes. Nixon is the creator of the new "All My Children"
June 6, 2013 - Labor union problems with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) forces both shows into summer hiatus two weeks early.
Final Month on ABC RecapRecap of the final month of All My Children on ABC: Read it here!
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