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Briga Heelan on the Close-Knit Relationship Between the Women of “Great News”

Heelan in “Great News

Actress Briga Heelan has appeared in the likes of “Love,” “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “Ground Floor,” “Happy Endings,” and “Cougar Town.” But it’s her latest project, the Tracey Wigfield-created, Tina Fey-executive produced NBC comedy series “Great News,” that she describes as truly life-changing. Heelan stars as Katie, a hardworking producer at a small cable news station whose job becomes even more hectic when her mother comes on board as an intern.

During a break from shooting, Heelan spoke to Women and Hollywood about working with the women of “Great News,” motherhood, and the state of show business in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations.

The second season of “Great News” aired its fall finale last week. It will return in early 2018.

W&H: First of all, congrats on the success of “Great News.” It’s great to see a show (mostly) produced by and about women. But I do have to start with this question: What’s it like to be a woman in Hollywood these days?

Bh: It’s a time where a feeling of unity is starting to emerge in a new way that hasn’t before, making me feel very empowered. We’re in an offensive position in a really exciting way, as opposed to being in a defensive one like before. Now I feel as though as I’m one among many, and the many are very, very strong.

W&H: What kinds of conversations are you having with your peers about what’s going on in Hollywood?

Bh: There is just so much disbelief. We come in every day and something else big and upsetting happens.

But I feel so uplifted and supported by this particular group of women. Andrea Martin and Nicole Richie are the two other women in the show’s ensemble cast. And there’s also Tracey Wigfield — she’s the creator, writer, and [recurs] on the show. I have definitely learned a lot from them as well as my other female colleagues.

Nicole and Andrea have really taught me to own myself in a new way at the age I’m at. I know that I do not have to apologize for things. I’ve also learned to find the joy in both what I’m good and bad at. I’ve also learned to show up. I feel like I show up truly as myself every day because those women let me and support me. They make it such a comfortable environment. I honestly feel like I have women I can tell almost anything to at any given time.

It’s also a great time to be doing comedy. I feel like I have a feeling of safety with those three ladies, and because of that, we can take stabs at insanely funny jokes. We also support one another in the different choices we’re making. There is really a feeling of unity amongst the four of us.

W&H: “Great News” had an episode about sexual harassment in the workplace a few weeks ago. How important is it to you that your show touches on current and relevant issues?

Bh: We went into it not purposefully making anything super specifically topical. But the fact of the matter is that we’re doing a workplace show, and sexual harassment is an element of the workplace.

I really liked how the writers flipped the two roles and Katie was the one asking the pointed questions to the men like, “What were you wearing?” and “What time was it?” These all are questions that when a woman’s asking them, it’s often a joke because of how completely insane we realize it is that these are the questions women are being asked. I loved being the character who got to highlight how absurd it is that we speak that way about sexual harassment.

W&H: You have a long list of TV credits, including roles on Netflix’s “Love,” TBS’ “Ground Floor,” and ABC Family’s “Jane by Design,” as well as “Man Up,” “Happy Endings,” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” How does your experience at “Great News” compare to other shows you’ve worked on?

Bh: I think Katie is a really different character for me. We were finding her throughout Season 1 and I think that coming back to Season 2, there’s a much clearer idea of who she is. I love playing a woman who’s currently finding her voice. I’ve played more confident characters until now, so it’s nice to play someone who’s fumbling a little bit. She is overly confident about some things and viciously insecure about other things. She’s horrible at covering up anything so both of those extremes are at play in her character all the time.

Andrea Martin and Heelan in “Great News”: Tyler Golden/NBC

W&H: Let’s talk about your relationship with Andrea Martin, who plays your mom, Carol. What in particular are you learning from her?

Bh: Andrea has become a very close personal friend. We didn’t meet one another before we were cast. It really was instant chemistry by the end of the pilot episode. We just clicked on a very personal level. She’s somebody I can really be onscreen with, doing our thing, playing mother-daughter. Then offscreen, I can really talk to her. I use her as a mom, friend, and coworker. She and I really delve into all those aspects of our relationship.

There’s also truly never a moment where something amusing isn’t happening. We strike a nice balance with one another. We’re over-sharers, so we’re really chipping away at the boundaries in that way.

W&H: As someone with a young child, how do you balance being a mom and shooting a TV show?

Bh: The most honest answer is that I still don’t know. It’s truly a one-day-at-a-time thing and I think for me, I’m still really learning. It’s kind of backward because I know that keeping this little, beautiful person safe is my №1 priority. It absolutely is. But I was lucky enough to learn before I had her that my own personal foundation had to be strong [so I could] show up for her. Whether it’s stressful at home or at work, I just think about showing up for myself in this moment and that allows me to show up for her.

W&H: How has “Great News” inspired you?

Bh: I truly know I can do a lot now. I have definitely built some confidence in terms of the amount of work that can be on my plate, as well as the amount I can show up for. “Great News” is the most fun I’ve ever had doing anything in my entire life. I realize that life is short and kids grow up quickly, so my goal is to love the company I’m in and respect the company that I’m in.

I would absolutely love to do drama and stage work again, but it boils down to one thing: that I’m excited to work with the company and if there is something to learn there. Comedy, too, is just incredible — to get to show up and just know you’re going to laugh. Each day I know I’m going to work and I’m going to laugh. I’ve never not left this job feeling better than when I showed up. It may all sound fantastical — butterflies and rainbows — but it’s really set the bar for me in terms of how I can feel at work. I want to continue to have that positive feeling and good energy.

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Briga Heelan on the Close-Knit Relationship Between the Women of “Great News” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Should House of Cards Veto Frank? Was Great News Oddly Spacey? Did Live Get 'Handmaids' All Wrong? And More Qs!

Should House of Cards Veto Frank? Was Great News Oddly Spacey? Did Live Get 'Handmaids' All Wrong? And More Qs!
We’ve got questions, and you’ve (maybe) got answers! With another week of TV gone by, we’re lobbing queries left and right about shows including Stranger Things, The Gifted, Supernatural and Will & Grace!

1 | Regarding the Stranger Things 2 finale, did anyone else chuckle at the parallel between its climactic sequence — involving heroes descending into a cave on a small elevator — and that of Netflix’s own The Defenders? Also, Dustin’s penchant for Dig Dug (in which creatures are confronted in maze-line tunnels) turned out to be a bit of foreshadowing, eh?

RelatedStranger Things 2 Premiere Audience Is
See full article at TVLine.com »

Rashad Jennings & Nicole Richie Play an Engaged (and Hilarious!) 'A-List Power Couple' in Great News

Rashad Jennings & Nicole Richie Play an Engaged (and Hilarious!) 'A-List Power Couple' in Great News
Rashad Jennings is showcasing his acting — and lifting — skills.

This Thursday, the season 24 Dancing with the Stars champion will return to the TV screen for his guest-starring role as Nicole Richie‘s on-camera fiancé, suspended NFL player Carvell, on NBC’s Great News.

In a People exclusive sneak peek at the episode, Carvell makes a visit with Richie’s Portia Scott-Griffith to the Mmn newsroom, where he lifts Greg Walsh (Adam Campbell) 100 times in front of the onlooking staff.

“I’m sorry, who is this?” Katie Wendelson (Briga Heelan) inquires as she enters the office.

“My fiancé, Carvell,” explains Portia.
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

The 'Great News' Cast Performs an Amazing, Impromptu Halloween Jingle -- Watch!

The 'Great News' Cast Performs an Amazing, Impromptu Halloween Jingle -- Watch!
The Great News cast aren't just hilarious actors -- they've also got insane singing skills!

Andrea Martin, Briga Heelan, Horatio Sanz, John Michael Higgins, Adam Campbell and Nicole Richie -- featuring a special guest: Campbell's wife, Jayma Mays, who stars on NBC's Great News -- came together to record a special Halloween jingle in honor of Thursday's episode.

"Halloween chills, tonight on Great News, and that's 9:30 -- 8:30 central -- on NBC!" they sang in perfect harmony.

"I'm melting!" Martin concluded their impressive song, falling to the floor wearing giant costume claws.

Exclusive: ‘Great News’ Creator on Sexual Harassment Episode: ‘It’s an Issue in a Lot of Industries’

Et spoke with Richie about her role on the NBC sitcom earlier this year, where she opened up about why she couldn't say no to the show.

"This script came, and it came really fast and I read it. The moment I read it, I was like, I
See full article at Entertainment Tonight »

Great News: Season Two Viewer Votes

Can Kate and the staff of The Breakdown keep their show going on season two of the Great News sitcom? As we all know, the Nielsen ratings typically play a big role in determining whether the TV show Great News is cancelled or renewed for a third season. Unfortunately, most of us do not live in Nielsen households. Because many viewers feel frustration, when their viewing habits and opinions aren't considered, we'd like to offer you the chance to rate all the season two episodes of Great News below. Great News stars Briga Heelan, Andrea Martin, Adam Campbell, Nicole Richie, Horatio Sanz, and John Michael Higgins. This sitcom revolves around Katie Wendelson (Heelan), a frustrated cable news producer. Her work and personal lives collide when her stay-at-home mom, Carol (Martin), decides to follow her dreams and gets an internship on Katie's national news
See full article at TVSeriesFinale »

‘Great News’ Creator on Sexual Harassment Episode: ‘It’s an Issue in a Lot of Industries’ (Exclusive)

‘Great News’ Creator on Sexual Harassment Episode: ‘It’s an Issue in a Lot of Industries’ (Exclusive)
Great News, NBC’s sophomore comedy created by Tracey Wigfield, tackles sexual harassment in the workplace. The episode, airing Thursday night at 9:30 p.m. Et, arrives in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein made in The New York Times and The New Yorker.

While allegations of sexual harassment continue to mount against Weinstein, the studio mogul released a statement following the original Times expose, saying he came of age in the '60s and '70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different.”

“I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it,” the statement continued. Weinstein’s attorney, Charles Harder, then issued a separate statement calling the Times story “saturated with false and defamatory statements,” and threatened to sue the paper.

In the episode (“Honeypot!”), a powerful female executive, Diana (played by executive
See full article at Entertainment Tonight »

Great News' Briga Heelan and Husband Chose Their Daughter's Name on 'Tinder for Baby Names'

Great News' Briga Heelan and Husband Chose Their Daughter's Name on 'Tinder for Baby Names'
Briga Heelan has no trouble bringing it when it comes to comedy. But the Great News actress and her husband, actor and writer Rene Gube, had some difficulty when it came to choosing the name for their now 6-month-old daughter Bennet Alejandra.

“It was the only name that my husband and I both had really big reactions to, and we were like, ‘Okay, that’s it,’ ” Heelan, 30, told People of the unisex name for their daughter at the People Ones To Watch party at NeueHouse in Hollywood, California, on Wednesday.

“There’s actually a name app for baby names. It
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

Tina Fey and Nicole Richie Channel Taylor Swift in 'Bad Blood' Parody on 'Great News' -- Watch!

Tina Fey and Nicole Richie Channel Taylor Swift in 'Bad Blood' Parody on 'Great News' -- Watch!
Tina Fey and Nicole Richie have "Bad Blood."

The pair, along with the rest of the cast of Great News, parody Taylor Swift's star-studded video in a new sneak peek from the NBC comedy's upcoming episode, where Fey's character, network head Diana St. Tropez finds herself in a squad war with her news team.

Check it out below.

Exclusive: Nicole Richie and Briga Heelan Dish on Tina Fey Joining 'Great News' For Season 2

For comparison, here's the real "Bad Blood" video.

Watch out, Tina! Portia Scott-Griffith is coming for you.

Now, if the episode could only have a Swift cameo, that would truly be perfect.

More: 'Great News' Returns for Season 2! Watch Nicole Richie and Her Co-Stars Improvise a Theme Song

Meanwhile, this isn't even the first time the Great News cast has flexed their musical muscle this season.

Watch the video below to see the ensemble deliver a pretty impressive
See full article at Entertainment Tonight »

Great News: Cancelled or Renewed for Season Three on NBC?

Vulture WatchCan Kate and her mom continue to work together -- and bring the funny? Will viewers continue to watch? Has the Great News TV show been cancelled or renewed for a third season on NBC? The television vulture is watching for the latest cancellation and renewal news, so this page is the place to track the status of Great News, season three. You can bookmark this page or subscribe for the latest updates. Remember, the television vulture is watching your shows. Are you?What's This TV Show About?Airing on the television network, Great News stars Briga Heelan, Andrea Martin, Adam Campbell, Nicole Richie, Horatio Sanz, and John Michael Higgins. This sitcom revolves around Katie Wendelson (Heelan), a frustrated cable news producer. Her work and personal lives collide when her stay-at-home mom, Carol (Martin), decides to
See full article at TVSeriesFinale »

Great News: Season Two Ratings

Debuting as a midseason replacement, the Great News TV show didn't bring "great news" for NBC in the ratings department. Despite pretty low ratings, the peacock network execs decided to stick with this workplace comedy and ordered a second season. Will the numbers improve in season two? Will this sitcom be cancelled or renewed for season three? Stay tuned.Great News stars Briga Heelan, Andrea Martin, Adam Campbell, Nicole Richie, Horatio Sanz, and John Michael Higgins. This sitcom revolves around Katie Wendelson (Heelan), a frustrated cable news producer. Her work and personal lives collide when her stay-at-home mom, Carol (Martin), decides to follow her dreams and gets an internship on Katie's national news show. It's Katie's worst nightmare, until she realizes that having her biggest cheerleader at her side does have its advantages.Read More…
See full article at TVSeriesFinale »

‘Great News’ Review: Tina Fey Pushes Season 2 Toward ’30 Rock’ Territory as the New Jack Donaghy

‘Great News’ Review: Tina Fey Pushes Season 2 Toward ’30 Rock’ Territory as the New Jack Donaghy
As a zany workplace comedy focused on the production of a live TV show, “Great News” has always been just a few degrees removed from “30 Rock.” Creator Tracy Wigfield came up the ranks through Tina Fey’s classic NBC sitcom, so it’s only fitting that her Fey-produced debut features a few similarities to a show Wigfield produced, wrote, and even cameo-d in. (She also co-stars in “Great News,” as Beth, the rather intense meteorologist).

After a critically approved but less-than-buzzy first season, Wigfield & Co. are leaning into the likeness: Tina Fey has joined the ensemble cast for seven episodes; series lead Katie Wendelson (Briga Heelan) is shifting into a mentor-mentee relationship with her new boss (played by Fey); the show is re-focusing on sharper topical storylines, and Chris Parnell, a “30 Rock” favorite as Dr. Leo Spaceman, even drops by for a guest spot in Episode 2.

Read More:‘Speechless’ Review: Season 2 Is a Lean,
See full article at Indiewire Television »

‘Great News’ Review: Tina Fey Pushes Season 2 Toward ’30 Rock’ Territory as the New Jack Donaghy

‘Great News’ Review: Tina Fey Pushes Season 2 Toward ’30 Rock’ Territory as the New Jack Donaghy
As a zany workplace comedy focused on the production of a live TV show, “Great News” has always been just a few degrees removed from “30 Rock.” Creator Tracy Wigfield came up the ranks through Tina Fey’s classic NBC sitcom, so it’s only fitting that her Fey-produced debut features a few similarities to a show Wigfield produced, wrote, and even cameo-d in. (She also co-stars in “Great News,” as Beth, the rather intense meteorologist).

After a critically approved but less-than-buzzy first season, Wigfield & Co. are leaning into the likeness: Tina Fey has joined the ensemble cast for seven episodes; series lead Katie Wendelson (Briga Heelan) is shifting into a mentor-mentee relationship with her new boss (played by Fey); the show is re-focusing on sharper topical storylines, and Chris Parnell, a “30 Rock” favorite as Dr. Leo Spaceman, even drops by for a guest spot in Episode 2.

Read More:‘Speechless’ Review: Season 2 Is a Lean,
See full article at Indiewire »

Tracey Wigfield on ‘Great News’ Season 2 Guest Stars and Why Trump Won’t Affect the Show’s Narrative

Tracey Wigfield on ‘Great News’ Season 2 Guest Stars and Why Trump Won’t Affect the Show’s Narrative
Tracey Wigfield had her hand in critically acclaimed workplace comedies “30 Rock” and “The Mindy Project” before creating her own sitcom, “Great News.” Fictionalizing her relationship with her own lovingly invasive mother, Wigfield’s “Great News” focuses on changing familial dynamics when Carol (Andrea Martin) lands an internship at her daughter Katie’s (Briga Heelan) place of work.

About to premiere its sophomore season, Wigfield is now expanding the cast dynamics to “delve a little more deeply” into the personal lives of the characters who make up the fictional cable newsroom at the center of “Great News.” “In a nice way from the pilot, we very quickly realized the show was a little crazier and a little more insane workplace comedy of weirdos than I even realized I was writing,” Wigfield tells Variety.

Wigfield spoke to Variety ahead of the “Great News” Season 2 premiere about upcoming guest stars, how President Donald Trump will (and won’t) impact the
See full article at Variety - TV News »

TVLine Items: Krypton Adds Strange DC Character, Atypical Renewal and More

TVLine Items: Krypton Adds Strange DC Character, Atypical Renewal and More
Shaun Sipos is headed for Krypton as a popular DC Comics character.

The Vampire Diaries and Melrose Place (2.0) alum has joined the cast of Syfy’s Superman prequel in the series-regular role of Adam Strange, our sister site Deadline reports.

VideosKrypton Star, EPs Tease Syfy’s Untraditional Superman Prequel

Adam is a world-weary human who finds himself stranded on Krypton as the unlikely mentor to Superman’s young grandfather, Seg-El (played by Cameron Cuffe).

Krypton is slated to premiere in 2018.

Ready for more of today’s newsy nuggets? Well…

* Oprah Winfrey will make her 60 Minutes debut as a special
See full article at TVLine.com »

'Great News' Enlists 'SNL's' Cecily Strong for Season 2 (Exclusive)

Another Saturday Night Live vet is paying a visit to NBC's Great News.

Cecily Strong is set to guest star on an upcoming episode of the sophomore comedy, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Strong will play Jessica, one of Katie's (Briga Heelan) old friends who traded in her single city life for a husband and kids in New Jersey. After Jessica throws a wildly elaborate gender-reveal party, Katie begins to question her life choices, envying her friend's seemingly Pinterest-perfect life in the suburbs.

In addition to series regular Horatio Sanz, who was an SNL castmember from 1998-2006, former SNL castmember...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - TV News »

Contest: Win Demetri Martin’s ‘Dean’ On DVD

It’s been a busy summer, with plenty of big films, and arthouse gems. But one independent picture you might’ve overlooked is “Dean.” Directed, written and starring comedian Demetri Martin, the warm indie dramedy deserves a bit more love, and we have DVDs for some lucky readers, to help them catch up.

Co-starring Kevin Kline, Gillian Jacobs, Mary Steenburgen, Reid Scott, Rory Scovel, Christine Woods, Ginger Gonzaga, Peter Scolari and Briga Heelan, the story follows an illustrator whose unwillingness to deal with the recent death of his mother means escaping his hometown of New York for an interview with an ad agency in Los Angeles.

Continue reading Contest: Win Demetri Martin’s ‘Dean’ On DVD at The Playlist.
See full article at The Playlist »

Great News: Veep's Reid Scott Set to Recur During Season 2 of NBC Sitcom

Great News: Veep's Reid Scott Set to Recur During Season 2 of NBC Sitcom
This just in: Veep‘s sometime newsman has snagged a date with NBC’s Great News.

Reid Scott, who plays ex-CBS This Morning anchor Dan Egan on the Emmy-winning HBO series, has booked a recurring role on Season 2 of the NBC sitcom, EW.com reports.

Scott is set to play Jeremy, a reporter for The New York Times and a new love interest for Briga Heelan’s Katie Wendelson. He will first appear in Episode 4, then return for multiple episodes throughout the season.

As previously announced, Great News executive producer Tina Fey also will guest-star during Season 2 as Diana St.
See full article at TVLine.com »

Great News: Tina Fey's Role in Season Two of NBC Sitcom Revealed

Back in May, we reported that executive producer Tina Fey would guest star in the second season of the Great News TV show on NBC. During the TCA summer press tour, and showrunner Tracey Wigfield revealed that Fey will recur in seven episodes as as Diana St. Tropez, the new head of Mmn, the network home of The Breakdown -- the fictional show within the show. A family sitcom, Great News stars Briga Heelan, Andrea Martin, John Michael Higgins, Nicole Richie, Adam Campbell, Horatio Sanz, and Tracey Wigfield. The NBC series follows 30 year old Katie Wendelson (Heelan), a news producer on The Breakdown, a national cable news show. Wigfield created the comedy and executive produces along with Fey and Robert Carlock. Read More…
See full article at TVSeriesFinale »

‘Great News’: Tina Fey Will Play a Real ‘Boss Bitch’ to Skewer Today’s Cable News ‘Dumpster Fire’

‘Great News’: Tina Fey Will Play a Real ‘Boss Bitch’ to Skewer Today’s Cable News ‘Dumpster Fire’
Tina Fey is heading to Mnn to whip “The Breakdown” into shape on “Great News.”

Fey is an executive producer on the NBC comedy, and it was announced in May that she would have a guest arc in Season 2 for seven episodes. “She’s playing the new boss, Diana St. Tropez,” series creator Tracey Wigfield said at the Television Critics Association press tour on Thursday. “She’s sort of Sheryl Sandberg on steroids” and is a woman who “knows exactly how to have it all.”

Great News” stars Briga Heelan as Katie, a news producer at the cable news show “The Breakdown” who is horrified when her mother Carol (Andrea Martin) is hired on as an intern. The series also stars Adam Campbell as “The Breakdown’s” executive producer Greg, John Michael Higgins as old-school anchor Chuck Pierce, Nicole Richie as hip young co-anchor Poria, editor Justin (Horatio Sanz), and
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Great News’: Tina Fey Will Play a Real ‘Boss Bitch’ to Skewer Today’s Cable News ‘Dumpster Fire’

‘Great News’: Tina Fey Will Play a Real ‘Boss Bitch’ to Skewer Today’s Cable News ‘Dumpster Fire’
Tina Fey is heading to Mnn to whip “The Breakdown” into shape on “Great News.”

Fey is an executive producer on the NBC comedy, and it was announced in May that she would have a guest arc in Season 2 for seven episodes. “She’s playing the new boss, Diana St. Tropez,” series creator Tracey Wigfield said at the Television Critics Association press tour on Thursday. “She’s sort of Sheryl Sandberg on steroids” and is a woman who “knows exactly how to have it all.”

Great News” stars Briga Heelan as Katie, a news producer at the cable news show “The Breakdown” who is horrified when her mother Carol (Andrea Martin) is hired on as an intern. The series also stars Adam Campbell as “The Breakdown’s” executive producer Greg, John Michael Higgins as old-school anchor Chuck Pierce, Nicole Richie as hip young co-anchor Poria, editor Justin (Horatio Sanz), and
See full article at Indiewire Television »
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