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‘Once Upon a Time’ Showrunners Talk ‘Frozen,’ the Charming Family’s Challenges and Regina’s Evolution

11 hours ago

“Once Upon a Time” is kicking off season four with a dose of “Frozen,” transporting the beloved characters of the blockbuster Disney movie to the town of Storybrooke. Ahead of the Sept. 28 premiere, Variety talked to showrunners Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis to preview Anna (Elizabeth Lail) and Elsa’s (Georgina Haig) “Once” debut and find out what’s ahead for the rest of the fantasy show’s ensemble.

How will Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) adjust to a second chance at raising a child? Will Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) be able to maintain a relationship despite their differences (and similarities)? How will Belle (Emilie de Ravin) react when she realizes that Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) is keeping another secret from her? What will Regina (Lana Parrilla) do now that Robin Hood’s (‎Sean Maguire) lost love Marian (Christie Laing) has returned? »

- Laura Prudom

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Polly Bergen, ‘Cape Fear’ Actress, Dies at 84

12 hours ago

Actress and singer Polly Bergen, who’s best known for her role in the original “Cape Fear” opposite Gregory Peck, died at her home in Connecticut on Saturday. She was 84.

Bergen had battled emphysema in the late 1990s.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of legendary actress and long-time friend and client, Polly Bergen,” her publicist Judy Katz said in a statement. “She died peacefully at her home in Southbury, Conn. this morning at 11:10 a.m., surrounded by her family, long-time personal manager, Jan McCormack and close friends.”

Aside from a thriving acting career on film, TV and Broadway, she was also a prolific songstress, self-help author and businesswoman, having launched a successful cosmetics line that earned her millions.

Bergen won an Emmy in 1958 for her role as Helen Morgan on the 1950s anthology series “Playhouse 90.” She was a regular in TV movies and miniseries in the 1980s, »

- Maane Khatchatourian

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‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special Adds Guest Star Nick Frost

16 hours ago

Whovians just got an early Christmas present from the BBC.

Nick Frost, best known for his roles in “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and “The World’s End,” will guest star in this year’s “Doctor Who” Christmas special.

“I’m so thrilled to have been asked to guest in the ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas special, I’m such a fan of the show,” Frost said in a statement. “The read-through was very difficult for me; I wanted to keep stuffing my fingers into my ears and scream ‘No spoilers!’ Every day on set I’ve had to silence my internal fan boy squeals!”

Production has already begun on the episode, which also guest stars Natalie Gumede, Faye Marsay, Nathan McMullen and Michael Troughton. Michael Troughton’s father, Patrick Troughton, played the second incarnation of the Doctor.

Meanwhile, “Doctor Who” exec producer Steven Moffat said the casting choice simply “made sense. »

- Maane Khatchatourian

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‘Outlander’ Costume Designer on Wedding Dresses, Kilts and Corsets

17 hours ago

Starz’s time-traveling romance drama “Outlander” is a series caught between two historical periods: one “present day” when England limps back to recovery after World War II and another as it fights to wrestle Scotland under its control during the 1700s. Parallels to current events aside, the show also creates a costuming challenge for connecting (and differentiating) the two worlds through the eyes of heroine Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe).

This all comes full-circle in Saturday’s episode, with Claire’s reluctant marriage to the brave and headstrong Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). The episode has a lot riding on it, as fans of the books on which the series is based have heavily anticipated this moment — and, naturally, a lot of their attention will be directed toward the wedding attire. To get the lowdown on dressing the characters for this and other moments of the series, Variety talked with series costume designer Terry Dresbach. »

- Whitney Friedlander

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‘Fashion Police’ to Continue Without Joan Rivers

19 September 2014 2:51 PM, PDT

E! has come to a decision on the fate of “Fashion Police,” saying that the fashion-focused talk show will continue despite the passing of co-host Joan Rivers.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Joan Rivers and, for the last two weeks, have turned our attention to honoring her memory on all of our platforms,” the network said in a statement. “We have also thought long and hard about what Joan would have wanted as it pertains to the future of ‘Fashion Police.’  We decided, with Melissa Rivers’ blessing, that Joan would have wanted the franchise to continue.  Fashion Police will return in 2015 commencing with Golden Globes coverage on Monday, January 12.”

Since 2010 “Fashion Police” has hosted a celebrity fashion commentary surrounding red carpet events, with Rivers offering critiques alongside E! personalities such as Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos.

The series is also in the midst of a »

- Shelli Weinstein

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New York Times Critic Blames Twitter for Shonda Rhimes Story Backlash

19 September 2014 2:39 PM, PDT

The New York Times found itself in an Internet dust-up with uber producer Shonda Rhimes on Friday following the online publication of a story by TV critic Alessandra Stanley assessing Rhimes’ smallscreen milieu.

The story was taken to task by Rhimes and plenty of other readers for a tone that struck many as being tone-deaf and racist in parts.

Although the piece, “Wrought in Their Creator’s Image: Viola Davis Plays Shonda Rhimes’ Latest Tough Heroine,” was praiseworthy overall of Rhimes’ work, the references to the producer and female characters in her ABC shows being “angry black women” were lightning rods for many readers. The lead sentence is “when Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called ‘How to Get Away with Being an Angry Black Woman.’”

In a statement emailed by the Times, Stanley appeared to blame the hothouse environment of Twitter for stirring such a negative reaction to her story. »

- Cynthia Littleton

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NFL’s Goodell Apologizes For ‘Wrong’ Response To Domestic Violence Controversy

19 September 2014 12:49 PM, PDT

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged he personally erred in governing the football league’s response to a domestic-violence incident involving former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice, but said he would not consider resigning and would instead focus on revamping the sport’s rules and policies about player behavior.

“I made a mistake,” Goodell said at a press conference Friday. “I am not satisfied with the process we want through.” He later added: “We let our standards fall below where they should be.”

The response comes after days of intense scrutiny on the NFL and its handling of a variety of cases involving domestic violence by its players. The first and most notable instance involved Rice, who was caught on video hitting a woman who is now his wife in an elevator. Various parties criticized the NFL for meting out only a short, two-day suspension. Goodell said the NFL didn’t »

- Brian Steinberg

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Michael Apted Turns to Crowdfunding for ‘Married in America 3′

19 September 2014 12:11 PM, PDT

Michael Apted is launching a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for the third installment of his “Married in America” series.

“Married in America” chronicled the journeys of nine diverse couples wed in 2001 — using a format similar to Apted’s “7 Up” series. A&E aired the first segment in 2002 and Hallmark broadcast the second in 2007.

“I made the films because I’m fascinated by relationships and what makes them work,” Apted said. “I also wanted to look at how marriage is changing in the early 21st century — more women becoming the major breadwinners, both spouses working full-time, bi-racial and interfaith marriages increasing, and same-sex marriages becoming more accepted.”

Apted’s “Up” series, produced by Granada Television, has followed the lives of 14 British children, starting when they were 7 years old. The most recent segment, “56 Up,” aired in 2012 on ITV.

“The ‘Up’ films worked because one company stood by them, but it’s much »

- Dave McNary

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‘Agents of Shield’ Season 2 Preview: Showrunners Tease New Faces, Old Enemies

19 September 2014 11:42 AM, PDT

ABC and Marvel’s “Agents of Shield” is moving to a later timeslot in its second season (it’s set to premiere at 9 p.m. on Sept. 23), and that shift exemplifies a small but meaningful recalibration in the show’s mechanics — a transition to an older, wiser and darker version of a series that burst out of the gate with the full weight and expectations of the comicbook faithful behind it last season, only to stumble in its early episodes. While some installments captured the thrills we’ve come to expect from Marvel’s properties, and many intriguing mysteries were introduced, answers didn’t seem to be forthcoming, which left some viewers wondering whether the show might collapse under the weight of its secrets, even as it coyly hinted at ties to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The reason for its travails became clear around episode 17, after the release of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier, »

- Laura Prudom

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Sam Elliott and Garret Dillahunt Join ‘Justified’

19 September 2014 11:29 AM, PDT

Sam Elliott and Garret Dillahunt are headed to Harlan.

They have joined the cast of FX’s modern cowboy drama “Justified” in recurring roles in its upcoming sixth and final season.

Elliott will play Markham, a former Kentucky gangster who returns from exile in Colorado with a fortune earned growing legal marijuana in the state. He comes back to reclaim his former empire and his one-time love, Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen).

Dillahunt’s character, Walker, brings special ops and combat zone experience — along with buried demons and simmering rage — to his work as the head of security for a semi-legal businessman. If five seasons of the critically-acclaimed “Justified” are any indication, it stands to reason that Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan Givens will have some part in unearthing those demons and revealing that rage.

The sixth season of “Justified” premiers in January 2015. The show is produced by Sony Pictures Television and FX Productions. »

- Kevin Noonan

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Prolific Producer Howard Gordon Sets New Deal with 20th Century Fox TV

19 September 2014 11:00 AM, PDT

Here’s a news flash: Howard Gordon took a break from working on his many shows and pilot prospects long enough to sign a new overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV.

The prolific showrunner-producer has inked a multi-year pact with the studio that has been his home since he began working on “The X-Files” in the early 1990s.

Gordon’s Teakwood Lane Prods. banner was handed a second season renewal on Thursday for the FX drama “Tyrant,” which Gordon exec produces with Gideon Raff, creator of the Israeli drama that begat Showtime’s “Homeland.”

Gordon is also shepherding TNT’s frosh drama “Legends” and is an exec producer on “Homeland.” Earlier this year the former “24” showrunner spearheaded the return of Jack Bauer to Fox with the limited-series revival “24: Live Another Day.”

Gary Newman, chairman-ceo of Fox Television Group with Dana Walden, described Gordon as an all-star player on the 20th TV lot. »

- Cynthia Littleton

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CBS’ ‘Thursday Night Football’ Easily Dominates Thursday Ratings

19 September 2014 10:26 AM, PDT

Even though the game was a blowout, CBS’ “Thursday Night Football” towered over the primetime ratings on a night when the other networks were mostly in reruns.

Viewership of Thursday’s lopsided 56-14 game between that saw the Atlanta Falcons stomp the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be down from last week’s premiere “Thursday Night Football” telecast with 9.559 million total viewers.

Last week’s Pittsburgh-Baltimore game was not only a showcase for one of the league’s greatest rivalries but likely saw tune-in boosted by the controversy over the NFL’s handling of former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice’s domestic violence incident. “Thursday Night Football” last week brought in an average of 20.7 million viewers.

NBC was the only other English-language broadcast net with new programming on the night, airing a two-hour episode of “The Biggest Loser” that averaged 1.3/5 in 18-49 with 4.6 million viewers overall. This is on par with last week’s season premiere, »

- Whitney Friedlander

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Jon Voight on His First Acting Experience in Sketch Comedy

19 September 2014 10:00 AM, PDT

It’s hard to imagine a better match of actor and role than Jon Voight as Ray Donovan’s manipulative ex-con father in Showtime’s family drama. But the Emmy nominee (and Oscar winner) admits that his first acting experience was a bit of a tougher fit: doing sketch comedy (“O, Oysters”) in a Village jazz club in the ’60s — though it did earn him his first Variety mention.

Do you remember that review in Variety?

Yes, I do! They didn’t completely destroy us. They said Jon Voight is pleasant. At least they didn’t say I was completely out of place. I looked like I was 14 years old working with those very talented performers.

Tell me about the show.

It was really a jazz club. Art D’Lugoff wanted to have a show for his girlfriend. At that time I was cleaning out my father (financially) and just »

- Debra Birnbaum

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CBS Gives Series Commitment to Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler’s ‘Supergirl’

19 September 2014 9:00 AM, PDT

CBS has donned its cape and is ready to conquer the superhero market, giving a series commitment to scribes Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler’s “Supergirl.”

Supergirl,” which is based on characters from DC Comics, comes from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and is exec produced by Berlanti, Adler and Sarah Schechter. It’s based on the story of Kara Zor-El, who, like her famous cousin, escaped Krypton amid its destruction. She’s been keeping her powers a secret since arriving on Earth, but now — at age 24 — she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be.

See Also: Meet the Comicbook Heroes Battling for Control of Fall TV

The project gained much fanfare when news broke of its development earlier this month. Berlanti, who has seen success with the superhero genre with his CW show “Arrow” and, presumably also »

- Whitney Friedlander

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‘The Voice’ Season Premiere: New Coaches Show Off Chemistry, Competitiveness

19 September 2014 8:01 AM, PDT

NBC’s “The Voice” kicks off its seventh season on Monday, Sept. 22, and Variety was among a number of outlets to get a sneak preview of the two-hour premiere, which showcases some of the best vocalists the competition has discovered to date — including a performance that Blake Shelton described as “the best country audition” he’s ever seen.

Back in August, the coaches and producer Mark Burnett gave a press conference to preview the new season, with Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams joining the panel alongside Shelton and fellow mainstay Adam Levine.

The season premiere deftly demonstrates the easy chemistry that the four coaches share, with Stefani and Williams confidently claiming their revolving chairs — previously occupied by Christina Aguilera, Shakira, CeeLo Green and Usher — as if they’ve been with the show since the very beginning.

“Blake and I have been so lucky. You just never know what the chemistry »

- Laura Prudom

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TV Review: ‘Scorpion’

19 September 2014 7:00 AM, PDT

Given the fortune CBS is spending on license fees for “The Big Bang Theory,” the network can be forgiven for trying to expand the show’s geek-chic vibe to its procedural-drama wheelhouse. So while “Scorpion” might boast factual inspiration (a true nerdy computer prodigy!), one needn’t be a genius to see this for what it is: an effort to create a hybrid version of “Mission: Impossible” and Sherlock Holmes with a team of brainy problem-solvers. Provided “the full resources of the U.S. government” to thwart appropriately ornate crimes, the participants in this mildy fun yet wholly disposable exercise would be wise not to dwell on calculating their chances of network survival.

Team leader Walter O’Brien (Elyes Gabel) is introduced as a child, albeit one who brings the authorities descending onto his pastoral home by hacking into Nasa.

Flash forward, and he’s put together a group of »

- Brian Lowry

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Syfy’s ‘Childhood’s End’ to Shoot in Australia

19 September 2014 12:35 AM, PDT

Hong Kong – Syfy’s upcoming six-hour mini-series “Childhood’s End,” is to shoot from November in Melbourne, Australia.

The epic U.S. science fiction series is based on the classic 1953 Arthur C. Clarke novel, follows a peaceful alien invasion of Earth by the mysterious ‘Overlords’. Their arrival begins decades of apparent utopia under indirect alien rule, at the cost of human identity and culture.

Backed by Universal Cable Productions, a division of NBCUniversal, the series was secured through Film Victoria with financial support from the Victoria state government. Pre-production begins this month, with shooting at Docklands Studios Melbourne extending for 13 weeks into 2015. It will be produced by HayPop’s Jeff Hayes and Brett Popplewell.

Adaptation is by Matthew Graham (creator of BBC’s “Life on Mars,”), with Mike DeLuca (“Captain Philips,” “Moneyball,” “The Social Network”) and Akiva Goldsman (“Paranormal Activity,” “I Am Legend”) attached as executive producers.

“Around 380 talented local practitioners, »

- Patrick Frater

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Cast & Crew Expands Tax Incentives Services to Canada

18 September 2014 4:49 PM, PDT

Production payroll provider Cast & Crew Entertainment Services has expanded its tax incentive services to Canadian productions through its Cast & Crew Financial Services subsidiary.

Services will include incorporating Canadian production companies, setting up the production services agreement with the copyright owner, opening tax accounts, preparing Hst filings, creating permanent establishments to be eligible for Canadian tax credits and filing accreditation applications.

Cast & Crew’s addition of enhanced legal and accounting services in Canada will help clients to ensure that their activities are conducted in compliance with federal and complementary provincial requirements. These services can be provided in conjunction with a tax credit loan or on a standalone basis.

“Canada is a very important market for Cast & Crew,” said CEO Eric Belcher (pictured). “With these enhancements, we now can provide a full-service production incentive offering in Canada for studio and independent production clients alike.”


- Variety Staff

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‘The Missing’ Preview: ‘Time Changes All’ in Starz Thriller (Exclusive Video)

18 September 2014 4:03 PM, PDT

The Missing,” Starz’s ambitious new mystery thriller, aims to take viewers inside the mind of a father, Tony (James Nesbitt), who is desperate to locate his lost son after the five-year-old goes missing during a family holiday in France.

What happens next spans two timelines — the series is set in both 2006 and 2014 and the plots interweave and unfold simultaneously — and explores “how time can change people, and the ramifications of just one event echoing over the years,” according to writer and executive producer Jack Williams.

Below, Variety has an exclusive preview of the eight-part limited series, which stars Nesbitt and Frances O’Connor as two devastated parents whose lives are torn apart by the loss — and by Tony’s ongoing obsession with solving the mystery of their son’s disappearance.

The Missing” premieres Saturday, Nov. 15 at 9 p.m. on Starz.


- Laura Prudom

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New York Street Fair Offers Rare Look Inside Film and TV Production

18 September 2014 4:00 PM, PDT

After a seven-year hiatus, Museum of the Moving Image, Theatrical Teamsters Local 817, and Kaufman Astoria Studios have brought back New York on Location, a free event that offers a behind-the-scenes look at film production in New York.

The day-long affair will take place Sunday, Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the backlot of Kaufman Astoria Studios in Astoria, Queens; at the nearby Museum; and on surrounding streets.

Members of the public and industryites will be able to visit 20 working movie trailers and trucks straight from productions shooting in New York and speak to film pros about their jobs. The vehicles will include star dressing rooms, electrical, grip, prop, camera, hair and makeup, wardrobe and special-effects trucks. Craftspeople will demo what they do in the moviemaking process.

“This event is a great opportunity for our members and those of other motion picture unions and guilds to come out from »

- Peter Caranicas

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