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You wouldn't know it by looking at her, but Marg Helgenberger's a full-on television icon with three decades of credits on some of the most beloved series in history: regular stints on "Ryan's Hope," "China Beach" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" to her latest gig on "Under the Dome," as well as guest spots on everything from "Matlock" and "The Larry Sanders Show" to "Frasier" and "ER."
Given how good the small screen's been to her throughout her long career, you probably won't be surprised when you find out which famous TV lady is her long-term professional role model, as Helgenberger shares some updates about her return to the "CSI" mothership for its final send-off in the fall and her enigmatic new role in hermetically sealed Chester's Mill.
Moviefone: What can you tell us about the big "CSI" finale, which you'll be a part of?
- Scott Huver
The Judd Apatow Cinematic Universe is more than the work of just one man. And yet, whether Apatow writes, produces, or directs a film, his bighearted sensibility permeates the final product: that giddy, mockingly irreverent attitude toward romance and family that, nonetheless, has a deeply sentimental core. It’s been ten years since Apatow moved from TV (he was a writer/producer for the likes of The Larry Sanders Show, The Ben Stiller Show, and Freaks & Geeks) to become one of Hollywood’s most bankable, distinctive comic filmmakers with The 40-Year-Old Virgin. But even before that, his affectionate, bro-friendly aesthetic — which had been honed from years of stand-up and writing jokes for comics such as Roseanne — could be felt in projects he wrote and produced, like The Cable Guy and Celtic Pride. But after Virgin, Apatow films were everywhere. Teaming with stars like Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell, he established »
- Will Leitch,Tim Grierson
Only three of last year’s Emmy nominees are missing from the comedy ballots this year (and it’s because all three — “Orange Is the New Black’s” Taylor Schilling and Kate Mulgrew and “Derek’s” Ricky Gervais — are now competing in different categories). Combine that high volume of returning favorites with an influx of buzzy new series, and odds are high there will be a lot of disappointed contenders come Thursday morning. Here’s who we’re predicting will make the very competitive cut. Click to see our picks for those in the running for the drama series categories.
With six consecutive nominations and a record-tying four wins under his belt, “The Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons is this category’s undisputed favorite. But he’ll face heavy competition this year from Jeffrey Tambor, whose transcendent performance in Amazon »
- Geoff Berkshire
He was on the verge of closing a deal for a pilot at Amazon that he hoped would be the start of a career turnaround. Just a few days ago, he sent a text message to his daughter Lola asking where she wanted to go to celebrate her birthday.
But on Friday evening, veteran TV comedy writer Chris Thompson, known for his hard-partying lifestyle and professional highs and lows, was found dead at the Toluca Lake home of actor Tim Curry, his longtime friend. He was 63.
Thompson’s death was confirmed by his ex-wife, director-producer Lyndall Hobbs. She said Thompson was discovered unconscious by a caregiver at Curry’s home on Friday night. An autopsy is being performed to determine the cause of death, Hobbs said.
Thompson’s career stretched from the mid-1970s, when he got a break from a producer who admired his improv comedy performance, through series »
- Cynthia Littleton
Still eschewing irony, satire or self-awareness, TV’s bros-before-hos celebration of young guys living the celeb dream reaches the big screen
Producer Mark Wahlberg’s Hollywood un-satire Entourage ran for 96 episodes on TV from 2004 to 2011; now he has brought it to the big screen. It’s another bros-before-hos celebration of young guys living the celeb dream – riding smugly around La together in that bromantic four-seater convertible. There are unfunny and unsatirical star cameos, including one from our own Piers Morgan. As ever, where you might expect irony and biting comment, there is uncritical adoration. Super-hot young actor Vince (Adrian Grenier) is super-hotter than ever; he has just blown off his young wife after a few days of marriage and the status quo reasserts itself. He is always accompanied by his boys, his entourage. Lovable deadbeat brother Johnny “Drama” (Kevin Dillon) is still a failing actor – though he’s also supposed to be seriously good. »
- Peter Bradshaw
Screenwriter Maya Forbes (“The Larry Sanders Show,” “Monsters vs. Aliens,” “The Rocker”) decided to make her directing debut to ensure that this semi-fictionalized account of her late-‘70s childhood in Cambridge — with a high-strung blue-blood father who can’t hold a job and a driven African-American mother (Zoe Saldana) — would capture the spirit of their unconventional life together. There are many humorous moments to enjoy, given that Ruffalo’s manic-depressive Cam is as likely to make a perfect crepe or sew a fabulous last-minute flamenco dress for a school talent show as he is to forget to pick up the girls from school or refuse to buy a new sponge to replace the one rotting on the sink. But most compelling is how the mood swings caused by his mental state, not helped by the fact that Cam rarely takes his meds and prefers alcohol to calm his demons, are both harrowing and entertaining. »
- Susan Wloszczyna
It’s spring semester 1996, and a small group of graduate screenwriting students at USC School of Cinematic Arts (then called USC School of Cinema-Television) sit in a dimly lit classroom listening as associate professor Pamela Douglas, their instructor for writing episodic television, espouses the benefits of forging a career in television. It’s the only TV course offered by USC at the time.
“You’ll have more creative control,” Douglas says. “There’s more consistency, more jobs, more money. TV is the future.”
But the majority of those students don’t buy it. They’re focused on film, selling their thesis screenplays and vying for a chance at becoming the next Steven Spielberg or, at the very least, Cameron Crowe. Like the rest of the industry back then, they consider TV a second-rate medium, insipid fluff at which to turn up your nose.
Douglas, author of “Writing the TV Drama »
- Malina Saval
If voracious viewers find it hard to keep up with all the quality dramas on TV, just imagine how Emmy voters feel. Last year, 108 titles were submitted for consideration as outstanding drama series. This year, that number spiked to 145.
And the competition has grown increasingly cutthroat thanks to a number of critical darlings from small-but-aggressive new players like Wgn America, Pivot and Sundance.
This year, the TV Academy changed its rules to allow seven drama series battle for the top prize — up from six — sending studios and networks into a campaigning frenzy for a coveted slot. Since two of last year’s contenders — heavyweights “Breaking Bad” and “True Detective” — won’t be returning this year, there’s certainly room for a breakout. But favorites “Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones,” “House of Cards” and “Mad Men” are still firmly in the mix, while another of last year’s nominees — “Orange Is the New Black »
- Geoff Berkshire
This story originally appeared in TheWrap magazine: Emmy Race Begins. Before his revelatory turn in “Transparent,” Jeffrey Tambor was best known for his Emmy nominated performances as unctuous sidekick Hank Kingsley in faux talk show “The Larry Sanders Show” and “Arrested Development” patriarch George Bluth. But the 70-year-old actor with the distinctive bald pate and patented hang-dog expression has credits that stretch decades earlier to include roles on Broadway, “Three’s Company” spinoff “The Ropers,” plus “…And Justice for All” with Al Pacino. These diverse roles prepared him for an unlikely leading role in “Transparent.” He considers it the part of a lifetime, »
- Diane Garrett
Should we feel bad for Eddie Huang? The restaurateur whose memoir about his childhood inspired the current ABC sitcom "Fresh Off the Boat" went on a multi-post Twitter rant after this week's episode, complaining that, since the pilot, the show has drifted far from the reality of his own experience, to the point where "it got so far from the truth that I don't recognize my own life."
That's certainly unfortunate, even for a guy who received a tidy sum for the TV rights to his autobiography. No one wants to see his or her experience distorted and broadcast to millions. Then again, what did he expect? It's a network sitcom. It's generally going to avoid any bleak reality that can't be resolved in 22 minutes.
This sort of biographical distortion has been an issue for sitcoms since the dawn of television, since the format simply doesn't lend itself easily to »
- Gary Susman
This review is based on the season premiere, which was provided for review purposes prior to broadcast.
Tonight on FX you can catch the premieres of two very different shows about deprecating comics. One is Louie, returning for its fifth season, a rough gem made brilliant by the humor and empathy creator/star Louis C. K. can generate by examining his life with as much specificity as vulnerability. Before Louie is the series premiere for The Comedians, which tries to make you laugh using the same kind of faux humility you expect out of a Comedy Central roast. “Look at how cool I am with sending up my celebrity persona!” The Comedians screams loudly through its premiere, though rarely at a frequency that will get your funny bone to vibrate much.
If nothing else, the show is pretty timely. In just the last two weeks, we’ve seen Trevor Noah »
- Sam Woolf
For whatever ABC’s Castle has planned for its Season 7 finale, we know at least one guest star who will be a part of it.
TVLine has learned exclusively that CSI vet Wallace Langham will have a role in the yet-to-be-titled season ender, though no details on his character or the overall storyline are being released. (Perhaps he is playing the “distinguished, highly intelligent” shrink teased in Ask Ausiello?)
RelatedMay Sweeps Scorecard 2015: Weddings, Deaths, Breakups, Sex, Resurrections, Firings and More!
In 2012, when Billy Crystal returned to host the Oscars for the first time in years, he seemed surprised when so many of his jokes — many of them of the same type he deployed so effectively in his '90s hosting heyday — got a muted response from the audience. Again and again, his face seemed to be saying, They all laughed at this stuff before! What's changed? Crystal certainly hadn't, but the culture had changed around him. What had killed in the '90s was mostly dying in the '10s. Timing is everything in comedy, including the era in which you tell certain jokes. I thought of that Oscar night a lot while watching "The Comedians," the new FX comedy (it debuts Thursday night at 10) co-starring Crystal and Josh Gad as fictionalized versions of themselves, reluctantly teaming up to star in a show-within-a-show when fictional FX executives decide that Crystal »
- Alan Sepinwall
"The Daily Show" has found a successor to Jon Stewart, and it's... South African comic Trevor Noah. “It’s an honor to follow Jon Stewart," Noah said in Comedy Central's announcement of the move. "He and the team at ‘The Daily Show’ have created an incredible show whose impact is felt all over the world. In my brief time with the show they’ve made me feel so welcome. I’m excited to get started and work with such a fantastic group of people.” “I’m thrilled for the show and for Trevor," Stewart himself added. "He’s a tremendous comic and talent that we’ve loved working with…In fact, I may rejoin as a correspondent just to be a part of it!!!” Since December, Noah has appeared a handful of times as a "Daily Show" correspondent, so this isn't exactly as sharp a departure as Craig Kilborn was replaced by Stewart, »
- Alan Sepinwall
"The Comedians" is a hilarious expose of the TV biz. Billy Crystal and Josh Gad are brilliant. Finally, a show that could take down "Modern Family" at the Emmys! -Break- This FX program premiering on April 9 before "Louie" is the funniest new show I have seen in recent years. And it has special appeal to TV academy members of all ages since it's about a veteran comedy legend and a rising young star battling over their own TV variety series. It reminds me of three-time Best Comedy Series champ "30 Rock" if crossed with "The Larry Sanders Show" and maybe "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (appropriate since Larry Charles has directed several episodes of that Larry David laffer and this new show). Those programs all made fun of television and the entertainment industry, just like other Emmy favorites like "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Murphy Brown,..."' »
"The Comedians" is a hilarious expose of the TV biz. Billy Crystal and Josh Gad are brilliant. Finally, a show that could take down "Modern Family" at the Emmys! -Break- This FX program premiering on April 9 before "Louie" is the funniest new show I have seen in recent years. And it has special appeal to TV academy members of all ages since it's about an veteran comedy legend and a rising young star battling over their own TV variety series. It reminds me of three-time Best Comedy Series champ "30 Rock" if crossed with "The Larry Sanders Show" and maybe "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (appropriate since Larry Charles has directed several episodes of that Larry David laffer and this new show). Those programs all made fun of television and the entertainment industry, just like other Emmy favorites like "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Murphy Brown..."' »
Infinitely Polar Bear opens in NY and La on June 19th and expands nationally in the following weeks.
While most fathers spend their days at work, Cam Stuart (Mark Ruffalo) is more likely to be found mushroom-hunting, cooking elaborate meals, or working on one of his many half completed projects. His family’s wealth keeps his family just barely afloat, while Cam struggles to live with manic depression. When Cam has a manic breakdown that lands him in a mental hospital, his wife Maggie (Zoe Saldana) and their two young daughters, Amelia and Faith, are forced to leave their house in the country and move into a cramped apartment in Cambridge, where Maggie tries to find a decent job, with no luck.
Broke, stressed, and overwhelmed, Maggie applies to business »
- Michelle McCue
One potential highlight of MipTV’s major focus on drama at this year’s Cannes TV-digital trade fair, “Modern Family’s” co-creator and executive producer Steven Levitan will deliver a keynote – to be followed by a Comedy Masterclass: A Serious Savoir-Faire.
Speaking Monday, April 13, Levitan, whose credits include “Wings,” “Frasier,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” “Just Shoot Me” and “Greg the Bunny,” will focus on “Modern Family’s” hit-status longevity, and how it is now traveling as a scripted format.
Featuring producers, commissioners and comedic talent working on local and global levels, and from web to TV, the Comedy Masterclass’ confirmed panelists are Joe Lewis, head of comedy, Amazon Studios; Jill Offman, managing director, Comedy Central U.K., and senior VP of comedy, Viacom International Media Networks; and Ash Atalla, managing director & executive producer, Roughcut Television (“The It Crowd,” “The Office”).
A two-day event, drama at MipTV takes in showcases from producers and broadcasters, »
- John Hopewell
Streaming video is a godsend if you want to catch up with recent seasons of TV series. But what's a TV fan to do who wants to stream older shows? Netflix has very little from before the millennium, and Amazon Prime has very little from before 1990.
That's not a knock; the big streaming services know their market. Still, it's worth remembering that Amazon's initial appeal as a bookseller was it's long-tail catalog, the notion that comprehensiveness was worthwhile because somebody somewhere would want that obscure or ancient title, that the markets for all those titles were collectively significant and worth catering to, and that the Internet had at last made it easier to connect those customers with what they wanted.
But until the big streaming services step into the long-tail breach, Shout Factory TV (at shoutfactorytv.com) is ready to make a home there. The boutique streaming service, which is free and requires no subscription, »
- Gary Susman
Take a look at the supertrailer below, and get a feel for not only the harsh look at reality shows you’ll be getting, but also several of the guest stars who will be appearing on the show.
It’s not that this general idea hasn’t come our way before, including in the form of shows like Burning Love, but I don’t think we’ve had quite as blunt an effort that specifically took on the “We’re just famous,” sub-genre.
Potentially, this one could be hilarious, and I’ll let you know a little closer to the air date, but let me know what you think about the idea.
In “ Barely Famous,” Erin and Sara portray »
- Marc Eastman
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