Leap of Faith (2002) - News Poster

(2002– )


Seen and Heard Backstage at the Primetime Emmys Awards

Seen and Heard Backstage at the Primetime Emmys Awards
There was a common theme among the backstage remarks for the acting winners from “The People V. O.J. Simpson” — being part of the FX miniseries was nothing less than a life-changing experience.

For Sterling K. Brown, absorbing the character of prosecutor Christopher Darden made him rethink his perspective on the real-life Simpson murder verdict even as he also recognizes that “not everybody feels they are protected and served” by the criminal justice system.

Courtney B. Vance, who played Johnnie Cochran in the TV series, said he came to value his family even more after spending six months in a trailer on the Fox lot. It also helped him reflect on the current rise in racial tension in America. “In this world we need each other,” he said. “We can’t do it alone. White folks, black folks, all races — we need each other. We’ve got to find a way to build bridges not walls. Our
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Mermaid Comedy From Jenny Bicks Gets Put Pilot Commitment At NBC

In a competitive situation, a single-camera comedy from Sex And The City alumna Jenny Bicks has landed at NBC with a put pilot commitment. The project, from 20th Century Fox TV, where Bicks is under an overall deal, is about a beached mermaid in search of adventure who winds up working in a bar/attraction in Miami with an eclectic group of people as lost as she is. Bicks is the writer-executive producer. She most recently served as executive producer/showrunner on the Showtime dark comedy The Big C. The mermaid project reunites Bicks with NBC topper Bob Greenblatt who, while at Showtime, developed and put the cancer comedy starring Laura Linney on the air. Bicks, repped by UTA and attorney Ken Richman, previously created and executive produced the ABC/Warner Bros TV one-hour dramedy Men In Trees and the NBC/NBC Studios comedy Leap Of Faith. Mermaids are in
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Jenny Bicks Signs Overall Pact At 20th TV

With The Big C headed to its conclusion, the series’ showrunner Jenny Bicks is moving on with a two-year overall deal at 20th Century Fox Television. The pact calls for the former Sex And The City executive producer to develop comedy and drama series for the studio. Bicks was most recently under an overall deal at Sony TV, which produces Showtime’s The Big C, created by Darlene Hunt. Bicks previously created and executive produced the ABC/Warner Bros TV one-hour dramedy Men In Trees and the NBC/NBC Studios comedy Leap Of Faith. 20th TV chairman Dana Walden said she and fellow chairman Gary Newman had tried getting in business with Bicks for years but “the planets didn’t align” until now. “She is an incredible writer; we are well aware of the contributions she made to Sex And The City, which is one of my favorite shows; and I loved Men In Trees,
See full article at Deadline TV »

Jill Clayburgh: 1944 - 2010

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Jill Clayburgh: 1944 - 2010
Jill Clayburgh, the Oscar-nominated actress whose portrayal of suddenly single women in the 1970s helped define feminism in movies and reshape the role of leading lady, died today at her home in Lakeville, Connecticut; she was 66.

A stage actress who started appearing onscreen in the 70s, she suddenly became the "It Girl" -- or rather, "It Woman" -- with her acclaimed performance as an upper-class Manhattan wife suddenly left by her husband in the comedy-drama An Unmarried Woman. For a brief time one of Hollywood's most recognizable actresses in both comedy and drama, her career took a rapid decline in the 80s before she resuscitated her career with a number of television and film roles. Still, despite her career ups and downs, she remained one of the most important actresses of the 70s, alongside Jane Fonda, Glenda Jackson, Diane Keaton, and the young Meryl Streep (with whom she was friends) -- women whose films were marked by their portrayals of strong, independent women who didn't need a man to complete their lives and were prepared to take a stand by doing so.

Born in New York City to a manufacturing executive father and a mother who was the production secretary for theatrical producer David Merrick, Clayburgh had a privileged Upper East Side upbringing, attending the noted Brearley Academy and then Sarah Lawrence College. After joining the Charles Street Repertory Theater in Boston, she worked primarily onstage, moving to Broadway for such shows as Pippin and The Rothschilds.

After sporadic film and TV appearances (including a stint on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow), Clayburgh nabbed her first big role in 1972's Portnoy's Complaint. Roles in TV shows such as Medical Center, Maude, and The Rockford Files followed (she received an Emmy nomination for the 1975 TV movie Hustling), before she essayed the role of Carole Lombard opposite James Brolin's Clark Gable in the critically lambasted Gable and Lombard (1976). The lavish biopic was soundly drubbed and might have marked the end of her career had it not been for a number of acclaimed performances and box office hits in rapid succession. Clayburgh earned acclaimed opposite Peter Falk in the TV cancer drama Griffin and Phoenix: A Love Story (1976) and that same year co-starred opposite Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in the blockbuster hit comedy Silver Streak. She held her own against two other high-profile, wildly popular leading men--Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson--in the football comedy Semi-Tough (1977) before landing the role that would make her a superstar of the decade: Erica in Paul Mazursky's An Unmarried Woman.

The story of a well-to-do wife and mother who is left by her husband for a younger woman, and attempts to reclaim her identity as a single woman in a world marked by the rise of feminism, the film was a lightning rod for many of the issues of the late 70s, from divorce to sexual liberation. With its message that it was okay not to be married, the film was a box office and critical hit, winning Clayburgh the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival. An Unmarried Woman would receive three Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Actress, but lost both awards to Vietnam-themed dramas The Deer Hunter and Coming Home (Jane Fonda was the Best Actress winner).

Anointed as the screen's quintessential liberated woman, Clayburgh followed that film in 1979 with two wildly disparate roles, as an opera singer who seduces her 15 year old son in Bernardo Bertolucci's Luna, and as a slightly ditzy kindergarten teacher who falls in love with a recently divorced Burt Reynolds in the comedy Starting Over. The former film was reviled by critics, while the latter earner her a second Academy Award nomination (surprisingly, she received Golden Globe nominations for both films).

The early 80s saw Clayburgh play two more independent women in the comedies It's My Turn and First Monday in October, as well as a Valium addict in the adaptation of the bestselling memoir I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can. But as the 80s came under the influence of the Reagan administration and lost interest in the burgeoning feminist movement, roles for Clayburgh became less easy to attain, and a string of film flops followed throughout the decade. Roles in low-budget movies and telefilms followed, though it was through a number of television appearances in the late 90s and early 2000s that Clayburgh revitalized her career on the small screen: there were acclaimed but failed sitcoms Everything's Relative and Leap of Faith, and a well-received turn as the mother of Calista Flockhart's titular character in the hit show Ally McBeal.

After appearances on The Practice and Nip/Tuck (the latter earning her a second Emmy nomination), she co-starred in the TV series Dirty Sexy Money opposite Donald Sutherland as the matriarch of a wealthy New York family. In the mid-2000s Clayburgh also starred on Broadway in Richard Greenberg's A Naked Girl on the Appian Way and in the 2006 revival of Barefoot in the Park. Her most recent roles include the upcoming comedy-drama Love and Other Drugs, as well as next year's Bridesmaids.

Clayburgh married acclaimed playwright David Rabe (Hurlyburly, Streamers) in 1979; she is survived by Rabe and their daughter, actress Lily Rabe, who will be appearing opposite Al Pacino, with whom Clayburgh was involved in the early 70s, in the new Broadway production of The Merchant of Venice, which has currently been delayed.

Where Are They Now? Some Greenroom Chatter for November 3, 2008

Sooner or later, TV shows all come to an end and the castmembers go their separate ways. If we're lucky, our favorites return in new TV shows and movies. Here's where you'll be able to see a bunch of them like… Bradley Whitford (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip), Willie Garson (John from Cincinnati), Jason Gedrick (Murder One), Eric Roberts (Less than Perfect), Chris Parnell (Miss Guided) , Luke Kirby (Tell Me You Love Me), Michael Kenneth Williams (The Kill Point), Ally Walker (Tell Me You Love Me), Philip Baker Hall (The Loop), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Do Not Disturb), Taylor Handley (Hidden Palms), Shiloh Fernandez (Jericho), Tom Everett Scott (Grace Under Fire), Regina King (Leap of Faith), Sarah Wynter (The Dead Zone), Dave Franco (Do Not Disturb), Lucy Hale (Bionic Woman), John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard), Donald Sutherland (Commander in Chief), and Blair Underwood (L.A. Law).

To start, it looks like
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'Sex' still sells on TV nets

'Sex' still sells on TV nets
The spirit of Sex and the City is living on with three new one-hour projects that bear some of Sex's DNA -- NBC's Lipstick Jungle, a dramedy based on "Sex" author Candace Bushnell's follow-up to her smash best-seller; ABC's Cashmere Mafia, from "Sex" creator-executive producer Darren Star, described as "the next generation of 'Sex and the City' "; and ABC's Women's Murder Club, dubbed "CSI" meets Sex and the City.

The three shows -- all revolving around a trio or quartet of girlfriends -- have already created a bond: They were picked up to pilots on the same day in January, and four months later they all were ordered to series on the same day.

Through the years, the broadcast networks have made several attempts to launch a successful new series in the vein of "Sex" -- NBC's short-lived comedies Leap of Faith, from "Sex" alumna Jenny Bicks, and Coupling, an American version of the U.K.'s "Sex"/Friends hybrid, come to mind. Coincidentally, NBC's Coupling starred Lindsay Price, who is one of the leads in Lipstick.

Unlike those half-hour series, Lipstick, Cashmere and Club are all one-hour shows, which, given the dire straits the half-hour business is in right now, should boost their chances of success.

Weitz sibs 'Cracking' over Fox pilot

Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz have come aboard Fox's Molly Shannon-starring comedy pilot Cracking Up as directors and executive producers. Meanwhile, Adam Bernstein has been tapped to direct CBS' comedy pilot Rubbing Charlie. Cracking Up, from 20th TV and Brad Grey TV, centers on a psychology grad student (Nicolas D'Agosto) who moves into the guest house of a nutty Beverly Hills couple (Shannon, Christopher McDonald). Jay Roach was initially attached to the project as an executive producer/director but later departed because of a scheduling conflict. The Weitz brothers are joining Cracking Up executive producers Mike White, who also wrote the pilot, and Brad Grey. Cracking Up marks the first pilot directing stint for the Weitz brothers, who executive produced the WB Network's comedy Off Centre. Best known as producers of the American Pie movies, the two were nominated for an Oscar this year for their adaptation with Peter Hedges of Nick Hornby's novel About a Boy. Rubbing Charlie, from Big Ticket TV and writer Tom Palmer, is a single-camera comedy starring Scott Wolf as a doctor who spends his time trying to help others but remains uncertain of what he wants out of his own life. Bernstein's single-camera comedy directing credits include NBC's Scrubs, Leap of Faith and Ed.

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