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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.


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.
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ABC's Kevin (Probably) Saves the World Series Premiere: Grade It!

ABC's Kevin (Probably) Saves the World Series Premiere: Grade It!
In ABC’s fantastical new dramedy Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, Jason Ritter’s titular reluctant hero is tasked with — you guessed it — saving humanity. But are you going to save Kevin a season pass on your DVR?

RelatedKevin (Probably) Saves the World EPs on Jason Ritter’s Superpower, Sibling Chemistry and Magical Universe

Before you weigh in with your thoughts, a recap of the pilot: The high-concept story opens with meteors crashing all over Earth, including outside of Austin, Texas, where Kevin has recently arrived to stay with his widowed twin sister Amy (Once Upon a Time‘s JoAnna Garcia Swisher
See full article at TVLine.com »

Watch a Crucial Confrontation with a Cult Member in our Exclusive Clip from Jackals

  • DailyDead
"Your leader must be an amazing guy." Out today in select theaters and on VOD from Scream Factory Films is Jackals, a cabin-centric horror film that pits a family against a violent cult one fateful night in the woods. To celebrate the film's release, we've been provided with an exclusive clip from the film for Daily Dead readers to enjoy, in which Stephen Dorff's character shares some critical words with a member of the cult that is trying to kill him and his loved ones.

"In a potent blend of the horror, thriller and home-invasion genres, an estranged family attempts to save their son from a murderous cult in the terrifying psychological thriller Jackals. Opening in select theaters and On Demand September 1st, 2017 from Scream Factory Films, Jackals is a shocking and suspenseful saga from director Kevin Greutert (Saw 3D, Visions) and producer Tommy Alastra (Sunset Strip).

Directed by
See full article at DailyDead »

Family Goes Up Against a Creepy Cult in Scream Factory Films’ Official Trailer for Jackals

They knew they would have to go up against a violent cult to reunite with their son, but the family had no idea how soon they would become the prey in Jackals, a new movie from Scream Factory Films. Ahead of its September 1st release, Jackals is teased in a trailer that channels the visceral violence and isolated horror of Bryan Bertino's The Strangers and Jack Ketchum's Off Season.

Press Release: In a potent blend of the horror, thriller and home-invasion genres, an estranged family attempts to save their son from a murderous cult in the terrifying psychological thriller Jackals. Opening in select theaters and On Demand September 1st, 2017 from Scream Factory Films, Jackals is a shocking and suspenseful saga from director Kevin Greutert (Saw 3D, Visions) and producer Tommy Alastra (Sunset Strip).

Directed by Kevin Greutert and written by Jared Rivet, Jackals stars Deborah Kara Unger (Crash,
See full article at DailyDead »

‘Jackals’ Picked Up For Theatrical Distribution By Shout! Factory

‘Jackals’ Picked Up For Theatrical Distribution By Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory has acquired North American distribution rights to psychological thriller Jackals, directed by Kevin Greutert, written by Jared Rivet and starring Deborah Kara Unger (Crash), Stephen Dorff, Johnathan Schaech, Nick Roux (Jane By Design), Chelsea Ricketts (Scream Queens, True Blood) and Ben Sullivan (Hell On Wheels). Tommy Alastra (Sunset Strip) is the producer. Shout's Scream Factory Films, which Shout acquired the film from Tommy Alastra Productions, plans…
See full article at Deadline »

'Supergirl' Welcomes Teri Hatcher as New Villain of Season 2 -- Get the Scoop on Her 'Mysterious' Role!

'Supergirl' Welcomes Teri Hatcher as New Villain of Season 2 -- Get the Scoop on Her 'Mysterious' Role!
From Lois Lane to big bad -- Supergirl is getting a super special guest star!

Teri Hatcher will join the cape-tastic series this winter for a multi-episode arc in a villainess role, The CW announced on Tuesday morning.

Hatcher, who starred as the iconic DC Comics character Lois Lane on ABC's Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman back in the '90s, will star opposite Melissa Benoist's Supergirl as the "mysterious" new nemesis of season two.

Exclusive: Behind the Scenes of 'Supergirl' With Special Guest Star Lynda Carter

"No offense to any of the wonderful actresses who have also played the part, but Teri Hatcher is my all-time favorite Lois Lane," Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg confessed in a statement. "To have her come back to the SuperWorld in a completely different part is an unbelievable gift to me, Greg, and the fans."

Hatcher's former Lois & Clark co-star, Dean Cain, is already
See full article at Entertainment Tonight »

Supergirl Meets Lois Lane? Teri Hatcher Joins CW Series as [Spoiler]

Supergirl Meets Lois Lane? Teri Hatcher Joins CW Series as [Spoiler]
Supergirl now has a Lois to go with its & Clark.

The CW superhero series has cast Teri Hatcher in Season 2, TVLine has learned.

Hatcher, who played Lois Lane to Dean Cain’s Clark Kent in ABC’s 1990s Superman series, will appear in multiple episodes of Supergirl; character details are scarce, but she’ll eventually become the season’s big villain.

RelatedSupergirl, Shadowhunters, Black Mirror Among GLAAD Media Award Nominees

Cain, of course, also has a recurring role on the show — he plays Kara and Alex’s father, Jeremiah Danvers.

In addition to Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,
See full article at TVLine.com »

Gilmore Girls: Producer Sues Over Netflix Revival

Gavin Polone has filed suit against the Gilmore Girls TV series revival coming to Netflix. In addition to Gilmore Girls, Polone was an Ep on Twisted, which was cancelled by ABC Family (now Freeform) after one 19-episode season, and Jane By Design, which was cancelled by the same network, also after a single season. Povone executive produced Gilmore Girls from 2000 to 2007 and now, he says his contract stipulates that he should be paid.

According to a report in Variety, Povone argues, "...an agreement for the original series entitles him to payments for the revival. He contends that their agreement from 2000 and settlement agreement from 2002 entitles him to $32,500 for each episode produced after 2003, a percentage of the modified adjusted gross, and credit as executive producer in the opening title or main credit."

Read More…
See full article at TVSeriesFinale »

CSI: Cyber Reboots Kelly Osbourne as Notorious 'Angel of Digital Death'

CSI: Cyber Reboots Kelly Osbourne as Notorious 'Angel of Digital Death'
Kelly Osbourne is turning to the dark side with a Big Bad stint on CSI: Cyber.

PhotosCancellation Jitters: 8 Shows in Danger

The occasional actress has signed on to guest star in an upcoming episode of the CBS procedural as Stella Kaine, a notorious hacker known as The Angel of Digital Death. Her weapon is a computer — her murders strictly electronic — but the victims suffer real world consequences with death certificates filed, bank accounts drained and credit cards cancelled.

RelatedThe View Co-Hosts: Kelly Osbourne Was Misunderstood, Not Racist

The former Fashion Police co-host’s previous acting credits include appearances on Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva,
See full article at TVLine.com »

Blood & Oil Premiere: Did ABC’s Soapy New Drama Impress You?

Following the Season 5 premiere of Once Upon a Time, ABC debuted its new drama Blood & Oil. The series follows Billy (Gossip Girl‘s Chace Crawford) and Cody (Red Band Society‘s Rebecca Rittenhouse), a young married couple who head to Rock Springs, North Dakota to start their own business and end up becoming entangled with oil baron, Hap Briggs (Don Johnson), and his powerful wife, Carla (Revenge‘s Amber Valletta). The show also stars Greek‘s Scott Michael Foster, Jane By Design‘s India de Beaufort, and The Following‘s Adan Canto. Personally, I wasn’t too impressed with Blood & Oil‘s premiere (which is partly why I didn’t end up writing a full review of the episode). I found the performances to be pretty weak and the story to be clumsy and contrived, and I say this as someone who absolutely loved Greek and watched Crawford in all six seasons of Gossip Girl.
See full article at TVovermind.com »

Teri Hatcher Joins CBS' Odd Couple

Teri Hatcher Joins CBS' Odd Couple
Oscar Madison is setting his sights on a desperate housewife.

Teri Hatcher is joining CBS’ The Odd Couple for multiple episodes as a love interest for Matthew Perry’s lovelorn alter ego, CBS announced Thursday.

PhotosFall TV Spectacular: Exclusive Scoop and Photos on 43 Returning Favorites!

Hatcher will play Charlotte, a smart, successful single mother who lives in Oscar’s building. They meet when Oscar starts dating her nanny, but he soon realizes he’s really interested in Charlotte.

Prior to Odd Couple, Hatcher’s most significant post-Desperate Housewives gig was an arc on ABC Family’s short-lived drama Jane By Design.
See full article at TVLine.com »

Arrow Adds Enlisted's Parker Young as Thea's New Love Interest in Season 4

Arrow Adds Enlisted's Parker Young as Thea's New Love Interest in Season 4
Sorry, Roy Harper, but Arrow just Enlisted a new man for Thea Queen in Season 4.

Parker Young, formerly of the (subtly) aforementioned Fox comedy, will play Alex Davis, a consultant working for Oliver, ETOnline reports. TVLine previously reported the new character earlier this month.

Arrow‘s fourth season premieres Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 8/7c.

PhotosArrow Season 4: Our Hopes for ‘Happy’ Oliver, Incidental Olicity, Sara and More

In addition to Enlisted, Young’s television credits include a series regular role on Suburgatory and guest spots on Mad Men,
See full article at TVLine.com »

Fall TV: Shonda Rhimes' The Catch Among 6 New Dramas Ordered at ABC

Fall TV: Shonda Rhimes' The Catch Among 6 New Dramas Ordered at ABC
The Shonda Rhimes Era at ABC continues.

The network on Thursday ordered to series the thriller The Catch, from the prolific producer and Betsy Beers and starring Mireille Enos (The Killing).

PhotosFall TV Preview: Your Guide to Next Season’s New Shows and Stars

Additionally, ABC picked up The Family, which hails from Scandal/Grey’s Anatomy/Off the Map Ep Jenna Bans, the biblical saga Of Kings and Prophets, Gossip Girl Ep Josh Safran’s Quantico and the ’80s-set crime drama Wicked City (Fka L.A. Crime).

The Untitled Pate & Fishburne Project (Fka Boom), centered around the oil industry in North Dakota,
See full article at TVLine.com »

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Bones, Suits, Scandal, Empire, Revenge, Looking, Once, Good Wife, Jane and More

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Bones, Suits, Scandal, Empire, Revenge, Looking, Once, Good Wife, Jane and More
Got a scoop request? An anonymous tip you’re dying to share? Send any/all of the above to askausiello@tvline.com

Question: I love TVLine and that I check it every day. Also, I’m loving Empire so much. Got any scoop on the season finale? —Chandler

Ausiello: Chandler, just a heads up that three out of four dentists agree you should check TVLine a minimum of six times per day – so you might need to step it up a bit. With that out of the way, I’ll pass the mic to Empire showrunner Ilene Chaiken, who has
See full article at TVLine.com »

ABC Pilots ‘Boom’, ‘Mix’ & ‘46 Percenters’ Add To Casts

Rebecca Rittenhouse (Red Band Society) and India de Beaufort (Jane By Design) have booked series regular roles on ABC drama pilot Boom, from producer Tony Krantz. Written by Josh Pate and Rodes Fishburne and produced by ABC Studios, Boom examines the biggest oil discovery in American history — bigger than Texas and as big as Saudi Arabia — which has triggered a geopolitical shift and an economic boom in North Dakota on a scale not seen since the 1849 California Gold Rush…
See full article at Deadline TV »

Mistresses Scoop: Client List Star Cast as New Playmate for Harry

Mistresses Scoop: Client List Star Cast as New Playmate for Harry
A new series regular on Mistresses‘ third season is gonna be just wild about Harry — but will this twist spell the end of the Aussie chef’s burgeoning romance with former sister-in-law Joss?

Don’t stick a fork in “Hoss” (or is it “Jorry”?) just yet.

TVLine has learned exclusively that ABC’s addictive summer sudser has cast The Client List‘s Rob Mayes as a bromantic interest for Brett Tucker’s fan-favorite character.

Mayes will play Mark, who’s described as follows: “Early 30s, handsome in that scruffy Peter Pan kind of way, not a care in the world
See full article at TVLine.com »

Chris Pine To Narrate High School Debate Doc ‘This Is Not A Club’

  • Deadline
Chris Pine To Narrate High School Debate Doc ‘This Is Not A Club’
Exclusive: Star Trek’s Chris Pine is beaming his voice into high school debate documentary This Is Not A Club, the coming-of-age film about high schoolers performing in two-person speech competitions leading up to the annual National Speech and Debate tournament in Las Vegas.

Pine will narrate the indie documentary feature, which is directed by Ari Levinson and produced by Erica Dasher (Jane By Design) and Sami Kriegstein. Dasher and Kriegstein filmed footage themselves over the course of 12 months in seven states, capturing the highs and lows in the lives of their teenage subjects – four teams of two each – who grapple with issues from sexual identity, race and gender, parental pressures, and falling in love while competing in the world of “Duo” performance, in which partners cannot touch, make eye contact, use props or wear costumes.

Filmmakers showed Pine a cut of This Is Not A Club and brought him
See full article at Deadline »

Kem Nunn Inks With Wme; India de Beaufort Joins Gersh

Kem Nunn has signed with Wme. He is a writer/co-executive producer on FX’s Sons Of Anarchy and also co-created and wrote HBO’s surfer series John From Cincinnati. Nunn also is the author of books including Pomona Queen, Unassigned Territory, Tijuana Straits, Chance and such “surf noir” novels as Tapping The Source and Dogs Of Winter. He continues to be repped by Echo Lake Entertainment. India de Beaufort has inked with Gersh. She was a regular on ABC Family’s Jane By Design and starred in Comedy Central’s series Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire. She also has appeared in episodes of How I Met Your Mother, Necessary Roughness and One Tree Hill and had a role in the feature Run Fatboy Run. De Beaufort remains with Think Tank Management.
See full article at Deadline TV »

VH1 Orders ’90s Drama ‘Hindsight’ to Series

  • The Wrap
VH1 Orders ’90s Drama ‘Hindsight’ to Series
VH1 has handed a series order to “Hindsight,” a drama set in the ’90s from from “Jane By Design” writer Emily Fox and Timberman-Beverly. It’s set to premiere with 10 episodes in 2015, a VH1 representative told TheWrap. The series follows Becca (Laura Ramsey, pictured above), who’s approaching 40 years old and a second marriage. But, she’s feeling there’s something missing, her long-estranged best friend Lolly (Sarah Goldberg). As she’s feeling mixed feelings, she wakes up to discover she has somehow traveled 15 years into the past as she’s approaching her first marriage with Sean (Craig Horner). Also read: Nick Lachey Named.
See full article at The Wrap »

VH1 Picks Up Drama ‘Hindsight’ To Series

VH1 is expanding its scripted portfolio with Hindsight, handing out a 10-episode series pickup to the hourlong scripted drama pilot from writer Emily Fox (Jane By Design) and Timberman-Beverly for a premiere in early 2015. The project, previously developed at NBC, marked the first scripted pilot order for VH1′s new head of development Susan Levison. Now it is her first scripted series pickup and a followup to the network’s first hourlong scripted series, the Queen Latifah-produced Single Ladies, and summer breakout Hit the Floor. The network most recently had scripted success with the highly rated TLC biopic and just greenlighted a Drumline sequel with Nick Cannon. Related: Primetime Pilot Panic Hindsight, whose pilot was directed by Michael Trim, is set in 1990s New York and stars Laura Ramsey, Legend Of The Seeker‘s Craig Horner and Sarah Goldberg. It centers on Becca (Ramsey) who, as she nears 40, is
See full article at Deadline TV »
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