Archive for July, 2007

Isaiah goes Bionic

After his acrimonious departure from “Grey’s Anatomy,” Isaiah Washington already landed a new gig on NBC’s “Bionic Woman.”

He will be in five of the first six episodes of “Bionic Woman.”

The new co-chairman at NBC, Ben Silverman, doesn’t seem concerned about Isaiah’s previous bad behavior which included using pejorative words towards gays.

“He’s a wonderful actor and a great performer,” Silverman says.“When he told me he was available, I was like, “You are? Wait. They let — I don’t understand. What do you mean? You’re a huge star on a star television show.” ”

Silverman goes on to say he didn’t quite understand what had gone on with Isaiah. Short version, Silverman: Isaiah’s the backside of a northbound horse who doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut.

In any case, Silverman insists “the character that’s been created for him is really strong and one that he’ll do a great job at, and that’s what, I think, people will respond to, and we’re excited to see come to fruition his portrayal of that character.”

Of course, if they based casting on being a good person, the pool would be shallow indeed.

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Oh, Mandy

All anyone really wants to know is why he stuck around as long as he did.

Mandy Patinkin asked to be let out of his contract with ABC Studios and CBS, so he can leave the wildly successful CBS series “Criminal Minds.”

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MANDY PATINKIN

In a statement from the studio and network, the word was that this was “not in any way connected to contract renegotiations or salary issues. His departure from the series will be explained to audiences in an episode to be filmed in the near future and broadcast early next season.

“We thank Mandy for helping to make Criminal Minds a strong and successful series, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors. A new character will be added to the series for next season.”

As for Patinkin, his statement reads, in part:

“Due to creative differences, Mandy has asked not to return to Criminal Minds this season. Mandy would like to thank the studios and network for releasing him from the series and he wishes the cast and crew continued success in all of their endeavors and looks forward to continuing to work with the Disney and CBS companies in other capacities in the future.”

“This isn’t the first time,” deadpans Adam Arkin, who co-starred with Patinkin on the CBS series “Chicago Hope” and happened to be in the position of chatting about Patinkin when he appeared on a panel in front of TV critics gathered at the summer press tour.

Patinkin quit CBS’ “Chicago Hope” in 1995 after one season, then returned in 1999 for the final season. Critics gathered in Los Angeles for the summer TV critics press tour figured something was up with Patinkin when he was a no-show for a PBS panel.

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X-Files Movie

After going off the air five years ago, it looks like there might actually be another “The X-Files” movie in the works.

“I’m looking at the script next week,” says former Agent Fox Mulder, AKA David Duchovny. “Gillian is on board to do it and Frank Spotnitz and Chris Carter have written the script.”

So what’s different about this movie from all the other rumors about a new “X-Files’ movie?

“They wrote a script,” deadpans David, who seems rather excited at the though of bringing the old gang back again.

“It’s been five years and I think it’s a good time to do it,” he says. “There were only two windows: Right after the show ended, which probably wouldn’t have worked (for me and Gillian) or waiting a while. I think this is a good time to do it.”

David says he thinks if everything goes the way they plan, the filming will begin this fall for a summer 2008 release.

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From X-Files to Californicator

David Duchovny’s back on series TV after he departed from the wildly popular Fox series “The X-Files” in 2002.

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He’s now on a series trying to cope through drugs, alcohol and sex in the Showtime series “Californication.” He plays a writer whose best-seller has been turned into a crappy sitcom. Now he’s facing a writer’s block bigger than a Hollywood actor’s ego, dealing with his girlfriend’s new relationship with another guy and their 12-year-old daughter testing her sexuality.

But don’t expect David’s wife Tea Leoni to appear on the series.

“We’ve always tried not to work together, mostly because she doesn’t want to work with me, ” he joked. “But I honestly can’t imagine anything creepier than watching people who actually have sex having sex on TV. It’s a funky feeling to act with your wife anyway.”

In the series, David may become the first leading man in a TV series who has sex with a minor.

“Two things I have to do,” David says in response. “Update my resume and call my mother.”

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Me ‘N Mary-Kate

So after Mary-Kate Olsen left the stage in her impossibly high heels and high-hemmed, big belted blue dress, she hustled away alone _ with me right beside her.

“Mary-Kate, can I ask you a little bit more about your character on `Weeds’? I asked.

Just call me the invisible woman, because she acted as if she was all alone.

She rushed out the front door of the Beverly Hilton, trailing reporters behind her. Her publicist told me that Mary-Kate “Wasn’t taking follow-up questions,” while Mary-Kate herself looked at me with those big Margaret Keane-painting eyes.

Geeze, it wasn’t like I was looking for diet tips from her.

Her bodyguards blocked everyone off as she jumped into a limo to be whisked away.

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Mary-Kate Olsen Goes to Pot

Yep, it had to happen.

Mary-Kate Olsen has gone to pot.

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Actually, the tabloid-headline-grabbing, rehab half of the Olsen Twins, has joined the cast of Showtime’s “Weeds” about a surburban mom who deals marijuana in order to make ends meet after her husband dies unexpectedly. The series returns in August for a third season.

And no, she doesn’t look any thinner than any other Hollywood actress, including the cast of “High School Musical.” But she looks a lot less healthier.

“(My character) is a good Christian girl,” she says of her character, who is a love interest for Silas. “With a twist.”

It’s the first time Mary-Kate has appeared in a role without her twin sister Ashley.

“It doesn’t feel that weird,” Mary-Kate told critics during the Showtime press conference in Beverly Hills during the summer TV critics press tour. “I’m doing what I love. And I do go on auditions by myself.”

As for creator Jenji Kohan, she looked in mock surprise saying, “I didn’t know she had a sister.”

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Man or Monster?

This fall, Michael C. Hall returns as the serial killer we love to, well, love in Showtime’s “Dexter.”

For those who have missed this dandy little series, it centers on a serial killer who works as a forensic expert for the Miami police department. But don’t worry. He only offs bad guys who really deserve it.

The droll Michael spent most of his time on the panel slouched down in his seat, but did deliver a few sliders during the press conference.

When asked if people who meet him on the streets fear him, he quipped, “If they are, I worry about who they are.”

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High School Romance

So how’s that romance going between “High School Musical” stars Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens?

The cast popped up at the Beverly Hilton today to chat with TV critics about “High School Musical 2,” which premieres Aug. 17 on The Disney Channel.

The two are playing coy with reporters, with Vanessa simply showing those pretty dimples and pleading no comment on her personal life. In the middle of a reporter crush, Zac was asked about the romance that has been dubbed the Brangelina of the teen set.

I refer to them as VanZac and after getting some considerable face time with them, have decided they are every bit as gorgeous as the aforementioned Brangelina. And they are both as nice as you can imagine.

Think of Zac as the Tom Hanks of the teen set.

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VANZAC at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards

“At 19, I don’t want to be the guy who has the relationship headlines all over the magazines,” Zac says. “Maybe in the future it might be something I want to talk to the press about.”

Zac’s film career is blistering hot right now, with “Hairspray” coming out next week and the announcement that he’s been named as the lead in the new version of “Footloose.”

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Lindsay Lohan fan

Wild child Lindsay Lohan may not be your first choice when you think star power, but show biz veteran Carol Burnett thinks otherwise.

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The Defamer catches Lindsay in yet another wardrobe malfunction.

When asked who she thinks is the most talented actress in the new generation, Carol quickly named Lindsay.
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CAROL BURNETT

“I think Lindsay Lohan is a big talent, and my wishes go with her,” Carol told TV critics at the PBS portion of the summer press tour. “She has a lot to offer and I am praying for her that she’ll be OK.”

Future Oscar-winner or rehab regular? Discuss with us.

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Silvio, What Happened?

In our never-ending search for the meaning of “The Sopranos” finale, we hear from Steven Van Zandt.

He came before the critics here in Beverly Hills to promote the VH1 Classic series “Seven Ages of Rock” about the emergence of rock music as a global force told through seven generations of rockers. For non-TV types, you might know Little Stevie through the E Street Band, who backed up a singer named Bruce Springsteen.

But no matter. What did he think of the ending of “The Sopranos”?

“Right from the beginning, (creator) David Chase broke every rule in the book, and everybody loved him for it. Literally he just refused, all along, to sort of compromise and play that sort of Hollywood-imposed game of fraudulent closure,” Steve says. “ He’s like, ‘Life doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t get wrapped up every 30 minutes or every 60 minutes, and we’re not going to play that game. This is my last show on TV. I’m going out without compromising.’ He kept it that way right to the end. I thought it was a brilliant ending myself.”

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