Archive for Pushing Daisies

ABC Picks up Nine Returning Shows

As regular blog readers already know, ABC is bringing back “Pushing Daisies,” but no more new episodes until this fall, and “Desperate Housewives,” which will be rushing back into production to bring you a few more episodes this May and June.

On Tuesday, ABC Entertainment announced pickups for nine of its most popular shows, returning broadcast television’s most successful fall series. “Men in Trees” and “October Road” were among the shows not mentioned and may be “on the bubble” for renewal.

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“Desperate Housewives” stars Eva Longoria as Gabrielle Solis, Felicity Huffman as Lynette Scavo, Marcia Cross as Bree Van De Kamp, Teri Hatcher as Susan Mayer, and Nicollette Sheridan as Edie Britt. (ABC/ANDREW ECCLES)

ABC Entertainment ordered episodes of “Brothers & Sisters,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Dirty Sexy Money,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Lost,” “Private Practice,” “Pushing Daisies,” “Samantha Who?” and “Ugly Betty.”

“Big Shots,” the show starring Bay Area’s own Christopher Titus, has not yet gotten a pick-up and one is not expected. When Titus performed at Tommy T’s in Pleasanton for a New Year’s Eve show, he was hopeful the show would return, but indications from the network suggest otherwise.

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“Big Shots” Christopher Titus and Michael Vartan, Photo: ADAM TAYLOR/ABC

Other ABC shows that aren’t expected to make an appearance on the new fall schedule are “Cavemen” and “Carpoolers.” And if ABC asks me, and I’m sure they won’t, I’d put that awful “Cashmere Mafia” on the endangered list too.

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Pre-Valentine to TV Viewers: Writers Strike is Over

It looks as if the picket signs will be taken down and the writers will be back to work on Wednesday. You can check out the details on Nikki Finke’s fine blog Deadline Hollywood or the most recent Bloomberg report.

That’s just two days before the “drop-dead deadline” to preserve the remainder of the season and allow some bit of a pilot season. The fact that it also saves the Oscars is just an added bonus that makes the writers and actors happy. It’s one thing to miss out on the Golden Globes, that bloated tribute by a small group of foreign press. It’s quite another to miss out on your Uncle Oscar.

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Jon Stewart won’t have to cross any picket lines when he hosts the 80th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 24. This is the second time Stewart has hosted the Oscars. Photo: Bob D’Amico/ABC

Oddly enough, on the eve of the strike vote three months ago, I was in the middle of e-chatting with Bryan Fuller of “Pushing Daisies” and again today we spent part of today e-talking.

Bryan’s a fabulous person. But as noted in an earlier post, even with the strike being over, some shows won’t be back on the air this season. And that includes “Daisies.” In fact, this coming fall season looks more like a restart of this past fall. Shows like “Daisies,” “Chuck” and maybe even “Reaper” could get a second shot this fall.

There are a lot of shows on the fence, but it looks like lights out for shows like “Bionic Woman” and “Friday Night Lights.” “FNL” was the passion project of NBC’s former entertainment president Kevin Reilly, who is now Fox’s entertainment honcho. He was replaced by veteran producer Ben Silverman. (“The Office”) and Marc Graboff.

While there has been talk of “FNL” going to one of NBC’s cable siblings like USA or Bravo, that hasn’t been announced, nor does it seem likely. Last March, the series aired unspectacularly on Bravo.

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On the season, or series, finale last Friday, Kyle Chandler as Eric Taylor, Connie Britton as Tami Taylor and Peter Berg as Morris “Mo” McArnold — NBC Photo: Bill Records

And the jury is still out on “Jericho,” which returns this week after fans threw mountains of nuts at CBS execs, causing them to rethink the show’s cancellation.

But last summer, viewers tuned out in droves to a repeat of the series. We can only hope that they will come back on board with the slate of new episodes.

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Things heat up in the kitchen when “Jericho” returns on Tuesday. Emily (Ashley Scott) tries to make Jake’s (Skeet Ulrich) mother feel better mourn the loss of her husband by baking her favorite cake, on the second season premiere of “Jericho” at 10 p.m. Tuesday on CBS. Photo: Mitch Haddad/CBS ©2007 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Meanwhile, it’s all good news about Hollywood getting back to work. Now that sure beats candy and flowers, doesn’t it?

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No more “Pushing Daisies” Until the Fall

A quick email from creator Bryan Fuller confirmed what had been recently reported: We won’t be getting any more new episodes of “Pushing Daisies” until this fall.

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The fabulous Bryan Fuller, creator of “Pushing Daisies,” “Wonderfalls” and “Dead Like Me.”

Bryan says ABC didn’t think it was wise to put the show up against “American Idol” and I agree. He also says that airing just a handful of episodes before the end of the season won’t do the series any good. Again, we concur.

But I’m going to miss that show something awful. Still, it’s good to know that with the writer’s strike coming to a close, good shows will be able to get back into production for a nice fall return.

As always, we look to tireless reporter Michael Ausiello of TV Guide to give us the low-down on the status of the shows coming back.

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Michael Ausiello on a set visit to “Heroes” last July. I think I was standing behind the camera.

But as he says, refresh the page often. Things are changing rapidly.

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Writers Strike Called

There seems to be little hope that a strike beginning at 12:01 Monday by the Writer’s Guild of America can be averted.

But before they do, Bryan Fuller and his scribes were busy Thursday night and on to Friday morning trying to finish one more “Pushing Daisies” script.

“We’re desperately trying to finish one last script before we are instructed to put our pencils down,” Bryan said at midnight. “We want to keep our crew employed as long as we possibly can, but don’t know how long that will be. ”

“Desperate Housewives” will shoot the tenth script next week, and then the well is dry.

And the truth is, according to producers like Bill Lawrence of “Scrubs,” if the work stops for a couple of weeks or even a month, it’s not going to do much damage.

Scripts have been stockpiled and, while November is a busy month, some specials bounce network programs off the air anyway. We won’t be seeing “Pushing Daisies” until Nov. 14 because of the Country Music Awards. And the lights go out for much of the month of December.

“The only thing that can really screw up everything is if it’s like it was in 1988 when it went on for 22 weeks,” says Lawrence. “And then you’re talking about drastically altering this TV season as well as the next one. ”

For “Scrubs,” there are two, perhaps three, scripts that have been completed and could be shot. After that, nada.

If things drag on, Lawrence says that chances are good that the final episodes would eventually be written, shot – and pop up on DVD.

“The one thing that’s keeping me from panicking completely as far as ‘Scrubs goes is I have such a good relationship with the studio, that were there something that essentially erased the rest of the year, you know, (we would still do) a finale of the series even if it was something that would just be released on a DVD or something,” Lawrence says. “To tell you the truth it’d probably end up making more money. ”

And money is the central issue here.

The bottom line is over DVD and online residual payments. Writers believe they are not being fairly compensated for their work, which is increasingly being seen through DVD sales and online with online becoming a bigger factor in the coming years. For a more detailed explaination, go to the Wall Street Journal’s story.

The impact is more than just a delay in new programs. During the 1988 strike, almost 10 percent of the TV viewing audience left and never returned.

In these days of eroding audiences, a long strike could cripple the industry. Many people will be impacted, from publicists to dry cleaners, if this proves to be a long strike.

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Pushing “Daisies”: Girth

I love horses, so this week’s “Daisies” was a particular treat. Little 4-foot-11 inch Olive, we discover, used to be a jockey. And a jockey who won the Jock Off 2000 (how funny was that??)

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KRISTIN CHENOWETH, CHI McBRIDE, BARBARA BARRIE (as Momma Jacobs), ANNA FRIEL

But the winner’s circle came at a steep price. Fellow jock John Joseph Jacobs, who probably should have won, got his girth cut and fell off. As the narrator says, being in front is a good thing unless you fall off because there are so many horses coming up to trample you.

One by one, the four riders who did the major damage, are getting killed by trampling. Will Olive be next? Has JJJ come back from the dead?

As you know by now, the answer was no and no.

But my favorite part was when Ned went to see the aunts after once again feeling abandoned by his dad, who, let’s face it, abandoned him when he was just a kid.

But first, the big sad thing. After Ned’s mom died, he was shipped off to boarding school. But he escaped to go trick-or-treating in his old neighborhood and when he knocked at a door, his father answered.

What was sadder, the fact that little Ned discovered Dad with another family, or the fact that his own father didn’t recognize his son under his ghostie-sheet?

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SWOOSIE KURTZ, ELLEN GREENE

When Ned goes to see The Aunts, Lily and Vivian (Swoosie Kurtz, Ellen Greene), Lily says his dad was just an ass. But Vivian walks the despondent Ned to the door and tells him how everyone says Ned turned out to be such a good person and gives him a kiss.

Ahhhh.

Blog reader Kara Severy wrote that she hopes to recreate part of that whimsical world.

“Could you tell me if the house that the Darling Sister’s live in is real or computer generated? And if it is real, where I can see it….especially the iron looking fence and gate? I’m trying to design that fence and really like the gate. Oh, I like the show too but it does have some elements of TOO CUTE that bug me a little.”

Too cute, Kara? We think not. But just to let you know how nice creator/executive producer Bryan Fuller is, we had a little email exchange on Tuesday about the show.

While I didn’t wrangle an offer that would allow you to come on the set to see the house itself, we’re hoping this is the next best thing. When Fuller found out you wanted to know about the house and especially the gates, which are real and not computer generated, he tracked down the information for you.

No pampered Hollywood flower, Fuller actually did his own leg work on this one. Well, maybe he just sent an email, but in my mind he hopped into a flower-trimmed golf cart and hunted down the designer for you.

“I asked our production designer and he said the fence/gate was designed by him (Michael Wylie) and built especially for ‘Daisies,’ “Fuller writes.

For those of you who caught last night’s episode, which Fuller says is one of his favorites, you might have seen a familiar face. Former Concord resident Carlos Alazraqui was a fixture around the Bay Area comedy club circuit in the early 1990s. He’s best known for being the voice of the Taco Bell Chihuahua and his role on “Reno 911.”

Alazraqui popped up last night on “Pushing Daisies,” where he played the drunk jockey in the Halloween-themed episode.

“We LOVED Carlos,” Fuller writes. “He was so great in the episode. We have to get him back on the show. He doesn’t die _ twice _ so we can absolutely have him back on the show.”

We’ll have to wait two weeks for another “Pushing Daisies” because of the CMA Awards next Wednesday, but here’s a peek:

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LYDIA LOOK, CHRISTINE ADAMS, BUBBLEGUM THE DOG, JENNY WADE (ABC/RICHARD CARTWRIGHT)
When a dog breeder who may have bred the world’s most perfect pooch is found dead, Ned and company try to figure out who exactly did the deed, especially after they learn the deceased was a polygamist who left four grieving widows, on Nov. 14.

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“Studio 60” Reality

Fans of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’’ know that creator Aaron Sorkin tapped into real Hollywood people for the drama and exploited his own stormy relationship with Kristen Chenoweth thought the characters of Matt and Harriet.

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KRISTIN CHENOWETH on the TCA panel for “Pushing Daisies.” (ABC/CRAIG SJODIN)

Like Matt and Harriet, Aaron and Kristen have had their share of spats, including a huge blow-up over Christian Kristen appearing on the “700 Club.” That formed the basis of the break-up between Matt and Harriet on “Studio 60.”

Kristen turned up at the ABC party Thursday night wearing a pretty white dress and a large diamond cross. She says she got more upset about things Aaron wrote about her on the show that were fictional, like her stand on stem cell research, than the things that were true.

“Did you watch the season finale?” asks Kristen about the episode in which Matt and Harriet get engaged. “We were broken up at the time.”

The affable star was eager to talk about her relationship with Aaron.

“We are together,’’ Kristen says, adding with a little punch, “This week.’’

Earlier that day when she was shooting her new series “Pushing Daisies,’’ Aaron popped over to the studio and ran around toilet papering her car.

“He says it’s a good luck tradition, but I don’t know,’’ says the chipper Chenoweth. “He’s really great. This week.’’

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