Here we go. Some great news for longtime fans of Saturday Night Live who might have lost faith in the late night variety show’s funny bone. SNL writer and featured guest Leslie Jones has officially joined the cast as a featured player four episodes into season 40. Audiences were first introduced to Jones’ off-kilter comedy last season when she invaded Weekend Update as an “Image Expert” and talked about black beauty; the controversial discussion projected her unique and brash delivery. SNL head honcho Lorne Michaels must have noticed the effect she had on viewers; she as brought back to the desk again this month to talk about relationships, once again proving her comedy chops. And now, she’s getting upgraded from writer/guest to full on featured player. Welcome to the cast, Leslie Jones!
She will make her official debut this coming Saturday, Oct. 25 with host Jim Carrey and musical guest Iggy Azalea. Let’s hope she’s the spark SNL has been craving ever since Wiig/Hader/Armisen/Samberg era ended.
We’ve made it to the most exciting time of year! Well, it is for me at least. New TV series premiere and favorite ones return in late September, so it’s time to take a look at each of the network’s fall schedules and decide which shows you’ll be tuning into this season. This season I’ve decided to consolidate it all in one post, so without further adieu, jump after the break to view the fall schedules for the Big Four networks (namely, FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS) plus The CW. (Click here for more…)
Cast additions and statuses typically don’t make waves here at [e-i-a]. But this is one that cannot fly under the radar. Gillian Anderson, who plays Hannibal Lector’s shrink Bedelia du Maurier, has been upgraded from guest star to SERIES REGULAR for the upcoming third season of NBC’s serial killer thriller Hannibal. This is the most delectable kind of news for Fannibals because Anderson brings a remarkable sense of elegance and subtle jest to an already stellar cast led by Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen.
At the very, very end of season 2, a bonus post-credits scene revealed Anderson’s Bedelia flying away with the murderous Dr. Lector. Is she in cahoots with the mad man, or is something even sinister happening here? Whatever the case may be, viewers can rest assured that Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller has free reign to tell her story and explore her intentions at length now that Gillian is properly on board for the season.
It’s been spilled that Hannibal and Bedelia are off to Europe and that the season 3 premiere episode will essentially act like “a pilot for a new series starring Mads Mikkelsen and Gillian Anderson.” Does that amazing, or does that sound amazing.
TVLine broke the news and Fuller shared the following statement: “The cast and crew of Hannibal are positively giddy to be welcoming Gillian to Season 3 as a series regular. A striking presence on stage and screen, she brings wit, grace and intelligence to every role she embodies. Screenwriting is so much easier when you’re inspired by a great actor and Gillian has filled the Hannibal writers room with wonderful inspiration. I can’t wait for audiences to see her make a bigger meal out of the Cannibal than ever before.”
The X-Files actress has been enjoying quite the career resurgence as of late. Disregarding her failed NBC series Crisis, Anderson has been wowing audiences during her guest stint on Hannibal and she also currently stars in the fantastic BBC Two/Netflix crime drama The Fall. If you haven’t had the pleasure of getting sucked into that Irish/British series I highly recommend you
watch binge it today.
Hannibal returns in midseason to NBC.
The Weekend Update desk at Saturday Night Live is undergoing changes, again. For SNL‘s upcoming 40th season, Colin Jost will serve as co-anchor with former SNL writer and Daily Show correspondent Michael Che. This marks the first time two men will co-anchor the desk, and Che is the first African American to do so. Outgoing co-anchor Cecily Strong, who worked on the desk with Seth Meyers and then Jost, will remain as a full-time cast member.
“Michael is a strong writer, and he’s really funny,” SNL head honcho Lorne Michaels tells The New York Times. “It struggled to find an identity last season,” he admits. “Because what had come before had been pretty brilliant.”
Keeping Jost and replacing Strong with Che is a move Michaels was confident in making. “This is about a new era, what feels appropriate for now,” he says. “That’s why we did a lot of combinations and tests, and this is kind of where we came out.”
Strong started off a bit shaky but over time she acclimated to the desk. However, she ultimately expressed her desire to pop up in more sketches and this aligned perfectly with Michaels’ vision to add Che as new Weekend Update co-anchor.
And the changes don’t stop here. According to the NYT, Michaels will “probably be making one or two more additions to the cast this season.” So stayed tuned. Previously Michaels booted Brooks Wheelan, John Milhiser, and Nöel Wells; Nasim Pedrad departed the show to star in NBC sitcom Mulaney. Michael Patrick O’Brien has returned to the writer’s room.
SNL premieres September 27 with host Chris Pratt and musical guest Ariana Grande.
Update (9/15): Deadline reports SNL is adding one and only one new featured player to its cast roster for season 40. It’s 20-year-old New York comedian Pete Davidson who was handpicked by Lorne. Davidson performed standup this past April on Jimmy Kimmel Live; get aquainted with his style of humor in this clip.
The upcoming seventh season of NBC’s Parks And Recreation will be the series’ last, so you need to get all your laughs in now before the curtain closes. Enter the season 6 gag reel brimming with so much funny you might need to take an intermission or two. My favorite part? That’s when Jim O’Heir (aka Jerry/Larry/Terry Gergich) actually pulls a Jerry in real life and totally messes up a take. What’s yours?
Parks & Rec returns in 2015.
As summer approaches many of your favorite shows will be airing their season finales this month. But don’t freak–May is home to a handful of exciting premieres headlined by the return of 24 and Louie. Jump after the break for details. (Click here for more…)
Here’s a quickie: On March 19, NBC renewed Chicago Fire, its spinoff Chicago PD, and supernatural genre series Grimm. Joining these three series next season are the previously renewed The Blacklist, Parks and Recreation, The Voice, and Celebrity Apprentice.
In a recent episode of Parks And Recreation titled “Anniversaries,” Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) gifted her geeky husband Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) with a full-scale replica of the Iron Throne as made famous by George R.R. Martin in his A Song of Ice and Fire books and HBO’s adaptation Game of Thrones. Ben’s reaction to receiving said gift, to say the least, was extraordinarily hilarious.
Well, Parks & Rec fans, I present this gift to you: NBC has posted the extended take of the aforementioned scene and you can watch it in full above. If you didn’t think that tag could be any more perfect, guess again.
Save the cheerleader, save the world. But it didn’t stop there…
Like FOX is doing with 24, NBC is bringing back one its most popular and lucrative series back to the air with Heroes: Reborn. And just like 24: Live Another Day, Heroes: Reborn is being labeled as an “event series” that will produce 13 episodes for a shorter-than-normal broadcast season. Mostly everything is being kept under wraps for now; all we know is that the new season of Heroes will be shepherded by series creator and executive producer Tim Kring and it will tell a brand-new standalone story-arc with new characters. NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke shares that existing characters introduced during the show’s original four season run may show up in the revival; her statement in full:
“The enormous impact Heroes had on the television landscape when it first launched in 2006 was eye-opening. Shows with that kind of resonance don’t come around often and we thought it was time for another installment. We’re thrilled that visionary creator Tim Kring was as excited about jumping back into this show as we were and we look forward to all the new textures and layers Tim plans to add to his original concept. Until we get closer to air in 2015, the show will be appropriately shrouded in secrecy, but we won’t rule out the possibility of some of the show’s original cast members popping back in.”
Heroes, an imaginative series about ordinary people who discover they have superhuman abilities, premiered to much fan-fare in 2006. Viewership was high and so was critical acclaim. Watching ordinary people like Peter Petrelli, Mohinder Suresh, Hiro Nakamura, Niki Sanders, and Claire Bennet discover their respective abilities and eventually all coming together to work towards a common goal of destroying the compelling villain Sylar was more than entertaining to watch. While many shows suffer from growing pains in their first seasons on air, Heroes managed to shine creatively from the get-go; in my opinion Heroes season 1 is one of the best premiere seasons of any show out there. Unfortunately, things went quickly downhill from there; though season 2 is manageable the plot and the characters get seriously bogged down in season 3 and if I’m being honest I’ve never even felt compelled to watch the fourth and (then) final season. Without getting into the nitty gritty details of it all the show simply lost itself creatively and the Heroes introduced in season 1 started to feel tired and without the same purpose they shared across the brilliant first 23 episodes. The original idea behind Heroes was to intro a new crop of characters to follow each season, but following Sylar’s quick getaway at the end of season 1 it was decided that our Heroes were here to stay. Though fans of the series may be divided on the return of the show, perhaps we can all have some faith that a new series reborn featuring all-new Heroes might finally inject some excitement and fresh storylines into a show that once carried incredible potential.
NBC aired a brief 21-second promo announcing Heroes Reborn during the Olympics on Saturday and you can watch it after the break. It teases a 2015 launch, and fans can also look forward to a digital web series that plans to introduce the new characters before the show premieres in earnest. (Click here for more…)
Levitation, telekinesis, the ability to control nature, see the future… since she was born, Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) has had gifts she could neither fully understand nor control. But now that she is 10 years old, her powers have become stronger and the threat from malevolent forces that would use her abilities to control the world has grown more dangerous. With her life and future in jeopardy, Bo’s protector, Milton Winter (Delroy Lindo, The Chicago Code), turns to an unlikely source to keep her safe – Tate (Jake McLaughlin, Crash), a wrongfully imprisoned death row inmate who’s lost his will.
Tate and Bo begin an extraordinary journey, one in which trust must be earned. On the run and traveling from city to city, every place they stop and everyone they meet will be changed forever. But they’ll have to keep going to stay one step ahead of the sinister forces after Bo’s power… because it will take a miracle to keep them safe forever.
That’s how NBC sets up Believe, the latest series from J.J. Abrams–the creative mind behind Lost, Fringe, and Person of Interest. Joining Abrams behind the scenes is Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón who serves as executive producer and director of the pilot episode.
Get acquainted with the cast and auspicious behind Believe in the clip embedded above. The exciting opening sequence brilliantly executed by Cuarón is on display and you’ll hear from him, Abrams, and some of the stars. “It, to me, was one of those great opening scenes that, when Alfonso described it, I had that sense of, ‘Wait a minute, I’m not changing the channel until I know exactly what’s going on,” gushes Abrams.
Believe premieres March 10. Watch a sneak-peek trailer after the break. (Click here for more…)
Turns out Cecily Strong won’t be manning the Weekend Update desk alone now that Seth Meyers has signed off Saturday Night Live for Late Night pastures. Replacing Meyers and co-anchoring with Strong is Colin Jost (rhymes with most) who is also SNL‘s head writer. He’s one of the masterminds behind popular Update characters like Drunk Uncle, second-hand news correspondent Anthony Crispino, and Strong’s The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party. Jost has big shoes to fill, and it’ll be interesting to see his rapport with Strong in the coming weeks; can they pull off the perfect comedic timing that reigned during Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey’s co-anchoring tenure?
The best series on TV you’re not watching is Bryan Fuller’s adaptation of Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon and his take on the famed fictional serial killer who eats his victims, Hannibal Lector. From the brilliant cast led by Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy (who play the nefarious Dr. Lector and gifted FBI profiler Will Graham, respectively) to the stunning cinematography, NBC’s Hannibal is one of the most compelling and thrilling dramas on TV today. Despite poor ratings last year, the Peacock miraculously renewed Fuller’s show for a second season and here we have our very first taste (or apéritif, if I may) of what’s in store. At the end of season 1 Fuller took fans on an unexpected turn by placing Graham behind bars letting the public think that he committed Hannibal’s heinous crimes.
Enjoy the masterfully cut trailer hanging above. After the break, a tantalizing teaser. Hannibal is back February 28. (Click here for more…)
Next month Seth Meyers exits Saturday Night Live to become the new host of Late Night as Jimmy Fallon takes over The Tonight Show. In the promo embedded above, you’ll see just how physically close Meyers’ new job is going to be to his old job–they’re “basically 30 feet” from each other as SNL‘s home is located in the famed Studio 8H and the new Late Night is housed inside Studio 8G. Looks like Seth has some work to do, and fast; Late Night with Seth Meyers premieres February 24 on NBC.
After the break, the Peacock introduces “a new era” of late night as Jimmy Fallon is about to take the reins from Jay Leno to host The Tonight Show. The clip looks back at the previous Tonight Show hosts, even the fleeting Conan O’Brien. Fallon, because he’s the best, has decided to revert the show’s name to its original style; instead of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, his show will be called The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, just as it was with original host Steve Allen, Jack Parr, and the late great Johnny Carson. A second clip featuring a kid version of Fallon follows. Fallon’s Tonight Show premieres February 17.
Update: Fallon passes the Late Night pickle to Meyers after the break, as is tradition. (Click here for more…)
Can’t say this happens all the time. In the middle of its 39th season, SNL has added a new featured player to its sprawling cast of up-and-coming comics. Enter 27-year-old Sasheer Zamata; she hails from NYC and studied improv at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade. She also happens to be the first female African American in SNL‘s cast since Maya Rudolph departed the late-night sketch comedy show in 2007. Zamata made her big debut this past weekend on the show Drake hosted so well.
In addition to bringing on Zamata, SNL bossman Lorne Michaels showed his support in diversifying his show by also hiring two female African American writers in LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones.
As season 5 looms on the horizon, NBC has pushed out an animated bit featuring the stars of Community. In “Miracle on Jeff’s Street,” Jeff Winger (voiced by star Joel McHale) gets ambushed by his Greendale friends including the Dean, Chang, and his study group made up of Britta, Shirley, Annie, Troy, and Abed. It’s a fun and funny clip as Annie mocks the Peacock’s decision to air Community so late in the season resulting in an Olympics scheduling fiasco.
Community returns with Dan Harmon in tow on Thursday, January 2. Oh, and Happy Holidays!
Community returns for its fourth season with creator Dan Harmon back at the helm on January 2. Here is one dark, hilariously explosive trailer for said season. The study group is back in full form, though Donald Glover’s character Troy acknowledges his early-in-the-season departure with a playful Scrubs joke. Chevy Chase might be out as Pierce Hawthorne but John Oliver’s Ian Duncan and Dino Stamatopoulos rises from the ashes to reprise fan-favorite Star-Burns. Notable guest stars include Breaking Bad‘s Jonathan Banks and Justified‘s Walton Goggins. Watch the absurdity unfold in the 2 1/2 minute trailer above; fans will surely love how it milks the whole “six seasons and a movie” movement for all its worth!
Community returns Thursday, January 2 with two new back-to-back episodes starting at 8PM on NBC. Jump after the break to watch a second sneak peak at season 5. (Click here for more…)
Here’s some exciting news: NBC has granted the wildly addicting and action-packed procedural The Blacklist for a 22-episode second season. After airing only two episodes the Peacock ordered a full season of the show and it didn’t take the network much longer to decide The Blacklist is a keeper. It’s a ratings machine; it ranks as the #1 drama in the coveted 18-49 demo averaging a 4.9 rating/13 share, plus it gains even more viewers after factoring in DVR usage.
“The success of The Blacklist demonstrates that inspired storytelling is alive and well in broadcast television, and I’m impressed on a daily basis by this creative team’s imagination and the extent to which they will go to capture this grand vision on film,” NBC head Robert Greenblatt said in a statement. “With gratitude to both our partners at Sony Pictures Television and our NBC development executives who took a great script and shepherded it into a great series, I hope that Red Reddington never runs out of names to bring down on his list!”
The Blacklist aired its fall finale last Monday and it returns with new episodes January 13.
Elsewhere, The CW gave full season orders to its three new series The Originals, The Tomorrow People, and Reign.
Fall TV updates: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’, ‘The Crazy Ones’, ‘The Millers’ & ‘Mom’ get full season orders, ‘Ironside’ & ‘Welcome to the Family’ cancelled
What does the FOX say? It says Brooklyn Nine-Nine is getting a full season order bringing its season 1 tally to 22 episodes. Though the Andy Samberg/Andre Braugher sitcom has been landing so-so-to-low ratings since debuting to 6 million viewers and a 2.5 demo rating, the network sees its potential to grow into a bonafide hit by not only granting it a full season but also giving it the plum post Super Bowl slot. When Super Bowl XLVIII ends on Sunday, February 2 it will lead into a “special one-hour comedy event” with new episodes of New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Ratings are guaranteed to spike and with any luck these FOX comedies will retain a chunk of its new viewers when things go back to normal after the Super Bowl.
B99 has had a string of fine half-hours since opening in September. Samberg’s wacky Jake Peralta and Braugher’s deadpan Captain Holt is a match made in comedy heaven, as is the supporting cast anchored by MVP Joe Lo Truglio.
Expect a season 2 renewal next; Fox entertainment head Kevin Reilly is a fan: “It’s exciting to see that both critics and fans love Brooklyn Nine-Nine as much as we do,” he said. “With Andy and Andre out in front of this incredible ensemble, it feels like this show is going to be around for a long time.”
CBS also made some major announcements this week. A trio of new comedies–The Crazy Ones, The Millers, and Mom–have all been picked up for full 22 episode seasons. The three shows, in that order, ranks as the top three freshman comedies on TV. David E. Kelley’s The Crazy Ones with Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar averages 13.71 million total viewers and a 3.6/10 in the adults 18-49 demo; Greg Garcia’s The Millers with Will Arnett and Margo Martindale averages 12.41 million viewers and a 3.2/09 rating; and Chuck Lorre’s Mom with Anna Faris and Allison Janney averages 7.98 million viewers and a 2.6/06 rating.
“We’re proud of CBS’s leadership position in comedy and excited to build on it with the back nine pick-ups of these three new comedies,” said Nina Tassler, CBS Entertainment President. “These series are creatively distinct, continue to improve each week and are led by strong showrunners, writing and production staffs, and feature amazingly talented casts.”
Unlike FOX and CBS this week, NBC was forced to clean off its axe and kill not one but two shows. Drama Ironside with Blair Underwood and comedy Welcome to the Family have been cancelled. Ironside will air its fourth and final episode this Wednesday and Welcome to the Family has been pulled from the schedule effective immediately. In their most recent airings, Ironside and Family produced meager 1.1 and 0.9 demo ratings in 18-49, respectively.
To fill in Ironside‘s Wednesdays at 10PM void NBC will air original episodes of Dateline and various specials until Dick Wolf’s Chicago Fire spinoff Chicago P.D. premieres January 8. Filling in Welcome to the Family‘s Thursdays at 8PM void are episodes of The Voice, SNL, Parks & Rec, Sunday Night Football, the live telecast of The Sound of Music, and The Sing Off. Dan Harmon’s Community returns to NBC’s schedule Thursday, January 2 with two new back-to-back episodes. Click after the break to view the full breakdown of the network’s Wednesday & Thursday plans.
And lastly there’s ABC. Though the alphabet network didn’t make any major pickups or cancellations this week, they did show support for struggling in the ratings but widely buzzed about sitcoms The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife. Both freshman comedies have received an order for three additional scripts each, a sign of confidence from the network. These shows deserve a full season order, and hopefully this move brings them one step closer to that goal. In their most recent outings, The Goldbergs attracted 5.1 million total viewers and a 1.6 demo rating and Trophy Wife landed 4.1 million viewers and a 1.3 demo rating. Like FOX did with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, let’s pray ABC can see past the low ratings and embrace the relatable creativity these shows have been producing. (Click here for more…)