TV News Flash
Once you’ve watched the Rose Parade all the way through, stay in your pajamas but add some pearls to your comfy ensemble, because there will be plenty of clutching as you watch the exploits of classic English vixen Becky Sharp in the new Netflix limited series Vanity Fair.
The period drama, based on the 1848 novel Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, lasts seven gorgeous costume and scenery filled episodes. It stars Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel, Thoroughbreds, Ready Player One) as a low-born Brit who does what’s necessary to work her way up the society ladder, and slide back down again.
It’s great fun watching, and begs the question, “If you were born in 19th Century England, what social/economic standing would you have had?” Personally, I couldn’t really have been a journalist, and I think being a Duchess is a bit of a stretch. But chambermaid doesn’t suit me either. Hmmm…
Okay, I admit, with with 495 scripted TV shows airing over the last 12 months (and that doesn’t even include reality) it’s impossible to see everything. But I do my best to watch as many series as I can, and my membership in the Broadcast Television Journalists Association facilitates that.
So in no particular order, here are my faves of the year—the ones I felt were worth my invaluable time, and perhaps worth yours as well. Believe me, every one of them is Worth. Watching.
The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
The First (Hulu)
Better Call Saul (AMC)
A Very English Scandal (Amazon)
The Romanoffs (Amazon)
Detectorists (Acorn — you can watch it on Netflix)
Big Bang Theory (CBS)
I’m so happy to let you know that iconic TV producer Chuck Lorre will receive very special honor at the 24th annual Critics’ Choice Awards gala. The creator of such acclaimed TV comedies as The Big Bang Theory, Mom, Young Sheldon and The Kominsky Method (as well as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song) will receive the Critics’ Choice Creative Achievement Award.
The award recognizes a body of work that stands out for its sustained excellence over a period of decades on programs that have delighted huge audiences with tremendous laughter and clever insights into the human condition. Lorre’s creative achievements rank with greatest television producers of all time with an incredible string of hit sitcoms dating back to Grace Under Fire, Roseanne, Dharma & Greg, Mike & Molly, and Two and a Half Men that shows no sign of letting up.
As you know, I’ll be attending the star-studded Critics’ Choice Awards, to be broadcast live on The CW Network on Sunday, January 13th, from 7 – 10 p.m. ET (delayed PT). I’ll be in a mermaid hemmed, cutaway shouldered Calvin Klein. Look for me!
I SO love me some Karen Walker on Will & Grace, so when I heard that Megan Mullally is going to host the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, I immediately smacked my forehead and thought “Why didn’t we think of her for the Critics Choice Awards?” We haven’t announced our host yet, and she would have been perfect.
There are rumors that one of her castmates might be approached for the job, and I heard straight from the horse’s mouth that said offer would be graciously accepted, were it made.
SAG Awards nominations were announced yesterday, with Netflix garnering the most nods for the third consecutive year raking in 15. That’s about twice as many as its nearest competitor, Amazon’s Prime Video, which scored 8. It was followed by HBO with 6 and FX with 4. In the series category, Netflix’s Ozark and Prime Video’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel scored the most. Alan Alda will receive the guild’s Life Achievement Award during the ceremony.
The SAG Awards ceremony will be held January 27 in LA and simulcast live on TNT and TBS.
When I’m in my car for a long road trip, there’s nothing I’d rather listen to than NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me in which a panel of intellectual wits tries to stump each other and an intellectual celebrity, on subjects involving current events.
Now, at long last, the radio game show/podcast is being developed for TV by Wilshire Studios with Storied Media. The adaptation will feature three celebrity panelists competing for cash for the charity of their choice. “The series, radio show and podcast, working in tandem, will allow us to expand the audience across multiple platforms,” said Dawn Olmstead, President, Wilshire Studios.
The game show universe just got brighter. Can’t wait for this one!
Originally, “The plan was to end it at 10,” said Modern Family co-creator Steven Levitan. Yet, the ABC comedy hit is is toying with the idea of a Season 11, with the six adult leads in negotiations to return for a Season 11 next year.
What’s changed? Well, for one thing, Modern Family is produced by 20th Century Fox TV, which was recently purchased by Disney, which owns ABC. Modern Family was one of Fox’s most popular assets, and it stands to reason that ABC wouldn’t want to retire it right after they paid all those billions for it.
Read all about it on HollywoodReporter.com.
Those who know me well are aware that I’m extremely flustered and intense this time of year, because I’m feverishly considering the Critics Choice Awards. As a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) and The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), I nominate and vote for both film and television Critics Choice Awards.
Final winners of the Critics Choice Awards will be announced at a fabulous gala broadcast live on The CW on Sunday, January 13, at 7pm. And yes, I already have my dress. It’s a red, floor length Calvin Klein, in case you’re wondering, with cutaway sleeves specifically intended to show off the tone I’ve developed while working out in the gym and watching the countless hours of content I’m required to review.
And since this is TV News Flash, I’m going to give you a brief account of the top television contenders. The rest you’ll have to read in my full article here.
HBO and Netflix led the pack with 20 nominations each, followed by FX with 17, Amazon with 12 and NBC with 11. Topping the list of nominated series were The Americans (FX), The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX) and Escape at Dannemora (Showtime) with five each; The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon) and Sharp Objects (HBO) each had four.
Again, check out the rest of the nominees here.
Season 1 of Amazon’s Goliath, starring Billy Bob Thornton, was great. Season 2 got a little uncomfortably creepy, but it looks like Season 3 could be the best one yet, with the additions of Dennis Quaid (The Day After Tomorrow), Amy Brenneman (The Leftovers), Beau Bridges (Homeland), Griffin Dunne (House of Lies), Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks: The Return) and Shamier Anderson (Destroyer).
The plot revolves around Billy McBride (Thornton) taking a case in the drought-stricken Central Valley, where he comes face-to-face with a new Goliath: a billionaire rancher (Quaid) and his sister (Brenneman). Sounds a bit like the “final” season of House of Cards, doesn’t it?
Get more details at HollywoodReporter.com.
Amy Sherman-Palladino, she who is responsible for the timeless Gilmore Girls and the outrageously enjoyable The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, has been selected to receive the Producers Guild’s 2019 Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television.
Nobody does female-centric TV series (That men enjoy watching as well) better. “Amy Sherman-Palladino is everything you want a TV producer to be,” said PGA presidents Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher. “She’s smart, she’s tenacious, she knows the story she wants to tell and how to put together the right team to tell it.”
PGA Awards ceremony will take place on January 19.
I have great respect for Laura Dern (Big Little Lies) and Issa Rae (Insecure), so I’ll have to give their HBO project in development a chance. But really, a limited series called The Dolls, inspired by the real-life 1983 riots over Cabbage Patch Dolls? How are they going to sustain that one over several episodes?
The personal connection comes through my husband’s dad. He was an original Mad Man—had a small advertising agency in Manhattan. The campaign that made him and kept them afloat? You guessed it—the Cabbage Patch Dolls.
Well, that and Action Jackson, one of the first action figures (dolls) for boys. That rollicking ditty was written, sung and produced by my hubby, James Mandell, himself. This video will rocket you back down memory lane:
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