Tag Archives: AMC

Today’s Specials: Catching up with The Killing and Game Of Thrones, plus ravishing Rita revisited

IT'S A CRIME: Season 2 of The Killing is almost upon us

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Remember Goodbye Charlie, the George Axelrod comedy about a cigar-chomping womanizer who is reincarnated as a female? Lauren Bacall created the role on Broadway, and

BATES: Hello Charlie

Debbie Reynolds had fun with it in Vincente Minnelli’s screen version. I was reminded of it when I learned that the spirit of Charlie Sheen’s recently-deceased character on Two And A Half Men is set to appear to Jon Cryer on the April 30 episode, and Charlie’s ghost will be played by Kathy Bates. Sheen stopped promoting his new Anger Mamagement series just long enough to say he is honoured that an actress of Bates’ stature will play his other-worldy Self David Chilton, author and publisher of the hugely

GRENIER: keeping in touch

popular Wealthy Barber series of personal finance books, is the newest Dragon in Dragons’ Den. He’ll replace departing Dragon Robert Herjavec when the hit CBC series returns this fall … Adrian Grenier has set up a new iPad app called Reckless Adrian Grenier (the “reckless” coming from his production company name), a new way for Grenier to keep in touch with his fans and keep them up to date on his forthcoming projects… and Jian Ghomeshi will once again host the Juno Gala Dinner & Awards this Saturday, this time in Ottawa, the night before the awards show telecast.

MUCH ADO ABOUT SOMETHING: Internet headlines notwithstanding, Downton Abbey stars Maggie Smith and Dan Stevens, aka the Dowager

SMITH: Downton Dowager

Countess Violet and Abbey heir apparent Matthew Crowley, will be back in Season 3 next January. Earlier this month breaking news that neither Smith nor Stevens had signed for the new season put Abbey fans knickers in a wringer, but in fact it’s seasons 4 and 5 they haven’t yet signed for. Downton fans, rest easy! No one’s going to kill off either one of them, especially Maggie, a perennial favourite with American audiences since her first Oscar win for The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie more than four decades ago. So you can expect both of them to sign on

STEVENS: heir apparent

the dotted line, just as soon as their respective agents sign off on their new-and-improved wages …  do I hear a fat lady singing? Little Mosque On The Prairie kicks off its two-part series finale tonight on CBC … and have you noticed how the cable nets are premiering their big shows now that spring is here? Last night AMC launched the fifth season of Mad Men.  Next weekend, competing with the 2012 Juno Awards telecast Sunday night on CTV, two big second-season Gotta-See series return: The Killing on AMC and Game Of Thrones on HBO. To get up to speed before Season 2 of The Killing, click here; for a crash course on Game Of Thrones, which is even more complex than The Killing, click here. After which you’ll almost know everything you’ll ever need to know. Promise.

AND YES, I”VE ABSOLUTELY SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST:

HAYWORTH: one last dance

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Hollywood cinema legend Rita Hayworth is remembered mainly for her sultry femme fatale roles – especially with Glenn Ford in Gilda — and for the headlines that would prove to be the milestones of

RITA & FRED: together again

her life, from her marriages to Orson Welles and Aly Khan to her heartbreaking demise from Alzheimer’s. Her romantic liaisons are the stuff of legend – her on-location tryst with a young Frank Langella is lovingly noted in his new autobiography, Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them but what most of us have forgotten are Rita’s early days as a dancer, when she was good enough to hold her own in musicals with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. I was happily reminded of this by old friend and colleague Joe Baltake, the film critic who is also the avid cinephile behind one of the best U.S. film blogs, the passionate moviegoer. Joe found a truly wonderful video mash-up combining Rita’s dancing with the biggest hit from Saturday Night Fever, and it’s so brilliantly executed that he wanted to share it. It’s a dazzling manipulation of two decades of Hayworth moments, from You Were Never Lovelier to Pal Joey and then some, cleverly synched to that hypnotic BeeGees beat.  Thanks, YouTube. And thanks, Joe, I loved it. And I’m pretty sure you will too. So just click here, and enjoy!

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More news, more gossip, more stars, and more award show dates than you ever wanted to know

OUR TOWN: Music master Paul Hoffert and sidekick Bruce Cassidy host a jazz salon this Sunday afternoon at Musideum on Richmond Street west …

LIGHTSTONE: new showecase

30 Rock scene-stealer Tracy Morgan brings his special brand of funny to the Sony Centre tonight … Marilyn Lightstone premieres her latest art showcase, New Directions, on April 12 at Latitude 44 … more than 60 chefs will gather at the Royal Ontario Museum on June 3 to showcase their finest creations in support of Second Harvest. Tickets are $250 with a tax receipt issued for $125. You may think that sounds a bit pricey, but be warned: Tickets to last year’s Toronto Taste sold out in record time. To purchase yours, click here …  and Natalie Cole is set for this year’s TD Toronto Jazz Festival with a June 25 concert at the Sony Centre.

PENMANSHIP: Additional marquee bait set for the third annual Toronto Screenwriters Conference at the Ted Rogers School Of Management next weekend (March 31-April 1) include ex-Toronto types Graham Yost (Speed,

CLOONEY: Sunshine boy

Justified) and Robin Gurney (Arrested Development, Parenthood) and Skype participants Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady) and Michael Hirst (The Tudors.) Closing speaker at this year’s creative clambake will be Lee Aronsohn (Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory.) Sounds like a pretty lively weekend … say what you will about the politics of the Toronto Sun, the headline writers at the Little Paper That Grew are still the best (and consistently most irreverent) in the country. The Sun’s front page pic of George Clooney in handcuffs last Saturday was captioned You Have The Right To Remain Handsome. Now that’s funny … by the way, Sun co-founder and columnist Peter Worthington, still typing up a storm, is now 85 (!!!) And Worthington’s latest boss, Quebecor emperor Pierre Karl Péladeau, recently announced new annual Sun Media awards for his newspapers outside of Quebec. Will there be a prize for CBC-slagging? Just askin’ … and here’s one for your calendars: The 9th annual gala fundraiser for Pierre Berton’s writers’ retreat in the Klondike will celebrate the Canuck victory of 1812 with a festive June 5 bash at old Fort York. Berton House clambakes are always a blast, and this one should be no exception … and speaking of good writing, the justifiably-lauded screen version of Mordecai Richler’s Barney’s Version premieres Sunday night on CBC, and the much-anticipated fifth season of Mad Men kicks off Sunday on AMC. That is, if you can tear yourself away from Canada’s Got Talent on Citytv. And the beat goes on.

CALENDAR JOTTINGS:  Next big award show on our horizon is the 2012 Tony Awards. Nominees will be announced May 1
live on TonyAwards.com and CBS will host the three-hour 66thAnnual Tony Awards telecast on Sunday

GERVAIS: will he be back?

June 10 …  the 27th Annual Gemini Awards’ Industry Galas are set for Tuesday August 28 and Wednesday August 29. CBC will host the Broadcast Gala on Wednesday September 5, the night before the 37th annual Toronto International Film Festival begins its time-honoured 10-day movie marathon on Thursday September 6 … 2012 Emmy nominees will be announced July 29, with ABC hosting the 64th annual PrimeTime Emmy Awards on Sunday September 23 … and before you know it we do it all over again in 2013, starting with the 70th annual Golden Globes, with or without Ricky Gervais, on Sunday January 20 on NBC, the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday January 27, the Directors Guild Awards on Tuesday February 5, and the 85th annual Academy Awards, with or without Billy Crystal, on Sunday February 24 on ABC.

STREISAND: Queen of Columbia

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Soprano-turned-director Catherine Malfitano and world-renowned conductor Sir Andrew Davis are joining forces for the Canadian premiere of Alexander Zemlinsky’s A Florentine Tragedy and the return of Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, an extravagant double-bill opening April 26 for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre. Since both one-act operas are set in Florence, expect some eye-catching cityscapes from set designer Wilson Chin, costume designer Terese Wadden and lighting designer David Martin Jacques… first headliners announced for the 46th edition of the

FEORE: hosting

Montreux Jazz Festival are Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds, who are now set for a July 4 gig at Auditorium Stravinski. Gallagher says he and his band will perform songs from their first CD as well as some favourites from his previous band, Oasis … when they were the fast-drivin’, rubber-burnin’ Dukes Of Hazzard, who knew they could sing? But three decades later John Schneider and Tom Wopat are still warbling and obviously not superstitious. They’re set to play Fallsview Casino showroom on Thursday April 12 and – wait for it — Friday April 13 … in celebration of the company’s 60th anniversary season, The National Ballet of

GALLAGHER: High-Flying gig

Canada Orchestra will make their concert debut at Koerner Hall on Tuesday April 3. Colm Feore will host the event, and the Orchestra will perform select works that highlight each decade in the company’s 60-year history … and how many of us made deals that last for half a century? Barbra Streisand is celebrating her upcoming 50th year with Columbia Records – her one and only label – by signing a new contract with the Sony-owned label. Only Tony Bennett has been on the label longer. Columbia will celebrate her signing by releasing a 12-set DVD which promises unprecedented access into Streisand’s professional and personal life, including never before seen footage directly from her archives. Streisand’s most recent Grammy nominated album, What Matters Most, was her 31st to reach the Top Ten.

AND NOW, THE WEEKEND WEATHER FORECAST:

Happy weekend.

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Mad Men beat the odds, Piers interrupts, and Griffiths, Healey & MacIvor spark T.O. theatre

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Oscar owners Cuba Gooding Jr. and Mira Sorvino and small-screen scene-stealers Bradley Whitford and Lucy Liu are among the stars currently shooting new TV pilots in L.A. …  filmmaker

ATWOOD: Payback at TIFF

Jennifer Baichwal and Margaret Atwood get the red carpet treatment at TIFF Bell Lightbox tonight for the Canadian premiere of Payback, the new Baichwal doc based on Atwood’s Payback: Debt And The Shadow Side Of Wealth. The Q&A  following the By Invitation Only screening will be hosted by Walrus senior editor Sasha Chapman …  Parks And Recreation laugh-getter Nick Offerman has been cast in Diablo Cody’s directorial debut …  and don’t say we didn’t warn ya: Both of Daniel Lanois’s March 23-24 concerts with Brian Blade at the Great Hall in Toronto are completely sold out. The concerts coincide with Lanois’ induction into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame during Canadian Music Week.

STAGE STRUCK: Three stage giants are set to share their remarkable talents with Toronto theatergoers in the next three weeks. First up is Linda Griffiths, who will reprise her bravura performance as Margaret Trudeau in a reading of

MACIVOR: world premiere

Maggie and Pierre this Saturday at Theatre Passe Muraille, staged by Paul Thompson. Thompson will  also play P.E.T to her Maggie. (Wow, what a way to spend St. Patrick’s Day!) Then, two nights later at TPM, on Monday March 19, Michael Healey will appear in his latest play, Proud, a script Tarragon Theatre reportedly declined to produce for fear of incurring the wrath of the PMO. And two weeks later Tarragon playwright-in-residence Daniel MacIvor, who recently dazzled us with a stunning revival of His Greatness, will premiere his new play Was Spring on April 4 at Tarragon with Clare Coulter, Caroline Gillis and Jessica Moss.  Talk about yer embarrassments of riches! If I were you I’d start dialing for ducats right now.

INTERVIEWUS INTERRUPTUS: He was a solid Celebrity Apprentice, and an appealing if impatient judge on America’s Got Talent but I suspect the romance is over between the public and Piers Morgan.  As the current

MORGAN: interrupter

occupant of Larry King‘s coveted nightly spot on CNN, he’s constantly attracting some of the biggest names in show business, sports and politics — and then constantly interrupting them, clearly bored by their responses.  At one point I thought he was getting over himself; turns out I was wrong. In my opinion Morgan  is absolutely capable of delivering the goods — but only when he pauses long enough to listen, which he does all too rarely. Says Manhattan gossip girl Liz Smith: “Piers Morgan will never warm the cockles of my heart, but I suppose some people enjoy his smirky style.“ Ouch!

IT’S A MAD, MAD WORLD: New Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award winner Matt Weiner, creator of US cable hit Mad Men, is getting ready to  launch season five later this month. He told C21 that he wrote the pilot for the series before he even started working on HBO’s The Sopranos — but no one would touch it. “HBO rejected the show about 80 times,” he says. “Going to AMC

MAD MEN: taking the fifth (season)

wasn’t a choice; it was the only company that was interested. People were telling me how they felt so bad for me because no one was going to see my show. When Christina Hendricks agreed to be a series regular, her manager fired her.

WEINER: getting Mad

People would say to me: ‘You were executive producer on the most exciting show on TV [The Sopranos] and this is what you turned it into.'” Mad Men was the first original show that AMC picked up, and the network tried to coax Lionsgate into partnering with them. But Lionsgate thought the period-piece pilot was too expensive so AMC shouldered the cost of shooting it. When they saw it Lionsgate execs thought the pilot was extraordinary — which it was — and signed on for the series. Which is how we got to see Mad Men.  And how Mad Men got to become the first cable series the win the Emmy for Best Drama, which it has won every year for its first four seasons. And you thought making television was easy!

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