Tag Archives: Celebrity Apprentice

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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Who wouldn’t talk about Hef, who got shortchanged in my TIFF tally, and who took home the hardware

GOOD MORNING, TORONTO: Welcome to another razzle-dazzle week of entertainment in Our Town.  Among the notable treats in store: The Boys In The Photograph, the new Andrew Lloyd Weber–Ben Elton musical about

SLEAN: on Abbey Road

SLEAN: on Abbey Road

young men and women involved with a neighbourhood soccer team in Belfast in 1969, opens tomorrow night at the Royal Alex … DanceWorks opens its new show, Namesake: three, on Wednesday at Harbourfront’s Enwave Theatre … also opening Wednesday: The new Allen Cole-Melody Johnson-Rick Roberts collaboration, Mimi (or A Poisoner’s Comedy) at the Tarragon  … Darren Anthony’s new concert show, Secrets Of A Black Boy, produced by his sister Trey (Da Kink In My Hair) Anthony, opens at the Music Hall on Friday, the same night conductor Jean-Philippe Tremblay, Anton Kuerti, Richard Margison and more launch a reportedly spectacular new

RIVERS: Saturday night

RIVERS: Saturday night

Royal Conservatory music venue, Koerner Hall, in the Telus Centre for Performance and Learning on Bloor Street West … Chick Corea and Sophie Milman christen the hall with jazz the following night … Celebrity Apprentice champ and TSC favourite Joan Rivers plays Casino Rama that same Saturday night … and Kevin Hearn, Raine Maida, Steven Page and Sarah Slean are among the celebrated warblers who will lend their voices when Andrew Burashko’s Art Of Time Ensemble salutes the 40th anniversary of The Beatles’ Abbey Road with a re-imagined, re-invented concert version running two nights only, this Saturday and Sunday, also at the Enwave.

And that’s just for starters, folks.

MY BAD: It’s easy to get cross-eyed when so many stars come to town at the same time. At least, that’s my lame excuse for telling you that Colin Farrell and

BETTANY: double-header

BETTANY: double-header

Julianne Moore ruled the TIFF roost this year with three, count them, three films each, while celebrated runners-up George Clooney, Colin Firth and Amands Seyfried each appeared in two TIFF entries. All of which is true, except for two guys I forgot to mention. Don’t know how I missed him, but Willem Dafoe also deserved to be in that top spot with Colin and Julianne, as he appeared in no less than three TIFF titles this year: Antichrist, Daybreakers and Farewell. Sorry about that, Willem. And yes, Paul Bettany, who played Charles Darwin in the opening night film Creation and Lord Melbourne in the closing night film Young Victoria, should have been listed with Clooney, Firth and the young Ms Seyfried in second place. And yes, I’m just hoping I didn’t miss anyone else.

PLAYBOY OF THE EASTERN FILM FESTIVAL: After three capacity crowds jammed the TIFF cinemas where her much-discussed documentary on Hugh Hefner premiered last week, director Brigitte Berman admitted that

BENNETT: talking about Hef

BENNETT: talking about Hef

by the time she finished shooting she had an embarrassment of riches, and had to delete scenes she loved from the original version to bring the film to a more manageable size. Deletions included interviews with the magazine magnate’s two sons, and the stories they tell about how they were treated in high school as Hugh Hefner’s offspring are apparently so fascinating that Berman intends to include that footage as a separate feature when the film is released on DVD. At a Q&A after the film she informed us that Playboy is the second best-known brand in the world — “Coca-Cola is number one,” she added — and that the toughest interview subject to secure, surprisingly, was Tony Bennett. “His agent is very protective of him, as he should be. But as soon as Tony was told of the request, he was all for it, and just a pleasure to work with.”

Did any key players from Hef’s past actually turn her down? “Yes,” replied the ever-candid Oscar-winning director — “Gloria Steinem, Jules Pfeiffer and Bill Cosby.”

WHO WON WHAT: As T.O. filmfest chief Piers Handling noted on Saturday night, TIFF delivered not only 335 films but also 10 days of consecutive sunshine – “the summer we did not have.” But thanks to superb programming, meticulous planning and the more than 2,000 volunteers (!!) who help make it happen, it was truly a festival to remember.

CLARKSON: winning film

CLARKSON: winning film

Finally, just in case you missed it, here’s who took home the hardware from the 34th annual Toronto International Film Festival.

– Best Canadian Short Film: Pedro Pires, Danse Macabre. Honourable mention: Jamie Travis,The Armoire.

– Best Canadian First Feature Film: Alexandre Franchi, The Wild Hunt.

– Best Canadian Feature Film: Ruba Nadda, Cairo Time, with Patricia Clarkson, Tom McCamus and Alexander Siddig. Special Jury Citation: Bernard Émond, La Donation (The Legacy).

– FIPRESCI Prize (Prize of the International Federation of Film Critics for Discovery:) Laxmikant Shetgaonkar, The Man Beyond the Bridge (India).

SIDDIG: Cairo Time

SIDDIG: Cairo Time

– FIPRESCI Prize for Special Presentations: Bruno Dumont, Hadewijch (France).

– People’s Choice Award: Lee Daniels, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire. First runner-up:  Bruce Beresford, Mao’s Last Dancer. Second runner-up: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Micmacs (Micmacs à tirelarigot).

– People’s Choice Award – Documentary: Leanne Pooley, The Topp Twins. Runner-up: Michael Moore, Capitalism: A Love Story.

– People’s Choice Award – Midnight Madness: Sean Byrne, The Loved Ones. Runner-up: Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig, Daybreakers.

TOMORROW:

Margaret Atwood, Twyla Tharp, Rick Mercer, and more.

Now where was I? … ah yes, as I was saying …

Can’t say I wasn’t warned.

I believe the Latin term for it is bloggus interruptus.

It’s that peculiar brand of self-delusion that makes you believe you can still blog while you’re 30,000 feet up in the air, or on a train speeding through Switzerland, or, or …

GARBER: winner

GARBER: winner

You can’t. Well, at least, I can’t. And so I’ve finally learned. (I hope.) I didn’t run out of steam. I didn’t run out of things to blog about. I just ran out of time to blog ’em. Time-management is not my strong suit. Never has been, Never will be. I still make a daily To Do lists that Hercules himself would need a week to accomplish, and at the end of the day I am still mystified because, despite the dozens that may already be crossed off, so many items still remain To Do.

Rationally, of course, I fully expect to miss a blog deadline every now and then. But not for 10 days in a row!!

My bad.  And mine to correct.

Meanwhile:

RIVERS: roastee

RIVERS: roastee

 

TO THIS VICTOR GO THE SPOILS: Four-time Tony nominee and six-time Emmy nominee Victor Garber (Alias, Milk,) who received a big welcome home from Broadway when he moved back to New York from L.A., will miss the Tony Awards this year. On Sunday June 7 Garber will be in Alberta to receive the Cineflix Award of Excellence at the 30th edition of the Banff World Television Festival …  Robin Williams has rescheduled his cancelled March stint at Casino Rama and will now do two nights on Nov 11 & Nov 12 … triumphant 75-year-old Celebrity Apprentice Joan Rivers — “just think of me as Joan Of AARP!” she told Larry King earlier this week – will be alternately feted and fricasseed by her comedy contemporaries at her very own Comedy Central Roast on July 26, slated for telecast two weeks later on Aug. 9. She’s also picked up another Emmy nomination,this time for her voiceover work on the PBS animated series ARTHUR  … and what’s this? A new music group from Bollywood called Ruby Dhalla & The Nannies? No doubt about it, Double Exposure are back on the case. And you can check it out right here.

DOANE: glory-voiced

DOANE: glory-voiced

 

ALL THAT JAZZ:  Glory-voiced Melanie Doane is set to sing new arrangements of songs by Leonard Cohen, Randy Newman, Tom Waits, Hank Snow and more, May 26 & 27 at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre …  still-vibrant song virtuoso Stevie Wonder is set to open the 30th annual Montreal Jazz Festival with a free outdoor concert on June 30. Wonder will give the inaugural concert at La Place des festivals, the Montreal festival site whose official opening is not scheduled until September. Also scheduled to celebrate the three-decade jamfest: Oliver Jones, Dave Brubeck and Tony Bennett  … and Ray Parker Jr., Kool & The Gang and Earth, Wind & Fire are set to shake up the 43rd Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland on July 15.

NIXON: closing

NIXON: closing

 

PEOPLE: Law & Order alumnus Chris Noth, aka Carrie Bradshaw’s Mr. Big in Sex & The City, hosts One Night Live, a once in a lifetime concert  with Sting, Sheryl Crow and the Canadian Tenors to benefit the Women & Babies Program at Sunnybrook Hospital,next Thursday at the Air Canada Centre … perennially popular ivory-tickler Ken Lindsay continues to win new fans Thursdays and Fridays at Statler’s on Church street … and Cynthia Nixon (aka Carrie’s Bradshaw confidante Miranda) closes on Broadway this Sunday  in Lisa Loomer’s disarmingly funny look at parenting in the age of the Internet and Ritalin, Distracted.

FOOTLIGHTS: The artistic Director  of Toronto’s newest South Asian theatre company, Anand Rajaram kicks off Dishoom!, a new South Asian performance

WONDER: Montreal-bound

WONDER: Montreal-bound

festival, anchored by a remount of his Summerworks hit Cowboys & Indians (with music maven Bob Wiseman) on May 23 at the Factory Theatre  …two diverse dance companies, Toronto’s COBA and Britain’s Tavaziva Dance, collaborate to present City of Tribes May 28-30 at Harbourfront’s Fleck Dance Theatre … it’s an ill wind that blows no good. The current recession is proving to be a bonanza for theatre lovers who seldom have the dough to purchase top-dollar ducats. Reduced prices abound from here to Broadway – e.g., buy one full-price ticket for Guys & Dolls and buy a second one for only $7.77, buy an adult ticket to Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas spectacular, ticket, get a free ticket for a child under 12 — and closer to home summer seat sales are sparking box office at both Stratford and Shaw.

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Have a great long weekend.

See you Tuesday!

You win some, you lose some

Joan Rivers is on QVC today – the U.S. forerunner of our Shopping Channel, as if you didn’t know – selling  jewelry from her high-profile Boardroom Collection.

The power of television!” La Rivers marveled on Twitter this morning. “The jewelry I wore last night on Celebrity Apprentice is being worn by the models at QVC and is almost sold out!”

RIVERS: no Dice

RIVERS: no Dice

 

After last night’s two-hour opener  — which saw Joan’s team trounce Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker‘s all-male team – Rivers received lotsa pro & con reaction to some of her team members, including brainy Playboy playmate Brande Roderick and Alpha-female poker champion Annie Duke. When some of her friends called her to say how much they hate Annie, team leader Rivers remained uncharacteristically mum. “I could lie and tell them they’re wrong,” she twittered, “but then my nose would grow back.”

And who thought potty-mouth master Andrew Dice Clay would be the first celebrity apprentice to be fired? (Besides Andrew Dice Clay, I mean?)

I’m already looking forward to the second installment next Sunday.

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FALLING UP: After more than three decades of filing daily reports, much-loved New York showbiz columnist Liz Smith is nowhere to be seen in Manhattan newspapers this week. Now a celebratory 86, Liz got sacked last week by her current tabloid address, the New York Post.

SMITH: tabloid-free

SMITH: tabloid-free

 

Still a regular blogger and TV gossipist, Liz considered herself just another newsprint casualty until reporter James Barron put her on the front page of the New York Times.  And then the phone calls and emails started pouring in.

“Liz, I think you have fallen a step up in leaving the Post,” Carol Burnett told her. Canadian crooner Michael Bublé, who had serenaded Liz at her 80th birthday bash, took time to call her. So did Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg. “I also received a love note from the wonderful singer Josh Groban,” says Liz, “and loving support by e-mail from John Travolta, Tom Cruise and Sly Stallone.”

She also heard from Madonna, who asked, “What is New York without Liz Smith?”

Tom Brokaw called, and so did Warren Beatty. Liz also had “a riotous conversation” with Frost/Nixon star Frank Langella.  And her pal Candice Bergen sent her a cheery message “not appropriate for family reading.”

Ironically, you can catch up with Liz even more easily now, on www.wowOwow.com.

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As expected, Carrie Fisher’s comments on this year’s Oscar weekend were true to form. (“Oh my God, there’s Madonna! Is she with that Jesus guy? Were you invited to her party with Demi on the night of the telecast? Yeah, me neither.”) Good news is that Sean Penn’s Milk producer Bruce Cohen is also producing the adaptation of Carrie last book, The Best Awful, a 4-hour thing miniseries to star Meg Ryan. Meanwhile Carrie has turned out yet another bestseller almost as funny as she is. Addicted to wordplay – remember her novel Delusions Of Grandma? – this one is called Wishful Drinking, and it’s all about growing up with Debbie & Eddie in Hollywood. But more about that (lots) tomorrow.