Tag Archives: The West Wing

Ms Vanasse gets Scruples, Ms Koslo gets Sheba, Ms Janney gets a Dinner and Ms Lucci gets a maid

VANASSE: new pilot

TUBE TALK: Award-winning Quebec actress Karine Vanasse, who charmed American audiences with her work in the too-short-lived Pan Am, is shooting a pilot for a new series for a new first-time producer. The pilot? Scruples, based on the Judith Krantz novel about a socialite who attempts to open a fashion-forward boutique in the heart of Beverly Hills. The new producer? Natalie Portman, who is exec producing with Tony Krantz and Annette Savitch  … three TV favourite are tossing their hats in the ring again. Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace) is shooting Americana,a

JANNEY: dinner date

pilot for a new drama about a legendary fashion designer and his family business; Tony Shaloub (Monk) and Allison Janney (West Wing) are starring in Friday Night Dinner, a pilot spin-off of the British series that revolves around a traditional Jewish family as they observe Shabbat dinners; and Susan Lucci is the top-billed marquee bait in Devious Maids, a pilot based on the Mexican telenova about four maids who work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. And the beat goes on.

MAZZARA: bound for Banff

PEOPLE: Add Glen Mazzara, Executive Producer of the Emmy Award-winning series The Walking Dead, to the Master Class series at the upcoming Banff World Media Festival … Women Fully Clothed will follow up their April dates in California with four May stops in beautiful B.C., performing their new show in Nanaimo, Victoria, Courtenay and North Van … Corrine Koslo inherits the juicy role originated on stage and screen by Shirley Booth when Come Back, Little Sheba opens this summer at the Shaw Festival. More on Shaw tomorrow …  Gerald Finley, Oliver Jones, Quartetto Gelato and the Nathaniel Dett Chorale are among the mighty music-makers set to spark this summer’s Westben Arts Festival Theatre offerings in

BUCKNER: Den mother

Campbellford, Ontario. July showcase presentations culminate in an August 5 fund-raiser finale, featuring pianist Brian Finley and the Brian Barlow Big Band and aptly named The Big Band Theory. Sounds like a winner … and the indefatigable Pat Ferns, in Cannes to moderate the “By Invitation Only” Drama CoProXchange at MIP TV, is heading back to his old stomping ground, li’l ol’ T.O., at the end of the month to host International Co-Production Day at Hot Docs on April 30.

IT’S ALL COMING BACK TO THEM NOW: On tonight’s Dragons’ Den finale, all five Dragons reminisce about the very best – and worst – moments over the past six seasons. Den host Diane Buckner reportedly gets Dragons Jim

HAWCO: cliffhanger?

Treliving, Kevin O’Leary, Arlene Dickinson, Bruce Croxon and exiting fire-breather Robert Herjavec to tell what they really think about each other,  and highlights from the last six seasons of the show include the stand-out pitches AND the in-fighting, counting down to the three most memorable moments in the series’ history. After you leave the Den,  Allan Hawco rallies his troops on Republic Of Doyle’s season closer  to prove his father’s innocence when he’s accused of murder. Will Season 3 end with another cliffhanger?  I’d put money on it, b’y … … and speaking of cliff-hangers, Martin Gero’s steamy L.A. Complex series, about young hopefuls sharing the same space in Hollywood, will premiere on The CW in the U.S. this month. New episodes are set to start unspooling here in July on MuchMusic.

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Marlo Thomas set to open in New Brunswick

Marlo Thomas, who blogs on wowOwow.com and decades later still looks like That Girl,  is about to premiere a controversial new play in New Brunswick.

WAGNER: New Brunswick-bound

WAGNER: Russian roots

Okay, calm down. 

Marlo opens Friday night in New Brunswick, but not our New Brunswick. She’s taking the stage in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The play, New Year’s Eve, is the newest work of legendary stage and screen scribe Arthur Laurents (Gypsy, West Side Story) and co-stars Keith Carradine and Natalie Wood’s beautiful daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner. (Her mother Natalie, who changed her Russian first name to please studio execs, revisited tradition with her daughter by writer-producer Richard Gregson. When Natalie & Robert Wagner remarried, RJ formally adopted Natasha as his own — hence her impressive three-name marquee allure.)

Laurents, now an indefatigable 91, is letting his hand-picked cast take his new play for a test drive at the George Street Playhouse for three weeks so he can tinker with the engine when he’s not preoccupied with his current Broadway revival of West Side Story.

Ain’t showbiz grand?

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IBOMEKA: cast your vote

IBOMEKA: cast your vote

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Mamma Mia composers Björn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson have written a follow-up to their worldwide hit musical. Their new show, Kristina from Duvemala, reportedly opened in Sweden to ecstatic audience response   one of the ninth annual ReelWord Film Festival’s most popular attractions is slated for late-night screening this Friday at the Cineplex Odeon Carlton Cinemas on Carlton. Starting at 11 pm, the filmfest’s Music Video Program, supported by BravoFact and MuchMusic, will unspool some unusual, engaging and entertaining music videos by, to name only a few, Simple Plan, Friendly Fire, Alex Cuba, Bedouin Soundclash and The Sicilian Jazz



Project …  great news for Beatlemaniacs: The original Beatles catalogue has been digitally re-mastered for the first time, for worldwide CD release on September 9. Two new Beatles boxed CD collections will also be released on the same date … Streisand: The Concerts will go on sale in Great Britain before we get to see it over here. The special three-disc DVD set showcases some of Ms Barbra’s most memorable concert performances over the decades, including 17 songs never before released on DVD … and soul man D.K. Ibomeka, supreme saxophonist Jane Bunnett and violin virtuoso Lenny Solomon are among the nominees for the 2009 National Jazz Awards – and you can vote for them! To cast your ballot, just click here.

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2009_0326_amazon_mary_tyler_mooreLITERATI:  Tis the season to Tell All, sort of. And everybody’s doing it, almost. Including Mary Tyler Moore, who subtitles her second autobiography Life, Loves, And Oh Yeah, Diabetes … the youngest Best Actress winner in history, Marlee Matlin was only 21 when she won the coveted statuette, In her new autobiog I’ll Scream Later she reveals that at the peak of her fame she was about to put herself into the Betty Ford Clinic to fight against her addiction to alcohol. Still an inspiration for millions of hearing impaired fans, she also discusses her sometimes stormy romances with William Hurt, Rob

MATLIN: youngest Best Actress

MATLIN: youngest Best Actress

Lowe, Richard Dean Anderson and West Wing creator David E. Kelley … Simon & Schuster reps are buzzing about Love Child, a new memoir by Allegra Huston, daughter of legendary director John Huston and Italian American dancer Ricki Soma. Her mother died in a car accident when Allegra was only four and Allegra grew up with her siblings Anjelica, Tony and Danny Huston. To make things even more interesting, she later discovered that her biological father was British writer John Julius Norwich … and Joan Rivers is riding high with two, count ‘em, two new books — a spoofy Agatha Christie-meets-Barbara Taylor Bradford mystery called Murder At The Academy Awards, and a highly informative How To (and What Not To) manual on the pleasures and perils of plastic surgery called Men Are Stupid (And They Like Big Boobs.) Rivers fan Larry King did a special web interview with her for his CNN website, and you can see it right here.

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SIMON: stunned silence

SIMON: stunned silence

GET OUT YOUR HANDKERCHIEFS: If you still have any Kleenex left after seeing the socko finale of the first season of Being Erica on CBC television, wait ’til you watch 46-year-old British villager Susan Boyle try her luck with Simon Cowell & Co. on Britain’s Got Talent. Jane Fonda twittered it yesterday(“I find it so touching!”) and it made all the major national newscasts, and I can honestly say, without fear of contradiction, that Ms Boyle’s performance must truly be seen and heard to be believed. And yes, to see it just click here.

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SHOWBIZ GUESSING GAME: The refusal of two Hollywood screen sirens to wear the on-screen wardrobes chosen for them unexpectedly makes it possible for a reserved British leading lady and a bold young New York TV actress to start collecting Oscar nominations.

Guess who??

A passion for Passchendaele

DUE NORTH: The Genie Awards are still three weeks away, but Paul Gross already knows he’s a winner. His remarkable Passchendaele has won the 2009 Golden Reel Award for most popular Canadian film of 2008, grossing (you should pardon the pun) more than $4.4 million in domestic box office receipts.

GROSS: golden

GROSS: golden

And when the Canadian Academy hands out the awards on Saturday April 4 in Ottawa, Gross — who wrote the script, directed the movie, starred as the protagonist and co-produced the epic World War I saga with Niv Fichman, Frank Siracusa and Francis Damberger — still has a crack at collecting another half dozen statuettes, because Passchendaele has been nominated for another six Genie Awards.

Also celebrating this week: Yves-Christian Fournier, winner of this year’s Claude Jutra Award for his directorial debut of Tout Est Parfait/Everything Is Fine, which has garnered no less than seven, count ‘em, seven Genie nominations.

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GIRL TALK: Only three episodes in and Joan Rivers’ all-girl team has now trounced bad boy Dennis Rodman’s all-boy team three times in a row on this season’s Celebrity Apprentice.

Yes, the fellas are falling like flies. First it was Andrew Dice Clay, who was almost voted off by his own team until Donald Trump saved them the trouble and fired him, After the second show  Olympic skating champ Scott Hamilton got sacked by The Donald, and the only Canadian challenger, Tom Green, got the axe last Sunday night.

BRODERICK: brainy?

BRODERICK: brainy?

As much as she enjoyed her victory, Rivers says she was sorry to see them go. “Scott Hamilton,” she reports, “is someone I like a lot — a true gentleman.” As for Tom, “I like him more and more. If you cut through, he’s very smart.”

One of her teammates is brainy Playboy playmate Brande Roderick, who proved a great asset on their first outing.

“Brande seems very nice, but controlled,” says La Rivers. “Boy oh boy is she gorgeous. And I am very impressed that she can count above 20 wearing closed-toe shoes.”


“No, no, Brande is actually very smart … for a Playboy bunny. However they only put her in months that are easy to spell … May, June, July … “

Any tips on next Sunday night’s free-for-all?

“Yeah – keep your eye on ‘Mr. Nice Guy, Clint Black.”

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SILVER: screen-stealer

SILVER: screen-stealer

ABSENT FRIENDS:  He was a veteran scene-stealer on stage and screen, from Speed-The-Plow to West Wing. But my favourite Ron Silver performance was in Sidney Lumet’s luminous lovesong to Manhattan, Garbo Talks, a charming and unexpectedly potent weeper.

In it Silver played a man trying to track down the eternally elusive Greta Garbo to bring her to the bedside of his ailing mother (Anne Bancroft) so she can die happy. En route Lumet gives us glimmering glimpses of a handful of wonderful New York characters, wonderfully well played by Carrie Fisher, Harvey Fierstein, Dorothy Loudon and Hermione Gingold, and when Silver finally confronts Garbo in Central Park, he delivers a three-hanky monologue with such understated brilliance that most actors still marvel at his chutzpah.

Tony award-winner Silver died Sunday morning after losing a private two-year battle with esophageal cancer. He was 62.

He will be missed.

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SEE/HEAR: “Economists say that by this time next year, there could be fewer than 100 late-night talk show hosts!”

The speaker? Enduring Late Show host David Letterman, currently enjoying a YouTube  resurgence with his stint at Taco Bell.

When it comes to Stupid People Tricks, nobody does it better. See for yourself, right here.