Monday, August 3, 2015

POSTED: Sunday, August 2, 2015, 9:59 AM
Michelle Dockery and Hugh Bonneville at a Television Critics Association session at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday

With just a few weeks left of filming for the sixth and final season, the cast of "Downton Abbey" made its final appearance at the Television Critics Association's summer meetings in Beverly Hills this weekend, and some reporters seemed reluctant to let go.

One practically begged executive producer Gareth Neame for an annual two-hour movie.

 (Sorry. Not likely.)

POSTED: Thursday, July 30, 2015, 1:55 PM
Cast of "Ghost Asylum" will attempt a live exorcism on Destination America channel

Did TV learn nothing from Geraldo Rivera's on-air opening of Al Capone's largely empty vault?

Apparently not.

Discovery Channel offshoot Destination America is looking to make a little noise this Halloween with an Oct. 30 special it's calling "Exorcism: Live!"

POSTED: Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 5:01 PM
Trevor Noah joined "The Daily Show" as a contributor only at the end of last year, but he could soon find himself serving as an integral part of the program. (Comedy Central)

He speaks seven languages — so far — grew up poor in South Africa and considers himself "tainted with hope and optimism."

With a little more than a week until Jon Stewart puts his fake-news persona out to pasture, reporters at the Television Critics summer meetings got a closer look at his "Daily Show" successor, with a double dose of Trevor Noah that included a Comedy Central-sponsored standup performance in Santa Monica Tuesday night and a morning-after press conference in Beverly Hills.

It's tricky to watch a comedian perform and extrapolate from his act to future performance on a show that's become so closely identified with someone else. On the surface (and so far it's mostly surface), Noah appears, as one reporter put it, "unflappable." But while he insisted, as Stewart long has, that he's doing comedy, not news, he did show enough emotional range to suggest he'd be able to move beyond jokes when occasion required.

POSTED: Thursday, July 16, 2015, 11:58 AM
Producer and co-writer Tina Fey (L) and Ellie Kemper (R) speak about the 'The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' during the Netflix TCA Press Tour. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for Netflix))

Upper Darby's Tina Fey is back in the Emmy hunt.

Fey, who  between "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" already has eight Emmys, is up for four more this year, though in one category she'll be competing -- with others -- against herself.

Netflix's "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," which Fey  co-created with Robert Carlock and was originally intended for NBC, is nominated for outstanding comedy. Fey also received a nomination as a guest actress on the series for her appearance as Marcia Cross.

POSTED: Wednesday, June 3, 2015, 12:26 PM
Katie Holmes and Liev Schreiber in a scene from the coming season of Shwotime's "Ray Donovan."

In another bid for the business of cord-cutters -- and those who no longer watch TV on TV -- Showtime will add a standalone streaming service to be available on Apple devices early next month.

At $10.99, it will be cheaper than the $14.99 HBO  currently charges for HBO Now, though there's speculation that the premium cable giant, which launched its standalone service in April, may be reconsidering a price point that puts it at nearly twice the cost of a basic Netflix subscription (and which apparently hasn't stopped the problem of illegal downloads of shows like "Game of Thrones").

Launching next month would also give Showtime an opportunity to highlight the Season 3 premieres of "Masters of Sex" and "Ray Donovan," both scheduled for July 12.

POSTED: Thursday, May 21, 2015, 2:04 AM
A marquee for "The Late Show" with David Letterman stands outside of the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan during taping of the final edition of the show in New York May 20, 2015. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

David Letterman didn't want us to be sad.

After 33 years and 6,028 shows in late-night television, the 68-year-old host of CBS' "Late Show" said his last "Thank you and good night" in a funny and intermittently  touching broadcast that ran long but seemed short.

I hope you watched it, because there are some things you just have to be there for, and Letterman specialized in moments that were meant for an audience watching in something approximating real time, not one that waited for the highlights on YouTube the next day.

POSTED: Thursday, May 14, 2015, 10:19 AM
"DC's Legends of Tomorrow" will join the CW's schedule next season

The CW will add three new shows next season, including a third drama drawn from the DC Comics universe of "Arrow" and "The Flash."

Only one new show,  “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” will premiere this fall.

In a conference call with reporters Thursday morning before presenting his plans to advertisers in New York, CW president Mark Pedowitz described that hourlong comedy, which was originally a Showtime pilot, as “a perfect companion piece” to “Jane the Virgin,” which it will be paired with on Monday nights.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 9:47 AM
Ted Danson and Elisabeth Shue in a scene from this season's "CSI." (CBS)

NEW YORK -- "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" will end its 15-season run in a two-hour episode this fall, with original stars William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger returning for the finale, CBS executives announced Wednesday.

Ted Danson, one of the show's current stars, will transfer to spinoff "CSI: Cyber," which moves to 10 p.m. Sundays this fall, where he'll co-star with Patricia Arquette.

The finale, scheduled for Sept. 27, will mark the end of a remarkable run. "CSI," which paved the way for a number of shows that married science and crimefighting, anecdotally also influenced many young viewers to pursue careers in forensics.

About this blog
As the TV critic for the Philadelphia Daily News, I've always believed my job is less about thumbs -- up or down -- and more about the conversation. Because the more choices we have, the fewer people in our lives know what we're talking about when we say, "Did you see that?" And that's when television really starts to get interesting. Reach Ellen at

Ellen Gray Daily News TV Critic
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