Saturday, May 23, 2015

POSTED: Thursday, July 17, 2014, 2:06 PM
Viola Davis, star of ABC's "How to Get Away With Murder"

Producers whose shows are set in Philadelphia but aren't filmed there usually express polite regret -- often blaming the cap on Pennsylvania's production tax credit -- but Pete Nowalk, creator of ABC's fall legal drama "How to Get Away With Murder," couldn't be happier that the show, whose pilot was filmed in Philly, won't be continuing there.

"I feel lucky that we get to shoot it in Los Angeles, just because I get to be closer to production," said Nowalk, a veteran of the "Grey's Anatomy"  and "Scandal" writing staff whose boss, Shonda Rhimes, is also producing "Murder," which will air at 10 p.m. Thursdays, after "Scandal," starting Sept. 25.

"How to Get Away With Murder" stars Viola Davis ("The Help") as a Annalise Keating, a Philadelphia law professor and criminal defense attorney who schools her students in her own real-world version of the law.

Ellen Gray @ 2:06 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Sunday, July 13, 2014, 1:07 PM
Comedian Bill Cosby attends 2014 American Comedy Awards at Hammerstein Ballroom on April 26, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano (Getty Images)

NBC hasn't forgotten about that show it has in development with Philly's Bill Cosby -- though we probably won't see it before the end of the coming season.

"It's still being written...could be next summer," NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told reporters Sunday during a session at the Television Critics Association's summer meetings. The show's also a possibility for  the fall of 2015, he added.

The sitcom, which the iconic former NBC star is developing with actor/writer/producer Mike O'Malley -- who may also have an onscreen role as one of the sons-in-law of Cosby's character -- is envisioned as a multigenerational sitcom in which the comedian would play the father of three grown daughters and would be "dispensing wisdom."

Ellen Gray @ 1:07 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, July 10, 2014, 10:45 AM
Bob Odenkirk plays Bill Oswalt and Allison Tolman is Molly Solverson in "Fargo," a 10-episode series set in Bemidji, Minn.

"Quality television is now platform-agnostic," declared Television Academy Bruce Rosenblum early Thursday morning and what he meant is that Netflix is kicking Emmy ass, with 31 nominations in its second year of eligibility and major nominations for "House of Cards," "Orange Is the New Black" and "Derek."

That's enough to put it ahead not only of Fox -- which had just 18 -- but ahead of Emmy-magnet AMC, which received 26. Probably didn't hurt that this was the first year academy voters cast their ballots online.

HBO's "Game of Thrones" led the nominees, with 19, and HBO as a network picked up 99, down a little from last year's 108.

Ellen Gray @ 10:45 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, March 31, 2014, 10:25 PM
Cristin Milioti and Josh Radnor of "How I Met Your Mother," earlier this season

And they lived happily ever after.

Well, most of them did.

If you had "mother's dead" in the "How I Met Your Mother" series finale bracket, give yourself a pat on the back: The Internet was right. By the time the father's long, long, long story came to an end Monday night in an hourlong finale, the woman Ted (Josh Radnor) spent nine seasons trying to meet -- played by Cherry Hill's Cristin Milioti -- had been dead six years of an unspecified, "Love Story"-like illness that left her looking as beautiful as ever.

Ellen Gray @ 10:25 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, February 6, 2014, 2:26 PM
Michael J. Fox in a scene from a recent episode (NBC)

Reports of the cancellation of NBC's "The Michael J. Fox Show" may be premature.

After New York magazine's Vulture reported Wednesday that the show had been pulled from the Thursday night schedule, not long after production was shut down on its definitely canceled lead-in, "Sean Saves the World," it was widely assumed -- at least on Twitter -- that the show had been axed. (In defense of this assumption, I should say that networks seldom announce that a show is officially canceled. Yet low-rated puppies often do go away to the farm in Hiatusville and are never seen again.)

Not so fast, says Alex Reid, one of the show's executive producers, who called me Thursday because he's trying to get out the word that  "we’re not in the same boat as 'Sean Saves the World.' "We've got seven  episodes that NBC likes and wants to air.”

Ellen Gray @ 2:26 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Sunday, January 19, 2014, 7:50 PM

Of all the things that have been said and written about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in recent weeks, the thing that may have hurt him the most was the "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" bit in which Bruce Springsteen and Fallon lampooned the Boss-loving pol in a parody of "Born to Run."

“I really did think about that before we did that, because he's been on the show," the future "Tonight Show" host said  of Christie Sunday during the Television Critics Association's winter meetings in Pasadena. But the bit, he said, was funny.

“I let Chris Christie know before we did it," he said, adding, "Silver lining? Bruce Springsteen says your name."

Ellen Gray @ 7:50 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, January 14, 2014, 4:50 PM
Kaitlyn Dever (left) and Timothy Olyphant in a scene from Tuesday's episode of FX's "Justified"

Don't shoot the messenger, but "Justified," the FX series starring Timothy Olyphant as a trigger-happy deputy U.S. marshal, plans to end its run after six seasons.

The good news? Season 5 premiered only last week (and you can watch its second episode at 10 p.m. Tuesday).

"It was really Graham’s [Yost, the show's creator] and [star] Tim Olyphant’s decision. I would have liked to have more 'Justified,'" FX Networks chief John Landgraf told reporters at the Television Critics Association's winter meetings Tuesday morning. "It’s one of my favorite shows. I mean, I just really love it personally, and I have a longstanding adoration of all things Elmore Leonard."

Ellen Gray @ 4:50 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, January 10, 2014, 11:06 AM
Lena Dunham plays Hannah on the HBO series "Girls"

Maybe you've wondered from time to time, while watching HBO's "Girls," why creator and star Lena Dunham so frequently chooses to have her character naked.

Maybe you haven't.

If you have, for God's sake, keep it to yourself.

Ellen Gray @ 11:06 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
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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