Friday, September 4, 2015

POSTED: Sunday, August 9, 2015, 3:45 AM
"Empire" creator Lee Daniels (left) with fellow producer Brian Grazer at the Television Critics Association awards in Beverly Hills on Saturday

"Empire," the Fox drama that took television by storm last winter, was named program of the year by the Television Critics Association at its 31st annual awards in Beverly Hills.

James Corden, of CBS' "Late Late Show," hosted the events, using it as an opportunity to poke fun at critics (who could mostly use a break from hearing from people who pretend to care what we think).

Not that he was the only one.

POSTED: Friday, August 7, 2015, 12:04 PM
Ted Danson (left) and Patrick Wilson investigate a bloody crime in the new season of FX's "Fargo"

 The latest installment of Ryan Murphy's FX anthology, "American Horror Story: Hotel," will premiere Oct. 7, followed on Oct. 12 by a new season of "Fargo."

In other FX announcements Friday at the Television Critics Association's summer meetings in Beverly Hills:

-- "The Strain" was renewed for a third season.

POSTED: Thursday, August 6, 2015, 12:30 PM
Director Lee Daniels attends the premiere of Fox's 'Empire' held at ArcLight Cinemas. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)

West Philly's Lee Daniels is working on a second music-centered series for Fox (and he's already talking about a third).

The creator of the network's freshman hit "Empire" will set the new drama, "Star," in Atlanta, Fox TV co-CEO Dana Walden told reporters Thursday at the Television Critics Association's summer meetings in Beverly Hills, where she announced that Fox had ordered a pilot. It will focus on three young women who form a band and try  to make it in the music business.

And although Walden wouldn't rule out the possibility of crossovers with "Empire," the show's meant to stand on its own, she said.

POSTED: Tuesday, August 4, 2015, 7:59 PM
"The Goldbergs" on ABC.

There's more to making an '80s-set comedy like ABC's "The Goldbergs" than ticking off a list of pop-culture moments.

Because pop-culture moments all have lawyers.

Or, in the case of Rod Temperton, the British songwriter responsible for Michael Jackson's hit "Thriller," some outdated opinions about the relative value of television and movies.

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.

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 graye@phillynews.com.

Ellen Gray Daily News TV Critic
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