Sunday, October 4, 2015

POSTED: Monday, July 29, 2013, 12:46 PM
Mackenzie Lintz and Colin Ford in "Under the Dome" (CBS )

"Under the Dome" will return next summer and Stephen King himself will decide how that works.

CBS CEO Les Moonves kicked off the network's first day at the Television Critics Association's summer meetings with the announcement that the hit show, about a mysterious, invisible dome cutting off a small Maine town, had been renewed for another 13-episode arc and that  King, who wrote the book on which the series is based, will write the first episode.

So if you think you know it ends, think again.

POSTED: Sunday, July 28, 2013, 3:10 PM
In this image released by Syfy, Ian Ziering, second left, and Cassie Scerbo battle a shark in the Syfy original film "Sharknado." The network is announcing a sequel to "Sharknado," which became an instant campy classic with its recent airing. The new film premieres in 2014. (AP)

Anthony C. Ferrante's two worlds are colliding at the moment.

An entertainment journalist who's covering the Television Critics Association summer meetings in Beverly Hills, Calif., he's also on the receiving end of questions from other reporters as the director of “Sharknado,” the Syfy disaster movie starring Ian Ziering and Tara Reid that became an overnight sensation when its July 11 premiere blew up on Twitter, generating nearly 5,000 tweets per minute.

 I, too, was sucked into the story of a storm that sucked sharks out of the Pacific and into Los Angeles (though the following morning it all felt like a bad dream -- or a mass hallucination). And I still had questions, which Ferrante was kind enough to answer while we both waited for a press conference to start during a Hub network event Friday night.

POSTED: Sunday, July 28, 2013, 3:02 PM
FILE - This Jan. 20, 1961 black-and-white file photo shows President John F. Kennedy delivering his inaugural address after taking the oath of office, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo, File)

November will bring a slew of JFK-related programming for the 50th anniversary of the president’s assassination, but so far, only one program I know of is identifying a Secret Service agent as a second shooter who accidentally fired the fatal shot.

It’s not the first time the agent, the late George Hickey, has been named as the shooter: One contributor to the Nov. 3 documentary, Bonar Menninger, identified Hickey as the shooter in his 1992 book, “Mortal Error: The Shot That Killed JFK,” and was sued by him in 1995 (too late to avoid the statute of limitations, though St. Martin’s Press did pay Hickey “a nominal sum,” said Menninger, to forestall an appeal).

“JFK: The Smoking Gun“ is not, admits Reelz channel CEO Stan Hubbard, in line with Reelz’ show business-focused mission — some would argue that upcoming “reality” shows like “Hollywood Hillbillies” aren’t, either — but the way he figures it, the Kennedys are grandfathered in.

POSTED: Saturday, July 27, 2013, 3:02 PM

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will play himself in an episode of NBC's new sitcom "The Michael J. Fox Show."

And according to Fox, who'll play a New York City news anchor -- at an NBC station -- in the show, where his character interviews Christie, he nailed the role.

"He was very good. He was very friendly, very funny," Fox told me after an NBC press conference on Saturday during the Television Critics Association meetings in Beverly Hills, Calif. "He was on his way to the All-Star game and dropped by the studio and was just great. He's like an actor. He went through the process, and makeup and rehearsal."

POSTED: Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 6:10 PM

Keith Olbermann can so talk politics on his new ESPN2 show, "Olbermann."

He just doesn't want to.

Olbermann, meeting with reporters on Wednesday for opening day of the Television Critics Association's summer meetings in Beverly Hills, denied a New York Times report that said, "On his new show, Olbermann will be free to discuss matters other than sports, including pop culture and current events, but not politics, the two-year pact specifies."

POSTED: Thursday, July 18, 2013, 10:36 AM

Netflix's heavy investment in original series paid off big Thursday, as the streaming service received 14 Emmy nominations and became the first digital programmer to be nominated for the awards in major categories since a rules change in 2007 made online programming eligible.

It's just the kind of Emmys debut that not so long ago helped an old-movie channel known as AMC rebrand itself as a home for cutting-edge dramas like “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad,” and it signals that Hollywood, at least, is comfortable with the idea of television that isn't exactly television.

POSTED: Sunday, July 14, 2013, 3:27 PM

I'm pretty sure I spoke with Cory Monteith only once.

It was at a Fox press party on the West Coast in January of 2010, when "Glee" was still a phenomenon and Monteith, who  I would remember afterward as polite in that Canadian manner and kind of sweetly earnest, was patiently fielding questions from a small group of reporters about everything from his dancing ("I have to try really, really hard to be as good as Finn," he told me, referring to his "Glee" character, who also struggled with the moves) to the magazine-style boilerplate questions about the last movie he'd seen and some must-have piece of technology.

Only now, listening to a recording I made that night, do I cringe when someone asks the then 27-year-old actor to name "one thing you want to do before you die."

POSTED: Friday, July 12, 2013, 2:38 PM
Comedian Bill Cosby will have a Comedy Central special this fall (Erinn Chalene Cosby)

Bill Cosby will be back on TV this fall, if only for one night.

Comedy Central announced Friday -- on the Philly-born comedian's 76th birthday -- that it would air Cosby's first televised concert special in 30 years, "Far From Finished," on Nov. 24.

Directed by Robert Townsend, the special will be made up of material  the star of "The Cosby Show" performed recently at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center.

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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