Saturday, January 31, 2015

POSTED: Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 9:46 AM
Writer/producer Shonda Rhimes speaks onstage during the 26th Annual Producers Guild Of America Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on January 24, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - ABC has picked up four more pilots for their 2015-16 season, including a new drama from "TGIT" queen Shonda Rhimes. All pilots hail from ABC Studios. 

"The Catch" from Shondaland's Rhimes and Betsy Beers follows a female forensic accountant whose career specialty is exposing fraud for a living. Much like the leading ladies of "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal" and "How to Get Away With Murder," the sure-to-be fierce woman at the forefront of the crime thriller is not all she appears to be and has a tumultuous love life. She's about to get married, but also about to get conned by her fiance -- little does he know, her lies end up colliding with his cons.

The pilot will be exec produced by Rhimes, Beers, Julie Anne Robinson and Jennifer Schuur, and co-produced by Helen Gregory and Kate Atkinson. Robinson is set to direct, and Schuur will pen the pilot.

POSTED: Monday, January 26, 2015, 4:31 PM
Cecily Tynan suffered a torn ACL on a ski trip over the weekend. (Photo via Twitter)

6ABC's Cecily Tynan is working harder in this blizzard than you are. Case in point: This weekend, she tore her ACL while skiing and the chief meteorologist is still plugging along at work.

She even seems to be having some fun with bud Adam Joseph:

POSTED: Monday, January 26, 2015, 10:06 AM
Filed Under: Music & Nightlife

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Fresh off the heels of Amazon's history-making victories at the 2015 Golden Globes with "Transparent," Netflix raked in three wins at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, solidifying the strength of streaming series in the television landscape. 

Netflix won three of the five gongs for which its series were nominated, including a first-ever SAG award for outstanding comedy actress Uzo Aduba, whose series "Orange Is the New Black" also won for best comedy ensemble. Kevin Spacey, who took home the Golden Globe for lead actor in a drama, landed his second trophy of the 2015 awards season for "House of Cards," winning for outstanding male actor in a drama series at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Netflix's "House of Cards" was also nominated for outstanding ensemble in a drama series, but the award went to PBS' "Downton Abbey" and Robin Wright was beat out for outstanding actress in a drama series by Viola Davis for "How to Get Away With Murder" (ABC). 

POSTED: Sunday, January 25, 2015, 11:26 AM
"The Rock" tweeted a picture of himself hanging out in South Philly at what looks to be the Pat's-Geno's cheesesteak nexus last night. (Twitter)

Philly professional wrestling fans are noticeably excited today. The Royal Rumble hits the Wells Fargo Center tonight. The winner of the 30-man Battle Royale-style match wins a spot in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania. 

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson got the WWE devoted even more excited last night when he tweeted a picture of himself hanging out in South Philly at what looks to be the Pat's-Geno's cheesesteak nexus:

POSTED: Thursday, January 22, 2015, 10:07 AM

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Conan is in the DANGER ZONE.

Superspy Sterling Archer, from the FX animated comedy "Archer," stopped by Conan O'Brien's show Tuesday to pick up the latenight host for some espionage hijinks. The pair's animated jaunt proved Conan to be a surprisingly effective shotgun-seat spy companion, even if his general clumsiness did destroy Archer's car.

Along those lines, RIP Andy Richter.



POSTED: Thursday, January 22, 2015, 10:02 AM
Executive producer Ilene Chaiken attends the premiere of Showtime's 'The Real L World' Season 3 at Revolver on July 17, 2012 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - When Shonda Rhimes praises your show, you know it's a hit.

A huge series debut, plus a ratings boost in week two, raking in 10.3 million viewers, and an early Season 2 renewal doesn't hurt either -- and that's been the whirlwind premiere experience for "Empire" showrunner Ilene Chaiken who's admittedly a huge Shondaland fan.

"So fabulous" is the feeling Chaiken described of Rhimes' early support of her Fox hip hop drama, starring Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard. (The "Scandal" creator tweeted "Empire" kudos to her 800,000 plus avid followers.)

POSTED: Wednesday, January 21, 2015, 11:16 AM
Actor Bob Odenkirk, actor Jonathan Banks and actor Michael McKean speak onstage during the 'Better Call Saul ' panel at the AMC portion of the 2015 Winter Television Critics Association press tour at the Langham Hotel on January 10, 2015 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "I'm a lawyer, not a criminal," protests the protagonist in "Better Call Saul," a spinoff/prequel to "Breaking Bad" whose initial episodes ask, but don't fully answer, whether Bob Odenkirk's sleazy defense lawyer can carry a show on his own. Unlike its sire, this AMC series arrives both burdened by expectations and with a turbo-charged launch behind "The Walking Dead," virtually ensuring a decent amount of sampling. Essentially, "Saul" is an extended origin story, possessing "Bad's" flavor and black comedy but at least initially lacking its emotional core. While that dictates a mixed verdict, the creative auspices nevertheless bode well. 

Without giving too much away, "Saul" opens with a terrific framing device, using black and white to draw the viewer in. ("Bad" creator Vince Gilligan directed the pilot, which he co-wrote with Peter Gould.) 

From there, it's back to six years prior to the beginning of "Breaking Bad," as we meet Saul before the latenight ads and drug-dealer clientele. Instead, he's plain old James McGill, a struggling lawyer taking cut-rate public-defender cases to make ends meet, while trying to look after his brother (Michael McKean), who is on a vague health-related sabbatical from his partnership in a big corporate firm. (When James enters the firm's tony conference room he unleashes an imitation of Ned Beatty in "Network," which is greeted by blank stares.) 

POSTED: Wednesday, January 21, 2015, 11:07 AM
Actors Page Kennedy, Kristoffer Polaha and Genevieve Angelson speak onstage during the 'Backstrom' panel discussion at the FOX portion of the 2015 Winter TCA Tour at the Langham Hotel on January 17, 2015 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "Backstrom," it turns out, is just 2015-ese for "House," with Rainn Wilson's Dwight Schrute elevated to the leading-man role the character always thought he deserved in "The Office." A mildly defective detective (sorry, Monk) with a bad attitude, Wilson's title player is prone to offensive and outlandish utterances, while going about the business of deciphering quirky yet banal crimes in the tree-lined, rainy environs of Portland (actually Vancouver). Shepherded along by "Bones'" Hart Hanson, this is the sort of meat-and-potatoes drama that doesn't feel distinctive enough to do much more than tread water on Fox, even with "American Idol's" kick-start.

Granted, there's symmetry in putting this series (adapted from a Swedish book series, with almost nothing except the name to suggest those literary origins) in "The Office's" old timeslot; and something very specific about the gloomy Northwest setting, where Backstrom is introduced at a crime scene, chomping on a cigar and wearing a rain poncho. 

Politically incorrect and prone to insulting those around him, the lead character is a recovering alcoholic and has health issues -- his doctor's advice: "Make a friend." And presumably he's tolerated by his low-key colleague (Dennis Haysbert, underused in the early going) because he's so brilliant and driven, working for the special-crimes unit. So make that law & order, S.C.U. 

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