Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Q and A: Week of August 2
A: Star Dylan McDermott (pictured, photo credit Richard Foreman) told me: “We looked at the first season to see what worked and what didn’t work. We decided to make the show a little lighter in tone, added more humor, and the introduction of Alex Rice as my love interest. We’ve opened it up to a wider audience. It’s still gritty and dark, but adding and making changes opened up the show a lot.” (Read my entire interview here.)
Q: I can’t believe Melina Kanakaredes is leaving my favorite show, “CSI: NY.” Who will they get to replace her? — Maggie F., Portland, Maine
A: After six years, Melina is hanging up her handcuffs, and television vet Sela Ward is stepping in to take her place. “We are delighted to have Sela joining ‘CSI: NY,’” ’showrunner’ Pam Veasey announced in July. Ward will play an “experienced investigator from Washington, D.C., whose work is driven by her empathy for the victim.”
Q: Is it true that Steve Carell is leaving “The Office”? Why? The office will be so empty without him! — David G. in Pennsylvania
A: It’s sad, but true. Everyone’s favorite worst boss will be leaving the show when his contract expires in May 2011. He explained to E! Online that he just felt it was time. But don’t worry, as Steve explains: “It certainly doesn’t mean the end of the show. I think it’s just a dynamic change, which could be a good thing, actually. Add some new life and some new energy. I see it as a positive in general for the show.”
Some good news on the casting front, though, is the return of Amy Ryan as Holly for eight episodes, as well as Melora Hardin as Jan (no word as of yet on how many episodes). I can’t wait to see how Michael handles this one!
Q: I have been a fan of Natasha Henstridge since “Species” (who could forget that role?), and really liked her on the now-canceled “Eli Stone.” What does she have coming up? — Greg D., via e-mail
A: Natasha has been pretty busy since playing Taylor Wethersby on “Eli Stone.” The beautiful blonde, who turns 36 on Aug. 15, recently starred in “You Lucky Dog” opposite Harry Hamlin (who I’ve redeveloped my crush on since watching “Clash of the Titans” again). She also starred in the film “The Perfect Student” and starred in the TV miniseries “Impact” with David James Elliott ("Scoundrels”).
You can catch her on Sunday, Aug. 8, in the Lifetime Original Movie “The Devil’s Teardrop,” a mystery/thriller based on the best-selling book by Jeffery Deaver. She plays a special agent assigned to catch a serial killer who’s on the rampage in Washington, D.C. Natasha co-stars with Tom Everett Scott ("That Thing You Do”) and Rena Sofer ("Just Shoot Me!”). Stay tuned — my full interview with Natasha is coming soon!
Q: Does Jeanne Cooper, who plays Katherine Chancellor on “The Young and The Restless,” have a son or two in show business? If so, who are they? — Janet C., Battle Creek, Mich.
A: The Grand Dame of daytime television does indeed have children who are actors: daughter Caren, son Collin and, most famous, son Corbin Bernsen (of “L.A. Law,” “Major League” and “Psych” fame). Jeanne’s husband (now deceased) was TV producer Harry Bernsen Jr. They divorced after 23 years of marriage, but reportedly remained best friends until his death in 2008. Corbin, 55, plays the recurring part of Father Todd Williams on his mom’s show, and he directed Jeanne, 81, in the films “Carpool Guy” and “Donna on Demand,” as well as many other projects.
Q: I watched “Stargate: Atlantis” from the beginning, and really like one character who wasn’t in the show for the entire run of the series. Can you give me more information on Rainbow Francks? Also, is he related to Canadian actor Don Francks? — June J., Holberg, B.C., Canada
A: Rainbow Sun Francks, 30, is indeed the son of Don Francks, as well as the brother of actress Cree Summer (who is best known for her role in “A Different World”). You can catch him this summer in the CBS police drama “The Bridge,” which airs Saturdays. He guest-stars in the ninth episode of this first season. The show, which originated in Canada, already aired his episode (titled “Never Let Me Down Again”) in April, but you might be able to catch it online or in reruns.
Q: Can you tell me if Jill from “Wipeout” is the same girl on the Mercury car commercials? — Burton L. in N.Y.
A: “Wipeout” co-host Jill Wagner is indeed known as the “Mercury Chick” for her commercial and print ads for Lincoln-Mercury (since 2005). The 31-year-old North Carolina native also has appeared on “Blade: The Series,” “Stargate: Atlantis” and “Bones.”
Q: I would love to know what my favorite ’90s star, Jason Priestley, has been up to lately. The most recent thing I’ve seen him on is “Side Order of Life.” — Trisha J., via e-mail
A: Jason, who turns 41 in August, still acts here and there, but he has really turned his attention to directing. He caught the directing bug while working on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” and has since directed shows such as “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” “The Lake” and the new “90210.” Currently he is guest-starring on the new ABC series, “Scoundrels,” which airs Sunday nights.
I spoke with series star Leven Rambin recently (see the interview here), and she told me she was thrilled to work with Jason. “He was so fun. He just came in and really embraced it and really got the joke of the character. The character is like an ’80s washed-up TV star who is now doing a reality-hosting type of show. He came in and was such a pro, and I got along with him really well.”
Q: After Farrah Fawcett passed away, I was watching an interview with her best friend, Alana Stewart, and she mentioned their shared Texas ties. Where is she from? — Janice, Fort Worth, Texas
A: Farrah hailed from Corpus Christi, Texas, which is in the southern portion of the state along the Gulf of Mexico. Alana is from Nacogdoches, Texas, which is toward the east and closer to the Louisiana border.
Q: I absolutely adore the “Harry Potter” series and am so sad to see it come to an end. What do the stars of the series have planned for the future? — George K., Casper, Wyo.
A: I had the chance to speak with the stars when they were in Orlando for the opening of Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Daniel Radcliffe will be starring on Broadway in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” and he hopes to continue to hone his singing and dancing skills. Rupert Grint is going the indie route: His new film, “Wild Target,” recently opened, and he’s in preproduction for “Eddie the Eagle.”
Tom Felton might have a bit of revenge in his future. When I asked him about his speech being interrupted at the MTV Movie Awards by Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, he joked: “I just wanted to thank my mum — it took me four tries to get it out! Hopefully one day Will Ferrell will have a big lifetime acceptance speech, and I can swing down from the rafters and mess his speech up.”