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August 15, 2007 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | August 15, 2007 |

You may have heard rumors last week that Kristen Bell was in the running to show up on “Lost” next season. Well, calm yourselves down, because her people say she will not be joining the show. What’s nutty about this is that she reportedly turned down the gig because she didn’t want to relocate to Hawaii for filming. Who turns down the chance to go spend a chunk of the year living in Hawaii, not to mention getting paid some good coin to appear on a hit show? Oh Kristen, I only hope this is because you’re still planning to move to Boston to be closer to me.

…That is your plan, my dear, right? (Actually, there’s a rumor that she may have turned down the gig to take a role on Broadway as the replacement-lead in … Legally Blonde. Which saddens me to the point that I may have to revoke my invitation for her to join me here in Beantown.)

Speaking of casting news, several big names have reportedly been in talks to replace Mandy Patinkin on “Criminal Minds,” including Michael Keaton, Bob Hoskins, Geena Davis and Harvey Keitel. But CBS has finally managed to land a replacement, and it’s none other than Fat Tony Joe Mantegna. You know, I’ve been on the cusp of wiping “Minds” off of my Regular Viewing List — it just doesn’t hold my interest enough — and I was actually sorta hoping a great new casting addition would keep me on board. And no offense to Mantegna, but I don’t think Fat Tony is going to cut the mustard. But I will tune in for Patinkin’s last episode, which just gets more and more bitter, if rumors are to believed — those rumors say that his appearance will now only be for one scene and that he’ll basically be in the scene solo because none of the cast wanted to perform with him as they’re all pissed about his last minute no-show shenanigans. Well played, Mandy. Well played. (Actually, that rumor came from TV Guide’s egotistical whore Michael Ausiello, but just before “going to press” with this article, I’ve learned that Variety is reporting that Patinkin actually filmed an arc, albeit with limited shooting, that’ll run over the show’s first two episodes — so Ausiello’s “source” may not be quite as reliable as he would seem to think.)

In other casting news, Chris Mulkey (one of “those guys”) is joining the wonderful “Friday Night Lights” as the new coach of the Dillon Panthers (you’ll recall that Coach Taylor has taken a college gig in Austin). It’s a recurring role, so it sounds like he’ll be around for at least a little while. And while around, his character is going to be ruffling some feathers, as he decides to revamp the whole team’s game plan, much to the chagrin of those who love the way Coach Taylor had things set up. You know, I think I’m more excited for “FNL” than for just about any of the new fall shows.

But here’s some news about an eventual new show which I am quite excited for. You may have heard by now that “John from Cincinnati” was swiftly canceled after Sunday night’s disappointing season series finale (and while this would wonderfully free Milch up for those “Deadwood” movies, word is that he’s already thinking about new projects, so it sounds like us ‘Wooders are good and fucked). Anyway, HBO is clawing to find a new drama hit, and in that ongoing search, it’s picked up a show I told you about before, “True Blood.” Coming from Alan Ball (who of course brought us the wonderful “Six Feet Under”), the show is based on vampire novels written by Charlaine Harris, stories which fans rave about. The show will be set in Louisiana and, like the books, involves a world where vampires live among us human-types thanks to synthetic blood. The show will feature Anna Paquin (who — and if I’m talking out of turn here, tough — our own Dustin has an almost unhealthy fixation on) as a psychic waitress who starts a fling with one of the vampires. That vampire was played in the pilot by Stephen Moyer, and if you know who he is, good on you, as the only thing on his IMDb resume I’ve ever seen is a 10-year-old episode of the wonderful “Cadfael.” I don’t know much more beyond this, but I’m already happy as hell and can’t wait. Although it sounds like wait I must — the show won’t even go into production for a few more months, which means we shouldn’t expect to see this show drop until at least next summer.

The latest new show from Fox, meanwhile, has me less than excited. The network has turned to Colombia as the source of its latest gameshow remake, a version of that country’s “Nothing But the Truth.” Apparently, contestants will be hooked up to a lie detector and asked questions. If they pass the test, they win 50 grand. And if they fail, they get a big fat nothing. And yes, I suspect this show will be every bit as terrible and ridiculous as it sounds. And then some. Meanwhile, Fox has also picked up a script for “Drop Dead Diva,” which sounds just as bad — the show is about a hot model type who dies, only to find her soul placed into the body of a fat female attorney. Get it? She goes from hot and dumb to smart and fugly. … Actually, I’d love to see the Fox network execs hooked up to a lie detector so they can try to give an honest answer for how they think this sounds good. Perhaps Kevin Reilly’s role as the savior of Fox has been a bit overstated?

Fox has also given a series commitment to “The FBI,” a project from uber-producer Brian Grazer. The show will center on an Iraq vet who runs the FBI’s Critical Incidents Response Group, and according to Grazer, these agents will be emotionally complex, rather than the good-boy Feds we’re used to. The show apparently has the blessing of the actual Feds, who will cooperate with its production (the first time a show will be done in cooperation with the FBI in a few decades, I believe). And I’m sure the Feds on the show will totally be portrayed as the type of complex and flawed characters this kind of drama requires, and not just white hats. ‘Cause the FBI won’t have any problem with a show putting it in any type of tainted light, right?

*raises fists into the air* “Fox, why do you torment me so?!”

Lastly, while most of the new fall shows don’t hit for well over another month, you can start planning now thanks to handy-dandy post from the good folks over at TV Squad, who have outlined all the fall premiere dates. I’ll surely be doing my yearly TiVo column in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, you can check that entry out if you need to know right now.

If you’re not familiar with the running gag Jimmy Kimmel has on his show with regard to Matt Damon, these first two clips will fill you in. The third clip is the latest installment, and it’s great:

Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television editor. He’s not embarrassed to admit that he’s got a bit of a man crush on Damon.

The Pajiba, the Whole Pajiba and Nothing but the Pajiba

The Daily Trade Round-Up / The TV Whore
Aug. 15, 2007

Industry | August 15, 2007 |

Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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