Friday, November 30, 2007

PTR Watch Reminder: Deck the Halls with a Special 'Closer'

By LillyKat / PTR Staff Writer
"I do not like it when I am ordered to be festive."
Even though PTR's favorite homicide detective is taking the weekend off (and the ongoing writer's strike has us all wondering if and/or when we'll get to see the remainder of this season's Lilly Rush chronicles), Brenda Leigh Johnson will happily tide us over in a two-hour holiday special of The Closer this coming Monday, December 3rd at 8 p.m. on TNT.

Tune in or fire up the Tivo, then be sure to check PTR next Tuesday for a full recap of all the tidings and trimmings of BJ and the gang!

Photo: TNT

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Jingle 'Bones,' Jingle All the Way

'Tis the season for holiday episodes, but last night's Christmas-themed episode of Bones exemplified that "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" (Andy Williams-style) sentiment better than any other. How Christmas-riffic was this outing??!! I really thought that those witty Bones writers couldn't top this year's spectacular Halloween episode, but they sure proved me wrong last night. I'm pretty sure that I haven't laughed that hard in a long time -- even with a sitcom and Bones definitely falls more in the drama column. Everything from the escalating Santa similarities (North Pole variety) to Bones and Booth's bantering to the rent-a-Santa who needed a hearing aid and the always hilarious counseling sessions with Dr. WayTooYoung had me laughing so hard, I had tears in my eyes. Holiday movies should be so funny!

Of course, the talk of the night lands squarely on the shoulders of THAT kiss. Sure, it was part mistletoe, part black mail and a whole lotta chewing gum, but it was still quite spectacular! And even though Bones and Booth will carry on as if it never happened, we all know that they were both jolted by the way they felt during and after. LOVED the awkwardness between them and the way the prosecutor (a.k.a. the "Puckish" kiss arranger) rubbed the idea that they both went a little above and beyond those "steamboats." Just a well-done scene. And even though I ultimately want Bones and Booth together, I'm content to sit back and let the obvious tension between them fester for a few more seasons. Besides, the most romantic and touching moment came at the very end when Booth gave Bones and her family that tree. It's the little things that set this show apart and this episode was chock full of them and holiday cheer. Oh, and mistletoe. Can't forget that mistletoe.

Photos courtesy of Fox

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fans Can Make the Call

From Fans For the WGA:

On Monday the WGA and AMPTP will recommence negotiations. The FFWGA wishes them Godspeed. However, our support cannot waver. I must stress: we will not stop campaigning on the writers’ behalf until the contract is signed, sealed, delivered, and serenaded by Stevie Wonder.

That is why on Monday and Tuesday, during normal business hours (9AM to 5PM) we are asking EVERY ONE of our members to call one or all of the following numbers:

Anne Sweeney, ABC, ABC Family, Disney

Kevin Reilly, Fox

Bruce Rosenblum, Warner Bros.
Phillipe Dauman, Viacom

Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal

1.212.975.4545 (This is a direct line)
Les Moonves, CBS

Click over to the Call Blitz page for a sample script of what to say and more. Today's the last day of the blitz, so make your call(s) count! And don't forget to click the link on the right of this blog to send Pencils2MediaMoguls! We need to encourage a speedy and fair end to this strike as soon as possible.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Lilly Finds the Writing's On the Wall

Well, well, well... it seems that some very small part of Lilly Rush paid attention when her therapist told her that she's never going to stop having nightmares if she doesn't face what happened to her and the realizations that come with it. The nightmares returned this week, and when they did, Lil woke up with an "Oh crap! My therapist was right" look on her face. So maybe she hasn't faced it, but at least she seems to realize that she needs to. Baby steps, but a very positive development in the emotional well being of our favorite cold case detective.

Speaking of cold cases, we had a great one this week. A victim that I think we can all agree didn't have us boo-hooing over his murder. A serial rapist who not only forced himself on women, but also laughed in their faces after the fact. Oh yeah, and there was also the poor girl who killed herself. LOVED, loved, loved Lilly and Kat's interrogations with these women -- victims themselves. I get that Lilly wants justice and she doesn't get to pick her victims and yada yada yada, but she sure was hell-bent on arresting this scumbag's killer. In her mind, it was all tied into this idea about facing the thing that's holding you back. She thought one (or all) of the women had killed Mike and the only way they were going to move on was to own up to it. Yes, yes I know: Pot meet kettle. When it became clear that they weren't responsible, she changed her tune. She made Jimmy say that Mike's murder was a case of "imminent danger" so he wouldn't be separated from his sister. Like Lilly, I'm a little torn about it. On the one hand, Mike was a creep and he would have continued to rape women, but on the other, murder is murder. I'm glad it ended as it did, but I couldn't help but feel a little morally wrong for feeling that way.

There was sooooo much funny goodness in this one. As usual, Kat and Vera had me cracking up. And then there was the entire gang's reaction to Jeffries being in charge. I lost it when someone made that paper "Lieutenant" sign! This (hopefully) temporary power shift is making for an interesting new dynamic. I like it when shows change things up (again hopefully) temporarily for the better. I also LOVED the scene between Will and Stillman on Stillman's boat. It was an insta-classic and a great way to have the wonderful John Finn in the episode. So, another excellent hour. Cold Case moves to 10-0 on the season.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

'Heroes' Saves One of its Own

I have to admit - I didn't really think that Heroes' HRG was dead. He's just too integral a character to kill off this early on in the series. I didn't, however, think that they would bring him back to life by the end of the episode. His "resurrection," if you will, did make for an interesting final moment. In fact, all in all, I liked this week's outing a lot. It focused on a couple of stories instead of the show's usual several-a-week format. It's just too difficult to follow when they try to stuff 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5-pound sack, and that causes me to lose interest -- fast. Even Lost, for all its faults, sticks to one character's story at a time each episode. Anyway, it seems that Claire in more vulnerable now that The Company has her father. He's not able to protect her and there's no way The Company isn't going to exploit him. It's no secret that Claire's story is my favorite, so I'm excited about the possibilities here.

If someone had given me a detailed character description for Kristen Bell's Elle, I never would have believed that she could pull it off. "BUT, she's too cute, " I would have uttered vehemently. And boy would I have been wrong. She's fan-frickin-tastic in this role! She brings the right amount of fun, evil and even a little "Kristen essence" to a role that could easily have turned into an exploited bad girl cliche in the hands of another actress. Major kudos to Bell for knocking my socks off once again.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Catch a 2-day marathon of the first season of Heroes on cable's MOJO November 23rd and 24th. Visit for more.

Photos courtesy

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

'Case' Star Speaks Out For Her Crew

Cold Case star Kathryn Morris weighed in on the effects of the ongoing writers strike on the hit crima drama's crew members. In a brief interview with the syndicated Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith, she explains why she's standing behind the people behind-the-scenes:

Kathryn Morris: "Cold Case" Bitter Strike Realities Setting In

Publish Post"Cold Case" star Kathryn Morris reveals that the Hollywood writers' strike has made things "very emotional on our set. Writers on a lot of other shows on the Warner Bros. lot tried to pump out a few extra scripts to help the crews get through the holidays. Our writers chose not to do that. It hurt the crew, hurt their feelings," she says. "The electricians, the grips, the costumers, hair and makeup people — all who do not have the luxury of receiving residuals and get paid week to week — are going to have to find work to feed their families. Some of these people will not be coming back to 'Cold Case' at all. This is bound to break up our crew," she goes on heatedly. "This is a crew that just put in over 100 episodes, that puts in 80-hour work weeks and does double episodes to make air dates. We've worked together closely for five years, and we're a tight family. Now, some of them will probably have to find work outside of TV or films." Morris stresses, "As much as I respect and understand what the writers are doing, catching up with the technology, to see this crew getting split up is painful." They'll be working until Friday (Nov. 16), she tells us, and then the set will be shuttered. As for Morris herself, she relates that she'll still have some post-production recording and other work ahead on the series, and then she'll possibly take on another movie assignment. She notes, "There's been more feature activity — films that have locked scripts. I'm going to be available because of the break. Even when we do go back, it's going to take awhile to get some scripts together."

Sobering words. And a HUGELY respectable stance from Kathryn. Even more reason why we need both sides to find a fair resolution ASAP.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stillman Solves His Last 'Case' - For Now

All those in favor of Lt. John Stillman for Boss of the Year, say "I." All those opposed...nobody? That's what I thought. We all knew that Stillman was a stand-up guy, a devoted detective and one hell of a boss, but this week's episode proved just how much he embodies all of those admirable traits and more. He has spent most of these 5 seasons of Cold Case trying to make things right in his personal life - supporting his daughter through her pregnancy and recent separation and even reconnecting with his ex-wife. But, it is his professional acts that garner him the most praise here at PTR. He has gone to bat more times than he probably cares to remember for Lilly, he blamed himself for her shooting and he entered into George Marks' attic gun-in-hand to save her life and he tried to save her from having to live with a death on her hands. He shared many glasses of Scotch with Will, comforted Scotty after Elisa jumped to her death, and lent an understanding ear to Nick after his wife left him. Stillman has always been there for his detectives whether it's being the father that Lil never had or a friend right when the others need him the most. But this week, he took the fall for Scotty's bad judgment and the 30-day suspension that comes with it. It was Scotty's fault that a disturbed father wound up on a rooftop holding a gun to the head of his son's murderer, but Stillman told internal affairs that he gave the order so he could save Scotty's young career. Scotty may have gotten off suspension-free, but he's going to be dealing with a heaping helping of guilt. That final scene with Stillman carrying his box out the door as his team looked on was moving thanks to the entire cast, but John Finn really shone the brightest this week. Big kudos to him for the entire hour!!

It's difficult to imagine a world where women are expected to fit into one solid mold. If not, they end up in mental facilities receiving extremely risky electric shock treatment. Of course, this wasn't the story for every "gender confused" teen in the 60s, but the sheer fact that it was the story for any is sad enough. As far as I'm concerned, that hospital and that doctor killed Sam, not her friend. It was maddening watching Kat arrest Dom while the real killers were never held responsible. When Dom found Sam, there was nothing left that resembled the vibrant, proud teen that made her classmates uneasy with her boyish tendencies. The Cold Case writing staff are masters of weaving tales that champion society's "underdogs" - the sectors that bare the brunt of the majority's ignorance-fueled hate, and this episode was no exception. I love these sorts of stories because they really are the essence of this show. I also loved Kat's interrogation with Red. She was adorable and always in control. It was nice to see a different side to her character. Cold Case moves to 9-0 on the season.

Support the writers who write your favorite shows. Send Pencils2MediaMoguls.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Teams Cry Over Spilled Milk

Last week, we said goodbye to the Married Ministers on The Amazing Race. To quote Phil, "Who will be eliminated next?" Here are this week's "live" thoughts.

The Exorcist
??!! Really, Jason??!!! You compared your girlfriend to something out of a horror film! Boyfriend of the Year nominee over here, folks. Oh wait, he has competition from Nathan who is busy complaining about Jennifer stressing him out too much.

Shocking, but the blondes are already complaining about how they don't look good. It's a race girls, not a beauty contest. Wouldn't you just love to see these two on Survivor??

Airport Drama Alert! Ron and Christina have 30 minutes to make their flight and they're still at the ticket counter. Editing says they won't make it, which means they're a lock for getting on. See, told ya. BUT WAIT, there's more! The flight carrying most of the teams is having a mechanical problem, which means they can't take off for Paris. And that means they can't make their connecting flight to a newly emerging country in Africa! And since it's a newly emerging country, there's only one flight a day. Bottom line, all of the teams that aren't Shouldn't Be Dating Couple (who made an earlier flight) are totally screwed!

As usual, the signature TAR commercial break fixed everything (including the plane) and all of the teams arrived in Paris and (barely) made the flight to Africa. It couldn't, however, fix the blondes, who, upon arriving in Africa, decided that the place was "rough" had "no street signs" and worried that they might be "sold to people for money." Well, the taxi driver did take their money and laugh at them, so it wasn't a total loss.

OK, so I was laughing at the idiot-ness that is the blondes, but now they're being downright offensive. They're insulting the local people's clothing, smell and cleanliness ("These people bring flies"). Ugh! They're back on the Hate List for me.

Didn't anyone learn anything from the donkey task in the premiere? Taking out your frustrations on a stubborn animal will get you nowhere, people! Notice that, once again, the calm, nice teams are the ones NOT crying over spilled milk and already leading their pack of camels along the marked path (except for TK and Rachel who are lost once again). Meanwhile, Lorena and Jennifer are this close to losing it. OK, so Lorena just lost it. Good thing there was a magical TAR commercial break. Maybe it can make her STOP SCREAMING!

No such luck. She's still screaming and carrying on. Please. Make. It. Stop!

Loyal TAR watchers know that there is a tried and (Notso) true method of getting people who speak other languages to understand you. No, it's not talking loudly. It's SPANGLISH! Apparently, it has surpassed English as the universal language, and thus, "educationale" is the international word for education/school. I wonder why it didn't work??

Yes! The Brother/Sister team just finished in first after zipping through Learn It at the Detour. And as an added bonus, Phil got to say "Spa."

Lorena Update: She's still yelling and crying back at the Roadblock. And no, she still hasn't gotten all of the milk she needs. This is going to be a LONG Roadblock. BUT, I now see where Jason was coming from with that Exorcist comment early on. Oh thank god, she finally got the damn milk. My ears want to hug the camel that gave it to her!

Editing says that it's a tight race between Jason/Lorena and the Sisters, but me thinks the Sisters are in last. And they are, so Lorena stays around to scream another day. The Sisters, however, are not as lucky. They landed in last and were eliminated.

Were you bummed to see the Sisters go? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.

Support the writers that write your favorite shows. Send Pencils2MediaMoguls.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Send Pencils2MediaMoguls

The great folks at United Hollywood have come up with a great way to support the writers with their latest campaign:


Spread the word! One buck sends a box of 12 pencils to a mogul. We're pooling everyone's money to buy the pencils from a "green" manufacturer who uses wood from sustainable forests.
If the moguls refuse to accept our truckloads of pencils, we'll donate them to schools and non-profits that deal with children's literacy.
Hopefully, we will indeed have truckloads to deliver. But only if we all spread the word.

So, first click over to United Hollywood to send your pencils and then spread the word to everyone you know. I sent my pencils and it was quick and easy and done through PayPal.

Friday, November 16, 2007

AMPTP Sets New Date for Talks with the WGA

Promising news via United Hollywood:

November 16, 2007


LOS ANGELES – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) have issued the following statement today:

Leaders from the WGA and the AMPTP have mutually agreed to resume formal negotiations on November 26. No other details or press statements will be issued.

For more information about the Writers Guild of America, West, please visit For more information about the Writers Guild of America, East, please visit:

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) represent writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable, and new media industries in both entertainment and news. The unions conduct numerous programs, seminars, and events throughout the world on issues of interest to, and on behalf of, writers.

Let's hope that the network and studio execs are willing to make a fair deal with the writers. BUT, there is something you can do to facilitate this. Thanks to the fan-run site, Bring TV Back, you can print off and send a letter to the appropriate heads. The site provides this template:

If you are a fan of a specific show (or shows), PERSONALIZE the following template:

Dear (CEO):

As a loyal viewer of many of your TV shows, I'm disappointed that you, along with the rest of the AMPTP, have broken off negotiations with the Writer's Guild. In refusing to negotiate residuals for new media, especially streaming media, you are alienating those who enjoy your product.

I consume my entertainment via new media -- I watch streaming video and download shows. As a viewer, I want to know that the writers who crafted my favorite TV shows and movies are getting a fair residual, no matter what screen I use.

Please respect your audience and respect your writers by returning to the bargaining table and negotiate new media residuals fairly.



Not sure where/who to send it? Bring TV Back has taken care of that as well:


ABC network/ABC Family/Lifetime/Disney Channel/A&E/ABC Studios
Robert Iger
CEO of The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521

CORPORATE PHONE: (818) 560-1000
CORPORATE FAX: (818)560-2500

FOX network/FX/MY Network TV/Fox Television Studios
Peter Chernin
CEO of Fox Entertainment Group
10201 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035

CORPORATE PHONE: (310) 369-1000

CW network/Warner Bros. Television
Barry Meyer
Chairman, Warner Bros. Entertainment
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522

CORPORATE PHONE: (818) 954-6000

NBC network/USA/Sci Fi/A&E/Universal Media Studios
Jeff Zucker
CEO of NBC/Universal
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

CORPORATE PHONE: (212) 664-4444

CBS network/CW network/Showtime/CBS Paramount Television
Leslie Moonves
CEO of CBS Entertainment Network
7800 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

CORPORATE PHONE: (323) 575-2345

Sony Pictures Television
Michael Lynton
Chairman/CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

CORPORATE PHONE: (310) 244-4000
CORPORATE FAX: (310) 244-2626

Comedy Central/MTV
Philippe Dauman
President/CEO of Viacom
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036

CORPORATE PHONE: (800) 459-2539

Write those letters and let these bigwigs know that you support the writers. It could make a big difference come November 26th.

PTR Exclusive: Annabeth Gish Dishes on ‘Brotherhood’

Annabeth GishBy LillyKat
PTR Staff Writer

There are a handful of actresses who just seem to get better and better as time goes along.

They are not – nor have they ever been – one-hit wonders. They didn’t get to where they are via four trips through rehab. They are smart. The consummate professional. Classy. Articulate. Know their craft.

And they really are just genuinely gosh darn nice.

Annabeth Gish is one of these actresses.

Known (and loved) by so many as the adorable Kat from Mystic Pizza (yes, back when she top lined the then unknown Julia Roberts), in recent years she’s brought us Special Agent Monica Reyes (The X-Files) and Elizabeth Westin (The West Wing). This all is in addition to turns on the big screen opposite the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Joan Allen, Kevin Costner, Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones, and of course Jon Voight (when she was only 15-years-old). Her illustrious career is now well into its third decade, and she currently stars as the troubled Eileen Caffee on Showtime’s critically acclaimed original series Brotherhood.

BHood (as I like to call it) is an honorable mention fave here at PTR, and particularly, Annabeth’s portrayal of the amazingly complex, dark, seriously conflicted and let-it-all-hang-out-there Eileen. Although Eileen is showing somewhat of a quieter, more restrained side during this second season, the actress who portrays her remains as stellar as ever.

Annabeth recently took time out of her very busy schedule to talk with PTR about all-things Eileen:

PTR: When we first got introduced to Eileen Caffee in Season 1, she was the good political wife and mother with a seriously dark side. By the end, she had to fess up to her adulterous and drug/alcohol-induced addictions, and that has carried over into Season 2 as she deals with the aftermath/fallout of those indiscretions within her family. How much do you think Eileen has changed between the first and second seasons – is she stronger, weaker, perhaps a combination of both?

Annabeth Gish: Well, good question. There was so much that was left unsaid on the air, including Eileen's confession and call to reform the relationship of marriage between herself and [her husband] Tommy, that I just had to assume/hope the audience would track it in good faith without the payoff of seeing it characterized. While I am not a fan of useless exposition from a writing standpoint, it was a continuous discussion between the writers and myself. I wanted more overt vocalization of Eileen's plight – especially since we as women tend to over-speak anyway when we talk through our problems! Alas, [executive producers] Blake [Masters] and Henry [Bromell], excellent writers and bosses that they are, over-rode my opinion. And it works I guess, when going for the expression of Eileen's silent turmoil. From my perspective as an actress, I had to somehow relate the internal struggle of a valiant attempt at strength, and honesty, even while being completely shamed (weakened) in the public arena of her marriage via Tommy's affair and at home with his not so discreet but silent punishment in front of [our young] girls and the Caffee family. Tommy [has been] hell bent on making Eileen pay this season!!! But I do think it was very courageous of Eileen to come forward and tell the truth about her sins.

PTR: When you first took on the role of Eileen, it was one of the darker and more edgier roles of your career (Kat in Mystic Pizza this was not). How challenging and/or exhilarating was that for you, and what has it been like getting back into this kind of character for a second go around with the series?

Annabeth Gish: Playing Eileen has been such a creative gift for me - the first season was entirely liberating, sexy, free and wild. The second season [has been] reigned in, more restrained, but riding on top of all of the previous deviance. There has never been any one note melody to Eileen - thank God. I have loved playing her because she is complicated, real, flawed, imperfect, needy, desperate and stuck. Amazing that all of those things should be such a pleasure, but it's certainly been my experience with Brotherhood. I hope we have another season because I'm excited to meet up with her infallible self again!

PTR: If you could pick three of Eileen’s best qualities, what would they be? And her worst?

Annabeth Gish: Best qualities are her loyalty (mishandled as it may be), her love for her children (again, flawed and misguided at times), and her willingness/desire to expand outside of her small, contained self. I think her worst qualities are the reversals of these three best ... the dark side of the light. In most of us, every quality - if it is fiercely felt but cannot always be responsibly directed - can backfire. This is what has happened to Eileen, why she is where she is in her life, her marriage. Stuck because of her own passions and yearnings have no outlet. Her loyalty has imprisoned her.

PTR: What has been the best part of being on Brotherhood for you?

Annabeth Gish: Well, obviously the creative challenges, the depth of emotion and struggle that must be accessed in playing Eileen. And the liberation that has come with playing her. I don't know if it's a function of just where I am at personally in my life, or where I am with my craft, or the character of Eileen, it's all been quite rewarding artistically and that [has been] the best part. But from a professional standpoint, it is so nice to be part of a show that is critically well received, rave reviews and building a kind of underground energy of its own. People who love the show, love it and recognition of that sort is the best [kind to] receive because it is sincere.

PTR: In the last couple of years, as reality television as inundated network television, we’ve continued to see a lot of strong, female lead roles find their way onto shows that are exclusive to cable. How do you feel about that? Do you think cable is the place to be these days – both from a creative standpoint and as an actor?

Annabeth Gish: Yes, in general, cable television has served as a wonderful pool of strong female voices, characters, reflections. Network television has its limitations, which can sometimes tie the wings of really deep and authentic representations of women. However, I will say, there are often instances when cable tv misuses the breadth of their freedoms in ways that seem exploitative to me. The ratio of female nudity to male nudity is the obvious example.

PTR: The show is set in Providence, Rhode Island, and you film the show entirely on location in Providence. From what I understand, the community is extremely supportive of the cast, crew and show on the whole (very similar to the way the city of Philadelphia has a special kinship with Cold Case). What has that experience been like for you – knowing the community in which you’re working is such an essential aspect to the show, almost like another character?

Annabeth Gish: Providence itself is a character in the show. It's colors, rhythms, idiosyncrasies infuse the entire production. I have loved living there while working on the show. I have made lasting friendships with many people who live in RI, and it is the warmth with which we have been welcomed and invited into the very flavorful and diverse community that has been so special.

PTR: Given the seriousness of the show, is the set equally as serious and focused, or is there room for lighter moments?

Annabeth Gish: Of course there are jovial moments. All of the actors are genuinely a fabulous bunch. But it is a serious show, full of emotional and physical violence, which is not always so pretty. So I would say there is a certain intensity built into this cast/crew that separates it from other shows I have worked on. Of course I welcome it because I can be rather intense myself, although if there is someone who is busting up in a giggle fit at the end of a long day, it is usually me!

PTR: You became a first-time mom this past year. Now being a mom yourself, did that have any affect on how you portrayed the mother in Eileen for this second season? Did being a real-time mom change your approach, offer new insight?

Annabeth Gish: Without a doubt! Yes, being a mother in real life completely informs playing a role of mother. I never knew how much until I became one, and the nuances are there, hopefully this season. Nuances I just never even knew existed, couldn't know until I experienced motherhood firsthand. It's a very specific thing when your arms and hands have curved and bent to hold your child time and again - the heart expanding love weaves itself into every fiber of bone and breath, and it softens so many edges. To me, motherhood has been a crucible of experience, and I think I will now carry it as a defining tool forever. From the perspective of Eileen, it made me understand more carefully her love and willingness to endure with Tommy, despite all of their turmoil. Kids somehow forge an incredible bond.

PTR: If you could pick one thing that you think stands out – either for your character or the show on the whole – for this second season, what would that be?

Annabeth Gish: Hmmm. It's much more male-centric this season. More men, more violence. I'm no prude, I understand violence, but I think it can be detrimental to a show about family when the female voice is diminished .... But that's just me and my womanly opinion.

PTR: What’s up next for you? Any chance you’ll appear in the now-confirmed second X-Files film that will be released next year?

Annabeth Gish: No, I am officially not going to be in the X-Files movie. I didn't expect to be, although I can't pretend I wasn't hoping for even just a cameo appearance with Robert [Patrick] so [the characters of] Doggett and Reyes could live again, but alas .... I have always understood it was a Mulder/Scully show at all times. We hitch-hiked and got a great ride for two years, I met my husband [whilst on the show], and it was [just] a fantastic time in my life. So I am grateful for all that it was, but knew we would not likely be asked to carry anything forward. I will be excited to see the film as a fan of the mythology.

PTR would like to extend special thanks to Annabeth for taking time out to chat with us. We secretly hope she might pop up on one of our other PTR faves (you know, like Cold Case or The Closer) in between BHood seasons. You can catch up with Annabeth anytime at her Official Fan Site and Blog. New episodes of Brotherhood air Sundays at 10 p.m. on Showtime.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dr. Cox Has Feelings Too

No man is an island, right? Well, someone forgot to impart that wisdom onto Dr. Perry Cox. See, he spent most of tonight's episode fighting the notion that he no longer enjoys being alone. His wife and kids were visiting her family (he couldn't go because of a nasty Christmas memory that resulted in a restraining order), and he couldn't even enjoy his day off because he missed them too much. It made for plenty of laughs, but there was also Carla's dream, Dr. Cox's "wave" of excitement over not going to his mother-in-law's for the weekend, Jordan and Perry's fight over who's going to miss who more, JD's Risky Business daydream, "man face," JD's quest to learn everyone's names, and Ted's band doing The Who's "Who Are You." Now, here's a look at this week's best, funniest and all around awesome lines in this edition of the Scrubies.

The Scrubies
"Really??!! Did he also tell you to take your trunks off, Turk? Because the last thing a guy wants to see when he's in a splash pool is his best friend's junk heading towards him at 40 mph! Felt like I got pistol whipped." JD recounting a water slide encounter with Turk

"Well done, Dr. John-I-Think-I'm-A-Man-Of-The-People-But-Now-Thanks-To-
The-Janitor-Everyone-Knows-I'm-A-Freud-And-I-Have-Egg-On-My-Face-Dorian." Janitor to JD

"Perfect. Pretend you hate the nickname so it will stick." JD (narration) about his new nickname

"Oh my God! Is this what heaven's like?" JD (narration) after putting his arm around Dr. Cox

And now a reader-submitted Scrubie from last week:
Suekola44 loved Dr. Cox's announcement that Eliot's was Mattel's newest toy - "Hypocrite Barbie"

If you have a line that you would like to nominate for a Scrubie, be sure to leave me a comment and I'll publish it in a future edition.

'Damages' Isn't Done; 'Closer' Special in December

By LillyKat
PTR Staff Writer

We interupt the coverage and possibly being flamed for the support of the strike by the Writers Guild of America to bring you an update on two PTR faves: The Closer and Damages.


The Closer

"Thank yewww, thank yewww sooo much!"

Our second favorite (er, tied for first) homicide detective Brenda Leigh Johnson will get back to business on December 3rd at 8 p.m. in a special two-hour edition of The Closer on TNT.

Now, if any of you watched last year's special (recapped here at PTR), you know it was chocked full of great moments. These December specials do not disappoint, so be sure to tune in for holiday fun with Brenda, Fritz and the gang (or at least make sure your Tivo is fired up and ready to record)!



Ellen v. Patty.

Round 2.

And Round 3.

Thank you, FX.

After some will we / won’t we / can we / should we / we have to don’t we / debate, Damages has been renewed for not one but two more full seasons (26 episodes).

How’s that for an early Christmas present?

Now, if we only could get the writer’s strike resolved so those fabulous Damages scribes can get back to creating some of the best written stuff on television.

Hmmm, maybe we should send in Patty to help?

* * * * *

From: The Hollywood Reporter

Nov. 12, 2007

'Damages' inflicted on FX
Cabler has record 6 dramas going
By Kimberly Nordyke

FX is bringing back "Damages," and how.

The cable network has ordered two more seasons -- or 26 episodes -- of the drama series from KZK Prods., Sony Pictures Television and FX Prods. Stars Glenn Close, Rose Byrne and Tate Donovan are signed on as series regulars for both seasons.

"Damages" wrapped its first season Oct. 23, averaging a multi-telecast weekly cume of 5.1 million total viewers and 2.5 million adults 18-49, according to Nielsen Media Research. On a first-run basis, the series averaged 2.5 million total viewers, including 1.1 million in the demo, per episode.

Season 2 is targeted to enter production in New York early next year, pending a lengthy writers strike.

FX noted that the "Damages" pickup -- along with "The Shield," "Nip/Tuck," "Rescue Me," "Dirt" and "The Riches" -- makes for a total of six concurrent drama series, the most ever for a cable network in that genre.

FX president and GM John Landgraf praised the show's creators/executive producers -- Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman -- and the cast for a "beautifully written, beautifully acted show." He added that it's the first time the network has ordered multiple seasons of a show at one time and noted the benefit of FX being a co-producer on "Damages" with SPT.

"There also was a good amount of support in the international marketplace, which is very bullish on the show," Landgraf said. "When we looked at the economics of it, it just worked out really well that we were able to make a commitment to two seasons.".

SPT co-president of programming and production Zack Van Amburg agreed. "This group has mastered the art of storytelling with a show that continually raises the bar with each and every episode," he said.

SPT co-president Jamie Erlicht added that "FX has continually shown enormous support for both this show and for Sony, and it's evident in this extended renewal."

Todd Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Zelman issued a joint statement touting their "rewarding" relationship with FX, adding, "We're extremely fortunate to be able to continue to write and produce stories for an actress of Glenn Close's talent and stature."

* * * *

A reminder to check out the PTR interviews with the stars of Damages: Glenn Close, Tate Donovan and Peter Facinelli.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

PTR Commentary: The WGA Strike – Rewriting for Change

By LillyKat
PTR Staff Writer

Writing is rewriting.

Long ago, long ago in a writing galaxy far, far away, I learned this very simple mantra from my first creative writing teacher. She was the first one to give me permission to throw out entire passages I thought were the bees-knees when, in actual fact, they did absolutely nothing for the development of my overall story.

So, I learned to go back.

To strengthen.

To tighten.

To refine.

To improve.

You should always go back.

Any good writer will tell you this.

It’s always better for the story.

So it should come as no surprise, then, the “story” of the strike by the Writers Guild of America (WGA), which has brought the television industry to a screeching halt (with the film industry not far behind), has been weighing heavily on my mind since the first picketers hit the sidewalks on November 5th.

The WGA wants a rewrite.

The studios think the same story that has existed for the past 20 years is just fine.

Strike, anyone?

It’s disturbing to me the hardball tactics that are being employed by the studios and networks. But alas, the historian in me knows better (think Rockefeller’s Standard Oil monopoly at the turn of the 20th century). Historically, no matter the industry, the big guys generally do not like it when the little guys start asking for their fair share of the pie. And the big guys generally do not give it up easily.

Then again, dictators never see their downfall coming, do they?

The two biggest sticking points of discussion:

1) Residuals paid on the sale of DVDs: The WGA would like to up this to a whopping 8 cents per DVD (up from 4 cents).

After 20 years, can I ask how this is seen as an unreasonable request? Can you imagine if the rest of us were still being paid at a 1988 pay rate for our work (you know, when VHS and Betamax were still slogging it out, and big hair, big bangs and jeans with a waist line that hit you about mid-stomach were in)? How can the studios expect the writers to think this is still a commensurate compensation rate after two decades of astronomical sales growth from the home video (now DVD) market?

2) Payment for shows, movies, etc., made available via the new Internet media environment (think online downloadable material from places like iTunes and Unbox): The WGA would like this to become equal to the television residual rate paid to studios when a piece of work is sold to be rebroadcast (2.5 cents for every dollar the studios earn). Currently, writers get nothing.

Contrary to all the naysayers who take potshots at the writers for “suddenly” complaining about their contract, here’s a new flash: common sense tells us new media was obviously not the big deal it is now when the last contract got negotiated; and, writers have been trying to get back the 80% pay cut they agreed to take in 1988, which at the time was done to help the studios grow the then VHS business with the understanding they would get the pay cut back after the business took off.

I’d say after 20 years of waiting, and with the introduction of an entirely new medium by which people get to watch their work, it really is time for a rewrite.

The new Internet media issue is raising the biggest (and arguably loudest) concern. The studios and networks keep using the same ol’ story of the medium being “too new / don’t know how to handle that / really is just a promotional thing” so as to get themselves out of having to share a piece of the online pie.

Problem is, when half the audience now gets its entertainment delivered via an online media source, that argument becomes completely bogus.

Plain and simple.

This is 2007.

New media is going to be (if not already) the way people get their entertainment going forward. The people who create the stuff we download have a right to be paid for that work each and every time we go to get a copy of it. How is this any different from when authors of books get paid for every copy they sell and/or songwriters get paid every time their song is performed or published?

I also take issue with people who think this strike is about a handful of rich writers just wanting to get richer.

That is even more of a bogus argument.

This strike is not about writers in the Paul Haggis tax bracket – those who get paid upwards of $250K a week to write the next Crash or revise the latest Jerry Bruckheimer magic carpet ride.

Yes, I’ll give credence to the argument that some folks can make a really good living if they are fortunate enough to a) find steady work in the business, or b) garner grand success that entitles them to be paid a hefty sum of money, or c) have some spectacular financial advisor, or d) all of the above.

However, that must be weighed equally against the hard reality that nearly half (48%) of WGA members are unemployed at any given time, there is no job security for writers after XYZ show or 123 film is done, and there are thousands of non-Paul-Haggis scribes who grind it out week in, week out for a modest mid-level income of the five figure variety (not six).

This strike is about folks like Kate Purdy: a staff writer on a quality television show who is trying to make a living doing something she loves whilst asking to get paid fairly in the process – both during her run on Cold Case and long after she’s moved on to something else but of which we still get to enjoy.

Side note irony: Cold Case isn’t even available on DVD nor as a legal download alternative given the costly obstacle in obtaining digital distribution rights for – yes, you guessed it – the music featured on the show.

Hmmm, so let me get this straight once again: the songwriters of the music featured on a television show are getting paid for multiple copies of their work to be republished and/or distributed digitally, but the actual writers of that same television show aren't and/or are stuck with a half-baked deal from 1988?

Wow, that seems fair.


And yet Kate, like so many other writers, is willing to make a stand – without the luxury of a huge salary, huge residuals or huge payouts to cushion the blow – to re-write their own story to get a fair deal for their work now and in the future.

There is no fuzzy math, here.

Studios continue not to want to pay for what a writer sits and toils over.

For what a writer writes and re-writes until he or she thinks they can’t write anymore.

For what a writer thinks is for sure the biggest waste of time only to find out people love the end result.

For what keeps a writer up at night until he or she discovers the perfect line for the perfect moment that brings the entire story together.

Why is it that everyone but the writers seems to forget that nearly every story you fall in love with on the tube or every movie one sits down to watch for the 45th time started with a writer staring at a blank page to create the story that is just about to be told?

Wouldn’t you want to get paid for that if you were entitled?

No matter when or where someone saw it?

It’s unfortunate the studios remain unwilling to negotiate on this issue.

For the writers who live off those residuals, and for the guilds to fund the pension and health plans to take care of their members, it really is that important.

That critical.

And it’s something worth making a stand for.

The sooner the studios accept this, the sooner everyone can get back to the negotiating table.

With all that said, it must be duly noted that while I support the strike and what the writers are trying to do, I understand whole-heartedly the effects the strike is having on the Below-The-Line workers. That is, writers aren’t the only ones out of work. This affects every single person who works on any show (or film) that cannot report to work and collect a regular paycheck if production is shut down.

Grips. Techs. PAs. Make-up. Caterers. Foreman. Drivers. Set builders. Costumers. Assistants.

And since there are folks both above and below the line that exist paycheck-to-paycheck, the power and impact of this strike cuts both ways. It is not going to get easier, and it will continue to hurt a lot of folks until a resolution can be made.

That said, historically, there comes a time when a generation of folks makes a stand for change – especially when it is fundamentally the right thing to do and of which its effects will echo into future generations.

"Real change requires sacrifice, discipline, courage."

Character: Chelsea Cellini
Movie: Role of a Lifetime
Writer: Tony Alda

I believe this may be one of those times.

And at the end of the day, I do not care what fabulous director is hired, what genius actors sign on, how many CGI artists play with the greenscreen, how many animators doodle up Nemo, or how many stuntmen are sent flying off buildings, there has to be a script for any of this to even be conceived.

And someone, somewhere, wrote it down.

So let’s go back and rewrite this one for the better, folks.

The real ending to this story does truly depend on it.

(Grateful acknowledgements: United Hollywood, and

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

TV Blogs Go Dark in Solidarity with the Writers Guild of America

On November 13th, this blog and the blogs listed below will be on strike for the day in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America. As fellow writers and as TV fans, we are coming together to express our strong support for the writers and their goals. We believe that when a writer's work makes money for a company, that writer deserves to be paid. Many writers depend on residuals for a stable income, and that income shouldn't be based on an outdated formula which ignores the existence of new media and all but a tiny percentage of DVD sales. The talented writers responsible for so much of what we love about television should and must be paid fairly and equitably, and we will stand with them until they reach that goal. For everyone's sake, and for the sake of television, we hope both sides can come to an agreement quickly.

To further that goal, we are calling on our readers to sign this petition and to contact the following television networks, voicing support for the writers and for a return to the negotiating table:

10201 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
(310) 369-1000

7800 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 575-2345

500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
(818) 460-7777

NBC / Universal
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City , CA 91608
(818) 777-1000

After the blackout, we intend to continue our campaign to support the WGA until the dispute has been resolved fairly. Since we will not be posting any new content tomorrow, we encourage our readers to visit United Hollywood instead for frequent updates about the strike.

In solidarity-
Daemon’s TV
Ducky Does TV
Gabby Babble
Give Me My Remote
Glowy Box
I am a TV Junkie
Mikey Likes TVPass the Remote
The Pie Maker
Ramblings of a TV Whore
Seriously? OMG! WTF?
Silly Pipe Dreams
The Media Pundit
The TV Addict
Tube Talk
TV Series Finale
Watch with Intelligence

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lilly's Disturbing 'Case'

Sometimes television can be so powerful that it leaves you a little speechless. This week's episode of Cold Case did just that. It was one of those affecting episodes that stays with you for a while. It haunts you and leaves you feeling a little empty. There were so many disturbing things in this outing that left my stomach feeling a little uneasy (murdered boys, abused boys, and the final whammy: the killer - a victim himself - committing suicide). And yet, this was one of CC's finest hours. It was intense, highly disturbing, moving, powerful and shocking. In fact, it was more of what I had in mind for a 100th episode (not to take anything away from last week's landmark outing). We're used to hearing about the chain of violence and TV shows love to exploit it, but this story presented a different take on it. Malik wasn't just acting out a childhood abuse; he was trying to right the wrong that was done to him in that home known as "The Pit." He had every detail down to the room number where the other boys in the home cut off his finger and the square that he stood in for days until he developed shin splints. I shiver just thinking about those scenes. He purposely sought out "dominant" kids by watching them play an arcade game where role-playing had the winner dragging the loser down into a pit. It all made sense in Malik's twisted mind even if the four boys he killed had nothing to do with his childhood abuse. But the night's most upsetting moment came at the end. While Lilly shielded a young boy -- Malik's intended fifth and final victim -- Malik brandished the knife he had used to cut off the fingers of his victims. Scotty begged him to put it down, but he raised the blade and sliced it across his own neck. Lilly gasped, Scotty ran to his side and Malik lie bleeding on the bathroom floor. In the closing moments, both detectives looked like they weren't erasing that picture from their minds anytime soon.

There was an underlying theme to this one about dying alone. Lilly noted that Shemar had come to that realization on the videotape right before his death. She was quick to point out that it was the worst way to go -- all alone. And then she watched as Malik (who was all alone in the world) took his own life. Scotty, like the rest of us, knew that she wasn't just talking about Shemar. Of course, there's the obvious allusion to her mother's recent death. But, there's also Lil's final conversation with her therapist. With her mother's death, no relationship to speak of (even worse- the fact that she pushes away anyone who cares about her) and the rest of her family MIA, Lilly is in danger of dying alone. A fact that wasn't lost on her during that final therapy session and isn't lost on her now after investigating this case. Just a powerful episode all around. Cold Case moves to 8-0 on the season.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Teams Hoist Their Own Weight

Thanks to the ridiculous football overrun last week (5 seasons of Cold Case and now 2 of TAR and yet, I still can't get used to this annoyance) and an early wake-up call for work Monday morning, I ran out of time and didn't get to write about the fabulous premiere. So, allow me to take a moment before I begin this week's discussion and recap it for you: the blondes are SUPER annoying, the siblings rock, the young couple with trust issues should just go ahead and break up now and save the rest of us from watching their bickering escalate as the race progresses, taxi theft is still alive and well, Ireland is GORGEOUS, and never under any circumstances, cross a donkey! We're talking a whole new level of stubborn. Thank goodness, those who were mean to the donkeys got theirs in the end. Now, onto tonight's "live" thoughts.

Apparently, the blondes aren't familiar with headlights. Therefore, they find driving at night to be a little impossible. And Oh. My. God! Somebody alert the glam patrol because these girls haven't been getting their mani-pedis while on the race! And one of them just suggested that she might be an idiot. And you guys didn't believe me that these two are SUPER annoying.

Do I smell.... AIRPORT DRAMA??!! It seems that everyone can fit on the first leg of the flight, but only 6 teams can fit on the second. Plus, the sisters just missed the first flight carrying all of the other teams. And now, the first flight teams are scrambling to get seats on the second leg of the trip. Crisis averted - the sisters just landed and caught up with the other lagging teams. As airport drama goes, this was pretty mild.

Pointless Fight Alert: For reasons not made clear, Ron just got angry at Nick for being "rude" to the ticket counter employee. Whoa bubby, save your stress. You've got like a million more legs to go!

Not that "Hoist" was some sort of picnic, but the bike search really set the siblings back. Boo! Luckily, Shouldn't Be Dating Couple are arguing and losing their cool. Oh snap! The blondes just finished "Hoist" before Nathan! And now Jen has to hoist because Nathan can't! Oh, and Rachel went down because TK couldn't do it, and she zipped every piece of furniture up like it was nothing. Girls rule, boys drool!

Why do I have the sinking feeling that this Roadblock looks easier than it is? Suspicion confirmed. Jen just landed back-first into the mud. Oh, this is going to be good. Uh-oh! Nathan just compared Jen to Shana. Didn't he learn last week not to compare her to other girls?? Or better yet, didn't he learn when he CHEATED on her?? Shana just face-planted on the way back across. Bet that mani-pedi is the least of your worries now, huh Shana?

Lorena and Jason just crossed the finish line in first. Guess how they did it. No really, guess because you'll never believe it. They worked TOGETHER!! Imagine that!

Ron is causing another pointless fight. This time with his daughter over the bike Detour. I heard something about honesty and boogers and frankly, I lost interest. Now, he's starting in again. This time, I think, it's about decisiveness. It's difficult to tell with Ron. Yawn.

Proving that old people aren't the only ones to get lost on the race, TK and Rachel just biked right past the drop off site. The best part, though, Phil could be seen in the background with a WTH? look on his face. Wow, TK and Rachel, you just got dissed by Phil!

Ron and his Pointless Fighting just finished in 9th and will live to fight another day. Unfortunately, this means that the Married Ministers are in last and have been eliminated from the race. Damn bus!

Were you bummed to see the Married Ministers go? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.

Friday, November 09, 2007

JD Grows Up

No matter what stage of life you're in, I think we all can relate to JD's struggle to grow up. If you're not going through it yourself, then you probably remember when you did. Call it a "quarter-life crisis," if you will. It's that time in your life when you have to transition from being a worry-free kid to a worry-filled adult complete with responsibility and things like baby-proofing your apartment. Thankfully, Scrubs lends a nice helping of humor to this confusing time in JD's life. But that wasn't all of the funny last night. We had: an obsession over the new hospital scale, the return of JD's brother, Janitor's campaign to save the environment, the hypocrites at Sacred Heart, Turk trapped in his Mini Cooper with bees, JD's symphony response to "Do you think I need to grow up?," Carla having to repeat the "You're human" speech from two weeks ago, and JD's broken windshield. Now, here's a look at this week's best, funniest and all around awesome lines in this edition of the Scrubies.

The Scrubies
"You know what really sucks?" JD to Turk
"Being trapped in an elevator while you whine about your stupid life?!" Dr. Cox

"Baby, how come you don't point out when I ask good questions?" Turk to Carla
"Because I don't love you like he does." Carla
"Told you!" JD

"Do you think I need to grow up?" JD to Dr. Cox
"Wow. You dream your whole life about that one moment and when it finally comes, you just, you're just not ready for it." Dr. Cox

"The answer is a sincere, emphatic, 100% definitive, never-been-so-sure-of-anything-in-my-life, unequivocal YES." Dr. Cox to JD on whether he thinks he needs to grow up

If you have a line that you would like to nominate for a Scrubie, be sure to leave me a comment and I'll publish it in a future edition. If you missed this hilarious outing, check it out on iTunes.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

'Cold Case' Writer Talks about the Strike

(Cold Case cast courtesy

Cold Case staff writer and San Antonio native Kate Purdy spoke with her former local paper via telephone about the ongoing writer's strike. In the article, she sheds some light on the issues and what she'll do if the strike lasts into the New Year. Here's one writer's story from The San Antonio Press-News (thanks to Foxfire at Look Again for the heads up):

S.A. graduate on writers' picket lines

Jeanne Jakle

Kate Purdy was thrilled to land a staff-writing job this year on a high-rated network show — CBS' "Cold Case" — only to end up months later out of work and on picket lines.

In a phone call from Hollywood on Wednesday, the Alamo Heights High School graduate, who's written or co-written three episodes for the crime drama so far, said she hopes the Writer's Guild of America strike ends as quickly as possible. That way, she can get back to her job — and needed paychecks.

For now, she's standing firm in support of the strike. In fact, she's a strike captain — in charge of organizing a group of 50 picketers each day.

"The huge impact of the Internet," Purdy said, is at the root of the strike. "We're asking for 2.5 cents on every dollar they make from revenues resulting from shows being downloaded on the Internet.

"The unfortunate thing is we can't even get the CEOs to negotiate or listen to any of our proposals. They seem to be hoping we'll cave without them having to give anything."

Purdy said a long strike promise to be tough on writers, particularly young and relatively low-salaried ones like herself. If it lasts into next year, she said she'll probably have to get a part-time job.

She thinks "Cold Case" viewers may notice a decline in quality, too. Episodes are written into January for the show, which regularly lands in the top 15 of weekly Nielsen ratings. But several haven't gone through the rewriting and editing process and won't without a writing staff onboard. "Cold Case" could be forced into reruns sometime in January.

On the flip side, news programs — such as late-night "Nightline" — may benefit from the lack of entertainment competition. With David Letterman and Jay Leno in repeats, ABC's news program is in the position of offering a live and topical alternative.

Veteran TV newsman Jim Lehrer — in San Antonio on Tuesday to help dedicate the new AT&T studio at KLRN — briefly discussed that possible consequence of the strike, saying it "would be nice" if more people turned to news shows in order to get something fresh to watch.

Danny Pino who plays Det. Scotty Valens on the hit CBS show recently told the Press-Telegram of Long Beach, CA that he is in "awe" of the show's writers. "Our writers are pretty incredible," he told the paper. "They come up with so many imaginative ways to make an investigation interesting and at the very end, to deliver the emotional impact of an untimely death and how people have had to deal with - either their loved one dying, or being a person who killed a victim and having to hold it for so many years and finally being able to give that up."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Shows Shut Down as Strike Continues

From The AP (via USA Today):

Strikes halting production on 8 shows
By Gary Gentile, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — The impact of a strike by television and film writers was becoming more evident as the walkout entered its third day. The latest casualty: The Office. Steve Carell has refused to cross the picket lines of striking writers, a producer said Wednesday. The last new episode will air next week, executive producer Greg Daniels confirmed.

Production on at least six sitcoms was halted because of the strike, and the hit ABC drama Desperate Housewives was scheduled to finish filming its latest episode Wednesday because it had run out of scripts.
Filming on the 13th episode of the freshman ABC comedy Carpoolers was also set to finish Wednesday, ABC Studios spokeswoman Charissa Gilmore said. No new episodes have been ordered.

Production on more shows was likely to be halted, and networks were expected to announce plans for alternative programming in the coming days as the strike continues.
Other shows were not immediately affected, including the talk show Ellen, which will continue production. Host Ellen DeGeneres told her studio audience at Tuesday's taping that she was obligated under her contract to continue the show, although she supported the striking writers.

"I want to say I love my writers," DeGeneres said. "In honor of them today, I'm not going to do a monologue. I support them and hope that they get everything they're asking for. And I hope it works out soon."

Sitcoms that will stop the cameras include Back to You, starring Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton, which will not return from a planned hiatus, said Chris Alexander, a spokesman for 20th Century Fox Television. Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus said production also stopped on her CBS show, The New Adventures of Old Christine. In addition, Til Death, which airs on Fox, and Rules of Engagement,Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, all on CBS, will also end filming, according to people familiar with production of the shows who were not authorized to be quoted and requested anonymity.

Sitcoms are typically written the same week they are filmed, with jokes being sharpened by writers even on the day of production.
The strike began Monday after last-minute negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers failed to produce a deal on how much writers are paid when shows are offered on the Internet. Nick Counter, chief negotiator for the producers union, has said he expected a long standoff.

Writers said the next move was up to the studios.
No new talks were scheduled. Pickets were expected to return Wednesday to locations in Los Angeles and New York. Striking writers at the Warner Bros. studios in Burbank were joined by several ER cast members Tuesday, including John Stamos, Maura Tierney and Mekhi Pfeiffer.

"We're all in this together, so we wanted to come out and support our team," said Stamos, adding that the cast was planning to raise money for crewmembers who might have trouble making car and mortgage payments if the strike goes on.
ER executive producer and creator John Wells said the show has three more episodes with scripts in various stages: one ready to shoot, one in good shape, and one that will be reviewed to determine if it's ready to shoot as a rough draft or not. "The issues will effect everyone in the industry — the writers just happen to be first," he said.

In Toluca Lake, near the Warner Bros. studio, writers converged on a house serving as a location shoot for Desperate Housewives.
"We write the story-a, Eva Longoria," about 30 strikers chanted, referring to a star of the hit ABC show. "It is a very serious business," said Larry Wilmore, a writer on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, explaining that protesters were marching "so we can get back to being funny."

The protesters were joined by actress Louis-Dreyfus. "I'm really here because I'm a union member," she said, explaining she belongs to the Screen Actors Guild and her husband is a member of the writers guild. "If we prevent them from working today, that's a small victory," she said.

Longoria left the house and handed out pizza to strikers.
"We are done, and we'll be on the lines supporting you," she told them. "I have a whole crew that will have a terrible holiday season because there's no resolution," she said. "I care about people losing their homes, I care about my hair and makeup artists who can't make ends meet."

The strike immediately sent late-night comedy shows into reruns, but it was not expected to have an immediate impact on production of movies. Most studios have stockpiled dozens of movie scripts, and many TV shows have scripts or completed shows in hand to last until early next year.
Writers have not gone on strike since 1988, when the walkout lasted 22 weeks and cost the industry more than $500 million.

The LA Times has a great chart that shows how many episodes are left for many of your favorite shows. According to the site, PTR faves are faring pretty well:

MEN IN TREES - 19 out of 27 expected to be completed (some are left over from last season)
MY NAME IS EARL - 13 out of 13 completed
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS - 15 out of 22 expected to be completed
SCRUBS - 12 out of 18 expected to be completed
PYSCH - A full second half of the season expected

You can click over to The LA Times to see how your faves are faring. Sadly, there's no word yet on Cold Case. For the latest news on the strike, visit's Strike Watch Blog.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Writers on Strike

Members of the WGA hold signs in front of the Raleigh Studios during the first day of a strike in Hollywood, November 5, 2007. (PHOTO: Hector Mata/Reuters)

Well TV fans as you probably know, we are in the middle of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike. It's time to cross our fingers, hold our breath, and send our pleas to the TV gods that both sides come to a swift, fair agreement before our favorite shows run out of episodes! Here's more on the strike from the AP (via Yahoo! News):

Strike sends late-night shows to reruns
By GARY GENTILE, AP Business Writer

LOS ANGELES - Late night comedy shows were the first casualties of the first strike by Hollywood writers against TV networks and movie studios in nearly two decades. "The Late Show With David Letterman" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," went into reruns after writers on both coasts headed for the picket line.

The walkout became inevitable late Sunday after last-minute negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers failed to produce a deal on such key issues as how much writers are paid when their shows are available on the Internet.
No new negotiations were scheduled, although the writers guild negotiating committee did plan a meeting of its members.

Nick Counter, chief negotiator for the producers union, said he expected a long standoff.
"We're hunkered down for a long one," he said. "From our standpoint, we made every good faith effort to negotiate a deal, and they went on strike. At some point, conversations will take place. But not now."

In Los Angeles, writers planned to picket 14 studio locations in four-hour shifts from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day until a new deal is reached.
Writers said the next move was up to the studios.

"My hope is that it won't be too long," said John Bowman, chief negotiator for the writers. "We have more reason to get together than not."
Bowman said behind-the-scenes communication was occurring between the two sides with the hope of arranging more meetings.

Along with the shows hosted by Letterman and Leno, networks said other late-night shows bound for reruns included "The Daily Show," "Colbert Report," "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and "Last Call with Carson Daly."

"Dancing With the Stars," one of the country's highest-rated prime-time shows, aired as planned on Monday night, with its hosts left to ad-lib.
The strike will not immediately impact production of movies or prime-time TV programs. Most studios have stockpiled dozens of movie scripts, and TV shows have enough scripts or completed shows in hand to last until early next year. However, some producers were torn about trying to shoot those finished scripts.

Tim Kring, a producer and writer of the NBC hit "Heroes," said he had to revise the ending of the show's 11th episode on the chance that it might be the last one to air this season.
"Fortunately we were able to hustle back," Kring said from a picket line in an effort to shut down the show. "The audience won't be left in a lurch."

While scripted shows suffer from the strike, reality shows could flourish because they don't use union writers, despite an aggressive attempt by the writers guild to organize the staffers on the programs. Viewers could also check out more entertainment on the Internet, ranging from user-generated fare on YouTube to professionally produced shows such as "Quarterlife."

Writers have not gone on strike since 1988, when the walkout lasted 22 weeks and cost the industry more than $500 million.
The dispute has broad implications for the way Hollywood does business, since whatever deal is struck by writers will likely be used as a template for talks with actors and directors, whose contracts expire next June. Talks began in July and continued after the writers contract expired last Wednesday.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Lilly's 100th 'Case' Solved

One hundred cases. One hundred murders solved. One hundred victims finally given the justice they deserve. And all of this in spite of constant whining about Lilly's hair! Last night, Cold Case celebrated 100 episodes doing what this show does best - taking us back in time and leaving no detail unfinished with its window in 1938. The talented folks at CC never disappoint with the look and feel of the older cases. I find myself mesmerized as the story shifts to a different time. Most of us are familiar with Orson Welles's "War of the Worlds" broadcast, but it's always more interesting to get a glimpse into what the actual event may have looked like. I can't imagine the panic that must have gripped this nation on that frightful night 69 years ago. With the advent of instant news via television, the Internet, cell phones, PDAs and even iPods, it's difficult for us to envision a world where a single broadcast could send people into hurried fits of packing and taking to the streets in a chaotic mob scene. BUT, Audrey's murder was more basic than that - it was about love and jealousy, which is as tried and true and current as those aforementioned communication devices we cling to today. She had fallen out of love with her husband and into love with her friend from the taxi dance lounge. The radio broadcast may have been a hoax, but Felton realizing that he didn't have anyone was not. It was a desperate revelation that led to murder, a million conspiracy theories and sightings and a broken, lonely body at the bottom of a forgotten well. It almost seemed unfair that the man responsible was allowed to live out most of his life while his wife lay buried in that cold well for almost 70 years, but karma seemed to have that handled.

Confession time: despite the awesome transportation to another world, this episode fell a little short of my expectations for a 100th episode. I was expecting something bigger, but this could have been any episode from any season. In fact, I was all set to call it a "tie" on the season (neither a win nor a loss), but the last 15 or so minutes saved this one for me. Nick's last-ditch effort with Toni, Stillman dancing with Kat and of course, Lilly interrogating Felton while pretending to be his dead wife saved this one instantly. Cold Case has a sort of charm to it. Even the so-so episodes have moments that put a smile on your face and convince you that they were better than they were. There were certainly enough of them this week to do just that and then you add in the well-done case, and CC comes up on top once again moving it to 7-0 on the season.

In Cold Case-related news, Kathryn Morris attended the premiere of the Vince Vaughn holiday comedy Fred Claus Saturday night in Hollywood with her main man David Barrett (thanks to folks at Look Again for the heads up and photos):
More photos at Getty Images.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Weekend Primetime Pass: 100 'Cases,' Brand-New 'Races'

Here's a look at what PTR is watching this weekend:

Men in Trees (8 p.m. ABC) - NEW TIME SLOT! "I Wood if I Could." Romance finds its way back into Marin's life in the way of gifts from Jack, as well as her publisher, Stuart Maxson, who'd like to pick up where they left off. She also juggles being both maid of honor and best man for Patrick and Annie while trying to make their dreams come true for their bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Friday Night Lights (9 p.m. NBC) - "Let's Get it On." Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) returns to Dillon as a head coach, a father and a husband. He has to deal with a disheveled team, led by the conflict between quarterback, Matt Saracen, (Zach Gilford) and star running back, Smash Williams (Gaius Charles). Meanwhile, Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) turns to Lyla (Minka Kelly) for help in changing Jason Street's (Scott Porter) mind about experimental surgery.

Cold Case (9 p.m. CBS) - "World's End." 100th EPISODE!!! The team investigates the murder of a woman who made headlines in 1938 by vanishing the night of Orson Welles's "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast as her family prepared to outrun the "aliens." Bellamy Young ("Private Practice"), Two-Time Emmy Award Nominee Ralph Waite ("The Waltons," "Roots," "Carnivle") and Len Lesser ("Seinfeld") guest star. MAY BE DELAYED DUE TO NFL COVERAGE

The Amazing Race (8 p.m. CBS) - "Donkeys Have Souls Too." SEASON PREMIERE. Eleven Teams depart from the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles and immediately begin jockeying for flights to Shannon, Ireland, where they will face a harrowing Roadblock while riding a bike 200 feet above the Atlantic Ocean on a high-wire. Scroll down for more on this season's contenders (courtesy of CBS)...
Following are the 11 teams, listed in no particular order:

Occupation: VP of Sales
Age: 58
Hometown: Tacoma , Wash.

Occupation: Policy Analyst
Age: 26
Hometown: Washington , D.C. via Tacoma , Wash.

Occupation: Waiter/Hair Salon Receptionist
Age: 31
Hometown: Louisville , Ky.

Occupation: Waiter/Hair Salon Receptionist
Age: 29
Hometown: Louisville , Ky.
Relationship: DATING GOTHS

Occupation: Bartender
Age: 27
Hometown: Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Occupation: Wedding Videographer/Actor
Age: 33
Hometown: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Relationship: DATING

Occupation: Facilities Engineer
Age: 27
Hometown: New Orleans

Occupation: Aerospace Engineer
Age: 23
Hometown: Torrance , Calif.
Relationship: BROTHER/SISTER

Occupation: Episcopal Clergy
Age: 49
Hometown: Thousand Oaks , Calif.

Occupation: Ordained Deacon
Age: 65
Hometown: Thousand Oaks , Calif.

Occupation: Actress
Age: 32
Hometown: Los Angeles

Occupation: Legal Assistant
Age: 32
Hometown: Los Angeles
Relationship: FRIENDS

Occupation: Retired
Age: 68
Hometown: Elkhorn , Wis.

Occupation: Pilot
Age: 23
Hometown: Originally from Chicago

Occupation: Student
Age: 23
Hometown: Huntington Beach , Calif.

Occupation: Volleyball coach
Age: 24
Hometown: Fountain Valley , Calif.
Relationship: DATING

Occupation: Florist/Store Owner
Age: 23
Hometown: Huntington Beach , Calif.

Occupation: Substitute Teacher
Age: 22 Hometown: Huntington Beach , Calif.
Relationship: NEWLY DATING

Occupation: Art Gallery Manager
Age: 25
Hometown: Miami , now residing in Los Angeles

Occupation: Office Production Assistant
Age: 26
Hometown: Miami , now residing in Los Angeles
Relationship: SISTERS

Occupation: Waiter
Age: 21
Hometown: Long Beach , Calif.

Occupation: Restaurant Manager
Age: 23
Hometown: Fountain Valley , California
Relationship: BEST FRIENDS