Last night, on a Very Special Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, showrunner Warren Leight made good on his promise to combine every racial issue from the summer into one blockbuster racial episode that involved Cybill Shepherd as a Paula Deen-wannabe who shoots a black teenager in a hoodie (echoing the shooting of Trayvon Martin) while the police force squabbled over stop-and-frisk. Read More
“Hopefully we won’t go down as the last season in the Golden Age of Television,” laughed Lizzy Caplan at the Thursday night screening of her new Showtime drama, Masters of Sex. Along with her co-star, Michael Sheen, the actress stood in the foyer of the Morgan Library & Museum greeting Cinema Society guests who came to the premiere. Read More
No, we never thought we’d write the above headline either. But in case you missed Claudia Dreyfus’s brilliant interview with the CBS award-winning sitcom’s EP and script writers Eric Kaplan in The New York Times the other day, you really need to know that he is not trying to make the show about stereotypes. “Listen, it’s a story, not a thesis about how everyone is,” said Mr. Kaplan, in just about the most perfect excuse for a show ever given.
And then there was some Chuck Lorre-loving, which makes the whole interview sound like foreshadowing for a Charlie Sheen-level implosion on the production pretty soon. Read More
You know that we have an affinity for Law & Order: SVU. No matter what people say about it being a sensationalist, ripped-from-the-headlines glorification of rape, sexual molestation and murder, the only surviving show in the L&O franchise must be given some kind of respect, if only for the fact that it is the only surviving show in the L&O franchise. And, as showrunner Warren Leight told The Observer last year, he was working to make the show “less fetishistic” and bring it “back to the basics” ever since his takeover from predecessor Neal Baer.
And yet, somehow, its already been leaked that the 15th season of the show is going to combine the George Zimmerman case with the Paula Deen lawsuit. To be fair, neither of these trials had anything to do with sexual misconduct, so it all depends on how you define “fetishistic.” Read More
The third season of everyone’s favorite IFC comedy-sketch show is fast upon us, with Portlandia slated to begin on January 4. In advance of the inevitable onslaught of new hipsterisms, hereto-unknown eccentricities and brand new organic fetishes, The Observer cornered co-creator Fred Armisen about what new “dreams of the Nineties” he would bring to life. Read More
The gang’s all back–Girls, which returns on January 13, has released the first footage of the new season in a breezy trailer that promises new developments for all four. Hannah (Lena Dunham) is single and enjoying life; Marnie (Allison Williams) is single, fired and being told off by her mom (Rita Wilson!!); Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) Read More
NBC, finally emerging from its Jeff Zucker hangover (don’t worry, Mr. Zucker’s doing fine) with a booming fall season, has signed a first-look deal with comedian/TV host/radio personality/actor/Observer profile subject Nick Cannon. Read More
“I just saw Annie, and I didn’t look at Daddy Warbucks the way I would have 20 years ago,” Warren Leight told The New York Observer over the phone last week. “The show has really warped the way we look at the world, at least those of us writing it.”
The showrunner for Dick Wolf’s last standing Law & Order program, Special Victims Unit, was struggling to understand how people watch “marathon” sessions of the show he manages. “The children episodes are disturbing, even to us,” said Mr. Leight.
He singled out one such episode, entitled “Friending Emily,” in which detectives go to an FBI office to view images of abused children. Mr. Leight sounded shocked, tired and a little bit horrified over a detail that he and his writers chose to put in the episode. He sounded a lot, in fact, like SVU’s former protagonist, Elliot Stabler.
“There is a kid in diapers whose photo we show,” said Mr. Leight. “We found it on an Internet pornography site. It had 37,000 hits in the last four days.” (Which, it turns out, is the exact line that a government official says during the episode.) Read More
Resurgent NBC–which, courtesy of football, The Voice, and sci-fi series Revolution, has reversed years of bad fortune in a single season–is looking to get into the Julian Fellowes business. The creator of PBS’s Downton Abbey is to write The Gilded Age, a soap opera of wealth and class in Edith Wharton-era New York (across the sea and slightly earlier than the Downton manor house, but presumably bringing similar themes into play). Read More