Day: September 4, 2014

RIP Joan Rivers, dead at 81 (1933-2014)

The Kathy Griffin we all know today would not have existed as such without her. Same goes for hundreds of other comedians, male and female, straight and gay. The multiple hours of red carpet TV coverage devoted to celebrity gabbing and fashion gawking at every awards show would not exist as such today without her. And most bafflingly, we would never have had a woman hosting a late-night network TV talk show if not for her. Joan Rivers died today, a week after suffering cardiac arrest during a vocal cord surgery in a clinic in New York City’s Upper...

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Roy Wood Jr. on Sullivan & Son, prank calls, the return of football season and building your fanbase

Roy Wood Jr. is somewhere en route to Moab, Utah, on a camping trip that’ll take him and his friends on a 100-mile boat tour south on down the Colorado River into Canyonlands and Glen Canyon toward the Grand Canyon. But a couple of days ago, Wood was on the phone with The Comic’s Comic, shopping on Labor Day to prepare for his trip. Have you gone camping before? “No, I have not. Which is why I have to start from scratch. As a black person, this is what I have to do when I acquire friends of another...

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SNL’s Hans and Franz pump up Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers for new Discount Double-Check ad

When the Green Bay Packers take on the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks tonight to open the 2014 NFL season, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers might look a little more pumped up than usual. If so, that’s probably because of his new State Farm commercial with classic Saturday Night Live characters Hans and Franz (Kevin Nealon and Dana Carvey). It debuts on your TV set tonight, but online already right now. It’s the second TV ad in a new campaign bringing SNL characters back into the fold for SNL’s 40th anniversary, promoting State Farm insurance. The first ad featured...

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Maybe See TV? The week in pilots, script commitments and development deals (Sept. 4, 2014)

You’ll hear a lot in the trades and the trade winds from now through pilot season, which starts in earnest in January, all the way up to the cable Upfronts in the spring and the broadcast network Upfronts in May — when TV programmers present their new and returning lineups to impress and attract advertisers for 2015-2016. When a network orders a pilot to series, that’s newsworthy and vital information for you to know. Like FX yesterday greenlighting Baskets, starring Zach Galifianakis and coming from him, Louis C.K. and Jonathan Krisel; it’ll go into production in 2015 with a launch date...

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Brett Gelman remembers his New York Lottery ad campaign, on Conan

Before he moved to Los Angeles and broke into TV, such as his current recurring role on the FX series Married, Brett Gelman was an improviser in New York City. One of his earliest big breaks came via the New York Lottery. No, he didn’t win it. He starred in the lottery’s ad campaign in TV commercials and billboards. Conan O’Brien remembered. So when Gelman was on Conan this week, O’Brien asked Gelman to reminisce. Gelman said some people may have thought his “Little Bit O’ Luck” was “a Jewish minstrel character.” You be the judge! Roll the...

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