Brian Buckner says vampire drama returns to its soapy roots
HBO's beloved vampire drama "True Blood" has always had its soapy elements. But in recent seasons, the emphasis has shifted from melodramatic to action-driven.
"Everybody loves the show," Buckner told Rolling Stone. "But actors don't want to play the same scenes anymore, and writers don't want to write the same scenes anymore, and so (we're) literally shifting things up. If we can shift the paradigm, and some of the relationships within the show, there are all these sort of new avenues to go down."
Buckner said fans will also see a more evolved Sookie (Anna Paquin) and a more devolved Bill (Stephen Moyer). "Because Anna is changing in her life -- because she's a mother now -- we're trying to make a more grown-up Sookie, a less naive Sookie," Buckner said. "A Sookie who knows when she needs help and isn't always saying, 'I can do it myself.' And a darker Sookie, honestly. Someone who's a little bit more eyes-open to the world and self-aware."
As for Bill, now that he's "Billith," he's going to get a lot worse before he gets better. "But he will find his way back, because Bill has to be Bill," Buckner said. "But that fight that's going on between the Bill part of Bill and the Lilith part of Bill, she will win for a little while."
Meanwhile, Bill and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) will always have a special place in Sookie's heart, even if their love story is less prominent this season.
"The tension is there," Buckner said. "But I would say that these characters have never been further apart, romantically. Bill and Sookie are still the center of the show. That pull is there, but you can't always have people together. But the impasse is really interesting."
"True Blood" Season 6 debuts Sunday, June 16, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
New format includes live on-stage interviews with the big winners
The 40th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards will shake things up Sunday, June 16. This year's telecast will include live, on-stage interviews with winners from the night's seven top categories directly following their acceptance speeches. Plus, the final list of Daytime Emmy presenters has been revealed.
The seven hot Daytime Emmy categories featured in the new segment are Outstanding Supporting Actor, Outstanding Supporting Actress, Outstanding Lead Actor, Outstanding Lead Actress, Outstanding Game Show Host, Outstanding Talk Show Host and Outstanding Culinary Host. Interviewers lined up include Giada De Laurentiis, Sheryl Underwood, Julie Chen, Sam Champion and A.J. Hammer.
Daytime Emmy organizers have also revealed the full list of Daytime Emmy presenters, along with their corresponding categories:
• Alex Trebek to present the Smithsonian's daytime TV exhibit
• Wayne Brady to present Lifetime Achievement to Monty Hall
• Betty White to present Lifetime Achievement to Bob Stewart
• Corbin Bernsen and Jess Walton to present In Memoriam
• Il Volo to perform during In Memoriam
• Robin Meade to perform Outstanding Original Song contenders
• Erika Slezak to present Outstanding Drama Series
• Kathy Griffin to present Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team
• Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, Hunter King, Kristen Alderson and Lindsey Morgan to present Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
• Max Ehrich, Freddie Smith, Bryton James and Chandler Massey to present Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
• Jason Thompson to present Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
• Don Diamont and Nancy Lee Grahn to present Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
• Vincent Irizarry to present Outstanding Young Actress in a Drama Series
• Lindsay Hartley to present Outstanding Young Actor in a Drama Series
• Rachael Ray to present Outstanding Achievement in Technical Direction/Electronic Camera/Video Control for a Drama Series
• Steve Harvey to present Outstanding Morning Program
• Kris Jenner to present Outstanding Talk Show Host
• Dr. Drew Pinsky to present Outstanding Talk Show/Entertainment
• "The Talk" hosts Julie Chen, Sharon Osbourne, Sara Gilbert, Aisha Tyler and Sheryl Underwood to present Outstanding Talk Show/Informative
• Bethenny Frankel to present Outstanding Culinary Host and Culinary Program
• Todd Newton to present Outstanding Game Show and Game Show Host
• Presenter for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program not yet announced
As previously reported, AJ Hammer ("Showbiz Tonight"), Sam Champion ("Good Morning America") and Robin Meade ("Morning Express With Robin Meade") will share Daytime Emmy hosting duties. It sounds as though Champion will take the lead during the broadcast, while Hammer will work the live red carpet special "Showbiz @ The Daytime Emmys" with HLN's Christi Paul, and Robin Meade will sing the best song nominees, "This Day" by Sheryl Crow for "Katie" and "Good Afternoon" by Little Big Town for "Good Afternoon America."
The 40th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards airs Sunday, June 16, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on HLN.
Lead Actor nominee talks awards show and 'General Hospital'
Thompson's Emmy reel goes back to when Patrick was still mourning the passing of his true love, Robin (Kimberly McCullough). These days, he's trying to juggle single fatherhood, a new romance with Sabrina (Teresa Castillo) and his responsibilities to his pregnant ex, Britt (Kelly Thiebaud). Whether she's really carrying his baby or not, Patrick's got a lot on his plate.
MSN TV: You just got back from the CMA Music Festival. How was Nashville?
Thompson: I had a blast. I love that city and it's fun to be a part of the country music scene. Out of the music and acting genres, country music and soap operas are the most accessible to their fans, which creates a great atmosphere. I'm just walking around the streets like anyone else and you're running into random people like Jason Aldean at a bar. You're part of the energy, which is fantastic.
Are you ready for this weekend's Emmy energy?
I guess so. Sometimes, the nerves get to you, but it's been a fantastic year and this is just icing on the cake. Bradford [Anderson, nominated for Supporting Actor] and I were actually talking over lunch about how fantastic it is to be nominated and what has to happen in order to even get to that point. Everything has to come together: You need the storyline and everyone has to be having a good day -- whether it's lighting, directing or you personally. So it's humbling to even be in the category. We're just going to try to have as much fun as possible, which I'm sure won't be a problem.
Who are you taking to the show?
My mom and dad, my brother and his fiance and my other brother are coming out, and my girlfriend will be there with me. It's going to be great. There's such a room of supportive people. Not only do I have all my "GH" family and my immediate family, but I feel there's a pretty good camaraderie among the soap opera people right now. We're all in this together and gotta support each other. It's important to pay homage to daytime television and the fact that we're all still here.
This year, you moved from the Supporting Actor category to Lead Actor. What went into that decision?
I talked to a couple of people about it. [The consensus was] "You were a lead actor within a lead story on the show that year, so that's classifies you as a lead." At the end of the day, I would say we're all supporting, because so much goes into these shows, but I might never get another year like I've had -- the storyline I was able to be a part of with Kimberly leaving, having to stand up on my own in a lot of ways [after] my dear friend Kimberly moved on, the "GH" 50th anniversary, bringing back the nurse's ball and getting the nomination.... It really has been a fantastic year, so I thought, "Why not?"
You submitted a scene that saw Patrick dealing with losing Robin. Was that a no-brainer?
Not at all. I didn't know what I was going to pick if this moment came. I was lucky enough to have a lot going on. There were a lot of scenes within the Robin story and then the addiction, which I had a great time playing. I wanted my clip to represent my year and I felt those scenes did. Kimberly and Brooklyn [Silzer], who plays little Emma, were in them and I felt it had a lot of what Patrick went through that year.
It's amazing how far Patrick has come since that submission scene, let alone since we met him!
He's grown a lot and torn down a lot of walls, and it's been a long process. If you know Patrick and what he's been through, you can see that. It's been amazing to get him through all these layers and strip away at him.
How are you enjoying Patrick's triangle with Sabrina and Britt?
I'm having a good time. Kelly and Theresa were asked to come into a difficult situation, with a lot of fans knowing Robin is still alive. I was new to this genre seven years ago, so I understand what it's like having to get your feet wet and being a part of something like that. It's tough and they're doing a great job. For me, it's been great to be a part of something new and one of my favorite actresses to work with is Brooklyn, so I'm having fun.
Why do you think Patrick attracts crazies like Britt and Lisa?
Honestly, I don't know. I do think Lisa and Britt are totally different stories. I guess you could say they're both a little crazy, very vulnerable and a bit lost, but I don't actually see much of a comparison. I think Patrick and Britt had some real moments in the beginning and he hasn't seen all the things that she's done. I'm not convinced he knows she's as conniving as everyone else says she is. From the outside, I'm sure everyone's thinking, "You're an idiot! Can't you see the signs?" But his reality is not what the audience sees. The decisions he's making still work, in his mind.
Do you think he and Sabrina can build a strong enough relationship to make it a tough triangle if/when Robin returned?
They could get there, yeah. I'm not exactly sure if Patrick realizes what's going on. Everything's going pretty fast. It's been a little over a year since he lost his wife and here he is, with a new girlfriend and another girl pregnant with his baby, as far as he knows. It's not on the page, but I imagine he has these moments at home where he's like, "What the hell are you doing? You're kind of screwing this up. What kind of damage are you doing to Emma?" There's a lot that has to be figured out, but depending on what happens with the baby and how much he trusts Sabrina's intuition... If she's right all along, that could definitely push them further into the relationship.
Is there anything you'd like to see for Patrick?
When I first got on the show, Patrick's biggest fear was ending up like his father [Noah Drake, played by Rick Springfield]. Cut to six or seven years later, he kind of is that guy. He's gone through a pill addiction. He's gone through a marriage where he lost his wife. He didn't want to fall in love, in the first place, and then he didn't want to end up on his own, and here he is. Now, he's gotten another woman pregnant. It wasn't through an affair like Noah's, but Patrick's got his own somewhat broken home. There's a lot of similarities there and I'd like to play that a bit. That said, I trust [executive producer] Frank Valentini and [headwriter] Ron Calavarti. They know how to tell a story, so whatever happens, I'm game.
"General Hospital" airs weekdays on ABC.
Stars of beloved CBS comedy to thank fans before ninth and final season
It only took eight years, but "How I Met Your Mother" is finally making its debut at Comic-Con. The celebrated comedy will kick off its ninth and final season this fall. And the July 20 panel will undoubtedly allow the show's stars and creators to thank fans for their time-tested support while saying goodbye.
20th Century Fox, which produces "HIMYM," announced the panel Wednesday and said fans can expect stars Neil Patrick Harris, Josh Radnor, Cobie Smulders, Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan, as well as executive producers Carter Bays, Craig Thomas and Pamela Fryman.
At the end of Season 8, Bays and company revealed the highly anticipated and buzzed-about identity of the mother. Cristin Milioti will play the love of Ted's (Radnor) life when the show returns, and rumor has it the whole season will play out in real time. Bays hasn't confirmed this but said Season 9 will "tell the epic story of the longest wedding weekend ever."
Other 20th Century Fox panels at Comic-Con include the new supernatural drama "Sleepy Hollow" (July 19) and the animated offering "Murder Police" (July 18), both of which will air on Fox. There will also be panels for "Bones" (July 19), "Bob's Burgers" (July 19) and "Futurama" (July 20).
Comic-Con takes place July 18-21 in San Diego.
Tamar Braxton, Loni Love, Adrienne Bailon, Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley to host
Tamar Braxton ("Tamar & Vince"), Loni Love ("Chelsea Lately"), Adrienne Bailon ("The Cheetah Girls"), Jeannie Mai ("How Do I Look?") and Tamera Mowry-Housley ("Tia & Tamera") have landed a daily talk show on FOX-owned stations. The four-week test run produced by Telepictures premieres Monday, July 15.
"Tamar, Loni, Adrienne, Jeannie and Tamera are five amazing women of different ages and races, all at different places in their lives who reflect the experiences the audience is going through at the same time as they are," said Hilary Estey McLoughlin, President, Telepictures. "They have great chemistry, are fearless and so entertaining and they will bring a much-needed younger point of view and sensibility to daytime this summer."
"The greatest thing about America is it's diversity, and this show reflects that diversity," Tamera Mowry-Housley added in the preview above. "No matter who you are, there is someone at this table that's going to be speaking for you."
As with "The View and "The Talk," the new daily talk show will feature candid conversations about the hosts' own personal lives, as well as the news of the day, beauty, fashion and relationships. Topics raised in the preview clip include dating Seth McFarlane, guys who "love black girls," interracial relationships, keeping sex alive in your relationship, bingeing versus dieting and Reese Witherspoon's now infamous drunken scene.
"We are ready to talk gossip, relationships, sex, food, sex," Love promised.
"The Real" test run will air for four weeks on FOX stations in New York (12 p.m.), Los Angeles (1 p.m.), Washington D.C. (11 a.m.), Philadelphia (11 a.m.), Phoenix (1 p.m.), Houston (1 p.m.) and Tampa (1 p.m.).
"The Real" premieres Monday, July 15, on select FOX-owned stations.
Veteran actor on joining USA Series, 'Full House' and lessons learned along the way
By Minh Nguyen
Special to MSN TV
On a recent visit to Atlanta, Ga., MSN TV had the chance to visit the all-new set of USA's summer series "Necessary Roughness." The previous season's set of the New York Hawks football team has been replaced by V3, a fancy sports and entertainment agency. V3 had a very fresh, innovative feel to it. Callie Thorne, Mehcad Brooks, Scott Cohen and new addition John Stamos came by to about Season 3.
John Stamos will be playing Connor McClane, the handsome founder of V3 and Dr. Dani's new boss. Stamos, best known for playing Uncle Jesse on "Full House," had had a long and successful career -- from "General Hospital" and "ER" and playing with the Beach Boys. The third season of "Necessary Roughness" premieres Wednesday, June 12, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on USA.
MSN TV: How'd you end up with this gig? We saw the first episode.
John Stamos: Did you like it?
You have a cool office.
Isn't it amazing? This is one of the coolest sets I've ever walked on. They called and said, "We're interested in adding a character to this show, "Necessary Roughness." I said, "Isn't that a sports show?" They were like, "Have you seen it?" I am the opposite … my father used to say, "You go out of your way to hate sports!" No, I just don't get it. I used to say somebody has to lose. With music or acting, there's not always a one-hour loser. I watched some of it and thought, "Hey, this is interesting." I wanted to work with Callie because it was one of those roles that I thought I've got to start playing adult characters with power.
Is that Zegna?
It's Dolce & Gabbana. I think I get caught up in my Peter Pan syndrome. You're 50-years old. You've got to start playing some adult characters. When this came around, it seemed like a perfect fit. The way the character turned out is (he is) this interesting, duplicitous guy who you think one side's good and one side's bad, but you don't know if it's good or bad.
In the first episode, he seems perfectly fine. He is an agent and an executive.
As the show goes on, there are moments where you go, "Oh, he is the bad side of those two guys." By the end of the episode, it's maybe he has a point. This is what he believes. I think what's going to end up is, whether the audience thinks I'm up to nefarious activities or not, Connor believes in what he's doing and is doing the best.
Is there deliberate chemistry or is there anything explicit going on between you and Dani?
I keep on waiting for this script for something to happen.
You said you're watching some of the episodes and thought this is something you would like to do. For fans, it's kind of a big change from last season.
It has nothing to do with me. I think the way Dani related to some of the characters and helped some of the football players, it was very smart of them. They just opened the whole world up. One week, it's a basketball player. One week, it's a football player, a self-help guy. One week, there's a guy who has writer's block who is a client of mine. USA says how do you open a show up from just a football team? They do a big agency like ING. Find a big figurehead like Stamos or Scott Baio.
How do you like the suit-and-tie guy?
I learned a big lesson from "Full House." Go classic. Don't follow any trends. You were talking about Clooney earlier. He's just a classic guy. I'm not going to look back on this suit 20 years later and go, "Why did I wear that nice suit."
Word is that you show up on time and that you're prepared. Is that something you learned as a young actor?
I learned it from my father. I used to work at his restaurant, and he was very into teaching discipline. I've told this so many times. When I got "General Hospital," I was still working at my dad's. He wouldn't let me quit. I was the Sunday guy. "General Hospital" started airing. A month later, I started becoming popular, a teen idol. My dad still made me work at his restaurant on Sundays to stay disciplined.
What would your advice be to kids starting out? A lot of them seem to be going off the rail. It's disturbing. What would be your game plan for them to stay on track?
I have to be honest. I have a great family, a great support system. Anytime I got out of line, my parents reminded me to go clean up the dog poop in the back yard, empty the trash. They always kept me grounded that way
Out of your career, you've done soap opera, comedy, drama and plays. What do you enjoy doing the most?
I heard what you said, I'm so lucky. I can literally go from doing musicals to working on "ER" to going on tour with the Beach Boys. I've had a dream career. Everything I've ever dreamed of has happened to me, except I need a wax figure.
Are there nights on the town?
I don't know if Callie told you, but we got an email from Willie Nelson's manager to see Willy. He was playing in Chastain. I thought it'd be great. Me, Callie, Rob Morrow, one of the guys (went). I'm hanging out and they said, "Are you going to play the drums?" I said, "I don't know. Is there a set list?" They said, "Willie doesn't use a set list." I'm playing "Georgia" in Georgia, this is as good as it gets
Do you feel any pressure given they brought you to the show for added lift for Season 3 and they want to change direction?
Well they brought me on "The New Normal" and that got canceled. I'm kidding. I hope people watch it. It is a fresh, new approach to the show. I think people will like it.
Season 3 closer draws record number of illegal downloads in 24 hours
Some fans enjoyed the "Game of Thrones" Season 3 finale while others found it anticlimactic. But not everyone watched it legally.
According to TorrentFreak.com, Sunday's dialogue-heavy closer was pirated 1 million times in just 24 hours. Relying on a site called BitTorrent, some 171,572 illegal downloaders even shared the same file at the same time.
"Game of Thrones" is aired exclusively on HBO and not available on Netflix and the like, making it a highly-pirated commodity. This is especially the case in Australia, where episodes air long after they do in the U.S. But the record number of illegal downloads isn't hurting HBO. In fact, the Season 3 closer drew 5.4 million viewers. That's a 28 percent viewership hike from the Season 2 finale. Meanwhile, millions of fans chatted about the show on social media sites such as GetGlue.
The drama, which is based on George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy book series, "A Song of Ice and Fire," was the No. 1 pirated show in 2012 with 4.28 million illegal internet shares of the Season 2 finale alone. TorrentFreak predicts the third-season finale could top that number, again making the series the most pirated show of the year.
Although HBO has tried to crack down on web piracy, the network's programming president, Michael Lombardo, called the illegal activity a "compliment of sorts." And "something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network."
"Game of Thrones" Season 4 kicks off on HBO in 2014.
'The Bold and the Beautiful' supporting actor talks awards and Liam's love triangle
Clifton took home his first Daytime Emmy Award back in 2011, but this nomination is a whole new game. Having aged out of the Younger Actor category, Clifton has moved into the Supporting Actor race. He's also facing more adult issues on "The Bold and the Beautiful." Liam's wife Steffy recently lost the baby she was carrying, along with any chance at getting pregnant again. As the grieving newlyweds try to move forward, Hope/Liam fans are not exactly rooting for them.
MSN TV: Are you ready for the Daytime Emmys?
Clifton: It's less than a week away! Oh man, the anxiety's creeping up. They can text me if I won, right?
You used to joke about being a five-time Emmy loser, but now you have a win in your pocket. Are you still nervous?
No, I actually feel really good. What I wanted this year was to get nominated in this category, because it's the category with the most competition. I've filled my quota of achievement for the year! It's the social aspect of the Emmys that I'm dreading. There's an air about the event. You have a lot of people who are so encouraging and supportive. They mean well when they walk up and tell you that they know "for a fact" that you're going to win, but then you have this awkward moment where you aren't sure what to say back. You just smile and nod graciously. Then when you lose, which you expect to do - that's the name of the game! - those same people don't want to make eye contact with you. It's this very awkward night… but I'm privileged to be nominated.
Your Emmy submission reel included Liam and Hope's wedding day breakup, along with some good Daddy Bill drama. Was that choice a no-brainer?
It was obvious to a lot of other people, but not to me. Everyone kept coming up to me and saying, "You're going to submit that, right?" I'd say, "Maybe. It's a little goofy with me in my underwear and the hair dye and that tattoo." Then I looked at it again. Within the course of that one episode, you had Liam pleading in his underwear and then the father/son scene. I didn't realize it had all those levels. I thought, "Oh, that's actually nice!"
The scenes with Bill were intense, and not just because it got physical. Liam's dad ridiculed him for being Liam the Beggar instead of Liam the Conqueror. Do you think that moment changed Liam?
I wish I could say, "Yes, that was a pivotal moment for Liam," but even in the next episode, Liam was ready to go plead with Hope. I can't say it changed his decisions or his behavior. It just made him more self-aware. He's definitely become less naive about who he is and his place among these people and this world.
How are you feeling about the Hope/Liam/Steffy triangle these days?
I think you can keep revisiting the same triangle as long as you keep coming up with fresh new angles from which to approach it, and they're doing that. This is certainly an interesting angle. Finally, Liam felt good about being with Steffy. Maybe he wouldn't have committed to her in the way he did had it not been for her being pregnant, but Liam wasn't coerced against his will. There isn't a bad guy, this time.
Liam is constantly trying to do the right thing, and constantly failing. He's so scared of being the bad guy that he tries to be accountable to everyone at the same time, and ends up pissing off everyone at the same time! When he feels he's betraying somebody, he starts to get cloudy and makes mistakes. With Steffy losing the baby, you're starting to see Liam fall off balance again.
Did you start hearing from Liam/Hope fans as soon as they realized Steffy was going to lose the baby?
Not just the Liam/Hope fans. The minutes they even hinted at it, I had Liam/Steffy fans going, "Don't you eff this up!" I was getting pulled in a couple different directions. (laughs)
Are you ready to weigh on which woman belongs with Liam?
For a long time, I thought I wasn't supposed to, but I think there's a way to articulate my thoughts without betraying any fans. The way I see it, objectively, Liam and Steffy share more values and their behavior is more compatible. Liam and Hope are more like Romeo and Juliet. They have very different mentalities about life and love. The words "star-crossed lovers" comes to mind. I would predict Liam would have a happier, more drama-free life with Steffy, but the attraction and pull between Liam and Hope is actually stronger. That's the age-old debate: Is love enough? Is chemistry enough? That's part of the story we're telling.
Fans are assuming Jacqueline MacInnes Wood's (Steffy) upcoming exit from the show is bad news for the newlyweds. Are we making assumptions we shouldn't?
I just watched the season finale of "Game of Thrones," so I'm totally absorbed by that. (laughs) In the philosophy of that show, which is a kind of soap opera, I don't want fans of any character or couple to get too comfortable or feel too assured. In the real world, this is something that destroys relationships, but you don't know if Liam's and Steffy's lives will be completely and utterly destroyed by this or if they're going to come out stronger on the other end. It's more fun to let the fans worry.
Who would you like a chance to work with more?
I'd jump at any opportunity to work with John McCook (Eric). That has more to do with my reverence for John than the characters or any foreseeable storyline between the two. I love John so much. It would also be fun to see Liam interact with some of the younger male characters on the show. I'd love to see him have some guy friends, drink some beers and be a dude. We fantasize about that, Lawrence Saint-Victor (Carter), Texas Battle (Marcus), Zack Conroy (Oliver) and all the guys on the show.
That's true. Liam is always surrounded by women!
It's an effing estrogen minefield! I'd love to see him in a testosterone, male context.
Can you tease what's ahead for Liam, Steffy and Hope?
I will say that you're going to find that certain characters are going to react to new information in ways that you would not expect them to react. It's going to turn some things upside down - not only for the character, but possibly for the fans, as well. There is some very cool stuff coming up that I'm stoked about... but I can't spoil it for you!
"The Bold and the Beautiful" airs weekdays on CBS. The 40th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards airs Sunday, June 16, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on HLN.