MSN TV Blog - TV Buzz

Which of these employees doesn't belong?

By Corey Levitan May 25, 2012 9:19AM

"U" is for unemployment. In a surreal reminder of the state of the economy, a dozen people were laid off from the company that produces "Sesame Street" yesterday, according to Deadline. The job cuts occurred at the New York headquarters of the nonprofit Sesame Workshop.

"Sesame Street" has been home to Kermit and Big Bird since the show began in 1969.

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This is the show's second major layoff due to the recession. In 2009 -- despite being the 15th highest-rated children's show in the U.S. -- 20 percent of the "Sesame Street" workforce was pink-slipped due to a decline in donations. New episodes of the show still run in 150 countries.

The new layoffs, mostly in the digital media department, were spun by a company spokesperson as a shift of resources "to better align with our strategic priorities and new opportunities."

A comment below the Deadline piece reads: "This message was brought to you by the letter 'B' and the letter 'S.'"


"Sesame Street" airs weekdays at 10 a.m. ET/PT and Sundays at 6 a.m. ET/PT on PBS.



Acclaimed actor makes his first foray into TV

By MSN TV May 25, 2012 9:17AM






















By Mekeisha Madden Toby

Special to MSN TV


Movie star Kevin Costner never does anything half way. Just look at History’s three-part miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys,” Costner’s first foray into television. Not only is the 55-year-old actor (“Dances with Wolves” and “The Bodyguard”) starring in the flick as Devil Anse Hatfield – one of the two men who started this infamous and bloody family feud – but he’s one of the producers. And he and his band, Modern West, did the soundtrack.


Bing: More about More about 'Hatfields & McCoys' | More on the soundtrack


Costner, who dons a leathered visage and a frighteningly full beard, is in good company with an impressive cast that includes Bill Paxton (“Big Love”) as his former friend and rival Randall McCoy, as well as Tom Berenger and Emmy winners Powers Boothe and Mare Winningham.


MSN TV caught up with Costner as he promoted the film and talked about everything from why he’s working with director Kevin Reynolds (“Fandango,” “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” and “Waterworld”) once more to why viewers should tune in.


“Hatfields & McCoys” airs in three parts Monday, May 28, at 9 p.m., Tuesday, May 29, at 9 p.m. and Wednesday, May 30, 9 p.m. on History.


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MSN TV: What made you want to get involved with this project?  


Kevin Costner:  Well, I had been asked a variety of ways, how much do you know about this story? And the truth is I probably knew a little bit more than the average bear. I like American history. So I got involved with it the way I do all the projects that I get involved with, I liked the writing. And I felt the authenticity of the writing. I was surprised by the violence. I was interested in what was really going on culturally at that point and being able to kind of immerse myself in that era.


What made you want to work with director Kevin Reynolds again?


I asked for Kevin to direct this movie, and they looked at me and they could tell I was really serious about it.  And they said okay. He has a very unusual eye, I think he’s an artist, and we had a really good document and a script. And I can’t emphasize that enough because that’s why I chose to do this. But then if you combine it with a very good cinematic style it can be an exciting offering.  And I thought that Kevin would give us that.


How much research did you do for the role?


I started to go a little heavier into the socio-economic issues that were going on in that time. We had come out of this terrible Civil War, and the repercussions of that lasted 50, 60 years, or more.  So when we came out of the Civil War there was incredible anger.  And people who think of Hatfield and McCoy, think of Randall McCoy and Devil Anse Hatfield. But the more you study, you understand that the children and outside people were really the provocateurs of this – of this feud that endured. So I kind of try to go into actual human behavior instead of putting my own sensibilities on it, I try to go back to that time.


Also: What TV shows are returning next season?


What was it like to work with such an amazing cast?


They were all skilled and really, really dedicated.  And I think all the actors, if you want to call them veteran actors, they all try to search out material like this and hope that it comes along. And the fact that we ended up shooting in Romania brought the cast even closer together because we were all a long way from home, the language was a barrier for us, and sometimes the food and everything else. And people really rallied around each other. This group has managed to stay fairly close and still is pretty much in contact with each other long after this movie has been over, and that’s quite unusual.


Were you a fan of Westerns on television like “Lonesome Dove” and do you feel the pressure to live up to something like “Lonesome Dove”?


You try to raise the bar on whatever you do because you’re trying to – in this day of having to deal with a lot of reality TV – you try to create something that can live in people’s minds long after they see it. And so I start with the idea that I don’t want to make something that can just be dismissed the next day.  That it’s maybe something you want to revisit.  Maybe it’s something you want to share just the same way when you hear a great song or read a great book you go, “I’m going to tell somebody about this.”


Do you think this is a good Memorial Day weekend option for men?


I don’t know.  I can’t speak to that. But I have to say if people show up to see what I’m doing that I don’t believe they’re going to waste their time.  I believe they’ll see the reason why I did it. You don’t want to waste people’s time.  I mean you know it’s Memorial Day weekend.  People are going to be drunk, right? So, you hope they find the Lay-Z Boy and they sit down and watch three nights of the “Hatfields & McCoys.”


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“Hatfields & McCoys” airs in three parts Monday, May 28, at 9 p.m., Tuesday, May 29, at 9 p.m. and Wednesday, May 30, 9 p.m. on History.


'True Blood' fans will recognize Lindsay Lohan's new costar

By Sona Charaipotra May 25, 2012 8:52AM
Photo courtesy ABC
Last month, in yet another attempt to revitalize her flagging career, Lindsay Lohan signed on to star as none other than the stunning Elizabeth Taylor in a Lifetime biopic of the actress. The film, which will begin shooting in June, although it doesn't have an air date yet, documents Taylor's love affair with Richard Burton as the pair filmed the classic "Cleopatra." 

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The move stirred up a huge wave of controversy for the cable network, but that's apparently exactly what they were hoping for. After all, the part will be Lohan's first major turn since her 2009 flop "Labor Pains." (Her recent portrayal of herself as a cranky judge on "Glee" notwithstanding.) 

Now, Lifetime has finally announced who will hold their own opposite the diva in the TV flick as Taylor's fifth husband, Oscar-nominated actor Richard Burton. The lucky man? Fans will recognize Grant Bowler from turns as the dearly departed werewolf Cooter on "True Blood" and as slick exec Connor Owens on "Ugly Betty." He also did a recent stint on the ABC comedy "GCB." 

"Grant will add gravitas to our couple and bring to life one of the greatest actors who has ever lived," the TV flick's exec producer, Larry A. Thompson, told Deadline.   

The clearly bored Lohan, meanwhile, plans on tweeting all about her adventures on the set. She's even created a new account named @DameLindsay, complete with a pic of herself dolled up and in character. 

Where to watch the awards show and what to expect

By TVDeeva Deanna Barnert May 24, 2012 4:06PM

It looked like the 2012 Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards would be a private affair, but the gala event has found a broadcast and online home: HLN will air the June 23 ceremony live, while will offer an online portal for all things Daytime Emmy.


BingMore about the 39th Annual Daytime Emmys

“The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), is very excited to announce that the 2012 Daytime Entertainment Emmy® Awards will be broadcast live on HLN on Saturday, June 23, from the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California,” said Malachy Wienges, Chairman of NATAS. “Working with the show's producer, Gabriel Gornell of LocoDistro, we are preparing a new, fresh, creative show that will honor all the genres that make Daytime Television part of our daily lives. These shows include Daytime Dramas, Children’s and Animation Programming, Game Shows, Courtroom, Talk, Culinary, and the Morning Shows.”

Wings added that with Barbara Walters presenting the 2012 Daytime Lifetime Achievement Award to "The View" and "Barbara Walters Specials" Executive Producer, Bill Geddie, "This will be one of the most exciting Daytime Emmy® broadcasts in years!”

This year’s Emmy broadcast will feature more than 20 Daytime categories, as well as tributes to the canceled series "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" and a look back at the daytime TV landscape through the years. The show also promises surprise guests and unusual presenter pairings.

More: Breaking Down the 39th Daytime Emmy Nominations

Fans can get involved in the presentation via featured segments on air and online at


'Today' goes to London

By TVDeeva Deanna Barnert May 24, 2012 3:35PM

NBCUniversal will provide comprehensive coverage of the 2012 London Olympics, starting with the Opening Ceremony, Friday, July 27. Olympic fanatics will find 5,535 hours of Olympic action across NBCUniversal, including massive daytime and primetime blocks on NBC. The Peacock's regular programming will go dark, except for "Today," which will broadcast from England.


Bing: More about the London Olympics

“Whether on television or online, on broadcast or cable, in English or in Spanish, NBCUniversal has the London Olympics covered, providing the American viewer with more choices than ever to watch the Games," said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group.


The Olympics will air on NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo,, two specialty channels and the first-ever 3D platform.


NBC, in particular, will dedicate 272.5 hours of coverage to the games over 17 days. That means "Days of our Lives" and the NBC daytime talk show line-up will go dark during the Olympics, as will primetime dramas, reality shows and more.


Coverage will begin on most weekdays at 10 a.m. ET/PT, immediately following NBC's "Today." This may not bode well for "GMA" in the battle for ratings. On weekends, NBC’s daytime coverage will begin as early as 5 a.m. ET/PT.


NBC’s primetime will be dedicated to the network's traditional, award-winning Olympic storytelling coverage, airing 8 to 11:30 p.m. or Midnight ET/PT on most nights.


A one-hour late-night show will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the primetime program. Primetime will be replayed following the late-night show.


Bob Costas will anchor the events from London.


Science Channel to air repeats of FOX's supernatural drama

By Kenny Herzog May 24, 2012 9:58AM
Finally, there's a reason to watch the Science Channel aside from several-hour marathons of "How It's Made." Not that we don't advocate all things bookish and educational and such. Still, every fledgling network needs a scripted anchor, and Deadline and others have reported that Warner Bros. distribution has sold syndication rights for "Fringe" to the Discovery-owned SC. 



FOX's cult sci-fi drama was just picked up for 13 new episodes in the fall, making it an even more robust acquisition for Science Channel. No date has been set for when fans and potential converts can anticipate reruns to air, but there's whispers that WB is seeking a streaming partner for past seasons as well.  

In other words, if an audience doesn't catch on by this time next year, either viewers are just lazy, or not everything J.J. Abrams touches transforms into priceless primetime gold.

Season 5 of "Fringe" premieres this fall on FOX. 

Report: Amazon in talks to stream new episodes of ABC-canceled series

By Corey Levitan May 24, 2012 8:27AM

Could "Pan Am" be un-grounded? According to this report from Deadline, discussions are underway to revive the '60s drama by streaming it via

Bing: More about "Pan Am"

"Pan Am" was canceled by ABC earlier this month after a steep takeoff (11 million viewers for the premiere) was followed by a steady loss of altitude (3.8 million viewers for the finale). However, according to Deadline, it is extremely popular in Europe, where it recently won best series at the Rose d'Or awards, the continent's top television honor.

Also: What TV shows are returning next season?


Produced by Sony Pictures TV, the series starred Christina Ricci, Kelli Garner,  Karine Vanasse and Margot Robbie as flight attendants exploring exotic locales, witnessing historical moments and intermingling with the spy world.

Amazon -- which already streams what looked to be "Pan Am's" only season -- is looking to follow Netflix and Hulu into the production of original content.


ABC daytime to get a double dose of the First Lady

By TVDeeva Deanna Barnert May 23, 2012 12:51PM
Michelle Obama is coming to ABC's "Good Morning America" and "The View" on Tuesday, May 29. The First Lady will be promoting her new book, "White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America," along with the message that access to healthy, affordable food can promote better eating habits

Bing: More on "GMA" | 'The View' | Michelle Obama

During her visits, Mrs. Obama will dish about the history of the White House garden and share some recipes from the book, along with tips for starting your own garden in any living condition.


Also: What TV shows are returning next season?


"GMA" will also call on students from New York City’s Public Schools 102 and 107 to prove her point. These youngsters successfully grew their own container gardens and will show viewers how easy it is to get started.


Then it's off to “The View” to chat with hosts Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd. As with Barack Obama's May 15 appearance on “The View,” the First Lady’s appearance is part of the show’s continuing “Red, White & View” campaign. 

This won't be Mrs. Obama's first visit "the View." In addition to being a guest in April 2011, she made her daytime television debut as a special guest co-host in 2008, before her husband was elected, as seen in the clip above.

"GMA" and "The View" air weekdays on ABC.