MSN TV Blog - TV Buzz

In a HuffPost review, Franco offers creator Lena Dunham some sage advice

By Sona Charaipotra May 30, 2012 12:56PM
Photo courtesy HBO
James Franco is truly everywhere. When he's not publishing books, he's doing movies. When he's not doing movies, he's reviewing TV. That's right. Reviewing TV and pop culture. For the Huffington Post, no less. His latest take? A 1085-word treatise on the controversial HBO drama "Girls." 

The white-washed show, produced by Franco mentor Judd Apatow, is about struggling Brooklyn twenty-somethings -- and thus, it "seemed to portray my world," Franco confesses. 

But he does have some advice for much-maligned creator Lena Dunham, who writes, produces, directs and stars on the show -- a multi-tasker after Franco's own heart, it seems. Herewith, some sage nuggets:
  • Dunham's character, Hannah, should get a job. "If you really want to have experiences to write about, go to work; and if you really wan to be an artist, take responsibility for yourself and wait some tables. You might mature a little in the process."
  • The whole race drama surrounding the show is "a controversy about nothing," or at least, that's what Franco's Columbia grad school MFA classmates would have said. Franco suggests that, "because TV is such a popular medium, HBO has a responsibility to represent its subjects accurately, especially when the network is selling a show as a representation of young New York. There's no obligation to be kaleidoscopic, but there is a difference between writing a short story or essay about a bunch of white people that only a handful of people will ever read and creating a show about white people that millions of people will watch, especially when you've chosen to set that show in one of the most culturally mixed cities in the United States."
  • Where are the men? "I've read comments about 'Girls' that said, in a nutshell, 'I like the show, but I can't see me in the show.' I feel the same way. The guys in show are the biggest bunch of losers I've ever seen." He calls this payback for the dimwitted babes on "the West Coast male version of this show," "Entourage," which in turn was payback for the dorky males of "Sex and the City."
  • "I can get off on female bonding. Done right, it's much more interesting than male bonding." 
  • "Lena is the ultimate creator, so no matter what she puts the girls through, she is always in control. Her name is always at the end, where it says 'Created By.' They say living well is the best revenge, but sometimes writing well is even better."
So essentially, he hopes Lena will find a space for him amongst the idiotic males next season, right? What's your take on "Girls"? The voice of the generation? A voice of a generation? 

"Girls" airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on HBO. 
Tags: dramanews

Actor bids a Twitter farewell after five years

By Corey Levitan May 30, 2012 8:24AM

Tim Daly will not appear in Season 6 of ABC's "Private Practice." In a update to his Twitter account posted Tuesday night, the actor wrote: "It was a great 5 years. R.I.P. Pete Wilder."

Daly's post said It was series creator Shonda Rhimes who called the shot, breaking the news to the actor's agent.

Bing: More about "Private Practice"

Daly, a former "Wings" star, has appeared in "Private Practice" since its backdoor pilot aired during a 2007 "Grey's Anatomy" episode. His character was last seen being released on bail after in the Season 5 finale, after he was jailed for euthanizing a patient kept alive by machines.

Also: What TV shows are returning next season?

According to this TVLine report, cost-cutting is the culprit, with next season nearly not materializing due to budget issues. A seventh season looks unlikely, the report says.



From first lady Michelle Obama to Bobby Brown

By TVDeeva Deanna Barnert May 29, 2012 12:49PM

In spite of a slew of repeats on the daytime schedule for the week of May 28, there are still hot celebrities and big performers making the rounds. First Lady Michelle Obama will make two visits to ABC and then have Rachael Ray over for a White House BBQ. Big screen stars from "Snow White & the Huntsman," “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted" and "Neighborhood Watch” are coming to daytime; along with primetimers from “Modern Family," “Drop Dead Diva,” "Dancing with the Stars," "Private Practice, “The Office,” "Melissa & Joey," “Basketball Wives," "Pawn Stars" and "Push Girls." "Live! With Kelly" calls in Mark Consuelos, Barenaked Ladies lead singer Ed Robertson and Mike Greenberg as co-hosts for the week. Carrie Ann Inaba and Mario Cantone also get into the guest co-host game, elsewhere. Other notables coming to chat include Jim Parsons, Bethenny Frankel, Stacy Keibler, Vanessa Williams, Matthew Broderick, Bill Bellamy, Nicole Ari Parker and Margaret Cho. Plus, don't miss performances from the "American Idol" final three, Bobby Brown, Brad Paisley, Rufus Wainwright, Kat Graham, Rebecca Ferguson, One Direction and the cast of Broadway's “Nice Work If You Can Get It."


Bing: More about 'The Ellen Show' | 'GMA' | 'Today


 Schedules are subject to change. Repeat information provided where available.

Mon: Sharon Osbourne; Guest co-host Carrie Ann Inaba
Tues: The World’s Tallest Man
Wed: No celebs on the docket
Thurs: No celebs on the docket
Fri: Retrospective episode of most controversial guests and outrageous moments

"The Ellen DeGeneres Show"
Mon: Ellie Kemper, 2012 National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki; Rufus Wainwright performs
Tues: Vince Vaughn, Bethenny Frankel; Kat Graham performs
Wed: Vanessa Williams, Sarah Hyland, Mia Schaikewitz and Angela Rockwood
Thurs: Adam Levine, Colton Dixon, Sophia Grace and Rosie (repeat)
Fri: Steve Harvey, Gabriel Mann, Jason Mraz (repeat)

"Good Morning America"
Mon: TBA
Tue: First Lady Michelle Obama
Wed: TBA
Thurs: TBA
Fri: TBA; Brad Paisley performs


"Live! With Kelly"
Mon: Jim Parsons, Rick and Corey Harrison and Austin "Chumlee" Russell, Katie Brown; co-host Mark Consuelos
Tue: Amy Brenneman; Phillip Phillips performs; co-host Ed Robertson
Wed: Melissa Joan Hart; Jessica Sanchez performs; co-host Martin Short
Thurs: Kristen Stewart, Bill Hader; Joshua Ledet performs; co-host Mike Greenberg
Fri: Chris Hemsworth; co-host Mike Greenberg


"The Rachael Ray Show"
Mon: Sam Talbot, Shailene Woodley (repeat: 3/22/12)
Tues: Stars from "I Used to Be Fat," Kyan Douglas (repeat: 11/01/11)
Wed: Megan Hilty chats and performs (repeat: 3/5/12)
Thurs: Michelle Obama, Bob Harper
Fri: "The Great Philly Grill-Off" with Patti LaBelle, Ty Pennington (repeat: 9/26/11)

"The Talk"

Mon: Julie Andrews; Train performs  (repeat: 3/21/12)
Tues:  Miss Piggy, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Rachael Harris ( (repeat: 3/21/12)
Wed: Michael Ealy; Trisha Yearwood guest co-hosts  (repeat: 4/30/12)
Thurs: Shannen Doherty (repeat: 4/10/12) 
Fri: Randy Jackson (repeat: 4/23/12)

Mon: Merle Haggard, Bobby Brown performs
Tue: Charlize Theron; Rebecca Ferguson performs
Wed: Martin Short, One Direction performs
Thurs: Kristin Stewart, Cedric the Entertainer; Jessica Sanchez performs
Fri: Chris Hemsworth; The Band Perry performs


"The View"
Mon: The hosts' favorite things
Tues: First Lady Michelle Obama
Wed: Carmen Wong Ulrich; Rebecca Ferguson performs
Thurs: Matthew Broderick, Stacy Keibler; Broadway cast of “Nice Work If You Can Get It” performs
Fri: Charlize Theron, Joe and Heather Nichols; Margaret Cho performs; Guest co-host Mario Cantone

"The Wendy Williams Show"
Mon: Loretta Devine, Lara Spencer, Jaleel White (repeat)
Tues: Corbin Blue, Kathy Najimy, Tami Roman
Wed: Donny Deutsch, Dominik Garcia-Lorido
Thurs: Bill Bellamy, Brooke Elliot
Fri: Nicole Ari Parker


Also: What TV shows are returning next season?


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Zuleikha Robinson, aka Flight 316's Ilana Verdansky, joins series as Middle Eastern reporter

By Kenny Herzog May 29, 2012 11:35AM
We know what you've been thinking: How could watching Showtime's intimate terrorist drama "Homeland" get any more unbearably tense? Turns out, the answer is by introducing a Middle Eastern field reporter who has nebulous connections to Abu Nazir's global crime syndicate. But we bet you already knew that.

More on Zuleikha Robinson|"Homeland"|"Lost"

As it happens, Hollywood Reporter broke the news earlier today that Zukeikha Robinson—better known to most as duplicitous "Lost" casualty Ilana Verdansky—has been tapped to play said mysterious journalist, Roya Hammad. Furthermore, the article suggests that Hammad will encounter Brody (Damian Lewis) and present him with some kind of ultimatum. 

If this little plot morsel is accurate, we can only assume Roya has volatile intel about the U.S. Marine-turned-Nazir informant. Perhaps she'll even become another ally for poor, alienated protagonist Carrie (Claire Danes). Lord knows she could use one.
Season 2 of "Homeland" premieres September 30 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.

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.

Bing: More about "Sesame Street"

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." 

Bing: More on Lindsay Lohan

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