By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
On the heels of a head writer shakeup and a serious cast reshuffle, "Days of our Lives" has announced a new team of executive producers. Former co-executive producer Gary Tomlin is officially out, with Noel Maxam and Greg Meng taking over as the new Co-Executive Producer team.
“It's time to make a more positive, romantic and intriguing show driven by the power of heroic love," said "Days of our Lives" head honcho Ken Corday. "I'm very excited about the new adventure we are about to take which is based on the show that my parents created 45 years ago."
Over the past month, "Days of our Lives" has announced a new head writing team, Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas and major casting changes. As an update on the casting ins and outs in Salem, so far, "Days of our Lives" has said goodbye to Louise Sorel (Vivian), Crystal Chappell (Carly), Nadia Bjolin (Chloe), Tamara Braun (Taylor), Bren Foster (Quinn) and Francisco San Martin (Dario). Casting additions include returning Deidre Hall (Marlena), Drake Hogestyn (John), Matthew Ashford (Jack) and Mark Hapka (Nathan) and newcomer Freddie Smith ("90210") are heading to town.
Now, "Days of Our lives" has given Gary Tomlin the axe -- or at least, they've replaced him with new co-exec producers. Co-Executive Producer Noel Maxam has been a producer on the show for four years, while Co-Executive Producer Greg Meng has served as Executive in Charge of Production for over ten years.
The revitalized crew at "Days of Our lives" is working together to create a "grand event in the fall," respite with big surprises.
"I am confident these changes will bring back excitement and anticipation to our family of fans as they tune in each day to see what happens," Corday teases. "You won’t want to miss a single episode of the new 'Days' ahead!"
Gary Tomlin has been at the helm in Salem since 2008. While often credited with getting "Days" finances in order, his start as an actor also made him a favorite of some Salem locals. Tomlin's history in daytime goes back to a 1973 acting gig on "Search for Tomorrow." He made his move to the other side of the camera after his 1979 stint on "Another World" and has since served as a director, writer and producer on soaps like "All My Children," "Passions," "One Life To Live," "Search for Tomorrow" and "Sunset Beach." He also created the animated series "W.I.T.C.H."
"Days of our Lives" airs weekdays on NBC.
HBO offers up a full eight minutes of the 'True Blood' Season 4 premiere
"True Blood" premieres Sunday, June 26, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
The ABC Family hit's second season premiere left us with more questions than answers
What to watch during the lazy days of summer
Summer used to be the time when "There's nothing on" was actually true. Sure, there was some baseball and maybe the three (3) networks would showcase some rejected pilots as one-hour "special movies". But mostly, June, July, and August were the months when Americans could catch up on repeats of shows they had missed during the regular TV season, a quaint concept in those pre-DVR/Hulu days. Now basic cable, along with HBO and Showtime, offers a healthy choice of new and potentially interesting shows. Here are some that we're looking forward to in the next few weeks.
Falling Skies (TNT, premieres Sunday June 19, 9/8 Central)
Pros: Noah Wyle stars as a father struggling to hold his family together after an alien attack pretty much destroys our civilization. End-of-the world survival stories are pretty irresistible ("The Stand" being the most obvious example), and the producers come with impressive resumes on other projects, notably"Justified" and "Battlestar Galactica". The buzz has already been building around this show a perfectly enjoyable summer adventure.
Cons: Despite "executive produced by Steven Spielberg" above the title, TNT is not known for having the necessary budget to do these kinds of effects-heavy series.
Blogging rotation chances: 30/70. Like "Burn Notice" and other lighter summer fare, this may be a show to watch with your brain turned off.
Wilfred (F/X, premieres Thursday June 23, 10/9 Central)
Pros: Joining the line-up of edgy comedies on F/X ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", "Archer"), "Wilfred" looks like a cross between "Harvey" and "Donnie Darko". Elijah Wood plays a depressed young man who sees his neighbor's dog as a large man in a dog suit (Jason Gann, reprising the role he created in the original Australian series). Normally, this would mean "wacky hi-jinks ensue" but the tone seems to be more caustically droll than aggressively whimsical.
Cons: From the executive producer of "Family Guy". Yikes.
Blogging rotation chances: 50/50. We’ll see if there is anything more to say than "That was funny."
Louie (F/X, premieres Thursday June 23, 10:30/9:30 Central)
Pros: In its first season, Louis C.K. created a singular piece of television - more like a series of experimental short films than a classic sitcom. Some episodes lean more heavily on his much lauded stand-up, while others delved into his relationships with family, fellow comics, and his new life as a single father. Frequently bizarre, regularly cringe inducing, and profane even by the standards of late night basic cable, "Louie" is the true vision of its star (who is also the writer, director and even editor of most episodes).
Cons: Not everything that comes out of C.K.'s fertile imagination always connects with his intended audience and the depressive elements can sometimes overwhelm the comedy.
Blogging rotation chances: 70/30. Even when "Louie" doesn't stick the landing, there is always juicy stuff to talk about.
Breaking Bad (AMC, premieres July 17, 10/9 Central)
Pros: Bryan Cranston. Aaron Paul. Bob "Better Call Saul" Odenkirk. Three seasons of some of the most exciting, audacious, and mesmerizing television ever.
Cons: None. Zip. Nada. It's all good.
Blogging rotation chances: 100%. July cannot get here fast enough.
So what are you looking forward to watching?
Will other fan favorites also be returning?
By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
"All My Children" alums Josh Duhamel and Eva La Rue will return to their old stomping grounds before "AMC" goes off-air in September, 2011. Cameos from alums Sarah Michelle Gellar, Christian Slater, Kim Delaney, Amanda Seyfried and Mischa Barton seem unlikely, but fans are still holding out hope for them and Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos and other Pine Valley favorites.
With "All My Children" set to go dark this summer, the soap opera has so far nabbed two big returns, Josh Duhamel and Eva La Rue.
Josh Duhamel has made a name for himself since starring in TV's "Las Vegas." In addition to hitting the big screen with "Transformers" and "Life as We Know It," the hottie regularly makes the news with his rockin' real life leading lady, Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson.
Long before the big screen, however, Duhamel was already beloved by daytime fans for his Emmy-winning run as heartthrob Leo Du Pres on "All My Children." Since leaving in 2003, Duhamel has said he'd consider a return to the show that gave him his start and now, it's set to happen sometime this August!
"Everyone at 'All My Children' is thrilled and excited to welcome Josh back to Pine Valley," said Executive Producer Julie Carruthers. "The appearance of Leo is sure to be one of the highlights of the season."
Leo was presumed dead after plunging over Miller's Falls to save Greenlee (Rebecca Budig) in November 2002, but his body was never found. It's not clear whether Duhamel's Leo will make a grand return from the dead, a ghostly visit or just pop up as a vision of some sort.
While Greenlee's true love is heading back to town, another super-couple may get a chance at a reunion, as well. "CSI: Miami" star Eva La Rue (Maria Santos Grey) will return to Pine Valley for several episodes, starting July 19. Her character Maria's fairytale romance with Edmund was paralleled by a real life off screen romance between La Rue and now ex-husband John Callahan (Edmund). No word yet on whether Callahan will bring back the other half of this Pine Valley super couple.
La Rue, for her part, got more than a bit choked up about the "AMC" cancelation. "I cried for a day and a half when I found out they were canceling the show," La Rue admitted during a recent visit to "The Talk."
"All My Children" fans are hoping to hear of more big returns before the show ends in September, 2011. Other big stars that got their starts in Pine Valley include Sarah Michelle Gellar, Christian Slater, Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos, Kim Delaney, Amanda Seyfried and Mischa Barton.
With "One Life to Live" set to run through January, 2012, there's been no mention of big returns thus far, but daytime fingers are crossed here, as well. "One Life to Live" alums include the likes Marcia Cross, Nathan Fillion, Tommy Lee Jones, Ryan Phillipe, Laurence Fishburne, Blair Underwood, Hayden Panettiere, Yasmin Bleeth, Brandon Routh and Colm Meaney.
In the penultimate episode, the mystery races towards the finish line with a series of implausible scenarios
Are these really our only two choices? A turgid, mood-heavy, slow-moving slog with occasionally powerful moments, or a fast-paced and fairly suspenseful story made up almost entirely of utterly implausible occurrences? In the space of one hour, we find out that Terry is a prostitute, Darren Richmond (at the very least) frequents her escort service, and that Holder and Linden can magically trace back and find an erased message board posting in less time than it takes to say "Pimp My Feet."
The police: Apparently making up for tons of lost time and energy, the cops are somehow able to find out that Rosie was stopping off at the Indian casino to make large deposits of cash to an account in her aunt Terry's name, determine that Terry is an escort for an organization called Beau Soleil and obtain the description, email and a first-hand account of a violent customer who drove the girls down to the river and talked about "what it would feel like to drown." All in one (1) day. It is one thing to explore red herrings and well-intentioned but misguided police work early in your series; it is another to throw a bunch of brand-new (and largely clichéd and ridiculous) information in your last two episodes.
The family: Not much here, other than Aunt Terry being part of the oldest profession. That was some seriously contrived conflict between Mitch and Stan, which will surely resolve itself in next week's finale, when he finally tells her about the new house (like people do in real life). One grace note: Jamie Anne Allman's gut-punch of a scene where she connected "Orpheus" fascination with drowning and Rosie's death, and cold fear just washed over her face.
The campaign: Sigh. Is this why they hired Billy Campbell? To morph into the faceless specter of murder, who also inexplicably uses the same email address to arrange his appearance schedule and solicit for sex? It is hard to believe that this isn't another final fake-out from the producers who brought us Bennet Ahmed and his secret ring of Somali super-heroes, although it is obvious something strange is going on with Richmond. The photos and the prostitute's story are all pointing towards some kind of secret life, but murder? Stay tuned for next week.
- As long as we are cataloging farfetched situations: Holder manages to make an appointment that very night with the one particular girl who posted the warning about Orpheus, and also gets her to come to his hotel room alone, despite never having been a client of Beau Soleil.
- Michelle Forbes was really giving a powerful performance; too bad the writing has left her in the lurch for the final stretch.
- On the good side: The grainy lighting and overcast sky really made that scene in Drexler's house with the overhead pool particularly creepy. He's certainly one to watch in the final analysis.
- "Maybe none of us knew her." Sadly, I don't think we ever will either.
Veteran actress excited about her latest mom role on ABC Family
By Mekeisha Madden Toby
Special to MSN TV
Actress Amy Pietz doesn't wear mom jeans and she doesn't cotton to many of the mom roles written by Hollywood scribes.
Bing: More about Amy Pietz | 'The Nine Lives of Chloe King'
"I've always turned down mom roles unless they're quirky or really weird," Pietz said. "I'm not interested in playing a mom wearing sweater sets."
Of course, Pietz has made exceptions. She dazzled fans as matriarch Franny Tolchuck on The CW's beloved and short-lived comedy, "Aliens in America."
And then there's the mom role Pietz rejected that she wishes she hadn't.
"I turned down 'Modern Family' for some crazy reason," Pietz, 42, confessed at ABC's summer TV press junket last month in Burbank, Calif. She could've played Claire Dunphy on the critically acclaimed comedy, a part that earned Julie Bowen, 41, an Emmy nomination.
"That was not a good decision," Pietz said. "but it wasn't written the way I wanted to speak."
Pietz, who is best known for her turn on "Caroline in the City" (1995-2000), is getting a second chance of sorts in her new role as Meredith King. She's the mom on ABC Family's new sci-fi drama "The Nine Lives of Chloe King."
"I've never done sci-fi or action," Pietz said. "Yet, at the same time there is a 'Gilmore Girls' type relationship (between Chloe and Meredith).
"I read the first three pages of the script and it sounded like me. And I thought, 'I can do this.'"
Just look at Craig T. Nelson. He turned down the role of Jay Pritchett on "Modern Family," much to the delight and benefit of Ed O'Neill. But Nelson redeemed himself with a solid role on NBC's "Parenthood." The same good fortune could easily befall Pietz.
After all, "The Nine Lives of Chloe King" certainly has a lot going for it and that includes a built-in fan base. The show is based on a series of books of the same name from author Celia Thomson and follows Chloe (Skyler Samuels, "The Gates"), a teenage girl who learns she is a descendant of an ancient race. Chloe's bloodline blesses her with extraordinary gifts including enhanced hearing and senses, speed and agility.
"I watched it with my stepdaughter and she was scared and thrilled," said Pietz, who recently married and became a stepmom and is using both of her new roles to evolve.
"I had no experience with teenagers until this year," Pietz said. "And now I've got two. I've got a TV one and a real one and they're both helping me out because I understand this is real. Their issues are real and they deserve weight and care."
"The Nine Lives of Chloe King" premieres Tuesday, June 14, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.