Nadia Bjolin (Chloe), Tamara Braun (Taylor) and Bren Foster (Quinn) cut from show
By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
As promised by "Days of our Lives" head honcho Ken Corday the exits from Salem continue. Nadia Bjolin, Tamara Braun (Taylor) and Bren Foster (Quinn) have joined Louise Sorel (Vivian) and Crystal Chappell (Carly) on the exit train.
This weekend, MSN TV caught up with Lauren Koslow (Kate), Arianne Zuker (Nicole), Suzanne Rogers (Maggie) and Martha Madsen (ex-Belle) at the Samantha's Friends fundraiser in Los Angeles and got a behind the scenes take on the ongoing shakeup.
With Deidre Hall (Marlena), Drake Hogestyn (John) and Matthew Ashford (Jack) set to return, new writers on board and at least one more exit expected, the cast finds itself in a swirl of rumors and mixed feelings -- just like fans!
"I'm going to be honest: It's never comfortable when there's a plan of letting people go," Arianne Zuker admitted. "You never want it to be you and you don't want it to be your friends. Most of the time, you don't want to comment on these things, but it's what everyone else is thinking."
Lauren Koslow chimed in on Sorel and Chappell, specifically. "My sadness with both of them is that I didn't have a chance to work with them," she said. "They are just wonderful actress, so on a personal level, I'm going to miss them, but on a professional level, I missed that opportunity... But it is actually the nature of our business."
Nadia Bjolin's exit hadn't hit the news yet, but the diva has already spoken out for herself.
Amid the goodbye tension, there have been several positive bits of news that have Salem locals cheering, including the new head writing team, Marlene Clark Poulter and Darrell Ray Thomas, Jr. "They were writing on our show during the 90s, which was a great time with great story and the characters were rich and full -- and all working!" Koslow recalls. "When was the last time you saw Kate in her office? Hello? We've lost that sense of character, so I'm excited to get back to that. When I first came to the show in '95, I was amazed by it. It was like heaven for an actor, because it was so rich. If we go back to that, it's going to be a bonanza."
Whatever comes from the new regime, Rogers doesn't want to see Maggie's current story to lose steam. "I hope the new writers like the new storyline as much as the old writers did, because we know the fans do," she said. "It's been a couple of years of good story and I've been enjoying that!"
Rodgers also added that with a few more casting slots to fill, "There's a lot of rumors, so we don't know what's true. They're going to bring back or let go who they want to. I don't have any control, so I just enjoy every day that I get a script."
Koslow, for her part, would love to see ANY of Kate's kids make a return. She talks about that in the exclusive video below, but like fans, she'd especially love to see Bryan Dattilo (Lucas) hit Salem again. "He's wonderful and right before he left, he was doing the best work of his career," Koslow maintains. "There's so much to do with his character. Lucas is such a complicated guy. Tweet away about it!"
Zucker, for her part, has her eye on another former love interest of Nicole's. "Selfishly, I would like to see the character of Eric Brady back, and it would be interesting to see my husband [Kyle Lowder (Rick, "The Bold and the Beautiful," ex-Brady, "Days of our Lives")] do it!" she said. "He's Sami's twin. They don't look alike, but their coloring is so similar, with their platinum hair and the blue eyes. That would be cool!"
Since the Samantha's Friends event took place at Martha Madison's restaurant, Henry's Hat, we had to track her down to ask: With her onscreen parents Deidre Hall (Marlena) and Drake Hogestyn (John) set to return this summer, might Belle be interested in coming home too? "I got bombarded on twitter Friday, because Drake and Deidre are coming back," Madsen said. "If they ask, I would definitely consider it."
"Days of our Lives" has certainly gained some attention from the big shakeup up, but only time will tell how this all will affect life in Salem, so stay tuned!
In the meantime, here's an exclusive video of Lauren Koslow dishing on why she'd like to see Kate's kids return to Salem and the key to playing EVIL.
"Days of our Lives" airs weekdays on NBC.
Facing down the summer months, a look back at the great, the good, and the danger zone.
Officially, the 2010-2011 television season ended on May 25. Due to the vagaries of basic cable networks, as well as HBO and Showtime, there will still be various shows finishing up over June and even starting up in July. But it seemed like a good idea to look back over some of the series that were covered in TV Buzz Blog and sum up the high (and low) points of the past six months.
Biggest overachiever: "Justified"
Talk about exceeding expectations. Overflowing with sharp, salty Southern-fried dialogue, anchored by charismatic star turns from Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins, and building to a thrilling climactic shoot-out, it would seem the first season couldn't be topped. But show runner Graham Yost rose to the occasion, deepening the existing relationships and adding in new and compelling storylines. Best of all, there was a towering performance from Margo Martindale as the tragic, bone-chilling crime family matriarch Mags Bennett. "Justified" proves you don't have to stop being smart to be entertaining as hell.
Most wasted potential: "The Chicago Code"
There were a lot of high hopes for this one, coming on the heels of Shawn Ryan's critically acclaimed but low-rated "Terriers". And maybe if "The Chicago Code" has gotten a second season, it would have settled into a more focused and dramatic place. But it was not to be. Despite absolutely gorgeous location shooting in the Windy City, and a magnetic turn from Delroy Lindo as the charmingly corrupt Alderman Ronin Gibbons, "The Chicago Code" was never able to balance out the weaker stand-alone stories with the overarching plot of a ragtag group of hero cops rooting out the bad guys in the system. Hopefully, Ryan's next project will be a bigger hit and stick around for a while.
Greatest ambition: "Community"
This season of Dan Harmon's pop-culture heavy sitcom seemed almost ridiculously bent on being bolder and crazier in its references and premises. Just pick one: a Christmas episode done completely in Claymation, a "clip show" involving elaborate flashbacks that had never been seen before, an homage to an 80s art film whose centerpiece was a five minute monologue about another half-hour comedy (on a different network, no less). The lows may have been rock bottom (anything to do with Pierce) but the highs were higher than ever (the Halloween zombie attacks and the penultimate spaghetti western showdown). Sticking with "Community" is its own reward.
Largest ratio of laughs per minute: "Archer"
So what did you enjoy this past season?
HBO offers up a six-minute sneak peek into what Season 4 will look like
What does this mean for 'General Hospital?'
Special to MSN TV
With the evening news behind her, Katie Couric is returning to daytime! ABC has tapped Couric to host her own nationally syndicated talk show and join the ABC News team. The new show will premiere September 2012, but Couric will get to work this summer. ABC's remaining soap, "General Hospital," looks to be safe for now.
Bing: More about Katie Couric
"I'm so excited to join the @abcfamily," Couric tweeted when the news broke Monday. "Finally the worst kept secret is out!"
Katie Couric left NBC's "Today" co-hosting duties in daytime to make the shift to become anchor and managing editor of "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric" and a member of the CBS news team. Now, she's jumping to a new network to come back to daytime with her own syndicated talk show.
"I'm very happy to be returning to the network where I began my career as a desk assistant in 1979," Couric said in the official release. "It is tremendously exciting to have the creative freedom to develop my own show with Anne Sweeney, the Disney/ABC TV Group and Jeff, and to contribute to such a vibrant, innovative news division. I can't wait to be part of this incredibly talented, visionary team."
The Jeff she's referencing is former NBC bigwig Jeff Zucker, who will be the exec producer for the not-yet-titled New York-based show with Couric. "It was a blast working with Katie at 'Today' and I'm excited to do it again," Zucker said. "And besides, it should be more fun spending time with Katie at 3 or 4 in the afternoon than at 3 or 4 in the morning."
While Couric and her new ABC team work on creating and naming the new show, Couric fans can still get their fill of the award-winning journalist. She will start working with the ABC news department this summer; anchoring anchor specials, contributing interviews, participating in special events coverage and weighing in on big stories.
The new untitled Katie Couric show has already been cleared to take the coveted "Oprah Winfrey Show" 3:00 p.m. time slot in most areas. When it premieres in September 2012, ABC will already have replaced "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" with the new talk shows "The Chew" and "The Revolution," premiering September 2011 and January 2012, respectively.
Though there was some scary "General Hospital" buzz floating around this weekend, the Couric news release claims ABC/Disney will continue to support its remaining soap opera.
UPDATE! With the Couric news giving "General Hospital" fans a scare, an ABC rep made it clear the soap's future and the entire ABC daytime schedule remain in flux and apparently up to the viewers. "Our release states that we're giving back our 3 p.m. time slot to the affiliates. This is widely known as the 'GH' timeslot, but this does not mean the inevitable cancelation of 'GH'" an ABC rep told TV Guide Magazine. "We are going to populate our daytime block with our strongest shows, the ones that resonate most with our audience. We hope it will encourage them to watch and support 'GH'. We will consider all options, such as making 'The Chew' and 'The Revolution' a half hour each, or making 'The Revolution' a half hour. This all happens a year and half from now. We are going to do our best to keep everybody happy."
The central mystery is put on hold for an unusual storytelling departure late in the season
"Sometimes I think you just run away so someone will come looking for you." - Holder
Two questions: 1) Where the heck did that come from? and 2) Why couldn't it have come earlier? Seemingly designed as a prototypical "bottle" episode that revolved around just two of the main characters, "Missing" for the most part abandons anything to do with the central murder mystery, and instead concentrates on delving deeper into the backgrounds of both Holder and Linden. Oddly, this made it simultaneously one of the most interesting and utterly frustrating hours of this sadly disappointing show.
Looking on the bright side, this was a much-needed glimpse into the inner life of our ostensible heroine, and we learned some compelling new information about her childhood that went a long way towards explaining her morose and taciturn personality. Understanding that she was a foster child who bounced around various homes and that the ever-patient Reggie is actually her old social worker helped make more sense of a rather opaque woman, and seeing her able open up to Holder (as well as break down crying in front of him) was a welcome development. As for Holder, there was nothing really new revealed about his past, other than confirming that his drug of choice was crystal meth. But his monologue about his bizarre life philosophy and his vulnerable phone call to his sister all went a long way to humanizing a character that verges on cliché more often than not. There was even a few darkly humorous moments for both of the partners; particularly Holder's explanation of his unique and not quite meatless diet, and Linden's incredulous reaction to finding out about Jack's phone call to her partner ("He went to the vegetarian Jesus freak for cooking advice?").
All of these seemingly small moments added up to real glimpses beneath the surface of both characters; unfortunately, they also served to emphasize that everyone else in the cast are still basically ciphers. It is always dicey to second-guess or re-imagine a television series before it has wrapped up, but it is hard to see why the extra-long Bennet Ahmed red herring couldn't have been replaced with more scenes and episodes like this one. Just think what it would have been like to really learn more about the Larsen marriage and family life, or why Richmond teeters between naked ambition and altruistic commitment, or just what is up with all of Rosie's creepy and damaged high-school friends. Or most of all, why couldn't we have found out more about the real Rosie Larsen before it's too late to really care anymore?
- The Kulamish tribe leadership really doesn't care about keeping up good public relations do they?
- New loose ends now include the truth about Jack's father.
- I'm sure Joel Kinnaman was directed to speak like a Marky Mark parody sketch, but it is still fairly ridiculous, yo.
Things are falling apart at every turn in a dark and strong episode
The title of tonight's affecting hour of "Friday Night Lights" may have been a bit too on the nose; in addition to Buddy Jr.'s broken leg, the cracks in the relationships between the Lions' players, their coaches and their families are becoming glaringly obvious. At roughly the mid-point of the final season, most of the people we have come to know (and love) are at a pretty low point, and their situations keep getting more complicated. There were rays of hope throughout "Fracture" (the final image in particular), but it was still looks like bad things have to happen before things can get better.
Likely to eventually take the biggest fall is poor "QB 1" Vince Howard. Caught up in the dazzling excitement of being recruited for top schools, reveling in his star status at a small-town school that has only recently re-discovered its civic pride, and basking in the loving pride of his family, this young man seems to have everything going for him. What he needs is an experienced mentor and role model, to help him keep his feet on the ground and his head on straight. Instead he has a hopelessly cocky and naïve father, who is doing nothing to stop (and in fact basically encourages) Vince's increasing alienation from his coach and teammates. The final scenes of the team waiting to go into the pep rally – Tinker, Luke and Vince shoving and yelling, Billy Riggins and Crowley screaming at each other, Eric explosive "SHUT UP!" – was painful and difficult to watch.
Also difficult to watch? Derek (aka The Worst Teacher's Assistant in Texas) showing up to be sleazy some more, again. From the writing, I think we are supposed to believe he is sincere in his feelings for Julie, ("We had a connection" – please, just kill me now) but even so, giving his forwarding address to her was not the act of a mature individual. If we are being honest, neither was Julie's reaction of choosing to turn the car around and hightail it to Chicago. But seeing Matt Saracen's slow goofy grin in the last shot was all it took to jump-start my optimism that everything will turn out okay.
- Becky finally opens up to Mindy (and the Ladies of the Landing Strip) about her abortion. Madison Burge is always at her best in her most vulnerable moments, and she has great chemistry with Stacey Oristano as Mindy. I'm not sure she should let them tag along to any other beauty pageants, though.
- I can't really get invested in the Tami/Epyck storyline, since it seems to inconsistently flit in and out of the series. Still, it was refreshing to have Epyck's home environment actually be the opposite of her clichéd fibs to Tami, and it is interesting to watch Mrs. Coach's obvious transference of her motherly instincts from Julie to Epyck.
- Vince telling Coach his mother had relapsed into drugs to explain his absence from practice was pretty despicable.
- "A little thing I like to call Mama Mindy time."
- Nice to have a quieter, more subdued echo of the "Julie drives away to college" scene from the first episode
- As much as I adore Matt Saracen, I hope Julie's Chicago plans include enrolling in college ASAP.
Wednesday is Meredith Vieira's last day on 'Today'
Special to MSN TV
Here's the lowdown on which daytime shows will be hanging out with Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Nick Jonas, Tina Fey, Orlando Bloom, Kristin Chenoweth, Marc Anthony, Christina Hendricks, Barry Manilow and more during the week of June 6-10, 2011.
Of special note this week: Wednesday, June 8, marks Meredith Vieira's last day on "Today." With "surprise guests" schedule to bid her adieu, that could end up being the best ticket in daytime this week. It won't be anything like Oprah's grand goodbye, but with Matt Lauer and crew in the house, it's sure to offer some laughs, memories and tears. On Thursday, Ann Curry steps in as the new co-host, while Natalie Morales takes on the role of newsreader.
"Live with Regis and Kelly"
Monday: Guest co-host Mark Consuelos; Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights," "Super 8"), Matt Bomer ("White Collar")
Tuesday: Marc Anthony, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian
Wednesday: Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory," "The Normal Heart"), Faith Ford ("Prom")
Thursday: Carla Gugino ("Mr. Popper's Penguins"), Natasha Bedingfield
Friday: Jason Lee, Jennifer Lawrence ("X-Men: First Class," "Hunger Games")
"The Ellen Degeneres Show"
Monday: Tina Fey (author, (Bossypants"), Mike Posner
Tuesday: Reese Witherspoon ("Water for Elephants"), Paul Walker ("Fast Five"), Jackson Guthy
Wednesday: Mario Lopez, Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke ("Dancing with the Stars")
Thursday: Kristin Chenoweth ("CMT's Next Superstar"), Nick Cannon ("America's Got Talent"), Mary McCormack ("In Plain Sight"), Alison Krauss & Union Station
Friday: Orlando Bloom ("The Hobbit"), Josh Groban
"The Gayle King Show"
Monday: Jennifer Hudson, Dr. Susan Lipkins
Tuesday: Justin Bieber, Nicole Richie
Wednesday: Lady Gaga, Brian Williams
Thursday: Shirley MacLaine, Toni Braxton
Friday: Bret Michaels, Kristin Gore
Monday: Tisha Campbell-Martin ("The Protector"), Chris Powell ("Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition")
Tuesday: Howie Mandel ("America's Got Talent"), Pat Benetar
Wednesday: Guest co-host Suzanne Somers, singer Barry Manilow
Thursday: Adam Carolla, Lisa Bloom (author, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World)
Friday: Mark-Paul Gosselaar; Jami Gertz
Monday: Larry King (author, "Truth Be Told")
Tuesday: Sarah Ferguson ("Finding Sarah"), musical guest Ronnie Dunn
Wednesday: Ann Coulter (author, Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America),
Christina Hendricks ("Mad Men")
Thursday: Adam Carolla; Ice-T & Coco ("I Love Coco"), Marc Ostrofsky
Friday: Kids Theme Show - Nick Jonas ("Jonas Brothers"); musical performance from Disney's "Lemonade Mouth"
Monday: Matt Bomer ("White Collar"), Piper Perabo ("Covert Affairs"), Kate Gosselin, Barbara Corcoran, Andy Cohen, Piper Perabo, Randy Travis & Josh Turner perform
Tuesday: Sarah Ferguson, The Duggar family ("19 Kids and Counting"), Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian, the Duggar family, Shaun Tomson
Wednesday: Meredith's farewell with surprise guests
Thursday: Ann's first day in the anchor chair. Natalie's first day at the news desk.
Tyler Florence on Today's Kitchen. Georgina Bloomberg ("The A Circuit"), Savannah Guthrie, Bobbie Thomas, Janice Lieberman, Tyler Florence
Friday: Stefanie Wilder-Taylor (author, I'm Kind of a Big Deal: And Other Delusions of Adequacy), The Script performs, Emma Roberts
Barbara Walters puts the screws to Paris!
By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
When Paris Hilton stopped by "The View" to promote Monday's season premiere of "The World According to Paris," things started out copacetic. Then Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters got into the chatter!
First Whoopi declared that she can't imagine why Paris feels the need to introduce herself to the world, when she's already an accomplished business woman. "You always say you want to be taken seriously, like Oprah or Martha Stewart and the women who have been doing stuff," Whoopi said. "Why would you return to a reality show when in fact you are already this woman that you want everyone to know? Why would you show them you shopping? You don't think it makes you seem a little fluffier?"
Paris started to speak to that, but then Barbara jumped in.
After noting she and Paris go back and have shared "good times," Barbara laid into her. She wasn't upset the premiere featured gossip, clubbing, drinking and "a fairly frivolous point of view". What got her going was Paris' negative attitude about community service and being with "prison people."
"I remember the last time we talked, you had served time in prison," Barbara challenged. "It was very painful and you learned a great deal, you said, and you were going to spend a lot of time helping fellow prisoners, especially women. I know you've raised a lot of money for illnesses, but why haven't you done more of that and less of this?"
When Paris countered that she was just joking around and that she does charity all the time, Walters asks, "Why not present that side of yourself, if indeed it exists." Ouch!
Take a look at the clip of Paris' June 1, 2011 visit to "The View," below, to see how she handles herself.
"The View" airs weekdays on ABC.