Interview with the cast of “The Ark” on Syfy

TV Interview!

Actors from "The Ark" on Syfy

Interview with actors and showrunners of “The Ark” on Syfy by Suzanne 1/27/23

I’ve watched 4 episodes of this show, and it’s already hooked me. Like the show’s creator, Dean Devlin, I’ve been a fan of good science fiction TV since I was a child. This is a good new show to add to the list. I hope it survives and does well. I’ve enjoyed many of Devlin’s shows, such as “Leverage” and “The Librarians.” Syfy was great about letting me interview most of the main cast from the show. I hope you enjoy the videos below of our interviews as much as I did!

Interview with showrunners Dean Devlin and Jonathan Glassner of “The Ark” on Syfy

Dean Devlin and Jonathan Glassner of "The Ark" on Syfy - photos from Instagram


Interview with Christina Wolfe and Shalini Peiris of “The Ark” on Syfy

Christina Wolfe plays Cat Brandice and Shalini Peiris plays Dr. Sanjivni Kabir in the new SYFY original series “The Ark.”


Interview with Christie Burke, Richard Fleeshman and Reece Ritchie of “The Ark” on Syfy

THE ARK -- Season:1 -- Pictured: Christie Burke as Lt. Sharon Garnet, Richard Fleeshman as Lt. James Brice and Reece Ritchie as Lt. Spencer Lane -- (Photo by: Aleksandar Letic/Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)


Interview with Ryan Adams and Stacey Read of “The Ark” on Syfy

THE ARK -- Season:1 -- Pictured: Stacey Read as Alicia Nevins and Ryan Adams as Angus Medford -- (Photo by: Aleksandar Letic/Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)



THE ARK -- Pictured: "The Ark" Key Art -- (Photo by: SYFY)

The Ark

Premieres Wednesday, February 1, at 10 PM ET/PT on SYFY

“The Ark” takes place 100 years in the future when planetary colonization missions have begun as a necessity to help secure the survival of the human race. The first of these missions on a spacecraft known as Ark One encounters a catastrophic event causing massive destruction and loss of life. With more than a year left to go before reaching their target planet, a lack of life-sustaining supplies and loss of leadership, the remaining crew must become the best versions of themselves to stay on course and survive.

The series stars Christie Burke, Richard Fleeshman, Reece Ritchie, Stacey Read and Ryan Adams.

Dean Devlin (“Independence Day,” “Stargate”) and Jonathan Glassner (“Stargate SG-1”) are co-showrunners and executive producers alongside Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson of Electric Entertainment. Jonathan English of Balkanic Media and Steve Lee serve as producers.



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Created by Dean Devlin, “The Ark” takes place 100 years in the future when planetary colonization missions have begun as a necessity to help secure the survival of the human race. The first of these missions on a spacecraft known as Ark One encounters a catastrophic event causing massive destruction and loss of life. With more than a year left to go before reaching their target planet, a lack of life-sustaining supplies and loss of leadership, the remaining crew must become the best versions of themselves to stay on course and survive.

The series stars Christie Burke, Richard Fleeshman, Reece Ritchie, Stacey Read and Ryan Adams.

Dean Devlin (“Independence Day,” “Stargate”) and Jonathan Glassner (“Stargate SG-1”) are co-showrunners and executive producers alongside Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson of Electric Entertainment. Jonathan English of Balkanic Media and Steve Lee serve as producers.

Christie Burke

Lt. Sharon Garnet, “The Ark”

THE ARK -- Season:1 -- Pictured: Christie Burke as Lt. Sharon Garnet -- (Photo by: Aleksandar Letic/Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)

Christie Burke plays Lt. Sharon Garnet in the new SYFY original series, “The Ark.”

Christie Burke’s recent television credits include recurring roles on Netflix’s “Maid,” Netflix’s “The Haunting of Bly Manor” and CBC’s “Strange Empire.” Guest star credits include the CW’s “Two Sentence Horror Stories” and “Supernatural.” Burke can be seen in the upcoming EPIX series “Billy the Kid.”

Richard Fleeshman

Lt. James Brice, “The Ark”

THE ARK -- Season:1 -- Pictured: Richard Fleeshman as Lt. James Brice -- (Photo by: Aleksandar Letic/Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)

Richard Fleeshman plays Lt. James Brice in the new SYFY original series, “The Ark.”

Richard Fleeshman can currently be seen in the wrestling comedy “Deep Heat” (ITV). He has also recently finished filming series such as “Chivalry,” opposite Steve Coogan (Channel 4/ Baby Cow), Neil Gayman’s “The Sandman” (Netflix) and “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (Hulu). On the film side, Fleeshman appears in “A Christmas Number One” (Sky TV), and will be featured in “R.I.P.D.2” (1440 Productions). Fleeshman has also starred in a number of theatrical productions on both Broadway and the West End and was nominated for an Olivier Award for his performance in the West End revival of “Company.”

Reece Ritchie

Lt. Spencer Lane, “The Ark”

THE ARK -- Season:1 -- Pictured: Reece Ritchie as Lt. Spencer Lane -- (Photo by: Aleksandar Letic/Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)

Reece Ritchie plays Lt. Spencer Lane in the new SYFY original series, “The Ark.”

Reece Ritche’s most recent television work includes his role in the CW series “The Outpost.” He made his film debut in Roland Emmerich’s fantasy/drama “10,000 BC.” Other film roles include “Desert Dancer,” “Hercules,” “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” and “The Lovely Bones” directed by multi-award-winning director Peter Jackson. On the stage, Ritchie performed alongside Dame Judy Dench in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” directed by Sir Peter Hall at the Rose Theatre in Kingston.

Stacey Read

Alicia Nevins, “The Ark”

THE ARK -- Season:1 -- Pictured: Stacey Read as Alicia Nevins -- (Photo by: Aleksandar Letic/Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)

Stacey Read plays Alicia Nevins in the new SYFY original series, “The Ark.”

Stacey Read was born and grew up in Zimbabwe, the daughter of a Zimbabwean mother and British father. She first started acting in her Senior School drama club and it was there performing in school plays that she found passion. She soon came to the UK to train at Performance Preparation Academy.

Ryan Adams

Angus Medford, “The Ark”

THE ARK -- Season:1 -- Pictured: Ryan Adams as Angus Medford -- (Photo by: Aleksandar Letic/Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)

Ryan Adams plays Angus Medford in the new SYFY original series, “The Ark.”

Ryan Adams graduated from ArtsEd in 2021 with a BA in acting. His theater credits include “All the Things” and “Dan in Totally Over You” at Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Theatre, and “Ren in Footloose” and “Billy Casper in Kes” at Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal.” He has had previous roles in short films, including “Orange Peel,” “Exposure” and “Asking Price.”

Christina Wolfe

Cat Brandice, “The Ark”

Christina Wolfe plays Cat Brandice in the new SYFY original series “The Ark.”

Christina Wolfe plays Cat Brandice in the new SYFY original series “The Ark.”

Wolfe can now be seen opposite Leighton Meester in feature film A “Weekend Away” on Netflix. Other credits include “Batwoman,” “The Royals,” the Idris Elba-directed “King for a Term” and “Very Valentine.”

Shalini Peiris

Dr. Sanjivni Kabir, “The Ark”

Shalini Peiris plays Dr. Sanjivni Kabir in the new SYFY original series “The Ark.”

Shalini Peiris plays Dr. Sanjivni Kabir in the new SYFY original series “The Ark.”

Peiris’ recent screen credits include “Good Karma Hospital,” “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” and “Vera.” She’s also an established stage actress on the UK theatre scene with credits that include “Hobson’s Choice” at the Royal Exchange Theatre, “The Duchess of Malfi” at the Almeida Theatre and “Lions and Tigers” at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Dean Devlin

Creator/Executive Producer/Co-Showrunner, “The Ark”

Dean Devlin is the creator, co-showrunner and an executive producer on the new SYFY series “The Ark.”

Devlin has produced and co-written some of the most successful films of all time – “Independence Day,” “Stargate” and “Godzilla” – that collectively grossed more than $41.4 billion worldwide. In 2001, he founded Electric Entertainment where he serves as chairman and CEO. The full-service film, television and worldwide sales and distribution company also houses Electric Post, a state-of-the-art digital effect and postproduction facility.

Electric is rapidly expanding under Devlin’s leadership. The company recently launched its OTT linear channel, ElectricNOW, which is a one-stop shop for fans to enjoy all their favorite shows free, and is also available in a 24/7 live streaming broadcast. ElectricNOW hosts Electric’s newly launched podcast network, Electric Surge, and is available on numerous platforms, including the Roku Channel, Vizio, Fire TV, Plex, STIRR, Local Now, Sling TV, Tivo Plus, IMDB TV and XUMO.

Electric Entertainment is currently in production with several highly anticipated films and TV series. Devlin recently served as executive producer, writer, and director on the reboot of “Leverage” and “Leverage: Redemption,” which is now streaming on Amazon’s Freevee. He also serves as co-showrunner, co-creator and writer for “Almost Paradise,” starring Christian Kane, which is currently available on Freevee. He’s also executive producer of “The Outpost,” which aired its fourth season on The CW in 2021.

Devlin executive produced five seasons of the TNT series “Leverage” and three “The Librarian” movies of the week for the cabler. That led to four seasons of “The Librarians” series that starred Noah Wyle, Rebecca Romijn and John Larroquette.

Devlin directed and produced “Bad Samaritan,” which stars David Tennant, and was released on 2,000 screens through Electric’s distribution arm. Also, under the Electric banner, Devlin produced the upcoming full-length feature “The Deal,” the dystopian drama directed by Orsi Nagypál.

Prior to forming Electric Entertainment, Devlin produced the Mel Gibson drama “The Patriot,” which was nominated for three Academy Awards and earned Gibson a People’s Choice Award for Best Actor.

Jonathan Glassner

Executive Producer/Co-Showrunner, “The Ark”

Jonathan Glassner is the co-showrunner and an executive producer on the new SYFY series “The Ark.”

Glassner is best known for writing, producing and directing “Stargate SG-1,” which ran for 10 seasons. Prior to that, he was showrunner on “The Outer Limits.”

Following “Stargate SG-1,” Glassner moved on to work as a co-executive producer, writer and director for “CSI: Miami” and as a director for “CSI: NY.”

Other credits include “Standoff,” “Covert Affairs,” “Falling Skies” and “The Outpost.”

A graduate of Northwestern University, Glassner has accumulated more than 450 hours of television as either a writer, producer or director.

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THE ARK -- “Everyone Wanted to Be on This Ship” Episode 101 -- Pictured: Christina Wolfe as Cat Brandice -- (Photo by: Aleksandar Letic/Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)

Interview with Warren Christie, Amy Acker and Emily Fox

TV Interview!

Warren Christie, Amy Acker and Emily Fox of "The Watchful Eye" on Freeform

Interview with Warren Christie, Amy Acker and Emily Fox of “The Watchful Eye” on Freeform by Suzanne 1/19/23

I really enjoyed speaking to these three stars. I’ve been a huge fan of Warren’s since he starred in “Alphas” on Syfy, and Amy Acker since she played Fred on “Angel” years ago. They have been in many great shows, as I told them in this interview. Showrunner Emily Fox is also quite successful and has done some wonderful shows. Not only that, but I watched 8 episodes of this show and really enjoyed it. I hope you will, too!



"The Watchful Eye" on Freeform

Freeform Picks Up New Drama ‘The Watchful Eye’ (FKA ‘The Nanny’) to Series From Ryan Seacrest Productions

Mariel Molino Leads Ensemble Cast

Freeform has ordered new scripted series, “The Watchful Eye,” from Ryan Seacrest Productions. It is created by Julie Durk (“Grace and Frankie”), who also serves as consultant. Emily Fox (“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”) is showrunner and executive producer. Ryan Seacrest Productions’ Ryan Seacrest, Nina Wass, Andrea Shay and Jeffrey Reiner serve as executive producers with Reiner (“Dirty John”) directing the pilot. The series is produced by ABC Signature.

“The Watchful Eye” follows Elena Santos, a young woman with a complicated past, maneuvering her way into working as a live-in nanny for an affluent family in Manhattan. She quickly learns that everyone in the mysterious building has deadly secrets and ulterior motives. What they don’t know, however, is that Elena has some shocking secrets of her own.

“I’m incredibly excited about this series because it presents a contemporary twist on the classic mystery and thriller genre,” stated Jamila Hunter, EVP of Programming and Development for Freeform. “Julie, Emily and everyone on the team have created a surprising world of haves and have-nots that’s perfect for Freeform’s audience.”

“We are so excited to be working with our partners at Freeform and ABC Signature on ‘The Watchful Eye,’ an updated twist on a classic Hitchcockian thriller featuring an empowered female lead who’s got an ax to grind,” say Fox, Wass and Shay. “An elegant New York City apartment building called The Greybourne provides a backdrop where nothing is as it seems and where the palace intrigue has an undercurrent of terror. Elena Santos is very much a force to be reckoned with, and the Manhattan power players who underestimate her may soon realize they’ve met their match. In this day and age, who doesn’t secretly long to eat the rich?”

“The Watchful Eye” cast is led by Mariel Molino (“Promised Land”) who plays Elena Santos, a bright, savvy young woman hired as the live-in nanny to a wealthy widower and his young son. When Elena moves into The Greybourne, a landmark Manhattan apartment building, she quickly learns about the complex politics among its wealthy inhabitants and a history riddled with mystery and tragedy. Luckily, Elena is more than equipped to handle anything that comes her way on her own terms. Warren Christie (“The Village”) plays Matthew, a self-made architect dealing with grief and confusion over his wife’s death and its impact on his young son. Kelly Bishop (“Gilmore Girls”) portrays Mrs. Ivey, a lifelong resident of The Greybourne who rules the roost and is accustomed to getting her way through a potent combination of wealth, power and sheer force of will.

Additional cast includes Amy Acker (“The Gifted”) as Tory, a woman who instantly dislikes the fresh-faced, eager young nanny hired by her handsome brother-in-law, Matthew. Jon Ecker (“Firefly Lane”) stars as Scott, Elena’s sharp and cunning boyfriend who has helped arrange for Elena to get a live-in job at The Greybourne. Lex Lumpkin (“All That”) portrays Elliott, a precocious teenager who lives in The Greybourne and strikes up an instant friendship with Elena. Henry Joseph Samiri (“The Bold and the Beautiful”) as Jasper, Matthew’s son, an intelligent but withdrawn child still reeling from the recent death of his mother. Aliyah Royale (“The Walking Dead: The World Beyond”) rounds out the cast as Ginny, who works alongside Elena as a nanny and is one of the few people who can get past her new friend’s tough outer shell.

About Freeform
Freeform’s distinct brand of coming-of-age programming helps to position it as the No. 1 primetime cable network in entertainment among Adults, Women and Men 18-34 in the 2021/2022 TV season to date. Connecting to audiences with its bold original programming and immersive social engagement, Freeform channels the force and momentum of its young adult audience in its quest for progress with authentic, groundbreaking original series such as Emmy®-nominated “grown-ish,” “Good Trouble,” “Motherland: Fort Salem,” “Single Drunk Female” and “Cruel Summer,” which was the No. 1 new cable drama of 2021 among Women 18-34. Last year, Freeform aired four of the Top 15 scripted cable original series among Women 18-34 — more than any other network, with “grown-ish” ranking as cable’s No. 1 live-action comedy series of the year in the demo.

About ABC Signature
One of the Disney Television Studios, ABC Signature produces many of ABC Entertainment’s most significant hits, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Station 19”; co-productions “The Good Doctor,” “A Million Little Things,” “The Rookie,” “The Rookie: Feds” and “Home Economics,” and late-night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” ABC Signature’s returning and upcoming series include “grown-ish” “The Watchful Eye” and “Everything’s Trash” for Freeform; “The Wilds” for Amazon and “Godfather of Harlem” for EPIX; “Bad Sisters” and “Five Days at Memorial” for Apple; “Reasonable Doubt” and “This Fool” for Hulu.  For streaming service Disney +, series include “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers,” “Big Shot” and the upcoming “National Treasure: Edge of History” and “Muppets Mayhem.”

About RSP
Ryan Seacrest Productions (RSP) is an Emmy-winning entertainment production company, founded by Seacrest in 2008. RSP produced the E! hit cable series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and its spin-offs, as well as the new Hulu series “The Kardashians.”  The production company has a lengthy resume of other projects including Netflix’s “Insatiable,” NBC’s drama series “Shades of Blue,” “E! Live from the Red Carpet,” and Bravo’s “Shahs of Sunset.” The company also produced the Emmy Award-winning reality series “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.”

The cast of "The Watchful Eye" on Freeform

The Watchful Eye: Season 1 Lead Sheet

“The Watchful Eye” — Season 1
Premieres January 30, 2023

“The Watchful Eye” follows Elena Santos, a young woman with a complicated past, maneuvering her way into working as a live-in nanny for an affluent family in Manhattan. She quickly learns that everyone in the mysterious building has deadly secrets and ulterior motives. What they don’t know, however, is that Elena has some shocking secrets of her own.

“The Watchful Eye” cast is led by Mariel Molino (“Promised Land”), who plays Elena Santos, a bright, savvy young woman hired as the live-in nanny to a wealthy widower and his young son. When Elena moves into The Greybourne, a landmark Manhattan apartment building, she quickly learns about the complex politics among its wealthy inhabitants and a history riddled with mystery and tragedy. Luckily, Elena is more than equipped to handle anything that comes her way on her own terms. Warren Christie (“The Village”) plays Matthew, a self-made architect dealing with grief and confusion over his wife’s death and its impact on his young son. Kelly Bishop (“Gilmore Girls”) portrays Mrs. Ivey, a lifelong resident of The Greybourne who rules the roost and is accustomed to getting her way through a potent combination of wealth, power and sheer force of will.

Additional cast includes Amy Acker (“The Gifted”) as Tory, a woman who instantly dislikes the fresh-faced, eager young nanny hired by her handsome brother-in-law, Matthew. Jon Ecker (“Firefly Lane”) stars as Scott, Elena’s sharp and cunning boyfriend who has helped arrange for Elena to get a live-in job at The Greybourne. Lex Lumpkin (“All That”) portrays Elliott, a precocious teenager who lives in The Greybourne and strikes up an instant friendship with Elena. Henry Joseph Samiri (“The Bold and the Beautiful”) as Jasper, Matthew’s son, an intelligent but withdrawn child still reeling from the recent death of his mother. Aliyah Royale (“The Walking Dead: The World Beyond”) rounds out the cast as Ginny, who works alongside Elena as a nanny and is one of the few people who can get past her new friend’s tough outer shell.

“The Watchful Eye” is from Ryan Seacrest Productions and is created by Julie Durk (“Grace and Frankie”), who also serves as consultant. Emily Fox (“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”) is showrunner and executive producer. Ryan Seacrest, Nina Wass, Andrea Shay and Jeffrey Reiner serve as executive producers, with Reiner (“Dirty John”) directing the pilot. The series is produced by ABC Signature, a part of Disney Television Studios.

The Watchful Eye

SERIES PREMIERE: Monday, Jan, 30th

A young woman is thrust into the world of old money and deadly secrets after accepting a nanny job from a handsome widower.

Warren Christie

Matthew, Freeform, The Watchful Eye

Warren Christie plays Matthew, a self-made architect dealing with grief and confusion over his wife’s death and its impact on his young son on Freeform’s “The Watchful Eye.”
Recently, Christie starred opposite Robin Wright in her award-winning directorial debut, “Land.” Christie’s additional film credits include a starring role in the Weinstein Company’s feature “Apollo 18” and as Reese Witherspoon’s ex-husband in “This Means War,” alongside Chris Pine.
His television credits include the NBC Drama series “The Village,” as a series lead role on USA’s “Eyewitness” opposite Julianne Nicholson, and in a recurring guest star role on ABC’s “The Catch.” He was previously seen as a heavily recurring on NBC’s hit series “Chicago Fire,” playing the role of fireman Scott Rice. Christie has also had recurring roles on ABC’s “Motive,” Bravo’s “Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce,” and CBS’s “Zoo.” He is also known for his leading role on “Alphas,” his series regular role on “October Road,” and the series “Happy Town,” all airing on ABC.

Amy Acker

Amy Acker stars as Tory, a woman who instantly dislikes the fresh-faced, eager young nanny hired by her handsome brother-in-law Matthew on Freeform’s “The Watchful Eye.”
Acker is known to millions of fans throughout the world for her long-running starring role as Winifred “Fred” Burkle/Illyria in Joss Whedon’s hit sci-fi/fantasy series “Angel.” For her portrayal, Acker received four Saturn Award nominations, winning in 2004 for Best Supporting Actress. Other notable television credits include a reoccurring role in the Fox hit series “9-1-1: Lone Star” and starring roles in Fox’s “The Gifted” and the hit CBS series “Person of Interest.”
On the big screen, Acker starred in the role of Beatrice in Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” From the Atlantic, “Maybe the most spectacular recent example of a young American movie and television actor tackling a classical part is Acker’s radiant Beatrice in ‘Much Ado About Nothing,’ Joss Whedon’s nimble, and very faithful, 2012 movie of one of Shakespeare’s sprightliest comedies.” She has also starred in “The Cabin in the Woods” and appeared in the Leonardo DiCaprio-Tom Hanks hit film “Catch Me If You Can.” She has also appeared in several independent features, including “The Energy Specialist,” “Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife,” “21 and a Wake-Up” and “The Novice.”

Emily Fox

Showrunner and Executive Producer, Freeform, The Watchful Eye

Emily Fox is the showrunner and executive producer of Freeform’s “The Watchful Eye.”

Prior to the series on Freeform, Fox developed “Skin Tight,” about the war between Guess and Jordache, as a limited series for Amazon. She also served as showrunner on “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce” for Bravo and worked on the Netflix series “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” Fox created the beloved VH1 series “Hindsight,” the critically acclaimed series is certified as 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Warren Christie, Amy Acker and Emily Fox of "The Watchful Eye" on Freeform

Interview with Sadie Laflamme-Snow

TV Interview!

Sadie Laflamme-Snow of "The Way Home" on Hallmark

Interview with Sadie Laflamme-Snow of “The Way Home” on Hallmark by Suzanne 1/25/23

It was so nice to speak to this talented young actress. We had a great, short chat about her new show that is part family drama and part fantasy.



The Way Home When three generations of women reunite after being estranged for more than two decades, they embark on an enlightening – and surprising – journey toward healing none of them could have imagined as they learn how to find their way back to each other.


STUDIO CITY, CA – January 15, 2023 – Three generations of women embark on an enlightening journey to find their way back to each other and learn important lessons about their family’s past in “Mothers and Daughters,” the series debut of “The Way Home” premiering Sunday, January 15 (8 p.m. ET/PT), on Hallmark Channel. Andie MacDowell (“Maid,” “Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove”), Chyler Leigh (“Supergirl,” “Greys Anatomy”), Evan Williams ( Blonde, “Versailles”), and Sadie Laflamme-Snow (“The Apprentice”) star in the multigenerational family drama. Alex Hook (“I am Frankie”), Al Mukadam (“Pretty Hard Cases,” “The Detail), Jefferson Brown ( Masters of Romance, “Slasher”) and David Webster ( Luckiest Girl Alive, “In the Dark”) also star.

Kat Landry (Leigh), her 15-year-old daughter Alice (Laflamme-Snow) and Kat’s mother Del (MacDowell) are all strong, willful and independent. More than 20 years prior, lifechanging events prompted Kat to move away from her small, Canadian farm town of Port Haven and she and Del have been estranged ever since. Alice has never met her grandmother and is unaware of the reasons for their fractured family. With Kat’s marriage coming to an end and having just been laid off from her job, she decides to return home after receiving an unexpected letter from Del urging her to come back. Although Alice is none-too-thrilled, Kat and her daughter arrive at her family’s farm. Kat is disappointed that she doesn’t receive a warmer reception from Del and it’s clear that there are wounds that need to heal. Wanting to escape the tension, Alice explores the property and finds herself on a surprising journey.

Scene from "The Way Home" on Hallmark

“The Way Home” is a Neshama Entertainment production in association with MarVista Entertainment. Executive producers are Heather Conkie, Alexandra Clarke, Fernando Szew, Hannah Pillemer, Larry Grimaldi, Ani Kevork, Arnie Zipursky, Mary Reed, Lauren MacKinlay, Andie MacDowell and Chyler Leith. The series is produced by John Calvert. Kyle Hart is supervising producer. Jessica Runck serves as consulting producer. Grant Harvey directed from a script by Conkie & Clarke, from a story by Reed, Conkie & Clarke.

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Sadie Laflamme-Snow of "The Way Home" on Hallmark

Interview with Julian Bailey

TV Interview!

Julian Bailey of "Three Pines" on Prime

Interview with Julian Bailey of “Three Pines” on Prime by Suzanne 1/24/23

This was a very fun interview. I watched the show last week and really enjoyed it, so it was great to speak to one of the main actors in the show. Make sure to watch it!



Julian Bailey as Peter Morrow in "Three Pines" on Prime

JULIAN BAILEY (X-MEN : DARK PHOENIX, “FAR CRY 5”) plays Peter Morrow in Amazon Prime’s THREE PINES, currently one of the top 10 TV shows around globe.


Now on Amazon Prime

A man investigates murders in Three Pines; he sees things that others do not: the light between the cracks, the mythic in the mundane, and discovers long-buried secrets and faces a few of his own ghosts.

Julian Bailey as Peter Morrow in "Three Pines" on Prime


Julian Bailey is a film and television actor with theatre roots. During his youth in Montreal, Canada, Bailey performed with the National Theatre School of Canada, and was cast in a CBC TV movie, before going on to lend his voice to animated characters such as Pepito in the original Madeline specials for HBO, and Mowgli from the popular anime Jungle Book series.

After graduation from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (West), in Pasadena, California, Bailey would move to Chicago, becoming involved in the local theatre scene and subsequently performing in a series of critically acclaimed productions. Managing to get his SAG card in Chicago, Bailey returned to the Los Angeles area, where after two years of auditioning without a booking, he landed a role on a Lifetime tv series with Lea Thompson (Back To The Future). When the show was cancelled after its first season, Bailey worked odd jobs in between appearances on shows like Judging Amy, Just Shoot Me, and JAG, among many others. A guest spot on the hit show, NCIS, earned Bailey fans around the world for his portrayal of a sociopathic young naval officer. The actor would go on to appear in many internationally syndicated programs, films, and video games, including Supernatural, Dark Phoenix, and Far Cry 5. Bailey is the lead voice (HQ) of the massive first person shooter juggernaut, Rainbow Six: Siege, one of Ubisoft’s most successful franchises ever, boasting more than 70 million registered players worldwide.

In 2021, Bailey voiced Netflix’s title character for the English version of the globally popular Korean series, Vincenzo.

Julian Bailey currently stars as enigmatic artist, Peter Morrow, in Amazon Prime Video’s hit television series, Three Pines, along with Alfred Molina and a dynamic ensemble cast.

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Julian Bailey of "Three Pines" on Prime

Interview with Mike Manning

TV Interview!

Mike Manning of "The Way Out"

Interview with Mike Manning of the film “The Way Out” by Thane 1/16/23

It was great to catch up with Mike Manning about a new thriller he appears in. His TV credits include “This Is Us” and “Days Of Our Lives“. If you like horror/thriller movies, then he’s worth a follow.



"The Way Out" movie key art



From writer/director Barry Jay, and starring Jonny Beauchamp (“Penny Dreadful”), Emmy winner Mike Manning (“Teen Wolf”, “This is Us”), Ashleigh Murray (“Riverdale”), and Sherri Shepherd (“Life is Perfect”), an unnerving and riveting thriller from Terror Films hitting digital February 10, 2023.

Alex is an aspiring singer/songwriter, a drug addict who’s been damaged from childhood abuse. After the death of his father and inheriting the family home, he takes in a roommate, a fighter, who takes Alex under his wing, teaching him how to fight back and stand up to abusers. But soon this leads Alex down a dark path that threatens his sobriety and his life.

“I disagree”, says Barry Jay (Killer Therapy, The Chosen). “Absence doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. Sometimes it gives you the time and distance to gain the clarity to see how badly you were mistreated and the courage to finally do something about it. That was me – I moved out of an abusive household when I was 20 years old. I had been abused until after I was a senior in high school. Severely underweight, shut down, feared everyone and everything and with good reason. Sobriety was a gift that helped me heal through all of that, a day at a time and that is the inspiration for THE WAY OUT.

My hope is to send a message to the abuser and the abused. To the abuser, I hope to show the ripple effect of their heinous actions, and how it can boomerang back to them, rightfully destroying their lives. To the abused, I hope to show there is hope, hope for better days, ability to find the self-esteem and strength to create boundaries, how forgiveness can be the thing that helps you finally drop the rock so you can create a better new and healthy life.”

THE WAY OUT is on digital February 10, 2023 worldwide from Terror Films.

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Mike Manning of "The Way Out" - photo from Instagram

Interview with Michael Chiklis, Marlee Matlin and Billy Porter

TV Interview!

"Accused" on FOX key art

Interview with Michael Chiklis, Marlee Matlin and Billy Porter and others of “Accused” on FOX by Suzanne 12/14/22

This is a new anthology drama on FOX, and I think it’s pretty good. We saw a few episodes. The first one stars Michael Chiklis as a father who’s worried about his violent son; Jill Hennessy plays his mother. Another one has a deaf woman who’s surrogate for a couple with issues; Marlee Martlin directed that one. One has Billy Porter as a drag performer who gets involved with a married man.  Another has Malcolm Jamal Warner as a father whose young daughter is molested. They’re powerful stories about people accused of a crime, and we see them waiting before their trial. It’s an interesting concept.


 Howard Gordon (Executive Producer/Showrunner)

 Michael Chiklis (Actor “Scott’s Story” and Director “Jack’s Story”)

 Marlee Matlin (Director, “Ava’s Story,” with Interpreter Jack Jason)

 Tazbah Chavez (Director and Co-Writer, “Nataani’s Story”)

 Billy Porter (Director, “Robyn’s Story”)

 Michael Thorn (President, Scripted Programming, FOX Entertainment)

Virtual via Zoom December 14, 2022

© 2022 FOX Media LLC.  All rights reserved.

JEAN GUERIN:  Good morning.  Happy Holidays and welcome to FOX Entertainment’s 2022 Winter Press Day.  Now, before we begin today’s panels, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the past as we look to the future.

At FOX Entertainment, we’ve spent the last three years building a strong portfolio of businesses and content engines, including Bento Box, TMZ, MarVista, Studio Ramsey Global, Blockchain Creative Labs, FOX Alternative Entertainment, FOX Entertainment Studios, and most recently our international sales and distribution unit FOX Entertainment Global.

And now with that foundation in place, we’re maximizing those assets, creating world‑class content to fill each studio’s production pipeline development slate, and growing library of content.

Recently, we’ve welcomed some of the industry’s great storytellers into the fold, signing broadcast direct deals with talents such as: McG, Marc Cherry, Carol Mendelsohn, and just this morning we added to the impressive roster Academy Award‑winner Rodney Rothman, whose film “Spider‑Man: Into the Spider‑Verse” won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

And this on top of an incredible bench of creators and storytellers already set to debut their work on FOX, including Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa and David Shore, Jamie Foxx and John Eisendrath, Dan Harmon and Jon Hamm, just to name a few.

As you know, we are also busy preparing for and promoting our midseason lineup, featuring our first FOX-owned comedy Animal Control starring Joel McHale.  Season 2 of Gordon Ramsay’s hit competition series Next Level Chef debuting in the post‑Super Bowl time slot.  And Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test, which is getting a lot buzz as audiences get a sense of the courage of our cast and their stories of survival, guts and glory.

And, of course, there’s our two thrilling dramas coming in January:  Accused and Alert, which we’re excited to focus on for today’s panels moderated by our own SVP of Corporate Communications, Les Eisner.

HOWARD GORDON:  Hi everyone.  Thank you for being here.  I’m Howard Gordon.  I’m the Executive Producer and the Showrunner of the new FOX drama Accused.

It’s a collection of 15 intense stories of crime and punishment.  Every week viewers will meet a new character in a new setting, someone who is just like any of us until that person’s life is suddenly upended by a choice they make that changes their life forever.  And rather than being passive bystanders, our viewers will be actively engaged as invisible jurors challenged to lean in and find out moment‑to‑moment what really happened.

Every episode is an unpredictable entertaining ride, but also one that challenges viewers to think a little differently and ask themselves a question more profound than innocence or guilt.  What would I have done?

Every episode of Accused explores the moral complexity of what it means to live in the world today.  But to tell these stories as authentically as possible, we actively looked for creative partners who could bring their own unique experiences to the process, both in front of and behind the camera.  And we were lucky enough to attract some real heavyweights and trailblazers.

Among our outstanding roster of directors are: Oscar winner, Marlee Matlin; Emmy and Tony Winner, Billy Porter; Emmy Winner, Michael Chiklis; and acclaimed writer and director, Tazbah Chavez.

We’re all so excited to be here today, but before we get started let’s take a look at Accused.

JEAN GUERIN:  Hello, everyone, and happy holidays.  I hope you all are well.  Let’s jump right in and get started.  I think it’s safe to assume you know the routine, but for good measure, please click the hand on the bottom of the screen to ask a question. Transcripts of our two panels today will be emailed to you by end of business today. And, lastly, recording of our sessions are not allowed.

Let’s start off with our first session, Accused.  Joining us today are directors Marlee Matlin, Tazbah Chavez, Billy Porter and Michael Chiklis, who also stars in our premiere episode on Sunday, January 22nd.  Executive Producer/Showrunner Howard Gordon, and Michael Thorn, President, Scripted Programming of FOX Entertainment.

QUESTION:  Hi, everyone.  Thanks for doing this.  Michael Chiklis, my first question ‑‑ my question is for you.  As the director of the first episode of this, normally with a series one might ask about establishing the whole format of the show, the tone of the show. In this case, though, it’s an anthology, so you don’t have linking things that go between the episodes.

MICHAEL CHIKLIS:  I’m going to have to stop you right there.  I starred in the first episode. I did not direct it.  So that would be another ‑‑

HOWARD GORDON:  Mike, I can probably answer that a little bit, and it’s a great question. And it really was, at the beginning of the series, acknowledging that it’s an anthology that has a format uniformity.  We wanted, at the same time, to give all the filmmakers and all the storytellers and the diversities of, like, locations and tones its own kind of vocabulary.  So it really was a line and finding that line between what’s kind of an esthetic rule book and set of parameters and at the same time just kind of giving the filmmakers and the storytellers the latitude to tell the story in the best way possible.

And that was Michael Cuesta, by the way, who was an old friend who directed, among other things, the pilot for Homeland.  So I hope that answers the question.

QUESTION:  Am I able to follow with a quick question for Michael Chiklis, then?


QUESTION:  Michael, as the director of your ‑‑ as the director of your episode, what was your thought process in terms of doing your own thing stylistically but also having to hold to what the entire series was meant to be?

MICHAEL CHIKLIS:  Well, I thought one of the things that was really refreshing as a director is I didn’t feel constrained.  You know, when I’ve directed episodes of, say, THE SHIELD, that was a very specific template and you had to really adhere to it.  It really ‑‑ because this is an anthology series, they’re sort of standalone featurette’s and the ‑‑ there was a huge difference in terms of tone and tenor between the pilot episode that I starred in as an actor and the episode that I directed, very, very different, tonally completely different.

So I didn’t feel constrained at all, which was wonderful and I was able to collaborate with Howard and all departments and the cast and crew to achieve a totally different feel for the show.  And that’s ‑‑ I think that’s wonderful because it says to the audience there’s going to be ‑‑ there’s this template that’s set in terms of the storytelling rules, but in terms of what you are going to see, just from what I’ve already seen, the episodes that I’ve watched that I wasn’t involved with and even some of, like — for instance, you were just talking about Billy Porter’s episode, and some of the shots that he does in that episode are phenomenal, and it’s just a completely different tone and tenor.  So I think each episode is like a standalone featurette.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.  Howard, sorry about the nuts-and-bolts question, but I’m just curious.  Did you have in mind people to direct and then hand them a script that you wanted them to direct, or did you ‑‑ did you say, “Hey, I want you to direct.  Here are my scripts. Pick one”?

And, secondly, does the anthology format make it easier ‑‑ I know you want everybody to watch every episode, but do you think the anthology format makes it easier for people to pop in and out?

HOWARD GORDON:  Well, I’ll start with that one because that’s a really ‑‑ that’s a really easy one, and the short answer is yeah.  I mean, it is ‑‑ I think it is ‑‑ an anthology episode, to me, is a perfect antidote to ‑‑ you know, I’ll quote John Landgraf ‑‑ well, although, I can’t remember what his exact quote was, but to the complete overwhelming, you know, nature of this sort of ‑‑ even the idea of – “bingeing” to me is a disgusting word, the way we consume series, and I think that this is ‑‑ we have ‑‑ there’s no meat ‑‑ there’s no fat on the bone of these stores.  It is really lean, I think, compelling storytelling that you watch kind of in any order.  And so I think as a viewing experience I think it’s going to be a promising one.

In terms of like, you know, the episodes that we assigned or developed, I mean, look, we had written ‑‑ Daniel Pearl, brilliant writer, wrote ”Robyn’s Story” — and, again, we just said who’s the fantasy director?  Billy Porter.

We said to him ‑‑ didn’t think he would say yes. He said yes.  We wrote “Ava’s Story,” Marlee ‑‑ you know, Maile Malloy.  And, of course, there’s a lot of M’s, Maile Malloy and Marlee Matlin.  Marlee has never directed, and we sent it to her. And, well, we didn’t know she had been exploring that, and lo and behold, she said yes too.  So these are like ‑‑ and so these are stories that we just sort of picked this fantasy team and we just got a lot of great RSVPs.

In the case of Tazbah, for instance, you know, I think Taz and I had met through like a Writer’s Guild speed-dating introduction thing, and at the end of it I said, “Taz, it sounds like I’ve got to send my resume to you.”

Because she was just like ‑‑ you know, it was on the ‑‑ you know, during Reservation Dogs, which if you haven’t seen, was wonderful.  And anyway, we began to talk about — when I got the series ‑‑ when Michael agreed to the series, she was among the first calls.  So she was more ground up and wrote the series ‑‑ the episode that she wound up directing, but a lot of these were very specific, you know, wishes and we got a lot of our wishes.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Quick question for Billy.  I just wanted to follow up on what Howard was saying. When you came into it, was the script locked, or did you have some input on the script? And if so, what were those contributions?  And then I have a follow-up.

BILLY PORTER:  You know, first of it all, it was such a gift for Howard to call me and sort of came out of the blue.  I directed my first feature a couple of summers ago that debuted on Amazon this year, and I’ve been directing in the theater for about 20 years, and I have wanted this expansion to happen.  So I sort of came in and the script ‑‑ and I read the script, and what I loved about the script so much is that it fit right in line with my intention as an artist and where we are as a culture.

It’s time for the people whose stories are being told to tell their own stories.  And so when I read this, it was like this a queer ‑‑ a queer sort of story, and they’re actually calling a queer person ‑‑ it’s about a black drag performer, and they’re actually calling a black queer person to direct it.  Yay.

So it was an immediate yes to me ‑‑ yes for me because what I love in this space for my life is I get to shape these narratives and control these narratives in the most authentic way possible, and that is a gift.

QUESTION:   And my quick follow-up was, as you mentioned, you’ve directed a movie, you’ve done episodes of Pose, you’ve done theatre.  Is there a particular challenge that comes with directing an episode in an anthology that is different than those other directing duties that you’ve done?

BILLY PORTER:  Well, know because, just like Michael Chiklis said, you know, my experience in directing for film and television in particular, which is – this is only my second one — is that, you know, when you’re directing a movie, it’s your own vision.  So to sort of fall in line with this anthology series, it was also ‑‑ I was also allowed to employ my own vision.  And that was nice and that was ‑‑ that was good for me.

With Pose, I was supposed to direct — and just so we’re clear, I ultimately did not get a chance to direct because COVID happened.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much for doing this.  This question is for Billy and Marlee.  I’m wondering ‑‑ you know, you’re both ‑‑ you both have an extensive resume of acting credits. You’re doing directing now.  I’m wondering, of the two, which do you find more challenging or perhaps more difficult to do?  Is it acting or it is directing?


MARLEE MATLIN:  Thank you.  Thank you, Billy.  I adore you, by the way, Billy.  I adore you.

BILLY PORTER:  Right back at you.

MARLEE MATLIN:  Anyway, muah.  As an actor, you know, clearly, for 35 years I’ve always thought, you know, when I’m developing a character, I focus on that and I do my thing.

I show up on set.  I go to makeup. I go to hair. I go into my trailer. I wait for my call.  They call me to set and that kind of thing.  It’s the long hours you spend waiting, mostly.  Now, as a director, my time passes so quickly.  I mean 12 hours has already happened?  I’m so focused on every aspect of production, you know, that takes on a set.  I have to be involved with a crew.  I have to work with the creative team.  I have to work with the cinematographers.  It’s a completely different experience, and it accesses a different and creative side of my personality at the same time.

The pleasure of mine was to be able to learn about how each and every person on the set works and how my fellow actors work.  I get a chance to watch them work as actors, as actors to actors, and I became enthralled.  It was a treat for me to be able to direct.

BILLY PORTER:  I personally, as an actor, I realized early on ‑‑ well, I knew early that I would want to direct, and I thought oh, you know, I will direct when the acting sort of becomes boring. Maybe in the twilight of my career, you know, I will begin to act ‑‑ I mean, began to direct. You know, like a Clint Eastwood kind of thing.  I thought, oh, I’ll do it then.

It never occurred to me ‑‑ you know, as a minority African American performer, when I came out in the business, there wasn’t a whole lot for me to do. So I got bored really quick.  And all a sudden, I found myself in this space of directing that sort of activated my mind, my creative mind that never stops.  So similar to Marlee, as an actor, you know, I find ‑‑ I found myself sitting around and my brain being inactive.

What I love about directing and which is also the most challenging part, is all cylinders are firing at the same time.  I have never in my life done anything harder than directing film and television.  It is so hard.  I am so exhausted at the end of every day, because just like Marlee it’s like it never stops.  And, like, you know, for me it’s like as an actor you get to focus on the one moment.

MARLEE MATLIN:  You’re on the move.  You’re constantly on the move.  You’re never stopping.

BILLY PORTER:   Right.  And it’s only you.  But when you’re directing, it’s like ‑‑ you know, I’ve had to learn ‑‑ you know, I’ll be sitting there directing a scene and somebody is asking me a question about three weeks later.  And I’m like, I don’t know.  I don’t know.  I don’t know the answer that to that. Ask me in a ‑‑ ask me on a break in three hours, you know.  I love it.  I love every single solitary second of it.

It really does bring me joy creatively in a way that instinctively I knew it would, and in the process ‑‑ and in the process of being able to do it, it really does.

MARLEE MATLIN:  You know, for me, people would warn me:  You’re going to be a director. You’re going to be asked questions all day.  All day.

I said, okay. So I’ll have to deal with that.  How am I going to prepare for that?  Okay.  You know what, this is what I’m going to do:  Yes, no, maybe, and I don’t know.  Those are the four answers I’m going to give everybody.

And that’s how I worked every day.

BILLY PORTER:  Yes.  You actually have to make a choice.  You have to actually make a choice, because when you make a choice, then you can pivot from a choice.  If people know what they’re doing, then the pivot from the choice is so much easier if it changes.

HOWARD GORDON:  I was going to say the energy you’re hearing from Marlee and from Billy and also Taz, I hope I’m not speaking out of turn, but I’m sharing the story that you mentioned, maybe you should tell it, about the opportunity for me to have this show and for it to sort of be the Trojan horse for these voices and these stories has been one of the most incredible, you know, pleasures of my ‑‑ you know, of my career.

Just to sort of ‑‑ for one thing is to just sort of shut up and listen but and also to bring to bear my knowledge of this ‑‑ of the mechanics and the dramatics of this particular series but also to just get out of the way and let other voices, you know, speak and have a chance.

And Taz mentioned to me ‑‑ there was an anecdote you mention when we were working, you said, “You know, I’ve always been the only woman in the room, or the only Indigenous woman in the room.”

But on Res Dogs, and I think on ours as well, you said that energy and freedom that comes when the people in front of the camera and behind the camera are all the same, I was so struck by that.  You were just like ‑‑ I think you said you can breathe in a way that’s very different.

TAZBAH CHAVEZ:  Yeah, absolutely.  I think that when you have ‑‑ and I think I see it come across mostly in performance when you have Indigenous actors who are being directed by a Native person. And in the case of Accused, it was incredible because we were able to cast ‑‑ three of our four leads were actually Navajo actors playing Navajo characters. And for so long, we’ve been told, you know, there aren’t Native actors. And then if you want to get Tribal-specific actors, that’s even harder. And we pulled it off.  And I thank you for — and all the team for going to the lengths to find folks.  But what that ultimately did was that created a certain comfort and energy on the set and a trust that’s, I think, hard to replicate.

It’s like we know where each other came from. We know the story we’re trying to tell.  And also, what I think I had shared with you previously, what I experienced on Reservation Dogs and also in the Accused with that is it’s also a different culture in the way a set can be run.  And I think that’s really incredible to be able to create for the Accused set, which is there’s ‑‑ that you bring your way of working and your way of community with you, and I think it creates a really fun experience that I think reads across in performance in the final product.

MARLEE MATLIN:  You know, she’s absolutely right.  The same with me in the deaf community.  The fact that we were able to cast the actors — I applauded Howard and the entire production team’s encouragement of that, knowing we were telling authentic stories and representing our community appropriately, showing our culture, showing our community.  In my particular episode, it’s just exactly as she just said.  It’s the exact same feeling for me.

MICHAEL CHIKLIS:  Can I just weigh in on the actor/director aspect of the question if I might?

LES EISNER:  Go ahead.

MICHAEL CHIKLIS:  There’s just countless examples of actors who have become directors over the course of their careers, and I honestly think it’s a natural progression.

For anybody like myself or Marlee or Billy who’ve spent many years in front of the camera, there’s ‑‑ some actors are sort of trailer actors.  They go and they sit in their trailer and they wait, or, you know, they’re sort of off set.  But I’ve never been that kind of an actor, and most actors are very curious people naturally.  So I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time on set and asking questions and making directors and photographers’ eyes roll because I was simply bothering them with questions — Why are you doing that?  What’s that do? — you know, from when I was ‑‑ when I first started as an actor.  So constantly asking questions, constantly, you know, talking to different people in different departments.

And I think one of wonderful things about being an actor and becoming a director is you become the filter where all departments filter through you and you really have a love and a respect for all departments and what they do. So ‑‑ oh, you lost me on camera but ‑‑ oh, there I am again.  But I just think that it’s a natural progression for an actor, and that’s why there’s so many examples of actors who do it well and successfully because we’re storytellers at our core.  We’re natural storytellers, and if you give me motion pictures, music, and sound and say, “Go tell a story with all of those tools” — so there you go.

QUESTION:  Tazbah, because you’re the one who’s got the ‑‑ kind of takes the story from the start, tell us about that.  What made you think of this particular story?  Is there any particular protest when you first had it in your mind?  And you ended up directing an action adventure that people didn’t have there.  So tell us how the whole thing evolved in your mind.

TAZBAH CHAVEZ:  Yeah, absolutely.  Howard and the co‑writer of the episode that I directed, I met with them and they had an idea.  You know, they had a story area written out of the story they wanted to tell, and there was environmental justice issue at the core of it, and I was so excited they wanted to tell this kind of story on the show.  And I had pitched to them an alternative environmental issue, and I chose uranium.  And the reason I chose uranium is because I saw ‑‑ my mother’s side were Navajo and my father’s side was Apache.


And there was a uranium spill in 1979 on the Navajo Nation that was the U.S.’s largest radioactive spill that went largely overlooked all of these years.  And when I started talking about uranium, we also started to talk about how there are still 500 ‑‑ over 500 abandoned mines on the Navajo Nation that are very far from being cleaned up.  There is still uranium mining happening that’s potentially going to happen near the Grand Canyon.  There’s an operating mill near White Mesa in Utah.  And so we looked at the Southwest.  I thought that this was a really cool opportunity to shed a light on an environmental issue that I think has gone largely overlooked.

And I think the episode serves as a cautionary tale not to repeat the past, and we made a conscious choice to put something in 2022 to make it very present, to create a sense of care and humanity at the core of these issues.  And, you know, there are environmental justice issues in Indigenous communities all over the country, and this was the one that felt closest to home for me and one of the ones that I thought was most emblematic of sort of the unfortunate environmental racism that Indigenous communities face in the Country.  And also to say this is all of our issue because we all share this land and the water resources together.  But that’s sort of the genesis of sort of where it came from.  It was something that they had, and then I threw in the uranium topic at the core of it.

QUESTION:  This is question is for Michael.  First of all, hi, Michael.  What is it that every time you attack a character you bring a little bit of yourself into that character?  You share a part of yourself in that, whether that be a good part or a part you’d like to bury.  As a director what parts of yourself do you bring to that role?  To that aspect?

MICHAEL CHIKLIS:  That’s a great question.  My camera keeps going out on you guys.  I’m so sorry.

LES EISNER:  Your audio’s fine Michael. So you’re good

MICHAEL CHIKLIS:  Okay.  Very good.  As a director, when you’re looking at ‑‑ there’s a remarkable freedom actually with regard to directing that isn’t there when you’re acting.  As an actor, you’re sort of constrained to the particular role that you’re working on, that you’re cast in.

I think one of the wonderful things about directing is your creative mind really, really is firing, as my fellow directors mentioned earlier, on all cylinders.  Because, again, there’s someone coming to you with the nail polish color of a particular actress or, you know, whatever it is.

So also, you’re creating the narrative.  You’re able to put your sort of vision of a particular story that’s being told.  You’re controlling the way it’s told.  And I think it has to do with opening your imagination.  You’re constantly asking yourself the question “How would I respond to this?  What would I do if this were me?”  And I think when you bring that sort of openheartedness to storytelling – see, it’s not enough for me ‑‑ and I’ve always said this as an actor and now especially as a director. It’s not enough for me for you to watch something that I’ve made in some sort of passive none‑involved way.

Ideally, I want to entertain you, but I want you to think and particularly to feel.  I want you to be moved, and in two dimensions, that’s not always the easiest thing, but it’s the goal.  And it’s very, very important to me as a director and as an actor to move you.  So I want to find whatever is authentic and human about the story and the characters that I’m telling and bring that to the fore so that you as an audience member can be moved.   Does that answer your question?

MICHAEL THORN:  I think it’s one of the powerful things about this series is that, on one hand, it’s an entertaining, provocative, thrilling courtroom drama at its most simplistic.  But on the other hand, it has this emotional contrast in every episode with the audience where we’re going to move and surprise, you know, the audience.

And our goal, really, is to pierce culture and the best way to do it, we believe, is to reflect culture.  And you look at this panel, this incredible panel under Howard’s, you know, writing and showrunning.  But you look at this panel and can’t really talk about the stories we’re talking about when it’s not borne out of authentic voices and authentic storytellers.

And it’s so exciting to start with this group right here and bring that show out to America to really talk about these both entertaining and weekly provocative stories. So — but I hope every one of these episodes moves people in a different way and connects people to these kind of universal stories.

LES EISNER:  We have time just for two more questions.

HOWARD GORDON:   I was just going to say thank you, Michael.  Michael was very good.  So crucial in literally saying go for it.  Don’t pull ‑‑ I mean, and we did.  And it was like he gave us like the green light but, you know, insisted that every one of these has to be something that you’re dying to tell.  Every story has to be.  And I feel like that metric and really the north star stood for the whole duration of the whole show. So thank you.

LES EISNER:  So we’re going to close out with two questions.  We’re running out of time.

QUESTION:  Yeah, Michael.  You’re constantly met with challenges, whether it’s acting or directing.  Are you ever scared when you start a new challenge? And if you are, what do you do?

MICHAEL CHIKLIS:  I think everyone on this panel would agree.  Every single time — I don’t care what I’m doing — I’m always terrified before I do it, and it’s because I care.  I think experience helps a lot because you’ve been there before.  You know, my father used to say to me, “Kid, be afraid, but do it any way.”  Because you have to fight through your fear and realize that the payoff is so much greater than ‑‑ you know, the fear is just a natural ‑‑ it’s anticipation.  It’s anticipation of the unknown, what might happen, all that could go wrong.  You still have to marshal that, put it aside, walk through the fire, and go, “You know what? This is important.  This is something that I want to do.  It’s all going to be okay.”  And you take some deep breaths, and you move forward.  That’s what you do.

QUESTION:  This is for the actors/directors.  How do you treat actors, then?  Are you very reticent, then, to give them, you know, line reading directions?  How do you deal with that?  Because I’m sure you hated it if any director tried to give it to you.

BILLY PORTER:  Well, I know what I like and I know how I want people to talk to me and I know how I want people to communicate with me and I know how I want directors to respect me.  So I do that.  I live by that example, and I treat my actors with the utmost respect.


BILLY PORTER:  Because they are smart people that make it work.

MARLEE MATLIN:  Exactly.  Exactly.  Yeah, I find, myself, that I am transparent.  I am extremely transparent.  I have to be transparent with my actors.  I always start the day when I shoot by saying, you know, let’s first focus on safety.  Let’s talk with our A.D.s.  Let’s talk with our set and crew.  And I take 30 seconds to say hello to each and every actor, and I give them a pep talk of sorts. And “Let’s kick ass” is basically what I say.  And then, as we began shooting, then I just make it my point, especially with my deaf actors, to communicate clearly and make us both, as actor and director, to communicate without any barriers. And that’s the fact.

It’s never happened for these actors before.  Many of them said we’ve never had a director talk to us this way because we’ve never worked with a director that’s deaf.  So if I feel like my hearing actors aren’t hearing me, then I work with my interpreters and I make sure that the communication is just as clear with the deaf actors.  I pay attention.  I let them be who they are and treat them, as Billy just said, with respect as how I would want to be treated.

MICHAEL CHIKLIS:  Also, you invite them into the collaboration.  A lot of times, my direction comes in the form of a question.  You know, I’ll say to an actor “What do you think is” – “do you think there’s any room for her to be angry here?”  You know, “do you think there’s” ‑‑ and just by virtue of coming to them and asking, you’re inviting them in to collaborate with you.

And actors really appreciate that.  They want for their voices to be heard.  They want to be respected, as Billy said.  And that’s the way ‑‑ you know, if you treat someone the way you ‑‑ it’s the Golden Rule.  Treat them the way you want to be treated, with respect and dignity.

LES EISNER:  Okay.  That’s all the time we have for Accused today.  There’s a number of questions still in the queue, and we apologize we couldn’t get to you, but we’re on a really tight schedule this afternoon.

As I mentioned earlier, Accused will premiere on Sunday, January 22nd and then make its time period premiere on Tuesday, January 24th, following the season 4 debut of 911: Lone Star.

Alison Daulerio and Aly Sands are running point on the Accused publicity campaign. So please reach out to them if you have any follow-ups or need more information.

Michael Chiklis in "Accused" on FOX


Accused is a collection of 15 intense, topical and exquisitely human stories of crime and punishment. Each episode is a fast-paced provocative thriller, exploring a different crime, in a different city, with an entirely original cast. Based on the BBC’s BAFTA-winning crime anthology, each episode opens in a courtroom on the defendant, with viewers knowing nothing about their crime or how they ended up on trial. Told from the defendant’s point of view through flashbacks, the show holds a mirror up to current times with evocative and emotional stories. In the end, audiences will discover how an ordinary person gets caught up in extraordinary circumstances, and how one impulsive decision can impact the course of that life – and the lives of others — forever. The show features cinematic auspices and production values anchored by Oscar, Tony and Emmy-winning talent, including Michael Chiklis, Abigail Breslin, Whitney Cummings, Margo Martindale, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Wendell Pierce, Rachel Bilson, Jack Davenport, Molly Parker, Rhea Perlman, Betsy Brandt, Keith Carradine, Aisha Dee, Jason Ritter and directors Billy Porter, Marlee Matlin, Tazbah Chavez and Michael Chiklis.

Accused is co-produced by Sony Pictures Television and FOX Entertainment, and executive-produced and developed for American television by Howard Gordon, and executive-produced by Alex Gansa, David Shore, Glenn Geller, Erin Gunn, All3Media America’s Jacob Cohen-Holmes, and Jimmy McGovern, Sita Williams, Roxy Spencer and Louise Pedersen for All3Media International. Frank Siracusa and John Weber also serve as executive producers. Created by Jimmy McGovern, the original series debuted in 2010 on BBC One.

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Aaron Ashmore and Megan Boone in "Accused" on FOX

Interview with Zhao Ji and Yu Zhou of “New Gods: Yang Jian”

TV Interview!

Zhao Ji and Yu Zhou of "New Gods: Yang Jian"

Interview with director Zhao Ji and producer Yu Zhou of the movie “New Gods: Yang Jian” by Suzanne 1/11/23

This is a really cool  animated Chinese film that comes out January 20th. I don’t normally watch anime, but I really enjoyed it. It has beautiful animation and tells a great story with a lot of action. The story is based on Chinese folk lore. This movie was a big hit in China, so now it’s premiering here in the U.S. with an English-speaking cast. Everyone associated with the movie is Asian, including the American actors dubbing it. We had a really interesting interview. I’m sorry for any mistakes in the transcript below. Between the accents, the Chinese words used, and the fact that one of them was ill, it was a bit difficult.

You can hear the interview here and below is the transcript!

Yu:   I’m the co-founder and president of Light Chaser Animation. Very nice to meet you.

Ji:   I’m Ji Zhao, director of New Gods: Yang Jian.

Yu:   Yeah, also, as you know, Ji is also the director of Whitesnake, New Gods, and Nezha Reborn. Very productive. Okay, back to you guys. Any question? Feel free to ask.

Suzanne:   So, my first question is for Ji. How is directing an animated movie like this different from a live action feature?

Ji:   Well, I do work both in animation production and live action production, but I haven’t got a chance to direct a live action movie yet. So, for my experience, I think animation is more creative, because you can create [things that don’t] really happen in the real world. In my live action career, I was an editor, a film editor. From an editor perspective, most of the time, you have to choose the footage from what you already have, but from an animation perspective, you can create [it] when you don’t have that footage. “Oh, I need something,” then we can [just] make it. So, from that I think it’s more creative and more fun. That’s why I changed my career from live action to animation.

Caroline:  Ji, I’ve seen your films and I think you seem to be a big fan of Mad Max. I want to ask you, what are your cinematic inspirations, whether Chinese or in the West?

Ji:   Actually the animation filmmakers in China, I think, is quite young compared to the Hollywood or other countries’ animators…Sorry about my English. I haven’t used it –-

Yu:   Since the premiere of Whitesnake.

Ji:   Yeah, three or four years since I’ve spoken English. Okay. I think we grew up with a lot of Western movies, and we’ve seen all kinds [from] Hollywood or like anime from Japan. We won’t say that. That’s part of our experience. So I never saw – like for film it’s an international language. There’s no quite age that you have to do something from the Eastern point of view or Western point of view. Most of them comes from your heart, comes from your own experience. I think – you mentioned Mad Max, but I think Mad Max, you only see that from the punk. I mean, the punk style, but punk does not belongs to any culture. Chinese can have [their] own punk because punk is a spirit not only a racial style. Just because you haven’t seen a lot of Chinese punk movies doesn’t means Chinese culture cannot be punk. Especially when we do the hero like the New Gods, [unintelligible]. That hero himself is a very punk hero in his heart. So, I think it’s fun to combine what we learn from the Western culture and mix with our own culture and create what from our generations point of view, to create a movie like what we saw is the new generation of Chinese heroes.

Matthew Swigonski:  The art style is pretty incredible. Did you have a certain inspiration of what you drew for the entire world? You mentioned punk, it seems kind of like it was based off of steampunk a bit.

Ji:   I would call that silk punk instead of  steampunk. Steampunk is part of the –


Yu:   industrialization.

Ji:   Right, the 18th to 19th centuries, from the British culture. That’s [where] steampunk original artwork comes from, but for our film, I think we’re trying to create in Chinese Asian, because it’s a Chinese gods’ world. When you think about gods, they’re always more advanced than the technology, culture, everything. They have to be more advanced than people, than human people. So, when I’m trying to create the spirit world, I think they could be more modern. They could mix modern elements, combine something we’re familiar with, or modern life with what we saw, but we’re very familiar with Chinese original culture. So that’s more like we combine modern China or modern technology with traditional Chinese culture when we imagine the spirit world.

Ephney Tsai:   You’ve mentioned that you hope these films can showcase the essence of traditional Chinese culture through a modern perspective. Why do you think that this is an important objective to have?

Ji:   When I was a kid, I watched like old TV shows of Chinese [unintelligible] mythology. Yeah, the Chinese mythology story from the TV shows. They always imagined people flying from one place to another, stand[ing] on a cloth. And just like the Superman, they just fly from here to there. Because I think during that time, airplanes in China are very few; people won’t see a lot of that. For Asian China, for Asian people, they can now imagine that there is an aircraft flying from one place to another. But every generation, the creator, the filmmaker, the artists should make things from their experience. I think for our generation, we grew up seeing that technology grows very fast. So, that’s actually just part of our life. So I think why the spirit cannot fly with a ship with the aircraft. I remember one time I was on an airplane…taking off. I was seated next to the window, and when the the plane [crossed] the clouds, I saw the beautiful cloud ocean. At that time, I thought maybe in ancient time, the gods, the spirits, they probably just see that. They want to [be] sailing among the cloud ocean. But I think that’s part of, more than life, part of the technology that makes me think that way. For the Asian artists, they’d never really be up in the sky. So, they cannot imagine that way.

Yu:   Hopefully I can add a few comments…I want to create some Chinese, Asian or Chinese culture combined with modern technology. Because I think it’s, as he said, flying through the clouds in the sky as a god is something we are as the Chinese people quite familiar [with] from our childhood. Our film, actually the main focus is for the first audience [who] are Chinese. So we’re trying to present what they’re familiar with, what they like. And also, we’re trying to give them some surprise. If you can only give them what they know, [it’s] kind of boring. So that’s the principle, the bottom line of our creativity, where we get our creativity, and also for ourselves, we also liked that kind of style. They call it, after the Muller report [used] that new word called Oriental punk. Other people that create it are calling it that word. Yeah.

Suzanne:   I guess I’m next again. By the way, I loved when the little dragon went through the sky. I briefly lived in Chinatown in Honolulu, and I used to love whenever they had the big parades with the dragons. So, that was pretty cool, to see that. There’s certainly a lot to see in this movie; visually it’s fantastic. So, I have a two part question. Who came up with the names of the movies? And was there any concern that people might confuse it with the old DC Comic by Jack Kirby, New Gods?

Ji:   Oh, okay. So, when we create this series, it’s a series movie, we were trying to make something different. In China, the Chinese name of the movie is Xin shen bang. Xin means new. So it’s new, but the original version of the story, the function that’s the original version of the story. So, we’re trying to tell our audience in China this is a totally new version. We use the same characters, same heroes, but it’s a different different point of view or a different timeline of the story. So we call this new Xin shen bang. When we translate to English, “Xin shen bang” is a rank. It’s a list. It’s a rank of the heroes in the Chinese Asian history, who is the number one, number two, number three. So, when we translate that, we’re trying to make it simple. We call it New Gods, and –

Yu:   Actually we didn’t notice…

Ji:   Yeah we didn’t notice that DC has a similar name.

Yu:   Thank you for pointing that out. That will probably create some discussion, dispute. It might be a good thing to to know.


Suzanne:   I think they were gonna do a New Gods movie, and they decided not to, so I guess you lucked out there.

Ji:   I didn’t know that.

Yu:   But the function of the story in China is like a proud mother and on top of her years. Everybody knows the story and is familiar with it. And what we did is we based it on that legend. We put on the same serial but in a new era, like modern China. Because they’re gods, they will not die. They will live through all ages. So, even around us, that’s the way we are telling our stories. So, since this [won’t] be the last series – actually we are probably very soon – not very soon. In at least three years, we’ll create another sequel. Yeah.

Suzanne:   Great. Thank you.

Caroline:  So to Ji, I wanted to ask, so from Whitesnake to New Gods., how would you say your animation direction has evolved over the years?

Ji:   I think for me, it’s a quite fast learning experience. Whitesnake I remember it released on

Yu:   Actually yesterday it was a four year anniversary.

Ji:   Yeah, right. Right. Right. Right.

Yu:   January 11.

Ji:   Yeah, So, during these four years I released three animation movies. That’s probably a very –

Yu:   A record. Three years. Three films.

Ji:   Yeah, so, for me it’s a very fast learning experience during those four years. During Whitesnake, I think I was trying to adapt, trying to learn how to be a director, so at that time there will be like some director points of view or directors style, it’s more like all of the team. We were trying to learn the new way of how to make animation so fast. And for the next two movies – because Whitesnake, I co-directed with another director, so the next two movies for me, every time I tried to take a step to try something new I never tried before, that’s always when I create a new movie. For New Gods, obviously that’s a different style, combining modern and Asian story and I never – lucky for us in China we don’t have that censorship rating for animation. I know in Hollywood you guys have like PG, G,  whatever the rating, but in China we don’t have that. So, I think animation can tell any kind of story. Even if we wanted we could do a horror story. So, I think it’s cool, because animation, more like media, not only [unintelligible] because when you think animation is [unintelligible] is more like a family film or kids film but then you think we could try to make something more for like a young audience and especially when like in Light Chaser all of our members probably under 30 years old…So, I think it’s cool is for old energy. So, most of our members, most of our colleagues, they don’t even have a kid. How we can make a movie for kids is pretty hard. We don’t even understand how kids react or why kids laugh, so I think is cool like for New Gods and Nezha we find something very –


Yu:   More adventures. we take more of a risk. Big risk

Ji:   Try something like very new and totally new style more than to tell Asian story, and for Yang Jian, for me, the latest one, I think is combines Asian style, Chinese –


Ji:   …ink style kind of Chinese paintings style combined with some CGI technology combined with some punk style. So, for me, like racial wise is a totally different race. Totally different adventure. At the same time, I think, I’m always trying to make the story. This story’s never been told in the original story, I mean, the original Asian fairy tales.

Yu:   Exactly. So, the audience can always expect something new from Light Chaser. Not a retelling, not to repeat it. Something new has been made.

Ji:   So, I think for me, after these three movies, I’m quite confident with what I already know, but I also found I have a lot of things I don’t know. I think it’s very lucky I’ve gotten a change to [unintelligible]. I grew up at the same time when I [was making the] movie.

Yu:   Yeah, you also become a philosopher. The more you know you know, the more you don’t know. That’s very good

Ji:   Yeah, so I’m pretty confident with the next movie, Light Chaser Animation and myself, we all will be better.

Yu:   [unintelligible] it’s a little bit diplomatic but we always believe that will be the next one.

Matthew Swigonski:  What’s one thing you wish viewers would take away after watching this film? Is there one thing you wish that they would think about or learn something they didn’t realize?

Ji:   Yeah, I think – it’s a good question; it’s good question. I think it’s different, because most of [the audience] I think is the Chinese audience and what they will think. I never [think about] what the audience from the world, what they will think, because the difference is the Chinese audience is familiar with the original story. So, what they will see is the different version of the hero, because [from] their point of view they thought that the hero should be like a hero up in sky. He will be very strong and never lose, and he’ll be like a god, a war god. But what we create, that person is more like a human. He really had a lot of –

Yu:   A lot of downtime.

Ji:   Right, Yeah, so  probably from a Chinese point of view, they will think every person in their life they have their their high point and also have their down point. But for the people [of the world] I think this movie…we’re trying to make people think our family is always around us [whether] they really are here or they are already in a spirit world. So, they will always be your energy whether they’re physically next to you or not.

Yu:   Yeah, There’s some similarity. You remind me of Coco. When your family member, your grandparents have passed away, actually they didn’t die. They’re still a young man. But here like it was Yang Jian – I’m sure you have all seen the movie – if your mom passed away, she is always around you. She’s protecting you; she still carries you, also the world, but it in a bigger sense. It’s a big love. You love the family; you love the world. Peace, happiness. So, I think that is a universal theme. We hope people no matter where they are they can understand. They can be touched by these feelings, this story.

Ji:   I know we don’t put much [in] talking about that. In the movie you couldn’t see that very obviously. But I think like the like the main character Yang Jian, like the hero, most of his thoughts he never speaks out. That’s just in his mind. When he looked up to the sky in the stars, [he’s] thinking something; he remembers something. I think that’s part of the Asian or oriental people’s experience. We won’t say everything out [loud]. Most of the things probably you just keep in your heart.

Yu:   Yeah that’s more like Asian China. We’re more kind of introverts. He looks in silence but it’s the feeling, a very strong feeling, expressed by the the very subtle [movements]. Where you’re looking at even very very gentle very small move[ments]. I think these can – I’m sure our audience in China they have got the heavy touch and the love very much. I mean, here with Yang Jian we created a very unique god, different from Monkey King from [unintelligible]. He’s very human. People, particularly the female audience, they fell in love with Yang Jian. They saw that she’s a perfect partner, not virtual. So, if a god is lovable or reliable and very real, I think it’s as if we recall what we what we got so far. I think it’s something we can we can draw.

Ephney Tsai:   With the movies being based off of the classical Chinese mythical characters and folklore, how do you choose which god you want to create the story about?

Ji:   Well, very obviously we tried to choose the one [that is] more famous, because we get [a bigger] audience. Probably Nezha, the first one, was the most famous one, and Yang Jian is probably the second. Yeah, that’s  probably the number one reason why we chose him. I think this character, Yang Jian, has never been really told as a main character in the media before, and for me I always imagined – because in all the works before Yang Jian is more like two two characters. I don’t know what two characters.

Question:   Like a supporting character?

Ji:   Yeah. supporting character Yes. He’s more like a guy people will have a certain character up there. they’re just like, “Oh, we mentioned him. He always like a war god and just always [has the] same face, one poker face.” But I don’t think he’s like that. I think that character has more to tell. He’s half human, half god. His father is human and his mother is a god. He has to have some part of him human and have the human experience and human heart. We’ve just created the first human Yang Jian in the Chinese hero history.

Suzanne:   Can you tell us about auditioning the English dub cast?

Yu:   We have not – I’m sorry. Actually, probably [our] colleague is more familiar with a casting crew…We haven’t seen –

Ji:   We cannot fly right now [and haven’t] for a couple years. That’s why our English sucks right now. We haven’t used it for a long time. So, we actually would really like to be involved in that part. But yeah,

Yu:   Yeah, but we have been working together remotely. I have to say our colleagues did a great job assemble all the dub crew, all the voice actors, and we have seen their work, and we have a high level of confidence that they did a great job. Also like two years ago, we worked together on Whitesnake, and they also [did] a fantastic job. We haven’t seen the whole film yet. But I also look forward to seeing it as well. By the way, have you guys seen the film? We haven’t seen the English dubbed version yet. Have you guys you have seen it? No.

Suzanne:   I saw the subtitled version; they sent me the other one later, and I haven’t gotten around to watching it.

Yu:   Yeah, yeah, I have to say, I’m sure to see the subtitle version is kind of painful, because to read it and understand it is very quite difficult. Very easily you lose track.

Ji:   I think it’s a really hard job to put like Chinese language into an English version; it is a difficult job. It’s a very difficult job, because a lot of the lines they’re like kind of you know, like points.

Yu:   Yes. Yeah.

Ji:   And it’s hard. It’s easy for the Chinese audience to get, but yeah, I don’t even know how to translate it. And you have to match the

Yu:   Mouth movements.

Ji:   Yeah, the mouths. So, I think they did a very good job, a very beautiful job translating that into English.

Yu:   Yeah. So next week, let’s do some promotion. You guys are more than welcome to join the premiere on January 20.

Suzanne:   If it was playing near me, I would.

Transcribed by Jamie of SciFiVision

MORE INFO: Trailer

Yang Jian poster

GKIDS logo




A film by Ji Zhao.

NEW GODS: YANG JIAN will open on January 20 at the following venues and markets

Phoenix (Prescott), AZ

Chandler Fashion Ctr 20

AMC Ahwatukee 24

Touchstar Luxury Cinemas-Sonora Village 9

Arizona Mills 25 with IMAX

Tuscon, AZ

Tucson Spectrum 18

Bakersfield, CA

Valley Plaza 16

Los Angeles, CA

Foothill Center 10

Cerritos 16

Laemmle Glendale

Landmark Westwood

Academy 6

San Francisco, CA

Rohnert Park with Titan XC

CGV San Francisco 14

Denver, CO

AMC Westminster 24 with IMAX, Dolby, Prime

Jacksonville, FL

AMC Regency 24 with IMAX, Dolby

Miami, Florida

AMC Sunset Place 24 with IMAX, Dolby

Orlando, FL

AMC Altamonte Mall 18 with IMAX, Dolby

CW Theaters – Cinemaworld

Tampa, FL

AMC Veterans 24 with IMAX, Dolby

Atlanta, GA

AMC Southlake Pavilion 24 with IMAX, Dolby

Savannah, GA

Royal Cinemas Pooler IMAX

Honolulu, HI

Consolidated Pearlridge West 16

Cons Victoria Ward Stadium 16

Cons Mililani 14 with TITAN LUXE

Chicago, IL

Marcus Addison Cinema 21 with UltraScreen

AMC Niles 12 with IMAX

Kansas City, KS

AMC DINE-IN Studio 28 KC with IMAX,Dolby

Baltimore, MD

AMC White Marsh 16 with IMAX, Dolby

Detroit, MI

Emagine Canton 19 + Super EMAX

Emagine Novi 17 + Super EMAX

Emagine Rochester Hills 13 + EMAX

AMC Forum 30 with IMAX, Dolby

Grand Rapids, MI

Celebration – Grand Rapids North 17 + IMAX

Celebration – Crossroads 15 + IMAX

Lansing, MI

Celebration – Lansing 20 + IMAX

Minneapolis-St.Paul, MN

Emagine Eagan 15 + EMAX

Marcus Oakdale Cinema 17 with UltraScreen

St. Louis, MO

Marcus Ronnie’s 20 Cine + IMAX

Concord, NC

AMC Concord Mills 24 with IMAX, Dolby

Omaha, NE

Marcus Majestic Cinema of Omaha 19

Cherry Hill, NJ

AMC Cherry Hill 24 with IMAX, Dolby

Elizabeth, NJ

AMC Jersey Gardens 20 with IMAX, Dolby

New York, NY

IFC Center

Columbus, OH

Gateway Film Center

Eugene, OR

Broadway Metro

Bensalem, PA

AMC Neshaminy 24 with IMAX, Dolby

Providence, RI

Lincoln Mall 16

Columbia, SC

BTM Dutch Square Cinema 14

Nashville, TN

AMC CLASSIC Murfreesboro 16

Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX

AMC DINE-IN Grapevine 30 w/IMAX, Dolby

AMC DINE-IN Mesquite 30 with IMAX, Dolby

Houston, TX

AMC Gulf Pointe 30 with IMAX, Dolby

AMC Fountains 18 with IMAX

San Antonio, TX

Palladium 19 IMAX + AVX

Salt Lake City, UT

Megaplex Theatres Jordan Commons + IMAX

Megaplex Theatres @ Geneva + IMAX

Megaplex Theatres at Valley Fair Mall + IMAX

Alexandria, VA

AMC Hoffman 22 with IMAX, Dolby

Richmond, VA

BTC Movieland at Blvd Sq 17

Seattle, WA

AMC Southcenter 16 with IMAX, Dolby

Milwaukee, WI

Marcus Majestic Cinema of Brookfield 16 with UltraScreen

Running time: 126 minutes

Thirteen years after Yang Jian (known to some as Erlang Shen) imprisoned his sister beneath a mountain, the once powerful god now scrapes by as a penniless bounty hunter. When a mysterious woman hires him for a new job, Yang Jian soon finds himself chasing down a familiar figure. He must stop Chenxiang, his long-lost nephew, who is in search of the magical lotus lantern that will free his mother, even if it will bring catastrophe. As Yang Jian confronts the actions of his past, he must face a host of dangerous vigilantes seeking the same treasure with the power to alter the balance of their worlds.

This latest entry in the New Gods universe from Light Chaser Animation (White Snake, New Gods: Nezha Reborn) features awe-inspiring action sequences set against breathtaking and wildly imaginative environments. Combining ancient lore with dazzling animation, New Gods: Yang Jian is a timeless adventure of epic proportions featuring one of China’s legendary mythic figures.



ENGLISH CAST: Nicholas Andrew Louie, Christine Lin, Parry Shen, Luke Naphat Sath & James Sie


STUDIO: Light Chaser Animation

RUNNING TIME: 128 minutes

LANGUAGE: Mandarin, English Language Dub

Original title: Xin shen bang: Yang Jian


GKIDS is the producer and distributor of award-winning feature animation for both adult and family audiences. Since 2010, the company has scored an astounding 12 Best Animated Feature Oscar® nominations with The Secret of Kells in 2010, A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita in 2012, Ernest & Celestine in 2014, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya and Song of the Sea in 2015, Boy and the World and When Marnie Was There in 2016, My Life as a Zucchini in 2017, The Breadwinner in 2018, Mirai in 2019, and Wolfwalkers in 2021.

GKIDS handles North American distribution for the famed Studio Ghibli library of films, one of the world’s most coveted animation collections with titles Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and others; as well as the critically acclaimed television series, Neon Genesis Evangelion.

GKIDS is also the founder and host of ANIMATION IS FILM, the annual LA-based film festival which embraces the highest aspirations of animation as a cinematic art form, and is a vocal advocate for filmmakers who push the boundaries of the medium to its fullest range of artistic expressions.


ZHAO Ji studied at the Communication University of China and UCLA. He has nine years of working experience in the field of filmmaking and has participated in the editing of a number of films home and abroad, such as The Karate Kid: The Grandmaster, Swordsmen and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Zhao worked as the editor and post-production supervisor of Little Door Gods, Tea Pets, Cats and Peachtopia. Zhao made his directorial debut with co-director Amp Wong on Light Chaser Animation’s 2019 film White Snake, a breakout success in China and an official selection of Animation Is Film. In 2021, Zhao directed New Gods: Nezha Reborn, the first film in Light Chaser Animation’s New Gods universe, which re-imagines classic Chinese mythology. Zhao’s latest film, New Gods: Yang Jian, is the follow-up to New Gods: Nezha Reborn and the second entrant in Light Chaser Animation’s exciting new world.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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publicity still from "New Gods: Yang Jian"

Interview with Steve Guttenberg, Cybil Shepherd, Jennifer Grey, Jaime King and Celina Sinden

TV Interview!

thumbnail for Lifetime's Notorious Women Panel

Interview with actors Steve Guttenberg, Cybil Shepherd, Jennifer Grey, Jaime King and Celina Sinden and Executive Vice President of Scripted Programming Tanya Lopez of 4 films on Lifetime by Suzanne 1/6/23

There are four movies coming up on Lifetime that they held this panel for. Each movie focus on a the real-life story of a woman who committed some crime(s). Cybil Shepherd stars in “How to Murder Your Husband: The Nancy Brophy Story.” Steve Guttenberg plays her husband, a chef. Nancy is a frustrated novelist.  In another movie, Celina Sinden plays the infamous murderer Jodi Arias in “Bad Behind Bars.” However, the star of the movie not really Jodi/Celina. It’s told from the perspective of one of her prison friends, Donavan Bering. Jodi manipulates her and another woman into doing her bidding as she awaits trial. I think these two movies were the best of the lot.. Jennifer Grey stars in “Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation.” Shamblin started a weight-loss program in her church, which became its own church and cult.  Jaime King stars in “Hoax: The Kidnapping of Sherri Papini.”  Papini faked her own kidnapping and conned people out of a lot of money, playing the victim. She seems to be the most sympathetic character among all of these women.

It was a very fun press call. Usually, Lifetime will have a series of panels that go on for a few hours in a day. For some reason, they decided to have us interview all of the women from these movies together. It made it a bit more fun. Cybill Shepherd and Steve Guttenberg were particularly entertaining.

There was a problem with the video at the very beginning.


Cybil Shepherd as Nancy Brophy and Steve Guttenberg as Daniel.
How to Murder Your Husband: The Nancy Brophy Story
Saturday, January 14 at 8p/7c

Based on a true story, Nancy Crampton-Brophy (Cybill Shepherd), seemed to have a knack for writing about murder. The Portland-based romance-thriller novelist authored books about relationships that were tumultuous, while using seductive men on the covers to lure in her readers. Often, her books featured women protagonists who fantasized about killing their own husbands or fleeing their husbands and faking their own deaths. And then, in 2022 in a shocking turn of events, Brophy was convicted of killing her own husband (Steve Guttenberg).

How to Murder Your Husband: The Nancy Brophy Story is produced by Front Street Pictures and is being distributed by Sony Pictures Television. Judith Verno through Peace Out Productions serves as executive producer. Stephen Tolkin directs from a script which he penned.

Celinda Sinden, Tricia Black and Lynn Rafferty in "Bad Behind Bars: Jodi Arias."

Bad Behind Bars: Jodi Arias

Premieres Saturday, Jan. 21 at 8/7c and Stream Next Day

In this follow-up to one of Lifetime’s most successful true crime movies, Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret, we will see a whole new side of the infamous murderess and the story that has captivated the world for nearly a decade. Celinda Sinden stars in the new movie, Bad Behind Bars: Jodi Arias as Jodi, who has just been arrested and sent to prison while she awaits trial for murdering her boyfriend, Travis Alexander. When she arrived in jail, Jodi charms her way through prison and befriends a couple, Donavan Bering and Tracy Brown. The three inmates became inseparable, Donovan and Tracy doing anything and everything Jodi asked — even letting the murderess tattoo her name on one of them. Donovan was released from prison as Jodi’s trial drew near and agreed to be Jodi’s mouthpiece, posting on her social pages and defending her friend to the world. But when the details of the case and Jodi’s story were no longer adding up and Donovan refused to continue to do her former friend’s bidding, Jodi’s vengeful side emerged. Stars Celina Sinden, Tricia Black, Lynn Rafferty, Karl Campbell, Adesola Adesina, Michelle Haffey, Christine Noble, and Maggie Cassella (2023).

Jaime King, Matt Hamilton, and the actors who play their kids in "Hoax: The Kidnapping of Sherri Papini."

Hoax: The Kidnapping of Sherri Papini
Saturday, January 28 at 8p/7c

Jaime King stars as Sherri Papini in the film about the nation-wide, shocking story of a young mother of two, who disappears while jogging near her home, leading to national headlines as concerned citizens searched for her whereabouts. When she reappeared three weeks later on Thanksgiving Day, Sherri claimed she was abducted by two Hispanic women who chained and repeatedly abused her. While Sherri’s return was celebrated, the state never stopped searching for her kidnappers. Four years later, Sherri’s world came crashing down as evidence revealed her kidnapping was all a hoax perpetrated by Sherri herself to spend time with her ex-boyfriend. Sherri was arrested and ultimately sentenced to 18 months in prison for lying to federal agents, creating hysteria in the community and wasting police time and funding with her nearly successful, elaborate scheme. Matt Hamilton (Girl in Room 13) stars as Sherri’s devoted husband, Keith.

Hoax: The Kidnapping of Sherri Papini is written by Katie Boland is executive produced by Tim Johnson, Stacy Mandelberg and Jocelyn Freid and directed by Marta Borowski

Jennifer Grey as Gwen Shamblin and Vincent Walsh as Joe Lara in "Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation"

Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation
Saturday, February 4 at 8p/7c
Jennifer Grey stars as the controversial religious leader and Christian diet guru who positioned herself as God’s prophet and preached the virtues of being thin in the new Lifetime original movie, Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation. As the founder of the Tennessee-based Remnant Fellowship Church and the Weigh Down Workshop – a massively successful Christian-based diet program that preached the virtue of a slim waist and the power of prayer for weight loss – Gwen Shamblin Lara was a rare woman to lead a Southern megachurch. As her church grew across the nation, so did her iron-fisted grip as its leader— accumulating power and money, while creating a larger-than-life public persona with dramatically teased and towering hair. At the peak of her power and influence, Gwen demanded that church members alienate themselves from anyone who was not a member, banished those that became overweight, threatened legal action against dissenters, and advocated for strict punishment of those who failed to follow church tenets. But Gwen’s reign suddenly came to a tragic end in May 2021, when the plane that her husband Joe was flying crashed shortly after takeoff, killing Gwen, Joe, their son-in-law, and four other Church leaders.

Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation is produced by Muse Entertainment production for Lifetime and is executive produced by Nancy Bennett and Jesse Prupas. John L’Ecuyer directs from a script by Gregory Small and Richard Blaney. Muse Distribution International handles foreign sales.

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Is Watching TV Actually a Good Way to Rest Your Brain After College Classes?

TV Article!

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Is Watching TV Actually a Good Way to Rest Your Brain After College Classes? by Jodi W 1/10/23

As the average American household has 7.3 screens, the question of what is too much can easily be posed. If you spend hours in front of a screen, you will soon experience some of the negative effects that TV can have on you. For this reason, it is necessary to balance the TV with the rest of your life, including your work and studies, to be able to benefit from it rather than suffer some of the negative consequences.

How Should You Rest After Classes?

During the day, an average student is supposed to spend several hours learning. The learning process takes time and a lot of energy, so if you feel like you should rest and are tired in the evenings, you definitely should. Resting your brain is important for cognitive processes, such as memorization and information manipulation. However, you should know what activities can help you rest your day.

To do this, you should understand how the brain gets tired and what can be done to help it rest. The brain gets tired when it does a repetitive task for a long time. Studying fits this image perfectly, so feeling tired after a day spent in classes is completely normal. Changing the activity you do or simply changing the scenery is a great way to help your brain rest.

Some of the best language schools actually use this simple fact to benefit. They allow students to switch between different types of activities and involve a lot of hands-on activities. This way, the brain can rest from one activity while working on another one. Drawing after reading or having a speaking activity after reading is a great combo.

The brain can also rest by switching the scenery. Taking your book outside or having a walk is a great way to rest your brain and ensure that you are ready to learn more later in the evening or the next day. If you feel tired and need help writing essay, there are services that can do this for you. This way, you can focus on long-term rest and spend a couple of days away from the book.


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Is TV a Good Way to Rest After Classes?

However, how about the TV? Many say that this is not a good way to rest, but others say that this is a great way to give some break time to your central nervous system. Whether the TV is good for you or not depends on how you use it, the time spent in front of the TV screen, and what kind of TV Shows and other content you watch.

Pros of Resting with TV

In fact, if you use the TV to rest and learn, you can harvest all the pros of watching TV by watching documentaries and educational TV shows. Some of them include the following:

  • Giving the brain some time to relax,
  • Giving you some time to lay back and repose,
  • Having some time off to cool down after a day of learning,
  • Getting a chance to learn while relaxing,
  • Getting a chance to have a different overview of some common problems you may be learning about at the Uni.

Cons of Resting with TV

However, getting too much TV exposure can easily lead to some negative effects of watching TV. These should not be omitted, as so many students’ grades suffer due to too much exposure to television. As screens are everywhere, it is easy to become too accustomed to them. YouTube, Netflix, Patreon, and other streaming services all have TV-like type of content and are likely to exert the same cons as TV per se:

  • Too much exposure to screen time can lead to vision deterioration,
  • Too much screen time can lead to dopamine addiction,
  • Brain fog, especially with binge-watching TV shows, and
  • A deterioration in school grades, especially if you take too much time in front of the TV.

Final Considerations

The TV is a tool. If you are a college student, you should know how to use it right and how to use it to your benefit. Limiting screen time and focusing on content that is educational in nature is likely to improve your grades while providing the benefits of resting that you will also benefit from. On the other hand, content that does not match your interests, too much screen time, and not being able to focus on the school matter are some cons that you should pay attention to.

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Best Back-to-School Streaming Devices and TVs

TV Article!

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Best back-to-school streaming devices and TVs by Jodi W. 1/10/23

The time to go back to school is fast-approaching. If you are one of the millions of students who do not know what to do in their free time, you may have been thinking about purchasing a streaming device. Small and portable, they can be attached to any TV and can help you produce HD or even 4K streaming services to your TV.

What Are Streaming Services?

These devices connect to streaming services. These services deliver video content on demand. Similar to YouTube, they provide a limited amount of content you can stream on-demand. As the content can be educational, it can help you study and do so in a fun way. All the content there is original or made by other companies, but private content is never allowed.

This is the biggest difference between any streaming website and a streaming service. Another big difference is that the content can be streamed to various devices, not just laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The TV or the streaming device should have an appropriate app installed, but most devices today support most of these apps and streaming services as it is.

Which Streaming Services Are the Best for Students?

Among these services are Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. These services are best suited for students and all others who are more curious in nature than others. This is thanks to the rich content of documentaries and other educational content. Netflix is definitely the number one since they offer the most content that is original and made by them.

Streaming services for students should always be educational and have the value that a book could offer. Although there is no exam that focuses on streaming services, these can significantly help by offering additional information and a chance to revise. They can also offer great ideas for research papers. Once the idea is there, you can check out writing service reviews and find the writing service that works for you. This way, professionals will help make your idea come to fruition.

Top Back-to-School Streaming Devices

Although Netflix is the golden standard for streaming services, others should also be considered. Still, most devices support the biggest streaming services, although not all of them may work in all countries. For this reason, you should always consider which device to buy, especially if you move a lot or go back home to another country for holidays. The devices we present here are devices that are designed for the US market. As such, they provide a certain level of quality that is expected from devices like this and are likely to provide many hours of content streaming.

Amazon Fire Stick Lite

Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite

The super-simple-to-use Fire TV Stick Lite offers everything that a student needs. It comes with a remote controller that also has built-in voice control. It offers most features compared to its price. It is inexpensive and can be delivered to your dorm room in less than 2 days.

Insignia Amazon Fire TV Edition

The Insignia Edition is one of the TVs out there with built-in support for streaming services. Amazon has its own – Prime Video. The entire TV is optimized for this type of service and will likely provide you with a lot of entertainment during those long winter nights. The screen is only 32 inches, so it should fit in most college-form rooms.

Roku Express

Roku Express HD

Roku Express HD features a streamlined design and a very fast response time. The stick is the cheapest on our list and offers streaming from many services. This cheaper Roku Express 4K Plus version is still a great option for HD streaming.

Roku Streambar

Streambar by Roku is two devices in one: a streaming service device and a soundbar. The combo is great for all who like to make parties and invite many friends over for a movie night. The bar can also double as an out-source when gaming for example. It augments the sound from the TV and provides a more enjoyable experience.

Final Considerations

Streaming services and devices are many on the market. Here, we explored different options and saw what could suit you. All the devices on the list are available in the US (most of them on Amazon) and are easy to use. As they are small and light, they will take up barely any space on the desktop.

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Top 4 Educational TV Shows College Students Must See

TV Article!

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Top 4 Educational TV Shows College Students Must See by Jodi W. 1/10/23

Students are expected to excel in more than one area of their life. Although this can be difficult to manage, being able to implement educational content into your everyday life is as important as ever. In fact, integrating content like this can help you expand your horizons and score better on your tests, especially as you will be able to boost your interdisciplinary understanding of the world around you.

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Should Students Watch TV?

TV is often frowned upon, although, truth be told, TV can be educational and very informative. Being able to choose the right TV shows and other media content is a matter of personal preferences but is crucial in whether TV exposure is going to be beneficial or not. TV time can be both detrimental and very beneficial to one’s school success. With this in mind, let’s consider the top 4 TV shows for college students.

So, if you feel stressed and need a different way to relax, you should consider some of these TV shows. They are likely to expand your knowledge and do so in a relaxing way. Whenever feeling pressed for time, you can contact a graduate paper writing service and delegate some work to them. This way, you can spend some time binge-watching some of these shows.

Top 4 TV Shows for College Students

Any TV show can be beneficial for a student, as it can help you relax after a long day of classes. However, making the right choices can also help you get educated by expanding your knowledge in a topic area of your choice and by helping you understand different ways to approach one and the same problem. Here are the top TV shows we recommend for college students, irrelevant of the field of their studies.

"Explained" on NetflixExplained

Explained is a Netflix Original documentary show that lets you explore different topics that help the modern world run. It is among the favorite TV shows for both high school and college graduates and is likely to help you take a different take on many topics we take for granted, such as drugs and the food we eat. This TV show is perfect since it clearly shows how a rotten other side can often accompany a good surface image that no one suspects. Explained teaches the importance of understanding both sides of the coin before forming your opinion, which is a necessary skill when doing any research.

Grey's Anatomy cast

Grey’s Anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy, which is in its 19th season, shows a group of medical interns as they fight their way to learn all the intricacies of the field they are about to join. The show also shows the internal fight and problems that all the interns have to face and how they overcome them. Grey’s Anatomy is based on real medical facts. Still, it is necessary to understand that the educational focus is on how to overcome issues that you, as a student, may face.

House, M.D. key artHouse, M.D.

House, M.D., on the other hand, takes a whole different approach. Although it teaches the issues and how to deal with them, the protagonist, Dr. House, is a person who cannot overcome some of his issues. Incredibly talented, almost a medical genius, he suffers chronic pain and is addicted to painkillers. He is both the protagonist and the antagonist in the TV show. Dr. House is legendary and is likely to keep you entertained for months.

National Geographic

National Geographic is not a TV show per se. However, one of the biggest media companies in the world is likely to prove very educational for you, especially as there are so many documentaries about the natural world. Far from the best solution for psychology students, for example, National Geographic will relax you and will expand your knowledge of the natural world.  They have their own cable and streaming channel as well, which you can watch online.

Final Considerations

Watching TV for too long can be detrimental to your studies. However, being smart both with the TV shows you watch, when and for how long you watch them can help you expand your knowledge and improve your scholastic outcome. Our list has something for every student there is, so start watching them this weekend and relax while studying.

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Interview with Scott Caan and Dania Ramirez

TV Interview!

Scott Caan and Dania Ramirez, stars of "Alert" on FOX.

Interview with Scott Caan and Dania Ramirez of “Alert” on FOX by Suzanne 12/14/22

This was a fun panel with the two stars of this new procedural show, the show’s EP, and FOX’s President of Scripted Programming. The show might remind you a little bit of “Without a Trace,” the show that ran from 2002 to 2009. It was about another missing person’s unit. However, in this one, the two lead characters are divorced, mainly because their own son was taken. Then there are many twists and turns involving the son, as well as new cases that they solve. Check it out! It premieres tonight, January 8, after football on FOX.

NOTE: They’re now calling this show “Alert: Missing Persons Unit.”



John Eisendrath (Executive Producer)

Scott Caan

Dania Ramirez

Michael Thorn (President, Scripted Programming, FOX Entertainment)

Virtual via Zoom December 14, 2022

© 2022 FOX Media LLC. All rights reserved.

JAMIE FOXX: Hi, everybody. It’s Jamie Foxx here to introduce to you our brand new action drama on FOX called Alert. Set within the Philly Police Department of Missing Persons Unit, each episode explores the dark side of the City of Brotherly Love. It’s an intense race against the clock where every second counts, as it’s impossible not to fear the worst when a loved one has gone, either kidnapped or gone missing.

Bringing the action of Alert into dramatic focus is our incredible cast, Scott Caan and Dania Ramirez. Scott Caan returns to police procedurals as Jason Grant, who has to team up with his ex wife, Nikki Batista, played by Dania. Together, they will help others by saving lives and bringing criminals to justice while also facing their own quest to find out the truth about their long lost son.

You know what’s hurting me the worst? The fact that I cannot be there with you guys because of production schedules, but you’re in great hands because the cast is there and my right hand man, my executive producing partner John Eisendrath is going to take you through the whole thing. And last but not least, head of scripted television at FOX, my man, Michael Thorn.

So ladies and gentlemen, enjoy. But before we get started, here is Alert.

(Clip played.)

LES EISNER: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the Alert panel. Joining us today are actors, Scott Caan and Dania Ramirez; creator, executive producer and showrunner John Eisendrath; and Michael Thorn of FOX Entertainment.

Let’s get right into it. Lots of questions coming in. So thank you.

QUESTION: Good morning. This is for Scott. After ten years on Hawaii 5 0, what was it about this series and this character that made you willing to recommit to the possibility of maybe another long, grueling schedule?

SCOTT CAAN: That’s a good question. I mean, there’s a lot of different reasons. I mean, I think this script was really special. I think that, you know, there’s a lot of a lot of procedurals kind of have a formula that I didn’t notice in this. This show has a real serialized piece of the show. It’s not just a procedural. But honestly, I don’t when I read things, I don’t think about what kind of a show it is. I just, you know, find if I can find something in myself that I can put into this character, then that’s what that’s what makes me decide I want to do something.

And also, you know, I I’m grateful to be given a job too. So I don’t I don’t do a lot of questioning when it comes to what kind of a show it is. I just like I said, I’m grateful to be hired, and, you know, I like to work. And I think that there’s a lot of there’s a lot of acting problems in this show that I enjoy, and there is a lot of things that make this show something that is different than anything out there. You know, the idea of finding your son after not knowing where he’s been for seven years, I don’t think that that’s an experience that anybody on the planet’s actually had. So to me, like I said, it’s an acting problem that I’ve never been faced with, it’s an acting problem that I’ve never read before. So to me, it’s something that I immediately felt uncomfortable and didn’t know exactly how I was going to approach it, and those are the kind of things that turn me on when it comes to digging into a part. If I get a little nervous and don’t quite know what I’m going to do yet, then that’s a good sign that I should probably move forward and do it. So I don’t know if that answered the question, but I could talk about that specifically for a very long time. But that’s my short answer.

DANIA RAMIREZ: I love watching him be uncomfortable, personally.


DANIA RAMIREZ: So it’s been really fun to act with him. One of those problems, I guess.

SCOTT CAAN: Yeah. Again, I don’t no, I was going to say, I don’t know if that answered the question enough, but that’s my short answer.

DANIA RAMIREZ: You were brilliant.

SCOTT CAAN: Thank you.

QUESTION: Hey, guys. Thanks for being here. John, first of all, welcome back to FOX.

Tell me about where these cases are coming from, because I’m guessing this is a world that you can really tap into. There’s so much going on, so many missing people. But can you talk about where you’re pulling your cases from for all the stories?

JOHN EISENDRATH: Well, there are a lot of cases that we can draw from if we chose to do just ripped from the headlines. We have yes, if you’ve seen episode 2, you know that there’s a story that has at its heart, is a story about fentanyl and the overuse of it and the scourge of fentanyl in America today, which I think is very topical. So some of the episodes are definitely ripped from the headlines, and some of them have that kind of connection to, I hope, what a lot of people are thinking about, talking about, and in some ways as a parent worried about for their kids. So some of it is that, and some of it is just based on what we think would make for just the most urgent, heart pounding case that we can think of and the ones that have the highest stakes. And, again, in that, one of the great things about a missing persons show is the range is, I think. larger than any other range of storytelling available in procedural TV. Some cases, people are taken and are desperate to be found; some cases, people are running away and are desperate not to be found. And that’s part of the mystery that our characters have to unpack each week. So some of it’s ripped from the headlines, and some of it is just what is just the coolest, most urgent, most desperate case we can think of.

MICHAEL THORN: One of the other things that John has done so successfully, we think, is in addition to that urgency, every single episode and the the cases are they’re deeply emotional because it involves a missing person. And I think, as Scott was saying in the beginning, one of the reasons it feels different than other procedurals is that emotional resonance, both in the cases and, of course, specifically in the family story between Scott and Dania’s family story. So it’s really compelling to have storytelling that hits both all of those buttons in an exciting way.

JOHN EISENDRATH: And I would just add that off of what Michael said, that it is true that a lot of the cases have are picked, in part, because of the way that they impact Scott and Dania’s characters as it relates to their own personal story. Again, episode 2, since you’ve watched it, as an example of a parent who’s facing the question of what would, in this case, she do if she came into a room with the person who’d killed her child. And that is a question that Scott’s character and Dania’s as well are both wrestling with. What would they do if they were ever put in a room with the person who took their child? And not only is that obviously an incredibly emotional story and question for the two of them who don’t agree on what they would do, but hopefully for the people who are watching the show too, they will ask themselves what would they do if they were ever in that situation.

QUESTION: Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for doing this. I will I have two questions, but I’ll start with Dania and Scott. Nikki and Jason, at least in the first episode, they talk a lot about kind of wanting to turn the page and move forward, but they’re really struggling with that gaping hole that their missing son has left in their lives. So how would you describe the state of the relationship at the start of the show after they’ve gone through kind of the six years of looking for Keith, and how does that dynamic kind of continue to evolve over the course of the season?

SCOTT CAAN: Do you want to go?

MICHAEL THORN: Good question.

DANIA RAMIREZ: I think that’s a great question, actually, because the dynamic absolutely changes and I think it evolves through the season. And where we were at at the beginning of you know, when you first meet us, I think we’re both having our son be missing for that having our son be missing for that long has connected us in ways that you can’t connect with anyone else. And I think the way that we we have a very authentic way of wanting to deal with the cases because of it; we have a very authentic way of how we relate to each other because of it. We also have a daughter that we coparent, and so we have to I think we found a very comfortable place in which we relate to one another throughout the entire season, and we grow and evolve our relationship because we also become partners, as you know from watching episodes 1 and 2.

So I think there’s also a lot of room for wit and humor when you really know someone for that long. And, you know, me knowing also Scott prior to doing the project and getting to know him even more doing it, as Nikki and Jason continues, we get to — to deal with the issues of being parents together, coparenting together, and then having to deal with the loss of their child, I think opens up a lot of connection moments for connection between both of us but also allows us to really feel like we’re there for one another. I love that part of the show as well, because we are really both we meet each other with love and understanding. And that’s something that I don’t think that you’ve ever I’ve ever seen portrayed in television as beautifully as we do on this show, where you have two people who have to deal with having to move forward and go through a divorce but still feel that there’s a lot of love there at home and at work.

SCOTT CAAN: Yeah. You know, also one of my favorite things about starting something new, I mean, when it works out, there’s nothing better than getting to know somebody and have that show up on screen. There’s stuff that we don’t plan, and there’s stuff that have nothing to do with the story that exists between us. And as we get you know, get to know each other more, that stuff, you it can’t help but show up on screen. And to me, that’s that’s the most fun, and we hit it off immediately, and our relationship — you know, the first two scenes we did, I was like, All right, we got this.

You know, and we have we have this bond and whatever it is, and I think that that’s when it comes to a show like this, I think that’s one of the most important things that two people you’re kind of watching what we do in the show, and you’re also kind of watching our relationship, you know, off camera. Because, like I said, you can’t you can’t hide from that stuff, you know? It’s I mean, it’s great.

DANIA RAMIREZ: We have a great relationship on and off camera, but I think we also have found different ways of dealing you know, nobody’s perfect, and I think the fact that these the two characters are flawed, but also us as people are flawed. There’s nothing better than to, like, have find a common ground where you look at the person that you’re with all the time and you’re like, “Okay. Well, today your day was to do this, and maybe today I was” “I made you laugh.” And to have that sort of, like, dual relationship on and off set and you know, when the cameras are on and when the cameras are off, really makes for an incredible experience and a journey to take the audience on, you know?

JOHN EISENDRATH: I would just add to that that I think a lot of TV is wish fulfillment. You know, you’re watching the characters, and you want to sort of imagine that you could live that type of life. And I had hoped that we could portray in Dania and Scott’s characters a couple who’d gone through the most agonizing thing that you could go through, losing your child. And while it cost them dearly and they weren’t able to sustain their marriage, they did still have love for each other. And then when we meet them, they’re Scott’s character is with one woman, and Dania’s character is getting engaged to another person, and yet so it’s the most complicated possible situation. But for them, I was hoping that they would be able to navigate that incredibly tumultuous space with love and friendship and humor, and they do an amazing job of making that feel real. And I think that is exactly what I’d hoped for. And I think people will watch them as an ex couple and as coworkers and as coparents and feel like they’re doing an amazing job navigating an incredibly difficult and dramatic set of circumstances.

QUESTION: And for John, if I can just add one last question, can you talk a little bit about the process of casting Dania and Scott to play the leads of those two coparents you were talking about and also kind of the inspiration behind creating the series with Jamie?

JOHN EISENDRATH: Well, let me take the second part first. Then I’ll come back. Jamie, I got a call one day from his producing partner, Datari Turner, and he said that he wanted to pitch me an idea for a show. And usually when someone does that, I brace for a polite way of saying, “Thank you, but it’s a terrible idea.”

And the first thing he said was, “How about something about Amber Alert and the people who go missing?”

And I was like, “Wow, that’s actually a great idea for a show.”

And he explained to me that Jamie had had an experience one afternoon where he thought his child had gone missing. And it was not the case, but he for about six or seven hours, he wasn’t sure what had happened. And once that had occurred had happened to him, he did some investigating about the people who find missing persons, and it fascinated him, and he always thought I don’t know how many years ago it was, but that it would be a good basis for a TV show. And that was basically what Datari told me.

And I did agree. I thought it would be a great idea. And then for me, I do think the cases and the stories are singular in a missing persons procedural. But for me, I did feel the need to have something more at its core, and when I imagined that it could be that Scott and Dania’s characters had themselves lost a child, that that to me was when I realized, Oh, there could be a mystery at the center of this procedural show that could both be bring people along who love the procedural pieces but have that emotional core. So that’s how the inception of the show began.

And then in casting, you know, obviously I was familiar with Scott, I had watched Hawaii 5 0, and I thought that when we when I imagined who Jason is, I had imagined someone who had to have the ability to be dramatic, to carry these incredibly intense stories, but have a little but be funny and be able to because I believe that people who work in this kind of environment have to be able to have dark humor, have to be able to deflect the pain and the intensity of the world they’re in. And when Scott’s name came up, I realized, Well, he meets all those requirements. And then we talked via Zoom, as is the case in the world today, and his discussion with me about what the I won’t take the fact that he just walked off screen, I’ll he just doesn’t want me to embarrass him.


That, you know, when I just sort of felt like he understood who the guy was, and he would he was excited about the exploration. And that, to me, is singular. You know, you really want someone who is ready to go on an adventure with you, and because that’s what series TV is.

And then with Dania whose work I was less familiar with, but I immediately looked at so much of what she had done and felt like, okay, Nikki is the heart and soul of the show, she is the one who is centered around empathy and emotional connection to people who are grieving, because in this show, the people who come into that space have lost a loved one, and they need a hug as much as they need a forensic analysis of where, you know, their loved one has gone. And the minute we talked, I realized and watched, but really more when we talked, I realized that Dania was someone who, as a person, was comfortable with that. And I really think you have to be comfortable as and be an empathetic person to portray the level of empathy and concern that she has to that Nikki has to on the show. And so I immediately knew that she, too, was someone who could personify the essential trait of who Nikki is as the heart and soul of the show.

DANIA RAMIREZ: I’m so grateful to you, John. I just have to take a moment and just say thank you for trusting me with the material, because I know, you know, every time you do a new show and it’s your baby and you’re writing it and, you know, you’re creating this world, you want to you know, it’s a gamble that you’re taking on someone sort of being like, okay, you’re going to be able to portray this.

And after our first meeting, our conversation the conversation that we had and we talked about not only, you know, the cases, what the show was really about, but really it was when we had you know, we took put all that to the side and really had an honest conversation about who we were as people and the messages that we wanted to kind of put out there and that we really ended up connecting with the kind of you know, how to humanize these that character, how to humanize Nikki. So this was a job that she was doing, and she was connected because it had happened to her, and it gave me the ability to feel empathy and compassion for these people that were coming in with these cases, but also allowed me to bring a lot of myself into it and to really feel for these people but also find the light in some of the situations. And I’m just really grateful that you gave me the opportunity.

JOHN EISENDRATH: I just knew that I just knew that when you ended your text with “Namaste,” I was like, Okay, well, that’s all right.


MICHAEL THORN: And I’ll add that we got really lucky where you know, you read these scripts, and you imagine that, you know, Jason and Nikki are they have this history, and you hope you just hope for in any show that your lead actors are going to have the kind of chemistry it’s that intangible that Dania and Scott had. So we’re so lucky to have them both, because individually they’re terrific, but when you put them together in their character dynamics, it absolutely you those who have seen the first two episodes, you see they shine together.

DANIA RAMIREZ: You bring you do, you bring the best out of me, for sure.

SCOTT CAAN: Oh, thank you. I think the same about you. But I yeah, just going off of what Michael just said, I think that that’s the key to any of these shows. And it’s like it’s such a coin toss. You cannot you can’t predict how that’s going to happen. But like I said, on day 1, I just I was like, alright. We got something to build on.

DANIA RAMIREZ: You know what’s funny is that we couldn’t be more different but also, like, more the same. Like, we’re both really passionate people and really can find humor in the darkest of situations but could not be more opposite at the same time.

SCOTT CAAN: Don’t touch me.


DANIA RAMIREZ: He actually really likes to be touched. That’s the thing about him. He says he doesn’t.

JOHN EISENDRATH: This isn’t analysis, it’s just a


QUESTION: Thank you so much for doing this. First question is for Scott.

Scott, you know, you’ve done roles, “Oceans 11,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” you know, intense roles. What drew you to this role, and is this role as intense as other shows that you’ve done?

And the next question is, you know, knowing that you have a daughter, was it and the show being a missing persons, you know, did you give her that kind of extra hug after shooting the show?

SCOTT CAAN: Yeah. I’ll answer backwards. You know, it’s I with my home life and being away, I like to, as much as I possibly can, bring whatever’s going on in my life to what I’m doing. And so just being away from my daughter for the last four months, obviously, now my second daughter, they get much bigger hugs than they’ve ever gotten. So I don’t know if it’s because of this show or because I’m away, but I think a combination of both has made me really appreciate what I have, and you know, and it also makes me appreciate the fact that I have a job. You know, it’s like a you know, a question people say, like, “Why are you doing another procedural show?”

It’s like, man, I’m genuinely I’m not just like “aw shucksing” it up, but, like, I to say, like, no to somebody who wants to hire me to do something in this day and age is, like, insane to me. Like, I’m so lucky to have a job, so lucky to be able to come to work every day.

And going back to your original question, you know, I think what we do is a lot more difficult than showing up for a movie for three, four months and, you know, just doing one role. I think what turns me on about this I answered it a little bit in the beginning, but, you know, dealing with the idea of having your son go missing and then having him come back and you’re not sure if it’s actually your son, playing with those ideas week to week, month to month, episode to episode, like I said, it’s nothing it’s unprecedented. I don’t think you can find somebody and interview somebody who had that experience. So for me, this is, without question, the most complicated thing I’ve ever done. So to label it as a procedural or label it as this kind of show or that kind of show makes no sense to me. I’m learning more about myself. I’m learning a ton about acting. I’m learning there’s just so much going on, and I think that it is definitely more intense than anything I’ve ever done in a really beautiful good way.

And I don’t mean to sound too goofy or corny, but it’s if you like if you like being creative, if you like digging in as an actor, like, there’s there isn’t much out there that is more complicated problem solving as an actor than this show has been for me, and I think I knew that right away. And it’s challenging. It’s really challenging. And, you know, I think that the second we aren’t challenged anymore at what we do, we should just quit, you know? I think that

DANIA RAMIREZ: Which you’ll never do.

SCOTT CAAN: Well, but, again, you know, it’s like

DANIA RAMIREZ: You can’t. I wouldn’t let you.

SCOTT CAAN: No, I know. But I’m saying my point is that this is this isn’t something that I can just show up and, you know, not give a lot of thought to. And that’s what keeps me excited about it, and that’s I think why people will be excited to watch the show, because we’re literally trying to figure things out all the time, and it’s not it’s not like anything else out there, that I’ve seen anyway.

So to answer your question, yes, this is way more intense, way more complicated, and way more challenging, and that’s sort of why I’m really interested in it, you know? So…

DANIA RAMIREZ: Acting is very therapeutic as well. I think one of the things that I and you don’t know this, but the first meeting that I ever had with John and some of the other producers and I knew that you were doing the job, and I was like, you know, I’m excited just to dig in and even see how you know, how we change as people, because it is very therapeutic to go through these things. And you have you know, you just had a baby. Leaving having your family back in LA has played a big part of, like, you really being able to dive into those emotions and vulnerabilities within the role, and it’s been very great to feel like I am also like, I have my family here, but I don’t get to spend a lot of time with them and my kids. And so we’re able to really allow each other to be vulnerable in those moments and to share that with the masses and to feel like, okay, I’m going to unveil that part of me. And I think that’s what the world likes to connect to. To be able to transcend those emotions and to get people to connect with that is super, you know, inspiring, and, you know, this is a the show has just been a great opportunity to share those emotions with everyone.

QUESTION: Hi. This is for Scott and Dania. You’re basically the show is living out every parent’s worst nightmare in so many respects. So how emotional is it for each of you, and is it difficult to let it go after some of these highly emotional scenes?

SCOTT CAAN: Yeah, I think it is. I mean, you know, it’s one of those things where, you know, you it’s like our job definitely comes home with us, and I don’t realize how affected I am by it. But, yeah, I mean, every day, we’re dealing with really, really horrible stuff.

DANIA RAMIREZ: Yeah, it’s hard to leave it behind. And honestly, I think, you know, it’s human nature to and especially for actors, if you’re really into it, to just really live out those emotions. And that’s not something you can shut off right away. I mean, I think that’s why it’s great to be a part of a job in which it’s not just, you know, Scott on the job here, but it’s also our crew and the people that we’re working with every single day, the writers, the people that are here and our other cast mates, we become our own like a family outside of what we you know, what we film every day, and I think we have that support system to really get through that and be able to say, “Okay, that was that. Let’s put it to the side, and now let’s” you know, our lives will continue, and we have to figure out a way to pick ourselves back up. But, yeah, it’s very difficult.

And it’s interesting because, you know, the last show that we I mean, we were in “Entourage” together, and what a completely different vibe that was, because it’s like that’s fun, and we were completely different people back then. We didn’t have kids back then. We didn’t really know each other. We didn’t have any scenes together. So I could say maybe we played together. We, like, hung out. But we didn’t really you know, now, who we are who we were then and who we are now is a completely different ballgame, and being parents and dealing with a show that has to deal with, like, missing children is something that’s really close to the heart, and it’s hard to leave behind.

SCOTT CAAN: Yeah. So basically after we do five, six years of this show, I’m going to call Michael and say, “Michael, put me on a half hour comedy immediately, please.”


LES EISNER: And with that, we’ll wrap our session.


Alert key art

Co-created by John Eisendrath (the Executive Producer of The Blacklist) and superstar Jamie Foxx, Alert: Missing Persons Unit is a procedural drama set in the Philadelphia Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit (MPU). Each episode features a heart-pounding, life-or-death search for a missing person that runs alongside police officers JASON GRANT (Scott Caan, Hawaii Five-O) and NIKKI BATISTA’s (Dania Ramirez, Devious Maids) season-long quest to find out the truth about their long-lost son.

Six years ago, while working overseas, Jason received the call that every parent fears – he and Nikki’s son, KEITH (Graham Verchere, The Good Doctor), had gone missing. From that moment forward, the lives of Jason, Nikki and their daughter, SYDNEY (recurring guest star Fivel Stewart, Atypical), were turned upside down. The frantic search to find Keith began and the mystery about his disappearance continues to this day.

Throughout the search to find Keith, Jason and Nikki’s marriage deteriorated and they grew apart. Jason moved into private security, while Nikki was promoted within the Philly P.D. to Head of the MPU, where she has been able to do for others what she wasn’t able to do for herself, bring a loved one back home. At the MPU, she leads a team of highly skilled individuals including her current love interest MIKE (Ryan Broussard, Only Murders In The Building), whom Nikki met when he was assigned to oversee the search for Keith; KEMI (Adeola Role, The Blacklist), who is proficient in many languages, highly discerning of visual clues, and uses her know-how as a shaman to take a holistic approach to her job; and forensic anthropologist C (recurring guest star and newcomer Petey Gibson), who is a master at reconstructing the faces of those who have disappeared. Together, the team works to find the missing, abducted, or kidnapped, and help reunite them with their loved ones before it’s too late.

When Jason receives a possible proof-of-life photo that Keith is very much alive, he and Nikki will reunite personally and professionally to continue the fight for their son.

Alert: Missing Persons Unit is co-produced by Sony Pictures Television and FOX Entertainment. John Eisendrath serves as showrunner and executive producer. Jamie Foxx, Datari Turner, J.R. Orci, Adam Kane and Michael Offer (101 and 102) are also executive producers.


as Jason Grant

Scott Caan of "Alert" on FOX


Scott Caan is an actor, writer and director. He has starred in Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s Eleven” remake, along with “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Ocean’s Thirteen.” He can also be seen in the thriller “Into The Blue” and in Nicole Holofcener’s indie comedy “Friends With Money.” Caan also wrote, directed and starred in the feature films “Dallas 362” and “The Dog Problem.” A published playwright, Caan’s “Two Wrongs,” “No Way Around But Through” and “The Trouble With Where We Come From” are successes available from Dramatists.

Caan’s television series credits include a Golden Globe-nominated ten season run as “Danno” on “Hawaii Five-O.” He also starred in the last two seasons of “Entourage.” He recently finished shooting “One Day As A Lion,” which he starred in and wrote.


as Nikki Batista

Dania Ramirez of "Alert" on FOX


A talented and versatile actress, Dania Ramirez has become a highly sought-after performer for both film and television. Currently, she is starring as “Aimee” on the streaming series “Sweet Tooth” for executive producer Robert Downey, Jr.

Recently, Ramirez starred as “Gretel” on the series “Tell Me A Story,” a modern take on popular fairy tale stories, and was also seen as “Cinderella” on the popular “Once Upon A Time…,” bringing a fresh and engaging presence to the program. Her other television credits include “Devious Maids,” “The Sopranos,” “Entourage” and “Heroes.”

In addition to her television work, Ramirez is a film producer and co-produced and starred in the feature film “Lycan.” She also produced and co-starred in the romantic comedy, “Off The Menu.” Ramirez’s other film credits include roles in “Mojave,” “Premium Rush,” “Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay,” “Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle,” “American Reunion,” “Quarantine,” “Fat Albert”  and “X-Men: The Last Stand.” She made her feature film debut in Spike Lee’s “The Subway Stories” and subsequently was seen in two additional Spike Lee projects, “25th Hour” and “She Hate Me.”

Born in the Dominican Republic, Ramirez was raised by her grandmother until she moved to New York City at the age of ten and reunited with her parents. She studied at Monclair State University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and was a star volleyball player.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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The cast of "Alert" on FOX.

Interview with Tongayi Chirisa and Harry Hamlin

TV Interview!

Tongayi Chirisa and Harry Hamlin of "Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches" on AMC/AMC+


Interview with Tongayi Chirisa and Harry Hamlin of “Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches” on AMC/AMC+ by Suzanne 12/7/22

This is an interesting show. I haven’t read the books that this series is based on, so I can’t tell you how accurate it is or not. However, with just a cursory reading about the books online, it does seem pretty different in some ways. Some characters have been condensed, invented or changed. If you’re a purist, then you probably shouldn’t watch it. Otherwise, if you loved the books, or you like shows about witches, then you should check it out because it’s enjoyable. It stars Alexandra Daddario as the main character, Dr. Rowan Mayfair, who finds out after her mother dies that she has a family that she never knew, and strange powers.

I was able to join in this panel interview with Tongayi Chririsa, who stars as the handsome Ciprien Grieve; who helps her out; and Harry Hamlin, who plays her Uncle Cortland. It was a very fun interview. I’ve loved watching Harry Hamlin ever since he starred in “L.A. Law” in the 80’s. Did you know that Harry Hamlin was the “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1987? Only the third one in history, too. He’s definitely my first one to interview. I hope you enjoy this transcript and the show, which airs Jan. 4 on AMC+ and Jan. 8 on AMC.

KAREN BUTLER:   Can you both describe your characters and tell us why you wanted to play them?

TONGAYI CHIRISA:   Okay, my character is Ciprian Grieve. He works for the Talamasca, and he has this ability. He’s an empath, and he has this ability to touch people or objects, and he can see into their past. And I thin the biggest thing that drew me to this was just the world, Anne Rice, and the genre that we’re in. And just for the character, just the challenges that he goes through, and just the ability to be able to feel the emotions of everything and everyone was just too alluring for me not to try and take a stab at it. So, I was drawn by the character and just the world, and just to work with Esta and Alex was just, like, “Oh, yeah, this is an opportunity that I will not let slip.”

KAREN BUTLER:   How about you, Harry?

HARRY HAMLIN:   Well, I play Cortland, Mayfair, and he’s the patriarch of this family of witches that have been evolving since the 16th century or something in Scotland. And I don’t have any powers, because the powers are mainly passed down through the women in the family. It’s sort of a matriarchal society in the family, and my job, as in my character, is to hold the family together. I’m kind of the fun uncle in the family. And I was drawn to to play the character, which is, by the way, the most delicious character I’ve played since the very first movie I did in 1977, which was called Movie Movie. I love that character, and this is most fun I’ve had since then. So, it’s been a long time, but I’m having a great time with this guy. They’ve let me create a character that may not be the character that Esta had in mind when she first wrote the script, but the good news is that they were writing the scripts as we were filming. So, they were able to see what each of us brought to the characters that they had written, and then they were able to expand on that in [the] writing. So, in a way they adapted their characters to us, to what we brought to it, and I love it when we when a show goes like that.

RIJU DASGUPTA:  So, what was it like to work with Alexandra Daddario, and did you think she was the perfect role for this series?

HARRY HAMLIN:   You take that one, Tongayi.

TONGAYI CHIRISA:   Yeah, I mean, Alex, what I liked about working with her is that she’s your everyday next door neighbor type of person. I think she just has the sense of freedom and just being very approachable, which made the work that much easier. So, when we had to go into scenes that most people will find uncomfortable, just there was that sense of security and sense of trust within each of us that allowed us to be as free as we needed to be to accomplish the scene. Yeah, Alex is a star in her own right. She’s an Emmy nominated actress. So, it doesn’t hurt to have people of that caliber working alongside, and who are just really nice people.

ASHLEY:   I’m curious if you could talk a little bit about the differences between the novels and the series. I know, in particular, there’re some differences with the characters that you’re playing, but if you want to speak to that, or just overall, some of the differences that we’ll see.

HARRY HAMLIN:   For fans of the books, they’ve taken the characters who, in the case of Cyprien they’ve amalgamated to characters, but in my case, the character of Cortland is not alive during the present day, but I’m very glad that they’ve resurrected him and I get to play him in this, because I love playing this guy. So, I don’t think there’s a lot of similarity between the character of Cortland in the books and the character of Cortland [in the series] other than the fact that he’s the patriarch of the family. And, I did draw some of the things from the book that I put into the character, but mainly, I relied on what was on the page in the pilot script to develop the character.

TONGAYI CHIRISA:   And I think just the story in itself. Esta did a great job of really capturing the essence of Anne Rice and some of the richer themes that convey who she was, and just the world that she created. This was her home, and just incorporating the finer – I mean, if you read the first book, you know it was so rich in detail, 1000 plus pages. There’s no way we could have incorporated all the themes, but I think she did a great job in just really bunching them together to give us the essence of the story, because the season itself, it starts the way the book starts and how it ends, and they’ve managed to keep that within the framework of season one. So, it doesn’t veer too much off from what we see in the narrative of the book. So, it still keeps the authentic essence of what Anne was conveying in the story.

SUZANNE LANOUE:   Hi. I was wondering if you could both speak to your characters’ personal motivations about how they act on the show?

HARRY HAMLIN:   Okay, so my motivation is to number one, stay alive, because [unintelligible] by people in this family who have powers, and also, there’s a cipher, a character that we don’t know quite from what dimension he comes, but he’s also a character, Lasher, that could at any moment do serious damage to me, because I don’t have any powers, other than the power of manipulation and charm. So, I’m constantly trying to hold the family together and get them to do the right thing and get these witches to behave in the right way so that they can have the best life possible and I can become as wealthy as possible, because my motivation is really, I’m a narcissistic sort of avuncular character in this, who, I think, I lose my way in episodes that you haven’t seen yet. I can’t go into that too deeply; I will be letting the cat out of the bag.

TONGAYI CHIRISA:   Yeah, I think for Cyprien, [when] it starts, his motivation is more about allegiance and obligation, just with his background of how he grew up and how he was integrated into the Talamasca. So, I think it is a sense of, like, “I need to do this, because of how I was treated and how somebody brought me in and took care of me and put me into this organization.” But when he meets Rowan, there’s a sudden shift, because as a person that has always been very closed – that’s why he wears the gloves. He keeps the world out, and he doesn’t want anybody into his personal space, because that might be too overbearing for him. But interacting with Rowan, you start to see him becoming very vulnerable and allowing somebody into his space that’s never been tapped into. And, obviously, that leads to situationships and circumstances, because he compromises his integrity, compromises the work that he’s supposed to do just to observe and to watch, and chooses to get involved. As a result, you see things beginning to unfold with him and Rowan’s character to the culmination of what we see at the end of the season.

JESSICA:   I wanted to ask specifically about the mythology of the series and the books and how it’s so big. How was it for you to come in to this and wrap your arms around it, speaking of mythology?

HARRY HAMLIN:   is that directed to me, to Harry?

JESSICA:   To both of you.

HARRY HAMLIN:   Well, I was not that familiar with Anne Rice coming into it, because I’m not the right generation. She was writing for people who were younger than I [was]. mean, not that she was writing for [them], but that was the generation that really caught fire with her work. So, I missed it. But being a student of mythology, as I have been, I was very attracted to this world, which is, I’ve not been a fan of vampires and witches in my life. I didn’t see many of the those series that were on TV about vampires and stuff. I did see the movie Interview with a Vampire years ago, which is my only exposure to witches and vampires. In fact, but now, having entered this world of Anne Rice and having been a part of it, I see that it’s very rich, and it’s actually an exploration of the human condition, from the sort of the mystical angle of witches and vampires, and I’m kind of digging it. So, I think I’m gonna go back and explore it now, in my old age. I’m gonna check out all these vampire movies and stuff. So, I don’t know if that answers your question, but it shows you where I am, anyway, with it.

JESSICA:   No, it totally does. And Tongayi, I was curious about, because you’re part of the Talamasca in this, and that’s their whole thing –


JESSICA:   How was that for you to come into this and kind of delve in?

TONGAYI CHIRISA:   You know, what’s interesting? I think my first introduction to the world of Anne Rice was the movie and then Queen of the Damned with Aaliyah, and then just the movies like Dracula that we used to watch, which were just visceral in the way that they were just really dark and gritty. So, you fast forward to last year, and this thing comes onto your table, and it’s like suddenly the memories start coming back, like, “Oh, I remember that.” But with Anne Rice’s world, I think I walked into this thing naive, and the closest thing I could connect it to was the Shield in the MCU Universe. I was like, “Okay, so the Talamasca are this entity that observes the supernatural, but they can’t get involved until absolutely necessary.” So, we are monitoring all over the world, the supernatural, so it was kinda like, “Oh my gosh, this can go in so many avenues,” which was just like, “Okay, this is exciting for me,” because how much of the external worlds have infiltrated the Talamasca. You know, is everybody who they say they really are? Like, are people undercover? So, just thinking about what can and what it could be was just enthralling to me to be a part of this and to just say, “Look, I don’t know too much.” And I think that kind of aids to my character, being unaware of what’s really going on, just as to be the innocence of Ciprien in his journey, because as things unravel, it affects him, because the people he thought he could trust, he can’t trust anymore, because somebody lied to him. So, I think just figuring it out is what I am enjoying the most, because I don’t need to have the answers to know where this is going.

RIJU DASGUPTA:  My question is about the Mayfair house. That is one creepy location. What was it like filming there?

HARRY HAMLIN:   Oh, it was great. What an amazing place to film. And they also recreated a lot of it on the soundstage too, but we actually film in the house, which was, I mean, to be just inside there and soak in the history of that house was truly amazing. Go ahead, Tongayi.

TONGAYI CHIRISA:   Well, we couldn’t actually get the real one, but they were able to get one that was similar. So, like I was saying, they actually reproduced the outside, and the internal stuff we had to do it on stage, but I think the spirit of New Orleans and the spirit of Anne Rice lives, because we filmed in the same street that the house was in, and just interacting with people and how much people knew of who she was, like, getting pedestrians talking about who she was and this house, it just added so much more value to what we’re doing. You actually walk into this space with a little more reverence, because now you have an embodiment of her spirit within the community. So, now you approach it with the kind of respect that it deserves. So, it was special in and of itself, and just New Orleans, as a whole, was just a magical place.

ASHLEY:   I’m curious to know, for each of you, personally, what was the most fun part about working on this, about filming, or just portraying your particular characters? What was the most fun thing for you?

HARRY HAMLIN:   I’m gonna go with that one because – no, you go first Tongayi; you go first.

TONGAYI CHIRISA:   I think the most fun part was just just coming to work and it not feeling like it was work, because I think everybody just understood the assignment. We came to explore; we came to learn. And the grace that was given to us as actors to really figure it out and discuss [it], if it didn’t work, we’d just pivot and try something else. So, I think that, for me, was the best. And the freedom to do so without any backlash, so to speak, was really nice.

HARRY HAMLIN:   Yeah, the environment that we were shooting in was very conducive to improvisation, to coming up with new ideas. The most fun thing, for me, is that after we filmed most of the season, they saw that the character that I had built throughout the season was different from the character that was presented in the very first scene where I was introduced in the piece, so they rewrote that scene. They came to me and said, “So, listen, we want to rewrite the scene, because we want to have Cortland introduced in a sort of bigger way. We’re gonna have you audition an alligator and a 10-foot-long python, and you’re gonna get to pick whether you want to work with this alligator, or this.” So, ultimately, I chose the python, because the alligator was a terrible actor. I mean, kind of very wooden, but the snake, on the other hand, was really vibrant and great to work with. Just one of my favorite partners in the in the whole piece was a 10-foot-long python.

Transcribed by Jamie of


Key art for "Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches" on AMC/AMC+


December 21, 2022

BBC AMERICA, IFC, SundanceTV and WEtv Join AMC and AMC+ for a World Premiere Event on Sunday, January 8 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT

Second Series in the Anne Rice Immortal Universe Stars Alexandra Daddario, Jack Huston, Tongayi Chirisa and Harry Hamlin

NEW YORK – DECEMBER 21, 2022 – AMC Networks announced today that the highly anticipated series Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches will debut across all five of its linear networks with BBC AMERICA, IFC, SundanceTV and WEtv joining AMC and AMC+ for a world premiere event on Sunday, January 8 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches is the second endeavor in the Anne Rice Immortal Universe, debuting on the heels of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, which became the number two new drama on ad-supported cable in 2022 and the number one new series launch in AMC+ history.

Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches is a wildly entertaining series in our emerging Anne Rice Immortal Universe, with a terrific creative team and cast, led by Alexandra Daddario as an unforgettable Rowan Mayfair,” said Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios for AMC Networks. “We want to give this series the broadest possible launch across all five of our national networks, especially coming just a few months after the first season of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, which was so well-received by viewers and critics.”

Based on Rice’s best-selling trilogy, “Lives of the Mayfair Witches,” the eight-episode series focuses on an intuitive young neurosurgeon, Rowan Fielding (Alexandra Daddario), who discovers that she is the unlikely heir to a family of witches. As she grapples with her newfound powers, she must contend with a sinister presence that has haunted her family for generations.

In addition to Emmy-nominated lead Daddario, Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches stars Jack Huston as Lasher, Tongayi Chirisa as Ciprien Grieve and Harry Hamlin as Cortland Mayfair. The series is executive produced by Mark Johnson, Showrunner Esta Spalding, Writer Michelle Ashford, Director Michael Uppendahl, and Jeff Freilich, and is produced by AMC Studios.

The series premiere episode, written by Spalding and Ashford and directed by Uppendahl, will also stream on Shudder, Sundance Now, Acorn, and ALLBLK beginning Thursday, January 12.

About AMC Networks

AMC Networks (Nasdaq: AMCX) is a global entertainment company known for its popular and critically acclaimed content. Its brands include targeted streaming services AMC+, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, ALLBLK and the anime focused HIDIVE streaming service, in addition to AMC, BBC AMERICA (operated through a joint venture with BBC Studios), IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv, IFC Films and RLJE Films. AMC Studios, the Company’s in-house studio, production and distribution operation, is behind some of the biggest titles and brands known to a global audience, including The Walking Dead, the Anne Rice catalog and the Agatha Christie library.  The Company also operates AMC Networks International, its international programming business, and 25/7 Media, its production services business.

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Alexandra Daddario and Harry Hamlin of "Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches" on AMC/AMC+

Interview with Karen David, Tyler Hilton and Robert Tate Miller

TV Interview!

Karen David and Tyler Hilton in "When Christmas Was Young" on CBS

Interview with Karen David, Tyler Hilton and Robert Tate Miller of “When Christmas Was Young” on CBS by Suzanne 11/3/22

This is a fun holiday movie with some great music. You probably will recognize the two actors who star in it. Karen David (Melody) is in “Fear of the Walking Dead” and has been in many series, including “Legacies” and “Once Upon a Time.” Tyler HIlton is most known for “Extant” and “One Tree Hill.” They do an excellent job in this movie, which is produced by Sheryl Crowe and features her original music. The main tune is very good. It premieres tonight on CBS, 12/18/22, but you can watch it as well on Paramount+.

Karen David
Tyler Hilton
Robert Tate Miller, Writer

Virtual via Zoom
November 03, 2022
© 2022 CBS. All rights reserved.

ERIN FREILICH: Hi, everyone. I’m Erin Freilich, and together with the ever so festive Noelle Llewellyn, I am pleased to welcome you to the panel for “When Christmas Was Young.” The movie, which premiers on Sunday, December 18th on CBS and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+, is a Nashville music themed movie for which award winning singer songwriter Sheryl Crow executive produced and wrote the title song.

The story follows a headstrong music manager in desperate need of a hit song for his last remaining client who finds himself falling for a gifted singer songwriter with abandoned dreams of making it big as he attempts to secure the rights to a Christmas song she wrote years ago.

On today’s panel, we have the stars of the movie, Karen David and Tyler Hilton, as well as our wonderful screen writer, Robert Tate Miller.

Before I hand the virtual mic over to Robert, just as a reminder, if you have a question, please raise your hand in the chat feature, and I will call on you by your screen name when it’s your turn.

Over to you, Robert, for your opening remarks.

ROBERT TATE MILLER: Thank you very much. Noelle, good to see you guys. Thanks for being here.

We are very, very excited about this project. Originally, coming up with this idea, wanted to do something that had not really been done that really had a sense of uniqueness about it. And I know you’ve heard there’s 150 movies new movies coming out. Wanted to do a project where you remembered it and said, “Yeah, I remember that one, When Christmas Was Young, it was a little different.” And we feel like we’ve created something that is unique and different, and Tyler and Karen were just phenomenal in this. They really bring this story to life.

All of us have music to me – I don’t have the musical gifts that Karen and Tyler have, but music has been so important in my life. And I think we all have these soundtracks from our life, songs that evoke memories, happy, sad, romantic, that just take us right back to another time. And this movie is revolves around a song which drives the story, and we were fortunate enough to have Sheryl Crow write this song, a gorgeous song, and it is the centerpiece, the core of this movie. And the song brings our couple together and drives the story. So we hope that you love seeing this movie and enjoy the screening, and we really love it and have such a sense of gratitude because we all had a wonderful time doing it. Hopefully you’ll have a wonderful time seeing it.

ERIN FREILICH: Thank you, Robert.

And that was actually a perfect lead in because right before the panel started, you all actually heard Karen’s recording of When Christmas Was Young, which she’ll be releasing very soon as a holiday single.

So, Karen, before we take the first question, can you tell us a little bit about how you brought this song to life and when the single will be coming out?

KAREN DAVID: Yes. Oh, gosh, well, hats off to Sheryl Crow. I mean, it’s such a dream to have someone like her, you know, crafting a song for your character. I remember when Tom Mazza, our producer, sent sent the track over, I was in London, and I was on a busy commuter train. And everyone was all like 6:00 rush hour, and they’re all, like, grouchy and grumpy, and there I was just beaming, thinking, Oh, my God, I’m hearing Sheryl Crow singing this demo on a packed commuter train in London. And it just it was a dream come true from there.

I we knew that we wanted to do a record and a single, and my husband, who’s a Grammy nominated music producer, I kind of said to him, I said, “Are you” “do you have some time on your hands maybe to produce this album?”

And I’m in this our studio, this is our home studio here, and it was so special because we just had this studio built in May during the pandemic, and this was the first song that we recorded and he mixed and everything and produced here in the studio. So it was really special for us in our in our home, which was still in the middle of house remodeling, but it was it was a dream come true to sing such a beautiful song and a beautiful Christmas song, which I just think is I mean, the lyrics and everything, it says it all and just makes this whole film just so magical.

ERIN FREILICH: Thanks, Karen.

KAREN DAVID: It comes out November 11. 11/11. So I’m hoping there’s some good you know, good energy around that.

ERIN FREILICH: For sure. Thanks, Karen.

QUESTION (this was my question): Hi. Yes, my question’s for Tyler. Since you’re a musician in real life, was it strange for you playing a music manager rather than playing and singing yourself?

TYLER HILTON: Yeah, it was fun. Like, it wasn’t weird. I kind of felt like I was getting away with something, you know? Like, I sing in everything I do, so I was kind of like, oh, I don’t I don’t have to do anything except kind of watch everyone else do it.

And I’ve never yeah, I’ve always played the musician, I’ve never really played the music business side of things. But I’ve been doing this like, music professionally since I was 15 or whatever and been around all kinds of record people in all different, like, phases of the industry. So it was kind of fun to embody a lot of the people I think I’ve worked with or whatever and also to see, like, the compassion on that side of it too, you know, the kind of pressure they’re under and what the stakes are for them and stuff. But I really liked it. It was fun.

QUESTION: Karen, just tell us more about your relationship with music and with the with acting. I see you’ve been doing music forever, musicals and on stage and everything else. But tell us a little bit about what your first love was and was there ever sometime where you thought, oh, maybe you were going to be more of an actress and you weren’t going to get to do that much music.

KAREN DAVID: Hi, Mike. That’s such a good question. You know, I blame my older sister. She’s she’s a bit older than me, so she’s always been like my second mom in a way and got dumped with babysitting duties ever since I was a little girl. And whatever she listened to, I had to listen to.

And my parents had this big love for music. Right from when I was four years old, they would take me on weekends when I was growing up in Toronto for a bit. I would go to Ontario Place on the weekends because they’d have these free concerts, and I saw everyone from, like, Neil Sedaka to Kool & The Gang and The Temptations, you name it.

And my sister one day sat me down when I was six years old and introduced me to Olivia Newton John, God rest her soul, and she’s the reason why I went into wanting to sing and to act. I didn’t necessarily know about musicals, I just knew that I loved to just kind of write and make up tunes in my head and wanted to act in film or TV like her. So that’s what I was bitten so hard since I was a little girl, so it was always wanting to do both both of them.

When I went to drama college in England, after I graduated, I had my first sort of taste of musical there because I’ve never done a musical before. I was in the original cast of Mamma Mia!, and I remember all my classmates just saying, “You’re going to ruin your whole career before it even started because you’re going to do this musical based on ABBA, this is going to be the biggest flop, and you’ve just done Chekhov and Ibsen and you know, and Shakespeare at The Globe, and now you’re going to go do this musical.” And we still have a laugh about it that it yeah, not quite the biggest flop.

But that kind of opened my eyes of really wanting to pursue my music whilst I was in London, and it was then that I got signed to BMG at the time and then embarked on this chapter for a bit of being a recording artist. I learned a lot, a lot about my myself and, you know, music and stuff. And, of course, you know, I think every musician maybe Tyler can relate and loads of other musicians can relate too, and if you’re lucky enough to get signed to a deal and then when a company merges when BMG merged with Sony after having two singles out, I I lost my whole team, and that was a really soul destroying point in my life.

But acting, my agents were so happy. They’re like, “Great, now you can act and have time to do that.” So then the acting kind of took over and got really busy. So now it’s been trying to come back to it. And, you know, certainly on Galavant, I was able to sing, which was so wonderful, with Alan Menken. And then on Fear of the Walking Dead, the same, they kind of infused that with Ruben Blades, which was wonderful. And it’s just been so nice to be able to come and do a movie like this.

TYLER HILTON: They should do Walking Dead: The Musical. They should do that.

KAREN DAVID: We should do an episode with like a thriller section with zombies.

TYLER HILTON: I’d go see the regional touring company of that. That’s amazing.

KAREN DAVID: I like the way you think, love.

But, you know, I’m just with this movie, I just love that music is the core and the heart of this film, and it’s what unifies all of us together, and on top of that, to work with, you know, the family that we’ve had was just a dream. And, yeah, it’s kind of ruined me now. So it’s nice to be back in the studio and recording again. I’m really excited about that.

QUESTION: Hi. Getting back, Tyler, to what we were talking about, you know, did you find it easy to play your role as a music manager being that you are a musician, and were there any challenges that you didn’t expect to face?

TYLER HILTON: You know what? Here’s what I’ll say: I feel like this is one of those, like, rare scripts and one of those rare characters where as you’re reading as I was reading it, it all came it all made sense right away in my brain. It wasn’t even the fact that he was a music manager, it was just I understood the guy. Whether he worked at a car factory or whatever, I just totally understood this guy, whether he was in music or not. And I think that’s definitely a testament to the writing. And it was so funny as well.

And so the vibe I got from him was that he was just kind of this guy that was using, you know, humor and hubris as like a shell, and I just like, I related to it. I, like, felt for this guy. I thought he was funny. I, like, felt for his plight. And it wasn’t weird for me at all. I don’t know the music thing didn’t even really come into it for me as much, it just seemed like a guy who was struggling.

And, in fact, like, I was trying I think knowing a lot about music would have been a detriment, you know, if I think part of his thing is he knows talent, he knows, like, feeling, he gets a vibe. And I’ve met so many people like that, that are so successful in the industry, can’t sing or play a note but just can identify a vibe, a feeling. A lot of us are like that, you know. I mean, I play, so I don’t have that, but but anyway, I just I just really connected with him, which was funny and is the best thing that you can do, I feel like, when you’re acting. And the most surprising and wonderful thing too is, like, finding that you relate so much to somebody that has nothing to do with your life experience. But I just got him, you know?

QUESTION: Robert, what made you want to write this film?

ROBERT TATE MILLER: Well, I love a good love story, and I love music, and it just sort of just the title came to me first, to be honest. I thought, I got to build a story around this title. And then I thought, Well, let’s make it a song title. And I thought it’s kind of unique that a Christmas movie is centered around a song, an original song. And so that appealed to me. It was different than anything I’d ever done. The story came quickly, although it was a couple years of revisions and notes. I believed in it from the beginning and knew it was going to go all the way. I just wanted to make a good Christmas love story, to be honest.

QUESTION: Karen, this question is for you. And please understand it’s coming from somebody who cannot either sing nor act. But I’m curious, to me, as a singer, it’s the world asking you to strip yourself down to your heart and soul and put that out there to an audience. When you’re acting, you’re told to put on a different face and not show your true self. Does it feel that way to you, or is it all just part of your artistic soul coming through just in different formats?

KAREN DAVID: Thank you, Rick. All these questions are so good.

You know, I think, again, as Tyler said, speaking to the writing of what Rob created with this with this film and this story, there is just I can’t explain this inexplicable sort of symbiosis between, you know, Melody and all the characters too. I just it just felt so me. It touched upon when I read the script, I got so excited because it was nostalgia for me. It just took me back to my singer songwriter days and what that was like even starting out and, you know, doing the slog and fighting the good fight of trying to go through those struggles that you do when you’re first starting out. And it just it just brought me back to that place.

And I remember it so well as if it was yesterday. I just felt this connection so deeply with Melody, and I knew it was something I had to do. It felt easy for me because of not only Rob’s writing but also working with someone like Tyler. I mean, I keep telling Tyler this: He’s such a magical scene partner, he was so supportive and just elevated every scene and brought the best out in me.

And our director, Monika Monika Mitchell, who’s just a force of nature, I’m sure all of us will say this, you know: She’s a really, really special soul, and being on this journey with her just made everything easy and seamless and so cohesive. So I’m really grateful I’m really grateful to have done this with these guys. They made my job so much easier.

QUESTION: I have one for Robert and then one for Tyler too.

But, Robert, what are the musts that you have to have in a Christmas movie?

And, Tyler, you’ve done several. What why is that? Is there a thing about you and Christmas?

TYLER HILTON: Yes. I am Santa.

No, I’ll let you go first, Robert.

ROBERT TATE MILLER: I think the musts, you’ve got to have a good solid story with conflict, you’ve got to find a way to bring them together and split them up, you’ve got to have try to have a unique story that hasn’t I mean, I’ve written a number of Christmas movies, and I wanted this one to be something that really hadn’t been done before. I felt like we accomplished that.

You need snow, and you need a nice small town, usually. You just need a really good solid heart warming story that people can identify with and relate to. And you need to have them solve everything by the end, in the final act.

This is my favorite of the ones I’ve done, and I really, really mean that. I’ve done a number of movies. This is definitely number one, the best experience I had.

TYLER HILTON: That’s so cool. You know what I also like about my favorite part of Christmas movies that you put in this one is somebody who’s not really in the Christmas spirit.


TYLER HILTON: I like that.

KAREN DAVID: There’s a lot of (inaudible) moments, a lot of funny moments on set.

TYLER HILTON: Yeah. And, no, I don’t know I don’t know why I’ve done so many, but they I don’t I just like to do things that are fun to do, and every one has been either with friends or people that I’ve kind of worked with before, and the same was true with this one. I’d worked with Monika Mitchell, the director, before, and I think she’s very cool, and she sent me the script. And I would have done it I probably either way just to hang out with her, and then I read the script, and I was totally blown away. I don’t mean any disrespect to any other holiday movies or whatever, but I told my wife, I was like, “Oh, my God, this movie is so good, this is like a real movie,” you know? And, I mean, it’s not just a holiday movie, a genre movie, like, it’s a good movie. I really was touched when I read it.

You know, I think the thing that gets me the most about this one is it’s not just whatever, like a holiday thing, it’s like this guy in particular is at this point in his life we’ve all been, and I’ve definitely been there recently where you’re kind of playing this game, you know, the way you keep scoring your life is one way, and he was kind of using a certain metric of success to keep score, and you hit the ceiling where you realize, This is as far as I can take this personally, emotionally. And then what? How do you pivot when you’re that far into your career, when you’re that old? Pivot mentally, pivot emotionally, pivot back to who you actually might be instead of the image you had for yourself as a puffed up, you know, early 20s or something. And I think this guy, you explored all that in a holiday movie or whatever. But I was super touched by it. So I would have done it regardless, if it was a if it was like an action film, you know, and it was like but I just love this movie.

QUESTION: You’ve heard a lot of comments, a previous one about Christmas movies. We’ve heard a lot of comments about this feels like a real movie, these feel more like real people, it doesn’t feel like a formula. And obviously millions of people love the current rom com Christmas formula. But I’ve always thought it’s possible to tell a real story with real emotional content and a grounded story line within the context of a Christmas movie. So do you think you achieved that, and how how did you go about achieving that while still leaving in all the things that people love about a classic Christmas rom com?

KAREN DAVID: We were just talking about that, and having just watched the screener, is that I think one thing that really touched our hearts deeply is just how grounded and how genuine and accessible, you know, this the tone of this whole movie is, which I think just speaks to what Rob and Monika have created and our producers too and Tyler and the whole gang.

I know Tyler and I did a lot of hanging out and, like, you know, just bonding. I think, you know, you never know what it’s going to be like when you meet your scene partner for the first time, and I remember when Tyler and I flew in, we were both so tired from our journeys. And as soon as I met Tyler, it was just as if I had known him all my life. We didn’t know that we were going into a table read right away with everyone, but yet just everything fit, everything fit seamlessly together. And I think that’s because of, you know, who Tyler is, who Rob is, who Monika is, Tom, everyone involved.

But I just love that this is this does feel real, and that’s something that was really, I know, important to all of us, to create something that especially, you know, coming off the back of the pandemic and everything, something that really just makes you feel good but in such a grounded and very genuine way.

TYLER HILTON: Yeah. I agree. I feel like I feel, like, the same way. We had so much in common right away, I thought, Oh, this is such a relief. And I also feel like in some projects that really work, there is an element of everyone showing off for each other a little bit. Like, the opposite of that is phoning it in. And, like, I think I can speak to me, but, like, with Sheryl Crow being involved with Karen, right away, I was like, Oh, my gosh, she’s so talented, so pro, so much experience. Rob, Monika. I was like I don’t know, like, I wanted to be I wanted it to be good. I love the script, and there’s just an element of like “Let’s do this” in every moment, you know? And I felt that from everyone. Like, every day of this film, I felt I didn’t feel anyone was phoning it in or just, like, doing another Christmas film. Everyone was into it and trying to make this real, which sounds cheesy, and I’m sure, like, everyone’s saying that about their movies, but I’m serious. I’m not lying. But it really was, you know?

KAREN DAVID: Everyone was cheering for each other.


KAREN DAVID: Very much so, every day. And my God, the laughs we had on set. Guys, I mean, the pie scene in the beginning, we were just talking about it, how we were laughing so much. If you guys could see the blooper reel of how many times there’s a reason why I’m wearing that apron.


KAREN DAVID: Tyler with the whipped cream can.

TYLER HILTON: Yeah. They got this fancy whipped cream canister for me, and I was like, Oh, this is going to be great, and every take I did, it exploded all over her blouse. So there was like white whipped cream everywhere, we’d have to reset. It happened so many times, I felt horrible.

KAREN DAVID: It went on you first, and then the whole camera crew, and then it went onto my blouse. And they were like, “Oh, dear.” So then the apron went on, and we were trying not to laugh. That was really tough during that

TYLER HILTON: We also ate a lot of pie in the movie, so maybe that’s why we were so excited because we were on a sugar high the whole time. Lots of pie in the movie.

QUESTION: Maybe Robert could address this also, about making it more grounded, more real, more grown up, if you will.

ROBERT TATE MILLER: Yeah. I mean, whenever I came up to a point where a cliche was easy to go, I went the other direction and just said, “I want to do something different, I don’t want to go down that road.”

And the producers and CBS were so supportive of just trying to make this a little more real, and I think it kind of just shines it shines through. I think you’ll see it when you watch the screener. It was just a desire not to go down the road I’d gone down a number of times before and to consciously resist that and create something original and new and different. And our incredible cast brought it to life, and I couldn’t I was on set for a good bit of it. It was just like a writer’s dream, being there, to see it all come to life. I think we pulled it off. I think you can be a judge for yourself when you watch the screener, though.

ERIN FREILICH: Thanks, Robert.

And thank you to all of our panelists and to all of you for joining today. I’m going to throw it back to Robert for some final thoughts.

ROBERT TATE MILLER: Thanks all you guys for being here. This is so much fun for me and such a thrill. I love this project. It was a couple years in the making. The first time I saw Karen and Tyler in the table read, within 30 seconds, I thought, We’ve got the right people. Their chemistry was immediate. I was so thrilled after that table read. I hadn’t met them yet, but I knew they were right. They really drive this movie and make you fall in love with this world, I hope, and with their characters and their story.

So thank you for being here and being a part of this, and thank you for your great questions, and I hope you love the movie.


Karen David and Tyler Hilton in "When Christmas Was Young" on CBS

A headstrong music manager (Tyler Hilton) in desperate need of a hit song for his last remaining client finds himself falling for a gifted singer-songwriter (Karen David) with abandoned dreams of making it big, as he attempts to secure the rights to a Christmas song she wrote years ago. Features original music by Sheryl Crow, who also executive produces.


Award-Winning Musician Sheryl Crow to Executive Produce and

Write the Title Song for “When Christmas Was Young”

The Talk’s” Amanda Kloots to Star in and Executive Produce “Fit for Christmas”

Prolific Holiday Film Writer and Producer Mark Amato to Pen

Must Love Christmas”

CBS announced today that it has ordered three new original holiday movies to air in December 2022.

Award-winning singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow will executive produce and write the title song for WHEN CHRISTMAS WAS YOUNG, a Nashville music-themed movie from a script by screenwriter and bestselling novelist Robert Tate Miller (“Hope at Christmas,” Forever Christmas). The story follows a headstrong music manager in desperate need of a hit song for his last remaining client, who finds himself falling for a gifted singer-songwriter with abandoned dreams of making it big, as he attempts to secure the rights to a Christmas song she wrote years ago. Tom Mazza, David Calvert-Jones and Karen Glass (Everywhere Studios) will executive produce, together with executive producers Shawn Williamson and Jamie Goehring for Lighthouse Pictures.

THE TALK’s Amanda Kloots will star in and executive produce FIT FOR CHRISTMAS from writer and executive producer Anna White (“Christmas Wonderland”), the tale of Audrey, an enthusiastic Christmas-obsessed fitness instructor at a beloved, financially beleaguered community center in quaint Mistletoe, Mont., who begins a holiday romance with a charming, mysterious businessman, complicating his plans to turn the center into a more financially profitable resort property. The movie will be produced by Brad Krevoy’s Motion Picture Corporation of America.

Mark Amato, who has created a dozen holiday-themed films, including last season’s CBS Original movie A CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL, as well as “A Kiss Before Christmas,” is writing MUST LOVE CHRISTMAS. In it, a renowned romance novelist famous for her Christmas-themed books finds herself snowbound in the charming town of Cranberry Falls, where she unexpectedly becomes involved in a love triangle between her childhood crush and a reporter determined to interview her to save his dying magazine. The movie will be produced by Brad Krevoy’s Motion Picture Corporation of America.

In December 2021, the CBS Original movies “Christmas Takes Flight” and “A Christmas Proposal” were the first original holiday television movies to air on CBS since 2012, and the newest additions to CBS’ longstanding holiday programming slate, which includes family-favorites like The Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS and the annual broadcasts of beloved animated classics, including “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman.”

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Karen David and Tyler Hilton in "When Christmas Was Young" on CBS

Interview with Liza Lapira, Neal Bledsoe, Nathan Witte and Mark Amato

TV Interview!

Liza Lapira, Neal Bledsoe, Nathan Witte and Mark Amato of "Must Love Christmas" on CBS

Interview with Liza Lapira, Neal Bledsoe, Nathan Witte and Mark Amato of “Must Love Christmas” on CBS by Suzanne 11/3/22

This is a cute little Christmas movie. I’d never seen Neal Bledsoe before, but he reminds me of one of my favorite actors, Dan Stevens. Liza Lapira has been on many TV shows I’ve watched, such as NCIS, so it’s nice to see her starring in this. She does a great job as a stressed-out romance novelist. I’ve chatted with Nathan Witte before, and he is truly great in this role as Liza’s past boyfriend. The plot sounds a bit like your standard Christmas movie, but it has a nice twist. Mark Amato, the writer of this film, has written many Christmas movies before, so he knows how to take the formula and tweak it a bit.

Enjoy the transcript of this panel! I’m asking question #3…I mispronounced Liza’s name, but she was super nice about it.



 Liza Lapira

Neal Bledsoe

Nathan Witte

Mark Amato, Writer

Virtual via Zoom

November 03, 2022

© 2022 CBS.  All rights reserved.

NOELLE LEWELLYN:  Hi, everyone.  I’m Noelle Lewellyn and on behalf of myself and my counterpart, Eric Freilich, we’d like to welcome you to the panel for our CBS original movie, Must Love Christmas.  We will be presenting you with festive panels today for all three of this year’s holiday films.

“Must Love Christmas” premieres Sunday, December 11 on CBS and will be available to stream live and on demand with Paramount+, and the movie stars CBS’s very own Liza Lapira of our hit drama series “The Equalizer.”

The movie is a charming holiday tale in which Liza plays Natalie, a Christmas romance writer who becomes involved in a love triangle and finds inspiration, both personal and professional.

I would like to welcome our panelists, Liza Lapira who plays Natalie.  Our movie screen writer, Mark Amato.  Neal Bledsoe, who plays Nick, and Nathan Witte, who plays Caleb.  And I think I spoil nothing by saying Nick and Caleb are Christmas contenders for Natalie’s heart.

Before I hand the virtual mic over to Mark for some opening words, just a reminder that if you’d like to ask a question, please raise your hand in the chat feature and I will call on you by your screen name when it’s your turn.

Now over to Mark.  Mark, if you’d like to say a few words.

MARK AMATO:  Yes, thanks.  Writer’s block is a crippling disorder that haunts every writer, present company included.  Even with dozens of Christmas movies that are under my belt, you sit at a computer and the words aren’t coming.  Or worse, they’re coming, just not any good.

So just a plug for our movie Must Love Christmas.  Natalie Wolf is America’s reigning queen of Christmas romance.  Her novels have earned her legions of fans so much so that our hopeless, hopeless romantic rarely leaves her New York apartment these days.

Until, that is, our recluse finds herself in the cross‑hairs between a horrible case of writer’s block and a looming Christmas deadline.  So to shake things up, she takes a tiny step out of her comfort zone for a quick road trip to Buffalo, the town that inspired her very first Christmas novel.  But when a freak snowstorm leaves her stranded on the side of the road, Natalie’s world is about to turn upside down when the tow truck driver, who comes to her rescue, happens to be her very first high school crush, an inspiration to the lead character in one of her novels.

Stuck in an idyllic small town that looks ripped from the pages of a Natalie Wolf classic is where fiction and real life collide, but if Natalie is brave enough to take a leap of faith, turn the page, she just might find her own happily ever after.

QUESTION #1:  Thanks, Noelle.  Nice attire today, by the way.  (She was wearing a VERY festive Christmas sweater!)

Liza, my question is for you, actually two questions.  Number one, is there something very particular in your mind about being a lead in a Christmas movie specifically.  And, number two, I don’t know if there’s also an “Equalizer” episode that night, but if there is, do you get a kick out of the idea that that will lead into this?

LIZA LAPIRA:  I do.  I’ll take the second one first because that’s first and foremost in my mind.  I am really excited for viewers to see me play one vastly different thing one week and then ‑‑ I don’t know ‑‑ couple weeks later or the next week to see this just 180 in terms of a personality shift.

Yeah, this character is ‑‑ Mel, the character I play on “The Equalizer,” is much more self‑assured, to put it mildly, and much more aggressive than Natalie in this movie so that ‑‑ I get a kick out of that.

And then, yeah, it’s really special for me to be the protagonist in this kind of movie because I’ve been a fan for so long.  And, you know, on a separate note, it’s special for me to be a protagonist in something. When growing up I didn’t see many protagonists that look like me so this has just been a doubly wonderful, wonderful thing for me to be a part of.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

QUESTION #2:  Mark, you have a lot in common with the character.  I mean, you write books and you write movies, but it’s the same thing.  So I was wondering, do you sometimes feel that same thing of falling into a trap, you don’t want to have the guy saying my candy coated dreams, things like that.

What are the things you want to avoid when you’re doing a movie and what are the things you’re really trying to have?

MARK AMATO:  The truth is it’s sort of like ‑‑ there are so many tropes that you have to kind of sort of like find a way to recycle and I don’t want to recycle.  So sort of like, you know, I always get like my critics would say, you know how it’s going to end, sort of in the royal matchmaker.  You see two characters.  We know they’re going to be together in the end.  I said but do you know how.  You don’t know how.

So the last act right before you come back, I guarantee no one is going to be able to predict the ending, and for me that becomes the biggest challenge because if I get to a situation where it feels a little too comfortable and a little too easy, I haven’t tested myself so each one I hope to get better and better.

QUESTION:  Cool.  Thanks.

QUESTION #3:  Hi, yeah.  It’s great to talk to you guys.  My question is for Liza.  What is your favorite holiday?  We know what your character’s favorite holiday is, obviously.

LIZA LAPIRA:  Yeah, it’s Liza.  It’s Lisa with a Z.

QUESTION:  I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.

LIZA LAPIRA:  No, everybody ‑‑ I’m sorry.  My mom couldn’t figure out Ss.  It’s a whole thing I have with Mrs. Lapira.  It has nothing to do with you.

But, yeah, I’m in line with Natalie.  Christmas is pretty much up there.  It’s a time for family.  I come from a very, very big one and it’s the one holiday of the year that we all make the trek to, you know, the main home and congregate and eat and drink and eat and eat.  Lots of eating.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

QUESTION #4:  Yes.  Thank you.  It’s a question for both Mark and Liza.  One of the main stakes of these kind of movies, two of the main stakes are the meet cute and then the final decision, the kiss or whatever it is.

And, Mark, in your case of writing that, which one is harder to do to make sure you don’t fall into the tropes?

And, Liza, which one of those is easier to play and which one is more difficult?

MARK AMATO:  It’s interesting because it’s sort of like in my mind I know what I need to do so it’s sort of I kind of reverse engineer.  I go to the first place where they meet.  I think okay, well, how am I going to dove that tail to the middle and end, and that ending ‑‑ that ending completely predicts or dictates to me how I’m going to get these two characters to clash.

And the way I describe it is the two characters, they really are sort of like better if you squeeze them two together they make one really, really good character so that’s how I create sort of like that meet cute.

Liza, take it.

LIZA LAPIRA:  Okay.  Meet cute versus the end ‑‑ well, if the actors I’m working with and the scripture working with and the director you’re working with is great, then they’re both pretty easy and both pretty fun to play.

For this movie in particular, I enjoyed ‑‑ I had two meet cutes.  I enjoyed both of them immensely.  Yeah.  I like ‑‑ I always enjoy a meet cute.  You know I got ‑‑ I got both kinds of meet cute.  I got the meet cute with the high school crush, the guy in my dreams that I haven’t seen in forever, the unrequited love re‑meeting meet cute, and then I got the antagonistic banter witty meet cute so I’m thoroughly spoiled by this movie.  Thanks, Mark, and Neal and Nick.

Liza Lapira and Neal Bledsoe in "Must Love Christmas" on CBS

QUESTION #5:  Hi.  Thanks for doing this.  Question for Mark, but also for anybody who wants to answer.  I was curious to know if the concept of a novelist who strictly writes Christmas romance, if there was anyone in particular that inspired that?

And if any of you have a favorite romance writer who does primarily holiday fare.

MARK AMATO:  I can’t believe anybody wants to talk to me.  I’m just the writer.  But certainly the inspiration for this movie for me was “Romancing the Stone.”  You know are you Joan Wilder, the Joan Wilder, and my version for this was sort of like, if you had somebody who was so completely introverted, who’s just lived in her novels and the occupational hazard that that would create.  And then put them into essentially a world where, wait a minute, you’re living out the fantasies that you create and that’s what happens with Liza’s character.

And I really would like Neal to talk for five seconds at least because you create that ‑‑ the opposite side of the meet cute because it really is sort of like a love triangle.  So how is that to play?

NEAL BLEDSOE:  Fantastic.  I guess that would be the meet ugly that we — our meet is anything but cute, but the good news is that we have nowhere to go but up from there.  It’s definitely for the holiday romance films that I’ve done it’s definitely a different way to meet a leading lady, but I think it makes the payoff at the end that much more wonderful and unexpected.

LIZA LAPIRA:  I agree with Neal.  I loved ‑‑ the thing I loved about our romance, without giving too much away or giving it all away, you guys won’t say anything, is the ‑‑ you know after the sort of antagonistic meet the audience gets to see a friendship develop and then it blossoms into a romance and I really enjoyed that.

You know both these characters, I thought about it, both of the leading men in the love triangle helped this character grow just as friends.  She confronts like a traumatic thing that happened years before this movie takes place and she gets to not only confront it, but step out of the shell that she’s been living in and ‑‑ and leap ‑‑ leap into her life as an active participant.

The other thing I’ll say, Mark, is that you said I was playing you at the ‑‑ we had a pre‑meet before I signed on and he said, yeah, all she does is write Christmas romance novels.  Basically you’re playing me.  And I said, sir, it is my honor and my privilege to be you.

MARK AMATO:  Thank you so much.  It’s the truth though only I’m super extroverted so I’m not afraid of getting out of my shell.  But, yeah, you totally were.  I mean, this is what I do all day.  And every time I do, it’s sort of like, okay, I finished this one.  There’s not another Christmas movie to be told.  Hey, wait a minute, what if.  So thank you.

LIZA LAPIRA:  And the other thing I’ll say is to speak to Mark’s point, she did ‑‑ she is an introvert and it’s for a reason and it’s crafted in the script so it was fun to play and relatively easy to play someone who had like a humiliating public social mediaish thing happen and kind of be traumatized by that in a little way, and that’s so relatable now because, I mean, I feel like that happens every five seconds someone is embarrassed by something they say and then have to get over that trauma, and but not everybody has two handsome guys to help them get through that trauma so that was worth it.

QUESTION #6:  Yeah.  Liza, do you remember when it first occurred to you that you wanted to be an actress and what did your parents say?

LIZA LAPIRA:  It was a circuitous route because I came out of the womb singing.  I was like the 3‑year‑old that mom would pick up on the counter and be like entertain and so I was just singing and dancing, and then I thought that that’s what I was going to do so I started doing musicals.  And then I thought, you know, then I started wanting to do plays without music.  I wanted to do straight plays and then it segued into film and TV.

Funnily enough, I think my parents — with the singing, because it was so obvious, they were along those lines. “And get your law degree too, Liza. But clearly you have some ability there, so do that.”  Acting was a bit of a shock and they eventually ‑‑ they came around in their own ways.  They were never not supportive.  If anything, they were just fearful.

And I think for dad it was ‑‑ it was NCIS that he was like, all right, my girl.  Like re‑runs to this day and he’s like, yep, that’s my girl.  And I think mom I physically, physically had to take her to sets for her to see and she was like, oh, okay this is a job, not only is this a job, it’s a good job and it’s a job with an army of people.  Like it’s not just you and a camcorder.  It’s like an army.  It’s like a team and you’re all a team creating this thing, and that really crystallized it for her so now we’re one big happy family.

NOELLE LEWELLYN:  Thank you.  Thank you both. “NCIS,” saving families nationwide globally.  Actually, I have a question for Neal and Nathan.  The both of you are pros at this genre.  I’m just wondering, how is it ‑‑ how was the experience of filming Must Love Christmas and was it different?  How was it different in any way from your previous projects knowing that you guys have done some of these before?

NATHAN WITTE:  Yeah, sure.  I’ll just tip my hat to Mark, of course.  It’s always the script that reels me in right away, and what I loved about this script is ‑‑ that’s kind of contrary to a lot of other Christmas scripts that I’ve done is that this meet cute that’s happening in this love triangle it just ‑‑ it feels like it happens around Christmas as opposed to like we’re going to do Christmas and shove this ‑‑ this triangle into Christmas.

What I find in a lot of scripts, they’re just — every scene it’s like we got to just let everybody know that we’re doing Christmas in this movie, and every scene you’ve got bells, mistletoes, shirts and sweaters, and everything, cookies. And what I loved about this script is that it was much more nuanced and had its moments of subtlety, but then it had its moments of grandeur Christmas, which I think it allowed to bring up that — Christmas in those moments and make it a lot more special.

And I love the nuance between my character and Neal’s character going after Liza’s character because it really reminded me of ‑‑ I don’t know if anyone else has seen it, but “This Means War,” and I found that to ‑‑ is one of like my favorite romantic comedies and I just tipped that one right next to that just with the sprinkle of Christmas on it so I had a tremendous amount of fun with Neal and Liza.

NEAL BLEDSOE:  That’s well put.  I think for me, and I just watched the film actually last night, and it was the first time coming back to it since we shot it and I think the thing that stuck out for me the most was that this really allowed the people themselves to be real and the obstacles that they were overcoming to be real, and so often in the Christmas film landscape the problems of the people are eroded away to absolutely nothing.  They don’t have any obstacle to overcome.  It’s just like oh my god, I do love Christmas, wow.  And there’s no ‑‑ there’s no hurdle to overcome so I think there’s no ‑‑ and therefore there’s no catharsis to ‑‑ for these people to learn any lesson and so it feels, in other words, in many of these things that I’ve done it feels that the force ‑‑ the plot has been forced upon them rather than these characters coming to these realizations themselves.

And to kind of go back to something that Liza said, which is that these characters all teach something to each other and because of that there’s this extraordinary human web in this film that at first blush you’re like how are we going to make this work, but it really is that all of these characters are working in triplicate to really feed off one another and therefore they come across as so utterly human in a way that I don’t think I’ve seen in pretty much any other Christmas film that I’ve been in.  And that’s fine.  I think that’s the genre of those other networks and those other films, but this really felt like the most human of Christmas films I’ve done.

NOELLE LEWELLYN:  Thank you, both.  That’s really great to hear about that it feels more human and hear about that nuance.  We appreciate that.

QUESTION #7:  Absolutely.  This is for Nathan, Liza, and for Neal.  When you go back to where you came from, sometimes the things that you thought were special turn out to be not so special, if ‑‑ if you get my nuance here.

When you have a childhood crush or a teen crush or whatever and you go back and you meet that person let’s say at a high school reunion, they are never what you thought they were.  And this is not saying anything against you, Nathan, or the character that you play, but ‑‑ but what has that experience been like for you and what did you ‑‑ what informed the character that you played in this?

NATHAN WITTE:  For myself, this — I feel like that Caleb and Natalie didn’t really get to connect back in high school and I feel like Natalie remembered Caleb more than Caleb remembered Natalie.  And for Caleb, Natalie turned out better than, in his mind, what she was back in high school and I think that was in part because he’s ‑‑ he was totally enthralled in the school popularity and sports and ‑‑ and going after any chick that was kind of willing to put themselves in his way, and it was kind of the recognition of Natalie coming back again.  It was like a refresher, a nice reminder because Caleb going through his difficulties and being in a small town. And if anyone knows what it’s like being in a small town there’s not much of a selection. And so having somebody that is not only way better than you thought she would have turned out to be come back into town, it’s kind of like a refresher, almost like opening up a brand-new present.  And I think it was a little too far ahead for Caleb because he’s still dealing with a little bit of his adolescence that kind of gets in the way.


LIZA LAPIRA:  Yeah, Caleb to me is this shiny, glittering illusion.  You know there’s ‑‑ there’s ‑‑ her projection and I don’t even think he plays into it because that sounds manipulative.  I think he’s just a charming guy.  I’ve got guys like this in my family and he’s just a charming guy and he is who he is.  Like even at the end of the movie you don’t hate him.  He’s just that guy that does that thing and he has his own love story and has his own, you know, he has his own life.

But as far as going back, I think in high school Caleb probably was the same in that he’s just this charming illusion, this dream guy, and he’s going to live his life and have fun.  And I think the only difference between the Natalie/Caleb dynamic or, I should say, Natalie’s relationship to Caleb in high school and in present day is she has more access now.  They were close as friends back then and, you know, of course she’s had success in her career.  They’ve lived and had their careers and their lives, and now she has access and agency and so she can see that illusion up close. And, unfortunately, she doesn’t until, you know, she gets the help of her new friend, played by Neal.

QUESTION:  And Neal.

NEAL BLEDSOE:  Well, Howard, if I understood your question right, part of it is about what ‑‑ when we get what we wanted when we were children, when we get that as adults, how is that payoff different.  Do I have that right?

QUESTION:  Absolutely.

NEAL BLEDSOE:  So I think that’s a really insightful question.  Thank you for asking it.  I think that would ‑‑ that certainly plays itself out in ‑‑ in their love ‑‑ in their love story and what happens to this thing.  Do we find it as valuable, in other words, as adults as we did as children and I think that that is such a profound question.  It’s something that I could ask myself about acting.  It’s something I could ask myself about really kind of anything because who we were as children and why we needed those things that we thought would make our lives complete or thought we would make us the best version of ourselves, those things inevitably change as we become older and if they don’t that speaks to a certainly kind of regression of who we are as adults.

So, yeah, of course.  And I think in attaining those things that we so desperately wanted as kids, once we get them as adults we’re allowed to re‑examine them and say like, wow, this actually doesn’t matter as much and I am ‑‑ I am whole without this thing.  They become totems and the totems then perhaps become illusions.

QUESTION:  Very well spoken.  Yes, very, very good.

NOELLE LEWELLYN:  Thank you, all.  Thank you, Howard.  And that is actually the time we have for today.  I would love to thank all of our panelists and all of you for joining.  We are really grateful.  And we are going to say goodbye with Liza who has a few final thoughts.

LIZA LAPIRA:  Okay.  Oh, I see me.  I don’t want to see me.  Telling myself.  Everybody, I’m just ‑‑ thank you for being here.  I hope you guys enjoy the movie.  I hope you see it.  I can’t wait.  It’s a joyous, fun ride and there’s some sweet relationships in it and I ‑‑ I can’t wait to hear what everybody thinks.

And on a personal note, it has just been a career highlight and a thrill to lead one of these movies.  As I said, I’m a big fan of this genre and ‑‑ and, as I said, again, it’s been a thrill to be a protagonist, period, but then a protagonist in this great story. And coming from someone who didn’t see many protagonists growing up, this has just been an embarrassment of riches.  And the fun that the cast and I and the crew and the collaborative nature of making this is apparent on screen, and I am ‑‑ I’m very, very proud of that. And I hope you all enjoy it.

NOELLE LEWELLYN:  Thank you, Liza.  We really appreciate that.  Thank you, everyone.  Please stay tuned.  Our panel for the CBS original movie “When Christmas Was Young” is up next.


"Must Love Christmas" key art


Award-Winning Musician Sheryl Crow to Executive Produce and

Write the Title Song for “When Christmas Was Young”

The Talk’s” Amanda Kloots to Star in and Executive Produce “Fit for Christmas”

Prolific Holiday Film Writer and Producer Mark Amato to Pen

Must Love Christmas”

CBS announced today that it has ordered three new original holiday movies to air in December 2022.

Award-winning singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow will executive produce and write the title song for WHEN CHRISTMAS WAS YOUNG, a Nashville music-themed movie from a script by screenwriter and bestselling novelist Robert Tate Miller (“Hope at Christmas,” Forever Christmas). The story follows a headstrong music manager in desperate need of a hit song for his last remaining client, who finds himself falling for a gifted singer-songwriter with abandoned dreams of making it big, as he attempts to secure the rights to a Christmas song she wrote years ago. Tom Mazza, David Calvert-Jones and Karen Glass (Everywhere Studios) will executive produce, together with executive producers Shawn Williamson and Jamie Goehring for Lighthouse Pictures.

THE TALK’s Amanda Kloots will star in and executive produce FIT FOR CHRISTMAS from writer and executive producer Anna White (“Christmas Wonderland”), the tale of Audrey, an enthusiastic Christmas-obsessed fitness instructor at a beloved, financially beleaguered community center in quaint Mistletoe, Mont., who begins a holiday romance with a charming, mysterious businessman, complicating his plans to turn the center into a more financially profitable resort property. The movie will be produced by Brad Krevoy’s Motion Picture Corporation of America.

Mark Amato, who has created a dozen holiday-themed films, including last season’s CBS Original movie A CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL, as well as “A Kiss Before Christmas,” is writing MUST LOVE CHRISTMAS. In it, a renowned romance novelist famous for her Christmas-themed books finds herself snowbound in the charming town of Cranberry Falls, where she unexpectedly becomes involved in a love triangle between her childhood crush and a reporter determined to interview her to save his dying magazine. The movie will be produced by Brad Krevoy’s Motion Picture Corporation of America.

In December 2021, the CBS Original movies “Christmas Takes Flight” and “A Christmas Proposal” were the first original holiday television movies to air on CBS since 2012, and the newest additions to CBS’ longstanding holiday programming slate, which includes family-favorites like The Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS and the annual broadcasts of beloved animated classics, including “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman.”

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Liza Lapira and Nathan Witte in "Must Love Christmas" on CBS

Interview with Amanda Kloots, Paul Greene, Rebecca Budig, director/producer Jessica Harmon, and writer/producer Anna White

TV Interview!

Panel for "Fit for Christmas" on CBS with Actors Amanda Kloots, Paul Greene, Rebecca Budig, director/producer Jessica Harmon, and writer/producer Anna White (all photos from CBS)


Interview with Actors Amanda Kloots, Paul Greene, Rebecca Budig, director/producer Jessica Harmon, and writer/producer Anna White of “Fit For Christmas” on CBS by Suzanne 11/3/22

This is a typical holiday movie, but I most enjoyed seeing Rebecca Budig in it (even though it’s a fairly small part) and being able to chat with her. It airs Sunday, 12/4 on CBS.

Here is the transcript of our interview:



Amanda Kloots, Executive Producer/Star

 Paul Greene

Rebecca Budig

Jessica Harmon, Director/Executive Producer

Anna White, Executive Producer/Writer

Virtual via Zoom

November 03, 2022

© 2022 CBS.  All rights reserved.

NOELLE LLEWELLYN:  Hi, everyone.  I’m back.  I’m Noelle Llewellyn.  And on behalf of myself and my counterpart, Erin Freilich, we’d like to welcome you to our final panel of the day for our CBS original movie, “Fit for Christmas.”

Amanda Kloots, cohost of our Emmy-award-winning daytime talk show, “The Talk,” wears many Christmas hats for this film, both in front of and behind the camera.  In addition to starring as Audrey, Amanda developed the movie, cowrote the film concept, and serves as an executive producer of the film.  “Fit for Christmas” premieres Sunday, December 4th, on CBS and will be available to stream live and on demand on PARAMOUNT+.

“Fit for Christmas” follows Audrey, an enthusiastic, Christmas‑obsessed fitness instructor teaching classes at her beloved, financially beleaguered community center in quaint Mistletoe, Montana.  Audrey begins a holiday romance with a charming mysterious businessman, which complicates his plans to turn the center into a more profitable resort property.  That’s what I call a Christmas conundrum.  Sorry.  Had to do it.

I would like to welcome our panelists today, Amanda Kloots; Paul Green, who plays Griffin; Rebecca Budig, who plays Lisa; our movie screenwriter and executive producer, Anna White; and our movie director and executive producer, Jessica Harmon.

Before I have Amanda kick things off with a few opening remarks, just a reminder that, if you have a question, please raise your hand in the chat feature and I will call on you by your screen name when it is your turn.  Now over to Amanda, who would like to say a few words.

AMANDA KLOOTS:  There we go.  Thanks, Noelle.  By the way, Noelle, I need that sweater.  That’s amazing.  You look incredible.

NOELLE LLEWELLYN:  Done.  In the Amazon cart.

AMANDA KLOOTS:  I just want to thank everyone for being here today.  I want to thank my incredible cast and Anna and our director, Jessica.  This has been an absolute dream come true for me.  I can’t still believe that it happened.  And it was a lot of fun to film.  And I’m so excited for everybody to see it.  Thank you for watching and thank you for being here.  And let’s get this ball rolling.

NOELLE LLEWELLYN:  Okay.  Let’s hop right in.

QUESTION:  Thank you, Noelle.  I’ve got two for Amanda.  Hi, Amanda.  Hi, everybody.


QUESTION:  Hi.  First of all, I know when you talked about this first on “The Talk,” I think it was in early fall, so can I assume that you filmed this during a break from “The Talk,” during a hiatus during the summer?

AMANDA KLOOTS:  That is correct, Jay.  We went on hiatus in August, and I pretty much flew a couple days later off to Vancouver to shoot the film on my hiatus, finished the movie, came back, and started Season 13 of “The Talk.”  No rest.

QUESTION:  For the weary.  Sure.

The other question, I spoke with somebody else who wrote a movie they starred in recently for the holidays.  It’s one thing to star in a holiday movie, but to see characters and perhaps dialogue ‑‑ I know you cowrote it with Anna, but to see words and characters come to life that you developed, not only for yourself but other actors, can you talk about that feeling, being on set and observing that?

AMANDA KLOOTS:  Absolutely.  I didn’t cowrite the movie.  Anna is the writer of the movie, Anna White.  I co-created the idea and, you know, definitely helped, you know, conceptualize the entire movie, right up until we were filming.  And it was amazing.  I have to tell you there was a day on set ‑‑ I’ll never forget it ‑‑ it was ‑‑ we were filming at the Mistletoe Inn.  And I just ‑‑ it was so perfectly Christmas.  And I looked around and I just ‑‑ I couldn’t believe it was happening.  I literally pinched myself because I remember being in my bed in July of 2020 thinking of this idea at 3:00 a.m. in the morning and then having it come to life, and it was just so beautiful.  The set that day where we were filming, it was so gorgeous.  And I think it was like right in the middle of filming, so the cast had really bonded, and we were all just, like, really gelling that day.  And it just felt like magic, literal Christmas magic.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Anna, sorry about that misstep about the writing.  I’m sorry about that.

QUESTION:  Amanda, this is for you.  When you were dancing on Broadway, did you say, “Oh, I want to be a producer some day and I want to star in a show that I’ve influenced”?  Or was that just ‑‑ was it just in an evolution?  And where did “The Talk” play in all of that evolution?

AMANDA KLOOTS:  Oh, my gosh.  It was a complete evolution, Bruce.  I can’t believe what I’m doing right now.  I think ‑‑ when I look at my life and how much has changed, especially in the last three years, I mean, just ‑‑ I moved to LA three years ago, and I ‑‑ my sole job was my fitness business.  And since then, in those three years, even just since joining “The Talk,” my life has completely changed.

And I can’t believe what I get to do now.  I can’t believe that, you know, CBS, they were so generous in taking a chance on me and this concept and allowing this to come to fruition.  I’m so entirely grateful to them for doing this with me and having faith that I can act and that I can executive produce and create something.  It’s amazing.  I just am constantly, I think, blown away by the idea of how life can change and how it can change so quickly and how dreams can come true.

QUESTION:  That’s great.  Thanks so much.


QUESTION:  Hi, everybody.  This is for Amanda as well, and then I have a question for Paul.  Amanda, what was it like working with Anna White?  Can you talk about that?

AMANDA KLOOTS:  Yes.  I feel like I have met my creative soulmate with Anna White.  I could not feel like a luckier human being.  She is just the brightest light.  She is so funny, consistently creative, and on top of every idea and pun and concept.  We met through a friend, a new friend of mine and an acquaintance of hers.  Thank God this woman put us together.  And ever since we chatted on the phone ‑‑ I think it was October in 2020 ‑‑ and I told her of this idea, we ‑‑ I just knew.  It was like stars aligned.  And I hope there’s so much more to come from us, because we’ve got a lot of ideas in the bank.  And I just ‑‑ I love working with her.

QUESTION:  (Inaudible) films that you’ve starred in?  Can you talk about that?

NOELLE LLEWELLYN:  You’re a little hard to hear.  Do you want to repeat yourself?

QUESTION:  Yes.  Sorry about that.  I was just asking Paul, how (inaudible) starred in?

NOELLE LLEWELLYN:  We’re still having trouble hearing you.  I think you’re asking ‑‑ I think you’re asking Paul how did this film “Fit for Christmas” differ from the other holiday films he starred in.  Does that sound accurate?

QUESTION:  Correct.  Yes.

NOELLE LLEWELLYN:  Perfect.  Paul?

PAUL GREENE:  Awesome.  Well, thanks.  So it was super ‑‑ it was so unique because I’ve worked with Anna before on a movie prior, and that was a really great experience, and there’s a lot of serendipity with Anna, and I going 20 years back.  It’s a long story and a good one.

And then ‑‑ but what made this so different is, you know, working with Amanda in this way, knowing that this was her first experience like this, that it just had this crackling newness and possibility to it that was really unique.  There was ‑‑ it was very improvian, in the moment, and spontaneous and exciting.

And then just, you know, immediately, there was this chemistry and friendship between us ‑‑ all of us actors, really, and especially between Amanda and myself, like from the first minute.  We were just like long lost friends.  And that translated really quickly into a feeling of having each other’s back in the scenes and improvising and ‑‑ which Anna loved when we improvised.


And, yeah.  It was ‑‑ and what’s unique, too, is having our writer on set, which is the first time I’ve had a writer on one of these Christmas movies, or even a romantic comedy like this, be on set from front all the way through, which was really unique and special, because we went to her with all these really nuanced questions about character and where we were headed and arc, and it was ‑‑ yeah, it was cool.

And for me, it’s special because it’s my first of these with CBS.  And so there was a lot of excitement and a lot of trust and a lot of newness to it that made it just super fun.

QUESTION:  Yes, hi.  My question is for Rebecca.  I’m a big fan of yours from “All My Children” and “General Hospital.”  This is the first Christmas movie you’ve been in, right?  And is there anything that surprised you about it?

REBECCA BUDIG:  Thank you so much.  That’s really sweet of you.  Yes, it is the first Christmas movie I’ve done.  And I would say ‑‑ I mean, I’ve shot in all different kind of situations, but definitely shooting with, you know, heavy sweaters and coats in 100 degree heat wasn’t that fun.  But actually being with this group of people, it ‑‑ to what Paul said, it really was kind of a magical grouping of people.  And I felt like I was in an episode of “Three’s Company” a lot of the time.  But it was a lot of fun.  It was a lot of fun.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much.

QUESTION:  Hey, thank you very much for speaking to us.  I have two questions.  I’m wondering, first, how long did it take to shoot the movie?  And secondly, for any of the actors, I’m wondering ‑‑ I always love to ask this question:  When the show ‑‑ when the movie will air, will you actually sit down and watch it?  And when ‑‑ if you do, can you actually enjoy watching it?  Or do you watch to review yourself?  Anybody.



QUESTION:  Nobody likes to answer that question, ever.

PAUL GREENE:  Ladies first.

AMANDA KLOOTS:  You know, I’ll say to your second question, Mark, that because I’m an executive producer on this film, I’ve already watched a lot of ‑‑ a lot of the cuts.  So I do feel like that day, on December 4th, and watching it ‑‑ we are all going to watch it together, actually, except for Paul because he’ll be away.  But we’re all going to watch it together.  I do think that I’ll be able to watch it on the 4th and finally put, like, my producer hat off and just watch it and enjoy it.  And I plan to live tweet that night as well and just really celebrate the premiere of the movie and all the hard work that we all did.

REBECCA BUDIG:  I will say, like, my first run‑through, I’m always looking at it, you know ‑‑ at myself with a critical eye.  But like Amanda said, like, I think on the 4th when we’re all watching it together, it will just be just really fun and to relive those moments.

QUESTION:  Paul?  Your thoughts?

PAUL GREENE:  This took us about 15 filming days, I’d say.  Right?  Crazy enough, that is the average for these romantic comedies that happen, these holiday movies, and a lot of the kind of seasonal movies that you see.  15 ‑‑ 14 or 15 shooting days.  I know.  There’s some long weeks and long days, especially for number one on the call sheet and sometimes number two as well.

And for me, I love to watch them.  Like, I ‑‑ I haven’t seen this yet.  And so I ‑‑ I sometimes try to watch just little pieces and ‑‑ but never the whole thing so that it’s a good surprise.  And so I’m looking forward to watching it, yeah.  I don’t have ‑‑ I don’t have too much of a hard time watching it.  It makes me ‑‑ I get so excited about ‑‑ you know, I love the nostalgic feeling of Christmas movies.  And then just that I’ve been a part of a lot of them and got a chance to do it and get to do that for my job and knowing that so many people are at home and they’re getting so much out of it, it’s a great feeling.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

NOELLE LLEWELLYN:  And I actually have a question for Jessica, our movie director, Jessica Harmon.  Jessica, you work in front of and behind the camera.  You are a movie director for this, but you also act.  And I’m just wondering, is ‑‑ do you prefer one over the other now?  Do you want to continue to do both indefinitely?  It was just ‑‑ it’s so great to see that you work, you know, in front of and behind the camera and was just curious about that process for you and how that works just for yourself and for your own ‑‑ for your process.

JESSICA HARMON:  Well, thanks for the question, Noelle.  I’m just only obsessed with your outfit and the whole look right now.  It’s kind of awesome.  People are answering questions, and I’m just watching Noelle like I’m loving this.

Do I have one over the other?  Yeah, directing, because I think directing is so incredibly exhausting that I can’t put myself in front of a camera anymore.  So it’s ‑‑ for me, I think, you know, I was an actor for 25 years, and it was wonderful and I loved it, but I found, personally, my favorite thing was when I started directing, to kind of come in and have these ideas and work with the crew, who I love.  And the crew on this film should get a pretty solid shoutout because, you know, it’s really difficult, like Paul was saying, for everyone to do a film in 15 days and in that heat that these poor actors had to sit in.  It was ‑‑ you know, in Canada, it was 30‑something degrees, which in Fahrenheit is a whole other situation.  But it’s hot, for you Americans listening.  It’s a lot.  And the crew, you know, puts their all into this.  And this film, this cast, and this crew all kind of came together like lightning in a bottle, and it was amazing.

And there’s something that happens when you spend the time directing and you have a vision and you’re working with people like Anna and, you know, people like Amanda who come in with this incredible idea and this incredible vision themselves and they trust you to kind of take it and go forward with it.  And then so many people get involved, but at the end of the day, when all of that work kind of comes together and you’re speaking to the actors on set, and they come in and they do something and it’s wonderful, and you kind of come in and you collaborate together, and you step back and you watch it, there’s a feeling that is so special to me as a director now that when I get to watch fellow actors light up the screen, especially in the way that this cast did ‑‑ and no offense to my other casts ‑‑ but that this cast, the chemistry that these people had with one another, and the work that they put into this, and what they brought to ‑‑ the emotion that they brought to these characters, it’s so much more than just kind of a sweet rom‑com, you know, holiday movie.  We’ve all seen these movies be made before, but watching these people just explode on camera and the chemistry that they had with each other and bringing these characters to life, it’s like ‑‑ it genuinely brings emotion to me that I don’t ‑‑ I couldn’t even pull myself as an actor.

So when it comes to one or the other, I have to side with directing because I just love working with actors, and I love working with actors like this.  And these guys just light this movie up.  It was a wonderful script to begin with, but it’s ‑‑ what they’ve done and what I hope the audience ‑‑ you know, what I know the audience will see from them is it’s explosive.  Like, the chemistry between all of them is incredible.  But you look at Griffin and Audrey’s storyline and where they begin and where they end, every day on set I was shocked by them, because I just ‑‑ I didn’t see them bringing the characters that they brought.  I saw Griffin played a different way in my mind.  I saw Audrey a little bit different in my mind, and they showed up and they surprised me every single scene.  And it was just ‑‑ it was a wonderful, wonderful thing to watch.

So directing wins, but…

NOELLE LLEWELLYN:  No.  Thank you for that.  We will miss you in front of the camera, but we understand and we appreciate your work.  And the chemistry does feel very special for the film, so thank you.

QUESTION:  This is for Rebecca.  This movie, like a lot of movies, a lot of the Christmas movies, makes it feel that a small town, growing up in a small town, living in a small town, you’re very lucky.  I sympathize with that.  I’m from a small town myself.  But on the other hand, you got to go to, like, the Cincinnati School of Performing Arts.  And if it hadn’t been for ‑‑ you know, if you hadn’t been in a city, you wouldn’t have been able to do that.  A million people from that school went on to become really successful.  So when you look at the what’s good or bad about growing up in a small town or a big city, how do you look at it?

REBECCA BUDIG:  Yeah.  You make a good point, Mike.  Because, you know, when you’re in a bigger city, you’re exposed to a lot more opportunities, and there’s maybe a lot more culture and things to experience.  But I also really, really, really ‑‑ especially as I get older ‑‑ really appreciate a small town and what that has to offer, because that’s ‑‑ it offers a lot more heart sometimes, a lot more familiarity, and that’s what I think this movie brings, like, warmth to it, because everyone’s connected.  You’re more connected with other people.  I think in big urban towns, in cities, you get a little disconnected, even though you have your friends and things, but you don’t get to really, like ‑‑ things don’t matter as much as they do in a small town, and that’s what I think this movie brings to it, you know, like, things that matter.

QUESTION:  Okay.  Cool.  Thanks.

NOELLE LLEWELLYN:  Next, I just have a question for Anna White, our movie writer.  Anna, I’m very curious, what was the process like for you working with Amanda and really shepherding this concept and this idea that she had and bringing that to the screen and writing the script?  Can you tell us a little bit about that?

ANNA WHITE:  Yeah.  I’d love to.  It was ‑‑ it was great.  Because, actually, I followed Amanda’s story and, like, I ‑‑ my heart went out to her.  And then when our mutual acquaintance said, “Hey, Amanda has a great idea for a Christmas movie.  She needs a writer,” and we had our first, like, FaceTime and just, like, everything clicked. I thought it was a great idea because we hadn’t seen a fitness instructor Christmas movie yet.  And if anyone was going to do it, it was going to be Amanda Kloots.

And so I just ‑‑ yeah, honestly, from there, we kind of went back and forth.  We came up with a longer synopsis.  We pitched it to CBS I think that December.  And then kind of just worked on it and wrote.  And every draft of the outline, every draft of the script, Amanda ‑‑ I’d send to her first, she’d give her notes, and then we both would be on the notes calls with CBS. So that way, anything that came up that they wanted to change, like, Amanda and I can bounce ideas off of each other.  And Amanda is so creative and thinks outside the box in such great ways, and she knows ‑‑ I mean, like, my workout is walking to Starbucks every day. So Amanda was able to work in a lot more of the “this is the fitness lingo,” and ‑‑ for, like, the fitness scenes and stuff like that, which was very helpful because, you know, I couldn’t write what I know ‑‑ I did her class in Vancouver, though, and let me tell you, I need to work on my endurance.

But the point being, it was great having Amanda there as a partner the entire time.  And, you know, any time ‑‑ like if a note was frustrating, I’d be like, “Isn’t this note crazy?”  And she’d be like, “Yeah, this note is crazy.”  And then we’d figure out how to do it better together.  So that was really cool.

And then seeing her come alive on scene as the character was just ‑‑ I’m so glad I got to be part of it and see it.  You will not believe that this is her first scripted movie/television role.  When you watch it, she was a natural.  She went like that.  She was so present.  I just like ‑‑ I can’t wait for everyone to see ‑‑ I mean, no one’s surprised she has all these talents, but I’m excited for everyone to see her acting chops.

NOELLE LLEWELLYN:  Thank you, Anna.  And that is a great callout regarding this being a first for Amanda in many, many ways, which makes this such a special story around the movie overall, but thank you.  And I, too, will not be fit for Christmas.  I might be fit for Easter.  We will see.


Thank you.  That’s all of our time for today, so I think I’m going to throw to Jessica, our movie director and one of our EPs, just to make some final remarks and give us some final thoughts.

JESSICA HARMON:  No pressure or anything.  Thank you, Noelle,  amazing panel, everyone.  It was good to see everyone again.

I kind of touched on this with answering your question earlier, but having done this for ‑‑ not this specifically, but having been in the film industry for 27 years, I can honestly say that, you know, I love my job, I love being on set, but it’s not always the easiest thing to pull off.  And I think Christmas isn’t always the easiest thing for everybody.  Holidays aren’t the easiest time for a lot of people.  And I know for Amanda, this movie was, you know, borne out of a very difficult time in her life and grief, and what she’s done with that is an incredible thing that the world has watched and seen.  And I know every single person on this cast and every single person watching has also had difficult times in their lives.  And this film, for me, I was going through something difficult prior to it, and it was such a wonderful, wonderful experience to make this movie.  And I really, really do believe that the performances that these people gave really came from the heart.  And I think the audience is going to recognize that and see that.

And, you know, Christmas isn’t always the easiest time for people.  And I really do just hope that this movie coming from a group of people that has all had hardships and has all been through difficult times in their own lives and brought beautiful emotions to this story, I really hope that that translates for people.  And in my opinion ‑‑ and I’m likely biased, but in my opinion, it really did.  And anyone that I’ve shown the film to agrees that there’s just something really incredibly joyous about this.

And I think that, you know, sitting around at Christmas with your family, this is a wonderful movie to watch.  Because if you’re in a great mood, it’s going to keep that great mood going; and if you’re feeling a little down, it’s something that you can watch and it’s going to elevate you because it’s just ‑‑ it’s a group of really, really talented, wonderful people who really put their all into it.  And I think it’s something that everyone here can certainly be proud of.  And anybody that worked on the film I know is very proud of it.  And I just can’t wait for everybody to watch it and love it the way we love it.

So just thank you.  And I’m just proud to be a part of this film.  And seeing all these faces again ‑‑ I’m in Bulgaria shooting a movie right now.  And seeing their faces, I’m like — I just feel happy.  I think people are going to be happy to watch.  So thank you.

NOELLE LLEWELLYN:  Thank you for that.  And, you know, that’s such a powerful message of triumph and hope and, you know, something that we all ‑‑ a lot of people do need at the holidays.  So thank you for pointing that out.

And thank you all for being a part of what is an incredibly fun film.  And we are very much looking forward to it.  So thank you to our panelists today.  We appreciate you.

And everyone, this concludes our CBS holiday collection press junket.  I will be immortalized in your mind for the next year in this sweater.  Do I regret it?  No.  We thank you for joining us, and we wish you all a very, very happy holiday season.


CBS holiday special FIT FOR CHRISTMAS, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network.Photo: Linsday Siu/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.CBS ORDERS THREE NEW ORIGINAL HOLIDAY MOVIES FOR 2022

Award-Winning Musician Sheryl Crow to Executive Produce and

Write the Title Song for “When Christmas Was Young”

The Talk’s” Amanda Kloots to Star in and Executive Produce “Fit for Christmas”

Prolific Holiday Film Writer and Producer Mark Amato to Pen

Must Love Christmas”

CBS announced today that it has ordered three new original holiday movies to air in December 2022.

Award-winning singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow will executive produce and write the title song for WHEN CHRISTMAS WAS YOUNG, a Nashville music-themed movie from a script by screenwriter and bestselling novelist Robert Tate Miller (“Hope at Christmas,” Forever Christmas). The story follows a headstrong music manager in desperate need of a hit song for his last remaining client, who finds himself falling for a gifted singer-songwriter with abandoned dreams of making it big, as he attempts to secure the rights to a Christmas song she wrote years ago. Tom Mazza, David Calvert-Jones and Karen Glass (Everywhere Studios) will executive produce, together with executive producers Shawn Williamson and Jamie Goehring for Lighthouse Pictures.

THE TALK’s Amanda Kloots will star in and executive produce FIT FOR CHRISTMAS from writer and executive producer Anna White (“Christmas Wonderland”), the tale of Audrey, an enthusiastic Christmas-obsessed fitness instructor at a beloved, financially beleaguered community center in quaint Mistletoe, Mont., who begins a holiday romance with a charming, mysterious businessman, complicating his plans to turn the center into a more financially profitable resort property. The movie will be produced by Brad Krevoy’s Motion Picture Corporation of America.

Mark Amato, who has created a dozen holiday-themed films, including last season’s CBS Original movie A CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL, as well as “A Kiss Before Christmas,” is writing MUST LOVE CHRISTMAS. In it, a renowned romance novelist famous for her Christmas-themed books finds herself snowbound in the charming town of Cranberry Falls, where she unexpectedly becomes involved in a love triangle between her childhood crush and a reporter determined to interview her to save his dying magazine. The movie will be produced by Brad Krevoy’s Motion Picture Corporation of America.

In December 2021, the CBS Original movies “Christmas Takes Flight” and “A Christmas Proposal” were the first original holiday television movies to air on CBS since 2012, and the newest additions to CBS’ longstanding holiday programming slate, which includes family-favorites like The Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS and the annual broadcasts of beloved animated classics, including “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman.”

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Scene from "Fit for Christmas" with Amanda Kloots and Paul Greene on CBS

Interview with Keshia Knight Pulliam, Brad James, Tim Reid and Angela Tucker

TV Interview!

Keshia Knight Pulliam, Brad James, Tim Reid and Angela Tucker of "A New Orleans Noel" on Lifetime

Interview with Keshia Knight Pulliam, Brad James, Tim Reid and Angela Tucker of “A New Orleans Noel” on Lifetime by Suzanne 11/7/22

This was a fun panel with these actors for a really nice holiday movie. The movie is set in New Orleans, of course, and the character of Loretta, played by Patti LaBelle, is based on a real person, Loretta Brown, who started the successful business Loretta’s Authentic Pralines. She was the first black woman to start a confectionery company in New Orleans. She passed away earlier this year.  Keshia Knight Pulliam, whom you may remember as Rudy from “The Cosby Show,” or her many other series and movies, stars as an architect, and her real-life husband Brad James plays a competing architect, former school rival and, of course, love interest in this rom-com Christmas movie. The legendary Tim Reid plays Loretta’s flame Marcel. It was fun to speak with them, along with writer/director Angela Tucker. Just be prepared to have your mouth water when you watch this movie! Pralines are delicious, and Lifetime kindly sent us a holiday gift basket that included some of Loretta’s yummy pralines. I was inspired to make some of my own this Christmas as well (although they’re not nearly as good).

Enjoy the video interview!



"A New Orleans Noel" key art

Trailer and Lifetime Official Site

Grace Hill (Keshia Knight Pulliam) and Anthony Brown (Brad James) could not be more different. Despite having gone to college to study architecture together, their lives took them on completely separate paths. However, when they’re both hired to work together on the home of Loretta Brown (Patti LaBelle)—a New Orleans praline icon —the two find themselves working together at Christmas…and butting heads over more than just architecture. When Anthony and his family discover that Grace will be celebrating Christmas alone, they invite her to take part in their traditions and their celebrations. Soon, fiercely independent Grace begins to learn the importance of family and community, while modern Anthony learns to embrace tradition and the magic of Christmas. But when Grace is offered a new job far away from New Orleans she’ll have to decide if she’ll leave, or follow her heart.

Tim Reid stars as Marcel Lirette, a handsome, retired friend who moves back to town after years away and catches the eye of Lorretta.

A New Orleans Noel is produced by Evergreen Films with Daniel Lewis, Rick Carter, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Leonardis and Keshia Knight Pulliam serving as Executive Producers. Script by Angela Tucker and Alys Murray and directed by Angela Tucker.

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Scene from "A New Orleans Noel" on Lifetime

Interview with “Reindeer in Here” producers

TV Interview!

"Reindeer In Here" panel for CBS with producers Candace Cameron Bure, Adam Reed and Lino DiSalvo - photos from Reindeer in Here Official site, and social media

Interview with Candace Cameron Bure, Adam Reed and Lino DiSalvo of “Reindeer In Here” on CBS by Suzanne 11/3/22

This is a really good animated Christmas special on CBS. I hope you watch it! This panel was fun but a little confusing at first because they didn’t tell us who would be there, and they put up a photo of the cast right beforehand, which made me think that the cast would all be on the panel. However, most of them weren’t, so that was also disappointing. I was the one asking the first question here, and I was using my tablet, which sometimes only shows part of the panel on the screen if it’s a large group, so that’s why I asked if there were more.  Also, one of the panel members has said some controversial remarks since this panel occurred.  I hope that no one foregoes watching the special because of her. She plays a very minor role, and the special is very good. It’s based on a book, or series of books, and a new one is coming out, so it has that product tie-in, along with the toys they mentioned.

Here’s the transcript of the panel!



Candace Cameron Bure

 Adam Reed, Executive Producer/Creator

 Lino DiSalvo, Executive Producer/Director

 Virtual via Zoom

November 03, 2022

© 2022 CBS.  All rights reserved.

TRACEY RAAB:  Hi, there.  I’m Tracey Raab from the CBS communications team.  And on behalf of our entire group, we want to thank you for joining us for our holiday collection press day.  We’re excited to be adding even more content into our already robust annual slate of animated specials, movies, concerts, and more.  Today we have some first looks and great panels on deck and, at the end of our presentation, a sneak peek at a special one‑hour holiday episode of our hit comedy “Ghosts.”

Hopefully you all saw the announcements this morning for the cast of our newest animated Christmas special, “Reindeer in Here,” and information on a few of our annual traditions:  “A Home for the Holidays,” “The Thanksgiving Day Parade,” and the “National Christmas Tree Lighting.”  Also, we have two special episodes of “The Greatest At-Home Videos” for Thanksgiving and the holidays, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, airing November 11th and December 16th.

Throughout the day, please check your inboxes for a link to video content we hope you will share on your social platforms.  And finally, a reminder to use the raise hand function to ask a question during our sessions.  We will now begin with our first panel, “Reindeer in Here.”  Enjoy.

(Clip played.)

KATE FISHER:  Hi, everybody.  I’m Kate Fisher.  On behalf of myself and my counterpart, Victoria Saavedra, we’d like to welcome you to the “Reindeer in Here” panel.  We’re so excited to share a sneak peek today of our new animated holiday entry, a heartwarming tale featuring Blizzard or Blizz, a young reindeer living at the North Pole who bands together with his unique group of friends to save the future of Christmas.

The animation and story line are truly unique, and the special is a wonderful addition to our holiday slate.  The special premieres Tuesday, November 29th, on CBS and will stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

Now, please welcome our panelists, star Candace Cameron Bure, executive producer and creator Adam Reed, and executive producer and director Lino DiSalvo.  I’ll turn it over to Adam first for some opening remarks and a sneak peek at a scene from the special before taking your questions.  Over to you, Adam.

ADAM REED:  Hey, everybody.  Thanks for having us.  We’re super thrilled to be here.  You know, just a little quick back story.  When I sat down six years ago to write this book, it was out of a need for my own family that I couldn’t find a positive Christmas tradition that also didn’t stress me out as a parent.  And so I really kind of sat down and tried to write a story that I felt would be unique and different and you would fall in love with the characters at the most magical time of year and hopefully someday become a Christmas classic.

And when I sat down with my illustrator and we were looking at different reindeers, because, of course, reindeer are the most magical thing outside of Santa, there was one reindeer that we focused on specifically, and that one reindeer had one antler smaller than the other.  And that is the hero of our story, Blizzard or Blizz.  And the reason is because he’s a different reindeer.  Right?  And every child at some point in their life feels different, because being different is normal, and our film celebrates the uniqueness of every child and of course shows that Christmas wishes really do come true.

And I will tell you my Christmas wish has come true because I know we announced our amazing ‑‑ our amazing cast this morning.  I’m so thrilled to have Adam Devine, Henry Winkler, Candace Cameron Bure, Jo Koy, Donald Faison, Melissa Villaseñor, and of course Jim Gaffigan as Santa.  So we are so thrilled to be here.

And just to toss to the clip, you’re going to see a little moment here that has almost all of our main characters in it.  It has a little bit of funny, a little bit of emotion, and a lot of heart.  And we hope you enjoy.

(Clip played.)

KATE FISHER:  We’re so thrilled to start taking your questions.  As a reminder, if you have a question, please raise your hand in the chat feature and unmute yourself.

QUESTION:  Hey.  Thanks for talking to us today.  Is ‑‑ I can only see four of you on the screen.  Is everybody else there?  Or is it just the four of you?

KATE FISHER:  Just the four of us for this panel.

QUESTION:  Oh, okay.  I was confused.  Sorry.

So how long did it take to make this special?  I really enjoyed it, by the way.  I thought it was very cute and clever.  How long did it take to make?  And how long did it take for the actors to work on their voices?

LINO DISALVO:  Adam, you’re muted.

KATE FISHER:  Adam, you’re still muted.  I should remind the panelists ‑‑

ADAM REED:  Apologies.  Sorry, guys.  You know, how long did it take us to make and how long should we have had to make, two different things.  Lino, over to you on this one.

LINO DISALVO:  Yeah.  So we did this in about 13 months.  And, you know, you always wish you had a little bit more time, but 13 months.  And we had actors ‑‑ well, the thing is, is that going back and forth in total, from casting and finding just the right actors, I would say three ‑‑ three weeks, four weeks.

ADAM REED:  And by the way ‑‑ and Candace can speak to this.  You know, typically, before COVID times, we would be in the VO booth with all of our actors working with them.  And of course, you know, during COVID times, we can’t do that.  So everything was recorded remotely.  Candace, do you want to talk about that a second?

CANDACE CAMERON BURE:  Oh, sure.  Well, we did, I mean, lots of work on the computer over Zoom first, but then went into the recording booth solo.  And you guys were all on monitors in the booth with me.  And it was really only a day, day and a half, maybe, of working on that.  So much fun.

cast of "Reindeer in Here" on CBS

QUESTION:  And does that include all the animation as well?

LINO DISALVO:  Yeah, the animation was about ‑‑ was about eight months.

QUESTION:  Cool.  Thank you.

LINO DISALVO:  You’re welcome.

QUESTION:  For Adam, I can’t help noticing that this is the exact opposite of Archer in so many ways.  I mean, Archer just ripples with cynicism, and this is the precise opposite.  So what was it like to go from one to the other?  And which one of those two is really you?

ADAM REED:  Well, here’s what I’ll tell you.  I’m actually not the Adam Reed that created Archer.  That is a different Adam Reed, and that Adam Reed and I always get confused.  He gets my e‑mails; he gets ‑‑ and I get his e‑mails.  So very, very different.  So luckily, to answer your question, this is my only baby.

QUESTION:  Okay.  And let me ask you, what’s it like for so often people to assume you’re the other Adam Reed?  Do you enjoy that or is it weird?

ADAM REED:  No, look, we were at the same agency for a long time, and we’ve never actually met.  So, you know, it’s just kind of funny.

QUESTION:  Okay, thanks.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Question for Lino.  Obviously you’ve been a head of animation before this, but I believe this is your first time as director.  I was curious to know how different that responsibility has been for you being that you used to lead a team of just animators and now you’re managing the whole pipeline.

LINO DISALVO:  Yeah.  I love it.  I mean, especially that ‑‑ I think when you find a script that speaks to you and feels honest to you and you can relate to the characters, it’s really enjoyable.  It’s wonderful.  I mean, you know, the team that I was leading at Disney was ‑‑ you know, I would oversee a couple hundred people, and I think the crew on our show was less than 200 people.  So, listen, I loved it.  Like, as an animator becoming a director and working on a holiday movie, dude, I’m thrilled.  I loved it.

QUESTION:  Okay.  Thank you.

LINO DISALVO:  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Thanks, Kate.  Hi, everyone.  Candace, you’ve obviously got a lot going on this holiday season, like a lot.  And you’re very associated with another network these days.  Do you have a special ‑‑ I don’t know if the word is “out” or “out clause” or whatever ‑‑ in your deal with them that if something like this comes up that’s animation only, it’s okay for you to do it for another firm?  And also, did this fit in comfortably with everything else that you’ve got going for this holiday season?

CANDACE CAMERON BURE:  So to answer your question, yes.  Obviously I’m in the project, so I was ‑‑ I was able to do it.  And it’s been a huge dream of mine for a very long time to be in something animated that’s very special.  And it was so fitting to ‑‑ for my first animated movie to be in a Christmas one.  So that was very exciting for me.  And I’m forgetting the second part of your question.

QUESTION:  I’m sorry.  The “yes” part was to that you have a special out clause with the other network in terms of doing something with animation?  Was that what the “yes” was for?  I’m sorry.  Was that ‑‑ there were two questions.  I’m sorry.  The “yes” that you gave was to the question about ‑‑

CANDACE CAMERON BURE:  Oh, that, yes, I was able to do this project.  And, yep.

QUESTION:  And then the other question was ‑‑ I guess the “yes” takes care of both of those.  Thank you.


QUESTION:  We’re good.  Thank you.

ADAM REED:  And can I say one thing that is super important?  When we started concepting this movie and how it was going to be, the first person we had in mind was Candace.  She is obviously the queen of Christmas and just an amazing human being.  And so when we created the roles, we ‑‑ you know, she literally was the first person we thought of.  And she is so incredible at this role, there is even a little Pinky plush that ‑‑


ADAM REED:  ‑‑ everyone is going to love.  That is her character and as amazing as she is.

CANDACE CAMERON BURE:  Adam, thank you.  That was so sweet.  I have the little Pinky plush right here.  All my nieces are going to get this.  And godchildren.

And, yes, I ‑‑ you know, I did remember the second part of your question, if this movie was fitting into all of the other things that I’m doing.  And the answer to that is yes.  This movie is such a beautiful story that’s so heartwarming and so encouraging to kids to celebrate our uniqueness, and I just ‑‑ I absolutely love it as a mom first and what the message sends.  And then of course as an actress, it was just delightful to be in.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Hi, everyone.  Thanks so much.  I love the special.  My two‑year‑old daughter has a little reindeer in here.  Her name is Ida.

ADAM REED:  Oh, I love that.

QUESTION:  And, yeah, we’ve had her since last year.  So she was home sick yesterday, so she actually watched the screener with me, and then all day today, she wants to watch the Ida movie.  So I really ‑‑ it was really great.

But I was just wondering, did you ‑‑ because the book is done in, like, obviously a different animation style than the show.  Were other animation styles considered when you did the special?

ADAM REED:  Well, I want to toss that to Lino in a second.  The only thing I want to say is you will see very quickly this year there’s a new vision of the book and plush set.  So the art is elevated.  It’s a completely new and fresh look.  And it was very important that we not only elevate it, but we kept it classic.  And when Lino and I first started talking, we wanted to have ‑‑ look, for us, we want this to be a Christmas classic, right?  To outlive us all, like Rudolph.  So for us, we wanted something that was contemporary but also had classical feels to it and felt hand‑painted.  And I got to give Lino all the credit for that.  He was the one that said, “Look, it’s CG‑looking, but we’re going to hand‑paint all these elements.”

Lino, can you give some context to that?

LINO DISALVO:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I wanted to capture the charm of the illustrations from the new book that’s coming out.  So, you know, a lot of times in CG, you’ll put this default fur on a character, and it’s very challenging to art‑direct the silhouette of the characters.  The two things that’s very common and which makes illustration so appealing is when you handcraft and suggest fur in silhouette, you do the little drawings of a tuft of fur on the elbow.

So you’ll see ‑‑ when you watch Blizz, you’ll notice that he has these little hero elements on him that really stand out and are really handcrafted.  And the other is a lot of the times, you know, when two textures meet on a CG character, they kind of blend together.  And I wanted to celebrate, again, what the illustration ‑‑ what illustration artists would do, which is maybe use a dry blush to blend in the textures.  So when you look at Blizz again, if you look at his nose, like at the top of his nose, there’s a dry brush stroke there.

And, yeah, I really love the idea that the movie is handcrafted and very high quality.  We take pride in that.

ADAM REED:  And by the way, if you want to be mom of the year, have Ida bring a special new gift, there is ‑‑ we have “Reindeer in Here” PJs this year and blankets.  Yeah, at Target.  So they just ‑‑ they just launched and they’re pretty awesome.  So maybe an early little Thanksgiving gift from Ida.

QUESTION:  Very cool.  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Certainly.  It’s a question for Candace.  I’m wondering how you ‑‑ you found the voice.  I mean, it’s not that very different from your own voice, but, yet, it does have a distinctness to it.  How did you find the voice for the character?

CANDACE CAMERON BURE:  Well, that was ‑‑ that was Lino.  Really, I didn’t know if I was ‑‑ if they even wanted me to try a different kind of voice.  And we worked on that, and they initially were like, “No, we just ‑‑ we really want your voice.”  I think my voice is distinctive.  I hear a lot from people on the street that they’re not sure if it’s me when they see me, but as soon as they hear my voice, they instantly know that it’s me.  And so they really did want my voice.  So it was just really working on the delivery of the lines and the little nuances of how we wanted her to be.

And I feel like ‑‑ I feel like Pinky, she’s that ‑‑ she’s that friend that tells it straight, but she has a little bit of a motherly quality to her, or that big sister quality, that she’s still gentle in speaking the truth.

QUESTION:  Well, it’s a charming character.


KATE FISHER:  We have another question actually for Adam.  Adam, what has been your favorite part about bringing the book to life?

ADAM REED:  Oh, my gosh.  That’s a great question.  Truly, that we get the opportunity to ‑‑ for everybody in the world to see this.  For every child at the most magical time of year to celebrate their uniqueness and their differences, to me, is the most important thing.  And certainly my Christmas wish, the only thing I ever wished for was that ‑‑ at some point in every child’s life, they feel different, and to celebrate those uniquenesses at the most magical time of year is all I could wish for, and the fact that this is happening is just all still surreal.

KATE FISHER:  Thank you.  And a question actually for Candace.  What was one of the defining reasons you agreed to be part of the animated movie?

CANDACE CAMERON BURE:  Well, one of my ‑‑ my longtime friends ‑‑ I have a very close friendship with Jonathan Koch, who’s a part of this movie.  And then meeting with Adam.  They ‑‑ I talked to both of them, and I was very excited once I heard about the project.  But after I read the script, I was like, “Oh, I’m in.  Please.  Anything.  Like, anything that I can do, I would love to be a part of it.”

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Candace, I’m just curious.  We know you so well for all these holiday projects.  Has this been a case of you just wanting to do that because you love Christmas so much?  Or do you find that when people start talking about Christmas projects, they think of you automatically?  And is there a point where you ever went, “Gosh, I’d just like to do an Arbor Day movie”?


CANDACE CAMERON BURE:  Christmas truly is my favorite holiday of the year.  I’m a woman of faith, so there’s no bigger holiday than to celebrate Christmas.  I love that I’ve become synonymous with Christmas because of the movies that I’ve done over the past 15 years.  So it’s a great joy for me.

But, again, I’ve dreamed of being a part of a classic animated movie for a very long time.  And when I was ‑‑ was offered and pitched this project, it was just, I mean, even more magical for the fact that it was Christmas and it’s for children.  I ‑‑ you know, I’m a mom of three and I’ve written several children’s books myself.

So all ‑‑ just the culmination of everything was a no‑brainer and ‑‑ and just a delight to be a part of.  So I’m ‑‑ I’m happy ‑‑ I’m happy to be, you know, a part of people’s Christmas traditions hopefully for years to come.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Yes.  For Candace, when you do a regular holiday film, you’re dressed up in the holiday outfits and your makeup, and you’ve got the surroundings of Christmas.  How did you get yourself into the holiday spirit for doing this when it’s ‑‑ it wasn’t all decorated ‑‑ set wasn’t decorated?

CANDACE CAMERON BURE:  Oh, well, this was so exciting for me.  I remember leaving the booth where ‑‑ after recording the voices, and I was just like on the biggest high from recording these.  I don’t think I need to have the surroundings of Christmas to feel like I’m in the Christmas spirit.  I feel like I’m in Christmas 24/7 because I’m constantly ‑‑ you know, 365 days a year, because I’m always reading Christmas scripts and always developing the next Christmas movies, whether I’m starring in them or producing them.

But it was ‑‑ animation is just a whole different ball game and very new for me.  So to be able to voice a character, to see some images on a screen, but then work with such an incredible director as Lino who really just pulled all different kinds of just different performances out of me through the character was so incredibly exciting.  And I think that was ‑‑ that’s a challenge as an actor when you are in front of the camera and you’re not used to doing things off camera.  Everything about your voice has to change because people don’t get to see your facial expressions.  They don’t get to see your hand movements.  And I’m a big ‑‑ I move.  I had to move around that room.  I had to move around the booth and really perform it as an actor.  But you have to make sure that it all carries through your voice and you can’t rely on your body.

KATE FISHER:  Thank you so much.  I’m just going to ask Adam to maybe make a few final remarks to close our panel.

ADAM REED:  Sure.  Look, Candace and Lino and everybody at CBS, thank you.  Look, this movie and the “Reindeer in Here” tradition is really to celebrate the uniqueness of every child and show that Christmas wishes really do come true, not only at the most magical time of year, but year‑round.  And this movie, we have created not only to be a Christmas classic that I hope outlives us all, but also is meant for the whole family.  This is not just for children.  It is funny.  It works for adults.  It works for children.  You can really sit down with your entire family.  And the adults will pick up on things that children don’t, and maybe vice versa.  But we really hope you enjoy.  And thank you, everybody.  I’d encourage you to watch the whole film.  And thanks for having us.  We’re excited to share this tradition with the world.

KATE FISHER:  Thank you so much to our panelists and journalists for participating in our “Reindeer in Here” panel.

MORE INFO: Trailer

"Reindeer in Here" key art Celebrate the holiday season with a festive new special full of adventure and cheer for the whole family! “Reindeer in Here®,” a new one-hour animated holiday special, will premiere Tuesday, Nov. 29 on cbs Photo: CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Highest quality screengrab available.


Cast Led by Adam Devine, Jim Gaffigan, Melissa Villaseñor, Henry Winkler, Candace Cameron Bure, Donald Faison, Jo Koy, Gabriel Bateman and Brooke Monroe Conaway

Click HERE for REINDEER IN HERE Voice Cast Graphic

CBS announced today the star-studded voices behind the new CBS Original animated holiday special REINDEER IN HERE®, which premieres Tuesday, Nov. 29 (9:01-10:01 PM, PT/ET), on the CBS Television Network and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*. The one-hour special, filled with joy and magic for the whole family, will immediately follow the beloved holiday classic RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER (8:00-9:01 PM, ET/PT).

REINDEER IN HERE’s cast includes Adam Devine voicing Blizzard “Blizz;” Jim Gaffigan voicing Santa; Melissa Villaseñor voicing Candy; Henry Winkler voicing Smiley; Candace Cameron Bure voicing Pinky; Donald Faison voicing Bucky; Jo Koy voicing Hawk; Gabriel Bateman voicing Theo; and Brooke Monroe Conaway voicing Isla.

Based on the award-winning Christmas book and plush set created by acclaimed author Adam Reed, written for the screen by Greg Erb & Jason Oremland, and directed by former head of animation for Walt Disney Animation Studios Lino DiSalvo, REINDEER IN HERE is the heartwarming story of how Blizzard (Blizz), a young reindeer who has one antler that is significantly smaller than the other, and his unique group of friends band together to save the future of Christmas. In doing so, they unknowingly create a magical holiday tradition like none other.

Full Press Release

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"Reindeer in Here" on CBS

Interview with Kelsey and Spencer Grammer

TV Interview!

Interview with Kelsey and Spencer Grammer of "The 12 Days of Christmas Eve" on Lifetime

Interview with Kelsey and Spencer Grammer of “The 12 Days of Christmas Eve” on Lifetime by Suzanne 11/7/22

It was truly an honor to speak with Kelsey Grammer because he’s such a great actor. As I told him, “Frasier” is one of my favorite shows. I was in college when he was on “Cheers,” and then I kept watching him on “Frasier” (which was even funnier than “Cheers,” in my opinion), until the end. He was also amazing later in the drama “Boss.” His daughter, Spencer, who stars in this with him (as his daughter, natch), is also a really good actress in her own right. Daytime fans may recognize from when she played Lucy on “As The World Turns,” before she went on to primetime success. Anyway, this is a really good holiday movie. It’s a sort of mash-up between “Groundhog Day” and “A Christmas Carol,” but it’s got a modern spin and a lot of humor. Grammer plays Brian, the head of a Radio Shack-like company who has to mend fences with his daughter, Michelle, and granddaughter, and find the true meaning of Christmas, in 12 days.  Grammer handles both the drama and comedy in the movie easily. Uschi Umscheid plays Spencer’s daughter, Harkin, who’s just precious and a good actress (especially for her age). Diana Toshiko is a lot of fun as a zany startup woman, Nina, who wants to buy Brian’s company. Mitch Poulos does a wonderful job as Santa. I hope you enjoy the movie and this interview! You can’t help but be touched by the affection displayed by Kelsey and Spencer Grammer for each other.


MORE INFO: Lifetime Site

"The 12 Days of Christmas Eve" on Lifetime key art

The 12 Days of Christmas Eve is the story of Brian Conway (Kelsey Grammer), a successful businessman whose relationships with those around him have really suffered.  While this Christmas season has been the most successful for his business, he’s divorced, his relationship with his daughter Michelle (Spencer Grammer) is strained and he doesn’t have a meaningful connection with his only granddaughter.  After Brian gets into a car accident on Christmas Eve, Santa gives him twelve chances to re-do the day and repair the relationships in his life to find the true meaning of Christmas. For Brian, these twelve days are a journey of self-realization about life, love and happiness as he attempts to right the wrongs of his life in pursuit of the Christmas spirit.

The concept for The 12 Days of Christmas Eve originated from Kelsey Grammer’s production company, Grammnet NH Productions, and developed in house by Lifetime.  Grammnet NH Productions produced alongside Johnson Production Group.  Kelsey Grammer, Tom Russo (Frasier, Light as a Feather, The Game) and Jordan McMahon (The Game) are executive producers. The script is written by Eirene Tran Donahue (A Sugar & Spice Holiday) and directed by Dustin Rikert (Two Tickets to Paradise).

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Kelsey Grammer, Spencer Grammer and Uschi Umscheid in "The 12 Days of Christmas Eve" on Lifetime

Interview with Mario Lopez and Jana Kramer

TV Interview!

Mario Lopez and Jana Kramer of "Steppin' into the Holiday" on Lifetime

Interview with Mario Lopez and Jana Kramer of “Steppin’ into the Holiday” on Lifetime by Suzanne 11/7/22

This is a fun Christmas movie with a lot of dancing. I’ve spoke with Jana before, but not Mario. It was nice to chat with them both, of course. This is a better movie than the last one I saw him in. I didn’t realize that he got his start dancing when he was very young. I also didn’t realize that he’s from Chula Vista, which is right near where I grew up! It sounds a little bit like he had a cold during the interview because he was sounding congested and drinking a lot of water. I hope he feels better!  Anyway, you should check out this festive movie. Two trailers below and then the interview.


MORE INFO: Trailer

Steppin' Into the Holiday key art

Former Broadway star Billy Holiday (Mario Lopez) returns to his hometown for Christmas after being abruptly fired as the host-producer-judge of the hit TV series “Celebrity Dance Off.”  While there, he encounters Rae (Jana Kramer), the charismatic owner of the local dance studio, where Billy’s 12-year-old nephew is her standout student. This Christmas, Rae is planning a dance recital fundraiser with the goal of taking her students to see a Broadway show in New York City. Billy volunteers to help Rae with the recital by reviving the town’s traditional Christmas Eve show, which was once a showcase for local talent. With Billy’s knack for producing and Rae’s knowledge of all things local, their collaboration clicks and romantic sparks start flying!

Cheri Oteri stars as Dallas, Billy’s high-powered, fast-talking, Hollywood agent. Dallas scrambles to find Billy work after he is fired by his boss, Wayne, played by Mario Cantone, a network executive who is equal parts charming and ruthless! Courtney Lopez , Mario’s real-life wife, also appears in the film as Joanna, the charismatic host of “Celebrity Dance Off,” who is tapped to replace Billy (her former fling) as executive producer and head judge after his popularity hits the skids.

Steppin’ Into the Holiday is produced by Via Mar and Roberts Media, LLC. in association with Motion Content Group.  Jeff Stearns, Mark Roberts, Mario Lopez, Jana Kramer, Richard Foster and Chet Fenster serving as Executive Producers. David Kendall directs from a script by Aliza Murrieta and Peter Murrieta.

Mario Lopez is an American actor and television host. He has appeared on several television series, in films, and on Broadway. He is known for his portrayal of A.C. Slater on Saved by the Bell, Saved by the Bell: The College Years, and the 2020 sequel series. He has appeared in numerous projects since, including the third season of Dancing with the Stars and as host for the syndicated entertainment news magazine shows Extra and Access Hollywood. He has also hosted America’s Best Dance Crew for MTV. In 2012, he co-hosted the second season of the American version of The X Factor with Khloé Kardashian, and was the sole host for the third and final season.

Jana Rae Kramer is an American country music singer and actress. She is known for her role as Alex Dupre on the television series One Tree Hill. Kramer began her musical career in 2012 and has released two albums: Jana Kramer (2012) and Thirty One (2015). The albums produced seven charted singles on Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay, including the top 10 hits “Why Ya Wanna” and “I Got the Boy”. She competed on season 23 of Dancing with the Stars, finishing in fourth place. (These two biographies are from Wikipedia)

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Mario Lopez and Jana Kramer dancing in "Steppin' into the Holiday" on Lifetime

Interview with actors from “Criminal Minds: Evolution”

TV Interview!

Erica Messer, Joe Mantegna (David Rossi), Kirsten Vangsness (Penelope Garcia), Paget Brewster (Emily Prentiss), A.J. Cook (Jennifer Jareau), Aisha Tyler (Dr. Tara Lewis) and Zach Gilford (Elias Voit) of "Criminal Minds: Evolution" on Paramount+

Interview with Erica Messer, Joe Mantegna, Kirsten Vangsness, Paget Brewster, A.J. Cook, Aisha Tyler and Zach Gilford of “Criminal Minds: Evolution” on Paramount+ by Suzanne 9/21/22

Two months ago, I was on a virtual TCA panel for “Criminal Minds: Evolution” on Paramount+ with all the stars of the show.  The talent in attendance were Erica Messer (Showrunner, Executive Producer & Writer) and stars Joe Mantegna (David Rossi), Kirsten Vangsness (Penelope Garcia), Paget Brewster (Emily Prentiss), A.J. Cook (Jennifer Jareau), Aisha Tyler (Dr. Tara Lewis) and newcomer Zach Gilford (Elias Voit).

The showrunner introduced the panel, thanking us and telling us that the show premieres 11/24 with its first two episodes on Thanksgiving and then new episodes will drop weekly. There are ten episodes in total for the first season, which “explore what our heroes have been up to since February of 2020, which is the last time you saw them, or, as we call it, ‘the before times.'” The team has gotten closer in these tough times. They find that “there’s been a prolific killer on the loose since 2005” (played by Zach Gilford) who became a legend during the pandemic. He concluded, “We’re lucky to have Zach Gilford bring this one-of-a-kind unsub to life and have so many familiar BAU agents back on the show.”

Adam Rodriguez is also in the cast, but he couldn’t make it to the panel because he was directing.

I asked a question regarding what I’ve seen fans post about on social media, “I’ve read that a lot of the fans were really unhappy with the original finale, and I was wondering if that was taken into consideration at all when you restarted the show.” I didn’t ask any particular person to answer, so Messer started and then the actors chimed in. Her opinion was that fans didn’t want the show to end, so she thinks that was the main reason they were unhappy about the finale. She did add that “you can’t please everyone,” but they try to write the characters as honestly as possible and stay true to them, and that’s all they can really do. Tyler said that she thinks some fans are always unhappy about any finale, but she mostly heard from fans about how much they loved the characters (or as she put it, “this family.”). She feels that most of the fans were just mourning the loss of the characters after 15 years, but she heard mostly good feedback. Mantegna then said, “The only ones that should be upset are the ones that were dumb enough to cancel it in the first place.” Everyone laughed nervously after that. Messer said, with a chuckle, “Joe calls it as he sees it.” Then there was more laughter.

Cook admired the way the finale was written because it left things open – that they were still out there fighting crime, which left everyone with hope for the future, and that the show would return. She agrees that it’s hard to please all the fans at once.

The actors talked about how happy they were to be back doing the show. It was a “joyous” occasion when they first met up on Zoom. Messer revealed that they would have just one unsub for the whole season (Gilford’s character). She also told us that the idea of Gilford’s unsub came to her during the pandemic. She started wondering what serial killers would be up to during the pandemic.

The cast was asked whether any of the disturbing stories of the show have given them nightmares. Vangsness confided that they all bothered her, and Tyler said that her husband was worried that he would get nightmares from the show. Mantegna added that this version of the show is going to be much more disturbing. The show’s stories don’t bother him because he knows it’s not real. What bothers him is that the real-life law enforcement have to deal with these type of crimes.

Gilford shared with us that he does get very disturbed by what’s done on the show. His wife asked, “What’s wrong with you?” and he replied, “I was just doing this to people all day. Leave me alone.” Everyone laughed, and then he said, “it gets dark.” Vangsness joked “it gets hard on serial killers” and he repeated that in a joking, self-pitying way, so there was more laughter.

Tyler agreed with Mantegna, saying that she thinks fans find the show satisfying because the criminals are caught in the end by these “intelligent, hard-working, devoted professionals are out there working very hard every day to make the world safer for the rest of us.” She also echoed what he said about the real-life people who do the job.

Cook disclosed that the show delves more into the characters’ personal lives and how they’re affected by the horrible things they have to deal with.

Messer was asked about whether the show will be a lot darker, now that it’s on streaming instead of broadcast TV. She didn’t want to make it too dark because teenagers watch it, but it will have some curse words that they couldn’t say before. She feels that this is normal language that people would use in real life. She teased Mantegna, saying he speaks that way all the time. He agreed with a smile that it wasn’t much of a stretch for him.

They were asked about directing episodes of the show. Mantegna told us that he, Cook, Tyler and Rodriguez have directed some of the episodes (as they had in the past on the original show). He praised Gilford, whom he worked with a lot while directing, “he’s been a great, incredible addition to our show.” Mantegna also mentioned that it takes them 8 days to shoot each episode.

Gilford grew up in Chicago, so he shares that he was a bit star-struck working with Mantegna, whom he considers a legend. He shared a cute story that us non-actors may not appreciate as much. He said, “we’re shooting the scene, and he goes, ‘Okay, and then you’re going to walk over here, and then we’ll cut, and I’ll yell, Cut.’ And I was like, ‘Did you just like line-read your directing?’ He’s like, ‘I’m an actor. I can’t help myself.’ I could not stop laughing, because it was — I’ve never seen a director do that before.” The other actors all laughed, so they must have found it funny, too.

Tyler then complimented Mantegna on his directing and loves it when actors direct because they’re easier for them to work with. Paget added in her two cents, thanking them all for directing because she never wanted to do it.

Messer shared that David Rossi is the character most in crisis when the show begins, and she talked about what a great job Mantegna did with the story. She said that how his character is feeling causes “a ripple effect” that goes through everyone else.

She also told us that two characters from the previous season won’t be returning: Matt Simmons (Daniel Henney) and Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler). However, they are still mentioned – “gone but not forgotten.” That was very disappointing to hear because Reid is my favorite character. Their desks are still there, with things on them. She never said whether they would explain why the characters aren’t back. I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

MORE INFO: Trailer

Criminal Minds: Evolution key art

In CRIMINAL MINDS: EVOLUTION, the FBI’s elite team of criminal profilers come up against their greatest threat yet, an UnSub who has used the pandemic to build a network of other serial killers. As the world opens back up and the network goes operational, the team must hunt them down, one murder at a time. Original cast members continuing their roles include Joe Mantegna, A.J. Cook, Kirsten Vangsness, Aisha Tyler, Adam Rodriguez and Paget Brewster. Zach Gilford joins the dynamic cast as a recurring guest star in a season-long arc.
PREMIERES: November 24, Exclusively on Paramount+
GENRE / FORMAT: Drama, Crime
STARRING: Joe Mantegna
A.J. Cook
Kirsten Vangsness
Aisha Tyler
Adam Rodriguez
Paget Brewster
Zach Gilford
PRODUCED BY:  ABC Signature and CBS Studios
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Erica Messer, Breen Frazier, Chris Barbour, Glenn Kershaw, Mark Gordon

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Criminal Minds: Evolution cast

Interview with “The Walking Dead” actors

TV Interview!

Eleanor Matsuura, Laila Robins, Josh McDermitt, Michael James Shaw, Seth Gilliam, Khary Payton, Lauren Ridloff and Ross Marquand of "The Walking Dead" on AMC

Interviews with Eleanor Matsuura, Laila Robins, Josh McDermitt, Michael James Shaw, Seth Gilliam, Khary Payton, Lauren Ridloff and Ross Marquand of “The Walking Dead” on AMC by Suzanne 11/14/22

It was fun to speak to some members of the TWD cast! I’ve interviewed some of them before, but it’s always a treat. I was especially happy to speak with Seth Gilliam, who was awesome as the vet in “Teen Wolf”;  and Michael James Shaw, who is great as Shaw in “Blood & Treasure.” I don’t watch TWD regularly (not a fan of zombies), but it’s a very good show. Everyone is really looking forward to the series finale tonight. It’s a bit sad for these actors who have been on it for so long. However, the interviews were very enjoyable – as you will see below.

The first roundtable interview was with Eleanor Matsuura (Yumiko), Laila Robins (Pamela Milton), Josh McDermitt (Eugene Porter), and Michael James Shaw (Mercer).

JAMIE OF SCIFIVISION:   In your own opinion, what do you think is the most defining moment for your characters that changed them, and how did it change them, for each of you?

LAILA ROBINS:   I would say when my son became a walker; I think that was a big one, to see him in that shape and form. And then again, I think, last night. Something shifts obviously when you shoot a child. So, I would say those two things.

ELEANOR MATSUURA:   For me, I’d say it’s probably seeing my brother, my brother’s picture on the wall looking for me at the beginning of this season. My god, that was the first episode of this season. It feels like a second ago. Yeah, I think, for Yumiko, that was the beginning of, I mean, it was the beginning of drawing everyone into the Commonwealth by virtue of making the group that I was with stay in that moment. But it was this glimpse into her past, this pull that was keeping her from leaving with the group. And, yeah, an opportunity to sort of see where she came from, and how that’s unfolded in this season with the courtroom stuff, and representing Eugene, and it felt like the past and the present, were all just brought together, like smashed together. So, I would say, yeah, probably for all the seasons I’ve done, that’s probably been the most pivotal moment for Yumiko, seeing that picture on the wall.

MICHAEL JAMES SHAW:   Oh, for Mercer, I think a defining moment in this last couple of episodes is when his sister Max refuses to sign the forced confession. I think that sets him into motion, and he’s plotting things in his own head but not really allowing people in, but he’s definitely still starting to make moves at that moment, because she’s everything to him, and if he lost her, I don’t think he’d have any purpose anymore. So, yeah, that’s a big moment for him. It shifts the balance.

JOSH McDERMITT:   I mean, it’s hard, just because I feel like the guy is changing so much throughout. And we’re talking about just season 11. Right? We’re not talking about for the series?

JAMIE OF SCIFIVISION:   No, I’m meant overall, if it’s something else important.

JOSH McDERMITT:   That is such a hard question to answer.

JAMIE OF SCIFIVISION:   [laughs] Then do this season. We’ll make it easier.

JOSH McDERMITT:   Yeah, well, I’ll tell you, this season, I mean, there were kind of two moments, but they were kind of joined together, so more like a sequence. But it’s just finding out the truth about the decoy Stephanie, who turned out to be Shira, and who Max really was. I think that that brought him down to his lowest point, but then meeting Max kind of brought him up again and gave him a new outlook on life, even though it’s kind of the outlook that he wanted, when he came to the Commonwealth, but it was definitely when he felt like all hope was lost that he did see this little tiny light off in the distance, and that light has grown to then shine the light on all the misdeeds and the bad things going on in the Commonwealth. I really think that kind of sequence, those two things together, were were defining moment for at least the season.

TONY TELLADO OF SCIFITALK:   For all of you, what was it like to kind of break new ground into The Walking Dead and to actually have courtroom drama, as opposed to hunting walkers and all that? What was the vibe on those days? That must have been pretty neat to shoot something so different like that? It’s for everyone.

ELEANOR MATSUURA:   It was wild. It was so weird. I mean, I found it weird. I know I spent most of those scenes next to Josh. So, I remember we would turn to each other a lot and be like, “This is wild, right?” Because we could almost look down the barrel of like, if we’d had even more time and more episodes; say this part of the storyline had happened at a different like earlier or something, this could have gone way far down into like a whole courtroom drama. It just was so bizarre. I mean, just when I thought the Commonwealth couldn’t get any weirder, I was standing in a courtroom. I mean, I suppose there’s been so much talk about Yumiko as a lawyer, how good she was, it’s like, I sort of feel like we had to see her in action at some point. It was inevitable that we’d get the courtroom scenes. And in some ways, even though it was weird, I wish we’d we had gotten to delve into them even more, but, I mean, if I found it strange, Josh, you must have found it even more strange. I mean, mind you, this shows taken so many different iterations, maybe it’s not weird to you anymore.

JOSH McDERMITT:   Well, I mean, the show continues to surprise me in the new territory we jump into, and this was no different. It always feels weird when you don’t have blood and guts [on you]. When you can work on the stage and not be sweaty.

ELEANOR MATSUURA:   And your clothes are clean.

JOSH McDERMITT:   Yeah, like that’s great, and really, to just kind of be still and not not have a bunch of action and business that you’re supposed to be doing where you’re walking around and taking a horse and putting the horse over there. You know, it’s like, you can just sit at a table and just do your thing. That was weird. But I know we have a lot of people on the show, cast and crew, who have all done courtroom dramas, you know, other series at some point. So, that was fun to talk to them, because there is a specific way you kind of have to shoot a courtroom scene to keep it interesting. I mean, the storyline isn’t always interesting enough. There’re camera movements; there’s a pacing to it. There’re all these other things. So, it was nice to, in a sense, do an episode of Law & Order without ever having to leave Atlanta, Georgia.

LAILA ROBINS:   [laughs] Okay, I’ll piggyback on that. I’ve done so many Law & Orders, and I’ve worn so many suits and so many high heels. I was praying for a job where I thought, “Oh, I get to be out in nature and the woods.” Watch out for what you wish for [laughs], because when you’re shooting out there under the sun in Atlanta with a wig on and a wool coat and boots and a gun. It isn’t so pretty. I was like, “Oh my God, thank God we’re back in the courtroom.” [laughs]

MICHAEL JAMES SHAW:   It was surreal the whole time. We kept looking at each other like we’re in The Twilight Zone. You know, just, what show are we doing today? [laughs] It was good fun though, good fun.

SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM:   Hi, guys. I wanted to start with Mike. It’s great to see you. I love your show Blood and Treasure, and your character on there is just amazing.


SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM:   So, do you think that most of the fans will like the ending?

MICHAEL JAMES SHAW:   They’re going to love it. [laughs] I loved shooting it. Yeah, I can’t really say much about that, but some shit’s going down, and it’s good.

SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM:   Anyone else like to give their opinion on that?

ELEANOR MATSUURA:   …It’s so hard to answer. I feel like we’ve been asked this a lot, and I always try and summarize like, are we going to be able to please, every single person on the planet? I don’t know. I don’t know if we are, but then this show wouldn’t have gotten this far without people’s total commitment to it. Like it’s eleven seasons of a show. That is a huge amount of time, I think. And I really do think if you’ve dedicated your life to the show, and the way that so many people have, and you’ve come this far, I don’t think you’re going to be disappointed with the end. You might have certain things that you would have hoped turned out slightly differently. You might have bits and pieces that might not be the perfect package, but I do believe in the integrity of how we finish the show, and I feel like it’s a good ending, even though we know that we’ve got a bunch more spin offs, which I’m sure people can, like, fill their boots if they need to go and get more, if they didn’t feel like they were satisfied with what we’ve done. Yeah, and that’s all we can say. We tried to finish it out in the best possible way that we could. Yeah, and I believe in the integrity of that, like whether or not everybody will think it’s the perfect ending, that would be an impossible thing to quantify, but I think we’ve given it a damn good shot.

LAILA ROBINS:   Yeah, I think it’s a very emotional show. All of these people who have invested themselves in watching it, I’m just thinking of all the actors who have been there for eleven years and how they must feel. I can’t even get my head around that idea, knowing that you won’t see each other as often as you normally do, and that they’re a real family. I mean, I’m a late comer. I even feel emotional about it. I can’t even imagine someone like Josh saying goodbye to it. It’s unbelievable.

BRIAN:   Josh, this question is for you. You have been on the show since season four, and then you mentioned how the show has changed a lot; your character has changed a lot. So, what are some of the few things you’ll miss about playing Eugene?

JOSH McDERMITT:   Definitely, what you just said, the fact that he hasn’t been a stagnant character. I think every time you kind of jump onto another production, and you’re playing a new character, you fall in love with that character, and you hope that the writers change the person a lot to keep it fresh, because, as human beings, we do change ourselves. But I think this one’s going to be hard to top with that sort of thing, just because it wasn’t just season to season, but sometimes it felt like episode to episode he was having new revelations about himself and that sort of thing. I definitely definitely miss that about it. I would just hope that other characters I end up doing can hold a candle to Eugene, because even if they’re half as fun playing, I’ll have a great time with it.

JAMIE OF SCIFIVISION:   For each of you, what do you think is your character’s biggest regret?

JOSH McDERMITT:   I think for Eugene [laughs] much like the defining moment, there’re too many. [laughs]

JAMIE OF SCIFIVISION:   [laughs] Sorry.

JOSH McDERMITT:   No, it’s, it’s fine. I mean, it just speaks to kind of the question that [the other journalist] just had about just how everything changes, and it’s very fluid, and that’s what makes it fun. But I think for Eugene, a very big regret for him is that he didn’t do more to help – help his group get around Negan and the Saviors, I guess, that Glenn and Abraham died. Eugene is the type of guy who will continue to think through problems, game-plan, figure out a way to get in the cracks so that he can continue to survive, or the people that he cares about can succeed, and that’s one where he lost. He really lost, and I think that does eat at him, because of what happened. In the end, he lost two people that were very close to him. And honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s a big regret for a lot of the characters on the show. It still haunts everybody. I mean, from Maggie all the way down to Judith. She was a baby at that point, or a kid, a little kid. So, it just I think that was probably his biggest regret, that he didn’t he wasn’t able to do more.

LAILA ROBINS:   I guess for Pamela it has something to do with not being the best mother somehow, my inability to communicate with my son or to get through to him or to guide him properly or to have him care about the family’s legacy or somehow to inspire him, that I lack the ability to inspire my own son to greatness, I think is a regret. And obviously, what it led to, his demise, and ultimately, his death. But I think she does take that responsibility.

MICHAEL JAMES SHAW:   I guess. Mercer’s biggest regret is that he didn’t put eyes on Hornsby sooner.

LAILA ROBINS:   He’s slippery! [laughs]

MICHAEL JAMES SHAW:   It could have saved us a lot of trouble. He could have saved us all a lot of trouble. That little snake. [laughs]

LAILA ROBINS:   You were just wowed by his outfits. You weren’t looking deep enough. You got all caught off in his outfits. [laughs]

MICHAEL JAMES SHAW:   Where’s he getting these fabrics from?


ELEANOR MATSUURA:   That’s a hard one to answer. I think probably it’s something to do with not being able to do enough,  because something about Yumiko is that she’s relentless. She truly doesn’t ever give up, even in the face of such adversity, when you sort of think there’s just like – there’re so many moments with Eugene and Pamela where you see her, and you’re like, “There is literally no way out of this.” And even even though she knows it’s kind of pointless, she just keeps going and going and going. So, I’m thinking to myself, “Well, I wonder where that comes from?” And because the pivotal moment with her brother, like I spoke about before, seems to be such a important core thing for Yumiko, I guess there must be something from her past that may be something that we haven’t seen in the show. It would be something that I have probably been playing without even consciously realizing it, just like this feeling of like, you could see it, it’s like striving to be the best, because she comes from this very prestigious, educational background, but I don’t think she sees it like that. I don’t think it’s about the competitive [nature], trying to be the best. I think it’s about more not feeling enough, therefore not giving up. I’m sorry; I know that’s not a direct answer to your question. That’s the best way that I can answer.

TONY TELLADO OF SCIFITALK:   What life has been like after The Walking Dead is over and kind of transitioning to leaving the air, leaving Atlanta and all of that and kind of going back to some semblance of real life? What’s that been like, for all of you?

JOSH McDERMITT:   I cry less. That’s a big one. [laughs] I mean, I still cry. It’s just less. It’s been nice for me to come home and reconnect with people. It’s hard to maintain some relationships when you’re away. Texting and calls do so much but it’s it’s really that face to face interaction is what I think we were craving, and so it’s nice to be home and to be in my own home, to be in the nice Los Angeles weather and that sort of thing. There’s a peacefulness about being at home; it’s kind of nice.

LAILA ROBINS:   It’s been nice to come back to New York and catch up on all the plays my friends are in, shows that I wanted to see before they closed, theaters having a tough time these days. So, it was fun to to go see some plays, but it is weird when you’re on a set for a long time. It’s almost like a safe zone, because your your life is scripted, and I always find that weird slight anxiety when I’m wrapped for the day. As to, “Oh, now I’ve got to go be myself.” [laughs] I’m boring, you know? So, it’s been interesting to reenter and kind of go, “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Here I am; here I am,” when you’re playing a character more than you’re being yourself. Also, that was the other thing I wanted to say, that why I couldn’t think of it. It was during COVID, so we weren’t as social as perhaps we might have been as a cast. I mean, one of my regrets is I didn’t get to hang out with all the actors or really get to know them all that well, because we were unable to do that, perhaps, as much as normal. So, that was a regret.

MICHAEL JAMES SHAW:   To speak on that, life since The Walking Dead, so we wrapped the show, and I stayed around in Georgia practicing jujitsu, and I broke my knee. Yeah, I have a theory that if we would have just kept shooting the show, I never would have broken my knee. But I ended up having meniscus surgery back in August, and now I’m like, 80% recovered, killing it, but if we would have kept shooting The Walking Dead, I probably wouldn’t have broke my knee. [laughs]

ELEANOR MATSUURA:   I was just going to say, when I first joined the show, my first child was, I think, six months old, so, really tiny. So, we moved my whole family. We uprooted, and we moved to Atlanta, and everything just felt like my life had been sort of just flipped upside down and all just like shaken about. Then, over those these last four years, I totally fell in love with Atlanta. I totally fell in love with Georgia. Then, I had my just had my second baby. I mean, I was pregnant most of the shoot of this last season. So, it’s so integrated into my life, the show, it’s become like our families; it’s just a part of our life that it’s feels weird now that I’m not going to be like trundling back to Atlanta next month. It’s really weird. It’s weird, because that has been the rhythm that I’ve been used to for the past four years. Yeah, I think it’s just been starting to hit me these last few episodes. I really think it will only truly hit me hit me the finale next week, when when we’re all together. Then, like Josh was saying, sort of just seeing the faces, everyone’s faces in real life for the last – not for the last time. Of course, we can all like meet up and whatever, but it’s different, because it’s like, this is our celebration of the show. We’re not going to have another like, “Oh, okay, I’ll see you next month, see you next season” kind of thing. It’s ended now. So, it’s like, for me truly, I’m just getting used to this, almost a whole new rhythm of life.

SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM:   Josh, when did the filming actually wrap, and what were your feelings when you finished with it?

JOSH McDERMITT:   It was in the spring, but I don’t remember specifically. Sometime in March or April, I guess. And what was the second part of your question?

SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM:   What were your feelings when you had to finish filming for the last time?

JOSH McDERMITT:   Oh, yeah. I mean, it was overwhelming. That’s something that’s been a part of my life as a job for the last decade and even longer as a fan of the show. Like, I felt overwhelmed when Seinfeld ended [laughs]; you know, maybe more so with this just I have a more personal connection to it, but, yeah, it was just it was overwhelming, but kind of like what Eleanor was just saying. I mean, I’m looking at their faces right now, and we can call and chat anytime and like, you know, I could go to New York, and Laila and I could go see a show. So, these people are not out of my life. It was just kind of this, “Oh, this chapters done, but the story continues, in a sense that that’s kind of how I was overwhelmed, I think.

SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM:   Now you’re making me cry. [laughs]

JOSH McDERMITT:   Good. That was my goal.

BRIAN:   With the three spin offs that are upcoming, will you guys be watching any of them? Any of them at all?




ELEANOR MATSUURA:   Yeah, definitely.

MICHAEL JAMES SHAW:   I want to see what happens in New York.

JOSH McDERMITT:   I’ll only watch it if they give me a screener.

MICHAEL JAMES SHAW:   Better call Pix.

JOSH McDERMITT:   I mean, I’ll help you write the blog about it.

Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 22 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

The next interview was with Seth Gilliam (Gabriel Stokes), Khary Payton (Ezekiel), Lauren Ridloff (Connie) and Ross Marquand (Aaron).

We were only able to ask one question each for this second group of actors. They were entertaining, though.

BRIAN:   Your character Gabriel has changed so much since we first see him in season five. So, how much have you enjoyed seeing his character grow over the years?

SETH GILLIAM:   I’ve really enjoyed it. It was a fantastic challenge and kind of like yearly pay off playing Gabriel, because there were so many changes, either subtle or outright drastic changes, to his nature over the course of the last, I guess, it’s been seven seasons now. It was not something that I foresaw. I’ve said before I thought that he was walker bait. I thought he was dead in three episodes. I thought this man is not long for this world. I had not read the comics, so I didn’t have any any history or knowledge about the character, but I just thought that he was a plot device to get somebody of more importance killed. So, all of the different changes and platforms that he’s been able to climb over these past seasons has really been extremely exciting to play, and I feel very, very fortunate to be the guy who got to take the ride with him.

JAMIE OF SCIFIVISION:   So, for each of you, in your own opinion, what has been your character’s defining moment, and how has it changed them?

KHARY PAYTON:   It’s always been Shiva for Ezekiel, because, to me, Shiva dying, it coincided with Ezekiel losing half of his Kingdom in the war, in all out war, and I think he has been fighting to come back from that ever since. So, even when I was mourning Shiva on the show, you know, because it was a CGI Tiger, she was always, for me, the embodiment of the Kingdom itself. So, when I was grieving her and mourning her, it was Ezekiel mourning his people and his worth as a leader, and as a person, for thinking that the power of positive thinking means that everything’s always going to be okay, and coming to find that really, it’s about persevering. It’s not that everything’s going to be okay; it’s how you get through and still make life worth living. But yeah, it all goes back to Shiva for Ezekiel.

LAUREN RIDLOFF:  I was just thinking about for my character for Connie. I was thinking about when Connie actually saves the baby, but then I thought also about the episode that we shot, “On the Inside.” I think that truly was Connie’s defining moments, because I know that there’re so many times that people ask, “Okay, so Connie is a survivor. She’s arrived, she’s strong, she can fight. She can save the baby. She has a good heart.” But the burning question was, “How exactly did she survive?” So, I think that on that episode, it gave people an opportunity to see how Connie navigates that world. I really loved the way that episode focused on some specific things that involved conversations I had with Greg Nicotero before we actually shot that. When I first read the script, it had Connie just walking down the hall and looking around the hall, but I told Greg, “Well, as a deaf person who has nothing but her eyes to rely on, she would find other ways to navigate. She would need more information,” because at this point to survive, you need all the information you can gather about what’s happening around you. So, to get more information, Connie would use her hands. She would probably put her hands on the wall and feel the vibrations, you know, feeling the floor creek if somebody’s walking behind her. I think that’s how Connie would gather that information. There’s no way that Connie would just walk down the hall. It just wouldn’t happen, because all her vulnerability is going to be what’s behind her back. She would probably put her back up against the wall and use her hands to to guide herself so she can keep her eyes on both angles. So, I think that kind of specific information played out on the screen so well. I feel like I was just excited to actually finally show everybody how kind of Connie had survived.

ROSS MARQUAND:  Yeah, I think where Aaron loses Eric was definitely the one that shifted him completely, because in that one episode he loses his longtime partner of God knows how many years. I mean, it’s arguably one of the longest relationships that we ever see on the show, rivaled probably only by Rick and Laurie, but in that episode, he obviously loses his partner, which devastates him completely, but he also gained a daughter. I think when Rick comes out of the Sanctuary – not the Sanctuary, but whatever that compound is, after just having killed her father, Rick comes out with this baby, and I think Aaron is so lost in this moment that he needs to take the baby and just do something and tether himself to this new life, because he’s lost. He’s just like a cyclone of emotions this point, and if he doesn’t tether himself to somebody or something, he’s just going to go off the deep end, and he’s just going to lose his mind. So, it’s a beautiful moment where a man who has lost everything all of a sudden gains this new responsibility. I think it’s wonderful that he’s taken on this role. At first, I was surprised that the showrunners wanted me to really raise this kid, but now I look back, and I think it was just perfect. It was a perfect and very logical transition for him after having just lost his partner.

SETH GILLIAM:  I think it was when Father Gabriel lost his vision, not fully, but in his right eye. It seems to coincide with him seeing things a lot clearer and being a little more devout in his belief in himself and his decision-making process and his courage level and his conviction levels. I think he went partially blind and gained a bit more insight into himself.

KAREN:   What can you tease about the finale, and also what was the experience like to film that last episode and to also put these characters away?…And for each you?

KHARY PAYTON:   You go ahead. You go ahead.

SETH GILLIAM:   No, I was talking, but you’re the king. So, you go ahead.

KHARY PAYTON:   You’re stupid you’re stupid. But I mean, I’m going to start by saying we’re not teasing a goddamn thing. You waited twelve years for this episode. You are going to wait another five. We’re not teasing anything. I’m not telling you if the grass is green or brown. I’m not telling you if the dirt is is gravelly, or if there’s if it’s smooth. I’m telling you nothing. It was too cold that day. It was too cold that day for me to be teasing anything. No, but seriously, that’s really how I feel. I mean, I feel like so many people, they want us to tell something, but to the crew and the cast and everyone that has waited this long, I think patience is a virtue. That’s what I will say. I will also say that I have still not mourned the end of this whole thing. I’m not sure if I will. Maybe when I see everybody at the finale, I will finally have some kind of cathartic experience, but Cristian tried to do this, like, two years ago, when we started filming this last season. She started to tear up, and I was like, “Don’t you do it. Don’t you do it, girl. I am not going to cry for two years.” and I think I shut it down. I shut it down. Ever since then. I might just end up being a blubbering mess on Sunday, but I have yet to truly come to terms with letting things go.

KAREN:   Anybody else?

KHARY PAYTON:   She, she just skipped right over me. She was like, “Yeah, somebody else tell me.

KAREN:   Who’s got the loose lips? Lauren, Seth, [Aaron]? (LONG SILENCE)

KHARY PAYTON:   I love it. I love it, man. I love you guys right now. Your silence is like love to me. It is sweet ambrosia.

SETH GILLIAM:   Much like Khary, it’s still not over for me. The work part is over, but the relationships aren’t over. The show hasn’t finally finished airing. There’s still a finish line ahead. So, I’m not going to sit down on the track and unpack my bags just yet. I’ll cross the finish line and then see how I feel late next Sunday night.

LAUREN RIDLOFF:  I guess this is kind of like a real long goodbye, and I don’t think that it will ever get to that point. I just feel like this is a goodbye that’s just going to keep going on for another twelve years. I mean, we finished shooting this back in March. Well, first week of April we were done shooting it. Since then, I’ve seen Seth; I’ve seen Norman. I’ve seen other cast mates every now and then. We get together to do a lot of interviews like this. And now the show has been coming out, so it hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’m really looking forward to this Sunday, because that actually means finally, hopefully, most of the cast will be able to get together and look back on all of the work that we’ve done. It’s such a huge honor to be a part of this. This is a cultural phenomenon, in my opinion, and I was part of that narrative, and what an honor it has been. I had a chance to watch the final episode. I finally got to see it, and it’s big. The finale is huge, and I think that we the viewers will feel content and satisfied, but at the same time, I don’t want people to expect it to just be a nice bow at the very end, because it’s still going to go on, just like real life; nothing really ends.

Khary Payton and others of AMC's "The Walking Dead"

SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM:   My question is for Seth.  Can you talk a little bit about how playing this character has helped you both personally and professionally?

SETH GILLIAM:   But that would make me somewhat of a bore, wouldn’t it? Just another actor talking about himself?


SETH GILLIAM:   I’ve had an opportunity to see parts of the world I never thought I would. I’ve met people from all walks of life that I did not imagine when I first started out as an actor being able to have access to. I’ve seen places I didn’t think I’d see; I’ve met people I did not imagine meeting. I’ve had fantastic exchanges and experiences and conversations with people both about the show and about my life [directly related] to the show, or indirectly related to the show. I’ve made friends for life. My life has been enhanced and enriched in ways that I can’t really measure from being a part of the show. I guess that’s why I haven’t closed the book on how I feel about it, because I am so full from the experience that I’ve had on the show that I have no place to put up a wall with it, you know? And I don’t remember what the second part of your question is, because I’m trying to keep it short.

SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM:   Professionally…?

SETH GILLIAM:   Professionally. Yeah, I’ve done a couple of films and a play since the movie ended, that I don’t believe I would have been able to do, that I would not have been the first choice for, if they’ve not seen my work on The Walking Dead. So, we’ll see if that continues moving forward, but it’s worked so far.

SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM:   Thank you. I’m looking forward to the Teen Wolf movie a lot, and I love seeing your Facebook posts.

SETH GILLIAM:   Oh, thank you. Thank you. We have a lot of fun on Facebook, and Teen Wolf is going to be fantastic.

SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM:   I’m really looking forward to it.

SETH GILLIAM:   Cool, thanks.

TONY TELLADO OF SCIFITALK:   Unlike from an acting standpoint, because some of the group is still with the Commonwealth, and some of the group is on the outside, do you guys mention that to each other in passing or to kind of keep the integrity of both those kind of performances, not kind of acting, knowing in the back of your mind that you know where it’s going on their end?  It’s a little convoluted question, but I’m just curious how you kind of stay in your own moments and not overlap?

ROSS MARQUAND:  It’s interesting, because I think a lot of frustration, not like a genuine frustration, but just more like a shucks kind of frustration, that we’ve had this last season is that it’s been so chopped up in terms of groups. I mean, we’ve kind of fallen into these little cliques this last season, and I really haven’t hardly seen Lauren or Khari at all this season, I think. And I can’t say if I will in the last episode, but I’m barely seeing a lot of people that I usually work with, or would like to have worked with more. And it’s very interesting, because I feel like, of course, we get the scripts ahead of time, and we get to read what happens, but it is very interesting to just keep track of every different group and where they are and how they’re fitting into this giant storyline. I mean, Angela and Scott laid out this incredibly ambitious and very involved final season, and there’s just so much going on. I mean, it’s espionage and things falling apart, both internally in Commonwealth, and outside of it as well. Then, how do we fit into all these groups? Who do we trust? There’re a lot of moving parts, and that is a great question. I don’t think we’ve ever really had a a strong consensus to a large degree of where everyone is at all times, but we, of course, get the scripts, and that’s the only real clues that we have of where everybody is.

SETH GILLIAM:   Well, you didn’t mean to infer or imply that you didn’t enjoy working with the actors that you were working and hooked up with this season.

ROSS MARQUAND:  No, I mean, I mostly worked with you.

SETH GILLIAM:   That’s why I need clarity.

ROSS MARQUAND:  And I am implying [that]. I mostly worked with you

SETH GILLIAM:   [laughs]

ROSS MARQUAND:  So, I am, yes.

SETH GILLIAM:   I just wanted to be clear. I just wanted to be clear. Yeah, it’s a lot to keep a track of. Ross is smarter when it comes to that kind of stuff than I am. I pretty much just learn my lines and hit my mark and hope that the editing would tell the story that that I was not taking on. I think there are so many things that you can concern yourself with as an actor to begin with, that when you start thinking of structure and minute plot details that aren’t directly related to you and your character in the moment, you can get a little lost planning ahead and missing the moment that you’re in. So, I did not undertake it, because as you know, as I said, I try to keep it simple, stupid.

LAUREN RIDLOFF:  Yeah, I also wanted to say, like Seth, I have to say, just watching you and some of the actors and other cast members, it’s such an intuitive sense for you at this point. And I felt like so many of the cast members already know their character so well, that it didn’t quite matter what was happening in the script. At that point, they just know how their character would respond in that specific moment. I definitely looked up to that and tried to incorporate that into my character as much as I could. Just over the last three seasons, now she’s developed. It was challenging and confusing, especially this season, just because we’re doing so much cross boarding, and the rewrites were insane. The scripts kept changing. The sides we got were sometimes different day to day. So, just looking at, you know, Norman, and looking to the other experienced actors, and they would just roll with it, and I always tried my best to kind of follow the experience that they had, the veterans of the show, but then I started to realize that part of my confusion was natural. That naturally just contributed to the storyline for the final couple episodes, because it is confusing, and you can feel that people are confused, and I think that’s just real. For me, putting all of that together, it’s definitely like a puzzle, a huge jigsaw puzzle without seeing the actual photo on the box to see how it’s supposed to come together. So, we just have no idea. We’re just trying to search for the pieces that fit.

KHARY PAYTON:   I think, at the end of the day, our job is to stay true to our character and their journey and that the pieces will come together, and sometimes it’s frustrating. Honestly, one of my favorite things is to frustrate the hell out of Greg Nicotero. They’re like, “I can’t do that.” You know damn, well Ezekiel can’t do that, And the beautiful, lovely exasperation of a man who is trying to please everyone, and I tear it all down, so we can build it back up. But seriously, our job is to stay in the moment, and the best thing that we can do, I think, for the production and for fellow cast mates when we’re standing across from each other, is give them a moment of truth that they can play off of, and, thankfully, one of the strengths of this show is that they have found people who give you truth when they’re playing these characters, and it’s awesome to see. It’s awesome to continue to be surprised by all of my cast mates, I mean, these three people here included. It’s humbling to be a part of a group of truth sayers in what many call “just a zombie show,” but there’s truth in this blood. Honestly, there’s usually truth in blood [laughs], but even in this fake blood

SETH GILLIAM:   You lost me Khary. What the fuck are you talking about? What about blood? What the fuck are you talking about?

KHARY PAYTON:   You know what? Next time I see you, we will have a drink my friend. I love you.

SETH GILLIAM:   Love you, too.

Transcribed by SciFiVision


The Walking Dead key art


October 19, 2022

New York, NY – October 19, 2022 – This November, AMC Networks’ targeted streaming services will feature a number of highly anticipated series debuts and sendoffs, including the series finale of the pop cultural phenomenon The Walking Dead, along with a simulcast of the series’ epic  finale event in Los Angeles and supersized, live Talking Dead, on November 20 at 9pm ET;  the eagerly-awaited new season of AMC+ Original Gangs of London debuting November 17; the season finale of critically acclaimed Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire on November 6; the two-episode debut of BBC America’s  Mood on November 6; and season finales of popular IFC Original series, Documentary Now! and Sherman’s Showcase, on November 9 and November 23, respectively.

This month also features new AMC+ exclusive film premieres rolling out every week, including French love triangle thriller starring Juliette Binoche, Both Sides of the Blade (November 4), sudsy comedy starring Rachel Bloom and Melissa Fumero, Bar Fight! (In theaters and on AMC+ November 11), Western murder mystery starring Gabriel Byrne and Thomas Jane Murder at Yellowstone City (November 18), and Shudder Original film, Blood Relatives (November 22), from writer/director/star Noah Segan (Looper, Knives Out).

The company’s targeted streamers also set to bring viewers an extensive catalogue of compelling dramas, fan-favorite franchises, highly anticipated films and timely collections on AMC+, Acorn TV, ALLBLK, IFC Films Unlimited, Shudder and Sundance Now, and the newly acquired anime-focused HIDIVE, all month long.

  • The Walking Dead

Series Finale on AMC+ and AMC Sunday, November 20 at 9pm ET

After 11 seasons of survival, it all comes down to this as the television legacy concludes its epic run. Witness The Walking Dead series finale along with an exclusive look at red carpet arrivals, props, costumes, and a live taping of the Talking Dead where special guests will reveal what’s ahead in The Walking Dead Universe.

About AMC Networks:

AMC Networks (Nasdaq: AMCX) is a global entertainment company known for its popular and critically-acclaimed content. Its brands include targeted streaming services AMC+, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, ALLBLK, and the newest addition to its targeted streaming portfolio, the anime-focused HIDIVE streaming service, in addition to AMC, BBC AMERICA (operated through a joint venture with BBC Studios), IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv and IFC Films. AMC Studios, the Company’s in-house studio, production and distribution operation, is behind some of the biggest titles and brands known to a global audience, including The Walking Dead, the Anne Rice catalog and the Agatha Christie library.  The Company also operates AMC Networks International, its international programming business, and 25/7 Media, its production services business.

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"The Walking Dead" Finale Event key art

Interview with Melissa Joan Hart, Emily Kinney, Justin Gaston, Rita Moreno and Marissa Jaret Winokur

TV Interview!

Melissa Joan Hart, Emily Kinney, Justin Gaston, Rita Moreno and Marissa Jaret Winokur of "Santa Bootcamp" on Lifetime

Interview with Melissa Joan Hart, Emily Kinney, Justin Gaston, Rita Moreno and Marissa Jaret Winokur of “Santa Bootcamp” on Lifetime by Suzanne 11/7/22

This was a very fun movie and more original than your average Christmas movie. It was a great honor to speak with Rita Moreno because I grew up singing along with the “West Side Story” Broadway album, and I loved the movie. She played Anita in the movie and won an Oscar for it. She’s the only EGOT I’ve ever interviewed. It was also nice to speak to the others, of course, especially Justin Gaston, who was on “Days of Our Lives” and is married to Melissa Ordaway (Abby on “Young and The Restless“). They were all fun, but Rita was hilarious in her answers.



Santa Bootcamp key art

Lifetime Site and Preview When event planner Emily Strauss (Emily Kinney, The Walking Dead) is hired by mall magnate Ed Mancini (Patrick Cassidy, Castle) to stage the ultimate Christmas Gala for his most important investors, Emily finds herself being sent to bootcamp – Santa Bootcamp – to find the perfect Santa and the inspiration she will need to make the evening a success. While there, Emily meets Belle (Rita Moreno, West Side Story), the bootcamp’s drill sergeant with a heart of gold, who helps Emily rediscover the magic of Christmas and find romance along the way. Additional stars include Tony® award winner Marissa Jaret Winokur, Justin Gaston, John Schuck, and deaf actors Deanne Bray and Zyra Singleton.

Santa Bootcamp is directed by Melissa Joan Hart, who also serves as executive producer, long with Irene Dreayer, Gina Rugolo Judd, and Paula Hart. The film is produced by Hartbreak Films Inc with a script written by Michael J. Murray.

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Emily Kinney and Rita Moreno in "Santa Bootcamp" on Lifetime

Interview with Noah Wyle, Gina Bellman, Beth Riesgraf and Aleyse Shannon

TV Interview!

Gina Bellman, Beth Riesgraf and Aleyse Shannon in "Leverage: Redemption" on Freevee

Interview with Noah Wyle, Gina Bellman, Beth Riesgraf and Aleyse Shannon of “Leverage” on Freevee by Suzanne 11/2/22

I always enjoy speaking with the actors from this great show! This was my first time speaking with Noah Wyle, who joined last season. Note that there are three different short interviews below. Season 2 drops on Free Nov. 16. I’ve seen the first three episodes, and they were even better than last season. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Noah Wyle (Harry)

I’ve enjoyed most of Noah’s roles in “ER,” “Falling Skies” and “The Librarian,” so it was awesome to speak with him. I felt like he was not in the best mood (I’m sure it must be exhausting to go through so much press each time), but he definitely warmed to me.

Noah Wyle of "Leverage: Redemption" on Freevee (photo from Amazon press site)

Beth Riesgraf and Aleyse Shannon of "Leverage Redemption" on Freevee

Beth Riesgraf (Parker) and Aleyse Shannon (Breanna)

These two were in great spirits and fun to speak with. They shared the wonderful news about Aldis being in more episodes this season.



Gina Bellman (Sophie)

Gina was lovely to speak with. Unfortunately, the audio and video was not the best quality. I hope you can enjoy it, anyway!

Gina Bellman as Sophie in "Leverage: Redemption" on Freevee

Gina Bellman (Sophie) and Noah Wyle (Harry) on "Leverage: Redemption" on Freevee


Amazon Freevee’s Hot Heist Drama Series Leverage: Redemption Returns on November 16 ​​​​​​​Exclusively in the U.S. and UK

Sep 29, 2022
The official Season Two trailer and key art now available


CULVER CITY, California—September 29, 2022— Amazon Freevee announced today the return of its fan-fueled heist drama Leverage: Redemption premiering on November 16 exclusively in the U.S. and UK. Leverage: Redemption follows a Robin Hood-esque team of criminals as they stage elaborate cons against wealthy and powerful individuals on behalf of clients who have been wronged. The second season consists of 13 episodes with the first three episodes available immediately and a new episode releasing each Wednesday until the season finale on January 25, 2023. The fan-favorite first season of Leverage: Redemption is also available on demand and as a FAST channel on Amazon Freevee.

In Season Two, corporate bad guys and dirty dealers are stepping on the little guy in their quest for money and power and the Leverage team is back to teach them a lesson. No matter the danger, when someone needs help, they provide…Leverage. This time around, their criminal skills are put to the test by everything from a husband-and-wife team running a multi-level marketing scam and a shipping magnate dumping boatloads of plastic waste to a music producer who abuses his position over vulnerable women.  This season also sees an old friend of Sophie’s unexpectedly coming out of the woodwork, making her question her choices.

Leverage: Redemption stars Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux, Beth Riesgraf as Parker, Christian Kane as Eliot Spencer, Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison, Noah Wyle as Harry Wilson, and Aleyse Shannon as Breanna Casey.  Season Two guest stars include Pierson Fodé, Alanna Masterson, Anand Desai-Barochia, Steve Coulter, and Doug Savant.

Kate Rorick serves as co-showrunner and executive producer, alongside co-showrunner and executive producer Dean Devlin, and executive producers Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson of Electric Entertainment. John Rogers and Chris Downey served as consulting producers.

About Electric Entertainmen
Headquartered in Los AngelesElectric Entertainment is an independent studio headed by veteran producer Dean Devlin along with his partners Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson. Electric Entertainment also houses acquisitions and sales divisions, with domestic sales headed up by Steve Saltman and the international division headed by Sonia Mehandjiyska. Electric also has a satellite office located in Vancouver, Canada.

Among Electric’s hit television series are The Librarians and Leverage, which ran for four and five seasons respectively on TNT, The Outpost, which premiered its fourth season on The CW in 2021, and is now streaming on Amazon Freevee, and Almost Paradise, which is currently streaming on Amazon Freevee after having premiered on WGN America. Season two of Almost Paradise is currently in production. Electric’s new series The Ark is currently in post-production for the SYFY Channel. Electric’s spin-off continuation of Leverage, Leverage: Redemption, is currently streaming in the U.S. and the U.K. on Amazon Freevee, as one of the service’s first original programs.

Electric’s Feature Films have included Bad Samaritan starring David Tennant and Robert Sheehan, the award-winning film Say My Name starring Lisa Brenner and Nick Blood, the critically acclaimed documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?, and most recently The Deal starring Sumalee Montano and Emma Fischer. Electric also acquires, distributes and sells worldwide rights to Electric’s produced and acquired content, as well as theatrical films from around the world, including Blood On The Crown, starring Harvey Keitel and Malcolm McDowell, Heavy, starring Sophie Turner and Daniel Zovatto, Rob Reiner’s historical biopic LBJ, starring Woody Harrelson, and Book Of Love, starring Jessica Biel and Jason Sudeikis. The company’s domestic distribution division, headed by Steve Saltman, is a full-service operation serving all significant outlets with various rights to films and series including: TVOD, EST, AVOD, SVOD, PTV, Linear Basic Cable and Broadcast.

Amazon Freevee, formerly IMDb TV
Amazon Freevee is a free ad-supported streaming video service with thousands of premium movies and TV shows, including Originals and FAST channels, available anytime, for free.

  • Expansive Catalog: Amazon Freevee offers viewers ambitious Originals, including Bosch: Legacy; Emmy-winning court program Judy Justice; reality design series Hollywood Houselift with Jeff Lewis; comedy series Sprung; music documentary Post Malone: Runaway; heist drama Leverage: Redemption; spy thriller Alex Rider; and the sports docuseries UNINTERRUPTED’s Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers. Combined with an always updating library of broadly appealing hit movies and TV shows across a wide selection of genres, and a catalog of more than 100 FAST channels, Freevee delivers customers the content they would expect to see on a paid service.
  • Free: The entire catalog of content on the service is free. No paid subscriptions necessary.
  • Limited Ads: Freevee provides customers highly sought content supported by limited advertising.
  • Instant Access: Freevee is available as an app on Fire TV, Fire Tablets, and as a free Channel within Prime Video, across hundreds of devices. Freevee content can also be accessed within the “Free with Ads” tab and “Live TV” tab on Prime Video. Freevee is available as an app on third party devices including Roku, Samsung smart TVs (2017-2021 models), Apple TV 4K, Apple TV HD, Comcast’s Xfinity Flex, Xfinity X1, Chromecast with Google TV, NVIDIA SHIELD and other Android TV devices, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 consoles, as well as LG Smart TVs (2018-2021 models). The app is also available on iPhone, iPad, and Android mobile devices.
Ep 201 – The Debutante Job (Premieres 11/16)
Logline: The team pulls Harry back into the fold to help a journalist investigating the corrupt president of a small eastern European nation. But when the journalist is grabbed, our team has to infiltrate a London Ball to extract him.
Ep 202 – The One Man’s Trash Job (Premieres 11/16)
Logline: The crew finds out that a shady plastics exporter whose dumping threatens local waters is smuggling black market antiquities on his barges, and plots to relieve him of his ill-gotten gains.
Ep 203 – The Tournament Job (Premieres 11/16)
Logline: The team has to infiltrate an e-sports tournament to stop a ruthless team owner from mentally and physically abusing his young players.
Noah Wylie as Harry

Noah Wyle

Harry Wilson

Noah Wyle is an actor, writer, producer and director. He is a multiple Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award nominee and winner best known for his work throughout twelve seasons on NBC’s celebrated and critically acclaimed medical drama ER. In his role as Dr. John Carter, Wyle became known to audiences worldwide. Wyle recently wrapped a starring role in Leverage: Redemption for IMDb TV, Amazon’s free streaming service.

Most recently, Wyle starred in Ava DuVernay & Greg Berlanti’s limited series The Red Line for CBS. His work garnered him a Critics Choice Award for Best Actor in a Limited Series. Wyle’s other recent work includes Matthew Weiner’s The Romanoffs, TNT’s critically acclaimed sci-fi series Falling Skies and his long-running TNT series The Librarians, on which he also served as an Executive Producer.

Wyle’s credits include the critically acclaimed roles as Steve Jobs in the Emmy-nominated Pirates of Silicon Valley for TNT. He starred in Oliver Stone’s 2008 drama W in the role of Secretary of Commerce Don Evans. Wyle appeared in the Rod Lurie-directed drama Nothing But the Truth alongside Angela Bassett and Kate Beckinsale. In 2009, he was seen in William Olsson’s An American Affair, which starred Gretchen Mol. He also starred in and associate-produced The Myth of Fingerprints for director Bart Freundlich. Wyle’s additional feature film credits include Warner Brothers’ White Oleander, Columbia Pictures’ EnoughDonnie DarkoSwing Kids and Aaron Sorkin & Rob Reiner’s A Few Good Men.

Gina Bellman

Sophie Devereaux

Gina Bellman is a New Zealand-born British actress known for her work on both sides of the Atlantic. Bellman has recently reprised her leading role in the exciting new season of Leverage: Redemption for IMDb TV, produced by Amazon Studios and Electric Entertainment.

The original five seasons of Leverage for TNT earned her a Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress nomination and a passionate fanbase as the glamorous and ingenious grifter Sophie Devereaux.

Recent roles include Karen in NBC’s Emerald City and crime boss Elena Markedis in the critically acclaimed Sky series Bulletproof alongside Noel Clarke and Ashley Walters.

She starred opposite James Nesbit in the BBC, Golden Globe-nominated limited series Jekyll, and has a cult following for her portrayal of Crazy Jane in the multi-award-winning comedy series Coupling – both written by Steven Moffat.

Her television work includes leading roles and guest appearances in many productions such as Henry IXRipper Street, The Wrong Door, Waking the Dead, Hotel Babylon, Jonathan Creek, Ted and Ralph, Only Fools and Horses and Blackeyes.

Film roles include – Permanent Vacation, Zerophilia, Sitting Ducks, Pressure Points, Married Unmarried, Seven Days to Live, Paranoia, Silent Trigger, Everything I Like, Secret Friends, Leon the Pig Farmer and King David.

Bellman has appeared regularly at the Royal National Theatre in award-winning productions such as The Crucible: director Mike Leigh’s Two Thousand Years: Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle & Dick and From Morning to Midnight. Her West End theatre includes The Rocky Horror Show, Hamlet, Speed the Plow, Twilight of the Golds and Orson’s Shadow, in which she played the part of Vivian Leigh and as Marilyn Monroe in Insignificance.

Bellman appears regularly at Literary festivals reading poetry and is a repertory performer with educational charity Word Theatre.

Beth Riesgraf


Beth Riesgraf is best known for starring in TNT’s award-winning drama, Leverage opposite Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Aldis Hodge and Christian Kane; and in USA’s Complications opposite Jason O’Mara, Jessica Szohr, Gregory Fears and Lauren Stamile. Riesgraf recently starred in the CBS All Access show 68 Whiskey, produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. She will reprise her role as Parker in the reimagination of Leverage: Redemption for IMDb TV. She also directed multiple episodes for the upcoming series.

Riesgraf’s other notable TV credits include a recurring role in Stranger Things and as Dr. Maeve Donovan on Criminal Minds. She has guest-starred on numerous shows, including Seal Team, The Mentalist, My Name is Earl, Without a Trace, NCIS, Killer Woman, Perception, The Librarians and How I Met Your Mother.

On the big screen, Riesgraf was last seen in In Search of Fellini opposite Maria Bello and Ksenia Solo. Her previous credits include starring opposite Rory Culkin, Martin Starr and Jack Kesy in Shut In; the silent independent film The White Door opposite Giovanni Ribisi, which she also co-produced; the feature film Alvin and the Chipmunks; and the independent films Nobody and Let’s Be Civil Kenneth. She can also be seen in the web series Caper opposite Harry Shum Jr., Abby Miller and Hartley Sawyer on the Geek & Sundry channel.

Aleyse Shannon

Breanna Casey

Aleyse Shannon will soon be seen starring in Netflix’s anticipated Feature Film Beauty, written by Lena Waithe and directed by Andrew Dosunmu. She recently wrapped production as a series regular on IMDb TV’s Leverage: Redemption. Shannon starred alongside Imogen Poots in Sophia Takal’s Blumhouse-remake of Black Christmas. She received her BFA from the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University. Immediately upon graduating, Shannon had booked a season-long arc in the first season of CW’s reboot of Charmed, a fun guest lead on CW’s Anthology Series Night Time, and a supporting role in the feature Inez & Doug & Kira, directed by Julia Kots.


Co-Showrunners and Executive Producers
Kate Rorick
Dean Devlin

Executive Producers
Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson of Electric Entertainment

Consulting Producers
John Rogers
Chris Downey

Gina Bellman
Christian Kane
Beth Riesgraf
Aleyse Shannon
Noah Wyle
Aldis Hodge

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The cast of "Leverage: Redemption" in a season 2 scene

Primetime TV Review: Lopez VS. Lopez

TV Review!

“Lopez VS. Lopez” Review on by Eva 11/6/2022

George Lopez returns to television with a show loosely based on his real life. George plays a man who lost his construction business and his house because of the pandemic. George moves in with his daughter Mayan (played by his real-life daughter Mayan Lopez). The relationship between George and his daughter is strained and Mayan goes to therapy to deal with the issues she has because her parents got divorced, and the fact that her father was not around much growing up. George is hoping to build a relationship with his daughter by remodeling her kitchen. George makes a tik tok video to tell Mayan he is broke and homeless so Mayan and her husband let George move into their house to live with them. Mayan and George must adjust to living with each other and while this show sounds like a drama it is a comedy.

The show is funny with most of the laughs coming from Mayan Lopez who is very funny. The show highlights how different generations can learn from each other it also has some touching moments. The show begins what NBC calls its Friday night comedy hour which is followed by Young Rock. If you want to laugh you will enjoy this show it is worth watching although I am not sure how well it will do on Friday nights.

The rest of the cast other than George and Mayan needs time to find their rhythm.

I give this show a 4 out of 5 stars.

More Information:

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