MAISEL ENDS — In a season of major, major finales, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel ended with just a stunningly good episode that tied up most of the loose ends from previous seasons and gave us a final, tragic look at Lenny Bruce as played by Luke Kirby.
Bruce was an acquired taste for sure. I well remember the fist time I heard him, I couldn’t quite believe it. Kirby had him down pat; so much in this final episode, as Bruce was beleaguered with legal troubles and his drug addiction was nearing an end. It ultimately killed him and his act back then essentially consisted of him reading from his lawsuits. It wasn’t funny at all, but sad and tragic.
CYNTHIA WEILL RIP — Cynthia Weill, who wrote with husband Barry Mann and Phil Spector “You Lost The Lovin’ Feeling” for the Righteous Bothers in 1964, has passed. She also wrote “Shades Of Gray” for The Monkees’ Headquartersalbum in 1967. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9ZxRjItD1o
SHORT TAKES — Criminal Intent revival? Vincent D’Onofrio has been bantering about on twitter. Great idea. It was always one of my favorites. Note to Dick Wolff : Chris Noth should return … Here’s Micky Dolenz with Queen’s Brain May on rehearsal day for the James Burton event in the U.K. … Terrific report from Roger Friedman in his Showbiz 411 column about the Queen-catalog. He’s absolutely on point -as always – check it out here: https://www.showbiz411.com/2023/06/02/queen-1-billion-catalog-deal-very-possible-says-expert-freddie-mercurys-heirs-like-mary-austin-and-band-members-could-become-very-very-rich…
In 1995, Cher did a version of of Marc Cohn’s brilliant “Walking In Memphis” for Warners. It was included on an album called It’s A Man’s World and was right before her huge hit “Believe.” Take a look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOJTKpzqk6M
The Glorious Corner
JESSE L MARTIN — We caught the debut of Jesse L. Martin’s The Irrational Monday night and really enjoyed it. I’ve been aware of Jesse since his role in Broadway’s Rent and he’s really tremendous. He was great on Law & Order as Ed Green (10 years and 9 seasons); and his role on the CW’s The Flash (as Joe West) was simply terrific.
The show, based on the book by Dan Ariely and created by Arika Mittman, certainly reminds one of The Mentalist or Instinct. This first case isn’t wondrous by any means, but Martin’s charisma carries it all through.
Lauren Holly (NCIS) is in it too, thought her one-scene was over and out in a flash.
I hear the third episode of the show is magnificent, so stay tuned. Don Johnson said many years ago that Don Johnson was made for TV … so is Martin!
SWENSON OUT — (per Deadline) Will Swenson will play his final performance as Neil Diamond in Broadway’s A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical on Sunday, Oct. 29, producers announced today.
A replacement for the starring role will be announced at a future date.
“It’s been the thrill of a lifetime to get to stand in Neil’s shoes,” Swenson said in a statement. “It’s been such an incredible honor to get to know Neil, to tell his powerful story, and bring his amazing songs to Broadway audiences every night. I’m immensely proud of the moving, beautiful show we made. I will miss it very much.”
A reason for Swenson’s departure was not disclosed, but his planned departure date suggests a year-long contract coming to a close: He and the bio-musical began previews at the Broadhurst Theatre last Nov. 2 (official opening was Dec. 4).
“Making A Beautiful Noise with Will Swenson was a deep and wonderful experience,” said director Michael Mayer. “The true affection he has for Neil’s work and life is palpable in every aspect of his tremendous performance. I will miss him terribly, of course, but will always treasure our time together, and very much look forward to the next show we do.”
Swenson has been one of Broadway’s go-to leading men since his breakthrough performance in 2009’s Hair, and he has since starred on the New York stage in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Little Miss Sunshine, Waitress and Assassins, among many other shows.
In addition to Swenson, the cast of A Beautiful Noise features a principal cast of Mark Jacoby as the aged Neil Diamond, Robyn Hurder and Shirine Babb.
The musical includes a score of Diamond’s hits, a book by Anthony McCarten, direction by Mayer, and choreography by Steven Hoggett.
He’s pretty tremendous as Diamond. I didn’t see the show straight away, but absolutely loved it when I did. His exit of kind of short notice … but let’s see what happens.
SHORT TAKES — How about those snappy new graphics for NBC’s Today Show. Introduced a week ago, they certainly look more relevant and certainly more fun. They did the same for Nightly News a week ago. Per TVNewser:The network said the decision to unveil a new logo and graphics for Nightly was made as a way of appealing to younger viewers who primarily consume news using digital media. It’s safe to assume is true for Today, the youngest-skewing of the linear morning shows that boasts a robust digital presence. Here’s their whole story:
The next Rolling Stones single, “Sweet Sounds of Heaven,” is tremendous. Mick hasn’t sounded this good in years and Lady Gaga is an added treat. Magnificent! Take a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEJd5xtbEPY …
Donnie Kehr and Cori Gardner’s Rockers On Broadway (their 30th edition) is coming up on Monday, October 16 at SONY Hall.
Joining honoree Melissa Etheridge will be KT Tunstall and Debbie Gibson, Simon Kirke, Dan Finnerty and Ty Taylor … Happy Bday Chuck Taylor!
NAMES IN THE NEWS –— Anthony Noto; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Paul Lester; Ian Harrison; Magda Katz; Pete Townshend; Miko Blanco; Brad LeBeau; Mal Evans; Derek Taylor; Andrew Sandoval; Rick Rubin; Bill Adler; Cory Robbins; Manny Bella; Race Taylor; Scott Shannon; Buddy Blanch; Steve Walter; Benny Harrison; and BELLA!
STRIKE UPDATE — As we went to press on Sunday, a tentative agreement had been worked out between the AMPTPand the WGA. Of course, it now has to be ratified. Per TV Line: Once the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed on the Writer’s Guild of American’s tentative new deal with the AMPTP, the words “Live, from New York!” might symbolically signal the end of the WGA strike, which spanned a near-historic 146 days.
“We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA (Minimum Basic Agreement),” the WGA posted in a message to its members late Sunday night, “which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language.” The tentative deal now needs to be “papered,” and formally recommended by the WGA negotiating committee to the WGA Board and Council for approval, and then ratified by WGA membership — a process that could take up to two weeks.
The actor’s strike persists and from our sources we hear it’s still a tough go. But not to minimize anything, this is a step in the right direction.
McCALLUM PASSES AT 90 – David McCallum -along with Robert Vaughn- were two of the coolest dudes on TV, ever. Vaughn passed in 2016 and McCallum passed on Monday. Starring as Illya Kuryakin, he literally electrified the screen. I’m an Man From U.N.C.L.E. fan, always have been and per Jon Heitland’s terrific The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Book: Behind the Scenes Story of a Televison Classic (1987) it turns out that McCallum was literally the key to its success. Not only did he become quite the chick magnet, but viewers just loved the character.
McCallum was also ‘Ducky’ on CBS’ NCIS and certainly was their secret weapon too. His character was everyone’s uncle (no pun intended) and possessed a rather quixotic, yet mesmerizing ambiance on the show. Part-doctor, part-therapist, part spy.
Michael Weatherly, also on the show for its greatest years, said “He made every second count.”
I’ll never forget the episode (Meat Puzzle in 2005) when Kate asked Gibbs what Ducky would have looked like as a younger man. Gibbs answers Illya Kuryakin, too funny.
Actually, with Harmon long-gone from his role on NCIS, McCallum, in my opinion, was the glue that still held it together. Huge loss for sure.
Here’s a great look at McCallum’s storied career from Deadline: https://deadline.com/2023/09/david-mccallum-dead-ncis-actor-1235555770/
SHORT TAKES — I don’t know Robert Menendez, but with wild tales of cash stuffed in envelopes in jackets; gold bars; and kickbacks; it sounds like he’s had a pretty interesting run. As more than one has said, where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire. And there does seem to be a lot of smoke … Congratulations to Andrew Sandoval on his marriage to Natasha Rubin …
On Tuesday, September 26, WBGO Studios launched As We Speak, a new podcast hosted by David Sanborn, who interviews major figures in the world of jazz. Kicking off the series are episodes with vocalists Kurt Elling and Cecile McLorin Salvant. Future guests include Sonny Rollins, Terri Lyne Carrington, John McLaughlin and Maria Schneider. The award-winning and influential saxophonist shows his interviewing chops with in-depth conversations with his fellow artists about their creative process and their singular journey in jazz …
Micky Dolenz was interviewed by Mojo Magazine’s Ian Harrison from the U.K. Tuesday and heads to Houston Thursday for the Days of the Dead comic-con (https://www.daysofthedead.com/houston/) in Houston …
Look for keyboard-man Benny Harrison to debut his forthcoming solo album Pages at the Bitter End. Harrison is interviewed for Medium today … Could The Office return to TV? Per items on Tuesday, a re-boot is almost guaranteed …
Netflix is sending their last ever DVDs out this week in those red envelopes. The service ran for 25 years! My, we’ve come a long way … It looks like Robert DeNiro will not be playing off his scenes in Taxi Driver for his new Uber commercial after all. Take a read: https://deadline.com/2023/09/taxi-driver-commercial-featuring-robert-de-niro-draws-comment-from-paul-schrader-1235554798/… (Via Deadline) For the love of Maddie Hayes, look what’s coming to Hulu: Moonlighting. For the very first time, all 67 episodes of Moonlighting will be available to stream on the platform beginning October 10. Hulupromises that each episode of the 1980’s comedy starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd has been remastered in HD from the original film source. It even will feature the original Grammy-nominated title track recording from Al Jarreau … Happy Bday Melissa Davis.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Bob Merlis; Brad LeBeau; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Jodi Ritzen; Dylan Ritzen; Jane Blunkell; Glenn Gretlund; Ian Harrison; Bert Schneider; Jason Elzy; Les Schwartz; Duane Blitzer; Jean Psaki; Chris Hayes; Randy Alexander; Lee Jeske; Chuck Pulin; Race Taylor; Tyrone Biljan; Robert Funaro; and CHIP!
SUNDAY DEADLINE — As we go to press, the AMPTP has submitted it’s last, best offer to the WGAto resolve this strike; now heading into 145+ days. Strikes are meant to be settled, but the damage may have already been too much. Governor Gavin Newsom estimates a 5 billion dollar take-down for Hollywood and the state in general. As we mentioned last time, thousands of below-the-line workers have already been let go or furloughed during the strike and even if it is resolved by later-today, it will take a full 10-12 weeks for everything to be up and running again. By my count, that’s mid-December. Stay tuned … it can only get better.
WAKEMAN’S OPUS —(via Prog) Rick Wakeman has announced that he has released a massive 32-disc box set entitled The Prog Years 1973-1977, which features his studio albums from 1973’s The Six Wives Of Henry VIII through to 1976’s No Earthly Connection, plus his film soundtracks for 1975’s Lisztomania and 1977’s White Rock. You can watch a video trailer for the box set here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nER9BgLka1w
Each album is represented by four discs, either CD or DVD, featuring the original album plus rare live material, demos, alternative mixes and live film footage all from the era. These include live performances of Six Wives… and Journey To The Centre Of The Earth from Melbourne, a DVD of The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table performed on ice at Wembley, the full films of both. Lisztomania and White Rock, and more.
The Prog Years 1973-1977 also features a 60-page hardback scrapbook, 10 x postcards, 8 x full-size replica promotional photos and 4 x A3 posters, plus reproduction press kits for the relevant albums. The first 500 copies of this extremely limited box set will also come with a numbered certificate signed by Rick himself.
He may wear the cape and be a bit old school, but Rick Wakeman is the real deal. He rocked Yes and his solo albums were simply terrific. When Yes did The Apollo several years back, when Wakeman left the stage and went up and down the aisles with his keyboard strapped on, there was sheer joy. He’s amazing. Bravo!
SHORT TAKES — Robert DeNiro shilling for Uber? That’s what a divorce does to you. Actually, it should be great commercial, although it was filmed in London as opposed to NYC, which is odd. Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader was quoted in Deadline as saying: “Ouch,” he wrote. “Why Bob would do this is beyond my reckoning. But I haven’t seen it. If I’m lucky I never will” I’m sure he asked Driver-director Marty Scorsese …
Micky Dolenz’s SRO show Friday night in LA (at the ACE Theatre)
was sensational and he debuted the live version of his new single, R.E.M.’s “Shiny Happy People.” Seen at the show were Randy Lewis; Roy Trakin; Tyrone Biljan; Ken Sharp and Nederlander’s Lisa White …
On Friday’s Today Show, Savannah Guthrie interviewed someone who told you how to pack during a move, quickly. They said to put all personal items in a lock box with a label saying to be moved by owner only. Savannah quipped that all the personal items in your nightstand belong there begging the question, what does she have in hers? … A report on NY1 about the ongoing migrant crisis in NYC called The Roosevelt Hotel – where the migrants have been housed – the new Ellis Island … Say what you will about NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen, but it’s been a key area in NYC for decades.
For me, when the Film Center Cafe disappeared, it was a tragedy. And, remember the fabulous restaurant Memphis? Here’s a great look into images from there: https://w42st.com/post/hells-kitchen-photographers-karla-james-murray-book-vanishing-mom-and-pop-stores/?utm_medium=email … George Clooney selling his Lake Como retreat he’s had for 21 years? Could go for 100 million … SIGHTING: PR-pasha David Salidor at Shalom Japan in Williamsburg Sunday night … Usher headlining Super Bowl 2024? Wonder where that choice came from as he hasn’t had a hit in 20 years …
Watched Jean Psaki on MSNBC Sunday. She didn’t bowl me over, but was good. She had stories on Rupert Murdoch and FOX and an interview with Hillary Clinton, who bashed Trump and Putin again … and HAPPY BDAY Mark Bego and Cory Robbins!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Sara Gore; Andrew Sandoval; Pat Prince; Mark Bego; Jim Clash; Cynthia Rowley; Barry Zelman; Christopher Gilman; Barry Manilow; Joel Diamond; Nancy Ruth; Teresa Knox; Gary Gershoff; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Tony King; Donnie Kehr; Kimberly Cornell; Lush Ice; Barry Fisch; Eppy; and BELLA!
STRIKE END LOOMS — (Via Showbiz 411/Roger Friedman) All the studio chiefs met Wedneday with the Writers Guild and will continue negotiating tomorrow, according to a WGA post.
The sudden seriousness of the studios is welcomed as the deadline looms for the 2023-24 TV season. If the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes aren’t resolved by early October, my sources say it will be impossible to put on a season.
Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Disney’s Bob Iger, Universal’s Donna Langley and Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav were present today for the negotiations, a sure sign that the studios are finally in panic mode.
There are no daytime or nighttime talk shows, no new material on TV, and actors can’t promote the fall and winter movies. The actors have already missed the Telluride, Venice, and Toronto Film Festivals. Now the New York Film Festival looms, as does the premiere of Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.”
The so-called Fall TV Season has been decimated; the Emmy’s pushed back and just general chaos everywhere. The severity of the strike -142 days in- has hurt almost-every-single below-the-line sector, from caterers to limo drivers to costume houses. It’s reported that it will take up to 10-12 weeks to fully resume everything. That means early-November and let’s not forget come Thanksgiving, the holiday season officially starts. Stay tuned.
LOVE, BURT AT THE CUTTING ROOM — Monday night at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room was the presentation of Love, Burt – celebrating the majesty and memory of Burt Bacharach’s music.
The show really moved me and reminded me of the reason I do what … the music!
The show was just sumptuous – with the assembled group -led by Mike Visceglia- honoring and doing proper justice to a host of Bacharach songs – everything from “Baby, It’s You” to “One Less Bell To Answer,” The Look Of Love” and “Alfie” were all dutifully done. Especially poignant was their rendition of “A House Is Not A Home.”
The fact of the matter is that when these songs were recorded, they were embedded into everyone’s consciousness. These versions were good, but the originals remain standout. You hear a lot about the Great American Songbook, but these songs are the “new” Great American Songbook. Just luscious.
They ended the show was one of my favorite-Bacharach songs, from the 1988 album Burt recorded with Elvis Costello, Painted From Memory. One of the album’s strongest cuts is “God Give Me Strength.” It was simply sensational. Spotted there were Benny Harrison and Maria Milito from Q1043.
The room was packed like never before; what a night!
SHORT TAKES — Micky Dolenz headlines the ACE Theatre Friday night in LA, and was a guest on KTLA Wednesday. Here’s a shot of him on-set with Sam Rubin who interviewed him with the KTLA-gang. Sam’s the second from left. Industry stalwarts at the ACE Theatre show include legendary-LA Times writer Randy Lewis; LA Magazine’sRoy Trakin and Goldmine’s Ken Sharp … Roger Friedman reported Wednesday that the pre-sales of Jann Wenner’s upcoming book Masters have been severely impacted by his New York Times interview. Take a read here: https://www.showbiz411.com/2023/09/20/jann-wenners-new-book-the-masters-drops-in-pre-sales-run-on-amazon-almost-off-the-top-2000-after-scandal-erupts And just last night his big presentation at NYC’s 92nd Y with Cameron Crowe was shuttered as well … SIGHTING: Alison Martino at NYC’s Algonquin Hotel …
When Apple TV’s The Morning Show debuted years ago (November 2019), created and run by Kerry Ehrin, it was a first-rate series certainly of The Sopranos-like and Mad Men-like caliber. Billy Crudup was astonishingly good as were Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. The second season was basically trash. Three episodes in on a third season -with a 4th already guaranteed- it’s kind of a mixed-bag. I did not care for the first two EPs, but the third was bordering on the edge of greatness – and Witherspoon wasn’t even in this one and there was no explanation why. Jon Hamm has joined the cast as sort of an Elon Musk-figure. To me, he’s still Don Draper, just with an updated wardrobe. Most of the production staff has been replaced and it seemed to me, they’re still finding their way. The trouble is, that with these 8 or so episode-runs, it gets really good at episode 6. Go figure …
Rupert Murdoch to retire per CNBC? More on this next column … Meg Ryan and David Duchovny in What Happens Later – looks cute and Ryan directed it – check out the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqTZqSglhZo … RIP Roger Whitaker
and Happy Bday David McCallum; Curtis Urbina; and Bill Murray!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Glenn Gretlund; Jodi Ritzen; Leonard Nimoy; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Scott Shannon; Zach Martin; Michelle Grant; Art Rutter; Maria Milito; Joe Lynch; Melinda Newman; Mandy Naylor; Kimberly Cornell; Sam Rudin; Jim Clash; Terry Jastrow; Randy Alexander; Bob Merlis; Andrew Sandoval; Art Rutter; and CHIP!
The Glorious Corner
WENNER TAKES A DOWN —Jann Wenner always speaks his mind and this week he may have overstepped just a bit. In an interview that ran in the New York Times about his new book called Masters, he quite openly said that there were no black or R&B artists in it, because they were not able to articulate properly. I know, I felt the same way reading that. Minutes later, he was let go by the board of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which he helped start with Ahmet Ertegun way back in 1983.
His Like A Rolling Stone autobiography book was quite an indulgent read last year, but Wenner has in the last several years suffered several health set backs and it was pointed out that he may not be in his right mind. Still, he should have spoken way more carefully. I’ve known Wenner for decades and trust me, he feels he’s way entitled, and that said, you can rest assured that there were dozens and dozens of people (and former employees) waiting to take him down.
The sad fact is that most of the accusations are true. That said, let’s face it Rolling Stone magazine in it’s heyday was a miraculous outlet for so much music and terrific journalism – from Ben Fong-Torres to Hunter Thompson and Jann himself .. it was distinguished. Now, he may have killed it all.
Rolling Stine magazine Monday posted this – essentially disowning his from the magazine: “Jann Wenner’s recent statements to the New York Times do not represent the values and practices of today’s Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner has not been directly involved in our operations since 2019. Our purpose, especially since his departure, has been to tell stories that reflect the diversity of voices and experiences that shape our world. At Rolling Stone’s core is the understanding that music above all can bring us together, not divide us.”
Here’s the report from Deadline: https://deadline.com/2023/09/jann-wenner-removed-rock-and-roll-hall-fame-foundation-board-1235548690/comment-page-1/#comment-3858649
DREW’S BLUES — Boy, what did Drew Barrymore ever do to deserve the treatment she’s been through with the media. Sure, her ideas to bring back her daily-chat fest was a good one, for the right reasons, but everyone from Rosie O;’Donnell to the trade papers have bounced on her like madmen. I never met her, don’t hate her, but really … let’s get back to something real, like these Russell Brand-accusations!
SHORT TAKES — We finally caught David Bryne and Fatboy Slim’s Here Lies Love and absolutely loved it. I remember it well when it premiered at the Public Theater way back when and knew they were trying to get it to Broadway. Honestly, I never thought twice about the Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos story, but the play was riveting then and it remains now. They’ve outfitted NYC’s magnificent Broadway Theater with disco-balls galore and club-lighting and the immersive experience is terrific. Here’s a great re-cap of the play’s evolution from Theatre Guide: https://www.newyorktheatreguide.com/theatre-news/news/how-the-music-of-here-lies-love-evolved-on-the-way-to-broadway …
Micky Dolenz appeared on Sunday’s Breakfast With The Beatles with Chris Carter (on KLOS) and talked about his new Dolenz Sings R.E.M. on Glenn Gretlund’s 7a Records. He also talked about his time with The Beatles and John Lennon. Carter also played a mash-up of Monkees and Beatle-songs which was done in England and it was superb. Here’s a shot from the event at LA’s Hard Rock Cafe on Highland and Hollywood Blvd. … SIGHTING: PR-pasha David Salidor and Benny Harrison at Monday’s Cutting Room tribute to Burt Bacharach … RIP Sammy Ash …
I’ve been thinking the best way to describe Jimmy Buffet and I saw this headline in LA Magazine: leisure evangelist– and it fits perfectly …
Happy Bday Donnie Kehr and Richard Branciforte.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Dan Mapp; Brad Auerbach; James Clash: Robbie Robertson; Carol Ruth Weber; Randy Alexander; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Andrew Gans; Kathy Brown; Roger Clark; Chris Boneau; Tricia Daniels; Dan Zelinski; Benny Harrison; Steve Walter; Gil Friesen; Donna Dolenz; Dan Mapp; Brad Auerbach; James Clash; and ZIGGY!
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