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Friday, June 30, 2006

Emmy finalists?

by Jennifer Squires Biller

An early list of Emmy finalists has surfaced at Gold Derby, and if these are even close to being accurate, I am one happy Tuber. (Well, 99 percent happy, anyway. Veronica Mars isn’t on the best drama list. Sniff. Sniff.) Emmy guru Tom O’Neil published the list saying that about “40 percent” of the nominees had been verified. However, he cautioned readers that the nominees “should not be considered accurate since they were compiled via pooling Internet gossip.” Here’s hoping this list is indeed accurate, because it’s full of actors/actresses/shows that don’t normally feel the Emmy love. If this actually turns out to be true, a big thumbs up to the new Emmy voting/nomination process.

(Episode entry in parenthesis)
"Big Love" ("Affair")
"Boston Legal" ("Stick It")
"Grey's Anatomy ("It's the End of the World")
"House" ("Autopsy")
"Lost" ("Man of Science, Man of Faith")
"Rescue Me" ("Justice")
"Six Feet Under"
"The Sopranos" ("Members Only")
"The West Wing" ("Election Day, Part II")

Not listed: "Alias," "Battlestar Gallactica," "C.S.I.," "C.S.I.: Miami," "The Closer," "E.R.," "Everwood," "Huff," "Law and Order," "Law & Order: SVU," "Medium," "N.C.I.S.," "Nip/Tuck," "Prison Break," "Rome," "The Shield," "Veronica Mars," "Without a Trace,"

(Episode submission in parenthesis)
"Arrested Development" ("Development Arrested" - Finale)
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
"Desperate Housewives"
"Entourage" ("Exodus")
"My Name Is Earl"
"The Office" ("Booze Cruise")
"Scrubs" ("My Way Home")
"Two and a Half Men" (“Santa’s Village of the Damned”)
"Will & Grace" ("The Finale")
"Weeds" ("You Can't Miss the Bear")

Not Listed: "The Comeback," "Everybody Hates Chris," "Extras," "Gilmore Girls," "How I Met Your Mother," "Malcolm in the Middle," "Monk," "New Adventures of Old Christine"

Hank Azaria, "Huff"
Michael Chiklis, "The Shield"
Patrick Dempsey, "Grey's Anatomy"
Matthew Fox, "Lost"
James Gandolfini, "The Sopranos"
Michael C. Hall, "Six Feet Under"
Peter Krause, "Six Feet Under"
Anthony LaPaglia, "Without a Trace"
Hugh Laurie, "House"
Denis Leary, "Rescue Me"
Bill Paxton, "Big Love"
Martin Sheen, "The West Wing"
James Spader, "Boston Legal"
Kiefer Sutherland, "24"
Treat Williams, "Everwood"

Patricia Arquette, "Medium"
Kristen Bell, "Veronica Mars"
Frances Conroy, "Six Feet Under"
Geena Davis, "Commander-in-Chief"
Edie Falco, "The Sopranos"
Jennifer Garner, "Alias"
Gennifer Goodwin, "Big Love"
Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU"
Allison Janney, "The West Wing"
Evangeline Lilly, "Lost"
Ellen Pompeo, "Grey's Anatomy"
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer"
Chloe Sevigny, "Big Love"
Jeanne Tripplehorn, "Big Love"
Polly Walker, "Rome"

Jason Bateman,"Arrested Development"
Zach Braff,"Scrubs"
Steve Carell,"The Office"
Kevin Connelly,"Entourage"
Larry David,"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Ricky Gervais,"Extras"
Omar Gooding,"Barbershop"
Fred Goss,"Sons & Daughters"
Adrian Grenier,"Entourage"
Kevin James,"King of Queens"
Jason Lee,"My Name is Earl"
Bernie Mac,"Bernie Mac Show"
Eric McCormack,"Will & Grace"
Tony Shalhoub,"Monk"
Charlie Sheen,"Two and a Half Men"

Tichina Arnold,"Everybody Hates Chris"
Stockard Channing,"Out of Practice"
Marcia Cross,"Desperate Housewives"
Jenna Elfman,"Courting Alex"
Lauren Graham,"Gilmore Girls"
Teri Hatcher,"Desperate Housewives"
Felicity Huffman,"Desperare Housewives"
Jane Kaczmarek,"Malcolm in the Middle"
Lisa Kudrow,"The Comeback"
Eva Longoria,"Desperate Housewives"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus,"New Adventures of Old Christine"
Reba McEntire,"Reba"
Debra Messing,"Will & Grace"
Mary-Louise Parker,"Weeds"
Leah Remini,"King of Queens"

Thursday, June 29, 2006

David James Elliot on "Close to Home"

by Jennifer Squires Biller

JAG fans, you can stop wondering what happened to David James Elliot. He’s headed to the CBS drama Close to Home this fall as a series regular, according to TV Guide.

And in what could be labeled as typecasting, he’ll play a charming lawyer/district attorney. This news is bittersweet for me. I loved JAG and am a huge fan of Elliot’s, but I was hoping he’d land a gig on one of the many shows I already watch i.e. Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Boston Legal. Unfortunately, this news means I’ll have to put Close to Home on my DVR, despite the fact that I hate case-of-the-week plot-driven shows. I’ve never been a fan of Close to Home, but I watched sporadically last season hoping Christian Kane would get more than two minutes of screen time and perhaps get to bust out his guitar. As it turned out, a drunk driver killed his character in the finale. And no, he didn’t have an “evil hand.” (If you didn’t get that joke, you missed Kane’s awesome performance on Angel and we can no longer be friends.)

Josh Jackson and Dean Cain at "Superman Returns" premiere

by Jennifer Squires Biller

Two of my favorite TV guys attended the Superman Returns premiere, and they weren’t alone. Dean Cain, the former man-of-steel, and Josh Jackson, the former Creeker whose-heart-we-want-to-steal, joined a bevy of other TV stars at the event. Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars); Peta Wilson (La Femme Nikita, the original butt-kicking gal of primetime); a blonde Eva Longoria and a blonder Roseanne Barr all came out to see the new film. Check out these photos from Wire Image to see who else couldn’t resist Superman’s return.

"Rescue Me" rape scene explained

by Jennifer Squires Biller

In a controversy that could rival the behind-the-scenes chaos at The View, a recent scene on Rescue Me has fans and television columnists everywhere in an uproar.

I first posted about the disturbing rape/sex scene last week and asked viewers or the show writers to explain. Thanks to all of you who took time to e-mail me with your opinions and viewpoints. A special shout-out to my friend and fellow Rescue Me junkie, Bob, who gave me his brilliant plot analysis.

Rescue Me writer/producer Peter Tolan ventured to the Television Without Pity forum to take on fans that were brutally criticizing the scene and the show. Here’s an excerpt of Tolan’s comments at TWOP explaining the scene:

“We tried to be extremely careful about that scene. I did not direct the episode, but I did my most careful writing in preparing the scene. Our feeling has always been that Tommy and Janet are in a highly dysfunctional relationship (obviously), a negative vortex fueled by only one positive - a faint glimmer of love that is constantly overshadowed by truly fantastic physical attraction. In terms of the scene last night, I never wrote the words 'don't' or 'no' at any point in the scene, and when I talked to Andrea about the playing of the thing, I pretty much told her that she had to stand up to Tommy - that he had taken so much away from her over the years, that she had to stare him down from a position of strength while he was forcing himself on her. I told her to shame him with the words she was given - to let him know she couldn't hurt her anymore, no matter what he did. Did this come across? For many viewers, obviously not. I was not on set the day the scene was shot (I live in California and am only in NYC when I direct episodes), so maybe those ideas weren't followed through as well as they could have been. I'll admit this is extremely dicey stuff. The idea of any woman 'enjoying' being raped is repellant, and caused all of us (and the network) a great deal of concern. But again, these are seriously damaged people who are unable to express their emotions - and so expression through brutality has become expected.”

Tolan talked at length with posters on the message board about the scene and at one point offered to mail a dead horse to those who were still ranting, so they could beat it. Funny guy.

OK, so there it is, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. For more on the rape controversy, check out Alan Sepinwall’s column in The New Jersey Star-Ledger and his blog.

Star Jones Reynolds fired from "The View"

by Jennifer Squires Biller

I take a few days off and the TV world goes mad. Star Jones Reynolds was apparently fired from The View, according to People Magazine. Instead of going quietly into the night, Star made an impromptu speech during Tuesday’s broadcast of The View, announcing to shocked viewers, co-workers and network executives that she wouldn’t be returning next year, but would be on the air until mid-July. Star allegedly told People Magazine that she felt she had been fired, since her contract wasn’t renewed for a 10th season. Apparently, the network wanted to keep the news hush-hush for the moment, but Star didn’t comply. The network and Barbara Walters did not appreciate Star’s performance or her comments to the media, and ABC asked her not to return to work on Wednesday, according to Entertainment Tonight. Meow! I’ve never been a fan of The View. (I prefer TV that doesn’t involve four people talking at the same time.) But, seriously, I’m ready to tune in just to see how Walters and Joy Behar handle this sticky situation. Somewhere, Debbie Matenopoulos is doing cartwheels.

For more comments from Star and Walters about the situation, click here.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tube News

by Jennifer Squires Biller

Former Dawson’s Creek star heads to CW
You probably remember her as the “hot-blooded” beautiful, bikini-baring blonde who made Dawson wreck his daddy’s speedboat while she was, well…it doesn’t matter. The point is, Brittany Daniel, aka Dawson’s bad girl “Eve,” has landed a role on The CW’s new comedy The Game. The new show is a spin-off of Girlfriends and tells the story of a group of pro-football players and the women who love them, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Daniel previously starred in Sweet Valley High and was once romantically linked to Dawson’s Creek star Josh Jackson. (Insert your own Pacey sports pun here.)

Simon Baker back on the big screen
Former star of The Guardian, Aussie Simon Baker, is soon headed to a theater near you in a new film with Winona Ryder. Loyal Tube Talk readers know I have a thing for Baker and several of his fellow Australian actors. The list is long: Paul Leyden, Julian McMahon, Hugh Jackman, Mel Gibson, Ingo Rademacher and yes, Simon Baker. (It's the accents, I think.) I watched Baker in every episode of The Guardian, despite that it made me want to reach for a bottle of Prozac. Baker is following up his fantastic performance on the big screen in Something New with a new movie called Sex and Death 101. Baker is starring as a man who receives a mysterious e-mail, listing every woman he’s ever slept with — and ever will. (How does one get on that list, you ask? I have no idea.) The film also stars Julie Bowen, Leslie Bibb, Frances Fisher and The Facts of Life’s Mindy Cohn.

Tater Top winners announced
For those of you who voted in E!Online’s Tater Top Awards, the results are in. Check out who won the Golden Taters by clicking here.

A tribute to Aaron Spelling, dead at 83

by Jennifer Squires Biller

The world of television has lost a legend. Producer Aaron Spelling died Friday, after suffering a stroke. He passed away at his home at age 83.

Spelling is partly to blame for my love of TV. From The Love Boat, to Family, to Charlie’s Angels, I grew up watching his brand of television in the ‘70s, which I later labeled as “Spelling-vision.” I spent many afternoons playing Charlie’s Angels with my cousins and arguing over who got to be Jill or Kelly.

Spelling gave us memorable characters on shows such as Dynasty, Starsky & Hutch, Hart to Hart, Vega$, TJ Hooker, Fantasy Island and 7th Heaven. He gave us Amanda Woodward, miniskirts and “Mondays are a Bitch” on Melrose Place. He gave us Brandon, Dylan, Kelly and Brenda on Beverly Hills, 90210 and the Halliwell sisters on Charmed. Quite simply, he made television sexy and fun in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, while giving us outrageous plots, too. (Kimberly’s wig reveal on Melrose Place still haunts me to this day.)

Spelling produced a record 3,000 episodes of TV and more than 100 made-for-TV movies, including The Boy in the Bubble, starring John Travolta. Spelling began his lucky streak of hit shows at ABC, which the press later nicknamed ‘Aaron’s Broadcasting Company.’

Thank you Mr. Spelling for your vision and your legacy. You will be missed.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Rescue Me…Please!

by Jennifer Squires Biller

OK, it’s not often I need help deciphering television plots. (Unless I’m watching any random episode of make-my-head-explode-it's-so-complicated Lost.) I mean, I am Tube Talk Girl, after all, with years of experience with the basic TV-drama formula. But this week’s episode of Rescue Me left me staring blankly at the TV, saying “What-the-????.” I’m referring to the Tommy/Janet scene at the end of the show. If any of my fellow TV addicts — or Denis Leary if you’re reading this — can offer an explanation as to what happened there, I’d be grateful.

Please explain this to me: Why did Tommy call the bar and ask if his brother was there and if the bartender had his gun? Was he hoping to set up his brother to find him in a compromising position with Janet? Did Tommy go there with the intentions to get horizontal with his ex, or did it just happen? Was it rape? (As brutal as it started, I didn’t hear her say “no,” and after it was over, she seemed more concerned with the fate of the chaise lounge than what had just happened.) Who was the woman Tommy was talking to at the beginning of the scene, when she told him his brother was at the bar? Was that Janet? What was up with Tommy’s grin at the end? Was he hoping a Gavin heir would soon be on the way, or was he just happy to have one-upped his brother? Were Tommy and his brother working together on some sort of scheme against Janet, and Tommy double crossed him? Help me, Tubers. Please. My head hurts.

For those of you who have never seen Rescue Me, I feel compelled to tell you that you’re missing one of television’s best-hidden secrets. Yes, it’s a summer show, which is usually code for crap-fest, but Rescue Me is a gem. It’s dark at times, but the comic elements are brilliant, laugh-out-loud funny and offer a nice balance to the drama. Leary is so charismatic as the dysfunctional Tommy Gavin, you won’t be able to look away. Rescue Me is the high-quality type of show that we normally see on the fall schedule. Thankfully, we get to watch it during summer, when good television is practically nonexistent.

If you aren’t watching Rescue Me, I have five words for you: DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW. Go get the DVDs to catch up on what you’ve missed. (Please note, Rescue Me is for mature audiences only and contains mature language and situations i.e. don’t watch it with your kids or your grandma.)

Here’s what Tube Talk Girl has said previously about Rescue Me:

Rescue Me is an education in machismo, with a scandal at
every corner. Denis Leary brilliantly plays main character Tommy Gavin as brash and sassy. His temper is short. His insults long. And he has the petulance of a preschooler, which makes for some entertaining situations. The deeply flawed Gavin does have a few redeeming qualities: his candor and his courage.

To read Tube Talk Girl’s original review of Rescue Me, click here: http://tubetalk.blogspot.com/2006/02/rescue-me-and-dancing-with-stars.html

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

DukesFest coverage

Yee-Haw, Dukes fans! Here’s an index of Tube Talk’s complete coverage of DukesFest in Nashville, Tenn.

  1. Interviews with John Schneider, Tom Wopat, and Catherine Bach. Tube Talk Girl got Schneider’s thoughts on his Smallville exit and info on whether he’ll be back next season in ghostly form, as well as info on what Bach and Wopat are doing these days.
  2. Interviews with James Best, Sonny Shroyer, and Rick Hurst. Tube Talk Girl interrogated the Hazzard cops in these one-on-one interviews.
  3. Main story on DukesFest 2006 and the 100,000 fans who attended the event.
  4. Behind the scenes at the DukesFest press conference and photo gallery.
  5. Intro tag for DukesFest.

Interviews with "The Dukes of Hazzard:" John Schneider, Tom Wopat, and Catherine Bach

Catching up With the Dukes

Above: Tube Talk Girl and John Schneider

by Jennifer Squires Biller

Tube Talk is the place for complete coverage of DukesFest and catching up with the cast of The Dukes of Hazzard. I chased down the actors for some one-on-one interviews, and braved rain, 90-degree heat and frizzy, humidity hair to bring you the scoop. Hey, there's nothing I won't do for you, my TV-loving peeps. After chatting with the Dukes, it’s easy to see why these folks are still beloved by fans 27 years later. Enjoy.

John Schneider
What he’s been up to:
Still active in film, television and country music. Wrote, directing and starring in the movie Collier and Company for release in October. He describes the film as “what The Dukes of Hazzard movie should have been.” He just finished a five-year gig portraying Jonathan Kent, father of the future Superman, on the TV series Smallville. He’s kept busy through the years acting on shows such as Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, JAG, King of the Hill and Heaven Help Us. He also had a successful career in country music with hits such as I’ve Been Around Long Enough to Know.

Fun facts: According to Ben Jones (Cooter), “John was the best driver. He was also the best—and still is— at jumping in the window of the car.” Despite being from New York, he auditioned for the role of Bo Duke, pretending he was a genuine country boy. He had a week’s growth of beard and held a beer can, claiming he was from Snellville, Georgia.

Web site: http://www.johnschneider.tv/

below: Tube Talk Girl interviews John Schneider
Interview transcript:
Jennifer: Hi John. I’m Jennifer Biller with Tube Talk.
John: Hi Jennifer! Yeah, I remember you from up there.
Jennifer: I was devastated when they killed your character on Smallville, and so were my readers. I received a ton of mail after that episode aired. Is there any hope for Jonathan Kent? Will we get to see you again in Smallville?”
John: (Giving me a sad smile) As far as I know, no. Not next year. I did a couple of other ones (after the death episode,) but they’ve already aired.
Jennifer: I had so much mail after that episode. Fans were so disappointed.
John: I understand the need for it, because for the boy to become the man he has to fill the void left by the passing of his father. I understand that. I think it was premature.
Jennifer: So do I, and so do my readers.
John: It was important to do something on the 100th episode.
Jennifer: But why did they have to kill you? (Schneider grins and seems to sympathize with my mourning of Jonathan Kent.)
John: I don’t know. Perhaps people could make a change. But, contractually I’m done. It’s entirely up to them.
Jennifer: You should know that your fans were truly upset. You will be missed. Seriously, my mailbox was overflowing with people wanting to know why.
John: Thank you. I appreciate that. And also it could be that I am Jonathan Kent. I do not hide my opinions, and there are a lot of people that can’t handle that.
Jennifer: Maybe they blame you for Lex turning bad.
John: (Laughter) That’s good. I like that!
Jennifer: Thanks John.
John: Thank you!

Below: Tube Talk Girl chats with Tom Wopat
Tom Wopat
What he’s been up to:
Working on Broadway, film, television and music. He was nominated for a Tony in 1999 for his work in Annie Get Your Gun, opposite Bernadette Peters. He’s starred in Cybil, Home Improvement and All My Children. Still singing and acting.

Fun facts: According to Ben Jones (Cooter),Tom Wopat was the best athlete on our show.” He beat out Dennis Quaid and Gerald McRaney for the role of Luke Duke. Wopat was also a Broadway actor, before his stint as Luke Duke.

Web site: http://www.tomwopat.com/

Interview transcript:
Jennifer: Hey Tom.
Tom: Hi.
Jennifer: Will you be back on Broadway?
Tom: I expect. If they’ll have me. You never know. It’s one of those that they come and they come.
Jennifer: What projects are you currently working on?
Tom: I’m actually going to be singing June 28 with Dr. John in lower Manhattan Rockefeller Park, and then I’m doing a reading of the new Carole King musical in a couple of weeks. And what else? Oh, I’m working on a new record.
Jennifer: Do you know the drop date?
Tom: Probably the first of the year.
Jennifer: OK, thanks for taking time to talk.
Tom: Thank you!

Below: Tube Talk Girl and Daisy Duke mug for the camera.
Catherine Bach
What she’s been up to: Launching her own clothing line, working in film and television and raising her daughters. She starred in the 1991 TV series African Skies.

Fun facts: Hand-made many of the costumes she wore as Daisy Duke particularly those seen in early episodes, including tops, her famous 'Daisy Duke' cut-off jeans and the red bikini seen during the first episode that was immortalized in the opening credits.

Web site: http://www.catherinebach.com/

Interview transcript:
Jennifer: Hi Catherine.
Catherine: Hey there.
Jennifer: The one question everyone wants to know is how uncomfortable were those Daisy Dukes?
Catherine: You know they weren’t.
Jennifer: Were they spandex?
Catherine: Some were spandex. I made my own shorts in the beginning.
Jennifer: You are still making clothes. Tell us about your new line.
Catherine: The fit is the most important thing. I’m wearing my very first skirt and a shirt and a belt I’m doing for everyone who watched the show. These are prototypes. The skirt has a little bit of Lycra in it and it holds you in a little bit.
Jennifer: Where can folks purchase your clothes?
Catherine: The clothes, at the moment, are going to be at http://www.catherinebach.com/, but I’m in talks right now with different companies but just refer people to my web site.”
Jennifer: Thanks Catherine. It’s a pleasure to meet you.
Catherine: Thank you.

Below: Tube Talk Girl gets personal with the General Lee.
General Lee
What he’s been up to:
Burning rubber, jumping cars, making personal appearances and enjoying syndication on CMT.

Fun facts: The Dukes of Hazzard stunt team went through over 200 'General Lee' cars during the show’s run. During the show's entire run, only one episode was filmed without The General Lee playing a part.

Web site: http://www.generalleefanclub.com/

Interview transcript:
Jennifer: What is your best memory of Hazzard County?
General: Daisy Duke sliding in and out of my window.
Jennifer: A lot of your fans have duplicated your look throughout the years. In fact, more than 100 General Lee look-a-likes participated in DukesFest this year. Are you at all threatened that there are so many imposters?
General: No. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And I always say you can never have too many fast, orange Chargers on the road.
Jennifer: Do you have a favorite song?
General: I’m partial to Dixie or anything by Waylon Jennings.
Jennifer: What do you miss most about Hazzard?
General: Well, I’d have to say hanging out at the garage with Cooter and the boys and “fightin’ the system like a true modern-day Robin Hood.”
Jennifer: Well put, General. Well put.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Interviews with The Dukes of Hazzard cast: James Best, Sonny Shroyer and Rick Hurst

In Awe of the Law
by Jennifer Squires Biller

Above: Sonny Shroyer (Enos) greets fans at DukesFest.

It wouldn’t be Hazzard without the lawmen. And Rosco, Enos and Cletus upped the fun factor at DukesFest to General Lee gravity-defying levels. These guys were so nice to fans and the media that it’s hard to believe they’re actually in show business. James Best, Sonny Shroyer and Rick Hurst slipped into character throughout the weekend, donning their police hats and uniforms and doing their schtick as kooky cops, much to the fans’ delight. I tracked down the trio for interrogation, Hazzard style, to see what they’ve been up to, and along the way, uncovered some shocking facts.

Above: Rick Hurst and Sonny Shroyer entertain fans at DukesFest.

Below: Tube Talk Girl has a blast interviewing James Best (Rosco.)

James Best
What he’s been up to: Taught acting classes and still writes, produces and acts. Currently working on a film with his daughter and starring in her film, Hot Tamale, a crime-comedy also starring Jason Priestly, Randy Spelling and Carmen Electra. Best is also a talented painter and continues to make personal appearances.

Fun facts: Best was nominated for a Grammy in the spoken word category for his poem Summer Storm a Comin'. Quentin Tarantino credited Best for teaching him how to act. Best was a familiar face in westerns, films and television in the ‘50s and ‘60s starring in shows such as Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Rawhide and The Andy Griffith Show. Best ad-libbed much of his dialogue as Rosco on The Dukes of Hazzard. “Whenever you saw Jimmy and Sorrell Booke (Boss Hogg) doing that classic comedy, they were improvising,” Ben Jones (Cooter) said.

Web site: www.jamesbest.com and www.jamesbestart.com

Below: Tube Talk Girl interrogates Rosco during an interview and shares a laugh with the always- entertaining James Best.

Interview transcript:
Jennifer: How long have you been painting James?
James: About 30 years.
Jennifer: So you were painting when the show was on?
James: Oh yeah, I had a captive audience. Even before the show, I used to make pictures with Burt Reynolds and Jimmy Stewart and all those people, and I’d go in my dressing room for lunch and paint. Burt Reynolds would buy a new one of my paintings every time he got a new girlfriend. So I’d say Burt, aren’t you tired of that girl yet? (Laughter)
Jennifer: (laughing) I know there are a lot of fans interested in your artwork. Where can folks go to buy your paintings?
James: www.jamesbestart.com
Jennifer: What is it that you like to paint specifically?
James: Actually the southern landscapes. I’m an old country boy I was born in Kentucky. I found out the Everly Brothers were my first cousins. I was adopted. I don’t know why I can’t sing. Thank God I can paint. (laughing) I’ve gone off your question, what was it?
Jennifer: What specifically do you like to paint?
James: Strictly southern landscapes. As you notice. I love to fish. In my paintings, you’ll see water and the trees reflecting in the water. I do European paintings too, beautiful landscapes. And buildings in Paris and Italy. But I’m better known for my landscapes.
Jennifer: Are you doing any acting projects now, James?
James: Yes. I’m getting ready to go to Canada and make a picture for my daughter and my son in law. My daughter Janeen Best wrote and produced the picture. Michael Damien, who was on the Young and the Restless for about 15 years, is my son-in-law. So this is my third movie I’ve made with him.
Jennifer: What’s the name of the movie you’re currently in?
James: Its called Hot Tamale. It’s adorable.
Jennifer: Are you starring as the hot tamale?
James: (Laughter.) Oh no. (more laughter). No, I’m a cold potato!
Jennifer: Thanks so much James.
James: Thank you!

Below: Enos (Sonny Shroyer) autographs a car for a fan.

Sonny Shroyer
What he’s been up to: Working in television and film, including roles in the critically acclaimed motion pictures Ray, Forrest Gump and The Rainmaker. He played Coach Bear Bryant in Forrest Gump. He recently completed the film A Tale About Bootlegging, in independent comedy.

Fun facts: Played football at Florida State University with Burt Reynolds and later starred with Reynolds in The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit. Shroyer became so popular as Enos on The Dukes of Hazzard, Warner Brothers gave him his own series titled Enos which ran for 17 episodes and was nominated for two People’s Choice Awards.

Web site: www.sonnyshroyer.com

Below: Tube Talk Girl chats up Enos (Sonny Shroyer)
Interview transcript:
"‘Possum on a gum bush," if there was an award for the sweetest guy at DukesFest, Shroyer would win it, in my opinion. I was so comfortable chatting up the bumbling, deputy “dipstick” that I forgot to turn on my digital recorder. (Commence mocking now.) It turns out his father’s hometown is the very same one I live near now, and we talked about his memories of West Virginia. So, while I can’t bring you the transcript of my chat with Shroyer, I can tell you he’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. I can also give you these comments from Ben Jones about everyone’s favorite dipstick. “He’s a good ‘ol boy with a great gift for acting,” Jones said. “You see Sonny all the time (in movies) and not know it’s him because he’s so good. You’ll never met anybody who has a bad word to say about Sonny.” Here, here, Cooter. I couldn’t agree more.

Below: Rick Hurst (Cletus) and his younger son at DukesFest.

Rick Hurst
What he’s been up to: After the Dukes, he worked in films, including Steel Magnolias and The Karate Kid, Part III, as well as television including Melrose Place, The Guardian, The Wonder Years and M*A*S*H*.

Fun facts: James Best “Rosco” nicknamed him “Lugnuts” to Enos’ “Dipstick.” Ben Jones teased Hurst, at the press conference, that the cast is waiting for his son, TV and movie star Ryan Hurst, to land his own show so they can all “get some work.”

Below: Tube Talk Girl poses with Cletus (Rick Hurst.)

Interview transcript:
Jennifer: Where can we catch Rick now? What projects are you working on?
Rick: Well, you can catch Rick in Los Angeles. I’m working with my son Ryan on developing some projects. We have about five different things in development now. I’m also working with my younger son and his acting career. He’s doing shows out in California. My older son you can see him on Medium.
Jennifer: Who does he play on Medium?
Rick: He plays (Patricia Arquette’s) brother, who also has the gift and they’re trying to decide how to work out storylines involving his gift. And he starred in Remember the Titans
Jennifer: What’s it like seeing all your former co-stars again?
Rick: For me, it’s been the most amazing and beautiful experience. I’m thankful that we’re all together again.
Jennifer: Thank you Rick.
Rick: You’re very welcome!

Below: The lawmen of Hazzard prove they're still "Good 'ol Boys" and bust a move at the concert at DukesFest, and Rick Hurst and Sonny Shroyer catch up.

Above: James Best entertains the crowd, as Rosco P. Coltrane.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Invasion star signs on for "Prison Break"

by Jennifer Squires Biller

Invasion fans, Sheriff Tom Underlay is moving on. Instead of chasing aliens next season, he’ll be tracking down escaped convicts on Prison Break, according to Zap2it. As happy as I am for the talented William Fichtner, this news is bittersweet. I was hoping some network, or even ABC, would save my beloved Invasion from cancellation. I guess that isn’t happening, so I wish Fichtner and the rest of the Invasion cast the best of luck. Fichtner seems perfect for this new role. I’ve enjoyed him since his days on As The World Turns, and I’m sure he won’t disappoint in his new job. As for Eddie Cibrian (Russell on Invasion,) I’m hoping he and those dimples turn up in Neptune, or Seattle Grace or on that Lost island. He could be a real asset for our island of misfits if they suddenly start seeing lights in the water. Hey, it could happen. This is a place where Polar Bears and smoke-producing monsters live, remember.

Calling all couch potatoes: Tater Top Awards

by Jennifer Squires Biller

E!Online is having its annual Tater Top Awards and you still have time to vote for the season’s best TV moments/scenes/actors. This is one poll that the actors, networks and TV execs appreciate and enjoy, so get voting, Tubers. Now I would never be so bold as to tell you how to vote, but I will subtly suggest that you not forget that smoldering kiss between Smallville’s Clark and Chloe when voting for Best Kiss. (I’m sure Pam and Jim from NBC’s The Office are probably going to take that category, but Chlark fans, let’s make them work for it, OK?) I also have no shame in reminding you that Invasion was the Best New Show of the season, despite what ABC thinks, and it shouldn’t be forgotten when voting in the Best New Show category. The winners will be announced June 23. Have fun!

Friday, June 16, 2006

CBS announces summer schedule changes

by Jennifer Squires Biller

How I Met Your Mother airing twice on Mondays and Big Brother: All-Stars moves from Saturday to Sunday

Have you met Ted? Or Barney? OK, why not? Those of you who never got the chance to check out the CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother, now is the time. CBS announced Friday that beginning Monday, July 10, the show will get two Monday airings. Hmmm, I wonder what Barney would think of this move? The word “legendary” comes to mind, no?

Here is the complete press release from CBS about other summer schedule changes:

Saturday Edition of "Big Brother: All-Stars" Moves to Sundays at 8 PM While "Cold Case" and "Without a Trace" Move to Their New Fall Time Periods at 9 PM and 10 PM Respectively, Effective July 16

"NCIS" and "The Unit" Report for Temporary Friday Duty, Beginning July 7

"How I Met Your Mother" 'Suits Up' For an Additional 9:30 PM Broadcast, Beginning Monday, July 10

The July 5 Premiere of "Rock Star: Supernova" Expands to 90-Minutes

The houseguests of BIG BROTHER: ALL-STARS have a new home on Sundays, one of several summer scheduling changes announced today by CBS.

The Saturday edition of BIG BROTHER: ALL-STARS will move to Sunday (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT), followed by the relocation of COLD CASE (9:00-10:00 PM. ET/PT) and WITHOUT A TRACE (10:00-11:00 PM/PT) to their new fall time periods, effective July 16. The move of BIG BROTHER: ALL STARS to Sunday warms the time period for another reality series in the fall when THE AMAZING RACE moves to Sundays at 8 PM.

The Tuesday edition of BIG BROTHER: ALL-STARS (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) and Thursday edition (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) will not change.

WITHOUT A TRACE will continue to be broadcast in its current Thursday time period (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) through the remainder of the summer.

In other summer scheduling moves, the July 5 premiere of ROCK STAR: SUPERNOVA will be expanded to 90-minutes (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT), followed by a 90-minute CSI: MIAMI.

NCIS and THE UNIT will relocate to Fridays for the duration of the summer, effective July 7 with NCIS broadcast from 8:00-9:00 PM, followed by THE UNIT from 9:00-10:00 PM.

Also, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER will get two Monday airings, first in its regular 8:30-9:00 PM time period and another following TWO AND A HALF MEN (9:30-10:00 PM, ET/PT) beginning July 10. THE NEW ADVENTURE OF OLD CHRISTINE returns Aug. 7.

CBS's Revised Lineup for Tuesday, July 5

8:00-9:30 PM ROCK STAR: SUPERNOVA (Premiere)
9:30-11:00 PM CSI: MIAMI (R)

CBS's Revised Friday Lineup, Effective July 7

8:00-9:00 PM NCIS
9:00-10:00 PM THE UNIT
10:00-11:00 PM NUMB3RS

CBS's Revised Monday Lineup, Effective July 10

10:00-11:00 CSI: MIAMI

CBS'S Revised Sunday Lineup, Effective July 16

7:00-8:00 PM 60 MINUTES
8:00-9:00 PM BIG BROTHER: ALL-STARS (New Time Period)
9:00-10:00 PM COLD CASE (New Time Period)
10:00-11:00 PM WITHOUT A TRACE (New Time Period)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

"Surface" fans and "Everwood" fans try to save their shows

Save Surface
If you are a fan of the NBC show Surface, then you’ll want to check out http://www.savesurface.com/. The fans of the cancelled show have launched a campaign to find a new network to pick up the series. Fans are hoping the Sci-Fi channel will take the show, as it has already aired repeats of it. While I never got into Surface, I certainly understand the passion of fans to save a show they love. (Hello, my beloved Invasion!) The next fan effort to save Surface is a 19/19 Campaign in which fans are planning a mass e-mail and snail mail campaign June 19, exactly 19 weeks since NBC aired Surface. For more information on the Surface campaign, check out http://www.savesurface.com/

Save Everwood
Everwood fans are still in shock that the CW network chose 7th Heaven, instead of Everwood for its fall schedule. Fans of the show are working hard to try and change the network executives’ decision to kill Everwood. Check out the campaign efforts here at http://www.save-everwood.org/.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Save Invasion campaign turns to the skies

by Jennifer Squires Biller

Invasion fans aren’t giving up on their favorite show. The fine folks at the Save Invasion Campaign have informed me that Invasion fans have raised funds and hired a plane to fly over the ABC offices in Burbank and Hollywood, California, on Tuesday. The plane will start in Pacoima and be visible between the hours of 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. The plane will carry a banner that reads "ABC – SEE THE LIGHT! SAVE INVASION!"

I’m hoping ABC will get the message, loud and clear. This show is original and had decent ratings— not Lost or Desperate Housewives ratings — but a 9.2 Nielsen share isn’t too shabby. It scored better ratings than What About Brian, and that show was renewed. Don’t ask me to explain it, Invasion fans. I’m as baffled as you are.

Here’s the press release from the Save Invasion Campaign:

Amassing a worldwide fan base after just one season, ABC’s sci-fi drama, Invasion, created by Shaun Cassidy and produced by Shaun Cassidy Productions and Warner Brothers Television, has quickly spawned a grass-roots "Save Invasion Campaign" to reverse ABC's cancellation or convince another network to pick up the series. One of the Campaign’s early projects, aimed directly at ABC, is flying a banner plane, funded entirely by donations from fans, over ABC offices in Burbank and Hollywood, California on June 13, 2006.

The plane, starting in Pacoima and heading out over Hollywood, Burbank and then returning, will be visible in those areas between the hours of 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. Frank Mack, spokesperson for the Campaign, said "the banner message is directed at ABC and, more specifically, Entertainment President, Stephen McPherson because we want to highlight a statement Mr. McPherson made saying that ABC listens to its fans. It will also demonstrate to advertisers, other networks and, indeed all the ABC Executives and their Board of Directors, that there is a strong global fan base behind Invasion.”

"The banner flight is just one of the many projects we’re working on,” states Mack. “We’ve acquired 26,000 signatures on our online petition in a short time and it is constantly growing. Through a concentrated effort by the fans, water bottles with a "Save Invasion" label have been sent to the network along with individual letters and postcards. Many more projects aimed at ABC and other networks that should be interested in picking up Invasion are planned." “The show’s DVD set already has a strong global showing in advance orders and these sales, combined with our campaign efforts, will be instrumental in bringing Invasion back to television” says Mack.

For further information, please go to the Campaign's base at http://www.saveinvasion.net/

Friday, June 09, 2006

DukesFest 2006: Behind the scenes at the press conference with "The Dukes of Hazzard" cast

Tube Talk Girl poses with Cooter, aka Ben Jones, Hazzard County's favorite mechanic, at the press conference in Nashville, Tenn.

by Jennifer Squires Biller

Did you ever wonder what Bo, Luke and Cooter really thought of Daisy’s shorts? Do you know where Rosco P. Coltrane got his trademark chuckle and that infamous line “cuff ‘em and stuff ‘em?” Well, Dukes fans, wonder no more. I attended a press conference with The Dukes of Hazzard cast at Cooter’s Place, in Nashville, to ask those very questions and a whole lot more. Read on for a first-hand account of the DukesFest press conference.

L-R: The cast reunited. John Schneider, James Best, Ben Jones, Catherine Bach, Rick Hurst and Sonny Shroyer.

Dukes cast – beats all you ever saw
As a reporter for the past six years, I’ve covered a lot of press conferences. From politicians and government officials, to movie stars and directors, to law enforcement and business moguls, the press-conference atmosphere is usually predictable, sometimes tense, and dare I say it, boring. Leave it to the folks of Hazzard to do things differently and make me never want to cover another one of these events unless they’re involved.

There aren’t too many things in this world that can turn a room of professional reporters into giddy 8-year-olds again, but The Dukes of Hazzard cast seemed to do just that. I’m not sure who was more smitten— me — or the dude from ESPN, who upon completing his interview with “Daisy” (Catherine Bach) politely asked to get a picture with the woman who had been his “first crush.” I’m not mocking, folks. I was right there with him. I admit my hands were a little shaky during my interview with John Schneider (Bo Duke) but I managed to ask some semi-intelligent questions. My first impression was that he was tall. Really tall. And still gorgeous. He was also incredibly sweet. Uncle Jesse would have been proud. I’ve interviewed a lot of folks in this line of work, but it was beyond surreal chatting up the man whose face graced the posters in my bedroom in 1980.

Above: Tube Talk Girl poses with her first TV crush, John Schneider, aka Bo Duke

It was my first time visiting Cooter’s Place, and I was impressed with the amount of memorabilia compiled. I couldn’t help but wonder if the actors had donated all the props on display, or if someone had spent way too much time on eBay. There were autographed photos, actual pairs of Daisy Dukes worn by Bach, Rosco’s uniform, Daisy’s jeep, the General Lee and hordes of other vintage items such as a Dukes record player, toy action figures, walkie talkies, board games, food trays, lunch boxes and posters. The museum is a must-see for any Dukes fan.

We were told that after the cast arrived, they would take a few minutes to walk around the museum. We were allowed to follow and take pictures and chat with them. Then, after some brief remarks from Ben Jones, (Cooter) they would go on stage and answer my —oops— our burning questions. The cast seemed to enjoy looking through all the Dukes memorabilia as much as the press did. Bach checked out her old Daisy Dukes. Sonny Shroyer (Enos) peaked at the police car and Daisy’s jeep. But, the cast seemed most elated at getting to see one another again. A fiddler, from Cooter’s Garage Band, reflected the jovial mood and entertained the crowd with some down-home music, until the cast took the stage.

Above: John Schneider and James Best check out the Dukes museum.

Back in Hazzard
Jones gave an opening statement that this was the first time the cast had appeared together since the end of the show. He introduced the cast one by one, giving us updates on what they’d been up to since departing Hazzard. Schneider just finished up Smallville and is currently starring in a movie. Tom Wopat was nominated for a Tony on Broadway and continues to record music. Bach is a busy mom and has a new clothing line. Shroyer continues to act and has had roles in films such as Forest Gump and Ray. James Best (Rosco) is a painter and acting coach and still acts. Rick Hurst (Cletus) is also still acting, while helping his sons in the business. And Jones was a two-term congressman and currently operates the store Cooter’s Place. After the updates, Jones launched into some funny tales, Hazzard style.

“We started filming almost 28 years ago in Covington, Ga. in 1978. John was 11 or 12,” Jones joked, sending the crowd into a roar of laughter, before continuing his jab at Schneider. “It’s not right, you know. The only characters that are holding up extremely well are Schneider and the General Lee. The car has no gray hair, no rust, and no leaks.”

Jones explained that Tom Wopat (Luke Duke) was en route from Wisconsin, and his plane would be landing shortly, hopefully in time to join the other Dukes. Jones also introduced Stella Parton, the first Nashville musician to guest star on the series. He also spoke about the appeal of the show:

“It’s the kid in all of us; When we watch these shows, we’re young again,” Jones explained. “That part of us where youth springs eternal comes to the core, and we can all be 12-years-old again.”

Best (Rosco) took my question about whether his famous lines “I’m in hot pursuit” and “cuff ‘em and stuff ‘em” were scripted or ad-libbed.

“I’ll tell you the truth the writers didn’t care for me too much because I ad-libbed so much,” Best answered. “I had to make up stuff so I would be noticed in the series. I said, ‘I don’t want to play a sheriff who’s crooked and mean.’ I’d done that a hundred times. So with my little girls, I’d do that (Rosco mannerism of the stuttering voice/chuckle.) I went in (for the audition), and they asked me to be funny, so I did that and they fell off the couch. We’re all children at heart and that struck a chord. I’m a kid at heart, and that’s never gonna change.”

At this point, Jones asked Best to do some of “Rosco,” in character, as if he’d just crashed his police cruiser into the river. Best morphed into Rosco, seamlessly, and delivered this morsel of humor.

“Listen, Cooter…see. Everybody thinks I couldn’t drive. But I was pretty good. I’d climb a tree once in a while with the car, and I’d go into the pond, but I went in there because I’m a fisherman, and I like comfort.” The crowd erupted in applause and giggles. Now this is how you do a press conference.

Schneider answered a question about whether fans were divided between Bo and Luke. “The fans of Luke were older and couldn’t see as well,” Schneider joked. “It kind of goes back to the brunette/blonde thing. In the beginning Luke was the brains behind the driving, and I was the crazy one. Later on, I started driving.”

Bach was asked a question about Daisy’s wardrobe that evolved into her pulling out a pair of Daisy Dukes from her purse to show the audience that she now has her own clothing line. She modeled the Catherine Bach skirt she was wearing, along with a tank top she’d created. Her cast mates oohed and ahhed appreciatively, as Bach plugged her new clothing line available at www.catherinebach.com. Schneider then chimed in with his plug: “I’m working on a movie.” The crowd burst into laughter. Jones followed up with, “My wife and I have a store.” More laughter. Best added, “I brought some of my original paintings.” Complete uncontrollable laughter. And finally, “Flash has a line of dog biscuits,” Schneider added. Hysterical.

Catherine Bach models the denim skirt she created for her new clothing line.

During Bach’s bit, Jones took a moment to pay tribute to the legacy of Daisy Duke, as the cast nodded in agreement. “I don’t want to embarrass you Cathy, but you have the best legs in the history of legs,” Jones said. “All she had to do was walk by the camera and our ratings went up. No one ever wore those short shorts as well as the original Daisy Duke.” Schneider, the crew and the press applauded.

Shroyer was then asked a question about what he’s up to now, but quickly got sidetracked. He explained that after the Dukes, he went to James Best’s acting class.

“Don’t blame me,” Best shot back, as the crowd erupted into laughter.

Hurst then took a moment to say a few words about being reunited with his former co-workers. “I came a little late to the show, but these guys welcomed me with open hearts. Since that time, we have all come to be more than family. We are closer than you would expect for people that spent that much time together. You hear so many stories about TV casts getting cranky, but not this group.” At that point, Bach furrowed her brow and asked in disbelief, “We didn’t get cranky?” Best didn’t wait for anyone else to reply, “I got cranky a few times. But at my age what were they going to do?”

A reporter then asked a question about the obvious style difference between season one and the rest of the series. Jones explained that when the Dukes debuted in the 9 p.m. hour on Friday night “the dialogue was rougher, the situations were rougher, and it was a little bit wilder.” But, as ratings for The Incredible Hulk at 8 p.m. continued to slip, the Dukes took its place at the 8 p.m. family hour.

“All of us understood that responsibility,” Jones said. “We’d get notes: no more smoking in the Boar’s Nest. No more profanity. We were also gelling as a cast and finding out what worked and what didn’t.”

Schneider continued explaining how the move from 9 p.m. to 8 p.m. affected the cast. They made it their responsibility, as actors, to be careful of what they did on screen, he said.

“I remember we’d say, ‘Oh no, we can’t do that anymore. That was 9 o’clock and this is 8 o’clock,;” Schneider said. “Sometimes, we thought it was kind of silly. But now in retrospect when you do see that there is a marked difference between the first season and the rest of the show, I do remember that all of us, albeit sometimes reluctantly, made moral decisions every scene, that we would have to do it different because it was 8 o’clock, and we knew that younger kids were watching the show. It was not forced on us. It was suggested to us, and we all took to it very well, which was really unusual.” Schneider paused a moment, looking around the room at the cast. “And we had unusual relationships. People say to me, ‘Were you as close as it looked on the show?’ And I say, ‘We were closer.’ We still love each other. I’m proud of that.”

After the actors left the stage to do individual interviews, Wopat arrived. He joined in the fun for some one-on-one interviews, before the cast headed out to rehearse for their performance Friday night at the Grand Old Opry.

As I said, this press conference was the most fun I’ve ever had working. I can honestly say I’ve never seen such camaraderie among cast members. These folks were having fun reminiscing and answering our questions. It’s obvious they are close friends who enjoyed one another, which is, perhaps, the reason the show is still such a monstrous hit 27 years later.

Yep, that’s how they do it in Hazzard, folks.

Photo Gallery
John Schneider and James Best check out Catherine Bach's new line of denim shorts.

The Dukes cast records a greeting for CMT for the soldiers.

John Schneider answers questions at the press conference.

The cast reminisces about good times in Hazzard.

Tube Talk Girl gets "arrested" by Rosco P. Coltrane.

Cooter's Place, in Nashville, was the site of the press conference and a destination for fans throughout the weekend. Fans waited in line all weekend to get into the museum and store.

Some of Daisy's original Dukes hang in the museum at Cooter's Place.

Tube Talk Girl strikes a pose during her tour of the museum at Cooter's Place with some of her favorite guys.

Catherine Bach shows off her new Daisy Dukes and a tank top from her new clothing line. Her initials, CB, adorn the pocket of the denim shorts.

Boss Hogg's car outside of the museum was a crowd favorite for photos, along with several General Lees.

Rick Hurst and Sonny Shroyer having fun at the press conference.

Ben Jones' dog looks a lot like Flash and attended the press conference, too.

Tube Talk Girl checks out the Hazzard County Sheriff's patrol car.

Travis, from Cooter's Garage Band, entertained the press while waiting for the event to begin.

Stella Parton was the first Nashville musical guest star on the show. Dolly's sister performed at DukesFest and took a moment to pose with Tube Talk Girl.

The cast performs at The Grand Old Opry and sings their theme song Good 'Ol Boys with country star Andy Griggs. The cast paid tribute to deceased Dukes cast members Denver Pyle (Uncle Jesse) and Sorrell Booke (Boss Hogg.)

Dukes fan Daniel Wigley, of Mississippi, carries his '69 Dodge Charger hood to get it autographed by the cast.

Below: The museum at Cooter's Place has a General Lee on display, with Uncle Jesse and the gang in the background.
John Schneider and Tom Wopat take a break before hitting the stage to greet fans.

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