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TV Espresso: News Items for Weds., December 7, 2011

Gilligans Island Dawn WellsIt looks like a fourth Transformers movie is in the works, there’s been a new House of Payne agreement, an upcoming Absolutely Fabulous special, John Astin from The Addams Family is honored, Dawn Wells from Gilligan’s Island remains busy, a casting pro has died, and dates in TV history.

Marion Dougherty
A veteran casting director, who helped define the contemporary role of her profession, has died at the age of 88. Marion Dougherty passed away on December 4th in Manhattan of natural causes and had been ailing from heart disease. In her long career, she was the head of casting at Paramount for three years and then at Warner Bros. for nearly 30 years. Dougherty provided the first breaks to numerous actors — including Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, Anne Bancroft, Glenn Close, Danny Glover, Debra Winger, Matthew McConaughey, and Christopher Walken. She got her start in television and cast Kraft Television Theater for eight years. Among the actors she hired was James Dean.

Gilligan’s Island
Dawn Wells, better known as Mary Ann Summers to TV viewers, is 73 years old but shows no sign of slowing down. In addition to running her film festival in Idaho, she’s still acting (starring in a Chicago production of Love, Loss, and What I Wore), and is writing a book that will be a conversation between Wells and Mary Ann. There are only three surviving actors from the beloved 1964-67 series and are coincidentally the last three in the show’s opening credits; Tina Louise, Russell Johnson (in his late 80s and retired), and Wells.

The Addams Family
Gomez has his own theatre now! The renovated theater in the Johns Hopkins University’s Merrick Barn has been renamed “The John Astin Theatre.” The 104-seat performing space recently underwent a $210,000 makeover. Astin is a graduate of John Hopkins, has taught at the university since 2001, and is credited with revitalizing the school’s theatre program. His close friend, Ed Asner, was on hand for the ceremony on Saturday night.

Absolutely Fabulous
The Absolutely Fabulous 20th Anniversary Special will premiere on Sunday, January 8th, on BBC America and Logo. The new special is one of three that are being produced and will reunite Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley. This special is written by Saunders and will feature a homecoming for one of the ladies as she returns with a slightly scary new best friend. Bubble (Jane Horrocks) re-enacts the royal wedding.

House of Payne
You may recall that, three years ago, there was a writers labor dispute that resulted in picket lines outside of Tyler Perry Studios. The production company had fired four writers from House of Payne when they sought union representation. The Writers Guild staged demonstrations outside Perry’s Atlanta office and the company ultimately relented and let their writers unionize. The Writers Guild of America, East has now announced that it has reached a collective bargaining agreement covering the TBS TV show.

Transformers
It’s being reported that Michael Bay will direct a fourth Transformers movie. He could begin working on the feature film by winter 2012. According to Vulture, the movie won’t be a prequel but “will delve deeper into Transformers canon to mine older characters and lore.”

ON THIS DAY
2008: The first episode of Leverage aired on TNT.

2007: The last episode of Blood Ties ran on Lifetime.

2006: Isabella Turk was born on Scrubs on NBC.

1988: The 100th episode of Highway to Heaven aired on NBC.

1985: NBC broadcast the 200th episode of Saturday Night Live.

1947: Television Playhouse debuted on NBC.

What do you think? Would you be interested in checking out Dawn Wells’ book? Are you a fan of the Ab Fab ladies? Are you interested in a fourth Transformers movie?

 

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Greg December 9, 2011 at 9:44 am

Glad to see Mary Anne still working. She’s a great person.

Re: Transformers, the last movie made my eyes hurt it was so bad. Let someone else direct for a while or get all new writers. This franchise is really being killed here. And this is from a big 1980’s transformers fan.

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Kat December 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Wow, so, judging by that list of names, the movie industry would look a lot different today if not for Marion Dougherty. I mean, a lot of those folks are supremely talented and likely would’ve made it big anyway, but who knows?

Anyhow, about Transformers… is there anything else in the film industry as narcissistic as this tribute to Michael Bay? His behavior is allowed to go on unchecked, going so far as to fire an actress playing one of the main characters because she insulted him. How can they let him do that, it’s ridiculous? She had cause enough to say what she did, especially after his idiotic “casting” process. I wasn’t a fan of the movies to begin with, but it got even worse after they dumped the love story in favor of the main character having a sugar momma. I know they won’t do it, but they should dump Michael Bay and bring back Megan Fox. The last movie was bad enough, they have to make another one?

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Kat December 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm

What’s funny is that Michael Bay is more of a character than any of the ciphers in the movies themselves — watching the last one (which someone else had rented) I kept thinking, “Michael Bay, you bastard! What did [insert human or robot name here] ever do to you??” whenever something bad happened. It seemed more like he was the main villain of the piece than anyone else. The highlight of the entire film was Alan Tudyk in a very minor role.

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