Search This Blog

donderdag 9 augustus 2012

'Breaking Bad' Creator Vince Gilligan On Walt's Sins And His Future

'Breaking Bad' Creator Vince Gilligan On Walt's Sins And His Future

Given that my interview with "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan veered into matters of morality and questionable choices, maybe it's appropriate that my visit to the show's writers' room was very tempting.

All around the walls of the room were whiteboards that contained outlines or ideas for future episodes of the show -- including the final eight episodes, which Gilligan and his writers are fine-tuning now. After a short break, on Aug. 6 they returned to their toy-strewn offices on a non-descript street in Burbank, Calif., to work on next year's final run of episodes.

Once Gilligan told me what was on the boards leaning against the walls, part of me wanted to look at them (they'd been turned around, so no brain-melting plot points were visible). But in the final analysis, I wasn't really all that tempted to find out what happens next. If any show has earned the right to tell its story its own way and with the maximum number of well-earned surprises, it's "Breaking Bad" (Sundays at 10 p.m. ET), which is about halfway through its run of eight 2012 episodes.

In the hourlong interview (which is embedded below; you can also download it as a podcast here or here), Gilligan talked about that element of surprise -- about building on facts known by the audience and introducing ones that may be shocking at first, but on further review, fit in to the narrative perfectly. He referenced a interview he'd read with composer Henry Mancini, who, according to Gilligan, was asked about composers he found "interesting."

"'Interesting is fine, but anybody can be interesting by just juxtaposing things that don't necessarily go together,'" Gilligan said, recalling the composer's answer. "'I like to build toward something that feels inevitable.' I think I understand what he meant and I agree with it completely."

As he put it, "You do want the audience feeling like you're steering the ship," but he noted that many of the show's most memorable characters and moments were the result of improvisation. Gus, Mike and Saul arrived to fulfill specific plot purposes that could well have been limited to a few episodes. In fact, there would have been no Gus Fring on "Breaking Bad" had Raymond Cruz not been unavailable due to his commitments to "The Closer."

"We didn't necessarily have great long-range plans for any of them when they first appeared," Gilligan said. But the writers not only responded to the fine work of Giancarlo Esposito, Jonathan Banks and Bob Odenkirk, they have, as Gilligan said, worked hard to keep the show true to its theme of reinvention and change.

In fact, when there was wavering about when to kill off Gus, Gilligan said his writers reminded him that the show is "about transformation. It's about a main character turning himself from a good guy turning himself into a bad guy. To that end, transformation should always be ongoing," Gilligan said.

More challenges the "Breaking Bad" team set for themselves: Telling stories visually whenever possible, and not doing the obvious (unless doing the obvious made the most sense). According to Gilligan, that kind of thinking has guided the methods the show has used to open up its world beyond Albuquerque and Mexico to include the multinational Madrigal corporation. The obvious conclusion would be that a "Darth Vader" kind of character must run Madrigal, given how fearsome a mid-level manager like Gus was.

Hence Gilligan was "tickled" by the opening scene of Episode 2 of Season 5, in which a glum, non-Vader-ish German executive sat through a presentation on "Franch" dressing and tater tots. (Fun fact: Gilligan and his team thought about leaving subtitles off that food-lab scene, but elected to use them in the end, given the inherent humor of the word "Franch").

"We love subverting expectations on this show," Gilligan said.

Gilligan is cagy about the details of how the show will end -- as you'd want him to be -- but he did allow that those wanting to know more about the diner scene that kicked off the final season should "be patient" because the payoff "might not be this year."

But what about the moral payoff? We began the interview by discussing whether it was important that Jesse and Hank know everything that Walt has done to them. Should they find out about all the mind-bending scams he has perpetrated on them? Those horrific secrets and lies are, after all, the storytelling equivalents of Chekhov's gun, but as we've seen, knowledge of Walt's deeds has brought nothing but misery to his wife, Skyler.

As Gilligan said, it might well destroy Jesse to know all the ways in which "Mr. White" has betrayed him. As for Hank, Gilligan noted that -- theoretically, of course -- finding out the truth could be devastating to the DEA agent as well. But, while taking pains to say that he wasn't saying what would happen in the show's home stretch, he did say that, "in abstract terms, when the prime force for law and order in this TV show has been working toward finding the identity of Heisenberg for five years … from a viewers point of view, it would be very unsatisfying if he were never to learn the truth."

What about Walt's cancer? Another fun fact (well, "fun" as it's defined within the dark world of "Breaking Bad"): Walt was shown taking a pill in a diner bathroom in the Season 5 premiere, but that scene was shot two ways (an alternate take did not show him taking the pill). Ultimately the pill scene was used, but we still don't know if it was aspirin or something much stronger.

Cancer "jumpstarted him into this world and into this story we are telling, [and] we certainly don't intend to drop the cancer as an element of our show," Gilligan said. "Having said that, how we bring it back up or keep it alive, so to speak, in story terms… have no assumptions."

Over the course of the hour, Gilligan and I talked about a number of things, including Walt's illusion of control over his circumstances, the way the show uses mundane settings to tell a quietly epic story about good and evil, and about Jesse Plemons' new character, an exterminator name Todd, whom Gilligan says is "not as intelligent" as Plemons' "Friday Night Lights" character, Landry.

Our discussion ended with me bringing up one of my favorite things about "Breaking Bad": Its clear and yet complex treatment of morality. Gilligan actually used the word "sin" in our discussion -- a word that can very easily get tangled up in knee-jerk assumptions and the judgments of self-appointed cultural morality police.

But as someone who, like Gilligan, was raised Catholic, I've long believed that one of the show's strengths is its intelligent and even compassionate exploration of sin, guilt, good, evil and the consequences of altruistic and selfish choices. Nothing about "Breaking Bad" offers a moral prescription, yet, as I wrote earlier this year, it offers an exceptionally clear-eyed and honest appraisal of one man's soul-destroying delusions and ultimate selfishness. "Sin" is a concept that people of many faiths and belief systems have struggled to define for millennia, yet it's a word you don't often hear uttered in conversations about challenging art; however you feel about it as a concept, the word simply comes with a lot of baggage.

But sin lives at the center of this show, which, like many great works, has not supplied answers as much as it's asked fascinating questions.

"I have to speak for myself, I can't speak for anyone else, but I like the idea that there's a point to it all. I like the idea that if you're really a rotten human being, you don't prosper for it. Not in the end. Day by day, you might, but there's some sort of comeuppance, some kind of karma, whatever you want to call it," Gilligan said. "Conversely, if, as most of us hope to be, you're a good person, it all kind of works out in the end. But I don't know that the world is really like that.

"I think it's a basic human need to want to believe that the world is fair," he continued. "Of course we live in a world that seems grotesquely unfair… I like that feeling on this show… [that] every action has a consequence. I think I respond to that. I think that feels right to me -- that every bad thing Walt does comes back on him, that it has a consequence. … Maybe on some level what I'm intending is to explore a world where actions do have consequences. They do in our real life, we know that. Is there some final tally in which the balance sheet evens out? If it doesn't exist in this world -- I can't say whether it does or it doesn't. But maybe it will in this made-up world of 'Breaking Bad.'"

'X Factor' series nine start date revealed

X Factor's ninth series will kick off on August 18, it has been revealed.

Gary Barlow, Nicole Scherzinger, Tulisa Contostavlos and Louis Walsh will start the search for Britain's next great musical star later this month. Spice Girls Geri Halliwell and Mel B, Anastacia, Rita Ora and Leona Lewis were guest judges during the audition rounds.

The show is currently scheduled to air between 8pm and 9.15pm, between a double bill of Ant & Dec's big-money gameshow Red or Black?

Dermot O'Leary returns to host for his sixth series, while Caroline Flack and Olly Murs will present ITV2 spinoff Xtra Factor for a second year.

It was revealed at the weekend that show bosses are considering a new twist to this year's final, which will include the acts duetting with legends such as Amy Winehouse, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson via 3D holograms.

Previous winners of the talent show have included Little Mix, Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke and Matt Cardle.

FX Inks First-Look Deal With 'Hunger Games,' 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' Producers

FX Productions has landed a first-look deal with Color Force, the production company owned by "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" duo Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson, FX said Wednesday. The deal, which covers cable television, marks Color Force's first TV venture and FX Productions' first "pod" deal.

Under the agreement, Color Force will develop series projects from writers-producers and secure rights to published material for series adaptation.

“Over the past 20 years, Nina Jacobson has amassed one of the most successful bodies of work in the film business, both as an executive and a producer,” FX Networks president and general manager John Landgraf said i a statement. “We are thrilled that she and Brad Simpson have chosen to partner with FX Productions for their first venture into television.”

Jacobson noted that the deal with FX Productions was "creatively irresistible."

"Color Force truly values story and character and there is so much great storytelling happening in TV right now, especially at FX," Jacobson said. "John Landgraf and his team are real risk takers who make some of our favorite shows and they feel like a great fit for us. Color Force plans to approach TV the same way we do features — by creating an environment in which singular voices can flourish," said Jacobson.

Jacobson and Simpson served as producers on the 2010 film "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and its recent sequel, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days." She also served as a producer on the hugely successful "Hunger Games," which Color Force co-produced, and will do so on the upcoming sequels to "Hunger Games," based on Suzanne Collins' series of young adult novels.

Joan Rivers Compares Costco to Nazis After Book Protest

Joan Rivers blasted retailer Costco following her protest at a Burbank, Calif. store on Tuesday night, likening the company to the Nazi party for not carrying her new book "I Hate Everyone ... Starting With Me."

Rivers caused a commotion at the Burbank Costco by chaining herself to a shopping cart and ranting into a bullhorn. Burbank police were called to the scene, and Rivers eventually left.

After the protest, Rivers -- who says that Costco refuses to carry her book because of a vulgarity on the back cover -- told TV station KTLA that the company's decision was akin to "the beginning of Nazi Germany."

"It's about First Amendment rights," the 79-year-old Rivers insisted. "Costco banned my book because of one word on the back cover. I feel this is a country where people should have the right to have the literature they want. This is the beginning of Nazi Germany."

For what it's worth, Rivers has been known to erroneously claim banishment in the past. Last January, she claimed to have been banned from Fox News after criticizing former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Fox explained that Rivers' appearance was mistakenly canceled, and that the network was attempting to book her on an upcoming show.

David Tennant talks 'Doctor Who' return: 'I cannot confirm nor deny'

David Tennant has addressed rumours that he will return to Doctor Who.

The BBC sci-fi drama celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2013, with a number of former Who stars rumoured to be making a comeback.

Tennant discussed a possible reappearance on G4's Attack of the Show! while promoting his new BBC Four drama The Spies Of Warsaw.

"I cannot be drawn on anything," he said. "Who knows what will happen next year? I'm sure there are lots of plans being discussed."

He added: "I am not confirming nor denying anything."

Tennant's Tenth Doctor - the show's lead between 2005 and 2010 - was seen lighting the Olympic Flame in 2006 episode 'Fear Her'.

The 41-year-old Scot joked about his absence from the recent London 2012 opening ceremony, saying: "What happened? What went wrong? I was waiting for the phone call... there was an online petition apparently, which the London Organising Committee chose to ignore!"

Doctor Who returns to BBC One this August for a third series with current star Matt Smith.

Pink rejected 'X Factor', 'Idol', 'The Voice': 'People would hate me'

Pink has revealed that she turned down offers to judge The X Factor, American Idol and The Voice.

The 'Blow Me (One Last Kiss)' singer declined the roles because she felt viewers would "hate" her for giving contestants the truth.

"I was offered The Voice in Australia plus American Idol and The X Factor," she confirmed to Australia's Herald Sun. "I said no because you can't be honest.

"People will hate you if you're honest. Simon Cowell is the only person who gets away with it because he's got an accent. And he's a man.

"People would just hate me more than they already do. I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings. Besides, you can sing karaoke anywhere."

Pink has also confirmed that she will collaborate with Eminem on her forthcoming album The Truth About Love.

The singer's sixth studio LP is released in the UK on September 17 and a day later in the US.

Celebrity Big Brother 'increases security over celeb fight fears'

Celebrity Big Brother producers are reportedly increasing security at the house because of fears over rivalries between the star contestants.

The Channel 5 show's bosses are concerned that glamour model Rhian Sugden and Simon Cowell's ex Jasmine Lennard could "fly into a rage", according to the Daily Star.

Sugden and Lennard reportedly dated Portuguese football ace Ronaldo at the same time during his stint at Manchester United.

Meanwhile, there are also concerns about Sugden and TV presenter Coleen Nolan, because of the model's sex text 'affair' with Vernon Kay.

Nolan is close friends with Kay's wife Tess Daly.

Celebrities rumoured to be taking part include Duane Chapman aka Dog the Bounty Hunter, former EastEnders actress Cheryl Fergison, Sex, Lies and Rinsing Guys documentary star Danica Thrall, So Solid Crew's MC Harvey, comic Julian Clary and Corrie icon Julie Goodyear.

Channel 5 ordered a second run of Celeb Big Brother for 2012, following the ratings success of the Denise Welch, Michael Madsen and Frankie Cocozza series in January.

The Celebrity run will last 23 days.

Robert Zemeckis Makes TV Deal With Fox Television Studios

Fox Television Studios has made an overall deal with Academy Award-winning director and producer Robert Zemeckis and producing partner Jack Rapke to develop and produce original TV shows for cable.

Zemeckis -- director of “Forrest Gump,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” and the “Back to the Future” trilogy -- formed ImageMovers with Rapke and partner Steve Starkey in 1998. Their first feature was the critically acclaimed “Cast Away,” directed by Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks. Their other hits include “What Lies Beneath” starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer, and Ridley Scott's “Matchstick Men,” starring Nicolas Cage.

The partners also executive produce the Showtime series “The Borgias,” starring Jeremy Irons, which is in production on its third season. Their most recent film “Flight,” directed by Zemeckis, starring Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle and John Goodman, is due in theaters Nov. 2.

“Bob and Jack are a rare breed, as gifted and accomplished creatively as they are in production; we are excited and determined to make them as much of a dynamic brand in television as they are in film," said Fox Television Studios President David Madden. "I take particular personal pleasure in forming this new relationship with Bob, whom I worked with as an executive on his ‘Romancing The Stone,’ and with Jack, whom I made so many deals with during his years as a superstar directors' agent at CAA. So we’re looking optimistically back to the future.”

Fox Television Studios currently produces the hit series “Burn Notice,” now in its sixth season, and “White Collar,” now in its fourth season, both for USA. It recently wrapped season three production on A&E’s hit series “The Glades,” as well as the FX pilot “The Americans.” Its unscripted programming includes the competition series “The Great Escape” for TNT.

Zach Woodlee On 'The Glee Project' Contenders, Ryan Murphy And 'Glee' Season 4's 'New Magic'

"Glee" choreographer Zach Woodlee stars in Oxygen's "The Glee Project."

As any fan of "The Glee Project" knows, Zach Woodlee might be the smiliest person on TV. But it's not like the "Glee" choreographer can help it. "I have so many photos of me where I'm laughing like a crazy person," Woodlee told. "I don't know what it is, but I just go with it."

For years Woodlee has been churning out high-energy dance numbers for Fox's hit comedy "Glee," but lately he's been bringing his enthusiasm to the set of Oxygen's "The Glee Project." The search for the next "Glee" star hasn't been easy, especially when the remaining five -- Aylin, Michael, Lily, Ali and Blake -- all "deserve to be on the show," according to Woodlee.

We caught up with Woodlee -- after his morning "Glee" rehearsal -- to talk about the remaining "Glee Project" contenders, his infamous "Bruise Wall," what it's like to work with Ryan Murphy and why "Glee" Season 4 feels "like the beginning again."

How does it feel being the most smiley person on TV?
[Laughs.] Oh God. I can't even tell you the anxiety I get from being around those cameras!

Is that why you laugh so much? You're just really nervous?
In general, I tend to laugh too much. I always try to tell myself not to, but I think that's just part of getting through the job. It's not rocket science. I want to have a good time!

Have you seen the gifs of your laugh that fans have made?
Someone sent me two of them, and it was sort of mortifying. But it's funny because I've been doing this for years. I've spent every single Christmas since I was tiny -- I literally have a photo with Santa where I'm doing it -- and practically every birthday just laughing like a crazy person. I don't know what it is, but I just go with it.

Heading into Tuesday night's episode, there are only five contenders left: Blake, Aylin, Aly, Lily and Michael. What do you think each hopeful can offer "Glee?"
As we're going through the process, for Robert [Ulrich], Nikki [Anders] and I, nurturing them has always been the goal. They all deserve to be on the scripted show, and they all could be on the show. It's bittersweet looking back at the whole competition, but these five all have the drive. They all want it, and they all have the talent. It's going to be about seeing who can put it over the edge.

Blake: I think Blake is definitely a frontrunner. He's sort of the sleep cell, who gets better and better. He's fascinating to watch. He doesn't like to cater to anything that he considers weak about himself. He puts on a game face, and you would never know about his anxiety. He's just like all of us; we don't really know what we're doing, but let's just keep going and see what happens.

Ali: To me, Ali is a professional. She gets it before you even have to make a correction. She's extremely aware. I think that's partly the reason she got so far. She knows how to make everything work in her favor.

Lily: What Lily has going for her is her absolute, unabashed bold self, and that will take you pretty far. Ryan [Murphy] loves a diva! He loves a strong opinion, and that's what Lily has, and I think that has not only helped her in this competition, but it's also helped her in her life. Lily's story is, "Look at me. I'm beautiful, and I'm a big girl who can do it all." She has a lot of self-confidence.

Michael: Michael is so interesting! Did they even say on the show that his mother sent him a care package with calculus books? He loves math! It's really charming. I don't think they've shown enough of his quirks. Ryan at one point, compared Michael and Blake, and it's funny because I tried early on to pair those guys up and see who was stronger than the other. In the "Dance-Ability" episode, I intentionally put those two next to each other. I thought that one of them would shine and one of them would fail, but then they turned out to be the best two people there! I think Michael is the underdog. He's one of the least experienced, but his ability to pick things up quickly is what got him this far. Every week, he gets better and better.

Aylin: Sometimes television eats the life out of a live performance, but Aylin has a way to pierce through you. She's so accessible. On the show, they really haven't painted her as accessible as she really is. When she sings, she will get into your soul, and it's amazing. When you're around her, there's a spark. She was my pick during callbacks. I knew that she was a star. There's something about her that makes you go, "Oh my gosh. You're incredible!" You just gravitate toward her.

I know that you have a "Bruise Wall" for your "Glee" actors. Did you have one for "The Glee Project" contenders?
No, there wasn't a wall, but there were definitely injuries! I don't think that viewers ever saw Shanna's kneecap injury. It wasn't during dance rehearsals -- thank God -- but she fell up the stairs and shattered her kneecap. The next time I saw her, she was like, "Feel my knee," and you could literally push parts of her kneecap around. She was wearing that knee brace and doing everything with a broken kneecap!

What's it like working with Ryan Murphy?
[Laughs.] Working with Ryan ... in the weirdest way, it's inspiring. From the pilot, when I went into the interview, I knew that what you see is what you get with Ryan. We both have strong opinions. Sometimes people come into contact with him and they feel more intimidated than they should, and Ryan doesn't really respect that. He loves a strong opinion. I don't feel bad if I tell him I disagree with him, and we'll work through it.

I think you see that play out on "The Glee Project."
And they haven't even shown everything! We bicker.

Was there one contestant that was sent home that you thought went home too early?
The top six or seven -- I love them all. Nellie and Shanna were very difficult for me to say goodbye to. With Nellie, we were always trying to pull her out of her shell. She was just really uncomfortable, and at a certain point, it seemed unfair to some of the other contenders. It's not that we were holding her hand throughout the process -- and in a way, we were -- but we needed her to take that final step and it just never happened. I love Nellie. Her voice is insane, and I think that her naivety and the way that she was in front of a camera read as this innocent youth. She was like a real-life Rachel Berry.

I know that you're in the middle of shooting "Glee" Season 4.
It's different now. There's new storylines. I still see them, and we still have big group numbers, but as far as what that initial group was, that will never happen again. That's a bit of a legacy. I think what stung was in the finale, when the original five explained "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" to some of the new members of New Directions. That was my final rehearsal of Season 3, and for us, it was strange because that was my very first rehearsal for the pilot. Kevin [McHale] was like, "Oh my gosh. This is when we met." That was the first day that I met Kevin, Amber [Riley], Lea [Michele], Jenna [Ushkowitz] and Chris [Colfer]. We all just sat there and started crying!

We know that there's going to be another Britney Spears tribute this season. What can we expect?
There's a lot in this Britney episode. It opens up with a huge number. That's actually what I'm going to rehearse now! I'm very excited about it. It's kind of mixing things that we're never done before.

Are you excited to work with the new members of New Directions?
Just wait! One of the new characters came in, and we did a dance evaluation. This person was like, "I can tumble," and started to do flips for me. And one was like, "Oh, I can tap dance!" My jaw dropped. I was like, "Oh my god. I have someone on New Directions who can really dance, besides Heather [Morris] and Harry [Shum Jr.]. This is amazing!" We've been shooting now for a couple of weeks and seeing the new group form has a whiff of the beginning again. There's a new magic. It feels fresh again. Seeing all of these new faces and incorporating the ones that we already have, it's a new fiber in the show. And then we have Lea and Chris' storylines. I'm really excited!

Now that Rachel is in New York, will we see you pop up in "Glee" as a NYADA choreographer?
I seriously doubt that I would be on the scripted show. [Laughs.] I love being behind-the-camera. I would be like, "You guys, I don't know what's happening. I can't be here!" Rachel definitely has some dance classes, and her teacher is stellar. She's got a good teacher!

I hear that you're finally getting a Twitter account this week. Now that Ryan Murphy is on Twitter, did you feel the need to get one too?
Oh god. Lady Murphy on Twitter? Maybe the Mayans were right and the world really is going to end soon! Once I can verify my account, I will have a Twitter.

Who Earns What: TV's Highest Paid Stars

If Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard worked as a TV actress today, her famous line would be: "I am big. It's the paychecks that got small."

Networks and studios have continued to take a hard line on holding down salaries, based on annual survey drawn from conversations with agents, network executives and studio heads. Rare is the lead actor who can enter a new series earning more than $125,000 an episode. The exceptions are those with a ratings track rec­ord of having a major hit show (Matthew Perry) or a significant career in feature films (Kevin Bacon).

Premium cable networks such as HBO and Showtime can go higher with series that produce only 13 episodes a year. But newcomers to shows with ensemble casts earn around $30,000 or less per episode. Established mid-level actors are seeing lower rates as well. "The third role down, there are no qualms in sending out offers that are way below an actor's price quotes," one agent notes. "The actor who made $75,000 a couple of years ago is now being offered $50,000 or $60,000."

The television industry can thank the feature-film business for creating the current buyers' market. Movie studios are now driven by big-budget action thrillers that play well internationally, leaving little work for actors who made their living in genre movies, romantic comedies and family films. "Theatrical talent is coming into television, and that's pushing the price of television people down," says one network president. A tough economic climate — and smaller ratings — has also given TV executives the courage to say no. "They say we have no money and they hold firm," according to one talent manager.

So how can the stars of Modern Family be getting raises that more than double their salaries? "When you've got a hit show, all bets are off," says one network entertainment president. The cast was united in seeking a share of the fortune the show's studio, 20th Century Fox Television, stands to make from syndicated reruns of the hit ABC comedy (USA Network is already committed to $1.5 million per episode). But executives believe the recent brief standoff was a standard renegotiation for a successful series and will have no effect on actor pay scales for new shows going forward.

Networks are paying more on the reality side, where major names are being sought to create buzz and ratings. Howard Stern picked up $15 million to join America's Got Talent. Mariah Carey will get around $17 million to join American Idol. Compared to the challenges of the music business, a seat at the judges' table seems a lucrative way for recording artists looking to keep up their public profiles. "You have to do a lot of touring and sell a lot of downloads to make the money you used to make," says Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly. Stars like Carey don't come cheap, but reality competition shows are among the most profitable in prime time. Says Reilly, "If bringing some of the biggest names in the business generates a new dynamic and some viewing interest, that's a smart investment."

Check out highlights from each category below.

Drama (per episode)
Mark Harmon (NCIS): $500,000
Ellen Pompeo (Grey's Anatomy): $350,000
Kevin Bacon (The Following): $175,000
Lucy Liu (Elementary): $125,000
Stephen Amell (Arrow): $30,000

Comedy (per episode)
Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men): $700,000
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory): $300,000
Modern Family Adult Cast: $175,000 each
Lea Michele (Glee): $75,000
Crystal the Monkey (Animal Practice): $12,000

Late Night (per year)
David Letterman: $28 million
Jay Leno: $25 million
Jon Stewart: $16 million
Craig Ferguson: $8 million
Chelsea Handler: $8 million

Daytime/Syndication (per year)
Judy Sheindlin (Judge Judy): $45 million
Joe Brown (Judge Joe Brown): $20 million
Kelly Ripa (Live! With Kelly): $20 million
Sherri Shepherd (The View): $1.5 million
Mario Batali (The Chew): $6,000 per episode

Mariah Carey (American Idol): $17 million per season
Howard Stern (America's Got Talent): $15 million per season
Pauly DelVecchio (Jersey Shore): $175,000 per episode
Betty White (Off Their Rockers): $50,000 per episode
Landry Family (Swamp People): $25,000 per episode

News (per year)
Matt Lauer (Today): $21.5 million
Bill O'Reilly (The O'Reilly Factor): $15 million
Diane Sawyer (ABC World News): $12 million
Anderson Cooper (Anderson Cooper 360 and Anderson Live): $11 million
Robin Meade (HLN anchor): $750,000

J.H Wyman talks Fringe season 5

Each Fringe fan likely has their own view on what constitutes a proper ending for the show, but showrunner J.H Wyman is one of the few who know precisely where it's heading in the final thirteen episodes. Speaking to Collider, Wyman assured viewers that he’s “…not interested in leaving it open-ended. I wouldn’t be satisfied […] I just wouldn’t want to pull a trick like that on the viewers. I really want to reward them.”

What form will the reward take? In part, the reappearance of some old friends and plot points by the sounds of it. “Another part of the challenge” Wyman continued, “was to bring back things that you’ve forgotten about, recontextualize them and have the series make sense. That was really a big part of what I was after, to make sure that [the viewers] would say, ‘Oh my gosh, I thought they forgot about that, but they didn’t.’ There’s going to be a lot of that. There’s one, specifically that’s going to be very impactful, I hope.”

Wyman confirmed that the fifth series was to be set in 2036, “…and you’re going to see this new nuclear, really messed up family that’s trying to hold it all together. That’s where I’m going to focus. […] The Fringe team 2.0 is really, really important. You are going to find Anna’s [Torv, Olivia on the show] re-involvement in a very special and unique way.”

Why 2036? “We just figured that it would be a good age for Etta to be a part of the Fringe division […] We just thought that was the right time because she could be old enough to have made an impact in her own life, becoming a Fringe division agent, working for the underground. Her history was fascinating to us. What happened to her? Where did she go? Who raised her?”

Speaking of Etta, Wyman had a few words to say on the reunion between Peter and Olivia:

“What’s really key is what happens after they get out of amber and what has happened. The questions people should be asking, which are interesting, are ‘From the time Etta disappeared, what happened to them? How did they end up in amber?’ […] Not a lot of people are asking that, which I find interesting because there’s a large story there.”

And just how did the amber get here? “It was here in season 1, but you just didn’t know it. There was a bust in season 1, when they were trying to figure out the patter, that looked like a weapon and people thought it was a weapon of mass destruction, but it was amber. Now, we explain what amber is.”

Though Wyman wouldn’t be drawn on giving away more of the plot than that, he did reveal that further guest stars had been lined up to appear, though the show won’t necessarily be trailing them heavily beforehand, “I think it will be really fun to do it with no advertising, so that people go, ‘Is that? Yeah, that’s who it is!’”.

And finally, we can all rest assured: Walter will indeed be getting a new cow.

Fringe returns to Fox for its final 13-episode season on Friday the 28th of September.

TV Tonight 9th of August 2012

The daily list in alphabetical order, of all the new episodes airing.

    Anger Management S01E08: "Charlie Outs A Patient"
    Auction Kings S03E21: "Skee-Ball/Antique Fishing Gear"
    Awkward S02E07: "Another One Bites the Dust"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E168: "Olympic Games - 168"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E172: "Olympic Games - 172"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E176: "Olympic Games - 176"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E167: "Olympic Games - 167"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E171: "Olympic Games - 171"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E175: "Olympic Games - 175"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E166: "Olympic Games - 166"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E170: "Olympic Games - 170"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E174: "Olympic Games - 174"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E178: "Olympic Sportsday"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E165: "Olympic Games - 165"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E169: "Olympic Games - 169"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E173: "Olympic Games - 173"
    BBC Olympic Games 2012 S01E177: "Olympics Tonight"
    Beautiful Homes S01E28: "Architectural Accents and Tone"
    Behind Mansion Walls S02E10: "Devils in Disguise"
    Big Brother (UK) S14E70: "BB 13, Episode 70"
    Big Brother (US) S14E13: "Episode 13 - Live Eviction #4 & HoH Comp #5"
    Big Brother After Dark S07E29: "Season 7, Episode 29"
    Big Brother's Bit on the Side S04E66: "Series 4, Show 66"
    Binbo-gami ga! S01E06: "Season 1, Episode 6"
    Burn Notice S06E08: "Unchained"
    Cajun Justice S01E18: "Bug Off"
    Cajun Justice S01E17: "Swamp Manhunt"
    Cajun Justice S01E19: "Not A Moment Too Soon"
    Chelsea Lately S06E126
    Conan S02E128: "Matt LeBlanc, Andy Hayes"
    Coronation Street S53E158: "Thur Aug 9, 2012"
    Daybreak S02E238: "August 9, 2012"
    Deal Or No Deal (UK) S07E311: "Episode 1991"
    Degrassi S12E16: "Never Ever (2)"
    EastEnders S28E123: "August 9, 2012"
    Embarrassing Bodies: Live from the Clinic S02E09
    Emmerdale S41E187: "August 9, 2012 [Episode 2]"
    Emmerdale S41E186: "August 9, 2012"
    Eureka Seven: AO S01E17: "TBA"
    Figure It Out S04E39: "Featuring Noah Munck"
    Four Weddings (2010) S04E09: "...and Dancing Lions"
    Four Weddings (2010) S04E08: "...and a Yacht"
    General Hospital (US) S50E92: "#12620"
    Great Lake Warriors S01E04: "Make or Break"
    Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight S01E02
    Hamish & Andys Gap Year S02E09: "Season 2, Episode 9"
    Hollyoaks S18E159: "August 9, 2012"
    Hollywood Heights S01E39: "The Double Date"
    Home and Away (AU) S25E144: "Episode 5579"
    House Hunters S50E34: "Searching For A New England Escape"
    House Hunters International S34E30
    Impact Wrestling S08E97: "Season 8, Episode 97"
    İşler Güçler S01E07: "Season 1, Episode 7"
    LA Hair S01E11: "TBA"
    Lemon La Vida Loca S01E02: "Episode 2"
    Louie S03E07: "Ikea/Piano Lesson"
    Masterchef Australia S05E11: "All Stars - 11"
    Monday Night Football S43E01
    Monkey Life S05E09: "Series 5, Episode 9"
    Naruto: Shippuuden S11E32: "Farewell, Ino-Shika-Cho!"
    Naruto: Shippuuden S11E31: "Time for oaths"
    Neighbours S28E154: "Episode 6464"
    P.O.V. S25E07: "Short Cuts"
    Polyamory: Married and Dating S01E05: "TBA"
    Project Runway S10E04: "Women on the Go"
    Property Wars S01E09: "TBA"
    Rookie Blue S03E09: "Out of Time"
    Sket Dance S02E19: "Episode 19"
    Snooki and JWoww S01E08: "Cancun Is Not An Island"
    Suits S02E08: "Rewind"
    Sullivan and Son S01E05: "The Punch"
    The 2012 Summer Olympics S01E14: "Season 1, Episode 14"
    The Block (NZ) S01E12: "Episode 12"
    The Bold and the Beautiful S26E99: "Ep. #6383"
    The Briefs S01E02: "Episode 2"
    The Churchills S01E03: "Grand Strategies"
    The Colbert Report S08E100: "Woody Harrelson"
    The Daily Show S17E138: "Joanna Brooks"
    The Hotel Inspector S09E06: "The Meudon"
    The Jeremy Kyle Show S07E227: "August 9, 2012"
    The Midnight Beast S01E06: "The Sloman Show"
    The Project S04E189: "Season 4, Episode 189"
    The Real L Word S03E05: "Season 3, Episode 5"
    The Young and the Restless S40E98: "Ep. #9967"
    Tonight S14E27: "Proud to be British"
    Totally Biased with W Kamau Bell S01E01: "Pilot"
    truTV Presents: World's Dumbest... S14E10
    Urban Secrets S01E06: "Episode 6"
    Watch What Happens: Live S07E35: "Finale for Season 7"
    Wild Germany S03E05: "Illegal in Deutschland"
    Wilfred (US) S02E08: "Truth"
    Wipeout (US) S05E17: "Hillbilly Wipeout"
    Wonderland (UK) S05E07: "Young, Bright and on the Right"

HBO wants more Game Of Thrones and True Blood

Game Of Thrones and True Blood will continue for the foreseeable, if HBO’s President of Programming has anything to say about it…

While it’s not an official next season order, HBO’s President and Co-President of Programming aren’t exactly being coy about the futures of Game Of Thrones and True Blood. If people will watch them, they’ll make them, was the message HBO’s Michael Lombardo and Richard Plepler sent out in a recent TCA Press Tour interview.

“As long as George [R.R. Martin] keeps writing, we’ll keep producing, and he seems very excited with that proposition. As long as he sees fit to keep creating, so will we” said HBO’s Richard Plepler.

Michael Lombardo added, “I think with True Blood, the show’s obviously doing well. This coming year will be the first year Alan Ball is taking a little bit of a step back, but creatively, they’re still engaged and excited by the storytelling. As long as it continues to be performing with the consumer and, more importantly, exciting the storytellers, I think we’re there.”

At present, True Blood is already lined up for at least one more season, bringing the Southern vamp and supe-fest to six series, but it doesn’t sound as if HBO would be at all averse to ordering further seasons if the audience momentum continues.

Game Of Thrones is currently filming its third season, which is scheduled to begin airing on HBO on March the 31st 2013. That season, it was confirmed by the great bearded one himself (aka A Song of Ice and Fire novelist George R.R. Martin), would cover roughly the first half of A Storm of Swords, the third book in the series. With a further two and a half volumes extant and ripe for adaptation then, in theory we could be looking at a potential fourth, fifth, sixth and even seventh series for the fantasy saga... If that's the case, you won't hear any complaints from us.

truTV: Fall 2012 Programming Highlights

New Series

Killer Karaoke - New series premieres Friday, Oct. 19, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)

truTV is about to take singing competitions to an extreme level with this all-new series hosted by Jackass star Steve-O. Inspired in part by the popular Zodiak Media international television hit Sing If You Can, truTV's Killer Karaoke challenges contestants to sing a hit song while Steve-O puts them through the most hilarious and unexpected physical challenges imaginable. It's the game show that hits all the wrong notes in the best possible way. The wild new competition series comes to truTV from Zodiak USA.

· Show Page:

· Facebook:

Returning Series

South Beach Tow - Season 2 premieres Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 9:30 p.m. (ET/PT)

From executive producer Jennifer Lopez comes this sizzling series about Tremont Towing, run by affable-but-tough boss Robert Ashenoff, With 8 million people coming to South Beach to party each year, it seems every day is spring break. The problem? There aren't nearly enough parking spaces to handle all the cars. Working with his son, Robert Jr., and daughter, Christie, plus a team of tough-minded drivers, Robert is determined to impound every illegally parked car or vehicle with delinquent payments he can find. The Tremont team may be a family, but the dollar reigns supreme, making for hilarious confrontations and unpredictable situations, all taking place under the hot Miami sun. South Beach Tow comes to truTV from Lopez's Nuyorican Productions (DanceLife) and Bodega Pictures.

· Show Page:

· Twitter:

Operation Repo - Season 10.1 premieres Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)

One of truTV's longest-running and most popular series, Operation Repo follows outrageous encounters in the high-pressure world of car repossession. Luis Pizzaro and his team - Lyndah, Froy, Matt and Sonia - are back on the job for the second half of their 10th season, hitching up cars, trucks and other big-ticket items after the property owners reportedly fail to make payments.

· Show Page:

· Facebook:

Ongoing Series

Lizard Lick Towing - Mondays at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)

One of truTV's biggest hits, Lizard Lick Towing is named after Ron & Amy Shirley's Wendell, N.C., towing and repo company, which they run with the help of Ron's best buddy, Bobby Brantley. Ron Shirley is the hulking, tattooed owner and boss who has a colorful way of turning a phrase. His wife, Amy, a former champion power lifter, works the main office. And Bobby acts as Ron's right-hand man as they go about the difficult task of tracking down and repossessing property and dealing with irate owners. This season finds Ron & Amy's business threatened by a rival tow operation. Meanwhile, Bobby takes a turn trying to run the company., and Amy decides to return to the world of competitive weightlifting. Lizard Lick Towing comes to truTV from Zodiak USA.

· Show Page:

Hardcore Pawn - Tuesdays at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)

truTV's highest-rated series, Hardcore Pawn takes viewers behind the scenes at one of the country's largest pawnshops, American Jewelry & Loan, owned by the appropriately named Les Gold. Working for - and sometimes clashing with - Les are his son, Seth; his daughter, Ashley; and his trusted manager, Rich. In the show's current season, its sixth, Rich has been working his way back into Les' favor after a major blow-up. Meanwhile, Seth continues on his path to take over the store from his father, all under the disapproving eye of his sister Ashley. Hardcore Pawn is produced by Zodiak USA.

· Show Page:

· Facebook:

Storage Hunters - Sundays at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)

This hit series, now in its second season, takes viewers into the high-stakes world of public storage auctions, where highly competitive and extremely successful buyers like Brandon & Lori Bernier and young upstart Jesse McClure. Storage Hunters travels to the country's most competitive auctions as these storage experts go up against local buyers bidding for unseen items that could be worth thousands of dollars... or absolutely nothing. And when the competition for treasure gets too intense, auctioneer and military veteran Sean Kelly puts his stand-up comedy skills to use in order to keep things from getting out of hand. Storage Hunters comes to truTV from T Group Productions, Inc.

BET Networks Presents Fall 2012 Preview

From the return of an R&B superstar to the newest player in the late night landscape, BET is bringing the heat even when the weather begins to cool. Starting this fall multi-platinum selling diva Keyshia Cole is joined by her NBA star husband, Daniel Gibson in KEYSHIA & DANIEL: FAMILY FIRST, which chronicles the new couple as they adjust to married life, raising their adorable son and joining two seemingly different families while juggling their own careers. Next, award winning journalist T.J. Holmes brings his unique and fresh take on the day's headlines affecting our community in "DON'T SLEEP!" HOSTED BY T.J. HOLMES. And, there's no shortage of star power as soul legend Gladys Knight, hip hop pioneer Doug E. Fresh and R&B great Michael Bivins critique an array of budding talent on APOLLO LIVE. Hosted by comedian Tony Rock and executive produced by Jamie Foxx and Marcus King, APOLLO LIVE this new take on the reality competition is filmed at the iconic Apollo Theater.


"DON'T SLEEP!" HOSTED BY T.J. HOLMES Premieres Monday, October 1st at 11 PM ET/PT on BET.

Award-winning journalist T. J. Holmes gives viewers a great reason to stay up with his new original late night series DON'T SLEEP!, Holmes delivers smart, biting social commentary on significant issues important to African Americans. Guaranteed to shake up late night, DON'T SLEEP! presents and tackles current headlines that affect our community while also creating awareness about vital stories mainstream media tends to disregard. Airing four nights a week, DON'T SLEEP! is also infused with numerous in-studio and on-location correspondents injecting perspective, humor, and commentary about a wide range of topics. The witty late-night series is keenly focused on keeping Black America engaged, awake and in the know.

"Don't Sleep!" Hosted by T.J. Holmes Sizzle Reel:

KEYSHIA & DANIEL: FAMILY FIRST Premieres Tuesday, October 9th at 10 PM ET/PT on BET.

Keyshia Cole's evolution from a promising R&B star to a multi-platinum selling artist was captured for three seasons by BET on her top-rated reality series, "The Way It Is." Viewers will once again join her on an emotional journey as she steps into a new chapter of her life. The new series gives a candid look at the R&B songstress at her most vulnerable, as a wife to NBA star Daniel Gibson, mother to her 2 year-old son D.J., daughter, sister, musician and businesswoman. We've witnessed so many incredible and compelling moments in Keyshia's life, especially her tumultuous relationship with her mom and sister, Frankie and Neffe. Now Keyshia has found herself on the path to becoming the woman she was destined to be, but will her new life lead her down the road to success or will demons from her past continue to haunt her?

APOLLO LIVE Premieres Saturday, December 1st at 8 PM ET/PT on CENTRIC.

Birthplace of legends and home of future stars, The Apollo Theater shines anew for the next generation. Executive producers Jamie Foxx, Marcus King and Don Weiner put a fresh spin on the classic variety show "Amateur Night" at Harlem's iconic venue, including a talent showcase and a singing competition featuring the "Empress of Soul" Gladys Knight, great entertainer Doug E. Fresh and music man Michael Bivins expert talent advisers. APOLLO LIVE promises a bevy of special guest appearances and performances. Hosted by funny man Tony Rock and of course, starring the electric Apollo Theater live audience.

Apollo Live Sizzle Reel:

106 & PARK

New episodes air Monday - Friday at 6 P.M. ET/PT on BET. Hosted by Terrence J and Rocsi, 106 & PARK has become THE destination for today's brightest stars including Jay Z, Diddy, Rihanna, Denzel Washington, Madonna, Beyonce, Chris Brown, Queen Latifah, Will Ferrell, Lady Gaga, Halle Berry, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, Lebron James, 50 Cent, Sienna Miller, Will Smith, Drake, Katie Holmes, Trey Songz, Kirk Franklin, Snoop Dogg, Jennifer Lopez and many, many others. A powerful presence in the music industry, 106 & PARK is the #1 Music Variety Show on cable for 13 consecutive quarters among Adults 18-49, according to Nielsen and has been integral in launching the careers of numerous hip-hop and R&B artists.


BET HIP HOP AWARDS Premieres October 2012 on BET.

BET HIP HOP AWARDS, the #1 hip hop-themed telecast on television for five consecutive years, pays homage to a culture that changed the world while highlighting the year's best in hip hop music. The live performances are the most talked about in the business, and the cyphers are explosive! Without a doubt, this is hip hop at its freshest.Celebrating the biggest names in the game, newcomers on the scene, and shining a light on the community, the BET HIP HOP AWARDS salutes the best of the best in hip hop culture.

"BLACK GIRLS ROCK!(TM)" Premieres November 2012 on BET.

"BLACK GIRLS ROCK!(TM)" is dedicated to honoring exceptional women of color around the world who stand as inspirational and positive role models. A montage of female performers help celebrate the achievements of the exceptional honorees. The two-hour star-studded evening celebrates the strengths, triumphs and talents of Black women. The much-deserving celebrants and award recipients have included legends and new comers who continue to make strides in Entertainment, Corporate America and Philanthropy. The televised special, "BLACK GIRLS ROCK!(TM)" is a BET Networks and B.G.R. Enterprises Inc. production. BLACK GIRLS ROCK!(TM) Founder and CEO, Beverly Bond executive produces the telecast along with Stephen Hill, President, Music Programming and Specials, BET Networks and Connie Orlando, Eugene Caldwell, Salli Frattini, BET Networks.

THE SOUL TRAIN AWARDS Premieres November 2012 on CENTRIC.

The SOUL TRAIN AWARDS returns with a stellar two hour show that bridges the gap between the soulful sounds of yesterday and today; acting as a hybrid of a traditional show with an "honors" show format. Showcasing the evolution of Soul Train's impact on musical history from the 70s, 80s, 90s and today, the new Soul Train Awards is all about the melodic marriage of music and dance.

Our host and performers will take the stage as they welcome the viewers to a show that feels more like a dance party than your traditional awards show. The set will be crafted to resemble a modern interpretation of the Soul Train set we all know and love complete with the dancers, scramble board and the legendary Soul Train line, all strategically present in the show. The audience is made up of Soul Train dancers, truly making this an interactive experience. From time to time the infamous Soul Train line will make an appearance as the audience dancers take their turn showing off their moves!

Paying homage to the musical elite, the SOUL TRAIN AWARDS will honor three Icons that have a timeless songbook, established a musical and performance standard, have impacted the industry in a significant way, and are still a relevant influence on the music scene today. Vintage Soul Train clips would be used in packages in and out of segments and would include a medley of classic performances. In addition to the three Icon performances, the show will feature five other performances by some of the hottest acts in music today.

The SOUL TRAIN AWARDS is guaranteed to deliver Love, Peace, and SOUL!

For more information on all of BET and CENTRIC's series and specials go to and Join the conversation on social media by logging on to BET's multiple social media platforms: