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ABC To Air Ben Hur Miniseries March 27, 2009 12:56 am

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, Movies, News, Television.
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benhur-032709ABC will be airing a new four-hour Ben Hur miniseries. The $22.5 million production hails from Alchemy Television Group and Spain’s Drimtim Entertainment. Steve Shill (Rome) is on board to direct from a script penned by Alan Sharp (Rob Roy). Production is set to begin in May in Spain, Morocco and Canada. Casting is still underway.

The project will be presented by ABC as a limited series.  No air date has been set yet.

Source: Variety

Casting Bites: Amanda Seyfried, Anne Hathaway, Tom Selleck, Peter Krause and More March 24, 2009 12:52 am

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, Casting, CBS, HBO, Lionsgate, Movies, NBC, Summit Entertainment, Television, Warner Brothers, Warner Independent.
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amandaseyfried-032409Here’s a round up of the latest casting related news for television and film.

  • Amanda Seyfried won’t be able to take on the lead role in Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch because HBO won’t release her from her contract on Big Love. Snyder’s film begins shooting this fall, which would conflict with scheduled shooting on the fourth season of Big Love. [EW]
  • Actors Chaske Spencer, Bronson Pelletier, Alex Meraz, Kiowa Gordon and Tyson Houseman have all signed on to star as members of the wolf pack in Summit Entertainment’s The Twilight Saga: New Moon. [STYD]
  • Anne Hathaway has signed on to star as Judy Garland in the film and stage adaptations of Gerald Clarke’s biography Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland. [Weinstein Co.]
  • Giovanni Ribisi has joined the cast of Hunter S. Thompson’s adaptation of The Rum Diary from Warner Independent. Ribisi will play a carousing journalist in the film, which stars Johnny Depp.  [Variety]
  • Amanda Bynes has landed the starring role in the ABC pilot Canned.  The actress will play Sarabeth, a naive Midwesterner who’s being exploited by her boss – and doesn’t realize it. [Variety]
  • Tom Selleck, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Mull have all joined the cast of Five Killers, a Lionsgate action comedy that also stars Ashton Kutcher (as a retiring hitman) and Katherine Heigl (his computer tech girlfriend).  Selleck and O’Hara are playing Heigl’s overprotective father and doring mother, while Mull is playing Holbrook, Kutcher’s handler. Robert Luketic is directing the film which is scheduled for release on June 4, 2010 release. [THR]

More casting bites after the jump. (more…)

Roseanne Barr Looking to Return to Primetime March 23, 2009 5:32 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, News, Television.
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roseannebarr-032309Roseanne Barr, star of the long-running and successful ABC sitcom Roseanne, may be returning to primetime.  Jim Vallely (Arrested Development) is attached to pen the script for the project, which has been pitched to Fox.

According to THR, Barr has teamed with one of the Roseanne producers, Caryn Mandabach, for a family comedy where Barr will play the matriarch.

Casting Bites: Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Justin Long and more March 19, 2009 5:04 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, Movies, New Line, News, Television.
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tommyleejones-031909Here are some of the latest casting hires for film and television.

  • Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) is returning to comedy, landing the starring role in the untitled Tad Quill half-hour pilot for ABC. [THR]
  • Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones have been cast in The Company Men, an independently financed drama about the impact of corporate downsizing.  They join Ben Affleck, who was cast last fall. [Variety]
  • Alexandra Daddario has landed the female lead in 20th Century Fox’s Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief, a fantasy/adventure movie bieng directed by Chris Columbus. [THR]
  • Nanette Burstein’s romantic comedy Going the Distance, has landed Justin Long to play the lead role.  [Variety]

Casting Bites: Brad Pitt, Natalie Portman, Freddie Prinze Jr. and more March 18, 2009 6:54 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, Movies, News, Paramount Pictures, Television, The CW, Walden Media.
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natalieportman-031809Here are some of the latest casting news for television and film.

  • Brad Pitt and Natalie Portman have signed on to a film based on the new Leanne Shapton book Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry.  The film, from Paramount Pictures, will be developed as a romantic comedy, with Pitt to play Morris and Porman to play Doolan. [Variety]
  • Jessica Lucas (Cloverfield) has landed a lead role on the CW’s new Melrose Place series.  Lucas will play Riley Richmond, a wealthy and beautiful 24-year-old who works as an inncer-city elementary school teacher. [THR]
  • Freddie Prinze Jr. is returning to ABC for the network’s comedy pilot No Heroics.  The pilot is about four B-list superheroes living among us.  Prinze’s character, Bradley aka Ultimatum, is the nemesis to the group’s leader Pete aka Chillout. [THR]
  • Walden Media has signed Ellen DeGeneres as Mother Nature in a currently untitled comedy that is being produced by the company.  Walden says that DeGeneres “will return to Earth for the first time since the planet’s creation.”  The film will co-star Jim Carrey.[First Showing]

Lost Season Finale “Nickname” Will Be Decided by Fans March 17, 2009 8:03 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, News, Television.
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lostkate-031709In this week’s official Lost podcast, to be posted on ABC.com on Thursday, executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof will formally invite viewers to suggest a nickname for the season’s final moment.

From TV Guide:

In seasons past, that head-scratcher has been dubbed “Bagel” (Walt is abducted by the Others!), “Challah” (Penny’s research team locates the island!), “The Rattlesnake in the Mailbox” (Jack is flashing forward!) and “Frozen Donkey Wheel” (which, quite literally, Ben rotated to move the island).

The script for the finale has recently been completed and filming on the episode is at least a week away.  Submissions can be directed to ABC.com/asklost.  The pick will be announced on ABC’s March 26th podcast.

Recap: Dancing With the Stars – 8×01 March 10, 2009 3:47 am

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, Recaps, Television.
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dwtswoz-031009The eighth season of Dancing With the Stars kicked off Monday night, a season that has already lost two stars to injury.  Both Access Hollywood host Nancy O’Dell and singer Jewel were on hand, as were last minute replacements Holly Madison (announced a few days ago, see related story) and ‘Bachelor’ castoff Melissa Rycroft.

Because I’m not very good with critiquing dance, which is probably a good thing, I’ll simply recap the night’s scores.  So, head on through the jump to see who fared the best with the judges and to vote for who you believe was the best. (more…)

Rebecca Romijn Joins ABC Pilot Eastwick March 9, 2009 8:16 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, Casting, News, Television.
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rebeccaromijn-030909Rebecca Romijn has joined the cast of ABC’s Eastwick, the networks drama pilot based on the 1987 feature-film The Witches of Eastwick, and based on the John Updike novel of the same name.

Romijn will play the lead character on Eastwick, Roxi Torcoletti, joining previously cast Lindsay Price (who’ll play “Joanna Frankel”), Jaime Ray Newman (“Kat Rougemont”) and Paul Gross (“Darryl Van Horne”).

Source: Variety

Watch: First 13 Minutes of Castle March 9, 2009 6:54 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, News, Television, Videos.
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nathanfillion-030909Tonight is the premiere of the new ABC drama Castle, starring Nathan Fillion (Desperate Housewives, Firefly) and Stana Katic (The Spirit).  But ahead of the show’s debut tonight — at 10:00pm following the season premiere of Dancing With the Stars — you can watch the first 13 minutes of the show online, right now.  Head on through the jump to watch. (more…)

The View Enjoying Its Most-Watched Season Yet March 9, 2009 4:55 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, News, Nielsen TV Ratings, Television.
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theviewcast-030909ABC daytime talk show The View is riding a ratings high.  The talk show, featuring a panel of Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd, Joy Behar and for a few times a week series co-executive producer Barbara Walters, drew its largest audience ever on the morning after Barack Obama was elected president (6.2 million) and has maintained that momentum ever since, enjoying its most-watched season to date with an average audience of 4.2 million viewers (+20% over last season’s 3.5 million).

ABC Daytime president Brian Frons believes that the election has elevated the series, but that it has been making positive strides over the past few years:

“We used to be an internally focused show, more introspective, but now we’re more outwardly looking,” Frons said. “Rosie (former moderator O’Donnell) looked out into the society, and we have built and grown from that.

“We have a group of diverse, intelligent women who filter the news and say, ‘Here’s how we feel about it and here are some things for you to think about.’ “

Source: Variety

ABC Picks Up Impact, New Four-Hour Sci-Fi Miniseries March 9, 2009 4:41 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, News, Sci Fi, Television.
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abclogo-513ABC has picked up Impact, a four-hour miniseries about humanity’s efforts to survive after the moon is hit by a meteor and enters into a collision course with Earth.  The $14 million production was directed by Michael J. Rohl and stars David James Elliot, Natasha Henstridge, Steven Culp and James Cromwell.

The SCI FI Channel has second-window rights, while Sony Pictures Home Entertainment acquired the video rights to the miniseries.

Source: Variety

DWTS: Nancy O’Dell and Jewel Out, Holly Madison In March 6, 2009 2:37 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, News, Television.
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hollymadison-030609ABC has confirmed that injuries have forced Access Hollywood host Nancy O’Dell and singer Jewel out of competition for the upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars (premieres this Monday on ABC).

E! Online reports that Holly Madison of E!’s reality series Girls Next Door will be on the season instead. Hugh Hefner has confirmed the news himself, saying he “made the arrangements” for Madison to replace Jewel on the show. “It’s a show she’s wanted to be on for a long time,” Hefner said, adding “I’m delighted. It’s all good stuff.”

The other replacement will be announced on the season premiere Monday night, where both Jewel and O’Dell will appear to talk about their injuries.  Sex and the City star Gilles Marini is also battling injuries (diagnosed with tendonitis in his shoulder and groin) but is still hanging in.

Source: E! Online

ABC Cancels Life on Mars March 2, 2009 11:15 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, Cancellations, News, Television.
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lifeonmars-030209ABC has notified the producers of Life on Mars that they won’t be ordering any additional episodes beyond the 17 currently in the works for the season, effectively canceling the show, reports TV Week. While the news will certainly disappoint fans, the early decision by ABC (who could have waited until as late as May) means that the producers will be able to write and film a worthy ending to the series.

Production is actually expected to continue for at least a few more weeks and the season finale is expected to air no later than early April.

“We felt it was the right thing to do for the producers and the fans and creatively,” ABC Entertainment Group President Steve McPherson said.

Lindsay Price Joins ABC’s Eastwick February 25, 2009 3:33 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, Casting, News, Television.
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lindsayprice-022509Lindsay Price (of NBC’s Lipstick Jungle, which actually yet be officially canceled) has joined the cast of ABC’s Eastwick, the network’s drama pilot based on the 1987 feature-film The Witches of Eastwick. Price will play Joanna, one of the three young witches in the series.  Joanna is described as a hardworking, shy reporter for the local newspaper.  She joins Jaime Ray Newman, who was recently cast as a fellow witch.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Sam Donaldson Announces Retirement February 16, 2009 12:55 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, ABC News, News, Television.
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samdonaldson-021609Sam Donaldson of ABC News has announced that after 41 years at ABC News, he has decided to retire.  Donaldson will be returing from full-time work next week:

“Some people leave the business bitter, feeling they’ve been cast out, or they hang on too long,” he says. “And I don’t ever want to get in that position.”

Source: Washington Post

ABC Picks Up Superhero Comedy February 11, 2009 7:20 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, News, No Heroics, Television.
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abclogo-513ABC has greenlit No Heroics, a single-comedy pilot based on the British series of the same name.  No Heroics is about a group of superheroes with less-than-formidable powers who hang out at a bar.  The pilot was co-written by Will & Grace alum Jeff Greenstein and original show creator Drew Pearce.  Greenstein and Pearce are executive producing for ABC Studios with Andrew Zein of Tiger Aspect, which produces the British series for ITV.

ABC Greenlights Lauren Graham Comedy Let It Go January 30, 2009 2:00 am

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laurengraham-013009ABC has given the green lights to two more comedies, including one starring Lauren Graham titled Let It Go.  According to THR, Let It Go stars Graham as a self-help guru who teaches women how to “let it go” but fails to follow her own advice when her perfect boyfriend dumps her.  The script was written by Alex Herschlag (Will & Grace).

The other comedy, an untitled multi-camera comedy from writer/executive producer Tad Quill (Scrubs), revolves around two forty-something friends who embark on very different lives — one with a new baby and one with a newly empty nest.

ABC Greenlights Three Pilots, Fox One January 27, 2009 10:43 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, Brothers & Detectives, Fox, I Claudia, Inside the Box, Masterwork, News, Television.
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abclogo-513ABC today announced greenlights for three drama pilots from ABC Studios, including one from Grey’s Anatomy creator/executive producer Shonda Rhimes. titled Inside the Box.

According to THR, Inside the Box, written by Richard E. Robbins, is set in a  Washington network news bureau and centers on an ambitious female news producer and her colleagues.  The project has been in development since 2006, (ABC picked it up to pilot), but was ultimately shelved because Rhimes got busy with Grey’s Anatomy and its spinoff Private Practice.

I, Claudia, is a contemporary drama from writer John Scott Shepherd and centers on Claudia McIntire, a young prosecuting attorney who doesn’t know that one day she is going to be a serious contender for the presidency of the U.S.

The untitled Brothers & Detectives adaptation, written and exec produced by Daniel Cerone, is about a low-level detective who, after the death of his estranged father, discovers he has a brilliant 11-year-old brother who is adept at helping him solve crimes.

Fox, meanwhile, has greenlit a drama titled Masterwork from Prison Break creator Paul Scheuring.  The series is described by THR as a globe-trotting adventure like National Treasure and The Da Vinci Code about  a race against time to recover the world’s most sought-after artifacts.

81st Academy Awards Poster January 27, 2009 8:13 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in 81st Academy Awards, ABC, Movies, News.
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81stacademyawardsposter-012709

Here’s the poster art for this year’s 81st Academy Awards, which airs live on ABC Sunday, February 22nd.

via Defamer

ABC Orders New V Pilot January 26, 2009 5:27 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, News, Television, V.
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vlogo-012609ABC has given a pilot order to a new take on the 1980s miniseries about an alien invasion, V. Written on spec by 4400 co-creator/executive producer Scott Peters, the series will center on a female Homeland Security agent.  The pickup marks ABC’s second so far this pilot season for presold titles based on 1980s properties (Eastwick being the other).

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

ABC Announces New Thursday Night Comedy Block January 26, 2009 1:23 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, Better Off Ted, In the Motherhood, News, Samantha Who?, Scrubs, Television.
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abclogo-513ABC has announced a new Thursday night comedy block, which includes the premiere of two new series In the Motherhood (March 26 at 8:00pm) and Better Off Ted (March 18 at 8:30pm). The two shows will be paired with Samantha Who? (March 26 at 8:30pm) and Scrubs (March 18 at 8:00pm), both of which will also be moving to Thursday nights.

“In the Motherhood” – Thursdays at 8:00 p.m.

Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”) and Cheryl Hines (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) come to ABC in the new comedy “In the Motherhood,” which takes a look at the importance of family and friends while trying to juggle motherhood, work and love lives in an overly complicated modern world. The story focuses on Rosemary (Mullally), Jane (Hines) and Emily (Jessica St. Clair), who represent mothers we all know. Rosemary is a free-wheeling mom who plays it fast and loose when it comes to parenting her teenaged son, Luke. Married numerous times, but currently single, Rosemary lives by her own rules. Much to the amazement of the other moms, her nontraditional parenting style has yielded a son much more responsible than she. Rosemary’s best friend, Jane, is a recently divorced working mother of a pre-teen, Annie, and a baby girl, Sophie, who is just trying to keep her career and home afloat. Having just returned to work after giving birth eight months ago, Jane struggles to find a happy balance – lucky for her she has her “manny,” Horatio (Horatio Sanz, “Saturday Night Live”), to help out. Jane’s younger sister, Emily, sees herself as the model stay-at-home-super-mom for her two young children, Esther and Bill. Emily’s home is a work of art, and her kids are polite and sweet — everything has its place in her world. Married to Jason (RonReaco Lee), Emily takes parenting as seriously as any mother could.

“Better Off Ted” – Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.

“Better Off Ted” is a new office comedy about successful good guy Ted who runs Research and Development at the morally questionable Veridian Dynamics. No achievement is too far-fetched and no invention too unorthodox for Veridian. Need cow-less meat grown in a test tube? Done. Need pumpkins that also double as weapons of mass destruction? No problem. Ted’s a single dad to a seven-year-old girl and he loves his job, but he’s starting to take a closer look at the company’s extremely dubious practices. Do you manufacture the best teeth whitener ever if it could also kill off all of the planet’s fish? Probably not, but… Ted’s also fighting an attraction to co-worker Linda, who enjoys small acts of rebellion against Veridian (she’s secretly stealing and hoarding all the company’s creamer packets). But he holds back about his true feelings. He’s already had his self imposed “one office affair” with Ÿberboss Veronica. Incredibly beautiful (if seemingly devoid of conscience and emotion-free), Veronica lets nothing get in her way when it comes to serving Veridian’s needs.

The full press release follows after the jump. (more…)

ABC and NBC Pick Up Eastwick and Mercy Pilots January 25, 2009 5:21 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, Eastwick, Mercy, NBC, News, Television.
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witchesofeastwick-012509ABC and NBC have handed out pilot orders to dramas Eastwick and Mercy, THR reports:

“Eastwick,” from Warner Bros. Television, is loosely based on the 1987 feature “The Witches of Eastwick,” which starred Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeifer and Jack Nicholson.

Penned by Maggie Friedman (“Jack & Bobby”), the project follows three women in the town of Eastwick who embark upon lives with new powers after an enigmatic stranger comes to town.

NBC’s “Mercy,” Universal Media Studios, is a drama with comedic elements that revolves around three nurses bound together in friendship by the highs and lows of their personal and professional lives.

Liz Heldens (“Friday Night Lights”) wrote the script and will exec produce.

ABC ordered the pilot script for Eastwick back in August of last year (related article here).

CNN Tops Cable Networks In Inauguration Ratings UPDATE: Inauguration Draws 37.8 Million January 21, 2009 6:18 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, Broadcast TV Ratings, Cable TV Ratings, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, News, Nielsen TV Ratings, Television.
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presidentbarackobamaswearingin-012109

UPDATED ON 1/22/2009
Nielsen reports that from 10am to 5pm ET, an average 37,793,008 tuned into the ceremony, swearing in, speech and coverage of the Inauguration.  That’s the second-most ever, slightly below the 41,800,260 who watched Reagan’s nomination in January 1981.

Keep in mind that the number does not include any online viewers or radio listeners and this covers a very large time period (President Obama’s oath took place shortly after noon and his speech lasted about 20 or so minutes ending shortly before 12:30pm).  The amount of Americans who tuned into that segment was decidely larger.

It must have been, because Gallup has releaed a poll indicating that a massive 60% of the nation tuned into all of the address.  Do the math and you’ll see there’s a large discrepency between the two numbers.

Original article follows below.

CNN was the ratings winner among cable-news networks during coverage of Tuesday’s inauguration of President Barack Obama, according to data released today by Nielsen.

For the swearing-in ceremony and Inaugural Address in Washington — from noon to 12:30pm — CNN drew 8.5 million total viewers, well ahead of Fox News Channel (5.5 million total viewers) and MSNBC (3.1 million total viewers).

Breaking out the numbers more fully, CNN was also first from 11am to 2pm Tuesday, with 6.9 million viewers, followed by Fox News Channel (4.4 million viewers) and MSNBC (2.6 million viewers). CNN’s numbers are the most ever 11am to 2pm average in its history.

And finally, for the total day of the inauguration — 6am to 3am — CNN placed first with an average of 4.0 million total viewers, with Fox News following in second with 2.5 million viewers and MSNBC in third with 1.7 million viewers.

Demo data — which CNN also dominated (beating Fox News and MSNBC combined) — follows after the jump. (more…)

Two New Lost Sneak Peeks January 16, 2009 7:03 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, Lost, News, Television.
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lostseasonfivecastphoto-120408ABC has released two brand new sneak peeks from next week’s season premiere of Lost.  Check them out here.

Pushing Daisies the Movie? January 14, 2009 5:42 pm

Posted by Rosario T. Calabria in ABC, Movies, News, Pushing Daisies, Television.
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chenoweth_kristen-121908According to Kristin Chenoweth, who starred in the now-canceled ABC series Pushing Daisies, series creator Bryan Fuller has an idea for a movie that would wrap up a lot of the unanswered questions of the TV show:

“It would wrap up a lot of the unanswered questions that people will have once they finally air our final episodes,” the singer-actress told TVGuide.com.

If the movie gets the go-ahead, Chenoweth says that she would take part and believes her fellow castmembers would as well:

“I’m sure that Bryan Fuller wouldn’t do it without the six main characters,” she said. “Paul Reubens was a big part of it — we have certain guest stars that are standouts that we’d want back. But he has such a great idea for it. … We all want to.”