Monthly Archives: June 2013

By Meryl Gottlieb|| @buzzlightmeryl
Hot in Cleveland returns to TV Land June 19 at 10 p.m.














A narrator in a promotional video for the midseason premiere of Hot in Cleveland says it all: “See Hot in Cleveland like you’ve never seen it before: live, uncut and quite possibly the biggest mistake we’ve ever made.”

Hot in Cleveland follows three women who found themselves in Cleveland after their plane heading to Paris crashed. Once the ladies discovered the rules and lifestyle of Los Angeles do not apply in the Midwest, they decided to stay.

The midseason finale of season four — which aired February 13 — left us with a lot of questions but one seems more pressing than the others: What is Elka (Betty White) up to? All season long they have teased about her and Mamie Sue (Georgia Engel) dealing in “shady business” and now the time may have come that we finally get to know what our favorite bedazzled-sweat-suit-wearing-grandma is up to. Not to mention the burning question about what will happen to the trio when Victoria (Wendie Malick) moves to Moscow with Emmet (Alan Dale) and Melanie (Valerie Bertinelli) moves in with Alec (Jay Harrington)? What will Joy (Jane Leeves) do? Can we expect her to be the next Murder, She Wrote?

Most of these questions will be answered Wednesday when Hot in Cleveland returns to finish its fourth season, beginning with “It’s Alive” — the show’s first live episode.

In a letter posted on Hot in Cleveland social media, White wrote to fans about her excitement for the live episode.

“Did you all know that tomorrow night I’m attempting something I haven’t done since Truman was president — a live sitcom,” White wrote. “That’s right. We’re doing the season premiere completely LIVE!! … No safety nets. Don’t miss it!!”

The live episode will feature many guest stars including William Shatner, Shirley Jones, The Office’s Brian Baumgartner — in his first role since the series finale — and Community’s Danny Pudi.

The live show isn’t the only episode featuring familiar faces. A much anticipated reunion of The Mary Tyler Moore Show cast is set to happen later in the season when Moore, Valerie Harper and Cloris Leachman will join White and Georgia Engel — who will continue her recurring role — on the show. This is the first time in 30 years that the five former cast-mates will be reunited on stage. The episode will follow Elka and Mamie Sue reuniting their bowling team, named GLOB: The Gorgeous Ladies of Bowling.


Another reunion is in store for the June 26 episode when Carol Burnett and Tim Conway guest star. Burnett will play Victoria’s mother while Conway plays a friend of Elka’s.

In a press conference with student media in April, Cleveland stars White and Leeves continually said the show’s success is due to the chemistry between the four leading ladies, a chemistry that was there from the start.

“When we first sat down at the table read, there was just something there,” Leeves said. “It felt like we’d known each other for a long time. … We absolutely adore each other. That has been a part of other huge shows we’ve been on.”

“Absolutely! How do you do comedy if you don’t like each other?” White added. “We fell in love the first time in rehearsal… and it never changed.”

Hot in Cleveland is TV Land’s first original scripted series, and Leeves said the show did what Mad Men did for AMC: It branded the network. Now, TV Land has six other original series, including Cedric the Entertainer’s The Soul Man, Retired at 35 and Kirstie — Kirstie Alley’s new show which will air in the fall.

In the press conference, Leeves said the show’s message was relatable to people of all ages.

“There is such a message of hope in this show,” she said. “It’s not over when you reach a certain age. We’re still vibrant, vital, funny women. … There’s always a way to reinvent yourself, just as Joy and Elka are doing by going back to college.”

As for plans for the future, both Leeves and White said they would love to do Cleveland forever, and White reaffirmed that she isn’t going anywhere soon, especially since Cleveland has been renewed for a fifth season.

“Everyone asks: ‘Aren’t you going to retire?’,” White said. “It may be wishful thinking, but you can’t get rid of me! Why should I quit something I enjoy so much?”

***Author’s note: I couldn’t publish this without letting the world know of my appreciation for the wonderful opportunity I had to interview Leeves and White in April. It was honestly a dream come true. I grew up watching Golden Girls, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Frasier, so to be able to speak to those shows’ stars was amazing. I could not have asked for a greater honor. I only asked a few questions but it is definitely one of the greatest moments of my journalistic career thus far. Listening to all of their answers during the press conference reaffirmed my adoration for the two actors. It was so easy to tell how well they got along and how much they love doing what they do now. My hopes are that they read this and that they understand how much their fans love them and how much their fans love Hot in Cleveland.***


By Meryl Gottlieb|| @buzzlightmeryl
Sean Saves the World will air in the fall on NBC Thursdays at 9 p.m.


About one month since Smash has been cancelled, Megan Hilty has landed another series regular position on an NBC show.

According to TVLine, Hilty will star alongside Smash co-star Sean Hayes in his new show Sean Saves the World. Hilty will play Liz, the best friend and co-worker of Hayes’ character. Lindsay Sloane was originally set in the role, but she left the project shortly after it was greenlit by NBC.

The show follows Hayes trying to figure out how to parent his 14-year-old daughter, who has just moved in, while also appeasing a temperamental new boss.

Hilty joins a cast including Linda Lavin, Echo Kellum, Thomas Lennon, Samantha Isler and Vik Sahay.

To learn more about the show and watch the official trailer click here.

Personally, I was hoping she would quickly return to the Broadway stage once the horror of Smash had been laid to rest. However, she shines in almost everything she does — I mean she was even good in Smash, which is saying something.

Sure, the plot seems a bit one-dimensional and weak, but here’s hoping the shining talents of Hayes and Hilty will prove it is worth our time and that it will not just consist of jokes about Hayes’ sexuality and the fact that he has a daughter.

Keep your fingers crossed that Hilty didn’t sign onto a train wreck this time!

What are your thoughts on Hilty’s new career route? What other shows are you excited to see this fall? Let me know @buzzlightmeryl

By Meryl Gottlieb|| @buzzlightmeryl
The Tony Awards aired June 9 at 8 p.m. on CBS


This year’s Tony Awards had its best ratings since 2009, according to preliminary numbers from Nielsen.

Sunday’s show saw a 20 percent increase in viewership, pulling in an audience of 7.2 million. The telecast was beaten only by the second game of the NBA finals between San Antonio and Miami, which had 11.6 million viewers.

Last year’s award show only earned about 6 million viewers, down from the 2011 show which had an audience of 6.9 million.

Apparently the trick for garnering larger audience numbers is to be broadcasted from Radio City Music Hall — the show’s home in 2009 and 2013.

And this year’s broadcast certainly proved it worked. The show — and especially its host, Neil Patrick Harris — has earned praise from critics.

“It took Neil Patrick Harris only about three minutes to banish any worries that the fearsome Host Fatigue Syndrome would overtake him and the Tony Awards,” wrote Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times.

Harris’ awe-inspiring opening number was named the best performance of the night on’s poll. The four-time Tonys host literally jumped through hoops to make that happen.

As a major fan of the Broadway world, the Tonys are the one night a year I get to glimpse into the world I adore so much. Because this is the real world, I am not able to fly to New York at will and see 1.188971the latest show. The Tonys lets me see the most talked about shows perform their best number for free. I do not look forward to any other award show more than I do for the Tonys.

Another wonderful musical moment came from the lament of Broadway actors whose attempts at the television world flopped. Megan Hilty of Smash, Andrew Rannells of The New Normal and Laura Benanti of Go On — all of which are recently cancelled NBC shows — joined Harris in a number titled “Television Sucks.” And it was incredibly hilarious. A few jokes about the cancellation of Smash were certainly expected. Instead of beating a dead horse, however, the show chose to do it Broadway-style and satirize with a song. What was even more biting was having them sing alongside Harris, who stars in the successful CBS series How I Met Your Mother.

Kinky Boots dominated the award show, winning Best Musical as well as five other awards, including Best Original Score by Cyndi Lauper and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for Billy Porter.

Best Revival of a Musical went to Pippin, which also won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Patina Miller), Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Andrea Martin) and Best Direction of a Musical (Diane Paulus).

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike won Best Play while Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? won Best Revival of a Play.

For a full list of winners and nominees click here.

And I would be remiss to go without mentioning the incredibly awesome moment when Audra McDonald stole the closing number — set to the tune of Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind” — not with her voice but with an incredibly awesome mic drop.


What a way to say goodbye.

By Meryl Gottlieb|| @buzzlightmeryl
Doctor Who will return on BBC One and BBC America on November 23 for the 50th anniversary special


It has been exactly one week since the world learned that Matt Smith was leaving Doctor Who. And I’m still just as upset now as I was the moment I heard the news. To be honest, I was hoping it was the BBC’s attempt to “punk” the world.

It wasn’t. This is actually happening.

The BBC science fiction program follows a time-traveling humanoid alien, the Doctor, who travels through time and space in his TARDIS, a spaceship disguised as a police public call box. He has a variety of companions, who travel with him and help him fight the forces of evil that attempt to disrupt the galaxies and especially Earth.

And it is one of the best shows I have ever seen.  I am a Whovian — the nickname for fans of the show. I am obsessed.

Naturally, an obsession for the shows comes from an obsession for the characters, which comes from my love for the people who play them, and Matt Smith is at the top of my list of favorites.

The Doctor is a Time Lord and has the ability to regenerate, or take a new physical form to cheat death. Smith plays the 11th reincarnation of the Doctor — joining the show in 2010 — and is absolutely fantastic in the role. Able to go from child-like and lighthearted to dark and serious in seconds, Smith’s Doctor is certainly a highlight from the show’s 2005 relaunch.

And lead writer and executive producer of the show, Steven Moffat, agrees.

“Every day, on every episode… Matt Smith surprised me: the way he’d turn a line, or spin on his heels, or make something funny, or out of nowhere make me cry,” he said in a statement to the BBC. “The Doctor can be a clown and hero… and Matt rose to both challenges magnificently.”

Thus comes my lament at his departure. I absolutely loved David Tennant as the 10th Doctor and was hesitant to continue once Tennant left. That hesitance vanished once I saw Smith perform. As his predecessors before him, Smith seemed as if he were made for the role.

In a statement made to the BBC, Smith expressed his love for the show and its fans.

“The fans of Doctor Who around the world are unlike any other,” he said. “They dress up, shout louder, know more about the history of the show (and speculate more about the future of the show) in a way that I’ve never seen before; your dedication is truly remarkable. Thank you so very much for supporting my incarnation of the Time Lord, number Eleven… It’s been an honor to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the TARDIS for a spell with ‘the ginger, the nose and the impossible one.’ But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls. Thank you guys.”

Serving as his newest companion for season seven, Clara Oswald, Jenna-Louise Coleman expressed her adoration for Smith.

“I could not have imagined coming into the show without Matt as my Doctor, holding my hand, really, quite literally,” she said in a statement to the BBC. “I totally lucked-out in having a creative, generous, clever and lovely fella to work alongside day after day.”

Ryan Gosling directs Matt Smith in shirtless scenes for 'How To Catch A Monster' in DetroitWhile I cannot express my sorrows enough — though binge-watching his seasons over and over again may help — I look forward to what Smith will do in his future as an actor. Smith is currently working on How to Catch a Monster, Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut.

Smith will return in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special on November 23. His last appearance as the Doctor will be in the annual Christmas special when his Doctor will regenerate into its 12th form.

“Now the search beings,” Moffat said in a statement to the BBC. “Somewhere out there right now — all unknowing, just going about their business — is someone who’s about to become the Doctor.”

Also in the statement, I think Moffat says exactly what every Doctor Who fan wishes they could say to Smith:

“Thank you Matt — bow ties were never cooler.”