JJ Abrams To Produce TV Series Based On RuPaul’s Early Days

Drag queen, Emmy Award winner and ‘Supermodel of the world,’ RuPaul, will get his own origins story on the small screen via JJ Abrams.

According to Deadline, the series will cover Ru’s early days in a punk band, “gender fuck” club kid, and nascent career highlights such as being a featured dancer in the music video for the B-52’s “Love Shack.”

Of course, since then it’s been fab glam-ness for the man who’s conquered the mainstream with music, TV, and his own MAC makeup campaign.

No word yet on which network will air the series.

Laverne Cox Books New ABC Pilot, “The Trustee”

Openly trans actress and activist Laverne Cox’ CBS series Doubt may have been cancelled after only two weeks, but she’s already on to her next leading TV gig.

Cox has been cast as co-lead in new ABC pilot, The Trustee, a female buddy police series.

From Variety:

[Cox] will play Amanda Jones, a larger-than-life ex-con finishing out her prison sentence doing menial tasks for the police department. Co-lead Meaghan Rath plays her counterpart, Eliza Radley, a driven but stubborn detective who finds unlikely help from Amanda.

Cox and Rath are joined by Michael Cudlitz of “The Walking Dead,” who will play Captain Timothy Waits, a wry and sardonic police captain who has learned to appreciate Eliza’s unorthodox policing methods.

As regular Randy Report readers know, Cox is the first transgender actress of color to star in a network television series. She has been honored with an Emmy nomination for her work on Netflix’ Orange Is the New Black, and a Daytime Emmy as producer of The T Word.

Who Knew The Theme From BEWITCHED Had Lyrics?

 While the television show never shared them, the 1960s hit series theme song for “Bewitched” actually had lyrics. Who knew?

Steve Lawrence recorded the “Bewitched” theme, written by Jack Keller and Howard Greenfield, back in 1964, the same year the popular TV series starring Elizabeth Montgomery launched.

CBS’ “The Good Wife” Announces This Will Be Final Season

I guess it’s true – all “Good” things must end.

I’ve been a fan of the show from episode one. Some of the finest acting on TV here, folks.

I’m glad the creators know in advance so the fans can get the series finale we deserve.

There’s already buzz of a possible spin off a new series for Matt Czuchry’s “Cary” and Christine Baranski’s “Diane.”

First Look At Upcoming “Ab Fab” Movie

The BBC has shared the first promo image from the upcoming “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” starring Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley in their now iconic TV comedy roles as “Edina” and “Patsy.”

From Variety:

In the movie, which is adapted from the BBC TV series, Edina and Patsy are still living the high life: shopping, drinking and clubbing their way around London’s trendiest hotspots. Blamed for a major incident at an uber-fashionable launch party, they become entangled in a media storm, and are relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi. Fleeing penniless to the playground of the super-rich, the French Riviera, they hatch a plan to make their escape permanent, and live a life of luxury forever.

We are HUGE fans of the series in my house. When I first met Michael, it was one of the first pop culture experiences he insisted on sharing with me. It took me a few episodes to find my footing, but now I’m just as big a aficionado. Can’t wait for the movie to come out sometime in 2016.

The Real Reason Why SEINFELD Killed Off “Susan” By Licking A Stamp

If you were a fan of the 90s sitcom SEINFELD, you’ll remember George Costanza’s on again-off again girlfriend and eventual fiancee, “Susan,” who was killed off by accidentally licking a stamp while sending wedding invitations.

Apparently, as the story goes, she was killed off in part because the cast had a difficult time “jelling” with the actress Heidi Swedberg, who played the role of “Susan,” during scenes. As Jason Alexander tells Howard Stern, she was a lovely person but acting with her was akin to mixing water and oil.

Listen to Alexander tell the story of “Susan’s” eventual demise to Howard Stern below.

UPDATE: And now, Alexander is backpedaling on the story and has issued this mea culpa.

Ok folks, I feel officially awful. Yesterday on @Sternshow, I retold a story I had told years ago about my personal difficulties and insecurities in playing George against the Susan that Heidi Swedberg created. The impetus for telling this story was that Howard said, “Julia Louis Dreyfuss told me you all wanted to kill her”. So I told the story to try and clarify that no one wanted to kill Heidi.

And again I say, I and the cast really liked and like Heidi. She is a kind, lovely person who undoubtedly worked really hard to create Susan and that character was clearly what Larry and Jerry wanted her to be for George. I just felt I was on uncertain ground in how to play off that character and I was always concerned that it wasn’t working. And that’s what I would voice concern about. But because the scenes were playing the way they were, the relationship with George and Susan sustained a whole season. People clearly liked the interplay even though I believed I was “off”.

Larry and Jerry were not sure how that relationship would end. They didn’t really want George married but all the alternatives seemed predictable. They were always looking for an inventive end to the engagement. So when the comment was made about “killing”, no one was talking about the actress – they were talking about the character. And that made a creative lightbulb go off apparently.

But in telling this story, it sounds like we are putting a heavy burden on Heidi. I, personally, am not. Heidi would always ask if there was anything in the scenes she could do or if I had any thoughts. She was generous and gracious and I am so mad at myself for retelling this story in any way that would diminish her. If I had had more maturity or more security in my own work, I surely would have taken her query and possibly tried to adjust the scenes with her. She surely offered. But, I didn’t have that maturity or security. And, Larry and Jerry would probably have killed me as it was all playing exactly as they wanted. Clearly Susan and George were coming off just the way they wanted.

So, to all the press that is now running wild with this 15 year old story, please don’t pervert it. No one told Heidi to do anything different – and she surely would have, if asked. And no one that I am aware of, including myself, didn’t like her. And now with distance, I can look at those episodes and see that there was a fun relationship there between George and Susan. It works perfectly. I simply couldn’t see it or find it at the time.

To Heidi, I personally apologize. You are a sweetheart. I actually launched into this on Stern to defend you. But this is why I’m not a lawyer. Now everybody, calm down and just enjoy the reruns and think, “why did he think this wasn’t working? This is great.”

(h/t Boy Culture)

Vanessa Williams To Star In New Fox Pilot Fantasy

Randy Report favorite Vanessa Williams is heading back to TV!

The superstar is set to star opposite Kevin Connolly in Fox’s upcoming pilot Fantasy Life, written by Tim McAuliffe based on the memoir by one of U.S.’ top fantasy experts, ESPN’s Matthew Berry.

When a hard-working guy, Mitch (Connolly) lands his ultimate dream job hosting a fantasy football show, he’s forced to navigate office politics while becoming the star he never thought he could be. Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives alumna Williams will play Terry, the bold, pragmatic, unapologetically caustic and apologetically compassionate SVP of Programming at a major sports network, and Mitch’s (Connolly) new boss.

Congrats V! You know I’ll be watching 🙂

And since it’s Valentine’s Day, why not revisit one of Williams’ biggest hit from her music career, “Saved The Best For Last?”

The CW gives a first look at new series THE FLASH

With the lead character introduced last December on the CW’s “Arrow,” the new series will feature Grant Gustin (“Glee“) as a police scientist who through a freak accident acquires the ability of super-speed, becoming “The Flash.”

Judging from the look of the photo above, the series will probably have a similar “gritty” look to it much like “Arrow.”

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Flash serves as an origin story similar in vein to Arrow. Barry (Gustin) — introduced in Arrow‘s two-part winter finale in December — is a Central City assistant police forensic investigator who visits Starling City to look into a series of unexplained robberies that may have a connection to a tragedy in his past. Through a freak accident, he is given the power of super speed that transforms him into the fastest man alive.

Joining Gustin in the main cast are John Wesley Shipp (aka the original Barry Allen from the ’90s series); Tom Cavanagh as physics “rock star” Harrison Wells; Jesse L. Martin as Detective West; Candice Patton as West’s daughter and Barry’s love interest Iris; Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow, a bioengineering expert; Carlos Valdes as mechanical engineering expert Cisco Ramon; and Rick Cosnett as Detective Eddie Thawne.

Regular readers of The Randy Report know my “geek” side as a comic book movie/TV series fan. I was a big Smallville fan, and really like Arrow. I’m curious to see how a “new millenium” Flash will fly.

Oscar winner Octavia Spencer to revive “Murder She Wrote” series

The original run of Murder She Wrote starred Angela Lansbury and ran for 12 seasons plus many TV movies thereafter.

Now it looks like Octavia Spencer’s turn to play “novelist/detective.” From Entertainment Weekly:

The network confirmed it has ordered a pilot based on the long-running CBS series starring Academy Award-winning The Help actress Octavia Spencer. The new version is described by Deadline, which first reported the news, as a “light, contemporary procedural in the vein of Bones or Fargo, it follows a hospital administrator and amateur sleuth (Spencer) who self-publishes her first mystery novel … [and her] avid fascination with true crime leads her to become an active participant in the investigations.”

The pilot is written by Desperate Housewives writer-producer Alexandra Cunningham.

The procedural crime series is genre that has succeeded for many years, a la Law & Order and currently Castle which bears a similarity to Murder She Wrote only with a male protagonist.

Reviving old ideas doesn’t always work though. This season the Raymond Burr series Ironside was brought back and cancelled in weeks. And of course, who can forget the unfortunate Charlie’s Angels rehash from a few years ago?

Wishing Octavia success though. Love her!