Tuesday July 22, 2014

Per TV Guide, "[w]hen New Girl returns this fall for Season 4, Jess Day (Zooey Deschanel) will be single and ready to mingle.

"'She dates some real weirdos,' creator and executive producer Liz Meriwether said at the Television Critics Association fall previews on Sunday. 'One of them may or may not have a micro-penis.'

"'I've never really been in a good relationship,' Meriwether said with a laugh about the challenges of writing Nick and Jess as a couple. 'It's been easier for me to just write them as single people, single idiots [who are] kind of out in the world trying to get laid and looking for love. It's just been more fun. I had trouble kind of figuring out where the conflict and the comedy was coming from in their relationship last season. I think I'm really proud of last season and I think they did an amazing job, but it's definitely fun to kind of keep them apart for awhile, and we're having a lot of fun writing Jess out dating and getting into jams.'

"Although Nick and Jess will spend some time apart, Meriwether hasn't ruled out the possibility of Nick and Jess getting back together someday. 'I mean, I love them together and I don't think it's it for them at all,' she said."

New Girl premieres on Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 9/8c on Fox.

***If you really want a look at Jake Johnson (Nick) the sports fan, click here.  If you're a Chicago Cubs fan, you are REALLY going to want to give it a read.

Contestants had better be handy with a hammer DIY's newest renovation show. Homeowners can have a room or two totally redone on Sledgehammer, but only if they can completely gut it in 30 minutes. If not, it's clean-up time. "Risky, yes - but the payoff could be great," says host Jason Cameron. Series premieres Wednesday, August 6 at 10 and 10:30p.  You'll be reading more about this show over the next two weeks.

Good news coming from FX:

"Fargo has officially been picked up for a second season by FX, the network announced at the 2014 Summer TCA Press Tour on Monday. . . . But there will be some major changes when the series returns. 

"Though executive producer and writer Noah Hawley will be back, Fargo's second season will feature an all-new cast of characters, a new time period and a new 'true crime' story that will unfold over the course of 10 episodes. So yes, that means the ridiculously talented (and Emmy nominated) cast, which included Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Colin Hanks and Allison Tolman, will (probably) not be returning.

"As for why the actors from season one won't be returning, Landgraf explained Fargo 'demands' more realism than a series like American Horror Story, which features many of the same actors taking on new roles each season."

Here is some additional scoop on season 2: "Hawley said the next season is set in 1979 and will feature a 33-year-old version of Solverson, a state cop recently back from fighting in the Vietnam War. “He thought he left the war behind, but he came back and here it is, it’s domestic,” the writer-producer teased. 'We will meet Molly’s mother, who was not a character in season 1 … and we’ll learn what happened to her. Ben Schmidt [the police lieutenant played by Peter Breitmayer in the first season] will factor in there somewhere. … There were a lot of clues left in the first season and we’ll do our best to hit those.'

"The writer noted the first season’s cinematic inspirations were the Coen brothers films FargoNo Country for Old Men, and A Serious Man. Season 2 will be FargoMiller’s Crossing, and The Man Who Wasn’t There. 'Let the internet speculation begin,' he said.

"The story will be set in Sioux Falls, Luverne, and Fargo, and once again the show’s base of production will be Calgary in Alberta, Canada. FX expects the next season to premiere in fall, 2015."

"FX's Emmy-winning critical favorite Louie has been renewed for a fifth season.

"That's the good news that was announced on Monday (July 21) morning at the Television Critics Association press tour.

"Unfortunately, the news isn't all good. The fifth season Louie renewal is only for seven episodes, after 13-episode orders for each of the first four seasons.

"Of course, episode orders for Louie aren't set in stone. Last season, after taking 2013 off, Louie had a 13 episode order, but creator Louis C.K. returned to FX with a 14-episode season."

On the flip side, "Charlie Kaufman's return to TV may not be as soon as he thought it would be.

"The comedy pilot How & Why from Kaufman, who won an Oscar for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, has been passed over at FX, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Producers are now shopping the comedy starring Michael Cera to other outlets, with Netflix having already passed on the project, THR has learned. IFC is seen as a potential home for the comedy, though it's unclear if that will actually happen given the price tag associated with the comedy.

"How & Why, which was ordered to pilot in March 2013, tells the story of a man who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works but is otherwise clueless about life. Oscar nominee John Hawkes (Winter's Bone) stars as Goodman Hesselman, host of the How & Why show at the center of the comedy. After losing his passion for the show, he is replaced by a younger host and relocates to a different town to start a similar program with significantly lower stature. Cera (Arrested Development) will portray Mendelson, Goodman's new boss. Sally Hawkins co-stars, with Catherine Keener guest-starring."

Here is your first look at the poster for season 5 of The Walking Dead:

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I caught up on The Strain.  It's interesting, but not great.  It holds my interest and I'm going to stick with it.  If you are bored stiff and can't find any summer shows to get into, give this a try.  How's that for a ringing endorsement??

Here's a little more backstory on The Strain, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter: "Based on Guillermo del Toro's and Chuck Hogan's book trilogy first published in 2009, the story centers on a vampire virus that infects New York and the CDC doctor, Ephraim 'Eph' Goodweather (House of Cards' Stoll), who investigates the case. Goodweather is the head of the CDC's Canary Team in New York who is called upon to investigate a viral outbreak connected to an evil strain of vampirism. As the strain spreads, Eph leads a team of New Yorkers that wages a war and defends humanity.

"Stoll, who rose to stardom after his breakout role on the first season of Netflix's House of Cards, admitted that initially he was 'skeptical' when del Toro said he'd be fashioned with a wig for the FX series, thinking he was being made over to look more like a typical 'Hollywood hero,' before he learned the truth.

"'If you know the books or where it's heading, we needed the character to change his look, to be able to mix into the normal population without being seen,' del Toro explained. 'We needed him to have a look that could be altered…and unless he grows a beard or has an eye patch, we needed somewhere for him to go.'

For his part, Stoll said the wig actually has helped inform how he embodies Eph. 'It helped increase the eccentricity of the character and bring him more into the world,' he noted. 'It functions more as a mask.'"

NBC premieres Food Fighters tonight.  It describes the show as follows: "The table is set for the ultimate culinary clash in this one part cooking competition, one part game show. Host Adam Richman (Man v. Food) will give homegrown amateur cooks the chance to test their skills against professional chefs. Every down-home cook has that one signature dish or secret family recipe that always gains favor with friends and family. Now, imagine going head-to-head in the kitchen against five professional chefs, who try to cook your specialty dish even better than you in the hopes of winning over a dinner party made up of the American public. With each savored victory, the cash prize gets bigger and bigger as the home cooks rise to every challenge and outcook the professional chefs. Think you've got what it takes to serve up the competition?"  Sounds like something I've seen before on another network and something that will not find great success if I had to make a bet.