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Tuesday Briefs: Rachel Maddow to get Cronkite award; Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach still in Air Force; Rosie O’Donnell on “Drop Dead Diva”

http://nataliaantonova.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/wahlberg-and-dog.jpgGood afternoon all!

Hope your day is going splendidly.

So why have I chosen Mark Wahlberg to illustrate today’s “Briefs” column?

He was on my mind because my sister and I watched Date Night over the weekend and Mark was shirtless throughout!

The former Calvin Klein underwear model-turned-Oscar nominee has held up damned well over the years! Plus, the movie – which stars Tina Fey and Steve Carell,  is an absolute riot. Rent it!

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_1Ssoxfl0MvQ/SKvxEglIqmI/AAAAAAAAE70/ghlzHmqFUm0/s400/RachelMaddow1.jpgMIGHTY MADDOW: God, it’s so wonderful to have such a sane and intelligent voice on television each night. Rachel Maddow is not interested in sensationalism, just the truth. So it seems fitting that Maddow will be presented with the 2010 Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award at a gala dinner in New York in October.

The award “recognizes individuals who courageously promote democratic values, defend religious freedom and reinvigorate informed civic participation,” according to The Huffington Post.

The description seems to fit the MSNBC journalist to a tee!

Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy said of Miss Maddow: “Rachel’s passionate coverage of the intersection of religion and politics exhibits a strong personal intellect coupled with constitutional sensitivity to the proper boundaries between religion and government.”

Previous media recipients of the award include Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, Larry King, and Bill and Judith Moyers.

http://blog.mattalgren.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/choi-fehrenbach.jpgDADT DISCHARGE ON HOLD: Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach (pictured with activist Dan Choi)  is an American hero and fighter pilot who during an 18-year career in the military, completed 88 combat missions, 2,189 total flying hours, 1,487 fighter hours and 488 combat hours. He has received eight air medals, one for Heroism, and was hand-picked to protect the Washington, D.C. airspace after 9/11. He flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, targeting the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

His reward? Being discharged – just two years short of retirement – because he is gay.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_ndAyv4BjPbk/ShP_xsH4AuI/AAAAAAAAA3M/y2gXKPAaHGg/s400/Picture+5.pngThe man is a high-profile example of why the military’s discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy against gays must be abolished now. Toward that end, there seems to be a bit of a breakthrough in Fehrenbach’s case.

The Advocate reports that the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. district court for Idaho have reached an agreement on the case of Fehrenbach that temporarily prevents the Air Force from discharging him under “don’t ask, don’t tell” until the court schedules a hearing in his case.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis praised the fairness of the arrangement and said: “The agreement recognizes the immediate harm to Lt. Col. Fehrenbach and insures that he will eventually get to make his case at a full-blown hearing without losing his job.”

http://cm1.theinsider.com/media/0/372/90/Rosie_O_Donnell.0.0.0x0.292x408.jpeg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1264863817082ROSIE THE DIVA: We have gotten so used to Rosie O’Donnell as herself that it’s easy to forget that she is a darn good actress! In such movies as A League of Their Own, Sleepless in Seattle and Beautiful Girls, Rosie was terrific. She was also a hoot in her recurring role as Dawn Budge on FX’s Nip/Tuck and has headlined on Broadway in Grease and Suessical the Musical.

Her latest role has Rosie guesting on the Lifetime hit Drop Dead Diva on Sunday, according to TVGuide.com.

Rosie will reprise her role as Judge Madeline Summers “in a very, very unusual way,” executive producer Josh Berman tells the site.

In the episode, Judge Summers will lend a hand to a desperate Jane (Brooke Elliot) in an effort to save her client.

Rosie, of course, will also be returning to daytime television via Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network with a new talk show set to debut next year.

FILE UNDER: Briefs

Neil Patrick Harris clears up some crazy rumors: “I’m absolutely not leaving LA or the business”

Neil Patrick Harris, Daniel Burtka Neil Patrick Harris, seen at Disneyland over the weekend with love David Burtka, has become pretty adept at shooting down false reports about himself.
The actor, who has confirmed that he and Burtka are expecting twins, took to Twitter this morning and posted this message to his followers: Rumor Watch 2010: I’m absolutely not leaving LA or the business. Errant reporting, Popeater. Total bunk. Oh, and good morning everyone!
Popeater had quoted a “friend” of NPH as saying: “Neil has been working his butt off since he was a little kid. Everything was about his career until he met his soul-mate, David. Now, with twins due in October, Neil is thinking about taking a break. Moving from Hollywood to New York City to be a full-time daddy.”
Some “friend.”
Thanks to Neil for clearing it all up!

Neil Patrick Harris at Disney California Adventure Park

FILE UNDER: Out Stars

“True Blood” stars Alexander Skarsgard, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer nude on cover of Rolling Stone!

Well, well, what do we have here?
Probably the highest-selling issue of Rolling Stone of 2010 is my guess!
This sexy True Blood trio is providing something for everyone: For the gay guys and straight girls, there’s a naked Alexander Skarsgard and Stephen Moyer and for the straight boys and gay girls, there’s Anna Paquin!
The cover isn’t any more shocking than a scene on the HBO hit but we do learn that for those nude scenes, Moyer and Paquin (engaged in real life) wear small pieces of cloth to cover their privates. Not so the blond and beautiful Skarsgard who tells Rolling Stone: “I don’t want a sock around it, it feels ridiculous. If we’re naked in the scene, then I’m naked. I’ve always been that way.”
FILE UNDER: Briefs

Happy 50th Birthday to Sean Penn!

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http://topnews.in/files/Sean-Penn55.jpgIt’s been nearly 30 years since Sean Penn burst onto the scene as surfer-stoner Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High spouting lines like “All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buds, and I’m fine.”

Loved him then and really love him now.

Since Ridgemont, there have been Oscar wins for Mystic River and Milk and memorable performances in Dead Man Walking, 21 Grams, I Am Sam, Sweet and Lowdown, Casualties of War, Colors, She’s So Lovely, Carlito’s Way and The Falcon and the Snowman, among many others.

During a three-year marriage to Madonna, Sean was at loggerheads with the spotlight but over the years, he has learned to use the spotlight for causes he finds important including Hurricane Katrina and the war in Iraq. He has long been a concerned citizen who is not afraid to step-up no matter what detractors say.

Never has this been more apparent than after the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year. He has basically moved to the devastated island nation and founded J/P Haitian Relief Organization which has been running a 55,000 person tent camp.

Sean’s desire to speak his truth has never meant more to me than on Oscar night 2009 when he won the Academy Award for best actor for his performance in Milk.

While accepting that award, he used the occasion to speak out as Harvey Milk surely would have: “I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone.”

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FILE UNDER: Birthdays

Melissa Joan Hart talks to Greg In Hollywood about her “racier and edgier” new sitcom with Joey Lawrence

http://www.blogcdn.com/www.tvsquad.com/media/2010/07/melissa-joey-abc-fam-250.jpg
http://images.buddytv.com/articles/breakingnews/melissajoanhart.jpgHate to dump on Lindsay Lohan while the poor girl is in rehab but the Mean Girls star really is a cautionary tale on the travails of teenage stardom.
I couldn’t help but think of poor Lindsay when I chatted with Melissa Joan Hart recently, a teen star whose parents are not hungrier for the spotlight than their child (yeah you two, Dina and Michael Lohan) and who has managed to transition to adulthood happy and healthy and balanced.
Melissa, best known for her hit television shows Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Clarissa Explains it All, returns to television tonight in the ABC Family sitcom Melissa & Joey opposite fellow former child star Joey Lawrence.
Melissa, now 34 and a mother of two, took issue with the notion that childhood stardom is a bad thing despite the widely publicized troubles of Lohan, Britney Spears and the entire cast of Different Strokes.
” I think a lot of people forget about the good ones,” she said. “They go off to have families or maybe they dabble in directing, producing so you forget about them. But you look at Ron Howard, someone who came out of it and survived and thrived.”
It also helps to not have people like Dina and Michael Lohan as parents it would seem.
“For me, it all starts with my family,” said Melissa. “Also, I look at it as a job, as work. My family is most important and my job comes second. I want longevity, I want to be here a long time. I want to be on a set for the rest of my life. What do I have to do to make that happen? I’ve got to be nice to people, I’ve got to show up on time and I’ve got to be good.”
Melissa Joan Hart
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http://knockedupcelebs.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/melissa-joan-hart-bikini-people-cover_a.jpgSuch a balanced, business-like attitude doesn’t get you much publicity though I point out.
“I got married, I had kids. What? That’s not enough? I gotta do some blow and end up with a DUI and curse someone out? It’s like you have to be arrested and end up in jail in order to be interesting.”
I suggest she write some kind of guide book on transitioning to adulthood in the entertainment business and she said: “I think I might.’
Melissa continued to work in TV movies (including the hugely-rated Holiday in Handcuffs) after Sabrina went off the air in 2003 but she also got married to musician Mark Wilkerson and gave birth to sons in 2006 and 2008.
But the schedule of a TV series works well with her family life and that’s a big reason why she is happy to be doing Melissa & Joey which has a similar premise to the classic ABC sitcom Who’s the Boss?
Here is the premise: Melissa plays a local politician from a political family. When a family scandal leaves her niece, Lennox, and nephew, Ryder, without their parents, Mel takes them in. Meanwhile, Joe (Lawrence) is a former commodities trader–left bankrupt after a Ponzi scheme–who is searching for a job. So when Mel finds it hard to handle an instant family and her own life, she hires Joe to become the family’s new male nanny, or “manny”.

“It’s a little racier and edgier than people expect so as long as they aren’t shocked going into the first episode then it’ll be all good,” Melissa said of Sabrina fans who watch the new show. “Sabrina was the quissessential teen, not sure of her surroundings, not sure of her future, not sure what she wanted. Does she fit in? Does she want to fit in? She was always trying to figure out who she was for seven years and that’s hard to play. So now to be able to be self-centered, loosey goosey, kind of like Lucy. I get to do physical comedy and be silly and very female.”

Of working with Lawrence, she said: “We’ve known each other since we were four, great friends, our families are friends. We both have worked in the same industry in the same format for so long. There’s a great shorthand, we click really well and we both have the same objective which is let’s work hard, let’s make it fun and let’s go home to our families. It helps that we’re all on the same path.”

Former teenage TV stars Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence team up  in ABC Family's new comedy 'Melissa & Joey.'
FILE UNDER: Interviews

“Golden Girls” Tuesday: Sophia and Dorothy channel Sonny and Cher singing “I Got You Babe”

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/photopost/data/662/cherbono.jpgThe late, great Bea Arthur had gone on the record saying that this is one of her all-time favorite Golden Girls episodes.

Her character of Dorothy and mother Sophia (Estelle Getty) team up as Sonny and Cher to perform a duet of I Got You Babe for a local talent show. With Rose (Betty White) at the piano, it makes for quite a performance.

Plus, they just look so ridiculous!

Tuesday Morning Man: Zachary Knighton!

http://www.malestarz.com/uploads/photos/0070891943360d31d02e260f310351971.jpgZachary Knighton was at the ABC party during TV Critics Assn. Press Tour a few weeks ago but I didn’t get the chance to chat with him.

But there’s no reason why we can’t enjoy this attractive actor as our Morning Man is there?

Zachary is part of the ensemble cast of the new ABC sitcom Happy Endings about a group of  friends whose little group will be rocked when the couple that brought them together, Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) and Dave (Knighton), break up. This leaves the group in an awkward position of either trying to stay together or choosing sides. Alex and Dave decide to stay friends but there are many more complications down the road.

The series looks promising but no doubt the 31-year-old actor is keeping his expectations in check: last fall he was one of the stars of ABC’s highly-touted FlashForward and also starred on the short-lived series Related and Life on a Stick.

If the TV thing doesn’t work out, Zachary can always find work in films it seems. His movie roles include Surfer Dude with Matthew McConaughay, The Hitcher, The Prince and Me and the terrific gay indie The Mudge Boy which stars Emile Hirsch.

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FILE UNDER: Morning Men

The gay “Beverly Hills 90210″ hunk is …

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_GjkPNjEidlg/StzYqzkXW1I/AAAAAAAAFw0/XbBftcb8Q_I/s640/Trevor%20Donovan.jpg

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http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_R5LIFqwhDtE/SrS05bmBBUI/AAAAAAAAD_0/T0bKHJWNDjY/s400/trevor_donovan_5355355.jpg… absolutely smoking hot!

We already had it narrowed down to one of three characters on Beverly Hills 90210: Liam Court (Matt Lanter), Teddy Montgomery (Trevor Donovan) or Navid Shirazi (Michael Steger).

Entertainment Weekly’s Michael Ausiello has just confirmed that the gay character coming out this fall is (and for God’s sake quit reading if you want to remain in the dark!) is the tennis playing hunk Teddy!

Michael was prepared to sit on the confirmation until Montgomery’s messages via Twitter were just too revealing. The actor never comes out and says it’s his character but he does write: “I read all your tweets and know you are all curious about the ‘gay’ character this season. Let me say, gay or straight, relationships are relationships. Everyone goes through the same kind of troubles and joys. A gay storyline will have an added issue of dealing with judgment from others. Acceptance, by family, friends, society, and self is just one of the concerns the character will be going through. It is a part of life, and it should be portrayed. I was told, and am confident, [that] the storyline will be written very well and the change in the character will be organic, NOT overnight. It’s going to be a great season 3. I look forward to chatting with you all as we progress.

I think it is fabulous to have an actor who is not only extremely easy on the eyes in this role, but to have an actor who is embracing it so thoughtfully.

His Tweets echo some of what he told me when we chatted a few weeks ago about the gay character:

“It’s exciting because the way they’re explaining it, it’s going to be written in a way where it’s really going to focus on the struggle of coming to fruition of who he is – whoever he is,” Trevor said at the CBC/Showtime party during TV Critics Assn. Summer Press Tour. “To tell you the truth, I would be honored and flattered and excited if it was me. Because not only would it be a great opportunity to sort of display and showcase your acting chops, but it’s also a great opportunity to struggle of coming to that fruition, the realization.”

“From what I understand, it’s going to be a process, it’s going to be an arc just like it is in real life, coming to terms with it and coming out,” Trevor added. “It’s a struggle and they really want to show that struggle. It’s not just, ‘Oh, I’m gay’ and show like the shock value of two guys kissing on network TV. They are going to write it intelligently and it’s going to be interesting.”

We also know who is going to play his boyfriend: Kyle Riabko!

FILE UNDER: Television

Court ruling means no same-sex marriages can be performed in Calfornia while Prop. 8 case on appeal

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/069D05bbaOaM7/600x.jpgJust as we were ready to start throwing rice at our newly wed gay friends, the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals has granted Prop 8 proponents a stay on a judge’s ruling that makes same-sex marriage legal in California.

It is bitterly disappointing for those who are planning nuptials and for those of us who hope to someday be.

But the bright side is the appellate court has set a highly expedited schedule for briefing and argument of proponents’ appeal so hopefully the matter will be settled sooner than later and we will know whether or not the case will go before the US Supreme Court.

http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/225px-Theodore_Olsen_-_2010_-_David_Shankbone.jpg“We are very gratified that the Ninth Circuit has recognized the importance and pressing nature of this case and the need to resolve it as quickly as possible by issuing this extremely expedited briefing schedule,” said Attorney Theodore B. Olson, who argued on behalf of two same-sex couples who filed suit. “As Chief Judge Walker found, Proposition 8 harms gay and lesbian citizens each day it remains on the books.   We look forward to moving to the next stage of this case.”

The American Foundation for Equal Rights and plaintiffs Kris Perry, Sandy Stier, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo (the two couples are pictured at top of page) challenged Proposition 8 in federal court for violating the U.S. Constitution. After a three-week trial (including the testimony of 17 plaintiffs’ witnesses, among them the foremost experts on the relevant issues, and thousands of pages of documents and a wealth of other evidence) the Court ruled last Wednesday, August 4, that Proposition 8 violated the rights to equal protection under the law and due process that the U.S. Constitution guarantees to every American.

http://www.lgbtpov.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Chad-and-the-plaintiffs-at-nc1-300x225.jpg“Today’s order from the Ninth Circuit for an expedited hearing schedule ensures that we will triumph over Prop. 8 as quickly as possible,” said Chad Griffin, Board President, American Foundation for Equal Rights. “This case is about fundamental constitutional rights and we at the American Foundation for Equal Rights, our Plaintiffs and our attorneys are ready to take this case all the way through the appeals court and to the United States Supreme Court.”

Here is a link to today’s ruling: Today’s order can be found here:  http://www.equalrightsfoundation.org/legal-filings/9th-circuit-ruling-on-motion-for-stay-pending-appeal/

FILE UNDER: Gay Marriage

“Fifteen Minutes” PR guru Howard Bragman now repping Jet Blue flight attendant Steven Slater

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http://theyadig.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/howard-bragman-headshot.jpgHoward Bragman’s PR firm is called Fifteen Minutes and boy, is Steven Slater certainly enjoying his.

Howard could be just the person to help the Jet Blue flight attendant who lost his cool extend his time in the spotlight.

“I can officially confirm that I am now representing Steven Slater,” Bragman said in a statement. “While my work will include media relations, my team at Fifteen Minutes and I will be helping him sort out the scores of offers that have come through in the past week from media producers, brands and other interested parties.

“I very much believe that Steven touched a nerve with the American people and am proud to be helping him tell his story at the appropriate time in the appropriate way.”

Slater has been offered a job as host of a reality show featuring various disgruntled workers quitting their jobs in extravagant ways, according to TMZ.

The offer is said to have come from Stone and Company Entertainment, the reality show heavyweights behind such reality hits as Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style and Top Design, the website reported citing industry insiders.

Slater became an overnight internet folk hero after he got on the intercom of a packed JetBlue plane and cursed out an unruly passenger before quitting and allegedly grabbing two beers, deploying the emergency slide and sliding off the plane.

FILE UNDER: Controversy

Monday Briefs: Jesse Tyler Ferguson targets NY state senators; Steven Slater is a Fanilow; It’s Madonna’s birthday!

http://cinie.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/risky-business-cruise-400a0125071.jpgI do believe that our love affair with Tom Cruise began at this very moment back in 1983 when he slid across the floor, in his briefs, lip-sinking Old Time Rock and Roll in his breakthrough movie Risky Business.

Tom had 25 years or so of non-stop hits but Knight and Day proved that he is not the box office draw he once was. I think he’s a terrific actor and would love to see him do some more parts like Magnolia.

Anyway, here are some briefs for you. Sorry for the late start and early finish on the blogging front today but I’ve got my hands full on the family front. Thanks to all for your loyalty and patience!

Manilow_slater FLIGHT ATTENDANT FANILOW: The Jet Blue flight attendant who lost his marbles, exited a flight via emergency shoot with a beer in hand, and is now a folk hero, is now rubbing elbows with celebrities instead of unruly passengers.

Steven Slater attended Barry Manilow‘s “Symphony” concert with the New York Pops at Caesars Boardwalk Hall and met the ageless singing star backstage for a photo op.

FIGHTING BACK: I love that people are targeting the state senators in New York who so cowardly voted against approving same-sex marriage in their state. They are so afraid of offending certain segments of voters that they do not vote their conscience and end up offending another group – a group that is made as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore.

Emmy nominated Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson has taped the following Public Service Announcement for Fight Back New York, the political action committee targeting anti-gay state senators in New York. Jesse has some strong words for the politicians and also jokingly makes public his plans to marry Alec Baldwin – not sure he ran that proposal by the 30 Rock star!

http://twinkleboi.com/music/wp-content/uploads/madonna_01.jpgMADONNA’S BIRTHDAY: The Material Girl turns 52 years young today!

She has reinvented herself so many times over the years with new looks, new music, movies good and bad and a colorful love life. That has meant she has never been boring and I doubt she ever will be!

It will be interesting to see what she has in store for us next.

http://images.starpulse.com/Photos/Previews/Desperate-Housewives-6-09.jpgAND FINALLY: I have to confess to being more of a fan of actor Shawn Pyfrom than I am of Madonna. Strange for a gay man not to be enthralled by her but she does not strike me as authentic and leaves me cold. That said, I have much respect for her talent.

So why am I bringing up Shawn Pyfrom?

Because it’s his birthday too! The Desperate Housewives cast member turns 24 today. I’m damn glad that after a long stretch of being criminally underutilized, Shawn’s character of Andrew Van De Kamp, the gay son of Bree, had a nice comeback last season and is poised to continue to be prominent this year – the show’s seventh season.

Happy birthday Shawn!

FILE UNDER: Briefs

Meryl Monday: LA stage production “Streep Tease” nears its unexpected one-year anniversary

I love Streep Tease, I love the fact that this wonderful stage show was featured in the LA Times on Sunday and love that the cast photo was taken by my old Times pal Allen J. Schaben.

It was after seeing Streep Tease that I decided to start Meryl Mondays here on Greg In Hollywood so it seems only fitting to highlight them in this space today.

Here is a few excerpts from the article:

“It’s not a drag show,” creator-producer-performer Roy Cruz said recently at the Fairfax District’s Bang Comedy Theatre, where the 65-minute sensation is closing in on a yearlong run.

“It’s not an offensive show, it’s not a showcase, and it’s not in any way disrespectful or a parody,” added director Ezra Weisz.

“What it is,” said David Dean Bottrell, one of the show’s eight cast members, “is a comic valentine to a great artist.”

Dispelling any misconceptions has been key to properly promoting the production. Case in point: When Bottrell, who embodies Streep’s Karen Blixen — Danish accent and all — for a show-stopping six-minute summation of “Out of Africa,” told a fellow churchgoer about his part in the show, she immediately asked, “Do you wear her clothes?”

Cruz, a Filipino-born comedian and actor, hatched the idea for “Streep Tease” after re-creating Streep’s icy “Devil Wears Prada” fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly as part of his stand-up routine. “When I ran out of material, the ‘Prada’ monologue was always reliable,” he said. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to turn those into an entire show?’ ”

Last summer, Cruz did just that, enlisting actors and other performers to pick a favorite Streep movie monologue to reenact for one night only. “I approached it like an open mike night,” said Cruz, “no director at that time, just come in and do your thing.”

“There was so little rehearsal, it was a little like being shot out of a cannon,” recalled Bottrell, an accomplished screenwriter (“Kingdom Come”) and actor (“Boston Legal”), of September’s opening night. “I thought, ‘This can either be fantastic or horribly embarrassing.’”

FILE UNDER: Meryl Monday

Monday Morning Man: Michael Stahl David!

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http://www.mtv.com/content/style/winter2005a/images/flipbooks/trl_guestbook/2008/jan_08/01_14_michael_stah_david_02.jpgOne of the more intriguing new series on the broadcast networks this fall looks to be ABC’s My Generation, a documentary-style ensenble dramedy about a group of high school students and their lives 10 years after graduation.

One of the stars is Michael Stahl David who plays the class “overachiever” Steven Foster who turns out to be anything but. He has turns out to be a surf bum living in Hawaii. When I chatted up the 27-year-old actor at the TV Critics Assn. Press Tour a few weeks ago, my first question was whether or not he ever surfs.

“I do surf a bit,” he said but made clear he wasn’t cast in the role for his surfing skills.

His acting skills have already been on display on the big screen in Cloverfield and on the short-lived NBC drama The Black Donnellys.

I asked him the compare the two series: “[Donnellys]  was a great show and I learned so much doing it. I think [Generation] is really different, it’s a really different tone. It’s not nearly as dark, it’s funny and I think it’s got much broader appeal and is shot in avery different style.”

Generation is filmed in location in Austin, Texas, and has a large ensemble cast of young people.

“It is like a lot of fun even on long days,” Michael says. “I get inspired watching other people. Everybody is fantastic and you feed off of that.”

I find Michael to be especially impressive because he has paid his dues as an actor over the past decade in a variety of stage roles. He was still a teen when he became very active in the Chicago theater scene. He appeared in plays at the Steppenwolf Theater (One Arm, Theater District), Victory Gardens Theater (Cider House Rules, Lost in Yonkers) and the Goodman (The Goat, Or Who is Sylvia?) Shortly after arriving in New York in 2005, he appeared as Peter in The Diary of Anne Frank at the Papermill Playhouse. In the winter of 2007 he enjoyed critical success in his role in The Overwhelming off Broadway.

In September 2008, Michael starred in and directed the web series Michael Stahl-David: Behind the Star.

“I was the creator and director and star of that show,” he told me. “I had to like make sandwiches for my friends for lunch and do a lot of other jobs besides acting which was fun. What it gave me was a sense of looking at the big picture. I really want to get to know the writers and be on set when I’m not called because I want to watch the scenes. I have ambitions to write and direct more.”

“The web show did make people see that I can do comedy and I realized that I could make my own material.”

I think the sky is the limit for this young talent who isn’t afraid to make things happen for himself.

FILE UNDER: Morning Men

Cher talks about her return to movies!

Cher Cher and Kristen Bell film a scene for their new film  'Burlesque' in downtown Los Angeles.
http://www.todayfm.com/Libraries/Breakfast%20Show/christina-cher-burlesque.sflbCher is finally ready for her close-up.

The icon may be an Oscar winning actress, but she’s only made a handful of movies since taking home the golden statuette for Moonstruck back in 1988. But on Nov. 24, the 64-year-old star will return to the big screen since the 2003 comedy Stuck On You. She has chosen the musical Burlesque to make her return to the big screen.

But Cher tells Entertainment Weekly that she had to be persuaded a bit.

“You don’t do a movie unless you read a script  and go, ‘I love this.’” she said. “In the beginning, I just didn’t see potential for me in it.”

She finally decided to take on the role of of Tess, a club owner coping with a volatile leading lady (Kristen Bell) while mentoring a newcomer played by Christina Aguilera.

The musical provides Cher with a chance to sing in a movie for the first time since 1999′s Tea With Mussolini in which she sang Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. In Burlesque, she gets to belt out the power ballad You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me.

“It can only happen in a musical where you just start to sing out of the storyline,” she said.

Cher, whose other past film roles include Mask, Silkwood, The Witches of Eastwick, Suspect and Mermaids, told EW the reason she hadn’t made a movie in so long was because “I did a world tour for three and a half years. Then I was really tired and didn’t wanna work. After awhile I got bored. Movies are more difficult than singing. Singing is like going to a party at someone else’s house. Acting is like having the party at your house.”

Cher, an A-list star for 45 non-stop years, says of possibly retiring: “Well at some point you get too old. If people want to see you and you can do it, then you should do it. I like writing and directing.  At some point I think I would like to develop stuff and work with other people. You can kind of do that until you can’t move anymore.”

FILE UNDER: Icons

It’s going to be a boy and a girl for expectant parents Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka!

http://images1.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/NPH-David-Burtka-neil-patrick-harris-936654_450_338.jpgA few days after Neil Patrick Harris revealed via Twitter that he and love David Burtka are going to be parents of twins, we learn that one baby is a boy and the other a girl, according to E! News.

I am loving how much coverage this is getting in the mainstream press. It’s been nearly four years ago that Neil had one of the classier public coming outs ever when he issued a statement that he is gay then simply got on with his life – a life that seems to have gotten even more extraordinary since then.

He’s up for three Emmys this month, directed a successful staging of Rent at Hollywood Bowl last weekend and now he’s going to be a daddy with the love of his life.

I wish he and David all the best!

FILE UNDER: Out Stars

Weekend Briefs: Radio’s Stephanie Miller comes out; 90210 gay love interest cast; Eddie McClintock on his pecs!

Happy Saturday all! Just posting a few things before I get back to my weekend.

AN IMPECCABLE MAN: Eddie McClintock, who plays the role of Secret Service agent Peter Lattimer on the Syfy series Warehouse 13, was a Greg In Hollywood Morning Man earlier this month and a series of shirtless photos of him recently appeared on AfterElton.com. The studly actor weighed in on those pics with this humorous comment: Eddie McClintock Working hard to make sure my “pecs” don’t slip dangerously into “man boobism!” Don’t you just love conscientious TV stars?

OUT ON THE RADIO: Country music star Chely Wright’s coming out a few months ago was deeply moving and very inspiring. So much so that it inspired radio personality Stephanie Miller to come out over the airwaves this week. Miller, the host of her own syndicated radio program, The Stephanie Miller Show, told her listeners on Friday, “I am a gay woman,” and a few moments later added: “I got the gay on me.” Miller and Wright have become such good friends in recent months that Miller introduced her as “my coming out coach” on Friday and Chely said:  “You’re saving lives and changing lives by stepping into your truth and I’m so proud of you.” The 48-year-old Miller said she wanted to be able to speak out more authentically on such issues as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and marriage equality.

http://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/arts/photos/2009/04/07/riabko-kyle-cp-4835525.jpgFROM HAIR TO 90210: Actor Kyle Riabko, who succeeded Glee’s Jonathan Groff as the male lead in Spring Awakening and then Gavin Creel in Hair, will have a new zip code this fall: Beverly Hills 90210.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Kyle has been cast as the lost interest of one of the show’s male regulars who will come out of the closet this fall.

It’s a safe bet that it will be one of three characters: Liam Court (Matt Lanter), Teddy Montgomery (Trevor Donovan) or Navid Shirazi (Michael Steger). I chatted with all three actors at the CW/CBS/Showtime party in Beverly Hills recently and point-black asked each of them if their character was the one. Nobody’s talking but I’m betting on Teddy!

AND FINALLY … The photo below of NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Tom Brady was just too adorable to ignore. Drew, who led the New Orleans Saints to the Super Bowl title earlier this year, was the Feb. 8 Morning Man. Brady was Morning Man way back in May 29, 2009 and has since grown his hair out long (very sexy!) so it may be time for an encore!

FILE UNDER: Briefs

Supercouple Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka are set to become parents of twins due in October!

Neil Patrick Harris has broken this big news himself via Twitter: So, get this: David and I are expecting twins this fall. We’re super excited/nervous/thrilled. Hoping the press can respect our privacy

Neil and David Burtka (pictured above at David’s surprise birthday party in June) have been together for six years and David has twin children born by surrogate, from a previous relationship.

Congratulations to them!

Neil Patrick Harris, David BurtkaE! News reports that the babies will be born via surrogate in October.

Last year, the couple denied a report in The Star that they had gone through “a rigorous screening process … to find the right woman to carry their child.” AfterElton.com checked it out and debunked The Star report got this statement from the couple: “If Star says it, then it must be true!  No, we are not currently expecting a baby.  Maybe someday…”

It seems that someday has arrived.

Related posts: Neil Patrick Harris throws a surprise birthday party in NYC for David Burtka *** Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka say “maybe someday” they’ll have a baby but not yet! *** Morning Man: David Burtka!

FILE UNDER: Out Stars

Happy Birthday to Christopher Gorham!

Christopher Gorham: Shirtless Shots for 'Covert Affairs'!Covert Affairs star Christopher Gorham turns 36 today and I hope one of the coolest TV stars in the business is having a wonderful day with his loved ones.
It’s Chris who will be giving us a present on Tuesday when we get a glimpse of ripped bod in a new episode of Covert Affairs on USA network.
The episode, Communications Breakdown, puts Chris’s character of Auggie in the field to obtain the code for the CIA. But his excitement to be doing field work is tempered when he learns that the hacker responsible for the breakdown is Natasha Petrova (guest star Liane Balaban)…who happens to be his ex-girlfriend.
Fans of Ugly Betty are already well aware of how good Chris looks without a shirt on in this photo from a few years back:

Christopher Gorham as Henry on Ugly Betty -- looking SEXY without  his shirt!




FILE UNDER: Birthdays

Saturday Morning Man: Finn Wittrick!

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http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_sFLBhevCpnQ/TDIeQS3-HgI/AAAAAAAADQA/BFcmvs4ctWg/s1600/Finn+Wittrock.jpgI noticed this handsome young guy while flipping through the latest issue of Soap Opera Weekly. He’s 25-year-old Finn Wittrock and he plays Damon Miller on ABC’s All My Children.

He tells the mag that if he were not an actor, he’d be a journalist for The New York Times or a professional baseball pitcher.

But acting it is and is seems that he’s pretty darn good at it. He joined the soap last year and had a handful of TV guest credits prior on Cold Case, ER and CSI Miami.

Last month, Finn appeared on stage in The Mechanicals Theatre Group’s limited run of Matt and Ben, a play about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and their writing the screenplay of Good Will Hunting.

Finn’s fame is growing to the point where he is starting to have some strange fan encounters: “a lady at the car rental agency said: ‘You the bad boy!’ as I walked in. She hooked me up with a nice ride though.”

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FILE UNDER: Morning Men

Greg In Hollywood is snubbed by the Emmys!!!

It seems that Kate Gosselin is going to be at the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday,. August 29 but I will not be.

In the waiting room at St. Joseph’s Hospital on Monday, my mom undergoing hip replacement surgery, I stepped outside to check email on my iPhone and there it was under the heading: Regrets: 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards.

We apologize, however regretfully we are not able to accommodate your media credential request for the 62nd Primetime Emmy® Awards on August 29th.  We have tried as best we could and know many of you had covered the event in the past, but due to a few new elements,we have less space to work with and do not have room for all of the amazing media we would like to have on-site. Thank you so much for your interest and support in the Emmys.

Gee, thanks a lot Emmys! Did schlepping to Las Vegas to cover the heck out of the Daytime Emmys this year not matter one iota? Guess not.

http://www.bartcop.com/kathy-griffin-emmy-2007.jpgOkay, the letter only said the actual Emmy ceremony. Since I’ve covered the Creative Arts Emmys (Kathy Griffin nicknamed them the Schmemmys) the past three years – even on years when no one really cares about them – maybe I’d still get into those? I sent an email asking about that and got this reply a few days ago under the headline: Regrets – Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Hello ~ We apologize, however regretfully we are not able to accommodate your media credential request for 2010 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards on August 21.  Unfortunately we do not have room for all of the amazing media we would like to have on-site. Thank you so much for your interest and support in the Creative Arts Emmys.

They don’t make it easy for independent sites to do their jobs with this kind of impersonal brush off. It’s additionally frustrating as an LGBT site to not be able to cover the awards this year when so many openly gay performers (Jane Lynch, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris Colfer,Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Wanda Sykes, Sir. Ian McKellen and more) are nominated and openly gay Glee creator-director-producer Ryan Murphy is up for multiple awards.

I’m not sure what I’ll doing on Emmy night or on Schmemmy night the weekend before but you can count on a round-up of coverage even if it’s just me taking notes while sitting in front of the TV!

I just wish the folks representing the TV academy on credentialing could have been more thoughtful.

Related posts:

*** Gays and the 2010 Emmy Nominations *** Prime-Time Emmy Nominations: Glee gets 19 nods in comedy categories while Modern Family gets 14 *** Out Stars Neil Patrick Harris, Jane Lynch, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Chris Colfer get nods! *** On the Red Carpet at the Daytime Emmys *** Backstage at the 2010 Daytime Emmys ***

FILE UNDER: Awards, Controversy