Stories

In comedy form, TV ponders being biracial

TV has had approximately three zillion comedy episodes, some of them topical and timely.
Few, however, have dealt with the common situation of being bi-racial.
“For me, (it) is to be comfortable everywhere and to be at home nowhere,” said Peter Saji, a producer of ABC’s new “Mixed-ish” series (shown here). Read more…

Amid comedy — a love letter to immigrants

As Gina Yashere tells it, her career choices were limited.
“I used to … say that in a Nigerian amily, there are only four choices of jobs – doctor, lawyer, engineer, disgrace to the family.”
She took the third choice (briefly being an engineer in London) and then the fourth, as a stand-up comedian. Now her roots are reflected in this fall’s first new broadcast-network show. Read more…

A quick tour of new shows on big-four networks

For the big-four TV networks, it all starts Monday (Sept. 23)
.Over the next week, they’ll introduce 13 new fall shows (including “The Unicorn,” shown here), with the final three arriving a week later.
Here’s a round-up of those 16, all starting Sept. 23-29, except where noted. We’ll have a separate story on the CW network, which starts two weeks later. The others – PBS cable, streaming – have been busy year-around and we’ve had ongoing coverage. Read more…

Here’s an epic, big-tent view of country music

To understand the big-tent view of Ken Burns’ “Country Music,” let’s step back 46 years
It’s May of 1973, at the Michigan State University Auditorium. The concert has the Eagles … and Gram Parsons (with Emmylou Harris) … and Lester Flatt (with Marty Stuart).
Really. The guy from the Byrds … and the band that would make “Life In the Fast Lane” … and the guy whose mandolin propelled “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Tickets ($7) included a second night, with Quicksilver, Canned Heat and REO Speedwagon.
It was, Stuart (shown here) said, “the first time I saw rock and roll and bluegrass and honky tonk and folk music and gospel music collide …. I remember thinking, ‘It can all exist under the umbrella of country music.’” Read more…

Raul Julia’s life was a passionate party

Raul Julia reached New York in 1964, a time when people made easy assumptions.
He was an actor from Puerto Rico; surely, that meant lots of street-smart roles. One talk-show host said she’d heard he didn’t speak English when he got there.
“Of course he spoke English,” theater director Oskar Eustis said. “He spoke beautiful English.”
Julia (shown here) – the subject of a PBS profile Friday — grew up around English-speaking teachers. He was college-educated, Shakespeare-trained. “He was very well-educated …. Latinos don’t (only) come under stressful conditions,” actor Esai Morales said. “We are not always struggling to survive.” Read more…

Tamron: Texan tackles talk turf

Tamron Hall had just blitzed through a rich range of subjects.
She’d invoked the talk-show masters – Oprah and Donahue – plus Mike Douglas and more. She’d ranged from the nobility of her sharecropper grandfather to the day she hung up on her friend Prince.
But she also surprised us cinematically: Her favorite movie now is “Shrek”; her “favorite growing up was ‘Rocky,’ because he got up.”
That’s what she’s done: She got up from her low point – NBC gave her morning hour to Megyn Kelley – and now has a syndicated show, starting Sept. 9 (see www.tamronhallshow.com). Read more…

Bradys make retro a pop-artform

Let’s designate this as the ultimate tourist experience:
One day in 2011, Susan Olsen says, a bus had stopped outside the house that used to be shown as the exterior of the “Brady Bunch” home. Tourists looked around at … well, not much. And then …
“The ‘Wienermobile’ pulled up and Cindy Brady got out.” Read more…

Valerie Harper: Some fun memories coming

Memories of Valerie Harper – fun ones, funny ones – will reach digital TV over the next few days.
The reruns are from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Rhoda,” Both shows seemed to share the upbeat approach of Harper, who died Friday (Aug. 30) at 80.
“I had a very positive mom,” she said in 2014, adding: “I’ve always thought that life is here to have fun and to meet people …. But this really brings you up short, when you hear that you have limited time.” Read more…

TV wrestling starts a rowdy new era

A generation ago, Teal Piper (shown here) recalls, wrestling didn’t seem like an equal-opportunity workplace.
“Women were really accessories to the men,” she said. They were there for sex appeal.
She once expressed that opinion to her father – possibly in a snarky, teenager way. “He just let me have it.” He slammed his fist, broke the table, and lectured that women work twice as hard.
It should be mentioned that her dad, the late wrestling star Rowdy Roddy Piper, had table-thumping strength plus social consciousness. “He had three daughters and he was a feminist at heart.” Read more…