If it’s Thursday, this must be the mailbag.
Q: Is Bethenny Frankel coming out with a talk show?
A: Frankel, who came to fame via The Real Housewives of New York City, tried out a talk show this summer for a handful of stations — and the results were good enough that the show will be offered on a larger scale in 2013. The show, which has Ellen DeGeneres as an executive producer, was originally planned for fall 2012 but could not sign enough stations; the daytime talk field was very crowded with ongoing shows as well newcomers like Cleveland’s own Steve Harvey, Jeff Probst and Katie Couric, and the return of Ricki Lake. But some of those may falter and, according to Deadline.com, Frankel’s show could be on as early as January 2013 — or wait until that fall.
Q: Since NBC announced its 10-hour “Dracula” miniseries, did it drop the “Mockingbird Lane” pilot?
A: Doesn’t look that way. Yes, the show — a remodeling of The Munsters (whom, you remember, live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane) from writer-producer Bryan Fuller — was knocked from NBC’s fall schedule. But Fuller, who also made the lovable but little seen Pushing Daisies, told the Hollywood Reporter that “It was really tricky to cast the show; the tone of it is very specific. I tend to write in a very specific tone and there were a lot of people who were afraid.”
The unafraid apparently include Eddie Izzard, who will play Grandpa; Portia De Rossi as Lily and Jerry O’Connell as Herman. The Hollywood Reporter also said the show was much talked about at Comic-Con (where four minutes of scenes were shown) — and that Fuller plans to includes the Wolfman, Creature from the Black Lagoon and other classic horror-movie characters. And, based on Fuller’s Twitter feed, a new Mockingbird Lane pilot was delivered to NBC about a week ago.
Q: My sister is a big fan of the CW series “Supernatural” and of Misha Collins, who plays Castiel. She tells me he is a “hot, hunky, gorgeous babe.” I know nothing about him. Can you help?
A: According to his CW bio, 38-year-old Collins was born in Boston. While a student at the University of Chicago, he received an internship at the White House during the Clinton administration. His D.C. stay also included being a writer-producer for National Public Radio’s Weekly Edition. After college, Collins traveled the world for a year, spending several months in a monastery in Tibet. He has been a guest star on Nip/Tuck, ER. 24. CSI:NY, NCIS, Monk, Close to Home and NYPD Blue, and worked in movies. He is involved in kayaking, biking, running and back-country snowboarding, among other activities. The CW says he is also a published poet and resides in a Los Angeles house he built and designed himself.
I will leave it to others to decide the hunk question. Supernatural begins a new season on Oct. 3.
Q: The late Phyllis Diller was in a 1969 movie called “The Adding Machine.” Is this available in some format? Also, she was in a TV series called “The Pruitts of Southampton.” Can you give me any info on this?
A: Diller, who died in August at the age of 95, did indeed co-star in The Adding Machine, starring Milo O’Shea as Mr. Zero, a bookkeeper about to be replaced by an adding machine. (Diller was the shrewish Mrs. Zero.) It was based on a 1923 play by Elmer Rice, which was also adapted into a 2007 musical. I do not know of an authorized video release; I did see a clip from the film on YouTube.
The Pruitts of Southampton aired on ABC in 1966-67; Diller played a widow hiding her family’s bankruptcy while living in a mansion. According to The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, the series’ name was changed to The Phyllis Diller Show in January 1967, and the mansion became a boardinghouse. The whole thing was based on House Party, a novel by Patrick Dennis. The cast included Reginald Gardiner, Gypsy Rose Lee, Charles Lane and — after the retooling, Paul Lynde, Richard Deacon — and John Astin and Marty Ingels, who years earlier had co-starred in I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster. I do not know of an authorized Pruitts release on video.
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Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and in the HeldenFiles Online blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Twitter (as @rheldenfels) and Facebook.