Jennifer Lopez to Star in ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live’

JLo fans, rejoice! The singer/actress is confirmed to star in NBC’s live televised production of Bye Bye Birdie next year as Rosie, the small-town girl whisked into a frenzied musical world by the Elvis-esque Conrad Birdie.

The live production is being adapted for TV by Harvey Fierstein, who wrote and is set to star in NBC’s upcoming Hairspray Live! (as Edna Turnblad, a role he originated on Broadway and won a Tony for.)

Lopez takes on the role made iconic by Chita Rivera, and says, “Broadway musicals and films fueled my childhood and ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ was one of my favorites.”

Rivera commented on Lopez’s casting to Playbillsaying, “Birdie is an amazing, joyous 50s era musical with a tremendous score and characters. It’s meant to make you feel good…couldn’t be more timely. I call it the Technicolor musical! I hope they do the ‘Shriner’s Ballet.’ Have fun, JLo. You’ll love Rosie.”

The show is set to premiere during next year’s holiday season, and comes in the wake of plans from NBC to stage a live Hairspray and a staging of A Few Good Men.

To get you even more excited, here’s JLo singing Frank Sinatra:

Watch a ‘Six Feet Under’ Style Goodbye to ‘The Office’

As all good things must come to their rightful end, tonight marks the very last episode of treasured television series, The Office. After nine wonderful years on the air and many a cast member iteration, the beloved show will now leave us to join the ranks of 30 Rock in NBC afterlife. And although i will miss my Dwight and Pam and Jim and the rest of Dunder Mufflin dearly, after almost a decade strong, there’s only so many stories to tell in a Scanton, PA paper company—better to cut things short before our love starts to wane.

And today, the good folks over at Vulture have made their own tribute to The Office with an homage to the fatally brilliant series finale of HBO’s once beloved Six Feet Under. It was emotionally killer ending and wrapped up the series in the most perfect way. So now, you can get a taste of the Office clans’ own timely endings.
Watch for yourself below.

Do We Even Really Need Another Season of ‘Friends’?

Friends is the grilled cheese and tomato soup of TV shows. It’s easy to digest, great in mass quantities when you’re sick or having a crappy day and it takes you back to happier times of the Clinton administration and Fruitopia. The series finale, nearly a decade ago, left a hole in many viewers’ hearts that they have been trying to fill by gorging on reruns. And oh, how there are reruns. And if you live in a country that isn’t America, you have even more Friends reruns! For eons, British television would air Friends for what felt like at least 22 hours a day. 

Now, perhaps as the final strike of #rememberthe90s, new reports are surfacing (none that look super reliable yet though, so take them with a grain of salt) that Friends will return for a new one-off season in 2014, reportedly with NBC at the helm but the original cast’s commitment level still undetermined. And it’s unclear as to whether they would commit to this, here and now. Matthew Perry’s got top billing on another NBC sitcom, albeit one that may not be long for this world, Jennifer Aniston’s getting steady work and remember the last time Friends tried to limp along with only one cast member in spinoff form? Not good.

And what would the episodes even be about? Would its attempts at sliding into modernity and relevance feel as smooth as Modern Seinfeld or as forced as most of the writing on 2 Broke Girls? Would they have aged with the show? And they have kids now! Emma would be 10 and Ben would be, like, in college or something. What would that be like? Maybe this future is so frightening that we’d be better off with just reruns. 

You know what, though? In a way, as a TV-viewing public, we sort of deserve a sad mutant version of our beloved ’90s mainstay. If the American network sitcom-loving audience really wanted new episodes of a funny, comforting sitcom about urban thirtysomethings just hanging out and trying to make it in this crazy world of ours, y’all would be trying harder to save Happy Endings

Jimmy Fallon Locks Down Leno Spot

The death of late-night talk-show television has been so slow, so painful, so very unfunny. Honestly it’s flabbergasting that David Letterman didn’t successfully sarcastify the genre into its grave twenty years ago—though god knows he has tried. But are we closer now to the sweet embrace of the pop-cultural crypt? 

Jimmy Fallon inking a deal to definitely, probably, eventually replace Jay Leno in NBC’s 11:35 PM slot, with Seth Meyers seen as the front-runner for Fallon’s current job, is a move in the right direction: just dump old “Weekend Update” anchors behind some fancier desks and have them participate in a terrible Harlem Shake type meme every now and then. Voilà! Instant non-entertainment.

Honestly I just feel bad for whoever ends up on this career track, it seems like a waking hell, and for what? So bloggers like me can make fun of you without ever bothering to watch your monologue? I think every comedian alive must have missed the point of The Larry Sanders Show. Get a new format, funnymen (and funnywomen, if and when you’re allowed a say in the matter). 

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Watch the First Trailer for ‘Hannibal’ Starring Mads Mikkelsen

Honestly, I will watch just about anything with creepy and wonderful Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen. Yes, even an NBC show in which he stars as the iconic Dr. Hannibal Lecter—which actually looks pretty good. Helmed by producer Bryan Fuller, Hannibal will follow the 13-episode first season cable model in which “the title character’s murderous nature will be revealed within two seasons – after which the structure of the show would dramatically change.”

Hmm. This definitely seems like an interesting choice for NBC, but in the wake of poor ratings and losing some of their most beloved shows, perhaps this is a brilliant move on their part. But for a show of this subject matter —a brilliant sociopathic and murderous cannibal serial killer—and with this caliber of talent, you can’t help but wonder how the show would play out on a less restrictive network like HBO or AMC, right?

The pilot episode will be directed by Hardy Candy director David Slade and will “reintroduce FBI agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Mikkelsen’s Lecter at the beginning of their relationship investigating serial killers for the FBI.” The cast will also feature, Caroline Dhavernas, Larry Fishburne and Gina Torres. Check out the first trailer for the show below.

Team Behind ‘Best Friends Forever’ Working on Sitcom for USA

For those of us bummed that Best Friends Forever, the hilarious sitcom created by and starring Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, was cancelled after an extremely brief run on NBC last season, there’s some great news: USA has ordered a new single-camera comedy pilot from the pair. Again based on the duo’s real-life frienship, the still-untitled project would focus on single mother Lennon and her career-focused best friend Jessica, who helps the former raise her child. I’m crossing my fingers that USA gives St. Clair and Parham a better shot than NBC did, because Best Friends Forever had a lot of promise and deserved more time to gain an audience.

[via Deadline]

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Hannibal Lecter Comes to NBC in April

NBC is having a lot of problems, with its really good shows ending (RIP 30 Rock) or suffering from terrible ratings (save Parks and Recreation! I don’t know what the hell you should do about Smash). In a last-ditch effort to salvage the current season, the execs at NBC have set a date for the premiere of their new thriller, Hannibal. No, it’s not about the ancient military leader; this is NBC, not HBO. No, it’s obviously about the serial killer made famous by Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs (and then, regretably, in Hannibal and Red Dragon). Featuring Gillian Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Hugh Dancy, and Mads Mikkelsen as the titular cannibal, the show premieres Thursday, April 4 at 10 PM. 

[via EW]

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‘Smash’ Returns With Disappointing Ratings, Is Declared D.O.A.

Smash is not really living up to its name. Last night’s second-season premiere brought in disastrous ratings—Vulture reports that the show averaged "4.5 million viewers and a 1.1 rating among adults under 50. That last number is what makes last night a disaster for NBC, since it’s less than a third of what Smash averaged in its 2012 premiere (3.8) and about half of what it was drawing when it left the air in the spring." Well, no duh, because the second season of the show was hoping to pull in all of the people who found the first season to be so insufferable. Also, the general public doesn’t like musicals. The real shame, other than the fact that most of the second season has been shot, is that its cancellation would mean we wouldn’t have Rachel Shukert’s brilliant recaps, which was the only reason I kept up with the show in the first place.

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

Before We Say Goodbye to ’30 Rock,’ One Final ‘Ask Tina’

Tonight, a nation will temper its feelings with night cheese and sob into its bottles of hill people milk. After seven seasons, 30 Rock is ending, and far more intelligent people have said far more intelligent things about this fact, but for now, I’ll say that like you, maybe, probably, I’m really gonna miss it, you guys. It was silly and it was fun and even if it wasn’t always perfect and Tina Fey isn’t a goddess to everyone, it got people to talk about women in comedy and how women and feminism are portrayed in comedy and perceived because of those portrayals and even on the Internet there were really important and relevant conversations happening. And what other show could get Oprah to guest-star as a sleeping-pill-induced hallucination? 

Before Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan and the crew ride off into the glorious sunset that is eternal syndication, Fey returned to NBC for one last session of her fan-mail show, "Ask Tina" ("Memorize how old I look!"). In it, Fey discusses her affinity for Werthers Originals, differences from Liz Lemon and lists all the shows she’s excited to finally catch up on now that she’s done with her own show, from Homeland to Match Game ’72. Guess it’s never too late for now.