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Interviews/Articles

Event/Red Carpet
Top chefs gather for James Beard Foundation’s Taste America Kickoff bash

By Leah Bitsky

It was a feeding frenzy in Downtown Manhattan.

Top chefs from around the country gathered to share their latest creations with industry insiders and food fanatics at Tribeca 360 for the James Beard Foundation‘s Taste America Kickoff event presented by Capital One on Wednesday.

A-list chefs indulging in the party’s dozens of decadent dishes and cocktails included Marc Murphy, Richard Blais, Elizabeth Falkner, Tiffany Derry, Tony Messina, Sara Bradley and Nini Nguyen.

Also at the event — where oysters were shucked, champagne was popped, cheese cubes were devoured and truffles were freely shaved — was “Scandal” actress Bellamy Young, Olympian ice skater/actress Sasha Cohen, and JBF CEO Clare Reichenbach (who attempted to give a welcome speech as hundreds of tipsy guests continued to loudly mingle and munch.)

While Young and Cohen were named as the event’s co-hosts, the actresses didn’t speak and just briefly hopped on stage to toast with champagne and pose for a few photos.

“The food was spectacular and they were serving massive unlimited cocktails,” one partygoer told Page Six, jokingly adding, “If anything, the biggest success was the many trash cans dispersed throughout the venue to throw away sample plates.”

Chefs serving up specialty grub included Miami’s Brad Kilgore, Pittsburgh’s Fiore Moletz, New York City’s Michele Casadei-Massari, New Jersey’s Kwame Williams, New Orleans’ Michael Stoltzfus and Ana Castro, and Nashville’s Andy Little.Tunes were spun by DJ Hesta Prynn.

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Personal
Scandal Star Bellamy Young Says Her Character Taught Her ``Swagger``

Badass Women celebrates women who show up, speak up, and get things done.

By Shalayne Pulia

Playing the first female president of the United States on the small screen has its lasting effects, according to Scandal’s Bellamy Young. The actress who played Mellie Grant on the series for its seven seasons says channeling her character helped her find a more confident, more badass woman within. “I’m, historically, very prone to second-guessing myself and apologizing. I used to be one of those people that apologized for everything that wasn’t even mine to apologize for. And Mellie was very my-way-or-the-highway,” she tells InStyle. “Mellie had a swagger that changed me.”

Young’s big break on Scandal has led to more than just awards and acclaim — the actress has been channeling Mellie-style swagger to make sure of that. Young has dipped her toes in music, releasing her debut cover album in 2015. And she’s leveraged her platform to lift up other young women and men with a scholarship endowment at Yale (her alma mater) and most recently by traveling to Rwanda with CARE, a global nonprofit aimed at social justice through female empowerment.

Young listed several accomplishments of Rwandan president Paul Kagame like installing a 20 percent quota for women in parliament, work towards equal pay, and more, when talking about her fascination with the country. “What he has managed to put in place at a national level, CARE is helping to get into the pipeline at the grassroots level,” she says. “They’re doing programs like Safe Schools for Girls, where girls learn to save money and follow their dreams.” In this program they also learn about what they could save money for, what relationship abuse looks like, and about family planning.

Young says she wasn’t always this on top of her game. Success required a lot of work on quieting the pessimistic voice in her head that’s held her back before. Today, she says, that’s become a little easier. And she now plans to use her platform and newfound badass attitude to make a difference. “My sofa is often enticing, but when I get to the end of my days, I hope I’ve seen more than the front of my TV set,” Young says with a laugh. “I just want to learn, live, help if I can, listen, laugh, and love people.”

Why she CARE(s): “I’ve known about CARE’s work for years. They’re in 94 countries, all over the world. And I’ve always been impressed that their goal is their own obsolescence,” Young says of her initial involvement with the organization. When she had the opportunity to travel to Rwanda for five days last month with the group, she says she couldn’t say yes fast enough. “CARE is not an organization that just gives charity. They put the focus on empowering women because they know that empowered women will bring their families and their communities up with them.”

Biggest inspirations: Aside from personal idols like Michelle Obama and the powerhouse women Young has gotten to work with on Scandal like showrunner Shonda Rhimes and lead Kerry Washington, Young says she found a different kind of badassery while in Rwanda. “I met this woman named Brigitte who, just five years ago, had no voice in her marriage and zero access to the money that her husband had. She became involved in one of the village savings and loans programs that CARE put in place. And through just saving a few francs here and there, she was able to buy five chickens,” Young says of one of her most eye-opening encounters on her trip. “Now she has 1,000 chickens. She gets 850 eggs a day. She has a vegetable farm. She employs three people. And she says, ‘This is not the top of my mountain. This is just my first dream.’”

Putting the #HerInHero”While in Rwanda, Young also filmed snippets of a “What Puts the #HerInHero” video (above) for CARE timed to this year’s International Women’s Day, March 8th. In the video, she joins other stars including Kelly Clarkson, Iman, Billie Jean King, Stephanie Beatriz, and more recognizing unsung heroes around the world, women who are bold, courageous, and capable of anything. The video kicks off a #March4Women initiative, aimed at raising $2 billion over five years to improve projects they have in areas such as education, work, maternal and child health, food and nutrition, and humanitarian and emergency response.

Grant’s greatest moment: What’s the most badass thing Young’s character Mellie ever did on Scandal? “Divorce Fitz and live her life. For decades, she kept waiting for him to say, ‘Okay, it’s your turn.’ And finally, she said, ‘Hey, guess what? It’s my turn.’ And she took it,” Young says. “[Right now] I hope she’s in the seventh year of her second term and she’s up for the Nobel Prize or something. I hope she’s really living her fullest life, getting to use all of her mind and all of her heart. I hope the kids are home from school and she’s finally in her ‘now,’ instead of always looking toward her future.”

Points of pride: Before stardom, Young studied English and theater at Yale. Her father had passed away, and her mom, a high school teacher, wouldn’t have been able to afford her education had it not been for a special scholarship. “It stopped me in my tracks to think: How must that feel, to give people an education? To give people a future? Young says. “Then, because of Scandal(thank you, Shonda) I got to endow a scholarship at Yale. I’m so grateful that by doing something I love, somebody else every year gets to explore a little further, better themselves a little more, and help the world out along the way.”

Inner obstacles: For Young, any obstacles she faced along the way to her current happiness and success were primarily internal. She credits a “mean girl” in her head with limiting her life, until recently. “For me, it was really about getting a balanced relationship with the mean, mean girl in my mind,” she says. “I love my life right now. But there were many, many things like jobs, relationships, and dreams that she thwarted, utterly, by paralyzing me with fear.” Playing Mellie, according to young, has helped her quiet that mean voice in her head and instead look to what’s possible with hope and confidence. “I think so often, women lessen ourselves, quiet our light, and lower our voice,” she says. “I think the sheer fearlessness to meet every day with your complete wonder and courage, I think that’s badass.”

Best advice: “Don’t try to be anyone but yourself. In acting, that’s people’s greatest mistake,” Young says of what she’s learned in the biz. “And now it’s all about generating content. So, take your iPhone, make a short, and tell the world who you are and what you have to say.”

Political prowess: Now, in her post-Scandal life, Young says politics play a more important role than ever. “Now I very much feel like democracy is a verb,” she says. “‘We the people’ have to be involved. And some people think they’re invisible or that they don’t matter — I wish everyone knew that our democracy depends on them, personally. It’s about showing up, raising our voices, and loving each other.”

For more information on CARE, visit CARE.org.

Prodigal Son
Scandal Alum Bellamy Young's New Show Prodigal Son Is Officially Heading to Fox

FOX has set the fall premiere dates for its new and returning series.

Kicking off the new season, the 71st PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS® will air LIVE coast-to-coast from the Microsoft Theater at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles on Sunday, Sept. 22 (8:00-11:00 PM ET live/5:00-8:00 PM PT live) on FOX. Don Mischer Productions and Done+Dusted will co-produce the event.

Hit drama 9-1-1 returns for its third season on Monday, Sept. 23 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT), followed by the series premiere of crime drama PRODIGAL SON (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), starring Tom Payne, Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Michael Sheen, Bellamy Young and Lou Diamond Phillips.

All-new Tuesdays begin Sept. 24, with the sixth and final season premiere of EMPIRE (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), following the Season Three return of THE RESIDENT (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT).

On Wednesday, Sept. 25, television’s #1 new series, THE MASKED SINGER, returns with a special two-hour season premiere (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT).

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL, with NFL Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Michael Strahan headlining the pregame show, returns Sept. 26 (7:30 PM-CC ET live/4:30 PM-CC PT live), as the Green Bay Packers host the Philadelphia Eagles.

Animation Domination returns Sunday, Sept. 29, with the premieres of THE SIMPSONS’ unprecedented 31st season (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT); the all-new animated comedy BLESS THE HARTS (8:30-9:00 PM ET/PT), featuring the voices of Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Jillian Bell and Ike Barinholtz; the 10th season of BOB’S BURGERS (9:00-9:30 PM ET/PT, in its new regular time period); and the 17th season of FAMILY GUY (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT, in its new regular time period).

The series premiere of new drama ALMOST FAMILY, starring Brittany Snow, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Emily Osment and Academy Award winner Timothy Hutton, will launch Wednesday, Oct. 2 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), following the time period premiere of THE MASKED SINGER (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT).

WWE’s flagship program, WWE’s SmackDown Live, debuts Friday, Oct. 4 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. The weekly, two-hour live event will air 52 weeks a year, offering fans a unique combination of edge-of-your-seat action, unpredictable drama and world-class athleticism. WWE’s SmackDown Live has helped launch the careers of pop-culture icons Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, John Cena, Undertaker, Triple H, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Bella Twins.

FOX fall premieres of new and returning series are listed below in chronological order (all times are ET/PT):

FOX FALL 2019 PREMIERES
(All Times ET/PT, except where noted)

Sunday, Sept. 22
8:00-11:00 PM ET/ 71ST PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS
live in all time zones

Monday, Sept. 23
8:00-9:00 PM 9-1-1 (Season Three Premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM PRODIGAL SON (Series Premiere)

Tuesday, Sept. 24
8:00-9:00 PM THE RESIDENT (Season Three Premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM EMPIRE (Season Six Premiere)

Wednesday, Sept. 25
8:00-10:00 PM THE MASKED SINGER (Two-Hour Season Two Premiere)

Thursday, Sept. 26
7:30 PM-CC ET live/ THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL (Season Two Premiere)
4:30 PM-CC PT live

Sunday, Sept. 29
8:00-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS (Season 31 Premiere)
8:30-9:00 PM BLESS THE HARTS (Series Premiere)
9:00-9:30 PM BOB’S BURGERS (Season 10 Premiere)
9:30-10:00 PM FAMILY GUY (Season 17 Premiere)

Wednesday, Oct. 2
8:00-9:00 PM THE MASKED SINGER (Time Period Premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM ALMOST FAMILY (Series Premiere)

Friday, Oct. 4
8:00-10:00 PM WWE’S SMACKDOWN LIVE (FOX Sports Premiere)

FOX 2019 FALL SCHEDULE
NEW SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

PRODIGAL SON
PRODIGAL SON is a fresh take on a crime franchise with a provocative and outrageous lead character and a darkly comedic tone, from Emmy Award-nominated executive producers Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter (“Riverdale,” “You”) and writers Chris Fedak (“Deception,” “Chuck”) and Sam Sklaver (“Deception,” “Bored to Death”). The series stars Tom Payne (“The Walking Dead”) as the son of a convicted serial killer (Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Michael Sheen, “Masters of Sex,” “Frost/Nixon”), who has made hunting murderers his life’s work. The series also stars Bellamy Young (“Scandal”), Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Lou Diamond Phillips (“Longmire,” “Stand and Deliver”), Halston Sage (THE ORVILLE), Aurora Perrineau (“The Carmichael Show”), Frank Harts (“The Path”) and Keiko Agena (“Dirty John”).

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Scandal Alum Bellamy Young's New Show Prodigal Son Is Officially Heading to Fox

By Rachel Paige

If you’ve felt like there’s been a lack of Bellamy Young in your life since Scandal, good news: The actress is officially returning to TV in Greg Berlanti‘s Prodigal Son, which Fox ordered to series on Thursday.

Prodigal Son revolves around Malcolm Bright (The Walking Dead‘s Tom Payne), the son of a notorious serial killer called “The Surgeon” who understands how killers think. The criminal psychologist uses his skills to help the NYPD solve crimes and stop killers while balancing his manipulative mother, an annoyingly normal sister, and a homicidal father still looking to bond with his prodigal son.

Prodigal Son also stars Michael SheenLou Diamond PhillipsAurora Perrineau, Frank Harts, Keiko Agena, and Halston Sage.

Fox’s 2019-2020 Fall TV Lineup: What You Need to Know

Chris Fedak and Sam Sklaver are set to write the show, with Berlanti and Sarah Schechterproducing. For those keeping track at home, with Prodigal Son and the recent pickup of Batwoman at The CW, Berlanti now has 14 shows currently on air.

Fox also announced on Thursday that the network has picked up new dramas DeputyneXt, and an untitled Annie Weisman and Jason Katims drama, as well as comedies The Great North and Outmatched. They all join the straight-to-series ordered comedies Bless the Harts and Duncanville.

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‘Prodigal Son’ Producers Say New Fox Series Inspired By ‘House’, Puts Sherlock-Freudian Twist On Family-Driven Procedural Drama – TCA

by: Dino-Ray Ramos

Prodigal Son isn’t your basic procedural. The Fox show, which is very much a father-son story with a serial-killer twist, brings family dysfunction to a whole new level.

During the TCA panel for the new series, executive producers Sam SklaverChris Fedak and Sarah Schechter were joined onstage by series stars Tom PayneLou Diamond PhillipsHalston SageAurora PerrineauFrank Harts and Keiko Agena to talk about how the news series puts a Sherlock-Freud twist on the genre — with a smidge of House. Actors Bellamy Young and Michael Sheen also joined the conversation via satellite from the New York set.

Combining drama and dark comedy the series centers on Malcolm Bright (Payne) who has a special gift in that he knows how killers think — because his father Martin Whitly (Sheen) was one of the worst — a notorious serial killer dubbed “The Surgeon.” That said, Bright is the best criminal psychologist around because murder is the family business. He uses his skills as a forensic profiler to help the NYPD solve crimes and stop killers, all while dealing with a manipulative mother (Young), annoyingly normal sister (Sage) and a homicidal father still looking to bond with his prodigal son. He’s also dealing with his neuroses.

“Chris and I were really just playing around with characters and what makes them interesting on TV,” Sklaver said about the origin of the series. “We were wondering about parents and how they can affect the children.” He poses the question, “What if your father was a serial killer — but also a really good dad?” Thus was the catalyst for Prodigal Son.

With a Hannibal void lingering in the TV landscape, Sklaver points out that House –which also was on Fox — is something they looked to as inspiration.

“[Dr. Gregory] House is someone we looked to as a main character who has some trauma you can keep going back to but still care about,” Sklaver said.

Fedak chimes in saying that House was about diagnosing sickness while Prodigal Son is about diagnosing psychology. He adds that the show is very much a hybrid of Sherlock and Freud.

But through the twisted serial killer narrative of Prodigal Son, there is one central theme that keeps it grounded. “We will have cases in the show… we will have crimes and we will have mysteries,” said Fedak. “But it’s about the family.”

Fedak and Sklaver executive produce with director directed by Lee Toland Krieger, Berlanti Prods’ Greg Berlanti and Schechter. Warner Bros TV produces with studio-based Berlanti Prods. Fox Entertainment is a co-producer.

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Prodigal Son Could Fill the House, M.D. Void in Your Heart

By Lindsay MacDonald

Ever since House, M.D. went off the air, TV fans have been searching for that has the same perfect blend of dark humor, procedural mystery-solving, and meaty main characters, but it’s been rough out there, and Hugh Laurie set a high bar to reach. Fox’s new drama, Prodigal Son, however, may attempt to reach for it when the show premieres this fall.

This new series follows the son of a renowned serial killer, whose conflicted relationship and past trauma with his father has driven him to consult for the police, offering his specialized skills in criminal psychology and behavioral analysis. According to the show’s producers, there are some similar ingredients in Prodigal Son that might pique House, M.D. fans’ interest.

“House is someone that we look to as a main character who has some trauma that you can keep going back to but you still care about,” Sam Sklaver told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

“In a way, with House, M.D., it was about diagnosing a sickness. This show is about diagnosing a psychology,” Chris Fedak added. “This is very much Sherlock Freud. Essentially trying to figure out why does the mind work this way? Why would a person do this? So we kind of come at it from that perspective.”

Prodigal Son comes with the added bonus of Michael Sheen portraying the serial killer father in question, Dr. Martin Whitly, a.k.a The Surgeon, whom his son, Malcolm (Tom Payne), will consult on cases. If we’re staying with the House, M.D. comparison, it seems like Malcolm will be the doctor, and Martin will be the “Eureka!” moment House tended to have in the final 10 minutes of every episode.

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Heartstrings
Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings on Netflix: Everything we know so far

by 

Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings is just around the corner at Netflix and if you’re looking for the latest on the upcoming drama series, here’s everything you need to know whether that’s who’s starring, when it’ll be releasing and who’s behind the series. 

The series was first announced in 2018 but wasn’t given its full reveal until later in the year. Filming started for the show in November 2018. In the original press release, it spoke a little bit about the series saying: “Netflix has greenlighted an eight-episode Dolly Parton anthology series, with each episode based on a song by her. In addition to serving as singer/songwriter, Parton will executive produce and will also appear in the series.

Parton’s Dixie Pixie Productions, Sam Haskell’s Magnolia Hill Entertainment in association with Warner Bros Television is behind the series.

Who is the series for?

Naturally, Dolly Parton fans have already made this series a must-watch later this year.

Netflix in their official tags for the show includes “Family” in its tags which tells us this series is going to be made for all ages meaning you can expect clean language.

Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings Episode Names & Cast

Each episode of the anthology series covers a different Dolly Parton track specifically showcasing Dolly’s stories and anecdotes behind each of her most beloved shows.

Dolly Parton is set to appear as well as act as a narrator for the series. She’ll start each episode by introducing the episode name but will also act in some too.

As of the time of publishing 133 cast members has been pegged for the first season of the show.

Note: there is some confusion surrounding the episode order and we’ve defaulted to the IMDb list but may change on release. Descriptions provided by THR.  

Here are the eight episodes and the eight songs that will be featured:

Episode 1 – These Old Bones – Directed by Joe Lazarov

“In the 1940s, a determined young lawyer returns to her Smoky Mountain hometown to prove herself professionally when a mysterious mountain woman (Kathleen Turner), believed by some locals to be a fortune teller, threatens a lumber company’s business.”

Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time) and Katheleen Turner (Romancing the Stone, Peggy Sue Got Married) headline the episode with Kyle Bornheimer also signed on for the episode.

Episode 2 – If I Had Wings – Directed by Timothy Busfield

“After receiving invitations to their long-estranged father’s 70th birthday, three siblings converge on a Mississippi farm, where they test the bonds of blood and issues of faith, all to confront the sins of their father.”

Gerald McRaney (The A-Team, House of Cards), Delta Burke (Designing Women), Ben Lawson (Designated Survivor, No Strings Attached) and Tim Reid (WKRP in Cincinnati) feature in this episode.

Episode 3 – J.J. Sneed – Directed by Terry McDonough

“In the 1880s, a feisty young woman trapped in a mundane existence dream of more, until a seductive outlaw pulls her into the adventure of a lifetime.”

Willa Fitzgerald (Scream: The TV Series), Colin O’Donoghue (The Rite) are both scheduled to headline this episode.

Episode 4 – Jolene

“The title character (Julianne Hough), a flirtatious free spirit, wants to escape her hometown of Coventry, Georgia, and become a singer-songwriter.”

This episode features a star-studded lineup with Julianne Hough being the main draw but also featuring Kimberly Williams-Paisley (Father of the Bride), Dallas Roberts (3:10 to Yuma) and Wynn Everett (Charlie Wilson’s War).

Episode 5 – Cracker Jack – Directed by Liesl Tommy

“Two stories — one past, one present — about the power of unconditional love between a girl and her dog. That same girl, now grown, questions what her life means and who she can truly count on when faced with her greatest fear.”

Sarah Shahi (Bullet to the Head) will play the role of Lucy Jane bu Rochelle Aytes (Trick ‘r Treat) playing Scarlett.

Episode 6 – Sugar Hill – Directed by Lev L. Spiro

“A married couple in their twilight embark on a road trip back to the place where they first fell in love, revisiting the history of their love story along the way.”

This episode perhaps features the cast who will be unknown to most. Timothy Busfield from The West Wing will play the role of Logan Cantrell.

Episode 7 – Down From Dover – Directed by Erica Dunton

“After being shunned by her pious widowed father, a pregnant teenager finds support at a home for unwed mothers, where she hopes for the safe return of the young man she loves from the Vietnam War.”

Robert Taylor (Longmire) will play the role of Reverend Covern. Bellamy Young (Scandal), Holly Taylor (The Americans), Camryn Manheim (The Practice) and Shane Paul McGhie (After) also feature.

Episode 8 – Two Doors Down

“A family’s lifetime of secrets come bursting out during a chaotic and comedic New Year’s Eve wedding weekend. Will they make it to witness the “I do”s without killing one another?”

Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Ray McKinnon (Rectify), Catherine Dyer (The Blind Side) and Katie Stevens (Faking It) feature.

When will Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings be on Netflix?

No official release date has been announced as of yet. It’s still believed that it’ll be arriving by the end of 2019.

While you’re waiting for a release, you can, in the meantime, add the series to your list from the official Netflix site to your list. There’s a couple of benefits of doing this namely getting a notification as soon as it releases.

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