make it to season (year) 5 of the ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas? Here are the nuggets, spoilers and
behind-the-scenes info Access Hollywood
learned from your favorite television stars
and creators over the weekend.
“Friday Night Lights” Reunion
years after the fan favorite NBC series ended and ten since it began, the “Friday Night Lights” cast reunited at
Panther Field. The cast had not returned to the field since their wrap party in
2011. Jesse Plemons’ not-so favorite memory on the field was of tearing his ACL playing flag football when they weren’t shooting. After the injury, his character,
Landry Clarke, sat on the bench for most of that season and production
banned the cast from playing football off screen.
Britton made a surprise appearance and revealed
she stole the “Reserved for Tami Taylor”
parking sign from the set! It now fittingly resides in Britton’s driveway.
“Ugly Betty” Reunion
The hallmark event of the festival was the reunion of the cast of the ABC dramedy “Ugly Betty,” including Rebecca Romijn, Judith Light and Vanessa Williams. While on the panel at ATX, America Ferrera (Betty Suarez) began a passionate grassroots campaign to bring a two-hour “Ugly Betty” movie to Hulu (#HuluBringBackUglyBetty). America said she likes to believe Betty has been living in London for the past six years and she’d return to New York if the series were to pick back up. Executive Producer Silvio Horta would sign on, but insists the entire cast would have to participate. America is up for fulfilling Gina Rodriguez’s dream of Betty appearing on “Jane the Virgin,” but only “if she can get The CW and ABC to shake hands. It’s a tall order,” America said on the panel. Indeed. America did save Betty’s Guadalajara poncho and glasses (which were originally costume designer Patricia Fields’.) To get your fix before a possible reboot or crossover, the original series is streaming on Hulu.
Still mourning the death of Kelsey’s (Hilary Duff) fiancé, Thad, on the TV Land hit? Don’t fret. His identical twin Chad (also played by Dan Amboyer), introduced in the season finale, will return in Season 3. Why did Executive Producer Darren Star kill off the cheater? Simple. “We were talking about breaking Kelsey and Thad up and that seemed a little mundane. Spending time in New York, you see all this construction and accidents. … People getting killed by construction debris. That was the inspiration,” Star said on the panel. After Kelsey grieves, she will date and “Hilary Duff will finally forever shed Lizzie McGuire,” Darren said.
“The O.C.” Creatives
Actress Olivia Wilde was introduced to the world in 2004’s Season 2 of “The O.C.” as bisexual bait shop manager Alex Kelly. She was someone the producers kept in their back pocket after she lost out on the role of Marissa Cooper to Mischa Barton. “Marissa was obviously a character who Ryan needed to save. Olivia Wilde needed no saving. She’s pretty tough,” Executive Producer Josh Schwartz explained.
Three Rounds With Shondaland’s Betsy Beers
“Entertainment Weekly” brought their “Three Rounds with” panel to Austin with Shondaland’s Executive Producer extraordinaire Betsy Beers. She shared some TGIT secrets while sipping vodka in honor of “How to Get Away with Murder’s” Annalise Keating, red wine for “Scandal’s” Olivia Pope and tequila, she said, for “Grey’s Anatomy’s” Meredith Grey. Her favorite audition was Katie Lowes’ for Quinn Perkins on “Scandal.” Betsy and Shonda Rhimes immediately knew the role was Lowes’, so they decided to have some fun. Lowes believed she was at another audition. “Shonda said, ‘We brought you here in because we wanted to talk to you,'” Betsy explained. “She immediately got that expression that actors get when they what to jump off a bridge because she didn’t think she got the part. Shonda said, ‘You’re not going to be doing the test taping.’ She went ‘Uh-huh.’ Shonda said, ‘Because you got the part.’ And we were taping it. Because we are evil. … It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. …You could see all the expressions of death and dying. Backwards. It’s okay, I’m just going to take my things to go home to ‘Oh my God. Oh my God,’ to tears and running up to us and hugging us.”
— Katie Lowes (@KatieQLowes) March 5, 2015
“The West Wing” Administration: 10 Years Later
Like Larry David, Aaron Sorkin left the award winning show he created early. After NBC announced Aaron would leave “The West Wing” after Season 4, David called Aaron and told him, “You can’t ever watch the show again. Either the show is going to be great without you and you’ll be miserable, or the show will be less than great and you’re going to be miserable. Either way you’ll be miserable.” Aaron didn’t believe him. Turns out, David was right. Aaron watched 20 seconds of a Season 5 episode and “it felt like someone was making out with my wife,” Aaron said. To this day, Aaron does not know how the series ended.
(The highlight of this panel was Richard Schiff (Toby) and Bradley Whitford (Josh) sharing a huge tub of popcorn together on stage.)
While you can currently view Constance Zimmer’s brillance on season two of “UnREAL” on Lifetime, that wasn’t always going to be the case. Show Executive Producer Sarah Gertrude Shapiro’s first choice for Quinn was always Constance, but “she turned us down 16 times.” Another actor was in the pilot. A world in which Constance doesn’t play the ruthless Quinn is a world we don’t want to live in.
If you catch a woman pitching for the San Diego Padres on FOX this fall, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. The new Dan Fogelman drama, starring breakout Kylie Bunbury and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, about the first female baseball player is collaborating with Major League Baseball. The series will be as authentic as possible with the same logos, uniforms, stadiums, etc. as the MLB. The most authentic part of “Pitch?” Mark-Paul’s beard (which his wife hates!)
The Hulu sibling dramedy has its share of intimate moments, but Tommy Dewey’s most awkward moment? “Having sex in multiple positions with a dog trainer in the room was a highlight of episode three. You don’t know how to call a dog during a sex scene, let me tell you, it involves a couple spoons, some whistling,” the actor said on stage. And with that, the panel concluded!
A Conversation With ATX Awardee Norman Lear
Besides “Transparent,” the only shows 93-year-old legend Norman Lear is currently watching are his favorites “South Park” and “Family Guy.”
Production assistance provided by Hulu.
— Tricia Durrant
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