Inside Lauren Graham’s surprising TV comeback
Let’s get this out of the way right from the start: Lauren Graham is not playing Lorelai Gilmore on NBC’s upcoming drama Parenthood. Yes, her character, Sarah, is a single mom. Yes, she has a complicated relationship with her parents. And yes, as Graham puts it, they ”both wear jeans.” But that’s where the similarities end. ”For [seven] years, people would come up to me and say, ‘I wish my mom was just like Lorelai,”’ says Graham. ”That’s not this character. She’s not perfect. She’s struggling, and that’s what I’m drawn to.”
Graham’s hiring caps a torturous casting process that began when ER vet Maura Tierney — who originated the Sarah role in the Parenthood pilot — bowed out to undergo treatment for breast cancer. The part was then offered to Helen Hunt, but the deal fell apart.
Graham had some reservations herself about jumping into another hour-long series commitment after spending the past three years as a free agent. ”I did a Broadway show, three movies…. I [enjoyed] working freelance like that,” says the actress, who reports to the Parenthood set next month (the show debuts in March after the Olympics). ”But then this was put in front of me, and it was something I really wanted to do.”
As a bonus, Graham’s new gig — which places her in a large ensemble cast featuring Peter Krause, Erika Christensen, and Craig T. Nelson — should (at least temporarily) put to rest rumors of a possible Gilmore Girls movie. ”It’s already in the can,” she deadpans. ”It’s coming soon to a theater near you.” Now that‘s our Lorelai.
Fringe‘s Charlie says goodbye…or does he?
Over the summer, Fringe star Kirk Acevedo (above) stirred a tempest when he took to his Facebook page and announced that he had been fired from the Fox drama. The declaration threw the powers that be for a loop, considering that Charlie’s death in this season’s fourth episode (which aired last week) was supposed to be a big surprise. ”We wish it wouldn’t have happened,” admits exec producer Jeff Pinkner, addressing the incident for the first time. ”On the other hand, we can only respect that he was so emotionally committed to the show that he felt moved to do that.” (Acevedo declined to comment for this story.) Pinkner adds that the exit of Acevedo’s G-man was strictly a creative decision and not a reflection on the actor. ”We wanted to take our team out of the FBI office and more underground, and Charlie was a [casualty] of that,” says the exec, who is quick to point out that Charlie could return. ”We’ve met Charlie’s doppelganger in the alternate reality. He still exists.” In other words, stay tuned…to Acevedo’s Facebook status.
Greek ends its season Gleefully
Greek is rushing to capitalize on the Glee phenomenon. The Nov. 2 finale on ABC Family finds the sororities squaring off in a song-and-dance competition, and features tweaked versions of KC & the Sunshine Band’s ”Get Down Tonight” and Cobra Starship’s ”Good Girls Gone Bad.” The event hits a sour note with ”a prank gone awry that leads to the expulsion of some beloved characters,” teases exec producer Sean Smith. ”Oh, and we burn down a house, too.” Top that, Glee!