TV Execs are Scrambling to Make Pilot Season More Diverse

Norman Weiss

TV execs are scrambling to make pilot season more diverse
The success of Empire and shows like Black-ish and Jane the Virgin has prompted the broadcast networks to take having diverse casts more seriously.

Ground Floor canceled — TBS axed all returning comedies
The Bill Lawrence comedy starring Skylar Astin lasted for two seasons.

S. Epatha Merkerson is reuniting with Dick Wolf for Chicago Med
The Law & Order alum is joining Yaya DaCosta on the spinoff of Chicago Fire, playing the head of the hospital where the show is set.

Katie Holmes on a Dawson's Creek reunion: "Get Jimmy Fallon on the phone, pronto!"
Apparently The Tonight Show could make a Saved by the Bell-type Dawson's reunion happen.

SNL vet Adam McKay: ''I once wrote for 20 hours straight and got dizzy. It was comedy heaven"
To mark the 40th anniversary, the "Anchorman" writer-director and former Saturday Night Live head writer has written a Rolling Stone article describing the dizzying process of working for Lorne Michaels: "During my first two years there, the average work week was around 90 hours. There were times we basically didn't leave the office except to grab five hours of sleep. You drink coffee, smoke, and write — and write, and write, and write. It's a grind, and sometimes you can go weeks without getting a sketch on." PLUS: How 53 cast members started out, what it was like to write for Eddie Murphy, SNL by the numbers, Lorne Michaels says the best cast is from when you were in high school, ranking the best musical moments, picking the best SNL costumes, what it was like to shoot SNL portrait photos, how Eddie Murphy saved SNL, how Bill Murray saved SNL, and SNL women trade backstage stories.

Agents of SHIELD promotes Adrianne Palicki
The Friday Night Lights alum, who's played Mockingbird in six episodes, has been elevated to series regular.

Gotham creator promises The Joker tease is no "bait and switch"
"He may or may not be The Joker," says Bruno Heller. "All I can promise is that's not a bait and switch. It's a long game we're playing here."

Big Bird joins Twitter
His first tweet: "Tweet?" PLUS: Cookie Monster tweeted his adventure today touring the Museum of Modern Art.

E! developing Holy-Wood, a born-again Christian reality show pilot
The proposed project would follow young "over-the-top born again Christians" in Los Angeles.

Why are dead kids all the rage on TV?
Nationwide's Super Bowl dead kid commercial might've been more successful next to the recent shows that have revolved around dead children, from Broadchurch to its remake Gracepoint to The Missing and ABC's upcoming Secrets and Lies.

Zach Gilford joins ABC pilot about a presumed-dead kid who turns up alive after a decade missing
Friday Night Lights alum has been cast as the missing kid's "self-destructive" older brother.

While SNL sticks with broad comedy, "artisanal" comedies
Shows like Broad City, Inside Amy Schumer and Key & Peele are allowed to have a point of view, unlike Saturday Night Live.

A mini-Police Academy reunion happened on the Community set
How did Steve Guttenberg, Bobcat Goldthwait and Tim Kazurinsky end up in a photo together with Joel McHale?

The Slap's slap wasn't a real slap
Says Zachary Quinto of that key moment: "There was a lot of thought and energy put into making sure that it was both safe and yet also as dynamic as it needs to be to be the launching point into the rest of the show." PLUS: Watch the Aussie version of The Slap, starring Sophie Okonedo.

16 and Pregnant star arrested for prostitution
Valerie Fairman, 21, from Season 2 of the MTV series was rounded up in a police sting operation in Delaware.

NBC News is hoping a cute puppy will help bring Today back on top
A golden Labrador named Wrangler has been a staple of the Today show over the past month.

Will Jimmy Fallon's mediocre interviewing skills ever improve?
"The Tonight Show host is certainly the most versatile talk show host since Steve Allen, says John Walters. But, he adds, "watching and listening to Fallon interview a guest is simply more painful and awkward than every conversation that ever took place between Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper. Everything a guest has ever done, including the film, TV show or album he or she is there to promote, is either 'amazing' or 'awesome.'"

London's Game of Thrones pop-up restaurant serves poached veal tongue and fried locusts
And as part of the fifth course, customers are served a whole pig pierced upright on a stake.

You can now watch old Simpsons episodes in their original aspect ratio
The 4:3 ratio is now available on FXX and streaming. The rest of the seasons will come "soon," says Simpsons boss Al Jean. PLUS: The Simpsons on Sunday will use the fan-created pixelated opening, and Jean says the Homer-in-a-coma theory is false.

Star Trek: Enterprise's Linda Park is headed to Castle
She'll play a character who's "kind of like Beckett, except even better, so that puts Beckett in a bit of a tailspin," says showrunner David Amann.

Watch the official trailer for The Comedians
Billy Crystal and Josh Gad star in the FX comedy.

Laugh-In announcer Gary Owens dies
Owens, 80, with his hand cupped over his ear, provided the voice for the legendary comedy show. Owens was also the original voice for cartoon superhero Space Ghost and one of the most famous voices in L.A. radio history.

Amazon's Bosch is solid, compelling, slick -- but not original
It's no surprise that Titus Welliver's LAPD detective drama got the audience greenlight, says Jonathan McAloon, adding: "It makes sense that new programs will be variations of what people have already read, watched, or, more accurately, binge-watched. It's the kind of thing you can imagine watching continuously after a long day, because (so far) it thrills without challenging or surprising." PLUS: Bosch doesn't have that spark that causes a series to catch fire, it's packed with detective cliches, there's an honest regard for the real Los Angeles, and Welliver is finally the star of his own show.