The Glorious Corner: “Big Bang Theory,” ‘American Idol,” Cate Blanchette, Electric Light Orchestra and More

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Big Bang Theory
By G.H. Harding

BIG BANG GOOD BYE — CBS’ powerhouse The Big Bang Theory with Jim Parsons; John Galecki; the luminous Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar; Mayim Bialik  and, Simon Helbrg say goodbye this Thursday after a long, long run; 12 seasons and 279 episodes. 

I watched the show from the beginning (Micky Dolenz is a big fan too) and loved almost every episode. Sure, the last two seasons dragged a bit, but this season has been spot-on.

Thursday’s finale brings a very big guest star (George Lucas maybe) and some geographical splits for the group. I’ll be watching it in real-time for sure. Sorry to see it go (it’ll live on forever in syndication), but, as someone once said,  (I can’t think of who) all things must pass!

IDOL COST OVERLOAD—There was a minor kerfuffle this week when ABCrenewed their re-booted American Idol, but added the caveat that they had to cut costs. For shows with judges … that’s often translated into maybe cutting a judge. The Idol-acolytes were thrown into a frenzy and now ABC has clarified that statement … with this:

ABC is  “hopeful” that it can strike a deal to bring the American Idol judges back for season three.

Earlier this week, the company renewed the signing competition for a third season on its network and its 18th overall. However, it did not reveal whether judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie would return for the third go-round as negotiations are still ongoing and the two sides are thought to be far apart.

ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke said that she is “hopeful” of signing the trio back up and would renew conversations after Sunday’s season two finale.

Everyone is focused right now on the finale this week, which we’re excited about. We are in those conversations but right now, from our side and the judges, we’re just focused on getting through Sunday and having a great night and we’ll be back in the conversation. 

I’m very hopeful,” she said at Disney’s press Upfronts event.

The series is doing well ratings-wise. Idol’s two-hour Sunday installment is averaging a 1.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 8.9 million viewers in Live+ 7, ranking it as the second-highest rated unscripted series on ABC behind The Bachelor. The Monday episodes are notching a 1.5 rating and 8.3 million viewers.

Ryan Seacrest

The singing competition, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, is down to three finalists, Alejandro Aranda, Laine Hard

Perry, Richie and Seacrest are major names that commend major salaries. Bryan, who I like, is not yet in that stratosphere. Will be interesting for sure. I watched this show (on Fox) and loved it, although the curiosity factor wore thin. Ryan’s a friend, and the connective tissue to the Fox years. I honestly can’t even think about Ryan not hosting.

Think about it: how many of the winners really got a BIG career? Stay tuned!

Cate Blanchette

THE GREAT CATE –Cate Blanchette is to star in and has co-created Australian drama Stateless. She will appear in the six-part limited immigration drama alongside Dominic West. 

The series, which also stars Yvonne Strahovski, Jai Courtney, Asher Keddie and Fayssal Bazzi, follows four people caught up in an immigration system that profoundly affects their lives. Each character deals with the contradictions of protection and border control from a unique perspective, offering relevant and timely insight into issues that countries are grappling with around the world.

Co-created by Blanchett, Tony Ayres and Elise McCredie, the series centers on four strangers in an immigration detention centre in the Australian desert.  They are an airline hostess escaping a suburban cult; an Afghan refugee fleeing persecution; a young Australian father escaping a dead-end job; and a bureaucrat caught-up in a national scandal. 

When their lives intersect they are pushed to the brink of sanity, yet unlikely and profound emotional connections are made amongst the group. Inspired by real events, the series intertwines gripping and devastating personal stories revealing a system struggling with the irreconcilable contradictions of border protection.

Production is set to begin in South Australia in June, based at Adelaide Studios.

Blanchett said, “Whilst this story centers on Australia, the dilemmas that it explores through four absorbing characters will resonate globally: the desire for personal freedom, the need for social stability, an escalating lack of faith in the political process and the deeply unsettling impact this has on individual lives.”

Ayres said, “We have assembled the most extraordinary array of Australian talent to make this show, both in front of and behind the camera. In each case, people were drawn to Stateless because it asks one of the most vexing questions of our times – how do we as a nation maintain control of our sovereign borders whilst retaining our own humanity?”

Alec Baldwin
Dhani Harrison

SHORT TAKES — Just announced; Dhani Harrison (George’s son) will open for Jeff Lynne and his Electric Light Orchestra tour this summer. We saw Lynne and ELO last year and it was spot-on. Great news … Micky Dolenz –ready to depart in June for a series of shows in Australia and New Zealand (as part of the Mike & Micky Tour) – gets the Alec Baldwin Podcast treatment next week in LA. Should be exceptionally good … Last week’s NCIS (CBS) ended with a song – and, they usually never do that. Kaleo’s “Way Down We Go.” The show, titled “and … Executioner” concerned a corrupt judge (essayed by MASH’s Mike Farrell) who had his own system of justice. Just excellent. Here’s the video:  … I’ve been listening a lot to Steve Winwood of late. Winwood, supremely underrated was a major force in Traffic, Blind Faith and has a rather illustrious solo career. Here’s a video of him doing an acoustic version of his “Back In The High Life” –which in its original version featured Chaka Khan on vocals. Just exceptional: … Sir Mick got the OK from his doctors to get back on the stage. While it’s a bit late to re-book any summer shows, I predict one or two off-the-beaten tracks show in both NYC and LA. Remember that show in LA at The Fonda Theatre on Hollywood Blvd? Maybe one more time. Welcome back Mick … PR-pasha David Salidor at Table 87 in Brooklyn Heights.

Mick Jagger

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Bruce Grakal; Ringo Starr; Craig Newman; Eppy; Steve Walter; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Zach Martin; Curtis Urbina; Quark Records; Thomas Silverman; Mark Harmon; Craig Friun; John Boulos; Cicada; Bernie Taupin; Tony King; and. CHIP.

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