News Column

Philadelphia Daily News Molly Eichel column

June 26, 2013

YellowBrix

June 26--THE PHILLY suburbs won't get a piece of M. Night Shyamalan this time around. For his first foray into television, the Fox miniseries "Wayward Pines," Night won't shoot here.

Unlike recent examples of production companies choosing to forgo Pennsylvania because of a capped film-tax credit, the network didn't think that our environs looked enough like the Pacific Northwest, where the show's source material is set, according to Greater Philadelphia Film Office executive director Sharon Pinkenson. Pinkenson added that Shyamalan would have preferred to shoot here.

Too bad for the two towns that had been competing for the honors: Sellersville and Doylestown.

Instead, the production will go to Vancouver, where it's cheaper to shoot with a Pacific Northwest look. The series is scheduled to debut in 2014.

Although Pinkenson said there are lots of potential productions brewing, the most important task for her office right now is making sure the film-tax credit is uncapped.

"That will affect our tax credit going forward, whether and how much business we get and whether people go back to work or not. Because they're not working now," Pinkenson told me.

Feel free to heckle Shyamalan about his relocation plans this Friday, when former Inquirer film critic Carrie Rickey chats with him at the Kimmel Center.

Rickles feted by Philly's own

Legendary comedian Don Rickles was toasted at the Waldorf-Astoria by the Friars Club last night, so I caught up with Rickles' former valet, the one and only Jerry Blavat, who told me about seeing an "amazing" Robert De Niro (Rickles starred with De Niro in "Casino"), John Stamos, Joan Rivers and Philly's own Bob Saget. Blavat sat at a table with former Philly bajillionaires Sidney and Caroline Kimmel who are neighbors with Rickles out in Malibu.

But how would Blavat toast his former boss?

"I would have said to him, 'Don, I want to carry your underwear again,' " joked Blavat, who used to have carry extra pairs for Rickles for a post-show change.

MTV's close shave

MTV personality (we can't really call them VJs anymore, now can we?) Lenay Dunn stopped by Center City's The Lion's Mane to shoot a segment of "10 on Top."

Salon co-owner Christopher Kempisty told me that Dunn's new beat involves looking for a summer job. Co-owner Markus Aman posed as Dunn's potential employer, while Kempisty and assistant Stasia Rinaldi posed as horrified customers who get the Dunn (mis)treatment.

Kempisty joked that he and his co-workers aren't actors. "We're kind of hams anyway, it wasn't that far of a stretch," he said.

The whole shebang was just in time for The Lion's Mane to celebrate a milestone. Kempisty told me it was recently the salon's 10th anniversary.

A great 'Loss'

You already know that Ardmore lady and "The Office" star Kate Flannery (she played sauced ginger Meredith) is starring in Nora and Delia Ephron's adaptation of "Love, Loss, and What I Wore" from the Philadelphia Theatre Company. But did you know that its opening tonight falls exactly one year after Nora Ephron's death of acute myeloid leukemia at age 71? RIP, Nora, for inspiring the smart and funny ladies starring in the show.

'Harm' returns

The Philly-shot NBC drama "Do No Harm" returns on Saturday at 10 p.m. to burn off its remaining few episodes. There are 11 unaired episodes of the Steven DePasquale-starring show about a Philadelphia doctor with a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality. It was canceled after a scant two airings. Alas, "Do No Harm" was terrible, but it did bring Phylicia Rashad (a/k/a Clair Huxtable) to Philly.

First Person goes to pod

First Person Arts released the very first installment of its storytelling podcast yesterday (check it out on iTunes at ph.ly/FPApod). The 'cast, which will have 52 episodes in its first season, features stories submitted by listeners to a Google Voice hot-line number. To celebrate, FPA executive director Jamie J. Brunson is throwing a party at 6 tonight at Tabu Lounge, with storytellers Martha Cooney, Brady Dale, Nimisha Ladva and Marjorie Winther .

Email: eichelm@phillynews.com

On Twitter: @PhillyGossipDN

Online: ph.ly/DNGossip

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