News Column

Tulsa World, Okla., TV Type column

September 18, 2013

YellowBrix

Sept. 18--"Mad Men," AMC's hugely popular series about the world of advertising in the '60s, has upped its episode order to 14 and will split the seventh and final season into two parts -- seven episodes titled "The Beginning" in spring 2014 and seven more titled "The End of An Era" in spring 2015.

It's a programming plan that has worked for the final season of the cable network's hit series "Breaking Bad," which wraps up its series run Sept. 29. That series hit a ratings record with last Sunday's episode.

"This approach has worked well for many programs across multiple networks, and, most recently for us with 'Breaking Bad,' which attracted nearly double the number of viewers to its second half premiere than had watched any previous episode," AMC President Charlie Collier said in a release.

"We are determined to bring 'Mad Men' a similar showcase."

Series creator and executive producer Matthew Weiner agrees.

"We plan to take advantage of this chance to have a more elaborate story told in two parts, which can resonate a little bit longer in the minds of our audience."

NBC adds six new featured players to cast of 'SNL'

NBC has confirmed the hiring of six featured players for "Saturday Night Live."

Joining the cast will be Beck Bennett, John Milhiser, Kyle Mooney, Mike O'Brien, Noel Wells and Brooks Wheelan. They will make their debut on the kickoff of the sketch comedy show's 39th season on Sept. 28. Former "SNL" cast member Tina Fey will host with musical guest Arcade Fire.

Tulsa's Bill Hader, as well as Fred Armisen and Jason Sudeikis, left the show in May. Writer and "Weekend Update" anchor Seth Meyers is expected to leave "SNL" to begin hosting "Late Night" on NBC in February.

Current cast member Cecily Strong has been named to replace Meyers at the anchor desk at "Weekend Update," according to a Lorne Michaels interview in the New York Times.

Wells, the only woman among the new cast members, already has a following online for her "Hey! The Zooey Deschanel Show."

Daughter of former 'Big Brother' cast member ill

The 2-month-old daughter of former "Big Brother" cast member Britney Haynes Godwin has been diagnosed with cancer.

Haynes, who competed on the show in 2010 and again in 2012, reportedly posted the news on Facebook.com, according to tmz.com.

"On September 1st, we were among the daily 720 sets of parents to be absolutely devastated with a Childhood Cancer diagnosis."

"Please take the time to pray for all these children, our sweet baby included. We appreciate each and every one."

No details were given on the type of cancer or treatment but fans are going on Twitter and Facebook to show their support for the couple and their child.

Tilly, the daughter of Britney and Ryan Godwin who reportedly live in Owasso, was born on July 13.

Haynes also tweeted: "Thank you for all of the thoughts, wishes, and prayers for my precious girl. She's everything to me. #PrayforTilly"

'Walking Dead' spinoff a no-brainer, AMC exec says

AMC is developing a spinoff of its hit series "The Walking Dead."

The network is "in the initial stages of development on a companion series," deadline.com announced Monday.

"The Walking Dead" creator Robert Kirkman and executive producers Gale Ann Hurd and David Alpert will again serve as executive producers with AMC studios set to produce, according to the website. The target on-air date is 2015.

"After 10 years of writing the comic book series and being so close to the debut of our fourth, and in my opinion, best season of the TV series, I couldn't be more thrilled about getting the chance to create a new corner of 'The Walking Dead' universe," Kirkman said.

"The opportunity to make a show that isn't tethered by the events of the comic book, and is truly a blank page, has set my creativity racing."

"Building on the success of the most popular show on television for adults 18-49 is literally a no-brainer," Charlie Collier, AMC's president and general manager, said in a press release.

"We look forward to working with Robert, Gale and Dave again as we develop an entirely new story and cast of characters. It's a big world, and we can't wait to give fans another unforgettable view of the zombie apocalypse."

Season four of "The Walking Dead" returns Oct. 13 on AMC, cable 48 in Tulsa. The show is based on the comic book series created and written by Kirkman.

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