On 666 Park Avenue, which premieres tonight on ABC, Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams play a pair of Manhattan landlords who seem to have some shady dealings with their tenants — which may or may not involve buying up their souls for the man downstairs. Transformers‘ Rachael Taylor and Brothers & Sisters alum Dave Annable are the fresh-faced young couple hired to be the place’s live-in property managers. When we caught up with the cast at Comic-Con over the summer, VH1 Celebrity wondered if they had their own nightmare apartment tales to share. Well, of course they did.
“Actors, unless they’re blessed from the get-go, can live in some pretty bad places,” O’Quinn said. The Lost star immediately recalled an apartment that “was in New York, over on 49th Street, somewhere between 7th and 8th. It was probably a 10 foot by 12 foot room. And I had a hot plate. If I wanted to wash anything, I did it in the bathtub, so you took greasy baths sometimes.”
Williams’ college apartment in Syracuse sounds worthy of its own TV show. “I had a couple of bizarre, unexplained incidents that happened with plants that started swinging when no windows were open,” she told us. “Things that were hung on the wall and start going back and forth in, literally, a corner when every window was closed and no radiators were going. We definitely felt that there was a presence of some kind there.”
The air is crisper and cooler; it’s a little darker when I leave the office, and the public pools are closed. I’m always of mixed emotions when we think about the end of summer, until I remember that my DVR will soon be filled with new imaginary friends and enemies. Of course, I’m also happy to see the old ones return — and you should totally have your TV locked on VH1 at all times — but I thought I’d take a second to tell you about the top 10 new shows I’ve had a chance to check out and am already either totally hooked on, or willing to ask out on a second date. Beginning with my favorite…
No one does TV pilots like J.J. Abrams. And for this one, the Lost/Alias/Felicity/Fringe creator teamed up with Iron Man director Jon Favreau and Supernatural creator Eric Kripke, so it’s no wonder it looks and feels like a movie more than an hour-long drama. I am already totally hooked on the quest of a girl named Charlie whose father maybe probably knew why all the power in the world went out 15 years ago, especially because her quest involves finding her uncle Miles, who happens to be played by Billy Burke. Also, there’s some kickass, Lost-ian world-building for good measure. Premieres Monday, September 17, at 10 p.m. on NBC.
What the Critics Say: “Favreau brings a lot of strong energy to Revolution, giving appropriate weight to moments like that opening sequence and delivering action that is more notable and big than is normal for network TV – a sword fight Miles has with multiple foes is incredibly fun and cool, and instantly helps Burke (bringing the right world-weary vibe to the proceedings) establish that yes, the dad from Twilight can play a kickass hero.” — IGN
The Mindy Project
Mindy Kaling won fans and fame playing cute in front of the camera and smart behind the camera on The Office. Now we get to see her meld those qualities more smoothly (again in front of and behind the camera) in a way that will have many ladies nodding their heads as much as we’re rolling on the floor laughing. Her character, OBGYN resident Mindy Lahiri, aspires to live in a romantic comedy — and succeeds in at least getting to part in those movies where she dates the wrong guys, gets in hilariously slapstick disasters and shows how much pluck and ingenuity she has when it really counts. Not life-changing stuff here, but totally endearing entertainment. Premieres Tuesday, September 25, at 9:30 p.m. on Fox.
What the Critics Say: “It warms me to the the cockles of my heart to see a female protagonist on television who is not white or movie star skinny looking hot, banging babes, making mistakes, and being hilarious, and I can’t wait to see the rest of what Mindy has in store for us.” — Crushable
After six seasons of constantly being asked “What is the island?” “Who is the man in black?” and “What’s up with that smoke monster?”, Lost alum Terry O’Quinn is not in the least bit reluctant to dig into another show with a whole lot of mysteries. In fact, he’s hoping that Gavin Doran, his devilish character on ABC’s new fall TV offering 666 Park Avenue, will eventually become as ambiguous as John Locke.
“No, one-dimensional characters, not appealing! So, hopefully I can develop this character into — so far he has only one dimension and it’s not very nice,” O’Quinn told VH1 at San Diego Comic-Con. By “not very nice” he means being the kind of Upper East Side landlord that buys tenants’ souls in exchange for certain favors. And while he probably isn’t the devil himself, he and his lovely wife, played by Vanessa Williams, might be on a first-name basis with the guy.
So, to make him multi-dimensional, does Terry hope we’ll see a good side to Gavin? “Well, at least something that makes us ask questions. Something that makes us feel that we can’t necessarily safely assume that this guy is always going to do the worst thing.”
We’re going to leave it up to the pundits to predict which of the many new shows presented at this week’s network upfronts will rise to the top come fall TV season. All we know is, we may have re-watched the clip of Stephen Amell doing pull-ups in the CW’s Arrow about 10 times this morning. (Sorry, lost count.) Point is, there are a whole lot of new faces for us to ogle — and about as many returning ones we’ve been longing for — on the schedules that were announced this week.
What the hell is going on at 666 Park Avenue (ABC’s new drama)? We can only tell that Vanessa Williams is still devilishly hot, and Dave Annable and Rachael Taylor have the kind of sex appeal that might entice us to sell our souls too. We are squealing with delight at the return of Felicity boys Scott Speedman AND Scott Foley to TV this fall — Speedy’s a naval officer in Last Resort, while Foley’s one of the siblings competing for his father’s fortune in the Fox comedy The Goodwin Games.
Vampire Diaries alum and Lady Gaga ex Taylor Kinney gets extra dirty as a firefighter in NBC’s Chicago Fire. We’re also thrilled to see Smallville’s Kristen Kreuk get her Linda Hamilton on in the CW’s Beauty and the Beast reboot. (That’ll have to do for re-imagined faves on the network, since The Carrie Diaries won’t debut until midseason, grrr.) This season has its share of hot doctors — Jordana Spiro and Zach Gilford in The Mob Doctor; Mamie Gummer, Justin Hartley and Aja Naomi King in Emily Owens M.D.; Mindy Kaling in The Mindy Project; Justin Bartha in The New Normal; Lucy Liu in Elementary, and Justin Kirk (as a vet) in Animal Practice. There are superstars, like country singers Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere in Nashville, and there are those just struggling to survive, like Revolution’s Billy Burke and Tracy Spiridakos. Let’s not forget the updated versions of TV’s favorite professions: detectives (Jonny Lee Miller’s Sherlock Holmes in Elementary, Kevin Bacon in The Following) and lawyers (Janet Montgomery in Made in Jersey). But like we said, enough talk for now. It’s time to enjoy this eye candy before we have to pick and choose who gets the DVR love at the end of summer.
[Photos: CW, ABC, CBS, NBC]
In 1983, New York beauty queen Vanessa Williams became the first African-American Miss America. A year later, Penthouse magazine published a pictorial made up of pre-fame photos. There was just a whiff of Sapphic love about the sexy snaps, but believe us when we say that in 1984 that was enough.
Beauty-contest-loving Americans were outraged. Until then, Miss America had long been a celebration of Yankee wholesomeness. And no matter what anybody thought of the swimsuit competition, it had nothing to do with smut.
Williams did the decent thing and resigned, although we wish she would have also done the decent thing and not released “Save the Best for Last,” or made Eraser with Arnold Schwarzenegger, or married former LA Laker Rick Fox.
Suitably enough, beauty contests are now better known for their scandals than their winners. In 2006, Miss USA Tara Conner nearly lost her crown when she got drunk and traded spit with Miss Teen USA. But compared to the original fallen idol, they’re just amateurs. — Charles Bottomley