After a bit of a hiatus, I returned to Parade to put together a Fall TV Preview, which was one of my first stories for them last year. My take on this shows are how they managed to be both fresh and familiar — and have a lot in common with some of your favorite shows.
When I filed, I didn’t know that this would be my very last Parade story. But sadly, the magazine was sold last week and the entire editorial staff, including all my favorite editors, was laid off as editorial operations move from New York to Nashville
At Parade, Jamie Bell spoke with me (back at TCA winter press tour) about his new AMC Revolutionary War drama Turn, fatherhood, the hardest thing about period acting and how he avoided the usual pitfalls that plague child actors as they grow up:
“I can only speak for myself, really. I was fortunate to have a really good manager who kept me very grounded, [as well as] my family, my mom especially. I was just working all the time. I didn’t really have time to go off the rails in that way. I’m sure I did it in my teenager kind of ways, but I wasn’t publicized. I wasn’t a Disney kid, I wasn’t Bieber, I didn’t have the attention of the world on my shoulders. I did for a second and then I just went and did a bunch of work, and started to live an actor’s life. You go from one to the next to the next to the next. In that regard, I was lucky that the focus wasn’t so heavy on me. I don’t really know another way around it. Just having really good, solid people around you that you trust.”
Who is “Walter Scott,” and why does he keep taking credit for my interviews? (I kid. Mostly.) At Parade, James Van Der Beek talked to me (from an interview back at TCA winter press tour) about his new CBS sitcom, Friends with Better Lives, the chances of a Dawson’s Creek reunion and what happened the last time he played a doctor on TV:
“I was in the last 10 episodes of Mercy on NBC. I came in for the last 10, and the ratings went up a tick but it wasn’t enough. The show got canceled [and] they used my picture: “James Van Der Beek’s Mercy…” and I was like, “Wait a minute! I wasn’t even in the pilot! How is this my show all of a sudden?”
Back at TCA winter press tour, I (nope, still not “Walter Scott”) spoke with Sam Champion for this Parade story about being frenemies with Al Roker, his new Weather Channel show AMHQ and why he left Good Morning America:
If I hadn’t taken this opportunity, I’d regret it the rest of my life. I like a challenge.
At long last, you can finally read the Shark Tank cover story for Parade that I’ve been working so long and hard on! I spent time with all six Sharks — Lori Greiner, Daymond John, Robert Herjavec, Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary and Barbara Corcoran — and also talked with executive producer Mark Burnett and several of the show’s most successful entrepreneurs. The result is what I think is the definitive Shark Tank story, for newbies and die-hard fans alike!
Shark Tank is one of the quietest successful stories on TV. Ratings have steadily grown each season, which is unprecedented, especially for a reality show. As I wrote at Parade,
In short, the country hasn’t been this shark-obsessed since Jaws. “It’s what America stands for. Everybody’s got a dream,” says executive producer Mark Burnett, who also oversees Survivor and The Voice. Sony Pictures Television produces the show and adapted it from the Japanese-based reality format known in most countries as Dragons’ Den. “It says a lot about the psyche of our culture: Crazy things are possible, even in a down economy,” adds Amy Cosper, editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine. “Entrepreneurs see things that others don’t.”
I’m really proud of how this one turned out, and hope you all enjoy it!
I’m so excited to finally share the mystery story I’ve spent much of the past six weeks immersed in: my latest Parade cover, on the hit ABC reality competition show Shark Tank.
I spent time with all six Sharks — Lori Greiner, Daymond John, Robert Herjavec, Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary and Barbara Corcoran — for the cover story. The whole thing will go online tomorrow, but Parade has posted a cover tease today, including an explanation of what happens after the Sharks close the deals they make on the show:
After the deals close, the real work begins for the Sharks. “Filming is the easiest part,” says Cuban. “The hardest part is that you actually have to have a connection and help these companies.” That fact has helped the Sharks change the country’s perception of business moguls, who have long been equated with the toxic likes of Wall Street’s Gordon “Greed Is Good” Gekko. “We’re entrepreneurs helping fledgling businesspeople,” says Greiner. Adds Herjavec, “Shark Tank shows you don’t have to be a jerk to be successful.”
At TCA winter press tour, I spoke with Denis Leary for this Parade story about his return to cable (he’s writing and producing the new EMT sitcom Sirens for USA, and working on a comedy pilot for FX called Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll), the neverending Ice Age franchise, his 25-year-long marriage and what public service job he might do a TV show about next:
“I don’t know. What’s left? I mean, the sanitation department? They say write what you know, and where I come from, my family was cops and firefighters. And the guys that weren’t were Teamsters and hockey players. My dream is to do a hockey show or a hockey movie. There’s a little bit of hockey in Rescue Me. To go to a rink every day and get paid to play hockey–or to pretend to play hockey–is my dream. But I’m getting to the age where it’s like, now I have to be the coach!”
At Parade, I (not “Walter Scott”) spoke to Minnie Driver about her new NBC comedy About a Boy, motherhood and the demise of her fantastic FX series The Riches, which was canceled back in 2009. Here’s a portion of our chat, back at TCA winter press tour:
“It just kills me. It kills me, because ideas like that don’t come around very often. It was so good, that show. I still think it was the biggest mistake Fox ever made, canceling that show. It was [on hiatus] during the writers’ strike…[and] there was no support when we came back. Everybody had been watching reality television for nine months. When we came back on the air, there was no big campaign to remind people of our presence. I was nominated [for an Emmy and a Golden Globe] for that. I feel like it wasn’t a pile of rubbish that was meant to be discarded. It’s still galling to all of us.”