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“Scream Queens” “The Muppets” “Heroes Reborn” The 67th Emmy Awards

Profiled athlete Jeff Gordon

CELEBRITY SPOTLIGHTS

Hines Ward Vivian Howard Ted Allen Jennifer Carpenter

WHAT'S FOR DINNER Featuring: “Pizza Masters”

JAY Bobbin's movies to watch

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The story

‘The Player’ Philip Winchester stars in “The Player,” premiering Thursday on NBC.


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Stories

Premiering Thursday on NBC. p3

The 67th Emmy Awards

Pictured: The world’s greatest ballet star, Rudolf Nureyev, was the Muppets’ guest star in 1976.

Sunday on Fox. p 16

“Heroes Reborn”

Premiering Thursday on NBC. p 17

“Scream Queens”

Premiering Tuesday on Fox. pp 12-13

“The Muppets” Premiering Tuesday on ABC. pp 14-15

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Celebrity potlights Hines Ward

of “Football Night in America” Sunday on NBC. p4

Vivian Howard

of “A Chef’s Life” Thursday on PBS.

“Pizza Masters”

A Cooking Channel series.

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Jennifer Carpenter Checking in.

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Ted Allen

Vivian Howard

of “Chopped After Hours” Tuesday on Food Network. p6

of “A Chef’s Life” on PBS. p9

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Profiled Athlete Jeff Gordon pp 18-19


Editor's choice

STORY

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By Jay Bobbin Wesley Snipes is ready to be a player in weekly television again. It’s been a long time since the action-movie veteran was a series regular, in a short-lived 1990 effort from “Law & Order” mentor Dick Wolf titled “H.E.L.P.” He gets to refine his image by returning to the home screen in “The Player,” an adventure-drama from “The Blacklist” executive producer John Davis that NBC debuts Thursday, Sept. 24. Snipes plays Mr. Johnson, an enigmatic Las Vegas casino pit boss and go-between for wealthy gamblers who wager on troubleshooters being able to stop crimes before completion. The newest of those operatives is Alex Kane (Philip Winchester, coming off his run on Cinemax’s “Strike Back”), a security expert who has a personal vendetta against those placing the bets ... and, despite his initial skepticism, decides to use his new position to try to get revenge from the inside. “What they put together was something that I was highly intrigued by,” Snipes explains. “The premise itself is intriguing, but the idea of playing a character that’s somewhat ambiguous, somewhat mysterious – that is manna from heaven for an actor, and also gives me an opportunity to explore some other type of character development (and) languages. “The biggest concern is how much time I would have still to focus on feature films,” adds Snipes, who says that’s why he turned down an offer for “Empire,” the Fox drama that had a hugely successful first season earlier this year. “Thankfully with these guys, they were able to work it out in a way where I can focus on this and still do some movie-star stuff every now and then.” Indeed, Snipes is used sparingly in “The Player,” at least in the early going. Much of the heavy lifting falls to Winchester, who certainly takes his lumps in a number of sequences, extending to his crashing through windows and being struck by a car during a night foot-chase sequence on the Vegas strip ... while clad only in his briefs.

“It’s more ambitious than anything I’ve worked on before because of the time constraints,” the good-humored Winchester maintains. “We are doing huge action scenes, and we are tying in this wonderful drama that the writers have given us, and there’s no time to think twice about it. You just go into it, and you can make these decisions. “We were out there the other day, driving around in the desert in a Jeep and doing all of our driving ourselves, and the camera truck was right next to me. And we were bumper to bumper, doing about 50 miles an hour, then spinning out of shots together. I just pinch myself. That we get to do this for a job is incredible. We are really fortunate.” Able to stay in a relative safe zone are “Player” co-stars Charity Wakefield (“Wolf Hall”) as the card-dealerand-more who’s by Mr. Johnson’s side, Nick Wechsler (“Revenge”) as her above-board boyfriend, and Damon Gupton – also a symphony-orchestra conductor who actually has appeared on “Empire” – as, just like on that show, a police detective named Cal. The certain lineage “The Player” has to “The Blacklist” (which will precede it in NBC’s Thursday lineup) is confirmed by “Player” creator John Rogers, another of the executive producers, when he terms the new series “a big, pulp, high-concept, big-fun conspiracy for the audiences to figure out, (with) really great characters who are not just super-capable, but also don’t much trust or like each other for a good, long chunk of the show. They have their own rivalries and dangers along with it, so we want to keep the audience completely off-balance.”

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CELEBRITY George Dickie’s Q&A

HinesWard

of ‘Football Night in America’ Sunday on NBC Does the start of the NFL season get the juices flowing for an explayer such as yourself? Oh no question about it, just for the fact that at the kickoff of the season, everybody is 0-0. Everybody hopes and dreams of making it to the Super Bowl L. That’s what it’s all about. You competed in the Ironman Triathlon a few years back, correct? Yes I did and I’m one and done. It was a great experience but I don’t want to put my body through hell again. How long did it take you to prepare for it? It took me eight months to prepare. But through NBC, working, you know I was swimming when I was up at Notre Dame and I was running before I’d do the games so I was still training while I was preparing for the season. But it was just a great blessing for me to train for eight months to put my body through hell but crossing that finish line made it all worthwhile. I mean, to be called an Ironman is just awesome. It’s an amazing feeling, something I never thought I could do. How long did it take you to recover? It took me about two months. You know, I had to get back on a plane to fly from Hawaii back to Notre Dame, so needless to say that was a bad trip for me. I cramped up a lot on that trip.

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Do you still get to do any acting? No, I have a couple of things in the making that I can’t really discuss right now but maybe look out for me in the near future.


CELEBRITY George Dickie’s Q&A

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VivianHoward f ’s of ‘A Che day s r u h T ’ e f i L on PBS

You opened your second restaurant during the second season, correct? Yes, we opened the Boiler Room at the start of the second season, and both of them are up and running and doing well but the restaurant business, there’s always a challenge. And I guess that’s the way it is in every business. But you continue to see some of that. We lose our chef at the Boiler Room, our second restaurant, in Season 3, and my husband has to take over the kitchen over there but he’s not a chef and that’s not what he wants to do. So we kind of watch some of that play out.

So does he work off your recipes? Yes, yes. And you know, a chef does a lot of different things aside from cooking. There’s running the kitchen, food costs, ordering, scheduling, making sure people come to work, making sure the kitchen’s clean before service. So that’s really what a chef ends up doing. Unfortunately, it’s less romantic than most people think. ... You start out cooking every day and then as you move up you do less and less of that. But that’s what we’re told we’re supposed to do. (Laughs) It’s tricky. ... It doesn’t always feel right. Now that both restaurants are established, do things get easier? Yeah, it’s less scary because you know that people like both of them. ... Ben and I are always talking about it. It’s really all about getting both of the restaurants to a place where we’re not feeling like we’re on a rescue squad all the time, putting our finger in the dam, trying to stop fires. So that’s what it’s like now, just managing the guest experience, managing the employee experience. That’s what it is at this point.

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CELEBRITY George Dickie’s Q&A

of ‘Chopped After Hours’ Tuesday on Food Network You’re known as a wine connoisseur. Are you a red or a white drinker? I like them both equally. It depends on what’s being served. I try to pair the wine with the food. I find that if I’m sipping wine at a party, I’ll usually go for white just because red stains your teeth and your lips after you’ve had a couple of glasses of it. Especially big reds like a cabernet sauvignon are just too intense to drink more than one glass of, for me. On the other hand, if you’re having a steak, you need something bold that can stand up to that. Like, I really love sancerre, which is a sauvignon blanc, just a crisp, minerally, dry white. And I also really love provencal roses. They’re cheap, they’re light in alcohol, they’re really good cold and a great wine when it’s hot out. My friend Marc Murphy calls it summer water.

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What initially got you into wine? My real wine epiphany came when I had a fancy dinner at a fancy place in Chicago and they served a dessert sauterne – which is a white dessert wine, very sweet, orangy notes – with a chocolate cake. And when this arrived, it just seemed to me that there’s no way any white wine would make sense with chocolate cake. And when it did, lightbulbs went off and I really began to understand how wine paired smartly with food can really enhance it. It’s like another layer of – it’s like a sauce on the food. It’s amazing.


FOOD George Dickie’s What's for Dinner

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What book are you currently reading? “It’s called ‘Many Lives and Many Masters.’ My mom turned me on to it. It’s fascinating. ...” Pictured: Sal Basille (left) and Francis Garcia

What did you have for dinner last night? “I made crab legs. I love Alaskan king crab legs. I made grilled chicken on the barbecue. I grilled tomatoes. I grilled red onions. I grilled red peppers. Made it on my deck.” What is your next project? “We just recently opened up a pizzeria on Park Slope (Brooklyn). ... It’s right by the Barclay Center on 5th Ave. between St. Mark’s and Bergen, so I’ve had my hands full with that. We’re looking at other spaces. That’s what keeps us busy, is trying to expand Artichoke.” When was the last vacation you took, where and why? “It was in the Dominican Republic. We went to Las Terrenas. ... There’s like 100 miles of untouched beachfront there, and this one little town that’s settled, they have boulangeries and pizzerias and German food. It’s all European. ... I felt like I was in the twilight zone. I was like, ‘Where the hell am I?’ ”

Cousins find good pie anywhere on Many New Yorkers will tell you that the best pizza in the world can be found in the five boroughs. But Staten Island cousins and pizza restaurateurs Sal Basille and Francis Garcia are demonstrating there are other regions worth considering as Season 2 of their Cooking Channel series “Pizza Masters” gets going Wednesday, Sept. 23. “I always was under the same impression,” Garcia admits of his own pro-New York pizza bias. “Like, you go to Los Angeles, the pizza is awful. You know, a lot of places in Florida, the pizza is awful. I mean, these are places that we’d frequent. We always went to Florida, our grandparents had a house there and you could never get good pizza – until Sal’s uncles moved out there and they opened up a bunch of pizzerias and made a fortune. ... But you can find great pizza anywhere.”

Wednesday’s episode takes the cousins and co-owners of the New York pizzerias Artichoke Basille’s to Miami, where they sampled the artichoke pizza – their specialty – at Thea’s Pizzeria.

sized cups, that’s how strong it is. The stuff should be like illegal.”

“Of course, we had to go there to try the artichoke pizza and it was really good,” Garcia says. “It was totally different from ours and it was really a fun time.”

“It might be one of the best pizzas we’ve ever done on the show, really amazing,” Garcia says. “... He grills the dough on an Argentinian grill. ... They didn’t have pizza ovens and he wanted to put pizza on the menu so he claims to have invented grilled pizza.”

But they didn’t try only the pie while in Florida’s largest city. “We did Cuban sandwiches at this place called David’s Cafecito,” Garcia says. “And he had this Cuban coffee that was like rocket fuel – like you needed a Tylenol PM to go to bed at night. It was this insanely strong coffee and they serve it to you in little thimble-

Later in the season, the cousins venture to Providence, R.I., where they try the grilled pizza.

“I mean, it has a totally different flavor profile because you’re getting that direct flame and it’s just really good,” he says. “... You eat it with a fork and knife. They don’t cut it. They just throw it on a dish and you cut it at the table.”

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CELEBRITY Jay Bobbin’s Celebrity ScooP

Jennifer

Carpenter Jennifer Carpenter is learning her limits. She hasn’t reached them yet, though. A first-time mom, the former “Dexter” regular is resuming series work by co-starring in “Limitless,” CBS’ variation on the 2011 Bradley Cooper movie that premieres Tuesday, Sept. 22. An executive producer of the show, Cooper also will recur in his original role as a now-senator and user of a drug that boosts his brainpower – also used by another man (Jake McDorman, “Manhattan Love Story”) who draws the interest of FBI special agents (Carpenter, Hill Harper). “I think I identify with the audience’s perspective,” Carpenter says of serving as a surrogate for “Limitless” viewers. “What I like about her is that there’s an incredible amount of buoyancy to her. Even though she has ‘a story,’ like we all do, it doesn’t inform her every single move or weigh her down. “Sometimes with procedurals or anything where any sort of law enforcement is involved, when they’re working a case, it almost looks as if it’s life-or-death to them ... and I don’t think that’s how it operates in the real world. I think they settle for small victories, and I want to keep that element alive.” Well-remembered by “Dexter” fans as ever-troubled, frequently profane Miami police detective Debra Morgan, Carpenter embraces the challenge of building a new television identity while that memory remains so fresh for so many. “I think it’s sort of freeing,” she reflects. “I always thought I would be doing comedy, but after playing Deb, I think I could knock on those doors until my knuckles bled. I just don’t think people would be willing to see me in a role like that, so this was a nice chance for me to say, ‘If you’ll accept these things about me, the actress, then let me show you this new layer. Let me wear it.’ ”

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Birthdate: Dec. 7, 1979 Birthplace: Louisville, Ky. Current residence: New York Marital status: Engaged to musician Seth Avett; they have a newborn son, Isaac Other television work includes: “Dexter,” “The Good Wife,” “Pound Puppies” (voice only), “Robot Chicken” (voice only) On pursuing “Limitless”: “After reading the script and seeing the people who would be involved in shaping it, I took the role pretty much betting it would go to series. Then after I saw the pilot, I thought, ‘OK. Better start packing and find a place to live.’ ”

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CELEBRITY CelebritY profile

Viv ianHo ward

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Vivian Howard is a chef, restaurant owner and host of PBS’ award winning “A Chef’s Life”. - Born in the small town of Deep Run, NC where her family had a farm. - From an early age she became tired of small town life, and longed for more populated areas. At age 14, she went to boarding school, and then attended college at NC State University. - At age 22, she moved to NYC and worked in advertising for 18 months. She then quit and started walking dogs and waiting tables. - While working in a West Village restaurant as a waitress she not only fell in love with the food industry, she met and fell in love with her future husband, Ben Knight. - In 2005, her parents offered her the opportunity to start her own restaurant – if she would come home, so she and her husband decided to return to her roots and open a farm to fork restaurant in Kinston, NC. - She currently lives in Kinston, NC with her husband and their twin children, Theo and Flo. - They opened Chef & the Farmer in the summer of 2006, serving local, seasonal, creative cuisine. - She and her husband expanded their restaurant portfolio in Aug. 2013, and opened the Boiler Room Oyster Bar. - Also in 2013, her show “A Chef’s Life” premiered on PBS. - In 2014, “A Chef’s Life” received a Peabody Award and was a James Beard Media Award finalist for Television Program on Location. - She has a contract to write two books, the first should be coming out in Oct. 2016.

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CELEBRITY

“I love doing guest spots, especially on procedural shows, because you really do get a chance to do something totally different ... something people would be massively fighting over to do in a movie. On a procedural, every guest spot is that.” – Vanessa Marano of “Switched at Birth” on ABC Family

“I don’t think there’s anybody working now who’s better than him. He’s not only conversant, but also knowledgeable, about every single aspect of his job. He knows camera lenses, he knows film stock, he knows lighting ... he’s a masterful director.” – Alan Arkin, recently seen on “Summer Under the Stars” on Turner Classic Movies, about his “Argo” director, Ben Affleck

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“Life is sort of overwhelming sometimes and there’s something exciting and lucky about having each other, two real-life best friends, being able to say, ‘Stop worrying about whatever it is we’re worrying about and let’s go and do some work.’ It’s a treat in a way that you can go and jump into this made-up world and all the things that upset you, all the things you find confusing or funny, you can make into something.” – Dolly Wells, on making her HBO series “Doll & Em” with lifelong friend Emily Mortimer


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ON DVRs

Jamie Lee Curtis of “Scream Queens” on Fox “My husband and I were English ‘House of Cards’ fans before the American version, which we obviously like, and also of the English version of ‘The Office.’ And we recently watched ‘Better Call Saul,’ and we’re now working our way through ‘Breaking Bad.’ And that’s an example of a show that I hope we emulate (with ‘Scream Queens’) ... that when you think you know who someone is, the creative process of the storytelling peels away the facade.” Wesley Snipes of “The Player” on NBC “My schedule is kind of crazy, but I’m a night owl –and the shows I watch are ‘Ray Donovan,’ ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘Homeland’ and ‘The Blacklist.’ Some of the comedies, I just scroll through, but I’m more attracted to the dramas.I like really good acting, and I like watching good actors perform. And I want to work with them.”

Emily Mortimer of “Doll & Em” on HBO “I watch TV shows that my kids watch, my 11-yearold watches, which she shouldn’t be allowed, like ‘Game of Thrones.’ ... ‘Family Guy’ we love. ... I love ‘Louie.’ ”

Ted Allen of “Chopped After Hours” on Food Network “I’ve always been a devoted watcher of ‘The Daily Show,’ very interested to see what Trevor Noah’s going to do there. I really love Amy Schumer. I always watch her show. Lots of comedy. ... And I always watch Bill Maher. ... I like ‘Orange Is the New Black’ and ‘House of Cards’ online. I love ‘Game of Thrones’ – I can’t wait for that to come back. And then of course, there’s all the Food Network stuff.” September 20 - 26, 2015 YOUR TV LINK Courtesy of Gracenote Page 11


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STORY

Fox welcomes

'Scream Queens' Premiering Tuesday on Fox. Story on next page

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STORY

Jamie Lee Curtis and Lea Michele are among Fox’s ‘Scream Queens’ By Jay Bobbin

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Pictured: Lea Michele

It’s from the executive producers of “American Horror Story” and “Glee,” but expect “Scream Queens” to be very much its own creation. Promoted for months, the seriocomic Fox series from Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan finally arrives with a two-hour premiere Tuesday, Sept. 22. The show folds in various tropes of the horror genre – the casting of “Halloween” icon Jamie Lee Curtis as a college dean being a major one – as a sorority is shaken by a murder, precisely 20 years after another killing occurred on campus. The situation brings out the respective best and worst in the figurative sisters. School newcomer Grace (Skylar Samuels, who was in “American Horror Story: Coven” and actually belongs to a college sorority now) quickly encounters the domineering elitist leader of Kappa Kappa Tau (Emma Roberts, also an “AHS” alum) and its other members (played by “Glee” veteran Lea Michele and Abigail Breslin, among others), many of whom are named Chanel. It’s anyone’s guess how long any character will last, since at least one of them (and thus, one cast member) will be eliminated every week until the mystery is solved. Murphy says that for him and his producing colleagues, “big horror fans” all, “Scream Queens” started with Curtis. She’s been associated with the title identity since playing stalked babysitter Laurie Strode in 1978, and Murphy “had always loved her for years and years and years, and had wanted to work with her. As it is with our company, usually there’s no script to read. We simply told her what the story was and we just led with our love and passion for her, and said in the meeting, ‘If you don’t do it, we’re not going to do the show.’ ”

Luckily for all concerned, Curtis signed up a day later, and she believes “what’s so fantastic about the show is, it is a social satire. And actually, we say what people think. We all live in this protected bubble where we’re all trying to behave and look a certain way, and the thing that’s so brilliant about this show is it strips away the imagined behaviors of human beings. It actually shows, I think, what people really are – which is inherently dark, inherently unhappy, angry, frustrated human beings who are trying so desperately to hold it together. “What’s so fun about this show,” adds Curtis, “is that everything you think about every single one of these characters, you don’t know s... about anything, because everyone here is wearing a mask.” Keke Palmer (“True Jackson, VP”), “Saturday Night Live” veteran Nasim Pedrad, Oliver Hudson and music’s Ariana Grande and Nick Jonas also are in the ensemble cast of “Scream Queens.” For Michele, famous as “Glee’s” perpetually lively Rachel Berry, “Scream Queens” is a huge departure: Her new alter ego Hester is decidedly unglamorous and sports a neck brace, the result of scoliosis. “For me, this is a completely different world in horror,” Michele maintains, “and in a lot of ways, it’s a lot more difficult. Coming from ‘Glee’ and performing and dancing and singing on that show, which was challenging in many ways, this is also very challenging –- working with the balance of the horror and the comedy. And Brad and Ryan and Ian, their writing is so specific and so smart, it takes a really good actor to be able to take on that writing. And I think they’ve enlisted the greatest cast of actors who can really take on their words.”

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STORY

Kermit the Frog “stars” in “The Muppets,” premiering Tuesday on ABC.

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By Jay Bobbin If you’ve ever wondered about the backstage lives of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, you’re in luck. The late Jim Henson’s beloved characters are returning to television on a regular basis, but in a slightly different way than before ... in a series that shows them away from performing, allowing their trademark sly humor to be put to new use. ABC debuts “The Muppets” Tuesday, Sept. 22, and the gang’s all here – albeit with a possibly distressing twist that became known during the summer: Kermit and Piggy are a couple no more. And allegedly, Kermit already has moved on, to an ABC marketing executive named Denise. “It’s an interesting thing that’s going on here,” explains Kermit ... seriously (with his voice supplied by Steve Whitmire). “Actually, the Muppets are doing a late-night chat show with Miss Piggy called ‘Up Late with Miss Piggy.’ And Bill and Bob (executive producers Prady and Kushell) came along with this wonderful idea to shoot behind the scenes, and they are producing that (backstage) show. It’s interesting and scary at the same time, because you get to see things that we wouldn’t normally, necessarily want you to see.” Miss Piggy concurs with that, though she maintains (via the voice of Eric Jacobson) that she isn’t “afraid of any pitfalls that come with stardom. I invite the pitfalls, you know. As long as I’m not the one who falls into them. Any kind of attention is good publicity, so sure, I’m proud we’re broken up.” For any Muppet tension accompanying the end of that great romance, scheduled guest stars including Reese Witherspoon, Josh Groban, Elizabeth Banks, Jay Leno, Laurence Fishburne, Liam Hemsworth, Lea Thompson, Tom Bergeron and music’s Imagine Dragons may help allay it. In that sense, the new series emulates the structure of the classic, syndicated “Muppet Show” (1976-81), but Prady

Pictured: Miss Piggy – who started his career with Henson and the Muppets, and has enjoyed success as co-creator and executive producer (with Chuck Lorre) of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” -- is quick to note the modern differences. “If you look at ‘The Muppet Show,’ ” he says, “it mocks variety shows because that was the dominant form of television at the time. And it struck me that if the Muppets were on television now, it would be ... I don’t know if ‘parody’ is the correct word, but it would look at the way television is done now and say, ‘Well, what’s the Muppet version of that?’ ” Indeed, “The Muppets” is that world’s take on the realityshow boom, complete with cinema-verite-type shots. Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Animal, the Swedish Chef and Rowlf the Dog (who has a history with ABC, having been a regular on “The Jimmy Dean Show” some 50 years ago) are among other familiar characters participating. ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee notes he hasn’t been “sitting all my life thinking my job is to get the Muppets onto the American Broadcasting Company,” but he adds, “We fell in love with ‘The Muppets’ because it was a new take ... because the idea of making fun of documentaries where you once made fun of variety shows seems incredibly fresh.” As for how he’ll cope with the new style, Kermit believes, “You’re going to learn, whatever happens. You know, it’s a day-by-day, moment-by-moment process.” And as for having to share it with his now-former flame? “it can be tough to work with your ex,” he reasons. “Especially when your ex is a pig.”

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STORY

By Jay Bobbin “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” isn’t in Fox’s Sunday lineup on Sept. 20, but star Andy Samberg still is. The actor-comedian will join the roster of “Saturday Night Live” alumni, including Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, who have hosted the television industry’s biggest event as he presides over the 67th Emmy Awards. Surely, other networks are represented among the nominees – HBO’s “Game of Thrones” leads with 24 bids, followed by FX’s “American Horror Story: Freak Show” with 19 – but it makes sense for Fox to go to one of its own to steer the occasion, and Samberg believes he’s ready for it. “It’s a tricky balance with award shows when you’re hosting,” he says. ”You don’t want to overstay your welcome, but you don’t want to do so little that no one noticed you were there, so you try and find that medium. As far as things I don’t like about awards shows, I would probably say the commercials ... but they’re not going anywhere.” Actually, the Emmy Awards overall will get a long commercial of its own, thanks to “Fox NFL Sunday.” Earlier that day, the network will present a football doubleheader, and the pre-show and halftime show will originate from the Emmy red carpet at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater L.A. Live. An avowed San Francisco 49ers fan, Samberg enjoys “any association with football – not just because of the ratings, but also because it means that they’ll run ads (for his shows) during the games and all of my friends will see me.”

unexpected winners, which will make the show more interesting. And I think we have a better chance of that this year, because I think that the diversity and inclusiveness of this year’s nominees are greater than I’ve ever known before.” Samberg has been to the Emmy dance as a nominee sevetal times, winning in 2007 for co-composing an “SNL” song for himself and guest Justin Timberlake: the infamous “D... in a Box.” With his “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” co-star Andre Braugher a current nominee for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series, Samberg likely has a horse in at least one Emmy race, but he knows what sort of host he wants to be generally.

“Hopefully, a funny one,” he says. “Tina (Fey) and Amy (Poehler) obviously are the standard, and they’re just so If Samberg is relatively new to the Emmys, the ceremony’s good at keeping it feeling really loose, with a lot of really executive producer surely isn’t. Variety-show veteran Don good writing underneath that. It’s something that only they Mischer has overseen it numerous times, and he reasons, can do, I think, but I’ll try and do whatever version of it “The two things that make the most difference are who we come to, and we’ll write as much as we can and sift wins and what did they say. And as a producer, you have through the stuff and pick the best.” absolutely no control over that. We hope that we will have

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STORY

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By Jay Bobbin

Pictured: Zachary Levi

“H

eroes Reborn” is no random title: It truly marks the rebirth of a once-popular series concept.

Creator and executive producer Tim Kring hopes to catch lightning a second time as the NBC fantasy-adventure sequel launches with a two-hour premiere Thursday, Sept. 24. Original co-star Jack Coleman is the major returning player as Noah Bennet (or “HRG”), father of the nowdeceased cheerleader Claire (Hayden Panettiere’s character in the original show), whose help is sought as others with special abilities are on the run ... blamed for a terrorist attack in Odessa, Texas, home of the Bennets. Ryan Guzman (“The Boy Next Door”), Robbie Kay (“Once Upon a Time’s” Peter Pan), Danika Yarosh and Kiki Sukezane are among those playing the new heroesto-be, with Zachary Levi (“Chuck”) and Rya Kihlstedt (“Nashville”) as pursuers with specific aims for them. Greg Grunberg, Masi Oka and Sendhil Ramamurthy make guest appearances in their roles from the 2006-10 series. “I always approached it as a show about characters,” Kring says of the franchise. “It was called ‘Heroes,’ and not ‘Superpowers’ or ‘Powers.’ And by going back to some of those original basic ideas of what the show was originally, it almost doesn’t matter what’s happened in the world around us. We’re telling that story that I think continues to be something that’s fascinating, of people dealing with almost primal questions: What’s happening to me? How am I connected? What does it all mean?”

“Heroes Reborn” has a firm end point it moves toward, since the show was ordered for a definite 13 episodes. Coleman is glad to be a part of it, noting that when “Heroes” had no follow-up “after a couple of years, I never really thought about it again. So when Tim called me and said, ‘I want you to come on board, and HRG will basically fulfill the same kind of role’ – he was always connective tissue between different stories, different characters, different worlds – I was pretty thrilled to say ‘Yes’ as quickly and coolly as I possibly could.” Among the cast newcomers, Levi likes joining something with a built-in fan base ... and something that lets him change up his television image. “There are some characters that are a little bit more defined in their villainy,” he reflects, “but even they are very convinced of why they’re doing what they’re doing. So I think that makes it dynamic, and it makes it layered, and it makes it something that people can actually relate to.” One aspect they surely can relate to: The amount of time since “Heroes” left the air, at the end of its fourth year, is the same span where “Heroes Reborn” begins. “We’re saying that the exact amount of time it’s been off is the exact amount of time that the story world has moved,” Kring says. “And this world has become a very a different place, and there’s something really great about this. We’re treating this as if this is not the fifth season. We’re treating it like the tenth season, as though there were actually seasons in-between.”

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SPORTS

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Full Name: Jeffrey Michael Gordon Born: August 4, 1971 Birthplace: Vallejo, Calif. Height/Weight: 5 foot 8 inches/160 pounds Car: Chevrolet No.: 24 Team: Hendrick Motorsports

Honors & Achievements: Four-time Sprint Cup Champion, 1995,1997,1998, 2001; three-time Daytona 500 winner, 1997, 1999, 2005

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SPORTS

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By Dan Ladd Many athletes seek nothing more than to end their careers as winners, and Jeff Gordon is no exception. He has a chance to make that happen should he qualify for NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup. That quest for the Sprint Cup title begins at Chicagoland Speedway with the myAFibRisk.com 400 airing Sunday, Sept. 20, on NBC Sports Network. At press time Gordon, who is calling it quits in November, had yet to win a race this season, after winning four in 2014. The four-time Cup champion had a legitimate shot at being one of the 16 drivers left standing for the Chase. Although, he hasn’t won a title since 2001, when it was still called the Winston Cup. Still, Gordon has had a long and storied career full of achievements. He broke onto the scene in the 1990s, playing a major role in the rising popularity of stock car racing. In what is known as the “Modern Era” of racing, which began in 1972, he is third in total career victories behind former race legends Richard Petty and David Pearson. Should a slot in the top 16 elude him, or if he were to be eliminated as the postseason progresses, the final races of this season will turn into a swan song celebration for Gordon. Either way, fans should expect to see his career celebrated as the season winds down.

JeffGordon

One can only speculate what comes after racing for him, many anticipate it will be the broadcast booth, and it’s quite possible he’ll still climb into a race car from time to time.

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MOVIES JAY BOBBIN's Theatrical movie review

review It’s easier to buy Jesse Eisenberg as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg than as a skilled super-spy, to be sure. Then again, that’s one of the mild pleasures of “American Ultra,” a somewhat wacky adventure-comedy that very knowingly dares you to buy into its premise: that the CIA planted some operatives so deep undercover, even those agents have no memory of who they really are. Eisenberg plays one of said agents, a slacker who can’t understand why enemies suddenly have come to West Virginia to eliminate him, sending him and his girlfriend (Eisenberg’s earlier “Adventureland” co-star Kristen Stewart) on the lam. The bad guys have been sent by a CIA higher-up (Topher Grace, again in superbly officious “In Good Company” mode) who wants all traces of those history-free agents erased. Once the concept is set up and the chase begins, the Eisenberg character’s memory banks are unlocked and he recalls his earlier training to become a lethal weapon – and yes, that absolutely requires the viewer’s suspension of disbelief. But there’s fun in seeing the typically cerebral actor get physical against the villains, and the same goes for Connie Britton (“Nashville”) as an agency veteran who eventually turns up to lend help. As written by Max Landis (“Chronicle”) and directed by Nima Nourizadeh (“Project X”) – specialists in energetic stories of young people caught in unusual situations – “American Ultra” is one of those pictures that might see merely OK while you’re watching it, but could prove to have a surprisingly durable afterlife. Its plot is the stuff of cult movies, and it’s definitely an unusual credit for Eisenberg and Stewart, both of whom often go for deeper material. There’s a certain kick in seeing them in a project they clearly took just for the fun of it. Add John Leguizamo and Walton Goggins as offbeat figures hovering around the fringes of the central characters, with the ever-reliable Bill Pullman and Tony Hale (“Veep”) also included for good measure, and “American Ultra” can be summed up as a novelty that isn’t too demanding and is just different enough to make its mark. How lasting that mark ultimately will be remains to be seen ... but it’s possible.

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MOVIES JAY BOBBIN's movie review movies to watch

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Top Pick

“PITCH PERFECT 2” The Bellas sing again in this enjoyable sequel directed by returning co-star Elizabeth Banks, also a producer of both this and the original. Humiliated on a major scale during a presidential performance, the a cappella group seeks fresh glory in a global competition, but some intense rivals won’t make that easy. Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Alexis Knapp and Skylar Astin are joined by cast newcomer Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”). John Michael Higgins also is back as Banks’ partner in commenting on the contest. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; outtakes; deleted, extended and alternate scenes. ››› (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

Pictured: Rebel Wilson

upcoming DVD releases

Coming Soon on DVD... “ENTOURAGE” (Sept. 29): The movie continuation of the former HBO comedy series reunites cast members including Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon and Jeremy Piven. (R: AS, N, P) “POLTERGEIST” (Sept. 29): A revision of the horror tale casts Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt as a couple whose child is taken by evil spirits. (PG-13: AS, P, V) “SPY” (Sept. 29): Melissa McCarthy plays a CIA analyst who becomes a surprisingly effective field agent. (R and unrated versions: AS, P, V) Pictured: Jeremy Piven

“AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON” (Oct. 2): Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), alias Iron Man, unwittingly generates a new enemy (voice of James Spader) for himself and his Marvel superhero allies. (PG-13: P, V) “INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3” (Oct. 6): Paranormal sleuths try to help a teen (Stefanie Scott) who’s convinced her late mother is reaching out to her. (PG-13: AS, P, V) “SAN ANDREAS” (Oct. 13): A rescue pilot and his estranged wife (Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino) try to save their daughter when “the big one” hits California. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

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FAVORITE SHOWS

Colin Hanks stars in “Life in Pieces”

Hill Harper stars in “Limitless”

Kim Kardashian in “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”

Jaina Lee Ortiz stars in “Rosewood”

SUNDAY 11 p.m. on E! Keeping Up With the Kardashians The family is weathering a lot of big changes as a new season begins, but then you already knew that, since little happens at chez Kardashian that doesn’t wind up on tabloid covers. Fans can expect these new episodes to include a chronicle of Kim’s trip to the Kardashian homeland, Armenia, with husband Kanye West in tow. Elsewhere, Kris and Kylie experience growing pains in their own relationship. Also: Caitlyn, obviously.

MONDAY 8:31 p.m. on CBS Life in Pieces Much is going on in the family that fuels the “Pilot” for this new comedy, with two-time Oscar winner Dianne Wiest and James Brolin as the heads of the brood. At various stages of their own relationships are their grown children, played by Betsy Brandt (“Breaking Bad”), Thomas Sadoski (“The Newsroom”) and Colin Hanks (“Fargo”). The cast is made even bigger by those playing the offsprings’ significant others, as the show tells a quartet of short stories weekly. Series Premiere New

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TUESDAY 10 p.m. on CBS Limitless The same-named 2011 movie starred Bradley Cooper, who stays involved with this new series version as an executive producer and recurring cast member. Jake McDorman, (of last season’s “Manhattan Love Story”) takes the lead as a man whose brainpower gets a big boost from a revolutionary drug, making him valuable to the FBI agents played by Jennifer Carpenter (“Dexter”) and Hill Harper (“CSI: NY”). Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio also appears in the “Pilot.” Series Premiere New

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FAVORITE SHOWS

This Week’s Series Premiere List!

WEDNESDAY 8 p.m. on FOX Rosewood Morris Chestnut plays the pathologistfor-hire title character in this new medical-mystery series, which sees Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr. frequently outdo the Miami police. That doesn’t stop one of its detectives (Jaina Lee Ortiz) from becoming his new ally, despite her skeptical take on his methods, in getting to the bottom of crimes. Series Premiere New

SUNDAY

• 10 p.m. on DESTINATION AMERICA Alaska Haunting

MONDAY

• 8 p.m. on CBS The Big Bang Theory • 8 p.m. on NBC The Voice • 8 p.m. on FOX Gotham • 9 p.m. on CBS Scorpion • 9 p.m. on FOX Minority Report • 9:59 p.m. on CBS NCIS: Los Angeles • 10:01 p.m. on ABC Castle

THURSDAY 10:32 p.m. on LIFETIME Fashionably Late With Rachel Zoe Designed as an obvious (and very logical) companion program to “Project Runway,” this new series features the celebrity stylist and designer discussing fashion, beauty and pop culture, joined by husband and colleague Rodger Berman, Harper’s Bazaar editor-at-large Derek Blasberg and celebrity friends. Series Premiere New FRIDAY 9 p.m. on CBS Hawaii Five-0 If pirates and buried treasure seem like things of the past, they pose modern concerns for McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and his team in the crime drama’s sixth-season premiere, “Mai ho’oni i ka wai lana malie” (Hawaiian for “Do Not Disturb the Water That Is Tranquil”). Season Premiere New SATURDAY 11:29 p.m. on NBC Saturday Night Live From the start, this program has aimed to be one of television’s edgiest offerings, and it reaffirmed that place with this episode first shown last May. Comedian Louis C.K. is no wallflower under any circumstances, and his monologue here — referencing such topics as racism and the situation in the Middle East — generated considerable controversy. Rihanna is the musical guest.

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TUESDAY

Scott Caan (left) and Alex O’Loughlin star in “Hawaii Five-0”

• 8 p.m. on ABC The Muppets • 8 p.m. on CBS NCIS • 8 p.m. on FOX Scream Queens • 8 p.m. on PBS Gorongosa Park — Rebirth of Paradise • 9 p.m. on CBS NCIS: New Orleans • 10 p.m. on SYFY Bazillion Dollar Club • 10:03 p.m. on HISTORY Outlaw Chronicles: Hells Angels

WEDNESDAY • 8 p.m. on ABC The Middle • 8 p.m. on CBS Survivor • 8 p.m. on NBC The Mysteries of Laura • 8 p.m. on PBS Nature • 9 p.m. on NBC Law & Order: Special Victims Unit • 9 p.m. on FOX Empire • 9 p.m. on CW A Wicked Offer • 9 p.m. on FOOD Worst Cooks in America • 10 p.m. on ABC Nashville

THURSDAY

• 8 p.m. on NBC Heroes Reborn • 11 p.m. on MTV Are You the One?

FRIDAY

Rihanna performs on “Saturday Night Live”

• 8 p.m. on ABC Last Man Standing • 8 p.m. on CBS The Amazing Race • 9 p.m. on ABC Shark Tank • 10 p.m. on CBS Blue Bloods • 10:02 p.m. on LIFETIME Step It Up

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