Little Rock native Ashlie Atkinson has a role on the upcoming Fox comedy "Us & Them" (it's a de-Anglicized version of the Brit series "Gavin & Stacey").
It's a rom-com-type program in which two super attractive people finally get up the gumption to meet in person after making goo-goo eyes at each other over the internet. Naturally, they each recruit their respective weirdo siblings (Atkinson and Dustin Ybarra) to come along as wingmen.
The two main characters are played by this guy and this woman who were in some other stuff, but who cares about them, because Atkinson and Ybarra look to be way more interesting and funny. Also: small roles for Kerri Kenney and Michael Ian Black!
Check out the trailer after the jump. And oh yeah, "cobra basket."
H/t to Vulture, which reports that "Us & Them" will air mid-season sometime.
Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three has written a review of the new Sundance Channel show "Rectify." The show, created by Ray McKinnon, is about a man released from Georgia's death row after being held in near-solitary confinement there for 18 years — which also happens to be roughly the same amount of time Echols spent in near-solitary confinement on Arkansas's Death Row until his release, along with Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin, in August of 2011.
We spoke to "Rectify" writer Graham Gordy about the show last week. Check out the official trailer above.
The hourlong show, "Quarry," focuses on a a Marine sniper returning from Vietnam in 1973, according to Variety.
"Upon his return, he finds himself shunned by those he loves and demonized by the public. Combat-hardened and disillusioned, he’s recruited into a network of contract killers and corruption."
Michael D. Fuller, Gordy's longtime writing partner, is also onboard as executive producer and writer.
Fuller and Gordy are part of the writing team for Ray McKinnon's new series "Rectify," set to debut on the Sundance Channel April 22. They'd previously come close to getting a pilot order from AMC for a college football drama (maybe they'll revisit it if the Cinemax project is a success; so much potential!). Of course, Gordy, who wrote a column for the Times before he got busy with "Rectify," has been in the business for a while. He co-wrote "The Love Guru" with Mike Myers, wrote "War Eagle, Arkansas" and has a bit role in Jeff Nichols' "Mud." Fuller's done work on "The Soup."
John Hillcoat, director of the "The Road" and "Lawless," is among other executive producers. He'll direct the pilot.
The show is about Daniel Holden, who was released after serving 19 years on death row for the rape and murder of his girlfriend. DNA evidence exonerates him, but the residents of his small hometown aren't so sure. McKinnon said he was inspired by the real-life release of inmates who said they wanted a steak dinner and a beer when they got out. But McKinnon wondered what the rest of that first day out — and all the days that followed that one — might be like.
Producers Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein are also responsible for the near universally hailed AMC series "Breaking Bad." Johnson told EW however that the shows won't have much in common beyond the fact that "if you were going to go in and pitch either one of those to a studio executive at a movie studio, you’d probably get thrown out the door.”
The shows looks hella intriguing and Aden Young, who plays Holden, has that deeply haunted man-on-the-edge vibe down heavy. Note: former Times columnist Graham Gordy is one of the writers on the show and also plays Pastor Beau.
Oxford American Editor Roger Hodge was on The Colbert Report last night, chatting with host Stephen Colbert about Southern culture, barbecue, music (Louisiana is "in some ways the most musical state in the union," Hodge said) and whether Texas — Hodge's home state — is part of the south.
In the battle of wits that is every guest segment on the show, Hodge struck first.
"I'm a southern boy," Colbert said. "I'm from Charleston, S.C."
"Which is kind of north, from where we sit," Hodge replied. The audience didn't seem to agree. "Ooooh..." a bunch of them said.
"Sir, all roads lead north from Charleston," Colbert said.
Hodge disclosed that he's from Del Rio, Texas, which allowed Colbert to get in perhaps the best dig of the night: "Listen, I don't mean to burst your bubble. Texas is a great place, OK? But if you're from the real South, Texas is Texas. Ask someone from Texas and they'll tell you, 'I'm from Texas.' They're not going to say, 'I'm from the South.'"
Hodge seemed to concede this, at which point Colbert said, "I accept your apology."
Colbert went on to correctly identify beef barbecue ribs as "an abomination."
"God meant us to slow smoke pig," he said.
You can watch the whole segment after the jump.
Here's one you'll want to tune in for (or set your DVR for, if you're old like me and can't stay up past 8:34 p.m.): Oxford American Editor Roger Hodge will be dueling with late-night pugilist Stephen Colbert on that guy's TV show, The Colbert Report. It's at 10:30 p.m. CST on Comedy Central.
What do you think they'll talk about? Can Hodge hang with Colbert's imposing and at times overwhelming pseudo right-wing charisma and aggressive interviewing style? Will he get a word in edgewise?
Askew — who's performed in productions by the Arkansas Repertory Theatre's Young Artist program — sang part of Queen's "Breakthru" and a touch of the jazz standard "Nature Boy." It's fair to say the judges were a bit surprised by his seriously impressive vocal chops.
In the background segment, Askew talks about how he's always felt awkward and had a hard time communicating with people. Music has been a vital conduit. Askew's mother said his doctor diagnosed him with "Charlie Askew Syndrome," because "he didn't really fit any diagnosis."
"When I was little I wasn't able to reach out and connect with people socially or verbally," the young singer said. "Through music, finally I found an outlet, some way I can express myself."
The whole segment is mega-adorable. Watch it after the jump, it'll brighten your day.
'DOWNTON ABBEY' RECEPTION
6 p.m. Argenta Community Theater. $25-$30.
First, an admission: I know now that everybody jokingly calls it this, but at first I really for reals thought the show was called "Downtown Abbey," kind of absentmindedly thinking (or maybe hoping) that it was about an urban monastery filled with crime-fighting monks who also brew delicious, fancy beer, which they would drink at the end of each episode to celebrate another crime successfully solved.
I was badly way off, though, which is a shame because that seems like a pretty solid premise for a one-hour primetime hit. Soon enough I realized that it was not a show about monks, but in reality a very British period drama about a rich family and their big huge house and their problems with the help. There was lots of gossipy whispering and something about a dowager countess who's looking for a fiancee? That's not quite right, but close.
I might give it a chance, but it just seems so extremely British, and not in a charmingly whimsical way, like "The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society." More like in a hard-to-understand way, you know, like Guy Ritchie characters, or calling every bowl of lumpy mystery food a "pudding."
But hey, I'm probably just a philistine. After all, the show is hugely popular. My wife loves "Downton Abbey" and lots of her friends do too. They're all champing at the bit for new episodes, so this reception, presented by the AETN Foundation, seems like surefire good times, what with its sneak-preview screening of the first episode of Season 3 and its cocktails and period costume contest.
We learned last night that Beebe native Cody Belew did not get enough votes to make it to the top 6 on "The Voice." Belew and fellow contestant Dez Duron, of Shreveport, were eliminated.
The two spoke to Today's Natalie Morales this morning about their post-"Voice" plans.
Morales mentioned Belew's stint in Nashville and the challenges he'd faced trying to make it as a musician there, asking him if he "gave up on that because of the pressure."
"I never gave up on it," he corrected her. "It wasn't working as well for me as it has on "The Voice." With all of this happening now, I hope that I can go back with a different perspective and maybe some doors will open that were closed previously."
After learning the results, Belew tweeted: "My sweet friends- this is not my end, only my beginning. Thank you all more than I can express for riding alongside me. Now we work! :-)"
I think it's weirdly coincidental that the contestants from Arkansas and Louisiana would be cut from the show on the same night, in the midst of all the outlandishly silly "Les-Miles-to-Arkansas" talk.
Watch a clip of the Today interview after the jump.
Belew told his coach, CeeLo Green, that he was a student of Mercury's work and that Green's choice of "Somebody to Love" was brilliant. "Freddie Mercury is a hero for me," he said. "That's who I modeled myself after."
Green obviously believed Belew had the chops to pull off a signature song from one of the most recognizable and one-of-a-kind pop singers ever. "I gave him this song because I believe that torch can be passed from Freddie Mercury to Cody," Green said. "This song allows him to show off that big, beautiful voice of his."
Belew also talked to Green about the difficulties he'd faced after moving to Music City.
"Growing up in Arkansas, surrounded by country music, Nashville is your pilgrimage. But I quickly learned it wasn't a fairy tale," Belew said. After facing so much rejection, Belew found himself questioning his direction. "When you're told 'no' so much, it does weaken you."
Any weakness Belew might have felt was nowhere to be found last night, though. Decked out in a sharp green suit and accompanied by a full gospel choir, he sauntered around the stage with the confidence and poise of a seasoned pro, for a performance that combined truly impressive vocal fireworks and showmanship galore.
Seriously, when he dropped to his knees on top of the piano, it was a moment. Belew has "Star" written all over him, no matter what happens between now and the show's Dec. 18 finale.
Adam Levine said Belew was great and that "Somebody to Love" was one of his own favorite songs. "I don't know if you've felt this, but Freddie Mercury has this ability to, as a singer, for me at least, expose all my weaknesses." Levine said he noticed "a couple little things," but didn't go into detail. "It was just a really theatrical, really great song choice and you did a fantastic job," Levine said, adding that "we enjoy everything you do up there."
Christina Aguilera had praise for the young singer as well. "I think what I enjoy about you is that you're definitely a risk-taker through and through. and you're not afraid to keep changing it up," she said. "It's not like we all applauded one thing about you one week and then you stuck with that and killed it into the ground."
Aguilera said Belew has consistently shown other sides of himself. "Every week you come up with something different and I love that," she said. "It was a good vocal challenge for you and as always, even though you're not on my team, we need to hang out later."
Green praised Belew's "wonderful job, man. I'm just so very proud of your growth, at such an accelerated rate."
"You make me feel confident about my own heart and my own ears and eyes and instincts, and I love our partnership, I love what we're accomplishing," Green said. "You are making some quantum leaps, and most importantly, I've found a really good friend in you."
In a group performance with Team Adam's Amanda Brown and his Team CeeLo teammates Trevin Hunte and Nicholas David, Belew took to a bunch of scaffolding for a wailing rendition of Journey's "Any Way You Want It."
Tune in tonight at 7 p.m. to find out if America voted Belew into the top 6.
Check out both performances after the jump.
Once again, all three remaining members of Team CeeLo advanced to the next round, while Team Christina's Sylvia Yacoub and Team Adam's Bryan Keith were sent home.
Host Carson Daly called Belew's name relatively early on, prompting considerable excitement from the singer, who ran over and hugged the living daylights out of his coach CeeLo Green and also Christina Aguilera, to whom he hollered, "You baby! It was your idea!"
After the jump, watch a video of Belew and Team Blake member Cassadee Pope singing "Changed" with Rascal Flatts and one of him learning he's in the top eight.
Cody Belew promised viewers of "The Voice" a performance that was "going to be like the Grammys threw up everywhere."
That was no idle threat. Belew had a crew of swivel-hipped backup dancers decked out in combat boots and black leather, while he rocked a one-armed leather jacket that looked like Grace Jones had been digging through Lemmy's coat closet.
A grinning Adam Levine said "Cody, you're awesome. You're so cocky, in the best way man. You make me look humble."
Blake Shelton looked like he didn't quite know what to say. "Is this the same guy that sang 'Jolene' earlier in the show?" he pondered. "I really enjoyed that and I'm confused in a good way. But I guarantee you everybody back in Arkansas right now are going, 'Did we raise this boy? Did we raise this guy?' This was a really big night for you, Cody."
Christina Aguilera last week told Belew that she wanted to see "a little more uptempo." That's exactly what she got from the Arkansas singer last night, seeming truly impressed. "Cody, you worked it like a true diva," she said.
Belew's coach, CeeLo Green, was his normal, charmingly effusive self. "Cody man, you just bring me so much joy," he said, also pointing out correctly that "that's a badass leather jacket."
Belew's fate is once again in the hands of the American voter. Live results are tonight, starting at 7 p.m. on NBC.
Watch Belew's performance of "Crazy in Love" after the jump.
Ahead of tonight's top 10 performances on "The Voice," here's Cody Belew chatting with Christina Milian about some of his favorite tunes and what's in store for his fans on tonight's performance (7 p.m. on NBC).
Among the secrets Belew revealed:
His first possession was a Dolly Parton greatest hits cassette; He has no idea where it came from.
The most-played track on his Walkman or whatever: It's a tossup between "Up to the Mountain" by Patty Griffin and Chaka Khan's "Love Has Fallen on Me."
What we can expect from him tonight: "This performance is going to be like the Grammys threw up everywhere," he said. "My heart's racing just thinking about it."
Awesome. We all knew Belew could really sing, but you've also got to love dude's hilarious candor.
Alyse Whitney at Wet Paint outlines five reasons why Belew is destined to win it all. My favorite: "His hips don't lie."
No they don't. Bam-bam!
And then there were 10.
America voted on which "The Voice" contestants they liked best, and Cody Belew and his Team CeeLo teammates, Trevin Hunte and Nicholas David, all survived. Appropriately enough, the three young performers sang the Bee Gees classic "Stayin' Alive," with their coach CeeLo Green.
After the jump, let Team CeeLo transport you back to a disco wonderland and watch Belew celebrate after learning he'd made the top 10.
On last night's Top 12 performances on NBC's "The Voice," Cody Belew took on the Tina Turner hit "The Best." It's fair to say the judges were very impressed with what they saw, with Adam Levine invoking comparisons to The Purple One.
"You know, Cody, yow! One of my favorite parts about what you do is, I think you're one of the best natural performers that is remaining in this contest." Levine said, adding that Belew reminded him of "Prince but without a guitar."
Blake Shelton opined that Belew is fated to be a performer. "You own the stage," Shelton told Belew. "You're meant to be on the stage."
Christina Aguilera said she enjoyed Belew's performance, but "if you stick around, I would love to see a little more uptempo."
"I want to see more bopping around the stage from you," she told him.
Belew's coach, CeeLo Green, positively heaped praise on the Beebe native.
"I enjoy you as a person, as a personality, as a friend and as a comrade in this competition," Green said.
"Speaking of competition, you don't allow it cause you to become cold and calculated and calloused completely. You remind us that this is still fun, because you're so fabulous and you're so free and you flow," he said. It's a pleasure, and win, lose or draw, man, I enjoy you and I think a lot of people do, judging by the response."
You can still vote for Belew through 10 p.m. tonight by calling 866-856-8304. Sprint users can text 4 to 8642, but there are several other ways to vote as well, and you can vote multiple times. You can buy Belew's songs, including his version of "The Best," on iTunes.
After the jump, you can check out the video of Belew's performance and also get details on the ways to vote to keep Belew on the show.
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