Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Exclusives: “Abbott Elementary” Premiere Surprise, Kieran Culkin Possibly Joining “Existing Show” — “White Lotus”? — Caroline Aaron Back to “Ghosts”


Who needs the Emmy Awards when you have the Critics Choice gala?

The Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport was filled with every imaginable TV star last night, all the big players from all the TV shows.

Quinta Brunson is a tiny human being who is ABC’s biggest star. The creator of the huge hit, “Abbott Elementary,” let me in on a secret about the comedy’s return on February 7th. They’re going “meta.” “The show is based on the school year,” Brunson said, “But we’ve been gone because of the strikes. So when we pick up, we’re going to explain why we’re only coming back now. It’s really funny. You’re going to love it, I hope.” Maybe the teachers were on strike, too!

Of course, the most fun was seeing all the people from “Succession.” The show is over and there’s no spin off, according to creator Jesse Armstrong. There had been some suggestion that it could be done, but Armstrong scotched that idea when I asked him.

Now Sarah Snook, who won Best Actress in a Drama last night, is off to London to play 26 characters in a one woman version of “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” Brian Cox is starring with Patricia Clarkson, also in the West End, in “Long Day’s Journey into Night.” These will be hot hot tickets in London theater, and — if well received — likely coming to New York.

Kieran Culkin won Best Actor in a Drama for playing Roman Roy with such dazzling glibness. What will he do next? He told me: “I may be joining an existing series.” The deal isn’t done yet so he couldn’t say which one. What could it be? “Shrinking” or “Severance” on Apple TV? “Hacks” on HBO? Culkin would be an A plus addition to any series. UPDATED Hearing Culkin could be joining “White Lotus,” also an HBO show. Roman Roy in Thailand?

Caroline Aaron has just wrapped six seasons playing the real Mrs. Maisel, Joel’s mother, on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” (Midge, you remember, is a Weissman.) She tells me that she’s going back to doing “a bunch” of episodes on CBS’s hit sitcom, “Ghosts.” She plays Carol, the ex wife of the guy with the arrow through this neck. Aaron has done two episodes previously. I’ll watch anything she’s in, so “Ghosts” here we come!

The great Tony Shalhoub played Abe, Midge’s father, and won a ton of awards. But he’s also famous for “Monk,” which came back this fall in a movie for Peacock. He was nominated for a CCA Award last night and told me he’s open to coming back in more “Monk” movies and is just waiting to see if scripts will surface. You can’t have too much Shalhoub, that’s for sure!

I was thrilled to run into Abigail Spencer, who’s starring in “Extended Family” on NBC. Across the network and Peacock, “Extended Family” has scored over 10 million viewers in its first three episodes. Abigail has usually done drama, but she’s so much fun in person. “I’m a comedian now!” she told me.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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