Thursday, January 19, 2017

Joe Morton Looks Forward To Being Scandal-ous

Joe Morton

By Darlene Donloe

When Scandal returns to its regular Thursday night timeslot on January 26, after being absent from the 2016 fall lineup, Papa Pope (Joe Morton) and his Washington-insider daughter, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), will continue their epic familial battles.

The two have been at odds through several television seasons and it’s a bet the tough love will continue.

Ever since its debut, April 5, 2012, Scandal’s sizzling stories have kept its fans on the edge with tingling, scandalous storylines.

When Morton joined the shenanigans in season two, he kicked the storyline and the show up a notch.  His popular Rowan Pope character is such a devilish, convincing antagonist that Morton won an Emmy for the role in 2014.

Morton has been entertaining audiences for decades on television, on stage and on the big screen.

I recently caught up with the former Tony nominee and Broadway alum at the Television Critics Association (TCA) at The Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena to discuss Papa Pope and the return of Scandal.

Joe Morton

DD: The black community becomes very possessive of black celebrities on successful shows. Have you ever decided not to take on a role or say a certain line because you didn’t think the black community would approve?

JM: I don't think about the community so much. I do think about the role and what it means to me, what story I think I want to tell. In most cases it turns out to be something the black community enjoys.  Yes, there have been roles that have come through the door and I’ve thought, “no, that’s not the story I want to tell.”

DD: Do you like Papa Pope?

JM: I love him.

DD: Why? Why is he so loveable?

JM: First of all you can’t approach a character and not like the character. It’s not possible. It’s like deciding to paint a picture and hating the picture you’re painting. For him, he’s considered a villain.  He thinks and believes he’s helping the world.  One of his top priorities is to protect the Republic. The other top priority is to protect his daughter.  He tries to maintain both those things at all times. It’s about making sure the public is good and his daughter is good. And when those things come into conflict, he figures, ‘how can I have my cake and eat it too’.

DD: Fans were kind of frustrated waiting for Scandal to come back. As a cast member did you feel that same kind of frustration?

JM: I think on some level it is. But on another level it gives us time to do other things like be with our families.  A hiatus is good. You come back to the show fresh and alive and lots more energy to do what you’re doing. So, on that level it was great to have time with my family and not be at work. I don’t live on this coast. I live on the East Coast.  It was a lovely time for me.

(l-r) Joe Morton and Tony Goldwyn

DD: What are some things you’re working on besides Scandal?

JM: I did a play last summer called Turn Me Loose, about Dick Gregory. And we are, on a number of levels, moving forward trying to get to Broadway.

DD: Besides programs on ABC, what shows are you looking forward to watching this season?

JM: I don’t watch much TV. If I turn the TV on it’s usually news or a movie. Honestly. The only show I’ve seen recently, maybe two or three episodes is, This Is Us.  I think it’s a wonderful show. What I saw was terrific.

(l-r) Kerry Washington and Joe Morton

DD: If Scandal was on cable and Papa Pope could just let loose, what would you like for him to say or do?

JM:  That’s more of a Shonda (Rhimes) question because she’s the writer.  I think Papa Pope has a very wide margin of what he can do. So, I don't think I could ask for anything more at the moment.  I can’t even imagine what more he could possibly do.  I think you’ll see as this season goes on – there is more and more and more and more.

The cast of Scandal includes Kerry Washington, Joe Morton, Josh Malina, Cornelius Smith, Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Perry, Portia De Rossi, Darby Stanchfield, Bellamy Young, Katie Lowes, Guillermo Diaz and Scott Foley.

Shonda Rhimes is the creator and executive producer; Betsy Beers is the executive producer.

Scandal returns to ABC, January 26 (Thursday nights) at 9 p.m./8 c.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2017 People's Choice Awards Winners Announced

LOS ANGELES – (January 18, 2017) – The winners of the 2017 People's Choice Awards were announced during a live broadcast hosted by Joel McHale (The Great Indoors) at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 9-11 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. 

Below is a full list of winners: 

Finding Dory
Favorite Movie

Ryan Reynolds
Favorite Movie Actor

Jennifer Lawrence
Favorite Movie Actress

Favorite Action Movie

Robert Downey Jr.
Favorite Action Movie Actor

Margot Robbie
Favorite Action Movie Actress

Ellen DeGeneres
Finding Dory
Favorite Animated Movie Voice

Bad Moms
Favorite Comedic Movie

Kevin Hart
Favorite Comedic Movie Actor

Melissa McCarthy
Favorite Comedic Movie Actress

Me Before You
Favorite Dramatic Movie

Tom Hanks
Favorite Dramatic Movie Actor

Blake Lively
Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress

Finding Dory
Favorite Family Movie

The Girl on the Train
Favorite Thriller Movie

Johnny Depp
Favorite Movie Icon


Favorite TV Show

The Big Bang Theory
Favorite Network TV Comedy

Jim Parsons
Favorite Comedic TV Actor

Sofia Vergara
Favorite Comedic TV Actress

Grey’s Anatomy
Favorite Network TV Drama

Justin Chambers
Favorite Dramatic TV Actor

Priyanka Chopra
Favorite Dramatic TV Actress

Baby Daddy
Favorite Cable TV Comedy

Bates Motel
Favorite Cable TV Drama

Freddie Highmore
Favorite Cable TV Actor

Vera Farmiga
Favorite Cable TV Actress

Criminal Minds
Favorite TV Crime Drama

Mark Harmon
Favorite TV Crime Drama Actor

Jennifer Lopez
Favorite TV Crime Drama Actress

Orange is the New Black
Favorite Premium Drama Series

Fuller House
Favorite Premium Comedy Series

Dwayne Johnson
Favorite Premium Series Actor

Sarah Jessica Parker
Favorite Premium Series Actress

Favorite Network Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show

The Walking Dead
Favorite Cable Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show

Favorite Premium Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Series

Sam Heughan
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor

Caitriona Balfe
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress

The Voice
Favorite Competition TV Show

Ellen DeGeneres
Favorite Daytime TV Host

Good Morning America 
Favorite Daytime TV Hosting Team

Jimmy Fallon
Favorite Late Night Talk Show Host

Matt LeBlanc
Favorite Actor in a New TV Series

Kristen Bell
Favorite Actress in a New TV Series

Favorite Animated TV Show
The Simpsons

Favorite New TV Comedy 
Man with a Plan

Favorite New TV Drama 
This Is Us


Justin Timberlake
Favorite Male Artist

Britney Spears
Favorite Female Artist

Fifth Harmony
Favorite Group

Niall Horan
Favorite Breakout Artist

Blake Shelton
Favorite Male Country Artist

Carrie Underwood
Favorite Female Country Artist

Little Big Town
Favorite Country Group

Britney Spears
Favorite Pop Artist

Favorite Hip-Hop Artist

Favorite R&B Artist

If I’m Honest
Blake Shelton
Favorite Album

“Can’t Stop the Feeling”
Justin Timberlake
Favorite Song


Britney Spears
Favorite Social Media Celebrity

Cameron Dallas
Favorite Social Media Star

Lilly Singh
Favorite YouTube Star

Ellen DeGeneres and Britney Spears’ Mall Mischief
Favorite Comedic Collaboration


Tyler Perry
Favorite Humanitarian

Now in its 43rd year, the People’s Choice Awards is the only major awards show voted on entirely by the public for fan favorites in movies, music, television and digital.  The People’s Choice official website at houses the voting platform where fans determine the nominees and winners for the annual awards show.  Every year, potential nominees are determined by national ratings averages, box-office grosses, music sales, social media activity and data, then vetted through E-Poll Market Research.  Fred Nelson is the President of People’s Choice, and serves alongside Mark Burnett, Jane Mun and Kimmie H. Kim as Executive Producers of the awards show. The awards show, and digital, mobile and social extensions of the brand are owned by Procter & Gamble. The show is produced by MGM Television and MGM serves as the international 

Days Of Our Lives To Come Back for 52nd Season

NBC's only remaining daytime drama, Days Of Our Lives, is expected to get a 52nd season.  Wow! Currently, in its 51st season, the future of the show was in limbo after the hiring of Fox News' Megan Kelly by NBC News.

Kelly's contract includes an NBC daytime talk show. It's been rumored that she may take over the 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. hour of the Today Show.  However, Days of Our Lives was brought into the mix because it has a daytime hour owned by the network.

“We haven’t made decisions, but we like that show,” NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said recently at the Television Critics' Association (TCA). “I think we will know more in a couple of months. As they age, these shows diminish, there is a lot of delayed viewing and very little linear viewing anymore, you have to keep looking at that.”

 “We hope that the show comes back," said NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salker.

Days of Our Lives is produced by Sony TV.

Jay Roth, DGA National Exec Director, To Retire

Jay Roth

After two decades leading the guild, Jay Roth, the national executive director of the Director's Guild of America (DGA) is retiring.

 Roth said he’ll be stepping down later this spring. A succession plan will be announced in February 2017, following the next DGA national board meeting.

“The DGA has been, and continues to be, a tremendous part of my life,” he said. “I joined not only because it is a top-notch organization with proud traditions and solid governance, but also because its membership and staff had an established culture of rowing the boat the same way, and an understanding of who leads and makes policy – and who advises and executes. I’m proud of what we’ve all accomplished together to build the guild and advance our mission of protecting the creative and economic rights of our members – every single new contract, compensation increase, residual, creative right and expansion of jurisdiction that has allowed our members the freedom and security to create the best motion pictures in the world. I’d especially like to recognize the presidents whom I’ve worked alongside, and our national board, because none of this would be possible without great leadership and an engaged membership. I’m also proud of the next generation staff we’ve built from the ground up. With a strong foundation in place, they’re well-positioned to meet the challenges of tomorrow on behalf of our members. I look forward to the next chapter of my work with the Guild – and to the new milestones that will be achieved by the DGA and its members.”

DGA President Paris Barclay had nothing but good things to say about Roth. 

“Jay’s entire professional career has been dedicated to representing people and helping to make their lives better – early on as a civil rights and labor lawyer, and for more than three decades, as an essential part of the DGA’s life as its greatest adviser, defender and coach,” said Barclay. “Over a year ago, Jay began a conversation with the Guild about a plan to retire from his role as national executive director. At the request of our National Board, he agreed to continue in his position through the negotiations of our recently announced contract – a decision for which we honor Jay, and which reflects his genuine, unwavering dedication and loyalty to the DGA and its members. With negotiations now behind us, Jay will move forward with his planned retirement from his role as national executive director later this spring. But we couldn’t let him go completely. To our great fortune, at that time, he will transition to a role with us as senior adviser.”

Roth will be the recipient of the DGA Presidents Award for his leadership at the DGA Awards on February 4.  He is being recognized for his extraordinary efforts in enhancing the welfare and image of the guild and the industry. The award is bestowed only by a unanimous vote of the sitting and former DGA Presidents. Roth is only the fourth recipient of the DGA Presidents Award, first given in 1998 to former DGA president George Sidney, and then in 2001 and 2005 to former Presidents Robert Wise and Gil Cates. In 2008, the DGA recognized him with the DGA Honorary Life Member Award.