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By Romeo San Vicente
Rosie’s TV alliance with Oprah
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. OK, maybe that’s not what Oprah Winfrey’s upstart cable network, OWN, has in mind by teaming with Rosie O’Donnell and picking up her new talk show for syndication. But it makes a lot of sense anyway. Back in the 1990s Rosie was Oprah’s main competition for daytime ratings, so if she wants to come back to TV after leaving “The View” why “not” form an alliance where Oprah still gets to be the queen bee? Word is that the new show is all about being uplifting and that the angry political Rosie people have come to know and love/hate might take a backseat to her former “Queen of Nice” reputation. Can she go back? Do we want her to? Can’t we have both at once, like the way you get with actual non-TV personality human beings? Find out when the show debuts in 2011.
Gay marriage on ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’
It was time for the funny, under-appreciated and politically incorrect sitcom “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” to attack the subject of marriage equality, so it’s going to chew on both sides of the issue in its upcoming season’s first two episodes. Rob McElhenney’s character, in love with a transgender woman named Carmen (played by Brittany Danke), finds out that she has not only finished her surgical transition but that she is also marrying another man. And because this is a sitcom about self-centered apolitical people, he goes ahead with a court battle about Carmen’s “gay” marriage out of sheer jealousy. Meanwhile, straight characters marry on a whim and chaos ensues. And McElhenney personally knows the score on marriage equality: his own lesbian mother and her partner helped raise him. See the comedic skewering of this culture war when the new season premieres next month.
Justin Timberlake to play gay – and booger
Does anyone have fond memories of the flop Lance Bass romantic-comedy “On the Line”? Does anyone even remember it? Well, if you do, you might also remember his fellow boy-band pal Justin Timberlake’s cameo as a “flamboyant” makeup artist. It was a mercifully brief appearance and goes down the very road you think it does. Well, now Timberlake has a chance to play another gay character (and hit other notes besides the most generic sassy ones) on “The Cleveland Show.” He’ll lend his voice to the animated series as the boyfriend of Jason Sudeikis’s (“30 Rock”) character Terry. In the same episode, Timberlake will also play a singing booger belonging to Cleveland’s stepson. As there is no precedent for the nasal mucus role, Romeo is sure that whatever approach the pop star takes will be just fine. The episode is scheduled for February 2011.
Jane Wiedlin, Daniela Sea join ‘Casserole Club’
Filmmaker Steve Balderson isn’t playing it traditional in casting his upcoming feature “The Casserole Club.” Instead, for his period 1960s suburban dramedy about “desolation, unspoken desires” and the hosting of elaborate dinner parties, he’s bringing together a group of actors that includes Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s and former “L Word” co-star Daniela Sea. Wiedlin’s been exuberantly entertaining in a few films, like “Clue” and “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” but has usually chosen to focus more on being the rock star she is. Sea has been in several bands, but is known for playing male on “L Word.” Wouldn’t it be cool if they played a hetero couple here and Sea was the girly-girl and the pixie-ish, bisexual Wiedlin had five o’clock shadow? It would, but that’s probably not how it’s going to work out. In fact, there’s no word at all on who their characters are, but shooting is scheduled to begin this fall. All will become clear soon enough. The film’s website has some great cocktail and casserole recipes to distract you in the meantime.