By Romeo San Vicente
Darren Criss succeeds in ‘Business’ and with ‘Bridesmaids’
It’s good to be Darren Criss right now. Gleeks already know the news that the New Directions collective fantasy of starring in a Broadway show will soon be realized by… a Warbler (yes, Lea Michele and occasional guest Jonathan Groff are already “Spring Awakening” stage vets, but just go with it). Criss will be the one getting his shot in January 2012, as the “Glee”-propelled overnight sensation takes over for Daniel Radcliffe in “How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” when the “Harry Potter” star finishes his stint in December. Meanwhile, Kristen Wiig’s follow-up to her hit summer surprise “Bridesmaids,” titled “Imogene,” has cast Criss as her younger love interest. Wiig will play a woman who has to go back to New Jersey to live with her tacky mother (Annette Bening) and winds up falling for twentysomething Criss. File this one under: Snowballing Careers. Remember to take your vitamins, Darren Criss. And stay away from anyone named Lohan.
Kate Moennig going to ‘Gone’
Kate Moenning, “The L Word” vet whose lesbian fan base remains as strong as ever, was last seen in a small, pivotal role in the Matthew McConaughey legal thriller “The Lincoln Lawyer.” But she has another project coming up titled “Gone” that should help boost her recognition on the big screen. She stars alongside Amanda Seyfried in the Heitor Dhalia-directed thriller about a woman who arrives home one night to find that her sister is missing, kidnapped by the same man who tried to kidnap and murder Seyfried’s character two years earlier. With no assistance from police, Seyfried must find and confront the killer. No word on which character Moennig will play (The kidnapped sister? The killer? A cop? The clue-giving woman at Dunkin Donuts?), but it sounds just like the kind of popcorn thriller audiences eat right up. Well played, Shane.
Cynthia Nixon conquers world without end
It’s apparently a boom time for fantasy on television, and we’re not just talking about Real Housewives who think people can’t tell that they’ve had plastic surgery. “Game of Thrones” was a big hit for HBO, and Starz’s “The Pillars of the Earth” miniseries did well enough to spawn a sequel, “World Without End.” Tea Party types may be thrilled to know that “World,” set 200 years after “Pillars,” deals with ordinary people rebelling against the high taxes from the King and the Church of England (not to mention a little thing called the Black Plague), but those same conservatives may be less excited about the fact that proud lesbian and vocal gay-marriage advocate Cynthia Nixon has been cast in a lead role. The impressive ensemble also includes Miranda Richardson, Ben Chaplin and Peter Firth, under the direction of Michael Caton-Jones (“Rob Roy”), and will be premiering on Starz in 2012.
Reality bites Logo
All current signs point to Logo straying the tiniest bit away from its LGBT roots with an eye to snagging more single – and presumably heterosexual – female viewers, who have apparently been drawn in by shows like “Drag U” and “1 girl 5 gays.” The channel’s upcoming slate of reality shows seems to bear that out, with titles like “Big Loud Lisa” (a reality show about newlywed stand-up comic Lisa Lampanelli going on the road with her husband) and “Design My Dog,” which will pair up four dog owners with fashion designers to create canine couture. Also on deck is “Ballet Beach,” about a dance troupe in Miami Beach stretching their physical and emotional limits, along with the Carol Leifer sitcom “Out in the Burbs.” Leifer’s not the only TV vet (she was a “Seinfeld” writer and co-producer) behind these new shows: “Lisa” comes from Chelsea Handler’s production company, “Dog” has the backing of “America’s Next Top Model” mogul Ken Mok, and “Ballet” will be co-produced by former NBC president Ben Silverman. But frankly, if any of these beat “The A-List: Dallas,” “The A-List: Los Angeles” and “The A-List: Freeport, Maine” to the air, then a grave injustice will have been done to television.