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Archive for May 4th, 2015

Syfy gives series green light to The Magicians

by on May.04, 2015, under Television

NEW YORK – May 4, 2015 – Continuing its commitment to developing bold, high profile scripted dramas, Syfy today announced it has greenlit The Magicians to series.

Based upon Lev Grossman’s best-selling books, The Magicians stars Jason Ralph (A Most Violent Year, Aquarius) as Quentin Coldwater, a brilliant grad student who enrolls in Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, a secret upstate New York university specializing in magic. He and his 20-something friends soon discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is all too real – and poses grave danger to humanity. Stella Maeve (Chicago P.D.), Hale Appleman (Teeth), Arjun Gupta (Nurse Jackie) and Summer Bishil (Towelhead, Lucky 7) also star in this one hour drama.

Groundswell Productions’ Michael London and Janice Williams (Milk) will executive produce. John McNamara (Aquarius) and Sera Gamble (Supernatural), writers of the pilot, will serve as executive producers. Mike Cahill (I Origins) directed the pilot. Universal Cable Productions will serve as the studio.

The Magicians pilot beautifully delivers a world filled with wonder, fantasy and intrigue,” said Dave Howe, President, Syfy. “We can’t wait to delve deeper into the lives of Quentin and his college friends, as they struggle with the enormity of their burgeoning powers – and unleash them upon the world.”

“Ever since ‘[asin=0525427341]The Magicians[/asin]’ was published I’ve wanted to see this story on screen,” said Lev Grossman. “The people, the school, the other worlds, the magic. I’m so thrilled that it’s finally happening, and I’m beyond thrilled that we found the right people to do it. Get ready; you’ve never seen anything like this.”

“Lev is a visionary world-creator. It’s an awesome responsibility to honor the novels’ core audience and also to translate that vision to the screen,” said Jeff Wachtel, President and Chief Content Officer, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “We are lucky to have Sera Gamble, Michael London, John McNamara and Janice Williams as the team bringing this series to life.”

Lev Grossman’s “Magicians” trilogy is an international sensation, published and widely praised in more than twenty countries. The epic conclusion to the series, “[asin=0670015679]The Magician’s Land[/asin],” opened at #1 last summer on the New York Times Hardcover Best Seller’s list, and was widely acclaimed as one of the best books of the year.

The twelve episode season will begin shooting in Vancouver in July.

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Grace Lee Whitney, Yeoman Janice Rand of Star Trek, 1930-2015

by on May.04, 2015, under Obituaries, Television

Grace Lee Whitney autobio coverGrace Lee Whitney, who for a short but memorable time played Yeoman Janice Rand on the original Star Trek, passed away on Friday at home at the age of 85, confirmed by her son. She was the oldest surviving original cast member.

Whitney started as a singer, appearing with Billie Holiday and Buddy Rich, but then turned to acting and appeared in guest roles in a number of TV shows including Gunsmoke, The Rifleman and 77 Sunset Strip, but then landed a role as what was supposed to be a regular “love interest” character for Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek when it went into production.

Her and her infamous blond beehive wig (“I swear they had to nail that thing to my head!”) would only last 8 episodes, however. Numerous reasons for her departure were rumored, including her alcoholism, but according to her the primary reason was that they didn’t want to tie Kirk down and leave him free to mingle with others. Gene Roddenberry claimed it was to cut the budget. But in her [asin=1884956033]1998 autobiography[/asin], she also said she was sexually assaulted by a Desilu (the production company) executive, and was cut from the show a few days later.

Her career after that, along with her addictions, would spiral out of control, but she credited the Star Trek fans who never forgot her for helping her beat her additions and became an advocate for beating substance abuse. She would return to Star Trek and her character with small parts in Star Trek: The Motion Picture as the transporter chief, Star Trek III: The Search For Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home working in Starfleet Command, and Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country and an episode of Star Trek: Voyager as the communications officer on the U.S.S. Excelsior, which they believed might spin off into a series.

Ad astra per aspera, Grace…

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