- - Thursday, November 17, 2011

‘Mad Men’ creator to set show’s end in present

Don Draper, the dashing but troubled hero of the cult television drama “Mad Men,” will be a withered octogenarian when the series eventually comes to an end, its creator said.

The highly-stylized show, set in the Camelot years of the early 1960s, is wildly popular for its portrayal of American life in the days of three-martini lunches, guilt-free smoking and ever-shifting social values.

In a public talk in Los Angeles Wednesday, summarized on Grantland.com, Matthew Weiner said its central character, New York advertising executive Draper, will be transported into the present when the series wraps up.

That means Draper, who is in his 40s after four seasons on the AMC cable channel, will end up end a wizened gent in his mid-80s. Jon Hamm, the actor who plays him, now is 40.

“What I’m looking for, and how I hope to end the show, is like — it’s 2011,” said Mr. Weiner, noting that “Mad Men” is appreciated not only as entertainment, but also as social commentary.

Don Draper would be 84 right now,” said Mr. Weiner, who also is the show’s head writer and an executive producer of the now-completed HBO mob-family drama “The Sopranos.”

“I want to leave the show in a place where you have an idea of what it meant and how it’s related to you.”

Mr. Weiner said the multiple Emmy-winning series — which begins its fifth season in March next year — will aspire at its end to depict the arc of Draper’s complex life.

“It came to me in the middle of last season,” he said. “I always felt like it would be the experience of human life, and human life has a destination.”

‘South Park’ renewed through 20th season

The bad boys of “South Park” will make mischief for years to come.

Comedy Central says “South Park” co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have signed to extend the animated series an additional three seasons, through its 20th season in 2016.

The network announced Wednesday that Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone will continue to write, direct and edit every episode of “South Park,” just as they have since the premiere of the series in 1997.

The Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning “South Park” views the world through the eyes of Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman, four bratty youngsters in an unhinged Colorado town.

Gervais gets third shot as Golden Globes host

Ricky Gervais is returning as host of the Golden Globes.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) announced through Twitter on Wednesday that Mr. Gervais will take his third turn as Globes host in January.

Mr. Gervais left some wondering if he’d be back after his performance at this year’s show, when he took pointed jabs at Hollywood stars and the HFPA, which puts on the annual ceremony.

The organization acknowledged on its website that “not everyone is happy with the decision” to bring Mr. Gervais back because “his blunt one-liners targeting big-name celebrities caused anger and resentment in some quarters.”

At the ceremony earlier this year, Mr. Gervais joked that the HFPA accepts bribes (just after the group was sued for allegations that it engaged in payola schemes) and swiped at stars including Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis and Robert Downey Jr.

The HFPA said after the show that Mr. Gervais “pushed the envelope and occasionally went too far.”

Still, Mr. Gervais’ jabs paid off in ratings, drawing nearly 17 million viewers to the NBC broadcast and beating out its network competition in that time slot.

The 69th annual Golden Globe Awards will be held Jan. 15 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

NPR radio quiz show making leap to television

NPR’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me” is coming to TV for the first time.

The comedic radio quiz show will debut on BBC America with a year-in-review special Dec. 23. Host Peter Sagal, scorekeeper Carl Kasell and a panel including Paula Poundstone and Alonzo Bodden will discuss 2011’s biggest events.

When “Wait Wait” would make the leap to television long has been a point of conjecture. Now in its 14th season, the show draws 3.2 million listeners weekly on 595 NPR member public radio stations.

“Wait Wait” creator Doug Berman said it would be a typical show, “except NPR has to add a budget line for pants.”

c Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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