- - Monday, October 29, 2012

Taylor Swift will co-host the Grammy nominations television special.

Grammy officials said the pop star will join LL Cool J as host of the Dec. 5 special, airing live on CBS from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. This will be the first year the nominations special has been broadcast from Music City.

Grammy officials also announced Monday that rising country star Luke Bryan has been added to the telecast as a performer, joining Maroon 5 as the only acts announced so far. Miss Swift has won six Grammys. She released her latest album, “Red,” last week.

The 55th annual Grammy Awards show will be held Feb. 10 in Los Angeles.

Kenny Chesney to perform at Redskins-Cowboys halftime

Country star Kenny Chesney will perform at halftime when the Cowboys host the Redskins on Thanksgiving Day to kick off the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign.

Mr. Chesney was on hand Sunday for the announcement at Cowboys Stadium as the New York Giants beat Dallas 29-24.

The Nov. 22 show will be part of the Salvation Army’s 122nd annual holiday giving effort that features red kettles for donations. Last year, the Salvation Army received nearly $148 million during the period.

‘New Girl’ an improv haven for slate of guest stars

To all actors craving to pacify their improv comedy roots: Nab a guest arc on Fox’s “New Girl.” With only five episodes aired, the second season already has entertained Parker Posey, Josh Gad, Charlie Saxton and David Walton, and is set to feature Carla Gugino and Olivia Munn.

The cast also will gather around the Thanksgiving dinner table with Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis, who will play Zooey Deschanel’s on-screen divorced parents.

Series executive producer Jake Kasdan first mentioned Mr. Reiner as a prospect for the paternal role.

“It was immediately, like, that was the best idea, and when he said yes, it was so exciting,” showrunner Elizabeth Meriwether told The Hollywood Reporter at the New York Television Festival’s “A Salute to Fox Comedy” panel on Friday night. “Having him on set for the week — I was trying to play it cool, but every time I was around him, I was shaking a little bit. The things that he’s done are so unbelievable. One of those moments where I know I’m gonna be thinking back to this, years from now.”

Though admiration flowed plentifully behind the scenes for the guest stars, watch out for Cece’s (Hannah Simone) hotheaded moment for Mr. Reiner’s counterpart in the episode.

“I got to yell at Jamie Lee Curtis — incredible,” Miss Simone told The Hollywood Reporter. “I was a huge fan of hers growing up. She was just that strong, sexy, confident women that could really do physical comedy, and she wasn’t afraid of it. It was incredible to have her on set and to work with her.”

The “New Girl” creator said she loved working with Miss Curtis while filming and, inevitably, rewriting comedic moments.

“Like most comedy writers, I don’t laugh very easily at people’s jokes, but she makes me laugh,” Ms. Meriwether said. “She’s such a smart, creative person — a lot of the jokes from that episode were things that we came up with together, that she would email me. When you meet a smart, collaborative actress, you’re, like, hold on to her for dear life.”

The opportunity to contribute jokes on the fly is what Dermot Mulroney referred to as “controlled improv or rolling ad-lib within the script itself” after filming his guest arc last season, and it quickly is becoming a signature characteristic of stopping into the Fox comedy, even just for an episode.

“I think actors usually really enjoy that. Some don’t, [but] people who love comedy love to improv and get a new joke,” Ms. Meriwether said. “You feel when something isn’t funny — you can say it 20 times in a row, it’s not gonna be funny. You have to have a flexibility on set when something isn’t working to be able to just try something new. There’s a lot of spontaneity that comes from just throwing jokes, which actually yields really good results.”

With an elongated second season and Emmy nominations for Miss Deschanel and Max Greenfield, these star-studded, partially improvised guest arcs emulate the show’s newfound freedom to take new risks.

“What’s good about the second year is that you don’t have to focus so much on ‘Are we gonna survive? Are we gonna make it to the end of the season?’ You can focus on the characters, the work, the process, and that’s all been really good for us to get deeper with the characters,” Ms Meriwether said.

NBC nabs rights to air English Premier League soccer

NBC’s networks will televise the English Premier League under a $250 million, three-year deal that begins next season.

They will show every match from the world’s most popular soccer league, taking coverage away from Fox and ESPN.

“The Barclays Premier League is the pre-eminent soccer league in the world, and is on the cusp of exponential popularity growth here in the U.S.,” NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus said Sunday.

The company picked up Major League Soccer last year and had success with its soccer broadcasts during the London Olympics.

Criticized for using tape delay with the Olympics because of time differences, NBC will not do so with Premier League games, Mr. Lazarus said. English-language broadcasts primarily will be on cable channel NBC Sports Network, with Telemundo and mun2 used for Spanish coverage.

NBC’s English-language networks will televise six live games a week. One or two of the company’s other cable channels also will be used, Mr. Lazarus said, but which has not been determined yet as schedules are evaluated. Other games will be streamed live online.

Compiled from Web and wire reports.

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