Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Watcher Has Left The Building - Nov. 1, 2008



That's a wrap!

After 12 years at the
helm of TVtimes,
it’s time for The Watcher
to pack up and move on.
But first, a few parting words …

By Eric Kohanik

Cancellation can often come swiftly and without warning in the TV world.

And so, it’s somehow fitting that The Watcher’s exit from TVtimes not have much advance notice.

For more than a decade, I’ve had the privilege of telling countless stories and spewing all sorts of opinions about television on the pages of Canada’s largest TV publication. Of course, that has been only part of the job of being the editor of TVtimes for 12 years. The other parts of the job? Well, they’re way too unexciting to write about here.

What has been exciting, though, has been the opportunity to keep tabs on the most fascinating medium in the world – and the colourful individuals who populate it.

Television has been my professional preoccupation since the 1980s – part-time since1981 and full-time since 1986. The focus has been local, national and international.

It has often meant attending big press tours in Los Angeles – 40 of them, in fact! – to get up close with some of Hollywood’s top stars, everyone from such legends as Lucille Ball, Bob Hope and Carol Burnett to contemporary stars Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney.

Those TV press tours are overseen by the Television Critics Association, an organization that represents more than 200 TV critics in the U.S. and Canada.

Several years ago, I even had the honour of being part of the TCA’s administration: two years as secretary, two years as vice-president and, to cap it off, two years as president – the first and still only time a Canadian has held that post.

As for TV stars, American or Canadian, there have been many stories to tell about them over the years. Many have been told in print; many more have simply made for party conversation or chatter around the office.

There was the time Tom Hanks confessed to me over dinner how he regularly watched CFL games, via satellite, at Martin Short’s house. And there was the time I actually got to hang with George Clooney at a party during his early days on ER.

“They give you all this free booze!” Clooney exclaimed to me that night. “And they drive you home afterward. Perfect!”

Of course, things aren’t always perfect in L.A. “This town is friggin’ hard on you,” one Canadian actress lamented to me on a Hollywood set in the mid-1990s. “If you’re not related to it, married to it or having sex with it, it’s hard to find work.”

Although that fact of TV life hasn’t changed much over the years, many others have. And, alas, some of those facts have affected the publications that cover the medium.

In recent years, an explosion of channels, declines in advertising revenue, increases in paper and printing costs and the rise of the Internet have altered how TV is covered.

And so, it’s a wrap for me at TVtimes. It’s been a fun ride. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

HBO Canada - Oct. 25, 2008



Channel flipping

Pay TV subscribers have always
longed to have HBO in Canada.
Now, they weill finally be able to get it.
Well, sort of.

By Eric Kohanik

There was a time when only a handful of pay/cable channels populated the TV landscape. 

Now, there are so many that, whenever another one launches, it’s usually greeted with a ho-hum shrug by those who cover television.

Except for this week. That’s because HBO is finally arriving in Canada. 

Well, sort of. 

Canadian pay TV subscribers have always longed for HBO. That longing is what has fuelled much of Canada’s pay TV industry.

Over the years, it also helped nurture an entire industry of black-market and grey-market satellite dishes across the country. 

Starting Oct. 30, though, Canadians willbe able to get HBO legally. 

Well, sort of.

See, it’s not really HBO. It’s a Canadian adaptation – a couple of existing channels masquerading as the famed American icon.

Pay TV in Canada started a quarter of a century ago, following a formula similar to HBO in the U.S. There were three national English pay TV channels in Canada then: First Choice, Superchannel and C-Channel.

The first two were competing movie channels; the third was a “culture” channel that had programs with a high-class appeal. 

C-Channel didn’t last long. And the two remaining services found their only hope for survival would be to split the Canadian TV market right along the Manitoba-Ontario border, with First Choice taking the east and Superchannel saddling up in the west. 

Still, HBO was nowhere to be seen in Canada. At least, not legally. The two Canadian pay channels eventually took on new names: First Choice became The Movie Network (or TMN), while Superchannel rebranded itself as Movie Central.

Canada’s pay-TV scene recently got a newplayer – a national network called, wait for it, Super Channel. But, hey, that’s a wholeother story we’ll save for some other time. 

Multiplex and video-on-demand technology have broadened the reach of both TMN and Movie Central over the years. Both of them even cut deals long ago for the rights to show most HBO programming in Canada. 

But Canadian TV fans continued to long for HBO itself – to the point where the CRTC had actually considered opening Canada’s protectionist doors to let the American channel in. 

In a crafty countermeasure, though, the parent companies of TMN and Movie Central took pages from Canwest Global’s deal for E! and CTV’s partnership with MTV. They teamed up to snag rights to the HBO brand and are now rechristening two of their existing multiplex channels (MMOR in the east and MC4 in the west) as HBO Canada.

So, technically, Canadian viewers will have HBO available to them this week – even though it’s really a Canadian version that will have to air homegrown programs as well.

But at least Canadian TV viewers can now finally stop longing for America’s beloved HBO.

Well, sort of.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

TV Variety Shows - Oct. 18, 2008



On with the show

They say that variety is the spice of life.
Now, some networks are hoping that variety
can spice up an otherwise bland TV season.

By Eric Kohanik

There was once a time when the primetime variety show was a big mainstay in the TV world.

It was a holdover from the days of vaudeville houses and the early years of network radio.

Every TV network tended to have at least one primetime variety show to spice up its scheDule. There were classics like Your Show of Shows and The Milton Berle Show, better known as The Texaco Star Theater. And there was Toast of the Town, which was later much more widely known by its new title: The Ed Sullivan Show.

There were many others over the years: The Dean Martin Show, This Is Tom Jones, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Jackie Gleason Show, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, The Hollywood Palace…the list goes on and on.

The last of the big network variety shows? That was probably The Carol Burnett Show, which actually finished its run 30 years ago.

These days, TV variety shows tend to take the form of talent competitions – shows like Dancing With the Stars or America’s Got Talent. Or they are sketch-comedy shows that have found a niche during latenight hours – shows like Saturday Night Live.

But the bigtime network variety show may be in for a primetime comeback before long. In July, Fox announced plans to roll out a traditional TV variety show with a rather untraditional twist.

The network recruited Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne and two of their dizzy offspring, Jack and Kelly, for a new show tentatively titled The Osbournes: Loud and Dangerous. Set to debut during the holiday season, it is supposed to mix music performances with comedy sketches and what Fox describes as “game-show competitions.”

Fox signed up for six episodes of the Osbourne project. Whether there will be more after that will depend on how audiences take to the first batch of shows.

Over at NBC, meanwhile, network executives announced a couple of weeks ago that they had signed Rosie O’Donnell to host Rosie’s Variety Special, a primetime effort that is scheduled to hit the air Nov. 26. The live, hourlong special is supposed to feature musical acts, comedy skits, celebrity guests and what NBC is billing as “a giant primetime give-away.” If the special proves to be popular, NBC plans to turn it into a regular weekly show in 2009.

Can O’Donnell and the Osbournes turn variety shows back into the TV mainstays they once were? Hey, you never know. After all, who’d have thought that quiz shows and amateur talent competitions – both powerhouse genres during TV’s early years, too – would make the big comebacks they have?

One thing is certain. Networks are always looking for new ideas that can become hits. And, in the TV world, you know that, at some point, everything old is new again.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

TV Season Report Card - Oct. 11, 2008



Cheers and jeers

The new TV season is only a month old. 
And, already, it's clear there are things on 
the tube that are - and aren't - working well.

By Eric Kohanik

It has only been a few weeks since thenew TV season officially got rolling. But it has already become clear. There are shows, both new and old, that are – and are not – working for me this fall.

So, what’s doing it for me?

Dancing With the Stars (Mondays andTuesdays; ABC, CTV): The calibre of talent is better than ever. In fact, the first week saw routines that were already miles ahead of the final weeks of some earlier seasons.

The Big Bang Theory (Mondays; CBS): Jim Parsons’ stints as the socially clueless Sheldon get more ingenious each week.

Californication (Mondays; The Movie Network, Movie Central): Hank Moody (David Duchovny) and those around him keep hitting one wall after another. It’s so much fun to watch them pick up the pieces.

90210 (Tuesdays; The CW, Global): OK, don’t laugh. Nobody expected it to be good because it didn’t have to be; the show had a built-in audience. And that actually makes it kind of a pleasant surprise.

The Rick Mercer Report (Tuesdays;CBC): Mercer is a brilliant satirist, even if the elements of each instalment of his show are getting way too familiar and predictable. At least the federal election is providing plenty of new ammunition.

Survivor: Gabon (Thursdays; CBS, Global): OK, if ever there were a show made for HDTV, this is it. Too bad it took so long.

Weeds (Sundays; Showcase): Quite simply, it stars Mary-Louise Parker. Enough said.

The Bonnie Hunt Show (weekdays; Citytv): Despite its cheesy opening titles, Hunt’s warmth on this daytime gab showputs TV’s latenight talkers to shame.

There’s plenty that’s not working for me this season, too. The leading offenders?

Mad Men (Sundays; AMC, A): The first season was so fabulous. But sometimes, there are such long, silent moments this season that you can’t figure out what’s up.

Desperate Housewives (Sundays; ABC, CTV): Executive producer Marc Cherry reset the clock, moving things ahead five years to get rid of story screw-ups. After only two episodes, though, the show has already painted itself into a creative corner again.

Knight Rider (Mondays; NBC, E!): Sorry. Maybe a supercharged car would be way more appealing if gas were cheaper.

Saturday Night Live (Saturdays; NBC, Global): No matter how good it gets, how come cast members still don’t know how to read lines on cue cards without making it so obvious that they’re reading cue cards?

So You Think You Can Dance Canada (various days; CTV): I LOVE it, but I feel sorry for it. As the debut week of Dancing With the Stars and Grey’s Anatomy illustrated, if CTV’s American shows have something big going on, the network will quickly treat this as a second-class refugee. If only Canadian broadcasters had the balls to put Canadian shows ahead of American ones …

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Corner Gas - Oct. 4, 2008



Gas Pains

The final season of Corner Gas will mean 
a return to square one for its cast members. 
Even for a veteran like Eric Peterson.

By Eric Kohanik

I’ve always had a tremendous respect for Eric Peterson.

No, it’s not because of his first name. It’s because he is truly one of Canada’s most compelling actors.

My respect for Peterson stretches way back to the late 1980s and early ’90s, when I would simply gobble up his performances as Leon Rabinovitch, the scrappy, left-wing lawyer he played on Street Legal, a CBC drama series that was set in a downtown Toronto law office.

You can still catch reruns of Street Legal on cable, every weekday on Canada’s version of Bravo. Originally, though, CBC aired the show on Friday evenings, as a lead-in to its simulcasts of CBS’s Dallas.

Yes, this was back when TV was worth staying home for on Friday nights.

Peterson has done a ton of TV guest stints since his Street Legal days, popping up on shows ranging from Touched by an Angel and Da Vinci’s Inquest to Puppets Who Kill and two Trudeau miniseries, in which he portrayed the legendary Tommy Douglas.

Peterson has done a lot of theatre work, too, which he refers to as his “steady employment.” For the past few years, though, his steady employment has been the role of Oscar Leroy, the crabby dad of Brent Leroy (Brent Butt) on CTV’s Corner Gas.

Oscar has become a Canadian TV icon. His exclamations of “jackass!” have become as much of a signature for him as “meathead!” became for Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor) on All in the Family.

Corner Gas begins its sixth – and final – season on Oct. 13. According to Butt, the show won’t be going out with a bang. When the final episode wraps up, it will be just the end of another day in the fictional Saskatchewan town of Dog River.

For Peterson, though, the end of Corner Gas will mean things have come full circle.

“I’m a Canadian actor, you see,” the amiable Saskatchewan native told me as we huddled in the corner at a CTV media event in Toronto back in June. “Now, I go back to square one again. Once the series is over, I go back to looking for work. I’m back to scale salaries. But that’s my life.”

It will be the life of most of the Corner Gas cast. But then, it’s the plight all actors face – even a respected veteran like Peterson.

“People aren’t banging my door down, Canadian producers, to get me to do things for them,” Peterson smiles. “So, on that level, when the series is over, it’s quite a bucket of cold water in the face again.”

Like most actors, Peterson says he is “always thinking about what the next job is going to be.” So, is the next role he wants to tackle going to be a comedy or a drama?

“The next role I want is just a role,” Peterson laughs. “I don’t even dare think of choosing, making a demand. Basically, you never get far above, ‘I’ll do anything they want me to do.’ “

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Boston Legal / The Shield / ER - Sept. 27, 2008


The long goodbye

A lot of new TV series will fall by the wayside 
this season. But there are three trusty veterans 
that are on their way out, too.

By Eric Kohanik

Call it “the long goodbye.”

The fall season is barely under way. And, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around (either the Canadian or American one), a number of new series will have bitten the dust. It’s just the way TV does business.

But this season will also say goodbye to some trusty veterans. And the TV landscape will be a little less vibrant without them.

Boston Legal will close the law offices of Crane, Poole & Schmidt for good after the 13 episodes of its fifth season finish up their run. This is a comedy/drama that has always been one of ABC’s most underappreciated shows – by viewers and network bosses – ever since its debut in October 2004.

A spinoff of a much more serious legal drama called The Practice, the saga of lawyers Alan Shore (James Spader), DennyCrane (William Shatner) and the rest of their colourful crew started off on Sunday nights, in the primo slot after Desperate Housewives. The show was elbowed out of the way midseason by ABC, which wanted to introduce viewers to a hot new medical drama: Grey’s Anatomy.

Of course, Grey’s Anatomy caught on and Boston Legal was shelved, returning the next fall on Tuesdays before being shuffled to Wednesdays and then back to Tuesdays.

This season, it airs on Mondays. At least it has Dancing With the Stars as a lead-in.

Maybe ABC brass never got Boston Legal’s offbeat sense of humour. Or maybe the occasional pink-flamingo costume simply hit too close to home. In any case, we’ll miss Denny and Alan’s Scotch-and-cigars ritual at the end of each episode.

Over in the cable world, the transgressions of Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) and his unorthodox squad of cops have been simply mesmerizing ever since The Shield made its debut in 2002. Finding where they were has often been a difficult task, though.

Although The Shield enjoyed a steady American cable home on FX, it was bounced around on broadcast and cable channels in Canada before landing on Showcase, where it is now serving up its seventh season.

Producers and actors say Mackey will finally get what he deserves when the final 13 episodes wrap up in November. Just what he deserves, though, is still debatable.

When it comes to TV longevity, though, there aren’t many series with the staying power of NBC’s ER. When it began in 1994, few predicted that the action inside Chicago’s fictional County General Hospital would win the head-to-head clash with CBS’s rookie hospital drama, Chicago Hope. Even fewer could ever have foreseen that ER would last for 15 seasons, thanks to ongoing transfusions of new acting blood.

Some of the old blood – like Dr. John Carter (Noah Wyle) – will be back for ER’s farewell crop of caseloads. Even so, there’s no escaping the fact that “the long goodbye” will finally fill the halls of County General, too.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Brooke Burke vs. Brooke Burns - Sept. 20, 2008



Babbling Brookes

Some people have had trouble 
telling the difference between 
Brooke Burke and Brooke Burns
It will likely happen again.

By Eric Kohanik

Names can play tricks on you – particularly in the TV world, where they often sound alike.

The case of Brooke Burns and Brooke Burke is a prime example. For some reason, there are people out there who keep confusing them.

For the record, Brooke Burns is a rather hot 30-year-old babe who was once a fashion model and is probably most famous on TV for her years as Jessie Owens on Baywatch.

Burns has done lots of other TV since then. Last spring, she played a bouncy high-school teacher on a short-lived ABC comedy called Miss Guided. A couple of years ago, she co-starred in Pepper Dennis, Rebecca Romijn’s series for the now-defunct WB network.

Before that, Burns was in a Fox series called North Shore. She also hosted a competition show for NBC entitled Dog Eat Dog.

Offscreen, Burns is famous for once being married to Nip/Tuck’s Julian McMahon. She is also famous for breaking her neck a couple of years ago by hitting her surf board while diving into her swimming pool in the dark.

Brooke Burke is famous for a lot of reasons, too. She is a rather hot, 37-year-old babe who was once a model as well. Her specialties were swimwear, lingerie and notable photo spreads for FHM, Maxim, Playboy and a website called

Burke first gained TV fame as host of an E! travel series called Wild On! Her work there led her to host 2005’s Rock Star: INXS and 2006’s Rock Star: Supernova, two summertime singing competitions on CBS that were notable as much for the assets Burke exhibited in her outfits as they were for the musical talent showcased in each episode.

Offscreen, Burke used to be married to a plastic surgeon. (We’ll skip the jokes there.) A couple of years ago, she got engaged to musician David Charvet – who, it turns out, played Matt Brody on Baywatch.

Coincidence? Sure. But it’s no wonder that people get these two women mixed up.

The last couple of years have been easy. Burke has been out of the picture, playing mom to four kids, two of which were born since her Rock Star: Supernova days.

But now, Burke and Burns are both back on TV again. Burns is co-hosting Fox’s Hole in the Wall, a competition show that began a couple of weeks ago. Burke, meanwhile, is a competitor on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, which makes its return this week.

Clearly, this will lead to mix-ups again.

“We do get confused a lot,” Burns conceded when I asked about all of this during a Pepper Dennis press conference in Los Angeles a couple of years ago. “Actually, Brooke and I know each other. So, it’s kind of funny because we figure we’d just get double the publicity. Because every time somebody talks about me, we talk about her, and vice versa.”

Judging from the way I’ve babbled on about them here, that’s bound to continue.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy - Sept. 13, 2008



Mummy dearest

After 40 years of digging for dinosaurs,
Dr. Robert Bakker thought he had seen
everything. Then, he got to meat Leonardo.

By Eric Kohanik

As far as scientific discoveries go, Leonardo was pretty well a paleontologist’s dream come true.

In fact, he was the ultimate dream come true.

Leonardo is a 77-million-year-old dinosaur that was discovered in Montana about eight years ago. What made him so different, though, was that this dinosaur was almost fully intact. In fact, 90 per cent of his mummified body was still covered by skin.

Leonardo was a young Brachylophosaurus – a four-legged, plant-eating, duck-billed dinosaur who was only about three or four years old when he died. But his discovery has led to completely new hypotheses o fhow dinosaurs lived.

Leonardo gave paleontologists the chance to come up with the first reconstruction of a giant dinosaur that was absolutely accurate, both on the outside and on the inside. All of which has made him the most important dinosaur discovery in history.

After about 40 years of digging for dinosaurs, Dr. Robert Bakker thought he had pretty well seen everything. Of course, that was before Bakker – known as “the high priest of paleontology” – met Leonardo.

That story is part of what lies at the core of Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy, a new Discovery Channel special that Bakker likes to describe as “sort of ER meets CSI meets Jurassic Park – but funny.”

Almost as intriguing as the story of Leonardo’s discovery is the story of what made the discovery possible – “the CSI part,” as Bakker refers to it.
“The CSI part, to me, is the most puzzling,” he explained to reporters in Los Angeles back in July. “I look at Leonardo and want to understand how it died. And how was it buried? And how was the corpse preserved? How was it protected from all the scavengers that like to burrow in and eat it?” Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy uses dramatic re-creations and computer animation to answer many of those questions and to retrace much of Leonardo’s story – everything from what killed him to even what he ate just before he died.

“This is really the specimen that’s going to change paleontology,” proclaims Michael Jorgensen, the producer who wrote and directed the hour-long high-definition TV special. “It’s a new dividing line in the sand. I really believe, after this, it will be sort of ‘pre-‘ and ‘post-Leonardo’ because now we have not just the bones. Now, we have an entire body."

In the end, though, Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy only scratches the surface of the forensic investigation of Leonardo. As one of the program’s experts points out, the story of Leonardo is far from over.

In fact, if Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy proves anything, it’s that this is a story that is only just beginning.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Fall Preview 2008 - Sept. 6, 2008



Channel hopping

The writers' strike derailed TV networks last season. This fall is all about getting things back on track and viewers back on board.

By Eric Kohanik

Last season’s writers’ strike really did knock the stuffing out of the TV industry, in a lot of ways.

That is about to become obvious as a new TV season gets rolling.

For some networks, the 2008 fall season will be a lot about relaunching shows that actually premiered in the 2007 fall season. Chief among them are series that never did return with new episodes after the strike.

So, count on big relaunches for series like Pushing Daisies, Private Practice and Dirty Sexy Money (all returning Oct. 1; ABC, A).

Then, there were the midseason shows that arrived during or after the writers’ strike. Although many of those were marginal ratings performers, network executives figured some were worth hanging onto. So, there will be lots of drum beating going on to stir up renewed interest in shows like Lipstick Jungle (returning Sept. 24; NBC, Citytv) and Eli Stone (returning Oct. 14; ABC, A).

For some TV series, meanwhile, the new fall season will be all about saying goodbye. So, look for the launch of the farewell seasons of such TV veterans as The Shield (returning Sept. 9; Showcase), Boston Legal (returning Sept. 22; ABC, E!), ER (returning Sept. 25; NBC, CTV) and, yes, even Royal Canadian Air Farce (returning Oct. 3; CBC).

But what about any fantastic new shows?

Uh, don’t count on a bumper crop of those this fall. Maybe networks are just waiting to harvest their best new stuff midseason.

That may work out in the end, since viewers often complain that they don’t really have time to add many new shows to their stable of favourites in the fall.

If you do have room for only one new drama in your fall TV viewing planner, try Simon Baker’s stint as The Mentalist (premiering Sept. 22; A and Sept. 23; CBS). It’s a good show that casts Baker as a former TV psychic who helps police solve crimes.

If you’re craving a clever new comedy, try Kyle Bornheimer‘s travails in Worst Week (premiering Sept. 22; CBS, E!). You just can’t help but like a show where the main character keeps having worse luck than you do.

And if you are simply missing the competitive juices of So You Think You Can Dance, there’s a whole gaggle of Canadians hot to (fox) trot on the new So You Think You Can Dance Canada (starting Sept. 11; CTV).

Of course, if you subscribe to pay TV, you’re really in luck. As well as great returning shows, pay TV is where the good stuff is really showing up this fall.

Vampire fans will adore HBO’s True Blood (premiering Sept. 7; The Movie Network, Movie Central). And, when it comes to sketch comedy, there’s nothing funnier than oddballs Matt Lucas and David Walliams re-inventing their wacky material for the new Little Britain USA (premiering Sept. 29; The Movie Network, Movie Central).

So, there you have it – the bottom line on the new season. Happy channel hopping!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Double Time - Aug. 30, 2008

Tuesdays; The CW, Global
Tuesdays this fall; ABC, A


Double time

Some actresses are in an exclusive club this fall.
With roles on more than one show, the new 
season will be twice as nice for them.

By Eric Kohanik

Getting a role on a network TV series is a tough job. 

For some actresses, though, the upcoming season will be twice as nice because they’ve landed jobs on more than one show. 

AnnaLynne McCord is among those in that exclusive club. The 21-year-old actress was a dazzler as Eden, the deviant and predatory daughter of Olivia Lord (Portia de Rossi) who was slowly poisoning Julia McNamara (Joely Richardson) with mercury-laced fruitcake on Nip/Tuck last season. 

Starting this week, viewers will see McCord as Naomi Clark, a spoiled rich girl on the much-hyped new incarnation of 90210

“Obviously, 90210 is more the PG version of my role on Nip/Tuck,” McCord explained recently in Los Angeles. “I’m still ‘the bitch.’ It’s an awesome job.” 

There’s still plenty of action in store for Eden, though, when FX’s Nip/Tuck returns this fall –airing this time on Citytv in Canada. (It used to be seen on CTV.) 

“This does not mean you’ve seen the last of Eden,” McCord confirms somewhat playfully. “I am not written out of Nip/Tuck – and I’m not going to say anything [more]!” 

Toronto actress Shenae Grimes is part of the doublemint club this season, too. She tops the 90210 cast as Annie Wilson, the girl who endures the culture shock of Beverly Hills when her family moves there from Kansas. 

Grimes will also still be part of CTV’s Degrassi: The Next Generation when the Canadian series returns for its eighth season. 

For Grimes, the difference between working on TV shows in Toronto and Los Angeles has been mostly about the hype of Hollywood. 

“Everything that’s been going on has been a little overwhelming, to say the least,” the 18-year-old actress says of the publicity storm that is surrounding her. “I’m just rolling with it.” 

Loretta Devine has certainly learned to roll with things. Viewers have come to know her as Adele, the wife of Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.) on Grey’s Anatomy

Last season, they also got to know Devine as Patti, the no-nonsense legal assistant to Eli (Jonny Lee Miller) on ABC’s Eli Stone. That role came about after Adele had left Richard and Devine thought it was the end of the road for her on Grey’s Anatomy

“I’ve sort of always been in limbo,” the 58-year-old Devine says of her Grey’s work. Although Adele’s return in the season finale didn’t surprise her, the character’s apparent reconciliation with her ex-hubby did. 

“I never know whether they’re going to kill me off,” Devine admits. “So, when I went back this past season, I thought that they were bringing me back to do that. Instead, they wrote in a bedroom scene. So, I was really happy about that.” 

And what about handling roles on two series at the same time this fall? 

“It’s all like a juggling act,” Devine says. “I’m real excited to be part of both shows.”