Last night was a big night for Boston locals on television. In addition to the premiere of the much anticipated “Boston’s Finest” on TNT, a couple of local folks made headlines related to some rather prominent reality show competitions.
Earlier in the day, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman was announced as a contestant on the upcoming 16th season of the ABC series, “Dancing With the Stars.” Raisman hails from Needham, Massachusetts, and first captured the hearts of America during her Olympic debut in London last year, where she successfully walked away with three medals. She won a bronze in the balance beam, and gold for both the floor final and for the overall team competition. The new season of DWTS will debut on Monday, March 18 from 8:00-10:01 p.m.
Last night, Boston-based chef, Kristen Kish was announced the winner of season 10 of the Emmy winning Bravo show, “Top Chef.” After having been sent home early in the season, Kristen Kish was able to demonstrate her fighting spirit by earning a spot back into the competition during the “Last Chance Kitchen” challenges. She ended up defeating L.A. chef Brooke Williamson by two rounds to earn the title of Top Chef.
Kish, a former model who originally hails from South Korea and was raised in Michigan, currently works as Chef de Cuisine at Barbara Lynch’s Stir. This educational culinary facility hosts demonstration dinners seven nights a week, and features a revolving menu showcasing different cooking styles, cuisines, and regions. Previously, Kish worked as Chef de Partie at Chef Guy Martin’s Boston restaurant, Sensing.
Along with the title of “Top Chef,” Kish was awarded a showcase at the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, a feature in Food and Wine magazine, and $125,000 in prize money. She told the crew she plans on traveling back to South Korea for the first time since her birth with a portion of her winnings. She is only the second female chef ever to win the prestigious competition.
After 40 years of educating the masses both locally and across the nation, Dr. Timothy Johnson, the medical editor at WCVB, has announced his retirement from the Boston ABC affiliate.
Johnson first came to WCVB when it launched in 1972. He quickly gained popularity for his straight-foward, yet thoughtful approach to presenting viewers with medical information and guidance. Johnson has also appeared on ABC for the past 25 years as chief medical correspondent. As a senior medical contributor to ABC News, providing on-air commentary on medical problems for “World News,” “Nightline,” “20/20″ and “Good Morning America.” He will be replaced by Dr. Richard Besser, who joined ABC last summer from the CDC. Johnson will stay on as a medical contributor.
Viewers have always expressed a deep appreciation for his approach, which have made him a trusted member of both the WCVB and ABC network teams. During his tenure, Johnson received many awards at WCVB. His retirement will become official at the end of the year.
“I never felt like a television personality,” Johnson said in a statement. “I always felt like a physician who was talking to his patients. I thought of what we were doing as trying to teach.”
Reality stars have been invading the Hub this month, with shows filming in almost every neighborhood around town. Further solidifying Boston’s status as a major player in the television industry, earlier this week, the Boston Cable Show was held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The expo kicked off on Sunday, May 20th and is concluding later today.
The event featured exhibitors from all the major cable networks and channels, including the Oprah Winfrey Network, offering previews of new shows and technologies, informative talks, and plenty of free samples and swag. Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews”
Erin Burnett, chief business and economics correspondent for CNN, Julia Boorstin, media and entertainment reporter for CNBC, John King, chief national correspondent for CNN, Piers Morgan, host of “Piers Morgan Tonight.” and Maria Elena Salinas, co-anchor of “Noticiero Univision,” are just a few of the famous faces that made appearances, signed autographs, and held talks.
Even a number of high profile reality stars attended the 5 day event, including Kris and Bruce Jenner and Khloe Kardashian Odom, from “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” Mark Cuban from ABC’s “Shark Tank,” ESPN anchor Terry Francona, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, and members of the cast of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”
The Kardashian clan, never a group to go anywhere without cameras in tow, reportedly spent some time in the Hub outside of the conference, filming scenes for their popular E show that, according to Bruce Jenner, involved the usual hijinks and something about a duck. Could the Kardashians have commandeered one of our city’s infamous Duck Boats? Did mama Kris Jenner pose for a cute portrait with the “Make Way for the Ducklings” statues in the Public Garden? Perhaps we’ll find out in the upcoming season!
Our favorite Boston band, Gentlemen Hall, got back to their Beantown roots and played a packed Hard Rock Cafe Tuesday night. After spending most of the month of April on the road for their Spring Fling tour, the boys have returned to Boston and kicked off the summer concert season with a rocking performance sponsored by WFNX and Dunkin Donuts. The synth-pop sextet born in the hallways of Berklee College have been everywhere in the past year. Last June, they had a rousing performance on live national television as winners of the regional Battle of the Bands at the Billboard Music Awards. They then went on to tour the country for the summer and early fall, before returning to the Bean just in time to win a couple Boston Music Awards, including Pop Rock Artist of the Year. The whirlwind has not stopped there, however, as the Gentlemen were selected to be part of the in-store playlist at Hollister stores nationwide for the holiday season, were part of a top-trending Windows phone Youtube commercial, and had their single, “All Our Love,” featured on an episode of the CW’s “90210.”
With Tuesday’s “Local Exposure” free WFNX performance, the guys sounded better than ever, debuting a couple brand new songs to a super dancey crowd whose enthusiasm brought the boys out for an encore.The group is currently working on material for their next album, and we can’t wait to hear more from this super talented group. Go Gentlemen Hall!
Tonight on ABC, the season finale of Mark Burnett’s epic reality/adventure series, “Expedition Impossible,” will be coming to its exciting finish, with 4 of the remaining 13 teams competing to win $150,000 total to be shared amongst 3 team members, as well as a new Ford Explorer.
The show, which originally featured 2 teams from the Boston area, lost their last New England reps with last week’s episode, as team “The Cops” just missed a spot in the finals in a race-to-the-finish episode filled with white water rafting, rock rappelling, mountain climbing, and fast-paced hikes across the treacherous terrain of Morocco.
Jim Vaglica, a police sergeant in Waltham who lives in Billerica, MA and the unofficial captain of “The Cops,” became involved in the show because of his audition for another Mark Burnett reality show years earlier.
“I applied to “Survivor” a couple years ago, and come to find out, casting directors travel around for different shows and bring their files with them. They look for people who would fit into what they are trying to cast, and they contact you. During that time, it wasn’t unusual for me to get phone calls because of this snow ball effect. I had some labels they could put on me because of my job, and soon I got a phone call where they said ‘I got a new show, here’s what its like’ and I was in. Then I just needed to find my team members,” said Vaglica.
Vaglica called upon coworkers Robert Robillard, 43, a police lieutenant from Concord, and Dani Henderson, 34, a police officer from Marlborough, to complete his team, then set upon about 2 months of physical training before flying out to LA to go through a series of tests before the final selection of contestants.
“We needed to complete 3 hours of horse back riding and familiarization, a basic course on ropes and rappelling; we needed to be able to swim 250 yards. They tested us on all that in LA. We also had to have immunizations, a physical; they did interviews, medical exams, psych exams, and drug testing on us,” said Vaglica.
It wasn’t until they were selected, and 2 weeks before their departure that the team found out where they would be going to compete.
“Morocco was a secret, until 2 weeks ahead of time. Then we started doing research on the languages and terrain. I assumed that this would be like other shows with puzzle challenges, so I started reading puzzle books to get my mind in tune with solving riddles,” said Vaglica. “Dani’s always loved puzzles, its been her hobby forever, so we ended up relying on her for a lot of puzzle challenges. She really came through for us. She solved a lot more than the rest of us.”
The team even made friends along the way, bonding with fellow Massachusetts-based team, “The Fishermen” from Gloucester, as well as the “NY Firemen.”
“We hit it off with NY firemen, because we all are involved in public safety oriented jobs. But there’s also that police/fire rivalry. When we were able to outlast them, we killed 2 birds with one stone; police over fire, Red Sox over New York,” said Vaglica.
Despite not making it to the end, Vaglica is proud of his experiences, and can now list things like camel riding, white water rafting, and sky diving among his “special skills” besides the fact that he was able to see a part of the world he never imagined going to before.
“It’s an amazing country–vast, and so diverse, with snow capped mountains all year with the Atlas Mountains, and you’ve got the Sahara Dessert, at 100 degrees, with giant sand dunes, then deep canyons, with sheer red rock wall canyons down to these rapids, and green fields. Its just so diverse and beautiful, I would definitely go back,” said Vaglica.
As for his future plans, Vaglica is involved with Boston Casting, and has auditioned for small roles in movies from time to time. In regards to any future involvement in reality shows, he realizes that most shows these days do not have that adventure aspect that first drew him to audition.
“Mark Burnett was going for something epic, he wanted to use the helicopters, to show the long shots of scenery, and the backdrop of us against it. Unfortunately most people don’t care about that, a lot of people that are into reality TV are in it for the drama and personalities. If you’re a fan of “Jersey Shore” you won’t enjoy “Expedition,” said Vaglica. “I can’t watch that show. If I want to deal with that stuff, I’ll go to work.”
Check out the season finale of “Expedition Impossible” tonight on ABC at 9 p.m.
If you haven’t heard of Gentlemen Hall, get ready, because they’re about to explode. What started in the noisy dormitory halls of Boston’s Berklee College of Music and grew to become a popular local band is now about to make their national debut at the Billboard Music Awards with a live performance tonight on ABC as winners of a national Battle of the Bands.
Last month, Gentlemen Hall was one of three area bands who competed via social media-following to represent the northeast. As winner of the regional competition, earlier this week, the band packed up their Chevy Cruze, a car lent to them from the sponsor of the contest, as they departed Brighton to road-trip it to Las Vegas and compete as one of the six finalists from various regions in the U.S. On Thursday night, they were declared the winner of the competition by the evening’s MC, Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath (a Hartford, CT native, who was recently spotted at the aquarium in Boston earlier this month buying Whalers gear as well as taking in a Bruins game at the TD Banknorth Garden), and others from the Billboard music community. The synth-pop band, which met at Berklee, will now be playing before a national stage as thousands of people across the country tune in to the live awards show.
“It’s been a wild ride out here in Vegas. It’s still a bit of a shock but we’re amped to make a national debut. It’s important for us that people recognize Boston has one of the greatest music scenes in the world and we’re just one small part of it. Being out here is an awesome opportunity to bring a slice of that scene to national television. We’re repping our hometown hard,” said bassist Rory Given.
Its been a wild past fews years for the close-knit band. In the summer of 2009, the band received MTV’s “Best Break Out Artist” Award. Later that year, the Boston Phoenix named Gentlemen Hall “Boston’s Best New Band”. The following year, the boys released their debut CD, “Give Us Roots Give US Wings.” And in December of 2010, the band received a nomination at the Boston Music Awards.
Gentlemen Hall is made up of Given, Jacob Michael (guitar, vocals), Bradford Alder (synthesizers), Gavin McDevitt (guitar, vocals), Seth Hachen (flute), and Phil Boucher (drums). They Billboard Music Awards airs tonight (Sunday) at 8 p.m. on ABC. The Gentlemen are set to perform after Ke$ha and before Lady Antebellum, so make sure you tune in and cheer the guys on.
On behalf of everyone at Hollywood East Connection, we wish the band the best of luck!
The night-time series is based in Philly but was shot entirely in Rhode Island and fueled millions into the community — even giving a run-down Warwick warehouse a face lift.
“BOP” was not only filmed in New England, but the star of the series, Dana Delany is a local, having grown up in Connecticut. Delany hasn’t lived in the area for over twenty years but according to reports she feels at home here in Hollywood East.
The up and coming medical drama follows Dr. Megan Hunt’s (Delany) successful but bittersweet life as an overachieved medical examiner. It seems no matter how many shots come along the way, the sharp neurosurgeon dodges the bullets by staying on top and looking so chic. Delany takes the spot light in most cases, and along with this hot cast like Jeri Ryan, Geoffrey Arend, John Carroll Lynch, Windell Middlebrooks, Nicholas Bishop and Sonja Sohn has viewers ready to start examining “BOP”.
But let’s face it, no matter how much we rave about the leads, the set would be nothing without local talent that keeps the heart pumping. Local actor, Chuck Slavin was a stand-in for Geoffrey Arend, who plays Ethan Ross, and worked on a solid ten episodes as CSU Tech.
“The timing couldn’t be better for the “Body of Proof” premiere with the governor’s new budget putting the film tax credit back under fire in Rhode Island. BOP will hopefully deliver the proof needed that the credit works and so does RI film,” Slavin tells HEC.
And the beautiful Margot Muraszkiewicz who you will see in a few shots, caught all the action as Jeri Ryan’s stand-in.
“I LOVED the familial feel of being on the BOP set! It’s rare to find a cast & crew that get along so well, and the camaraderie extended into weekly16mm projected movie nights held at the downtown Providence loft of our DP, and Friday night gatherings at McCormick & Schmick’s, following a long work week,” Margot tells us.
“I’m tickled that the show has already premiered in Poland (among other European countries) where my entire family lives – they’ve been watching it since late February! My 8-year-old nephew is busy trying to spot me on his TV in every episode…I had to explain that when I was “standing-in”, I was not actually being recorded on-camera,” Margot adds.
Worcester, MA actor Tom Dwyer, who worked background on the set said “I am very excited to see the premiere of BOP. So many people put in so much hard work to make the final product what it is, and I look forward to seeing that vision come to life. It is always amazing to be a part of such a complex creative collaboration, and it’s always exciting when the finished product premieres to the world”. These are just a few of the hundreds of local talent that put in many hours on set making the spring debut alive.
BOP has been proving itself around the world where the first episode aired on Italian Fox Life in January with over 300,000 viewers. Tonight’s premiere hits the U.S airwaves at ten sharp, so let’s resuscitate our Tuesday night lineup!
If the ABC series makes the fall cut and Gov. Chafee’s proposal is shot down, BOP will resume action come summertime in the posh “Warwickwood” Production Studio.
Follow up with Hollywood East Connection after the premiere to give us your analysis.
Monday night on ABC, the 15th season of “The Bachelor” debuted, with 30 women vying for the attention of one man.
Of those 30 women, four of them are from New England.
Stacey is a 26 year old bartender from Quincy, Massachusetts. She lists Tuesdays with Morrie as her favorite book and Candace Bushnell as her favorite author, and says of her worst date memory, “I can make the best of any sitution, but once this guy updated his facebook status to say, ‘Boston women are recycled.’”
Melissa is a 32 year old waitress from Westport, Connecticut. She has no tattoos, and lists “going to a theme park to ride roller coasters” as her biggest date fear.
Jackie is a 27 year old artist from Warwick, Rhode Island. She counts her biggest achievement as her recent move to New York City “…with nothing, no job, a total city virgin, and finding my way — it proved to me I can do anything and am confident & independent. “
Ashley H. is a 26 year old dentist from Madawaska, Maine. Though she doesn’t speak any languages other than English, she can understand conversational French, and has one tattoo on her inner right wrist.
In the first episode, 38 year-old bachelor Brad Womack, who returns from a previous season of failed romance, eliminated 10 women right off the bat, none of which included our four New England girls. Time will tell if they have the right chemistry to make a love match with Brad the bachelor!
“The Bachelor” airs every Monday night at 8PM on ABC.
Watch this season’s Bachelor chat it up with Jimmy Kimmel
On June 24th “Boston Med”, a new 8-episode summer reality series will debut on ABC. In a similar vein as last summer’s “Hopkins”, “Boston Med” features doctors from area hospitals: Massachusetts General Hospital, Children’s Hospital, and Brigham’s and Women’s Hospital. Long considered to be home to some of the country’s greatest hospitals, the city of Boston played backdrop to this rare, unrestricted access for 4 months of filming.
Following real-life doctors and nurses through the tumultuous daily experiences that come with making life and death decisions on a regular basis, this medical dramas will allow viewers into the private conversations and personal lives of some of the best and brightest in American medicine. Even complex surgeries will be featured in the series, including a pediatric heart surgery and a face transplant, only the second one ever to be conducted in this country. Filmed in the style of a documentary, the stunning and intense nature with which these stories are presented will undoubtedly make for powerful television. This hour long reality-based drama will premiere in the 10PM time slot due to its graphic nature, and will run throughout the summer on Thursday nights.
With the arrival of June, the summer filming season is in full swing, and as such, a number of casting calls are being held for a variety of TV shows and movies.
On June 6th, at the Langham Hotel in Boston, ABC’s hit reality show, “The Bachelor” will be holding casting calls from 1-5PM. Producers and casting directors from the show will be in attendance in search of single and available men and women who are looking for love and willing to bring their search to the TV screen. If you believe you possess the charisma needed to be their next star, or would like to nominate someone you know who does, visit their website to fill out an application in advance. The newest season of “The Bachelorette” just began on ABC on May 24th, featuring Ali Fedotowsky as the bachelorette, and a number of bachelors from around New England, including Tyler V. from Vermont, Chris L. from Massachusetts, and Jonathan the weatherman, who was born in Boston.
The New Hampshire Film Office official blog is also featuring a number of casting calls for projects that are coming up very soon, including a new independent film that will be shooting in the Nashua area. This feature will be filming this month, and they are looking for a variety of union and non-union actors to portray both background and featured players. All questions & submissions should be directed to: [email protected]
You can subscribe to HollywoodEastConnection.com by e-mail address to receive news and upates directly in your inbox. Simply enter your e-mail below and click Sign Up!