TIME Television

The Wire’s Kima Was Supposed to Be Killed in the First Season, Creator Says

The Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball II
Actress Sonja Sohn attends The Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball II at Harman Center for the Arts on January 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. Jemal Countess—Getty Images

And Michael K. Williams was not happy about the second season taking place at the docks

Correction appended 10:40 p.m. EST

This post contains spoilers for The Wire

Much of the massive cast of HBO’s The Wire reunited at PaleyFest New York on Thursday to talk about the groundbreaking show 12 years after its premiere. In a panel hosted by HitFix critic Alan Sepinwall, the cast reflected on their time on the show and even shared some never-before-revealed secrets from the set.

Sonja Sohn, who played Detective Kima Greggs, revealed that she found out by accident during filming of the first season that she was supposed to be killed off fairly quickly. Worried about her character’s fate, she confronted the creator, David Simon, and he admitted to the plan.

Simon confirmed to Sepinwall that he had originally intended to kill Sohn’s character off the show when she was shot in the 10th episode of the first season. But Carolyn Strauss, an exec at HBO, told Simon she wanted to save the character and he listened. Though Kima Greggs does get shot in that episode, as written, she survives.

“Girl power!” Sohn said, after finding out it was Strauss who saved her character.

Sohn said she’s now extremely grateful she got to stay on the show through all five seasons, though she noted that she had initially had reservations after seeing the pilot. “Oh my lord, this is going nowhere,” she remembers thinking at the time. “I don’t know, it’s kind of slow.” But the writers reassured her that things would pick up, and other cast members expressed similar faith in Simon’s roadmap—one that would include insightful social commentary and lots of blood.

Kima would go on to be one of the few characters to escape a bullet on the show about cops, criminals and politicians in Baltimore, which offed some of its most beloved players. The cast even started a tradition of attending everyone’s death scenes to honor the actors before they left. And those characters who weren’t killed off often disappeared for entire episodes, or even seasons when the show moved locations.

Michael K. Williams, who played Omar Little, joked that in season two he became “the angry black man” after Simon briefly moved the show away from the projects and into the largely white world of the city’s waterfront docks. “How come when we made the show hot, you give it to the white people?” Williams said he asked Simon at the time. Simon replied that they would make the city too small if they continued to film in the same place, an idea Williams came to later accept and appreciate.

Though many of their characters were killed off or forced to the sidelines during filming, the cast extolled Simon, who many critics agree penned the best show in the history of television. “I have been so spoiled since because the writing was so good,” said Lawrence Gillard Jr., who played D’Angelo Barksdale, before hugging Simon.

“Now I’m sorry I killed you off in the second season,” Simon quipped.

This article previously misstated which actor hugged David Simon during the panel.

TIME Television

Ridley Scott Is Creating an Ebola TV Series

Director Sir Ridley Scott attends the world premiere of Prometheus at Empire Leicester Square on May 31, 2012 in London.
Director Sir Ridley Scott attends the world premiere of Prometheus at Empire Leicester Square on May 31, 2012 in London. Stuart Wilson—Getty Images

Too bad The Strain is already taken

Ridley Scott is taking a break from biblical plagues to focus on a modern-day plagues.

In what may or may not be cynical marketing move to capitalize on the current Ebola outbreak, the Exodus: Gods and Kings director and producer Lynda Obst are creating an Ebola television show for Fox based on Richard Preston’s 1994 best-selling book The Hot Zone, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The pair optioned the story 20 years ago, The Hollywood Reporter said, and have quietly been working on bringing it to the small screen for the last year.

But the plot is suddenly particularly timely: The current strain of the virus has killed almost 4,500 people in West Africa, and two nurses in the U.S. have recently tested positive for the disease after caring for an Ebola victim who passed away in a Texas hospital after he arrived in Dallas from Liberia.

“I think it’s the speed with which it kills that makes the disease so frightening,” Obst told The Hollywood Reporter. “People hoped it would stay in some remote part of the world. But that’s a fantasy in the modern world. The modern world makes us one big connected family.”

Scott, whose Alien certainly portrayed panic and fear as an invasive force kills off a crew of astronauts, hopes that the series will include the current crisis. Preston’s original book was based on a 1994 article Preston wrote about the disease. Scott and Obst are in talks with Preston to option a new article he is writing for next week’s New Yorker on the current outbreak, in order to work that story into the series as well.

[THR]

TIME Television

Game of Thrones Season 5 Will Feature Show’s First Flashback Scenes

Game of Thrones
HBO

We'll see what the Seven Kingdoms were like before everyone was constantly saying, "Winter is coming."

Game of Thrones fans wondering what Westeros was like before Ned left the North will get a treat this season. Season five will feature the HBO show’s first-ever flashback scenes, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Apparently show runners David Benioff and Dan Weiss had set a rule their first season not to include any prophecies, dreams or flashbacks. “We failed the first two and this season the third,” they told film students at a Q&A in Spain where they are currently shooting portions of the show. “So yes, this season will finally have flashbacks.”

No word yet and what exactly the flashback will be or which characters it will include.

[EW]

TIME Books

A Twin Peaks Novel Is Coming Before the New Season Premieres

Sherilyn Fenn and Kyle MacLaughlin in Twin Peaks ABC Photo Archives—ABC via Getty Images

The book, written by co-creator Mark Frost, will catch fans up on all their favorite characters

Sure, we found out who killed Laura Palmer. But what happened to the rest of the characters on Twin Peaks?

We’ll get some of the answers when Showtime revives the cult classic in 2016, 25 years after the show’s original debut on ABC. But co-creators Mark Frost and David Lynch have said the show will pick up in present day, leaving lots of blanks to be filled in.

That’s why Frost is penning a novel to fill in fans on what’s happened since they left the small town in Washington State. Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan, will publish The Secret Lives of Twin Peaks in late 2015.

Frost promises that readers will get an inside look at the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer, the central mystery of the original series, and a wrap-up of several story lines that were left incomplete when the show was abruptly canceled in 1991. “This has long been a dream project of mine that will bring a whole other aspect of the world of Twin Peaks to life, for old fans and new,” Frost said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

But the real question is: did Big Ed’s flannel ever go out of style?

 

TIME Television

Watch Bill Murray Abandon David Letterman to Train for the NYC Marathon (in a Tux)

"Can you handle things? I really should get a run in."

In the middle of his interview with David Letterman last night to promote his movie St. Vincent, Bill Murray decided to pull a Bill Murray and make things totally weird. All of a sudden, he seems to get flustered and begins asking Letterman questions like “What is today’s date?” and “When is the NYC marathon?” and “Is that soon?” He made a commitment to himself, he explains, to enter the race this year, and decides that he needs to get up and get a run in. “Can you handle things?” he asks the Late Show host.

Then Murray slathers Bengay all over his hands and heads out into New York City to train — all while wearing a tuxedo.

Watch the full clip here:

 

TIME Media

CBS Launches On-Demand Digital Subscription Service

Premiere Of CBS Films' "Extant' - Arrivals
President and CEO of CBS Corporation Leslie Moonves Jeffrey Mayer—WireImage

One day after HBO announced it will begin offering standalone web subscriptions in 2015

Your laptop binge-watching options are about to expand.

CBS announced the launch of a new digital service on Thursday that allows subscribers to access thousands of on-demand video options — including classic shows (like Cheers and Star Trek), past and current seasons of on-air series and live-streaming capabilities in 14 of the largest U.S. markets. CBS All Access will cost $5.99 per month and cater to who CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves calls “our biggest fans.”

The news hits one day after HBO announced it will begin offering standalone web subscriptions in 2015, banking on the many millennials whose eyes have moved from television screens to their computer screens. Still, Nielsen recently released a report that found 24% of 18-to-34-year-olds don’t shell out for subscription television.

Moonves also signaled that Showtime is planning to go down a similar route like HBO, Re/code reports.

Read next: Young Americans Won’t Pay for TV. Will They Ever?

TIME Television

Craig Ferguson Fed Ribs to a Pregnant Zoe Saldana

Guardians of the Galaxy star admitted she was having pregnancy cravings

Guardians of the Galaxy actress Zoe Saldana told Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show Wednesday that she was experiencing cravings– like any pregnant woman.

So the late night host responded by taking out a platter of ribs, donuts and sandwiches from behind his desk. He even brought out more food after a commercial break.

The actress has her due date in eight to ten weeks and will be having twin boys according to People. She’s promoting the animated move, Book of Life, which is in theaters now.

TIME Television

Another Star of The Good Wife to Exit Show

Archie Panjabi on the 'Good Wife' on Feb. 27, 2014.
Archie Panjabi on the 'Good Wife' on Feb. 27, 2014. Jeff Neira—CBS/Getty Images

Archie Panjabi, the actress who plays investigator Kalinda Sharma, will leave the show after Season 6

Bad news for fans of Kalinda Sharma, the tough investigator on The Good Wife — actress Archie Panjabi will be leaving CBS’s hit drama at the end of the current season.

Entertainment Weekly says the Emmy winner will be leaving the show when her contract is up at the end of Season 6 to star in a pilot for a 20th Century Fox Television drama.

“Archie is an Emmy Award-winning dramatic actress, and rightly so. Her work on The Good Wife has been extraordinary, and the time has come for her to star in a project of her own,” 20th Executive Vice President of casting Sharon Klein said. “We couldn’t be happier that it will be with us.”

Panjabi’s exit comes just one season after actor Josh Charles, who played lawyer Will Gardner, left abruptly.

Read more at Entertainment Weekly.

TIME Media

6 Crucial Unanswered Questions About HBO’s New Streaming Service

Inside A PCCW Ltd. Store As Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) Data Is Released
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Here's why it's probably best to be cautiously optimistic

After years of maybe’s and not yet’s, HBO has finally announced that it will offer its content as a streaming service independent of a cable subscription sometime in 2015. People who don’t subscribe to cable have been begging HBO to take their money for years. Now, it seems, a rising tide of cord-cutters getting rid of cable and young adults who never subscribed to cable in the first place have compelled the network to fulfill their wishes.

But the announcement was painfully light on details. We don’t even know whether this service will be the same as HBO Go, the robust streaming app the network currently offers to its subscribers. Here are the questions HBO still needs to answer:

How much will it cost?

They don’t call it “premium cable” for nothing. The cost of HBO currently differs based on pay-TV provider and region but generally falls in the range of $15 to $20. Many cable operators offer the service at a discounted price of $10 per month for the first year. High-definition streaming on Netflix, for comparison, costs $8.99 per month. It’s hard to say where exactly an independent HBO would fall on this spectrum. Time Warner, which owns HBO, currently splits subscription fees with cable operators, but the operators handle the billing, customer service, delivery of content and some marketing. With a standalone service, HBO would have to deal with those issues itself and charge a fee appropriate to recoup those costs. Two years ago, HBO tweeted that a TechCrunch story that pegged the amount people would pay for the service at $12 per month “has it right.”

Will I be able to watch the newest episode of Game of Thrones?

If this service is the same as the current streaming service, yes. HBO Go allows customers to live stream the network’s TV shows on their laptops, mobile devices, and televisions. But it’s worth noting that HBO didn’t specifically say that HBO Go will be the standalone offering. The company has been notoriously reticent to offer its newest content to people who don’t pay for cable. Even the monumental deal to bring HBO content to Amazon Prime Instant Video for the first time doesn’t include Game of Thrones or more recent seasons of current shows like Boardwalk Empire.

Will the service perform well, technically?

Going by HBO’s past track record, this could be a problem. HBO Go crashed during the season finale of True Detective and multiple times during the last season of Game of Thrones because too many people were accessing the service simultaneously. Obviously a standalone service would be even more popular. No doubt HBO would beef up its servers to handle additional load, but that added expense would place more pressure on the network to raise the price it charges customers.

Will Internet service providers play nice with an HBO streaming service?

This year has seen an ongoing debate between Netflix and several ISPs over who should pay to deliver Netflix’s content to customers. Netflix suffered slowed speeds on the networks of Comcast and Verizon until the company agreed to pay them to establish a better connection. As a streaming service that will also stream its content over ISP’s pipes, HBO could face similar costs. It doesn’t help that many of the ISPs are also pay-TV operators that aren’t likely to be pleased that HBO is giving customers an incentive to cut the cord.

Can I finally dump my cable company?

If you were only keeping it around for HBO, and the new service functions similarly to HBO Go, sure. Otherwise, you’ll still need cable to watch a lot of TV content live, especially sports. But the fact that a cable network as prestigious as HBO is willing to break out of pay-TV’s walled garden in such a big way could have implications later. Other channels that already have robust streaming apps, such as FX and ESPN, could follow in HBO’s footsteps.

Does this matter to me if I still have cable?

It might. Cable operators initially offer HBO at a discount to entice customers to subscribe to the service. Now that HBO is becoming a competitor as well as a partner, they may be less motivated to subsidize the channel. And with HBO having to take on new infrastructure costs, the network may pass those expenses along to both cable and non-cable subscribers.

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