EE News Archives for 2000...

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November 2000
Metromix Television

'Joan Cusack Project'
5660 W. Taylor, Chicago, IL

A new half-hour comedy series taping in her hometown in front of a live audience Fridays at 7 p.m. at Chicago Studio City.

Cusack stars as a single teacher and the show centers around her life, her girlfriends and their unique perspectives on relationships.

The series focuses on the private lives of an intimate group of high school teachers, exploring the complexity and endurance of close friendships among women, as well as the challenging relationship between Joan Gallagher (Cusack) and Jake, portrayed by Kyle Chandler ("Early Edition," "Homefront").

Also in the cast: Joan Gallagher's two best friends, Ruby, played by Tony Award-winner Donna Murphy ("The King & I," "Passion"), is a psychiatrist, and Betsy, played by Jessica Hecht ("Friends," "The Single Guy"), is a music teacher at the school.

Fellow teacher Mark, portrayed by Wally Langham ("Veronica’s Closet," "The Larry Sanders Show") and new student teacher at the high school, Alice Adams, played by Kellie Williams ("Family Matters"). Created by Gwen Macsai and produced by Gracie Films and Columbia TriStar Television. The show is executive produced by James L. Brooks, Richard Sakai and David Richardson. Directed by Michael Lembeck and Lee Shallat.

For tickets, call 773-473-8224.

October 30, 2000


LOS ANGELES ( - Production has begun on "The Joan Cusack Show," a new comedy series starring actress Joan Cusack ("In & Out," "Working Girl" ) that will be shot entirely on location in Chicago. The series focuses on the private lives of a group of high school teachers, exploring friendships among women, in addtion to the relationship between Joan Gallagher (Cusack) and Jake, portrayed by Kyle Chandler ("Early Edition," "Homefront") as they head toward intimacy. The series will air on ABC in 2001.

Rounding out the cast of characters are Ruby (Donna Murphy), who is a psychiatrist, and Betsy (Jessica Hecht), who is a music teacher at the school. Joan also bonds with Alice Adams, played by "Family Matters'" Kellie Williams, a new student teacher at the high school. Gwen Macsai, the creator of the series, represents her own unique view about girlfriends, family and relationships. She and Cusack are working mothers residing in Chicago and attended the same high school, although several years apart.

October 13, 2000
Chicago Tribune

The Inc. Column
by Ellen Warren & Terry Armour

Good news for actor Kyle Chandler: He doesn't have to sell his Chicago home. Chandler bought the digs while he was in town shooting CBS' "Early Edition." That show was canceled, but Chandler now will star opposite homegirl Joan Cusack in her ABC sitcom, which will be taped here. Cusack plays a local high school teacher in the ensemble comedy.

October 13, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times

Showcase/Television Column
By Phil Rosenthal, Television Critic

Kyle Chandler ("Early Edition") has been cast as Joan Cusack's boyfriend in her new ABC midseason sitcom.

The series, based on the writings of Evanston's Gwen Macsai and produced by James L. Brooks, is being produced here in Chicago.

Other cast members include Jessica Hecht ("The Single Guy"), Kellie Shanygne Williams ("Family Matters"), Wallace Langham ("Veronica's Closet") and Tony winner Donna Murphy.

October 13, 2000
From the
Associated Press


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kristy Swanson, who starred in the film version of ``Buffy the Vampire Slayer,'' was ordered to attend 10 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings after pleading no contest to misdemeanor drunken driving.

The 30-year-old actress was also fined, put on probation and ordered to perform community service. Swanson did not attend Wednesday's hearing.

Swanson was stopped Aug. 30 by officers who reported seeing her drive erratically as she pulled away from a stop light.

Tests showed she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.23 percent, nearly three times California's legal limit of 0.08, a city attorney spokesman said.

October 12, 2000


Los Angeles ( - First Geena Davis, Gabriel Byrne, Bette Midler, Martin Sheen, Lili Taylor… and now Joan Cusack? Established movie stars are flocking en masse to the small screen and Cusack is the latest to join their ranks as the star of ABC's new romantic comedy series titled surprise, surprise, "The Joan Cusack Show."

Shot in Chicago, the ensemble series focuses on the private lives of teachers and the enduring friendships among women. The Academy Award-nominated Cusack will portray Joan Gallagher, a high school teacher who depends on the daily support of her two best friends Betsy (Jessica Hecht, "Friends") and Ruby (Donna Murphy, "Murder One"). Cusack's love interest will be played by "Early Edition's" Kyle Chandler.

Cusack's television credits include a stint as a performer and writer on "Saturday Night Live." She also starred in the feature films "In & Out," "Addams Family Values," "Sixteen Candles," "Runaway Bride" and "Arlington Road."

"The Joan Cusack Show" will air on ABC in 2001. The series is executive-produced by James L. Brooks ("As Good As It Gets," "The Simpsons") and Richard Sakai ("Jerry Maguire," "The Simpsons").

October 6, 2000

From Currently Filming in Chicago section of
THE JOAN CUSACK SHOW: Columbia/Tri-Star; Television sitcom starring Joan Cusack, Kyle Chandler, and Wallace Langham has begun filming on stage. For audience tickets please call 773-473-8224.

September 22, 2000

Snippets and Tidbits regarding the "Joan Cusack Show"...

JOAN CUSACK SHOW: Gwen (played by Cusack - "Grosse Point Blank") is a bundle of confusing contradictions. She avoids commitment but desperately wants a stable relationship. Scared no one will love her, but can't find anyone to meet her requirements. When her boyfriend Jake proposes, it just confuses things more.

From Currently Filming in Chicago section of
THE JOAN CUSACK SHOW: Columbia/Tri-Star; Television sitcom starring Joan Cusack will begin filming on stage in October.

From ABC Network Television Press Release, July 14 2000
"THE JOAN CUSACK SHOW" (working title) (mid-season comedy): Academy Award-nominated actress Joan Cusack ("In & Out," "Working Girl") and Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning executive producer James L. Brooks ("As Good as It Gets," "Jerry Maguire," "The Simpsons," "Terms of Endearment") join forces for a new romantic comedy about a single woman who has been looking for love, found it -- but doesn't know what to do with it. Ms. Cusack brings her offbeat sense of humor to the role of Gwen, a commitment-phobe who thinks, on the one hand, that nobody will ever love her and, on the other hand, that no one is good enough for her. So when her boyfriend, Jake (TBA), whom she adores, proposes, it is the single most anticipated moment of her life -- and her worst fear come true. From Gracie Films in association with Columbia TriStar Television. James L. Brooks and David Richardson are executive producers.

September 5, 2000


LOS ANGELES ( - Although "Young Americans" has generated good fan response and has reached ratings that beat some of the network's other shows, such as "Roswell," The WB has decided not to pick up the series.

According to a spokeswoman at "American's" production company, Columbia TriStar, the show won't be returning to the Frog.

However, this doesn't necessarily mean that another year at Rawley Academy is out of the picture, according to a publicist for one of the show's stars, MTV has shown interest in "Americans." Recently, NBC's "Freaks and Geeks" and ABC's "Sports Night," were shopped to other networks after the shows were not continued on their original networks. If "Americans" lands another network soon enough, the show may be one of the few saved.

Eddie Murphy's "The PJs" made the transition from a failing FOX series to a new WB fall series, as well as "The Hughleys" -- which started at ABC and is now moving over to UPN. In "Freaks and Geeks'" case, Fox Family originally wanted to continue to the series on cable, leading Rob Sorcher, Fox Family's executive vice president of programming, to say, "I'd cut off my leg if we could make new shows. What ever it takes, I would do it." Unfortunately, too much time had passed and many of the show's actors had moved on to other projects making it too difficult to continue the series.

In "Sports Night's" case, the show had the possibility of continuing as a new series if picked up by HBO. Although HBO made an offer for the show, creator, writer and executive producer Aaron Sorkin decided not to continue the series. After two years on air, with critical praise to back it up, Sorkin decided "Sports Night" has run its course, besides by that time he was already working on "The West Wing" for NBC.

In "Americans'" case, there may still be time. Sources indicate the show's stars, mostly made up of unknown younger actors, are still contractually linked to the show. Another reason the show may be attractive to other networks is the show's built in fan base. One website, Rawley Academy reported receiving 75,698 visits since June 29 (the show debuted July 12). 'Americans' mainly young audience might make it very appealing to a network looking to increase its key teen demo or create original programming. In addition, the fans appear to be very loyal to the show: around the time of the program's final episode, The WB received hundreds of small American flags sent by fans who wanted to keep the show on the air.

If Fox Family would "cut off a leg" to get "Freaks and Geeks," would they [the WB] cut off a toe for "Young Americans?" Fans are waiting to find out.

August 19, 2000
Entertainment Weekly dated 02/09/2000

A message on the "SEE" board on Yahoo reports that Kyle's Manager has signed Kyle to "be a regular on the Joan Cusack show piloting sometime next season" to be shot in Chicago. Further inquiries have turned up the following article regarding the series on Entertainment Weekly's website:

by Lynette Rice
Expect a new TV series from James L. Brooks and Joan Cusack. The 2000-01 schedule is already heating up -- thanks to this new romantic comedy.

In a major coup for the 2000-01 season, ABC is expected to close a deal with the multiple-Emmy winner James L. Brooks to create a romantic comedy that will star Joan Cusack. Brooks -- who was nominated for an Academy Award for directing the 1997 hit flick ''As Good as It Gets'' -- will base the project on a persona from the 1988 radio show ''Lipschtick'' (not to be confused with a book of the same name), according to a source close to the project. ABC has committed to at least 13 episodes, which will be produced by Columbia TriStar Television. The comedy will likely bow mid-season.

ABC has wanted to do a sitcom with Cusack for years. Most recently, the network hoped to develop a project that would accommodate the actress in her hometown of Chicago, but the deal never materialized. Cusack, meanwhile, has been busy on the big screen. Her recent credits include ''Arlington Road,'' ''Runaway Bride,'' and ''Cradle Will Rock.''

Brooks has long straddled the film and TV worlds. His big-screen hits include ''Broadcast News'' and ''Terms of Endearment,'' and he has executive-produced some of TV's most memorable comedies: ''The Mary Tyler Moore Show,'' ''Rhoda,'' ''Lou Grant,'' ''Taxi,'' ''The Simpsons,'' and ''The Tracey Ullman Show.''

May 3, 2000
Parents Television Council

Excerpt from
PTC E-Alert - Vol. 4, No. 25

4. Fans Send an SOS: Save Our Shows

USA Today recently conducted an online poll asking readers to vote on whether the networks should keep or drop shows currently on the "scheduling bubble." Poll respondents were in favor, by nearly a 2-1 margin, of keeping on the air the family-friendly series Early Edition and Roswell.

Fans of both likely-to-be-cancelled series are fighting to keep them going. Roswell fans are sending bottles of Tabasco sauce to the WB to show their support for the series, in which the three young aliens have a particular affinity for the hot sauce. One e-alert reader and Early Edition fan is orchestrating a campaign to save that show, offering tips on [her] web site as to how other fans can help. Visit [her] site at:

If you and your family enjoy these clean shows, call or write the networks and express your support for them.

CBS Entertainment (Early Edition)
Mr. Les Moonves, President & CEO
7800 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 575-2345

Warner Brothers Network (Roswell)
Mr. Jamie Kellner, CEO
4000 Warner Blvd., Building 34R
Burbank, CA 91522
(818) 977-5000

April 18, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times

by Michael Sneed, Sun-Times Columnist

Tips & twaddle . . .
* Wrap rap: Actor Kyle Chandler and co-star Shanesia Williams attended the wrap party for their "Early Edition" TV show at Spago Friday night [April 14, 2000].

April 12, 2000 ~
Chicago Sun-Times

by Jae-Ha Kim, Staff Reporter

Directing Gary Hobson wasn't difficult for Kyle Chandler. After all, Chandler has played Hobson on the CBS series "Early Edition" for four years.

What did present a challenge for Chandler was shooting scenes that centered on Gary, without being able to view himself in action as it happened.

"That's when you rely on the crew," Chandler said from the set of the show, which is filmed in Chicago at various locations, including the Chicago Sun-Times. "I trusted the cameraman and knew that everyone was doing their job. I had a good script to work with and felt everyone's support, which was fortunate because I was in every scene. That took up a lot of time, but I think we did a good job."

The episode, which will air April 29, reunites Gary with best friend Chuck Fishman (Fisher Stevens). "Early Edition" airs at 7 p.m. Saturday on WBBM-Channel 2.

"There's a lot of physical comedy in that episode, which I truly love," Chandler said. "I think it was a good one for me to start with [as a director]. When I looked at the show, I viewed it in a Capraesque way. There are all these antics going on, which lent itself to a quick pace."

Chandler, 34, says that while he had the desire to direct the show, he wasn't confident at the outset that he was qualified.

"I had many questions going in as to how suitable I'd be as a director," he said. "Since I've been on this show for four years, I've learned quite a bit, but I never put it into function until now. I wasn't sure if I had the power to lead. It was a pretty terrifying prospect, but I'm pleased with the result and proud of everyone's work.

"I was in Los Angeles for two days in the editing room to help put it all together. I was worried that I hadn't gotten all the shots we needed and that we'd have to go back and shoot more. But I got it all. Everything looked good."

Because Chandler is central to the story lines and couldn't take days off to prep for his directorial debut, he used his Christmas break to scout locations and get things in order for the episode.

"I definitely want to do this again," Chandler said. "But next time, I'd like to direct an episode where the story line isn't centered quite so much around Gary.

"A director's job is very difficult, just as it is for the actor or the director of photography or anyone else on the show. It's really imperative that everyone works together for the benefit of the show."

Well, not every actor cooperated with him.

"[The cat] wouldn't listen to me," Chandler said, referring to the mysterious feline that delivers the next day's news 24 hours early to Gary. "I tried to sell the cat. I thought it'd be a good idea to have him be a turtle instead. You can Velcro a turtle anywhere."

He's kidding. Sort of.

(Note: Article can also be found at the author's website.)...

April 3, 2000 ~
Mediaweek, v10 i14 p44

by Anne Torpey-Kemph

The WB 100+ Station group has acquired the off-net run of CBS drama Early Edition for its fall 2000 lineup. The WB 100+ is affiliated with the WB Network, delivering its product as well as syndicated programming to markets No. 100-210 via cable. The show, now in its fourth season on CBS, has been a steady performer for the network in its Saturday prime-time slot.

March 19, 2000 ~
From Excite News

by John Dempsey

NEW YORK (Variety) - Fox Family Channel has outbid Pax TV and the Henson-Hallmark Odyssey Network for the cable TV rights to reruns of NBC's hit series "Providence."

The cost: $700,000 per episode -- a record price for Fox Family.

This is a "show appropriate to a family audience, which (is) getting harder and harder to find," said Rich Cronin, president and CEO of Fox Family.

An NBC spokeswoman declined to comment on the negotiations.

The deal calls for Fox Family to get "Providence" for two weekly runs in September, when the first 17 episodes will be available. Series, which stars Melina Kanakaredes and Mike Farrell, kicked off on Jan. 8, 1999, and became a surprise hit in its 8 p.m. Friday timeslot.

Fox Family will continue playing the reruns twice a week until fall, 2002, when it will start running "Providence" Mondays to Fridays.

Fox Family's previous record price was the $500,000 an hour it spent on CBS' "Early Edition." Fox Family will start screening "Early Edition" in May on a Monday-to-Friday basis.


March 13, 2000 ~
From "The Starr Report" at

by Michael Starr

Several WWF and WCW superstars have already entered the prime-time network arena.

Now it's time for Extreme Championship Wrestling to make some inroads.

ECW wrestlers Tommy Dreamer and New Jack will be featured in a May sweeps episode of "Early Edition," starring Kyle Chandler.

In the episode, Dreamer and Jack will play bikers who get into a barroom fracas. "Early Edition" airs Saturdays at 8 p.m. on Ch. 2.

ECW airs on cable's TNN and is their highest-rated prime-time show.

Since returning to the CBS schedule, "Early Edition" has been a consistent time-slot winner, averaging 11.3 million viewers last week -- its best showing since February 1999.

March 6, 2000 ~
From MediaWeek Daily News

by Alan James Frutkin

As the 1999-2000 TV season begins to wind down, most broadcasters are deciding which of their series will stay on next fall's schedule and which will go. Despite the resurgence this season of prime-time game shows, and the success of one-hour dramas, the amount of holes that each network may need to fill is about level with last season.

<snipping non-CBS, non-EE related info>

CBS premiered four and a half hours of new programming last fall, and may need about the same next season. The Monday comedy Ladies Man is the weakest link in an otherwise strong evening for the network. Last Monday began a six-week hiatus for the series, which was replaced by the low-rated debut of the midseason comedy Grapevine.

Whether Ladies Man returns next fall is a tough call, said Spengler. "Do you cut bait or place your bets on the pedigree of the show's talent?" he added, referring to the comedy's stars: Alfred Molina, Betty White, Dixie Carter and Sharon Lawrence.

Another show that faces an uphill battle for the network is Thursday medical drama Chicago Hope. And sources say CBS may revamp its Saturday-night lineup, by cancelling both Early Edition and Martial Law.

February 14, 2000 ~

In an apparent about-face, CBS has pulled the poorly performing "Winning Lines" and will be returning "Early Edition" to the schedule starting Saturday, February 19, 2000, where sources say it will remain for about 4 weeks. It will then be pre-empted for three weeks of "March Madness" basketball, and will return to finish out the season.

In related news, from TV Guide Online

WINNING LINES LOSES: Bad news for the game-show genre: Variety reports that CBS is shelving Winning Lines for the rest of February, and the show's long-term prognosis isn't too bright. Low ratings are being blamed for the scheduling switch, but unaired episodes could surface later this season or over the summer.

January 13, 2000 ~

From TV Guide Online:

by Jonathan Reiner

(Note: The part pertaining to EE is in the last paragraph)

The address is CBS — even in Times Square, where CBS doesn't have a visible presence.

Translation: Tiffany network honcho Leslie Moonves and CBS News president Andrew Heyward took a beating from reporters Wednesday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, CA, for the decision to digitally super-impose a CBS logo over NBC's peacock logo on the Jumbotron TV in Times Square during Dan Rather's New Year's Eve coverage.

Cranky TV critics said the move was duplicitous and compromised CBS News's objectivity, while Moonves defended himself by noting that the eye-opening switcheroo didn't affect a news story. "If the NBC logo is part of a news story, if someone used the NBC logo to commit a murder, we wouldn't cut it out," he promised. "I don't think signage in Times Square [on New Year's Eve] affected a news story."

In other CBS developments, Heyward defended the supposedly tenuous relationship between Bryant Gumbel and his Early Show co-anchor Jane Clayson. "The implication is that Bryant is dominating her, but I don't agree with that," he told reporters. "Their relationship is very good and their relationship on-air will continue to evolve and grow."

Heyward also defended The Early Show's less-than-stellar ratings, explaining that the show is "fundamentally sound. Now what we have to do is create a reason for people to switch from [our] well-established competitors. We're not sitting back and waiting for evolution to change a dinosaur into a human."

Speaking of dinosaurs, CBS Entertainment president Nancy Tellem assured reporters that Dick Van Dyke's Diagnosis Murder will return for yet another season, but she couldn't make the same promise for Early Edition. "We're looking at [the situation], but at this point no decision has been made."

January 11, 2000 ~

From a source at Eyemark Entertainment:

I was recently contacted by Eyemark Entertainment - the syndication company that will be bringing Early Edition repeats to a television near you! - and was given the following information:

"Early Edition debuts in syndication this fall (September). What this means is that repeats of season 1-4 will be showing on local stations around the country, primarily on the weekend. Each market (or city) will be airing it at different times."

To browse the news from 1999, click here.

Disclaimer: This fan run website is for personal, non-commercial use and is totally unaffiliated with Early Edition, Three Characters Inc., CBS Productions, TriStar Television, October Holdings, or anyone else who may have rights to the show. No infringement intended and no profit is being made in any way whatsoever (unless, of course, you consider the emotional satisfaction of supporting and promoting a work of pure genius as profit.) This website was created in homage and with gratitude to the fabulous creators of Early Edition, and also in an effort to support the show and to encourage others to do so.

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Last updated: January 6, 2001
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