Emmy Magazine Features

Pleased as Punch

Hacks unites TV treasure Jean Smart — as a Vegas comic who’s been around the block — with rising star Hannah Einbinder as the writer hired to punch up her jokes. It’s a windfall for Smart, who as a girl dreamed of being Phyllis Diller. And for Einbinder, who comes from stand-up, working with Smart is like a win at the slots.

By Lisa Rosen
Story

During the pandemic, Robert Carlock managed to make three shows — and to make it look easy. But the writer-producer, who’s the creative partner of Tina Fey, is not one to boast.

Fresh off her Emmy for Schitt's Creek, Annie Murphy takes on the dual lead role in Kevin Can F**K Himself, the new AMC series with a split personality. Casting Murphy in the show that's half laugh-tracked sitcom (simple-minded husband and perfect wife) and half dark comedy (loathsome husband and vengeful wife) was a no-brainer.

Three principals behind The Queen’s Gambit discuss the show’s opening minutes — action that moves quickly from a bath to a chess match — and how they and their colleagues worked to kickstart the story, stirring interest and emotion.

On Fox’s Prodigal Son, says Catherine Zeta-Jones, “the subject matter is very dark,” and her character, a doctor in a hospital for the criminally insane, “runs deep.” But to any set or stage, this actress-singer-dancer brings the light.

Turns out, the latest “death” of the god of mischief was another near miss, setting Tom Hiddleston free to star in the new Disney+ series, Loki.

There’s no turning away from Blindspotting, the new Starz series that explores what we choose to see and what we don’t.

Decades after it was a book, then a movie, The Mosquito Coast is finally a series. And for the principals, the decision to join the Apple TV+ project — about an idealistic family on the run — was easy, despite the expected hardships of production.

Tempers were flying — and so was my hair — when Robert Conrad and I faced off for Battle of the Network Stars. A TV genre took hold, as did a 40-year grudge.

For Thuso Mbedu, the road that led to The Underground Railroad was marked by trauma. But like the series itself, her journey affirms the hardy human spirit (as seen in her tattoo that reads: Faith, Hope, Love).

To tell a very human story about both sides of the border, two old friends enlisted a like-minded colleague, creating a team that prized authenticity and a wide range of points of view.

In HBO’s Mare of Easttown, Kate Winslet assumes an unlikely role: a no-nonsense detective in small-town Pennsylvania. Authenticity was key — as were commitment, compassion and a quiet heroism.

Whether he’s plotting the next move for Snowfall’s Franklin Saint or pounding out yet another novel, Walter Mosley reveres the freedom to create.

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