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Thursday, September 20, 2012
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A TV Fan’s Guide To Broadway Stars Arriving In Fall Lineup

By Sam Negin
Theater Editor & Columnist

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This year’s fall TV lineup boasts an exciting number of Broadway stars popping up in the mix, particularly in new shows. I’d like to introduce some of these theater vets to avid TV fans — not only to support Broadway actors but also to see if they can, through their TV work, lure TV viewers out of the house and into a Broadway show (or several!).

Tony winners Laura Benanti (Broadway’s Gypsy, Women on the Verge of A Nervous Breakdown) and Julie White (TV’s Grace Under Fire and Broadway’s The Little Dog Laughed) are coming to TV on a series called Go On, starring Matthew Perry (TV’s Friends). In the show, Perry’s character joins a support group run by Benanti and becomes friends with another member of the group, a lesbian widow played by Ms. White. The show airs Tuesday nights at 9* on NBC.

Tony nominee Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon), Tony winner Ellen Barkin (The Normal Heart) and Justin Bartha (Lend Me A Tenor) have come to TV in a program called The New Normal. The show, created by Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story), centers on a gay couple (played by Rannels and Bartha) living in Ohio who decide to become parents. The show airs Tuesday nights at 9:30 on NBC — right after Go On.

In Partners, two lifelong friends played by Michael Urie (Broadway’s How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Off-Broadway’s Angels in America and TV’s Ugly Betty) and David Krumholtz, form a construction business together and must learn to balance their personal and professional lives as one becomes engaged and the other enters a new relationship. The show will air on Mondays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS starting Sept. 24.

Justin Kirk (TV’s Weeds and Angels in America, Broadway’s Other Desert Cities, Off-Broadway’s The Understudy) returns to TV in a series titled Animal Practice. In the show, Kirk plays Dr. George Coleman, a veterinarian, who must deal with pet owners as crazy as the animals he treats. The show will air on Wednesday nights at 8 on NBC beginning Sept. 26.

In a new legal drama called Made in Jersey, Jessica Blank stars as a lawyer working at a New York law firm. Her co-workers all have Ivy League educations (she does not), but her New Jersey-bred street smarts help her keep up with the pack. Two-time Tony winner Donna Murphy (Passion, The King and I) plays a supporting role as Blank’s mother. The show will air on Fridays at 9 p.m.on CBS starting Sept. 28.

Vanessa Williams is back on TV after her previous gig, Desperate Housewives, closed up shop last spring. In 666 Park Avenue, a young couple played by Dave Annable (Brothers and Sisters) and Rachel Taylor star as a midwestern couple hired to manage an upscale apartment complex owned by Williams. But the job may entail more than the young couple anticipated as supernatural forces start making themselves known. The show will air on Sundays at 10 p.m. on ABC starting Sept. 30.

Broadway baby Mamie Gummer (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The School for Lies), daughter of Hollywood heavyweight Meryl Streep, stars in the title role in a new medical drama called Emily Owens, M.D. Quirky Emily lands a spot as an intern at a Denver hospital where, she later learns, she will work with her high school tormentor and a former crush, played by Aja Naomi King and Justin Hartley, respectively. Broadway actress Necar Zadegan (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) plays her supervisor.  The show will air on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on the CW starting Oct. 16.

*Note:  All times listed are Eastern Standard Time

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