A roundup of news from the Television Critics Association winter meeting, where TV networks and streaming services are presenting details on upcoming programs.
Eva Longoria was so busy behind the scenes of the upcoming series “Grand Hotel,” it took a bit for the actress to realize there was no part for her.
As an executive producer on the ABC drama, Longoria was in position to do something about it. She asked writer Brian Tanen to create something for her. She will play a mother in four episodes of the show that takes place at the last family-owned hotel in Miami.
Longoria began filming about five months after giving birth to her first child, whom she toted with her to a TV critics’ meeting Tuesday.
“I was directing the show while I was breastfeeding. I was crazy,” she said. “The first time you see me I’m about 20 pounds (9 kilograms) heavier than the last time you see me because five months had passed.”
Longoria is one of seven women who direct on the show that debuts June 17.
She’s proud that half of the writers are women and people of color, nine of the 11 actors are people of color, and women work in the roles of director of photographer, assistant directors and stunt coordinator.
“It’s still not common enough to have women behind the camera,” Longoria said.
The show stars Demian Bichir, Roselyn Sanchez and Wendy Raquel Robinson. It’s based on the Spanish series “Gran Hotel.”
‘MODERN’ ERA ENDING
ABC’s “Modern Family,” the five-time Emmy Award-winner for best comedy, will end its run next year after 11 seasons.
ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke announced the end of the series about the boisterous extended family on Tuesday. It will finish three seasons short of the longest-running sitcom ever, “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet.”
The series produced by Christopher Lloyd and Steve Levitan was an immediate hit after its debut in September 2009. It began a five-year streak of winning the Emmy for best comedy a year later. Actors Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen and Eric Stonestreet each won two Emmys.
It’s currently seen by nearly 5 million viewers a week.
CLARK’S NEW CHAPTER
Marcia Clark insists she’s not reliving her post-O.J. Simpson trial life in the new series “The Fix.”
Clark co-created the ABC show about a character that viewers who followed the Simpson saga will recognize. Robin Tunney stars as a Los Angeles district attorney whose failed prosecution of a famous movie star on trial for double murder derails her career.
Eight years after the first trial, the actor comes under suspicion for another murder and Tunney’s character seeks the justice that first eluded her.
Clark said Tuesday that the show’s first five minutes draws on what she went through during the Simpson trial. After that, she says the story is complete fiction.
The series debuting March 18 will focus on a single case over 10 episodes.
OSCARS SHAPES UP
Oscars ceremony disarray over the exit of Kevin Hart as the host of the show had an upside — people paid attention, ABC’s entertainment president said Tuesday.
“Ironically, I have found that the lack of clarity … has kept the Oscars really in the conversation, and the mystery has been really compelling,” said Karey Burke, whose network is the ceremony’s longtime home.
She called the interest proof that the Oscars are still relevant.
Burke’s worries about the host-less Feb. 24 ceremony have vanished as it comes together with a “phenomenal” line-up of presenters, she said.
Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Daniel Craig, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Evans and Constance Wu are among them.
The ceremony also has box-office hits — best-picture contenders “Black Panther,” ”Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Star Is Born” — with fans that could boost TV viewership.
The 2018 show drew a record-low 26.5 million people, a 20 percent drop from the 2017 show and the first time Oscar viewership dipped below 30 million, according to Nielsen records that go back to 1974. The best-picture winner, “The Shape of Water,” only grossed $57.4 million in the U.S.
Burke also lauded the movie academy’s pledge to keep the ceremony to three hours, avoiding the overtime that can drain off viewers.
The host-less Oscars was a decision that everyone involved got on board with fairly quickly after Hart withdrew in December, said Burke, who’s been in the top ABC entertainment job just two months.
Hart dropped out amid criticism over years-old homophobic tweets, for which he eventually apologized.