While the doors of Sports Night shuttered after only two seasons, the show helped launch the television careers of several actors and became an early indicator of what Aaron Sorkin could do on TV. When the cast came back together for EW‘s reunion issue, they discussed some of the show’s most memorable moments.
Tag: Josh Charles (1-7 of 7)
Back in 1998, when TV viewers turned to Friends and Frasier for punchlines and ER and NYPD Blue for drama, one series boldly attempted to be a one-stop shop: ABC’s Sports Night. Set in the high-stakes world of a live sports news program, the Aaron Sorkin-scribed dramedy followed the behind-the-scenes exploits of fictional “Sports Night” coanchors Casey (Peter Krause) and Dan (Josh Charles), their brilliant producer Dana (Felicity Huffman), harried associate producer Natalie (Sabrina Lloyd), gruff executive Isaac (Robert Guillaume), and whip-smart researcher Jeremy (Josh Malina).
Sports Night was adored by the media—including EW, which called it “the most consistently funny, intelligent, and emotional of any new-season series.” But the show never became a hit, struggling with low ratings and unsympathetic network execs who insisted on an awkward laugh track for the first season and then canceled the series in 2000.
Yet a funny thing has happened in the nearly 15 years since the lights went out at the fictional Continental Sports Channel. Thanks to DVDs and online streaming—and a ripple effect from Sorkin’s hits in TV (The West Wing) and film (The Social Network)—Sports Night found fans beyond its all-too-brief two-season run. “‘Ahead of its time’ is overused,” says Malina. “But it actually is appropriate to Aaron and Sports Night.”
That time began in 1995. Bill Clinton was in the White House. TLC were on the radio. And Aaron Sorkin was living out of L.A.’s Four Seasons hotel, watching too much ESPN. READ FULL STORY
Josh Charles received his second Best Supporting Actor nomination this morning for playing (the late) Will Gardner on CBS’s The Good Wife. Sick with a cold and cough, he went back to bed after getting up early to let out his dog, Zeus—and learned of his nod when he rolled over and saw a congratulatory email on his iPhone. “Nothing super fancy or exciting, sorry,” he jokes to EW. “I’m really excited about it even if my voice doesn’t sound normal.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Lead and supporting actors don’t have to choose an episode to submit until after they’re nominated. Will you go with “Hitting the Fan”?
Josh Charles: The two episodes that stick out to me, as an actor, would be “Hitting the Fan” and “The Decision Tree.” So one of those, probably. I’ll just have some people who I really trust watch them both and tell me which one they feel is best. Or however that works. READ FULL STORY
Julianna Margulies has no desire to direct, but she definitely earns her producer credit on The Good Wife.
CBS hosted a screening of the drama’s March 30 episode Wednesday night in New York, followed by a discussion with Margulies, co-creators Robert King and Michelle King, and Josh Charles, who makes his final appearance in the hour. By now, fans know his departure has been a year in the making. His contract expired at the end of the show’s fourth season, and the decision of whether or not to renew it coincided with when he was proposing to his wife and doing some soul-searching about his future. “Look, it’s a very long season doing a network television show, and somewhere in year 4, I kinda felt burnt out. Michelle and I had a long conversation about it, and I just felt a little fried and that I was ready for something different for me. That’s no reflection on how I feel about the show, it’s just more about what I want to do in my life,” he told moderator Charlie Rose. (“How much I’ve learned from working with Robert and Michelle about storytelling, the quality and depth of the writing — I mean, I’m afraid going out into the world,” he later admitted. “You don’t see that every day. That’s not something that I take lightly.”)
Margulies first learned Charles was thinking of not renewing his contract in March of 2013. “I got a call from Michelle and Robert, and they said, ‘We need to tell you something. Josh is gonna be leaving the show.’ And I said, ‘Why?‘ And they said, ‘Well, his contract is up, and he doesn’t want to renew.’ My head just started spinning. I said, ‘Well, well, well, wait. Did you see if he could do less episodes? Maybe offer him more directing gigs,” she recalled to much laughter. “I just became the Alicia lawyer trying to figure out how to negotiate this contract. And [the Kings] were both incredibly open about it. They said, ‘We’re open for anything. We don’t have enough time to say goodbye to his character properly in this short amount of episodes.’ Because we shoot so in advance, and they’ve written episodes and have a storyline planned. So it kinda meant his character was gonna just disappear, or someone was just gonna talk about him leaving, and I couldn’t accept that. I thought he’s been such an integral part of the show, such an integral part of my character, and I felt like if this is gonna happen, let’s do it right. And they said, ‘Good luck.'”
Once everyone finished laughing again, she continued. “I called Josh, and I gave him terrible Jew guilt. I knew he was about to get married. I’m good friends with his wife, and they’re dear friends of ours. I said, ‘Josh, how about this: 15. Think about it. Wait. Think about it. Money in the bank for 15 episodes. Do you know how expensive it is to have a baby in New York City?’ I went right to the kid thing, and it was disgusting, honestly,” she said. “We were looking at kindergarten for our son at the time, and I was like, ‘Do you know how much private school is in New York?’ I went on this whole thing about kids and family, and he was like, ‘Well, 15? Let me think about that.’ And I said, ‘And two directing slots!’ And then I hung up and called [the Kings], and I was like, ‘How about 15?’ And immediately they both said, ‘If we have an arc, and we know we can write starting next season and finish up this season as planned, we can do this.’ And so I said [to Josh], ‘They’re gonna write amazing stuff!’ And the next thing I knew, it happened.”
“No baby, yet,” she added, looking at Charles, “but that will happen, too.”
'The Good Wife': Hunter Parrish on how he became part of the series' most shocking twist (and #hatemail)
Spoiler alert! If you haven’t yet watched the March 23 episode of CBS’ The Good Wife (or had it spoiled for you on social media), stop reading now.
Actor Hunter Parrish (Weeds‘ Silas) returned as Jeffrey Grant, a college student whose murder trial took a tragic turn that forever altered the course fans expected the series to take. Speaking to EW a day after the episode aired, Parrish — who is about to wrap the indie film Still Alice with Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, and Kate Bosworth — proved he has a good attitude about shocked fans of Will Gardner (Josh Charles) working through their stages of grief. “#Hatemail has been on my Twitter feed,” Parrish said with a laugh. “People have been saying, ‘I really love Silas, but now it’s really gonna be difficult for me to look at him the same.’ That’s a compliment to the work that you’re putting in, and appreciation for the characters, and writers, and actors on The Good Wife that they have given five years of their lives to watching as fans. It’s a great reception. Even though it’s negative,” he continued, with another laugh, “it’s still supportive in a sense.”
The moment I finally became a fan of The Good Wife occurred just about three weeks ago. It came in the current season’s widely praised fifth episode, “Hitting The Fan.” This was the one where Will (Josh Charles) and Diane (Christine Baranski) fired Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Cary (Matt Czuchry) for plotting to start their own firm. As Will progressed from betrayal (his reaction, a symphonically-performed shock-face culminating in a downbeat “what?!”, was priceless) to “commando mode” (rallying emergency quorums; hustling clients to keep them from bolting), and as Alicia progressed from resolute yet regretful to full-on “Oh, it’s so on!” (countering Will’s counter-attacks; wooing Chum Hum; an adrenaline rush quickie with Governor Hubby), it was thrilling to watch them find new energy and purpose in their lives amid the crisis, if slightly heartbreaking to watch the former lovers, now former colleagues, become enemies. It was impossible to take a side; I wanted both to win. In a story full of such grand drama and significant developments, it was a smaller, funnier exchange between Alicia and Will that grabbed me. As a contentious phone conversation came to a close (“Go to hell!” “No, you go to hell!”), Will remembered something very important. “Oh, your daughter called,” he said, suddenly civil. “She needs you to call her school to let her go on a field trip.” “Oh. When was this?” Alicia asked, equally pleasant. “About 40 minutes ago.” “Thank you.” “You’re welcome.” Click. And then war resumed.
Not a terribly ingenious scene, I grant you. It hewed to a familiar screwball comedic structure. The whiplash tonal shift; two rivals abruptly making nice or banal in a way that almost feels out of character. Except here, the moment felt true to the characters, at least as I understand them so far. It was an effective way to dramatize that their relationship was more complex than their current conflict, to show that neither of them should be defined by the crisis/concerns consuming them at present; and it was a moment that was representative of all of everything else in the show that was converting me to rabid Good Wife fandom. READ FULL STORY
Tonight’s episode of The Good Wife (CBS, 9:30 p.m. ET) marks series regular Josh Charles’ directorial debut. It’s an hour that, in addition to the show’s regular cast, features recurring guests Nathan Lane, Maura Tierney, Denis O’Hare, Kristin Chenoweth, and Amanda Peet, who makes her first appearance as Capt. Hellinger, a female military officer accusing a civilian contractor of attempting to rape her in Afghanistan. The case is brought to Lockhart Gardner through Judge Kuhn (Linda Emond). Brian Dennehy also appears as Alicia’s opposing counsel, the wonderfully named Bucky. We talked to Charles, who lost sleep and weight pulling double-duty, about his move behind-the-camera and what we can expect from “The Art of War.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I love the promo for this episode: “No other drama on television brings together stars like this all in one episode.” Was it just luck that you got this hour, or did you ask for it?
JOSH CHARLES: I was supposed to direct last year, and that didn’t happen. So this year, I thought the plan was I was going to fall in the middle of the schedule. But Robert and Michelle King [the show’s creators] called and said, “How you do feel about doing six? The way things are working, it could be kinda great.” The cast just became phenomenal. It was a little nerve-wracking going into it just thinking wow, this is a lot of talent that’s being assembled here for this 42 minutes of television. [Laughs] I’ve learned no matter how much you prepare, there’s always a moment of just like, “Okay, hope I don’t f— it up.” I’ve certainly experienced it as an actor, and I’ve experienced it for the first time as a director. READ FULL STORY
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