The network that once publicly thanked a higher power for Fridays almost seems to be dreading the end of the work week now.
Having joined other nets in retreating from firstrun scripted programming on Saturday nights like the Chicago Bears from a first down, ABC has gone a step further by abandoning first-run fiction during the bloc formerly known as TGIF.
In this sweeps month of February, the Alphabet web has filled its Friday schedule with a combination of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Brothers and Sisters" encores, newsmag "20/20" and never-say-die "America's Funniest Home Videos." ABC hasn't aired an original scripted program in Friday prime time since Nov. 10, when "Men in Trees" made its final foray before planting itself on Thursdays.
ABC now goes 70 hours without first-run scripted fare, from the end of "Trees" Thursday to the 9 p.m. start of "Desperate Housewives" on Sunday. ...
Several Oscar contenders cast their movies in far-flung places, a trend that might lead you to believe Hollywood has developed a go-to blueprint for such challenges.
No such luck. Mostly, casting the international movie remains a mad scramble.
"You just call everybody you know," says casting director Victoria Thomas of "Blood Diamond," nominated for five Academy Awards. "You just do whatever you need to do."
Complicating the process is the desire for local authenticity, which often means that the right person for the job is someone the director has never heard of, as was the case with Clint Eastwood's "Letters From Iwo Jima." ...
Writers are known as wordsmiths, imagined as devourers of literature, but well into his adulthood, WGA Screen Laurel honoree Robert Benton was anything but.
"I grew up in a small town in Texas, and I was seriously dyslexic before anyone knew what dyslexia was, so it was very difficult for me to read," the 64-year-old Benton recalls. "I always thought of myself as seriously stupid, and most of the people in my town would have agreed with me.
"My father, unlike anybody else, when he would come home from work, instead of saying, 'Have you done your homework?' would say, 'Do you want to go to the movies?' So I would." ...