'Simpsons' marathon, digital Simpsons World
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - The full 25-year run of "The Simpsons" will arrive on cable channel FXX with a summer marathon, to be followed this fall by a digital extravaganza that could turn other TV shows yellow with envy.
A website and app dubbed "Simpsons World" will allow on-demand access to all of the 500-plus episodes of Fox's animated comedy and enable users to search through the life histories of Mr. Burns, Bart and other lemon-hued Springfield residents.
"I'm not going to overpromise, but I think this website will provide you with affordable health care," longtime "Simpsons" executive producer Al Jean told a TV critics' meeting Monday. He said the accompanying app "completely blew me away."
SimpsonsWorld.com and content available through FXNOW apps for devices including iPhone, Xbox and smart TVs are set to debut in October. FXX's marathon showing of all "Simpsons" episodes and "The Simpsons Movie," in chronological order, will begin Aug. 21 and air 24 hours a day through Sept. 1.
Beginning on Sept. 2, FXX will regularly air "The Simpsons" throughout its weekday and weekend schedule, with a Sunday "mini-marathon" of eight episodes.
"Simpsons World," the encyclopedic book by series creator Matt Groening, was the "bible" for the digital content, FX Networks executives said. Fans of Sideshow Bob, for instance, will see "curated" material that includes a list of his attempted murder victims Krusty the Clown and Homer Simpson, among others.
Clips and the treasure trove of "Simpsons" factoids can be shared through social media.
FXX will get future seasons of "The Simpsons" that air new on Fox.
Davis savors 'messy' humanity in new role
BEVERLY HLLS, Calif. - Bless this mess, Viola Davis says.
The much-acclaimed actress stars in the new ABC drama "How To Get Away With Murder" from hit-maker Shonda Rhimes, playing a charismatic, complex and Machiavellian law professor who holds a group of students in thrall.
"I love the fact that she's messy and mysterious and you don't know who she is," Davis told reporters at a session of the summer TV critics gathering.
No wonder psychologists and therapists prosper, she went on, explaining, "I think as human beings we are a mess. But a lot of times the narratives we see in TV, film or even theater don't match the mess. I think that's a challenge for any writer, any artist, to match the art with the mess of what we call life. And that's the appeal of this character."
She acknowledged that she has landed many satisfying roles during a career that includes "Traffic," "Antwone Fisher," "Solaris" and "The Help." But there have been other roles, she added, "where I haven't been the show. It's like I've been invited to a really fabulous party only to hold up the wall. And I wanted to be the show!"
There'll be no simple holding-up-the-wall for Davis on "How To Get Away With Murder," she declared. Her show premieres Sept. 25.
'Fargo' gets 2nd season with new cast, crime
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - FX is taking another trip to "Fargo," where the cast is changing but some of the characters are not.
The network announced Monday that it has renewed the series for a second season with new actors, time period and crime.
Executive Producer Noah Hawley told a TV Critics' panel that season two will be set primarily in North Dakota in 1979 with a younger version of the Lou Solverson character (played by Keith Carradine in season one.) His daughter, Molly, who Allison Tolman portrayed, is just 4 years old.
Hawley said he's open to changing the weather and is toying with starting the story in the winter and transitioning to spring and summer.
The earliest the series will air is fall 2015.
Hawley said it would be easier to tap the same actors to return, but he's committed to making "Fargo" an anthology.
"Fargo" has earned 18 Emmy nominations. It was based on the 1996 Coen brothers' movie.
Love, Manson to guest on 'Sons of Anarchy'
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson have roles on the upcoming final season of "Sons of Anarchy."
The musicians join such previous guest stars as Stephen King and David Hasselhoff as unusual casting choices in the motorcycle club drama on FX.
"We try to have some things that are fun," creator and executive producer Kurt Sutter told the summer TV critics' meeting on Monday.
Love plays a teacher and Sutter, a self-professed "huge" Nirvana fan, said, "I thought, who better than Courtney Love?"
Malcolm-Jamal Warner of "The Cosby Show" also has a role in the seventh and concluding season that debuts Sept. 9.
In last season's finale, Katey Segal's character used a fork to fatally stab the wife of Charlie Hunnam's character. Sutter said fans now come up to Segal, his real-life wife, with forks they want autographed.
"The absurdity has crossed the line in some respect," Sutter said.
Thomas Jane to star in 'The Expanse' on Syfy
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Syfy network says Thomas Jane will star as a world-weary detective in an other-worldly thriller for the network.
In "The Expanse," Jane will play Detective Miller, a native of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter two centuries in the future. He's put in charge of the investigation into a missing heiress. This 10-episode series, billed as a "space opera," is based on the best-selling book series by James S.A. Covey. It will premiere on Syfy in 2015.
Jane previously starred in the HBO series "Hung."
Weber welcomes new 'Chasing Life' role
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Steven Weber was ready for something different when his role on ABC Family's "Chasing Life" came along.
"I manifested it in a way after years of playing kind of womanizing (jerks) or just kind of authoritative guys in suits," he said Tuesday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
"Chasing Life" follows a young woman named April Carver, portrayed by Italia Ricci, who discovers she has a form of leukemia. It premiered in June on ABC Family.
Weber plays Carver's uncle who is also a doctor.
On a network that targets a younger demographic, 53-year-old Weber appreciates his role of an adult with a purpose on the series.
"This show does a great job of giving say 'older actors' great roles to play, especially in a genre that you would say is almost, I wouldn't say fixated on younger people but there are older people out there who exist in these younger people's lives and they're very prominent in the story."
"Chasing Life" airs Tuesdays on ABC Family.
Cast members of “Chasing Life” include (from left) Haley Ramm, Italia Ricci, Mary Page Keller and Steven Weber.×
Katey Sagal (from left), Kim Coates and Theo Rossi star in the “Sons of Anarchy” on FX.×