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Robert Halmi Sr. dies; produced 'Neverland,' 'Dinotopia,' 200 TV projects

Prolific TV producer Robert Halmi Sr., has died. 

Halmi died Wednesday in his New York City home at 90, said spokesman Russ Patrick. 

The Hungarian-born Halmi found success as a magazine photographer after arriving in America in 1951, shooting pictures for such publications as Life and Sports Illustrated. 

But in a mid-career switch in the mid-1960s, he turned to moving pictures. During the next half-century he produced more than 200 programs and miniseries for television. 

His specialty was family-friendly entertainment, with TV projects including “The Josephine Baker Story,” the Bette Midler-starring “Gypsy,” “Merlin,” “Dinotopia” and “The Lion in Winter” with Glenn Close. 

Other projects included TV versions of “The Odyssey,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Gulliver's Travels” starring Ted Danson, and “In Cold Blood” with Anthony Edwards and Eric Roberts. 

Often teaming on his films with his son, Robert Halmi Jr., he claimed every project was a passion project, including the 1994 miniseries...

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'Sharknado 2': So, who didn't have a cameo? [Spoilers]

"Sharknado 2: The Second One" premiered on the Syfy channel Wednesday night, and the cameos were almost as ubiquitous as the sharks.

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Thursday's TV Highlights: "Our America With Lisa Ling" on OWN

Customized TV Listings are available here:

Click here to download TV listings for the week of July 27 - Aug. 2, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies



The Quest This ambitious new competition series evokes a medieval world via a land called Everealm. Twelve contestants are thrust into challenges that wouldn't be inappropriate for someone named Bilbo Baggins. 8 p.m. ABC

Welcome to Sweden Bruce (Greg Poehler) may be in Sweden now, but somehow his past clients are still able to find him. Gene Simmons is the latest, playing himself in this new episode. 9 p.m. NBC

Rookie Blue Andy (Missy Peregrym) has to prepare her defense quickly when Duncan's (Matthew Owen Murray) dismissal hearing suddenly is moved up in this new episode of the police drama. 9 p.m. ABC

Project Runway The designers spend an afternoon at the movies, then must create fashionable looks out of items found in a theater or on a film set. 9 p.m. Lifetime

Working the Engels Jenna's (Kacey...

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Join Tony Hale to talk 'Veep' (and serving Kate Upton) on Thursday

Tony Hale will be dropping by The Times' studio at 11 a.m. PDT on Thursday. Of course, we'll be talking about the latest season of "Veep," the HBO comedy that earned Hale a supporting actor Emmy last year and yet another nomination this year.

But we'll also be venturing further afield into other areas of inquiry — namely, how did this job come about? Are the members of Lady Antebellum big fans of "Veep"? Did Hale ever work as a bartender while he was trying to make it as an actor? Would Kate Upton really get the best of him in a drinking game? And that neck tattoo ... it's very becoming, for that sort of thing. Did Hale keep it for a while after the shoot just to mess with people?

And, again, yes, plenty of "Veep," which just finished its third season in spectacular fashion. We won't get into details here, but we will in the chat. So suffice to say, the show continued its superb storytelling as well as its rapid-fire delivery of insults and memorable one-liners. 

"It used to be where...

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'Moon Animate Make-Up' remakes 'Sailor Moon': Out of many, one

I am not a fan of "Sailor Moon," which I say not with any sort of pride or derision -- I have just been busy with other things. But I do like animation and collaborative enterprises and the way that every human hand makes an individual mark, and all of these things have come together in the just-released "Moon Animate Make-Up," a crowd-sourced project wherein more than 250 animators joined to re-imagine, shot for shot, an episode of the influential, cultishly revered, early '90s Japanese-import cartoon series.

For comparison, the original episode, "Fractious Friends," is here, with the dubbed English soundtrack that became the basis of the remake. The remake is here. It has had more than a million views since it was posted on July 20. (And the project Tumblr is here.)

In its crazy-quilt overlay of an existing work, it is a lot like "Star Wars Uncut," Casey Pugh's beautiful and hilarious 2009 crowd-sourced remake of "A New Hope." It is also something like the old surrealist...

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Stephen Colbert hopes to grab Sarah Palin fans with his own site

Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has launched her own online channel, appropriately titled the Sarah Palin Channel. But Palin fans, be careful what URL you type in, or you could end up in the clutches of Stephen Colbert.

During "The Colbert Report" on Tuesday, the host riffed on Palin's recently launched channel, which promises all Sarah, all the time. All for the monthly fee of $9.95.

"Sure, that's more than Netflix," Colbert said. "But it's just as good as 'House of Cards,' with even more threatening monologues into camera."

Colbert points out that participation in the site is limited to paying subscribers.

"That's right, it's a safe space where like-minded folks can hear things they already agree with from someone whose opinion they already know," he said.

In an effort to capitalize on Palin's push into the online space, Colbert and his team have decided to exploit an oversight in her media strategy. The URL is the official site. But if...

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'Girls' actress Allison Williams will star in NBC's live 'Peter Pan'

NBC has found its Peter Pan, and true to the many stage productions of the musical, he's going to be played by a woman. Allison Williams, better known as one of the stars of HBO's comedy-drama "Girls," will take on the title role in the live production set to air Dec. 4.

While Williams may have a strong family connection to NBC -- her dad is "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams -- the actress is, in fact, a classically trained singer.

Williams has previously displayed her musical talent in various YouTube videos, including this one of her covering Kesha's "Tik Tok." She's also recorded songs for the "Girls" soundtrack.

"Peter Pan" is NBC's follow-up to its successful live production of "The Sound of Music" that aired last December. Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who also oversaw "Sound of Music," seem to have a pattern of picking over HBO's casts for their stars. Stephen Moyer of "True Blood" appeared in "Sound of Music" as Captain Von Trapp. And now Williams takes time from...

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Colin Hanks talks 'Fargo' and making new friends in Calgary

What do you do if you're Colin Hanks and you're in Calgary shooting "Fargo" and you really want to see the season finale of "True Detective" but you don't have HBO?

That's one of many things we discussed with the newly minted Emmy nominee when he dropped by The Times recently to talk about the celebrated FX miniseries. Hanks won a supporting actor nod for his nuanced turn as Gus Grimly, the Duluth deputy that began the season as a rather hapless character ("I kept looking for the wins," Hanks says) and ended the show on a rather triumphant note.

But back to that "True Detective" dilemma. Hanks had watched most of the HBO series back home in Los Angeles. When he returned to Calgary to finish filming "Fargo," he needed to find out how things sorted out in the psychosphere. So he took to Twitter, asking strangers if they had a plus-one in their living room.

"I had a couple of different offers and I sort of vetted them all," Hanks says. "And I found a couple -- Sarah and Josiah -- they...

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Cat Deeley dishes on 'Dance,' romance and questions from 'mum'

"So You Think You Can Dance" host Cat Deeley dropped by The Times recently, and the four-time Emmy nominee took your questions — and, apparently her mum's — during a lively conversation.

Deeley dished on the show's future (executive producer Nigel Lythgoe recently hinted that, unless the ratings hold, this could be its last season) as well as filling us in on how her husband won her over and why she picks out every outfit, every "suit of armor," she wears on "Dance."

"No one knows how you wake up in the morning better than you do," Deeley says. "And some days I can rock a black leather minidress and feel a bit like Debbie Harry, and some days I want something that's feminine or floaty and some days I want something that's easy, and it won't change my performance, but it definitely helps it."

Deeley also cleared up why she always looks a bit "gianty" on the show (a result of her 5-foot-9 frame and heels as well as tired dancers being out of breath after they perform) and how she...

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Talking TV: Chat about Halle Berry's sci-fi drama 'Extant'

Halle Berry is back from space, but she didn't come back alone in the new CBS science-fiction drama.

The series, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, has seeimingly everything: an Oscar-winning movie star, a robot boy, a possible alien baby, holograms, mystery, nifty gadgets and a hint of forbidden (i.e. alien) romance.

So what does Times TV critic Mary McNamara think? Join Mary, staff writer Patrick Kevin Day and Reader Engagement Editor Michelle Maltais right here for an in-depth discussion of the slick summer entertainment at noon Pacific on Wednesday.

Tweet your questions/comments to #asklatimes.

Follow me on Twitter: @patrickkevinday

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ESPN's Stephen A. Smith suspended a week over domestic violence speech

Stephen A. Smith will be suspended from ESPN for about a week effective immediately, the cable sports giant announced Tuesday.

In a statement released to the media, ESPN said, "Smith will not appear on 'First Take' or ESPN Radio for the next week. He will return to ESPN next Wed."

The suspension comes just days after Smith made controversial on-air comments about domestic violence that led to an outcry from many quarters, including Smith's ESPN colleague Michelle Beadle, who spoke out about the comments on Twitter.

During a discussion about the two-game suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for beating his then-fiancee (now wife) unconcious in an elevator in February, Smith launched into a rambling speech about domestic violence that seemed to imply that women share some of the blame for violent incidents.

While the sports anchor did say, "We know you have no business putting your hands on a woman," he also cautioned women, saying, "Let's make sure we don't do anything...

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Wednesday's TV Highlights: 'Extant' on CBS

Customized TV Listings are available here:

Click here to download TV listings for the week of July 27 - Aug. 2, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies



Penn & Teller: Fool Us The comedic-magician duo judge which of several contenders should perform with them on stage in Las Vegas. 8 p.m. KTLA

My Wild Affair This new episode tells the story of an orphaned black rhinoceros that became part of the family of Dr. John Condy, developing a special bond with their four children. After 50 years, the family tries to determine what became of the creature after he was released back into the wild. 8 p.m. KOCE

Young & Hungry Josh (Jonathan Sadowski) is impressed with a computer wizard (Jesse McCartney) and wants to hire him, but there's an unfortunate incident involving Gabi (Emily Osment). 8 p.m. Family

Extant Oscar and Emmy winner Louis Gossett, Jr. guest stars as Molly's (Halle Berry) estranged father in this new episode. 9 p.m. CBS

Who Do You Think You Are...

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