'Sesame Street' Movie's Writer-Director Reveals Plot Details. Anne Hathaway is attached to star in the show's first feature film in more than a decade: "It has never lost its sheen." There are so few theatrically released Sesame Street movies, even a Muppet could count them on one hand (with two fingers left over). Aside from 1985's Follow That Bird and 1999's Elmo in Grouchland, there's been only TV films and direct-to-video releases. That's about to change. "It's going to be big," promises Portlandia's Jonathan Krisel, who's been hired to write and direct a still-untitled Sesame Street feature in development at Warner Bros. (a project that moved from Fox in 2015). Exactly how big, he can't say -- sources say it will be in the $50 million range -- but Krisel confirms that Anne Hathaway will star and that shooting could begin in late summer. The plot is being kept under wraps, but Krisel reveals that it will be a musical drawing inspiration from the show's theme song, with characters getting lost in NYC and trying to find their way back to Sesame Street. "Sesame Street never sold out," Krisel says. "Yes, it's on diapers and it's a brand, but it never got cheesy. For 50 years, it has never lost its sheen. That's why it's daunting. You don't want to be the guy who does that to Sesame Street." Ken Kwapis, who directed Follow That Bird before going on to shoot Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and episodes of The Office, can relate. And he has one piece of advice for Krisel, the same advice Jim Henson gave Kwapis 30 years ago: "Jim asked that on day one of photography, I gather the crew and tell everyone to raise one hand and hold it for a full minute. He wanted the crew to understand how taxing it is for a puppeteer to hold up his puppet while you're making umpteen lighting adjustments." (Hollywood Reporter)

Why Lauren Cohan Left The Walking Dead and Went For Whiskey Cavalier. Lauren Cohan is about to do something very different than what she's been used to for the past nine years. She's starring in the new ABC show Whiskey Cavalier alongside Scott Foley as a somewhat apathetic spy after many seasons as a zombie survivor on The Walking Dead, and this new character is a big, "huge," change for her. "She gets to shower," Cohan joked to a small group of reporters after the TV Critics Association panel for the new ABC show. "She brushes her hair, sometimes." Cohan's last episode of The Walking Dead aired in the fall. She wasn't really written off, but she simply wasn't around when the show made a six-year time jump. She was alive and well somewhere else. Cohan has spoken about the decision to leave before, but she reiterated that her exit had nothing to do with the quality of the show in any way. "I never thought it was bad," she said. "I was just like, I've done this show for a long time. It was a long time to play a character, and sometimes you just get quiet and listen to your inner guidance and it's time to multitask," she said. The truth is that Maggie could return, and Cohan says she's "seeing what happens." Andrew Lincoln also left the series before that time jump, but his exit turned out to be a little different. He ended up getting his own series of Walking Dead movies as Rick Grimes, while Cohan is moving onto other projects. She did say that it's not out of the question to get her own spinoff series or movie in some way. "There may have been some conversations, but everything is so ambiguous," she said. "It's early days. We'll just have to -- me, as much as anybody -- see what happens." After her departure, Cohan says she "had the pick of the litter" in terms of roles, and there were a lot of reasons Whiskey Cavalier was the one she went with. "I got to go to a territory that was fun," she said. "A light one-hour fun show that also still has a lot of sentiment and a lot of heart, and for me, I've wanted to do comedy for so long, and this is sort of the perfect segue because I love action." Her new character, Frankie, is no Maggie, and she's also very different from Cohan herself. "The character challenges me hugely because she doesn't apologize and she doesn't care, she just doesn't understand why everybody doesn't operate more like Frankie, and I'm not like that," she said. "I'm concerned by how I'm going to affect someone with what I do. There's a lot of freedom in playing somebody like this." Cohan explained that since the character's a spy, she uses her femininity when she needs to, to do what she needs to do, but it's not what she's used to on The Walking Dead or in real life. "I'm not a girly girl on my time off, so it's like, powder? Why do we need powder?" Whiskey Cavalier premieres February 24 on ABC. (Eonline)

Kristoff St. John's final 'Young and the Restless' episode gets airdate. Kristoff St. John's final episode of "The Young and the Restless" aired on Wednesday (Feb 6) -- just four days after the soap star's unexpected death. A "special tribute" to the actor will also air during the episode, CBS announced Tuesday. St. John starred as Neil Winters on the long-running soap opera for more than 25 years, in a role that earned him two Daytime Emmys and multiple NAACP Image Awards. He was found dead at his California home on Sunday at the age of 52. An autopsy was completed Monday, but the coroner has deferred announcing a cause of death pending toxicology results. Since St. John's death, tributes have poured in from his famous friends and "Young and the Restless" co-stars, including Shemar Moore, who played his brother Malcolm Winters and credited St. John for helping launch his career. (PageSix)

This Is Us: See first photos of Beth's backstory episode with Phylicia Rashad. This Is Us has been doing a steady and thorough job of digging into the past of Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown) -- one-third of the Big Three -- but the backstory of his wife has not been explored. That all changes Feb. 19 with a highly anticipated episode of the NBC family drama that delves into the earlier days of Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), with guest stars Phylicia Rashad as Beth's mom, Carol, and Goran Visnjic as Beth's teacher. Titled "Our Little Island Girl," the episode revolves around Beth and her cousin Zoe (Melanie Liburd) road-tripping to D.C. to visit Carol, and through flashbacks, it unspools the story of Beth's upbringing, while tying together those images that we saw in the fall finale's flash-forward, with Beth lording over a ballet studio. "We're going to get the full story, and it's about where she goes from here," Watson recently told EW. "Now that we know what's been bothering her, what's been in on her mind, and where she finally wants to go, now what is she going to do?" You can check out first-look images from the episode, which involves a tense dinner for the three women, as well as a deeply emotional conversation between mother and daughter. (Make that two conversations.) Watson was thrilled with the casting of the Tony-winning and Cosby Show alum as her onscreen mom. "I just thought, 'Oh! This is going to be amazing," she says. "One of the biggest comparisons I hear is how Beth reminds people of Claire Huxtable... It almost feels like the only person it could be." There is still one more episode of This Is Us before Beth's showcase installment. TIU has been pre-empted Tuesday night while NBC covers President Trump's State of the Union address, and it will return Feb. 12, with part 2 of "Songbird Road," which involves Rebecca (Mandy Moore) coming face to face with Jack's not-so-dead brother, Nicky (Griffin Dunne). (Entertainment Weekly)

A Modern Family Spinoff? ABC Would "Love It" Following Milestone-Filled Final Season. The end of Modern Family might not be the last time viewers see these beloved characters. Yep, ABC is already talking spinoffs. ABC announced Modern Family would return for an 11th and final season at the 2019 Television Critics Association Press Tour. "[Co-creators Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan] have created one of the most seminal and iconic comedies in television history," Karey Burke, president, ABC Entertainment, said in a statement. "In its final season, there will be more milestone events that anyone who has been a fan of the series won't want to miss." "Milestone events" in season 10 include the death of a character and the surprise pregnancy of another. It seems the pregnancy and start of a new, modern family, could be the perfect jumping off point for a follow-up series. "I would love it. No one would be happier if there were one," Burke told press about a spinoff after her TCA panel. "This next year, from what I hear, is all about...they have big plans. There are some surprises and big milestones coming. They intend to really, really go out big. So, it would be terrific if a spinoff were part of that." After revealing Sarah Hyland's character Haley was pregnant, Lloyd told E! News all the big changes the writers made to these characters reinvigorated the behind-the-scenes team. "We actually went into the planning of the season with the idea that if we got excited about certain changes in the characters' lives, we should do them, whether it was the final season or not," Lloyd said. "Because it was just going to be good for the show, and we kind of planned that it could go either way. It would make for a very lively last season, but if we end up doing another season -- and I think it's looking a little bit more likely that will happen -- we'll just throw all these changes into people's lives, which is only good in terms of new stuff for us to explore." Now, they have another season to explore... and maybe a spinoff. Modern Family airs Wednesdays, 9 p.m. on ABC. (Eonline)

How Sesame Street nearly ended its decades-long run. Sesame Street nearly went out of business and was forced to turn to HBO for a multi-million-dollar boost, its financial chief has revealed. The TV favorite which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year left its original home at PBS in 2015 after plunging into an $11 million loss. "It was one of the toughest decisions we ever made," Steve Youngwood, Sesame Workshop's COO, told The Hollywood Reporter as he admitted that the conversations with PBS were "complicated." Sesame Street is now a $100 million empire, with 5 million subscribers on its YouTube channel and last June bosses signed a huge deal with Apple to create new content. There are more than 150 versions of the show being produced in 70 languages, everywhere from South Africa to Bangladesh, with more countries on the way. Sesame Street puppeteers have recently made trips to Jordan to help set up a new Arab-language production aimed at children displaced by the Syrian refugee crisis and that's scheduled to launch in the region in September. Although things have changed on Sesame Street over its incredible 50-year run including the fact that viewers now have to pay HBO to watch brand new episodes one fact remains, the fascinating feature reports: "The puppeteers still operate Muppets the old-fashioned way, with a human hand shoved up a felt hole." And the people who bring our favorite Muppets to life pose for a rare photo on the cover of THR. David Rudman hides under Cookie Monster, while Big Bird looks on as Peter Linz handles Ernie. Meanwhile, Ryan Dillon who joined Sesame Street aged just 17 is under perennial favorite Elmo and Leslie Carrara-Rudolph appears with Abby at the show's Queens studios. "We have a few rules here," Carmen Osbahr, who normally operates Rosita, Sesame Street's Latina Muppet, told the magazine: "Always deodorant, never onions." The show, which hired a young and exceedingly talented puppeteer called Jim Henson was the brainchild of Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett who hatched the idea at a Manhattan dinner party. It now reaches 150 million across the globe. Meanwhile, Bert, Ernie and the gang have won 189 Emmys, more than any other TV program. To celebrate its anniversary, there will be a TV special, a Sesame Street 10-city road trip and the series will have a Manhattan street named after it. Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway is set to his summer shoot a Sesame Street movie, directed by Jonathan Krisel. A host of A listers from Robert de Niro to Carol Burnett have appeared on the show. As Ryan Reynolds (who stuck his head through a giant letter A) told THR: "Honestly, ask any actor if they want to stick their face into an A-hole and sing ... chances are pretty good they'll say yes." (PageSix)


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