Fox at TCA: Mariah, Britney and Mindy

Mindy Kaling stars in "The Mindy Project."

Monday was Fox day at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. And though “American Idol” is no longer the unbeatable ratings juggernaut it once was, the singing competition still managed to top the day’s TCA headlines.

In an unnecessarily dramatic display, Kevin Reilly, Fox President of Entertainment, announced Mariah Carey would be joining the “Idol” judges’ table by calling the multi-platinum-selling pop star on his cell phone and putting her on speakerphone to have her confirm the gig. Carey apologized for not attending press tour in person — Reilly said the deal had just been finalized just hours before — but assured critics she is “so excited to be on ‘Idol’” and “can’t wait to get started.”

Carey is filling one of the seats vacated by departing judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. Reilly had no news on the identity of the second new judge, though he insisted “it’s 100 percent [confirmed] that Jennifer won’t be back to the show.”

This was in reaction to a comment “Idol” producer Nigel Lythgoe made hours earlier in a panel for “So You Think You Can Dance,” the show he judges. Lythgoe himself is in negotiations to return to “Idol,” and when asked about his future role with the singing competition (“no comment”), mentioned he hoped J Lo. would return.

“I was really upset to hear of Steven leaving us and the possibility of Jennifer leaving us,” he said. “She did say 99 percent she was leaving. Strange thing to say, 99 percent. You’re either leaving or you’re not leaving. So I’m hoping that 1 percent may mean she’s not leaving.”

One thing’s for sure: viewers who fell in love with “New Girl” last season have another smart, funny, messed up lady to adore on the new sitcom “The Mindy Project,” from “The Office” writer and star Mindy Kaling.

Kaling plays Mindy, an OB/GYN who is great at her job, but not so much in her personal life. When asked how she will keep that TV trope fresh, Kaling responded, “it’s interesting — there is this cliché … but that’s also really true of me and all my friends. So you don’t want to not do something that’s relatable simply because you’re worried that it might be cliché.” That balance, she added, is all in execution. “Formula isn’t bad if it’s executed at a really high level. In fact, it can be kind of cozy and nice if the jokes are amazing and the acting is great.”

Meanwhile, on “The Office” front, Kaling confirmed she would return for at least one episode this fall, and possibly one more.

Also new on the Fox comedy slate is “Ben and Kate,” created by Dana Fox and inspired by her brother, whom she referred to a very Ferris Bueller-like in his antics and knack for getting in trouble. Nat Faxon — who won a screenwriting Oscar for “The Descendents” and landed this sitcom the day after the Academy Awards — plays Ben, that wacky brother who becomes a father figure to Maddie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones), the daughter of his single-mom sister, Kate (Dakota Johnson).
“He’s a really, really smart guy who intentionally does dumb things all the time,” Fox says of her brother and, by extension, the character. But, Fox says, her writing team is acutely aware that some of his actions may veer into the outlandish.
“We’re very careful to never make him cross the line — if it goes too far, [viewers will say], ‘Ah I’m off the ride, no thank you.’ It’s really about keeping him grounded. He has a bizarre logic to all of his behavior — he might be a genius.”
 
Meanwhile, Grace Devlin (Jordana Spiro) is a genius surgeon — with a family debt to the mob in “The Mob Doctor.” The idea of a great doctor living a double life and stitching up soldiers in the Chicago mob scene may seem far-fetched, and even series creator Josh Berman thought so. But then he found a book about a real mob doctor called “Il Dottore,” on which, he says, the series is loosely built.

“The more we dug, we found out how most … doctors to the mob are motivated by greed,” he said. “They get seduced by the mob world. It’s not because of the reasons we have in our pilot. Hopefully we’re a little bit more idealized version of the mob doctor. But who knows what the character of Grace will be seduced by in the future.”

Speaking of seduction: How does one of the biggest pop stars of the last decade decide to join a relatively new reality TV competition? Apparently, it’s all thanks to a makeup artist.

“I’ve seen the show a couple of times,” Britney Spears, new judge on “The X Factor,” said of the series, “and I was such a fan of the show. My makeup artist was the makeup artist for Simon [Cowell]. And we talked about [the show] a couple of times when I was on tour, but really never took it seriously until she went back and she started working for him. Then we just all met up, and it made sense. I adore Simon, and it was something I really wanted to do,” Spears added.

Meanwhile, judge Simon Cowell admitted Spears was “the No. 1 person I always wanted on one of these [reality competition] shows. I was fascinated with her as a person, as a pop star, and there’s something intriguing about her. She’s a really, really good judge.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Gunther from 'Friends' talks Central Perk

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."

Local

Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.

National

Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.

Local

Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…

Music

FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.

Television

'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

MLB

5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.

College

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

Style

Rachel Zoe: New York Fashion Week Spring 15

Rachel Zoe goes 'Glam bohemia' for Spring.

Food

Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.

Style

London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.

Food

Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."