TV series explores Sea Isle man’s involvement in catching the Unabomber

Millions know Ted Kaczynski as the Unabomber, a criminal mastermind who led the FBI on the infamous, and most expensive, 18-year manhunt for the person behind mail bombings, which killed three people and injured dozens of others. But lesser known is former FBI agent James “Jim” Fitzgerald, of Sea Isle City, the man who helped crack the case and the subject of Discovery Channel’s new series, “Manhunt: Unabomber.” Fitzgerald, nicknamed Fitz, is a Stockton University faculty member and was instrumental in the FBI capturing Kaczynski at his remote cabin in Lincoln, Montana 21 years ago. The television series takes people back to the bombings from 1978 to 1995, the inner workings of the FBI case and an introspective look at our interactions with technology today. Fitzgerald and his early years with the FBI and the BAU Fitzgerald, played on the small screen by Avatar’s Sam Worthington, worked for 11 years as a beat cop in Pennsylvania before becoming an FBI agent. He worked in New York City for seven years and then completed a 12-week training course on behavioral analysis and profiling, which was still in its early stages. “There were a lot of people there with investigative gum-shoe backgrounds, which wasn’t a bad thing, that was me, too, but I also came out as a brand new profiler,” he said. “I had 18 years of investigative skills under my belt, 12 weeks of training as a profiler and the first case I get assigned to was the Unabomber.” The series transports viewers back to when Fitzgerald joins the team in 1995 and quickly discovers that the profiles officials had been using, one of which painted the Unabomber as a laid-off airplane mechanic, were not getting investigators any closer to the identity of the mystery serial killer. Fitzgerald said the television series is right on the money in terms of accuracy—dates, times, bomb construction, delivery of letters, victims and Continue Reading

Hollywood legend Olivia de Havilland sues over depiction in ‘Feud: Bette and Joan’ TV series

Hollywood great Olivia de Havilland is launching her own sequel to the TV series "Feud" — a lawsuit. The double Oscar-winning actress sued FX Networks and producer Ryan Murphy's company, alleging unauthorized and false use of her name and invasion of privacy. The suit was filed in Los Angeles on Friday — one day before de Havilland turns 101. The actress, whose credits include the role of Melanie Hamilton in "Gone with the Wind," lives in Paris. De Havilland's suit alleges that "Feud: Bette and Joan" used her name and identity without permission. The suit also claims the series inaccurately depicted her as a gossip, contrary to her behavior and reputation. De Havilland was played by Catherine Zeta-Jones in the series, which focused on the testy relationship between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. FX Networks declined comment Friday. Representatives for producer Murphy didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Michael Jackson’s nephew TJ reveals how King of Pop’s son Blanket joined reality TV series ‘The Jacksons: Next Generation’

He wasn't about to tell Michael Jackson's youngest son to beat it. TJ Jackson says that while filming his new Lifetime reality TV series with his two older brothers, the King of Pop's 13-year-old son asked to join the fray. "There's a camping trip with a variety of cousins. And to be flat-out honest, Blanket wasn't even invited," TJ, the youngest son of "Jackson 5" member Tito Jackson, told the Daily News Tuesday night. "But when he's packing his bag and expecting to go, what am I supposed to tell him, 'You're not allowed to come because you're Michael Jackson's son and that's just life,' " the 34-year-old father of four asked. "There's no way I'm going to do that. He's part of my family. He wanted to come. He understood there were going to be cameras. And that's what I think people are going to see. They're going to see kids that are happy," TJ said during an exclusive interview at the Hayvenhurst estate in Encino, Calif., where Michael Jackson lived as a teenager. A LOOK BACK AT WHERE THOSE CLOSEST TO MICHAEL JACKSON ARE NOW TJ said Michael's oldest son Prince, 18, also appears in the series. "We didn't want to penalize them as Michael Jackson's kids and say you cannot be on the show because of who you are," TJ told The News. "The Jacksons: Next Generation," a six-part series, premieres Friday at 10 p.m. on Lifetime and focuses on the lives of TJ and his brothers Taryll, 39, and Taj, 41, as they navigate life in one of the world's most famous families. The brothers said Tuesday they agreed to the project to give fans an unscripted glimpse of their personal lives and dispel "misconceptions." THE KING OF POP'S FAMILY RETURNS TO GARY, IND., FOR HIS 54TH BIRTHDAY It touches on their mom Dee Dee's tragic 1994 drowning murder, Taryll's struggle with his weight and the status of their once top-selling pop trio 3T. "There are just a lot of lies Continue Reading

‘The Notebook,’ the Nicholas Sparks book-turned-hit movie, being developed as CW TV series

BEVERLY HILLS — The CW is developing the Nicholas Sparks romance "The Notebook," already a hit movie, into a TV series. The series will follow the book's story, CW President Mark Pedowitz confirmed Tuesday, with one omission: It won't show the elderly couple who develop Alzheimer's. The CW aims its programming at a young viewing audience. "We're partway through shooting the pilot now," Pedowitz said. "Things could change, but right now we have no plans to include the older couple." The story, whose movie version starred Rachel MacAdams and Ryan Gosling, will still be set in North Carolina after World War II. Sparks will be involved with the TV series, Pedowitz indicated. "He wanted to work with the CW." No details on casting or potential airdate were revealed. Continue Reading

Cameron Crowe, John Cusack slam planned NBC’s ‘Say Anything’ TV series

Cameron Crowe and John Cusack have nothing good to say about NBC’s planned “Say Anything” TV series. If there was any doubt whether the original writer-director and his star were on board with the in-development sitcom based on their 1989 cult classic movie , the pair made their displeasure clear. “Regarding the announcement of a “Say Anything” tv show… @JohnCusack, @IoneSkye1 and I have no involvement… except in trying to stop it,” Crowe tweeted hours after NBC’s announcement. Cusack sounded like he would have stood outside NBC’s Burbank offices with a loud boom box over his head, tweeting “Hell No!” when a follower asked if he was involved. “No end to the explotiation of other people’s sincere efforts,” he tweeted Tuesday morning. NBC ordered a single-camera comedy from producer Aaron Kaplan and writer Justin Adler that’s set 10 years after the events in Crowe’s film, according to an official synopsis of the series obtained by Entertainment Weekly: "Lloyd Dobler has long since been dumped by Diane Court and life hasn’t exactly turned out like he thought," the synopsis reads. "But when Diane surprisingly returns home, Lloyd is inspired to ‘dare to be great’ once again, get Diane back and reboot his life." Deadline, which broke the initial story, reported that network execs were mulling pulling the plug on the project in the wake of Crowe’s public criticism. Continue Reading

Punchy newsman Rob Morrison, late of CBS, is writing tell-all he thinks will become a TV series

Disgraced former news anchor Rob Morrison, who resigned from his job at CBS after accusations of choking his wife, Ashley, in February, is planning a surprise comeback. He’s writing a tell-all autobiography that he thinks could be turned into a TV series. This isn’t the first time Morrison has taken to writing about his life. After leaving WNBC in 2008, Rob wrote a blog called “Daddy Diaries – Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Anchorman,” which was published on the Huffington Post. He was never paid for the blog. When Rob returned to TV as an anchorman at WCBS, there were discussions about developing the project into a TV show. Now he hopes lightning will strike twice. Getty Images   File photo:  Ashley Morrison and television personality Rob Morrison attend City's Harvest's 14th Annual Practical Magic Ball at Cipriani 42nd Street on April 15, 2008 in New York City. “Rob isn’t the sort of guy that gives in and goes away. He’s a fighter,” a close friend of Morrison’s tells [email protected] “He knows it’s going to be hard for him to find another job in TV, so he is planning on blogging again. This is his chance to tell his side of the story firsthand. He’s already started writing.”   “Daddy Diaries” focused on Rob’s life as a stay-at-home dad while Ashley, a CBS “MoneyWatch” anchor, worked. The blog was full of TV insider stories and jokes that rivaled “Anchorman” in a funny peek at the news business. Meanwhile, Ashley has returned to WCBS after their altercation. Since she tapes her segments on a different floor in the building, she has not visited the newsroom on the second floor where her husband worked. “The network is being very careful to reintroduce Ashley slowly,” says one CBS staffer. “They think it’s too soon to return her to everyone after what happened and Rob accused Continue Reading

In his first TV series, ‘The Following,’ Kevin Bacon plays a damaged hero chasing an escaped con

You look at Joe Carroll in the new Fox suspense drama “The Following,” which premieres at 9 p.m. Monday, and there are moments when, like Mitt Romney, you think of the “Friday Night Lights” motto: “Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose.” Only trouble is, Joe Carroll, played brilliantly by James Purefoy, isn’t the good guy. He’s the bad guy, a guy who has used his charm and charisma to assemble an online community of serial killers bonded by Carroll’s obsession with Edgar Allan Poe and the artistry of death. The good guy, a former FBI agent named Ryan Hardy and played by Kevin Bacon, isn’t quite so organized. “When we meet him, Ryan’s a zombie,” says Bacon. “Joe calls him ‘a damaged man,’ and he is.” A few years before we join “The Following,” Hardy ended Carroll’s personal killing spree. Carroll went to jail, Hardy wrote a book about the case, and then Hardy’s life fell apart. Hardy begins Monday’s opening episode by rolling out of bed, ignoring his phone and taking a long pull from a water bottle fortified with alcohol. He looks around his gray, disheveled apartment and clearly has no plans for the day. “It sounds weird, but the time when he was chasing Joe was the time he felt most alive,” says Bacon. “Even though he got shot and almost died, it was like he needed Joe to wake up him up and give him a sense of purpose.” Now that sense of purpose is back. Carroll has escaped from prison, intending to take care of unfinished business. More ominously, his escape reveals that while he’s been in prison, he has been assembling this serial-killer network. Only Hardy realizes how extensive the network could be, and how the clues to uncovering it lie in Carroll’s obsession with Poe. So Hardy is back in the game, though not without cost to his already tattered psyche. Continue Reading

‘Camelot’ star Eva Green enjoys strong female roles, slightly off-kilter parts in first TV series

A role in "Casino Royale" a few years back helped elevate Eva Green in the eyes of Hollywood decision makers, but along with the attention came a lot of offers for the prettygirlfriend roles. Green, however, turns them down. "I do, but that's probably why I don't work much," says Green, who stars in Starz's new miniseries, "Camelot." "I don't think I'd be very good, because I need to be passionate about something," she adds. "I think small parts are even harder than big parts. I find it quite hard. I like strong women who have secrets and are a bit f-ed up." That certainly could describe Green's role as Morgan in "Camelot," launching Friday at 10 p.m on Starz. She's a pagan, she's evil, she's lovable, and she uses her sexuality to get ahead. "She's such a cool, ballsy character to play, it's not like playing the girlfriend in a movie, she's like a warrior queen," Green says. It's the first TV series for Green, who's spent the rest of her career in movies. Indeed, she's now working on an American accent so she can head to London to film Tim Burton's take on "Dark Shadows." "Camelot" also stars Joseph Fiennes as Merlin, Jamie Campbell Bower as Arthur, Peter Mooney as Arthur's brother Kay, Claire Forlani as their stepmother, and Tamsin Egerton as Guinevere. The series revolves around the rise of young Arthur, raised as a commoner, and his battle for power with his half-sister Morgan. When the cast signed on, they had scripts for the first two episodes and a diagram of how the rest of the series would play out.Green says she was drawn to the job by executive producer Chris Chibnall and because of the character change Morgan goes through in the piece. Playing a dark character helps, too, she says."It's all the facets that she was going to have," Green says. "You see the first episode, she's kind of tough, damaged and people could describe her as evil. But I think you kind of understand little by little why she's behaving that Continue Reading

Mr. T: Sex and violence in ‘A-Team’ remake is ‘too graphic’ and ‘nothing like’ original TV series

He may have forged a career as a professional fighter, but Mr. T thinks all that violence in the new "A-Team" is a pity.The man who originated the role of B.A. Baracus in the 1980s TV series of the same name has hit out at its big screen reboot for not being kid-friendly."It was too graphic for me," Mr. T told WENN after an advanced screening of the movie. "I've no doubt it will do big business at the box office but it's nothing like the show we turned out every week."The 58-year-old wrestler is referring to the series' infamous refusal, during its entire three-year run, to show anyone dying on screen."People die in the film and there's plenty of sex, but when we did it, no one got hurt and it was all played for fun and family entertainment," Mr. T said. "These seem to be elements nobody is interested in anymore."In an interesting twist, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, the wrestler who reprises Mr. T’s role on screen, recently accused Hollywood of  being too weak."Acting is kind of gay…it makes you soft," the UFC star and aspiring actor told the Los Angeles Times. "You got all these people combing your hair and putting a coat over your shoulders when you're cold.""The A-Team" hits New York theaters this Friday. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

‘Bonanza’ turns 50; long-running Western TV series released on DVD for anniversary

It was 50 years ago this Saturday, Sept. 12, that NBC rolled the dice on a Western drama about a man and his three sons who lived on a big ol' ranch in Nevada right around the Civil War. It didn't make much noise that first year, but by the time it holstered its guns 14 seasons later, "Bonanza" had been certified as the biggest television show of the 1960s and one of the two greatest Westerns in TV history. Whether it was better than "Gunsmoke" is an argument fans of early television will never resolve and don't have to. Neither one belongs in second place. "Bonanza" gets the spotlight at the moment because of the 50th anniversary and because it's finally being released on DVD. A two-set package called "Bonanza: The First Season" hits the shelves Tuesday, with a tall stack of bonus features that includes commentary from David Dortort, who created the series. "Bonanza" revolved around Ben Cartwright, played by Lorne Greene, and his three sons: the well-educated, methodical Adam (Pernell Roberts), everybody's pal Hoss (Dan Blocker) and hyperactive Little Joe (Michael Landon). They lived and worked at the Ponderosa, a thousand-square-mile ranch in Nevada. While they seemed to specialize in livestock and timber, they also owed some of their fortune to the Comstock Lode, a huge silver deposit that had recently opened up Nevada to a lot of folks who wanted to make money. Ben Cartwright had money. What he didn't have was much luck with women. His three sons were born to different wives, all of whom died tragically. In fact, almost every woman who got involved with a Cartwright died. It's a tribute to their good character that this was never considered suspicious, just a bad turn of fortune. Whatever the role of fate, it kept the Ponderosa all-male and established the Cartwrights as one of the first non-traditional families on TV. Until then, the Mom-Dad-two-kids nuclear family had generally been the rule, but by the late 1950s producers were Continue Reading