*J.J. Abrams pilot “Revolution,” co-starring Giancarlo Esposito, has just received a series order from NBC, reports Deadline.com.
Directed by Jon Favreau and produced by Abrams’ Bad Robot and Warner Bros TV, “Revolution” is described as a high-octane action drama following a group of characters struggling to survive and reunite with loved ones in a world where all forms of energy have mysteriously ceased to exist.
Billy Burke plays the lead, with Esposito, Tracy Spiradakos, Graham Rogers and Anna Lise co-starring.
This marks Abrams’ return to NBC two years after the brief run of his spy drama “Undercovers.”
Gugu Mbatha-Raw as social worker Clea Hopkins in the pilot for FOX's "Touch"
*Although the pilot aired in full nearly two months ago in what FOX called “a preview,” tonight marks the official series premiere of “Touch,” a supernatural drama starring “24” vet Kiefer Sutherland and “Undercovers” alum Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
As reported before the show’s initial Jan. 25 broadcast, Mbatha-Raw plays Clea Hopkins, a social worker who must evaluate the relationship between 11-year-old autistic boy Jake (David Mazouz) and his father Martin (Sutherland). Jake’s autism renders him mute; he only communicates through intricate numeric computations. His father soon discovers that Jake uses those numbers to uncover global catastrophic events that will happen in the future, and Martin feels obligated to try and stop them from happening – by any means necessary.
Clea Hopkins (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) meets Jake (David Mazouz) in "Touch"
“In this day and age of Internet and social network sites, cell phones and international travel, I think we’re more connected than ever before, on one level,” the Oxford, born Mbatha-Raw tells EURweb exclusively. “But that personal human connection, which is really what is at the crux of ‘Touch’ – that relationship between Martin and his son and his inability to communicate with his own son – is crippling for him and so emotionally difficult to deal with. How do you deal with a child that doesn’t talk, and yet seems to have these special savant-like gifts for numbers?
“My character comes into the fray as the social worker brought in to assess Martin and Jake, because it appears [Martin] is not an adequate father; initially the child keeps going missing. So she comes on board to see whether the state needs to intervene for the child’s best interest.”
(L-R) David Mazouz, Kiefer Sutherland and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in a scene from "Touch"
Mbatha-Raw, whose name means “our pride” in the Xhosa language of her South African father, had been acting in British television shows for six years before she landed her first American gig in 2010, NBC’s spy drama “Undercovers,” alongside Boris Kodjoe.
Below, the actress talks about her journey in show business, which includes a fortuitous flight delay at Heathrow Airport two years ago that changed her outlook on everything.
Below, the trailer for “Touch,” premiering (again) Thursday at 9 p.m. on FOX.
Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw speaks onstage during the 'Touch' panel during the FOX Broadcasting Company portion of the 2012 Winter TCA Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on Jan. 8, 2012 in Pasadena
*She hunted down bad guys as an international spy on NBC’s ill-fated “Undercovers.” On Wednesday, actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw takes it down a notch as a social worker assigned to evaluate a young boy and his father as they hunt down bad guys in Fox’s new drama “Touch.”
Mbatha-Raw’s Clea Hopkins must evaluate the domestic situation of an autistic 11-year-old boy named Jake (David Mazouz) and his father, Martin (Kiefer Sutherland). Jake, by the way, does not speak. He prefers to communicate through complex numeric computations – and as his dad finds out in the pilot, he uses those numbers to reveal specific atrocities that will happen in the future. This forces Sutherland to get his Jack Bauer on each week to stop the bad things before they happen – once he deciphers Jake’s math, of course.
(L-R) Kiefer Sutherland, David Mazouz, Gugu Mbatha-Raw in a scene from "Touch"
Mbatha-Raw, who saw plenty of action in “Undercovers,” will be a step removed from the good/evil battles this time around as Jake’s case manager.
“She has a lot to do with his case. She oversees his assessments, she has to liaise with Martin when he starts seeing these numbered connections,” Mbatha-Raw told EURweb exclusively at the Television Critics Association press tour this month. “Even though she goes along with it in the pilot, her first priority is always the child, and whether the state is going to take him away from Martin, because he’s got to prove himself as an adequate parent.”
Fox will preview the full pilot for “Touch” on Wednesday (Jan. 25) at 9 p.m. ahead of its official series premiere on March 19. [Scroll down to watch the trailer.]
In the audio below, Mbatha-Raw takes us back to “Undercovers,” and offers her own idea of what went wrong.
*Boris Kodjoe is on the move. Besides his acting career, he and his actress wife, Nicole Ari Parker, have started a foundation for their daughter’s sickness, as well as a custom shirt line.
In an interview with VIBE, he shared his thought about “Undercovers” being canceled, how he and his wife deal with love scenes, his daughter’s battle with spina bifida and more.
On “Undercovers”: Every week I did something crazy that I hadn’t done before. One time I blew a hole through a concrete wall and climbed thru it into a tall building. Then I would jump out of planes, making my way from a cockpit. It was crazy but it was so much a fun as an actor being able to do so many things on a daily basis, that almost never happens.
On love scenes: Nicole is a beautiful actress who’s had her share of love interests in films over the years with everybody from Denzel [Washington] to Eddie Murphy so it’s a very balanced situation. I’ve watched her do those scenes and she’s watched me, but now we have our little rituals. When I know a love scene of hers is coming up I usually get up and make myself a sandwich so I don’t have to watch [laughs]. We make fun of it. She’ll critique my technique, tell me what it looks like and what I could have done better.
On daughter’s spina bifida illness: Spina bifida is a birth and spine defect that affects the bowels, bladder and legs. When you have a child with spina bifida it’s about 13 times more expensive. The spectrum is really wide some children are in wheelchairs, others are in leg braces or use canes or walkers. It effects mobility. So the manangement of a child with spina bifida is quite intense and it effects the family in a very deep way- it can be traumatic.
*NBC quietly returned the Boris Kodjoe action vehicle “Undercovers” to the schedule last week – and the outcome hasn’t been good.
Ratings reached another series low on Wednesday as the network continues burning off the remaining episodes of the canceled spy drama, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
On the heels of last week’s series-low rating in the adults 18-49 demo, “Undercovers” fell 18 percent Wednesday to a 0.9.
The freshman series was up slightly among total viewers, though, pulling in 4.5 million this week vs. 4.2 million last week.
Elsewhere, the rest of the night’s broadcast lineup was filled with repeats, with ABC and CBS splitting the win.
ABC was tops in the demo, propelled by an all-comedy lineup of “The Middle” (1.7, 6.4 million), “Better With You” (1.5, 5.2 million) and back-to-back episodes of both “Modern Family” (2.1, 6.1 million) and “Cougar Town” (1.3, 3.3 million).
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Webb scores a touchdown in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia, Dec. 28, 2010
Meanwhile, it was a ratings touchdown for Tuesday’s snow-delayed “Sunday Night Football” in Philadelphia.
The NFL preshow and matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings — which was originally scheduled for Sunday but got postponed because of the East Coast blizzard — averaged a 7.3 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic and 21.5 million total viewers.
The game, a 24-14 upset win by the Vikings, marked the NFL’s first to be played on a Tuesday since 1946.
*The jet-setting is over for NBC’s spy drama “Undercovers” and its star Boris Kodjoe.
NBC announced today that it will not pick up additional episodes from the freshman series beyond the original 13-episode order, according to Deadline.com. The Warner Bros TV-produced show is currently filming Episode 12.
The news follows Wednesday night’s episode hitting another series low when it slipped to a 1.3 rating in the 18-49 demo.
The slickly produced light drama, whose pilot was directed by creator J.J. Abrams, broke primetime ground by featuring two black actors as the leads. But it got off to a disappointing start in the Wednesday 8 p.m. slot and never found traction with viewers.
The series will stay on for the next 2 weeks and will air its last original (for now) on December 1, reports Deadline. It was already set for preemption on Nov. 24 when NBC is airing a DreamWorks Animation holiday special. The fate of the remaining original “Undercovers” episodes is unclear.
This is the second new NBC series to get cancelled, along with legal drama “Outlaw.” The rest of NBC’s freshman class all received back-nine orders two weeks ago. At the time, “Undercovers” got a pickup for four additional scripts.