PopHampton: New Shows, New Hosts, New Times and… Some Cancellations

Winter Soldier Black Widow Scarlett Johansson
New Hamptons homeowner Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow in Captain America: Winter Soldier, Photo: Marvel/Disney

February is sweeps month on television, which means the networks dish out lots of exciting stories and special episodes to get the best ratings possible. As usual, though, there’s a lot of drama going on behind the scenes! NBC has pulled the plug on Quogue resident Michael J. Fox’s ratings-challenged new comedy The Michael J. Fox Show. The series, which is structured like Modern Family but without the brilliant premises and gags, has faced an uphill battle since premiering. I thought it was pleasant enough, and it was nice to see Fox portray a character who was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease but didn’t let it take over his life. Unfortunately, the rest of the show just lacked charm and personality. Still, the fantastic Mr. Fox (see what I did there?) will surely rise again—he’s sitcom royalty.

The cancellations continue: Hamptonite Bethenny Frankel’s little-watched talk show Bethenny (which is produced by Ellen DeGeneres) has gotten the axe. Also the subject of recent bad news is my Quiogue boyfriend, Anderson Cooper (a boy can dream, can’t he?), whose 10 p.m. CNN show AC 360 Later has been pulled from the schedule. The more lighthearted of Cooper’s talk shows, AC 360 Later has often been the first thing CNN preempts in favor of more important news and events, and CNN President Jeff Zucker has reportedly canned it in order to shake up the popular news channel’s lineup. AC 360, which airs at 8 p.m., remains unaffected and is one of CNN’s highest-rated shows. Hey, Anderson—I forgive you for standing me up on Valentine’s Day.

Hamptons-set Revenge and Royal Pains are going to have another East End-related show to contend with during the 2014–2015 season. Showtime has picked up a new series called The Affair, about two couples torn apart by a love affair, set against the backdrop of the Hamptons. Don’t expect the over-the-top histrionics of Revenge, though; The Affair is apparently going to explore the emotional and familial changes the couples go through and will be very focused on telling a tight story (in other words, no kung-fu socialites). Popular TV actor Joshua Jackson (Dawson’s Creek, Fringe) is set to star. The series apparently filmed in the Hamptons last year, so hopefully we’ll have less SoCal Hamptons and more, you know, actual East End locations.

I’m not much of a football fan, but the Super Bowl is a special event for one reason: awesome commercials! Did anyone catch new Amagansett homeowner Scarlett Johansson as the sultry assassin, Natasha Romanov (aka Black Widow), in the new TV spot for Captain America: The Winter Soldier? Johansson explained to Captain America the mystery of the Winter Soldier, an elusive assassin known for his metal arm and extreme speed and strength. This will be Johansson’s third appearance as Black Widow, a role she originated in Iron Man 2 and continued in The Avengers. Her friendship with Captain America is said to be one of the most important aspects of the film. Also appearing in Captain America: The Winter Soldier is Emily VanCamp, who Revenge fans know as central schemer Emily Thorne. VanCamp will play Sharon Carter, a potential love interest for Cap.

Speaking of Revenge, the hot Hamptons soap will return on March 9 at 10 p.m. on ABC, replacing Betrayal (aka the show nobody watched because it sounded too much like Revenge). Make sure you tune in—we want Emily to continue scheming for many seasons to come!

Sagaponack’s Jimmy Fallon took over as Tonight Show host on NBC on Monday, February 17, with special guests Will Smith and U2, among others. On February 18, he welcomes East Hamptonite Jerry Seinfeld and Hamptons visitor Lady Gaga. Other guests during his first week include First Lady Michelle Obama, Will Ferrell (a.k.a Chad Smith), Hamptons regular Bradley Cooper and other big stars. Congratulations, Mr. Fallon!

That’s all for now, Hamptonites. Have a lovely weekend (hopefully devoid of any more winter weather emergencies) and check out South O’ the Highway for all the latest pop culture news and gossip!

Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show
Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show, NBC.com

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