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Question: Any news on a replacement for Ziva on NCIS? —Cathy
Ausiello: Yep, and pretty big news at that. As exec producer Gary Glasberg revealed to Matt Mitovich Monday night, it’s going to be “a little while” before a full-time agent is brought in to fill the void left by Cote de Pablo. But in the meantime, the show — taking a page from Bones‘ squintern playbook — will “rotate some fun people” through the agency’s doors. “The first two episodes are all about Ziva’s departure,” Glasberg notes. “And then in the third episode we introduce, for instance, a woman in her 50s who is a few days away from retirement and just needs to fill the desk time. She, in theory, knew Gibbs all the way back to the days of Mike Franks. So we’re going to bring in people like that and have some fun with different characters. And then, hopefully, when people are comfortable enough, one will walk in and be The One.”
Question: Do you have any Grey’s Anatomy spoilers about Derek and Meredith? —Toni
Ausiello: The two-hour Season 10 premiere will delve into the “aftermath” of Mer’s turbulent delivery, teases Grey’s consulting producer (and Scandal Emmy nominee) Dan Bucatinsky. “She had a rough birth. We’re going to see them in the hospital together and juggling their roles in a major way.” The super-sized Sept. 26 kickoff is alternately “dramatic, emotional and exciting,” the actor-writer-producer adds. “Also, we’re going to watch these new interns become part of the fabric of the hospital. That’s going to be part of what’s fun and fresh about this season. We’re going to get to know them better.”
Question: Please tell me if you have any Grey’s Anatomy news on Christina/Owen. They seriously need to be over and done with. It’s time for them to move on for good. —Abdul
Ausiello: How do you really feel Paula (that is your first name, right?). Sadly, I have no news for you on “Crowen,” unless the new recurring character the show is adding figures into their fractured relationship somehow. The newbie, Bill, is a likable jazz musician in his 50s who has been “somewhat ravaged by drug abuse.” He’s slated to appear in roughly five episodes of Season 10.
Question: I need some fall Nashville scoop. – Titan
Ausiello: Well, when you ask in such a polite fashion, how can I say no? A new thirtysomething character, Trey, is going to be hot, rich, charming, confident, self-deprecating and European — which narrows his romantic pool to Juliette, Scarlett, Zoey, Will or anyone with a pulse.
Question: What’s going to happen with my favorite (almost) couple Jane and Lisbon on this season of The Mentalist? —Bethany
Ausiello: The conclusion of the Red John mystery later this fall will have a profound impact on their relationship — for better or worse. “Up until now, they’ve been tied by this professional dynamic and this mission they’re on,” notes series creator Bruno Heller. “And that held their personal relationship in suspense. Once the Red John saga is done, how do they find a new way to relate to each other? The chemistry has always been there bubbling up. But he now has other priorities and other agendas and other pressures.” The arrival of a major new female character — a series regular! — in early 2014 will serve as an added complication. “When you’re as good a detective as Jane is, it’s very hard to walk away even when you want to walk away,” Heller teases, cryptically. “Some people wont let Jane walk away from what he’s so good at. And our new female lead has something to do with that.”
Question: I’m sure you’re getting a ton of these emails, but I’m so heartbroken about Cory Monteith’s passing. Any more info on what the initial Season 5 episodes of Glee will look like? –Ellen
Ausiello: No doubt, Ryan Murphy and the show’s cast and crew have a difficult road ahead, as they navigate their own grief while trying to pay tribute to their fallen colleague — and still produce an entertaining season of television. The Glee writing team had already penned the first two Season 5 installments — built around the music of the Beatles — back in May, which gives everyone a leg up in advance of the Sept. 26 kickoff. And to that end, the show is casting five roles (to either replace or augment the three parts we told you about earlier this month) for the premiere, only one of which calls for a young actor. (Hrmmm.) The lineup of new characters — the first three of which are recurring — includes: Roderick Easton, a talented, theatrical fortysomething with a big ego; Jim Elliott, a handsome, smart academic in his mid-40s or 50s; Jurgen, another fella in his mid-40s or 50s, who’s either German or Austrian, with a definite accent; an unidentified, not-gender-specific, fortysomething “School Board Member”; and finally, “Nerdy Girl,” age 18 or thereabouts, who’ll likely wind up in the halls of William McKinley High (albeit with only a single line of dialogue). After Beatlemania hits the Glee-verse, expect one more episode — a tribute to fallen Finn — before the show takes its fall hiatus.
Question: So I spent my weekend watching Homeland, from pilot through Season 2. I’ll say this as kindly as I know how… GIMME SPOILERS. Please and thank you with a Snapple-sized Smurf on top! —Paige
Ausiello: Let’s play a game. I’ll throw some literal data your way from the first two episodes (both of which I’ve seen and thoroughly enjoyed) and you have to decipher the meaning. All of the following figures are referenced multiple times throughout the first two hours. Ready, set, translate:
* 219 People
* 14 hours
* 6 miles
Question: I can’t wait for Elementary to come back this fall. Do you have any Season 2 scoop for me? — Céline
Ausiello: A skeleton will come tumbling out of the closet early into Season 2 when we meet “someone from [Joan's] past,” EP Rob Doherty tells TVLine. “We’ve alluded to a mistake she made when she was a surgeon that cost a patient his life. We’re going to meet someone, like a very real connection to that patient, and explore Joan’s feelings of guilt. At what point do you tap your guilt and give yourself permission to live a life?”
Question: Parenthood tidbit, please? —Dakota
Ausiello: Look for Max to become an apprentice to Ray Romano’s returning Hank “in the world of photography,” previews Max Burkholder, who reminds, “At the end of the fourth season, Hank gave Sarah an old camera to give to Max. So he’s been fiddling around with that during the time jump.”
Question: Any scoop on the upcoming plot lines involving returning Good Wife guests America Ferrera and Gary Cole? —Beth
Ausiello: Cole’s McVeigh and Christine Baranski’s Diane are “still on the brink of getting married,” reveals exec producer Robert King. “So we’ll see if Diane will sacrifice [that relationship] for the judgeship or go with him.” Ferrera’s Natalie, meanwhile, “brings a case to Alicia’s law firm about immigration, and who should cross paths with her but [former crush] Eli. So all these feelings are brought up again and we see a re-sparked relationship. There was a lot of chemistry there. And we never felt like we explored it to its fullest because we couldn’t get America for more than three episodes; we’re going to try to return to that now.”
Question: Is The Good Wife really naming Ben Rappaort’s character Carey? Even with the extra “e” I have to imagine there will be plenty of confusion. —Michelle
Ausiello: Turns out, that’s the point. “That confusion helps us on one or two plot points,” notes King of Rappaport’s “Carey with an ey” and Matt Czuchry’s Cary. “The very fact that they have the same name and they’re young men adds an [interesting] dynamic between them and Alicia [at Florrick Agos & Associates*]. Triangles are difficult, because there’s always a power between two people and someone is left out. So who’s going to be the person left out?”
* confirmed name of new firm
Question: Consider this a request for some general, non-specific Vampire Diaries intel. —Missy
Ausiello: The show is doing the time warp again. Exec producer Caroline Dries tells us that Episode 3 will be a flashback episode. “It is a decade we haven’t seen before,” she shares. “It’s going to be very good.”
Question: Any scoop on Grimm? – Larry
Ausiello: Gypsies are known for their nomadic nature, but Queen Estefania is staying put… at least for now. Executive producers James Kouf and David Greenwalt tell TVLine that Emmy winner Shohreh Aghdashloo will appear in at least a few episodes of the NBC drama’s upcoming third season.
Question: Can you give as any news on when or how Deeks’ mother will appear on NCIS: LA? –EcoSarahFans
Ausiello: At some point during the upcoming Season 5, Eric Christian Olsen assures, “You’re going to meet his mom and get into his past” — which as any fan knows wasn’t idyllic. “We already know a little about the dysfunctional and catastrophic relationship with his father, but we’re going to find out a lot more about what makes this guy tick and how it affects, obviously, the relationship with Kensi and his inability to make that work.”
Question: I’ve been wondering what the people at Criminal Minds have in store for Hotch next season. For example, will we find out more about his past? –Rachel
Ausiello: At this point early into the Season 9 writing process, showrunner Erica Messer says, no new backstories are on tap for any of the characters outside of JJ, but that could quickly change when the actors get invited to weigh in on what they’d like to see. (That dialogue between cast and scribes is how Garcia came to play the ukelele in one episode last year.) But this much known about Hotch as the show returns: He’s been filling in as section chief for a few months, and yes, he’s still with Beth.
Question: I would love some scoop on Beauty and the Beast. The show ended with a ton of cliffhangers and the fans are holding their breath, waiting for some clues. –Donna
Ausiello: Not only will Sendhil Ramamurthy be back for Season 2, but “Gabe has a great arc. It’s awesome,” raves exec producer Sherri Scooper. As fellow EP Jennifer Levin elaborates, “We saw that he was shot to pieces [in the finale], so if he’s back, that would affect his point of view on life. He could be ‘born again.'”
Question: I’m very excited about the arrival of Samantha on The Carrie Diaries. Anything you can share regarding her storyline? –Joyce
Ausiello: How about deets on her first conquest? The show’s producers are currently casting the role of Paul Haltom, “a genuine and kind Midwesterner who performs as a ninja at a Japanese Cultural Festival.” A grad of the Iowa State Gymnastics team, brown-eyed, twentysomething Paul moved to New York City to be an actor, and ends up sleeping with the young Samantha (played by newcomer Lindsey Gort). In the meantime, I’ll be taking bets about whether the legendary Ms. Jones drops a double-entendre featuring the term “corn-fed” or “katana.” Look for the Samantha-Paul cahoots to happen in Episode 3.
Question: Any Castle tidbits you can give us? —Stephanie
Ausiello: The show is about to stage a kinda-sorta Saved By the Bell reunion. In an upcoming episode titled “Need to Know,” the cast of an early-’90s sitcom called 2 Cool For School is reassembling for a new movie when — egad! — its version of Screech is offed! (This never would’ve happened on Miss Bliss’ watch! Just sayin’… )
Question: What’s new on the How I Met Your Mother front? —Dave
Ausiello: Three more (mostly uninvited) guests have RSVP’d for Barney and Robin’s wedding weekend, and they include Knight Templar, a spooky fella (think Grail Knight from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) who passes judgement on pretty much everyone and everything; Robin’s horny old college roommate Sophia, who shows up at the wedding in heat; and Grace, Barney’s new assistant who’s hot, personable and dumb. BONUS SCOOP: For those keeping track at home, the title of Episode 5 is “The Poker Game,” Episode 6 is “No Questions Asked” and Episode 7 is “Knight Vision.”
That’s a wrap! Please send questions, comments, and anonymous tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Additional reporting by Vlada Gelman and Kim Roots)Follow @MichaelAusiello