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Question: How much Grace will we see on Good Wife now that Makenzie Vega isn’t a regular? —Joyce
Ausiello: Quite a bit, actually. “You’re going to see exactly as much of Grace as you would any other season,” insists exec producer Michelle King. “She will be as involved in Alicia’s life as any teenager of her age would be.” Fellow EP Robert King adds that Grace may even be more of a fixture this season now that she will be working as her mom’s assistant. “We’re going to see a new side of Grace,” he reveals, “not just the religious side.”
Question: I read that a Halloween episode is in the works on Bones. Can you send any spooky spoilers our way? —Linda
Ausiello: The Bones/Sleepy Hollow crossover event — which falls on the Thursday before All Hallows Eve — is sorta tangentially Halloween-themed, I suppose. I doubt you’ll see Ichabod and Abbie getting their trick-or-treat on with Booth, Brennan & Brood, as fun a visual as that would be. I think I can satisfy your desire for a spooky spoiler though: The Oct. 1 Bones premiere features a pivotal-ish death.
Question: Any information on NCIS‘ upcoming season will be appreciated. —Marsha
Ausiello: Tuesday’s Season 13 premiere features not only fine performances by Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly and guest star Jon Cryer, but also an unexpected amount of (archival) Darby Stanchfield (aka Scandal‘s Abby), when Gibbs’ dearly departed daughter Kelly revisits happier days with the in-limbo surgery patient. P.S. Speaking of Cryer’s turn as a Navy doc, here’s one line you wont want to miss.
Question: I really want to know how Stefan will show his game to seduce Caroline on The Vampire Diaries! —Carmen
Ausiello: Good question, Carmen. So good, in fact, that we posed it to Paul Wesley and got this response: “He’s going to be sort of the same loving guy he’s been for the past six seasons — except when he was ripping people’s heads off. Man, Stefan’s killed a lot of people. Everyone on the show has. If you think about it, pretty much everybody on this show is a murder. Isn’t that wild?” Wesley’s tangent aside, it sounds like he’ll use the same tactics he did on Elena back in Season 1, but he’s definitely got his work cut out for him. “Caroline wants to be with Stefan, but she’s also trying to do the right thing by herself, taking the time to mourn her mother’s death so she can enter into this relationship with a clean state and a free mind. The heart wants what it wants when it wants it, so we’ll see moments where’s she’s struggling, wanting to say something but not knowing what to say.”
Question: Which new shows this fall are the best?! I don’t want to miss out on the next Empire like I did this spring! —Kelsey
Ausiello: I detailed my fall picks (and one must-pass) here, but, regrettably, I must confess I’m far less enthusiastic about The Muppets after having seen the final, finished pilot. There are moments of pure nostalgic joy for sure, but, sadly, they are too few and far between. But I am not giving up on Kermit and Piggy. I’m giving them at least five episodes to turn the ship around (which, BTW, is three more than I’m giving any other new fall series).
Question: What’s next for Daphne (Rayna’s youngest daughter) on Nashville? I feel like we hardly see much of her on the show. —Andrew
Ausiello: Daphne is definitely part of Wednesday’s premiere, and showrunner Dee Johnson tells TVLine that the younger Conrad sibling will have a bunch to do this season — though for reasons she may not like. Maddie and Daphne “have always been thick as thieves,” but because one of them wanting to grow up too soon, “some friction exists.”
Question: Any word on what’s going to happen to Eric Close’s character Teddy Conrad on Nashville Season 4, now that he’s been arrested for corruption at the end of Season 3? —Claire
Ausiello: Though Close is no longer a series regular, “We’ll see him,” says Johnson. “He’s their dad, you know?” Plus, “There’s still some emotional bulls—t from what happened to him at the end of the previous season.” And even if you weren’t the biggest fan of the corrupt mayor, you’ve got to give him props for this: His arrest means the FBI is no longer investigating Tandy and Highway 65’s less-than-savory funding. Or, as Johnson puts it, “Teddy took one for the team.”
Question: On Sleepy Hollow, we’ve seen Crane’s father, but what about his mother? —Morgan
Ausiello: Good question! Too bad it’s one that won’t be answered for a while, if ever. Mark Goffman, the series’ former showrunner, told TVLine last year that Crane’s mother would be covered in Season 2… but that never came to pass. New showrunner Clifton Campbell now says, “We just felt, because of last season and some of the responses from the fans, that we should probably give Crane’s family a rest.”
Question: Do you have any scoop on which episode Grimm‘s version of the Loch Ness Monster will appear in? —Jordan
Ausiello: I have it on good authority that the ep will air in early 2016.
Question: Will we get a full explanation on Castle about why Captain Gates is leaving the 12th precinct? Is she going to show up this season at all? —Michelle
Ausiello: Gates’ whereabouts are promptly and efficiently accounted for early into Monday’s Season 8 premiere, and the door is — in theory — left open for the occasional appearance. Here’s more on the awaited hour, per Matt Mitovich: “Even if you’ve read about the unique structure to the two-part premiere, it is nonetheless highly entertaining and compelling — definitely one of the series’ more intense outings. As for the assorted ‘shifts’ we have heard about over the summer: Toks Olagundoye is impressively badass as Scotland Yard outcast Hayley Shipton, while ‘adult’ Alexis is a very refreshing change of pace and fits in very organically. Also, as I said on Twitter: Be forewarned, arachnophobes!”
Question: Would you have some scoop on Jim Gordon and Leslie Thompkins’ relationship for Season 2 of Gotham? —Mickey
Ausiello: Lee (as Leslie is regularly called now) is very much Jim’s rock as the lawman’s career continues to hit nadir after nadir, pulling him toward a bleak darkness. Jailbird Barbara, though, promises to be a recurring wrench in the works, while Lee herself is not without a charming admirer, as seen in the new season’s (shocking) third episode.
Question: Any Jane The Virgin spoilers? —Ilene
Ausiello: Not only will Bridget Regan be back as Sin Rostro, but so will her other half! “We have Yara Martinez, [who plays] Luisa, for the first 12 episodes,” exec producer Jennie Urman reveals, “which is amazing because she brings such a fresh comic energy and obviously she struggles with loving a sociopath, and that’s something she hasn’t quit worked out yet.” Season 2 will also uncover “a little bit about Sin Rostro’s backstory” and how Rose came to be the villainness.
Question: There was a scene last season where Donna told Harvey she was seeing somebody on Suits. Was she telling the truth? —Jen
Ausiello: Per EP Aaron Korsh, “Yes, she was telling the truth. But it remains to be seen how important that relationship ends up being. She was not lying. I do not think Donna would do that. But it’s possible that, since then, they’ve broken up. We don’t know. We have to figure that out.”
Question: You don’t talk nearly enough about Mom in Ask Ausiello. It’s so incredibly underrated. Throw us a Season 3 bone, K? —Kim
Ausiello: In the aftermath of losing the love of her life Alvin — and then falling off the wagon — Allison Janney’s Bonnie will be dipping her toe into the dating pool… possibly with disastrous results. “Bonnie makes some rather unfortunate choices to escape loneliness,” teases showrunner Chuck Lorre, “and she gets involved with a guy that probably isn’t the greatest choice — and then complicates the matter by getting involved with his sponsor. I know you can’t write this in TVLine, but it’s just a wonderful clusterf–k.”
Question: Any intel on when/if Caroline will get pregnant on The Bold and the Beautiful? —Tanya
Ausiello: Do I look like an EPT stick, Tanya? (On second thought, don’t answer that.) It’s rude to ask women if they’re pregnant — especially if you’re not sure — so we went the safe route and queried Thorsten Kaye whether Ridge would embrace the news that the stork was on its way. “His reaction would be very happy — if he were the father of the baby,” said the All My Children alum. And if it turns out that Ridge’s son, Thomas, was the not-so-proud papa? (After all, Ridge has been hiding his secret vasectomy from his young wife-to-be.) “It would be a really hard thing for anyone to go along with,” Kaye said. “If you feel like someone is part of your life, and you want them still to be, then maybe you try to figure it out. But,” he couches, “it would take a big man to do that.”
Question: So excited about the return of Empire. Make me more excited by throwing a scoop my way, please! —Brittany
Ausiello: Executive producer Brian Grazer told us at the show’s red-carpet premiere event that guest star Ludacris — playing a prison guard who has a contentious relationship with Terrence Howard’s Lucious — may prove the most surprising addition to the Season 2 cast. That said, Grazer added that the show’s creative team is “coming to the conclusion that as great as these guest stars are, it’s the [core] characters themselves that we need to give even more screen time.” One of those delicious Lyons, newly pregnant (and murderous) Rhonda, will be “softer” when the Fox smash returns next week, teases her portrayer, Kaitlin Doubleday. “She’s more worried about Andre having another mental breakdown or confessing [to his role in Uncle Vernon’s death] than she is in saying, ‘Let’s figure out how we can f–k over your family,'” she says.
Question: My favorite character on Empire is Porsha. Now that Ta’Rhonda Jones is a series regular, I’m desperate to know what we can expect for her! —Keith
Ausiello: Don’t throw your damn shoe, Keith, because according to Jones herself, Porsha won’t have time to get it for you. Instead, she’ll be too busy keeping a spying eye out for her boss Cookie’s best interests. And despite Cookie’s notoriously short fuse, Jones says you shouldn’t look for any angsty moments between the Lyon matriarch and her assistant. “Porsha is as green as they come, but her and Cookie have this mutual understanding,” Jones says. “Porsha knows Cookie was locked up for a really long time, and she’s got a lot on her plate. She’s trying to figure out who her sons are. She’s got Lucious with all his dirty, deceitful games he’s playing. Whatever happens, Porsha knows Cookie doesn’t mean her harm.” BONUS SCOOP: Remember how last month, Adam Bush got cast as Chase One, “an avant-garde gay artist” who becomes infatuated with his male star during a photo shoot? Busch’s erstwhile Buffy co-star and current Empire EP Danny Strong tells us Chase will wind up “connecting with” Jussie Smollett’s Jamal in an episode he wrote and directed. Speaking of the Fox phenom…
This AAnd That…
♦ I’ve seen the first two episodes of Empire Season 2 and I got nary a whiff of a sophomore slump. The show continues to fire on all creative cylinders, I am relieved to report. Even the parade of guest stars didn’t distract from the central Lyon-family narrative. If anything, the spot-on performances from the likes of Chris Rock and Marisa Tomei only added to the entertainment value. The real star of the premiere: Boo Boo Kitty herself, Grace Gealey. Cookie’s underrated punching bag is at the center of my two favorite moments, one of which is pure physical comedy gold, and another is her just absorbing a classic Cookie zinger. With all due respect to the great Taraji P. Henson, let’s keep in mind that Cookie’s Boo Boo kabooms wouldn’t land as spectacularly as they do without Gealey’s restrained, subtle reaction shots.
♦ Major Spoiler Alert: Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm will win his first Emmy Sunday night, sources close to my gut tell me exclusively. To view the rest of my predictions in all the major races, head over to TVLine’s sister site GoldDerby.com.
That’s a wrap! Please send questions, comments and anonymous tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Additional reporting by Kim Roots, Rebecca Iannucci and Michael Slezak)