Matthew Morrison will ‘Dance’ no more



TV PIPELINE

Matthew Morrison

Q: Is Matthew Morrison still a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance”? I heard that he isn’t. — Abby King, via email

A: He isn’t. After the airings of two of the four episodes of the Fox series he recorded, he announced he was leaving the show (though some accounts had that not being by his own accord) because of his breaching “competition production protocols.” Translation: communication he reportedly had with a contestant. Though the involved parties tried to keep the news as quiet as possible by releasing it late on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, it didn’t quite play out that way. In any event, the current “Dance” season — marking the show’s return after a pandemic-caused hiatus the past two summers — now is continuing minus Morrison, with Leah Remini as his replacement.


Q: Will the season finale episode of “FBI” that was pre-empted be shown? — Lisa Prouty, Providence, R.I.

A: As of the time of this writing, that remains to be determined. CBS was slated to show the fourth-season finale on what turned out to be the day of the shootings in Uvalde, Texas, last month. However, it was pulled since the story was about a possibly crime-connected student, a classmate of the son of Jeremy Sisto’s character Jubal. At this point, if that hour were to be shown, that likely would happen next season … once there’s more distance from that real-life tragedy, and the series is back in new episodes.

Jeremy Sisto

Q: Was Tom Cruise really at the controls when he flew with James Corden in the sequence on “The Late Late Show”? — Jim Fordham, via email

A: Oh, yes. Especially when he was about to be seen in the cockpit in “Top Gun: Maverick,” Mr. Do Your Own Stunts wasn’t about to let someone else sit in the driver’s seats of the two vehicles he took Corden up in. The CBS late-late-night host’s nervousness was for real, too, just as when Cruise took him for a parachute jump previously. You have to figure that Corden is well-insured, or those around him never would let him attempt such things. Let’s just say he likely wasn’t the only one who was very relieved when he touched ground again.


Q: Is it true that Stefanie Powers wasn’t the first choice to play Jennifer on “Hart to Hart”? — Bud Shaw, Wheeling, W. Va.

A: Robert Wagner, who was a producer of the show as well as the male lead, lobbied for Powers after working with her in an episode of his earlier series “It Takes A Thief” … but ABC wanted Wagner’s wife Natalie Wood, an idea he opposed. (They were on their second marriage to each other at the time.)

Kate Jackson, Suzanne Pleshette and Lindsay Wagner also were thoughts for the role of Jennifer … and yes, if Lindsay had won out, it would have been Wagner and Wagner as Hart and Hart. Robert Wagner stuck by his thought of Powers for Jennifer, though, and the result was television history and a very successful show.


Q: Was there a a period when Lesley Ann Warren went by the name Lesley Warren? — Carol Jenkins, Reading, Pa.

A: Yes, from the end of the 1960s to the mid-1970s. Though she gained stardom with the “Ann” in such projects as “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” and some Disney movies, Warren tried for an image change — or at least more of a maturity — by dropping it as a regular on “Mission: Impossible” and a guest star on shows including “Night Gallery” and the original “S.W.A.T.”

Warren then added the “Ann” back in, sporting it when she earned an Oscar nomination as James Garner’s companion in director Blake Edwards’ 1982 musical “Victor/Victoria,” and she’s kept it since … up to such recent TV-guest credits as “All Rise” and “Broke.”


Q: Has Amir Arison really left “The Blacklist”? — Dan Hoffman, via email

A: He signed off as a regular on the NBC series in the recent Season 9 finale, but the producers have indicated they’d like him back for future guest appearances if he’s open to it. While his character Aram told his team he needed to leave because of his ongoing pain over the death of Elizabeth Keen (formerly played by Megan Boone), Arison actually is about to make his Broadway debut in “The Kite Runner,” and being on the New York stage was “a childhood dream” for him (as he said in a statement he issued upon leaving “The Blacklist”).


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Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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