Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Freddie Does Drama; Riva Does Crime & Rivera Does Vocals

TeleVISION By Julio Martinez

The second season has begun on broadcast TV and Latino life has begun to stir on the TV network that doesn’t claim to be a TV network. FOX Broadcasting Company has never been known for its “affirmative action” chops when it comes to putting Latinos to work. However, as the winter months move toward spring, there are some positive indications on FOX’s broadcast grid.

FREDDIE DOES DRAMA…Could it be that light romantic comedy perennial leading man Freddie Prinze Jr. is actually being groomed to step into the very dramatic shoes of aging Kiefer Sutherland? As a new series regular addition to FOX’s 24, Prinze portrays Davis Cole, a recently returned Marine who runs CTU Field Ops and has left no doubt that he wants to follow in Jack Bauer's footsteps. Whether that comes to pass, Prinze is kind of pleased to be playing a character who does more than just smile at the pretty girl.

“’Kind of pleased’ doesn’t really describe it,” Prinze affirms. “I don’t get offered this kind of a job, period. For most of my career, if I’m in it, I’m struggling to fall in love for 96 minutes, and I always get the girl.

“I received the sides for this part when I was in New York, and they were casting out of L.A. I went to the casting director’s office, and there were no other actors there. When they brought me in, I said, ‘Look, you’re not waiting for anyone else to get in here, so we’re doing this audition ’til I get it right.’ And she was nice enough to let me get a few cracks at it. I sent her a big box of cookies when I got the part. To get a chance to
do this is something, as an actor, that I’ve been hoping for since I was 21 years old. So, you can say I am very, very pleased.”

Executive produced by Sutherland and Howard Gordon, 24 began its 8th season on January 17. Negotiations are underway for Season 9. Who knows what the future might bring for Davis Cole and Prinze.

RIVA DOES CRIME…Scheduled to premiere on May 12, FOX’s police action-comedy series, Code 58 (working title), pairs Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) and Colin Hanks (LMad Men) as two oil-and-water Dallas police detectives who are forced to partner up. Making sure they stay firmly wedged under her thumb is Lieutenant Ana Ruiz, played with no-nonsense dispatch by Diana Maria Riva (Side Order of Life, Castle).

“I hope I get to be funny, too,” says Riva. “My character takes a lot of Alka-Seltzer because clearly, the characters played by Bradley and Colin are going to be a daily pain in her ass. So I think it’s going to be that constant trying to keep things under control, trying to get the job done. But in the process, I get to say some pretty damn funny stuff.”

Riva certainly gets to be funny on the big screen. She is featured in the upcoming romantic comedy, Our Family Wedding (due March 12), starring America Ferrera, Forrest Whitaker and Carlos Mencia.

Code 58 is executive produced by Matt Nix and Mikkel Bondesen. The series will have special previews on two nights, Wednesdays, May 12 and May 19, before making its series premiere on Monday, June 7 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT).

RIVERA DOES VOCALS…When FOX offered a preview taste of their hyper musical teen series, Glee, in may 2009, Naya Rivera’s character, Santana, was little
more than the sneering underling to the school’s haughty head cheerleader portrayed by Diana Agron. “But in the first season episode of Glee that aired in September, the viewers got to see a little bit more of the cheerleaders and learn more about my character,” says Rivera, who is anticipating the show’s second season debut on April 13.

“On one level I can really relate to her,” Rivera affirms.” She is very competitive and so am I. But I don‘t think I could ever be as mean as she can be. But it sure is fun playing her.”

Rivera, who is half Puerto Rican, a quarter German, and a quarter African American, grew up in Valencia, a suburb of Los Angeles, made her television debut as a series regular in 1991 at age four on The Royal Family and has worked regularly since, also appearing in six episodes of the Bernie Mac Show (2005-06).

“The great thing about being in Glee is there is room to grow and evolve on this show. Who knows how Santana will turn out? She may even turn out to be nice. But the main thing that is great for me is I get to sing, dance and act in every episode. That is heaven.”

LATIN HEAT welcomes breaking news, especially if you have landed a role on the little screen. Send submissions to submissions@latinheat.com and interview requests to Julio@juliomartinez.net.

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