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It looks like NBC and Dick Wolf have finally cracked the case of what to do with the cast of Law Order: SVU. After a tumultuous month that saw series staples Mariska Hargitay decide to stay in a reduced role and Christopher Meloni decide to depart altogther, the network today announced it has signed former Chase star Kelli Giddish and former Cold Case regular Danny Pino to play the show’s new detectives. The announcement was made by NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt. “Kelli and Danny are two great actors who will join a proven cast headed by Mariska Hargitay as this exceptional series heads into a very promising 13th season,” Greenblatt said. Added exec producer/creator Wolf: “I’m very pleased that we have two amazing actors joining the cast. I know this combination will give us the opportunity to explore the world of SVU with new eyes.”

Pino was one of five actors to test for the role vacated by Meloni, who already has signed on to a big-time part in Warner Bros’ Superman redo Man of Steel. He played Senior Detective Scotty Valens on seven seasons of CBS’ Cold Case, and more recently guest starred on USA Network’s Burn Notice. Giddish starred on the short-lived NBC series Chase last season and has appeared in guest-star roles on both SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, so she knows some of the terrain already. She presumably got the detective role that Jennifer Love-Hewitt was being courted for (though it seems no formal offer was ever made).


In the light green, circular driveway of the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, she waits for her car, ignoring the throngs of reporters.

She doesn’t even see the flashes from shutterbugs not so discreetly hiding in the bushes.

Mariska Hargitay has her eyes on a man – and, man oh man, is he a cute one.

Her young son August has been swooped into mama’s arms and some serious canoodling is going on. He has a little hand in her hair and she plants about a million kisses on his tiny mug.

So much for her hard edge “Law & Order SVU” cop she plays on the NBC hit. Det. Olivia Benson has left the building. If a hardened criminal saw her in this mode they would just walk away laughing.


Mariska says the key is “to look in the mirror and feel good about how you look.”

“I want to be a role model and say to women, ‘This is what you can look like if you take care of yourself.

“You can age like fine wine,” she says with a laugh.

To that end, she keeps her beauty routine simple, insisting her husband doesn’t like her to put on tons of makeup.

She does love MAC’s Lipglass and Chanel Glossimer glosses for a quick pick-me-up. For a casual day out, she highlights those amazing peepers with Chanel’s soft black liner, which creates an amazing smoked look.

That trademark choppy hair, which is always effortlessly chic, gets a boost from Bumble and Bumble Sumotech.

At night, she likes to detox in a warm bath and toss in some sea salts as a way to de-stress and get rid of toxins at the same time. “Woman are busy and often that bath is our only break,” she says.

Mariska the mama is also much more fashionable that her TV alter ego. Today in LA, she is out of her standard black pants and some boring law officer shirt.

She looks casually great in a white shirt and jeans, reflecting her “less is more” and “simple is best” approach to beauty and fashion. The daughter of big screen siren Jayne Mansfield doesn’t look like style is really on her mind – but more on that in a moment.

“My life is really amazing. I love that I’m not in my 20s. Amazing things happen as we get older,” says Mariska, 47, whose son is five and who recently adopted a baby girl named Amaya Josephine with husband Peter Hermann.


She has played Det. Olivia Benson since 1999.

“I love the role. She’s like so many women in that she’s great at taking care of everyone else, but often forgets about herself.”

“I love that she’s a lioness,” she says. “It’s not that she’s fearless. She’s really scared, but she does it anyways,

“She’s like this tireless, loving mother when it comes to finding justice for the victims,” says Mariska.

She laughs and mentions, “I want this girl to be my best friend and take care of me.”

Mariska says that it’s harder to do a series about abuse victims, often children, after having her own children.

“Before I was pregnant, I knew that all my mom friends couldn’t watch the show. They thought it was too difficult. I could never understand that before I was a Mom,” she says. “Now, I find it more difficult to act the scenes. You go to those places in your head in a different way. You imagine, ‘What if that was my son?’

“It makes you a different kind of human being and a different kind of actor. Everything just penetrates you so much deeper,” she says.


In 2006, the same year her son was born, she lost her beloved father, former Mr. Universe Mickey Hargitay. (Her mother died years ago in a tragic car accident.) She says that is one of the worst parts of being a midlifer.

“Having children and losing parents. These are two events in your life for which you’ll be forever changed and I am changed, she says.

She says becoming a mother was a thrill. “It changed me as a human being. I think I love harder and love deeper and feel things more deeply.”

Her midlifer creed is a good one.

“Now, I take all of it, accept all of it, love all of it and am grateful for all of it. I just try to understand the world a whole lot better on a daily basis. And I don’t worry about what doesn’t really matter,” she says in a soft voice.


A new group of entertainment professionals in Motion Pictures, Television, Radio and Recording have been selected to receive stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it was announced today by the Walk of Fame Committee of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. These individuals were chosen from among hundreds of nominations to the committee at a meeting held on June 17, 2011 and ratified by the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

The Walk of Fame recipients for the year 2012 are:

Valerie Bertinelli, Matt Groening, Mariska Hargitay, Patricia Heaton, Marg Helgenberger, Walter Koenig, and Adam West

“The committee has selected a fabulous slate of stars to add sparkle and luster to the Hollywood Walk of Fame over the next year, as well as to generate a once-in-a-lifetime Hollywood experience for many of the visitors who stop by when their favorite personalities are having their stars placed in the world-famous sidewalk of the stars,” said John Pavlik, chair of the Hollywood Walk of Fame Selection Committee.

To see a complete list of all the stars being honored in 2012 click here.

A date has not yet been scheduled for her star ceremony. Recipients have five years from the date of selection to schedule.

Congratulations Mariska for this well deserved honor!

Sorry for all the updates right in a row. I think that’s it for tonight! Also I don’t know if this came from an official source. It looks like they were just basing it off Ice-T’s tweet earlier. So I guess it means they’re still looking for a replacement. Anyway, enough of my rambling!

Looks like Law & Order: SVU just wasn’t feeling the Love.

Last month, word spread that the NBC procedural was looking to add Jennifer Love Hewitt as a semi-replacement for Mariska Hargitay when the series vet scales back her duties in the latter half of the season. But on Friday our sister site Deadline revealed that Hewitt is no longer in the show’s crosshairs.

However, that doesn’t mean SVU isn’t still keeping an eye out for another newbie. The search for someone to fill the Christopher Meloni void is in full effect, and there are even rumblings that producers are considering the addition of a second female detective to pair up with Hargitay’s Benson early on in Season 13.


Law & Order: SVU fans still reeling from the unexpected departure of leading man Chris Meloni, I’ve got some scoop that may — I repeat may — cushion the blow: Longtime sidekick Ice-T will be back.

The rapper-turned-actor announced the news on Twitter Friday morning. “I’ve just locked in my new SVU deal,” he wrote. “So I’ll officially be back for the next 2 years at least. DONE.”

Responding to questions from his followers regarding rumored cast addition Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ice-T added, “At this moment no one else is locked as new members of the show.”

So, was the Meloni blow cushioned somewhat by this news? Yes? Hardly? Weigh in below!


Mariska Hargitay had quite the celebrity-filled baby shower to celebrate the adoption of her baby girl, Amaya. Life & Style has learned that on June 6, celebrity friends Jodie Foster, Debra Messing, Camryn Manheim, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Carrie-Anne Moss all attended Mariska’s shower, which was thrown by Academy Award-winning actress and friend Hilary Swank. “Mariska celebrated the adoption of her baby girl with a shower in LA with her closest celebrity friends,” a source close to Mariska tells Life & Style. “The shower was sweet and really fun. Hilary hosted it at the Beverly Hills Hotel specifically for Mariska and her LA friends.”

So what did Hilary plan for her friend’s big day? “The theme was pink — and it was everywhere!” the source tells Life & Style. “Hilary even wore a long pink dress for the occasion.” As for favors, the Oscar winner made sure to keep it within the theme. “All the girls left with pink peonies in a flower vase as their baby-shower gifts,” adds the source.

The Law & Order: SVU star and her husband, actor Peter Hermann, adopted Amaya in the first week of April. The baby was born in the United States about a week before Mariska, 47, announced the news. “I’m deliriously happy,” she said. “From the minute she was born, she was just surprisingly alert and so full of love.”

The couple also have a 4-year-old son, August. “[August] is over the moon,” said Mariska. “He calls her his baby because he says the whole thing was his idea. He always talks about how he’s going to protect her. He’s going to be a great big brother.”

This is mostly about Peter but it does have some really adorable Mariska moments in it.

Ask anyone who has seen “War Horse,” currently playing at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, what they thought of the show and you are more likely to get a gesture than an opinion. A hand to the heart. A gasp. If they can gather the words together, they might say, “I’m speechless.”

This well-loved children’s novel by Michael Montpurgo, which was adapted by Nick Stafford into a people-and-puppetry pageant by the National Theater in London, features the Handspring Puppet Company’s life-size horse puppets.

But puppets is hardly the word for them, according to Peter Hermann, who portrays Hauptmann Friedrich Muller in the Broadway version of “War Horse.”

“Even without the detailed and specific lives that the puppeteers give them, they’re just these beautiful pieces of art. Sculptures, really,” said Mr. Hermann, who, when not performing, lives with his wife, the actress Mariska Hargitay, in East Hampton. “If you look closely,” he said. “you can see the workmanship and the care and the love that went into making them. And I think it’s impossible to look into the puppets’ eyes and not see life in there.”

Although he did not have a chance to see the production in London prior to being cast, Mr. Hermann said he’s “watched the YouTube trailer for the London production about 700 times.” And he shares the audience’s emotional response to the vivid, and often disturbing, themes that run through the play.

“During the rehearsal process, there were parts of the show that got to me every time I watched them, no matter how many times I’d seen them,” he said. “And they still get to me when I see them backstage on the monitor.”

“War Horse” is, according to the Web site, an epic adventure for audiences of all ages. Set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during World War I, “War Horse” begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a young man called Albert, who tames and trains him. When they are forcibly parted, the play follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war, changing and inspiring the lives of all he meets — British cavalry, German soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter — before the story reaches its emotional climax in the heart of No Man’s Land.

The production is directed by Marianne Eliot and Tom Morris. It has been nominated for five Tony Awards, including best play, with a special Tony for “outstanding artistry” being awarded to the Handspring Puppet Company.

Mr. Hermann’s character saves Joey by employing him and another horse as ambulance cart drays during the war.
Being of German extraction and fluent in the language helped him with with the role. “Friedrich Muller is a captain in the German cavalry. Service in the cavalry often ran in families through generations — as military service often does — so I imagine he came from a long line of cavalry officers, though that’s not made explicit in the script,” he said.
“The tragedy of the cavalry on all sides in World War I was that it was such an archaic mode of fighting in this ‘modern war,’ ” he said.
For those who won’t have a chance to see the Lincoln Center production, another East Ender, Steven Spielberg, has just wrapped a movie version of “War Horse” due out during the winter holiday season. However, in the film, the puppetry is replaced by authentic equines.

Of course, it is the majesty of the onstage creations that takes “War Horse” to a level beyond the normal theatrical drama.

Prior to the start of rehearsals, Mr. Hermann said he thought, “I was going to have to do all sorts of imaginative work to bring the puppets to life for myself, but that happens on a nightly basis without any help from me.” He added that the puppeteers “are all ridiculously fit, and they joke about putting out a ‘War Horse Workout’ video. If the New York City Ballet can do it, so can we.”

Mr. Hermann is possibly best known for his recurring role as Trevor Langan, a defense attorney, on “Law and Order: SVU.” He also portrayed Jeremy Glick in the film “United 93.” Mr. Glick was one of the passengers on the ill-fated flight on Sept. 11, 2001, who helped stop the plane from reaching its destination.

Although he has previously appeared on Broadway in Eric Bogosian’s “Talk Radio,” this is Mr. Hermann’s first stint at the Vivian Beaumont.

Of the shows he has seen at the theater before treading its boards, Mr. Hermann recalls Tom Stoppard’s “The Coast of Utopia” as one of the most memorable. “Tom Stoppard’s writing and the performances aside, both of which were breathtaking, I found the sheer scale of it so moving,” he said. “So to step out onto that same stage every night is just a huge honor.”

“The exciting thing about theater,” he continued, “is that the audience receives the story as you’re telling it. The storytellers and the audience are sharing an experience in a room together, at the same time. And the audience is different every night: very engaged, or skeptical at first, then engaged, or very vocal, or oddly quiet because they’re listening intently. So the conversation you end up having with the audience is different every night.”

“In film or television, you tell your piece of the story, and weeks or many months later, the audience watches it. I think the theater has the power to create more of a sense of community, both for the actors and the audience. With television, your audience is scattered all over the country — in the fortunate event that people are actually watching your show.”

In between Ms. Hargitay’s work as Detective Olivia Benson on “SVU,” and Mr. Hermann’s work in “War Horse,” the couple divide their time between Manhattan and East Hampton with their 5-year-old son, Augie, and their newly-adopted baby girl, Amaya Josephine.

“There is a well-worn path between our house, the beach, and Scoop du Jour,” said Mr. Hermann.

On the arrival of his new daughter, Mr. Hermann said, “It was a great moment the first time we caught ourselves saying ‘kids.’ As in ‘Let’s get the kids in the car.’ That’s been a long time coming, and we couldn’t be more excited.”

Mr. Hermann professed that he had hopes for a long run, or gallop, in “War Horse.” As far as other plans, “The current goal is to learn how to install car seats without having a nervous breakdown,” he said. “I’ll get back to career plans after I get that figured out.”


OK, we admit that the phrase “outstanding drama series” has infrequently mingled with the words “broadcast network” since AMC began its monopoly on the category in 2008. But Mad Men can’t win forever and, to be fair, network shows — 24, The West Wing, Lost — did win half of the past decade’s awards. Here are six network dramas that shouldn’t be ruled out this year purely because they don’t air on cable.

Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
A catapult for guest acting Emmys — 11 noms, five wins — Law & Order: SVU has a lesser record for leads Mariska Hargitay (six noms, one win) and Christopher Meloni (one nom). And it’s gotten zero love for the big drama prize. Hargitay’s 2006 Emmy was the first earned by anybody in the Law & Order empire. This past season was unusually strong, with guests like Jeremy Irons and John Stamos. And Meloni will be gone next season, so Emmy has one last chance to forgive the franchise’s stoicism and do justice to one of the most enduring — and somehow still original — police procedurals in history.

Read more here.

Here’s a mystery even the savviest of television detectives might struggle with: Why do leading actresses on criminal procedurals receive accolades from Emmy voters while their shows and male counterparts are often overlooked on awards night?

Evidence in this case comes in the form of TNT’s “The Closer” and NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU.” Kyra Sedgwick is an Emmy regular, scoring one win and landing four additional noms. In contrast, the show has never received either a nom for drama series or lead actor.

“SVU” isn’t much different. Mariska Hargitay has been recognized with one Emmy and six other noms, but the show has been completely shut out and lead actor Chris Meloni, who just left the show, earned just a single nom since “SVU” debuted in 1999.

In general, the Emmys have not been kind to criminal procedurals during the past half-decade. The last show in the genre to earn a drama series nom was “CSI” in 2004. (Meloni, who got his nom in 2006, is the last male lead to register in that category.)

This wasn’t always the case. The “Law & Order” mothership, which helped usher in this current era of criminal procedurals, was a perennial on Emmy night, earning 11 nominations and one statue for drama series from 1991-2002.

But in recent years, some critics have suggested these procedurals are so structured and their plot progressions so predictable — or, conversely, twists so outlandish — that shows in the area don’t merit award consideration. “The Closer” exec producer James Duff bristles at such suggestions.

“I think what happens is that people assume it will always end the same way,” he says. “You have to follow that formula to a certain degree … but people think they know the show and they get used to a certain rhythm. The reality is, though, the show chang-es dramatically (from episode to episode).”

To actors, the reason for their lack of accolades is a bit more befuddling. While established femmes have taken lead roles in this genre, there have been an equally impressive roster of male stars who have fronted procedurals, including Laurence Fishburne (“CSI”), Gary Sinise (“CSI: NY”), Vincent D’Onofrio (“Law & Order: Criminal Intent”) and original “CSI” star William Peterson.

Yet none of those actors has received a single acting nomination for their work in the genre.

Hitfix.com TV critic Alan Sepinwall believes the disparity has to do with the depth of strong roles for dramatic actors compared with dramatic actresses.

“The issue isn’t about the male actors (in procedurals) not getting good material,” he says. “But if Chris Meloni or Laurence Fishburne wanted to crack the lead actor category this season, they’d have to make it past a bunch of former nominees in Jon Hamm, Michael C. Hall, Hugh Laurie, Kyle Chandler and Gabriel Byrne, not to mention stars in high-profile cable dramas like Steve Buscemi and Tim Olyphant, who arguably get flashier material to play each week than actors on procedurals.”

Still, Duff argues there is a definite stigma relating to procedurals that male actors must overcome.

“People tend to dismiss procedurals when it comes to actors because this part of the law franchise is considered mainstream entertainment, and mainstream entertainment doesn’t hack it when it comes to the awards,” he says.

At the same time, Duff does concede that under the right circumstances, a strong procedural performance — like the one delivered by Sedgwick — can stand out because of the nature of the product.

“You have to give Kyra a lot of credit for holding the audience’s attention and keeping them in their seats when the show ends with her in a room seated at a table talking for 12 minutes,” he says. “Other shows have violence and special effects to keep people in their seats. She is the special effects.”


United States Senator Barbara Boxer will be the 2011 Commencement Speaker at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (TFT) commencement ceremony on June 10.

Also in attendance and receiving Distinguished Alumni Awards will be Emmy and Golden Globe winner Mariska Hargitay for Theater and multi-award winning writer/director Charles Burnett for Film, it was announced today by TFT Dean, Teri Schwartz.


Dean Schwartz will preside over the event, which begins at 3:00PM at Dickson Court North on the Westwood campus of UCLA.

“Senator Boxer’s remarkable life and public works exemplify our TFT vision to enlighten, engage and inspire change for a better world,” Schwartz commented. “She is a great inspiration to all of us, and we are very honored to have Senator Boxer as our Commencement Speaker. Our Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are both extraordinary creative talents in their respective professions. Mariska, is a gifted actress as well as a humanitarian, and Charles is a groundbreaking, brilliant filmmaker. The works of these very special alumni are great examples of our new vision as they both continually use the power of story and performance to impact our social consciousness. Commencement 2011 promises to be a truly memorable day for our graduates and for all of our TFT community.”

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992 after 10 years of service in the House of Representatives, and was recently reelected to her fourth term. She made history as the first woman to chair the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and is the only current Senator to chair two committees, including her leadership of the Select Committee on Ethics. Senator Boxer is a national leader in environmental protection and has won numerous awards for her efforts to promote cleaner air and water, address climate change and create a 21st century transportation policy for the United States. She co-chairs the Senate Military Family Caucus and the Senate Afterschool Caucus, and is a forceful advocate for families, children, consumers and the state of California.

Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award winner Mariska Hargitay stars as the committed and emotionally driven Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU, now in its 12th season on NBC. Inspired by that role, Hargitay founded the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004, whose mission is to heal, educate, and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness surrounding these issues.

Emmy, Sundance and Independent Spirit Award winner, Charles Burnett, is one of the most distinguished African-American cinematic voices to emerge in the second half of the 20th century. Burnett has endeavored to bring to the screen a deeply personal, realistic portrayal of contemporary African-American life heretofore not seen in mainstream feature films. Critically lauded for all of his work for both feature films and television, Burnett is best known for his film’s Killer Sheep, To Sleep with Anger and The Glass Shield. Burnett just received a major retrospective of his work at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC in April 2011.

The School’s commencement ceremony honors approximately 200 students in the departments of theater, film, television and digital media. The school will confer Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees. Scholars who have completed a Doctor of Philosophy or PhD will be recognized at the event.

For more information on UCLA TFT commencement ceremony please visit http://www2.tft.ucla.edu/commencement.


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