You hear the bickering the second you enter the soundstage.
"Sing it already," he says.
"Oh, quiet," she says.
If it weren't for William H. Macy's impish grin and the huge laugh Emmy Rossum lets out, you'd think the actors might actually come to blows. But that's how they roll on the set of Shameless, Showtime's energetic dramedy about life inside the downtrodden Gallagher household. The cast acts like...
William H. Macy
Those outrageous, dirty-mouthed, hooch-swilling Gallaghers of Showtime's uber-edgy family drama Shameless return to the heat of Chicago summer on January 8 for Season 2. "Everybody's outside, sweltering, sticky and falling into all manner of dysfunction," says William H. Macy, who plays Frank Gallagher, the boozy patriarch to the squalid brood of six South Side offspring.
"Summer in Chicago takes things in a positive direction for the Gallaghers," Shameless star Emmy Rossum (Fiona) says. She becomes a waitress, her sister starts a daycare center in their house, and one brother is "running a marijuana business out of an ice-cream truck."
Ted Danson, Marg Helgenberger
It's hard to imagine Sam Malone from Cheers needing a maggot wrangler. "I've never seen anything like it," Ted Danson says. Even with silver hair, the Emmy-winning actor looks like a kid who just pulled apart his first earthworm. "You can tell how long a human body has been decomposing by the size of the bugs crawling inside!" And the wrangler's got every variety. "It's incredible, until you think, 'Oh, God. We're talking about dead people.'"
Idris Elba, Luther
Talking to Idris Elba can be disorienting. No matter how often he references his acclaimed roles as Baltimore drug lord Stringer Bell on The Wire ("That part spoiled me and catapulted me onto the radar," he says) or Dunder Mifflin big boss Charles Miner on The Office ("I can't believe I got paid to have so much fun"), it doesn't jibe with the East London inflection coming out of his mouth. Can this be the same actor?
"I can assure you I did not win some sort of contest to replace Steve Carell," insists James Spader, who joins the cast of The Office as Sabre CEO Robert California in the September 22 premiere. "I just thought, this show is fun, this character is strange and NBC asked me to sign on, so I said, 'Absolutely.'"
How's life in the office so far?
For a guy who spent years hanging with Hobbits and Orcs in Middle Earth, it's weird to hear Elijah Wood call Wilfred "the strangest project I've ever done." Especially since it's true.
FX's new comedy is the weirdest show you'll watch all summer, or maybe ever. The hilarity kicks off with — hee hee — a suicide attempt gone wrong. Unable to mix a potent enough pill smoothie, aimless ex-lawyer Ryan (Wood) finds salvation in the form of...
Rizzoli & Isles
Sexier than Cagney and Lacey, brainier than Laverne and Shirley and way better at tracking down serial killers than the women of The View, Rizzoli and Isles are TV's favorite gal pals of the moment. The show's ratings are through the roof. Bloggers obsess over the characters' "secret" love lives. Big-name guest stars are on the horizon. Still, for Angie Harmon, the show's chisel-cheeked costar, the true sign of success was getting a shout-out from Liz Lemon. Last spring, when Tina Fey's character on 30 Rock heard that her boss Jack was buying a cable network, Liz practically started hyperventilating: "Is it TNT? Are Rizzoli and Isles friends in real life?"
"I know it was a joke, but I kinda went, 'Hey, we made it!'" says Harmon. She's taking a break between scenes on the Rizzoli & Isles set in Los Angeles and talking about the 101 unexpected side effects of having the hottest new cable show of the past year. In its debut run last summer, Rizzoli & Isles drew nearly 9 million viewers a week, making the one-hour drama about a duo of mismatched crime investigators the highest-rated commercial-supported cable series of all time. And it's not just Tina Fey: "Old guys from Boston, young girls who tell me we inspire them, moms on the street," Harmon says. "I'm in awe of all the fans of this show."
All season long...
Atticus Shaffer is having Lego flashbacks. "It was a Star Wars set," he says with a groan that makes him sound 70, not 12. "Something like 1,035 pieces. It took me three days to put together." Shaffer only had a few last bricks to click when... Crash! Meowww! "My cat jumped on it and destroyed everything." Shaffer scrunches up his shoulders, tosses up his hands. "So you just start rebuilding."
The adorable young star of The Middle is tenacious like that. At a Lego store near where the ABC sitcom shoots in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley, Shaffer is recalling his most memorable projects:
Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly is planning to guest star as himself — playing a "potential murder suspect" — on an episode of Rizzoli & Isles this coming season.
He and show creator Janet Tamaro have known each other ever since Tamaro's first TV job at Inside Edition, where they worked together. O'Reilly is also friendly with Rizzoli star Angie Harmon, an outspoken conservative.