Sam Waterston



ABC's Science Fiction Series Finally Materializes

Anne Heche and Russell Porter by Bob Akester/ABC

ABC's Masters of Science Fiction anthology series, announced what seems like light-years ago, will finally hit the airwaves during the dog days of August. The lineup — slashed from six installments to four — is as follows:August 4: "A Clean Escape," based on Nebula Award-winning author John Kessel's short story about a postapocalyptic psychiatrist (Judy Davis) determined to solve a man's (Sam Waterston) apparent memory lapse.August 11: "The Awakening," based on a short story by Howard Fast, starring Terry O'Quinn, Elisabeth Rohm and William B. Davis, and concerning Baghdad-based soldiers' discovery of a "mysterious casualty."August 18: "Jerry Was a Man," based on the Robert Heinlein story about an affluent couple (Anne Heche and Malcolm McDowell) who acquire an anthropoid.August 25: "The Discarded," based on the short story by seven-time Hugo Award winner, three-time Nebula Award winner, and Science Fiction Grand Master Laureate Harlan Ellison, directed by Jonathan Frakes,... read more

New Law & Order DA Predicts "Fireworks"

Sam Waterston by Eric Liebowitz/NBC

Sam Waterston has officially been "promoted" to New York District Attorney on Law & Order, as longtime prosecutor Jack McCoy fills the vacancy dictated by possible presidential candidate Fred Thompson's exit from the role of Arthur Branch. Though he may, as a result, see less screen time, Waterson puts the best spin on the sitch, saying that while the career move is "a logical step" for McCoy, "politics isn't his game." As such, "There'll be fireworks," the actor predicts. "I'm looking forward to it." read more

Now that Fred Thompson is off ...

Question: Now that Fred Thompson is off Law & Order, will Jack McCoy finally get promoted to DA?

Answer: That all depends on whether Sam Waterston agrees to cut his hours (and paycheck) back. While this may be a promotion for Jack, it's anything but for Sam.

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Out of Order: Who'll Get Crunched By New Budget?

Though both the original Law & Order and Criminal Intent (which is moving to sister network USA) have been awarded new seasons, NBC U has some belt-tightening to do. Sources tell that franchise father Dick Wolf will reduce L&O vet Sam Waterston's salary by giving Jack McCoy a "promotion" to the smaller role of district attorney, and then hire a younger (read: cheaper) actor to fill the vacated slot. Among the cops, Milena Govich, the series' first female detective, wasn't asked back for the fall, and rumors are swirling that partner Jesse L. Martin may join her on the unemployment line. CI, meanwhile, plans to keep Vincent D'Onofrio and Chris Noth, despite their hefty salaries. No word on whether their female counterparts — Julianne Nicholson and Kathryn Erbe — will return, but they rarely got a word in edgewise, anyway. — Reporting by Raven Snook read more

I was pleasantly surprised to ...

Question: I was pleasantly surprised to really enjoy the premiere of the original Law & Order. I liked the new additions to the cast and thought the story was also enjoyable. What are your thoughts on the new additions? Answer: I was kind of "take it or leave it" after the premiere. The new women aren't likely to help or hurt the show measurably. Law & Order fans know who they are and what they'll get, and the plot of the season-opener was reasonably strong. What's missing by replacing Dennis Farina with the show's first-ever hot female detective is that tangible aura of experience and maturity you get with a seasoned lead investigator. (I've got nothing against Jesse L. Martin as Ed Green, but this new team now has a very generic feel to it.) It would be like replacing Sam Waterston with Shark's Jeri Ryan. Not that I want to give Dick Wolf any ideas ... read more

Housewives Hunks Land in Jeopardy

When you reach 5,000 episodes, you deserve a celebration, so Jeopardy!, that game show of a certain age, will do it up big with two weeks of Celebrity Jep. TV Guide has learned that among the 30 names hitting the buzzers for charity for November-sweeps broadcasts are hopefully smart-and-nimble Desperate Housewives guys James Denton and Doug Savant, Law & Order franchisees Sam Waterston, Christopher Meloni and Kathryn Erbe (all competing against each other), Anderson Cooper, Rachael Ray, Paul Shaffer, Martin Short and Regis Philbin, who says he wants to make up for the "broken buzzer" he had during his last time on the show.Additional reporting by Ileane Rudolph read more

I was kind of blown away by ...

Question: I was kind of blown away by the season finale of Law & Order. Its predictable format is nice and comforting, sort of like "chicken soup" television but when Alex was abducted and then killed, I have to confess I literally sat up at the edge of my seat from the surprise. It was paced more like a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode and really reminded me what a great actor Sam Waterston is when he has compelling material. I know there is talk about more changes to the whole franchise next year. Is this less-formulaic approach one of them, and do you think that would be a welcome change, or a risky move to mess with their success? Answer: From what I understand, the changes to the franchise are primarily cast-related, not so much in actual format or content. What seems to have startled everyone is the violent nature of Annie Parisse's departure, not the fact that she left, given the show's revolving-door history. I wouldn't expect Law & Order to become an action series all ... read more

Will all of the Law & Order ...

Question: Will all of the Law & Order shows return as-is next year? Answer: Definitely not, and that brings me to this week's big-ass prattle poop. Dick Wolf sent out a memo to casting directors on both coasts last week alerting them that they will be "adding series regulars to all of the Law & Order shows for next season." Among the roles they're looking to fill: male and female cops, young and seasoned; male and female detectives, open age; male and female ADAs, young; male and female lawyers/DAs, open age. The memo went on to say that "the most important characteristic that your actors must posses is a very New York edge." Now, keep in mind that Wolf has already said that a major cast member will be leaving read more

What's this I'm hearing about ...

Question: What's this I'm hearing about someone leaving Law & Order?

Answer: It's true. Dick Wolf told Newsweek that he's planning another major cast change next season. My guess is it's either Sam Waterston or Jesse L. Martin, mostly because their characters are rumored to be closeted lesbians and well, we know what happens to them on L&O.

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I remember in the '80s there ...

Question: I remember in the '80s there was a remake of an old French movie about this man who keeps tormenting his wife and another woman. It was set in a castle or something, and the scene I remember most vividly is the one in which the wife runs into the bathroom and locks the door. She turns around and all of a sudden, he pops out of the tub full of water and his eyes are rolled back into his head. She screams. Please, oh please, tell me the title of this movie and something about it!  

Answer: Although it was made earlier than you suggest, I think you're remembering Reflections of Murder (1974), a startlingly good made-for-TV remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's Diabolique (1955), in which the sadistic headmaster of a cavernous boys' boarding schoo read more

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