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Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Michael Rooker big with ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ fans

Michael Rooker has been a journeyman actor for almost 30 years appearing in a wide variety of TV shows and films. None of that work has brought Rooker a tenth of the attention the 59-year-old actor has been getting since he joined the cast of “The Walking Dead.” That attention will get ramped up even more as he stars in the latest big screen comic book-inspired offering, “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

It’s hard to know which group is more rabid: “Dead” fans or comic book movie lovers. Either way, the combination is huge.

As for being part of another big franchise, Rooker smiles and says, “Why not?! Why not?!”

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‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘All in the Family’ earn TCA awards

All In The FamilyThe Television Critics Association (TCA) handed out its “2013 TCA Awards” Saturday night in such categories as top news and information, youth, reality, drama and comedy achievements.

Here are this year’s winners:

Individual Achievement in Drama: Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black,” BBC America)

Individual Achievement in Comedy: Louis C.K. (“Louie,” FX)

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Vincent Kartheiser defends Pete Campbell

Picture 3Vincent Kartheiser believes Pete Campbell’s gotten a raw deal. He keeps hearing about how awful his “Mad Men” character is because he was the one who suggested Joan (Christina Hendricks) sleep with a client as a way to land the Jaguar advertising account. Joan agreed to the proposition with her compensation being that she became a partner in the advertising firm.

He understands viewers don’t necessarily like Pete but they love Joan and that’s why the reaction was so negative.

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‘Mad Men’ laughing matter to John Slattery

Mad Men (Season 5)Fans of the AMC series “Mad Men” always argue it’s the best drama on TV. They might be surprised to find out that at least one of the cast members considers the show to be a comedy.

John Slattery thinks that way because he’s been able to play some of the lighter moments in the acclaimed series through his portrayal of Roger Sterling.

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Jon Hamm talks (a little) about ‘Mad Men’

John HammIt’s always an interesting challenge talking to the cast of “Mad Men” just before a season opener. They are always available to be interviewed but are under a strict mandate not to say a word about the upcoming season. Most of the cast will only give their name, rank and serial number when asked about what will be happening.

Also, the majority of the cast members don’t know what’s going to happen past the scripts they’ve seen. Only Jon Hamm is told what will be happening through the entire year. He used as a sounding board by the writers to get his reaction about the upcoming plot lines.

Hamm’s big reveal about the sixth season — that begins Sunday on AMC — is that there will be lots of surprises.

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Christina Hendricks won’t share secrets

Mad Men (Season 5)Elevators continue to be the best place in Los Angeles to chat with celebrities.

I recently found myself in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, best known by film buffs as the hotel where “Pretty Woman” was shot. It’s a great hotel but the elevators are unusually small. You can’t get more than four or five people in one of the cars and that makes it easy to spot celebrities.

On this day, I found myself in the elevator with Christina Hendricks, the actress who plays Joan on “Mad Men.”

The new season of “Mad Men” starts April 7, but I knew there was no way she was going to talk about what will happen during the show’s sixth season. The cast has been coached to never offer anything more than their name, the name of their character and that they work on the show.

There was another topic of interest to me that I knew she could discuss. Hendricks was in the film “Struck By Lightning” that was written by Clovis East graduate Chris Colfer.

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Did They Just Say Fresno? ‘Walking Dead’ edition

Sunday night’s mid-season finale of “The Walking Dead” was exhilarating. It was filled with plenty of tension and — as seems to be the case as more of this zombie-apocalypse tale unravels — many more questions. I won’t get all spoiler-ish on you if you haven’t watched it yet, but I did want to share an answer to one of the questions in last night’s episode, courtesy of … Fresno?!? Yep, a Fresno fan called into the “Talking Dead” after-show on AMC and quizzed creator Robert Kirkman. The clip is below. If you don’t want the episode spoiled don’t watch this. If you do watch it, don’t complain to me.

PREVIOUSLY: Did They Just Say Fresno? Key & Peele edition

Taking a ride with ‘Walking Dead’ star

It’s beginning to look like I should give up working from my desk and just ride the elevator at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles. Each time I’ve been on the elevator there, I’ve run into someone famous. This time it was Andrew Lincoln who plays Rick Grimes on one of the best shows on TV, “The Walking Dead.”

I tell Grimes that I’ve seen the first two episodes for the third season, beginning Oct. 14, and that the new season continues the high quality of the show. If you haven’t seen “Walking Dead,” the AMC show — along with “Breaking Bad” — is redefining the rules of television. In the second season, three major characters were killed, something that rarely happens in TV shows.

“We are all very proud of the work that’s being done on the show,” Grimes says.

The chat reminds me that Lincoln is one of the many British actors landing roles in American TV programs. It’s easy to forget his background when watching him kill zombies because he uses a Southern accent.

Another British actor, David Morrissey, joins the cast this season. He’s playing the Governor, a major character from the graphic novels that fans have been clamoring to see in the show. If you don’t know Morrissey’s work, track down a copy of “Viva Blackpool” or ‘Thorne.”

Before getting in the elevator, Morrissey told be there’s a voice coach on the set to make sure he has the proper Southern sound to his voice. Keeping the accent is easy for him because the series films in Georgia.

“I am surrounded by the accent wherever I go,” Morrissey says.

Bryan Cranston checks out ‘Swamp People’

62nd Primetime Emmy Awards - Pressroom(2).JPG Bryan Cranston was excited when he heard three million watched the fifth season opener of his incredible AMC series “Breaking Bad.” That’s a huge number in the cable world nd becoming a big number with network ratings.

Then the reality of the viewing numbers hit him.

“It’s still half the number of people that ‘SWAMP PEOPLE’ gets,” Cranston says during an interview for his role in the feature film “Total Recall.”

Each time he mentions the name of the History Channel series, Cranston says it loud and very slowly as to draw attention to the type of reality program that is beating his much-heralded scripted show.

“Swamp People,” the highest rated cable program on Thursday nights, follows a group of Cajuns in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya River Basin who hunt alligators. That’s it. That’s the entire plot.

“I was curious to see what ‘SWAMP PEOPLE’ was all about. I found it and watched ‘SWAMP PEOPLE.’ I thought no wonder six million people watch ‘SWAMP PEOPLE.’ These are grown men in the South who catch fish with their hands,” Cranston says. “And, I thought that’s pretty badass.

“I don’t know how many fish you need to catch with your hands in order to garner six million people but it’s pretty impressive.”

Cranston’s show may not be getting the ratings of the reality program, but a host of Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades for “Breaking Bad” mean his series about a chemistry teacher turned meth maker is going to resonate long into TV history after “SWAMP PEOPLE” is gone.

Vincent Kartheiser knows how not to be famous

Mad Men (Season 5).JPGFame is a weird thing.

Kim Kardashian, who’s famous for being famous, can’t go anywhere without being mobbed. Then you have someone like Vincent Kartheiser, who plays Pete Campbell on “Mad Men,” who can go about anywhere he wants without being recognized.

That makes no sense. Kartheiser stars on one of the most honored series in TV with “Mad Men.” Plus, he was a regular on the very popular “Angel.” Those two series should be enough to get him to the front of the line at a Starbucks. But, it doesn’t and that’s the way Kartheiser likes it.

“I never get recognized,” Kartheiser tells me during an interview at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. “You know how you get recognized — talk shows and magazines. When you are inundated with the person at the magazine stand or on late-night talk show, then people are going to notice you more.

“I don’t pursue covers or do late-night talk shows. And unless I’m forced to, I don’t do daytime talk shows. So that’s why I am not recognized.”

Another reason he doesn’t get the Kardashian treatment is that he looks so different from his “Mad Men” character. Unless there is a rabid fan or someone on the lookout to see him, Kartheiser goes about his day with little attention. He even continues to ride the bus to get around town.

When he is recognized, more people want to talk about “Mad Men” than “Angel.” He gets a really weird question about “Mad Men” almost every time. They want to know about the two large giraffe statues in Pete Campbell’s apartment.

“You don’t know how many times people ask about those \[expletive deleted\] giraffes,” Kartheiser says with a smile. “They want to know if they are going to be sold or if I will give them the statues. I’m like ‘Dude, get your own giraffes. These are mine.’”

If Kartheiser was more like Kim Kardashian, he would already have a designer line of giraffe statues on the market. But, that would probably make him famous.