Echo Kellum might be one of the funniest things about Fox's freshman sitcom Ben and Kate, but before landing the role of Tommy, the actor and comedian had never before auditioned for a TV pilot. We sat down with him recently in LA to talk about landing the gig, where the flame Tommy harbors for Kate might lead this season, and even his passion for Twitter and politics. Ben and Kate airs on Fox tonight at 8:30/7:30 Central.
Fox brought out its new midseason series to the Winter TCA, but the network's current shows were also highlighted. Some of the stars of the Tuesday-night comedy block (New Girl, The Mindy Project, Ben and Kate, and Raising Hope) showed up for a special comedy panel, and while they did give some specific tidbits about their series, they were mostly being hilarious. Click through to read the funny quotes from Fox stars like Jake Johnson, Nat Faxon, and Mindy Kaling!
Fox is making some decisions on its new series, and today the network announced that it's picking up full seasons of The Mindy Project and Ben and Kate. After each aired their second episodes and received solid ratings, Fox decided to give Mindy nine more episodes, and Ben and Kate six more. They join three of NBC's new series as the first shows to be picked up this Fall, while no new shows have gotten the axe quite yet. Have you been watching these new comedies?
This Fall, Fox is adding a couple of new comedies to its slate. In addition to The Mindy Project, there's Ben and Kate, which is about a pair of siblings (Nat Faxon and Dakota Johnson) who rely on each other as adults as much as they did when they were kids dealing with their parents' messy divorce. Find out whether the sitcom is one you'll want to be watching when it premieres tonight.
- What it's about: Ben (Faxon) is the lovable screwup older brother of Kate (Johnson), a single mom to a young daughter, Maddie. He makes a habit of showing up to crash on their couch and then disappearing, but this time, Ben decides he wants to stick around and help Kate raise Maddie.
- Where it works: The humor is silly but fun, and Faxon and Johnson are very cute and funny as brother and sister, whether they're clashing or bonding. And they're not the only good parts of the cast; little Maggie Elizabeth Jones (you may remember her from We Bought a Zoo), who plays Kate's daughter, is adorable, while British comedienne Lucy Punch adds a bit of edgy humor as Kate's sassy friend.
- Where it doesn't: There's not much of a story to get invested in; the pilot introduces romantic plot lines for both Ben and Kate and then quickly disposes of them, so I'm not sure what an entire season would be about.
- When it's on: Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on Fox
- You might like this show if: You like the goofiness of Happy Endings and the warmth of Modern Family.
See some photos and watch a preview of Ben and Kate after the jump.
As Fall gets closer, so do the premiere dates for all the networks' brand-new shows. If you're wondering what new series are worth watching, BuzzSugar editors Becky Kirsch and Shannon Vestal have done the legwork for you and are telling you which five shows they're most excited about and why in this episode of The Buzz.
New Fox comedy Ben and Kate is about the relationship between a brother and sister (played by Nat Faxon and Dakota Johnson) as well as their friends and family. The cast and showrunners came to TCA today to talk about the series, and seeing them all together reminded me that the cast is full of actors you've probably seen before. Chances are, you've been entertained by them in one way or another, so I'm telling you where the main cast has popped up and why those connections might get you to watch.
- Nat Faxon: It's likely you've seen Faxon in one of many small roles in comedies like Bad Teacher and Beerfest, but his most recent career success wasn't for acting — he won an Oscar for writing the screenplay for The Descendants. Faxon said that he booked Ben and Kate the day after he won the Academy Award, and he joked that the showrunners wanted an Oscar winner, but "Aaron Sorkin doesn't deliver." He hasn't contributed to any writing for Ben and Kate yet, but series creator Dana Fox said she's trying to get him to warm up to the idea.
- Dakota Johnson: Johnson comes from Hollywood royalty (her parents are Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson and her grandmother is Tippi Hedren), but she's been racking up smaller parts over the last couple of years, most notably in The Social Network (as the Stanford coed who wakes up with Sean Parker) and in The Five-Year Engagement (as Jason Segel's rebound). It sounds like she inherited a solid work ethic; Dana Fox said Johnson is "not afraid to look stupid or silly or ugly" for the show. As for her famous parents, Johnson said she didn't know if they would ever guest star but joked, "This is my show!"
- Maggie Elizabeth Jones: You may remember Jones's adorable little face from We Bought a Zoo, as Matt Damon's daughter. She's just as cute on Ben and Kate as Kate's daughter, and Faxon said that the cast has to "succumb to the fact that we're not as adorable" as Jones. Her costar Lucy Punch complimented the 8-year-old for being "very naturally funny," while Jones said her costars also make her laugh, but "Nat is the silliest."
- Lucy Punch: The British comedienne plays BJ, a co-worker of Kate's. On the big screen, Punch has stolen scenes in movies like Bad Teacher, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, and Dinner For Schmucks. Here, she gets to use her real accent, and Punch pointed out that "British comedy tends to be darker and meaner" than American humor, which should come in handy for the character of BJ, who has plenty of borderline rude but funny zingers in the pilot.
To see more pictures from the panel, just read more.
The upfronts are next week, and we'll find out more about the new shows coming to the Fall 2012 TV lineup, but we've got the early scoop on the series the networks have already picked up. We went over the new NBC shows, and now you can get acquainted with the new projects coming to Fox below.
- The Mindy Project: The Office's Mindy Kaling is executive producing and starring in this comedy as an OB/GYN figuring out her career and personal life.
- The Goodwin Games: Becki Newton, Scott Foley, and Jake Lacey play estranged siblings who are brought together when their father dies and have to follow the conditions in his will in order to claim their inheritance.
- Ben & Kate: Comedian Nat Faxon stars as a free spirit who moves in with his uptight sister (Dakota Johnson), who's a single mother, and helps raise her baby.
- The Following: Kevin Bacon stars as an FBI profiler who comes out of retirement to track down the followers of a serial killer in this thriller from The Vampire Diaries creator Kevin Williamson.
- The Mob Doctor: My Boys' Jordana Spiro plays a doctor who is forced to attend to the mob in this drama, which also costars Friday Night Lights' Zach Gilford.