Jews in the News: Alex Wolff, Maude Apatow, and Jerry Seinfeld

Broadcast and Streaming Options: Catch-Up and Look Ahead

The original HBO film “Bad Education” premiered on April 25. It is based on a scandal that rocked the (heavily Jewish) Roslyn, Long Island school district in 2004. Superintendent Frank Tassone (Hugh Jackman), a highly respected and charismatic educator, and his right hand-woman, Pam Gluckin (Allison Janney), stole $11.2 million dollars from the District. ALEX WOLFF, 22, has a big supporting role as the faculty advisor to the student newspaper. A student newspaper reporter was the first person to begin uncovering the scandal. The faculty advisor has a very Jewish name (“Nick Fleischman”), but its not made explicit that he is Jewish.

“Bad Education” played the Toronto Film Festival last September and reviews were glowing. The two leads were singled out for praise, as was the screenplay, by MIKE MAKOWSKY, 28. When he was six, his family moved from Queens to Roslyn. Makowsky was in middle school when the scandal broke. He told “Vanity Fair” that “Bad Education” is somewhat of a misnomer. Tassone really cared about how the district was doing. He recruited many good teachers and the District’s ratings (“SAT” scores, Ivy League admissions) soared during his tenure. Makowsky ended the interview with this hard-to answer question:  “It’s a strange thing. How can you care so deeply about the students, education, and devote your whole life and career to this very noble profession...but at the same time, take in such an egregious way from the students, from the community, from the tax payers?”

The celebrity version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” began on April 8. Celebs play for charity and there are a couple of major rules changes: celebs can pick a “guest”  person to help them with the all the questions and they can even ask host Jimmy Kimmel for help. Home viewers can now play along (via an app) and win money, too. IKE BARINHOLTZ, 43 (“The Mindy Project”) is one of the 3 celebs playing on April 30 (ABC, 8PM).

“Hollywood” is a big budget, 7-episode series that premieres on Netflix on May 1. It was created by Ryan Murphy (“Glee”, “American Horror Story”,“Politician”). It follows a group of aspiring actors and filmmaker in post World War II as they try to make it in Hollywood. This series follows a recent movie trend by positing an “alternate history”----What would have happened if most Hollywood racial and gender barriers had been removed much earlier than they really were ?  DAVID CORENSWET, 26 (“Politician” on Netflix) has a starring role (Jack Castello). MAUDE APATOW, 23 (JUDD APATOW’s daughter) has a supporting role and ROB REINER, 73, guests in 3 episodes. Patti Lupone, who isn’t Jewish, plays Jewish character Avis Amberg.  Also on Netflix: A new JERRY SEINFELD stand-up special, entitled “23 Hours to Kill”. It starts streaming on May 5. The official description says, “[Seinfeld] takes the stage in New York and tackles talking vs. texting, bad buffets vs. so-called "great" restaurants and the magic of Pop Tarts.”

“Prop Culture” is an original Disney Plus series that premieres on May 1. All eight episodes will be released on May 1 (the first time Disney has released a whole series on one day).  The series follows film collector Dan Lanigan as he revisits the costumes, props and sets of classic Disney films, including “Mary Poppins”, “Pirates of “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”  RICHARD SHERMAN, 91, is one of the guest stars in the first episode (“Mary Poppins”). Richard and his brother, ROBERT SHERMAN (1925-2012) wrote the “Mary Poppins” score. They won two Oscars for “Poppins” (best score and best song). CHARLES FLEISCHER, 69, who was the voice of Roger Rabbit, is a guest on the episode about that great animated film.

Over at Amazon Prime, there is “Upload”, an original sci-fi, comedy series. The first 10-episode season of “Upload” will be released on May 1.  It’s set in a future where humans are able to 'upload' themselves into their preferred choice of afterlife. The series was created by GREG DANIELS, 56. He has written for many very good TV series and he adapted the British version of “The Office” into a hit American show. His father, AARON DANIELS, 85, was the head of ABC Radio. His wife, SUSANNE LIBERSTEIN, 50ish, is currently the president of Youtube Premium. Her brother, PAUL LIBERSTEIN, 53, is a comedy writer who followed Daniels as the main producer of “The Office.”


Add Comment