Jews in the News: Judd Hirsch, Howie Mandel and Maya Rudolph

Maisel and More: TV Catch-Up and Look Ahead

The second season of the mega-hit Amazon Prime series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” will be streamed, in its entirety, beginning Wednesday, Dec. 5. As most of you know, the show is set in the late ‘50s and the title character, Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), is a Jewish woman, in her ‘20s, from an affluent Jewish family. Her housewife life falls apart when her Jewish husband. Joel Maisel (MICHAEL ZEGEN, 39) leaves her for another woman. Eventually, he wants to come back to Midge and their two kids. But by that time, Midge has found out she can be independent and has a real talent for stand-up comedy.

As I have noted before, Emmy-winner Rachel Brosnahan (Mrs. Maisel) is not Jewish. Neither are the actors who play her parents, Abe and Rose Weissman (Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle). However, on the “Maisel” side, the actors are all Jewish: Michael Zegen as Joel Maisel, KEVIN POLLAK, 61, as Michael’s father, and CAROLINE AARON, 66, as Michael’s mother.

A synopsis of each of the second season episodes is now on-line ( Here’s just a few highlights to whet your appetite, should you choose not to look at IMDB: Midge faces challenges like telling her parents that she plans to make comedy her career; several episodes take place at a Jewish Catskills mountain resort where the Weissmans and the Maisels vacation together; tensions reach a fever pitch at a dinner marking the end of Yom Kippur. A year before, on Yom Kippur day, Joel and Midge separated.

“Best Friends: Three Crazy Nights” is a Netflix comedy special that began streaming on Nov. 27. The real-life best friends are comedians DAVE ATTELL and JEFF ROSS, both 53. Part of the special has the duo appearing on stage, cracking jokes and trading insults. There are also some outdoor scenes. The celebs making cameo appearances include BOB SAGET, 62, and GILBERT GOTTFRIED, 63. The special was directed by ANDREW JARECKI, 55, who is best known for directing the hit HBO series “The Jinx” about accused killer ROBERT DURST, 75.

The “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” episode entitled “Alta Kockers” premieres on NBC on Thursday, Nov. 29 at 10PM. The advance description says: “The investigation into a promising new author’s death leads to a decades-old secret between two reclusive brothers.”  The ‘alta kocker’, reclusive Jewish brothers are played by JUDD HIRSCH, 83, and WALLACE SHAWN, 75. I checked and this is the first time that the Yiddish term “alta kocker” (polite translation: “old fart”) has appeared as a TV episode or movie title. I wouldn’t call this a Jewish milestone. But the 'mainstreaming' of ‘alta kocker’ does make me chuckle a bit. (Don’t despair if you are reading this after the air date. The whole episode can be viewed, on-line, at or via the NBC app—download to phone or just click on NBC app on stream-to-TV devices like Roku and Amazon Fire).

CNBC, long a cable station covering business news, is turning more towards entertainment during the evening. That explains why a re-boot of the game show, “Deal or No Deal”, will premiere on CNBC on Dec. 5 at 10PM. HOWIE MANDEL, 63, who hosted the show from 2005-2009, returns as the host. We are promised that there will be changes in the format that will make it a more exciting show.


Amazon Prime Video has just signed a deal with MAYA RUDOLPH, 46, and NATASHA LYONNE, 39, to create original series for them. They are both talented so I look forward to what they come-up with.

A revival/re-boot of “Northern Exposure,” the hit ‘90s series about a Jewish doctor in rural Alaska, is in the works. ROB MORROW, 56, who starred as Dr. Joel Fleischman, is producing the series, which is now in the development stage at CBS. JOSHUA BRAND, 67, who co-created the show, and wrote many original episodes, is described by “Variety” as the re-boot’s writer.

Nothing is certain: they haven’t even shot a pilot episode or secured the services of the surviving members of the original cast. Weird sidelight: Morrow and his wife of 20 years, DEBBON AYER, 59, have one child, a daughter named “Tu”. Put it together: Rob's wife’s names “equals” “debonair” and his daughter’s full name sounds like “tomorrow.” Morrow once said it was “family tradition” that led them to name their daughter, now 17, “Tu Morrow”.  No word if Tu Morrow has chose to use one of her middle names instead.


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