Jews in the News: Katey Segal, Gal Gadot and Marty Baron

3 New Series; Gadot News; and Baron of the 4th Estate Retires

“Rebel”, a new ABC drama, premiered on April 8 (10PM). KATEY SEGAL, 65, plays Annie “Rebel” Bello, a sort-of Erin Brockovich character (a blue-collar woman, without a law degree, who fights for regular folks.) The recurring cast includes ADAM ARKIN, 64, and DAN BUCATINSKY, 55.

Sagal describes herself as “culturally Jewish”, even though she isn’t religious and her late mother wasn’t Jewish. Her late father, BORIS SAGAL, honed his chops in the Yiddish theater and went on to be a top TV director. Both her parents died fairly young, but she still has NORMAN LEAR, 98. He introduced Katey’s parents to each other and he’s her unofficial godfather.

“Big Shot”, a situation comedy, begins streaming on the Disney + channel on Friday, April 16.  Created by BRAD GARRETT (“Everybody Loves Raymond”), the series stars John Stamos, 57, as Marvyn Korn, a hotheaded men’s college basketball coach who gets ousted by the NCAA and has to take a job at a fancy, private, all-girls high school. (In real life, if I saw a basketball coach named Marvyn Korn, I’d guess that it’s pretty likely that he is Jewish. But I suspect that Korn will be yet another “stealth” Jewish character.)

This is Disney---so the previously stoic Korn quickly learns a lesson—that teen girls require much more empathy than he is used to giving.  He also learns how to show some of his own vulnerability. During the 6-episode first season Korn evolves into a better guy.

JESSALYN GILSIG, 49, co-stars as Holly, a good-natured assistant basketball coach. SHIRI APPLEBY, 42, was originally cast as Holly, but was replaced last October. The head producer wanted an older actress who was closer in age to Stamos-- should they decide to write-in a romance between Marvyn and Holly. This might be the first time being older helped a middle-aged actress.

Gilsig’s TV co-starring roles include Lauren Davis in “Boston Public”, Gina Russo in “Nip/Tuck”, and Terri Schuester in “Glee”. She wed producer BOBBY SALOMON, her Montreal high school sweetheart, in a Jewish ceremony in 2005 and they had a child. Sadly, they split in 2010.

The first episode of “Impact with Gal Gadot” begins streaming on Monday, April 19 on the National Geographic Channel. The remaining 5 episodes will stream on successive Mondays. “Impact” is a short-form documentary series, hosted by GADOT, 35.  The series follows six courageous women who lead their community as the community confronts natural disasters, violence, discrimination, and oppression. Profiled are women in Michigan, Louisiana, Tennessee, Brazil, California, Puerto Rico, and Brazil.

In other Gadot news: a couple of weeks ago the Israeli star announced that she is pregnant with her third child with husband YARON VERSANO, an Israeli real estate developer. Also, last October, it was confirmed that she would team-up with “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins on a bio-pic about Cleopatra. Of course, Israel-haters said that a Jew, with European ancestry, playing an Egyptian wasn’t right. These “haters” don’t know, or ignore the fact that Cleopatra was of “pure” Greek European ancestry. The Gadot casting critics were really saying this:  any person of Middle Eastern background who wasn’t Jewish would be okay as Cleo, but don’t give an Israeli Jew “Middle Eastern credibility” by casting one as Cleopatra. This attack also has a fact-based response: the DNA of virtually all Ashkenazi Jews, like Gadot, is 70% Middle Eastern in origin. Sadly, these responses won’t matter to “haters”.  As we all have learned, those with a political agenda have a great ability to ignore inconvenient facts.  

CBS Sunday Morning (April 4) had a really nice profile of MARTY BARON, 66, the Washington Post chief editor (posted, as all Sunday Morning segments are, on Youtube and the CBS News website). Baron, who looks very healthy, told host LESLEY STAHL, 79, that he is about to retire because he needs a respite. Baron explained that he has been a journalist for 45 years and the last five years have been the hardest (the Trump attacks on the media and the pandemic).

The segment described how, under Baron, the Post has evolved into a national newspaper and its subscriber base has soared (helped by a huge infusion of cash by owner Jeff Bezos, who also gave great marketing advice).  But cash alone doesn’t make a great paper. As the segment details, Baron has been, well, “just great”, as chief editor of the Miami Herald, the Boston Globe, and the Post. As you probably know, he was the “hero” of the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight”. It was about how the Globe exposed sexual abuse by the Catholic clergy. 


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