From March 15-24, 2019, PaleyFest LA took over the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, bringing fans together with the cast and creative teams from television’s most beloved shows. We saw Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” kick things off with an elaborate dance number. Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie” ushered in some legendary star power. CBS put together a special evening with Stephen Colbert. VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” graced the PaleyFest stage. FOX’s “9-1-1” also made an appearance. Even the USC Trojan Marching Band showed up to play the theme song from “Hawaii Five-0,” welcoming the show’s cast members, along with those from “MacGyver,” and “Magnum P.I.”
We bid farewell to The CW’s “Jane the Virgin” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” caught up with the cast of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” and spent an emotional night with the stars from “This Is Us.”
The festival brought fans up-to-date on their favorite series, allowed them to say goodbye to some, and invited them to get a sneak peek at others. It was a tapestry of exciting moments woven into star-studded screenings, intimate conversations, and revealing interviews.
Here are 5 fun things we learned while at PaleyFest LA 2019.
5. Stars of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” would be down for a musical
TWD… a musical? “Yes, let’s make a musical,” Eleanor Matsuura told AXS during PaleyFest. “Why not? Everything else is a musical,” the actress added. Matsuura then began to imagine a “Walking Dead” world where Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) would spontaneously burst into song. “Tickets would sell like hotcakes,” the actress chuckled. She was on hand at the March 22 event with Reedus, Ryan Hurst (Beta), Christian Serratos, (Rosita), Lauren Ridloff (Connie), Angela Kang (executive producer and showrunner) along with moderator and “Talking Dead” host Chris Hardwick. While it’s uncertain whether the cast would be a part of “The Walking Dead” musical themselves, or would rather merely see the world expand into that realm, there’s no doubt they’d have the chops to pull it off. Reedus has a spoken word album in the works, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan) not only plays the guitar but has also been known to jam with his former “Supernatural” castmates on special occasions.
4. Billy Porter is releasing new music
On Saturday, March 23, PaleyFest welcomed FX’s “Pose” with Mj Rodriguez (Blanca Rodriguez), Dominique Jackson (Elektra Abundance), Indya Moore (Angel), Billy Porter (Pray Tell), Ryan Murphy (co-creator and executive producer), Steven Canals (co-creator and co-executive producer), Janet Mock (co-executive producer), and Our Lady J (producer and writer). The groundbreaking dance musical, which is making history by featuring the largest number of LGBTQ actors ever to star in a scripted series, made some big announcements last week. In season 2, as the show moves from the ‘80s to the ‘90s, we’ll get to see Broadway icon Patti LuPone making an appearance. Porter also announced new music. “I just recorded a song for WorldPride, called ‘Love Yourself,’ so that's coming out,” the Tony and GRAMMY winner told AXS. “I'm working on a rerelease of my Richard Rodgers project, and I'm doing a brand new project, so yes, the music thing is going to be happening,” Porter confirmed.
3. Cast members from CBS’s “Hawaii Five-0,” “MacGyver,” and Magnum “P.I.” share their hidden talents
Peter Lenkov, who is executive producer of all three shows, led his team down one giant star-studded carpet, before the panel discussion with fans on March 23. Alex O’Loughlin (‘Hawaii Five-0’), Lucas Till (‘MacGyver’), Jay Hernandez (‘Magnum P.I.’), Tristin Mays (‘MacGyver’), Meredith Eaton (‘MacGyver’), Zachary Knighton (‘Magnum P.I.’), Stephen Hill (‘Magnum P.I.’), Amy Hill (‘Magnum P.I.’), Ian Anthony Dale (‘Hawaii Five-0’), Chi McBride (‘Hawaii Five-0’), Meaghan Rath (‘Hawaii Five-0’), Beulah Koale (‘Hawaii Five-0’),and Kimee Balmilero (‘Hawaii Five-0’ and’ Magnum P.I.’), were all on hand for the event. Knighton (who was commended for his cooking skills by his roommates/co-stars) revealed that he’s also learning the play the ukulele. Stephen Hill spoke more about being a dancer, both Mays and Balmilero discussed their singing careers, and comedian Amy Hill, of course, dreamed up whom she might cast in her all-star improv team. “I think everybody in the show is pretty funny and fast on their feet,” Hill told AXS before listing every one of her castmates.
2. CBS All Access’s “Star Trek: Discovery” is one big, happy (extremely talented), family
Sonequa Martin-Green (Commander Michael Burnham), Doug Jones (Commander Saru), Anthony Rapp (Lt. Commander Paul Stamets), Shazad Latif (Ash Tyler), Wilson Cruz (Dr. Hugh Culber), Mary Chieffo (L’Rell), Tig Notaro (Chief Engineer Reno), Ethan Peck (Spock), Heather Kadin (executive producer), and Alex Kurtzman (executive producer), were all together for the March 24 PaleyFest event, celebrating “Star Trek: Discovery.” Apart from acting, this cast is laden with other talents. Martin-Green, Jones, Rapp, and Mary Wiseman (Ensign Sylvia Tilly) recently did an episode of “Carpool Karaoke.” Jones was just featured singing on the show, in Kelpien no less, (which happens to be a real language that is currently being created by a linguist). While Cruz – as well as Rapp – starred in “Rent” on Broadway. In addition to that, Notaro earned a GRAMMY nomination for her stand-up comedy album in 2017. This group is so close that they screen the episodes together. “I think one of the greatest gifts of this show is that the cast is so strong. I'm always blown away by what I see on the screen, but the chemistry is innate off-screen, too,” Chieffo told AXS. Peck says that for him, this experience has been the thrill of a lifetime. Moving into season 3, he tells AXS that he looks forward to the show going “where it's never gone before.”
1. “The Twilight Zone” is filled with comedians… but is steering clear of comedy
Jordan Peele may have gotten his start on “MADtv," but if there's anything that he's proven between 2017’s "Get Out" and his most recent box office smash “Us,” it's that when you have an important story to tell, the message will reach audiences no matter the genre. Enter, “The Twilight Zone.” Rod Serling’s creation is about to see a new iteration with Peele as executive producer and narrator, along with executive producers Simon Kinberg (‘Deadpool’), Win Rosenfeld, Audrey Chon, and Glen Morgan. Each attended PaleyFest on March 24 and were joined by some of the series cast members including Steven Yeun, Sanaa Lathan, Taissa Farmiga, Ike Barinholtz, Adam Scott, Rhea Seehorn, Ginnifer Goodwin, and DeWanda Wise. While other comedians will be featured (John Larroquette, Tracy Morgan, Kumail Nanjiani, and Seth Rogen are all set to appear) fellow “MADtv” alumni, Ike Barinholtz, told AXS on the carpet, that there won’t be much comedy in the CBS All Access reboot.
“There's a little bit,” Barinholtz said. “But I think it’s more about the nature of the episode,” he explained. The new show will consist of all original scripts, and you’ll definitely see a few nods to old episodes as well as some Easter Eggs for fans. As you might expect, there will also be a good deal of social messaging in the updated version.
Chon says that similar to the original anthology series, she hopes people will be provoked to think about various ideas. “I think it's what Jordan also does incredibly well in his stories. We're trying to entertain you, trying to creep you out; we want you to feel uncomfortable, but we also want those ideas to be provocative, so hopefully, we can do that with the younger generation.”
Kinberg says what he's most excited about (which he couldn’t discuss) is the season finale. “I had a lot to do with it," he teased. "And that one is going to blow some minds.”
“The Twilight Zone” airs April 1 on CBS All Access.
For more on this year’s PaleyFest, you can check out The Paley Center for Media’s new streaming service, PaleyTV.