The dog did it
The chance to work on Broadway with Woody Allen, Zach Braff and Susan Stroman was a strong lure, but being able to cradle a dog onstage for the first time may have been the clincher for Tony Award winner Karen Ziemba.
Ziemba has signed on to play Eden Brent, an aggressively perky actress, in the upcoming musical adaptation of Allen’s crime caper “Bullets Over Broadway.” A tiny dog named Mister Woofles will be her constant companion.
“This will be the first time I will actually be working with a live animal onstage,” Ziemba said Tuesday after her return to New York after starring in “Hello Dolly” in Chicago. “I’m so excited to meet Trixie, who is playing Mister Woofles.”
For Ziemba, who won a Tony for “Contact” and also starred on Broadway in “Curtains” and “Steel Pier,” the chance to work on one of her favorite Allen works was “kind of a no-brainer.”
Originally written by Allen and Douglas McGrath, the story follows a struggling young playwright who is forced to cast a mobster’s talentless girlfriend in his latest drama.
Putting heroes on air
Television’s Military Channel has a change of mission.
Discovery Communications said Thursday that the Military Channel is changing its name to the American Heroes Channel, beginning in March.
The network says it wants to broaden its focus to produce programming that shows how people meet challenges, not just on the battlefield.
The channel began operating in 2005 during two wars. It’s seen in some 62 million homes, close to two-thirds of the country.
‘SNL’ adds two black writers
“Saturday Night” is expanding its ethnic diversity off-screen as well as on.
A network spokeswoman, Lauren Roseman, said Wednesday that NBC’s comic institution is adding two black women to its writing staff.
The move follows the addition of an African-American woman, comedian Sasheer Zamata, to the show’s cast.
The hiring of LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones as writers was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter. The trade paper said the two had been part of recent auditions focusing exclusively on minority women.
“Saturday Night Live” has been criticized for a lack of diversity.
Perry finds a home on OWN
Producer Tyler Perry will soon have a fourth series on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network.
OWN said Thursday that it has ordered a Perry drama, “Single Moms Club,” that will premiere this fall. It’s about a group of mothers who create a support group after being brought together by an incident at their children’s school.
The success of Perry’s series keyed a turnaround for OWN, which struggled at its start.
The drama “The Haves and the Have Nots” began its second season last week, and the comedy “Love Thy Neighbor” began its second season Wednesday.
OWN also airs the Perry comedy “For Better or Worse.”