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David Gray Out To Match 90’s Success

hollywoodexclusive1Fans of "Cold Case" can expect detective Lilly Rush to take a turn off the straight and narrow in the forthcoming seventh season of the CBS drama. That's the word from series star Kathryn Morris, who tells us, "There's a lot of questionable activity for Lilly this year. All the best heroes have that fork in the road, you know."

Morris acknowledges that last season wound amid talk of "Cold Case" being "on the bubble or whatever, but we were not. We were cranked up 30-40 percent in the last leg," she says, referring to the series' ratings. "And we had this really explosive season finale" — with Lily's car being forced off a bridge into 40 feet of water. "It was really cool to be able to complete that and it really raised a whole new set of questions for everyone," adds Morris. "So now every character has something that they're going to be delving into. For Lilly, well, the justice system has always worked for her, but now she's finding out that no, it isn't really working for her as it has for all the victims that she takes care of things for. Now she can take things into her own hands and I think she's going to blur the lines a little bit."

THE INSIDE TRACK: English singer-songwriter David Gray shot to fame in the late '90s with his breakout album "White Ladder," including such hits as "Babylon" and "This Year's Love." With his newest album, he's hoping he can finally match that success. "With your first breakthrough thing, I don't think you can recreate it. It was fairy tale that wrote itself with me in the middle of it. All you can do is try to create something of equal potency," says Gray, whose album "Draw the Line" hits stores Sept. 22. Gray has a new band, which, he says, "has given me a completely new lease on life. There's this sort of bulletproof feeling that I've got when I'm inside the music that we've made," he tells us. "'White Ladder' will always be something that will be there. It's a benchmark thing that you'll always be pigeonholed into, but I'm trying to get out of the cage for chrissakes. This is certainly my best shot at it," he adds with a laugh.

Also featured on the album are two duets with Jolie Holland and Annie Lennox, who Gray says added a breath of fresh air to the project. "Oh, that was brilliant. We were a bunch of cynical bastards sitting there in the studio not knowing what it was going to be like. We needed the other voice to be able to finish the song and Annie just blew us away. She was like a gale of positive energy from the moment she came into the studio. There was no ego or nonsense. She just threw her heart and soul into it because she wanted it to be as good as it could be." Gray begins his United States tour with the album starting Oct. 23 in Boston. "The gigs are the best part of it … I'm just fanaticizing about getting out there and playing."

NO REGRETS: Some TV stars aren't too thrilled about constantly being associated with their most memorable character, especially years after the show has been off the air. But "A Different World" star Darryl M. Bell tells us he takes it as a compliment.

"With six years in primetime as one of highest-rated shows on television and 17 years of syndication, we still get recognized pretty frequently. Not only am I flattered by it, but I embrace it," says Bell, who is currently starring on Fox Reality Channel's "Househusbands of Hollywood" with his longtime girlfriend Tempestt Bledsoe of "The Cosby Show."

"We've all taken great pride in the legacy that 'A Different World' left, which was doubling the enrollment in historically black colleges and universities. That's always been amazing," notes Bell. "I can't tell you how many young men come up to me and tell me the show is the reason they went to college or went to a black college. It's been one of the most gratifying things about the work that we've done."

It also helped pave the way for many other African American shows of its time. "It was a precursor to 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,' 'In Living Color,' 'Martin,' 'Living Single,' and all the other shows that opened the door for more African American shows on television," he says. "The late '80s was a magical time for African American shows in television. For whatever reason, the fact that that door hasn't stayed as opened in today's environment, as we would have liked, is unfortunate. Hopefully that will come back."

NOTE WORTHY: Nia Vardalos, who collaborated with Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson to make "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and "My Life In Ruins," wants us to know, "They are very normal people. They are so down to earth. They have managed to achieve a very humble existence in this cesspool of a town, so I admire them for that."

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster.

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2009 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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