Review: ‘New York News’

Among the columnists are veteran Jack Reilly (Gregory Harrison) and younger Angela Villanova (Melina Kanakaredes) on the news side, sports columnist Tony Amato (Anthony DeSando) and gossip columnist Nan Chase (Madeline Kahn).

Among the columnists are veteran Jack Reilly (Gregory Harrison) and younger Angela Villanova (Melina Kanakaredes) on the news side, sports columnist Tony Amato (Anthony DeSando) and gossip columnist Nan Chase (Madeline Kahn).

Ellie Milanski (Kelli Williams) is an intern who’d like to be a reporter, maybe a columnist. Kevin Chamberlin plays Victor, the newsroom’s slow-witted clerk; something like Benny from “L.A. Law.” Maybe he’ll get to be a columnist, too.

Everybody gets to do something in the pilot script by show’s creator, Michelle Ashford (a title card notes, intriguingly, “Based on a format by Mike McAlary & Jay Moses”).

Reilly bolts from his gathering tips on a Dept. of Sanitation expose to chase down a fire, which leads to an even bigger expose; Milanski is chasing hookers in Central Park before being reassigned to a story on taxi drivers prompted by Chase. (How naive is Milanski? When Felcott — who spends a lot of time in the newsroom for an editor-in-chief — assigns her the story, the cub replies, “Actually, I was working on something else.”).

In the meantime, Chase is reporting on Barbra Streisand’s Carnegie Hall opening, covering her black eye with a patch designed by Donna Karan. But don’t confuse her with Liz Smith, whose idea of reporting, according to Chase in one of the episode’s best lines, “is reading an entire issue of Vanity Fair, cover-to-cover.” Acting is OK, though there’s plenty of room for characters to gain more dimension. Pilot under Michael Apted’s assured direction has (like every other N.Y.-set series) a gritty look; production design by Veronica Hadfield and Justin Scoppa is a plus.

New York News

(Thurs. (28), 9-10 p.m., CBS)

Production

Filmed in New York City by Sander/Moses Prods. and Round Two Prods. in association with Warner Bros. Television. Executive producers, Ian Sander, Kim Moses, Michelle Ashford; producer, Nan Nernstein Freed; director, Michael Apted; writer, Ashford; camera, Alik Sakharov, Lauro Escorel; editors, Paul Freed, Karen Stern; production design, Veronica Hadfield, Justin Scoppa; sound, William Srokin, Bill Daly; music, Wendy Blackstone. #Cast: Gregory Harrison, Melinda Kanakaredes, Joe Morton, Anthony DeSando, Kelli Williams, Kevin Chamberlin, Madeline Kahn, Mary Tyler Moore, David Thornton, Dan Futterman, Harold Perrineau Jr., Keime Tirelli, Walter Bobbie, Stephen Singer, Drenda Spohnholtz, Glenn Fitzgerald, Jane Summerhays, Mark Zeisler, Michael Winther, Schecter Lee, Betsy Aidem, Novella Nelson, Dule Hill, Breanne Smith, Bill Cwikowski, Ginny Yang, Antonia Rey, Dennis Cunningham, Firdous Bamji, Christopher McHale, Liam Gannon, Harsh Nayyar The New York Reporter is so on the skids financially that publisher allows the staff use of only one paper cup a day. Still, the tabloid's plucky crew manages to cover the city, racking up their share of scoops as they expose the city's heart -- even though it doesn't occur to them to use mugs like everybody else. Fast-paced series "New York News" may be inspired in part by the 1994 feature "The Paper," but -- like any show with this setting -- must be compared to the definitive "Lou Grant." Appearance of Mary Tyler Moore in the role of editor-in-chief (played by Mason Adams on "Grant") makes the comparison even more inevitable. Though eminently watchable, "New York News" so far lacks the soul of the earlier series, not to mention the topicality and spot-on authenticity. Moore plays Louise Felcott, News' editor-in-chief. Reporting to her are managing editor Mitch Cotter (Joe Morton), who assigns stories by word count rather than the more common column inches; and there appear to be far more columnists than reporters.
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