Si­mon Baker’s ca­reer was cook­ing pre-‘Men­tal­ist’


Q: Can you tell me more about Si­mon Baker and what he’s done in the past?

— Steve Doboszynski, Seat­tle A: While he’s en­joy­ing his big­gest suc­cess to date with his CBS show “The Men­tal­ist,” the Aus­tralian ac­tor has been around for a while. He did sev­eral se­ries Down Un­der be­fore shift­ing his ca­reer largely to Amer­ica, a tran­si­tion that be­gan with a role in the Os­car-win­ning movie “L.A. Con­fi­den­tial.” Baker then worked for CBS in two other shows, “The Guardian” and the very short­lived “Smith.”

His other movies have in­cluded “Ride With the Devil,” “Red Planet,” “The Af­fair of the Neck­lace,” “The Ring Two,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Some­thing New,” “Land of the Dead,” “Women in Trou­ble” and “The Killer In­side Me.” Here’s an in­ter­est­ing side note about two of his three chil­dren with his ac­tress wife, Re­becca Rigg: They have Ni­cole Kid­man and Naomi Watts as god­moth­ers.

Q: What hap­pened be­tween MSNBC and Keith Ol­ber­mann? Where will be I be able to hear his po­lit­i­cal rant­ings now? — Jerome Bolle, Whitelaw, Wis. A: Re­la­tions had been frosty — and ev­i­dently get­ting colder — be­tween Ol­ber­mann and ex­ec­u­tives at his now-for­mer net­work for some time, lead­ing to what has been termed the “sep­a­ra­tion agree­ment” that prompted Ol­ber­mann’s hasty farewell from his pro­gram “Count­down” in Jan­uary. Some had spec­u­lated the cir­cum­stances of the de­par­ture were has­tened by Com­cast’s then­im­mi­nent takeover of the NBC net­works’ own­er­ship, though Com­cast of­fi­cials de­nied they played any di­rect role in Ol­ber­mann’s exit.

As for where he’ll ap­pear next, he has made a deal with the Al Gore-op­er­ated Cur­rent TV not only for his own pro­gram (which he has said will start in June) but also to con­sult on that net­work’s other prime-time pro­gram­ming. He main­tains he has com­plete con­trol in his new gig, so if an un­fet­tered Ol­ber­mann is what you want, it looks as if that’s what you’ll get.

Q: Is there a date from AMC as to when sea­son five of “Mad Men” will be­gin?

— Chris Krom­rey, Vir­ginia Beach, Va. A: Be­lieve it or not, at this writ­ing, there was no of­fi­cial word yet that there even would be a sea­son five. Given the on­go­ing ac­claim and pop­u­lar­ity of the drama, it seems a fore­gone con­clu­sion that there will be an­other year of it, but there have been two stick­ing points ... one in­volv­ing cre­ator-pro­ducer Matthew Weiner’s con­tract with the show’s stu­dio, Lion­s­gate, plus Lion­s­gate’s own con­tract with AMC to tele­vise the se­ries. The gen­eral ex­pec­ta­tion is that pro­duc­tion will ramp back up in early sum­mer for a fall pre­miere, but there’s a need for sign­ings on

cer­tain dot­ted lines first.

Q: Please tell me about the boy who plays Max on “Par­ent­hood.”

—Jackie Tandy, Bend, Ore. A: Thir­teen-year-old Max Burkholder was fea­tured on such shows as “Brothers & Sis­ters,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Pri­vate Prac­tice” and “In Treat­ment” pre­vi­ously, but he also has a wealth of an­i­ma­tion voice-over work un­der his belt. The se­ries he’s been heard on in­clude “Fam­ily Guy,” “Amer­i­can Dad,” “The Cleve­land Show,“ “My Friends Tig­ger & Pooh” and “The Land Be­fore Time”; he also was in the voice casts of the movies “Astro Boy” and “The Ant Bully.”

Q: What hap­pened to “Riz­zoli & Isles”? Is it ever go­ing to re­sume? — Claire Reilly, La Habra, Calif. A: “Ever” is a very long time, but to get more spe­cific, the Angie Har­mon-Sasha Alexan­der show will re­turn to TNT for its sec­ond sea­son July 11 ... the same night “The Closer” will be­gin its fi­nal sea­son.

Q: Did NBC take “Out­law” off the air? It wasn’t on the air long enough to have a fol­low­ing. — Matt McKe­own, Stu­art, Fla. A: The Jimmy Smits-star­ring drama was one of the cur­rent sea­son’s ear­li­est can­cel­la­tions. It had a promis­ing start with a Wed­nes­day “pre­view” show­ing, but as soon as it moved to its reg­u­lar Fri­day slot, its rat­ings trou­bles be­gan ... fu­eled largely by the im­me­di­ate suc­cess of its CBS com­peti­tor, Tom Sel­leck’s law-and-or­der saga “Blue Bloods.” Af­ter sev­eral weeks of de­clin­ing rat­ings, NBC felt it saw the writ­ing on the wall for “Out­law” and moved the other episodes al­ready filmed to a lesser-watched Satur­day pe­riod.

Send ques­tions of gen­eral in­ter­est via e-mail to tvpipeline@ tri­ Writers must in­clude their names, cities and states. Per­sonal replies can­not be sent.

If you miss Keith Ol­ber­mann’s com­men­tary on MSNBC, you’ll be able to catch the out­spo­ken lib­eral be­gin­ning in June on Al Gore’s Cur­rent TV net­work.

Aussie ac­tor Si­mon Baker of “The Men­tal­ist” fame got his U.S. ca­reer off to a start in the Os­car-win­ning movie “L.A. Con­fi­den­tial.”

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