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Nicole Richie answers Vulture’s questions about ‘Great News’


Written by admin on May 15 2024

I missed this at the time, but Nicole Richie has reposted an interview she did with Vulture, published back in April, answering their questions about ‘Great News,’ a sitcom she starred in from 2017-2018. The interview is part of Vulture’s ‘Role Call’ series where they speak to actors about their past performances. Read the full interview here or below:

Portia Scott-Griffith doesn’t seem like someone who should be delivering news on an afternoon broadcast in suburban New Jersey. This is a woman who rebrands diet pills as rat poison for a side hustle, won Most Schwaisted Party Peep at the Kids Choice Awards, and took nudes of herself and Tupac … last year? She might also be Banksy. Yet there she is, every weekday, strutting around Great News’s offices like she owns the place, even if she can’t explain what “a journalism” is. “You know what I think would really help the show?” she earnestly suggests in one episode. “If we got rid of the desk so people could see my legs. My mentor Roger Ailes suggested it.”

Great News didn’t last long, which wasn’t too great for us. In 2018, NBC pulled the plug on its teleprompters after 23 episodes, despite executive producer Tina Fey and a solid premise: A local-news producer (Briga Heelan) has to deal with the antics of her overbearing mother (Andrea Martin) after she’s hired as an intern by an executive producer (Adam Campbell) at the station. But it was Nicole Richie’s portrayal of Portia, co-anchor of the fictional Breakdown, that became the sitcom’s standout performance, thanks to a holier-than-thou demeanor that demanded fear and respect from everyone in the newsroom, most of all her older co-anchor (John Michael Higgins, never not deserving of hoots and hollers). Richie never acted in a starring role prior to Great News, and she’s still unsure, all these years later, why creator Tracey Wigfield took a chance on her. But with her return to comedy this month for a Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead remake, Richie was happy to try to better understand what this opportunity represented: “Anything that has Tina Fey attached is a dream come true.”

When I say the words Great News to you, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind?
A visual of me, Briga, Andrea, Adam, and John on set, constantly laughing.

The role of Portia was recast after the pilot was filmed. How did you get into the show’s orbit when they were looking for Portia 2.0?
My agents brought it to me. One of them had worked with Tina in the past. It was a real surprise. I mean, it was very much a shot in the dark. I remember that first audition; I was the last of the day and the list was pretty long. I went in and did it, and then emotionally let it go.

When asked about your audition, Tracey once said, “I feel like she’s too good for us, why is she coming in?” Why did you come in?
I didn’t think I was going to get it. But 30 Rock is one of my all-time-favorite shows and Tina Fey is one of the funniest people I’ve ever watched on television.

When the show premiered in 2017, you had more television appearances as yourself — a Hollywood personality — than an actor in a role. Was starring in a network sitcom a priority for you at the time?
I wasn’t saying to myself that I wanted to be on a network comedy series. But I really loved doing comedy and that was where my focus was. When we got the phone call to audition, it was right before I went on tour with my husband. I got the call back while I was on tour, about half a day later. I flew right home, did the second audition, and then I auditioned a third time and got the role.

Tina said she was always impressed by your comedic sensibility when you starred in The Simple Life. How did that program inform your sense of humor and how to hone a character?
When I started The Simple Life, I was in my early 20s. I was approaching the world as just “existing” — being a wild 21-year-old doing whatever I wanted and trying to keep outdoing myself with adventures. It was a fun, temporary experience for me. When we shot the first season, it was a Real World–style production schedule — the cameras were rolling 24/7. But by the time we got to season two, the production schedule changed and the whole system got much tighter and more focused: Here are the beats we need to hit. The show knew exactly what it needed from us, and in turn, that was the first time I really looked at it as a business, a formula, what was expected of me, and what was entertaining to an audience.

Then we did three more seasons. It was a really cool experience because that show is technically a “reality show,” but Paris and I were anywhere except our own lives. It’s us walking into and disrupting other people’s lives. It became very clear what was expected of us. We went and did our job and did it well. That’s where I fell in love with doing comedy. It felt like something I really wanted to lean into.

What did Tina and Tracey identify in you that others failed to over the years? I’m curious why you think Great News was your first real opportunity to be in a sitcom.
Tracey and Tina are two of the funniest, strongest, and most confident women I’ve ever known. I don’t necessarily know what they saw in that audition; what I do know is that when I shot my first scene with Tina, I fumbled all of my lines. The dialogue was heavy and nothing was making sense. I crumbled under the pressure. I said to myself, I cannot believe I’m standing here across from Tina Fey not nailing this. It was a very hard day for me. Tina Fey took this chance on me and I’m not doing a good job. I had to go into my trailer and calm myself down: Nicole, you’ve got to relax. Just go out there, say your lines, you’re fine.

So it’s the first day of filming, you get to set, and you’re the new kid on the block among the other actors. What do you remember most about that day?
I was very much a newbie and nervous. We did the table read before we stepped on set, so I got a chance to meet everybody. Everyone was so warm, welcoming, and very excited to have me join their show. I sat back and watched John and Andrea do what they do best. I tried to take in anything that I could from them.

Did you develop a mentee-mentor relationship with anyone?
We talked about the personal “process” a lot. But it wasn’t just me, it was everyone. Maybe this is part of John’s process, but he had us create our own a capella singing group within our cast. When he starred in The Break-Up, there’s this scene with him, Jennifer Aniston, and the cast singing a cappella. I believe he has an actual a cappella group that he sings with. He really enjoys it. We created one under his guidance; we would sing while we were on our breaks throughout the day. We were going in closets and practicing. It was so much fun. I tried to take the lead on a few songs, but I wasn’t allowed.

One of the key pieces of lore we get about Portia is all of the “dope side projects” she has in addition to being an anchor. A random assortment: She once shot a bazooka in a Taylor Swift video, was the news anchor in two different Batmans, and judged a show called Fashion 9/11 “which was immediately canceled.” Getting all of these opportunities to be creative is an overlap you both have in common. Do you see flickers of yourself in Portia?
Maybe a little bit more when I was actually playing Portia. I was 35 years old at the time, and I remember John and Andrea specifically looking at me and Briga and saying, “Oh, you’re the young girls. You know everything about social media and we don’t.” They had to have someone helping them. They were talking to us like we were cool young people, but I don’t necessarily identify with that version of myself. The reason Portia is on the news show is because she was the one who knew all about social media and how to get young eyeballs. She was somebody who just lived her life and didn’t necessarily limit herself in what she thought she could take on. I do connect to Portia in that way.

Did you ever create your own backstory for Portia to better understand who she is? It seemed like she was too cool to be co-hosting the number-two-rated four o’clock cable-news hour in the country, “not including the South, Midwest, or top parts.”
I was happy that we saw a peek into Portia’s home life in the second season, but before that, you didn’t really get a lot of her personal life. When she has those moments where she’s bursting into a room, I had to check in with myself and say, Okay, where is Portia coming from? Because the energy is one way in the room. Let’s say everybody is stressed, they’re all focused on getting eyeballs on the news hour, and then Portia barges in, coming off of whatever her fabulous life was. Did she have a boyfriend? How does she spend her time? She wasn’t concerned with anything her colleagues were living in real time. As she’s busting through these doors, she’s not noticing anybody’s stress levels or anxiety.

What did you observe about the response to your acting? I feel there was this general sense of, Damn, Nicole has the chops, what a nice surprise.
It’s always nice to hear that. I was showing up every day and doing what came to me. I felt like, if you show up and give your whole self to whatever you’re doing, you’ll find your audience. You have to lean into yourself and what you can do.

Did the cancellation come as a shock? It’s wild to me that the two seasons aired in less than a year.
We were aware of the ratings, so I think all of us were hoping for the best, but of course, we had to be realistic. It didn’t necessarily come as a surprise. We were disappointed. We loved spending time together. We loved the writing. It really was the dream show. It wasn’t a challenge at all, there was nothing in the writing that didn’t make sense. We knew we could walk on set and do what was asked of us because we really trusted the process. We all felt so safe in that space between the writing and the producing.

It’s been about six years since Great News ended, and, besides taking a gamble on Quibi, you haven’t had another main role again on television. Do you audition a lot?
I’ve auditioned for a few things. It’s all about a role I feel I can connect with. Listen, I love being on TV. I’ve done a few pilots that unfortunately ended up not getting picked up, but it’s really just about finding the right role.

Have there been characters you’ve encountered in recent years that made you think, I could’ve done this and had some serious fun?
Not in anything that’s out right now, but if I could go back in time and be the same age that I am now, I would’ve loved to play Phyllis Nefler in the original Troop Beverly Hills. I connect to her. Shelley Long is hysterical. I’m obsessed with that movie and it has stuck with me since I was younger. I quote it all the time.

What was the closest Great News moment you’ve had with your dad? Is Lionel crashing the House of Harlow offices every month to request tasteful crystal jewelry?
He doesn’t necessarily crash things, but he does love to try. When I said that I was doing the Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead remake, he said, “Oh, I’m so proud of you and I can’t wait to do a cameo.” I said, “What? No one is asking you to do a cameo.” But he includes himself in any job that I get.

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Gallery Update: Great News promotional shots and stills


Written by admin on August 31 2018

Promotional stills and other photos from Great News season 1 and 2 have been added to the gallery. Season 1 of Great News is also now on Netflix UK and US, and it’s reported that season 2 will be added eventually.




Gallery Links:
Film/TV/Radio » Television Shows » Great News (2017) » Season 1 (2017) » Promotional Photoshoot
Film/TV/Radio » Television Shows » Great News (2017) » Season 1 (2017) » Stills
Film/TV/Radio » Television Shows » Great News (2017) » Season 2 (2017) » Promotional Photoshoot
Film/TV/Radio » Television Shows » Great News (2017) » Season 2 (2017) » Stills

‘Great News’ has been cancelled


Written by admin on May 12 2018

After two seasons, NBC has unfortunately decided to cancel Tracey Wigfield and Tina Fey produced sitcom ‘Great News’. The series starred Briga Heelan and Andrea Martin, with Nicole Richie co-starring as news anchor Porta Scott-Griffith.

[Source]

Happy Holidays from Great News


Written by admin on December 19 2017

Nicole Richie and the main cast from ‘Great News’ share a holiday message to remind you that the show is back with a double bill on Thursday December 21st on NBC.


https://www.instagram.com/p/Bc5aybEgo0k/?taken-by=nicolerichie

Nicole Richie talks Great News, women in TV and what she’d name the TV show of her life with The Edit


Written by admin on November 30 2017

Nicole Richie appears on the cover of Pret-A-Porter’s magazine The Edit, alongside Evan Rachel Wood, Yvonne Orji, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Sarah Silverman. You can read the feature online over at their website by clicking here. There is also a video where the five women discuss what they really think of sexism, diversity and equal opportunities both in front of and behind the camera.

Gallery Links:
Magazines » Covers » 2017 » The Edit (November 30)
Photoshoots » 2017 » Victor Demarchelier (The Edit)

Nicole Richie and Briga Heelan speak to Access Hollywood about ‘Great News’ (October 5)


Written by admin on October 07 2017

On October 5th, Nicole Richie and Briga Heelan talked about their show ‘Great News’ to Access Hollywood. Season 2 of ‘Great News’ premiered on September 28th on NBC.


https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ7JlU3A8KK/?taken-by=triciadurrant

Nicole Richie appears on Extra TV with Great News co-star Briga Heelan (October 5)


Written by admin on October 07 2017

On October 5th, Nicole Richie appeared on Extra TV with Great News co-star Briga Heelan to talk about their show.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ37VxqHcy9/?hl=en&taken-by=extratv

Gallery Links:
Candids » 2017 » October 05: On the set of ‘Extra’ in Los Angeles, California

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