Story By: G. H. HARDING
William Devane

DEVANE ON FRICKIN’ FIRE --- Actor William Devane (Gregory Sumner on Knots Landing) delivered what I would immediately call one of the best performances ever on TV, this past Monday night on Fox’s 24: Live Another Day. Devane was again portraying William Heller, now President, and on the edge of making a life-changing move for the greater good. Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) was terrific as always and had always had issues with Heller, initially turned down the idea, but as always followed the wishes of his boss. Their work together on this show was flawless. Devane’s moments with his daughter Audrey were truly moving and as they neared their final destination, Jack and Heller in a chopper, no words were necessary. The two sat in silence but communicated so much emotion. Truly chilling.

I have to give the writers of the show a heads-up in choosing not to portray the leader of the free world as indecisive, as they had done several times during the run of the TV show. This President was more in line with David Palmer, essayed by the always-reliable Dennis Haysbert. Bravo!

Devane, was born in Albany, New York, the son of Joseph Devane, who served as Franklin D. Roosevelt's chauffeur when he was Governor of New York. After graduating from New York City's American Academy of Dramatic Arts, he appeared on-stage. He finally made his Broadway debut in The Watering Place with Shirley Knight, a flop that lasted one performance (he was more successful with The Chinese and Dr. Fish during the 1970 season, which lasted three weeks). His sole Broadway directorial effort, the Vietnam War drama G. R. Point, lasted for 32 performances in 1979 and brought Michael Jeter a 1979 Theatre World Award)

He made his movie debut as a revolutionary in the independently produced In the Country (1967) and began appearing on series TV. He had a small but memorable part as the lawyer committed to free-enterprise in Robert Altman's masterpiece McCabe & Mrs. Miller in 1971, but what made his reputation was his turn as President John F. Kennedy in the The Missiles of October, a 1973 telefilm about the Cuban Missile Crisis. He made a bid for stardom with major roles in Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot (1976) and John Schlesinger's Marathon Man (both 1976) and The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training (1977), as well as roles in Schlesinger's Yanks (1979) and the TV adaptation of James Jones' classic barracks drama From Here to Eternity (1979).

Devane moved over to nighttime series TV, playing the cad Greg Sumner on the night-time soap opera Knots Landing (1979) for 10 years.

On Monday’s ep, during his interlude with daughter Audrey, he looked at an old photo, maybe 20 years, and it showed a youthful Devane, magnificently handsome. Memories indeed. Well done Bill!

HANDLER RETURNS --- E! late-night host Chelsea Handler has found a new home at Netflix, finally closing a deal that was rumored back in early-April.

Under the new pact, Handler will star in and produce a talk show; a stand-up special; and four docu-comedy specials for the streaming television service.

“The Internet has disrupted many of the conventions of traditional television and together with Chelsea Handler, Netflix is looking forward to re imagining the late night talk show for the on-demand generation, starting with the late night part…” said Netflix-guru, Ted Sarandos.

He added, “Chelsea has built a huge following on tour, on nightly TV and through her best-selling books, and we can't wait to introduce her breathtakingly honest and irreverent voice to our global membership.”

E! owns the format for late-night show Chelsea Lately, but Netflix stresses that her new talk show for them will be an updated format that will still feature her take on pop culture and her unique interviewing style. It's set to debut in early-2016.

She'll kick off the first comedy special of the deal on October 10 with a stand-up special from her current comedy tour, Uganda Be Kidding Me. She's shooting the special in Chicago on Friday, June 20 at the Harris Theater.

Handler confounds me. She’s funny for sure, but teeters ever so closely on the edge. She seems to have legions of the Hollywood-elite as followers and some key BFF’s … but, I don't feel it.

Having seen what the cablenet has done with Lillyhammer and House of Cards … this will indeed be interesting. Stay tuned.

CRITICS’ CHOICES --- AMC’s Breaking Bad scored the win for best drama series while Netflix’s Orange is the New Black prevailed for comedy series at the fourth annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards last night in L. A..

The race between FX’s Fargo and HBO’s The Normal Heart is heating up thanks to each production nabbing key awards Thursday night during the kudofest at the Beverly Hilton hosted by Cedric the Entertainer. Fargo and OITNB lead the field overall with three wins apiece. FX grabbed a total of five trophies, followed by HBO with four.

Matthew McConaughey won the competitive lead drama actor heat for HBO’s True Detective, giving him momentum going into the Emmy race. The actor, who nabbed the Oscar in March for Dallas Buyers Club, was effusive in praising the quality of television and its advantages for actors. “Television is raising the bar for character-driven drama,” he said.

It truly is a new Golden age of TV right now.

McConaughey’s victory and Breaking Bad’s win for drama series heightens the tug-of-war for kudos glory between True Detective and the now-departed AMC drama series.

For me, it’s a race between True Detective and The Normal Heart.

CLOSING NOTES --- Warner's Jersey Boys premiere in L. A. last night as part of the Los Angeles Film festival. Director Clint Eastwood (in a nifty-red-dinner jacket) appeared with the cast ...

Legendary Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White re launches his label, Kalimba Music and releases EWF’s The Promise, featuring the single “Never,” and the signing of keyboardist Greg Manning..

Have you seen the trailers for the forthcoming Begin Again; starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and, Adam Levine? Directed and written by John Carney, it tells the story of a chance encounter between a disgraced music-business executive and a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan, which turns into a promising collaboration between the two.

Disgraced music-business executive ..... hmmm. I can think of maybe 20!Looks most intriguing.