Author Archives: Benny Bellagio

24's Sarah Clarke Joins NCIS


Sarah Clarke

There’s a new tough-talking FBI Special Agent heading to NCIS.

24 alum Sarah Clarke has been tapped to play Tess Monroe, a “quick-witted, tough and shrewd” Special Agent who recently transferred to D.C. from New York City, has learned.

According to a character description, Tess is “a multiple divorcée who’s as sexy as she is strong. Tess has no kids so she views her fellow agents as family. Beneath a no-nonsense shell, Tess has a big heart. She believes in honor and justice and doing what’s right. And she’ll fight to protect those values, and her team, with fierce determination and a tinge of sarcasm along the way.”

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Best known for playing duplicitous Nina Myers on 24, Clarke has also appeared on Bosch, The Tomorrow People, Covert Affairs, Men of a Certain Age, and in the Twilight franchise.

“We feel so fortunate to have Sarah Clarke joining us to play Tess,” NCIS showrunner Gary Glasberg said in a statement. “I’ve been a fan of hers going back to 24 and more recently Bosch. She’s a gifted actress, a total pro, and we can’t wait to introduce her to our NCIS family and have some fun.”

For now, Clarke is booked as a guest star and Tess will appear on the final two episodes of NCIS‘ current season, but it’s possible that she could become a series regular. Will she be able to fill the void left by Tony DiNozzo?

NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.

(Full disclosure: is owned by CBS.)

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'Roman Holiday' Gets Broadway-Bound Musical Makeover


The Oscar-winning 1953 screen classic is headed to the stage with a score of Cole Porter standards in an adaptation due to premiere in San Francisco in summer 2017.

Another popular screen classic is headed for the stage.

Producers announced on Wednesday that Roman Holiday — The Cole Porter Musical will premiere in summer 2017 at the SHN Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco, in what is being billed as a pre-Broadway engagement.

The show is adapted by Kathy Speer & Terry Grossman and producer Paul Blake from Paramount’s 1953 romantic comedy, which starred Audrey Hepburn as a princess weary of royal protocol, who goes AWOL in the Italian capital during a European tour and gets help in remaining incognito from an American reporter, played by Gregory Peck.

Directed by William Wyler, the film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won three, including best actress for Hepburn and a writing Oscar for Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted at the time and credited as Ian McLellan Hunter. Trumbo co-wrote the screenplay with British playwright John Dighton.

The stage adaptation of Roman Holiday will feature a score of Porter standards including “Night and Day,” “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” and “Easy to Love.”

No director or cast is attached to the project so far, but producers Blake and Mike Bosner have set a premiere run of May 24-June 28, 2017, ahead of a planned fall Broadway opening the same year. An earlier version of the show, on which Blake was the sole book writer, premiered at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis in 2012.

Blake and Bosner are producers on the Broadway hit Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which also premiered in a San Francisco tryout and is now in its third year at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in New York.

Blake previously co-wrote the book for another retooled movie, which became the holiday musical Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Speer and Grossman are veteran TV comedy writers, notably on The Golden Girls and Benson.

NBA Legend Dikembe Mutombo Renting Out His Trump Place Condo


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    Dikembe Mutombo (2014 Taylor Hill)

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For a mere $12,000 a month, NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo can be your landlord. Famous for wagging his finger after rejecting a shot, Mutombo is setting out the welcome mat for his Trump Place condo in New York City.

Mutombo retired from the NBA in 2009 after an 18-year career. During his time in the league, he was an eight-time All Star and a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

A charitable man, Mutombo has devoted much of his post-retirement time to humanitarian work. He’s the founder of the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, dedicated to helping his native Democratic Republic of Congo.

His condo — a three-bedroom, three-bathroom unit — has impressive city views from nearly every room. In the dining room, wall-to-wall windows on both sides offer an expansive view of the Hudson River.

A bright and airy living room shines thanks to a large picture window. The room also features parquet floors. The kitchen is modern, with open-faced glass cabinetry, black cabinets, and stainless-steel appliances.

Prospective tenants also must consider the amenities that come with the prestigious address. Trump Place offers plenty of luxury perks, including a billiard room, library, and European spa.

Toyota Prius Prime plugs in with 22 EV miles


Originally, the name “Prius” meant something like, “to go before.” Toyota chose the name for it’s first mass-market hybrid car to emphasize its gas-electric leadership. Today, Toyota is unveiling the second-generation of the Toyota Plug In Hybrid, and the name might as well mean, “to follow in others’ footsteps.” Say hello to the Toyota Prius Prime.

Starting with the revamped style of the fourth-gen Prius to a new extreme, the Prius Prime adds a bigger battery pack to the new look. The new powertrain means that the Prime can go up to 22 miles in electric mode. That’s about a doubled improvement over the EV range of the first-gen Prius Plug-In, but it’s small potatoes compared to the rest of the plug-in hybrid competition. The Chevy Volt gets 53 miles of EV range, the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid can go 27 miles and even the modest Ford Energi models can go 20 miles. With the new Prius, Toyota is no longer in last place, but it’s certainly not at the head of the pack.

The Prius Prime does do well in the miles per gallon equivalent race, though, with an estimated 120 MPGe. If that turns out to be accurate, then Toyota will be able to lay claim to the highest MPGe for any PHEV. Toyota isn’t saying what the mpg rating will be once the 8.8-kWh battery runs out, but it does say it is, “targeting a hybrid MPG equal to or better than the Prius liftback.” That means at least 54 mpg in the city, 50 on the highway, and 52 combined from the same 1.8-liter, Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine found in the new Prius.

Speaking of the new Prius, apparently the Toyota designers were not as happy with that look as they might have been, since one of the most controversial aspects – the front end – has been radically changed. The spiky headlights are gone, replaced with the boxy ones from the hydrogen-powered Mirai. The taillights are also different in the Prime, as was teased last week. Inside, an 11.6-inch touchscreen dominates the center stack.

The Prius Prime name was outed last summer in a patent filing. The new PHEV will be available in the fall.