Category: Press

Press | Photos | Video: Mekhi Phifer discusses upcoming season of CW’s “Frequency” on WISH-TV

He portrayed Dr. Greg Pratt on NBC’s long-running medical drama ER and had a co-starring role opposite Eminem in the feature film 8 Mile. Now, actor Mekhi Phifer is starring in the new TV show, “Frequency,” playing Lieutenant Satch Reyna.

 

Press | Photos | Video: FOX 32 – Mekhi Phifer talks new CW series ‘Frequency’

Darlene Hill from FOX 32 talks with actor Mekhi Phifer about his new series on the CW, “Frequency.”

 

Press | Photos | Video: Mekhi Phifer on KTLA News

Press | Review: The CW’s ‘Frequency’ reboots movie with strong cast

Press | Review: The CW’s ‘Frequency’ reboots movie with strong cast

“Frequency”

Cast: Peyton List (“The Tomorrow People,” “Mad Men”), Riley Smith (“Nashville,” “True Detective”), Mekhi Phifer (“8 Mile,” “Dawn of the Dead”), Devin Kelley (“Covert Affairs”), Lenny Jacobson (“Nurse Jackie”), Daniel Bonjour (“The Walking Dead”), Anthony Ruivivar (“Scream: The TV Series”)

Airs: The series debuts at 8 p.m. Wednesday on The CW.

The premise: Detective Raimy Sullivan (Peyton List) has always wanted to prove that she is nothing like her father. In 1996, when Raimy was 8 years old, NYPD officer Frank Sullivan (Riley Smith) left Raimy and her mother behind when he went undercover. Frank turned rogue and was killed. Or so Raimy thought. Now, 20 years later, Raimy is stunned when a familiar voice suddenly crackles through her father’s old, long-broken ham radio. Separated by 20 years, father and daughter have reunited on a frequency only they can hear, trying to rewrite history.

Highs: “Frequency” is based on the 2000 film of the same name. The movie, starring Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel, is an underrated sleeper, so its great to see it get the reboot treatment as a TV program. In the original version, the pair communicating mysteriously through time are a firefighter and his policeman son. They team together to prevent not just the death of the father, but also capture a serial killer.

To turn the concept into a series, some changes were necessary. Aside from the obvious lead change from father/son to father/daughter, which is likely to attract a wider audience, it actually makes more sense for the duo to both be police officers. This allows them to have a common language and provides a unique procedural slant to the program. Solving crimes in 1996 from 2016 is a clever premise.

While the time-travel element is certainly engaging, the glue of the series is the relationship between Raimy and her father. Connections between fathers and sons are pretty straightforward. The father/daughter dynamic is much different, with fathers taking on the role of protector. But in this series, those roles are reversed.

In “Frequency,” Raimy is the wiser one because she knows what’s going to happen. She’s the one who has to protect and guide her father. Heck, in the show Raimy is actually older than her dad. It’s unique to see the child pass on advice to a parent.

A fascinating plot device and a twist on traditional father/daughter dynamics looks good on paper but wouldn’t work without a strong cast, which this series has. List shows her range in “Frequency,” displaying a toughness and vulnerability that makes her immensely endearing. Equally up to the task is Smith as List’s father. He plays a guilt-ridden cop with complete believability. An excellent supporting cast, led by Mekhi Phifer, helps round out an able roster of actors.

Lows: There are a number of characters whose paths are muddied in the premiere. We meet Daniel (Daniel Bonjour), Raimy’s dedicated boyfriend, but after she saves her father’s life the timeline has been changed and he no longer knows her. Gordo (Lenny Jacobson) is Raimy’s friend from childhood. The timeline shift doesn’t impact him, but with everything else going on he feels like an unnecessary character. If viewers can’t become attached to these people, why are they there?

A bit more concerning is how the show is going to handle timeline disruptions. Saving Raimy’s father leads to unintended consequences – not just for her but for others. How are audiences supposed to keep track of the timeline when Raimy and her father do something to alter the present by changing the past?

Grade: B: Since I’m a fan of the 2000 “Frequency” film, my expectations for this show were high and I wasn’t disappointed. Skillfully shot, with a slick concept and a strong cast, I was eager to see what happened next after viewing the premiere.

With everything it has to offer, “Frequency” has the potential to be another breakout CW series.
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Press | Review: The CW’s ‘Frequency’ and ‘No Tomorrow’ are best new shows of the week

Press | Review: The CW’s ‘Frequency’ and ‘No Tomorrow’ are best new shows of the week

Four of the broadcast networks’ 20 new fall shows premiere next week. Two of these rookie series are exceptional. One is lackluster. The other is mind-numbingly terrible.

The significant thing about that breakdown is that both of the exceptional shows, “Frequency” and “No Tomorrow,” are on the CW, the mini-network carried in this area by WBNX Channel 55.

OK, they are the CW’s only two fall starters, but it still translates into the best batting average among the broadcast networks. You can’t do better than batting a thousand.

Although the CW only programs 10 prime-time hours a week (8-10 p.m. Monday-Friday), it has become, pound for pound, the most successful programmer among those networks. Yes, being smaller, and therefore able to identify more targeted audiences, gives the CW a decided advantage over its four bigger and older competitors: ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. Still, the CW has made the most of that advantage.

Formed in 2006 from the merger of two struggling networks, UPN and the WB, the CW necessarily started with a bit of an identity crisis. Gradually, it became a network for young women, relying on such fare as “Gossip Girl,” “Girlfriends” and “90210.”

But over the last few years, the CW has transformed itself, broadening its audience with a growing reliance on horror (“The Originals,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Supernatural”) and superhero shows (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Legends of Tomorrow”). The viewership has grown, and so has the acclaim for its programming.

The CW is now so successful and strong, it has almost no openings in its limited lineup. Indeed, to make room for “Frequency” and “No Tomorrow,” it had to put two of its popular shows on the bench for midseason: “The Originals” and “iZombie” (a series that craftily blends horror, comedy, romance and the superhero genre).

Adding even more muscle to the CW schedule will be the arrival of “Supergirl,” moving from CBS to the network where it should have landed in the first place. “Supergirl” begins its second season at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, on Channel 55.

Through all of this development, the CW hasn’t sacrificed the demographic it so obviously courted before the horror and superhero booms: women, 18 to 34. You see that with such adventuresome hour comedies as “Jane the Virgin” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” So, celebrating its 10th anniversary, the CW has much to celebrate.

The rich in programming are about to get richer. “Frequency,” an engaging and intriguing reworking of the 2000 film starring Jim Caviezel, premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5. Peyton List stars in this immediately riveting mix of police drama and time-bending fantasy.

She plays Raimy Sullivan, a New York City police detective who believes her deceased father, Frank (Riley Smith), was a dirty cop gunned down 20 years ago, when she was 8 years old.

But then she starts getting transmissions from the past on her deceased father’s long-broken ham radio. The person on the other end says his name is Frank Sullivan and it’s 1996. She tells him her name is Raimy Sullivan and it’s 2016. Neither believes the other.

But the CW has great belief in “Frequency,” and that belief is justified, at least in the outstanding pilot episode. Almost as good is “No Tomorrow,” quirky romantic comedy that premieres at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, on Channel 55.
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Press | Review: The Herald Dispatch calls Frequency “the best new show of the fall”

Press | Review: The Herald Dispatch calls Frequency “the best new show of the fall”

“Frequency,” which is based on the 2000 movie of the same name, stars Peyton List as Detective Raimy Sullivan, who, after 20 years, is still dealing with her anger toward her cop father Frank (Riley Smith) for getting himself killed after becoming corrupted while deep undercover.

But when Raimy is magically able to communicate with Frank in 1996 via a ham radio, she learns that the story she has always been told may not be accurate and she may have an opportunity to save her father’s life. But when changing the past affects Raimy’s present, she and her dad must work together through the ham radio to fix even more past wrongs.

You may recall that I named “Frequency” the best new show of the fall, and I stand by that declaration, even though I have yet to see another positive review. It’s possible that if I had seen the movie I would feel differently since it’s basically telling the same story, but the show tells that story so well with such a great cast, I have to believe I’d feel the same way. I know what I like, and I like “Frequency.”

It may not look as good or have the same broad scope that “Timeless” does with all of its past historical events, but it does have tons of the one thing “Timeless” does not -heart. You care about these people so when their actions have tragic consequences, you root for them to make it better. And you can’t help but brace yourself for how making that one thing better will ultimately make something else worse.

“Frequency” premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 on The CW.
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Press | Review: Time key element in ‘No Tomorrow,’ ‘Frequency’

Press | Review: Time key element in ‘No Tomorrow,’ ‘Frequency’

The CW Network launches two new shows this week – “No Tomorrow” and “Frequency” – that deal with a race against time. The big difference is one is a light romantic comedy and the other a crime story.

Before you sit down to watch the programs, here’s a few things you need to know about each one:

“Frequency”
What happens: The police drama is based on the 2000 movie where a young woman (Peyton List) connects with her father (Riley Smith) through a shortwave radio set in 1996 on the verge of his death. She can change history by warning her father.

Rest of the cast: Lenny Jacobson, Devin Kelley, Mekhi Phifer, Anthony Ruivivar, Daniel Bonjour.

I know that face: Before signing on to “Frequency,” Smith was a regular on ‘Nashville.”

My head hurts: Any changes that gets made in the past has an effect on the present. Trying to keep the timelines straight will be the trick.

Time difference: The original film had a 30-year gap between father and offspring. The producers of the TV show cut it to 20 so the father would be a little younger.

Why is 1996 important to Riley Smith: “Well, for me, ’96 was my senior year in high school, so it’s very dear to my heart. You remember that particular year. You know, your senior year is kind of a coming of age. So, for me, this is extra special. I remember so vividly everything, and now stepping back on the sound stage, and you see everything the way it was. It’s like literally 20 years like that. I have to remind myself that it was actually a long time ago. But it’s been a treat.”

You might like this if you like: “Quantum Leap.”
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Press | Review: How CW’s ‘Frequency’ differs from the movie original

Press | Review: How CW’s ‘Frequency’ differs from the movie original

Another one of the Fall TV remakes of an old movie, The CW’s “Frequency” is a moderately successful redo.

Peyton List (best-known as Roger Sterling’s second wife on “Mad Men”) plays NYPD Detective Raimy Sullivan, who has been resentful of her father, Frank Sullivan (Riley Smith). He died in 1996, and she believes that he was a crooked cop who died during a deal gone wrong.

Nevertheless, she went in the family business and is a good cop. After her boyfriend digs up her dad’s old ham radio, Raimy finds herself one night talking to someone named Frank during an unusual storm.

As the two communicate, it becomes evident that she’s talking to her father 20 years in the past, and that what she was told happened to him wasn’t true. As she investigates and finds links to a current case, his story unfolds.

Eventually what she tells Frank creates a “butterfly effect,” changing the present in unforeseen ways. That sets up the rest of the series as the two try to figure out what to do.

“Frequency” is a somewhat intriguing sci-fi premise relatively well done. The series is less schmaltzy than the film and works better on a mystery level, which is a plus. The challenge going forward will be to not tie itself up in logistical knots.
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Press | Interview: Riley Smith’s NYPD Jailhouse Circuits, Egg White Breakfasts, And Time Travel

Press | Interview: Riley Smith’s NYPD Jailhouse Circuits, Egg White Breakfasts, And Time Travel

The star of The CW’s new show Frequency shares his workout, diet tips, and what it’s like being a father… sort of.

The CW is bringing you back to the 90s.

In the network’s new show, Frequency, 38-year-old Riley Smith plays undercover New York police officer Frank Sullivan. Sullivan is killed during a sting operation gone bad. But, fast-forward 20 years and he comes in contact with his daughter through an old ham radio in the basement. The father-daughter duo find themselves working together, however, the butterfly effect ends up creating unexpected consequences.

While he was on set filming for season one, we chatted with Riley about one of his most exciting roles as an actor, how he stays in NYPD shape, and what he would do with a ham radio time-machine.

What was it about this role in Frequency that you were really looking forward to?
I just thought that the script had all of the elements of everything that was exciting right now, that’s trending right now. It was just by chance that this “time frequency jump stuff” is really big. That we didn’t even know when I read the pilot. That was just another added plus.

I was looking for a leading male [role] but I needed somebody that wasn’t just your stereotypical, two-dimensional lead character like “Mr. Perfect” or the guy who just saves the day all the time. It’s not me. It’s not real; it’s not reality, and not something that I would enjoy playing.

It’s hard to find a lead character that has a lot of layers and dimensions and this guy has so many. On top of that he’s very flawed. He’s basically an anti-hero. It was perfect. The minute I set the script down I called my reps and said that’s it, this is the one. I just knew it from the beginning.

Selfishly, I love the character; unselfishly I just had a really good feeling about the pilot series as a whole.

Surely you’ve learned something new from every role you’ve played, whether it be about yourself or the character or something about the subject matter. What have you learned from this character?

Wow, that’s a great question actually. I haven’t gotten that one yet. I guess for me, I’m learning about how I want to be a father. I’ve never really played a dad on TV or movies and I don’t have any children of my own yet, although I come from a very tight family in Iowa. Family is very important to me and I’ve sacrificed that for my career so far, but it’s definitely something that I want sooner than later.

This is the first opportunity [I’ve had] to play a father. In the show, I’m the father of an 11-year-old girl.] I’ve learned how I want to be with my little girl. There was really no tutorial on it, no director giving me any advice, the writer didn’t give me any advice, it was kind of like, “here’s the pages, here’s your daughter, do what you want to do with it.” So I created this guy with all the circumstances that my character has, but more importantly the relationship and the love he has for his daughter supersedes anything that he’s doing in life. Basically everything he’s doing is for her.

I guess that’s what I’ve learned the most. Every time I’m in a scene with little Ada who plays young Raimey, I’m just finding more and more layers of fatherhood that I didn’t know he had.

Anything real physical that you’re doing?

I’m playing a New York undercover cop. I didn’t realize that there’s a toughness to an undercover cop, especially an New York undercover cop. That’s starting to come into play so that’s why I’m glad that I’m keeping up this routine and throwing on some muscle. I try to look the part a little bit more. It’s never too physical, but about every episode we’ll have some sort of cop-esque physical thing going on. Whether it’s a chase or a stand off. Usually some sort of muscle comes out in every episode.

In your line of work you’ve got to stay in shape. What does your fitness or diet routine look like?
I call it the trailer jailhouse workout because when we’re on set, I’m working 70 hours a week on this show. I have a really nice gym in my apartment complex, but the reality is when you work 16 hours a day, get home, the last thing you want to do is work out.

So I went out and got these fitness bands and a core ball.

I have a workout plan that’s on the wall in my trailer. Every day I just come in and I bust them out. What I tell myself is that I’m going to do a whole circuit every time I come into my trailer. Whether it’s when I start in the morning before I change to go into hair and makeup, when I come back from hair and makeup before I go to the first scene, in between every scene. If you bust out basically 20 push ups, 20 flies with the bands, 20 of everything basically. I’ll do curls, flies, shoulder presses, reverse flies, push ups, and sit ups. The whole round of 20 takes maybe 5 minutes to just bust through it.

Just doing push ups and pull ups and stuff all day…
That’s why dudes come out of jail so yoked.

How about your diet?
It’s hard to keep anything really dialed in, but I got a Magic Bullet and I keep it in my trailer. I’ve got my protein powders and all that kind of stuff. I’m just making shakes throughout the day. I usually try to get 3 shakes in. And, the guy that runs our base camp, and greets us at our trailer—we’ve already got a system down where he knows every morning to have an egg white omelet for me, except on Fridays when I tell him he can put it in a tortilla because it’s a Friday.

When I show up every day I’ve got an egg white omelet waiting for me and then three hours later, I’ll do a protein shake. Then I’ll try to go light with the lunch and then another protein shake. The third meal, usually dinner, is either a shake or something light. Just trying to eat throughout the day.

You’ve got it dialed-in!
I’m trying man, it’s really hard. It’s not really in my DNA. I’ve never been that guy. Even when I was in high school and I played athletics, I wasn’t a gym rat. The hardest part for me is the routine. Instead of trying to take myself out of my life for a routine, I just make the routine part of my life and it’s been a lot easier to do it.

In the show, your daughter speaks to you in the past through a radio. If you actually had a radio that could go back in time, who would you speak to and why?
My very first acting coach/manager when I moved to LA was a guy named Craig Wargo and Craig took me on when I just literally stepped off the boat from Iowa and he mentored me. He coached me every single day through every single audition, for every single job, and he really was a father to me for 4 or 5 years. Then he unexpectedly passed away. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him and everything we had worked for together to get to the point I’m at now. He wasn’t able to live to see that. I keep him with me a lot and I’d love to sit down and have a couple more chats with him about it.

The show takes place in the 90s. What was your favorite thing about the 90s? And how about the least favorite thing?
High school and high school.

I think the 90s were my high school years. I graduated in 96-97 so that was my senior year of high school. I think I started high school around 93 so pretty much the mid 90s was my formidable years growing up, finding myself. I have so many amazing memories about those 4 years, but at the same time so many embarrassing and hurtful memories too, right?
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Press | Cast News | TV Alert: Mekhi Phifer to be on “The Real” Oct. 5th

Press | Cast News | TV Alert: Mekhi Phifer to be on “The Real” Oct. 5th

Start your Hump Day with an all-new episode of “The Real.” The ladies begin the show with a Girl Chat that’s sure to keep you and your girls talking!

First, Loni sits down one-on-one with superstar Dolly Parton. Then, Mekhi Phifer stops by to tell us all about his role in CW’s “Frequency.”

After, Tamera weighs in on whether disciplinary actions were too extreme or on the right path… in a segment we like to call “Mental or Parental?”

It’s all going down this Wednesday on your favorite show… “The Real”!
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Visit “The Real’s” official site to find out what channel and time it airs where you live.

Press | Photos | Video: Riley Smith talks Frequency

Check out screencaps from the interview that include screencaps from upcoming scenes in the series.

Photos | Show News: Episode 01×03: That Near Far Problem – Stills & Information

I’ve added HQ stills for the third episode of Frequency. You can check out more information on the episode in our episode guide.

 
Episode Summary:

When Raimy (Peyton List) uncovers evidence in the Thomas Goff (guest star Michael Charles Roman “Grace and Frankie”) case, she relays this information to Frank (Riley Smith) over the ham radio, which prompts him to take matters into his own hands while ignoring a strong warning from Satch (Mekhi Phifer). Meanwhile, Gordo (Lenny Jacobson) talks Raimy into going out for a drink where she has an interesting encounter with Daniel (Daniel Bonjour), who still considers her a complete stranger and possible stalker. Lastly, Raimy struggles to adapt to life without Julie (Devin Kelley), and Frank tries to adapt to life with her.

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