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Brett Gelman, UNC School of the Arts alumnus, has a recurring role on the Netflix series “Stranger Things.”

In the midst of a very busy year, Brett Gelman, an alumnus of UNC School of the Arts, has joined the cast of “Mr. Mercedes,” a series based on the works of Stephen King. The third season starts at 10 p.m. Tuesday on the Audience Network, a channel that is available to subscribers of AT&T U-verse and DirecTV.

Gelman has been in the public eye recently with the latest season of the Netflix hit “Stranger Things,” in which he played a conspiracy-minded journalist, and the acclaimed dark comedy “Fleabag,” in which he played the lead character’s repulsive brother-in-law. Before that, he had roles on the revival of “Twin Peaks,” a series of successful Adult Swim specials, FX’s “Married” and HBO’s “Camping.”

And now he’s part of “Mr. Mercedes,” “which is amazing,” he said. “Another great show, great writer David E. Kelley, great director Jack Bender, and Brendan Gleeson amongst the rest of the cast.”

In the series, Gelman plays Detective Bill Hodges, whose latest case involves the murder of a popular author. Gelman has a recurring role as Roland Finkelstein, a defense attorney who develops a connection with Bill’s partner Holly (Justine Lupe).

“I can’t reveal how it works out for me, but I’m playing my most well-adjusted character,” Gelman said. “No character is perfect, but he’s the least troubled.”

The third season was filmed in Charleston, which gave him a chance to make a return visit to UNCSA in June to visit the campus and catch up with his mentor, Gerald Freedman, and other staff members at the school who helped him at the start of his career. It has been 20 years since he was on the campus, he said, and he spoke highly of his training at the school, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the School of Drama in 1999.

“It was invaluable not only for the training but also being able to meet these people,” he said, “these very intense people who had a very intense take on what I wanted to do with my life, and were very brutally honest about what my bad habits were and what my shortcomings were, but then gave a very clear pathway to craft. And I think in order to do theater you have to be trained in this way, and then I think that definitely leads itself to television and film.”


Netflix has released a trailer for “Between Two Ferns: The Movie,” starring Wilkesboro native Zach Galifianakis. The movie, being released on the streaming platform Sept. 20, is based on Galifianakis’s web series from the Funny or Die site. He plays a fictionalized version of himself, as a bumbling, abrasive talk show host who frequently gets on the nerves of his celebrity guests.

When he accidentally wrecks the set and almost kills Matthew McConaughey in the process, Galifianakis is given an ultimatum that leads to a comical road trip. The film features many celebrity guests, including Will Ferrell, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Dinklage, Jon Hamm, Brie Larson, Chrissy Teigen and many more.

Galifianakis recently starred in the FX comedy series “Baskets,” and is best known for the “Hangover” movies.


Ken Jeong, a former Greensboro resident, has been added to the cast of “The Comedy Central Roast of Alec Baldwin,” a comedy special being recorded this weekend to air next Sunday. The cast will also include Nikki Glaser, Carolina Rhea, Adam Carolla, Robert De Niro, and others, with Sean Hayes acting as roast master.


The Hallmark Channel’s popular Countdown to Christmas will kick off with a movie starring Winston-Salem native Jill Wagner, which will air before Halloween even gets here.

“Christmas Wishes & Mistletoe Kisses” will start the channel’s annual Christmas scheduling event, at 8 p.m. Oct. 26. The film also stars Matthew Davis and Donna Mills of “Knots Landing” fame.

Hallmark just announced the schedule for the 10th anniversary of the Countdown to Christmas. Wagner will also be in “Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy” on Dec. 14. Another actress with local ties, Kellie Pickler, stars in “The Mistletoe Secret” on Nov. 10. Over on sister channel Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, the “Miracles of Christmas” holiday event will include Wake Forest University alumnus Marc Blucas in “Holiday For Heroes” on Nov. 8.

Between the two channels, Hallmark will have 40 new, original Christmas movies in 2019, 24 on the main channel and 16 on Mysteries & Movies.

ME-TV (channel 1245 on Spectrum Cable locally, also channel 12-2 over-the-air) is paying tribute to Valerie Harper this evening with a lineup of episodes from two classic 1970s sitcoms featuring her beloved character Rhoda Morgenstern, Mary’s snarky, funny neighbor and best friend.

Harper, who died after a long fight with brain cancer, started her role on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in 1970 before getting her own spinoff, “Rhoda,” in 1974.

The marathon begins at 5 p.m. with four episodes of “MTM,” followed by the “Rhoda” two-part episode “Rhoda’s Wedding.” That story originally aired as an hour-long special, with an estimated 52 million viewers tuning in.

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Tim Clodfelter writes about television for the Winston-Salem Journal. Contact him at 336-727-7371 or

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