Ugly Betty: Whither Liza?

Liza Minnelli Media Conference at the Sydney Opera House, Australia We’ve had some conversation about this in the comments:  what to make of the mystery of the possible Liza Minnelli appearance on Ugly Betty?

As we have told you, Fox411 reported in January (before the show’s cancellation announcement) that Liza Minnelli was cast to appear as Justin’s drama teacher on Ugly Betty.  Usually, when a big item like this breaks, if it’s not true, we usually have a denial statement shortly thereafter by executive producer Silvio Horta (see: Lindsay Lohan.  – which in the long run turned out to be true).  This time, nothing.  Radio silence.

Because NO ONE else in the entertainment press picked the story up (besides reporting that Fox411 had reported the rumor), and because there have been no promos for episode 4.15 (because of the Olympic break), there are now strong doubts that the Fox report is true.

FWIW, when I started to research this for today’s follow-up, I found this report from the same day as the Fox report, from AP-Red:

“After a number of conversations with ‘Camp Liza,’ including assistants, lawyers, and PR reps. I am here to say – that this is confirmed – that Liza May Minnelli will NOT currently be filming a recurring roll on the show. Liza is a big fan of Ugly Betty, she indeed watches and enjoys the show, however, for the record, on the record, it just ain’t happenin’ yet kids!”

That should be the final word, right?  Well, I’m not so sure. 

ABC has not yet released the press release with the synopsis/guest star list for episode 4.15, nor any episode photography (which is odd, actually).  Also, there was never any official denial of the Minnelli casting by either producers or ABC. Yes, I know the producers have other things on their minds lately.  :)

Also, there is already a “Justin’s prestigious acting class” story line that has already been introduced to the show.

And most mysterious of all: the original Fox411 report was extremely detailed.  I have a hard time believing it was a total fabrication, so it makes me think that somebody on the inside was certain the appearance was going to happen.

Is there a little bit of cloak and dagger going on here?  Are producers keeping this bombshell casting kinda-sorta secret so they can get the most bang for their buck?

What do you think?  Was this just an elaborate rumor?  Or do you think Minnelli is going to appear on the show?



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    • SirLizard

      I hope that it happens. The only thing that made me feel doubtful was the lack of corroboration on any other website. I think that Liza would be good for some wacky scenes. The only thing that I would enjoy more is an appearance by Amy Sedaris. Kristen Johnston’s character, Helen, reminded me very much of the kind of character Amy would have been able to play on “Ugly Betty,” the only difference being that Amy is tiny, so she would not have been a giantess, like Kristen is, so Marc would have had to come up with some dwarf jokes instead. I think that Madonna could have done a funny guest appearance too, as an over-the-top character, like Fabia. Speaking of Fabia, they should get Gina Gershon to appear in the finale, so she can add a sort of book-end to the series.

    • Elle

      This is so ridiculous. What could they gain from keeping it under wraps when the show is already done for?

      Plus, a lot of Liza fans were freaking out over this, because I guess the word was that she pushed back a surgery to do it? Which sounded a little weird. Plus – wouldn’t we have heard some excited Liza-related “tweeting” from Michael (and especially) Mark, by now, not to mention some hints on the podcast? There’s no way Michael and Becki wouldn’t have mentioned her.

      Yeah, I’m not going to hold my breath. :\

    • SirLizard

      But the fact that Michael Urie, Becki Newton, and Mark Indelicato haven’t mentioned a possible Liza Minnelli guest appearance, even as a denial, makes me think that it’s possible that they were ordered to keep it under wraps. Sometimes this does happen on TV shows. The producers and/or the network will decide to make a big deal about certain guest appearances, to turn them into events. I agree with Elle that it would be a little pointless for ABC to do pull a publicity stunt at this time, now that they’ve canceled the series.

    • Freddy Wisconsin

      Dear Sir Lizard, with all due respect, IT IS NOT POINTLESS. On the contrary. It would be quite positive for the producers if the show ratings go up a little (or a lot) in this meantime.

      Have you noticed COUGAR TOWN has decreased its ratings and UB has raised it a little?? That is VERY RELEVANT. If Ugly Betty finishes itas run with reasonable ratings, anything could happen. A spin off could be almost automatically approved, or, don’t know…maybe ABC decides to produce a new season? :) Anyhow, more ratings means more money. Since ratings were the reason why to cancel UB, it could also be the same reason why to save it.

      Also, I would like to remind you all that ABC has been cancelling several of its series and Mr. ABC President is really facing a negative propaganda surrounding his channel.

      Anyhow, I’ve noticed that Vanessa Williams interview on Regis and Kelly was the first one in a while. Couldn’t they put the cast to be interviewed in other tv shows???

    • J

      Nice to see a piece on this, even if there isn’t any real news to report. Sadly, I doubt Liza will show. I’d just assumed that the episode had been filmed long ago. If it’s not in the can, I doubt we’ll see it. Which is a shame. Liza and Justin together would have been total gold, and a really boon to the series in these final episodes.

      Now here’s a real question to investigate: Which of the following characters will be either A) returning B) getting closure to their storylines or C) getting a mention of some sort before the series ends:

      -Alexis (tried to kill Christina, repented, went to France to awkwardly explain she was that kid’s Dad)
      -Christina (went back home with a very sick Stuart and their baby, did daddy die? Has her career gotten better?)
      -Fey (there were sightings in season one and recent mentions – will she emerge before the end?)
      -Gio (he owns a restaurant in town, has lots of fans and is supposedly still Betty’s friend – will we get ANYTHING here?)
      -Marc’s Mom (she stopped speaking to him seasons ago…will they reunite?)
      -Amanda’s Dad (will Fey return and spill the secret? Will Amanda figure it out sans Mama?)
      -Matt (didn’t like him AT ALL, but obviously there needs to be some closure here on a split)
      -Yoga (LOVED her and Claire together…might they reunite?)
      -Gina (that snot next door was a lot of fun)
      -Fabia (as someone else said, a great bookened)
      -Marc’s boyfriend (he’s played by Becki’s brother, so I think that would be easy to arrange)
      -Henry (I somehow assume he’ll reappear, though I hope not to play the same old tune)
      -Mee-ghan (she was there, now she wasn’t…where’d she go?)
      -The Sex Room (I miss that place)

      Now…start your digging!

    • amy

      i thought that they might have not released publicity stuff for 4.15 because they may hav re-written/shot it as they have 2 less episodes now from when they filmed it so need to get rid of filler and stuff? not sure if that makes sense haha!!

    • Willie.Roxs

      Well Ana Ortiz and Tony Plana said it in an interview, so i dont think they would lie about that, i think she may be, they are just keeping it under wraps, also i agree bring Fabia back one last time after eppy 4.14 i saw her name on one of the banners and started laughing.