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Showing posts from 2013

A Year Of 'Golden Globes' in Journalism and Television

Alfred A. Knopf famously said, "A publisher is known by the company he keeps." That could be said for writers too. In 2013, I was fortunate to be involved in projects that gained attention for the so-called 'Golden Globes' of Journalism and the real ones with Television Drama. 
                            In June, I and News 12 Long Island news director Pat Dolan picked up the so-called ‘Golden Globes of Journalism’  – actually the national Sigma Delta Chi Award for online investigative reporting -- for our joint probe of the international trade in human body parts, along with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Newsday and News 12 were part of a 14-member investigative team, including NPR's "All Things Considered", that were part of this award-winning project. We ran our version as a three-part TV series “The Body Business” with a Newsday story in April. This prize is the second time I won the national Sigma Delta Chi award.  Atta…

Live Chat About "Masters of Sex" -- 13 Things You Didn't Know

'Masters of Sex': 13 things you didn't know 5:15 PM By Polly Higgins
Photo credit: AP | Michael Sheen as Dr. William Masters and Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson in Showtime's "Masters of Sex." Friday we chatted with Thomas Maier, whose "Masters of Sex" book has been translated into a hit (and Golden Globe-nominated) Showtime series. Maier, an investigative reporter and 30-years-and-counting Newsday employee, released "Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love," in 2009 and is a show producer. The "MOS" season one finale airs Sunday, and Maier says it ends in a way "that I have always argued would be the right way to end it." He expects "viewers will be very surprised with what happens between Masters and Johnson in the finale. It will raise a whole new set of questions about the future of their sex study, about Bill's professional rep…

NPR's "Fresh Air" Devotes Second Program to "Masters of Sex" With Michael Sheen Interview; Lizzy Caplan Appears on Chelsea Lately

Twice NPR's "FRESH AIR" show has devoted program to discussing "Masters of Sex", the book and TV show. 

As the Dec. 15 finale nears for Masters of Sex, the two main stars are doing their best to get out the word. On Dec, 10, ">Lizzy Caplan appeared on Chelsea Lately, with her trademark wit that grabbed headlines. And on Dec. 11 Michael Sheen appeared on NPR's "Fresh Air". This is the second time "Fresh Air" has devoted their program to "Masters of Sex", the first being my interview in July with host Terry Gross.
Today, Michael Sheen talked about playing Dr. William Masters on

"Masters of Sex" -- graciously mentioning my book -- and about his amazing acting career.

"Gripping" is the 'Masters of Sex' book, says Guardian, comparing to TV show now shown in UK. Calls Masters and Johnson a "A Biological Romance".

The Guardian in London offers a new review of the book and some comparison with the TV series. Here's a quick excerpt:

"Maier's gripping biography, first published in 2009, is essentially a biological romance. In 1971, the research duo got married and were held up as paragons of the virtue of a healthy marital sex life. Despite their celebrity, Johnson described the couple as "absolutely the two most secretive people on the face of the Earth". Maier, who interviewed both at length, keeps us within the cloistered, claustrophobic world of their sex research institute, and the book consequently has a concentrated energy. Masters of Sex has been reissued to coincide with the excellent TV adaptation of the same name, a medical Mad Men in which Johnson is played by Lizzy Caplan and Masters by Michael Sheen. His Don Draperish secrets are paternal abuse and a low sperm count." 

Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen Talk about "Masters of Sex"

Here's Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen talking about "Masters of Sex" with the folks from One of the great things about both stars is how thoughtful and insightful they are about the overall story of Masters and Johnson. I always learn something, or reflect on something new, whenever I listen to them talk about this project.

Getting to Know Virginia Johnson in "Masters of Sex" -- A Woman of Her Times? Asks The New Yorker

It’s surely fun to compare my book, “Masters of Sex,” with the Showtime dramatic series adapted from it, both for the similarities and differences. I don’t believe in spoiler alerts -- (after all, I learned Citizen Kane died in the first scene of my favorite movie) -- so I’ve encouraged folks to consider my book as a wellspring of ideas for the TV show, rather than a creative straightjacket. In her own comparison, Michelle Dean of The New Yorker's Culture Desk blog wisely underlines what her impressions are “so far”. But I think she might be a bit unfair to Showtime’s “Masters of Sex” at this midway point of Season 1 by coming to conclusions about the Virginia Johnson character too quickly.

   Back in the 19th Century, writer Charles Dickens often serialized his novels chapter by chapter, adapting and rewriting some of the action and characters along the way, based on the public’s initial reaction. Today books are usually reviewed only after they are completed --  judged as whole…

Premiere Party Photos: Maier Clan On The Town, Celebrating Showtime's "Masters of Sex", Parties Hearty Until The After-Party Party

Here's the long-awaited photos from the "Masters of Sex" premiere party held at the Morgan Library in New York City on Thursday September 26, 2013. There were more than 250 guests assembled for the festivities. But of course, the Maier clan acted like we owned the joint and were the only ones who mattered. (well, that's true, isn't it?) Thank heavens, the stars of this wonderful brand-new Showtime series were very gracious and didn't throw us out! Only the Maier boys got invited to Lizzy's after-party party. Alas, the author didn't make the cut. Oh well, maybe Season 2!

On The Cover of The Rolling Stone! "Masters of Sex" is Called "This Year's 'Mad Men' "

To heck with Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, it's Dr. Bill Masters & Company who are on "the cover of the Rolling Stone"! As the cover headline says, "Masters of Sex" is being called the 'New Mad Men." That's pretty good company.

Showtime Renews "Masters of Sex" for Second Season in 2014

Less than a month after its premiere, Showtime renewed "Masters of Sex" for a second season along with "Homeland." The new series is based on my biography of Masters and Johnson and was developed for television by Sony. This big endorsement by the U.S. cable network hopefully opens the door for more seasons to come. "Masters of Sex" is seen in more than 15 nations around the world and the book was recently re-issued with actors Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan on the cover, as well as a Spanish language version.

Power Showrunners and i-Poppin Praise: LA Times says Lizzy Caplan gets "rave critical notices as a character not even Shakespeare could have envisioned" -- Ahhh, the Bard! And we were aiming for Bernard Shaw's 'Pygmalion!'

The Los Angeles Times offers up a wonderful portrait of Lizzy Caplan and, at least to these unbiased eyes, manages to liken "Masters of Sex" to Shakespeare! How's THAT for eye-poppin' praise! As the LA Times reports: "Now, she's earning rave critical notices as a character not even Shakespeare could have envisioned. In "Masters of Sex," she plays Virginia Johnson, one half of the famed sex research duo Masters & Johnson, whose 1966 tome "Human Sexual Response" became an unlikely bestseller, shattered myths about the female orgasm and helped ignited the Sexual Revolution. The drama, based on Thomas Maier's 2009 book of the same name, opens in 1956, the year that Johnson, a twice-divorced single mother, was hired as a secretary for William Masters (Michael Sheen), then a prominent gynecologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Though she lacked medical training or even a college degree, Johnson quickly becam…

"Masters of Sex" Takes London and UK by Storm; Looks like a Hit, Mate; Anglo-American Unity is Affirmed with Import Show about Sex and Love

"Masters of Sex" -- both the show and book -- is taking London by storm, with tons of reviews and stories about the debut there this past week.

The Guardian weighs in on the new edition of the book that was released along with the new show, airing on Channel 4 in UK. "Maier offers a fascinating insight into the origins of America's sexual revolution," says the Guardian. 

The Daily Mail was wonderful to the show and had extremely nice words to say about the book. "Thomas Maier’s account is as thorough as it’s briskly paced. Full of shrewdness and sympathy, it also vividly evokes the spirit of the times," wrote the Daily Mail. "But perhaps most importantly of all, he’s nailed the central paradox that lies at the heart of the story. Masters of sex they may have been, yet in every other respect Masters and Johnson were hopelessly, almost childishly, na├»ve," said the Daily Mail.And on Sunday, The Sunday Times of London asked me to write this essay