Michelle Stark, Times Staff Writer

Michelle Stark

Michelle Stark is part of the Things to Do crew and co-host of Play Tampa Bay. She also designs the Times' daily entertainment page, and is an editor/writer in the Features department, where she writes weekly about television at The Feed blog. She also manages the Things to Do social media accounts. Stark joined the Times after graduating from the University of South Florida in 2010 with degrees in mass communications and international relations. After an intern stint on the copy editing desk, she moved to Features.

Phone: (727) 893-8829

Email: mstark@tampabay.com

Twitter: @MStark17

  1. FX renews 'Fargo', with a new cast and story, and 'Louie'


    Well, this isn't really a surprise, but it's welcome news nonetheless: FX announced at the 2014 Summer TCA Press Tour today that its first-year drama Fargo is returning for a second season. Fargo, which ended its first season in June, cleaned up in the Emmy nominations announced earlier this month....

    Billy Bob Thornton in 'Fargo'
  2. What to watch this week: 'The Bachelorette,' 'The Leftovers,' 'Hotel Hell'


    Up this week on our list of top TV picks: Only two more weeks until we find out if a Tampa Bachelorette contender wins the grand prize ... Gordon Ramsay goes to Hotel Hell ... and we can't get enough of The Leftovers, HBO's eerie and poignant new drama. 

    Click here for the full list. ...

    Justin Theroux in 'The Leftovers'
  3. James Garner, who reluctantly found fame on 'Maverick' and 'The Rockford Files', dies at 86


    James Garner, one of the first stars to find success in both TV and movies, died of natural causes at his Los Angeles home on Saturday. He was 86. You might know Garner from TV's Maverick, or The Rockford Files in the '70s.

    The Feed's Sean Daly, a Rockford Files fanatic, writes:

    "James Garner had a Hollywood chin but Everyman's eyes. He was a relatable lug whose most iconic work — TV's Maverick in the '50s, The Rockford Files in the '70s — endures because his beat-up, beleaguered guys looked a whole lot like us: trying and failing to avoid trouble, dodging bill collectors and bad news on the answering machine. ... And yet a large swath of Mr. Garner's roles — from the Scrounger in 1963's The Great Escape to those flirty Polaroid commercials with Mariette Hartley in the '70s — were imbued with a comic, eye-rolling exasperation. Mr. Garner's guys often just wanted to be left alone, heroes in spite of themselves."...

    Joseph Cotten, right, guest stars as a business tycoon who hires James Garner to investigate his prospective son-in-law, whom he suspects is a phony, in a special 90-minute presentation of NBC TV's The Rockford File on Oct. 18, 1974.
  4. Top TV week of July 21: 'The Leftovers', 'Hotel Hell', 'The Bachelorette'

    The Feed


    The Bachelorette, 8 p.m., ABC

    You'll have to wait one more week to see if Tampa native Josh Murray wins Bachelorette Andi Dorfman's heart for good, or if she chooses contender Nick Viall instead. In the meantime, the men who didn't make it to next week's finale spill their guts in this special episode. And by special we mean rivalrous and nasty and overly emo. ...

    Justin Theroux in HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’.
  5. St. Petersburg teen singing on ABC's 'Rising Star' Sunday


    Because it is our life's duty to inform you when someone from the Tampa Bay area is competing on a reality show, we must tell you that local teen Macy Kate will compete Sunday on ABC's singing competition Rising Star.

    The 16-year-old from St. Petersburg was pulled from the audience to sing during the premiere of the ABC show earlier this summer, and now she'll be back again to perform with Gabrielle Nicole as part of the Duels portion of the competition....

    Macy Kate
  6. Bryan Cranston returning to TV in HBO adaptation of 'All the Way'


    This is how a multiple-Emmy-winning actor like Bryan Cranston follows up an all-time great TV show like Breaking Bad: He's returning to TV in a Steven Spielberg project based on a character Cranston just won a Tony Award for playing.

    Yep, the erstwhile Walter White is headed back to television to star in an HBO adaptation of the Broadway play All the Way, which was just named best play at the Tonys last month. Cranston's tour de force performance as Lyndon B. Johnson also won a Tony (halfway to an EGOT!). ...

    Bryan Cranston portraying President Lyndon B. Johnson during a performance of 'All the Way.'
  7. Newbies Noël Wells, John Milhiser, Brooks Wheelan leaving 'Saturday Night Live'


    If you thought there were too many people in the Saturday Night Live cast last year, well, you'll like this news. If you were a fan of featured players Noël Wells, John Milhiser or Brooks Wheelan, well, sorry: They won't be returning for SNL's 40th season.

    All three joined the sketch show in 2013 as part of a cast rejiggering that included the hiring of EIGHT (predominantly white and male) new cast members. No word yet on whether the other newbies - Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, Mike O'Brien, Colin Jost and Sasheer Zamata - are coming back. Jost is the show's head writer and currently a Weekend Update co-anchor, so he's probably fine, but Deadline thinks that O'Brien's place as a performer is less solid. (Longtime castmember Nasim Pedrad - known for her Kim Kardashian and Ariana Huffington impressions - is also leaving the cast; she's starring on Fox's Mulaney sitcom this fall.)

    From left, 'SNL' cast members John Milhiser, Bobby Moynihan, Noel Wells and Brooks Wheelan attend the American Museum of Natural History's 2013 Museum Gala.
  8. Play Tampa Bay video: Things to do in Tampa Bay for July 17-23


    This week, the Play Tampa Bay crew heads to the Getaway in St. Pete for details on some unique Tampa Bay restaurants. Other top events happening this weekend include a special birthday party in Bradenton and a new play at American Stage Theatre.

    For daily event info and more happening this week, follow us on Twitter (@thingstodotampa) and Facebook....

    Snooty the manatee poses for a photo at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton. [Photo by PAUL VIDELA]
  9. ABC announces fall TV premiere dates: 'How to Get Away with Murder', 'Dancing With the Stars', 'Selfie', more


    The summer Television Critics Association press tour is underway, and Tuesday it was ABC's turn to step up and talk about its upcoming programming. Topics included Paul Lee touting the network's (albeitly pretty impressive) commitment to diversity in its fall slate of shows; Lee defending his poor treatment of the now-canceled and critically beloved sitcom Trophy Wife; and a lively discussion of new Shonda Rhimes drama How to Get Away With Murder, with a panel that included Rhimes and a dozen other people, like the show's star, Oscar nominee Viola Davis....

    Do NOT mess with Viola Davis on Shonda Rhimes' new show.
  10. Tampa player Josh Murray makes it to the final two on 'The Bachelorette'


    Here at the Feed, The Bachelorette doesn't usually make our list of must-watch shows. (Something about all those group dates freaks us out.) But when a local guy has a 50-50 shot at winning the whole thing, we have to take note.

    On Monday's episode of the ABC dating show, Tampa native Josh Murray got another rose from Bachelorette Andi Dorfman, making him one of two finalists going into next week's finale. The former pro baseball player, 29, will face off against Nick Viall, 33, a software executive from Chicago. Last week, Dorfman visited the guys' hometowns, and Murray took her to Tampa to play some baseball and stroll along Bayshore Boulevard. (Watch a clip of their date below.)...

    Murray and Dorfman
  11. Tampa native scores big in 'The Bachelorette' fantasy league


    You thought fantasy leagues were just for men quarreling over their mythical squads of football players? Think again. Allow us introduce you to The Bachelorette fantasy league, where men gain points for doing things like kissing to dancing.

    Even better, one of the guys competing for bachelorette Andi Dorfman on the ABC dating show this season is Tampa native Josh Murray. He's one of just three contestants left....

    Murray with the bachelorette.
  12. What to watch this week: '24: Live Another Day' ends; new shows 'Married', 'The Divide'


    Say farewell to Jack Bauer (again) as Fox's 24 miniseries comes to an end this week. Tonight there's also Under the Dome and a BBC show hosted by Idris Elba (!). Later in the week, it's the premieres of The Divide, a new show created by the guy who plays President Fitz on Scandal; and Married, a new comedy from FX.

    Click here for our full list of this week's top TV. ...

    Jack Bauer
  13. Review: New FX show 'The Strain' needs more bite


    FX's newest show The Strain debuts tonight. From filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and author Chuck Hogan, and executive produced by former Lost showrunner Carlton Cuse, the horror series is definitely one to watch with the lights on. We've seen the first four episodes of the 13-episode first season; here's what we thought:

    "FX's new horror series The Strain wears its heart on its sleeve. Sure, that heart may be a decades-old blood-slurping organ floating in a grimy jar, but it still beats. And it makes The Strain surprisingly sappy."...

    Corey Stoll investigates passengers who may or may not be dead on a plane in "The Strain'.
  14. Top TV week of July 14: '24: Live Another Day', 'Under the Dome', 'The Divide'

    The Feed


    SERIES FINALE 24: Live Another Day, 9 p.m., Fox

    Say farewell to Jack Bauer (again) as this miniseries revival of the Fox show that ended in 2010 comes to a close. As usual, he's trying to stop terrorists from carrying out actions that would devastate the globe. Classic overachiever.

    Idris Elba: King of Speed, 10 p.m., BBC America

    Interested in learning about the political, social and historical evolution of racing in places like London, Scotland and Finland? No? Well, what if we told you that charming British actor Idris Elba (The Wire, Prometheus) was your guide through it all in this two-part documentary. Better?...

    Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in ‘24:  LIVE ANOTHER DAY’.
  15. Review: FX's new vampire horror series 'The Strain' could use more bite

    The Feed

    FX's new horror series The Strain wears its heart on its sleeve. Sure, that heart may be a decades-old blood-slurping organ floating in a grimy jar, but it still beats. And it makes The Strain surprisingly sappy.

    Don't fret, horror buffs, there are plenty of graphic, I-did-not-need-to-see-that moments, at least in the first four of 13 episodes from showrunner Carlton Cuse (Lost), author Chuck Hogan and filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labryinth, Pacific Rim, Hellboy), based on Hogan and del Toro's vampire horror book trilogy. Heads go kersplat, parasites wriggle under people's skin, blood is spilled and ingested — the show has all the makings of a classic creepy gore fest. (Seriously, watch it with the lights out at your own peril.) ...

    Cory Stoll plays CDC chief medical officer Ephraim Goodweather, researching a vampiric parasite epidemic, in FX’s The Strain.