Monday August 19, 2019

A first look at the final season of HBO’s Silicon Valley. The premiere airs on October 27.

Food Network premiers Family Restaurant Rivals tonight. “Across America, family-run restaurants serve up some of the country's best dishes, and they all think their recipes are better than the rest. Valerie Bertinelli hosts as families compete in challenges requiring them to overcome real-life restaurant curve balls to please the most intimidating judges in the food world. The teams prove that anything can happen when family pride and a $10,000 prize are on the line.”

I watched Jim Gaffigan’s new stand up special. It wasn’t his best IMHO.

CBS has canceled Instinct after 2 seasons.

Sarah Chalke (Scrubs) is set as the co-lead opposite Katherine Heigl in Netflix's upcoming drama series Firefly Lane, based on the bestselling novel by Kristin Hannah.

Another trailer for Apple’s The Morning Show.

Saturday turned into a girls’ day out for Miley Cyrus and Kaitlynn Carter. The duo, who recently packed on the PDA in Italy, were joined by the singer’s mom, Tish Cyrus, as they grabbed lunch in Los Angeles. Dressed in a white T-shirt with a printed skirt and white sneakers, Carter, 30, was photographed near Tish, 52, who paired her jeans with a gray top. Miley, 26, was also spotted in the passenger seat of her mom’s SUV in separate images. The outing comes a week after Cyrus announced her separation from husband Liam Hemsworth. Carter also recently split from The Hills: New Beginnings star Brody Jenner. On Friday, Cyrus dropped an emotional new song, Slide Away, which appeared to illustrate the demise of her relationship with Hemsworth, 29. As for the Hunger Games star, who has been spending time in his native Australia since the breakup, he is said to be ‘devastated’ over the photos of Cyrus kissing Carter. “He was heartbroken and blindsided by those photos,” a pal of Hemsworth’s shared.” Blessing in disguise bro. You dodged a bullet.

“Starting Monday, viewers of cable outlets like TLC, the Food Network and Discovery Channel may experience the strange sensation of hearing snippets of the theme song from the 1970s sitcom, The Brady Bunch. On TLC, Long Island Medium star Theresa Caputo will appear sporting a ‘do that looks much like the one Florence Henderson’s Carol Brady wore in the earlier series. On Food Network, Duff and Valerie Bertinelli will coo over a porkchops-and-applesauce cake from the children in Kids Baking Championship that plays off an old Brady plotline. And on Travel Channel, Kindred Spirits hosts Amy Bruni and Adam Berry will discover a treasure chest filled with 1970s flotsam and jetsam. The idea is to make viewers from across the Discovery Inc. pantheon of cable networks more aware of the new series, A Very Brady Renovation. The program, which debuts on Discovery’s HGTV Monday, September 9, shows the actors who played the kids in the original Brady Bunch cast joining with a bevy of HGTV home-improvement experts to transform the interior of the home that served as the exterior of the Brady house in the old series. ‘I think it’s going to be a huge hit for us,’ says Kathleen Finch, chief lifestyle brands officer at Discovery. To get the word out, many of the creative teams at individual Discovery cable outlets crafted specific promos that look like the programming one might expect to find on ID, Discovery Channel or elsewhere. The Food Network spot featuring Duff and Bertinelli uses a cake crafted at Duff’s own Charm City Cakes. Discovery Channel’s Josh Gates, host of Expedition Unknown, at first appears to be exploring uncharted territory in what would seem to be a typical promo for Discovery Channel. Within seconds, however, he’s wearing a curly-haired wig that makes him look like Greg Brady, the oldest son in the series who was played by Barry Williams. ‘I never wanted to take the wig off,’ says Gates. ‘I’d kill for Greg Brady’s hair.’”

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Per Vulture, “[w]elcome back, rich kids! Before we begin with this week’s Succession Power Rankings, there is something we must discuss. This week’s episode is called “Vaulter,” and it is incumbent upon me to address a topic I have been thinking about since I watched the very first episode of Succession’s very first season: Kendall Roy is really itching to acquire a Gawker-y website called Vaulter. The site is snappy and snarky and has a hot owner. Vaulter. Vaulter dot com. Once more, phonetically: vahl-ter. Doesn’t that sound a little familiar? Like another website, one that you might read frequently, or at the very least the morning after an award show? Doesn’t it sound like, oh, I don’t know, Vulture”?????? The website that you’re reading right freaking now??? Representation, my fellow one-percenters. It matters.

“On this week’s episode of Succession, we have a birthday, a new apartment, a cold, several fights, and a lot of writers fired for trying to unionize! There’s also a new foe and a lot of the same old double-crossing. Here’s who’s up and who’s down post-Vaulter:

1. Cyd Peach

Was Armie Hammer onto something when he did not eat the peach in Call Me by Your Name? (He wasn’t, but isn’t that a funny line? Haha, I’m a comedian.) Here on Succession, Tom has his work cut out for him with Cyd Peach. She’s inscrutable and experienced, but most of all she is just mean. Nasty! I love her, in the way I love every intimidating woman. Look at the way she glares at Tom, insulting his haircut and his latte in one breath! Could Elio Perlman’s peach do that? She is at the top of this list because I personally am afraid of her wrath, and also because she is new and also because I’m not entirely sure what she’s capable of. Tom might need to harness all the forces of darkness — and maybe, like, Blair Waldorf — to take on the Peach.

2. Roman’s girlfriend, Tabitha

I have always liked Roman’s girlfriend, but could she really make it onto a power ranking so early in the season? I thought not, until she gives a bit of medical advice to Tom, who has a cold: “You should try swallowing something … like honey.” Is Sweetbitter still on?? Because Caitlin Fitzgerald is tall and glamorous and absolutely nutty. This was my personal line of the night. Long live Tom swallowing his own load!!!!!! Tabitha might end up with it all.

3. Shiv Roy

Shiv, honey, you’re in danger, girl. “Vaulter” has confirmed all my suspicions: Shiv was right to not immediately trust Logan’s offer last week. She is indeed Logan’s favorite, but she’s more afraid of taking over Waystar Royco and fucking it up and losing her dad’s love than she is of remaining on the outside. This episode gives her a lot of cards to play, though, which keeps her near the top of this list: Her creepy Billions bit-player boss (both literally and figuratively) wants her to be his White House chief of staff, in a universe in which, I’m guessing, that job would actually be powerful and meaningful and important. (Unlike our universe, here.) She turns down that job and quits her current job, but Logan’s grasp — and Kendall’s plush position — seem firm. Did Shiv just fuck up?

4. Kendall Roy

do have a soft spot for Kendall because I do love woefully wounded outsiders who can quite clearly see what they want, but never manage to grab it (see: Cooper, Bradley — and every male lead in a Scorsese movie). Kendall starts this episode not able to hug his daughter, and then he’s suffocated in Vaulter documents by Lawrence Yee, and then he’s dropped off at Vaulter’s front door — which, true fact, is Vulture’s actual front door because they even took that from us! — to shut it all down. “Because my dad told me to,” he reasons. It gets him back into his dad’s office, but I get the feeling it’s only for closer inspection. Poor Kendall! And poor Kendall’s under-eye bags! Pathetic. He’s ranked below Shiv because I identify as Shiv and so I am loyal to her, and also because she’s still primed for a bigger payoff in the end. Kendall is just a big, bad errand boy.

5. Logan peering at his laptop, telling Shiv: “I need three independent women, know any?”

Why yes, Logan Roy, I do. Logan, as always, is holding all the cards. (If these power rankings were only about that, he’d be at the top every time!) Increasingly, it seems like he’s running out of options: Kendall will take instructions, but he’s not a leader. Shiv can lead, but will she? Roman is Roman. Connor is running for president. Mess!

6. The ATN News chyron that reads: “Why Are So Many of Our Older Celebrities Dying?”

Succession season two’s revamped opening credits keep the iconic Nicholas Britell piano riff, and now intercuts that old-timey rich-people footage with some present-day business-y footage. This seems all fine and good until, a few seconds in, we see a seemingly serious news chyron that asks an age-old question: “Why Are So Many of Our Older Celebrities Dying?” Why, indeed?

7. Cousin Greg

Cousin Greg began this episode with values — he knows ATN News is bad — but without an apartment. Cousin Greg ends this episode with a sick apartment! I’m happy for him, and am excited for him to ball out at Target or something. I’m not sure where Cousin Greg thinks you buy furniture. (Where do you think Cousin Greg thinks he should buy furniture?) I did appreciate that he jumps around his big apartment like a little doofus.

8. Roman Roy

Roman’s new, permanent address might be here, right in the middle of these power rankings. He is completely idiotic, but does get all the funny lines. “Do you think that that’s like a natural progression from never done nothing, never, to the most important job in the world?” Roman says to Connor. “Could you maybe get a little experience? Like maybe at a CVS?” It’s hilarious, but this episode’s Vaulter deal just shows how slow he is to maneuver. He’s still just a jester. While Kendall is in Logan’s inner circle, Roman didn’t see the Vaulter move coming.

9. Tom Wambsgans

From Succession’s opening minute this episode, Tom is at a disadvantage. Not that I know what a hand job is — I have neither hands nor a job to put them to work at — but what person on the face of planet Earth other than Tom would call it a “handy job”? And are we spelling that “handy,” like, Thank you for lending me a hand in my slouch toward sexual gratification, or “handie,” which feels vaguely and disconcertingly childlike? Yes, this column will keep trying to ask the important questions.

Anyway: Tom is really in over his head this week. On one front, he was supposed to be eating a peach filled with the cum of a certain impossibly sharp-jawed heartthrob. Instead he gets Peach, the head of ATN News. She is probably racist and probably classist and definitely unwilling to stop peddling “traditional” (read: very right-wing) values to diversify ATN’s market. Tom, to her, is another distraction, the kind that comes around every few seasons but is ultimately harmless even though it makes a lot of noise. Kind of like a cicada. Isn’t that what cicadas are like? Anyway.

Tom is blindsided again by Shiv, although I’m not sure what kind of clown makeup he was wearing when he expected to actually take over it all. Let’s be serious here: Just on principle, Shiv would never sell her dad on Tom for Waystar Royco’s top job, not when she could be selling herself for it. Fortunately, my favorite oafish onetime Pride & Prejudice crush does get the Fuck Off of the Week™ when he snaps at Shiv for making fun of his Steve Harvey suit proportions.

10. Marcia Roy

Marcia went from being the most powerful Roy — despite protestations from Shiv and me — to apparently one of the least? Last week, when everyone gathered at the lovingly named Hamptons Shit Pit, she asked if she also had to pitch Logan for his affection, or “dance for the daddy, too.” This week she’s not even given the opportunity! Marcia is dismissed from one of Shiv and Logan’s late-night sessions to unplug the Alexa? In my professional opinion — informed by years of family drama that I have, more times than not, come out on top of — Marcia needs to do something dramatic, and fast.

11. The Waystar Royco crony who actually drank his smoothie

I mean, come on, dude.

12. Lawrence Yee

“Larry Yee, king of New York,” Roman Roy declares when he walks into a meeting with Vaulter’s founder. (An interesting declaration considering I, at varying levels of enthusiasm and drunkenness, have declared Justin Theroux the true king of New York City, based mostly on that one New York Timesprofile involving him and Cary Fukunaga eating at Lilia.) Roman can’t declare anyone the king of anything, though, so it’s not really a surprise that Lawrence ends up without a job and without a website.

13. Vaulter’s emerging union

Whoo, boy. They should’ve pulled the trigger when they had the chance. “One week of severance for every year served???” I’m calling my attorney.”

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Per Deadline, “Netflix has given a series order to Agent King, an adult animated comedy series about the King himself, Elvis Presley, from Priscilla Presley, John Eddie, Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Television and Authentic Brands Group. Today’s announcement comes on the 42nd anniversary of Elvis’ death.

“Co-created by Presley and Eddie, in the series, Elvis trades in his white jumpsuit for a jet pack when he is covertly inducted into a secret government spy program to help battle the dark forces that threaten the country he loves — all while holding down his day job as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

“Presley and Eddie will executive produce with Authentic Brands Group’s Jamie Salter. Mike Arnold (Archer) will serve as showrunner, writer and executive producer. Fletcher Moules will serve as supervising director and co-executive producer. Marc Rosen and Corey Salter also will co-executive produce. Legendary designer, John Varvatos will custom design Elvis’ entire wardrobe for the series, and will serve as a consulting producer on the series, along with Jerry Schilling.

“‘From the time Elvis was a young boy he always dreamed of being the superhero fighting crime and saving the world — Agent King lets him do just that,’ his ex-wife Presley said. ‘My co-creator John Eddie and I are so excited to be working with Netflix and Sony Animation on this amazing project and getting the chance to show the world an Elvis they haven’t seen before.’

“The announcement comes at the end of ‘Elvis Week’ — an annual celebration of the King’s music, movies and legacy.”

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From Decider: “In honor of completing her first full season on the show, we caught up with Southern Charm newbie Eliza Limehouse this week to get her thoughts on everything from the craziness of the Colorado trip to the finale party to the reunion. She jumped on the phone to speak with Decider while her boyfriend, Struthers McBride, drove her and products from her Snaffle Bit Bracelet Co. line to a show in Charlotte, NC. Yes, we were sure to ask about how their relationship is going and if they’ve done any other wedding photoshoots, which is the activity they did on their very first date.

“Here, Eliza explains why the reunion was a ‘disaster,’ if she’s kept in touch with Ashley Jacobs, and why she’s glad she slept right through one of the show’s craziest moments:

Your fellow cast members have all expressed how sweet and kind you are, and I think we’ve definitely started to see that portrayed on the show by the end of the season. Did you get that vibe too?

Aww, thank you. I don’t really know what to think. I definitely felt like it got better after Episode 2 and I felt like it’s just gotten better and better. We have a lot of guests in our hotel who watch the show and a lot of people who come by and say hey. Every single person that comes by is like, “You’re so sweet. I love how you talk about God.” And I’m like, okay, I’m glad you think that because I was a little worried.

I have good feelings. The unknown was scary to me, but now that it’s done I feel a lot more peace. I never had anxiety before. It was something I’ve never experienced, so I think if we do have another season I’m going to be a lot calmer and confident just because I’m not so nervous about the unknown [now].

Have you learned things about yourself over the course of the season and then watching it as well?

This has been probably one of the biggest learning experiences of my life. I’ve definitely learned to stay out of other people’s problems. I care about people and I obviously care about what people think of me, but I’ve had to get some thick skin because whether you’re the nicest person or the meanest person on TV, you can’t control people’s perception of you and you just have to do your best. I get so many nice messages, but every blue moon I’ll get some jerk that just wants to rain on my parade. So I’ve had to learn that not everyone is going to love you and you can’t control that.

My businesses have gotten a lot more online exposure. I’ve had to learn how to be a better businesswoman. I’ve had to learn how to have better time management, how to prioritize, and how to support the people that are important to me in my life. Prioritizing is something that has come out of this whole experience. I would do it again if I got the opportunity.

Would you also do over that time you slept through all the drama during the Colorado trip?

Heck yeah. Oh my god, I’m so thankful for that. Obviously, I love Danni and I feel bad that that would happen and I would’ve been there supporting her. But yes, I’m so glad to sleep through any drama that goes down because this friend group was definitely stressful.

I’ve had to set alarms on my phone to breathe and take five minutes to chill because I’m always running around like a crazy person these days and getting stressed. I let people stress me out so I try to breathe…oh, and I talk slower. That’s another thing. If you’re noticing that I’m talking a little slower and I’m enunciating more because in some of my interviews I’m like, oh my god I can’t even understand what I’m saying.

Definitely glad I slept through that. My mom used to think I had narcolepsy when I was little because I can fall asleep anywhere, anytime in under 20 seconds. We didn’t think I actually had it, but I’m a very good sleeper and I’m very thankful for it.

How was Patricia’s finale party experience for you?

Oh my god. Well, I went into it being nervous because as you saw at the hair salon, I was begging Ashley not to go. In the minute I was like, oh Miss Pat’s having a party, I was like, oh my god, why did I say that? And so I went thinking, oh god, Ashley is going to be here. I’m just going to hide. So I literally hid in a corner basically the whole night and had Ginny, Naomie’s best friend, tell me when she was coming and I just sort of walked in the other direction. Because I’m like, you know what? I have done so much for you and why are you doing this? Like, come on.

Has she been in touch with you and either thanked you for all of the opportunities that you keep inviting her to and being nice, or apologized for causing a scene at some of those things?

Yeah. We talk a lot over the phone because she’s now back in California. She has apologized to me and part of me still feels for her even though she screwed up so many times and obviously didn’t take the opportunity I gave her and used them like I wanted her to. I mean, she did have that apology with Kathryn, which was good. But I think that she doesn’t do well in a group setting and she’s better one-on-one.

Not Patricia’s party, but all of the other failed apologies, she kind of goes into panic mode and does these rollercoaster apologies because she’s in defense mode. I wouldn’t have even gotten involved with this if I realized that everybody had an issue with her, but my understanding was that she had said some mean things to Kathryn and she wanted to apologize. I didn’t know that there was a whole other chapter of this, that everybody had a problem with her and she was tweeting – I don’t even have Twitter. There was all this other stuff that happened that no one felt the need to tell me about until she was there. Since I’m the younger one of the group, I’m the last to learn of things. And so nobody told me! And I think that since everybody had issues with her, she was kind of already drowning before she even got there. She goes into defense mode. It’s human nature. And she just goes kind of bananas. And I’ve told her, look, I can’t do this for you anymore. I’ve helped as much as I can. You need to work on not letting human nature take over and just sit there and apologize and be done. I’m frustrated with it. That’s all I have to say.

How was your first reunion experience? Was it what you expected?

Honestly, it was kind of a disaster because I got food poisoning the night before. So I didn’t feel very good. I was just so nervous because all my friends and fellow cast members kept telling me their opinions and my family kept telling me their opinions. My friends who watched the show told me their opinions on how I should be and what I should do. There were just so many nerves. I was just so emotional. And this is a hard month for me anyway, because this is the month of my horse dying, my parents’ divorce, a lot of terrible things happened for me in this month, so it was already just a rough month. Andy was super nice, but I definitely think that there were too many emotions and I just…I don’t know if it went the way that I wanted it to. But I’m glad I went and experienced it and I know I’ll do better next time.

What’s it been like to share so much of your life and feel people connecting and relating to a lot of the things you’ve opened up about this season?

It’s been awesome. Don’t get me wrong, I get some hate mail every blue moon, but I’ve had so many people reach out to me and thank me for being so open and honest. You wouldn’t believe all of the women that have reached out to me that have been in similar situations with their family, with divorces and affairs, and really giving me their whole stories and said that I’ve helped them find peace. That’s so awesome to me and most of the reason I shared my story is because I want to connect with other people and let other people know you’re not alone.

But I definitely also love getting to connect with other female entrepreneurs. I honestly thought that I would get a lot more negative feedback than I have just because I’m the newbie, I [brought] back Ashley and her whole drama. And then just going into this spotlight everybody warned me, hey, you’re going to get negative feedback. But I would say it’s 90% positive, 10% negative. I’ve gotten so much support and so many people thanking me for sharing my belief in God and my passion for business and my love for all the cast members, whether they’ve done stupid stuff or not.

How is your relationship with Struthers going? Do you watch the show together and what has he thought about it? Also, have you done any more wedding photoshoots together?

Yeah, people are so confused. Oh my gosh, it’s so good. You won’t believe how many people have been like, “I’m so glad you got rid of Dirty Don, Struthers is so beautiful.” And I’m like, “Thank you. Me too.” He’s sitting next to me right now. He’s my driver and my therapist. And he helps with orders. We were packing orders at 11 o’clock last night for Snaffle Bit.

We do have another wedding photoshoot lined up, we’re actually doing it at the Bolt Farm Treehouse where they had Kathryn’s little get together. So that will be fun. We love doing the wedding shoots. We’ve gotten a lot of wedding shoot offers since then, and a lot of people are commenting and trying to correct the people that are like, “I’m confused are y’all married?” People will comment for me like, “No, this is the photoshoot.” And I’m like, “Thank you for handling that.” And then a couple of people have commented and been like, “I hope you’re pregnant. This is so exciting,” thinking it’s a shotgun wedding. I’m like, “Oh my god, I’m not pregnant. This is not a shotgun wedding.”

I originally said I wasn’t going to watch it at all because it makes me so nervous, but then I was like, you know what? I worked really hard on this so we’re going to watch it. We first said we weren’t going to watch it together, but then I was like, “You can handle it. Who cares about Dirty Don being on the show?” Clearly, you can tell from body language the lack of love I had for him. So we’re cool. [Struthers] is fine with watching it. I warned him about it, he’s been mentally preparing himself, so it’s all good. It’s all good.”

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Quibi has given a green light to Dishmantled, described as ‘a high-octane cooking competition that will literally blow your socks off,’ with Titus Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, 30 Rock) set to host. The series hails from Chopped creator/executive producer Linda Lea and Good Egg Entertainment, and Propagate-owned Electus.

“Hosted by Burgess, each episode starts with the cannon-blasting of a mystery food dish into the faces of two blindfolded chefs. They’ll use their culinary prowess to identify the exploded dish and then race against the clock to recreate it. Whichever chef comes closest to the original dish wins a cash prize.

“Lea executive produces for Good Egg with Drew Buckley for Electus. The series is co-produced by Good Egg and Electus.

30 Rock alum Burgess is best known for his starring role as Titus Andromedon in Netflix comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a role which earned him four Emmy nominations, along with a SAG award and two Critics’ Choice TV awards. He’ll next be seen in Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name, alongside Eddie Murphy, Keegan Michael Key, Mike Epps, and Craig Robinson, set for release this fall. His other film credits include voice roles in The Angry Birds Movie and Smurfs: The Lost Village.Burgess’ breakout role came in Tina Fey’s Emmy-winning NBC series 30 Rock, as ‘D’Fwan.

“Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s Quibi launches in April. The shortform digital service has announced a flurry of projects in recent weeks including murder mystery When the Street Lights Go On, sci-fi thriller Transmission, a Carl Hiaason tale, a Varsity Blues revival, a Jed Mercurio sci-fi project, a thriller from Veena Sud, a workplace comedy called Winos from Thomas Lennon, a subversive superhero series from Doug Liman, a musical comedy from Darren Criss, a WWE wrestling show called Fight Like a Girl, a revival/revamp of The Fugitive, a Liam Hemsworth action series, a Tyra Banks-produced docu-series called Beauty, and two daily news shows from NBC News.

“Good Egg, headed by Lea, is behind the Chopped franchise for the Food Network. Other credits include Young Hot and Crooked, Sweet Genius and Queer Eye.

“Electus’ series include Emmy-nominated You vs. Wild (Netflix), Running Wild with Bear Grylls (National Geographic), CashPad (CNBC), The Toy Box (ABC), Jane the Virgin (The CW), Flaked (Netflix) and Hot Date (PopTV).”

Friday August 16, 2019

Season 2 of Mindhunter is now streaming on Netflix.

Season 1 of Diagnosis is also available on Netflix. “Dr. Lisa Sanders crowdsources diagnoses for mysterious and rare medical conditions in a documentary series based on her New York Times Magazine column.”

Jim Gaffigan’s new stand up special is now available on Amazon Prime. This will be my first stop.

Ronda Rousey will recur on season 3 of Fox’s 9-1-1.

Taylor Swift announced that she has partnered with YouTube Originals to livestream the debut performance of a song from her upcoming album Lover, talk details about her new fashion line with designer Stella McCartney and conduct a fan Q&A on YouTube on Thursday, Aug. 22 at 5:00 pm. ET. During the livestream fans can submit questions in the comment section and Swift will select a few to answer. The music video for “Lover” will premiere on YouTube following the livestream at 5:30 pm ET. Swift will release the title track of “Lover,” the fourth single from the album, tomorrow. Swift’s album Lover will drop the day after the livestream on Friday, Aug. 23. She will ‘exclusively perform stripped down versions of songs’ on SiriusXM Hits 1 on release day at 5 pm ET. She will then participate in a Q&A with select subscribers.”

HGTV has picked up 13 new episodes of docuseries Christina on the Coast.

The Kominsky Method will return for Season 2 on Netflix on October 25.

“E! has given the greenlight to a new sitcom. The series, titled Meet the Frasers, follows Rhode Island local celebrity couple Matt Fraser, a 28-year-old psychic medium and Alexa Papigiotis, his 21-year-old pageant queen girlfriend. Meet the Frasers will showcase the duo’s lives, careers, and their highly involved extended families. The half-hour sitcom is produced by MGM’s Evolution Media and is set to premiere in 2020. ‘This series offers a hilarious look inside a loving, dynamic and always outspoken family,’ said Amy Introcaso-Davis, executive vice president of development and production at E!. ‘Matt and Alexa are homegrown celebrities on the rise, with personalities big enough to take over the small city of Cranston, Rhode Island and beyond.’ According to E!, the duo is recognized everywhere from they go in Cranston, at least partly because they’re often seen in an SUV branded with Fraser’s face and name. The twosome is climbing their way to the top, with the biggest challenge being the opinionated loved ones who want to have a say in everything they do.”

Bam Margera is back in rehab.

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Per Variety, “Drew Barrymore is eyeing a move into the daytime talk show arena.

“The actress, who recently wrapped three seasons of the Netflix comedy Santa Clarita Diet, is shooting a pilot this week in New York for CBS Television Distribution.

“Details of the hourlong show are still sketchy. Barrymore is among the executive producers of the pilot, likely through her Flower Films banner. Sources said there is no showrunner formally attached as of yet.

“Barrymore circled a talk show deal with Warner Bros.’ Telepictures in 2016, but a pilot never came to fruition, in part because of a lukewarm response from prospective station groups at the time. The new regime at CBS’ syndication arm is said to have high hopes for the show and faith in Barrymore’s appeal as a daytime TV personality.

“After a few thin years of new entries, the first-run syndication market is getting a jolt this fall with the launch of three new strips with notable names.

“Former Today anchor Tamron Hall is hosting a talker for Disney/ABC that bows next month. Kelly Clarkson is taking up the talk-variety mantle for NBCUniversal and Meredith Vieira will front game show 25 Words or Less for Fox Television Stations. Jerry Springer is also back, this time in a court show dubbed Judge Jerry for NBCUniversal.

“CBS Television Distribution has stayed on the sidelines for the past few years with no first-run launches other than projects it distributed for production partners such as Jay McGraw (Daily Mail) and Judith Sheindlin (Hot Bench).

“Barrymore has become active as a TV producer and personality in recent years. In addition to Santa Clarita Diet, she was a judge on CBS’ reality show The World’s Best and she provided the voice-over for NBC unscripted dating show First Dates. Through her Flower Films she was an exec producer on unscripted series including TLC’s Rattled and VH1’s Tough Love.

“CBS Television Distribution declined to comment.”

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Per The Ringer, “[i]t takes exactly 30 seconds for Gordon Ramsay to utter his first ‘Bloody hell!’ in his new National Geographic TV show, Uncharted. The goal of the series, ostensibly, is to show viewers how to colonize non-Anglocentric cultures around the world in just one week. Each episode follows a road map: Ramsay is dropped into a remote part of the planet where he meets a rising chef who serves as an ambassador for the region’s cuisine; at the end of the week, Ramsay will prepare a meal for locals with the chosen chef, but not before getting a firsthand education on the ingredients that define the culture, which often involves him making a complete fool of himself; Ramsay, soon armed with a wealth of new experiences and ingredients, will then find a way to cook what is essentially steak and potatoes.

“From the very first episode, set in Peru, it’s clear how and why this show was green-lit. ‘This is Peru’s Sacred Valley. At towering heights of up to three miles above sea level, it is a unique Andean ecosystem whose staggering biodiversity once fed the mighty Incan Empire,’ Ramsay begins the show’s first introductory monologue. ‘And now it’s going to feed a British chef with a motorbike.’ The elevator pitch: No Reservations meets Man vs. Wild meets Bizarre Foods, with the most recognizable food television personality on the planet. Cynicism may be at the moral heart of the entertainment industry, but even in an inglorious age of unimaginative reboots and retellings, the space that Uncharted occupies feels particularly fraught.

“In the most recent episode, set in Hawaii’s Hana coast, the land’s multifaceted foodways are mentioned in terms of the cultural “trade winds” that have passed through the islands’ shores over time, a vague encapsulation of the centuries of occupation and colonization that have continuously redefined Hawaiian culture, for both good and bad. It was time, Ramsay decreed in the episode, to impart some of his Scottish influence on the land. ‘If I’m going to add a pinch of my Scottish heritage to this Hawaiian banquet,’ he said, ‘I’ve got to come up with something better than haggis on a pineapple ring.’ So he made a shepherd’s pie, with meat from an axis deer, an invasive species that first arrived as a gift in the 1800s and consequently imported in hopes of stimulating the island’s environment. The axis deer have done exactly that, in a sense: They’ve wrought havoc by literally eating away at Hawaii’s natural landscape, which has no natural defenses against imported wild animals. Ramsay’s shepherd’s pie, which was met with bemusement by Hawaiian chef Sheldon Simeon, was a stodgy proverb reheated in a cast-iron pan: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

“In a recent Hollywood Reporter cover story on the monumental growth of food television, it seemed as though the industry was still honoring the void that Anthony Bourdain left after his death last year. ‘There’s trepidation to try and fill those shoes and a real nervousness to developing a show that even feels like his,’ Top Chef cocreator Jane Lipsitz told THR. Ramsay’s new show suggests not only that the fear of filling those shoes will be short-lived, but also that the TV industry hasn’t yet latched onto the most prescient wisdoms Bourdain imparted in his decades around the world and behind cameras.

“From A Cook’s Tour, his first series, through Parts Unknown, one of the most fulfilling elements of the Bourdain experience was the broadening of his expanded universe. Occasionally, guides became friends, who then became recurring guests and trusted confidants. They would grow comfortable sharing stories of their culture, and revealing its idiosyncrasies in the way most relationships do over time. Bourdain had all the charm and snark in the world, but his shows were often at their best when he receded to the background. While I don’t doubt the sincerity of Uncharted’s attempts at engaging with cultures unfamiliar to Ramsay, the show’s format is cast as a sort of Ramsay accessory: Farmers, hunters, and restaurant owners load up his artillery with local ingredients, techniques, and specialties, and by the end of the episode, Ramsay unloads a full clip back at them and tensely waits to see whether those eating his creations will inflate his ego or knock him down a peg. While chefs and locals all get a chance to poke fun at the obscenely rich British white man metaphorically (and sometimes almost literally) showing his ass on television, Ramsay’s ego—lightly bruised, hardly broken—is what takes center stage, not the cultures the show is trying to highlight. If finding the next Anthony Bourdain is even feasible, it sure as hell does not look like Gordon Ramsay.

“Of course, Uncharted is not the first post-Bourdain foray into culinary exploration. After losing out on the rights to Food Network’s stable of cooking shows in 2016, Netflix aggressively hauled in foodcentric series of varying scope, spearheaded by David Gelb’s Chef’s Table series and David Chang’s Ugly DeliciousLast year’s excellentSalt Fat Acid Heat established new benchmarks for serialized culinary escapism in a post-Bourdain landscape and showcased how to champion underrepresented narratives.

“This year, I found myself charmed by three Netflix series in particular. Flavorful Origins is a celebration of Chaoshan (or Chiuchow) cuisine by way of 20 artful, bite-size episodes highlighting various ingredients and delicacies that define the specific region of China’s Guangdong province that it originates from. David Gelb’s Street Food takes the self-seriousness of Chef’s Table out of the hands of the show’s typical subject (at least in its early years)—a male fine-dining veteran who often exemplified the hackneyed bad-boy-makes-good narrative—and applies that reverence to some of the most notable street food purveyors in Asia.

Taco Chronicles literally gives voice to the voiceless: Each episode is oddly, compellingly narrated by a sentient taco, capturing its own significance to Mexican life with the kind of lurid prose you’d find in the most orgiastic of Bourdain voice-overs. Each of the six episodes focuses on a different iconic taco variety in Mexico, and the proud cooks, chefs, and common taco enthusiasts who have contributed to the lore. Almost all of these shows are devoid of English, save for subtitles. If food is indeed a common language shared by all, then this is the moment to prove it. These are narratives that don’t necessarily require an established star at the center. It’s a novel idea, and Netflix, as a centralized streaming service, might have a leg up in realizing that as a viable paradigm. A traditional network, especially one without an entire stable of related food content, might require a recognizable personality to provide structure to a show conceit that is most likely siloed from the rest of its programming. The constellation of food television on Netflix feels bound only by the general sense of exploration that the shows all engender.

“Lost in the desire to find the next Anthony Bourdain is the sense that food TV no longer requires that kind of archetypal figure, that the gatekeepers of culture we see on the screen should be the ones actively participating in its nuances, not a tourist tabbed as a universal authority. In the first episode of Uncharted, Ramsay playfully crafts an adversarial relationship with Peruvian chef Virgilio Martínez; when Martínez suggests cooking together to feed some of the farmers and gatherers of Peru’s Sacred Valley, Ramsay immediately deems it a cookoff. Before the viewer even gets a sense of the show, its parameters were already turned on its side. I couldn’t help but think about how much Bourdain would have loathed that competitive element of the episode (among other things about it). ‘I don’t need to be number one,’ Bourdain told Maria Bustillos last year. ‘I don’t need to beat the fuck out of somebody. I don’t need to be ahead. I just want to still be here at the end of the fuckin’ day, doing what I’m doing, without anybody hassling me.’

“There is nothing altruistic about television. There are always executives to curry favor with, sponsors to appease. The act of filming and interviewing, of gathering narratives and insights from others, is intrinsically transactional. Bourdain wasn’t exempt, but the ways in which he and the show producers helped frame the way viewers saw other parts of the world felt as if it was born of a warmer, empathetic calling. That is lacking in a show like Uncharted, which was renewed for a second season before it even premiered; there is cynicism baked into every scene of the show, and it distracts from the legitimately gorgeous portrayals of civilian life in different parts of the world. These days, the best food television dives deeper, thoughtfully putting a magnifying glass to what can seem like second nature in certain cultures—the need to craft an overarching narrative might not be necessary. The stories tell themselves.”

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From Decider: “Southern Charm Season 6 was different. There’s no denying that. And while the show doesn’t need Thomas Ravenel, it does need to address there’s been a change.

“To say it wasn’t a good season wouldn’t be accurate, but saying it was the best one yet wouldn’t be either. Some might describe this season as a rebuilding year for the Bravo series, but it actually didn’t rebuild enough. The show has thrived off salacious drama, especially that centered around Thomas and the mother of his two young children, Kathryn Dennis. Through their pregnancies, relationship up and downs, and Season 5’s insanity that introduced the world to the erratic Ashley Jacobs, this couple has always made for good TV. So now that they’re apart for good, and with both Thomas and the pair’s ugly custody battle far away from the cameras, the reliability for shocking moments isn’t as strong. And that’s okay for this show, whether Southern Charm knows that yet or not. And according to this season, the answer is a ‘not’.

“It’s not that Southern Charm should scrap the drama completely (lol yeah right, have you met this bunch?), but perhaps lifting a foot off that pedal and pressing down harder on the consistent comedy this show generates would breathe some fresh life into the program. Austen Kroll and Madison LeCroy’s relationship is Drama City, though that might not be a place where viewers want to buy property. There was that crazy chlamydia bomb she dropped during the Colorado trip, and we can’t forget, literally if we tried, that his YouTube video appeared in nearly every episode. But like, was there any other evidence of them, you know, actually getting along? Their rekindling in CO and romantic date back in Charleston, however ill-advised, was the stuff of rom-com dreams. Showing some of that might help viewers, I don’t know, root for them? Or at the very least understand why this relationship matters so much to them. And to Shep.

“Unfortunately, Shep Rose came off as bitter and angry and cynical this season, and not so much the goofy, fun-loving, laid back bro we’ve gotten to know over the years. While he’s closest in age to Thomas, he’s the furthest in mindset. Trying to jam that square peg into the previously established yet now empty round hole simply wasn’t a fit. Seeing his (mis)adventures as a dog dad felt ripe for exploring, yet was likely left on the cutting room floor.

“Ultimately, Southern Charm shouldn’t be afraid to tip the scales towards the comedy it is able to achieve. Austen and Craig Conover having a Frozen marathon? Let’s see it! Patricia Altschul and her butler Michael indulging in the finer things… on the McDonald’s menu? We want more! Never-ending drunken (slash high) shenanigans? We can’t get enough! Somewhere exists literally days of footage of (most of) these people high off their asses — that’s fun! It wouldn’t have hurt the season to draw out that trip rather than the girls’ treehouse troubles. Kathryn not texting back for days is a storyline we’ve seen already, and likely a personality issue she has no plans to change. But like all adults, their problems and priorities have changed over the years, and acknowledging that fact could help move this show in a slightly new direction. Trying to recapture the unique insanity of what this show provided in earlier seasons is not too likely: after all, Southern Charm has collected some lucky lightning in a bottle many times before. So now let’s see what dependably highly entertaining fresh hell this group can conjure up moving forward.

“What did feel like a positive shift came from giving the women space to share their struggles with adulthood. Danni Baird finally got a talking head interview this season, and while an STD claim wasn’t a highlight for her, seeing her contemplate freezing her eggs was super relatable. Chelsea Meissner’s home renovation deserved the Million Dollar Listing treatment and was one of the more interesting things she contributed to the show this season. Because no, it wasn’t her convos with Austen about him being a doofus. We all wanted to see Naomie Olindo navigating her new relationship, and Cameran Eubanks getting through the first year as a mom was also good stuff. Not that either was overly dramatic, though they did have humorous moments, but both of those mattered in a big way when it comes to viewers being invested in these people’s lives.

“Eliza Limehouse got a rough go of it at first, but she did bring back the Charleston roots to this show. Who the heck knew what a foxhunt entailed? Had that episode been about the silly hayride portion or whatever that yucky beverage was, it would’ve served up a lot more laughs than it did eye rolls once Ashley stepped on the scene.

“The drama on Southern Charm has shifted in a big way. These days, it’s Craig having a breakdown in an airport because…oh, who can even remember. But if you look around during that scene, everyone is laughing. Put goofy music behind it and admit it’s ridiculous. We’ll still watch in shock, but with more LOLs and less AWKs. This is a group isn’t afraid to look stupid — and we want to see that.

“In a lot of ways, Southern Charm did what it does best, and that’s making sure this group is hanging around, preferably at a fancy dinner party, and either getting drunk or gossiping like teens: and in the best-case scenario, both. That works. It’s intriguing without having to be appalling (bye, Ashley). The drama in this show is different now and so it’s ok for the tone to be too. Allowing this group to have some fun, and us to see that fun, would help recapture the charm of Southern Charm.”

Just get Ashley to the reunion, please!

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Per Cinelinx, “[r]umors of an Obi-Wan Kenobi related project have been circulating since Disney bought Lucasfilm back in 2013. While it seemed to have started life as a standalone film, recent reports are that we’ll see Obi-Wan come back as a Disney+ series…Which is what I’ve heard as well.

“So what’s new? According to two separate sources, I’ve heard that Ewan McGregor has actually put pen to paper and inked a contract to return as the iconic Jedi Master. I heard word of this recently, but I was sitting on it until, out of the blue, a second source reached out to me (I hadn’t gone digging on this one) saying the exact same thing.

“Again, this shouldn’t come as a surprise considering how open McGregor has been in his desire to return to the Star Wars franchise. What’s interesting to me, however, is the timing. While development on the Obi-Wan project has been in the early stages since the beginning of this year (according to StarWarsNewsNet), locking in a contract means they’re really moving forward on it.

“D23 is just a week away, with Disney already promising a more in depth look at their future live-action slate and more Disney+ information. It may not be outside the realm of possibility they were eager to get the contract signed now in order to make some sort of announcement for the show (much like how Marvel signed up Simu Liu for Shang Chi just before SDCC).

“That’s speculation on my part, based on the timing of this, and something at least one of my sources seems to feel as well. So don’t take a D23 announcement as gospel at this point. The news here is that Ewan McGregor has signed a new Star Wars contract with LFL, and we’ll be seeing him back as Kenobi at some point!”

Thursday August 15, 2019

How nice was it having Mike and Harvey square off last night? Premise/storyline aside, I was just happy to see them banter.

The series finale of Elementary airs tonight on CBS.

Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones, a new Netflix stand-up special, will be available on August 26.

Here’s a little teaser.

The reboot of Crank Yankers returns to Comedy Central on September 25.

Check out he 9-1-1 trailer with a tsunami enveloping the Santa Monica pier. Here’s to hoping this show lasts for years to come (I have a friend who is one of the leads, so for his sake, I hope it continues to be a hit).

Comedy Central has given a 10-episode series order to a new interview show from 2 Dope Queens host Phoebe Robinson. The untitled half-hour series will see Robinson host pop culture luminaries and ‘create experiences with her guests that take us into their world and out of her comfort zone,’ according to the network. ‘As a workaholic who has the luxury of working from home most days at the expense of experiencing the world, Phoebe is getting out of the house and meeting the people she’s admired from afar. This show will hit that sweet spot between educational and charmingly ignorant,’ Robinson said in a statement. ‘Who doesn’t love that? Well, all older black people who struggled and marched for my rights. But besides that, everyone else does!’”

”NBC is looking to the 1980s for its next hit. The network is plotting a modern remake of 1985's St. Elmo's Fire and has handed out a script sale for the new take on the 1985 Brat Pack feature. The potential series is described as a modern adaptation of the Joel Schumacher-directed film that showcased a group of close friends struggling with career, commitment and the responsibilities of adulthood. Josh Berman (Drop Dead Diva, The Mob Doctor) is on board to pen the script and executive produce via his Osprey Productions banner. Chris King will also be an EP.” Please don’t!

“At the premiere of a show about ex-cons, Ice-T — who says he has ‘hundreds of [friends] that just came out of prison’ — had some advice about dealing with the rigors of a jail term. ‘The rule of the game is — don’t go to prison,’ the actor told us at the Season 2 premiere of WE TV’s Love After Lockup. He added, ‘Prison throws a lot of s–t in the game that is set up to ruin your life, and holding it together in those types of circumstances is damn near impossible.’ And while life inside is terrible, he said, there are other worries. ‘It’s hard for a woman to stay faithful to a man that is in prison and broke,’ he told us at the event at the Whitby Hotel, ‘You out here still looking good at 30, and all these new offers are coming in — it’s hard for a woman to stay true, too.’” Groundbreaking stuff there T. Love After Lockup returns to WE tomorrow night.

“Leah Remini’s Scientology exposé is coming to an end. A&E has announced that Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath will conclude with a two-hour special, set to air Monday, Aug. 26 at 9/8c, that will “explore stories of how Church of Scientology policies have hindered members from reporting instances of abuse and sexual assault to the authorities,” per the official description. Scientology and the Aftermath, which aired its last original episode in February, ran for three seasons.”

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“The cast of Beverly Hills, 90210 isn't cashing in as much as you'd think with Fox's meta ‘revival.’

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that original stars Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, Gabrielle Carteris, Shannen Doherty, Jason Priestley, Brian Austin Green and Ian Ziering are making $70,000 per episode for Fox's BH90210, where they each play heightened versions of themselves shopping a revival of their beloved former '90s teen soap. That translates to a $420,000 base salary for the six-episode ‘event series.’

“Sources note that Garth and Spelling also receive an additional $15,000 per-episode fee for co-creating the new take. (Showrunners Mike Chessler and Chris Alberghini are also credited as co-creators alongside Garth and Spelling.)

“Priestley, who helmed one episode, is earning an additional $46,000 for his work behind the camera. (That's the basic DGA primetime network directing rate.)

“The new salaries are a far cry from what many industry insiders anticipated for a pseudo-reboot of a beloved series with nearly the full cast participating. ‘I thought they would have made at least six figures,’ said one prolific talent agent.

“By comparison, the four original stars of Will & Grace were paid $250,000 per episode for the first season of NBC's revival and secured bumps to $350,000 for seasons two and three.

“According to a 2017 THR survey, actor salaries ranged from $1 million per episode (think the stars of The Big Bang Theory), to $55,000-$85,000 for midrange talent (actors lower down on the call sheet) with the bottom level for supporting leads with no prior series regular roles coming in at around $30,000 per episode.

BH90210 premiered Aug. 7 on Fox and opened with an impressive 1.5 rating in the all-important adults 18-49 demographic and 3.4 million total viewers, besting CBS stalwart Big Brother in both metrics. The series also scored well with women 25-54, drawing a 2.5 in the demo — Fox's best summer scripted return in nearly a decade. With three days of delayed viewing, the series premiere grew to a 2.1 among 18-49ers, making it this summer's highest-rated series debut and No. 1 summer bow in more than two years. All told, the episode delivered 6.1 million multiplatform viewers and ranks as Fox's most-streamed summer debut ever.

“As for the future, the cast all hope that BH90210 runs for multiple seasons. "We have so many stories to tell that this could keep going on season after season," said Spelling, who with Garth had been shopping the new take for nearly a year before the newly independent Fox Entertainment came through with the series order.

“Fox and producers CBS TV Studios — the latter of which produced the original series — declined comment.”

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Per Decider, “The Brady Bunch house might be the most famous home in all of television. From its faded tan exterior to its kitschy interiors, it’s absolutely iconic. Now, HGTV is making it real. The network’s new series, A Very Brady Renovation, partners all six of the original Brady Bunch children with HGTV all-stars in a quest to turn the so-called Brady Bunch House (i.e. the Los Angeles ranch home that provided the show’s exterior shots) into the real deal.

Decider recently got the opportunity to get a sneak peek of A Very Brady Renovation. We saw the very first screening of the show’s 90-minute-long premiere this week along with HGTV President Jane Latman, Senior Vice President Loren Ruch, and handful of other journalists. From the get-go, it was obvious that A Very Brady Renovation is more than your typical ‘bread and butter’ HGTV show. For one thing, Latman and Ruch kept calling it ‘the biggest show HGTV has ever done.’ Unlike other HGTV favorites, A Very Brady Renovation opens almost reality-show style, introducing us to the backstory that brought the Brady Bunch house into the HGTV’s safekeeping. When the house went on the market last year, Ruch spearheaded a plan to put in a bid for the house and to bring the six surviving Brady Bunch cast members — Barry Williams (Greg), Maureen McCormick (Marcia), Christopher Knight (Peter), Eve Plumb (Jan), Mike Lookinland (Bobby), and Susan Olsen (Cindy) — together for the ultimate renovation project.

“The plan was pretty simple in theory, but daunting in practice. As many TV fans already knew, the exterior of The Brady Bunch house was a real house, while the interior was comprised of sets on a Hollywood soundstage. HGTV was going to make the inside of the real house match those legendary sets exactly.

“‘When we started to dive into doing the show, we studied — I’m not kidding — almost every frame of every episode that had ever existed. So if there was a room that ever appeared in a single episode, we would make sure it was covered here,’ Ruch said.

“However, there was a very big problem. The real house HGTV had purchased was a ranch, while the Brady family home we saw on TV was a split-level. The very first episode of A Very Brady Renovation covers how the contractors and designers dealt with this: by stealthily adding an addition to the back that would not ruin the appearance of exterior’s famous facade. This addition would offer enough space for the children’s rooms, the kitchen, and Alice’s bedroom. Because of quirks of the existing house’s layout, Greg’s attic and the master bedroom would be located on the first floor. Everyone involved was confident, though, that superfans would appreciate the attention to detail in each room enough to overlook the inconsistencies in the layout.

“A legion of HGTV all-stars were drafted to assist the Bradys throughout the renovation process. Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott help Maureen McCormick, Susan Olsen, and Christopher Knight renovate the exterior and ‘heart’ of the home in Episode 1. Other HGTV talent involved in A Very Brady Renovation include Good Bones stars Mina Starsiak Hawk and Karen E. Laine, Leanne and Steve Ford from Restored by the FordsHidden Potential star Jasmine Roth, and Flea Market Flip host Lara Spencer. Ruch told reporters that talent was chosen based on experience, schedules, and most of all, their level of Brady Bunch fandom.

“‘We wanted to go for the biggest Brady fans, so Karen from Good Bones, the minute she heard we bought the house — she’s OBSESSED with The Brady Bunch — so she reached out to us and asked if they could be a part of it,’ Ruch said, before adding that everyone involved were superfans.

“Funnily enough, all six Brady siblings had experience in the world of contracting, house flipping, and home design. ‘It turned into this incredibly happy accident that [the Bradys] were much more skilled than we thought. And more than skilled, they were just interested in participating,’ Ruch said. ‘It was a chance for them to get dirty, and they wanted to get dirty every single part of the entire process. It’s not fake seeing them work on this house.’

“Ruch revealed that each of the Bradys got to pick a specific room to renovate if they were especially attached to it. Barry Williams, for instance, wanted to work on Mike’s Den since he and co-star Robert Reed had a lot of scenes in there together. Susan Olsen wanted to use her own skills as a graphic designer to help recreate the wallpaper in the kids’ rooms. Eve Plumb really wanted to work on the kitchen and Alice’s room as she associated both strongly with Ann B. Davis.

“‘Eve Plumb was very close to Ann B. Davis and [Alice’s room] was the room she asked to work on. It was a super emotional journey because she felt like it was as much duplicating the room as it was in the show as it was a tribute to someone who couldn’t be part of it now,’ Ruch said.

“The Brady siblings go through all sorts of emotions during the premiere of A Very Brady Renovation, and process itself regurgitated all manner of memories. Stories shared on set included everything from factoids like how they had to replace Tiger, the Brady family dog, after Season 1 because he ran down the stairs too slowly to how long and laborious shooting dinner scenes would be. There was even some hot gossip.

“‘There were tons of stories about little romances,’ Ruch said. “Like Bobby and Cindy kissed in the dog house and they wanted to recreate that scene, and Greg and Marcia kissed in the upstairs closet.’

“Also gossip-worthy? The financial battle to win the Brady House. Before it was announced that HGTV bought the home, entertainment outlets reported that former *NSYNC member Lance Bass had won the property with a $1.85 million bid. Little did anyone know that HGTV had offered double that: $3.5 million.

“‘The funny thing is we honestly didn’t know that Lance Bass had made the offer. That turned out to be much more of a news story than an internal story,’ Ruch said, before explaining that privately Bass was happy HGTV bought the house. Both Bass and HGTV wanted to preserved the property, which is located in a neighborhood known for its McMansions. Ruch even revealed that Bass would be ‘making an appearance at the house in the next couple of weeks.’

“HGTV’s house flipping shows almost always reveal the before-and-after value of the homes in question. So if HGTV shelled out $3.5 million on the Brady Bunch house, how much is it worth now? While they don’ have a tally on how much they wound up spending on the renovation, HGTV could reveal that the finished Brady Bunch house is now worth an estimated $3.9 million, not including the vintage furnishings.

“So what does the network plan on doing with the house now thatA Very Brady Renovation has wrapped? ‘The biggest thing we’re working on is the contest which will allow a superfan family to stay in the house for a week,’ Ruch said. ‘After that, we haven’t really thought through that far. We’re kind of taking one month at a time because there’s been so much prep.’

A Very Brady Renovation will premiere with an extended 90-minute-long episode on Monday, September 9 at 9 pm ET/PT. Three more hour-long episodes will premiere weekly after that. HGTV has also confirmed that there will be a A Very Brady Renovation Holiday special later this year. After that, who knows?

“‘We may do more Brady Bunch programming. We may do some clip shows and other opportunities now that we’re seeing the interest there,’ Ruch said, but HGTV’s primary focus is getting A Very Brady Renovation off the ground first. After that, who knows who we’ll see pop up in The Brady Bunch house. Maybe it will even be you…”

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Per EW, “Kirsten Dunst connects while driving through ‘the worst pocket’ of cell reception in California. She shares your prayer that we get through this. ‘We are, together,’ she coos reassuringly. Minutes later, she cuts out. Behold the continued queen of the unexpected.

“It’s probably easy to trust her because, as an acting veteran at 37, Dunst has self-made a career of subverting expectations and surprising audiences, expertly balancing untraditional turns in offbeat dramas (a rebel royal in Marie-Antoinette) and art-house gems (a bride whose depression wills the apocalypse in Melancholia) with big-budget blockbusters (minimizing damsel Mary Jane’s distress in three Spider-Man films), often more enticed by the vision fueling a particular project than its scale.

“‘When I make something, I feel like no one’s ever going to see it,’ Dunst says of her approach to the craft. ‘I feel like I do it for myself.’

“Most likely, however, it feels especially right trusting her because she seamlessly overcomes the seemingly insurmountable in her newest endeavor. Dunst’s instincts have now guided her to the realm of television, where she’ll continue her singular streak producing and starring in Showtime’s dark comedyOn Becoming a God in Central Florida (premiering Aug. 25 at 10 p.m.) as Krystal Stubbs, an Orlando-adjacent waterpark employee (with a wardrobe best described as “Lisa Frank dabbling in textiles”) forced into conning her way up the ranks of a pyramid scheme (one that ensnares her zany, workaholic husband, played by Alexander Skarsgård) in the wake of a personal tragedy tied to the illicit operation.

“‘She’s cutthroat, but with a heart of gold,” says Dunst, who lends her cool, inviting calmness to Krystal’s vengeful rage — even as her mama-bear survivalist tactics grow increasingly bonkers. Within two episodes of the ’90s-set series, a wailing Krystal fires a shotgun into a swamp of alligators, later skinning the beasts and hand-harvesting the meat to feed her young. “It’s about a mother trying to make it work!’ Dunst chirps. ‘I get to put things that are ugly in front of myself into my roles. I can express my rage through Krystal. It ends up almost being therapeutic in a way. For me, I could play Krystal because I understand her, but also I get to release those things as well.’

“For the producer and star, making things work meant anchoring herself to the series through multiple network handoffs — first at AMC, then YouTube, then Showtime, at one point with The Favourite director Yorgos Lanthimos attached to helm. Dunst confesses that, after giving birth to her first child in May 2018, she considered leaving the project. Still, despite the shakeups and personal developments, ‘I couldn’t let this character go,’ says Dunst, savoring Krystal’s agency amid other offers the actress has received to play helpless thirtysomethings.

“‘I read other shows before that I could’ve done, but this was just so different,’ she adds. ‘I don’t have to be crying about some man or what the man did to me. It doesn’t matter. This is Krystal’s show and it’s not about that, which most female roles kind of still are…. This is the age range where it’s easier to find good material in television. That’s where the best work is for me and what I’m interested in doing.’

“Krystal marks the latest benchmark in Dunst’s mission to resist the Hollywood-blonde stereotypes. She values complex renegades, which drew her to the new ‘creative freedom’ of TV to perform juicy roles (like in her Golden Globe-nominated turn on 2015’s Fargo) she rarely sees in film. ‘I wanted to be more of an artist in my acting, instead of making tons of money being a star of every big whatever.’

“Like, she references, her string of studio rom-coms in the late aughts. ‘Post-Spider-Man it was like, I could definitely go down this romantic comedy route. Those were really popular then, too, but it just was like, ugh, no thank you,” she recalls. “It wasn’t for me. I hated that kind of acting. It was so hard for me to do. Thank God Sofia Coppola would sweep me away to do a Marie-Antoinette in between.’

“So, what’s next? On her previously announced directorial debut — an adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s beloved novel The Bell Jar — Dunst says the film isn’t happening, at least with her in the director’s chair.

“‘I never owned [the rights], so it went away for me. It went to other hands. That ship sunk, too,’ she confirms. Instead, Florida could be a hit, or Dunst may focus on producing more projects to allow extra time with her infant son, Ennis, with partner and Fargo costar Jesse Plemons. ‘This is the first year I’ve been a mom. Directing a film and having a baby…that’s two years of your life, directing, editing, and promoting all of it. Maybe when I’m older I’ll want to again. Right now, I have zero interest in committing myself to that.’ (Cornerstone Films did not immediately respond to EW’s request for clarification on The Bell Jar‘s status).

“In other words, Dunst’s plan isn’t entirely clear — and it never has been. Whether weird or wonderful, all we know is we’re going to get through it together.”

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From TheWrap: “Joey King took on the most “mentally and physically demanding” role of her life when she signed on to play Gypsy Rose Blanchard in The Act.

“Gypsy Rose’s mother, Dee Dee (played by Patricia Arquette in the fact-based Hulu limited series), convinced her daughter that she suffered from illnesses like leukemia and muscular dystrophy, although doctors never found any evidence that Gypsy had the conditions. She did have a unique voice, though — a high-pitched little-girl voice that King studied by “going to sleep with interviews of Gypsy playing through my headphones.” (She never spoke directly to Gypsy, who is currently in prison for her role in her mother’s murder.)

“King didn’t read for the role in that voice, though. ‘They didn’t want people to audition with the voice because they didn’t want it to seem like they were mocking the character, and instead hoped to find someone who just really captured the soul of the character,’ she said. ‘Only after I booked the role did I say to our producers, “I really think it’s important for me to try and do the voice.”’

“She also watched the HBO documentary about the case, Mommy Dead and Dearest, ‘probably more times than I can even count’ to capture Gypsy’s mannerisms. But the most challenging scene for King, she said, was the one between Gypsy and boyfriend Nick Godejohn (played by Calum Worthy) that took place after he killed Dee Dee so the two lovers could be together.

“‘It’s the scene when myself and Calum were hiding in the closet from the SWAT team,’ she said. ‘We decided we were going to stay in character and stay in that closet the whole time, and we didn’t want to see the SWAT team before the scene of them dragging us out happened. We wanted it to happen organically.’

“The powerful dynamic between King and Arquette, both Emmy nominees, was not restricted to what happened in front of the cameras. ‘I learned so much from Patricia, not just about acting but about being a kind and amazing person in general,’ she said. ‘We developed such a trust between the both of us — we had an honesty policy with one another. If we ever thought that the other needed another take or could use some improvement in any way, we would always be honest and tell each other what our real feelings were. I felt supported by her 100%, and I know that she probably felt the same.’”

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Per Deadline, “HBO has given a six-episode series order to Betty (fka Untitled Skateboarding Project), a skateboarding comedy inspired by Crystal Moselle’s critically acclaimed feature Skate Kitchen, from Moselle and her longtime friend and collaborator, Love co-creator Lesley Arfin. Additionally five actors who starred in the film — Dede Lovelace, Ajani Russell, Moonbear, Rachelle Vinberg and Nina Moran — have been cast as series regulars in the series, which is currently in production in New York City.

“Written by Moselle and Arfin, Betty, inspired by Moselle’s 2018 Sundance film, is set against the backdrop of New York City. It will follow a diverse group of young women navigating their lives through the predominantly male oriented world of skateboarding.

“Moselle, who also directs, and Arfin executive produce with Igor Srubshchik and Jason Weinberg. Michael Sherman and Matthew Perniciaro of Bow & Arrow Entertainment co-executive produce along with RT Features’ Rodrigo Teixeira. Izabella Tzenkova of Kotva Films and Lizzie Nastro produce. Arfin Material and Untitled Entertainment co-produce for HBO.

“Vinberg plays Camille, she wants to be down with the dudes and has fought hard for the small space she’s carved out with them. Camille isn’t big on flashy displays of love or loyalty, but she’s perceptive and intelligent, and will notice tiny details about others as if she were a poet. Camille forgives but doesn’t forget, and she’d be happier if she’d only realize that cool points don’t actually add up to the sum of anything.

“Moran is Kirt, the funniest person alive but even if she knew it, she wouldn’t care. She’s a lover (to the ladies), a fighter (to the rest of the world), and a little kid in the body of a woman. Kirt would give you the shirt off her back in the middle of a snowstorm without having to ask for it. According to Kirt, you did ask for it, only with your mind, and you think she might actually be right.

“Moonbear portrays Honeybear, the quiet storm, dark horse. She’s funnier than she thinks, wiser than she appears, and as stubborn as a boot on a tire. Her outlandish clothes make a statement, but she sometimes uses her individuality as a cover for the fact that she keeps her emotions on lock.

“Lovelace is Janay, opinionated, intelligent, and loyal to a fault. She’s a big-hearted, warm girl, the type to give you a hug over a handshake. Janay has a strong will and a determination to lead that both helps and hurts her. At the end of the day, she’s the person you’d pick to be team captain—not because she always wins, but because she’d buy you a drink after the game no matter the score.

“Russell plays Indigo, fun, flirty, always down for an adventure, Indigo is the equivalent of the post-sex cigarette — cool, calming, and sexy as fuck. While she’s naturally conflict-avoidant with a low-drama personality, she somehow manages to crop dust everyone around her in the stuff. Indigo’s a street-savvy hustler who leans closer to the edge of shadiness than the others. Indigo’s the type of person who would steal your wallet and then help you look for it.

“In her first narrative feature, Skate Kitchen, writer-director Moselle immersed herself in the life of skater girls, resulting in the film’s authenticity, combining poetic, atmospheric filmmaking and hypnotic skating sequences. Skate Kitchen captures the experience of women in male-dominated spaces and tells a story of a girl who learns the importance of camaraderie and self-discovery.

“In addition to starring in Skate Kitchen, Lovelace, Vinberg, Moran, Moonbear and Russell also appeared in That One Day, a Miu Miu short film directed by Moselle. Both projects were inspired by the real-life Skate Kitchen, all all-female skate crew the young women are in.

“In addition to Skate Kitchen, Moselle is known for the Sundance, Grand Jury Prize award winning documentary, The Wolfpack. In the last decade she has been working with short-form storytelling for publications such as Vice and The New York Times, where she created a series called Something Big, Something Small, featuring talent such as Pharrell Williams and Shepard Fairey. Later collaborations with Pharrell included, Meet the Bae’s, a series profiling the artists back up dancers. Moselle also participated in Miu Miu’s, Women’s Tales where her film That One Day premiered at the Venice film festival in 2016. Most recently she directed Our Dream of Water, a documentary short series for National Geographic dealing with water crisis in Haiti, Peru and Kenya.

“Arfin co-created the television series Love, along with Judd Apatow and Paul Rust, which ran for three seasons on Netflix. Her other TV credits include: Fox’s Brooklyn Nine Nine, MTV’s Awkward and the original writing staff of HBO’s Girls. Prior to her career in television, Arfin was the author of the Vice Magazine column ‘Dear Diary’ in which she recounted her teenage diary entries. The popular column was published as a memoir in 2007 and optioned by MTV. She was also Editor-in-Chief of Missbehave, a women’s magazine based in Brooklyn.”

Wednesday August 14, 2019

Mike Ross returns. #SUITS More below.

A new episode of Songland airs tonight on NBC. I’ve touted this show in the past and it returns tonight after a 6-week hiatus. Check it out.

The season finale of Southern Charm airs tonight on Bravo.

Here is the latest trailer for season 3 of 13 Reasons Why, which will be available to stream on Netflix on August 23.

BravoCon sold out in sixty seconds?!

On that note, Southern Charm’s Ashley Jacobs is vile.

Chrisley Knows Best reality stars Todd and Julie Chrisley were indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on multiple counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, and tax evasion. The couple deny any wrongdoing. The couple’s accountant, Peter Tarantino, was also indicted on tax-related offenses. ‘Todd and Julie Chrisley are charged not only with defrauding a number of banks by fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in loans, but also with allegedly cheating taxpayers by actively evading paying federal taxes on the money they earned,’ said U.S. Attorney Byung J. ‘BJay’ Pak. ‘Celebrities face the same justice that everyone does. These are serious federal charges and they will have their day in court,’ Pak said in a statement. Chrisley Knows Best has aired on the USA Network since 2014. It follows the trials and tribulations of the Chrisley family and is fueled by the amusing idiosyncrasies of strict patriarch Todd Chrisley, who worked in real estate. USA declined TheWrap’s request for comment Tuesday. The series is currently on its seventh season — the first ten episodes aired in May, and the second half of the season is expected to air on USA this fall, according to a network insider.”

Jordan Wiseley and Tori Deal, who met on MTV’s The Challenge XXX: Dirty 30, are engagedUs Weekly can exclusively reveal. The proposal took place during filming and will air on the upcoming season, War of the Worlds 2.. ‘We could not be happier to spend the rest of our lives together,’ the couple said in a statement to Us. Deal, 26, made her MTV debut on Are You The One? in season 4. She then went on to compete on XXX: Dirty 30 and Final Reckoning. Meanwhile, Wiseley, 28, first appeared on The Real World: Portland in 2013, then made his Challenge debut on Rivals: II. He went on to compete on Free AgentsBattle of the Exes II(which he won with Sarah Rice), Champs vs ProsXXX: Dirty 30 (which he won) and the upcoming season of The Challenge.”

Netflix is adding to its roster of YA series with a coming-of-age drama from a first-time creator and first-time showrunner. The streamer has ordered 10 episodes of Ginny & Georgia, a series about 15-year-old Ginny Miller (newcomer Antonia Gentry) who often feels more mature than her 30-year-old mom, Georgia (Brianne Howey, The Passage). Along with younger sibling Austin (Diesel La Torraca), they settle in a picturesque New England town, where Georgia is desperate to put down roots and give her kids something they haven't had before — a normal life. That is, unless Georgia's past catches up to her. The show is beginning production in Toronto for a 2020 premiere. The cast also includes Jennifer Robertson (Schitt's Creek) as Ellen, the Millers' neighbor and mother of teenage twins Marcus (Felix Mallard, Happy Together) and Maxine (Sara Waisglass, Degrassi: Next Class); Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights, Scorpion) as the town's focused and driven mayor, who recognizes a formidable force in Georgia; and Raymond Ablack (Narcos, Shadowhunters) as the owner of a restaurant who can't help but notice when Georgia moves to town.”

“The number of straight from the headlines projects seems to be increasing by the day, and Patricia Heaton is the latest to get in on the act. Heaton is attached to produce a project based on the Perversion of Justice, a series of articles in the Miami Herald which exposed Jeffrey Epstein as a serial child molester, according to a source with knowledge of the project. The project is in the works at Storied Media Group, which represents the film and TV interests of the Herald’s parent company McClatchy. Storied founder and CEO Todd Hoffman is reportedly also producing. According to sources, Chris Gerolmo, who is best known for penning the 1988 Gene Hackman and Willem Defoe pic “Mississippi Burning” and creating the FX Iraq War series “Over There,” has been brought on to adapt the articles. The three-part series of articles, written by investigative journalist Julie K. Brown, was published in November, 2018 and featured interviews with several victims of Epstein’s abuse. News of the prospective series comes only three days after Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan prison cell by apparent suicide.”

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From TVLine: “Mike Ross returns to Suits [TONIGHT!!!] (USA Network, 9/8c), and Harvey might have reason to be worried about his former protégé’s homecoming.

“Since leaving New York City and the firm behind, Mike has grown up and is now ‘even less of a puppy than he once was,’ his portrayer Patrick J. Adams tells TVLine in the following Q&A. With his eyes on beating Harvey in the courtroom, Mike comes back ‘fully loaded,’ and with a more confident attitude, to take on his mentor.

“Below, Adams previews the bromance’s changing dynamic, Mike and Rachel’s relationship status, and his character’s reaction to ‘Darvey’ finally getting together:

What was it like returning to the show after some time away?
Honestly, I was excited to do it, and then as I got on the plane, I got a little nervous. Obviously, I spent years and years up here shooting the show, but it had been a while since I’d been there, and I thought, “I haven’t done this in a while.” What if you kind of forget? Like getting on a bicycle, you’re not sure if it’s going to work again. And as I pulled up to set and got out of the van and sort of saw all the familiar faces, it was so strange, because what was a year and a half away really felt like a couple of days. It felt exactly like coming home, seeing all your family again, and we just picked up right where we left off. So it was such a gift, after all this time, to still feel like I totally had a place and knew how everything works and could hop right back into work like I hadn’t gone anywhere.

Since we last saw Mike, he’s been on his own, out of Harvey’s shadow. How has that changed him?
I thought about that a little bit. Like anybody who goes out on their own [and] had a mentorship… my experience with that is that you just grow more into yourself and into your own skin and you’re more confident. I think Mike is coming back to the firm even less of a puppy than he once was. He always had this streak where he would never quite see all the steps ahead of him, and Harvey would, and I think Mike now does. He’s been doing this long enough, and he’s found his own rhythm, and while it might not be exactly like Harvey’s, he’s just as prepared and just as ready to take him on. The whole series has been about Mike trying to get to a place where he feels likes he could take Harvey on and beat him at his own game. Right now, in this episode, you’re finally seeing that he has taken that last step, moved away from Harvey, and he’s come back fully loaded and ready to take him on.

Does the fact that Mike is now on equal level with Harvey, professionally, change their personal dynamic?
I think for Harvey, he’d probably argue that Mike isn’t on the same level as Harvey on a professional level, but I think that would be a fun fight for them to have. [Laughs] They’ve taken the logical next step, which is that they do, to some degree, see each other as equals. I think Harvey is always going to think he’s better than everybody else by just a little bit, but I think he has a lot of respect for Mike, and I think [Mike] being away has made [Harvey] realize how much respect he has for [Mike]. I guess that colors the way that they interact and gives Harvey the chance to sit back and watch his wunderkind do his thing. He’s probably happy for Mike, who’s finally grown into his own.

We learned in an earlier episode that Harvey never sold the apartment that Mike and Rachel lived in. Did that surprise you when you found that out?
[Laughs] It did surprise me. It made me wonder what he’d been doing with the place, because there’s also furniture left in there. He should have been Airbnb-ing or something, making a little money. It’s not a very smart business move.

Before Mike left, he was kind of pushing Donna to explore her feelings for Harvey. Now that the two of them are together, does Mike take any pride in that or credit?
I think he takes a little credit. I think he’s just happy for his friends. He was smart enough to always see that was the direction it was going in and that they made a good team. I think Mike is very happy that they finally found a way to be [with] each other, and that Harvey could relax and realize how great what he has right in front of him is.

And how is Mike’s relationship? How’s Rachel doing off-screen?
[Laughs] I’ve just sort of had to make that up on my own, but I think they’re doing great, killing it in Seattle. I didn’t really talk to [showrunner] Aaron [Korsh] much beyond: It’s going very well, and they’re very in love, and they’re happy they moved out of New York and are working at this new firm.

Mike has come back to pick a fight with Harvey, but in the midst of that, he’s also picking a fight with Samantha, unbeknownst to him. What is his interaction like with her?
I think, at first, Mike underestimates her and just thinks she’s going to be sort of a distraction here, and, ultimately, she should step out of the way and let him and Harvey go at it. But he quickly learns that he shouldn’t underestimate her. She ends up playing a very important role in how it all plays out. Mike makes the mistake of underestimating what a great lawyer she is and what lengths she’s willing to go to to win a case. Lo and behold, Mike gets sort of, with all of his preparation, caught a little off-guard and has to improvise.

The firm itself has gone through a shift since Mike’s been there. What does he make of the situation that they’re in now with Faye and the ethics of it all?
That’s a good question, because it’s interesting, to me, that in the episode, Mike doesn’t really comment too much on it. I think that makes sense. I think, for Mike, that kind of drama is partially why he left. And so there’s a reason why he’s dealing really specifically with a case. And even though there are no scenes where he addresses what’s going on with Faye and what’s happening at the firm… if there were a scene, he’d be like, “This is exactly why I left this place. This is why I don’t want to be involved. You guys get so distracted chasing your own tails. Meanwhile, I just want to be working on cases I believe in.” That’s where I think he would stand on all of it. I also don’t know how informed he is about every detail that’s going on and all the machinations of who’s manipulating who and who’s done what. He’s really there for a singular purpose: to win this case for his client. He doesn’t want to get too distracted by any other stuff.”

Good to have you back, even briefly.

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Per Deadline, “[e]nding years of fitful discussions that played out against a backdrop of operatic corporate drama and media industry consolidation, CBS and Viacom have finally agreed to merge. The deal reunites them and pools assets such as Paramount Pictures, CBS, Showtime and MTV in a new entity to be called ViacomCBS Inc. after 13 years of the two operating in largely separate media domains.

“Under the all-stock deal, Viacom shareholders will get 0.59625 CBS shares for each non-voting share they own, which is an exchange ratio a bit below Viacom’s closing price last Friday. Regulatory approval of the merger is expected in the next several months.

“The fair market value of the tie-up as of today is about $30 billion. The combined annual revenue of the new company is $28 billion.

“Bob Bakish, who has guided Viacom’s progress since taking over as CEO in 2016, will lead the combined entity as president and CEO. Joe Ianniello, interim CEO of CBS since September 2018, will stay on as chairman and CEO of CBS, overseeing all CBS assets.

“Christina Spade, who had been CFO of CBS since last fall, will be EVP and Chief Financial Officer; and Christa D’Alimonte will be EVP, General Counsel and Secretary.

“The new company’s board of directors will have 13 members. Six will be independent members from CBS, four will be independent members from Viacom, another will be the president and CEO of ViacomCBS and two will be picked by National Amusements (NAI), the longtime controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom. NAI chief Shari Redstone will be board chair. Strauss Zelnick, who had been interim chair, announced months ago he did not intend to stay in the mix beyond his interim tenure.

“For Redstone, the deal is a vindication of her instinct to reunite the companies and comes after a lengthy period of difficulty at each company and at times with her father, Sumner Redstone. Now 96 and in failing health, Redstone retains the title of chairman emeritus of the empire he built from a handful of Massachusetts movie theaters.

“The younger Redstone now occupies a rare position of power and equity ownership for a woman in the entertainment industry.

“‘I am really excited to see these two great companies come together so that they can realize the incredible power of their combined assets,’ she said in the official announcement. ‘My father once said “content is king,” and never has that been more true than today. Through CBS and Viacom’s shared passion for premium content and innovation, we will establish a world-class, multiplatform media organization that is well-positioned for growth in a rapidly transforming industry. Led by a talented leadership team that is excited by the future, ViacomCBS’s success will be underpinned by a commitment to strong values and a culture that empowers our exceptional people at all levels of the organization.’

“‘Today marks an important day for CBS and Viacom, as we unite our complementary assets and capabilities and become one of only a few companies with the breadth and depth of content and reach to shape the future of our industry,’ Bakish said. ‘Our unique ability to produce premium and popular content for global audiences at scale – for our own platforms and for our partners around the world – will enable us to maximize our business for today, while positioning us to lead for years to come.’

“Ianniello said the merger ‘brings an exciting new set of opportunities to both companies. At CBS, we have outstanding momentum right now – creatively and operationally – and Viacom’s portfolio will help accelerate that progress. I look forward to all we will do together as we build on our ongoing success. And personally, I am pleased to remain focused on CBS’s top priority – continuing our transformation into a global, multiplatform, premium content company.’

“The transaction combines assets of the 92-year-old CBS, including its flagship broadcast network, local TV stations, premium network Showtime and publishing house Simon & Schuster, with Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, MTV and Nickelodeon. As the streaming wars intensify between traditional media and tech giants Netflix and Amazon, the combined CBS-Viacom offers a notable mix of subscription and advertising-supported streaming services. CBS launched CBS All Access and Showtime’s over-the-top (OTT) platforms in 2015. Earlier this year, Viacom acquired Pluto TV, a leading ad-supported VOD service.

“The drumbeat had been getting louder for a merger in recent weeks, and the conditions for an amicable arrangement proved more favorable. The boards of both companies held talks through last weekend in a final push. Fresh perspective may have helped: Most members of the CBS board joined as directors in the past year, disrupting years of stasis as the company sought to reset its culture and direction in the wake of former CEO Les Moonves’ ouster. The longtime mogul left under a dark cloud after allegations of sexual assault and harassment by more than a dozen women.

“The two companies have held three rounds of formal merger talks in recent years, but the last two efforts ran aground because Moonves objected to the management structure and other issues. Tensions had grown between Moonves and Shari Redstone over the control of the company by National Amusements and NAI’s efforts to, in his view, force a stronger company to be tied to a weaker one, boiling over in the spring of 2018. CBS sued NAI, which responded with a lawsuit of its own. The case resulted in a settlement at the time of Moonves’ exit. The settlement banned NAI from initiating merger talks for two years, but did not prevent the individual companies from doing so.

“CBS and Viacom split up in 2006, under the theory that more value would be unlocked by “freeing” Viacom from the then-sluggish, broadcast-heavy CBS shares. The roles soon reversed, however, with CBS riding its top-rated broadcast network, surging Showtime and growing distribution and licensing revenue to become the better-performing of the two stocks. Viacom’s cable-heavy set of assets, which minted money from the 1980s to the 2000s, began to hit turbulence this decade. Streaming, YouTube and social media carved into linear viewing of its once-invincible networks, hurting ad sales. Bakish’s predecessor, Philippe Dauman, took an extremely hard line with pay-TV operators, alienating many and jeopardizing carriage fees. One large cable company, Suddenlink (now part of Altice USA), balked at Viacom’s terms and kept its channels off its systems for two years.

“Sumner Redstone, who once ran National Amusements with an iron hand, was succeeded by his daughter, Shari, several years ago and has been in poor health. Shari Redstone spoke out early and often in favor of bringing the companies back together and has also pursued talks with other companies who could, in turn, roll up a combined Viacom and CBS. That may well still be the plan, according to insiders, and rollups of smaller independents such as Lionsgate or MGM also are possibilities.

“In the short term, the focus will be on integration and financial efficiencies. In Tuesday’s announcement, the company said it anticipates $500 million in cost savings from the deal, a figure that is notably less than the targets of mega-deals like Disney-Fox and AT&T-Time Warner. Accordingly, the CBS-Viacom combination is not likely to result in deep job cuts, though there is now overlap in many administrative areas.”

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Per EW, “Adam DeVine is thankful to the Hollywood Gods for The Righteous Gemstones.

“After spending seven seasons as co-creator, executive producer, writer, director, and star on Workaholics, the Pitch Perfect alum is back on the small screen, relishing his role solely as an actor on HBO’s new comedy. Created by and co-starring Danny McBride, who DeVine once called a ‘shooting star’ (full weird context below), Gemstones centers on a world famous family of televangelists who seem more interested in making money and hiding their secrets than serving the lord. DeVine portrays youngest brother Kelvin, who is trying to prove himself as the cool, hip youth pastor.

“Ahead of Gemstones‘ Sunday premiere, EW talked to DeVine about his first ever encounter with McBride, his inspiration for Kelvin, and why John Goodman playing his father finally made his own father proud:

After recently wrapping up a long-running series, what appealed to you about jumping back in for Righteous Gemstones?
I’ve been such a fan of McBride, [Gemstones executive producers] Jody Hill, and David Gordon Green for so long; I’ve loved all their stuff and how they still find a way to make things relatable for everyone no matter how edgy they sometimes get. To me, I feel like with what I’ve done with Workaholics, they felt like kindred spirits. I remember way back in the day, before we got Workaholics and were just making web videos, Anders [Holm] had a friend who worked at an agency and got us an advanced copy of [Hill and McBride’s] Foot Fist Way and we lost our minds. We watched the whole thing — and then we played it again. So as soon as Danny was interested in me playing his brother, I was like, “I’m in, I’ll do whatever I have to do.”

I remember the first time I met Danny was at a party for Neighbors and we were in this hotel room and Danny comes up behind me and is like, “Oh hey, I know you,” and I melted as if I’m a little girl and I just saw Justin Bieber. I looked at him and go, “You’re Danny McBride!” And he’s like, “Yeah, I know,” and I go, “You’re a bright shooting star.” I really said, “You’re a bright shooting star” to him. He’s like, “Oh, okay, man,” like, what a weirdo. And I grabbed my girlfriend and was like, “I just called Danny McBride a bright shooting star, we have to leave.”

Have you reminded him of it since you started working together?
I brought it up to him. Luckily, he has no recollection of that memory. I think we were all partying pretty hard so I think the memory is pretty hazy for that interaction.

Going in, how much did you know about this world of megachurches and televangelism?
I grew up in the Midwest and I’ve been to a few of these megachurches. It wasn’t to the extent that it’s really taken hold in the South, but we definitely had churches that were pretty gigantic and they just seemed like so much more fun than just my regular ass boring Catholic church with wooden benches and wooden pews and wooden stools to kneel on. I was like, “Dang, at least make this a little comfortable. My butt cheeks are all sore; over at the megachurch your butt cheeks will be very comfortable as you praise the lord.” So I knew a little bit about this world. What I like so much about the show is that it’s not taking shots at people who are religious, it’s taking shots at people who are greedy, and I think it’s pretty universal that people don’t like when certain people are opportunists and taking advantage of people, especially when it comes to their faith. So I thought Danny and everyone did a really great job of not falling into the trap of making fun of people for their religious beliefs, because who are we to know what happens when you die? I know I sure as hell don’t.

What was it about Kelvin that you liked?
I was really excited when Danny first told me about the role; he’s the youngest brother, the youth pastor, the one who is really trying hard to connect with the kids. I see that all the time with the pastors who are like best friends with Justin Bieber, and one of my favorite Instagram accounts is Preachers N Sneakers and it just shows all these preachers and the $1,000 tennis shoes that they always wear. [Laughs] It’s just these preachers trying to be so cool and hip, and I just thought that would be a fun character to play. I watched a lot of YouTube videos and a lot of clips of these pastors. Also, trying to bring my own spin to it, like how I would go about this if I was going to be a youth pastor. That’s why my hair stands straight up because I think my hair should be as close to God as possible. It’s such a fun character to play because it’s not me at all. Every time I put on these clothes, I’m like, “Yuck. I hate this guy, he’s trying so hard.”

You mentioned your affinity for Danny, so what was it like working with him and finding that big brother-little brother dynamic?
I think it was pretty natural for the two of us. Like I said, I kind of always saw our comedic styles as kindred spirits, so it really sort of clicked from day one on. I think we both come from the same school of comedy, where we created our own stuff and aren’t precious with the material. They worked really hard on the scripts but then he allows me to bring what I do to the role. And I think we clicked really easily. There wasn’t ever a moment where Danny and I would be like, “Let’s hang out more because it’s not working out.” We hang out because we’ve become friends and it is clicking. It’s been really fun. They say don’t meet your heroes, but, in the case of Danny, he’s been cooler than I could have even imagined.

And as if Danny being your brother wasn’t enough, you get to have John Goodman as your dad.
Well, I feel like John Goodman already has been my TV dad for my entire life, so now we’re just making it real. He’s the man. I mean, he’s so cool; what a living legend. To be able to work with him, it makes my parents appreciate what I do, honestly. [Laughs] Danny, they kind of know a little bit about what he’s done, but with John Goodman, they’re like, “Oh my god, so this is like a real show?” And I’m like, “What do you think I’ve been doing? Just because the other shows I’ve done have just been me and my friends that it’s not real?” They’re like, “You know what I mean.” Well, okay, I’m choosing not to take offense to that because he is a legend.

How nice was it being just an actor here after having your hands in everything for seven seasons on Workaholics?
It was fun and super freeing. It made me realize that when you see actors be able to tap dance and play the guitar and piano and also speak three languages it’s because there’s so much down time when you’re just an actor. Like, next season I’m for sure going to learn how to play the piano and speak German. I’m just going to pick up two weird things that I’ve always wanted to do to master them with the amount of down time. This season, I was just sort of sitting on my hands, going, “Should I be doing more stuff? Do you guys need me to problem solve anything or work with the script?” And they’re like, “No, we’ve got it.” So there was a bizarre amount of down time that I definitely wasn’t used to.

So then should we expect Kelvin to play piano and speak German in season 2?
He’s going to be a master of Chinese and an accomplished pianist by season 2.

What would be your sales pitch of why people should give Gemstones a chance?
Obviously, it’s going to be super funny, but there’s an element of heart to it that I don’t think people are going to necessarily know coming in. This is a family that has been through a lot and you find yourself rooting for them, even though they are pretty corrupt and scumbags in a lot of ways. So I think it’s going to be a fun show for people that want to laugh but also want something beyond just a lite laugh — there’s a real story here.

The Righteous Gemstones premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.”

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From TheWrap: “Two seasons into Netflix thriller Ozark and we’re still not entirely sure who is the most at fault for the fractured marriage of Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) and Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney). That kind of balance, which begins with the writing and is projected skillfully through the actors — and Bateman’s lens as a director on the series — is exactly why we’re getting antsy for Season 3.

“‘It’s great that it’s not black and white,’ Bateman said. ‘That it’s not good vs. evil or villain vs. hero. That’s the satisfying takeaway from our show, and that’s what gives you the anxiety, that there’s a level of tangible and relatable conflict and confusion.’ (Check mark on that whole ‘anxiety’ thing for us.) ‘You recognize that you might be saddled with the same type of push-pull based on mistakes.’

“Bateman’s Martin Byrde is a mild-mannered financial planner and an upper-middle-class family man from Chicago who moves his wife and kids Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) to the Missouri Ozarks. He’d actually be a pretty boring guy to lead a series, if not for that whole money-laundering-for-a-drug-cartel thing that prompted the move.

“It’s a setup that could have easily become cliché, had the writers made Byrde into some sort of secret action hero. Thankfully, that’s definitely not this show, which received a total of nine Emmy nominations for the 2019 season, including Outstanding Drama Series, as well as nods for Bateman (as both actor and director), Linney and co-star Julia Garner.

“‘There’s not a ton of explosions and effects and overt violence in the show,’ Bateman pointed out. ‘Hopefully, what is unsettling about it is that it’s humanity pushed right to the edge of what you’re capable of justifying.’

“They’ve occasionally got guns, but the pen is mightier from the writers room to the screen. ‘Marty and Wendy, they’re smart people,’ he said. ‘So they’re not going do things that as an audience member you’d say, “Oh, that’s stupid. People would never do that.” You can’t really get away with taking a shortcut from a narrative standpoint.’”

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From Variety: “Popular chef Giada De Laurentiis has signed a new deal that will keep her at Discovery Inc.’s Food Network in months to come.

“The deal, characterized as ‘multi-year,’ will consist of projects in primetime and daytime and across various media platforms, and calls for new episodes of shows such as Giada Entertains, Giada’s Holiday Handbook and Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge, as well as short-form video content, the cable network said Wednesday.

“‘Giada De Laurentiis is a culinary icon and a Food Network fan-favorite whose recipes and entertaining guidance are a must-have for home cooks everywhere looking to elevate their own gatherings and celebrations,’ said Courtney White, president of Food Network, in a statement.  ‘We are excited to serve up even more entertaining and inspiring hours with Giada for seasons to come.’

“De Laurentiis, a restaurateur, cookbook author and voice actress, has been with Food Network since the premiere of her program Everyday Italian, last decade. In addition to her own series, she has participated in Food Network competition programs such as Food Network Star and Winner Cake All.

“The network indicated that pre-production has started on her two holiday series and said they were slated to debut in the fourth quarter of 2019. A new season of Giada Entertains is expected to return next year.

“‘I am excited to continue cooking and creating with my Food Network family,’ said De Laurentiis, in a statement. ‘We are working on lots of fun new content and I cannot wait to share it!’”

Tuesday August 13, 2019

Tiffany Haddish’s new stand up special is now available to stream on Netflix.

Season 6 of truTV’s Adam Ruins Everything premieres tonight.

I hate every single person in the Are You The One? house.

I kind of feel the same about the cast of The Hills, save for maybe Brody Jenner.

Especially since he’s now seemingly hanging out with Josie Canseco.

Do NOT call Chris Cuomo “Fredo.” Ever.

”On the heels of scoring 5 Primetime Emmy nominations for its freshman run, including Outstanding Drama Series, HBO’s family saga Succession returned for a second season on Sunday to a series high 1.2 million premiere night viewers across HBO’s linear network and digital platforms. That was up +32% from the viewership for Succession‘s series premiere night (918,000 viewers) and +22% from the nightly audience for the Season 1 finale (997,000 viewers).

Chris Harrison has a lot to say about Bachelor In Paradise, The Bachelor franchise and more.

I’m oddly fascinated by this continuing story. “Brody Jenner knew Kaitlynn Carter and Miley Cyrus were hooking up long before photos hit the internet. An insider told Page Six on Monday that Carter, 30, and Cyrus, 26, have been hooking up for “a couple of months” and that Carter’s ex Jenner is ‘totally okay with it.’ ‘Brody is still friends with them. There’s no drama,’ our source added. Earlier this month, Jenner, 35, announced his split from Carter and wasted no time partying away in Vegas after the breakup. Meanwhile, a source told us at the time that Carter was dating someone new. Now, she’s been getting cozy with Cyrus on a yacht as they vacationed in Italy last week and photos of them kissing were released over the weekend.”

Comedy Central is ready to reveal the first members of Alec Baldwin’s insult squad. Robert De Niro, Caitlyn Jenner, Debra Messing, Joel McHale, Chris Redd, Jeff Ross, and Blake Griffin have signed on to sit on the dais and launch stinging barbs at the Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning actor on The Comedy Central Roast of Alec Baldwin. Messing’s Will & Grace co-star Sean Hayes will serve as Roast Master of the proceedings. Baldwin guest-starred in multiple episodes of the NBC comedy. The Roast will be filmed in Los Angeles on Sept. 7, and air Sept. 15 at 10 p.m.”

“Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of the critically-acclaimed, Kerry Washington-led Broadway play American Son will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this September, the streaming service said Tuesday. The movie will then launch Nov. 1 on Netflix, following its debut at TIFF. Washington executive produces and stars in the project, along with her original Broadway co-stars Steven Pasquale, Jeremy Jordan and Eugene Lee. Kenny Leon returns as director. Written by Christopher Demos-Brown, American Son tells the story of two interracial parents who reunite in a Florida police station seeking answers about their missing teenage son.”

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Per Deadline, “[w]ith several big media companies gearing up for the launch of new streaming platforms, long-running broadcast comedy series are taking center stage as cornerstones of their offerings. NBCUniversal paid $500+ million for The Office, and HBO Max shelled out $425 million for Friends — both pulled away from Netflix. Additionally, Disney+ is taking over streaming rights to The Simpsons library which Disney-owned FX Networks had paid $100 million for in a multi-platform deal several years ago.

“The massive recent Office and Friends deals could soon be dwarfed by the first streaming pacts for two big Chuck Lorre hits, The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men. WarnerMedia had been looking to secure Warner Bros. TV’s latest comedy blockbuster, The Big Bang Theory, in a deal, which industry observers had expected to cross the $1 billion mark. I now hear that HBO Max is in conversations for both Big Bang and 2.5 Men, with the package possibly fetching as much as $1.5 billion.

“Part of the reason why the price tag is so big is because, unlike Friends and The Office, which have been drawing millions of old and new viewers on Netflix, Big Bang and 2.5 Men have never been exposed to streaming beyond a few “stacked” recent episodes of Big Bang on CBS All Access over the last several seasons. WBTV similarly held backFriends until scoring the big deal with Netflix in 2014.

“Additionally, Big Bang just came off its original highly rated run on CBS and continues to be a huge draw in off-network syndication on TBS. Two and a Half Man, which went through two leading men, Charlie Sheen and Ashton Kutcher, has long been a top performer in broadcast syndication.

“I hear talks are complex, in large part because of stipulations in co-creator/executive producer Lorre’s deal, but I hear WarnerMedia is determined to have WBTV’s biggest comedy series of the last two decades, Friends, The Big Bang and 2.5 Men, on HBO Max at launch in spring 2020.

“Adding intrigue to the situation is the fact that, likely enticed by the blockbuster recent deals for Friends at HBO Max and The Office at NBCU, I hear Sony Pictures Television has taken out Seinfeld, which the studio distributes.

“The classic NBC 1990s sitcom is tied up until 2021 in its exclusive SVOD deal at Hulu. I hear that in the previous negotiations, Sony synched up the off-network cable deal for Seinfeld at TBS with the streaming pact at Hulu, so all rights become available at the same time.”

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From Forbes: “Quibi is Jeffrey Katzenberg’s closely-watched premium video service that launches April 2020 and hopes to succeed where others – most notably Verizon with its since-shuttered go90 service – have failed. That is, in the world of subscription-driven, millennial-focused and mobile-first premium video. Quibi essentially aims to become the Netflix of video for our smallest screens. Think Stranger Things or The Crown, but in bite-sized ‘snackable’ episodes of not more than 10 minutes each. The Quibi name itself – short for ‘QUIck BItes’ – screams its vision.

“Will Quibi succeed?

“Skepticism certainly runs deep in the ranks of media-tech. So, it's a good time to understand the case "for" and ‘against’ Quibi. Let’s take the ‘for’ case first.

“Quibi boasts an audacious vision that neither Verizon, nor any other service before it, ever even attempted to pursue. Quibi will feature content with Hollywood-style production qualities, talent and overall DNA – which means traditional Hollywood budgets that reach up to $125,000 per minute of video (yes, per minute). Katzenberg's fundamental premise is that this kind of expensive -- very expensive -- high end storytelling is the ‘special sauce’ that will draw in young audiences and tap into a lucrative mobile-first market that was always there -- but was just never served. That's why Quibi believers feel that comparisons to services like go90 aren’t exactly ‘apples to apples.’

“Quibi, accordingly, will operate in a green field when it launches. It boldly goes where no other player has gone before – and hopes to stake its claim to become the subscription video on demand (SVOD) destination for premium mobile-first content well before Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney and other SVOD behemoths of present or future set their sites on mobile. None of those giants have yet prioritized (nor plan to prioritize) mobile-first video in any meaningful way, anytime soon. Quibi is the first-mover.

“Quibi, of course, also comes from the mind and brand of Katzenberg, a Hollywood legend and innovator who has brashly succeeded where others have failed before. So, the ‘X factor’ quotient is high here. Katzenberg, of course, first built (and sold) his own major studio, DreamWorks. Then, as the rest of the traditional studio world looked right, Katzenberg looked left toward tech-driven content innovation and acquired digital-first studio AwesomenessTV early-on (and sold it for a significant multiple a few years later). Katzenberg is the rare mogul who has played successfully both in the old "traditional" and new tech-driven worlds of media and entertainment. His relationships with highly-pedigreed creators run deep, and he can call in a lot of favors (not to mention a lot of dollars) to drive content success. Not to mention the major brands and advertisers who will support that content. As of June, Quibi claims to have already booked over $100 million in advertising commitments, a number that represents two-thirds of its first-year $150 million ad inventory. And, the ‘K factor’ likely will attract mega-initial distribution from telcos out the gates, first domestically. Impressive.

“Katzenberg also understands that Hollywood content alone will not a successful mobile service make. That's why he brought in Meg Whitman to be the Silicon Valley technical ‘ying’ to his Hollywood ‘yang.’ Quibi should boast strong tech platform chops when it launches, in addition to high quality content unavailable anywhere else. One immediate differentiator will be that all videos on Quibi will be available both in traditional horizontal orientation and Snap-esque vertical orientation, with the ability to seamlessly toggle from one to the other.

“On the flip-side of the Quibi debate, skeptics point to many of the same factors, but spin them 180-degrees.

“First, non-converts simply don’t believe that mobile-driven economics can support Katzenberg’s Quibi vision. They point not only to Verizon’s go90, but also to mobile-driven services like Comcast’s Watchable and previous video darling Vessel – both discarded long ago after much initial pomp and circumstance. And, Katzenberg’s content budgets tower over those of the predecessors by an order of magnitude. If they failed spending far less, how can Quibi succeed? Will millennials really pay $4.99 per month for Quibi with ads and $7.99 without (especially when so much free mobile-first content is already available to them and they can access Netflix premium content on their phones if they want).

“Quibi skeptics also simply don’t buy the service’s fundamental premise – that more traditional Hollywood-style programming featuring Hollywood-style talent and production values will effectively translate to a mobile, millennial-driven audience. Do millennials care about A-list ‘brands’ like Academy Award-winning Directors Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape of Water) and Peter Farrelly (Green Book) signing on to create exclusive premium content for the service? Will that kind of traditional Hollywood name-dropping matter? Or do millennials care most about individual content titles and brands themselves? Remember, Quibi's content will be original. The service brings no tent-pole millennial-friendly brands like Marvel -- with built-in mass audiences -- to the Quibi universe. That means that Quibi instead will need to build its audience one-by-one. Yes, Quibi likely will sport major distribution partners at launch. But, immediate mass distribution certainly didn't do the trick for Verizon. So much competition for those young eyeballs already exists.

“Of course, no one can say either way at this point whether Hollywood-style content and overall Katzenberg-ian storytelling will work on a mobile platform with fundamentally different mobile economics and audiences? It is one great experiment. Quibi executives acknowledge as much.

“So, why not enjoy the ride? Why bet against Katzenberg and Quibi?

“And, not many openly do. After all, the overall video ecosystem -- particularly artists and creators -- benefits no matter what happens. That’s why every single major Hollywood studio is a Quibi investor and potential content partner. These studios helped Katzenberg raise over $1 billion to fund his grand vision and, if nothing else, see Quibi as being a hedge. It’s like like that scene in The Godfather Part III when Cardinal Lamberto asks a skeptical Michael Corleone at the Vatican whether he ‘believes.’ In the Cardinal's words -- appealing to Corleone's practical side -- ‘What have you got to lose?’

“Those on board the Quibi train certainly don't see much.”

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“Nathan Fielder has signed a one year overall deal at HBO, Variety has learned exclusively.

“Under the deal, Fielder will serve as executive producer on How To…With John Wilson, which has been ordered to series at HBO, and an untitled comedy pilot in which Fielder will star as well as write and direct.

How To…With John Wilson is a half-hour, first person documentary series hosted by an anxious New Yorker (Wilson) who attempts to give everyday advice while dealing with his own personal issues. Acting as both cameraman and narrator, he covertly documents the lives of fellow New Yorkers in a comic odyssey of self-discovery, inevitably making the audience comfortable with the awkward contradictions of modern life.

“Wilson is the writer, director, narrator and executive producer on the series, with Fielder and Clark Reinking also executive producing. Reinking was previously a supervising producer on Fielder’s Comedy Central series “Nathan For You,:” with his other credits including shows like Moonbase 8 and Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories, Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule, and Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job.

“Wilson is a lo-fi documentarian based in New York City. His diaristic images of the city offer commentary on the anxieties and contradictions of modern life. Partially inspired by a short-lived career working for a private investigator, his movies adopt the voyeuristic amateurism that has run rampant since the birth of smartphones.

“Plot details on Fielder’s comedy pilot are being kept under wraps. Reinking will also executive produce the untitled project along with Christie Smith and Dan McManus for Rise Management.

“Fielder is best known for his work on Nathan for You, which he created, directed, starred in, and executive produced. His other onscreen credits include The Disaster Artist, The Simpsons, Rick and Morty, Bob’s Burgers,”and Drunk History.”

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From ESPN: “The 2019-20 NBA schedule was unveiled on Monday, and with summer player movement scattering stars across the league to new teams, return games will feature prominently throughout the season.

Kawhi Leonard will make his return to Toronto on Dec. 11 as the LA Clippers visit the defending champion Raptors. New Celtics guard Kemba Walkerreturns to Charlotte on Nov. 7 and Jazz guard Mike Conley is back in Memphis on Nov. 15.

“On Nov. 27, Lakers big man Anthony Davis returns to New Orleans and Nets guard Kyrie Irving is in Boston.

“Clippers forward Paul George returns to Oklahoma City on Dec. 22. Rockets guard Russell Westbrookwill make his return to Oklahoma City on Jan. 9, though the Rockets face the Thunder in Houston on Oct. 28, their third game of the season.

“The 2019-20 season opens on Oct. 22 with a doubleheader featuring the Pelicans visiting the Raptors on ring night, and the Lakers visiting the Clippers in the first installment of the new battle for Los Angeles.

“The Lakers lead the way in national TV appearances (ABC, ESPN and TNT) with 31, winning the first matchup with the Clippers, who clock in with 26. The Warriors have the second-most with 30, the Rockets will appear 26 times, Celtics 25 times, while the Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers make 24 appearances each. Zion Williamson and the Pelicans will make 20 national TV appearances.

“The league's marquee Christmas Day games will feature five games, with the Celtics visiting the Raptors at noon (all times ET), the Bucks at the 76ers at 2:30 p.m., the Rockets at the Warriors at 5 p.m., the Clippers at the Lakers at 8 p.m., and the Pelicans at the Nuggets at 10:30 p.m.

“A primary focus for schedule-makers this season was to move up East Coast start times for national TV doubleheaders. The overall number of 10:30 p.m. ET starts on national TV was reduced from 57 to 33, with the Warriors playing only 11 times at 10:30 p.m. (down from 18 last season) and the Lakers only 10 times (down from 19).

“For a fifth consecutive season, back-to-backs are at a historic low, with teams averaging 12.4 this season, down from 13.3 last season. Since the 2014-15 season, back-to-backs are down 36% overall. The range of back-to-backs per team is between 11 and 14 (it was 12 to 15 last season). For a third straight season, there will be no four-in-five-night games for any team and no eight-games-in-12-nights for a second consecutive season.

“The All-Star break will begin Feb. 14 with the 2020 All-Star Game on Feb. 16 in Chicago. The league will be on a break with no games from Feb. 14-19. Every team will have at least seven days off.

“The schedule also features a record 48 prime-time games for Europe (afternoon start times in North America, prime-time for European time zones), and the first-ever slate of Saturday prime-time games for Europe.

“The regular season concludes on April 15 with 26 of the 30 teams in action that night.”

Is it October yet?