Tuesday June 4, 2019

James Holzhauer’s amazing run on Jeopardy! has come to an end.

Here’s a look back at his historic run. He finished with “a 33-day total of $2,464,216, plus the $2,000 prize given to second-place winners—good for no. 2 in all-time regular-season earnings—and concluding a historic reign that saw the professional sports bettor, 34, break many of the venerable game show’s records.” He gave the correct answer 97.15% of the time he was the first to buzz in! The article is worth a read.

Netflix has ordered a 2nd season of Dead To Me.

Amazon premieres its Jonas Brothers documentary, Chasing Happiness, today. It’s now available to stream.

will.i.am is on Songland tonight.

Tracy Morgan will host the 2019 ESPY Awards, which are set to air on July 10.

The season premiere of his show The Last O.G. airs tonight.

Funny Or Die premiered a new talk show today with comedian and actress Tig Notaro. The new series is a celebrity talk show with Notaro as host — but her knowledge of TV, film and famous people is really bad. That’s why the new series is titled Under A Rock with Tig Notaro. The first episode premieres today and will continue for the next five weeks. In each episode, Notaro sits down and interviews six highly recognizable celebrities  — except she legitimately has no idea who her famous guests are. As the show goes on, she has to attempt to figure out each guest’s identity, with hilarious and humbling moments along the way for both guest and host. Amazon Alexa is also on hand to help Tig with anything she needs.”

The Property Bros. — Jonathan and Drew Scott — finally have a hit TV show. That’s sarcasm, of course, as the twins and stars of Property Brothers: Forever Home are all over HGTV and the Nielsen ratings sheets. With a 0.84 rating among adults 25-54, “Property Brothers: Forever Home” scored the popular cable channel’s highest-rated series premiere since March 2017. That number is inclusive of three days’ worth of delayed viewing. That L+3 Nielsen number was 56% better for HGTV’s Wednesday 9-10 p.m. time slot versus its previous six-week average. “Property Brothers: Forever Home” bowed to 3.7 million viewers.”

Amazon has announced that Carnival Row, starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne, will be available to stream on August 30. Here is a look at the trailer.

Behind the scenes of ABC’s new cooking show Family Food Fight. Hard pass.

Jay-Z is a billionaire.

An animated Jurassic World series from DreamWorks is set to premiere on Netflix next year, the company announced on Tuesday. Titled Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, the series is the latest entry in the Jurassic Park franchise, running parallel to the 2015 film starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. Per Netflix, the show ‘follows a group of six teenagers chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at a new adventure camp on the opposite side of Isla Nublar. But when dinosaurs wreak havoc across the island, the campers are stranded. Unable to reach the outside world, they’ll need to go from strangers to friends to family if they’re going to survive.’”


You know it’s a good week when you start back to back days off with Patrick J. Adams news: “Patrick J. Adams will return to USA’s Suits for its ninth and final season, USA Network told TheWrap.

“He is set to reprise his role as Mike Ross, the on-screen husband of Rachel Zane, who was played by the now-Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle. Per the cable channel, Adams will come back mid-season to get involved in a case that puts him toe to toe with Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) and Samantha Wheeler (Katherine Heigl).

“Ross — and thus, Adams — left the series at the end of Season 7 to move to Seattle with Rachel. When TheWrap asked USA if Markle will return, the net referred us to series creator Aaron Korsch’s pretty consistent remarks about that popular question. Basically, she’s always welcome back — but don’t hold your breath.

“USA previously announced that Season 9 will be the last for Suits. The series will return on Wednesday, July 17 at 9 p.m., followed by new spinoff, Pearson, starring Gina Torres as her Suits character, powerhouse lawyer Jessica Pearson.

“Macht, Sarah Rafferty, Rick Hoffman, Amanda Schull, Dulé Hill and Heigl will return as series regulars for the final season of Suits.

“The last run centers on an evolved firm, Zane Specter Litt Wheeler Williams, which is facing uncertainty and change yet again after Robert Zane (Wendell Pierce) took the fall with the Bar Association to save Harvey, per USA. After his sacrifice, Samantha Wheeler (Heigl) is left reeling from the loss of her mentor, and while trying to console her, Harvey realizes that he doesn’t want to lose the most important person to him: Donna. Season 9 will follow the lawyer and COO balance their relationship with work, as they fight to salvage the firm’s tarnished reputation alongside their partners, Louis, Alex Williams (Hill), Katrina Bennett (Schull), and Samantha. As the season progresses, our core characters’ personal lives will be explored more deeply than ever before, setting up the series conclusion, in which everyone will finally be forced to decide exactly who they are and what kind of lawyers they want to be.

Suits is produced by Universal Content Productions, and is currently in production in Toronto. The series was created and is executive produced by Aaron Korsh, while Doug Liman, David Bartis and Gene Klein of Hypnotic also serve as executive producers, along with Genevieve Sparling, Ethan Drogin and Christopher Misiano.

“Adams was recently announced to star as astronaut and former United States Senator John Glenn in National Geographic’s upcoming historical drama series The Right Stuff.

The final season of “Suits” returns July 17 at 9/8c on USA Network. Pearson follows at 10.


Per Deadline, “Showtime has set a June 28 date to air 100%, a documentary about New England Patriots’ wide receiver Julian Edelman’s recovery from a devastating knee injury that shelved him in 2017, through a PED suspension that cost him the first four games of 2019, to being named Super Bowl MVP in February when his 10 catches helped fuel the Pats to a 13-3 victory over the Rams.

“Edelman and Assaf Swissa are using the docu to launch Coast Productions, a Boston-based company that will mount projects that include a romantic comedy set in the world of pro football, and a pseudo-autobiographical half hour dramedy series they will pitch around town with their ICM Partners reps in July. The film and TV projects were written by Swissa, Edelman and Kyler Schelling, who directed the Showtime docu, and wrote it with Swissa.

“Schelling, Swissa and Edelman cut their teeth on a number of humorous videos that Edelman stars in, that has the Pats star playing everything from an inept smoothie maker, car salesman and talk show host. Swissa and Edelman met while Swissa had seen a candy company he launched crater, and when Edelman was nursing a broken ankle in 2012, both of them not knowing what the future held. They hatched a social media plan that allowed them to create content surrounding Edelman, and sell his football products. They used the proceeds to fund and produce the documentary, which Showtime acquired in finished form.

“‘This is the house that T-shirts built, and like everything else we do, the film was self-financed and we are very passionate about what we are doing, and felt it was not worth taking on investors so that we get to put our spit on it,’ said Swissa, who notes that Edelman’s videos helped him sell more merchandise directly to his fans than any other player.

“Even a Giants fan like myself can’t help but see the appeal in Edelman, an undersized player who takes a licking and manages to catches everything thrown his way by passer Tom Brady, who manages a cameo in this documentary. Edelman has a strong screen appeal and a good sense of humor, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t work even harder to return from an injury that leaves many football players a shell of their former selves.

“Swissa said he and Edelman didn’t want to make the usual injured jock docu and so the result here is a mix of humor and grit. So there is Mark Wahlberg, explaining why Edelman isn’t famous enough to merit his own film; a weed-smoking Snoop Dogg reading the suspension letter that the NFL sent Edelman for ingesting PED’s while on the recovery trail; and there’s superchef Guy Fiere explaining the severity of Edelman’s ACL tear, using a stalk of celery as a visual aid; and avowed New York sports fan Michael Rapaport in proper agony, providing voiceover descriptions as Edelman regains his star on the field.

“Edelman makes clear that his priority remains on the field, under the watchful eyes of his perfectionist head coach Bill Belichick and QB Brady. But he looks like an actor and doesn’t rule it out thought even if right now his contributions will be more behind the scenes.”

Just what the world needs, another athlete launching a production company!


From Elle: “Very few people who drunkenly squeal ‘Our lives should be a reality TV show!!!’ actually get to see that happen, but Hannah Berner and Paige Desorbo did. The two 20-somethings formerly worked together at a women's media website making #content, but now they're the new breakout stars of Bravo's Summer House, season three of which ended Monday night. Hannah has entertained with hilarious one-liners (her Instagram is full of them) all season, while DeSorbo's Dating-101 advice for her lovesick puppy suitor Carl has hit home. Viewers want to be them, relate to them, or at least laugh at the rest of the cast with them.

“We caught up with the duo while they lunched at Soho House—Berner covered the bill while DeSorbo promised to Venmo her—to talk Summer House secrets. The two spilled some tea, talked most cringe-worthy moments, and explained that what you see on TV is what you actually get in real life: two besties who talk shit on their enemies/roommates. Below, Berner and DeSorbo's thoughts on their first season of the hit Bravo TV show:

Paige and Hannah became best friends through the show.

"‘We weren't super close before, but it literally took us no time at all,’ explains DeSorbo. ‘The first time I met Hannah, it was like when you see your friend from high school that you haven't seen in a while, it was just so natural.’

“Berner shares the same sentiment about meeting Paige for the first time. ‘Paige is one of those people who I'd met and immediately hit it off with, but never put in the effort to actually get to know,’ says Berner. ‘We learned that deep down we have so many similarities and I think there's so many potential female friendships that can be made as an adult, that I wouldn't have even been able to expect.’

“The duo's best tip for adult female friendship: HAVE DIFFERENT TASTE IN BOYS AND SAME TASTE IN ALCOHOL.

Paige only regrets her posture and Hannah only regrets her wedgie picking.

"‘I was like, “Oh, my God, put your fucking shoulders back.” That was probably the only thing watching it, I hate it, but other than that it was fun,’ explains Desorbo.

"‘I was picking my wedgie in the last episode,’ says Berner. ‘I was talking to the girls just picking my wedgie for a good minute and there were hidden cameras there.’ Berner, of course, has a positive take on #wedgiegate, adding: ‘We need to be more socially acceptable, because everyone gets them and you have to pull at them, unless you're a psychopath.’

Bravo cut all of Hannah and Paige's morning shit talk.

"‘That’s something that I wish that they kept in more of,’ says Desorbo. ‘Hannah and I have a lot of morning banter, just when we wake up just to recap what happened the night before and I feel like we would just talk shit about everyone and they didn't keep that in, which I wish they did because it really shows the evolution of our friendship.’ Desorbo understands the secret to any strong kinship: “We hated the same people."

Paige and Hannah are genuinely being themselves on TV.

“The audience this season seemed to gravitate towards the two newbies because they were so ‘real’ on reality TV and authentically themselves. Berner spoke to the authenticity the two tried to portray:

“‘I feel like people have connected with us on the show because a lot of reality TV people, it makes it seem like they're acting or trying to get attention and Paige and I really, we're just trying to be ourselves. Paige didn't go on TV to just go hook up with guys to get attention. She was being herself and showing that you don't have to hook up with a guy just because he gave you a tiny bit of attention. And I was showing that just because I'm funny and seem very confident, I do deal with mental health anxiety and depression some time. And I hope that we can continue to have that platform to be ourselves and connect with people.’

Paige was into Carl's white pants.

"‘I am a sucker for a guy in white jeans,’ says DeSorbo. ‘I think that more guys should rock white jeans and Carl could go up a size for sure, but I always say that outfits are whatever makes you feel good.’

Pantry makeouts are now sacred for Carl and Paige

"‘So, I feel like pantry make outs are now sacred to Carl and I don't know if there's another pantry that I could ever make out in without thinking about Carl, so,’ explains DeSorbo. 

Hannah got Dave deported (just kidding).

“A note to all single men reading ELLE.com: Berner's type is a tall foreign man. The two are currently not together but are on talking terms with Dave headed back to London.

Hannah, Paige and Amanda group chat after tough episodes.

“The trio started a support group to help Amanda Batula during tough Summer House episodes. ‘When we talk to each other, especially Amanda, we kind of focus on things outside of what she's already moved past,’ explains DeSorbo. ‘We focus on who else could look so good crying in a bathing suit like her tears were literally glistening.’

Carl Radke named the Summer House zebra and he still lives with him.

"‘There was this crazy antique shop in the Hamptons that literally everyone drives by and says, “Who the heck would stop there?,” explains Desboro. ‘Oh, well Carl would.’ Carl allegedly locked eyes with that zebra and never looked back. The zebra, Wesley Stripes, currently lives in Radke's home.

Jordan Verroi continues to baffle the cast.

"‘Jordan could be an alien at this point for all I know,’ explains DeSorbo. Berner did not believe the erection issues Verroi claimed to have during the season. ‘Unless you're a sixty-year-old guy, I don't think…’ says Berner. ‘I just care for him and he's a really amazing person and I want him to feel comfortable in his own skin.’"


Per Variety, “[w]hen Sera Gamble and Greg Berlanti sat down to co-write the pilot of You, based on Caroline Kepnes’ novel of the same name, the first decision they made, Gamble says, was to start the story in the same place as the book — inside protagonist Joe Goldberg’s head as he first catches sight of his soon-to-be obsession Beck in the bookstore where he works. ‘That inner monologue was the key to the whole thing,’ Gamble explains. ‘The voice of the entire novel is the second person, intimate monologue of Joe’s true thoughts, and in the show, you’re experiencing his behavior and how he talks to everyone in the outside world, and it becomes even more about the friction between what he is saying and what he is doing.’

“The first word of Kepnes’ novel is literally ‘You,’ as Joe narrates seeing Beck for the first time, well before he knows her name, describing what he observes, as well as what he presumes, based on the way she is dressed and how she carries herself. And although the show would eventually dig deeper with Beck, it opens on a shot of her through Joe’s eyes as well. Similarly, Gamble and Berlanti fell in love with certain lines and references from Kepnes’ story, such as the specific detail of the fiction section of ‘F through K,’ and kept them in what became Joe’s opening voiceover.

“‘It needed to be clear from the very outset that Joe is extremely literary and very well-read and that he is sort of Sherlock Holmes when he looks at you,’ Gamble says.

“Where they saw room to make changes, though, was in removing references to Beck being ‘embarrassed to be a good girl’ so that Joe wouldn’t immediately come off as a guy who just ‘looks at every woman and judges her as a virgin or a slut,’ Gamble notes.

“Additionally, details such as the fact that Beck was wearing a sweater and jeans in the scene in the book just didn’t work for the show’s setting or actor, so they switched the wardrobe, including adding ‘jangly bracelets,’ which stand out to Joe.

“‘Here is somebody that’s beautiful to him and he is seeing things about her clothes that seem to be more engineered for comfort, but then little aspects that give him a clue that she wants to be looked at,’ Gamble says.

“Although book readers would know just how dark Beck’s fate was after getting involved with Joe, Gamble took great care not to make it so obvious from the jump in the show.

“‘In order to make the structure of the episode work for the TV show, that first scene needs to positively function as a pure romantic comedy scene. It’s a meet-cute and it shouldn’t feel creepy,’ she says. Before they could subvert certain tropes in the genre, they had to deliver them recognizably, she adds.

“‘We even got some early notes that in the first five minutes of the show you can’t really tell where it’s going. But to me, that was the thesis of the whole show: You can’t really tell. So if this feels like a romantic comedy to you, let’s look at other things that look like a romantic comedy to you and non-judgmentally admit to one another that we enjoy stories about men who transgress and take away agency and save the day by maybe even killing people. It was really, really important to us to preserve the idea that this was two young, good-looking people in a bookstore who maybe have some stuff in common — until you push into his eyes at the end of that scene and you’re like, “Wait a minute…”’”

While I think they failed Kepnes and the book, I will be watching season 2 after it was announced that this guy will be a part of it.


From Decider: “‘Can I ask about Randall?’ I asked Shep Rose and Craig Conover as we made ourselves comfy at The Bar at The Spectator Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina. It was four days after the #Fofty debacle played out online between 50 Cent and film and TV producer Randall Emmett, a friend of the Southern Charm stars, and perhaps best known as the fiancé of Lala Kent from Vanderpump Rules. ‘Sure,’ both replied, all of us unaware that this would turn into the central topic of our conversation this afternoon. I sat across from the guys who were seated on the black leather couch as we sipped on specialty cocktails including the gin-based Bee’s Sneeze, the picture-perfect The Delish made with pineapple rum, and The Safety Meeting, which is infused with CBD oil, even though the setting was already quite relaxed. I’d gotten my burning Southern Charm Season 6 questions in with the guys the day before, followed by a fairly late night of drinking in downtown Charleston, so it’s no wonder the vibe was chill for this round.

“And so after the guys took a moment to watch the latest Instagram video from Cardi B on Conover’s phone (neither were impressed by it), the conversation turned to their own on-screen adventure in 2018’s Reprisal, a film produced by Emmett. ‘You watched it?’ Rose asked incredulously when I confessed I had. ‘Cheers to you,’ he said, admitting even he hadn’t seen it. ‘I watched the end,’ Conover said, which is where their scene is located in the film. ‘Well, the premise was dare I say improbable. It had something to do with diabetes? I don’t know. A thriller about diabetes,’ Rose said. He’s not…entirely wrong. Reprisal is your standard straight to VOD action flick starring Frank Grillo as a bank manager who teams up with his neighbor, Bruce Willis as an ex-cop, of course, to get revenge on a thief. It’s Grillo’s daughter in the movie who has diabetes and affords Rose and Conover their moment to shine. Well, at least for one of them.

“‘I was so pissed!’ Rose exclaims. ‘I was like, “I’ll do the movie if I get a bigger role than Craig,” and they’re like, “Okay, we’ll give you a speaking role,”’ and with that, Rose was in. ‘I became the ambulance driver and Craig was a cop. I’m no cop though, come on,’ Rose laughed at the thought of him even dressing up as law enforcement. ‘I’m just like an idiot ambulance driver, makes a little more sense, not much more though. So I say my line which is, “When’s the last time she ate?” and I’m like, okay that was really funny, I’m glad I did this.’ Until it was time for his friend’s big scene. ‘[With] Craig, they’re like, “Okay, Bruce Willis runs toward you and you hand him a shotgun.” I’m like…that’s pretty fucking cool. That’s pretty cool! They do one take and Willis turns around to the director and goes, “Have him throw me the shotgun,” and I was like, “Noooo!” It rendered that role way more impactful than my line.’ Though Rose has kept a reasonable perspective on the pair’s big screen debut. ‘If we had any lines more than, “When’s the last time she ate?” we would’ve blown the whole thing.’

“Perhaps his positive outlook is also due to the fact that these two enjoyed their experience in a way that will surprise no one that’s watched even a fraction of Southern Charm’s six seasons. ‘It was so fun, we just tore Cincinnati apart for 48 hours and left,’ Rose said.

“‘That was a wild experience. We had a blast,’ Conover confirms, also adding that they played craps all night. When it comes to pursuing more acting opportunities he said, ‘Yeah, I would love to. I thought it was a great time. You just play dress up and then —’

“‘Throw guns,’ I offered. Conover also expressed enjoying the fact that they got to observe the whole process during their short time on set.

“‘Yeah, it was more educational,’ Rose said. ‘I did it to see what the hell it was like.’

“And if Conover thought he was dealing with difficult personalities in his Charleston friend group, he learned a real lesson participating in Reprisal. It turns out, Willis was only there to do his job, and didn’t spend a whole lot of time chatting with anyone except for the director on-set, instead allowing his stand-in to handle the less glamorous moments of shooting a movie. ‘He only comes out for when the cameras were on,’ Conover said of the film’s star.

“‘Randall was gracious enough to offer that to us,’ Rose said of their brief roles in the film. ‘He’s a funny guy, he’s very exuberant. I sometimes laugh at some of his Instagram posts because he’s like, “Alright, ready for the day!” I’m like, Randall, we’ve had a lot of fun together, don’t try to motivate me.’

“I ask about Rose’s thoughts on Emmett’s relationship with Kent and he says with a smile on his face, ‘They’re totally open and they’re funny. They’re wide the hell open and they’ll tell you some kinky shit,’ Rose laughed. “I’m like, hell yeah, lay it on me, I want to know what other people are into. I think they really love each other and I think they’re happy, I hope they’re happy.’

“And even though it may seem as though Rose and Conover lead spontaneous lifestyles, Emmett likely has them beat. ‘One thing Randall does [is say], “Hey I’ll be in Canada tomorrow, dude get here!” and you’re like, what? I can’t get to Canada on a day’s notice. And then he gets mad. He got mad at us for not going to visit him in the Bahamas.’

“‘By the way, Whitney [Sudler-Smith] does the same thing,’ Rose revealed of their Southern Charm friend and producer. “He’s like, “I’m going to the Cannes Film Festival tomorrow, I’ll be there for three days.” I’m like, that sounds like a five thousand dollar decision, at least.’

“That’s not to say the guys I’m sitting across from haven’t indulged in the good life from time to time. ‘I’ve flown with [Emmett] three times and one time he waited for me for an hour and a half on the runway on my birthday,’ Conover said of the infamous private jet that Kent is often heard discussing on Vanderpump Rules.

“‘Can you imagine that??’ Rose asks in a way that lets us all know he would never do the same for his pal.

“As Conover starts to discuss the series of events that led to this moment, Rose interrupts him, saying, ‘This story does not paint you in a good light, Craig.’

“‘Why?’ Conover asks him.

“‘Because you screwed over Austen,’ Rose replies, referring to their Southern Charm pal Austen Kroll. The two explain that while Kroll and Conover were in Los Angeles, Emmett offered them seats on his private jet back to the east coast. Except that morning, Kroll found himself pounding on Conover’s hotel room door to wake up his pal in order for them to catch the private flight. When Conover didn’t respond, Kroll jumped on his previously booked commercial flight to get back home as Emmett made it clear, ‘We do NOT wait on the runway.’

“Except he did. Conover rolled up late, hopped on the waiting flight back east, and when Emmett and Kent got out in Georgia, Conover planned to rent a car and drive back to Charleston — only Emmett told him, ‘For your birthday I’m having the pilots fly you back to Charleston.’

“So Conover was already back home when Kroll called him from his commercial flight layover in Charlotte asking him how he was getting back home, believing Conover was probably just waking up from oversleeping in LA. Kroll was annoyed to learn his pal’s luck found him back home first, and Conover didn’t help matters either. ‘I put this post up, I was by myself on the jet and there was a thunderstorm and I was like, man I really wish someone was with me, this is a little nerve-wracking, and Austen’s like, “I hate you.”’

“Rose and Conover continue to express their admiration for Emmett, with Rose stating, ‘I’m always surprised by all his connections,’ and Conover adding, ‘He’s very generous and I always have fun with him.’

“Which brings us to the most fun the internet’s ever had at his expense: the #Fofty scandal, based on a text typo Emmett sent to pal 50 Cent after the rapper demanded he pay him the million dollars he owed, expecting the ‘money by Monday.’

“‘I wouldn’t be surprised if that wasn’t a total, “Hey look at us” thing,’ Rose speculated about it all, adding, ‘And if it is, that’s brilliant, by the way. If it’s fake, I love it.’

“‘A lot of people were saying it’s for publicity but he went in pretty hard,’ Conover said.

“‘I don’t see Randall welching on anything to 50 Cent. I don’t see anyone doing that, that would not be smart. If you have the money, pay the man!’ Rose said. When I ask if he reaches out to Emmett when he sees something like this bubbling up online he quickly replies, ‘Definitely not. I stay out of almost everything.’ Rose admits he did have to reach out to Emmett when he heard Howard Stern mention his name in passing on his radio show. ‘Howard Stern’s a hero of mine. He has made my life exponentially better just as I drive.’ His fandom also something he has in common and celebrates with Andy Cohen. ‘Andy’s obsessed with Howard too so when I’m on Watch What Happens I’m like, “Tell me about the last time you were at the studio, I want to know every little detail.”’

“Meanwhile, Conover’s dream talk show to appear on is The Ellen DeGeneres Show, despite the fact that she doesn’t feature a ton of reality TV stars with the exception of the Kardashians. But six seasons of a Bravo series is nothing to sneeze at, and there are few other shows to really compare Southern Charm to, though MTV phenomenon Jersey Shore comes up. ‘Well, we’re a regional show so we’re not unlike them in that manner,’ Rose reasons. ‘We represent a certain demographic of a certain geography. People want to peel back the curtain and see, what is the Jersey Shore? What is Charleston? It’s definitely a peeking in the window kind of thing.’ Conover said that for people unfamiliar with the series, he’s more likely to describe it as ‘basically Laguna Beach in Charleston,’ pointing to MTV’s early aughts series which he admits he enjoyed watching.

“When it comes to the unique appeal of Southern Charm, Rose said, ‘This is all Whitney’s vision. If you know anything about Whitney and our relationship, we give each other a hard time and so I would never kiss Whitney’s ass, but goddamn it if he didn’t start this whole thing and I want that to be known. Thank you Bravo, but this is his baby, he saw it all in his head. Now, he’ll tell you that he envisioned it a different way, he’ll be cantankerous and combative, but he saw something.’ His initial pitch was Southern Gentlemen, which was a much more male-focused show, but Bravo liked what they saw enough to encourage more women be added into the cast. As it is, Southern Charm has a higher number of male cast members than many other shows on the network — and males that are often responsible for generating much of the drama each season.

“The way this series ultimately came together was by Sudler-Smith throwing parties — not quite auditions, but certainly an opportunity for him to observe personalities at work. ‘I met him on a rooftop and we had the wildest night ever and he was like, “You need to be on the show,”’ Rose remembered. And clearly Sudler-Smith was right with the majority of the ensemble: ‘Thomas and Kathryn, I mean babies were born on our TV show, that’s crazy,’ Rose marveled at the thought.

“Rose looks at his Bravo contemporaries on Vanderpump Rules and says, ‘Everybody’s married or dating each other, you’d think there was literally eight people in the whole town of Los Angeles. I’ve been in a position where I feel like, okay I could date you and it would be good for everyone involved but that doesn’t compute to me. I can’t live a lie.’

“‘It gets us in trouble sometimes,’ Conover chimes in. ‘Shep refuses to lie. He actually doesn’t lie.’

“‘You’ve come a long way, you used to lie all the time,’ Rose said to his pal, their brotherly camaraderie clearly on display in this moment.

“‘I’ve grown a lot,’ Conover acknowledged.

“‘Craig has come a long way,’ Rose agreed sincerely. ‘We used to fight about it, I was like, dude you’re fucking hilarious but you’re eccentric, you’re things that I want in a friend, honestly, but just own it. Be weird because the world appreciates weird.’

“‘Yeah, Shep does say that. Recently he’s like, “Your delivery’s horrible, Craig. It doesn’t make any sense at the time but damn if what you said wasn’t exactly the situation. What you said was right, but you had no means of articulating that to anyone, you just yelled about it.”’ Rose points to the Season 5 reunion last year, where he found many of Conover’s remarks about ex-girlfriend Naomie Olindo to be ‘irrational and mean-spirited’ even if he ultimately did agree with the points Conover was making.

“Besides the exception of the juicy drama ahead on this season of Southern Charm, what other adventures do the guys see themselves getting involved with? Conover revealed he recently bought into a restaurant group in Charleston because ‘I was always jealous of what Shep had,’ which is not the first time he’s followed in his friend’s footsteps. Rose currently has ShepGear where he sells t-shirts and hats sure to appeal to Southern Charm fans, and Conover launched Sewing Down South in April, capitalizing on his love for sewing and the storyline that the show has put on display for the past few seasons.

“For his part, Rose has recently launched his podcast, Enough About Me, but Conover’s thinking more about a visual series with his pal. ‘I would want to do more travel stuff with Shep, I think adventure stuff would be fun.’ In fact, the pair came awfully close to making that dream a reality. ‘We were supposed to go down to the Bahamas and do a day on the water with Shep and Craig,’ Rose tells me, which would consist of, ‘Us arguing, drinking, laughing, just goofing and island hopping. And it got all fouled up.’

“‘Anything that I see for myself in the future, I would like to intertwine with these guys,’ Conover said of his Southern Charm castmates, and specifically Rose. ‘We’re in a very unique situation where it works out that we have each other because he’s spontaneous too, he doesn’t quite settle down.’”

Monday June 3, 2019

HBO airs the season 1 finale of Chernobyl tonight.

The season finale of Summer House airs on Bravo tonight.

Season 3 of GLOW will be available to stream on Netflix on August 9.

I cannot more highly recommend the Ron Artest Showtime Documentary Quiet Storm, especially if you’re a basketball fan.

James Holzhauer’s daughter is rooting against him on Jeopardy!

The house that Tony Soprano called home is listing for sale 20 years after its television debut. The roughly 5,600-square-foot home in North Caldwell, N.J., where America’s favorite fictional mobster scooped up his morning newspaper and swam with ducks, is being listed for sale by the owners, Patti and Victor Recchia, at a ‘starting price’ of $3.4 million. Set on a 1.5-acre lot, it includes the main house with four bedrooms, four full bathrooms and a powder room; two two-car garages; and a detached one-bedroom guesthouse. The property taxes are $34,005 a year. The price is ambitious for a neighborhood where comparable homes have sold for between $1.5 million and $2 million, according to Zillow. But Mr. Recchia, 65, the owner of Fourth Generation Construction, which built the house, as well as more than 20 in the development where it’s located, said the value exceeds the brick and mortar.”

Vanessa Lachey has joined the cast of the 90210 reboot. She will play Brandon Walsh’s wife.

HBO has confirmed that the upcoming sixth season of comedy series Silicon Valley will be its last. Currently in pre-production, Season 6 will consist of seven episodes and premiere later this year. ‘Silicon Valley has been a career and life highlight for us,’ series executive producers/showrunners Mike Judge and Alec Berg said. ‘We’ll miss it desperately, but we’ve always let Pied Piper’s journey guide the way, and Season 6 seems to be the fitting conclusion. We are forever indebted to our incredible cast, crew and partners at HBO. At a certain point, there’s only so much we can do to make the world a better place.’”

Looking for Alaska, Hulu’s eight-episode limited series based on John Green’s novel by the same name, is set to premiere in October [October 18th to be exact]. The drama stars Kristine Froseth, Charlie Plummer, Denny Love, Jay Lee, Landry Bender, Sofia Vassilieva, Uriah Shelton, and Jordan Connor. Ron Cephas Jones and Timothy Simons also have roles. The story is told through the eyes of teenager Miles “Pudge” Halter (Plummer), as he enrolls in boarding school to try to gain a deeper perspective on life. He falls in love with Alaska Young (Froseth), and finds a group of loyal friends. But after an unexpected tragedy, Miles and his friends attempt to make sense of what they’ve been through.”

ICYMI last week, kudos to IKEA’s marketing department.

An interview with Darren Star about Melrose Place.


Per Deadline, “[i]n his first series-regular role since Suits, Patrick J. Adams will lead the cast of National Geographic’s scripted series The Right Stuff, based on Tom Wolfe’s best-selling nonfiction book.

“Adams will play Maj. John Glenn in the drama from Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Warner Horizon Scripted Television. It takes a look at what would become America’s first ‘reality show,’ as ambitious astronauts and their families become instant celebrities in a competition that either will kill them or make them immortal in the quest to be a part of Project Mercury.

“Glenn is a revered test pilot and committed family man with unwavering principles. He is the only astronaut to have experienced fame before Project Mercury, and he immediately locks horns with Alan Shepard in an unrelenting fight to be the first man in space.

“In the 1983 feature adaptation of Wolfe’s book, Glenn was played by Ed Harris.

“The first season of The Right Stuff, which uses Wolfe’s book as its starting point, starts at the height of the Cold War. To combat a national sentiment of fear and decline, the U.S. government conceives of NASA’s Project Mercury, igniting a space race with the Soviets and making instant celebrities of a handful of the military’s adrenaline-fueled test pilots. These individuals, who come to be known as the Mercury Seven, are forged into heroes long before they have achieved a single heroic act. At the heart of a historic drama populated by deeply human characters, archrivals Glenn and Shepard jockey to become the first man in space.

“Production will begin this fall in Cocoa Beach, FL. for a 2020 premiere globally on National Geographic.

“Subsequent seasons of The Right Stuff will carry through to the epochal Apollo Space Program, where humankind saw one of its greatest achievements — man setting foot on the moon — and missions beyond.

“DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson are executive producers, along with Mark Lafferty, who will serve as showrunner. David Nutter is set to direct and executive produce the series’ premiere episode. Will Staples also is an executive producer. Michael Hampton shepherded this project on behalf of Appian Way.

“Since wrapping a seven-season run as a co-lead on USA Network’s Suits, Adams has recurred on the third season of Amazon’s Sneaky Pete. He earned a SAG Award nomination for his role on Suits and directed several episodes of the legal drama, including its 100th.”

If Mike Ross is in, I’m in.

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Per EW, “Here’s a sneak peek at the future Lady of the Lake.

“Katherine Langford, star of 13 Reasons Why and Love, Simon, goes Arthurian in the first look at Netflix’s 10-episode Cursed, which is based on Tom Wheeler’s forthcoming book of the same name.

Langford stars as Nimue, and the coming-of-age series, from co-creators Wheeler and Frank Miller, is told through her perspective.

“The image sees the heroine holding a certain sword and standing in what we presume to be a certain lake. So, at least she’s a lady in a lake at this point in the story.

“According to the Netflix logline, ‘Cursed is a re-imagining of the Arthurian legend, told through the eyes of Nimue, a teenage heroine with a mysterious gift who is destined to become the powerful (and tragic) Lady of the Lake. After her mother’s death, she finds an unexpected partner in Arthur, a young mercenary, in a quest to find Merlin and deliver an ancient sword. Over the course of her journey, Nimue will become a symbol of courage and rebellion against the terrifying Red Paladins, and their complicit King Uther.’

“The first image from the production arrives as Miller and Wheeler previewed their young-adult novel at BookCon, a panel moderated on Saturday by Entertainment Weekly‘s own David Canfield.

“Wheeler, who will executive produce the series with Miller, serves as writer and showrunner of Cursed, which will premiere on Netflix in 2020. Cursed, the book, featuring illustrations by Miller, will be published by Simon & Schuster this fall.”


From The Hollywood Reporter: “Big Little Lies is returning for a second season on HBO because there is more story to tell.

"‘I would say we do go a little bit broader, but mostly we go deeper,’ David E. Kelley tells The Hollywood Reporter. ‘There are more stories to tell when you look at the Monterey Five plus one.’

“The creator, writer and executive producer of the HBO drama is, of course, referring to Meryl Streep as the ‘plus one.’ Her character, Mary Louise Wright, comes to Monterey in search for answers about her son Perry (Alexander Skarsgard), who died in the season one finale, and her arrival shakes the Monterey Five tree enough that their secrets might just come spilling out.

"‘In terms of year two, the cast and producers, we didn’t want to come back unless we thought we had a legitimate shot of measuring up to the bar that we all set for ourselves,’ says Kelley, who spoke to THR at the recent New York premiere for season two. ‘Liane Moriarty wrote a novella with some terrific ideas, the best and the brightest being introducing Perry’s mother and we were lucky enough to get Meryl Streep.’

“Since the first season used up all the source material from Moriarty's best-selling book of the same name, the Big Little Lies team asked the author to return to the page for season two ideas. Within her 200-page novella that Kelley would adapt into the season two screenplay was a ‘telepathic message’ to Streep, since Mary Louise is the Oscar-winning actress' legal name. Streep didn't even read the script before agreeing to the key role.

"‘It worked,’ Kelley now jokes of Moriarty's nod to Streep. But, looking back, he adds, ‘We were all daunted and a little bit reluctant to take on year two, because we didn’t want to do it just to do it. But we got excited about the stories and the material and realized there were places to go.’

“He continues, ‘The key at the beginning was not to expand the canvas so much, although we do, but to drill down deeper on what we’ve got. Especially when dealing with the malignancy of the lie. And that’s going to live at a very low level and it’s going to take a little spelunking in order to get at with the various characters. The biggest challenge for me was keeping the entertainment and the fun part along with the dark side. And we’ve been blessed with a pretty gifted group of actors.’

“The stories that Big Little Lies tells in season two will dig beneath the surface of the familiar five women, as the team set out to mine the worlds of the main characters. Beyond the one secret that ties together the Monterey Five — who were all present when Bonnie Carlson (Zoe Kravitz) pushed Perry to his death in a bid end his abuse against wife Celeste Wright (Nicole Kidman) — the effects from other traumas will also come into play.

"‘This season is about digging and the corrosiveness of lies, which is a big theme for the show, and how lies raise everything in your own life to the surface,’ executive producer Bruna Papandrea tells THR. ‘It's about looking at each individual and their relationships, and going deeper and getting more complex to see where that leads all our characters.’

“When season two picks up, Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon), guilty of having an affair, is still distant from her husband (Adam Scott); Renata Klein's (Laura Dern) rage will be tested in an unexpected way; and Bonnie (Kravitz) has completely shut down. 

"‘I wasn’t really privy or aware of the fans saying, “We need more.” In fact, I heard some of that, but I heard just as much of, “Don’t ruin it. Leave all this alone.” Neither really had a whole lot of play with me. In the end it was about: are there stories to justify season two?’ explains Kelley of taking the storylines and backstories further. ‘There was so much more to tell with the characters, especially with Bonnie. We only hinted about who Bonnie was. We had not mined where she came from and what led to the big push at the end of year one.’

“Then there is the complicated friendship between Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley) — who newly identified Perry as her rapist and the father of her son, Ziggy (Iain Armitage) — and Celeste Wright (Kidman), the wife and mother to twin boys (who were caught bullying Renata's daughter in school) that Perry left behind. Both women are survivors and season two will follow their very specific journeys to show how they move on, especially with Celeste's grieving mother-in-law over her shoulder.

"‘The journey of healing is complicated and tricky. Both for Celeste and Jane,’ says Kelley. ‘And we don’t shy away from it and Nicole doesn’t shy away from it. She really tunnels in on Celeste — the good, the bad and the ugly. Nicole and I had some conversations, we’re always going back and forth. I think we’ve been on the same page from the beginning. My process as a writer and hers as an actor are very similar: we go inside the character. I went for many long walks in the woods with Celeste and as Celeste. And then you turn the pages over to the actors and Nicole takes it and she drills down even deeper.’

“When speaking during a panel at the Wing's SoHo location ahead of the premiere event, Kidman stressed how being an executive producer, along with Witherspoon, on Big Little Lies has allowed her to contribute to the specificity of Celeste in a way that is unique to her storied career. ‘I’ve been an actress since I was 14 and so much of my life, I haven’t had a say,’ Kidman said. ‘I’ve been able to go in and contribute in terms of a performance, but I never get to go, 'What about if this scene ended this way' or 'What about if this is what was actually being thought through and this is the psychology and what we were trying to achieve with this episode.' Just to be heard is amazing and that’s been the greatest gift for me in terms of producing.’

“Streep, who was also at the cast panel along with Witherspoon and Dern, said she felt part of the appetite for season two had to do with the characters not being emblematic of all women. ‘That responsibility to stand in for all women with a character is what’s exploded in this,’ Streep said, calling the ensemble one of very complicated, flawed, hysterically funny but tragic female characters. 

“And Kidman agreed. ‘After playing Celeste, my connection with so many people who are either living it, or going through it or have been in it, suddenly was augmented,’ she said of connecting with survivors of domestic abuse. ‘I was suddenly able to hear the stories, be a voice for a lot of those stories and I’ve continued on with that. But when you’re dealing with Celeste, it’s her particular story. We’re not doing an overall analysis of domestic violence. It’s very specific. Hopefully it’s incredibly real. And there’s an enormous amount of truth in it. I was adamant when we started the series that she wasn’t a superhero. She wasn’t coming out of this saying, “I’m healed. Off I go. Let’s go.” So you’re going to see the path and her navigating the path of what that means.’

“She continued, ‘I wanted it to be deeply authentic and so did Meryl with what we were doing in terms of our relationship to this man. And the way in which he changed my life, her life, the way we both perceive him. And then with Jane, who has been abused by him, she is also a survivor, has a child and the way in which were all connected — and that’s just one of the storylines. But it’s such deep material and to mine it is just extraordinary to have that chance and hopefully, with that we reach out and reach out to building conversation. Because it will be controversial. There hopefully will be discussion and create more and more awareness and, hopefully, change.’

“Ultimately, Witherspoon said Big Little Lies is about the spectrum of the female experience and raises a universal question within all of the characters: ‘Am I living the life that I'm supposed to be living?’ The producing pair said they fight for the characters in the edit room and they fought to bring them back to the screen.

"‘The situation originally was that it was one go around and I remember Reese and I both going, “Well that’s that, gosh it was great,"‘ said Kidman of the reaction to season one. ‘Then, by popular demand, we had to address whether we wanted to do it again and I had a lot of people who said, 'No, that’s it. It was fantastic one season.'‘

“She continued, ‘And a friend of mine, a male, said those women deserve their stories to be told beyond what was that first season. And I was so touched by that and I went, “Yeah. That’s what we’ve got to fight for now.” We don’t have to just be shut down and told, “No, that was good. You did well and off you go now.” You actually get to explore them on a deeper level and explore the consequences and see their lives unfold in a much deeper way, and that’s what was so exciting for me and having the chance of everyone coming back together with that passion.’

“And even though, similar to the first time around, there is no news on another season beyond these upcoming seven episodes, it seems that Kelley has also learned a similar lesson when asked about a potential season three. ‘My idea is this is the end,’ he tells THR. ‘But, everybody has now lectured me to never say never, so I’m not saying never.’”

Big Little Lies returns on Sunday June 9.


From The Ringer: “Should a performer be lucky enough to reach the summit of the brutal, arduous mountain that is stand-up comedy, there’s a logical next step: become a movie star. Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, and Patton Oswalt all made the transition and thrived; Amy Schumer is currently trying to, with mixed results. Stand-up, apart from the occasional special, is anchored to a specific time and place, even when that place is an arena. Why not attempt to translate one’s charisma into a more universal, replicable platform like the movies?

“But as comedy has transformed over the past decade, so has what’s expected of its superstars. John Mulaney is one of the most critically acclaimed, commercially successful comics working; after a traditional self-titled sitcom failed in 2015, he’s largely stuck to stand-up, give or take the occasional Sondheim impression, in a move that feels like a return to form rather than a defeat. This weekend, another one of comedy’s biggest names hasn’t so much shredded the playbook as bent it to suit their needs. Ali Wong and Randall Park’s new movie, Always Be My Maybe, may be a feature-length vehicle for Wong to flex her chops, but it’s not a studio-backed venture opening wide at the summer box office, á la last year’s Crazy Rich Asians. Instead, Always Be My Maybe is a textbook Netflix rom-com, a subgenre that’s reappropriated the concept of a made-for-TV movie into an advantage, not an insult. That Wong chose such a project to capitalize on her fame shows how comic celebrity has changed, and how Wong in particular aims to cultivate hers.

“Perhaps not coincidentally, both Mulaney and Wong share an association with Netflix, the streaming service that’s remade stand-up and rom-coms, and might eventually, its shareholders hope, remake all of entertainment. Netflix’s reach and ease of access have helped stand-up become less of a niche than it once was; its deep pockets have also made the profession more lucrative, at least for its upper echelon. Mulaney—along with Schumer, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, and other bold-faced names—got his start before the Netflix era, though his 2012 Comedy Central special New in Town gained additional popularity on the site. A multi-special, multi-comma deal was nonetheless inked on the strength of pre-existing achievements, an M.O. that’s long served as Netflix’s default in its relationships with high-profile stand-ups.

“Wong, on the other hand, represents something new. Prior to her 2016 hour Baby Cobra, her first recorded special of any kind, the San Francisco native didn’t have much of a national reputation. But a combination of release strategy (Mother’s Day weekend), viral hook (Wong’s third-trimester pregnancy), and novel perspective (an Asian American woman sharing her experience with sex, marriage, and parenthood) made Wong an overnight sensation. Just two years later, Wong cemented her acclaim into lasting appeal with Hard Knock Wife,which kept the bracing obscenity while swapping out graphic sexcapades for graphic anecdotes about breastfeeding. In between, New Yorker profile canonized Wong’s genius, which weds masculine bravado with taboo feminine experiences like childbirth.

“That story planted the seeds of what would become Always Be My Maybe. Wong and Park have known each other since college at UCLA, when Wong joined a theater group Park had cofounded, and had since collaborated on Fresh Off the Boat, the ABC sitcom Park coleads and Wong previously wrote for. “Wong also wants to make a romantic comedy that she and Randall Park have been talking about for years,” The New Yorker’s Ariel Levy wrote. ‘Our version of When Harry Met Sally,’ Wong said at the time. It’s an offhand detail in the story, sandwiched between Wong’s reflections on her faux-regressive stage persona and early drafts of material for Hard Knock Wife. Now, it’s a weekend viewing option for millions of subscribers.

“Wong earned the capital required to make this dream a reality by becoming Netflix’s first homemade headliner. The Baby Cobra phenomenon is as inextricable from the rise of streaming as it is from Wong’s considerable talents, though the symbiosis is mutual: Netflix now has a vested interest in Wong’s continued success, and her career now serves as a walking advertisement for what comedians stand to gain by working with Netflix in lieu of its competitors. Last year, the Australian performer Hannah Gadsby achieved something similar with her polemic Nanette; once they were just a click away, Gadsby’s provocative ideas about comedy and trauma built a stateside following from scratch. But in the contrast between where she stood before joining forces with Netflix and where she stands after, Wong’s upward trajectory remains unmatched.

“Earlier this spring, Wong costarred with Tiffany Haddish in Tuca & Bertie, the adult animated comedy from BoJack Horseman artist Lisa Hanawalt. (Wong voices Bertie, a shy song thrush whose passion for baking leads her to a mentor with boundary issues.) With the subsequent release of Always Be My Maybe,Wong has transformed from a Netflix-boosted comic to a full-blown, vertically integrated, in-house Netflix star. Wong now releases specials, coleads a sitcom, and headlines movies—all at the same outlet. Fans know exactly where to find her.

“Wong is not the first entertainer to comfortably fit within Netflix’s all-encompassing umbrella. My colleague Alyssa Bereznak has reported on “Netflix famous” actors like Noah Centineo of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, a new generation of teen idols who’ve followed their audience online. Massive overall deals have brought self-contained industries like Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes into the Netflix fold. Elsewhere in comedy, Mulaney and frequent collaborator Nick Kroll have partnered with the service for efforts as diverse as puberty sitcom Big Mouth and Broadway duet Oh, Hello. But with Always Be My Maybe, Wong is showing how a progression that once required switching media entirely can now take place without ever shedding that trademark Netflix red.

“Though Wong and Park cowrote Always Be My Maybe themselves with Michael Golamco, the film proves an imperfect showcase for Wong’s charms. As celebrity chef Sasha Tran, Wong falls victim to the classic straight-man problem, unable to show off her hilarious eccentricities as well when she’s anchoring an emotional story as when she’s creating comedy for its own sake. (That privilege falls to Keanu Reeves, who airdrops in for 15 perfect minutes as an outsized parody of himself.) Nor do she and Park, directed by Fresh Off the Boat creator Nahnatchka Khan, share an onscreen chemistry to match their real-life friendship. Much of the script, from Sasha’s San Francisco upbringing to her and Park’s character awkwardly losing their virginities in the back of a Toyota Corolla, is pulled from the stars’ actual biographies. Yet Always Be My Maybe still feels curiously impersonal, the delicate rom-com balance between familiarity and specificity skewing heavily toward the former. Commentary on San Francisco’s gentrification rings false, given that the movie was clearly shot in Vancouver; promising threads, like the sexism that poisons Sasha’s dating life as an accomplished woman, end up underdeveloped. Even the typically live-wire Michelle Buteau falls flat as Sasha’s heavily pregnant assistant.

“If Always Be My Maybe doesn’t immediately succeed at establishing Wong as a movie star, however, it does show Netflix as a viable path to becoming one. Social media lit up almost as soon as the movie went live on Friday. The Reeves cameo, as it seems designed to do, has already become a meme. Wong is once again at the center of the cultural conversation; Netflix has once again won the weekend, even one with both an Elton John biopic and an Octavia Spencer slasher at the multiplex, by default. The movie business is changing, and the shrewdest stars are finding new ways to conquer it.”

Friday May 31, 2019

When They See Us is now available to stream on Netflix. More below.

So is season 2 of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman. This season’s guests include: Kanye West, Ellen DeGeneres, Tiffany Haddish, Lewis Hamilton and Melinda Gates.

“With a 10.1/19 in metered market ratings for Thursday’s 9 – 11:45 PM ET Game 1, this year’s NBA Finals are certainly not going to be a walk for ABC. Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals fell a hard 18% from Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals in the early metrics. In fact, with only one US market team in competition, this year’s opener of the championship basketball battle is the worst any Game 1 has performed in metered market ratings in a decade, dipping just below the results of Game 1 of the 2009 tournament, when the L.A. Lakers beat the Orlando Magic in the City of Angels on June 1 of that year.”

Here is a review of season 2 of Big Little Lies. The season premiere airs next Sunday, June 9.

Lee Daniels is no longer trying to find a new home for Star. R.I.P.

La La Anthony has been cast as David Silver’s wife on the 90210 reboot.

Cary Elwes and Stephanie Hsu have both been cast Season 3 of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselVariety has learned exclusively. The pair join a returning cast that includes series star Rachel Brosnahan, who plays the titular Mrs. Maisel, along with Alex Borstein, Michael Zegen, Tony Shalhoub, Marin Hinkle, Kevin Pollak, and Caroline Aaron. It was previously announced that “This Is Us” star Sterling K. Brown would also be appearing in Season 3.”

MTV on Thursday announced the first sexually fluid cast for the upcoming eighth season of their hit reality series Are You the One? hosted by Terrence J. Following Are You the One?'s signature format, 16 singles will travel to Hawaii in hopes of finding their ‘perfect match’ and splitting the $1 million cash prize. But, for the first time ever on a dating competition show in the U.S., there will be no gender limitations, as each castmember identifies as sexually fluid. This season also introduces Dr. Frankie, a relationship expert, who works with the singles to help them cope with current disaster-dating trends such as ghosting, benching and stashing — and tests them on their willingness to fall into these painful trends as they date multiple people on national television. From coming-out moments to exploring the intricacies of sexual and gender identity, this season of Are You the One? aims to highlight powerful stories about what it means to find love as a sexually fluid individual. Lighthearted Entertainment's Jeff Spangler and Rob LaPlante serve as executive producers along with Matt Odgers. Are You the One? season eight is set to premiere June 26 at 9 p.m. ET on MTV.” That seems to really complicate matters as these morons have a tough enough time figuring out who their match is to begin with.

ABC has handed out a pilot order to the untitled comedy from Nate Bargatze and the team behind NBC’s The Carmichael Show. Bergatze will star in, co-write and executive produce the untitled comedy about a couple who moves from California to Bergatze’s native Tennessee. There, they attempt to raise their 6-year-old daughter with a combination of West Coast and Southern values but find the balance proves more difficult than they imagined — especially where his parents are concerned.” I love Nate and hope this gets a series order.

Showtime has handed a series order to Work in Progress, an eight episode comedy series starring Abby McEnany, who co-created the show with pilot director Tim Mason. Lilly Wachowski will co-write and executive produce the first season. Expected to premiere this year, Work in Progress follows a 45-year-old self-identified, fat, queer dyke from Chicago (McEnany) whose misfortune and despair unexpectedly lead her to a vibrantly transformative relationship. Theo Germaine and Karin Anglin co-star alongside Celeste Pechous, with Saturday Night Live alum Julia Sweeney appearing as herself.”

Wilshire Studios, the unscripted arm of Universal Content Productions, is changing its focus. The Dawn Olmstead-run division will shift from a broad unscripted fare to focus instead on premium docuseries. As part of the change, Wilshire Studios' live events productions — E! Live From the Red Carpet and E! People's Choice Awards — will now shift to be produced by E!'s live events team. Wilshire Studios will complete work on its current roster — E!'s True Hollywood Story, Oxygen's DNA of Murder With Paul Holes and A Lie to Die For and USA Network's Straight Up Steve Austin. Should any of those series be renewed, their respective networks would bring in new production companies to oversee subsequent seasons. Wilshire Studios will attempt to place 20 employees within other units of the larger NBCUniversal company rather than tendering outright layoffs, though that remains an option.”

Hulu is headed to Ireland for its latest series pickup. The streamer has given a straight-to-series pickup for a half-hour drama called Normal People, based on the novel of the same name by Sally Rooney. Produced by Element Pictures and commissioned by Hulu and BBC Three in the U.K., the series tracks the ‘tender but complicated’ relationship between two young people, Marianne and Connell, through the end of their school days in a small town in the west of Ireland to their undergrad years at Dublin's Trinity College. Daisy Edgar-Jones (Gentleman Jack) and newcomer Paul Mescal will play the two lead roles; Sarah Greene and Aislin McGuckin also star. Rooney is adapting her novel along with Alice Birch and Mark O'Rowe and will executive produce with Lenny Abrahamson (Room), who's also directing six of the 12 episodes. Hettie Macdonald (Doctor Who) will helm the other six.”


This is NOT what the world needs (per Bloomberg): “Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea are forming a production company to pursue film and television projects, making a foray into Hollywood after decades in the public eye.

“The two have spoken to studios about financing a pipeline of programs, said people familiar with the matter. They would give a studio first crack at releasing the projects, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are at an early stage.

“The family hopes to use film and television to influence culture and society now that Hillary Clinton is out of politics. They plan to focus on stories by and about women. The production company is one of many potential business opportunities that Hillary Clinton, 71, is considering.

“Hillary Clinton previously signed on to help produce a TV show with Steven Spielberg. That series, The Woman’s Hour, is an adaptation of a book about activists who fought to earn women the right to vote.

“The Clintons are following in the footsteps of the Obamas. Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle created a production company, Higher Ground Productions, and have a deal at Netflix Inc. Their first slate of shows includes an adaptation of Michael Lewis’s book about federal bureaucracy, as well as a drama series about the world of fashion.

“While actors such as Ronald Reagan have used their Hollywood fame to launch successful political careers, it had been rare for politicians to go the other way. Candidates have long come to Hollywood to raise money, however, and Clinton has a large base of support among donors -- including Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and director J.J. Abrams.

“Clinton served as the first lady of Arkansas, the first lady of the U.S., a senator from New York and secretary of state. She twice ran for president, losing to Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary and then to Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Since the 2016 election, she has formed a political action committee, published a memoir and gone on a speaking tour.”


From The Hollywood Reporter: “Bravo is teaming with Viola Davis and Julius Tennon for a new social experiment series.

“The NBCUniversal-owned cable network has greenlit In a Man's World, a docuseries in which four women will morph into men for several days. Each woman, following months of training and with the assistance of Oscar-winning makeup artists and voice and movement coaches, will explore what it's like to experience the world as a man. The series, exec produced by Davis and Tennon's JuVee Productions and Lucky 8 will debut in the fall.

"‘We at JuVee continue our commitment to illuminate the challenges and obstacles of the voiceless. Our goal is to be disrupters. We are so proud of the originality and boldness of In a Man's World and it is our hope that it shifts you a little,’ Davis said.

“Each episode will follow a different woman — from a professional pool player to a pastor — testing their training by facing their friends and family in the lead-up to the reveal. The series hopes to shed light on if their experiences match their expectations or if they'll be shocked to discover what it's really like to live in a man's world.

“Kim Woodard, Greg Henry, Isaac Holub, George Kralovansky, Kate Bernstein and Danielle Media exec produce alongside JuVee's Davis, Tennon and Andrew Wang.”


From TheWrap: “Should HBO’s Succession succeed in securing an Emmy nomination or two, subscribers to the premium-cable channel may take a look at one of its better shows not named Game of Thrones. Season 1 of the media-empire drama aired after HBO’s second highest-rated series, Westworld, though the Nielsen numbers for Succession do not quite reflect its quality — or its quality lead-in.

“The series, created by Jesse Armstrong, focuses on the Roy family, the owners of a global media empire who are NOT the Murdochs and we can all stop asking about that now. Matthew Macfadyen’s Tom Wamsgans is not technically a Roy, but he is perhaps the series’ most unique, captivating and intriguing player. We say that, of course, with all due respect to Roman (Kieran Culkin).

“‘[Tom’s] sort of repellent and weirdly sympathetic all at once,’ Macfadyen said. ‘He’s sort of spineless, yet he’s got something to him.’

“And yes, the man who plays the punching-bag husband of daughter Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) ‘occasionally’ feels bad for using even-lower man on the corporate totem pole — and family tree — Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) as his punching bag.

“‘Tom really, really likes Greg, which is probably why he can be so revolting to him,’ Macfadyen said. ‘Tom probably doesn’t have many friends, and I think his marriage with Shiv — even though they end up sort of OK at the end of the first season — he’s sort of punching above his weight a bit. I think with any of the Roys, you’re always slightly uncertain, on unstable ground. You don’t really know whether you’re safe.’

“‘With Greg,’ he added, ‘Tom sort of kicks the cat, but I think he really, really needs him. Maybe more than Greg needs Tom.’

“Fans are looking forward to Season 2, which will premiere in August, but we still want more. More specifically, we’re hoping for a Tom and Cousin Greg spinoff — and we’re not alone.

“‘We’re campaigning, Nick and I, to see if we can open up an office in Tokyo or somewhere, or the Middle East maybe, where we could take Waystar,’ Macfadyen said. ‘I would be very happy working with Nick forever — he’s just lovely.’”


Per Vulture, “[t]hirty years ago, five teenagers of color were arrested and charged with raping and beating a white female jogger in Central Park. Prosecutors and reporters tended to refer to them as a single unit after that: a wolf pack, or as they would ultimately become known, the Central Park Five.

When They See Us, Ava DuVernay’s sensitively wrought Netflix miniseries about what happened to those boys, strips away the dehumanizing tendency to bunch them together and instead shows what each of them dealt with individually when they were coerced into giving false confessions, forced to do time for a crime they did not commit, and, eventually, exonerated when their convictions were vacated in 2002. The story of the Central Park Five has certainly been covered extensively by media as well as the 2012 documentary The Central Park Five, co-directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon. But this scripted miniseries, which debuts Friday on Netflix, feels more personal due to DuVernay’s intimate approach — she directed and co-wrote all four episodes — and thoughtful performances across the board, especially from the actors who portray the wrongly accused as boys and men.

“Those five men are Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, and Korey Wise. But when we meet them in the first episode, they’re just teenagers doing teenagery things on an April night in Harlem. When a slew of kids starts running toward Central Park, each of them, one by one, follows the mob, some of whom do start picking fights. When the cops eventually intervene, and the five boys are brought in and questioned (initially with no parents and certainly no attorneys present), When They See Us shows us, again and again, detectives coercing the five into admitting involvement and/or implicating each other in the rape of investment banker Trisha Meili, an attack that occurred on the same night that the fights and other harassment broke out, creating an all-too-convenient circumstance for pointing the finger at these black and Latino boys. Prosecutor Linda Fairstein, played by Felicity Huffman at a time when it’s especially easy to view her as a blinkered woman of white privilege, takes special interest in spinning a narrative that pins the crime on them.

“Three episodes follow the two trials that ultimately land all five teens in prison for various periods of time, what happens to each of them during and post-incarceration, and, in the end, how their convictions are rendered null and void. Before getting to the case’s dismissal, a majority of the fourth episode focuses on Korey, the only one of the five sentenced as an adult and the one who winds up spending the most time behind bars in places like Rikers Island. Korey is also the only character portrayed from his teen years to adulthood by the same actor: Jharrel Jerome (Moonlight), who delivers the standout performance in this limited series, which is saying something considering that the cast is filled with excellent actors.

“Jerome is blessed with a youthful face that, with added facial hair, can slide easily up and down the age spectrum. But he also uses his expressions and body language as incredibly persuasive tools. As a teenage Korey, his eyes go from wide to wider, expressing his default naïveté or shock at what’s happening to and around him. Korey is reserved and soft-spoken — he’s embarrassed to admit he has a hard time reading — but he speaks up loudly when he feels he’s been done an injustice. Jerome brings an energy to the performance that’s reminiscent of the quiet righteousness of Bill Nunn’s Radio Raheem in Do the Right Thing. That may be intentional, since Spike Lee’s masterpiece was also released in 1989, two months after the incident in Central Park. When They See Us even nods directly to the movie: When the kids start racing toward the park, a boom box is blasting Fight the Power by Public Enemy, the track that famously opens Lee’s film.

“All of the actors portraying the wrongly convicted young men, at early and later stages, inhabit them with a natural ease that makes their fear and indignation even more vivid and, ultimately, bonds them to each other. In episode three, when Yusef (played at this point by Chris Chalk) and Antron (Jovan Adepo) run into each other at a mandatory class that’s part of their probation, there’s a built-in comfort level that enables them to joke around, something that would be ordinary for anyone else but is a cathartic act for two people tethered to each other by tragedy.

“The dynamics between the boys’ parents are just as heavy, particularly between Yusef’s mother Sharone (Aunjanue Ellis) and Korey’s mother Delores (a fiery Niecy Nash), who resents what she perceives as Sharone’s selfish tendency to put her son’s needs above everyone else’s. The climate in every family shifts over the years: For Ray, who returns home to find his loyal father (John Leguizamo) married to a younger wife (Dascha Polanco of Orange Is the New Black), and for Antron, whose unreliable father (Michael K. Williams) has become seriously ill. Metaphorically and literally, it’s like there’s no room for these boys in the world anymore.

When They See Us has a tendency to lean into its drama, which can sometimes work and sometimes causes the series to get tripped up in clichés. When District Attorney Robert Morgenthau (Len Carious) calls prosecutor Nancy Ryan (Famke Janssen) into his office to tell her that another convicted rapist, Matias Reyes (Reece Noi), has confessed to the attack on Meili, he reminds her of the context. ‘19,’ he says, and then Ryan finishes with a portentous: ‘89.’ That exchange is more suited to a scene in a CBS procedural than a grounded series like this. Because the series is generally so grounded, when it veers off track, it’s especially jarring.

“But DuVernay also sometimes dances toward tropes on purpose, only to undercut them in a way that emphasizes the lack of fairness that’s the basis for this story. During episode two, when an expert confirms during the trial that no DNA links any of the suspects to the scene of the crime, there’s a swell in the music and the emotions of the suspects and their families that, in another series, would lead straight to their triumphant acquittal. But every time there is a hint of good news here, it’s usually followed by bad. When Korey tries to put in for another prison transfer with the hope that he’ll be relocated closer to his mom in Harlem, he says, ‘My bad luck been used up.’ Naturally, he winds up in the worst possible place, at the greatest possible distance. In When They See Us, optimism only begets more pain.

“It’s not surprising that When They See Us has such relevancy given the inequities that persist in terms of law enforcement’s treatment of people of color. But just in case anyone can’t connect the dots from ’89 to now, DuVernay makes a point of reminding viewers, more than once, that Donald Trump interjected himself into the Central Park Five conversation by taking out paid advertisements in every major New York newspaper, advocating for the death penalty for the accused.

“‘You’d better believe I hate the people who did this,’ Trump says during an actual press conference that’s shown on television while one of the mothers of ‘those people’ is watching. When They See Us may ultimately have a triumphant ending for its protagonists. But more than anything, this miniseries reminds us that what happened to those five boys three decades ago could just as easily happen today, in the name of what some powerful figures would perceive as justice.”

Thursday May 30, 2019

The NBA Finals begin on ABC tonight.

I watched the 1st episode of NBC’s Songland last night and was pleasantly surprised. It’s not a singing competition like The Voice or American Idol. Rather, a handful of aspiring songwriters perform for a trio of accomplished music producers and one artist (episode 1 featured John Legend). The artist selects his 3 favorite songs and each of the writers is assigned to a producer for some fine tuning. The writers return to perform an updated version, the artist selects one winner and records that writers’ song. Here is the track that Legend chose on episode one. Here’s the song he recorded.

Netflix has released the official trailer for Mr. Iglesias, which available to stream on June 21.

CBS “will air the entire first season of The Good Fight starting at June 16The Good Wife spinoff starring Christine Baranski from creators Robert and Michelle King had been available only on the CBS All Access SVOD service. It will mark the time a CBS All Access show has aired on the broadcast network since the Star Trek: Discovery premiere in September 2017.”

“Hulu sells an ad-free version of its streaming service, just like Netflix. But the majority of Hulu subscribers are on the $5.99-per-month ad-supported plan, which is half the price of the $11.99 no-commercials version. Hulu has previously disclosed subscriber numbers — announcing 28 million customer accounts earlier this month — but hasn’t broken those out by plan type. Now Hulu, which in the past month became fully ensconced under Disney’s wing, has provided some context around the size of its audience base. Overall, it has 82 million viewers (meaning there’s an average of 2.9 viewers per Hulu account). And of those, about 70%, or 58 million, are on the ad-supported plan, according to Peter Naylor, senior VP, head of advertising sales, citing comScore estimates. Hulu’s ad business is a significant source of revenue, generating almost $1.5 billion in ad revenue in 2018. To that end, Hulu strives to make the way it presents advertising is viewer-friendly — otherwise it risks pushing those subscribers to the zero-advertising tier or losing them altogether, said Naylor, speaking Wednesday at VideoNuze’s Video Advertising Summit in New York.”

The CBS board is preparing for merger talks with Viacom, people familiar with situation said. The long-anticipated talks between the two companies controlled by the Redstone family’s National Amusements are expected to begin in mid-June, though discussions could begin even sooner, the sources said. Viacom CEO Robert Bakish would likely run the combined entity. Though no talks have occurred, Shari Redstone, vice chairwoman of CBS and Viacom, has long been in favor of marrying the two as the former looks to bulk up its balance sheet. The added size would likely help CBS compete for National Football League broadcast rights against big technology companies like Amazon and Facebook. National Amusements has twice tried but failed to combine the media companies. Should the tie-up ultimately occur, National Amusements would likely pivot to a second deal, people familiar with the matter told CNBC earlier this year.”

Why do so many people allegedly owe 50 Cent money?

A sneak peak and John Taffer and Paramount Network’s new show Marriage Rescue.


Per The Hollywood Reporter, “Adam Levine’s apparent desire to exit The Voice after 16 seasons is no shocker. It was the news of his departure dropping Friday, just two weeks after NBC confirmed plans for his fall return, that raised eyebrows around Hollywood and beyond.

“To be sure, Levine’s departure was not planned. The Maroon 5 frontman actually had signed on to appear in two more cycles of The Voice, seasons 17 and 18, but he is said to have grown increasingly anxious in recent weeks to move on. Following that urge came at a remarkably high cost. Sources paint Levine’s most recent per-season salary for The Voice at north of $14 million, meaning the deal would have given him close to another $30 million.

“Appearing on any reality TV competition with such a rigorous schedule comes at a personal cost. The 40-year-old singer devoted much of the past decade to NBC’s enduring hit, which has been considered pivotal in the network’s ratings turnaround from last to first place. But because The Voice audition rounds entail long shoots and substantial edits, and the live shows stretch out over weeks, the payout doesn’t appear quite as efficient as some of the more recent reality talent deals. Stars like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (Titan Games) or Alec Baldwin (Match Game) can make more than $1 million in a day, knocking out multiple episodes, for as much as $450,000 a pop, in one afternoon. 

“That doesn’t include touring and recording, both of which are lucrative endeavors for the singer. Such pop stars as Christina Aguilera, Miley Cyrus and Pharrell Williams have cycled through as Voice coaches while Levine and Blake Shelton have remained the only constants on the show (along with Host Carson Daly). 

“Much has been written about Levine’s noticeably unenthusiastic appearance at NBCUniversal’s May 13 upfront presentation at New York’s Radio City Music Hall — where he looked sullen next to more buoyant colleagues Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Shelton — and the role it may have played in his departure. But reports of the upfront performance angering his NBC bosses are said to be overblown. (It was hardly the only time in history, or even that week, that talent pouted their way through an appearance for advertisers.)

“So while Levine’s decision to break loose after agreeing to a new deal took many by surprise, multiple sources close to matter describe it as an "amicable" parting — not that there was much time for acrimony. Word of Levine’s departure, broken by The Voice host Carson Daly on NBC’s Today and confirmed by Levine on Instagram, played out almost simultaneously in the press as it did with The Voice studios Warner Horizon Television and MGM Television.

“NBCUniversal is uniquely motivated to maintain good relations with Levine. After all, his work at NBC doesn’t end with The Voice. Just four days after announcing his exit, his new music competition show, Songland, premiered to solid first-run sampling: a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49 and nearly 6 million viewers. Levine doesn’t appear in Songland, but he is executive producing the new series and has been (and will continue to be) involved in its promotion. Network execs have been hot on the project since ordering it in 2018 — one, it’s worth noting, is produced in-house by Universal Television Alternative Studio, unlike The Voice.

Songland, like forthcoming NBC alternative series The Playlist, may ultimately play a bigger role in the network’s musical future than The Voice. After 333 episodes, each of which Levine is credited in appearing alongside Shelton, the series' ratings erosion is undeniably steady. Out of broadcast’s Top 20 for the first time since it premiered in 2011, The Voice’s marquee Monday telecast wrapped the 2018-19 season down 20 percent — ranking below Big Four reality shows America's Got TalentThe Masked SingerThe Bachelor and even Survivor with a 2.1 rating in the key demo.”


Per Deadline, “Mark Wahlberg’s Unrealistic Ideas and Peter Berg’s Film 45 have set a multi-series partnership with rising sports streaming outlet DAZN.

“The pair, both avid boxing fans, are beginning the venture by teaming for an edition of DAZN’s 40 Days that is pegged to Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin’s fight with Steve Rolls at Madison Square Garden on June 8. The show, which launched earlier this year as a core franchise offering behind-the-scenes looks, this time will zero in on the lead-up to the bout, which is Golovkin’s debut on DAZN.

“The actor and director are frequent collaborators, occasionally focusing on boxing in their work. In 2010, Wahlberg starred in and produced multiple Oscar nominee The Fighter. In 2012, Berg’s Film 45 directed and produced the On Freddie Roach boxing docu-series on HBO.

“Follow docs are sports media mainstays, especially with the rise of digital video — think 24/7 or Hard Knocks or Tom Vs. Time. But 40 Days, which is named for the eight Monday-to-Friday weeks of training for a boxing match, is aiming to give the series a bit more flair, with individual episodes and series being directed by different filmmakers. The series has previously featured collaborations between LeBron James and Maverick Carter as well as Meek Mill and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation.

“DAZN, which is being led by former ESPN president John Skipper, recently launched in the U.S. after successfully bringing soccer, basketball and ring sports to fans in Europe and elsewhere.

“‘As a longtime boxing fan, I am excited to be partnering with DAZN to highlight Gennadiy and his unique approach leading up to a fight,’ Wahlberg said.

“For Golovkin, the former middleweight world champion, the fight will be Golovkin’s first time back in the ring after a controversial decision loss to Canelo Alvarez last fall. GGG Promotions and DAZN recently announced a six-fight global partnership that will see Golovkin fight the remainder of his career on the streaming platform.

“‘It takes a lot of hard work to put on the Big Drama Show,’ said Golovkin. ‘40 Days was in training camp from start to finish. Boxing fans will see it all, as Johnathon Banks and I prepare for war at the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden.’

“Jamie Horowitz, EVP Content DAZN North America, said the idea for the Wahlberg-Berg project came quickly. ‘When we visited GGG at his camp in Big Bear, we asked him whom he thought would best tell his story — he immediately asked for Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg,’ Horowitz said.

“Additional projects in the long-term relationship among DAZN, Unrealistic Ideas and Film 45 and DAZN will be announced in the coming months.”


From Variety: “When asked to join a second season of Big Little Lies, Meryl Streep didn’t hesitate.

“‘[My agents] asked me, “don’t you want to read it?” And I said no,’ the actor laughed, sitting alongside her co-stars Wednesday at the Wing Soho in New York City. ‘The first season was the greatest thing on television.’

“In a conversation moderated by Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Radhika Jones, Streep joined stars Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Dern hours before their season 2 premiere to discuss their experiences with the celebrated HBO drama and why they were so determined to bring it back. (Co-stars Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz were unable to attend, but Witherspoon enthused about Kravitz’s character getting to explore her relationship with her mother, played by Crystal Fox, while Streep gushed that ‘Shailene is just a miracle in this.’)

“‘You get to explore [the characters] and the consequences on a deeper level,’ said Kidman of the decision to continue after the climactic finale, which coincided with the end of Liane Moriarty’s novel and was originally meant to end the series. ‘You see their lives unfold in a much deeper way.’

“Another big part of the decision to return was the huge reaction the show received. ‘The year at the Golden Globes when Oprah gave that incredible speech…and we were able to go up there and talk about this show was truly one of the greatest moments of my life and career,’ Witherspoon said. Plus, as they all agreed, Big Little Lies represented a rare treat in their careers when they got to collaborate with many women rather than be the sole female voice on set; the fact that they even get along well enough to have an ongoing group chat is a bonus. (While they wouldn’t reveal the content of their conversations, Kidman at least allowed that she’s the most enthusiastic emoji user, while Witherspoon said that she ‘likes a gif.’)

“Still, Dern admitted that the wide reach of Big Little Lies surprised her. ‘In my narrow-minded perception, and perhaps cellular perception that comes with some sexism, I thought, ‘well, women will watch the show.’ Which is not okay!’ she exclaimed. ‘Because men loved the show! Frat boys love the show, teenagers loved the show. We all want authentic stories.’

“In that respect, Streep continually emphasized her appreciation for Witherspoon and Kidman banding together to get Big Little Lies made in the first place. ‘I am of a generation that waited to be asked to dance,’ Streep said, ‘but I’m so admiring of you for getting out in front of stuff, for being on the balls of your feet, for seeking out material.’

“The cast also discussed the impact of how the series tackled domestic violence, a purposeful turn given that the Wing talk was presented in partnership The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV). After playing her character Celeste, who was abused by her husband (Alexander Skarsgaard), Kidman says she has become much more aware of the realities of domestic violence and was ‘suddenly able to hear the stories and be a voice for a lot of those stories.’ Still, she didn’t want Celeste to get past her trauma too quickly in the second season. ‘I was adamant that she wasn’t a superhero,’ Kidman said. ‘You’re going to see her navigating that path.’

“Above all, everyone agreed, the best part about making a second season of Big Little Lies was the opportunity to dig deeper into the lives of (as Streep put it) ‘very complicated, flawed, hysterically funny but tragic women.’

“‘For all of our lives as little girls, we grew up reading all the books that had male protagonists…we spent all our lives living through [them],’ Streep said (adding later that she never wanted to be ‘Wendy or Tink….I wanted to be Peter Pan!’).

“‘The hardest thing is getting men to watch a story where they put themselves in the bodies of protagonists who are female,’ Streep continued. ‘It’s almost an impenetrable act of imagination for any men. [But] Big Little Lies crossed over. They could feel what you felt. That’s an amazing gift to humanity.’”


Per Deadline, “[m]ental illness is starting to come out of the shadows for professional athletes, as more and more well-known players and Olympians have come forward to talk about their struggles.

“The latest is former Laker Metta World Peace (aka Ron Artest), who famously thanked his psychotherapist during the 2010 Lakers championship celebration. His journey will be portrayed in the Showtime documentary Quiet Storm:The Ron Artest Story,” airing May 31 on the network.

“Artest had anger management issues. He will always be known for a scary incident In 2004, when, playing for the Indiana Pacers, he entered the stands and fought a fan after someone lobbed a soda at him. The so-called Malice at the Palace brawl led to an 86-game suspension, $5 million fine, and almost cost him his career.

“‘I just don’t think people know the whole story,’ World Peace told the NY Post in an interview. ‘The reason I was how I was is because things that happened in my life.’

“Artest grew up in a housing project plagued by drug dealing in the height of the crack era. His parents divorced when he was 13 and the family apartment was destroyed by a fire.

“Several teams tried to get him help for his problems, he claims. But ‘In 1999, you weren’t trying to go out and say, “Hey, I am seeing a therapist,”’ he said. ‘I was such a big talent. Usually people who have antics like myself, they just get rid of them.’

“The documentary features interviews with Kobe Bryant and other former World Peace teammates. The subject claims he’s yet to see it, but won’t stress about any negative portrayals. ‘I don’t have much to be stressed out about these days.’”


If you didn’t already have disdain for three-letter agencies enough, there’s this (that’s Ari Emanuel shaking hands with POTUS above): “In order to move toward its long-awaited IPO, Endeavor has had to reveal a trove of financial information, including the pay packages for Ari Emanuel, Patrick Whitesell and other executives, as well as extensive details about its financial performance.

“The 387-page SEC filing dropped late last week by Endeavor Group Holdings offers the first look inside a central — but, until now, highly secretive — component of the entertainment sector.

“Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the document is the sense of how far Endeavor has expanded beyond its traditional agency roots. Ten years ago, it pulled off a mega-merger with William Morris, ushering in a new era for talent representation. The decade since has seen it acquire the UFC, IMG, the Professional Bull Riders tour and streaming provider NeuLion, entering fashion, food, fine art, sports and, most controversially in Hollywood circles, the realm of content production.

“Emanuel, the 58-year-old CEO, and Whitesell, the 54-year-old executive chairman, have been the main drivers of this evolution, and their eventual compensation will reflect it.

“In 2018, Emanuel made $5.3 million and Whitesell $5.1 million, according to the filing, with base salaries of $1 million apiece. When the IPO happens, likely in the next couple of months if market conditions permit, each stands to gain handsomely. The offering is targeting a valuation in the range of $10 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. Because the stock is not yet trading, pinpointing their paydays is difficult, but the prospectus offers figures based on certain statistical models that suggest both executives are in line for $85.1 million based on unvested equity awards.

“President Mark Shapiro, 49, made $10.3 million in 2018, including a base salary of $3 million. CFO Jason Lublin topped the management team in 2018 with a total pay package of $15.2 million, the majority of which came in the form of an equity award. Chief Legal Officer Seth Krauss collected $5.1 million.

“The company reported having $4.6 billion in long-term debt in the quarter ending March 31. Questions about debt obligations and private equity ownership have followed the company in recent years as it has transformed itself. Starting in 2012, Silver Lake Partners has invested $700 million in Endeavor, accruing a large stake described as a ‘significant minority’ position, but not a majority holding. Japan’s Softbank also owns 5%.

“Both companies can legally cash out six months after the offering, which could bring them handsome returns. Silver Lake, though, is known for placing longer-term bets.

“The contracts of Emanuel and Whitesell were extended in March, and both of their base salaries were boosted to $4 million. Originally set to expire in May 2024, their contracts now run through the end of 2028. Shapiro’s latest contract runs through the end of 2021, and includes a ‘stay bonus’ of $6 million.

“The company’s revenue mix has increasingly favored the Entertainment & Sports segment, which includes assets spanning sports, events, food and fashion. Of the company’s $3.6 billion in total 2018 revenue, $2.3 billion comes from Entertainment & Sports. The Representation unit brought in $1.3 billion in revenue in 2018. Endeavor X, the company’s digital portfolio of streaming services and early-stage investments, added $66.5 million.

“The current impasse with the Writers Guild of America — acknowledged by the company in the opening pages of the prospectus — hinges on the pushback from clients at the idea of Endeavor essentially negotiating against itself. As a producer, distributor and licensor of content, the company also represents talent.

“‘Media production, distribution and content’ generated some $551 million in revenue, with $200.4 million of that going toward Entertainment & Sports and $284.7 million counting toward Representation. The company did not break out what piece of that is contributed by Endeavor Content, which launched in 2017 to produce as well as offering financing, advisory and sales services.

“Net profitability has been achieved, according to the document. The company said it swung from losses of $98.3 million in 2016 and $173.2 million in 2017 to net income of $231.3 million in 2018. EBITDA reached $551 million in 2018. Total revenue last year rose 20%, after a 27% gain from 2016 to 2017. About 70% of revenue is in the U.S., with 93% of it recognized in the U.S. and UK.

“The company leases office space in six U.S. cities as well as London and has a head count of 7,000. ‘We believe that our relations with our employees are good,’ the company declares in the prospectus.

“Along with the five executive officers of Endeavor, directors of the company will include two Silver Lake executives. Egon Durban will remain Endeavor’s board chairman, as he has been since 2014, and Stephen Evans will sit on the board. The lone independent director as of the offering will be James Kahan, 72, a retired executive who led AT&T’s M&A team as the company rose from the ashes and grew from the former Southwestern Bell into today’s telecom giant. Two more independent directors will be nominated to the board within the first year after the offering.

“This wouldn’t be a Hollywood affair without at least a passing reference to a corporate jet. While the cost of personal travel, per the prospectus, is fully reimbursed by officers of the company, they do occasionally fly guests on the company plane and incur ‘incremental’ costs for such travel.

“Emanuel’s guests ran up a tab of $187,650, while Whitesell’s came to $74,244. Shapiro’s guest flights amounted to a lunch check in comparison, totaling a mere $6,186.”

Wednesday May 29, 2019

Archer: 1999 premieres tonight on FXX.

NBC debuts The InBetween tonight as well. “Cassie Bedford was born with a rare ability. She has visions... whether she likes it or not. Sometimes Cassie sees events that have previously occurred or will happen in the future. Sometimes she encounters unsettled spirits who need her help. When her father, Detective Tom Hackett, and his new partner, former FBI agent Damien Asante, need assistance solving a dark and puzzling murder, Cassie reluctantly agrees to use her abilities and helps solve some of the city’s most challenging cases. From Writer/Executive Producer Moira Kirland (Castle, Madam Secretary) comes this suspenseful new character-driven procedural drama.”

Alex Trebek’s health is improving by the day.

Ken Jennings’ hold on the title of the King of Jeopardy! is slipping by the day.

Amazon Studios has picked up to series young adult drama pilot The Wilds from writer-executive producer Sarah Streicher (Daredevil) and ABC Signature Studios, part of Disney Television Studios. Amy B. Harris has come on board as executive producer/showrunner of The Wilds, which marks ABC Signature’s first series for Amazon. . . Part survival drama, part dystopic slumber party, The Wilds follows a group of teenage girls from radically different backgrounds after an airplane crash strands them on a deserted island. The show explores the past and present struggles of these young women, offering up a vivid portrayal of what it means to grow up female in our time – whether you are lost in the wilderness or not.”

A look at some of the worst spin-offs in television history.

How much did Game of Thrones extras make?

“Ellen DeGeneres, one of the season 2 guests of Netflix’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, opened up to host David Letterman about being groped by her stepfather as a teen. By sharing her story, she hopes to help other victims of sexual assault come forward.”

Why would anyone want or need a 2nd season of What/If?

Hollywood Squares host John Davidson is making a comeback at 77. Davidson, who also hosted That’s Incredible! and Time Machine, took the stage at Midtown’s Birdland Jazz Club on Monday for a crowd including Paul Shaffer and Bob Mackie to sing original songs about love — and aging. We’re told he gave a special shoutout to Gilbert Gottfried in the audience, and credited the comic with helping reboot his career. ‘John was saying he was terrified and terribly intimidated to appear on Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast,’ a spy said. ‘He confessed that he never heard “the F-word’ so many times.”’”

Fox’s Star hasn’t burned out just yet. Series co-creator Lee Daniels revealed on social media Wednesday that he’s ‘fighting’ to get the cancelled drama picked up at another network. ‘Fighting guys! Will know this week… or top of next!’ Daniels wrote, alongside a clip from a Star episode. ‘I’m NOT letting them STOP the CULTURE.. SORRY!!’”


Life after GoT can be a long dark road:“Game of Thrones” star Kit Harington has been involved in a few boozy public incidents prior to his current stay in a luxury Connecticut rehab for alcohol and stress.

“The 32-year-old British actor was reportedly so drunk at NYC pub Barfly in January last year that he was dragged out of the place by staff after he tried to take over a game of pool, but was allegedly too drunk to grasp the rules.

Video obtained by TMZ showed the Jon Snow actor looking wobbly, persistently jostling and grabbing other patrons in a non-agressive manner, before launching himself at a pool table to interrupt the game and slurring, in a good-natured way, ‘Give me that cue.’

“He was later physically restrained by other people away from the pool table in the Gramercy bar, then helped towards the door by bar staff and thrown out. However Harington later returned to settle his tab, leaving a generous tip, and was a ‘very nice guy,’ bar staff confirmed.

“Barfly owners later said in a statement about the boozy incident, ‘Kit Harrington walked into Barfly Friday evening already intoxicated. He was over-served somewhere else, not at our establishment. He was at Barfly for maybe 30 minutes total. Harington bought one Jameson for himself, a drink for his friend and a round of drinks for all of the other customers at the bar.’

“They added, ‘The disagreement seen on the video…was over a pool game that Harington interrupted. A customer was letting him take the shot for him but he didn’t understand the rules of the game. The game being played is called Kille’ where each person takes one shot, but Harington tried to continue shooting. That was the extent of the disagreement.’

“‘When our staff realized how intoxicated Harington was they politely asked him to leave and two of our staff members helped him out. He came back later that night to pay his check and left a one hundred percent tip – $70 on a $70 check. The bartenders that served him both said he was actually a very nice guy…he is welcome back anytime.’

“Weeks later the ‘disheveled’ and ‘bleary-eyed’ actor looked reportedly worse for wear in Paris, where he was allegedly seen with a male pal, stumbling on the rainy streets, according to mailonline.com.

“He was spotted wobbling into the way of oncoming traffic, then leaning on a parked van for support, while his hair seemed soaked by the rain. However, it appears the remainder of his night went without incident.

“In November 2018 a Russian model named Olya Sergeevna posted Instagram pictures of a man she alleged was Harington, and who bore a strong resemblance to the actor, passed out naked on a bed. She claimed the pictures were taken months after his wedding to his GoT co-star Rose Leslie.

“The model also alleged she had seen Harington a few times after they met in Luxembourg, but he was ‘always drunk and could never remember the things we were talking about. I was sick of the same questions, like what time is it?’

“However, a rep for Harington hit back at the time that the model’s claims were ‘totally false’ and he’d never met the woman nor been to Luxembourg.

“The Instagram account where the photos were posted has since been deleted.”


Per EW, “[a]fter bending the New York legal world to her will on USA Network’s Suits, Gina Torres’ disbarred lawyer Jessica Pearson takes on the dirty realm of Chicago politics as the mayor’s right-hand woman on the spin-off Pearson. Below, EW chats with the star and co-executive producer about forging her own path on the new series:

You left Suits as a series regular in 2016. Why did you want to return for a spin-off?
When I stepped away from it, I started to miss her and I started wondering, “Well, where is she? What is she doing in Chicago?” And it was at that point that the 2016 election was reaching this fever pitch, and I thought, “What would she do? Who would she be in these circumstances?” I just started working the scenario in my head and kind of brought it up with my agent. And he said, “You know you have a show here?” And I thought, “Maybe I do.” And that’s how [Pearson] was born.

Jessica usually has it all under control. How’s she faring in Chicago?
You’ll see the Jessica that you know, but she’s definitely a fish out of water. She’s realizing her old tricks don’t necessarily work in Chicago.

How is it playing Jessica outside Harvey Specter’s orbit on Suits?
Liberating. Not that I didn’t love working with that cast and those story lines, but it’s just such a gift, as an actor, to explore these different aspects of a woman, a powerhouse, a boss, a lover, a niece. I’m finally getting to put flesh and blood on a fully realized human.

How does Pearson differ from Suits?
We’re much more interested in being reflective of what’s happening today and how it’s affecting society. Therefore, our background of Chicago is very important, because it’s a city — good, bad, and indifferent — representing all of that. So tonally, I would say it’s a little darker. Within all of that, there’s gallows humor.”

Pearson premieres July 17 on USA.


Per Vulture, “Timothy Olyphant returns to his career-defining role of Sheriff Seth Bullock for Deadwood: The Movie, airing May 31 on HBO, following a years-long series of TV projects that both channeled David Milch’s Western (Justified) and drastically departed from it (Santa Clarita Diet). Last December, Olyphant spoke with Vulture around 1 a.m. on the set at Melody Ranch Studios outside Los Angeles, where Deadwood: The Movie was filmed. He had just concluded his second-to-last day of work, an epic stretch that found him acting in several physically and emotionally intense scenes. The set was muddy and flooded. Olyphant was still in his sheriff costume, including Stetson, long coat, and fake mustache:

How does it feel to be back in Deadwood? 
So far, so good. I’ve got one day left and I’ve enjoyed it. It’s lovely to see everybody, all these lovely, wonderful people who gave me so many wonderful memories. The filming of the show left quite an impression on me, and it’s nice to have an opportunity to come back and see everybody again. It’s also fun to be able to have other people verify your memory of how things were. You know, where you get to say, “Oh, this is how I felt. This is what it was like.”

Your old colleague Jim Beaver told me he came here to visit. I asked, “How was it?” and he said, “It’s odd. It’s not that I felt unwelcome, it’s just this wasn’t my place anymore.” 
Yeah, I totally get it. Of course, he might’ve felt differently if he actually was on the call sheet! [Laughs.] I suppose when you’re not on the call sheet, it changes the vibe.

Maybe they could’ve brought Ellsworth back as a ghost, like a Jacob Marley figure haunting George Hearst.
Too bad it’s not that kind of show! A lot of people did come back, though.Fucking Larry Cedar was out there today, playing background. [Garret] Dillahunt snuck in.

I heard Dillahunt was in this. He was the only actor to play two roles on Deadwood, and now he’s got the trifecta. 
He played Drunk Number Two! He didn’t even get top drunk! [Laughs.] Talk about a reason to call your agent. “Hey, why am I not Drunk Number One?”

Maybe you can put on a beard and a different hat and play Drunk Number One.
I can play another part. I still got one more day.

Did you have to get reacclimated at all?
I didn’t. I just showed up and started going. I didn’t really have to prepare or anything. I showed up, put the hat on, and started saying what they told me to say.

Is that all it takes? Do the wardrobe and the mustache do part of the work for you?
Yeah, definitely. Of course, there were scenes I probably could have done a little more with, but the way I did it was the way I did it.

It’s a curious game, being back here. It’s always fun to have another swing at something, and you rarely get to do it after so much time has elapsed. I figured it would just all come back to me, and the parts I didn’t particularly like the first time out, I’d just pretend they didn’t exist and do it different.

The first time I interviewed you was on this very set back in 2005, during the production of season two. You expressed surprise at having been cast as Seth Bullock. You told me you’d sometimes look around at all the funny characters played by funny actors and think, When the fuck did I become the straight man? 
[Laughs.] Yeah, that’s about how I remember it! Memory’s never a reliable narrator, but that sounds about right, your account of it.

It worked out pretty well for you, didn’t it? The straight-man thing?
Sure. I mean, I kept working.

And you added something to your repertoire. 
Which is?

Now you can play the Spirit of the West if you want to. You even did the voice of a cartoon character who’s basically Clint Eastwood in Rango.
That I did, that’s true! Yeah, see? I eventually got to do another job with humor!

Well, more than one, obviously. Santa Clarita Diet is a comedy. And Justified is funny.
It is! At least, that’s what I thought.

What did you take away from this experience that changed you?
That’s a lot to answer. I guess the best way to put it is to tell you that I took a little David Milch with me to just about every job I did after that, like a little David Milch sitting on my shoulder. Every time I was in a jam, I just thought, What would David do? Literally that. I just asked myself, What would David do? and then I did that.

When an opportunity like this goes away, that’s oftentimes when you take it for granted at first, and then when you’re acting in some piece of shit out in Eastern EuropeThe 2007 film Hitman, which starred Olyphant, was shot mostly in Bulgaria., and you’re just like, How the fuck did I end up in this thing?, That’s when you realize, if you hadn’t already, Oh wow, what a great gig that last thing was.

I started waking up a little earlier in the morning after Deadwood ended. I really approached the job in a different way. When someone like Milch wasn’t around all the time, I realized what an opportunity I’d been given.

When he wasn’t around, what was missing?
Well, he’s a force of nature. He’s fully committed. He’s the thing you strive for. He’s done the work, but he’s also willing to throw it all out the window. I saw a guy who so trusted his unconscious, his gut instinct. A guy who was so willing to just go with things on a whim. When I was on that set, I was watching a guy in the prime of his creative years, and it was quite something.

It’s hard to be specific about it, but I just knew that, in my own way, I wanted to try to head towards that, you know?

It’s striking to me how self-deprecating you are about your work on this show. It was true when I first interviewed you 14 years ago, and it seems like it’s still true.
I haven’t seen the show in a long time. I thought what I was doing was somewhere between mediocrity and just okay. The one thing I always felt I was really good at was paying attention and really listening to David. I really soaked in the experience and got a ton out of it. And it was the gift that just kept giving. I felt like I took it to every job. I kept relying on it, I kept leaning on it, I kept being inspired by it.

Can we talk about the way you denigrate your own performance? Because that’s not something I run into very often.
What, my performance on this show?

Yes. You downplay it. Sometimes you make it sound like you didn’t know what you were doing.
I do sometimes feel that way.

Well, for what it’s worth, you made me believe you were a guy from the 1800s who didn’t know who Sigmund Freud was. That’s not easy to do, and I hope you don’t discount that. 
Well, I appreciate everything you say. I don’t take it lightly. Thank you.

What did you carry over from Deadwood to Justified, a modern-day Western?
Well, by the time that one rolled around, the passage of time had affected me. I’d had a lot of swings at the plate. There was a certain level of confidence that I didn’t have before. It was a totally different animal, a different beast. By the time that gig came around, I wasn’t looking for answers anymore. I was enjoying dying on my own sword. A lot of the time I was thinking, Yeah, I’m pretty sure this is what I want to do, and unless anybody has a better idea, that’s the way I’m going to do it.

On Justified, I was just coming at the material from a totally different place than I was when I first got this gig here. As you were saying before, when this job came up, I was playing supporting roles that were really flashy and fun, chewing things up and having a good time. But Seth was a lead, and certain kinds of responsibilities came with it. You see this with a lot of people’s careers: When they finally play the lead role, they lose the thing that made people notice them in the first place. They get lost in the role a little bit, as opposed to just trusting it, forcing it at times, making their own thing out of it.

By the time I got to Justified, I felt like I was just having a ball with the job. Not just that particular job, but acting. Acting was way more fun than I recall it being, back during the years I was doing this show. I’d learned a lot about being the lead and not losing the fun, and not getting too hung up on whether every single moment you’re in expresses the entire idea of the thing. As someone once said, the nail doesn’t have to be the house. The nail can just be the nail, and you can trust that you’re all building a house together.

On Justified, you were the nail but you were also the house, because you were one of the producers.
Yeah, on Justified I could do whatever the fuck I wanted! [Laughs.]

Did you really think this reunion was ever going to happen?
I didn’t think it was going to happen. To be honest with you, I wasn’t particularly interested in doing it, so I figured it wouldn’t happen because I wasn’t interested in it happening. I figured unless they were going to get someone else to play my part, it probably wouldn’t ever happen. I always wanted to work with David again, but I wasn’t so keen on doing Deadwoodagain.

Well, I did it, I came back, I had a good time, but the main thought during those intervening years was, I’d love to work with David again. As for the show … eh. [Shrugs.] What are you gonna do? And then, after more time went by, I became interested in doing Deadwood again, but I was more interested in doing more episodes than in doing a movie.

You mean doing another season?
Yeah. I was always like, If we’re gonna do it, let’s do it. But that wasn’t in the cards.

How did you feel about the fact that the passage of time is built into the story?
It seemed like a good idea. Otherwise, what are we gonna do? We’re all gonna try to look younger? [Laughs.]

It’s funny, these last couple of weeks, I realized half of the bullshit I spewed out over the last decade or so came from one of these motherfuckers! I heard John Hawkes say something, I was like, “I’ve been saying that for ten years! I got that from you!” [William] Sanderson telling a director, “I guess I could try it that way, if I were a bad actor.” Classic. Classic Sanderson! He also used to say, “Well, I don’t think it makes any sense, but you’re the director, and I’ll try anything.” He used to always say those kinds of things. I’ve stolen most of them.

School was in session on this show, and I just sat back. Most of these folks were probably more or less my age ten years ago, maybe a little older than I am now, but they’d been around forever. They knew every trick in the book. Now we all come back and it’s wild to see, because they know even more now, and they’re even more impressive. It’s been amazing to watch Molly [Parker] and Anna [Gunn] and Paula [Malcomson]. They were great then, now they’re incredible. So good. Total command, each one of them. I watched rehearsals and I just see them take over rehearsal, and I think to myself, Look at Paula. Look at her fuckin’ taking over. Just look! Hawkes? Wow. They’ve all just done such great work since we wrapped however many years ago. And then, of course, the older group are just as good as they always were.

Everybody knows how to steal a scene. Fucking sleight-of-hand magicians, all of them.

Along those lines, I got to watch you shoot a few scenes in this movie. There’s a weight there, but also an easygoing quality, kind of like what you were talking about in reference to Justified.
Well, I suppose as time goes by, you just try a little less, and that’s not a bad thing. Like I said, now I try to do in my work what I watched David do for years. Do the hard work, and then let it go.”


From The Hollywood Reporter: “For many teenagers, high school is a challenging time, and for some, it is traumatic. It's why 13 Reasons Why, Jay Asher's best-selling novel about a 17-year old girl's suicide, has resonated with millions of young people since its publication over a decade ago. With its unflinching depictions of the hurt teens can go through — anxiety, bullying, assault, depression and suicide — it helped lift the stigmas young people increasingly experience growing up today.

“So when it came to turning the book into a TV series, our goal was to shed light on these same issues, helping teenagers understand they are not alone and don't have to suffer in secret. At every step, including for every script of the series, the writers and producers worked with psychiatrists, experts in sexual assault as well as bullying, school counselors and teachers to ensure that even the most challenging scenes were grounded in reality. And just as with the book, we've heard from people all around the world that the series gave them the courage to talk about issues they'd struggled to discuss before, including with their own families.

“The show's positive impact has been observed in numerous independent pieces of research. In one study, the vast majority of respondents who'd admitted to bullying before watching season one said that they had changed their behavior afterward. Another study showed that viewing 13 Reasons Why gave college students a better understanding of suicide but did not increase suicidal thoughts or behavior. In 2018, the show won a Mental Health America Media Award for encouraging conversations ‘between parents, students and mental health advocates on the epidemic of teen suicide, depression and bullying.’

“Dr. Rebecca Hedrick has experienced these positive effects firsthand working as a psychiatrist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She has found that virtually all her patients who watched the series said it not only reflected their experiences at high school, but also helped to start conversations with their parents. In particular, they felt heard and understood in a way that they had not before — sparking hope and leading them to seek help. 

“Yet doubts about 13 Reasons Why and its impact on teenagers persist, in large part due to concerns about suicide contagion. However, as psychologist Christopher Ferguson showed in a review published last year, the studies to date do not support the theory that fictional media (as opposed to coverage of real-life suicides, especially by celebrities) creates suicide contagion.

“Critics have pointed to spikes in crisis call-center activity, internet searches and posts online to argue that the series has driven suicidal behavior. This ignores the way the show actually encouraged people who were struggling to reach out for help. After the launch of season one, Crisis Text Line says that nearly 70 percent of those who contacted them for the first time cited 13 Reasons Why as the impetus to seek help, with 65 percent admitting to sharing something they had never talked about before.

“As The Los Angeles Times recently reported, a new study using Centers for Disease Control data claims to show a correlation between 13 Reasons Why and an increase in teen suicide. However, the research failed to substantiate the author's own hypothesis: that when the show launched on March 31, 2017, young females would be most affected, because it's a girl whose suicide is depicted onscreen. In fact, there was no increase in suicide rates for adolescent girls that spring — and for boys the increase started before the show even launched. As you can see from the chart below, which is based on the same government data, suicide counts for adolescent girls over the last decade have been much more stable than for boys, which have risen consistently. The highest recorded month for girls was November 2016, well before anyone had ever watched 13 Reasons Why.

“It's always hard to understand correlation with these types of studies, given that you don't know who watched the show or heard about it in the news. Experts also agree that many factors contribute to people taking their own lives. As the authors of the recent study themselves explained, this ‘limits our ability to draw any causal conclusions between the release of 13 Reasons Why and increased suicide rates in young people in the U.S. There may have been other events or unmeasured factors that occurred during the study period that might be associated with increased suicide rates.’

“The suicide of Aaron Hernandez in April 2017, for example, was widely covered by the media. And in her 17 years practicing psychiatry, Dr. Hedrick has never observed political debate having such a detrimental impact on her patients' mental health, especially people of color, as she has today. If you compare the data for 2016 and 2017, suicides went up 48 percent for Hispanic boys — double the rate for white boys. Suicide attempts among white youth declined from 2016 to 2017, while they increased among youth of color.

“Depression and suicide have been on the increase for many years, so it's important we keep the conversation going to avoid the taboos that stigmatize people and prevent them getting help. 13 Reasons Why is not the first show to take on these hard topics, nor is it the first to be graphic in its storytelling. But we believe it was the honest, unflinching way the show looked at bullying, rape and suicide that helped get the world talking — and for the better.

Brian Yorkey is the creator and executive producer of 13 Reasons Why. Dr. Hedrick is an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and an adviser to the show.”


Per Variety, “Genius Brands International has launched a new animated TV series, Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, with Arnold Schwarzenegger attached to star.

“‘It is an honor and privilege to work with Genius Brands and POW! Entertainment on this new series and help carry on Stan’s creative legacy by introducing this new group of superheros to preschool children around the world,’ Schwarzenegger said. ‘Not only does Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten feature comedy and action, but there are many valuable lessons to be learned along the way! Of particular pride to me is the fact that I am not only teaching kids to use their superpowers, but I am also imparting valuable lessons to kids worldwide about the importance of health, exercise, and nutrition.’

“One of the final projects created by Lee prior to his death, the series will be a co-production between Genius Brands, Lee’s POW! Entertainment and Schwarzenegger’s Oak Productions with Schwarzenegger serving as co-executive producer, in addition to lending his voice as the lead character. Fabian Nicieza is scripting the series. Genius Brands’ chairman and CEO Andy Heyward serves as executive producer along with Gill Champion, president of POW! Entertainment.

“Schwarzenegger will play Arnold Armstrong, who was an average gym teacher before he was imbued with superpowers when the earth passed through the ionic dust left in the wake of a mysterious comet. He becomes Captain Courage, one of Earth’s greatest protectors. However, after a battle with his arch nemesis, Dr. Superior, he expended all of his powers in defeating his foe, and forced to end his career as Captain Courage — until a massive explosion of super-energy particles came raining down and rumors of super-powered children began surfacing. Now, he serves as a kindergarten teacher who secretly trains the new generation of young superheros.

“‘Stan loved and admired Arnold as not just an actor, but a true hero in so many ways and always envisioned Arnold for this role,’ said Heyward. ‘From Spider-Man, Iron Man, X-Men, Black Panther, Incredible Hulk, Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor, Captain America, Captain Marvel, The Avengers and countless more, Stan was the greatest creator, that Hollywood and pop culture has ever known. We are honored to continue his legacy of creating a new superhero franchise for kids with another iconic hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten.’

“‘What will be particularly unique about this series is that there will be an animated cameo of Stan Lee appearing in each and every episode. Just as his millions of fans look forward to seeing him appear in each Marvel film, they will look forward to his presence in each episode of this cartoon. The strong positive messaging of the series regarding health, exercise, and nutrition, coming from the credibility of Arnold Schwarzenegger, will make it a series that parents will enjoy alongside their children.’”