Tuesday August 6, 2019

The Bachelorette and Bachelor In Paradise have been renewed by ABC for new seasons to premiere in 2020.

Netflix has canceled The OA.

Season finales tonight for The 100, Blood & Treasure, and Drunk History.

Season premieres tonight for The Real Housewives of Orange County, Flipping Exes (series premiere), Intervention and HBO’s Hard Knocks (featuring the Oakland Raiders).

Younger‘s Nico Tortorella will also star in the new Walking Dead spinoff, which is set to premiere sometime in 2020.

This kid Kai is the biggest fb I’ve seen on any program in a very very long time.

A lot of ABC news today, starting with this: “Could Happy Endings live to see another day at ABC? According to ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke, the answer may surprise you. ‘I will never say never; I'm hearing whispers,’ Burke told The Hollywood Reporter during an interview Monday after her time onstage at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour. ‘That is a dream of a lot of people at ABC. I'm hearing that there's a remote possibility of something. It's at the very beginning [stages].’ Burke, who replaced Channing Dungey at the helm of ABC in November, noted that Happy Endings perfectly represents the type of comedies she and new head of comedy Erin Wehrenberg are looking for in a bid to expand the network's family comedy brand. ‘Happy Endings was certainly one of my favorite ABC shows,’ admitted Burke, ‘One of the things Erin and I bonded over when she came over [from Warner Bros. TV] to take over comedy development was a desire to do a show like Happy Endings, which led to a conversation about Happy Endings. So, I think she's exploring what's possible.’"

The Goldbergs are heading to Disneyland in for the show’s 7th season premiere in an episode that will pay homage to the 1983 film National Lampoon’s Vacation. Anthony Michael Hall and Christie Brinkley will both participate. Here is a description of the episode, per the network: Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) insists the family take a road trip to go on vacation to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, before Erica (Hayley Orrantia) and Barry (Troy Gentile) go off to college. But, like the film, things do not go as planned as they travel across the country. Meanwhile, Erica worries more and more about her relationship with Geoff (Sam Lerner) when he teases “we need to talk” and won’t tell her anything until the family returns from their adventure.

ABC is developing an anthology series based around historical women of the civil rights movement, ABC entertainment president Karey Burke said Monday during the Television Critics Association press tour. The series, titled Women of the Movement, is a chronology of the civil rights movement as told from a black woman’s point of view, with the first season centered on Mamie Till, who devoted her life to seeking justice in her son Emmett’s name following his murder in the Jim Crow South. The first season will be based on the book, Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement, by Devery S. Anderson. During her executive session, Burke added that the network is eyeing a potential second season to focus on Rosa Parks.”

The Little Mermaid will come to ABC as a live musical. Moana star Auli’i Cravalho will play the lead role. Queen Latifah will play the villainous Ursula and Shaggy will play the crab, Sebastian. More castings will be announced at a later date. The special will feature music from the original animated film and the Tony Award-winning Broadway stage version, originally composed by Alan Menken. Howard Ashman’s iconic film lyrics will also be showcased, while lyricist for the Broadway adaptation, Glenn Slater, will also contribute. It is slated to air Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. ET.”

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, “ABC is adding another game show to its lineup.

“Jimmy Kimmel and producer Mark Burnett are teaming up for Generation Gap, a comedic game show in which family members from different generations have to answer trivia questions about each other's generations. For instance, an eight-year-old might have to complete the catchphrase ‘Go ahead, make my __.’

“Kimmel and Burnett will serve as executive producers for the show along with Barry Poznick. Details including a host and premiere date will be announced later. MGM Television, headed by Burnett, and Kimmel's company Kimmelot are producing.

“Though they're teaming up now, Kimmel aimed some pointed jokes at Burnett — the creator of The Apprentice — when he hosted the 2016 Emmys. ‘Thanks to Mark Burnett, we don't have to watch reality shows anymore because we're living in one,"' he said about two months before Apprentice star Donald Trump was elected president. "If Donald Trump gets elected and he builds that wall, the first person we're throwing over is Mark Burnett." (Burnett laughed off the barbs from the audience.)

Generation Gap will join a robust lineup of studio game shows on ABC. The shows are a linchpin of the network's summer schedule, with Celebrity Family Feud, The $100,000 Pyramid, To Tell the Truth, Press Your Luck, Card Sharks and Match Game all currently airing. ABC also has Don't, hosted by Adam Scott and executive produced by Ryan Reynolds, in the works.

“The game show is the latest ABC project for Kimmel as a producer. The Jimmy Kimmel Live! host teamed with Norman Lear for the successful live stagings of All in the Family and The Jeffersons in May, and ABC on Monday announced it's doing two more such specials in the 2019-20 season.  

Jimmy Kimmel Live!, meanwhile, is set through 2022 with a three-year deal the host signed in May.”

I will watch exactly zero seconds of this nonsense.

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One more Euphoria piece before we bid adieu to this one for a while (hopefully). Per EW, “HBO’s wild new series Euphoria came to a dramatic end in its season 1 finale last night. The final moments involved a breakup (Rue and Jules, a.k.a. Rules), a breakdown (Nate), and full-fledged musical number (Rue).

“While Rue (Zendaya) and Jules (Hunter Schafer) had a magical moment at the dance and their first big romantic kiss, the pair ultimately parted ways as Jules headed to “the city” and Rue returned home and relapsed.

EW talked to Schafer about that tearful train station goodbye and her hopes for season 2.

Let’s talk about the finale: What did you think of Jules leaving Ru at the train station?
Yeah, I mean, it’s complicated and hard to just feel one-sided because there’s a lot going on right there. I think Jules is sort of wrapped up in this idea of the city, especially after her most recent trips there and having this wild experience and feeling the energy that she craved. And then coming back home and missing that, but also while she was in the city, she was missing Rue. So when Rue offers or sort of just throws the idea out there that they could run off and just go to the city and be happy now that they’re in this place of sort of an understood reciprocation of their love for each other, of course Jules jumps at that.

So I understand Jules as being upset and getting all wrapped up in this idea of being able to return to one of her favorite places she’s been to in a long time. In another sense, it’s the first time we see Rue really making a decision for her sister and her mom, which is really, really important, I think. And while she does relapse, I think that that decision can sort of be seen as a glimmer of hope maybe, and that she’s not making decisions around this sort of toxic idealization of Jules. So yeah, I don’t know. It’s hard to say.

I know you and Zendaya have gotten very close. Was that hard shooting a goodbye scene not knowing what the future holds for Ru and Jules?
Yeah. It was really emotional. It messes with me to see my friends in pain and I can’t do anything. When we we were shooting that scene, it’s just like we were standing on that train platform and the train for hours, but all I could do as my character was just try to coax Rue onto the train. And it was just heartbreaking to just feel that distance already there between the train platform and the train, and then knowing that we don’t know what the future holds for them.

But actually the last scene that we shot as Rue and Jules was the one in the hospital bed at the beginning of the episode. So that was also another emo one.

Are you being stopped by people on the street now? What is the fan reaction like?
Yeah, it’s been, it’s only really felt like it’s actually started to affect my day-to-day life in the past two, three weeks. It’s starting to happen where every time I go on walks around my neighborhood all the time, and I have been since I lived there. But now it’s like I can’t really do that. I just am still getting used to the idea that people are going to interject and say hi and stuff.

Before the winter formal, Rue and Jules catch their parents drinking wine together. Are they becoming a couple?
That’s a good question. I think it’s definitely, like, they were drinking wine together. I guess that could be something. I do not know how Rue and Jules would feel about this, though. That could, whoa, that would be a little messy.

Nate’s motivations and intentions toward Jules are still confusing. What is your take on their relationship?
Yeah, I mean, the really interesting part is I don’t think anybody knows. I think Jacob [Elordi, who portrays Nate] has even expressed not knowing what Nate’s intentions and feelings are, which has kept the interactions they’ve had a little ambiguous in that sense. But I mean, I think based off of his f—ing amazing scene this episode with his dad that was horrifying, he sort of experienced a mental break. I think you can tell that he’s not, like he’s not complete sociopathic or psychopathic in that I don’t think a psychopath would have lost his sh— and tried to bust his head open.

And so I think that is really telling, that he has an unbelievable amount of inner turmoil and conflict and a civil war going on inside of him, which I think is understandable or relatable to a lot of people. But I think for him, it’s astronomic inside. So I don’t think Nate knows. I think Nate probably has feelings, like little tinges of feelings that sometimes we’ve seen him let out but quickly met with self-suppression and killing that feeling, which is sort of internalized in a violent form, which is his favorite way to make a point.

Do you have a scene or episode this season you’re particularly proud of?
Let’s see. Yeah, I mean, I’m still pretty pumped about the club scene. Yeah, the scenes in episode 7 I feel really cool about because it was really special just having trans presences to do scenes with. I think was really fun and it allowed me to enter a headspace for those scenes. It just felt really nice to be in an environment where I was surrounded by people who shared an identity with me.

I loved the scene where Anna [Quintessa Swindell] is applying makeup to Jules and Jules is kind of, that’s a true story of mine Jules is telling about buying the shoes from Sears and sneaking them home. And so Sam [Levinson, the series’ creator] kind of let me interject my own story there. And the scene after where it’s sort of all flashing between Nate and Rue and Anna. I loved working with all of them. So they’re kind of all complied into one moment. And then when Rue says this isn’t going to end well.

There’s a rumor that Rue is actually dead and narrating this from the afterlife. Have you heard that?
Yeah, I’ve heard about it because it got pretty popular. I guess you could apply that perspective if you wanted to. But I don’t really see anything that confirms that.

Has Sam told you anything yet about season 2?
We’ve talked about it a little, but I absolutely can’t say anything.

Is there something you’d personally like to see happen with Jules in season 2?
I think I want to continue to see Jules work on herself in that she’s still got some major issues, and to continue to dissect that and feel it out. I think she learns from experiencing things. And so to experience what she needs to, without being messy, that’s from the sort of loving parent/sister relationship I feel like I have with her. That’s what I want for her, although who knows how it will play out. I’m sure it will be more messy than I would hope for her.”

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As we close the book on Euphoria, expect to be inundated with news and articles about Succession over the next several days and months. Here is an early review of season 2 (which premieres on Sunday), per Indiewire: “After developing its unique brand of satiric intensity in Season 1, Succession is leaning into its strengths in Season 2. That means more backstabbing schemes from children angling to be daddy’s No. 1 kiddo, more culture clashes as these out-of-touch 1 percenters pretend to be (or at least placate) everyday Americans, and, yes, it also means more Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) and Greg (Nicholas Braun), quibbling over chicken fingers at the kids’ table while the adults fight for dibs to every course of their banquet.

“Make no mistake, you’re watching this family eat itself alive. If anyone found early episodes of Jesse Armstrong’s critique of wealth-hoarding American families to be too soft in its condemnation of the Roy’s behavior, there’s no misunderstanding now: While you’ll feel for a few of the cannibals in powerful, fleeting moments, there’s an absurd amount of joy to be found in watching the uber-rich go to war with each other, stripping their souls bloody, and only winning in the coldest, ugliest, most Trumpian sense of the word.

“What’s been lost (and continues to be lost) is most often captured through Kendall (Jeremy Strong), the one-time successor whose ploy to overthrow his father would’ve succeeded if not for an ill-advised midnight run. His tragic fate from the Season 1 finale becomes a public shaming in Season 2, as he’s paraded through various Roy family gatherings like a prized buck slain by the top hunter — only he’s still living, breathing, and praising his killer. Kendall’s fall defines his arc through at least five episodes of Season 2, as his zombie-like presence shakes up every scene he’s beckoned to join; Kendall doesn’t act on his own ambitions any more, but Strong’s performance is a visceral and jarring reminder of what happens when you cross Logan (Brian Cox), and what really matters to each member of the family.

“Kendall isn’t sent to the proverbial farm because business must go on — Logan keeps his seat at the head of Waystar Royco, but he’s got new goals in mind to ensure the family’s future. If you saw the trailer, you already know: He wants to become the ‘No. 1 media conglomerate in the world,’ and to do that, the already expansive company has to get bigger. To say more cross into spoiler territory, but this basic idea necessitates many other enticing storylines: New strategy has to be discussed, appearances have to be maintained, and a successor has to be named… maybe.

“Logan tried that once before, to start off the series, and one could argue another very similar false promise is made in Season 2; a promise Logan will be unable to keep no matter the circumstances. But it also asks the audience to examine the cost of that lie. Not only has Logan alienated himself from his family, keeping them clinging to his coattails only because they hope to rip it from him, but it looks to be his ultimate downfall. Logan, like most of the Roys, is chasing something that can’t be caught: absolute power. No one person can hold it, just like no one person can be infallible — and in that thin line between unquestionable command and unreasonable requests lies the patriarch’s weakness. How it catches up to him, and who else it clips, is a delicious waiting game Armstrong builds beautifully.

“To be fair, he built a lot of it already. Part of what makes Season 2 fly so smoothly is how well we’ve come to know each of the characters, and how comfortably Armstrong lets us bask in their dysfunction: Roman (Kieran Culkin) believes he’s a bad person and yet still feels entitled to an empire, so Armstrong sets him on separate paths to explore each side of himself, knowing they have to converge. Connor (Alan Ruck), who’s paying Willa (Justine Lupe) to pretend to be his fiancé just to keep up his picture-perfect fantasyland, is so far gone he thinks he can run for president. Shiv (Sarah Snook) is where things get really interesting, as the capable and experienced political adviser has built a life separate from her family’s business, yet she can’t resist the urge to pop back in and counsel them, too.

“The pull of power and the astonishing things it does to those who wield it creates a story both obscene and inviting. Logan and the rest of the Roys perform the most outlandish acts to flaunt their power and make themselves feel superior. In the moment, they’re hilarious. It’s only when you take a step back and look at the broader picture that the humor becomes enriched by truth. It’s always easy to believe the Roys (or people like them) would make these ridiculous, often malicious, choices. (The post-dinner game in Episode 3, Hunting, is an instant classic.) But only those deserving to be taken down a peg are made into the butt of the jokes. Whenever the Roys have to confront someone from outside their egocentric bubble of money, Succession is tragic and only tragic. These well-timed reminders of the real people suffering from their selfishness (like last year’s softball game) only fuel your contempt for these wannabe gods, and together, Succession becomes a biting satire, built on the back of a family drama, and made stronger by each facet.

“To say Succession is the year’s best drama is a bit of an empty statement: For one, it’s been a notoriously weak year for the medium, with one prominent hourlong series after the next failing to live up to their pedigree. Thankfully, Succession breaks our cultural cold streak, but it does more that: By blending the vitriolic contempt of Veep with the interpersonal family drama in Game of Thrones, Armstrong’s series blends genres smoothly, stretching out the propulsive slew of insults found in Armando Ianucci’s political satire while trimming the fat from David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ bloated fantasy universe. “Succession” is about one family, one company, and the very real world they’re trying to control. Its eagerness to condemn the country’s terrifying trajectory, along with its efficiency and artistry, is what makes the drama great — the fun it has doing so is what makes it one-of-kind.”

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“Amazon and Paramount Television are developing a series adaptation of the 1997 sci-fi horror film Event HorizonVariety has learned.

“Adam Wingard is set to executive produce and direct the potential series. Wingard recently directed the film Godzilla vs. Kong, which is due out in theaters in March 2020. He has previously directed films like the recent Blair Witch reboot, The Guest, You’re Next, and the live-action version of Death Note. He also wrote and directed films like Autoerotic and What Fun We Were Having.

“Wingard willl executive produce along with Larry Gordon, Lloyd Levin, and Jeremy Platt. Gordon and Levin both produced the film.

“The film was directed by Paul W. S. Anderson and written by Philip Eisner. The titled referred to a spaceship that disappeared after testing an experimental gravity drive capable of creating an artificial black hole that was meant to allow the ship to travel to distant points in the galaxy. A rescue crew and the gravity drive’s inventor are sent to investigate after the ship mysteriously reappears, only to discover that the ship traveled to a hellish dimension outside of the known universe that infects the ship with a sinister sentience, leading to multiple deaths.

“It starred Laurence Fishburne as the captain of the rescue ship with Sam Neill playing the inventor of the gravity drive.

“It was also recently announced that Amazon had boarded the Simon Pegg-Nick Frost series Truth Seekers, a comedy-horror series about paranormal investigators. The streamer is also currently prepping the horror anthology series THEM from Lena Waithe.

“Among the many shows currently produce by Paramount Television is the Amazon series Jack Ryan as well as the Netflix shows 13 Reasons Why and The Haunting.”

Monday August 5, 2019

I finished Orange Is The New Black. I’m content with how the series wrapped up and it was time for it to go. More below.

I also finished season 4 of Last Chance U on Netflix.

I was not a fan of the Euphoria season finale. More below.

All hell really did break loose in the Big Brother house. I remain on team Cliff.

A new season of Bachelor In Paradise starts tonight.

Here’s a first look.

Season 2 of No Good Nick is now available on Netflix.

The series finale of Divorce airs on HBO tonight.

Showtime has renewed City On A Hill for a 2nd season.

Nancy O’Dell is leaving Entertainment Tonight.

The final season of Homeland won’t air until February 2020.

The 7th season of The 100 will be the show’s last.

Afton Williamson is not coming back to ABC’s The Rookie, and she says it’s because of bullying, racial discrimination, and the lack of response by the production team. On Sunday, Williamson shared a post on Instagram with a photograph of a drawing of her character, TO Talia Bishop, and a lengthy caption detailing her reasons for not returning to ABC’s The Rookie for a second season. ‘I will not be returning for Season 2 of The Rookie,’ she wrote. ‘I owe it to you my amazing fans to share the Truth. Throughout the filming of the pilot, I experienced Racial Discrimination/Racially Charged inappropriate comments from the hair department and bullying from Executive Producers. During the Season, it continued along with Sexual Harassment from a recurring guest star and the racist commentary & bullying from the Hair Dept. escalated into sexual assault at our wrap party.’”

Bam Margera is turning to Dr. Phil amid his ongoing struggles -- asking the daytime TV host to help mend fences with his own family ... and being very candid with what's wrong.The former Jackass star took to social media early Sunday morning with a pair of rambling videos and basically begged Phil to take his situation on, saying ... ‘Dr. Phil, I need your help in a big, big way.’ He explains that his ‘family is in shambles,’ while adding that ‘it's been worse than it's ever been, ever.’"

Truth Seekers, a comedy-horror series about paranormal investigators starring Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, will bow on Amazon Prime Video, which has landed international rights to the show and will launch it as an original. The project is the first series from its stars’ Sony-backed production company, Stolen Picture. Frost plays Gus, one half of a ghost-hunting, duo who team up to uncover and film paranormal sightings across the U.K. in the series. They stake out haunted churches, underground bunkers, and abandoned hospitals using an array of homemade ghost-detecting gizmos and share their adventures on an online channel. Their supernatural experiences grow more frequent, terrifying, and even deadly as the pair begin to uncover a conspiracy that could threaten the entire human race.”

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From Decider: “Patricia Arquette has played many memorable mothers over the years. She won the Academy Award for playing the same mom for 12 years in the 2014 drama Boyhood, which began filming in 2002. More recently, in the Hulu limited series The Act, she delivered an Emmy-nominated performance as Dee Dee Blanchard, a real-life abusive mother who was murdered in 2015. Now in Otherhood, a new comedy streaming on Netflix from director Cindy Chupack, the 51-year-old actor plays a mom who doesn’t know how to be anything else.

“The premise of Otherhood is simple: Three best friends—played by Arquette, Angela Bassett, and Felicity Huffman—are distraught when their adult sons forget Mother’s Day. Instead of letting it go, they decide to take a road trip to New York City, and reinsert themselves in their sons’ lives. Each woman has her own point of contention with her child, and for Arquette’s character Gillian, it’s that she disapproves of the girl that her son Daniel (Jake Hoffman) is hung up on. But at the heart of all of their conflicts is a deep fear that they are no longer needed in their children’s lives—and indeed, in the world.

First of all, congratulations on your double Emmy nomination for The Act and Escape at Dannemora. How are you feeling?

Oh, thank you! I mean, I am nominated against Joey King, so that’s kind of weird because I love her, and she’s like my daughter. I love all the actresses in all the categories. But it’s all out of my hands. It’s just nice to be recognized with such talented people for work that you cared about and worked hard on. It felt good.

It’s very well-deserved. But we’re here to talk about Otherhood, where you play an overprotective mother named Gillian, which, in a way, is similar to the role you play on The Act, Dee Dee Blanchard — though the characters are obviously very different. 

[Laughs.] Yeah, it’s all degrees. And there’s a part of me that has that tendency [of these characters]. Not like The Act, closer to Otherhood… but even less than Otherhood. I do go into my kids’ rooms and start cleaning, and they do say, “Stop cleaning my room.” And I do over-worry, like Dee Dee does—but not to Dee Dee’s extent.

How do you draw from your own experiences to build these characters? 

Usually, I might have a sliver of a quality that a character has, but they have [that quailty] much more. So I look at that, identify the humanness of that, and then I’ll expand it. In Dee Dee’s case, it’s expanded to a toxic level. And sometimes, I’ll look at people in my life. As an actor, you steal from your friends. “Oh, my friend I know really well, she’s like this.” I had an acting teacher years ago who said, “Steal from the past,” and I think that’s true.

Has your son ever forgotten Mother’s Day, as your on-screen son in Otherhood does?

No, but I’m such a nudge-y mom. I’m like, “It’s going to be Mother’s Day on Sunday!” I remind everyone: “Here’s what I want to do on Mother’s Day. I just want to be with you guys. I want to spend the day with you guys. That’s what I want.”

But I don’t get mad when people forget things. The only person that has the most pressure on them is probably my boyfriend. That’s the one person that upsets me if they forget my birthday, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, all of those things.

What was it like working with your co-stars, Angela Bassett and Felicity Huffman? That end-credits scene made it look like such a fun set. 

It was so fun in between takes talking to them. I mean, I never thought I’d get a chance to work with Angela! Most of my career I’ve worked with men, and I always wanted to work with her. I talked to her about her going to school, being a young actress, her first play and imagining her in this part. And then I was jealous because we’ll never see, on screen, Angela Bassett in her first play. I really wanted to see that performance.

We were all laughing, talking about motherhood, and improving. It was just really a joyful thing. No drama, just funny and supportive.

Do you find it’s a different atmosphere to be on a set led by women, in this case, director Cindy Chupack, versus film sets led by men?

Well, I don’t know,  because I just don’t even look at women vs. men. I look at Cindy as her own person. But I will say it was a really fun, nice set—light, supportive, and happy. There are so many women who are over 50, who are moms, and have had to deal with the empty nest stage. Yet we barely ever talk about that in film, even though it’s such a common experience for people. So I think when we look at film, we can see the deficit of everyday experiences of human beings because we have not had enough stories that were told by women.

You’ve spoken up about the gender pay gap, even before the Time’s Up movement brought it to the forefront.  Have you seen any improvements since you’ve taken up this cause?

Well, in some ways, yes. This conversation has been moving forward all over the world. I mean, Iceland, which is the most advanced country in the [gender pay gap] area, has made even more strides and they’re committed to being the first country on Earth to close the pay gap.

But we have steps forward and steps backward at the same time. Obama put in place a rule that required government contractors to report pay for every job title they had, including information on age, race, and sex. One of the first things Trump did in office was he rolled that back. When you have a lack of transparency, you can’t even have a conversation about why certain managers are being paid differently.

You’re very open about using your platform to discuss politics when many other actors shy away from doing so. Why?

I feel like I should have my rights as a taxpayer and as a citizen of this country. I’m concerned about where my country is headed. Some people don’t want to have these conversations, but it’s impacting people when we don’t. We have to have these conversations, as hard as they are.”

So help me if she doesn’t win an Emmy.

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, “[This story contains major spoilers from the final season of Netflix's Orange Is the New Black.]

Orange Is the New Black was inspired by the story and memoir of Piper Kerman. But when the Netflix series would wrap its acclaimed run seven seasons later, the love story between Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) and Alex Vause (Laura Prepon) would go on to diverge wildly and not even the stars behind the show's central romance knew how it would end.

“"In an oral history with the cast and team that launched OITNB into TV phenomenon status, Prepon was among the 23 people who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the early days of her character Alex, who came into Litchfield Penitentiary as the drug-smuggling ex-girlfriend of protagonist Piper, who had a fiance (Jason Biggs) on the outside. But Alex and Piper quickly became the show's central romance, which broke ground for LGBTQ representation in 2013. Over the course of OITNB, the tortured soulmates would embark on a will they-won't they affair that ended with a prison wedding and, in the series finale, a commitment to each other while Piper makes a clean start in Ohio and Alex finishes up a four-year sentence in the nearby maximum security prison. The final scene of the series saw the pair laughing together in a visitation room, as the real Piper and her husband, Larry Smith, made a cameo nearby.

“The full-circle tribute, Prepon tells THR, was one more layer of emotion for the scene partners to swallow while saying goodbye to the characters who will continue to be a lifeline for each other after the screen fades to orange. Below, Prepon reflects on her seven-year journey as Alex Vause and explains why the happy ending felt right:

You shared your audition story [Prepon first read for the role of Piper before creator Jenji Kohan tailored Alex for her]. During your chemistry read with Taylor Schilling (watch here), they said the match was made. What do you remember?

As soon as I met Taylor, I totally got it. Such a wonderful actress who has this softness to her, but also through the years, you really lean into her strength. She was just perfect for Piper. Then as soon as we worked together, we knew this was going to be great. And you can only hope for that type of thing to happen. It’s rare — I’m telling you, it’s rare. After having the good fortune to do this for over 20 years, it’s rare when you have those moments of that special connection and we have that.

The first episode ended with Alex's arrival at Litchfield, but the writers didn't even know how the season was going to end when they were casting. What did you know about OITNB when you signed on?

Netflix hadn’t taken off yet, we were on that streaming ride with them the whole way. So when I first read the script, it was explained to me as a webisode! And I was coming from primetime network television — I was on That ‘70s Show for eight years, and then I did October Road on ABC and Are You There Chelsea? on NBC. But I’m always willing to take a risk for something that I believe in. When I looked at Alex, I thought she was an incredible character with a lot of potential. One thing I've learned is that it’s about the material. And the material really, really spoke to me. At the time I was seeing a lot of scripts because I was a free agent, and I was being very particular with what I wanted to do. When this script came around, you had to pay attention to it. I loved it so much. That ‘70s Show went for eight years but it was a different time. It was us, Everybody Loves RaymondFriends and Seinfeld. You had these stable shows in the home. Orange is a totally different ballgame. We broke new ground in so many ways and I know how fortunate I am to be part of it.

You filmed the first season all at once and in a vacuum. What was it like when you got to set and you and Schilling filmed your first scene?

Taylor and I had the chemistry read and then our first scene ever was that opening shower scene [in the first episode]. We were so comfortable with each other and immediately just very respectful. Taylor is a total pro. Whenever we were doing a scene like that she and I talked everything out: "My hands are going to be here, what are you comfortable with? What are you not comfortable with?" It’s always a little weird being like, “I’m naked in a shower with this woman I just met and there’s a camera and a crew out there!” But it wasn’t gratuitous. I knew there was nudity and my main thing is to make sure that it feeds the story. Not having limits [with Netflix] really let us express how we thought the characters should be portrayed. And it gave Jenji the creative freedom to tell the story she wants to tell. It’s very cool having that, rather than having a network micro-manage everything. 

Alex and Piper became an overnight "Ross and Rachel" at a time when a starring same-sex relationship was groundbreaking. What was it like to be on the receiving end of that? 

It was totally new. When the show really took off and was becoming mainstream, there wasn’t another relationship like Alex and Piper anywhere. That’s one of the amazing things about Orange, is that we take on these storylines that are not normally represented. I was just so happy to be portraying a relationship that women could relate to when there wasn’t anything out there for them. People were coming up with things like #Vauseman and dressing up like us for Halloween. But the thing that really matters to me is that people felt like they could identify with us and that they felt represented by Alex and Piper.

Hearing you say that, does it now feel even more right that they end up together in the end? They get to live on in the hall of fame of TV couples.

You have to do that. Who knew what was going to happen with the fact that we do go against so many norms on this show. Truthfully, I didn’t know if Alex and Piper were going to end up together. But I hoped, because you want them to be together. You've invested all this time with these women — the good, the bad and the ugly of the relationship. Piper and Alex have gone through so much. You want to see them together and you want fans to feel fulfilled. It would have been an injustice to not have them together at the end. I’m really glad that that happened.

Kohan and executive producer Tara Herrmann told each of the series regulars how your character's stories would end ahead of the final season. That's also when they officially shared that the show was ending with season seven. Were you surprised?

I knew that it was going to be the last season. I just knew. Because I’ve been on another long-running show before, you can feel when it’s coming. I knew with the last season of ‘70s. We had done eight years. It was a wonderful series. And we all bawled our eyes out and were, like, hyperventilating crying; I started that show when I was 18 and we all grew up together. But you knew the end was coming and the same thing happened with Orange. After season five, I felt we probably had one to two more seasons once we started with Max. And then when we got the word, I said, "I understand. I get it." I was concerned for some of the other girls because this was their first long job. I knew to expect all the grief, the crying. And there’s a little bit of a postpartum after it ends. After ‘70s, I had quite a bit of a postpartum period where it’s an adjustment. So when Orange ended, I was prepared. I love the women I work with; I love directing the show. Our crew is so awesome. You miss all of that. I miss playing Alex. But you learn and take those things with you. There’s so many amazing relationships I made on this show that will continue, no matter what. 

They also gave you the "gift" of telling you how the final season would be play out. [That Alex and Piper would try an open marriage, but end up together in the end.]

For the first time, we found out what our character arc was going to be. They were definitely more secretive on this show. Every show is its own microcosm and the microcosm of Orange was that it was very secretive and you never really knew what was coming, and you learn to roll with it. That was really something that I had to adapt to, the fact that there was a lot of mystery and you didn’t know what was going to happen to your character. That was a muscle I got to learn and flex. But I knew my character so well because I was living in her skin for so many years. You just kind of knew who she was, and the writers knew who Alex was so they really wrote great stuff for her. I always love the way that Jenji wrote Alex.

What was it like to film that final Alex and Piper scene to end the series finale?

We just kind of laughed. That wasn’t actually our last day. It was the last scene of us together, but Taylor and I still had more days on set so that freed us up to have fun, so we weren't crying the whole time! When we were doing this last season, we were happy that it ended with them being together. Because we do a lot of things that are realistic on our show, a lot of times it’s not a happy ending. I wasn’t sure if they were going to go the ultra-realistic route and keep them apart, or if they were going to give that to the fans and have Alex and Piper be together. Luckily, they did. Piper Kerman was there that day and Larry [Smith] — the real Piper and "Alex" are sitting to our left in that visitation scene. Taylor and I were really just in the moment. We were embracing the fact that the series was coming to an end and we got each other through it. Taylor and I are great friends, but who knows when we’re going to be on camera together again? We were reveling in how special this whole journey has been.

How do you picture their future after the screen fades to orange?

Well, Alex and Piper end up together. I think they both learned a lot from these years in prison and they’ll take that with them. I’m hoping that they use that to treat each other a lot better, which I’m sure they will. Because at the end of the day, love is love is love. And Alex and Piper love each other, so you just figure it out.

You also returned to the directing chair this season and helmed the powerful fifth episode, "Minority Deport," which sees the deportation of fan-favorite Maritza Ramos (Diane Guerrero). How did that episode come to you and can you talk about the decision to have her vanish on the plane?

Anthony Natoli wrote the episode. He and I work great together; he wrote the episode I directed last year. My two prior Orange episodes were towards the end of the season, which is when everything is exploding. They had told me my episode this year was going to be earlier and I was excited for my own directing education. I loved Anthony's script. I thought it touched on so many things and that it was very powerful. The whole story with Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez) and what was going on with her family in terms of the generations of incarceration. The immigration storyline with Maritza was just heartbreaking. And doing those immigration court scenes with Blanca (Laura Gómez). You have these very intense storylines and still moments of levity, because you need to have those moments. You have Piper having her situation with her brother on the outside, so it was this wonderful juxtaposition of all these problems that people were dealing with.

That vanishing treatment was a special effects shot. Exactly what we got on camera was what I had pictured in my head when I first read the script. You film it in place and choose where you want the people to disappear like a puzzle. But there were a couple technical things. At first they told me we didn't have an airplane or stairs, just a tarmac. I told them, "Get me stairs and we can make this work." So we shot that entire opening of Diane walking up and stepping onto the plane in three different locations — and it turned out to be this flawless, powerful thing. I’m really proud of the episode.

Where are you in the process of saying goodbye to OITNB?

This show has been one of the most special experiences I’ve ever had in my career. Being a part of this cast, portraying Alex. You can’t really think about it in terms of, "Where do you go from here?" I’ll take all of it with me and it will inform the next project I do, but I don’t take it for granted. And we really wouldn’t be here without the fans of the show. We became the sensation that Orange became because of the fans supporting us, and the fact that Netflix let us express ourselves in the way that we did. So it’s always all about the fans and I’m just so appreciative of all of it, truthfully.”

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A spot on take on the finale of Euphoria in my opinion, per A.V. Club, “[t]hose big school dances that are supposed to be a night to remember and the height of teenage fun and fantasy, in actuality, are pretty terrible. Euphoria doesn’t let its characters have very much fun at the dance that anchors its season finale at all (maybe Cassie and Lexi are the only ones genuinely enjoying themselves, and that probably has to do with the fact that they’re just sitting and watching everyone else). But the show almost leans too hard into its teen angst and turmoil here. In fact, it’s downright solipsistic. And much like the start of the series, this finale is just trying so hard to be dark and disturbing that it often does so at the expense of character development and telling a compelling story.

Euphoria’s season finale has the least amount of narration of any other episode of the show. Rue’s omniscient observations still come up from time to time, but for the most part, this finale doesn’t lean as much on the device, which helps make the story feel more present and alive. But Euphoria is still more obsessed with its own bells and whistles than it is with the actual storytelling. Even the montage of everyone getting ready for the dance is lengthy and pretty but not necessarily satisfying. And the voiceover of Rue’s mom’s letter on top doesn’t fit...at all.

“Disconnect is a recurring problem in the season finale, which is the most disjointed the series has felt. I have my qualms with Rue’s voiceover, but at least it provides a clear throughline. The finale is a jumbled mess. It weaves between the dance in the present and flashbacks to the character’s weeks leading up to it. Nate and Maddy have another fight, break up, and Nate wins a football game. Cassie gets an abortion. Jules tells Rue about hooking up with Anna. These are all fine snapshots that bring the characters’ arcs to a head, but the episode jumps between present and past indiscriminately and without any sense of rhythm.

“It’s especially confusing that a show so concerned with aesthetics and art housey direction can’t seem to find its rhythm or make sense of its own structure. Euphoria experiments with form, seen especially in the final sequence—a gorgeous but ultimately hollow choreographed number that turns Rue’s relapse into a twisted ballet—but sometimes that experimentation is erratic and indulgent. Sam Levinson’s direction has an eye, but it lacks skin. There’s no connective tissue outside of the stylization itself. And it isn’t enough to really hold a story together and make it feel lived in. The finale is visually immersive but too chaotic in its narrative for anything to stick.

“And the finale tries so hard to wrap up so many storylines that it never really reaches a satisfying conclusion for any of them. Sure, not everything comes to a conclusion, but the finale does split time between pretty much every character so that it’s hard to really settle into any one of their arcs. Cassie’s abortion is almost like an afterthought, another instance of Euphoria merely trying to be provocative instead of actually saying anything. The figure skating sequence is another gorgeous but empty thing, and the way it’s spliced between other scenes that, again, don’t really thematically connect to it detracts from the impact.

Euphoria hasn’t been a complete misfire, and the finale, while structurally perplexing and leaving a lot to be desired, does include some of the show’s strengths. For starters, the performances—especially from the younger cast members—are superb. There’s some seriously impressive young talent at the heart of this show. In particular, Zendaya and Hunter Schafer so powerfully capture all the pinpricks and punches of Rue and Jules complicated romance and friendship. They’re soft and sweet with each other, but there’s also an underlying sadness.

“The finale does touch on some of the more compelling recurring themes of the series, too. Teen love is one hell of a drug, and Euphoria is a razor’s edge in the way it explores that. Jules admits to Rue that she loves Anna but loves her, too, and it’s easy to believe both are true because Jules does feel so much all the time. Kat decides to plunge into love, too, although Kat’s presence in the finale feels a bit like an afterthought, too, and I don’t totally buy her sudden change of character, even if it does thankfully bring a dose of sweetness to the dance.

“Maddy and Nate are still wrapped up in their toxic relationship, although the note they end on in this finale is hard to interpret, because it doesn’t really commit to one outcome or the other for them. Nate’s function in the episode in general is one of the hardest things to pin down. Nate has been one of the show’s Big Bads all season, but he’s often presented as a victim in the finale. Of course, complicating bad characters by showing the reasons why they’re bad can make for compelling storytelling, but here it’s not like Nate is suddenly becoming a more nuanced and interesting character. It feels too forced and underdeveloped. The finale drops a lot of the plot and character work it has been doing in favor of this experimental, fragmented form.

“Just like much of this series has felt like a bunch of adults asking ‘did you KNOW that Gen Z teens do SO MUCH WILD STUFF?,’ the finale often screams its themes. Being a teenager sucks. Love hurts. The theatrics and emotions of Euphoria are supersized. But the show simultaneously takes itself so seriously and sometimes gets lost in its own grandeur.

“Stray observations:

I hope to see Hunter Schafer in a million more things. I find this cast incredible across the board, but she’s such a standout.

Parents really do a number on their kids in this show, causing intentional and unintentional harm that really shapes them. That’s been another one of the series’ compelling themes, but the finale doesn’t deliver as hard there.

I have a feeling that final sequence is going to be a polarizing love/hate situation for folks, and I just don’t think it worked! A lot of this show is pretty to look at, but at the end of the day what it is it actually doing?

With a few exceptions—like Jules and Rue’s relationship—the characters on this show often just can’t seem to see beyond themselves, and maybe that’s slightly believable teen behavior, but it seems so extreme here and makes it hard to get invested in their stories.

I love Fez, but his storyline here also feels like its wedged into an already overcrowded episode.”



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Per Variety, “Showtime is increasing its original content this year by 30% more programming hours in both scripted and unscripted fare, announced co-president of entertainment Jana Winograde at the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour Friday.

“‘For the past five years, there’s been this incredible growth in content and huge behemoths coming into the over-the-top world and we continue to grow,’ she said, adding that it’s ‘hard to say’ when too much is too much, so long as there is audience interest in the material.

“Amid a consolidating industry environment, the network continues to lean into its framing as a ‘boutique option to the big-box stores,’ affirming that even with the programming expansion, it intends to remain a smaller operation. But Showtime execs’ comments, however good humored, made clear that they’re aware of the budding battle for viewers ahead.

“‘We don’t just dump a series, send an email and hope it connects,’ said her fellow co-head Gary Levine, taking a not-too-subtle dig at Netflix’s binge-inducing model of viewing. Throwing shade on all fronts, he even opened the presentation with a faux ad for ‘Showtime Maxi-Plus,’ a joke denoting the forthcoming Disney Plus and HBO Max streaming services on the horizon.

“‘We premiere each of our shows with our entire company focused on launching that series successfully and let the conversation build over the months that we continue to roll out new episodes,’ he said.

“On the topic of individual shows, Levine sidestepped a separate question about William H. Macy’s role in the college admissions scandal, simply saying that ‘Bill was just really happy to be back to work on Shameless, and we were really happy to have someone of his talent someone of his work ethic and the leader that he is on the set of Shameless.'

“Actor Felicity Huffman, Macy’s wife, pleaded guilty in May to paying a $15,000 bribe to artificially improve her daughter’s SAT score. Macy, who was not charged, reportedly agreed to the deal with the mastermind behind the scandal, admissions consultant William ‘Rick’ Singer.

“As The Chi enters its third season, Lena Waithe will appear on-screen in the third season of The Chi, said Levine, saying she’s ‘really all over it.’

“The execs addressed the misconduct and harassment accusations against actor Jason Mitchell on Fox-produced Showtime series The Chi, with Winograde saying they were made aware of the allegations against Mitchell fairly immediately.

“Mitchell was initially given ‘guidance about appropriate behavior on the set.’ The incident followed news of misconduct allegations on the set of a Showtime series, with SMILF showrunner and creator Frankie Shaw accused of both making an actress uncomfortable on set and discriminating against African-American writers on the ABC Studios-produced show.

“When asked about how what they’ve learned from such incidents when it comes to navigating relationships with and managing new, less experienced showrunners, Levine acknowledged that there is a ‘learning curve.’

“‘One could play it safe and go with the tried and true, but then you’d never get the new voices, and we’re so proud of the new voices we’re cultivating’ said Levine. ‘We’re all figuring this out, as an industry and trying to build the right support mechanisms in with more experienced people around them.’

“‘These are delicate situations,’ he added. “'We;re [sic] dealing with young, talented people’s careers, and I think we take the allegations really seriously, we investigate them thoroughly and confidentially, and then we take decisive action.’

“‘Bottom line,’ he said, ‘[SMILF] is no longer on the air and [Mitchell] is no longer on The Chi.'”

Friday August 2, 2019

CBS has ordered a 2nd season of Love Island.

I’m on the fence with how I feel about Weston. I think he did what many others did, and perhaps got a bit of a bad rap, but transparency always wins.

MDR: NY should be no shorter than 90 minutes each week. Did anyone feel like last night’s season premiere was too long? I didn’t think so.

Season 3 of Dear White People is now available on Netflix.

A Black Lady Sketch Show premieres tonight on HBO.

Here’s a review.

The season 1 finale of Euphoria airs on Sunday night.

Here are some open items that may or may not get resolved.

Sunday night also marks the premiere of E!’s Flip It Like Disick as well as a new season for AMC’s Preacher and TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé: Before The 90 Days.

Here’s the cast for the latter of those 3.

Last but not least this weekend is the season premiere of Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj, which will be available to stream on Netflix on Sunday.

In case you had high hopes, there will not be a Dawson’s Creek reboot. Nor will Desperate Housewives get a reboot treatment. Glad to see a few people out there actually get it.

“CBS may be hurting from the nearly two-week old blackout born of its carriage dispute with AT&T, but CBS All Access is reaping some of the benefits. ‘We have seen an uptick since AT&T blacked us out,’ admitted an almost sheepish CBS Interactive boss Marc DeBevoise today at TCA of the small screen battle and the subscription streamer. CBS stations in NYC, LA and across the nation have been dark since July 20 as the 2012-inked contract with AT&T-owned satellite giant DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-verse cable systems officially expired. When fans of the just renewed Love Island and Big Brother turn on their local CBS station in the affected markets, they find a slate from DirecTV that says, ‘CBS has removed this channel from your lineup despite our request to keep it available to you.’” I’m amongst the new CBS All-Access customers, begrudgingly. Settle your beef! More on CBS All-Access below.

James Marsden and Amber Heard have nabbed the lead roles in CBS All Access’ upcoming adaptation of Stephen King’s 1978 novel The Stand. Along with those two, Odessa Young and Henry Zaga have also boarded the limited series, the streamer announced Thursday during the Television Critics Association press tour.”

Ninja is leaving Twitch for Microsoft’s Mixer. This is, evidently, very big news.

Adam Scott is joining the ranks of ABC's game-show hosts, signing on to front the network's forthcoming series Don't. The Big Little Lies and Parks and Recreation star will host the series from Banijay Studios North America and executive producer Ryan Reynolds. The show puts teams of four through a series of comedic challenges with the simple rule of ‘Don't,’ as in ‘Don't laugh’ or ‘Don't blink,’ with a top prize of $100,000.”

Bob Harper will host USA’s reboot of The Biggest Loser.

“Steve Gold told his Million Dollar Listing co-stars that his girlfriend, Luiza Gawlowska, was pregnant prior to shocking fans on social media. But Ryan Serhant and Fredrik Eklund said they only found out weeks before the public announcement. ‘He surprised us,’ Serhant, 35, told Page Six, adding that Gold, 34, decided to break the news to him at a housewarming party at his new apartment. ‘He introduced us to his girlfriend for the first time, and she turns around and she’s super pregnant. Like nine months [pregnant],’ Eklund, 42, added, before Gold clarified, ‘Seven.’ Serhant thought Gold was pranking them since he and Eklund also recently became first-time fathers. ‘I totally thought he was joking,’ Serhant told us. ‘Steve’s a funny guy, so I kind of thought because we were showing up with our baby and [Fredrik] has his two kids, maybe he was, like, “Oh, let’s pull a joke on them,” but no. It was real and a baby came out.’”

Donald Trump's sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, will be front and center at Saturday's big UFC fight, and ESPN will show their mugs on TV ... but there are a few strings attached. Sources connected to the Disney-owned network tell TMZ ... there has been no pressure to keep them off camera to avoid controversy. It's a particularly sensitive time, with Trump's latest attacks which have a huge swath of the country calling him racist. The UFC community -- both fans and fighters -- is diverse, and the presence of the Trumps is a powder keg. Nevertheless, we're told UFC honcho Dana White is calling the shots on who gets on TV, and we're told the Trump kids will get as much air time as other big celebs at the Prudential Center in Newark. Not to say Dana's directing, but he gives broad directives, and there is no Trump ban. Now ... we're told the commentators have been told ... NO POLITICS -- and that's squarely in line with ESPN's directive.”

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Per Deadline, “CBS All Access is moving into feature documentaries for the first time with a film based on Blake J. Harris’ book Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation. The SVOD service is also developing a limited series based on the source material.

“The feature doc is produced in partnership with Legendary Television Studios and Oscar-winning documentarian Doug Blush. It is directed by Harris and Jonah Tulis and is being executive produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s Point Grey Productions and Scott Rudin Productions.

“The limited series is being written by Mike Rosolio and Jordan Vogt-Roberts attached to direct.

“Julian Rosenberg from Circle of Confusion produces both alongside Tulis and Harris.

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation, published by HarperCollins in 2014, is described as the mesmerizing, behind-the-scenes drama that chronicles how Sega, a small, scrappy gaming company led by an unlikely visionary and a team of rebels, took on the juggernaut Nintendo and revolutionized the video game industry.

“Elsewhere, The Late Late Show With James Corden producer Fulwell 73 is producing a non-fiction series for CBS All Access with celebrity medium Thomas John. It is expected to air later this year or early next year.

The Untitled Thomas John Project stars Thomas Flanagan, a former Chicago drag queen who says he is a psychic medium with paranormal abilities who has previously starred in Lifetime’s Seatbelt Psychic.

“The company also revealed that it would air poker tournament WSOP Bracelet Events. The event, is considered the most coveted non-monetary prize a poker player can win.

“The new shows were unveiled by Marc DeBevoise, President and Chief Operating Officer, CBS Interactive, during the TCA summer press tour. DeBevoise also revealed that he expects the 8M subscribers that CBS All Access and Showtime’s digital service to grow to 25M by 2022.”

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From TheWrap: “Amazon has set the lineup of more than 60 teams from 30 countries that will be competing on World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji, the Eco-Challenge reboot from Mark Burnett and Bear Grylls.

“Hosted by Grylls and executive produced by Burnett, Lisa Hennessy and Eric Van Wagenen, the ‘epic, gritty and unpredictable’ race will take place in Fiji this fall and be captured for a 10-episode series to launch on Prime Video in 2020.

“Among the teams racing are Team Khukuri Warriors, 28-year-old sisters from India who are racing for gender equality and are the first set of twins and South Asians to complete the Explorers Grand Slam (7 Summits, North & South Pole); a team of veteran racers who competed in all nine seasons of Eco-Challenge, now returning as grandparents; an American Eagle Scout team and a team of Scouts from Australia, a team of Wounded Warriors who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, the world’s youngest expedition racer to compete in the Adventure Racing World Series at the age of 17, who holds three world records; and a team of Ironman athletes including The Iron Cowboy who gained notoriety for completing 50 Ironmans in 50 states in 50 days.

“The teams are racing to raise awareness to a variety of causes, including breast cancer, military veterans, equal pay, and Alzheimer’s disease.

“Here’s the official description for the MGM Television produced series, per Amazon:

World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji is the ultimate expedition race in which teams will race non-stop, 24 hours a day, across hundreds of miles of rugged backcountry terrain complete with mountains, jungles and oceans. Each race team is comprised of four competitors, including at least one member of the opposite sex, and one assistant crewmember that will be helping their team from base camp. Each team will race under a single country flag while making their way through some of the most impenetrable terrain Fiji has to offer.

The race will encompass a variety of non-motorized forms of transportation and other various challenges including outrigger paddling, mountain biking, rappelling, climbing, whitewater rafting, paddle boarding, and canyoneering, which teams must pass assessment tests in. Navigation must be done with a map and compass only and teams will be required to use expedition problem-solving skills in their quest to the finish line. If any team member quits or is unable to complete the race, the entire team will be disqualified. Only teams that can work together under extreme stress and fatigue have any hope of reaching the finish.

“‘Challenging oneself in the outdoors is as relevant today as it was 25 years ago when Eco-Challenge began. It’s the ultimate test of human spirit, teamwork and honoring our planet,’ Burnett said. ‘I can’t wait to see the drama unfold as these teams test themselves beyond what they ever thought possible.’

“‘The Fiji course is truly epic,’ Grylls said. ‘It’s incredibly demanding and will force our competitors far out of their comfort zone as they race against themselves, their competitors and the fiercest elements of mother nature. Only the teams that work together can ever hope of making it to the finish line.’

“‘The backstories of the athletes are what will be truly inspiring,’ said Van Wagenen ‘Not everyone will win – or even finish the race, but following them throughout this grueling competition and sharing their triumphs and setbacks along the way will make very compelling television.’”

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Quibi has set its latest two projects in development — a modern take on Paramount’s 2003 romantic comedy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, from Paramount Television, and a vampire drama from writer Terry Matalas (12 Monkeys) and executive produced by David Katzenberg, from 20th Century Fox TV.

“Written by Guy Branum (The Mindy Project), the reimagined How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days follows a glib young online columnist and an oversexed advertising executive who both need to prove, once and for all, that they’re capable of being monogamous. They soon discover, however, keeping a relationship is harder than Andie Anderson made it look.

“The 2003 film directed by Donald Petrie, starred Kate Hudson as Anderson and Matthew McConaughey.

“Further details on the series are yet to be announced.

“Branum, creator and host of truTV’s Talk Show the Game Show, was a supervising producer for Comedy Central’s The Other Two.He also spent three seasons writing for Hulu’s The Mindy Projectand was a producer during the show’s last season. His other TV writing credits include A League of Their Own, Punk’d, Awkward, Another Period, Billy on the Street and Fashion Police.

“The second project, Last American Vampire, centers on a young female FBI agent who is partnered with a wealthy, 500-year-old vampire bon vivant to protect the world from a dangerous threat.

“Matalas penned the script. Katzenberg, Seth Grahame Smith and Aaron Schmidt executive produce.

“Quibi, the digital shortform platform led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, has been on a content tear in recent weeks. The service set to launch in April 2020 has announced some two dozen series since it secured $100 million in ad sales from Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch, Walmart, Progressive and Google — the first companies to sign up with ‘category exclusivity.’”

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Per Women’s Health, “[a]t a spacious studio in Hollywood, a barefoot Julianne Hough is hyping up a group of dancers auditioning to become trainers for a new workout method she’s created. Wearing shiny mauve leggings and a matching sports bra, she paces back and forth, doing her best to make eye contact with each person.

“‘We’re creating an environment that’s inclusive and where everyone is accepted,’ says Julianne, eliciting cheers of Yayyyy! and I hear that! from the crowd. ‘That’s the world I want to live in.’

“Dance has always been a part of Julianne’s life—she began competing at age 9 in her home state of Utah and went on to become a pro (and later a judge) on Dancing With the Stars. She landed her first lead acting role in the 2011 remake of Footloose, yet never really understood what dance gave her until recently.

“‘Dance is my superpower, and it has been my whole life, but I didn’t even know it,’ she says. But others did. Before Julianne started choreographing what she calls her ‘high-sensory activated dance method,’ she remembers people telling her they wanted to dance like her.

“‘What does that even mean?’ she mused in an Instagram post earlier this year. ‘Do you want to do a high kick, pirouette into a split?’ No. They wanted to dance without feeling self-conscious.

“‘I have no boundaries when I dance,’ she says, now seated on a couch, snuggled up in a sweater and nursing a jug of lemon water.

“For Julianne, dancing without limits is all about the mind-body connection. By creating her dance method, Kinrgy (kin as in family and kinesthetic, plus energy), she wants to encourage others to move freely and feel transformed. 

“Julianne’s own ‘massive transformation’ started four months after her July 2017 wedding to professional hockey player Brooks Laich. Marriage was her big happy ending, she thought, but then she realized she wanted more. She needed to find her purpose. That purpose, it turns out, is helping lift others up through dance.

“Her original idea for Kinrgy was straightforward: to create a class or app that would be like the SoulCycle of dance. But she ended up scrapping the idea; it didn’t feel substantial enough. 

“A meeting with Endeavor talent agency CMO Bozoma Saint John, who’d done Julianne’s method at a retreat and become hooked, was pivotal. She urged Julianne to think outside the box. ‘Let’s create a movement,’ Saint John told her. ‘I was like, “I want to do that, but how?”’ Julianne recalls. ‘You just do it,’ Saint John replied. ‘The minute that happened, everything shifted for me,’ says Julianne.

“Expanding her reach—with plans for both a studio in Los Angeles and global events in which participants around the world will dance simultaneously—meant the practice had to be more accessible. 

“Designed for nondancers, the 45-minute method isn’t about perfecting the choreography—which does include moves such as ‘sexy lunges’ and Magic Mike–like hip thrusts—but instead, moving in a way that’s nurturing to each individual.

“And developing Kinrgy proved to be cathartic for Julianne, who says it’s helped her unpack some tough childhood experiences. ‘I’ve been de-layering all the survival tactics I’ve built up my whole life,’ she says. ‘Now, I feel limitless.’

“Her hope is that others will have a similarly life-changing experience when the method launches this year. ‘When I think about what I want to create, I want to help people connect back to their truest self. When that happens, they can relate to the people around them with no filter and experience the world how we’re supposed to experience it—in its most pure form, which I believe is love.’

“Julianne recently got a crash course in the whole ‘no filter’ thing in a different way, posing for the cover of this Naked Strength issue. ‘I didn’t want to do a demure shoot where I was trying to cover my body,’ she says. ‘I wanted to do something where I was free.’

“Though the America’s Got Talent judge says she’s never been shy when changing in front of other dancers, the photo shoot shifted her perspective. “Now I’m walking around naked all the time, and I love it!” she says. 

“For Julianne, that unabashed body love has, at times, been hard-earned. Back in 2008, following a diagnosis of endometriosis—a condition in which the tissue lining the uterus (the endometrium) forms outside of it, causing severe pelvic pain during menstruation and sex—Julianne grappled with feelings of insecurity.

“Only after accepting her endo as part of her was she able to see it in a new light. ‘I feel I’ve created a more peaceful and harmonious relationship with it.’

“Acknowledging the aspects of her condition that may be out of her control (like getting pregnant, as almost 40 percent of women with endometriosis struggle with infertility, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) has also been a challenge.

“There hasn’t been a specific ‘you cannot have children’ talk with her doctor, but in June, Julianne and her husband revealed they were starting in vitro fertilization to increase their chances of conceiving. And she’s choosing to look on the bright side: ‘I’ve always put it out there that it’s going to be okay,’ she says. 

“Knowing she has Brooks by her side through the ups and downs only reinforces her resilience. However, there was a moment during the past year when she feared he wouldn’t vibe with her evolution.

“‘I was connecting to the woman inside that doesn’t need anything, versus the little girl that looked to him to protect me,’ she remembers. ‘I was like, “Is he going to love this version of me?” But the more I dropped into my most authentic self, the more attracted he was to me. Now we have a more intimate relationship.’

“That new intimacy has allowed Julianne to reveal truths to her husband that even he didn’t know. ‘I [told him], “You know I’m not straight, right?” And he was like, '“I’m sorry, what?” I was like, “I’m not. But I choose to be with you,”’ she says.

“‘I think there’s a safety with my husband now that I’m unpacking all of this, and there’s no fear of voicing things that I’ve been afraid to admit or that I’ve had shame or guilt about because of what I’ve been told or how I was raised.’

“Julianne’s radical evolution has also helped her reconnect with another love: music. Though her first album debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart in 2008 and she won the Top New Artist award at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2009, the lead single on her never-released second album underperformed, and she halted her music career in 2012.

“‘I gave up because of my fear of failure,’ she admits. She’s since changed her tune and has started writing lyrics again. And no surprise here: ‘Every song has been about transformation,’ she says. ‘It’s so where I’m at. Being able to move stuck energy, I let down my walls.’

“With her sense of emotional and mental well-being transformed, Julianne is careful not to ignore the physical either. She exercises five days a week, doing a mix of SoulCycle and hot power yoga, plus weight training with her husband.

“And she’s started to love her early workouts, even if she’s not a morning person. ‘If I don’t move my body in the morning, I have a fine day,’ she says. ‘If I move it first thing, I have an excellent day.’

“Before every workout, she slurps down a glass of lukewarm water with half a lemon, 8 to 12 ounces of celery juice, a green superfood drink, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and an adrenal supplement.

“Post-sweat, she drinks a healthy-fats shake made with avocado, almond butter, almond milk, spinach, protein powder, blueberries, and a banana. She loves switching up her main meals and eating different kinds of body-nourishing dishes, but she tries to stick to one rule, given her health struggles: Avoid foods that cause inflammation.

“And though she’s committed to maintaining all of the habits she’s adopted—from the morning exercise routine to the more mind-blowing relationship and internal changes she’s made on her journey—one thing is certain: Julianne knows she’ll continue to evolve.

“‘I’m going to shift for the rest of my life,’ she says. ‘I’m not like, “Oh, I got it.” But I’m trusting myself now, and when I’m totally connected to me, I feel full. I want others to see that in themselves too.’ There’s a transformation in motion for Julianne…and one just waiting to be sparked in the rest of us. Who’s in?”

Thursday August 1, 2019

A new season of Million Dollar Listing: New York premieres tonight on Bravo.

The NFL returns tonight with the annual Hall of Fame game.

Sundance premieres No One Saw A Thing tonight.

Season 4 will be the final one for Baskets on FX. I am still really enjoying this season.

Netflix has ordered a 4th and final season of 13 Reasons Why. Season 3 will be available to stream on August 23.

Showtime has given a straight-to-series order to Rust, a drama based on Philipp Meyer’s debut novel American Rust, starring and executive produced by Jeff Daniels(The Newsroom, Godless). Oscar nominee Dan Futterman (Capote) will write multiple episodes of the series, which is co-produced with Platform One Media. Rust is a compelling family drama that will explore the tattered American dream through the eyes of complicated and compromised chief of police Del Harris (Daniels) in a Rust Belt town in southwest Pennsylvania. When the woman he truly loves sees her son accused of murder, Harris is forced to decide what he’s willing to do to protect him.”

Congrats to Vanderpump Rules’ Stassi Schroeder on her engagement.

Heidi Montag wants another baby — and she’s doing it on MTV’s schedule. The reality star and husband, Spencer Pratt, caused quite the scene over the weekend at Gucci in Beverly Hills, where they were sipping Champagne. The fame-hungry couple bumped into Page Six TV”co-host Elizabeth Wagmeister and revealed Montag’s trying for baby No. 2. ‘I asked MTV when would be the best time [to get pregnant] and they said, “Right around January!”’ she told Wagmeister. ‘That’s when I wanted it anyway, so it works out perfectly, because we’re not filming.’” Sure thing Heidi.

First Responders Live has been picked up by Fox for an additional 6 episodes.

Ariana Grande will make a cameo during Season 2 of the Showtime’s Kidding, which stars Jim Carrey.

Everything we know about Netflix and Shondaland's Bridgerton series.

Tyler Perry isn't wasting any time getting started with his massive content partnership with BET. The multihyphenate, who inked his mammoth deal with Viacom in July 2017, has announced his second series for the conglomerate's BET: dramatic comedy Sistas. Picked up straight to series, Sistas revolves around a group of single black women from different walks of life who bond over their one common thread: why they're single. Viewers will watch the women navigate their complicated love lives, careers and friendships through the ups and downs of living in a modern world of social media and unrealistic relationship goals.”

“Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile-only streaming video service Quibi is asking media companies and production studios to produce up to twice the amount of content for each episode of the programs they are creating for the platform so that viewers can choose between horizontal and vertical versions of a show. While that increases the workload for these companies, entertainment executives largely are not balking at Quibi’s so-called dual asset demand, though some worry that offering vertical and horizontal versions of videos will overcomplicate the viewing experience and turn off audiences. When Quibi debuts in April 2020, it will be neither a horizontal video platform like Netflix nor a vertical video platform like Snapchat. Instead, it will be a hybrid of the two. Viewers will be able to watch Quibi’s shows vertically or horizontally and switch between the two while watching a video on their phones. That may sound like Quibi is hedging its bet by neither following Snapchat’s vertical-only model nor risking ridicule by asking audiences to Go90 and turn their phones horizontally. However, entertainment executives who have seen demos of Quibi’s product said its horizontal-vertical hybrid viewing experience may help the platform to stand out in an increasingly crowded market….While platforms like YouTube and Facebook adjust their video players based on whether someone is viewing a video holding their phone vertically or horizontally, the difference with Quibi is that the app is not reorienting a single video but switching between two separate videos (the dual assets). When people hold their phone vertically, the vertical version of the video plays, and when they turn the phone to hold it horizontally, Quibi’s videos player switches to the horizontal version….Editing the two clips alone to work seamlessly requires companies allotting an extra day’s worth of post-production work, according to the second exec.”

DAZN is expanding its behind-the-scenes series The Making Of, setting the unprecedented launch across all nine of its global streaming markets on August 9 of a new soccer-themed installment. The nine-part original series relives the significant games that helped define soccer’s — er, football’s — greatest figures. Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr. and legendary football manager José Mourinho headline the show. Each 25-minute installment is dedicated to a particular match. Each of the three figures recounts three meaningful matches, recalling the emotion of the night and the impact it had on their careers and lives. Surrounding those centerpiece interviews are those with other players who were involved in the games, among them John O’Shea, Rafael Alcántara, Fernando Santos, Roberto Carlos and Julio Cesar. Journalists who covered the games and fans who were in the stadium join the reminiscences.”

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From The Verge: “Broadcast TV streaming app Locast had hoped that qualifying itself as a not-for-profit might be enough to avoid the wrath of the major networks and the same demise as Aereo.

“It was wrong on the first part. We’ll have to see about the second.

“Today, all four of the big broadcasters — ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC — filed a lawsuit against Locast under the argument that the free service is violating copyright law by retransmitting their also-free over-the-air television signals to its customers. The Wall Street Journal first broke news of the complaint.

“Locast doesn’t charge for streaming access, but it encourages users to make donations in order to keep the service running. ‘We really did our homework,’ David Goodfriend, Locast’s founder, told The New York Times earlier this year. ‘We are operating under parameters that are designed to be compliant within the law.’

“At that point, Locast had drawn in over 60,000 subscribers, and the broadcasters had already taken notice but not yet taken action. Now, here we are. Goodfriend said he was ready for a potential face-off with ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. There’s an exemption in copyright law for retransmission by a nonprofit, and that’s what the company will bet its defense on.

“‘Locast is an independent, non-profit organization that provides a public service retransmitting free over-the-air broadcasts,’ lead counsel Dave Hosp said. “Its activities are expressly permitted under the Copyright Act. The fact that no broadcasters have previously filed suit for more than a year and a half suggests that they recognize this. We look forward to defending the claims — and the public’s right to receive transmissions broadcast over the airwaves — in the litigationA court loss could be damaging for the networks, but that’s not dissuading them from trying to sue Locast into oblivion.

“‘Locast’s operation is an acknowledged effort to devalue the entire market for the rights to retransmit Plaintiffs’ copyrighted content,’ the court filing reads. ‘Indeed, Defendants have candidly admitted that their unauthorized streaming service aids authorized services that pay for the rights to stream or otherwise retransmit over-the-air broadcasts in their efforts to negotiate lower fees for those rights.’ This likely references a report that Charter representatives were briefly pointing customers toward Locast during a blackout that stemmed from a retransmission fee dispute.

“But the broadcasters are going a bit further and pulling AT&T and Dish into this fight because of their support of Locast. ‘Locast not only is securing important commercial advantages for itself, in forms including nationwide distribution of its application and valuable viewer data, but it is also operating in collaboration with, and for the commercial benefit of, two companies that are among the largest pay-TV distributors in the country,’ the complaint reads. Having Locast as a convenient backup would make TV providers more willing to drop local stations from their cable packages, the broadcasters are arguing.

“AT&T added the Locast app to DirecTV and U-verse set-top boxes back in May and has contributed funding to the service. That level of integration seems a step too far for the networks. As for Dish, Goodfriend previously worked at the satellite provider under Charlie Ergen, who has regularly criticized the rising retransmission fees that networks collect. ‘No, Charlie hasn’t given me any money,’ Goodfriend told the Times. ‘Charlie just said, “Good luck.”’ ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC seem to believe that the connection runs deeper than goodwill and motivational support.

“‘Dish has no more links to Locast than we do with over-the-air antennas, but we continue to believe consumers deserve a choice when it comes to how they receive their local broadcast channels, whether through satellite retransmission, over-the-air antennas or through other legal means,’ the satellite provider told Variety.

“This situation is somewhat similar to that of Aereo, a paid subscription service that provided access to the big four broadcast networks. Aereo’s defense was different: it gave every subscriber their own mini-antenna and insisted this strategy adhered to the law. The broadcasters vehemently disagreed, and the case went all the way to the US Supreme Court where Aereo was handed a defeat that quickly put it out of business.

“The parallel is not lost on the broadcasters. ‘Locast is simply Aereo 2.0, a business built on illegally using broadcaster content,’ the lawsuit says. ‘While it pretends to be a public service without any commercial purpose, Locast’s marketing and deep connections to AT&T and Dish make clear that it exists to serve its pay-tv patrons.’

“‘Locast is not the Robin Hood of television,’ the networks said. ‘Instead Locast’s founding, funding, and operations reveal its decidedly commercial purposes.’”

Here’s what I want to say on this….Locast STINKS. Since I don’t have CBS on DirecTV any more I have tried using the Locast app several times, both on my television and via the app on my phone, and the service is horrendous. So much so, that I (temporarily) subscribed to CBS All-Access so I can continue to watch a few things on that network while the dispute with DirecTV is being resolved.

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Per Decider, “[t]he end is nigh for Suits: the long-running legal drama has been a USA Network staple since its debut in June 2011, and when this current season wraps up, so too will the series. As it happens, the show’s profile has never been higher, thanks to one of its cast members having joined the long-running British reality series known as The Royal Family —it feels like it’s been going on for centuries at this point!— so securing a recurring gig on the final season of Suits would be a nice score for anyone. Having secured one of those plum roles, it’s doubtful that anyone would question Denise Crosby’s credentials: in addition to playing Lt. Tasha Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation, she’s been bouncing up and down the TV dial for quite some time now, having popped up on just about every drama of note for an episode or two, not to mention a number of high-profile and critically acclaimed films.

Decider talked to Crosby in conjunction with her Suits debut, got the scoop on her character, and learned just how much she loves the man who plays Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman), but she was also kind enough to indulge us as we asked her to reminisce about some of her past projects, which resulted in anecdotes about Pet SemataryMiracle Mile, Leonard Nimoy, the Tom Tom Club, and the Fox drama which she would’ve been happy to do forever but instead saw it cancelled after a mere 13 episodes:

To ask the obligatory first question, how did you find your way into the Suits family in the first place?

Oh, well, like anything, I had to audition. This is their final season, and this is a really dynamic, pivotal character, and they wanted to really be sure that this was the right move. So I tested, and Aaron Korsh, the creator, said, “That’s my Faye Richardson!” [Laughs.] So here we go!

How did they describe the character of Faye Richardson to you?

Well, Faye is what’s called a special master, which is an actual thing. She is sent by the New York Bar Association to come into the firm, and she delivers a court order giving her the complete control. At this point, they’ve had two managing partners be disbarred and an associate go to jail, and they’re on the edge of disaster and total chaos. So they’re allowed to have a chance to clean up their act, and I’m sort of the “fixer,” in that case.

Of course, despite trying to fix things, I’m sure they don’t exactly see you as “the good guy.”

Precisely. They don’t want someone coming in and making them do things their way.

Well, nobody likes change. 

[Laughs.] No. Especially not when you’re getting away with all kinds of shenanigans!

How was it for you to come onto the series? Not only is it heading for the end of its run with this season, but there’s just the whole thing of stepping into an pre-existing “family” like that.

Exactly. It can go either way, but I must say, this group was so welcoming and embracing and patient with me kind of getting up to speed. This is a well-oiled machine on every level. The actors, certainly, are trusting and familiar with each other, and it’s a very specific sort of rhythm and style, this kind of writing and the tone of the show. But they have been nothing but gracious and helpful.

I know working actors don’t always get to watch a whole lot of TV, but were you a Suits fan going in? Or if not, were you at least aware of the show?

Oh, sure, I was aware of it. I mean, you’d have to live under a rock to not be aware of that one, with our Duchess [Meghan Markle] coming out of there! [Laughs.] Well, not our duchess. England’s Duchess. We fought that war and won!

But it’s interesting: I had never seen the show, and I was cast, so I had to quickly kind of get up to speed and binge a little bit so that I could get an understanding. Certainly people have talked to me about Suits. I’ve heard people loving it. I’m thinking of one particular close friend of mine who said years ago, “You’re not watching Suits? What is wrong with you?” [Laughs.] But like you said, there’s so many things on TV, there’s no way you can watch all of it, unless… I don’t know, unless you sit in front of the TV 24/7. And I don’t!

Who do you tend to work with on the show? Or is it a case where you get to spread the wealth?

I’m pretty much working with everyone at this point. Some relationships are a little bit easier than others. Harvey gives me a good run for my money, and I’m trying to sort of gain the trust of Donna, who is sort of the heart and soul of the firm and may be the one who can be the most reasonable. I think Katrina as well is a very smart one. Basically, I’m provoking them into asking themselves, “What kind of lawyer do you ultimately want to be?” So it’s kind of going that way. But they all have their very unique personalities. Louis is just a riot. Rick Hoffman was the first one I kind of had real scenes with, and he’s the first person I appeal to. I’m basically delivering him the court order. He’s just… I just adore him. [Laughs.] I love him. His body language. Everything about him.

He’s actually the person I was most curious about in terms of working with him, because since the first season of that show, he’s struck me as being almost a modern-day Paul Lynde. 

Oh, my God, that’s really a very accurate description. You’re right! You’ve got to be on your toes with him, because he’ll try different stuff and he’ll change it up a little bit. And I love that. I’m just really tickled and ready to go wherever he wants to go with that. But I love that description of him! He’s just so loose-limbed and…he’s hysterically funny!

I wanted to ask about a few projects from your back catalog, starting with the fact that you were in a number of Blake Edwards movies. I know that part of the reason for that ongoing collaboration was that you were married to his son, Geoffrey, but I presume you must’ve worked well together, too.

Blake was just a master. He really ran just a beautifully crafted set and was such a fine director. I was blessed to be able to work with him and these incredible actors he hired. For me, it was just wonderful.

Before I even knew I was going to be talking to you, I noticed that Skin Deep had been added to  Amazon Prime, so I revisited it. I’d forgotten how funny it was. 

Oh, my God, I haven’t seen it in so long. Does it hold up?

I will say that it holds up predominantly because of John Ritter. He’s great. 

Well, what a gift it was to be able to work with him. I worked with him twice, actually. I did a TV movie with him as well, me and Katey Sagal. What a wonderful, wonderful guy. And what a loss.

Okay, the time has come to ask the requisite Star Trek: The Next Generation question. 

Oh, that old thing… [Laughs.]

Yeah, you know, a guy’s gotta ask. Looking back on your experience on the show and the short-lived run of Tasha Yar, do you still look back on that as a positive experience? Do you wish it had lasted longer? 

Oh, my God, yes, it was an extraordinary thing to be part of. It’s just bigger than the sum of its parts. It just continues, and it’s touched so many people. My favorite part of it, I think, is when I meet young women who were little girls when they were watching it and have now become scientists. They went into science because they saw women in these kinds of roles that were technical, and they were allowed to be strong, and that it was a possibility for them. That’s just, like, wow. I’m so encouraged by that and just really grateful to be part of that, to show girls that they can be strong.

I loved it when you returned as Sela. It seemed like you were more comfortable in her shoes than you were in Tasha’s.

Well, you know, it was a great surprise to be able to continue. I mean, when I died at the end of the first season, I never anticipated that I’d be back in any way! So it began with “Yesterday’s Enterprise” in the third season, which has become a fan favorite and is so well-written, and that kind of opened the door for me to kind of come up with the idea of this character Sela. It was kind of amazing, when you stop and think about it, what I was able to do with that. It was really good.

And you got to work with Leonard Nimoy.

Right? [Laughs.] How cool was that? Brent Spiner and I were both… You know, we kind of stepped away from the set and we went, “Wow, man, this is pretty cool, working with Spock!” Never thought that would happen…

And kind of a sidebar question, but when Patrick Stewart announced that he was going to be doing this Picard series, I was startled. What was your reaction? 

Oh, it was jaw-dropping! [Laughs.] I never thought that would happen! I just thought, the man had delivered that role and put the period at the end of the sentence. Done! And I remember him announcing it, because it was at the big Star Trek convention that they have annually in Las Vegas. It’s coming up next month, in fact! But there was this big presentation with him making this announcement. It was pretty secret. I mean, there were rumors, but none of the cast members knew. So it was pretty surprising! I hope it works in the way that he anticipates.

Lastly, do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on over the years that didn’t get the love you thought it deserved?

Yes. Absolutely. I did a series for Fox called Key West, and we only did 13 episodes, one season, but I just think that show… I would’ve been happy to let that thing run forever. It was such good writing, so colorful, and so interesting. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, but David Beard was the creator and writer, and it was one of Showtime’s very first collaborations with broadcast television. But it just didn’t get a fair shot. The pilot premiered opposite Bill Clinton’s inaugural ball, and I think Barbra Streisand was singing for the first time on television in, like, a hundred years or something. [Laughs.] So nobody tuned in. And then the head of Fox Television left to become the head of film production, and they bought in this new guy…and historically the new guys don’t like what the old guys develop. So we were cancelled. But to be down in Key West shooting a series with Jennifer Tilly and Fisher Stevens and this eclectic group of actors and colorful characters… I would’ve really kept going with that one!”

This interview has been condensed.

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Per Yahoo!, “Whitney Cummings knew Roseanne Barr's tweets were bad news for the Roseanne reboot — and now she says they were behind her decision to quit the show just over a week prior to it all coming to a head.

“Cummings was the co-showrunner of the ABC reboot, but as a hugely successful first season, which ran from March to May 22, 2018, came to an end, she abruptly quit. The reason given was that she was “too busy.” Less than two weeks later, on May 29, ABC canceled the show after Barr posted a racist tweet comparing Obama aid Valerie Jarrett, who is black, to an ape.

“In an interview on Daily Beast’s podcast The Last Laugh, Cummings reveals for the first time why she left. It had nothing to do with her busy schedule and everything to do with Barr’s tweets.

“‘I wanted her to get off Twitter,’ Cummings said of the show’s star. ‘I felt like it was going to come to a head. It was like whack-a-mole.’

“Cummings, who said she was unaware of Barr’s long history of offensive tweets prior to signing on as showrunner, called the situation ‘a nightmare’ and said she ‘was pissed’ at Barr for her behavior.

"‘We all worked really hard on that show and it's just a shame,’ Cummings said. ‘You put your heart and soul into something for 12 months and it's just for nothing.’

“Cummings said that she had been a Barr fan prior to getting involved in the reboot — and a big fan of the original show.

“‘I grew up poor and that was the first show that looked like my house,’ she said. It was ‘the first show that didn’t make me feel bad about myself,’ compared to Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place and shows of that era.

“As Cummings notes, Barr’s tweets were an issue behind the scenes before her firing. It has since come to light that in the the fall of 2017 — before the reboot even premiered — ABC execs were monitoring Barr’s tweets and meeting with her to discuss them. And a report called ‘Roseanne Barr’s Anti-Trans’ record was put together by the network as the show explored an LGBT storyline but had concerns due to Barr tweets. (An example the document cited was that Barr ‘tweeted story that Obamas killed Joan Rivers for saying Michelle Obama is a tranny.’)

“In fact, Barr had posted other racist tweets, conspiracy theories and Islamophobic comments prior to her firing. Barr also questioned whether the Parkland shooting survivors were child actors.

“However, Barr tweeting that Jarrett looked like the “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby” was the final straw. Wanda Sykes quit the show and Barr’s co-stars Sara Gilbert, Michael Fishman and Emma Kenney spoke out against her. (Barr, who has apologized for the tweet, has said she’ll never forgive Gilbert.) The network called Barr’s remark “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values” and the show was canceled.

“The show, in a new form — The Conners — lives on, of course, without Barr. Her character was killed off after suffering an opioid overdose. It was renewed for a second season and will return in Sept. 24.”

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Per Realscreen, “MTV’s hit dating format Are You the One? has been making headlines and attracting viewers since the announcement last May that the cast of its eighth season would be composed exclusively of cast members who are sexually fluid, meaning there are no gender limitations on who they might pair up with. This was a first for the traditionally straight series.

“‘We have seen incredible response to the show,’ Rob LaPlante tells Realscreen. LaPlante is co-president of unscripted prodco Lighthearted, which produces Are You the One? for the Viacom-owned youth-skewing cable network. He co-created Are You the One? with Jeff Spangler and serves as executive producer on the dating series, which has received media attention from unlikely outlets in response to the new season’s diverse cast and rejigged formula.

“Everyone from The Atlantic, to NPR, to Vice, to Slate, to the New York Post, to CNN has tapped into the energy coming off of this season’s dating format behemoth, and no one is skating around the question of sexual orientation, which drives much of the discussion.

“And there’s been a groundswell of support from fans. ‘We’ve now got three weeks of ratings back, and they have gone up week over week, every single week,’ says LaPlante. ‘I think that the audience is seeing something that they find relevant.’

Are You the One?, which first premiered in 2014, sees 16 singles heading to Hawaii in search of their perfect romantic match and a possible US$1 million cash prize. Joining the series this season is Dr. Frankie, a relationship expert who helps the singles navigate dating and their own behaviors and priorities. Actor, model and entertainment reporter Terrence J. serves as host.

“The change to a sexually fluid cast — including gender diverse contestants — wasn’t exactly a no-brainer, as the series was already a ratings success with a solid fanbase. ‘Any time you make a change to an existing franchise like this, you get concerned that you might aggravate the audience in some way, just because they like it — they’re watching it,’ LaPlante explains.

“Still, the timing felt right, and MTV was immediately on board, he says: ‘I think reality shows mirror life. And I think the world is evolving on these issues.’ With seven seasons under their belts, the Lighthearted team had noticed increasing discussions around sexual fluidity during the casting process. Refocusing the show just meant listening to the people interested in participating, while speaking to MTV’s young and diverse audience in a way that expanded representation, making the show more inclusive.

“And at the end of the day, that didn’t mean anyone had to reinvent the wheel.

“‘These people are just 20-year-olds who would like to hook up and are single. Nothing out of the ordinary. In every single season of this show, the cast — to some degree, at some point in time — are bucking broncos and they’re on emotional roller coasters,’ says LaPlante. Season eight ‘was the normal level of extreme emotional roller coaster that we always have.’

“Lighthearted produces Are You the One? for MTV, with Matt Odgers executive producing alongside LaPlante and Spangler.

“The dating format is currently airing its eighth season on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.”

Wednesday July 31, 2019

Harvey takes a case in an attempt to send Faye a message; Louis gets an intriguing offer. #SUITS

The first 4 episodes of Hulu’s Four Weddings And A Funeral are now available to stream.

The series finale of Jane The Virgin airs tonight on The CW.

As does the series finale of Wahlburgers on A&E.

IFC premieres Sherman’s Showcase tonight. “A sketch variety show like none before, Sherman’s Showcase travels through time via music and clips drawn from the forty-year library of a legendary (fictional) musical variety show. Inspired by shows like Solid Gold; Soul Train and Laugh-In.”

LeBron James’ digital sports media brand Uninterrupted is heading to Canada. Uninterrupted Canada will be led by former Sportsnet president Scott Moore as CEO. Moore will be joined by First Take Entertainment producer Vinay Virmani in the role of chief content officer. Moore, who departed the Rogers Media-owned Sportsnet in late 2018, will oversee the company’s business operations, development and brand partnerships. Virmani will lead its content development slate. Uninterrupted was founded by James and Maverick Carter as an “athlete empowerment brand” to produce original content with professional athletes. Toronto-based musician Drake is a partner on the Canadian expansion, as well as Shopify Studios, which has signed on to develop content for the brand. The Canadian launch will ‘engage in a new brand of storytelling’ for the country’s sports fans, according to Moore in a statement. The company has inked a first-look deal in time for launch with Toronto Raptors player and NBA Champion Serge Ibaka. It will also produce a ‘motivational series’ with New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman, who was recently traded from the Toronto Blue Jays. The series, titled Height Doesn’t Measure Heart, will address the struggle of undersized athletes.” A motivational series with Marcus Stroman?! If that doesn’t garner millions of views, what will?!?!

It’s time to get Caro off the damn island already.

In the event you’re interested in what happened on last night’s finale of The Bachelorette. I’m not.

Keke Palmer has agreed to join Michael Strahan and Sara Haines as a 3rd co-host on ABC’s Strahan and Sara.

HBO Max has given an 8-episode straight-to-series order to Circe, a drama series adaptation of Madeline Miller’s International bestseller of the same name. The project hails from top feature writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Jurassic World). Chernin Entertainment is producing with Endeavor Content through the companies’ scripted drama venture. Written and executive produced by Jaffa and Silver, Circe is a modern take on the world of Greek mythology told from the powerful feminist perspective of the goddess Circe, who transforms from an awkward nymph to a formidable witch, able to challenge gods, titans and monsters alike. ‘Circe tells an epic story of love, loss, tragedy and immortal conflict, all through the eyes of a fierce female lens,’ said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max. ‘I’ve been a longtime fan of Rick and Amanda’s work and their ability to simultaneously build epic imaginative worlds while creating emotional dynamic characters. In partnership with Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping, we have the dream team to bring Circe to life.’”

Southern Charm star Kathryn Dennis is admitting to the court she allowed her new boyfriend, Hunter Price, to spend the night while she had her kids, but says her ex Thomas Ravenel is guilty of doing the same thing. According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Dennis was back in court fighting Ravenel for custody of her kids Kensie and Saint. Dennis responded to recent accusations that she allowed her new boyfriend/musician Hunter Price to spend the night, in violation of the custody agreement with Ravenel. Ravenel claimed the private investigator he hired to follow Dennis had observed Price spending the night. In recently filed court documents, Dennis admits she violated the court order ‘by allowing Hunter Price to stay with me and the children during most of February and March of 2019.’ She says she tried to hide it and ‘this was a really bad decision on my part, I apologize to the Court for my conduct. I have no excuse for this. I fell in love with Hunter after I met him at the end of last year, and allowing him to spend the night in February and March when I have had the children has turned out to be the worst decision that I have made in a long time.’”

Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss has fully settled his divorce case with wife Laura, and she has dismissed her domestic violence claim against him. Laura, who is 11 weeks pregnant with their second child, alleged in legal docs he demanded she get an abortion and attacked her. She got an emergency temporary restraining order, and a hearing was set for August 6. Fleiss denied her allegations and claimed she physically attacked him. We've learned, a week ago Saturday, they negotiated all day and have now formally struck a deal. Laura will get $10 million, and she and Mike will get joint custody of their 4-year-old son. They will share equal 50/50 legal and physical custody.”

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I’ve been sitting on this for a few weeks now. Per HGTV, “You’ve probably already heard the exciting news that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is back, and that Jesse Tyler Ferguson will host the iconic renovation show. Now, two big questions remain: who are the families that will be featured in each episode and who are the designers helping bring their dreams to life? Today, we can answer one of those questions. Ladies and gentlemen, meet your new Extreme Makeover: Home Edition design team!

Breegan Jane

Interior designer and California native, Breegan Jane will make her HGTV debut on the network’s highly anticipated reboot of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition hosted by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, slated to premiere in early 2020. An entrepreneur, Breegan has had great success with multiple business ventures in interior design, real estate development and lifestyle expertise.

Breegan’s creative efforts have generated a thriving social media presence and a flourishing interior design business. Having honed her design skills initially as a creative director and marketing professional for a luxury yacht manufacturer, Breegan now devotes her time to design projects which run the gamut from celebrity and commercial properties to lavish restaurants and large-scale remodels.

Breegan is the quintessential career mom who manages to balance busy work life with her highest priority and greatest love: her two young sons. When she isn’t spending time with her children, she dedicates her time to the non-profit organization, World Vision, which provides aid/resources to help women and children in Africa. Through World Vision, she recently helped funda newly commissioned girls’ dormitory and secondary school in Kenya. She travels the globe with the organization as an ambassador of hope and change agent for underserved communities around the world.

Follow Breegan on FacebookTwitterInstagram.

Darren Keefe

Los Angeles-based designer Darren Keefe will make his HGTV debut on the network’s highly anticipated reboot of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition hosted by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, slated to premiere in early 2020.

Born in Northern Ireland to a long line of Irish craftsmen, Darren first developed his love for woodworking after building a Pinewood Derby Racer with his father as a child. As a teenager, Darren assisted local contractors on job sites where he learned the basics of building. When he moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting, he continued his training by working alongside a general contractor specializing in kitchen and bathroom remodels.

Over the years, Darren found himself inspired by the design process, which ultimately led to the birth of his Los Angeles-based design company, Drumcree Designs, in May 2017. His current client roster includes local businesses, prominent interior designers and celebrities who commission one of a kind, hand-crafted furniture pieces— requests ranging from welding to fine woodworking projects.

Thrilled at the opportunity to showcase his artistry to a national audience, Darren looks forward to changing lives on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, one house/design at a time.

Follow Darren on FacebookTwitterInstagram.

Carrie Locklyn

Interior designer and New Jersey native, Carrie Locklyn will make her HGTV debut as a designer on the network’s highly anticipated reboot of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition hosted by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, slated to premiere in early 2020.

As a designer, professional organizer and lifestyle expert, Carrie is known for her fresh and innovative take on design style, renovation, and homemaking. Carrie was most recently featured as the lead designer on the Travel Channel’s hit TV show, Hotel Impossible. Her transitional design style— influenced by her travels —mixes classic lines with earthy undertones, creating spaces which are timeless, functional and ready to ‘live in.’

When Carrie is not traveling for design, she helps local homeowners and businesses in New Jersey update their spaces through accessible designs and practical organization with her company GIDGliving, a boutique interior design, home-organizing and certified staging firm.

When she isn’t on the jobsite, Carrie loves to cook, garden, unwind at the beach and spend time with her husband Sky, and son, August.

Follow Carrie on FacebookTwitterInstagram.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is expected to air on HGTV in 2020. Until then, fans can follow HGTV's Facebook and Twitter and follow Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and updates.”

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Per Decider, “‘I haven’t felt this kind of excitement for ten years,’ Fredrik Eklund said in regards to the eighth season of Million Dollar Listing New York, premiering Thursday, August 1 at 9pm ET/PT on Bravo. When we spoke over the phone earlier this month, the real estate mogul revealed he had yet to see this season’s first episode — in fact, he hadn’t even seen the trailer yet.

“‘People are texting me saying it looks really exciting,’ he said, speculating that it could be ‘because Luis is back or because we have kids now or because the market has been more difficult.’ And he’s excused for not watching yet because Eklund was in the process of moving his family, husband Derek and one-year-old twins, Fredrik Jr. and Mila, across the country to Los Angeles. His family will be based on the west coast, as he remains bicoastal and busy as ever, as we’ll see on this season of the show. ‘It’s not easy and you’ll see that,’ he said of the big life change. ‘Moving can be very stressful, especially if you have toddlers, and I think that’s relatable, I hope so,’ Eklund said.

“In fact, it’s those relatable moments that have kept viewers coming back to Million Dollar Listing New York for eight seasons at this point. The multimillion-dollar deals, the six-figure commissions, the A-list clients? Maybe not so relatable. But the hustle, the highs and lows, and most of all, the friendships are what keep this show so appealing.

“This season sees the return of Luis D. Ortiz, the bubbly broker who’s been traveling the world and absent from the show for two years, and yet his return feels both triumphant, heart-warming, and just plain fun. ‘I think he would agree that I’ve been very instrumental in getting him back to New York in general,’ Eklund said of his pal. ‘That was a hard time for him to travel although it was important that he did that to search to find himself. There was a lot of darkness there and he’ll share that on the show this season. He is one of the most beautiful hearts and kindest souls I’ve encountered. I love him dearly and for me, it’s super important that he’s back just to have him in my life and to watch him again. He belongs in New York and in real estate and on TV, so I’m really happy.’

“Eklund is also quite pleased with one of the confessional looks he went with for this season, a red leopard print blazer that is sure to catch your eye from its first appearance. ‘Doesn’t it look good?’ he asked. ‘This season I’m going to be very extra in general as you will see, and I’m gonna wear crazy stuff and I’m just gonna be me.’ Eklund arrived for his first interview of the season in that look, and after producers reminded him he’ll be wearing it all season long, they snapped a picture and send it over to Bravo executives to make sure it was approved. ‘I think everybody loved it,’ Eklund said. ‘No one’s gonna flip the channel once they see me with that jacket on, they’re gonna be like, okay!’

“Though not every boss has always loved what Eklund’s shown them. In his 2016 book, Superficial: More Adventures From the Andy Cohen Diaries, Andy Cohen writes about Eklund showing him apartments in 2015 when he had to move out of his own West Village home during its major renovation (Cohen bought the apartment next door to his own for a massive expansion). While Eklund counts Cohen as a friend, he admitted, ‘I wanted to make a good impression and I was honored that he picked me,’ when it came to showing the Watch What Happens Live host options for his temporary home where he would only live for about a year. Ultimately, Cohen didn’t find the right space with Eklund, eventually landing a rental with his dream outdoor terrace space, and Eklund was just happy that the ‘big beautiful apartment’ Cohen always desired would be waiting for him after the renovation.

“When asked what the biggest real estate trend is for fellow New Yorkers these days, Eklund said plain and simple: wellness. ‘It started years ago with beautiful pools and gyms and personal training and it’s gone much further than that,’ he said. ‘It could be private chefs, it could be multiple kinds of yoga,’ he continued, emphasizing that ‘health-conscious living’ is all over town these days.

“And really, so is the consistently-busy Eklund. The brief glimpse that Million Dollar Listing New York gives us at his home life is so sweet, I couldn’t help but ask Eklund if he would ever want to do a spinoff featuring his family. He seemed surprised by the question, and after a pause, answered, ‘Oh. Um, no. I’ve never really thought of it.’ He points to the time he was filming both Million Dollar Listing New York and Bethenny & Fredrik, which is a lot to handle on its own — but also happened to be occurring at the same time his twins were born. ‘I’m just so thankful for Million Dollar Listing New York and I’m really thankful to the other cast members because we have such a good thing going. I don’t need more air time, I don’t need to be more of a celebrity. I’m just thankful I’m able to integrate all parts of me into this TV show.’

“For now, he’s enjoying being the ‘big brother’ to the other guys on the show, explaining, ‘I try to help them out over the years, especially this year, and give them advice,’ pointing out that he was the first to experience mant of life’s big moments, including having twins (fellow brokers Ryan Serhant and Steve Gold both welcomed daughters earlier this year). ‘I’m trying to tell them what they can learn from what I’ve experienced.’

“And a sweet treat all viewers will get to experience is Eklund’s classic cake-throwing shenanigans, which he says on the show is totally accepted in his home country of Sweden. ‘I always make a joke, I’m like, I can get away with a lot of shit, I can say it’s a tradition in Sweden,’ Eklund laughed. ‘I can’t guarantee nor confirm that if you throw cake in Sweden they will not be angry.’

Million Dollar Listing New York airs Thursday, Aug 1 at 9pm ET/PT on Bravo.”

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Per Deadline, “FX has given a formal green light to A Teacher, a 10-episode limited series based on Hannah Fidell’s buzzy 2013 Sundance feature, starring and executive produced by Kate Mara. Additionally, Nick Robinson (Love, Simon, Everything, Everything) has been cast as a co-lead opposite Mara in the series, which has been in development at FX since last year. FX Productions is the studio.

“Fidell, who wrote, directed and produced the film, will pen the adaptation, direct and executive produce the limited series.

A Teacher explores the story behind the mugshot of a female high school teacher caught in an affair with her male student, revealing the complexities and consequences of these illegal relationships.

“Mara and Robinson star respectively as Claire, a popular young teacher at a suburban Texas high school, and Eric, an all-American senior.

“Fidell executive produces with Michael Costigan (Brokeback Mountain, American Gangster) and Jason Bateman of Aggregate Films (Ozark, Outsider), Danny Brocklehurst (Safe, Ordinary Lies) and Mara.

“‘Hannah Fidell is an exceptional filmmaker we have long admired for her intuitive ability to bring complex stories to life with depth and grace,’ said Gina Balian, President, Original Programming, FX Entertainment. ‘We are thrilled to partner with Hannah, Kate Mara, Michael Costigan, Jason Bateman and Danny Brocklehurst to adapt A Teacher into a limited series for FX, with Kate leading an extraordinary cast along with Nick Robinson.’

“‘Working with FX – truly the home of all my favorite shows – on A Teacher is a dream come true,’ said Fidell. ‘I couldn’t ask for a more perfect partner who, from day one, has understood and embraced the inherent complexities and nuance required for such subject matter.’

“Robinson, who starred in features Love, Simon and Everything, Everything, was a series regular on the ABC Family series Melissa and Joey. Other credits include Native Son, Jurassic World, and Boardwalk Empire, among others. He’s next set to make his Broadway debut in the hit Aaron Sorkin adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, replacing the outgoing Will Pullen as Jem Finch in November.”

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From TheWrap: “Kevin Hart will star in Action Scene, the latest Quibi original series, the streaming service announced Tuesday morning.

“The series, which is produced by Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Network, the comedian plays a fictionalized version of himself who has just been rejected from landing the action movie role of a lifetime. Following the rejection, a string of untold events leads to the actor having to fight his way through a series of over-the-top action sequences with the help of Hollywood’s biggest action movie heroes.

“The series will be executive produced by Hart along with long-time business partner and Laugh Out Loud president Jeff Clanagan, who will also serve as a producer. The two previously worked together to create the action-filled opening sequence to Hart’s 2016 concert film, Kevin Hart: What Now? with Tim Story, the film’s director.

“‘I couldn’t be more excited to bring big action and even bigger laughs to a new audience through this partnership between Quibi and Laugh Out Loud,’ Hart said. ‘Our teams are working together to create something truly unique and I can’t wait for viewers to see it all unfold.’

“Laugh Out Loud Network, which runs its own streaming service, produces original scripted and unscripted series, stand-up specials, live broadcasts, and programming based on candid celebrity antics. This includes the hit award-winning digital series, Cold as Balls which has received over 250 million total views to date, according to the company.

Action Scene joins a growing lineup of content at Quibi including a series based on the rise of Snapchat — a show Jeffrey Katzenberg compared to its own version of The Social Network, and a sci-fi drama starring Don Cheadle, a stunt driving show from Idris Elba, and a beauty series produced by and starring Tyra Banks.”