Thursday September 5, 2019

The NFL is officially back. The Bears and Packers kick things off tonight on NBC.

Here is the trailer for season 14 of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

TBS has canceled The Detour. I cannot believe it made it 4 seasons.

Quibi is developing a show about face tattoos. That’s all I can say on that one right now.

Another high-level exec as exited the yet to be launched streamer.

Chris Cooper is set to star opposite Janelle Monáe in the second season of Amazon's Homecoming,

“Whether it was constructing a science fair volcano or standing up to a bully, Peter of The Brady Bunch was always a resourceful go-getter. Christopher Knight, the actor who starred as the show’s middle son, hopes to channel that ambition into the launch of a production venture, Former Prodigy Media, with producer Phil Viardo. Based in Beverly Hills, Former Prodigy Media has several projects in the works: a documentary about a teenager with Williams Syndrome called Truelove, a currently untitled Christopher Knight home makeover project, a true crime series based on the book The Charmer and the docuseries Hard Time | Easy Meal which documents stories of prison life and prison recipes.” Riveting.

Whatever Debra Messing has going on now couldn’t be of less interest to me. Shhhhh.

Why is Alec Baldwin still siring children?

Great Point Capital Management has signed a deal with Lionsgate to build a new production facility in Yonkers, NY, with Lionsgate becoming a long-term anchor tenant and investor. As anchor tenant, Lionsgate will have naming rights to the studio. Construction on the site will start in November, and the facility will be running in late autumn 2020. The $100 million complex will include three 20,000-square-feet and two 10,000-square-feet stages, a fully operational back lot and the opportunity to create a location-based entertainment property.”

Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Discovery-owned network unveils trio of senior exec hires, in case you give a shit.

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“You can go home again. Eddie Murphy has already announced he’s returning as a host to Saturday Night Live in its upcoming season after a long hiatus. Now, he’s hinting that another homecoming of sorts is in the works, as he said on a podcast that he would be mounting a stand-up tour in 2020.

“Murphy has been rumored to be talking with Netflix about a series of stand-up specials. His past efforts, including 1983’s Delirious and 1987’s Raw, were enormously popular, and he commanded arena-level crowds before he went on to bigger and better things in films.

“Now, with a new Netflix movie, Dolemite Is My Name, and his highly anticipated return to a beloved character in the forthcoming Coming To America 2, the time may be right for him to remind the world of his stand-up skills.

“The plans were revealed on a taped episode of the Netflix podcast, Present Company with Krista Smith. During the conversation, Murphy said that after he hosts SNL in December, ‘… and then next year in 2020 I’m going to go on the road and do some stand-up.’ The remarks come about 25 minutes into the podcast.

“Whether that touring will be related to a new Netflix deal was not addressed.

“The return to stand-up may have been sparked by his re-immersion in that world thanks to Dolemite Is My Name. The film depicts fellow stand-up comedian Rudy Ray Moore and his quixotic goal to make a film about his pimp stage persona, Dolemite,”

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Per Deadline, “Netflix has given a series order to The Crew, a NASCAR-set multicam comedy starring and executive produced by The King of Queens alum Kevin James.

“Written by Jeff Lowell (The Ranch, Two and a Half Men), The Crew, which echoes sitcom classic Taxi, is set in a NASCAR garage and stars James as the crew chief. When the owner steps down and passes the team off to his daughter, James finds himself at odds with the tech-reliant millennials she starts bringing in to modernize the team.

“Lowell executive produces and serves as showrunner. James’ longtime manager Jeff Sussman (The King of Queens) and producer Todd Garner (Tag, Isn’t It Romantic) also executive produce along with NASCAR’s Matt Summers and Tim Clark.

“James, who shot to stardom with CBS’ The King of Queens before segueing to features, returned to TV comedy in 2016 with the multi-camera  Kevin Can Wait,which aired on CBS for two seasons. At Netflix, he headlined last year’s Never Don’t Give Up, a comedy special that marked his return to stand-up.

The Crew will help fill the void of Netflix’s departing broad, multi-camera family comedies Fuller House and The Ranch, which are nearing the end of their runs. At the streamer, The Crew will join another multi-camera sitcom headlined by a comedian, Gabriel Iglesias’ Mr. Iglesias, which has been renewed for a second season.

“James most recently reprised his Frankenstein voice role in Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation. He’ll next be seen on the big screen in action thriller Becky.

“Lowell most recently served as co-executive producer on The Ranch, which is heading into its fourth and final season. He also served  as executive producer on The Jim Gaffigan Show and consulting producer on Two and a Half Men.

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From Forbes: “At the start of the summer, Netflix rolled out a rather unique series that is representative of everything the streamer ever wanted to be. The Chef Show, a reality TV passion project from filmmaker Jon Favreau and chef Roy Choi, followed the dynamic duo as they took their friendship around the country and explored their love of cooking together… and did such with nothing more than the will to do so.

“When the series began, Netflix was not part of the equation. As stated in the series itself, Jon and Roy just started shooting and, more than anything, used the tapings as an excuse to hang out with each other - which is hard to do when one is maintaining multiple restaurant and food truck brands and the other is showrunning a new Star Wars series for Disney+.

“As the series went along, it gained traction with audiences for its genuine nature and joy. So, it’s no surprise the new entrant in the series’ run - comprised of what is likely the remaining footage that wasn’t ready to air back in June - is just as good as its predecessor.

“The guests are new, as are the locations Jon and Roy visit, but the love for one's fellow man and the food they eat remains as true as it did three months ago.

“The best part of the series is it’s one of those few once you start you can’t stop shows. You will beg to find the time for just one more of the new batch of six as you burn through them. They are that addicting.

“The concept of a shoot first, sell later approach is one that’s very hard to pull off for most shows, but Chef Show is a prime example of how Netflix can succeed where so many of its competitors can’t. Most outlets - streaming included - want a hand in the project from inception to completion. That just how they are. But Netflix, and this is not the first time they've done this, is more than willing to see what a whole batch of episodes looks like and, if they like it, are willing throw down a check regardless of whether or not they had a hand in the show in the first place.

“Ultimately, it would be great to see more shows like Chef Show on Netflix (or at least just more Chef Show in general). Jon and Roy continue to be one of the most compelling duos on television and we are better for having them.

The Chef Show: Volume 2 premieres Friday, September 13th on Netflix."

It’s well worth your time in my opinion.

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From Indiewire: “Ahead of premiering his new Comedy Central series Good Talk this month, Anthony Jeselnik is slamming Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels for allowing Donald Trump to host an episode of the esteemed sketch-comedy show in November 2015. Trump was in the middle of his presidential campaign at the time and Michael’s decision to let him host prompted fan protests. The November 2015 episode was Trump’s second time hosting SNL and it was widely panned by television critics and cast members.

“‘I think Lorne Michaels helped get Trump elected,’ Jeselnik tells The Daily Beast. ‘I think putting him on Saturday Night Live  was way worse than the hair-ruffling thing. I was disgusted by it. It was two rich guys helping each other out. I don’t know how I would have dealt with it if I was on the show. I found it to be, quite frankly, revolting.’

“The ‘hair-ruffling thing’ refers to Jimmy Fallon, who was accused of ‘normalizing’ Donald Trump after he ruffled his hair during an interview shortly before the 2016 presidential election. Fallon took a lot of heat from the press for ruffling Trump’s hair, but Jeselnik says the act had far less to do with helping Trump getting elected than Michaels allowing Trump to host SNL. Jeselnik also points out that Michaels is a producer on Fallon’s Tonight Show.

“‘I felt a little bad for Jimmy in that situation,’ Jeselnik said. ‘Trump and Lorne Michaels are friends. And Lorne Michaels produced that show. And I’m sure—and I don’t want to put words in his mouth, and I haven’t talked to Jimmy in years—but I’m sure it’s one of his biggest regrets.’

“Jeselnik, who auditioned to join SNL Season 40 as a Weekend Update correspondent, also slammed the show over reports that Michaels instructed writers not to ‘vilify’ Trump in sketches during his hosting gig. Michaels reportedly told SNL writers they had to ‘find a way in that makes [Trump] likable.’

“‘I don’t know if would have shown up for work that day,’ Jeselnik said. ‘I don’t know what would have happened.’

“Arguably, though, Jeselnik has played a role in enhancing Trump’s public profile himself, as he flamed the future president onstage during The Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump in 2011. No matter how venom-soaked the barbs, such events are always carefully controlled PR stunts for the celebrity being roasted.

“Jeselnik’s Good Talk premieres September 6 on Comedy Central.”

Wednesday September 4, 2019

In the show’s fourth-to-last episode, Harvey and Samantha embark on a road trip, while Louis gets in over his head. #SUITS

The first 3 episodes of Wu-Tang: An American Saga are available to stream on Hulu.

A new episode of Songland airs tonight on NBC. I will continue to implore you to watch this show.

How Dan and Keith’s SportsCenter changed TV forever.

“Apple has its first, well, bad apple. Bastards, the eight-episode project starring Richard Gere and based on the dark Israeli drama, will not move forward at the iPhone maker's forthcoming streaming service. Picked up straight to series late last year, Bastards was set to star Gere as one of two elderly Vietnam veterans and best friends who find their monotonous lives upended when a woman they both loved 50 years ago is killed by a car. Their lifelong regrets and secrets collide with their resentment of today's self-absorbed millennials, and the duo then go on a shooting spree.”

Season 7 will be the last for Netflix series Grace & Frankie.

Dani > Cam was as surprising to me as Max and Justin not being a match. If ANYONE gets that, thank you.

HBO has set an October 20 premiere date for Damon Lindelof’s highly-anticipated adaptation of Watchmen.

“As football season ramps up this week, HBO Sports and NFL Films announced their teaming on a feature-length film about the long-standing relationship between generational football coaches Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching will air in December on the premium cabler. The film focuses on a four-decade-long friendship between two of the sport’s most successful and revered coaches. New England Patriots master Belichick and Alabama Crimson Tide frontman Saban grant unprecedented camera access to their annual coaching retreat, where they share a multi-layered conversation about their interwoven history, admiration, coaching philosophies and more. The intimate portrait invites viewers to examine first-hand their blueprints for organizational success.

Hulu and MGM are developing The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to her best-selling dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, the streaming service and studio said Wednesday. The two companies are currently in discussions with Handmaid’s Tale creator/showrunner Bruce Miller about how the upcoming novel — due out Sept. 10 — “can become an important extension” to the flagship series.”

Per Deadline, “Ryan Murphy has unpacked a jaw-dropping, star-studded slate of excitement with his new group of Netflix shows as part of his mega-deal with the streamer.

“In an interview with Time, Murphy revealed that in addition to an adaptation of the Broadway musical The Prom starring Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman (news that Deadline reported exclusively) he will adapt the classic musical A Chorus Line into a 10-part miniseries.

“To add more to the pageantry of programming, Murphy said he is working on another miniseries about the iconic designer Halston, with Ewan McGregor stepping into the role of the man who changed the game of fashion. Halston has been a hot commodity in Hollywood as of late with the recent documentary by Frédéric Tcheng and the long-gestating Battle of Versailles project that involved the groundbreaking designer.

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Per Deadline, “Ryan Murphy has unpacked a jaw-dropping, star-studded slate of excitement with his new group of Netflix shows as part of his mega-deal with the streamer.

“In an interview with Time, Murphy revealed that in addition to an adaptation of the Broadway musical The Prom starring Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman (news that Deadline reported exclusively) he will adapt the classic musical A Chorus Line into a 10-part miniseries.

“To add more to the pageantry of programming, Murphy said he is working on another miniseries about the iconic designer Halston, with Ewan McGregor stepping into the role of the man who changed the game of fashion. Halston has been a hot commodity in Hollywood as of late with the recent documentary by Frédéric Tcheng and the long-gestating Battle of Versailles project that involved the groundbreaking designer.

“During the interview, he unloaded even more morsels of goodness including a new 10-part docuseries about pop art icon Andy Warhol as well as A Secret Love, a look at a real-life closeted lesbian couple who came out in their 80s.

“In addition to his groundbreaking FX series Pose, which he created with Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals, Murphy’s plate is definitely full. Other series on his Netflix slate include the upcoming Election-esque series The Politician starring Ben Platt, which drops September 27. He is also putting the finishing touches on the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest prequel Ratchet starring Sarah Paulson in the titular role. The series has yet to land a release date.

Hollywood, starring Patti LuPone and Holland Taylor, is set to premiere in May and will look take a ‘look at Hollywood and the sex industry, and how absolutely everything has changed and nothing has changed.’

“Last and certainly not least, Murphy will team with frequent collaborator Jessica Lange for a project about Hollywood legend Marlene Dietrich in Vegas during the early ’60s. Not much movement has been made on that because he is admits that he is ‘booked,’ but it’s definitely on his radar.”

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From The Hollywood Reporter: “Add Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) to the list of high-profile names signing on to programming at shortform streamer Quibi.

“The Oscar winner will star with Liam Hemsworth in an untitled thriller series for the service, which is set to launch next spring. The project features Hemsworth as a terminally ill man who, desperate to provide for his pregnant wife, agrees to participate in a deadly game where he discovers he's not the hunter, but the prey.

Waltz will play a character named Miles Sellers. Other details about the role are being kept under wraps.

“The effort will mark Waltz's American series debut. His film credits include Alita: Battle Angel, Downsizing and The Legend of Tarzan, and the actor is set to reprise his role as the villainous Blofeld in the upcoming James Bond movie No Time to Die.

“The untitled series comes from CBS Television Studios and creator Nick Santora (Scorpion, Prison Break), who will executive produce with director Phil Abraham (Mad MenDaredevil), Gordon Gray and Silver Reel Pictures.

“Quibi has more than 40 scripted and unscripted projects in development ahead of its planned launch in April 2020. The mobile-focused streaming platform will release shows in short "chapters" of eight to 10 minutes each and plans to premiere some 7,000 pieces of content in its first year, with users paying $4.99 monthly for a version with ads and $7.99 for an ad-free version. Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman have raised $1 billion so far.”

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Per Variety, “Jordan Pruitt, a contestant on the third season of The Voice, has filed a lawsuit accusing her former manager, Keith Thomas, of sexually abusing her beginning when she was 14 years old.

“Pruitt also sued her former record label, Hollywood Records, and its parent company, the Walt Disney Co., alleging that they had failed to prevent the abuse. The suit alleges that the label compelled her to work with Thomas as her mentor and producer, and allowed him to be unsupervised, even though it knew or should have known that he was a sexual abuser.

“‘Unfortunately, these large companies are primarily concerned with sales, money and charts,’ Pruitt said in a statement to Variety. ‘Too often they fall short of protecting the young talent that they are ‘supposed’ to be caretakers for. Time and time again we see people in positions of power fail us. I couldn’t be more disappointed in how Disney treats their underage talent like cash cows.’

“Disney and Hollywood Records did not comment on the complaint.

“The suit represents a bombshell within the country music scene, where sexual misconduct allegations are still largely taboo even in the #MeToo era.

“Thomas is a veteran Nashville producer. He got his start with Ronnie Milsap, and worked with BeBe and CeCe Winans before hitting it big with the Amy Grant single Baby Baby. Since the early 2000s, he has worked largely with teenaged female singers, including Pruitt. In 2013, he starred on Chasing Nashville, a short-lived Lifetime reality show that followed four girls striving for country music stardom.

“The lawsuit was first filed on Aug. 14, using pseudonyms. Reached by Variety at that time, Thomas referred questions to his attorney. His attorney did not respond to a request for comment. An amended complaint with the true names attached was filed on Tuesday.

“Pruitt signed with the label as a 14-year-old in 2005. She released two albums in 2007 and 2008. In her statement to Variety, she said that many in the Nashville music world fear the consequences of speaking up about sexual abuse.

“‘I am standing up and speaking out not only for myself, but for the countless victims across the world who have never been given the opportunity for justice,’ Pruitt said. ‘It is extremely taboo for anyone to speak about sexual abuse, misconduct and exploitation of minors in the ordinarily conservative and genteel South. Over and above decorum, many fear the repercussions of coming forward for example (getting blacklisted from the industry, losing work, having YOUR reputation tarnished). To many victims, coming forward feels shameful. Even though the #metoo movement has been very powerful for many, there is still much work that needs to be done. No one should ever be punished for telling the truth and seeking justice, period.’

“The suit claims that Thomas groomed Pruitt for abuse, controlling her entire professional life, cutting off contact with boys her own age, and putting her down with negative comments about her looks and talents. The suit alleges that he would also shower her with compliments, saying he loved her and that no one understood how ‘special’ their relationship was.

“According to the complaint, Thomas also groomed her mother, gaining her trust, which enabled him to spend time alone with Pruitt.

“Pruitt alleges that the abuse began when she was 14, and continued until a week before her 16th birthday. She claims that it involved kissing and oral sex, and that Thomas took her virginity. She also alleges that on one occasion, she was drugged and anally penetrated. She alleges that the abuse occurred at the Staples Center, on soundstages at the Warner Bros. lot, in artists’ trailers, hotel rooms, and in parked cars.

“According to Pruitt, Thomas told her that ‘their love was a secret.’ She says that she only became fully aware of the abusive nature of the relationship last December.

“Pruitt had disclosed in a Facebook post in December that she had been molested as a teenager, but she did not identify the abuser at the time.

“‘At fifteen this person had brainwashed me into thinking that the things that were happening were “natural” and “okay,”’ she wrote. ‘While I will spare you any of the mind-piercing details, I can honestly and unfortunately say that this man sexually abused me for almost two years of my life. I am a victim of child molestation because of him.’

“In her statement, Pruitt said she hoped that as a result of the complaint, Disney and Hollywood Records would ‘spend their time and money on putting safeguards in place in order to protect the minors the are employing.’

“Last week, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge granted a request from Pruitt’s attorney, Keith Davidson, to identify the parties in the suit.

“‘Jordan Pruitt, like far too many child stars, was exploited by the very people who should have been protecting her,’ Davidson said in a statement. ‘Jordan’s innocence was robbed from her as she was systematically groomed, molested, and controlled by a predator employed by Disney, a company that sells happiness to children. Disney had a duty to protect Jordan from Keith Thomas, and failed at every step. Jordan can never get back the innocence that was stolen from her, nor can she erase the trauma of this tragedy, but she is committed to making sure no other young women fall victim to child predators employed and protected by one of the largest entertainment corporations in the world. Jordan is brave to find the courage to come forward to take on such a large conglomerate. She like so many victims with their own #metoo story must be supported. I am honored to represent Jordan.’

“The suit also names Thomas’ company, Levosia Entertainment, as a defendant. Pruitt is now writing a book about her experience, Abuse Anonymous.”

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From Vulture: “‘There he is,’ Regina King says in her familiar soft contralto as we approach a small black-and-white photo of Tupac Shakur looking askance with his middle finger casually pointed toward the sky. ‘You could just get lost in his eyes. You could feel like you saw all the pain, all the joy, all the everything. All at the same time.’

“We’re meandering through Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. The photo was taken at Club Amazon in 1993, shortly after King first met Shakur during the table read for the John Singleton film Poetic Justice. King had gotten into a car accident on the way to the set, hydroplaning into a pole. Shakur chauffeured her around for the rest of the day. ‘We just became peas in a pod after that,’ she says. ‘One Christmas, we drove out to Atlanta to spend the holidays with him. That was the last time I really got to spend time with him. God willing, your last time with someone can always be one of joy.’

“The rest of the exhibit too is a kind of memento book of friends and acquaintances King has met throughout her life. She crashed with Guru of Gang Starr when she first moved to New York; she had the ‘hugest crush’ on the rapper Aceyalone. (‘He never knew that I did. I can say it now.’) Photos of a young Jay-Z in front of the World Trade Center prompt a memory of the first time she met him at Roc Nation CEO Jay Brown’s wedding. ‘I was walking toward the dance floor’ — she demonstrates a little shimmy for me, shoulders gleaming in her denim jumpsuit — ‘and he had the face that felt like he don’t fuck with nobody. He don’t smile. He just about his business. He saw me and he went —’ She laughs and does the shimmy again.

Regina King has always been good. She was good when she first started her career at the age of 13 on 227. She was good as Janet Jackson’s best friend with a drinking problem in Poetic Justice. Good as Cuba Gooding Jr.’s solid-as-a-rock wife in Jerry Maguire. Good as both Huey and Riley in The Boondocks. Good in a string of television shows that never quite got their proper due, like Southland and the Netflix series Seven Seconds. She has been so good for so long that you felt the danger of taking her for granted. In part, it’s because she is skilled at playing supporting characters who feel of the world, modeling them on the people she knows until they become part of a vast suite of references to draw from. Her recent awards recognition — three Emmys, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar in four years — felt like the Establishment making up for lost time.

“‘Regina has done so much amazing work in her career that was not lauded in the way — I won’t say it should have been — but it could have been,’ says Barry Jenkins, who directed King to her Oscar in If Beale Street Could Talk. ‘There are some people for whom the early ingenue career is the path and there are other people who have to become so undeniable that their work is finally recognized later in their career. Unfortunately for black actresses [like Regina], that’s certainly been the case.’

“This October, she’ll star as police officer Angela Abar in Damon Lindelof’s HBO adaptation of the graphic novel Watchmen. Lindelof, who first worked with King on the second season of another apocalyptic HBO drama, The Leftovers, has a rule: He doesn’t work twice with the same actor. And yet, during the writing and pitching of the show, he would often slip and refer to Angela as Regina, before catching himself and saying, ‘It’s not going to be Regina!’

“‘I keep feeling like, Why is Regina King not the star when she’s the star?’ says Lindelof, whose series is an extension or ‘remix’ of the original Alan Moore text, adapting its punk, meta spirit for 2019. In King, he saw someone the viewer could trust. ‘I would never write something for her where she had to be a liar,’ he says. ‘Regina doesn’t lie.’ In his telling, the ostensible villains are a white-supremacist militia group, and King’s character is a masked cop set to take them down. ‘[Regina] liked the idea of Angela in that it was not just about putting on a cool costume and beating up bad guys,’ says Lindelof. ‘It was understanding that she can beat up white supremacists, but she can’t beat white supremacy. She likes the Sisyphean quality of that battle.’

“Also, she just wanted to play a badass. ‘I’ve wanted to be a superhero since The Incredible Hulk,’ she says. ‘Yo! I put on that [costume] and my shoulders go back and I feel like, Where’s my theme music?

“King’s son, Ian, ambles up to us in a bright-white tee and a Baltimore Black Sox cap, which he’s wearing in honor of the old Negro League team. He’s 23 and works as a producer and DJ; the pair are close in a way that feels uncannily like friendship. I ask him what his mom is like.

“‘She’s blunt. Straightforward. I get it from her, so I respect that,’ he says.

“‘Okay, I’ll walk away,’ King says, idling off to the side.

“‘Irresponsibility is something that’s a pet peeve,’ he says.

“‘Everybody is irresponsible,’ she responds, circling back. ‘But it’s when people are irresponsible and try to pretend like they’re not. You own up to it. Yeah, I was fucking up, you know?’

“Call it what you will — authenticity, honesty, owning your shit — the moral clarity she telegraphs in Watchmen has been a through line in much of King’s work: as a grieving mother who loses her son to a hit-and-run in the Seven Seconds, or as a social worker in the third season of American Crime. It’s perhaps why two of her most memorable scenes in recent years have played out directly to the camera. On the season-two episode of The Leftovers, Lens, she and Carrie Coon face off in an extraordinary nine-minute scene, shot in hair-raisingly extreme close-up. Then there was the wordless scene in Beale Street, where King’s character, Sharon Rivers, gets herself ready in front of the mirror, putting on her wig, before setting off to find the woman she believes has falsely accused her daughter’s partner of rape. For an actor, there’s nowhere to hide, no distance between yourself and the viewer. She’s pure presence.

“King’s own sense of morality is undergirded by religion. She grew up in the Church of Religious Science and went to a school affiliated with it as a kid, where the students would start each morning by singing Let There Be Peace on Earth. Religious Science — ‘not to be confused with Scientology’ — was founded in L.A. in 1927 (Cary Grant was once involved). It holds a kind of pantheistic belief that God isn’t a being so much as a universal presence. ‘God is everywhere,’ she explains. ‘Fear and love are both equal energies. Just one is applied positively and one is applied negatively, and it’s a choice on which application you are using.’

“When she won the Oscar for If Beale Street Could Talk, she thanked her mother, Gloria — ‘I’m an example of what it looks like when support and love is poured into someone’ — before adding the word GIMOSAS. It’s an acronym for ‘God is my only source and supply.’ King invokes it like a daily chant: GIMOSAS, GIMOSAS, GIMOSAS. ‘It is to access the calm, to help you center all through the day,’ she says.

“As we take our leave, a stranger walks up to her and asks, ‘Regina Hall, right?’ — something that’s already happened once today. I sense a slight impatience edging her eyes.

“‘No,’ she replies.

“‘You look so much like her,’ he presses on.

“‘No, I don’t. I don’t look anything like her,’ she replies steadily. ‘I look just like Regina King.’”

Tuesday September 3, 2019

I watched Free Meek on Amazon. Definitely worth your time, especially if you’re not completely familiar with his story.

I also watched the Travis Scott doc on Netflix. Definitely not worth your time.

I’m also done with On Becoming A God In Central Florida.

A new season of Mayans MC premieres tonight.

HBO wraps up another season of Hard Knocks.

Some folks from The Brady Bunch show up as judges tonight on Chopped.

Netflix is implementing a new release pattern for its 10-episode hip-hop competition series Rhythm + Flow. Picked up straight-to-series in November, the show — hosted by Cardi B, Chance the Rapper and Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris — will air over three weeks. The first batch of four episodes will launch Wednesdays, Oct. 9, and feature the audition process. Week two, launching Oct. 16, will consist of episodes five through seven and cover cyphers, rap battles and music videos. The series will conclude Wednesday, Oct. 23, with episodes eight through 10 and cover samples, collaborations and the finale. Rhythm + Flow is the streaming giant's first music competition series and features industry legends in a multiple-city (covering L.A., New York, Atlanta and Chicago) search for undiscovered artists. John Legend, Ty Stiklorius and Mike Jackson's Get Lifted, Gaspin and his Gaspin Media, Jesse Collins and his Jesse Collins Entertainment exec produce alongside Nikki Boella, Jeff Pollack, Cardi B., Chance the Rapper and Harris.”

Remembering Valerie Harper.

“Certain comics may be coming to Louis C.K.‘s defense after he admitted to sexually harassing women, but Anthony Jeselnik isn’t one of them. In a new episode of The Daily Beast’s The Last Laugh podcast, Jeselnik insists that he ‘certainly [doesn’t] feel bad’ for C.K., as ‘he did this” to himself.’ Jeselnik went on to say that he’s ‘surprised’ by ‘the tack that he has taken with his comeback, ‘particularly C.K.’s jokes about the Parkland shooting survivors. ‘I think it’s funny to watch this guy who was the comedy god for 10 years have to eat all this shit,’ said the Good Talk host. When asked about Louis C.K.’s attempted comeback, Jeselnik didn’t mince words. ‘People keep asking the question, should he be allowed to perform? And I think that’s the wrong question,’ the comic told The Last Laugh host Matt Wilstein. ‘This is show business and it’s not fair, just or even remotely reasonable. The question is, should you buy a ticket? And that’s up to the audience member.’ He added that platforms like Netflix may not be ‘completely against’ releasing a C.K. special, particularly if it’s ‘a platform to come and apologize. I don’t know if I would watch it, but I’ve read every single article about it. I’m just fascinated,’ continued Jeselnik. ‘It’s like watching somebody fall down.’ The Comedy Central host insisted that he doesn’t really have ‘a take’ on the Louis C.K. situation, but added, ‘I certainly don’t feel bad for him. I don’t think anything happened to him. I think that he did this. And if he can fight his way back, I’m interested in watching someone drag themselves through barbed wire.’”

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Per Deadline, “[t]he final scene has been shot and the cast has exited the set of USA Network’s Suits.

“The legal drama wrapped production Thursday after nine seasons of triumphs, defeats, and romantic liaisons.

“As the actors left their made-for-TV law firm the last time, some of the cast members shared tributes on social media. Gabriel Macht, who stars as Harvey Specter, thanked his wife Jacinda Barrett for remaining by his side, despite years of sacrifice.

“‘Nine years ago I started the Suits journey,’ Macht wrote. ‘It all began with the most important person in my life by my side. This life that has offered us so much… some easy, many challenging, countless miles apart and hours, days, and months separating us and our loved ones not to mention years of sacrifice on so many levels. I count my blessings you sticking with me through to the bitter sweet end of this era.’

“He went on to express gratitude to the show’s crew, his co-stars and fans.

“‘As I have thanked my wonderful crew, my talented ensemble, and the fantastic fans that keep coming back for more…I am most grateful for Jacinda Barrett,’ he added.

“Sarah Rafferty, who plays Donna Paulsen, posted photos throughout the week. In one picture, she shared an embrace with Rick Hoffman, who co-stars as Louis Litt.

“‘And that’s a series wrap on my brother Rick E. Hoffman. No words for this one,’ she captioned the photo.

“Gina Torres, who left the series and now stars on Suits spinoff, Pearson, also got nostalgic. She posted a picture of the cast, including Meghan Markle — now the Duchess of Sussex — and described them all as ‘family.’

“‘When I left this beautiful family the first time, I was not on social media,’ she wrote. ‘My thoughts were my own. My salute to the most delicious cast and crew, was wonderfully private, including hugs I can still feel. Today I say goodbye for the second and last time to all that made this show so very extraordinary. You know who you are. You will forever have my deepest love and respect.’

Suits launched in 2011, with a storyline centering on hotshot lawyer Harvey Specter. He took a gamble by hiring Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a brilliant, but not exactly legitimate attorney as an associate at his Manhattan law firm. Along with Jessica Pearson and Louis Litt, they built a wildly successful firm.

“The final season centers on an evolved firm, Zane Specter Litt Wheeler Williams, which is facing uncertainty and change yet again after Robert Zane (Wendell Pierce) took the fall with the Bar Association to save Harvey. After his sacrifice, Samantha Wheeler (Katherine Heigl) is left reeling from the loss of her mentor, and while trying to console her, Harvey realizes that he doesn’t want to lose the most important person to him — Donna.”

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From The Hollywood Reporter: “On one level, the Safe Room episode of Succession was one of the HBO drama's funniest to date, from Roman's (Kieran Culkin) withering exposure to the family's theme park business to Connor's (Alan Ruck) deliriously non-specific eulogy to Tom's (Matthew Macfadyen) frustrated confrontation with Greg (Nicholas Braun) to Holly Hunter's perfectly prickly introduction to the cast.

“That is not the level that Jeremy Strong's Kendall finds himself on. In an extended personal nadir since last summer's finale, Kendall kept drifting to a skyscraper rooftop in existential crisis and ended the episode with an utterly heartbreaking conversation with Shiv (Sarah Snook), one in which he seemed, perhaps for the first time, to have a clear vision of his future.

“Strong spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about Kendall's deepening despair, a low point that didn't make the cut in the third episode and what it feels like to rarely be part of the show's hilarious side. He also weighs in on fans rooting for Kendall's awfulness and what he's rooting for himself:

That last conversation with Shiv is almost unimaginably sad. What was your first reaction to reading that scene and, I have to ask, am I a chump for thinking that Kendall's sincere in it?

I hope not. I mean, I was sincere. I think that is all sincerely felt, and just so poignantly and expertly drawn by [creator and showrunner] Jesse Armstrong, in terms of this inchoate, lost, desolate, deadened person trying to articulate where he's at. I was very moved by it when I read it. 

It was a relief for Kendall, a moment of connection for Kendall that he has not had this season. It was something, a bit like water in the desert for me, because of where we find him when this season starts. Part of what happened at the end of season one, is a total and complete inward collapse of a person, it's like the engine fell out. And all of the drive that had been animating him, his whole life force in a sense was extinguished by this catastrophic event, and really spectacular disaster and failure on his part. But the cost on him is really enormous, on Kendall. And part of that cost is this extreme estrangement from other people. He can't tell anyone what he's done, ever. And that isolates him and makes him very alone.

And he has to live with the anguish of it. When I re-read Crime and Punishment before we started this season, Dostoevsky uses the phrase "monstrous pain" to talk about what Raskolnikov is carrying with him, and that was something that I really thought was important to try and embody. So it was hard to find that place in yourself, hard to live out that place. But that scene with Shiv at the end of [episode] four, that "monstrous pain" is a part of that whole episode for me, it's why I keep going up to the roof, it's why I find myself sort of on that precipice and I'm sure having thoughts of suicide.

In the hunting episode in Hungary, there was a scene where I was off in the woods alone hunting and I unload serially, all of these bullets into a boar. And in one of the takes, I found myself putting the rifle in my mouth, and just sat there with it in my mouth for a very long time. And it obviously didn't make it into the cut of the episode, but I think that's because they wanted to build to where four builds to. 

This season, what have been the challenges of playing the shades of melancholy that Kendall has been going through? I imagine at some point you have to be a little bit nervous yourself that that's all going to come through on camera, that you're going to be able to convey the different gradations that you're trying to play.

Some other kind of actor might answer that differently and have more technical facility in terms of rendering those shades. My belief is, if you actually inhabit a place of brokenness and grief and then just let that live, without in any way trying to control or prescribe or present what that might look like, that's been my goal, to live in and inhabit whatever given circumstances are, emotionally as best I can, and hope that the way that is emanating and coming through me, or even existing in me in an embodied way, will be felt by the audience, if it's real for me.

But in terms of the gradations, I don't know. Hopefully it's not all the same color gray because I think as we're doing it, I'm having quite a real and personal experience. You have to figure out what are the things that would break me? What are the things without which, or if I was to lose them, or if I were to cross this line or that line in some irrevocable way, would just shatter me? And so those are the kinds of creative puzzles that you're struggling with as the actor.

That's all very highfalutin, but really the writing just brings it out of you. I think of the writing as a set of magnets that just magnetizes out of you, the emotions and gradations that it requires. It just summons those things out of you, so you just need to be a vessel for that. So I guess that I'm not very aware of what's showing up on camera, and I don't want to be. I trust that if it's coming from the unconscious in me, then that's right. If I ever become too self-aware, then I feel further from the truth of it.

Does your process require that you dig in and stick with these gradations of gloominess? Or do you have to force yourself to have moments of silliness between shots, just to kind of shake this off?

No, I find that I need to dig in and entrench myself and then stay in. I would also say gloominess is a symptom of something, but what Kendall is experiencing is closer to a despair that is as close as you can be to wanting to die. It is a hell that he's in, and it is despair. The interesting thing about despair is it, as the absence of all hope, it's very inactive. That was a challenging as an actor to try and play, because the truism is that you always need something active to do as an actor.

So this was an experiment for me to try and kind of be in a dead man's float for as long as I possibly could, in the arc of the season, until something comes along that might reanimate me. But it really did feel like The Revenant, in a sense of just a person who's essentially dead, who at a certain point in a later episode, something will galvanize him that makes him want to live again. But in those early episodes and in four I think we're still dealing with a level of despair that is the absence of life in him. Whoever that guy was that we met rapping in the backseat of the car in the very first episode, he's not there anymore. That was tremendously sad for me.

And you don't want to stay in that place, it's a bit like holding a rubber ball that is your spirit and positivity underwater for months at a time. But I think that's what I tried to do, and attempted to do, to try and make this as fully felt and embodied as I could. But those days where you're on the ledge on the 75-story building, I don't know how to personally work where you can kind of come in and out of that. You need to really, really go stand on that ledge and find reasons why you might do that.

If last season was like climbing this mountain of his life's ambitions, this season has been like starting at the bottom of this deep crater, where he has just cratered out and then trying to get out of that. But for a long time the writing doesn't give me any rungs in the ladder, to climb out of the crater.

What's such a unique thing about this show is that you can have Kendall being on the 75th floor contemplating suicide in this nihilistic, existential crisis and then at the same time, you have Tom and Greg in a panic room throwing stuff at each other, totally wacky hijinks. How aware were you at this point in shooting that you were almost in a different show from half of the cast?

I felt in a different show for a majority of the time, and there's been certain islands within that. For example, last year when I went to New Mexico when Kendall got high again, where I felt like I could join in the camaraderie, even in this really fucked up way. But those days on set I remember feeling much more buoyant, because it brought out this other side of Kendall that he'd kept under control. But in general I feel pretty isolated from that aspect of the show. As an objective outsider, it's a real testament to Jesse that he can straddle these different sensibilities. I come from the theater and so of course I think about Chekhov, who had these extreme pathos and extreme levity side by side, and Jesse's able to do that with hilarity and absurdity and then also have such gravity.

But I've always felt that in a sense Brian [Cox] and I are sometimes in a different show totally where we are both engaged in this life and death struggle in a very serious way, and then the hijinks are just happening around it. We are all in the same piece, and that is so exciting and somehow it works. There's something very ineffable about that. I don't know if Jesse knew if it would work; if he could put all these things together in the same container.

It's funny because when I describe the show to people, I call it a “very dark comedy, but with these tragic veins running through it." Do you come at it as almost the exact opposite?

Yeah, totally. I see it as a drama with these dark comic, satirical veins going through it, but at its core and the ballast of it is this dramatic throughline. The very first conversation I had with [exec producer] Adam McKay and Jesse about it, was about the Danish film The Celebration, which is also darkly comic but very much a drama about trauma and family trauma. And of course we talked about the Godfather films, because who doesn't? But I do think there is an element of that in this that I have been not very aware of, but certainly informed by. But I do see it as sort of a heavyweight drama.

This episode is also the first appearance from Holly Hunter, and this is obviously a cast that doesn't lack for powerhouses, but what is the different energy that someone like her brings when she comes on the set for the first time?

It's interesting because Holly is such a formidable force as an actor, and is someone that we've all known for a long time. When I heard that she'd been cast, you always wonder if that might upset the apple cart in terms of the center of gravity, having such a revered, known person come into a show where Brian is obviously well-known, but in a way, we've become this family for audiences, so all that by way of saying, god was I happy that Holly Hunter came and did this role on our show. She really is a force of nature, and I think she elevated and deepened the environment, she brought a singularity of focus to the environment, she just raises the bar.

So it was exciting to have that caliber of an actor come into the show in a supporting role, and give that role and this world even more weight. I had a lot of fun with Holly, I think we both approach the work in a very similar way, and we both put ourselves on human airplane mode, shutting out everything else. I really appreciate that in her, and she really has a level of mastery, as Brian Cox does, that is just exciting to be around and to be in the ring with.

I don't know how much attention you pay to such things, but two episodes ago, with the gutting of Vaulter, there was a lot of, "Yay, Kendall got his mojo back." Whereas I viewed it as kind of a rock bottom moment for him. How do you respond to people rooting for Kendall to get his awfulness back?

That's interesting. One thing is that I'm not at all aware of the [conversation]. I block all that out, which is probably wise for me to do, and just stay inside of it. I agree with you in that I think it really is a rock bottom. Where when I first talked to Jesse about this season, where he said his idea was seeing Kendall as this defeated, submissive, subservient and subjugated lackey to my father. I immediately thought of The Manchurian Candidate and trying to create this almost somnambulistic, just dead-eyed soldier who's been weaponized, who's been made to cross further and further his own moral and ethical lines.

I thought about this line from Richard III, where he says he's "so far in blood that sin will pluck on sin." And that was something that I thought about as we were doing that, so it felt awful. It felt awful to do, it feels slightly awful that people are rooting for awfulness, but maybe it sounds like they're rooting for Kendall to get his mojo back, which is not so awful.

I know that I was rooting for him. He's got the wind knocked out of him in such a bad way, and while these people are not just the most sterling, spotless people, I think they are very fallible, but I do think they are trying to be some version of their best selves. I know Kendall is trying to do that, what that version looks like is different from what most peoples versions looks like. But he is trying to do that, so I hope that's something to root for.”

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One more Succession interview (from Vulture): “While the Roy family sets to work destroying one another on Succession, there’s always a force lingering in the background, peering over her glasses in disappointment, playing both sides of every boardroom spat. That’s right: In all things Succession, there is Gerri, Waystar Royco’s general counsel.

“Played with poisonous efficiency by J. Smith-Cameron, Gerri survives the chaos primarily by staying out of it. In the show’s second season, however, Gerri can’t resist getting drawn into the Waystar Royco power struggles, as she’s temporarily placed in charge of the company (a position she accepts with a sense of trepidation), and also gets caught up in a sexually charged, mentorlike relationship with Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin), the family’s most chaotic son. Gerri pushes Roman to get a job at a Waystar theme park and clean up his act, and in the fourth episode, after Roman gets into a fight with his girlfriend over the fact that they don’t have sex, Gerri and Roman end up stumbling into phone sex together. Which, in the world of Succession, means that he jacks off while she berates him for being ‘a revolting little worm’ and a ‘little slime puppy.’

“Smith-Cameron, a TV and theater actor who’s worked with Culkin a lot in the past (including in her husband Kenneth Lonergan’s film Margaret as well as onstage), was as surprised as everyone else by Gerri and Roman’s phone sex, though she also admits it makes a certain sense. Vulture caught up with her — over the phone, of course — to discuss what’s going through Gerri’s mind during that scene, how she imagines Gerri’s backstory, and why she’s managed to survive at Waystar for so long:

At the end of this episode, Gerri and Roman have very charged, very unexpected phone sex. How did you initially react to that scene?
Well, I was totally shocked. In episode one, I remember [director] Mark Mylod saying, “Lean into Roman, a little foreshadowing.” I was like, “What foreshadowing?” And he went, “Oh, has no one told you about that?” Then he said, “Yeah, there’s gonna be something.” Kieran and I have known each other a long time. We have a good rapport on set. Gerri and Roman also have, somehow, a good rapport because [she] can just tell him to shut up all the time, you know? He maybe respects that or enjoys that in some roundabout way. But it’s still very, very weird!

I was rewatching the first season and I was surprised by how much it’s foreshadowed. Early on, Gerri has a line about how Roman “knows how to flirt” with her.
I can’t speak for Kieran, but I think there’s something in Roman’s makeup that admires the way Gerri has power even in the midst of dealing with Logan. She keeps her boat afloat and that’s not lost on him. He finds that appealing.

What do you think she gets out of it? It feels like a way for her to exert authority amid the chaos.
Intellectually, it’s that, but I don’t know. I was watching episode three last night, where they’re in Hungary and they’d been to that horrible night of “boar on the floor” and they’re all hung-over. Gerri comes to get [Roman] because he’s late for breakfast, and there’s an undeniable fondness or intimacy there. It was on the page, but it also just was true. It just happened in the room. I don’t think, at that point, Gerri would ever guess where it was going. I think she is fond of him and would like to think of him as a protégé or something. She thinks, Oh, he’s not stupid. And he’s very charismatic. He’s just a restless spoiled brat. If the right person could fashion that, he’d be really an amazing person.

But that’s a distant thought, because I don’t think she has very high hopes for the Roys. I feel like Gerri is like, Oh brother, about all three of the sons, all the time. But some kind of rapport is there. I don’t think she knows what to make of it. Every time we went to shoot one of those scenes, I’d be like, “What is this?” It finally occurred to me that Gerri doesn’t know either. She’s just playing it moment to moment, like, What? Okay. What?

A lot of Gerri’s scenes involve her observing these Roy power struggles, then reacting to whatever’s happening. What is it like to film that?
It’s really fun. She’s in the center of the company, but not being born a Roy, there’s some layer of privilege she can’t access. But there’s some sanity that she can always access because she’s not caught up in that above-the-law feeling. So she does bide her time. She does carefully choose her words.

It’s not that Gerri is morally superior at all, by the way. She’s a way for the audience to see someone who’s not just flexing their incredible power of being born into this. I sometimes wonder, Why in the world would anyone choose to work there?, but I imagine people get addicted. It’s like an extreme sport. Will I get dunked by this wave or will I come out on top?

At the beginning of this season, Gerri is ostensibly put in charge of the company, even as Logan insists that she won’t be his successor. Should we be worried for her, considering how unstable the company is? 
Last year, my first scene I shot was when Roman asked me to do that job. Logan had his stroke and he went to the hospital and I’m like, “No thanks.” He’s like, “What?” You later find out that Gerri knows how much debt they’re in, so I think she never had the fantasy about running the business. She does not want to inherit it at a moment when whoever has it is bound to fail because it’s going to be in really treacherous waters. This season, she’s not in the chosen [group]. She’s not quite in sync with it all. She’s staying alive in the game, but it’s not really quite exactly going her way.

You talked about working with Kieran in the past. Between you, him, and Jeannie Berlin, who plays ATN boss Cyd Peach, there’s a whole Margaret reunion happening this second season.
That’s right! It’s a joy. Jeannie and I had more to say to each other than what made the cut, but I don’t want to give it away because it could be used still.

Kieran’s been in a number of my husband’s plays as well as Margaret. I’ve gotten to know him over a long the time. I feel like it did really inform the Gerri-Roman thing, our history. It makes for this shorthand you have with someone. A lot of the things that turned out to be true of Gerri, which weren’t written in stone to begin with, they evolved as a combination of the writers and me and the mood on set. It’s our past, but it’s also the way my character evolved into a niche in sync with his character. It’s like the beginning of a beautiful friendship, like they’re like partners in crime.”

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Per EW, “‘Yes it’s true I am leaving Saturday Night Live.’

Leslie Jones publicly addressed her departure from NBC’s long-running sketch comedy series in a heartfelt message shared on Twitter, accompanied by her own spin on the DMX Challenge.

“The comedienne gave thanks to SNL‘s executive producer Lorne Michaels, the writers and crew, her fellow cast mates (including her Ghostbusters costar Kate McKinnon and ‘porcelain-skinned Ken doll’ Colin Jost), and her fans.

“To Michaels, she wrote, ‘You’ve changed my life in so many ways! Thank you for being my mentor and confidant and for always having my back. You not only have my loyalty but you have my heart too! You have shown me skills I never imagined I had. I leave a better performer because of you.’

“Meanwhile, the video, set to DMX’s What They Really Want, runs down some of Jones’ most iconic characters after five seasons on SNL.

1/5
Yes it’s true I am leaving Saturday Night Live. I cannot thank NBC, the producers, writers, and amazing crew enough for making SNL my second home these last five years. Lorne Michaels, you’ve changed my life in so many ways! Thank you for being my mentor and confidant and for

“‘I will miss holding it down with Kenan [Thompson] everyday, I will miss Cecily [Strong]’s impression of me making me laugh at myself often, I will miss Kate’s loving hugs and talks when I needed,’ Jones continued. ‘And of course Colin, you porcelain-skinned Ken doll. I will miss all my cast mates!! Especially being at the table reads with them!! Everyone needs to know Leslie Jones couldn’t have done any of the things I did without these people.’

“News of Jones’ leave from the show came a week ago, a month before the start of season 45.

“Jones, who recently voiced a main role in The Angry Birds Movie 2, had nabbed her own Netflix stand-up comedy special to air in 2020, as well as a hosting gig on the upcoming Supermarket Sweep reboot. She’s also filming a role in theComing to America sequelComing 2 America.

“Speaking to her fans on Twitter, Jones teased, ‘I know you will be as excited as I am when you see some of the amazing projects and adventures that I have coming up very soon!’

2/5
always having my back. You not only have my loyalty but you have my heart too! You have shown me skills I never imagined I had. I leave a better performer because of you. To the incredible cast members: I will miss working, creating and laughing with you.

3/5
I will miss holding it down with Kenan everyday, I will miss Cecily’s impression of me making me laugh at myself often, I will miss Kate’s loving hugs and talks when I needed. And of course Colin, you porcelain-skinned Ken doll. I will miss all my cast mates!!

4/5
Especially being at the table reads with them!! Everyone needs to know Leslie Jones couldn’t have done any of the things I did without these people.
One last thing – to the fans – you are the BEST!! Thank you for all the love and support through my SNL years

5/5
and I know you will be as excited as I am when you see some of the amazing projects and adventures that I have coming up very soon! Love you all!! #iamnotdeadjustgraduating
- Leslie”

Friday August 30, 2019

USA has renewed Queen Of The South for a 5th season.

Lifetime has canceled American Princess.

MSNBC has canceled Donny Deutsch’s show, whatever that was.

Alex Trebek is returning to Jeopardy! for a 36th season.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is now streaming on Netflix. I will be sitting this one out.

All 8 episodes of Carnival Row are now available on Amazon. “With a serial killer loose on Carnival Row, and a government that turns a blind eye to the deaths of its lower class citizens, Rycroft Philostrate, a war-hardened investigator, is the only person willing to stop the murders and maintain the fragile peace. But when Vignette Stonemoss, a faerie refugee, turns up in the Burgue, she forces Philo to reckon with a past he's tried to forget.”

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Per Deadline, “[a] major change may finally be coming to the streaming sports landscape, New York Yankees president Randy Levine hinted Thursday after the $3.5 billion sale of the YES Network formally closed.

“YES, which will now be owned by the Yankees, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Amazon and three private equity partners. The new configuration positions YES well as sports viewing continues to evolve, Levine said during a conference call with reporters.

“The linear broadcast rights to baseball and other sports carried by regional sports networks remain a valuable draw for advertisers despite dramatic shifts in viewing in recent years. In the digital realm, though, change may be afoot. Rumblings have grown louder that the sport could be due for a reshuffling of how it handles streaming rights. Traditionally, the RSNs (including YES) have paid Major League Baseball a set fee for streaming rights, but the league is actively exploring a shift of those rights back to individual teams’ control. (MLB Advanced Media, renamed BAMtech, successfully anticipated the streaming revolution, powering apps like HBO Now before being bought by Disney and mobilized for Disney+.)

“Asked whether the YES deal signals Major League Baseball easing its long-firm grip on streaming rights, Levine didn’t answer directly but offered a small tease. ‘I think you should just stay tuned because I think the [MLB] commissioner will be speaking about that in the near future,’ he said. When another reporter pressed for more details, Levine said, ‘I never speak for the commissioner. … The commissioner may have something to say on that, and I think you should address [the question] to him.’

“During the 15-minute call, Levine praised the ‘great expertise’ of Amazon. Without offering specifics, he said, ‘We’ll be developing programs. We’ve got things in the works as we speak.’

“One ticklish aspect of the deal’s timing is that the new owners of YES have inherited a carriage dispute with Dish Network dating to July that also affects the 21 formerly Fox-owned RSNs. The sale of the non-YES networks, set in motion by the $71.3 billion Disney-Fox deal, was formally announced last week, with the new ownership group including Sinclair and Byron Allen. The carriage impasse has meant the Yankees’ march to the playoffs has not been seen on Dish’s satellite systems or Sling TV skinny-bundle service.

“Levine acknowledged the ‘changing environment’ for RSNs but said YES would be able to continue weathering it well. ‘Sinclair is a very important partner to us,’ Levine added. ‘They have great expertise. They’ll be working with YES management to try to get all of these distribution deals done. I never talk about negotiations in public and I would leave it at that.’

“Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley added, ‘We’ll all be partners together in figuring that out.’”

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From EW: “After bursting onto film screens last year, holding her own opposite Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, and Mindy Kaling in Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, directed by Ava DuVernay, actress Storm Reid is back in theaters with a new Blumhouse film Don’t Let Go.

“Written and directed by Jacob Estes, Don’t Let Go pairs Reid with fellow DuVernay collaborator David Oyelowo as a niece and detective uncle both helping each other prevent the other’s death in what seems to be different timelines.

“On paper, it’s a lot to keep up with, but the 16-year-old actress was up for the task. ‘Working on Wrinkle and dealing with the time travel aspects in that really helped me not get so confused. But it was very confusing when we had to go on set the first day and I had just found out that I was basically dying. It was a lot, but it was good.’

EW spoke to Reid about the thriller out this weekend, as well as her thoughts on HBO’s Euphoria finale, and what may be next for her character Gia:

So I’m excited to talk to you about your new movie. The first thing that jumps out about me is that a lot of your recent projects like Don’t Let Go, Euphoria, and When They See Us are definitely dark, and your characters are struggling quite a bit. Are you doing OK after playing these tough roles?
I just try to pick roles that are very impactful and have a purpose, and evoke a conversation—even underlyingly—through the projects I choose to be a part of. I feel that with that there comes complicated characters and grounded characters, but I’m doing great. I’m glad that I’m able to play and portray these characters.

You and David Oyelowo’s characters have such a close familial relationship. What did you two do to build that bond?
I think it was just about spending time together on set, and we got to spend a little time together off set, just making sure that we built a connection between us so we can have a connection for Jack and Ashley. It was only about a four-week shoot so it was really short, but I’m glad that we were able to spend that time together to where we could have a close connection personally and a good connection on screen.

The film has some specific quirks between you and Oyelowo’s character, like a scene where you two have a drawing battle. How did you two develop those moments?
I can’t speak for Mr. David, but I do know with me, I tried to again not neglect how I would feel, and not neglect myself within my character. The drawing scene was definitely just me being me, having fun and drawing what I wanted to draw. I think it’s important to add yourself into your character to make it more believable for yourself as an actor, and for the audience to believe you as well.

You spend a lot of time on the phone with Oyelowo’s character in this film? How did you two make those scenes so seamless? I don’t imagine they were shot simultaneously.
It was quite easy because David and I made a deal at the beginning of [shooting] the movie that we’d always be on set together, even if we weren’t in the same scene, if we had a phone conversation that we would be on set in the same room or in another room to make sure that we did have that connection, and make it easier for communication because I feel like if somebody is across town, and they’re on the phone, it just won’t feel the same for you as an actor. So that’s what we did, and I feel like that’s what really helped make our connection more believable.

And what was it like working with Brian Tyree Henry? He’s in this movie quite a bit as your dad.
He’s so amazing, so funny, and so talented. I had watched him on things like Atlanta, so I was already a huge fan. Working with such a nice person was great, so I’m glad that I got that opportunity.

Having to shoot heavy scenes like your character dying, how did you stay in the right mindset filming that, or find a way to cut the tension?
Well, with all of my characters I just have to step outside of myself, and step into their shoes. Thankfully I haven’t gone through the experiences that Ashley has been through, but I also have to not neglect how I would feel in these situations, so that’s where all the raw emotion comes from. And then once the scene is over, and we were done with it, I have to step outside of the character and come back to myself and really say that this is not my reality, and that helps. I’m pretty good at just snapping back into being the joyous, happy person that I am after a rough scene.

With a movie like this that has a mysterious supernatural element at the center, do you want the film to answer what causes something like the multiple timelines, or do you enjoy when it’s ambiguous about it?
I think I’d want an answer, but I feel like in our movie, even though it’s a psychological thriller, I feel it’s very grounded and very real. It tries to answer the questions for not only Ashley because she’s very confused while having to basically save her own life, but the [scenes with the] red X and the gum under the table helps the audience figure out what was going on, and really prove to them that it was happening rather than us just saying it was happening. So I personally would like things to be answered, but some things I can answer on my own and I like when movies or television shows give me a clue or hint to where I could figure it out.

Like Euphoria, Don’t Let Go is a grounded film with a surrealist element to it. Do you seek out a lot of projects like that, or is that just purely coincidental?
I love the surrealism in the projects that I have done, and that I’m a part of currently, but I don’t think that has to be one of the main things that makes me want to do a project. Again, it just really has to be impactful, and has to match up with my morals and values. But I do love exploring the things that I’ve been exploring with surrealism in the projects that I’ve done.

What about  Don’t Let Go reflected that criteria, choosing projects based on your morals and values?
I just love that even though it is a genre piece, a psychological thriller, I feel like our movie at hand is about family and unconditional love and sacrificial love, and I feel we all have people in our lives that we would go to the ends of the earth for. I really love that it had that message because even though there’s a lot going on, and it can get very wonky, and you could get confused at many points in the movie, you still have it in the back of your head like “OK these people love each other so much and they’re putting their life on the line to save themselves and their family. I would do the same thing too.” That’s what really got me, the groundedness of that love that you have for your family or your loved ones or whoever you would do anything for.

Do you watch the projects you’re in?
I do. I can’t watch them a lot. So if it’s a movie, the max I would watch it again—let’s just say they have a pre-screening for the cast and crew. I’ll watch that, and then I’ll watch the premiere, and then I may watch it two or three times after that, but I don’t think I could watch it a lot, especially within the time span that it came out, like back-to-back. I’ve only seen Wrinkle about three times, and of course, I’ll watch it again in the future, but I just can’t overload [on watching it] because I start to get uncomfortable watching myself.

And did you watch Euphoria every week? What’s your interpretation of the finale?
I did, yes. It was amazing because, of course, I knew what happened because of the table read. You know what happens and you can’t wait to see it, especially with an episode like that because it’s so intense and all the hard work that was put into it. I, at least, can’t really see things come to life off the page just while reading it, so to see it all happen in real-time was amazing. Our show, not to be biased or anything, is really great not only because it’s entertainment, but because we’re also having a conversation and trying to bridge the disconnect between people who don’t understand teenagers and what we’re going through. So I’m proud to be a part of Euphoria.

It was interesting too because of the fan theories about whether or not Rue was alive and one could say the finale plays into that idea without giving an answer to it.
Yes, our whole show is for your own interpretation, and I did see the things where people ask me if she was deceased or not, or if she had relapsed in the last episode. I feel like again, it’s for your own interpretation, and the questions that you may have specifically about the eighth episode will be answered in the first couple of episodes of Season 2.

If the show continues the frame it had in Season 1, where it puts its focus on one specific character for most of the episode, would you be excited to do an episode focused on Gia?
Yes, we’re working on that and trying to really just develop her character because the first season she’s just the little sister staying on the sidelines, but she’ll be older and she’ll really have her own opinion, and really become her own person. I feel like you’ll be seeing a lot more Gia in the second season.”

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Per The Los Angeles Times, “[i]t’s a chilly night on the rooftop of a New York City strip club when four words entice Constance Wu’s newbie dancer Destiny into the maternal, couture-lined fold of Jennifer Lopez’s glamorous Ramona in Hustlers: Climb in my fur.

“Alas, Destiny’s hunger for cash and connection has a cost in the true-crime female-empowerment movie of the season, opening Sept. 13 following a world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival the weekend prior, in which a stilettoed sisterhood of ex-strippers scheme to steal from their Wall Street clients after the 2008 financial crisis. (The real-life tabloid-ready tale ended in arrests, as documented in the 2015 New York Magazine article on which Hustlers is based.)

“To fans who know Wu best from television, playing an exotic dancer-turned-criminal might seem like quite a detour from Jessica Huang, the suburban sitcom mom she’s played for five seasons and counting on ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat. It’s only her second lead film role after portraying plucky rom-com heroine Rachel Chu in last summer’s Crazy Rich Asians, the Golden Globe-nominated hit that sent Wu’s Hollywood star skyrocketing.

“But Wu, 37, wanted the role so strongly she put herself on tape for writer-director Lorene Scafaria, to the mild bewilderment of her own agents.

“‘I was looking for a movie with a character that was deeply lonely,’ she said on a recent afternoon in the Times office, relaxing in a sundress and denim jacket, a cap pulled over her hair. She had noticed, and perhaps even felt herself, an overriding sense of isolation swirling in the zeitgeist.

“‘I feel like loneliness right now is pervasive because of social media,’ she said. ‘Some people aren’t connecting as much, or they don’t know how to do it in real life.’

“There was something else she was looking for too. After zooming into the spotlight as a rising Hollywood star and the anchor of two groundbreaking Asian American hit projects, she was on the hunt for roles that were multidimensional, human, complex.

“‘In every project I choose, I want a character that gets to run the gamut of a full spectrum of an arc,’ said Wu, whose Hustlers character, like the women around her, contains multitudes: The daughter of immigrants and a single mother herself, she’s a ladyboss in the making — until she’s left holding the designer bag. ‘Destiny has moments where she’s really funny, and moments when she’s really sad. Moments where she’s irresponsible, moments where she’s the only one who is responsible. That complexity is what I seek in any role, and this script really afforded her that journey.’

“Scafaria wrote the screenplay, imagining Lopez as the perfect Ramona, the ringleader set on turning the tables on the sleazy suits who underestimate women like her. Signing Lopez was the first piece of the casting puzzle for Hustlers, which STX acquired for production after a struggling Annapurna put the film in turnaround. (Annapurna head Megan Ellison remains an executive producer on the film.)

“The search for Destiny led to Wu, and then to the stacked ensemble, which includes Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhardt, Julia Stiles, Mercedes Ruehl, Madeline Brewer, Trace Lysette, Lizzo (and her flute) and Cardi B.

“‘Constance connected with this and wanted a shot at doing something that is obviously so different from anything we’ve ever seen her do,’ said producer Jessica Elbaum, who optioned Jessica Pressler’s original article for Gloria Sanchez Productions.

“As soon as they met, Scafaria and Wu clicked. ‘I saw that she has a fragility and a vulnerability and a sensitivity and a very deep core,’ said the writer-director. ‘She’s obviously a very gifted comedic actress, and she brought me to tears in Crazy Rich Asians, so she is an incredible dramatic actress too. But I think she has weight and chops. And when I met her, I felt that’.

“‘I couldn’t be more proud of her,’ Scafaria said of the actress. ‘She put herself out there; she tweezed those eyebrows up to 2007!’

“Filming began in New York this spring before STX, which has recently endured a series of flops including UglyDolls and Poms, fast-tracked Hustlers for a fall release. (Early tracking suggests the film could debut to the studio’s highest opening weekend gross ever.)

“To prepare for the role, Wu studied hours of interview tapes of Destiny’s real-life inspiration, former dancer Roselyn Keo, playing them on a loop in her trailer for reference. ‘When a culture at large judges you, in a way, there is camaraderie amongst each other because we know who we are even though they don’t,’ Wu said of meeting real-life strippers for research.

Hustlers aims to do justice to the unseen dimensions of these women’s lives.That’s why we make movies like this. These women are trying their best in a world that has not always been fair to them. That’s the hustle: trying to get that dream when you started out 10 steps behind everybody else.’

“She impressed costar and producer Lopez during a scene in which their characters, who become both business partners and close friends, begin to disagree on the limits of their increasingly volatile scam operation.

“‘There is a scene in the movie that we filmed early on where Destiny and Ramona get into a fight, and Constance really went for it,’ said Lopez in an email. ‘And I was like, “Wow! OK. She is a gangster. We are going to do this movie.” I think their story lines are fascinating because they start very similarly — same desires, same goals. But as they come more into their power and into more “success,” their stories and thus their friendship really starts to diverge.’

“Wu could have taken easier roads after her Crazy Rich Asians success. The Richmond, Va., native had chased the classic actor hustle for years, working in theater, on TV and in indie films before scoring breakout status on “Fresh Off the Boat” opposite Randall Park and Hudson Yang.

“Premiering in 2015, it was the first Asian American-led sitcom to hit prime-time in 20 years. By 2017, Wu had been named one of Time’s Most Influential People, buoyed by her vocal activism online and in the Time’s Up movement. The same year, she was cast in Crazy Rich Asians, which also made history as the first Asian American-centered studio film in a quarter century. In the wake of Crazy Rich Asians, Wu is now able to get projects green-lighted, such as the upcoming novel adaptation Goodbye, Vitamin, in which she’ll star and executive produce.

“But with great power and over 1 million followers on social media comes great accountability, a lesson Wu admits she was still learning earlier this year when she posted negative reactions on Twitter and Instagram to the news that “Fresh Off the Boat” had been renewed for a sixth season.

“The blowback was immediate. Wu quickly apologized and provided context, saying she was upset that she’d have to forgo another project. ‘My words and ill-timing were insensitive to those who are struggling, especially insensitive considering the fact that I used to be in that struggle too. I do regret that and it wasn’t nice and I am sorry for that,’ she wrote in a lengthy Instagram post.

“Though she didn’t go into detail at the time, it wasn’t another film but a play she’d been hoping to do — one in which she would have played a ‘not Asian-specific’ role and likely worked for scale — that Wu had to give up to return to her show, for which she is under contract for another two years.

“‘I had this moment of heat where I got upset because I had to give up a job I had been looking forward to and had been chasing for a while,’ she said of her self-described ‘Twitter fiasco.’ ‘It was moving to me how many people from the show reached out to me, and even on set ... to say, “Just so you know, we love you and we know who you are, and you didn’t deserve any of that stuff.” Because they also know that I’m an actress — I can be dramatic.’

“Actors admitting they’re dramatic? A rarity! She laughed. ‘I mean, that’s our toolkit, right? I’m dramatic. I’m emotional. But they also know that that doesn’t represent me because they have a hundred episodes of behavior that proves otherwise.’

“She also learned a lesson from the backlash: Her platform affords her a greater reach than she realized. ‘I’m not beating myself up for it, because I know me,’ said Wu. ‘But I don’t think I realized that people were paying so much attention to my Twitter.’

“At the time, she wasn’t sure the show would get renewed for a sixth season. Now, a part of her worries she’ll be blamed if Season 6 is its last. Still, Wu says, she regrets that her tweets affected others, including castmates, colleagues and ABC president Karey Burke.

“‘I like that people are expressing their feelings about it, because it improved my awareness of what it means to be a ... public figure,’ She paused, turning over the phrase. ‘I’ve had a back-and-forth about it. It’s the line between being a role model but also authenticity.’

“‘I think a lot of why people are lonely in this world is because they go through these Instagram feeds and everybody’s life is perfect,’ she said. ‘Nobody trips up. And sometimes I think, might it be good to see our heroes mess up a little bit and not always be perfect?’

“Imperfection is a quality seldom afforded those who carry the added mantle of representation. If Wu’s Asian American fans were particularly disappointed by her tweets, it may be because they were rooting for her to succeed, an emblem to champion in a Hollywood that’s still so slow to change. Can the public allow Wu to be fallible and human, still speak her mind, and learn as she goes?

“‘There is an expectation of the way that I ought to behave, and not just of perfection but of graciousness. And I am grateful. But am I elegant?’ she said with a laugh. ‘No. I think I can be verbally eloquent sometimes, but as a human, am I an elegant person? No.’

“As a wise oracle once sang, ‘A diva is a female version of a hustler.’ Yet Wu, who just filled out her summer by paying her own way to Hawaii to act in an indie film for an emerging Asian American director, found herself at the center of headlines during the Hustlers promo tour describing her as a ‘diva.’

“Wu considered the label. ‘A woman owning her power rather than being like, “Who, me?,” I think, is a threat to the patriarchy,’ said Wu. ‘I know some people were like, “Constance demanded top billing.” No, the script had me as the lead. But it’s a juicier story to say the other stuff.’

“‘I am grateful for my entire career,’ she said. ‘But the fact that my career has been historic shouldn’t necessarily be a call [to say to] me, ‘You should be so lucky’ — it should be a call to pay attention to the fact that this kind of thing shouldn’t have been historic. Me getting to play a fully human experience as an Asian American, that shouldn’t be historic. But it is. Let’s talk about the system, not whether or not I deserve to be in it and how I need to feel about it.’

“Wu reiterated that her platform, even if it comes with public scrutiny, is not something she takes for granted.

“‘I do think when you have a platform, you ought to make sure you use it as well and responsibly as you can,’ said Wu, who returns to TV with the season premiere of Fresh Off the Boat on Sept. 27.

“‘But,’ she continued, flashing a wry smile, ‘I want to be careful not to blow up my profile any more. If it happens as a natural extension of me doing the thing that I think I am meant to do, which is to be an actor, then I welcome it and I’m grateful for it. That’s not the part of myself I’m seeking to put energy into ... but it teaches me.’”

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Judith Light is having a moment.

“From acclaimed stage work to recent Emmy-nominated turns in Transparent and American Crime Story to, now, her biggest film role in more than a decade, the actress, 70, is enjoying a career renaissance that shows no signs of stopping.

“Her newest project, Before You Know It, marks one of the most creatively exhilarating experiences of her life. Years ago, Light was invited to develop the indie film with writer-stars Jen Tullock and Hannah Pearl Utt at Sundance Labs; shortly thereafter, she got the call to star in the film. Before You Know It follows two sisters (Tullock and Utt) as they learn that their mother, Sherrell (Light), long-presumed dead, is actually alive.

“The role hit many buttons for Light: Sherrell is a soap opera star, much as Light was for a good portion of her career, and is fighting ageism within the industry. In the wake of her daughters’ discovery, Sherrell grapples with her own personal shortcomings and finds a shot at redemption.

EW caught up with Light about the making of the film, its release at a high point in her career, and what this moment in general feels like for her. Read on below. Before You Know It is now playing in select cities:

Let’s start with what drew you to this movie. How did you get involved with Hannah and Jen?
We were finishing up the fourth season of Transparent, and I was talking to Jay Duplass about doing film. He’s done a lot of film. He said, “You know what would be great for you, and great for them? If you ever got a chance to go to the Sundance Film Labs.” I said I’d love that. Literally, a week later… our casting director sent me a script. She said, “Here’s this script. It’s for the Sundance Film Labs. What do you think?” I said, “I’m in. I want to go.” I met Hannah and Jen, and we spent four or five days together in the mountains of Utah. Just working on the script. Talking to each other. Connecting. Talking about our lives. And where the script could go, where it needed to go. We started filming some things so they could really look at what it was going to look like on film. Then we did a full reading for a lot of people at Sundance. There’s this magic that happens there, with all of the people that were supportive of them in doing the film, in writing the film. We all kissed each other goodbye and said how great it was to be together.

They came back to me [later] and said, “We’d really love you to do this if you want to do this with us.” I was all over it! They’re total team players, they are open to taking notes on scripts and ideas — other people’s ideas, not just mine. And they are the future of film. To have been able to be with them and align with them on supporting them in this project, and to get to be a part of it and hang out with them, from the beginning to the completion of the film, was an absolute joy.

Sounds like such a unique process, too.
It’s a really unique process. Anybody who has any thoughts of doing film, the Sundance Film Lab is a remarkable place to be, and to have the space to work.

When it came to Sherrell and your character, what kinds of conversations did you have, specifically, in terms of shaping her?
It could’ve turned into a caricature in some way. That was something that was really important to all of us, that it not be that — or that, in some way, because this woman has left her children, that you didn’t hate her for that. That you understood. Whether you celebrated her for her choice of saying, “It would’ve been worse if I stayed with them because it would’ve been a disaster for everybody,” or whether you criticize her for the choice, we never wanted it to be that you hated her for that choice — or that you were turned off by her for that choice. That you could find some place where you could understand her. How forgiveness could happen. How things could be fixed. That was a really important step that we knew we had to find, not only in the writing of it, but also in the acting of it and in the directing of it.

You were also in a lot of soap operas yourself, earlier in your career.
That was something I’d been involved in for many years. So that’s how we tended to work through it.

It’s interesting the way the movie uses soap opera, too: The plot of it is soapy in a way, but it makes the premise feel very down to earth and lived in.
Yeah, that’s what I thought too. But it was really a focus of all of ours. That’s really how you shape something, how you work on something together. That’s important. They never took anything for granted. They were always on the side of making it realer, more expansive. It wasn’t that they were going deeper with the characters, they were going wider. They were allowing it to evolve out of who were the actors playing them. That evolution — it doesn’t feel off in some way, it’s integrated into the whole story.

Talk about your look in this movie, then, which at first glance is really over the top.
That had a lot to do with Hannah [who also directs]. Hannah’s able to do a scene, be in a scene with you as the actor, step out as the writer and rewrite something, then come back as the director and give you notes, then produce. She had a lot to do with that look. Again, making sure we were not making this character a caricature. She was very definitive about that: what the clothes would be, what the color palette would be, those soft, neutral pinks and creams. Then to see this character at the end — I guess we can’t talk about that yet. [laughs] I also knew that for time purposes that a wig was going to be essential. I have some really fantastic wig makers here in New York… We wanted it to be the kind of hairstyle that you see on a lot of the soap operas, that it was going to be something you’d recognize and understand and feel it, but that it wouldn’t be too much. We were always right on the edge of not having to be too much. That was true within the scenes as well. What does it mean to be a person who’s incredibly lonely — that you feel that loneliness from her in her life? We were always walking that very delicate, fine line.

I was struck by Sherrell’s story of getting pushed off her show, and the ageist component there, mainly because here you are in this great part, and it seems like every year you have this great new role that you get to take on.
[Laughs]

So what was it like to dig into that story line? Did it hit close to home at all?
I’m not exactly sure how to answer that. I feel so incredibly fortunate and grateful for what seems to be happening for me. I guess what I would say is that I’m also expanding and widening — allowing myself to evolve, and leaving myself open. I find that in that, people are really moving in my direction. I’m working on something really fascinating right now, [Manhunt], for Charter Spectrum and Lionsgate. All of a sudden, since I’ve done Transparent for Jill Soloway and The Assassination of Gianni Versace for Ryan Murphy, people have begun to see me. There’s a sense that I’m coming into the best years of my life. There is something that is being generated around that feeling. I got to take on all of these new, different, and very interesting roles.

Now that you’re getting all of these new opportunities, what do you want to do that you haven’t done? What are you thinking about as possibilities?
It’s so interesting that you ask that. I’ve started to produce and put things together. My husband [Robert Desiderio] is a writer. He’s writing two projects that we’re working on right now. I have a couple of other films that I’m looking at producing. All of a sudden I’ve been open to this whole other world. It’s all new and different exciting. It’s not even like I’m taking risks. It’s that I’m opening up, expanding, a sense of life that I just didn’t have before. I don’t know how else to describe it; it’s one of those things that’s indescribable, but experiential. The minute I put words to it, it escapes me.

I would imagine that the experience of acting, this job you’ve had for so many years, has changed for you. What are you getting out of acting now?
It’s a thrill. I feel freer than I ever have. More open than I have. The respect I have for the people that I get to work with. The gratitude that I have for being able to do all of this. It’s not like I didn’t have that before, but now I experience it in a much more expanded form. Something about looking at the world from this perspective, being more mature now, and not chasing everything, but really allowing things to happen — and that means in my life and in every time I shoot a scene. There’s an allowance of something that I didn’t have an experience of, really, in the same way before. It started, really, when I was doing Ugly Betty and then when Transparent happened. Now working with Ryan and Jill. And now Hannah and Jen.”

Thursday August 29, 2019

I love CT, but he looks like he put on about 60 pounds. I would have still chosen him, but how can you argue with Turbo?

The season 4 finale of Queen of the South airs tonight.

A new season of Workin Moms is now available on Netflix.

“For the last 15 months, it cost $12-per-month to watch Cobra Kai on YouTube. Now, it's free.  YouTube has made the entire 10-episode first season of the Karate Kid sequel available for free with ads, part of a shifting distribution strategy for its slate of original programming. The Google-owned streamer says it will now make all new original series and specials available at no cost with ads or via its ad-free subscription tier, called YouTube Premium.  As part of the dual-distribution strategy, YouTube is releasing some of its older shows for free. The first season of Cobra Kai, for example, is being given an ad-supported window before the second season begins to roll out for free on Sept. 11. Both seasons will only be available for free for a limited time.”

Comedian Gary Gulman is being super generous this year. In addition to doling out a bit of solid advice for stand-ups every day on Twitter since January 1 (Make sure you’re following him to keep track), he recently entered what he calls remish about something else he calls depresh, and he’s gathered all kinds of thoughts about it into his new HBO special: The Great Depresh. HBO dropped a first look at the special today, which was taped at the Roulette Intermedium in Brooklyn in June, directed by Michael Bonfiglio (My Next Guest Needs No Introduction), and executive produced by Judd Apatow. The clip features some adorable photos of Gulman as a kid from the documentary footage included in the special, plus proof that his struggles with depression have lasted a lifetime — if the book he wrote during second grade, The Lonely Tree, is any indication. Plus, Gulman shares a refreshing take on the cliché whining about millennials that other comedians, and older people in general, refuse to let go of: ‘Millennials take so much flak from middle-aged men talking about participation trophies. Their argument is “How are they gonna learn how to lose?!” Oh, they’ll get some practice. Are you familiar at all with … life?’ The Great Depresh is slated to premiere on HBO on the eve of Mental Illness Awareness Week on Saturday, October 5 at 10 p.m. Through the special, Gulman ‘hopes to help others feel more comfortable, less afraid, and most importantly, less alone.’”

Check out the trailer here.

Comedy Central has renewed South Side for a 2nd season.

Fox has set a The Masked Singer: Super Sneak Peek special to air on Sunday, Sept. 15 at 8/7c. That’s 10 days before Season 2 of the singing competition premieres, so fans of the network’s smash-hit, oddball series who tune in will get a leg up on figuring out who the new masked celebrity contestants are.” Most unnecessary thing ever.

The OA — which Netflix canceled earlier this month after two seasons, inciting intense fan outcry, a flashmob, and even a hunger strike — has truly crossed its last border: There will be no movie to wrap up the series. A source close to the discussions told Variety that Netflix and the show’s creators, Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, talked about the idea of tying up the show’s loose ends in a movie format. But the plan for The OA was to run over five seasons, and a two-hour conclusion wouldn’t have been sufficient. Because Netflix itself is the producer of The OA, another network can’t swoop in to rescue the show, as Pop recently did with the Sony-produced One Day at a Time. The cast of The OA have been released from their contracts.” More on this below.

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Per Decider, “This year one of the most revolutionary additions to television won’t be coming from Shonda Rhimes or Greg Berlanti. It will come from Abby McEnany, a little known Chicago improviser who is breaking ground with her upcoming Showtime series Work in Progress. At the Television Critics Association’s 2019 summer tour McEnany and Showtime co-president Gary Levine spoke to Decider about how a major network came to take a chance on McEnany’s scrappy pilot.

“The story behind Work in Progress is a creators’ dream, something that seems as unlikely as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or South Park‘s origins. After creating the show’s roughly $30,000 pilot McEnany and her co-creator Tim Mason submitted it to Sundance Film Festival. The pair didn’t know anyone at the festival and applied online. Initially McEnany was hesitant to even pay the $30 entry fee.

“Quickly that $30 paid off as Work in Progress received high praise at Sundance. The series was quickly picked up and given a series order by Showtime with Lilly Wachowski signing on as executive producer, and it’s not difficult to understand why. Vulnerable, nuanced, and bitingly funny, Work in Progress stars McEnany as an overweight, insecure, and single lesbian who gives herself a bleak timeline. If her life doesn’t improve in 180 days, she’s going to kill herself. If McEnany wasn’t so funny it’s a show that would be a lot more depressing.

“‘It’s a relatively new phenomenon, pilots being shown at Sundance, and you have to give them a ton of credit to have written and produced this pilot on spec,’ Levine told Decider in an exclusive interview. ‘They did such a magnificent job. We’re not changing a thing. We’re going to air it as they shot it on their own dime.’

“As soon as Showtime executives saw the pilot at Sundance, they leapt on the project. ‘There were a lot of people interested in it, but luckily the producers were really anxious to come to Showtime, and it just became a love affair,’ Levine said.

“McEnany told a group of reporters that the series is very much based on her life. The creator, producer, and star struggles with OCD and clinical depression, much like her main character.'

“‘There are so many things that are spot on. When we were writing some of the mental illness stuff, Lilly was like, “OK can you tell me exactly” you know? It was this long thing. This way we can figure out this long story, what was the real story,’ McEnany said. ‘Part of the problem of mental illness is the stigma. People are ashamed to talk about it, and I don’t know. I just can’t be on that train.’

“Currently Work in Progress is set to debut on Showtime on December 8, directly after The L Word: Generation Q. Unlike The L Word, which portrayed a romanticized version of queer women where its characters rarely had to worry about money or finding a new hookup, Work in Progress is committed to McEnany’s absurd version of realism. ‘I think it’s lovely because it’s going to show really different views of the queer lifestyle… There’s not one story and there’s not one representation and there’s not one way a lesbian looks or a queer dyke looks,’ McEnany said. ‘It just shows that there are different ways to represent.’

Work in Progress premieres on Showtime, December 8 at 11/10c.”

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From TheWrap: “Netflix has ordered a series from Julie Plec based on Amy Chozick’s memoir about Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns, Chasing Hillary.

“The series, Girls on the Bus, is directly inspired by a chapter of the same name in Chozick’s book, though it is not about Clinton nor the 2016 election.

“According to Netflix’s official description of the series, ‘the show chronicles four female journalists who follow the every move of a parade of flawed presidential candidates, finding friendship, love, and a scandal that could take down not just the presidency but our entire democracy along the way.’

“Plec will write and executive produce with Chozick, with Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schecter also on board as executive producers. The series is from Berlanti Productions and My So-Called Company in association with Warner Bros. Television.

“Chozick’s book, Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns and One Intact Glass Ceiling, chronicled both of the former first lady’s White House campaigns. It was first published in April 2018 by HarperCollins. Clinton lost in the 2008 primary to Barack Obama, before losing to Donald Trump in the general election in 2016. Clinton was the first female to win a major party’s nomination.

“Chozick is a journalist for the New York Times.”

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Per Deadline, “Nickelodeon is expanding its unscripted slate with two new series. The network has greenlit new holiday-themed competition series Top Elf, created by Mike Duffy and Tim Duffy, and ordered a full series pickup of The Substitute, from The Intellectual Property Corporation.

Top Elf, which begins production in September on five one-hour episodes, features kid contestants with extraordinary building and design skills competing for the coveted title of Top Elf.

“Following the strong performance of two specials which aired earlier this year, hidden camera prank show The Substitute has been picked up for a full 10-episode series order. Production is underway, with the series premiere set for October.

“‘Giving our audience a range of unscripted content in different formats is one of our top priorities. Top Elf is an irresistible opportunity to celebrate the holidays with a uniquely comedic approach to a high-stakes competition,’ said Rob Baghaw, EVP, Unscripted Content. ‘Our first new format from this division earned high marks from our audience, so we’re very pleased to order The Substitute for a full series.’

“In Top Elf, Santa has invited seven civilian ‘Elf-testants’ to the North Pole in a competition that tests their skills in a series of holiday-themed challenges. Demonstrating the true spirit of the holidays, the Elf-testants compete to have their wish lists granted–not for themselves, but for someone in their community.

The Substitute features stars who are transformed by a team of Hollywood special effects artists to go undercover as professionals in various fields, surprising unsuspecting kids in schools, camps and other locations. During the reveal at the end of the day, each organization receives a $25,000 donation. The Substitute’s first special debuted in April with guest star Jace Norman (Henry Danger), and the second special premiered in May, guest starring comedian Lilly Singh.

Top Elf is created by Mike Duffy and Tim Duffy of Ugly Brother Studios, who will executive produce the series along with Jimmy Fox at Main Event Media, an All3Media America company. Bob Schermerhorn (Project Runway All Stars, America’s Next Top Model) and Lisa Fletcher (The Titan Games) are executive producers, with Fletcher also serving as the showrunner. Michael Pearlman (Chopped, Project Runway All Stars) will direct the series.

The Substitute is produced by Industrial Media’s The Intellectual Property Corporation. Eli Holzman, Aaron Saidman and Todd Hurvitz (Punk’d), serve as executive producers, with Hurvitz also serving as the showrunner.”

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From The Ringer: “Earlier this month, Netflix canceled The OA, a science-fiction melodrama with a small fan base so devout it’s bordering on a religious order. Cancellations are relatively rare at the streaming behemoth, so at first fans suspected that the kibosh was a PR stunt. They can be forgiven for conspiracizing, at least in the context of their beloved show. The OA’s sprawling, dimension-hopping plot is difficult to describe without sounding like a human gravity bong, but here goes nothing: It involves angels, the Russian mob, a mad scientist turned serial kidnapper, Phyllis from The Office, a telepathic octopus, and the thwarting of a school shooting through the power of interpretive dance; it also contains a plot point that suggests that the show The OA exists in at least one of the alternate universes within the universe of the show. Also, Zendaya shows up. The storytelling choices made by series cocreators Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij had been so consistently trippy that a faux-cancellation seemed well within the realm of possibility, especially since the second season had ended on a cliff-hanger, and last summer Netflix VP of original series Cindy Holland confirmed that the show’s story was planned out as a five-season arc. But Marling, who also stars in the show, told fans that it really had been canceled. The OA’s third season really was DOA.

“After reality set in, fans began a campaign to reverse the decision, petitioning Netflix and plastering pleas on social media. ‘I feel like they will end up listening to us,’ Ivan Rafael, a Luxembourg-based teenager who started a petition with nearly 80,000 signatures to bring the show back, told The Ringer. Rafael has plenty of historical grounding for his hopes that Netflix may reverse course. The #SaveTheOA effort is the latest iteration of an increasingly commonplace and frequently successful fandom ritual, and it has borrowed some of the strategies used by previous campaigns to resurrect shows. Like Chuck fans before them, The OA’s acolytes crowdfunded and donated to charities to draw attention to their campaign. Like the campaign to save Star Trek: The Original SeriesThe OA’s fans sent letters to the studio. They are also mailing feathers and mustard packets to Netflix, following several other campaigns waged with trinkets. In 2000, Roswell fans sent Tabasco sauce to WB executives after the show was canceled because one of its characters loved the condiment. In 2007, Jericho fans sent 20 tons of nuts to CBS’s New York headquarters and Friday Night Lights fans sent eye drops, mini-footballs, and lightbulbs to execs at NBC in bids for more seasons. ‘We were looking at fan campaigns to see what they had done, to see if we could do something different, which turned out to be very difficult,’ said wedding photographer Mandy Paris, who created a website to proselytize for the campaign. ‘There have been a lot of fan campaigns.’

“While The OA campaign hasn’t gone so far as crowdfunding the money for an entire movie (yet), as Veronica Mars fans did when the detective show’s creators launched a Kickstarter in 2013, they did pool together enough cash to buy billboard space in Times Square. They also coordinated flash mobs to perform the ‘movements,’ a dance sequence integral to the show’s plot. ‘The five movements in The OA are kind of a sacred language,’ said Jess Grippo, a dance instructor who organized the flash mob. The results were memorable.

“If any show deserves an overly baroque dance tribute performed in complete sincerity, it’s The OA, which is literally about how dancing herky-jerky with earnest passion and a complete disregard for how ridiculous you look can save the world. The over-the-top goofiness is a fitting tribute to the most over-the-top Netflix Original. And while it’s hard to see a flash mob as anything beyond whimsical, other elements of the #SaveTheOA campaign have been startling in how directly they have culled from the playbooks of actual protesters. The level of organization is so impressive it made me momentarily glum that such a formidably coordinated call to direct action was in service of a wildly uneven two-season Netflix Original series and not, well, something else—clean drinking water in Flint or the abolition of concentration camps in the United States, for example. This is not to criticize these fans for their efforts; after all, a person can agitate for the renewal of their favorite show and also pay attention to plenty of other worthy causes. But the way that the #SaveTheOA campaign conflates activism and fandom to an unprecedented degree is as wild as any plot on the show. Whether or not this campaign works, it has taken the stakes of the clashes among fandoms, artists, and industry into a strange and shaky territory.

“The group’s website outlines its multipronged campaign in meticulous detail, from a WhatsApp group for Brazilian fans to a tweetstorm to draw the attention of Ellen DeGeneres. If Netflix does not un-cancel the show by September 10, the fans are planning a new campaign to delete Netflix accounts. The plans are laid out further in Excel spreadsheets, in a Discord group, in comprehensive Reddit threads advising participants on social media optimization and public relations pushes in meticulous detail. In fact, Grippo had already organized a flash mob using the choreography from The OA in 2017 during a protest at Trump Tower. And part of the campaign has centered on fans doing good deeds to raise awareness of their show, including a push to pick up garbage and hashtag #GreenOA.

“The campaign is so organized, so loud, and so stunt-driven that one couldn’t be blamed for suspecting what the #SaveTheOA group once did—that Netflix is behind it all, pulling the strings for PR. But as time has gone on—and because a company crowdfunding a movement directed at itself might very well be illegal—it’s become clear that not even the streamer would go to lengths like this.

“Talking to fans who have participated in these actions, it is clear that they do not draw much of a line between agitating for a social cause and agitating for their favorite television show. ‘I feel less afraid now and think that any person, even someone who feels like a nobody, can make a difference,’ teacher Nicole DeNardo Becktel said. One fan, writer Emperial Young, has adopted a far more intense and medically risky action typically favored by protesters focused on social justice causes. Young has refused to eat for over a week and is calling her movements a ‘hunger strike.’ In a note on Instagram, Brit Marling thanked the people advocating for her show’s return and shared an anecdote about how she and Batmanglij had spoken with a fan protesting in Hollywood; while not mentioned by name, the fan was indeed Young. ‘You know, what I’m really protesting is late capitalism,’ Young told Marling, echoing an argument she made on Twitter about her rationale behind the strike.

“Young sees her campaign as a battle against algorithmic control of the arts. ‘I decided upon this tactic after the failed social media campaign to save Dark Matter, a show that was near and dear to my heart,’ Young said via email. ‘Seeing how ineffective that was, I sensed I was about to witness the same lack of results, and I didn’t want that for The OA because the show means so much to so many people.’

“Despite her conviction that she is doing the right thing, Young is not particularly optimistic that Netflix will listen. Other campaigners have a sunnier view. ‘I’d like to think that the effort we’re all putting in could make a difference,’ Grippo said. ‘There’s gotta be something that comes of this.’

“But what will come of it? When asked for comment, Netflix directed The Ringerto a previously published statement from Cindy Holland: “We are incredibly proud of the 16 mesmerizing chapters of The OA, and are grateful to Brit and Zal for sharing their audacious vision and for realizing it through their incredible artistry. We look forward to working with them again in the future, in this and perhaps many other dimensions.” That sure sounds like a no, but the #SaveTheOA team is gearing up for a second wave of protest actions if Netflix hasn’t relented by September 10. Based on the sheer volume of shows recently pulled back from the brink by finding a new network—Brooklyn Nine-Nine,NashvilleCougar TownThe Mindy ProjectCommunity, and Netflix’s own One Day at a Time, among others—there is certainly reason for fans to hold out hope that The OA might find another home, although its unconventional format and high production costs may complicate matters.

“Most of the fans I spoke with stressed how happy they were to have found community in this project, whether or not it gets results. ‘We are having fun and have met so many people from all around the world,” Becktel said. “It’s like a weird family full of weird people,’ Rafael said. And yet: One of those family members is refusing to eat until a corporation reverses its policy to finance, produce, and distribute a television show. There is a whiff of militancy amid the merriment.

“While the show’s future is uncertain, the intensity of its fan campaign has showcased how much the relationship between fandoms and the stuff they love has changed. This isn’t about simple appreciation anymore; it’s about full-throated advocacy, about the conflation of self-care and entertainment, about the fact that even if Netflix doesn’t renew The OA it now almost definitely has to have internal meetings addressing how to respond to someone staging a hunger strike. It’s a plot twist so bizarre it’d fit right into the canceled show in question’s narrative.”