Monday July 15, 2019

I watched the Aziz Ansari Netflix special. It was ok, at best.

If you want to laugh, check out the stand up specials from Matt Braunger and/or Bryan Callen, both available on Amazon.

The final season of HBO’s The Deuce will premiere on September 9.

VH1 debuts Girls Cruise tonight.

You’re The Worst alumna Aya Cash is in talks to join a likely second season of Amazon’s superhero drama series The Boys in the role of Stormfront, we hear. Amazon would not comment. There has been no official decision on a second season at this point and Amazon would not confirm a renewal. Season one is set to premiere July 26 on Amazon. Based on the comic book by Garth Ennis (Preacher) and Darick Robertson and created by Supernatural creator and Timeless co-creator Eric Kripke, The Boys is set in a world where superheroes embrace the darker side of their massive celebrity and fame. It revolves around a group of vigilantes known informally as ‘the Boys’ who set out to take down corrupt superheroes with no more than blue-collar grit and a willingness to fight dirty. Preacher‘s Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen produce.”

Quibi has ordered its first superhero show, with Doug Liman attached to direct it. Liman's digital production company 30 Ninjas is also producing the show, called Crazy Talented. It's based on a short story by Jumperauthor Steven Gould — Liman directed a 2008 film based on that novel — and written by Michael Karnow (Alphas). Quibi's description of the show reads, ‘The world's most powerful superheroes are trying to stop the world's most devastating threat — alien weapons falling into the wrong hands and obliterating life as we know it. At least that's what they've been told. In Crazy Talented, patients on a psych ward are convinced by a charismatic leader that their defects are actually extraordinary “talents.” He's clearly out of his mind. But just because it's crazy doesn’t mean it isn't true.’"

Rahm Emanuel, a former Chicago mayor and White House chief of staff, is joining ABC News as a contributor, the network announced Sunday. Previously, Emanuel worked as the 55th mayor of Chicago, serving from 2011 to 2019. He also served as the White House Chief of Staff from 2009 to 2010 under President Obama and as a member of the United States House of Representatives for Chicago prior to his White House position. Since his mayoral departure, Emanuel has also become a contributing editor for The Atlantic magazine where he penned his first piece It’s Time to Hold American Elites Accountable for Their Abuses.' In the article, Emanuel calls on Democrats to focus more on the middle class in light of the Varsity Blues investigation.”

Snapchat has bolstered its efforts to support the creator community with a slate of new programming from celebrity creators as part of its newly launched ‘Creator Shows’ strand. Snapchat is aiming to capitalize on its youthful demographic, which in the U.S. reaches 90% of all 13-24 year-olds – more than Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger combined – and 75% of all 13-34 year olds. All content will be shot vertically in first-person and ranges between three and five minutes, with eight to 10 episodes per episode. The repeatable formats will be lifestyle-driven, with themes reaching across fitness, dance, beauty, fashion, food, motivation, horoscopes and more. Programs will be published regularly and will feature such celebrities as Serena Williams, Kevin Hart and Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as top creators Maddie Ziegler, Emma Chamberlain, Rickey Thompson, Loren Gray, FaZe Banks and Baby Ariel.”

Luann de Lesseps and Jersey Shore star DJ Pauly D are planning to release a remix of her recent hit, Feelin’ Jovani, Page Six can exclusively confirm. ‘We’re still talking about it and working it out,’ the Countess told us on Friday. ‘With DJs, I like to hear their own version of how they would remix the song. We’ll see what he comes up with.’ The pair met for the first time on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen Thursday night and discussed collaborating on a new version of the dance track with Andy Cohen during the live filming.”

Lindsay Lohan will soon be back in action on the small screen. The 33-year-old actress, who most recently appeared on the MTV reality series Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club, will join the judges’ panel on the Australian edition of The Masked Singerthe show announced Sunday on social media. Lohan will serve as a panelist along with Australian radio personality Jackie O, singer Dannii Minogue and comedian Dave Hughes. The foursome will be tasked to guess the singing celebrities dressed in unique costumes.”

The Dodo is working with Facebook-owned social media company Instagram and its IGTV video app on a new series for teens featuring Instagram influencers and their pets. You Know Me…Now Meet My Pet is a six-part series, with six young influencers introducing the world to their beloved pets. Featured influencers include Mia Sayoko and her corgi Ken (both pictured), Drew Lynch and his service dog Stella, Loren Gray and her pomeranians Angel and Smudge, Lauren Riihimaki and her miniature bull terrier Moose, Mahogany Lox and her dog Pockets, and Kristen McAtee and her dog Link.”

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Per Variety, “When Suits closes the file on its final stretch of episodes this fall, it leaves behind a legacy of nine seasons, 134 episodes, two remakes (in Korea and Japan), a slew of international broadcasters, and a royal wedding that transformed series star Meghan Markle into a global, household name.

“The July 17 premiere also marks the official end to USA’s once-popular ‘blue sky’ era, as the slick and aspirational characters bid farewell and the network ushers in the grittier Pearson spinoff starring Gina Torres on the same night. Both series are produced by UCP.

“Clocking in at just 10 episodes, the final season of Suits is the shortest run of the series, coming in just behind the first season’s 12-episode order (creator Aaron Korsh says they were asked to do five or six more episodes at the time, but production was gassed). Within that run each of the current series regulars — originals Gabriel Macht, Sarah Rafferty, Rick Hoffman and newer members Katherine Heigl, Amanda Schull and Dulé Hill — will have a dedicated episode to their characters. Meanwhile, the season also welcomes back original lead Patrick J. Adams, who departed alongside Markle at the end of Season 7. His character, Mike Ross, will go head-to-head against the firm in an important case beginning in Episode 5.

“‘It was hard to imagine a last season without Mike,’ Korsh says. ‘At the beginning of the year when all the writers sat down there was no one that didn’t think getting him back was a huge goal of the season. I wouldn’t say it would be a failure if we didn’t get him back, but I always knew I wanted him back for this last season.’

“What wasn’t necessarily a goal for Korsh was a final season that explores what Harvey (Macht) and Donna (Rafferty) look like as colleagues and now also as a romantic couple. The showrunner admits at one point he was saving that pairing for a potential series finale but, like most storylines he’s written over the years, it was delivered earlier than originally expected because it fit with the overall direction. As for the finale itself, Korsh was still working on it at time of press, readying both the overall script and also preparing to direct the episode, marking the first time he’s stepping behind the camera.

“‘We weren’t trying to make an Extra Special Season of Suits. It’s the same as every year: We always try to tell the best stories that we can,’ he says. ‘For the finale there might be a little extra, but I try to do that with most finales, each year. I didn’t want to make it different, that’s not my style of show. There’s a lot of humor, and our people feel for the most part, good with each other.’

“That ‘blue sky’ approach to drama has been extinct for a couple of years now at USA, with legacy series like Burn Notice and Royal Pains ending, and bolder storytelling featuring darker, millennial-friendly twists like Mr. Robot and Queen of the South punctuating the schedule. Suits has been the flagship series that evolved throughout that ‘characters welcome’ to the ‘we the bold’ transition, putting its characters through the ringer. While it still utilized humor and bright cinematography, it also began tackling more serialized storylines and, in Season 6, even followed Adams’ character to jail, where his life was on the line.

“Viewers can expect to see more of that kind of storytelling on Pearson, as Torres’ Jessica Pearson character — now disbarred and living in Chicago — becomes a fixer of sorts for the shady mayor Bobby Golec (Morgan Spector) and assembles her own team including assistant Yoli Castillo (Isabel Arraiza) and driver Nick D’Amato (Simon Kassianides). Not only is the overall story tone darker, but the cinematography and exterior night shoots also match that grittier theme.

“‘Whereas Suits has an aspirational and a kind of shiny quality — it’s lawyers that look good and they’re often dealing in the upper echelon or the 1% — we really wanted to do a show that was a little more raw, a little more real, and there could be a more of an upstairs-downstairs quality to it,’ showrunner Daniel Arkin, who also serves as a producer on Suits, says.

“He adds that the designated tone allows for a more complex character drama in which they can also tackle overall themes of race, social issues, and politics, so long as those themes remain a backdrop to the storylines and characters that are being presented.

“‘What we’re trying to do, in a macro sense, is capture what’s going on in the country, what’s going on in urban cities. A lot of season one deals with homelessness and housing, which is an enormous issue,’ he says. ‘But to me that only works if it’s backdrop. I never want it to be the subject matter; I don’t want that to drive the story.’

“Torres, who conceptualized the spinoff after leaving the Toronto-shot Suits in the middle of Season 6 to be closer to her family in L.A., wanted to dig into the character because she felt like she “never really got to know who Jessica was” on Suits. In addition to starring in the spinoff she has had a heavy hand in the development of it as an executive producer. She realized the Yoli and Nick characters were specifically important to her: Nick — in addition to being an ambiguous figure in the Pearson world — serves as a fly-on-the-wall in terms of what Jessica does during her downtime, and Yoli is partially derived from Torres’ own experiences.

“‘Yoli is born out of my Donna envy. I always wanted a Donna, and so I got my Donna. Yoli is a millennial and she’s really green and she’s really awesome. It was also incredibly important to me that she’d be Latina,’ Torres says. ‘I knew exactly how I wanted our characters to meet, and it’s one of my favorite scenes in the show because it’s ripped from the pages of my life.’

“Torres and Arkin reveal the Pearson characters are more morally ambiguous than those presented on Suits, so while there are some smaller crossovers and Easter eggs for viewers tuning into both shows, the two worlds are too tonally different to have Suits characters cross over in the first season. The creators are open to the idea in the future should it make sense, though, and would also consider pulling in some of the notorious guest-starring characters from the universe as well.

“‘It was important for us to move into something else. It’s a legacy piece, it’s not a sequel. It’s not Suits Jr.,’ Torres says. ‘Jessica is really quite capable of standing on her own as a persona, as a character, in a new, fascinating world. As much as we would love for our Suits audience to move in and come along with that, we’re also looking forward to new people. You don’t have to be a fan of Suits to be a fan of Pearson.’

“The final season of Suits and the premiere of Pearson air Wednesday, July 17 on USA.”

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Per Indiewire, “[r]ight from the first episode something has felt slightly disjointed about the second season of Big Little Lies. When the show isn’t in the flow of its recognizable style, there is a strange editorial tension – scenes are choppy, lacking any sense of internal rhythm. As it turns out, that friction was the product of a behind-the-scenes struggle that grew out of an attempt to remove the style of its director in post-production.

“When the executive producers and HBO approached Andrea Arnold about directing the second season of Big Little Lies, the pitch was simple: They not only wanted the British filmmaker (American Honey) to direct the entire season, they wanted an Andrea Arnold version of the show and all that entailed. It wasn’t just lip service. From prep, through production, and into post-production, Arnold was to get free rein. But a significant part of HBO and showrunner David E. Kelley’s plan was not shared with Arnold.

“According to a number of sources close to the production, there was a dramatic shift in late 2018 as the show was yanked away from Arnold, and creative control was handed over to executive producer and Season 1 director Jean-Marc Vallée. The goal was to unify the visual style of Season 1 and 2. In other words, after all the episodes had been shot, take Arnold’s work and make it look and feel like the familiar style Vallée brought to the hit first season, which won eight of the 16 Emmys it was nominated for in 2017, including Outstanding Limited Series.

“According to sources close to the executive producers, it had always been the plan, although unbeknownst to Arnold, for Vallée to become re-involved in the show last fall. Kelley, whose TV career started in the 1980s writing network shows, is a strong believer that TV is different than movies: Shows have a unified style, rather than directorial voice. In working with Vallée during the first season, Kelley grew to trust and appreciate the distinct tone and visual style the director brought to his series, and entered the second season seeing it as the established look of the show.

“When HBO and the show’s executive producers were unwilling to wait for Vallée, who had committed to Sharp Objects, to shoot season 2, the creative team behind the show collectively decided to hire Arnold, whose work they believed that Vallée and his Season 1 team could easily shape into the show’s distinctive style in post-production. Vallée, who advocated for Arnold, told IndieWire last May that he saw their directorial styles as being cut from the same cloth.

“‘We have similar ways of shooting, when you look at it,’ said Vallée. ‘She shot handheld, available light. She aims for performances, like I [did] in Season 1. She is who she is, but the spirit of the other is there.’

“That such a fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between Vallée and Arnold as visual storytellers was not understood by Vallée and the other executive producers has befuddled a number of observers, some even questioning if they had actually watched any of Arnold’s films like American Honey and Fish Tank.

“In reality, the fiercely independent and singular Arnold was an unconventional choice to take over Big Little Lies. Arnold had success collaborating with TV creator Jill Soloway, directing episodes of Transparent and I Love Dick, because the visual style of those shows was, in part, inspired by the poetic realism of Arnold’s oeuvre. With Big Little Lies, Arnold’s ability to create emotional immediacy with her raw handheld work marked a departure from Vallée’s more ponderous floating camera emphasizing the gravity of the situation.

“Yet even such a fundamental misjudgment doesn’t explain the lack of communication from the producers that followed. Not only was Arnold given free rein, it was never explained to her that the expectation was her footage would be shaped by Vallée into the show’s distinctive style. Sources close to production and Vallée tell IndieWire that there was no style bible laying out the visual rules of the show, common for TV series looking to maintain consistency between different filmmaking teams. And Arnold was allowed to hire her own creative team, including switching the show’s cinematographers by bringing over Jim Frohna who she had worked with on Soloway’s series.

“Even more remarkable, Vallée and Arnold never spoke, nor was there ever a clear showrunner or creative producer who Arnold was answerable to on set. Star-EPs Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman were said to have loved working with Arnold and trusted her intrinsically, while as showrunner Kelley made only a handful of set visits, each lasting approximately an hour.

“While Kelley’s soapy scripts, featuring many scenes of two characters sitting across a table talking (which required his approval to alter), were not Arnold’s bread-and-butter, the director was free to shoot them as she saw fit. Sources describe dailies filled with Arnold’s trademark restless camera searching for grace notes – those gestures, movements and poetic frames of natural light that add another layer to what is not being said.

“Yet if HBO, Kelley, Vallée or the other executive producers were concerned while screening dailies that the show had veered too far from the Big Little Lies style, they did little to interfere with Arnold’s shoot through the entirety of last year’s production. In fact, reports back to set were described as ‘glowing.’ When the show wrapped in August 2018, each of the stars took to social media to praise Arnold, called their ‘fearless leader by Kidman. HBO even acquiesced to Arnold’s desire to hire European editors and return home to London to cut the show there after a year in California. The director was still working under the impression she had creative control and expected to see the show through until it aired this summer.

“It was as Arnold started to assemble scenes that Kelley and HBO started to see there was a problem. Before Arnold and her London editing team were able to even complete an official cut of an episode, Vallée, now finished with work on “Sharp Objects,” started to take over. Post-production shifted from London to Vallée’s home city of Montreal, where his own editorial team started cutting what is now airing on HBO. Soon after, 17 days of additional photography were scheduled.

“When asked to explain the sudden move, HBO issued the following statement:

“‘There wouldn’t be a Season 2 of Big Little Lies without Andrea Arnold. We at HBO and the producers are extremely proud of her work. As with any television project, the executive producers work collaboratively on the series and we think the final product speaks for itself.’

“Before the February order of additional photography started, the Vallée-led direction the show was taking was obvious, but sources close to Arnold say she felt obligated to see it through to the end. While DGA rules required Arnold be the director on set, Vallée was now an extremely hands-on EP dictating not only what would be shot, but how it would be shot, oversight that Arnold never had during the initial shoot. The optics were not lost on many associated with Big Little Lies: A show dominated by some of the most powerful actresses in Hollywood hired a fiercely independent woman director – who was now being forced to watch from the director’s chair as scenes were shot in the style of her male predecessor.

“While there was a significant reworking of the show’s story through additional photography and an increased reliance on Season 1 flashbacks, a large part of what guided Vallée’s reconfiguration of the second season was removing Arnold’s signature contributions. Sixty-page scripts were slashed down to 40-plus minute episodes, sources say, largely by chopping up a scene to remove what one source described as Arnold’s character exploration and ‘ephemeral stuff.’

“When elements of Arnold’s work do remain on-screen – especially in the first episode  – the scenes seem truncated, the editing especially choppy. As the season has progressed (episode 5 premiered last Sunday), the show has increasingly settled into the familiar S1 style and rhythm. Eleven editors are currently credited on the show.

“According to sources close to Arnold – the director declined to speak to IndieWire – the filmmaker is heartbroken about the experience. While she wasn’t pursuing the personal storytelling of her films, Arnold worked tirelessly preparing to shoot Season 2, knowing that she was entering a corporate and collaborative environment where friction, or pulling on the reins during production, was a reasonable fear. But to have been allowed to shoot and start to edit her version of the show and then have it taken from her, without explanation or warning, was devastating.”

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A little more Big Little Lies: “Heading into the finale for Big Little Lies, Nicole Kidman has set the stage for a courtroom showdown between her and Meryl Streep's characters to bring the HBO drama to the finish line.

Amid a complicated process of grieving her late husband, Celeste Wright's (Kidman) fitness as the mother of twin second-grade boys is being put in question by her mother-in-law, Mary Louise Wright (Streep). After keeping tabs on Celeste's stumbles for the entire second season, Mary Louise hires the best family attorney in Monterey to legally fight her for guardianship.

The penultimate episode saw Celeste taking the stand in court during an open evidentiary hearing that was attended by the rest of the Monterey Five (Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz). Going into the hearing, the five women were most concerned with Celeste facing questions under oath about late husband Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgard), whose death is still being investigated by the police. But when attorney Ira Farber (guest star Denis O'Hare), began his line of questioning, he exposed Celeste in ways that surprised and shocked anyone watching.

Celeste, who is a survivor of domestic abuse at the hands of Perry, was forced to answer questions about the abuse and whether their violent sexual relationship has manifested into a "sickness," as evidenced by the casual sex she's been having of late. Farber questions her about Ambien misuse and altercations with family members, while also using private family conversations as a courtroom weapon. When the judge inserts herself into the saga, it becomes clear that Celeste, a practicing attorney, is going to have to wage her own fight by putting Mary Louise on the stand if she wants to retain full custody.

"It became this scene between two women who were talking about spousal abuse, the struggle they have with raising kids and female sexuality and what’s allowable," O'Hare tells The Hollywood Reporter of the female judge (Becky Ann Baker) questioning Celeste herself after Farber went on the attack. The 13-page scene between Farber and Celeste is what drew O'Hare to the key role and a storyline he praises for igniting a "mature" conversation in the #MeToo era: "Nicole Kidman’s character is a human being with human needs who is, nonetheless, still a victim and has the right to claim that mantle no matter what behavior she’s engaging in."

Below, O'Hare goes inside the courtroom battle as it rages on through the finale, when Celeste and Mary Louise will swap roles so Streep's character can take the stand. With no news about a third season in sight, the July 21 finale — which O'Hare predicts will be well-received by viewers — is poised to give the audience exactly what they want. "It’s fireworks," he says. "It’s what everyone wants to see: Meryl Streep on the stand being cross-examined by Nicole Kidman."

What attracted you to this key season two role of pit bull lawyer Ira Farber? 

It really was a no-brainer because I loved the show. I wanted to see how I would be a part of the Monterey Five and the fact that I would be Meryl Streep’s lawyer was a slam dunk — of course I’m going to say yes. I love the fact that I got to spend so much quality time working with her. And in the penultimate episode, I love the big engagement in court with Nicole [Kidman]. That was such an intense scene to shoot and that was why I took the job, for that scene, basically.

What was it like to join this Big Little Lies world as a latecomer?

I was there all told for two weeks. The courtroom scenes were maybe five days. But it was great. I loved being around everybody. After the premiere [event in New York] I actually stumbled into a very sort of exclusive private party. I was going into the hotel the same time that Meryl was and I made a joke about how we both had escaped the crowd out front. She turned around and laughed, grabbed my arm and we went in the elevator and she pushed down. I said, “No, no, no, I’m going up!” And she said, “No, no, no. You’re going down.” The doors opened and it was some party. I went in with her and we had an amazing time. I had lovely conversations with a lot of the cast and I was so grateful for that.

Last week served as an introduction to your character, who plays a big part in the courtroom showdown for the final two episodes of the season. What was it like to walk into set and play the enemy?

I’m walking into the second season of a huge hit show, where the cast has a tight relationship, and into a situation where Meryl Streep has already been on four episodes. I’m the new boy on the block. There’s a lot of fancy footwork you have to do to give yourself the permission to be as big as you need to be. My character is supposed to be very powerful and an expert. I can’t come in with my head down and be modest or shy. You have to come in swinging. We actually ended up shooting that big [Celeste courtroom] scene the first days I was on that set. Andrea [Arnold], the director, turned to Nicole and I and said, "Do you want to just go for it?" And we did. It’s a 13-page scene and we both did the entire scene without stopping. It was incredibly electric — doing one take for one scene that is that long with that sort of build. When we finished, the assembled audience of background [actors] and a lot of the cast started applauding. You’re doing a performance in a courtroom, which already feels like you have an audience, so it feels like you are on stage and to have that response was really thrilling. 

There were attorneys on set. What research did you also do into family law?

I spent a lot of time online looking at YouTube videos. Family law attorneys for the most part don’t want to be in court, because they understand that’s a failure of the process. The minute you’re in court, you’re now doing something which is violent and that is destroying bonds and relationships. It’s much better to have figured out a way to amicably share or amicably agree. I love how that was in these episodes and that we actually see that conversation taking place. We see unreasonable interactions on both sides.

How many takes did you end up doing of the courtroom scene with Ira and Celeste?

We did about six or seven complete takes and then a lot of bits and pieces here and there. It was a pretty intense scene but with a scene that big, once you get it, that can make the days fly by. We ended up being ahead of schedule because that scene was kind of a runner. You wanted to shoot it without taking a break to keep the tension flowing. Nicole is obviously such a highly skilled actor that she knows how to ride the rhythm of a long scene in a way that makes it delicious to do.

Your character's face-off with Nicole Kidman's character is hard to watch. What conversations did you have with her, Andrea Arnold or David E. Kelley about how far to push the scene? 

Nicole and I didn’t talk, because I think she’s the kind of actor who wants to discover it in the moment and I love that. Andrea and I talked about what the game plan was and what they wanted to see, and I had a couple questions for David. But I thought it was all on the page. What is great about that scene is that not only is Farber within his rights to ask the things he’s asking, he asks them in a very non-disrespectful way. He was simply stating the facts: “You slept with that guy and you slept with that guy. And you didn’t know his name? Well, how about this guy? So, wait a minute, did any of these guys meet your kids?” It’s not like he’s asking her unfair questions. He’s asking her things that are absolutely germane to the topic of, “Are you a fit mother to these two kids?” His point of view as Mary Louise's lawyer is that Celeste is not a fit mother, and my job is to point that out for the sake of the court and to let the court know what’s going on. If I don’t let the court know what’s going on, then I’m not doing my job. 

But the iffy part is the part about, “Did you push your husband down the stairs?” That’s straying into other territory and we definitely talked about that. I said to David Kelley, “Is that me being an arm of the state at this point?” Did they come to me and say they would like to know that? That was a subtle thing. “Are you a murderer?” goes to character. If you pushed your husband down the stairs and murdered him and are lying about it, that goes to your fitness as a mother. That was how Farber justified that. Whether or not he was approached by the police is not in the script, so it’s only conjecture to say that he was. But I do believe that he was talking to them.

The penultimate episode ends with the judge about to announce her ruling, but Celeste cuts her off to propose her cross-examination of Mary Louise. At this point, how confident is Ira in the case he's presented? The episode is titled, “The Bad Mother.” Is Celeste the bad mother?

What I thought was really interesting is that during Celeste's lawyer’s redirect, the judge jumped in and took such a heavy hand in asking direct questions. It became this scene between two women who were talking about spousal abuse, the struggle they have with raising kids and female sexuality and what’s allowable. Here we have the judge really asking her questions like, “Are you seeking help for this?” And Celeste says no, not for the sexual addiction. Celeste says she doesn’t think she’s addicted. And the judge asks again if she’s seeking help for this and Celeste says, “I will.” If you were the judge, how would you feel about a client who persisted in the behavior and only now, under the threat of losing her kids, decides to get help? Although she loves her kids, is that the measure by which we judge the best place kids should be? My personal feeling as a human being is that kids should probably be with their parents as a default, unless they can show an extraordinary danger. Because no one is perfect. Parents make mistakes and if you take kids away from parents making mistakes you’re going to have chaos. But I do think it’s a great rationing up of that question. And Celeste will get her revenge in the last episode when she gets to turn the table and say, “Well, if I lose my kids and you get them, why should you get them?” And she’ll make the case that Mary Louise shouldn’t get them.

There is another layer with Celeste being a domestic abuse survivor and having to face questions that can deter survivors from coming forward. She is asked, “Why didn’t you report him?” and “Why didn’t you tell anyone?” Big Little Lies is showing a very specific story of one survivor, but it’s also relatable on a larger scale.

From my character’s point of view, his job is to win the case for his client. So the idea that Celeste is going to cross-examine his client is a terrible one. He doesn’t want this to happen, but he also has no power to stop it. It’s a disaster in many ways. However sure he was of victory before, he’s may be shaken because of this new tactic. I do think in the #MeToo era, it’s extraordinary to be on a set of this show where Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman are executive producers and the ones who have made this happen. Andrea Arnold, who is an amazing force in directing and who comes from the world of Transparent and other shows, is directing the show. We had a huge female crew and it was just great to have a mature conversation about these topics in a way that I think hasn’t occurred in TV in a long time. That Nicole Kidman’s character is a human being with human needs who is, nonetheless, still a victim and has the right to claim that mantle no matter what behavior she’s engaging in.

You get to go head-to-head with Kidman in the main scene but the next time you question her, the cross-examination plays out in the more vague and trademark style of Big Little Lies. What were Andrea Arnold's director notes and, now that you've seen the final product, did it turn out how you imagined? 

A lot of actors are like this, in that whenever I do takes I tend to not do the same thing twice. For me, each take is going to be new and different and wherever the take takes you. So there were some that were a lot harder and there were some that were a lot softer, there were some that were a mix. But at the end of the day, I feel like what I saw was a great assembly of all the different versions we could do, because Ira’s not a villain. He is doing his job and his job is to rattle the witness to force them to be spontaneous. And spontaneity often produces the truth. Objectively speaking, Celeste’s character is remarkably truthful so there wasn’t a whole lot that could be shaken from her. She was remarkably truthful in her vulnerability. The one thing she’s lying about is what happened to her late husband. But that’s a late focus in the scene.

There was a story from IndieWire claiming the executive producers, including [Jean-Marc] Vallée, edited out a lot of Arnold's stylistic choices. In your experience as an actor, have you ever seen a director’s cut air? And now that you’ve seen the final cut, did the process seem normal to you?

I’ll be honest — that would be above my pay grade. I’m not included in these conversations! I will tell you, in my experience working in TV for a long, long time, that every director in the world wants to be able to get every one of their ideas in there and all the producers also have opinions, and it’s always going to be a shared end product.

So, what can you say about the finale?

Well, the finale is already set up in this episode, when Celeste says she wants a cross-examination. Nicole is in the hot seat this entire episode, so it’s time for Mary Louise to be in the hot seat. The showdown is between Meryl and Nicole; Nicole as Celeste cross-examining Mary Louise and questioning her fitness as a mother. And it’s fireworks. It’s an amazing scene and of course it’s what everyone wants to see: Meryl Streep on the stand being cross-examined by Nicole Kidman. It was a joy to be in that room watching those two go at it.

Nicole Kidman said ahead of the season that Celeste’s storyline would be controversial. David E. Kelley, meanwhile, said the end of the season would be satisfying. How do you think the audience will feel after the finale?

I think they’ll be relieved, in a way. I have to admit that I don’t remember all the wrap-ups on all the aspects. I was involved in the courtroom scenes, so I was focused on my story. But I think the worst thing that can happen to a show is for the audience to go, “No! What? No!” And I think the audience will nod their heads and go, "Yeah. Of course, of course." I think that’s a sign of good storytelling and good human storytelling.

As a fan, who are you rooting for: Mary Louise or Celeste?

That’s hard. Mary Louise is a delicious, amazing character. It is such a creation between David, Andrea and Meryl. It’s so hard to get your finger on her. In many ways, she makes you so frustrated and so angry and yet other times, you completely see her point of view and completely understand her. She’s a truth-speaker in many ways and among the Monterey Five, there’s not a whole lot of real honesty going on sometimes, so to have this honest character come in and pull things apart is really refreshing and challenging. That being said, I think your sympathies probably go with Celeste because she’s a character we’ve come to know for a long time and she’s being challenged on a fundamental level, to lose her children. That’s such a huge threat. It’s hard not to feel sympathy for that.

As an actor, what was it like to watch that finale showdown and see Meryl Streep in all her glory against Nicole Kidman?

They’re both extraordinary actors and part of what is so extraordinary about them is a technical thing in how they make the lines feel incredibly spontaneous. You can see their imaginations and their craft in working the line to make it have one or two meanings. Meryl is sort of a genius at giving in line readings that accentuate that second meaning. And both are very alive in the moment. I’ve been lucky enough to work with great, great actors like Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates [in American Horror Story], Nicole and Meryl. They all share the same trait. Which is, they take their time. They let the moment happen. They don’t rush. They completely let the moment land. They feel it and react to it. And that’s hard sometimes for us to do because we feel — well, I do at least — this panic to keep the audience entertained. And they have the great gift of following the experience of the character over everything. It’s just remarkable.”

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From The Ringer: “The golden age of cord-cutting was over almost as soon as it started. On Tuesday, WarnerMedia rolled out the name and programming details of its upcoming streaming service, HBO Max, set to launch in spring of next year. The announcement was paired with the news that Friends—along with The Office, reportedly one of the two most popular shows on Netflix—would be leaving its temporary home, where a new generation of young viewers had formed an attachment to it. The Office, too, has been reclaimed by the company whose studio arm produced it, as Comcast’s NBCUniversal aims to build a service of its own. It no longer makes sense to lend one’s content out to someone else, no matter how high the premium, when corporations can reap the profits themselves.

“The splintering of Netflix and the rise of deep-pocketed competitors signals the end of an era and the rise of a raucous and unpredictable new one. Netflix’s head start can never entirely be erased, but a great deal of the service’s early success can retroactively be credited to a lack of credible rivals, plus marriages of convenience (with The Office, with Friends) that are finally reaching their limit. Now that other entertainment giants and even technology hubs are catching on to the benefits of building a service of their own, it no longer makes sense to farm out certain cash cows—even if part of what made them cash cows in the first place was their availability on a cheap, accessible, almost one-stop shop of a portal.

“The sheer comprehensiveness of a mid-2010s Netflix subscription may never be replicated. In its place, a slew of new services are contending for a slice of the pie, each with their own attendant costs and flashy benefits to help them earn a portion of viewers’ finite entertainment budgets. As the number of services required to keep up with pop culture skyrockets, the dream of a streamlined alternative to a hefty cable fee is rapidly fizzling out. With no fewer than four major services set to roll out in the next year, the question is less about whether any of them can replace Netflix than which stands the best chance of chipping away at its market share—and how much a slightly weakened Netflix can retain. We took a look at Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and NBCUniversal’s still-unnamed service to evaluate their selling points, their secret weapons, and most importantly, whether they stand a chance of earning a spot in consumers’ growing portfolio of streaming options:

Disney+

Projected launch date: November 12
Price point: $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year
Trump card: All of your children’s favorite movies, up to and including the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Will people pay?: Disney already exercises near-total dominion over the box office, but the company won’t rest until it has a similar monopoly on home viewing as well. Under the notorious vault system, Disney has historically exerted a vise-like hold over fans’ ability to access beloved classics from across its multidecade history. With the inventively named Disney+, the Mouse is about to open the floodgates, reverting from artificial scarcity to a seemingly unbeatable selection of touchstones from Aladdin to Beauty and the Beast (but notably not Song of the South), all for less than the price of an average movie ticket.

Disney+ will pair its archive, including all 23-and-counting installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with original series that expand its IP into the owned-and-operated streaming era. Along with the Marvel movies themselves, Disney+ has also flexed its ownership of Marvel, eclipsing awkward stepchildren like Iron Fist with spinoffs for MCU characters like Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, and Loki. Star Wars will get the same treatment, starting with Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian and snowballing with Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor.

Now that Disney also owns and operates Hulu, the idea is that Disney+ will serve as a one-stop shop for families, while Hulu will service the adults. (Children presumably aren’t tuning into The Handmaid’s Tale.) But families are the pillar of Disney, which is in turn the pillar of a culture increasingly driven by the tastes, loyalties, and toy-purchasing habits of a younger demographic. To some parents, the fee to access so much kids’ entertainment is tantamount to a ransom, albeit a relatively small one—for now. Don’t be surprised if Disney+ lures in an overwhelming crush of subscribers with its opening price, only to slowly inch up its toll over time.

Apple TV+

Projected launch date: Fall 2019
Price point: TBD
Trump card: … unclear, which may be a problem

Will people pay?: Apple has approached its foray into entertainment with the same tight-lipped secrecy that’s always surrounded its technology, a strategy that’s made for an awkward fit with the leaky, gossipy culture of Hollywood. For example: We’re theoretically mere months from a trillion-dollar corporation debuting its opening salvo in the streaming wars, and we still don’t know when it’s arriving or how much it will cost.

Still, Apple commands a great deal of attention just by being Apple. The manufacturer is admittedly more experienced at building screens than supplying consumers with content to watch on them; compare its silence, for example, with Disney’s confident opening bid of giving you the most popular franchises in the world for the cost of a Ben & Jerry’s pint. Apple’s counteroffer is variety and star power. Back in March, Tim Cook and his deputies effectively distracted viewers from the relative lack of details with a procession of shiny objects, among them Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston (of debut drama The Morning Show), Oprah (of Oprah, Inc.), and Steven Spielberg (of Amazing Stories). Sofia Coppola, Ronald D. Moore, Kumail Nanjiani, and Damien Chazelle are also on the roster—and a platform where Oscar winners count as second-string players is a formidable one indeed.

But we’re living in a time when auteurs and celebrities pale in comparison with intellectual property, and Apple TV+ doesn’t boast much in the way of IP (unless you count the life story of Emily Dickinson, a teenage version of whom Hailee Steinfeld will play in a comedy). Is a story- and star-driven service aimed largely at adults enough to lure customers into taking a bet on a brand-new streaming player? We’ll find out, because Apple has the funds to throw an awful lot at the wall and see what sticks.

HBO Max

Projected launch date: Spring 2020
Price point: More than $15 a month, the current going rate for HBO’s stand-alone service HBO Now
Trump card: Friends

Will people pay?: WarnerMedia’s newly christened service is a strange hybrid, combining the prestige of HBO with the comfort of backlogged sitcoms from the TV studio arm of Warners with a slew of original series, from an adaptation of Station Eleven to an animated Gremlins show to a Dune spinoff. Even leading with HBO’s branding is a strange choice, confusing the product with more slimmed-down options like HBO Now and doing little to impress upon customers the breadth of a company that controls Warner Bros. and classics like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as well as HBO’s highbrow cred.

Some salesmanship will doubtlessly be necessary to audiences who don’t have the same kind of associations with WarnerMedia—a relatively new composite of various brands under the ownership of AT&T—that they do with, say, Disney. But HBO Max does have Friends in its corner, a series so essential to Netflix’s base the service tweeted out an official mourning, complete with its collective “we.” Will the people who bought Netflix almost exclusively for Friends do the same for almost twice the price? Are Greg Berlanti teen movies, of which HBO Max has ordered at least four, enough of a value add?

Untitled NBCUniversal Streaming Service

Projected launch date: Mid-2020
Price point: Free, with ads
Trump card: The Office

Will people pay?: Technically, NBC has a spotty track record with in-house services; the specialized comedy platform Seeso struggled to break through before its parent company pulled the plug after less than two years. Equally troubling is the precedent set by CBS All Access, another network-owned outlet better known for stifling shows by sequestering them behind a paywall than enabling their success. CBS itself appears to be waving the white flag by giving shows like The Good Fight secondary run on the network proper in hopes of boosting their audience.

But the as-yet-unnamed streaming service from NBCUniversal—the Comcast-owned entertainment hub that encompasses NBC, USA, Bravo, and the Universal film studio, among other sub-entities—seems to be correcting for its predecessors’ mistakes. Rather than specialize in a particular genre, the service will be more of an omnibus, drawing from its collective mass and formidable archives. And most intriguingly, in an increasingly subscription-driven culture, a version of the service will be available to cordcutters for free.99—with advertisements, of course. (CBS All Access has ads as a trade-off for a discounted rate, but everyone has to pay.)

That means NBCU isn’t looking for viewers’ money, just their eyeballs—a much lower ask than its competitors, even if advertiser revenue is no longer as dependable as it once was. Arguably, NBCU’s gamble is that advertising isn’t dead; it can be revived by transplanting the model to the internet. It’s a matter of venue, not business. And NBCU is sweetening an already good deal by using The Office as a lure—an already beloved show massively boosted in popularity among younger audiences by Netflix. NBCU is piggybacking on that success by snatching back its resurrected hit (expect other classic sitcoms like 30 Rock to get the same treatment once their current deals run out). Giving more for less sure seems like it can’t hurt.

All four of these streaming services are vying to become the new Netflix—but the circumstances that created Netflix in the first place are negated by the existence of so many viable contenders. Disney, Apple, WarnerMedia, and Comcast are instead escalating Peak TV to ever-more-staggering heights, with the choice paralysis plaguing modern viewers extending from what to watch to how much to pay to where to watch it. Each impending service has its own arsenal of not-so-secret weapons in the war for attention; the truth may be, however, that there’s no real silver bullet. Nothing can fully replicate the 360-degree experience of a cable package, except the no-longer-inconceivable resurgence of cable as a solution to cord-cutters’ problems. And the illusion of a comprehensive entertainment package for a fraction of the price has been revealed to be just that.”

Friday July 12, 2019

HBO has ordered a 2nd season of Euphoria.

And here’s a new trailer for season 2 of HBO’s Succession.

Netflix competition series Blown Away will be available tomorrow. “Ten master artists turn up the heat in glassblowing sculpture challenges for the chance to win $60,000 in prizes and the title of champion.”

Season 2 of Sweetbitter returns to Starz on Sunday.

Food Network debuts a new series called Carnivorous on Sunday as well. “Forever carnivore Courtney Rada is on a mission to discover the most-sumptuous and surprising meat dishes in the U.S. on her brand-new series. Tune in every week as she meets the ranchers, farmers, butchers and cooks behind these iconic bites.”

Did anyone catch Michie giving a shoutout to Sal, Q, Joe and Murr on last night’s Big Brother? Right after he voted out Jess (!!) he called out the Impractical Jokers. I’d love to know why. Reddit hasn’t figured this mystery out yet.

Friends and Cougar Town alumna Courteney Cox is set to headline and executive produce a scripted series in development at Spectrum Originals from SMAC Productions. The untitled Last Chance U project is inspired by the real-life trials and tribulations of Brittany Wagner, played by Cox, the breakout character from the first two seasons of the popular Netflix docuseries Last Chance U. Wagner is the academic advisor at East Mississippi Community College, a school known for its dominant athletic program that offers young athletes their last hope in achieving pro status. Wagner is committed to motivating struggling athletes to realize their fullest potential, while they push her to realize her own.”

“The ‘modern Stone Age family’ in The Flintstones is set to get a little bit more modern. Warner Bros. Animation and Elizabeth Banks' Brownstone Productions are developing a new version of the classic animated sitcom. The project is in the very early stages, but it's envisioned as an adult animated series and based on original idea featuring Flintstones characters. The project does not yet have a have an outlet attached.”

“While the departure of Andrew Lincoln last fall was a seismic event in The Walking Dead universe (even though he will be continuing on in a series of TWD movies), the show suffered another major blow last season when Lauren Cohan announced she was leaving — at least temporarily — to go star in ABC’s spy adventure series Whiskey Cavalier. But with Whiskey Cavalier’s cancellation on May 12, the question became: Would Cohan be able to return to play Maggie Rhee in season 10 of The Walking Dead? We asked showrunner Angela Kang exactly that. ‘I’m not sure if I can say much about it right now actually,’ says Kang. ‘I’ll just say that we’re working on it.’”

Amazon Studios has landed Paper Girls, a drama based on Brian K. Vaughan’s best-selling graphic novel. The project, which has received a series commitment, hails from Legendary Television and Plan B (12 Years A Slave, Moonlight). . . .The series follows four young girls who, while out delivering papers on the morning after Halloween in 1988, become unwittingly caught in a conflict between warring factions of time-travelers, sending them on an adventure through time that will save the world. As they travel between our present, the past, and the future — they encounter future versions of themselves and now must choose to embrace or reject their fate. An emotional adventure in which the girls and the women they eventually become are tough, their friendships are authentic, and their journey through time is epic.”

The 6th season of How To Get Away With Murder will be the show’s last.

Season 2 of Mindhunter wlll be available to stream on Netflix on August 16.

Ronnie Ortiz-Magro‘s relationship with Jen Harley is finally on solid ground — and the Jersey Shore star believes it’s because he changed his ways. ‘We’re actually doing better and I feel like it had — took for me to change myself for things to get better,’ Ortiz-Magro told Page Six. ‘You know, I felt like I was just doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result and I, you know, that’s insanity. I had to just take a step back and, you know, gain f—–g control of myself.’ Ortiz-Magro, 33, has been in an on-again, off-again relationship with Harley, 31, for over a year and they share a daughter, 1-year-old Ariana. Their romance has been marred by domestic dispute reports and battery allegations. ‘I just want people to learn that, you know, I am a calm and family guy,’ he added. On Tuesday, the happy-for-now family was spotted at Patsy’s Italian Restaurant, with an insider telling us that ‘they were in a very upbeat mood, with Ronnie doting on his daughter throughout the meal with [owners] Sal and Lisa Scognamillo commenting that he is a great dad.’”

“On a day when the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke the 27,000-point barrier and most media and tech shares posted modest gains, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment shares fell nearly 6% to close at $7.16. The stock price is close to an all-time low for the nearly two years since the streaming-oriented media company had its IPO in 2017. It has erased all of the gains from the spring, when the company swung a deal with Sony giving it control of Crackle, sending shares up to a 52-week high of $13.11. Over the past year, the share price has dropped 25%.”

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Per The Athletic, “The NFL is at standstill in talks with AT&T over the future of NFL Sunday Ticket on the company’s DirecTV satellite outlet, NFL ownership and other sources said. As a result, they said, the NFL expects to ride out the current deal to its conclusion at the end of the 2020-21 season.

“That means consumers of the popular out-of-market package would not get a streaming, cable or other option, as has largely been speculated. The eight-year, $12 billion DirecTV deal, struck in 2014, contained an option that allowed either side to end the deal a year earlier. That option, however, expired in recent months without the sides agreeing on a way to repackage the games. The parties have agreed to keep talking under a ‘gentleman’s agreement.’

“‘They’ve been given lots of interesting ideas,’ the NFL ownership source with direct knowledge of the talks said of AT&T. ‘I think they don’t know. And they don’t have a strategy. And I think they realize they overpaid for DirecTV. I’m not talking about the NFL rights (AT&T bought DirecTV for $67.1 billion in 2015). And I think they’re sort of paralyzed by what the right thing to do is, I don’t think they know. So I can’t tell you. I mean, if that’s the way AT&T wants it, then we’ll just play it out. I think, you know, the league’s given them some opportunities to be thoughtful and creative… win-win (ideas), but I think they don’t have the strategy yet.’

“‘The NFL is going to be in a good position. I mean, I don’t mean that to sound obnoxious. But I mean, they’re gonna pay us a lot of money, or there are others with different business models lined up to pay us different money for different versions of it. So right…I think the NFL will be fine. I think AT&T is paralyzed.’

“A DirecTV spokeswoman replied to a list of questions, ‘We don’t comment on rumors, speculation or the terms of our contract with the NFL.’ That has been the standard comment when the telecommunication giant has been asked about the deal.

“The NFL makes no secret it wishes to split the rights between the satellite carrier and a different distributor, whether streaming or cable. There have been reports recently that companies like DAZN, ESPN+ and Comcast are lined up. But likely means they are lined up to pay for a non-exclusive piece, not the whole package.

“‘So in order in order for someone to take it (whole), they have to spend probably upwards of $2 billion (per year),’ said Rich Greenfield, a media analyst with BTIG. ‘It’s awesome that DAZN or ESPN+ want to spend $800 million, I’m just making up a number, that would be awesome. The problem is you need AT&T to still want to spend a billion dollars, right? And I’m just not sure it’s worth a billion dollars, if it’s on those lines.’

“DirecTV has carried Sunday Ticket for 25 years exclusively on satellite. Over the years it has done some limited streaming in certain markets though its own services. But DirecTV has been bleeding customers (350,000 is the most recent two quarters), so the concept of giving up exclusivity to Sunday Ticket, which has long been a customer magnet, may not look appealing.

“For the NFL though, aligning with a vibrant company, say an Amazon, must look far more appetizing.

“‘It’s sort of like the NFL has attached themselves to what used to be a rocket ship and now looks like a you know, like the Titanic,’ Greenfield said.

“In Greenfield’s opinion, if it’s true the NFL can’t strike a deal with AT&T, the timing is just wrong. A streaming service has yet to step up and buy exclusive rights to a major package (ESPN+ has paid heavily for UFC rights, but the MMA league has its own service too).

“Amazon for example has dipped its toe in the waters, with non-exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football. But even its agreement to buy equity in the YES Network is a small step in the near term, a source close to that investment said. In the earlier years, Amazon Prime will not be streaming many Yankees games, this source said.

“For Greenfield, that all will change one day.

“‘Look, I think the natural home for Sunday Ticket is on a digital platform. There’s no doubt in my mind, if Sunday Ticket was on YouTube TV, like the only way you could get Sunday Ticket was on YouTube TV, that would be the ultimate place for sports fan. The product works amazingly well on every device — TVs, smartphones, etc. Like that product should live in a digital world.’

“‘They (the streaming outlets) may not be ready to make that type of investment today, right. It’s a timing issue. Not like this is not the future. It’s more of it’s still a little early, it will take a bit more time.’”

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Per EW, “Whether you loved him or hated him, you can’t deny that Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) left his mark on Stranger Things.

“Introduced in season 2 before fully exploring both his backstory and influence on the world of Hawkins in season 3, the mysterious hunk went full villain this season. After he initially tried to resist the Mind Flayer, the Upside Down creature took over his body and Billy went on to ‘flay’/feed hundreds of innocent people to the Mind Flayer’s weapon. He almost succeeded in helping the Mind Flayer take over the world until Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and the rest of the Hawkins crew held him off long enough for him to find the strength to finally resist the Mind Flayer, giving Hopper (David Harbour) and Joyce (Winona Ryder) the time they needed to close the gate to the Upside Down.

“But does one heroic moment make up for a season full of villainy? Montgomery hosted a Reddit AMA on Thursday to answer that (along with other fan questions), and while the actor’s responses were short, they were surprisingly revealing. When asked whether Billy’s final act made up for all the awful things he had done, Montgomery responds, ‘I think it was redemptive and I do view him as a hero.’

“And while Billy’s dynamic with his younger step-sister Max (Sadie Sink) was always incredibly toxic, violent and angry, the actor truly believes that ‘he really loves his sister.’

“That’s some serious stuff. And Montgomery also took time to cover other serious topics, like where the decision to always keep his top two buttons of his shirt undone. ‘That’s definitely an element of Dacre,’ the actor says.

“The conversation changed gears when a fan asked if more Power Rangers movies were coming in the future (as Montgomery starred in the 2017 live-action reboot film). ‘I think there is a movie in the works but it’s not with me and the cast,’ the actor reveals. ‘So yes but not with us.’

“Bringing things full circle, Montgomery ended things by revealing what he took from the set. ‘I actually took Billy’s tank top and a pack of Marlboro red cigarettes,’ he says. Billy would be so proud.”

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From The Hollywood Reporter: “Quibi wants Varsity Blues' life.

“Jeffrey Katzenberg's shortform outlet has put in development a modern take on the 1999 James Van Der Beek feature film Varsity Blues.

“Tripper Clancy — who penned feature Stuber — is attached to write the new take on the film about a high school football team and their battles with a demanding coach.

“Mike Tollin and Tova Laiter — who produced the original film — are on board to exec produce the Quibi series. Tollin will exec produce alongside John Gatins and Peter Guber. The project hails from Tollin and Guber's MSM and Paramount Television. The latter's Paramount Pictures produced the original Varsity Blues.

"‘For all those who cheered Mox's refrain, “I don't want your life,” as well as all those who never heard of the West Canaan Coyotes, we're thrilled to bring Varsity Blues to Quibi and into the 21st century!’ Tollin said.

“This is the latest attempt to remake Varsity Blues for TV. Viacom-owned CMT was developing a new take on the title back in 2016. That project, which was penned by the film's original writer — W. Peter Iliff — did not move forward as CMT exited the scripted space not long afterward.

“The original movie starred Dawson's Creek grad Van Der Beek as Jonathan Moxon, a back-up quarterback who takes over a team of misfits against an abusive coach — and his father, who only seems to care about football.

“Distributed by Paramount Pictures, the film grossed $54.3 million on a budget of $16 million, with Van Der Beek's ‘I don't want your life’ scene remaining a popular meme.

“The order for Varsity Blues comes amid a busy week of news for Quibi, which also added a musical starring Darren Criss and a reboot of The Fugitive, among others. (Click here for a guide to all of Quibi's programming so far.)

“Quibi is poised to launch in spring 2020.”

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From Deadline: “Paramount Network has ordered a 10-episode first season of Sexy Beast, a series adaptation from Paramount Television and Anonymous Content based on the cult British gangster movie. Michael Caleo (The Sopranos) will write the series and executive produce.

Sexy Beast, the series, tells the origin story of the Gal Dove, Don Logan and Teddy Bass characters, played in the 2000 movie by Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley and Ian McShane, respectively. Gal Dove is a brilliant thief who finds himself descending into the seductive madness of the London criminal world during the vibrant and volatile 1990s. The series will explore the early days of Gal’s complicated relationship with Logan, a vicious gangster with whom Gal forms a partnership, the beginnings of his association with criminal mastermind Bass, and how Gal met and fell in love with DeeDee, an adult film star who would become his wife.

“Karyn Kusama (Destroyer) is directing and executive producing through her company Familystyle, along with the company’s Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay (Destroyer), who will also serve as executive producers on the show. Louis Mellis and David Scinto, original screenwriters of the film, also serve as executive producers. Keith Cox and Lauren Ruggiero, VP Development for Paramount Network, will oversee Sexy Beast for the network.

“Directed by Jonathan Glazer from a screenplay by Louis Mellis and David Scinto, the film follows Gal, an ex-criminal who had moved to Spain with his wife DeeDee (Amanda Redman) to start a new life, and Logan, an old criminal associate who aggressively recruits him for a heist job on behalf of crime lord Teddy Bass.

“;We’re thrilled Sexy Beast is joining our robust scripted slate of originals. We were impressed with Michael Caleo’s craft of the prequel, bringing these strong characters back to life for TV audiences, and with the exceptional style Karyn Kusama plans to bring to this series,’ said Cox, President, Development and Production, Paramount Network and TV Land. ‘We’re also honored to team with our sister studio Paramount Television in collaborating on this exciting project.’

“‘Sexy Beast is a cult classic because of its unique tone and style,’ added Nicole Clemens, President of Paramount Television, and the partners of Anonymous Content. ‘Mike Caleo has managed to capture that brilliance that we’ve loved for so long. His excellent script attracted Karyn Kusama, whose work has the same intersection of intensity and style that was beloved in the film. We’re so lucky to be collaborating with her. This is also our second project with Paramount Network and we’re thrilled to continue this synergistic relationship.’”

Thursday July 11, 2019

FAKE NEWS REPORT: Windy City Rehab stars Alison Victoria Gramenos and Donovan Eckhardt are in trouble with the city again, which could affect the HGTV show’s second season. The Chicago Department of Buildings recently notified Gramenos and Eckhardt they cannot file new permit applications, and the city is moving to suspend Eckhardt’s real estate developer and general contractor licenses for a year for a variety of alleged violations.”

Let me be CRYSTAL CLEAR, season 2 is NOT in jeopardy, Victoria and Eckhardt have not been in business together for some time and Victoria’s new GC has already had one of the stop work orders lifted with all other properties now in compliance per the City of Chicago. Shame on the Tribune and everyone else who has picked up this story and decided to run with it, but not surprising in any way, shape or form.

Season 3 of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation airs tonight. Get ready for 2 hours with limited interruptions.

I watched the first episode of Bring The Funny. It will be the last episode I watch as it’s not funny and Chrissy Tiegen is abhorrent. She really needs to go away. Forever.

Here are the winners from last night’s ESPY Awards, in the event you care.

Season 4 of Showtime’s The Circus will premiere September 22.

“Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s shortform video platform Quibi is entering the world of women’s wrestling with Fight Like a Girl, an unscripted series toplined by WWE Superstars, from WWE Studios and Critical Content. In each episode, WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon pairs a WWE star with a young woman struggling with a personal issue that has been holding her back. The wrestlers draw from their own life experiences to help their trainees overcome obstacles and become tougher, stronger and healthier versions of their former selves inside and out. Quibi says each episode of the series shot at WWE’s Performance Center ‘features a stunning transformation and heart-pounding reveal as the women change their lives forever.’ Fight Like a Girl is produced by WWE Studios and Critical Content for Quibi. Executive Producers are Stephanie McMahon, Susan Levison, Ben Zierten and Richard Lowell for WWE Studios, and Tom Forman, Jenny Daly and Jon Beyer for Critical Content.”

Amazon Studios has struck a first-look TV deal with Scooter Braun’s SB Projects, TheWrap has learned. SB Projects will develop both scripted and unscripted projects for the studio under a multi-year deal, an individual with knowledge of the deal told TheWrap. Amazon declined to comment. SB Projects is behind series such as CBS’ Scorpion, the film The Giver and Justin Bieber documentary “Never Say Never.” The company also has in the works an upcoming comedy starring comedic rapper Lil Dickey for FX — which has Kevin Hart on board as a producer — and the Kanye West-themed Omniverse for Showtime. Omniverse, which is in development at the pay cable network, stars Jaden Smith as an alternate-reality version of West.”

“Last season of The Walking Dead featured numerous new faces making the transition from page to screen as many characters from the comic book arrived on the AMC TV adaptation. Not only did Magna, Yumiko, Luke, Connie, and Kelly make their debuts as new allies, but iconic villains Alpha and Beta also made their presence known. Which got us thinking about next season. Who might we meet when the show returns for season 10 in October? We asked showrunner Angela Kang, and she spilled the beans on one character who will be making his TV debut in the season premiere. ‘We’ll be meeting the character Dante from the comics,’ reveals Kang exclusively to EW. ‘He is this roguish, fast-talking, sometimes charming, sometimes annoying guy who can sometimes put his foot in his mouth, but is an interesting presence in the comics.’ Indeed he is. In the comics, Dante is a loyal, hardworking member of the Hilltop community. But he can also be cocky and aggressive — especially in his pursuit of the widowed Maggie. ‘He’s actually a love interest of Maggie,’ says Kang of his role in the original source material. ‘But in our world, the context is a little different, and he will play an important role in the story in Alexandria. So we’re excited about that.’ The fact that Lauren Cohan’s Maggie is not currently on the show and that Kang mentions Dante will play a big role in Alexandria and not the Hilltop shows that there will certainly be changes to the character’s role, if not his roguish personality.”

The Dinner Party is The Office at its best. It’s uncomfortable (although it was almost much darker), deeply funny, and a tragic reminder that Steve Carell never won an Emmy for playing Michael Scott (“Sometimes I will just stand here and watch television for hours”). And now, 11 years after the episode first aired, it’s getting the scratch-and-sniff treatment. On August 26 at 10 p.m. EST, COZI TV (NBC’s ‘national multicast network’) will show the season four episode The Dinner Party in Smell-A-Vision. ‘A special airing of a legendary episode of the classic series – enhanced with an actual scratch-and-sniff card,’ the website reads. ‘Melora Hardin joins COZI TV as on-air host for the promotion and on-air presentation of the event. There’s no better choice, as she played Jan Levinson, the original host of The Dinner Party, offering us her long-simmering Osso Buco and Serenity By Jan candles.’”

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, “Shondaland's first original scripted series for Netflix will arrive in 2020, more than two years after prolific producer Shonda Rhimes moved her overall deal to the streamer.

“On Wednesday, Netflix unveiled the cast for Bridgerton — the scripted soap written by Scandal grad Chris Van Dusen — and announced that the eight-episode series will premiere sometime in 2020.

“Poised to shoot in London, Bridgerton is based on Julia Quinn’s best-selling novels. The drama is set in the sexy, lavish and competitive world of Regency London high society. Here's the official description: ‘From the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair to the aristocratic palaces of Park Lane and beyond, the series unveils a seductive, sumptuous world replete with intricate rules and dramatic power struggles, where no one is truly ever on steady ground. At the heart of the show is the powerful Bridgerton family. Comprised of eight close-knit siblings, this funny, witty, daring and clever group must navigate the upper ten thousand’s marriage mart in search of romance, adventure and love.’

“Julie Andrews (who reteams with Rhimes following The Princess Diaries 2) will voice the role of Lady Whistledown, the unseen gossip writer. Rege-Jean Page — who reunites with Rhimes following his role on ABC's Shondaland legal drama For the People‚ is the male lead and plays Simon Bassett, the Duke who finds himself the target of the town's single ladies. Phoebe Dynevor (Younger) is the female lead and plays Daphne Bridgerton, the young debutante waiting to make her debut.

“The cast also includes Golda Rosheuvel (Lady MacBeth) as Queen Charlotte; Jonathan Bailey (Broadchurch) as Anthony Bridgerton, the eldest sibling; Luke Newton (The Cut) as Colin Bridgerton; Claudia Jessie (Doctor Who) as Eloise Bridgerton; Nicola Coughlan (Harlots) as Penelope Featherington, a girl with a sharp wit; Ruby Barker (Doctors) as Marina Thompson, who is sent to live with her cousins, the Featheringtons; Sabrina Bartlett (Victoria) as Siena Rosso, an opera singer; Ruth Gemmell (Penny Dreadful) as Lady Violet Bridgerton, the matriarch of the family; Adjoa Andoh (Thunderbirds) as Lady Danbury, the dowager who runs the town; and Polly Walker (Pennyworth) as Lady Portia Featherington, the most matriarch of her family.

"‘We could not have found a more gifted group of actors to bring Bridgerton to life,’ Van Dusen said in a statement. ‘When creating this series, the goal was to turn a very traditional genre on its head and make something fresh, smart, sexy and fun. That’s exactly what this cast embodies and I'm ridiculously excited to see them inhabit these characters and captivate viewers in their own incredibly brilliant ways.’

“The casting arrives a year after the series was first announced as part of Rhimes and Shondaland partner Betsy Beers' first slate of programming for Netflix. The duo moved to Netflix following a long and lucrative run at ABC Studios, where they created and produced hits including Grey's Anatomy and Scandal.

“A specific premiere date for Bridgerton has yet to be announced.”

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Former English footballer David Beckham is set to launch a content studio that will develop non-fiction content for television and film.

“Studio 99 will develop documentary films and unscripted television, among other editorial formats, in addition to delivering commercial work as a creative agency for brand partners. The studio currently has a range of documentary projects in development – including some that will feature Beckham – with topics spanning such genres as sport, travel and fashion. The company is headquartered in London alongside David Beckham Ventures.

“Studio 99 was named to reflect the diversity of content the firm will produce and honors 1999, the year in which Beckham married Victoria Adams; had his first child, Brooklyn; and won the treble with Manchester United, for which the club won titles in the Premier League, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League.

“The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star co-founded Studio 99 with long-term manager David Gardner, who is managing director of David Beckham Ventures, and Nicola Howson, who becomes MD of the production business.

“Howson joined David Beckham Ventures in 2018 as a strategic adviser after having spent five years as an independent consultant to a variety of media businesses. Prior to this, Howson served as CEO and founder of indie agency Freuds for nearly a decade and is also a former communications director at ITV and consultant to a number of production companies.

“In addition to the label’s launch, Studio 99 has penned a development partnership with LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s media company Uninterrupted. Under terms of the deal, the two organizations will co-produce an as-yet untitled docuseries that is slated to chart the journey — from conception to launch in spring 2020 — of the Major League Soccer expansion club Inter Miami CF, of which Beckham is a co-owner.

“‘David Beckham typifies the “More Than An Athlete” mentality, and we’re excited to be partnering with him and Studio 99 on this new development deal and documentary,’ said Maverick Carter, Uninterrupted’s co-founder and CEO, in a statement. ‘As Uninterrupted continues to grow, working with partners in Europe and within football is a natural extension of our mission to empower all athletes.’

“‘On the commercial side I have been lucky enough to work with some of the best creative talent in the world for over 25 years,’ added Beckham. ‘I really enjoy it and I have learned a lot about what works and how to bring the best people together. It’s amazing to see what guys that I admire so much, like LeBron and Maverick, have achieved. It’s inspired me to see what’s possible in my world. It’s just very cool to be working with friends and meeting so many new people who are doing great things and want to create exciting new projects with us.’

“Elsewhere, Studio 99 has designated talent agency WME to represent the company’s interests. The agency, along with Beckham and his team, have already begun conversations with global platforms and media partners about Studio 99′s initial development slate and potential copro opportunities.

“The newly minted company will also encompass a creative agency that will create and deliver commercial campaigns and branded content for partners including AIA and Safilo across traditional, digital and social media. Studio 99 will now also produce and manage all content creation for Beckham’s social media channels and 120 million global followers.

“Beckham has previously featured in a number of documentaries, each executive produced by his business partner Gardner, including The Class of 92, which recounted the story of the players that formed Man United’s treble-winning team; as well as BBC travelogues Into the Unknown, which explored remote areas of Brazil’s Amazon, and David Beckham: For the Love of the Game, in which Beckham played seven football matches on seven continents in nine days to raise awareness of issues facing children supported by his UNICEF 7 Fund.”

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From Deadline: “CBS-owned Pop TV has given an eight-episode series order to coming-of-age comedy pilot Best Intentions, from American Pie writer Adam Herz, A+E Studios and Howard T. Owens and Ben Silverman’s Propagate. David Fynn (Undateable) Daniel Rashid (Being Frank) and Lindsey Gort (The Carrie Diaries) are set to star in the series which is slated to begin production this fall. Steve Pink (Hot Tub Time Machine) directs the pilot.

“Written by Herz, Best Intentions revolves around Andy Banks (Fynn), a kind-hearted but painfully awkward single father who is the guidance counselor at the high school his teenage son Nate (Rashid) currently attends. Gort plays Katie Baxter, a teacher with whom Andy is smitten; his never-ending hapless efforts to woo her drag Katie headfirst into her own personal misadventures. Guest starring in the series premiere are Natalie Ganzhorn (Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark) as the new girl in school, Haylee, and Benjamin Ayres (Saving Hope) as the high school’s principal, Jack Mayhan, and Sarah Levy (Schitt’s Creek) as the high school’s vice principal, Becky Fistick.

“Herz executive produces with Barry Jossen of A+E Studios and Propagate’s Silverman, Owens and Jay Weisleder.

“‘Adam Herz made one of the definitive comedy franchises of the 1990s and 2000s with American Pie, and Best Intention brings together the perfect cast to deliver more of his audacious sense of humor, which is grounded with loads of heart,’ said Justin Rosenblatt, Executive Vice President, Original Programming, Pop. ‘With a mix of character and premise-driven comedy, this parallel father-son coming-of-age story feels like a timeless classic that fits perfectly with our current slate.’”

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From Decider: “It’s the custody battle that will never, ever end. Thomas Ravenel is seeking full custody of his two children with Kathryn Dennis after the Southern Charm star failed a drug test where marijuana was detected in her urine.

The Blast reports that Ravenel has ‘rushed back to court’ to demand custody of Kensie and Saint after both parents were told to submit blood, alcohol, urine, and hair drug tests on June 13, 2019. In court documents, he claims that ‘while in the possession of the children, Kathryn produced a urine test positive for marijuana, benzodiazepines, and amphetamines.’ He confirmed that she has prescriptions for the benzodiazepines and amphetamines, but that the marijuana is not allowed.

“Dennis responded by saying she ‘disputes the veracity of the June 14, 2019 urine tests because her hair test was negative,’ but Ravenel claims that her hair tests are unreliable because she wears wigs, hair extensions, and frequently bleaches and dyes her hair.

“She then submitted a negative urine test after the positive one but Ravenel challenged it by saying, ‘the marijuana detected in the June 14, 2019 test could have been flushed out of her urine by that time.’ Dude, really? He is also claiming that she has purchased fake urine online before and that Dennis’s mother is mostly taking care of the kids. DUDE, REALLY? It’s clear Ravenel is using any morsel of information he can to continue dragging out this ugly custody battle.

“It’s all perfect timing as tonight’s episode of the Bravo series features Ravenel’s ex-girlfriend, Ashley Jacobs, showing up to provide a non-apology to the group she terrorized with false accusations and downright vicious statements last season.”

Wednesday July 10, 2019

WarerMedia’s streaming service is developing a drama series titled Crime Farm with Nicole Kidman attached to executive produce. The series is described as a psychosexual love story that follows Selma and Richard Eikelenboom, forensic homicide experts whose marriage thrives on their all-consuming investigations into the depravity of the world’s most notorious criminals. As a seminal case upends the paradigm of their relationship, their unique, unconventional and sometimes dangerous arrangement stretches the boundaries of marriage and science to the limit. Janine Sherman Barrois, the showrunner on the TNT series Claws, is attached to write and executive produce. Kidman will executive produce alongside Per Saari under their Blossom Films banner. Warner Horizon Scripted Television is the studio.”

Katherine Heigl (Suits) will star in and executive produce Netflix’s Firefly Lane, a drama series based on the bestselling novel by Kristin Hannah, from Maggie Friedman (No Tomorrow). Written and executive produced by Friedman, who also serves as showrunner, Firefly Lane centers on two inseparable best friends and their enduring, complicated bond, spanning four tumultuous decades. Heigl will play Tully, a force of nature: magnetic, ambitious, reckless, and fiercely loyal. Still bearing the scars of a traumatic childhood, she is dogged by inner loneliness, even as she goes on to fabulous fame and fortune as a journalist and talk show host. Her saving grace is her best friend and soulmate, Kate, with whom she shares an unshakable bond.”

The first two episodes of season 3 of Harlots are now available on Hulu.

Season 3 of Snowfall premieres on FXX tonight.

New Netflix series Family Reunion is now available to stream.

Pop premieres Florida Girls tonight. Here’s a review.

CBS’ Love Island is as advertised. It’s Paradise Hotel with some Bachelor In Paradise sprinkled on top.

A review of the final season of Orange Is The New Black, which will be available to stream on July 26.

R.I.P. Rip Torn.

The Independence Pirates, subjects of Netflix’s Last Chance U, opened last season ranked as the No. 5 junior college football program in the country. That was by far the highlight of the team’s year. On Tuesday, Netflix dropped the trailer for ICC and Coach Jason Brown’s disastrous run. If you think the Pirates’ fall from grace is tough to watch as a one-minute, 11-second preview, look up last season’s stats.” The new season will be available to stream on July 19.

”it is now possible to watch Netflix at work and make it look like you’re being super productive all at the same time. And you have the new Chrome extension Netflix Hangouts to thank. Created by MSCHF Internet Studios, the Netflix Hangouts extension is designed to make watching Netflix in plain sight — specifically in a business setting — as seamless and as easy as possible. To access it, you first need to add the extension. Once that’s done and you’re ready to watch, open a Chrome browser and then go to Netflix. Pick the show (perhaps The Office or Friends before they leave the streaming service!) or movie you want to watch, hit play, and then click on the Netflix Hangouts extension in your browser menu. The extension will produce a phony, four-way conference call comprised of three imposter colleagues and your show/movie of choice.”

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From US Weekly: “With a new baby in tow and a calendar full of royal engagements, Duchess Meghan. is a bit too busy join former costar Patrick J. Adams. on Suits’ ninth and final season. But fans shouldn’t assume there’s any relationship trouble between their characters, Rachel and Mike.

“Meghan and Adams, both 37, left the USA show in 2018 at the end of the seventh season, with Rachel landing a new job in Seattle and Mike following his bride. Last month, however, fans learned that Adams would return in the upcoming season’s fifth episode, as Mike gets involved in a case against Harvey (Gabriel Macht) and Samantha (Katherine Heigl.).

“Despite Mike’s solo appearance, Adams wants viewers to know that everything is ‘good’ between his character and Rachel. ‘We’re happy,’ he told Entertainment Tonight. ‘I promise you they’re happy.’

“‘For Mike, this is just a trip to New York,’ the actor explained. ‘He’s in Seattle, [Mike and Rachel] are building their life together, it sounds like he’s doing well.’

“He elaborated: ‘It seems to me like Mike’s in a great place. Whatever is happening in Seattle is really good. … There’s phone calls with Rachel saying, “Goodbye, I love you,” and, you know, I think there’s some obvious acknowledgment that she’s still there and a part of the show.’

“In June, Suits creator Aaron Korsh tempered hopes that the Duchess of Sussex would appear on the legal drama one last time. ‘You never know,’ he told Deadline. ‘There is always a chance she is going to pick up the phone and call me and say, ‘Can I come back?’ And if she did, she would be welcome back here with arms wide open. But no, l don’t see that happening.’

Suits returns for its ninth and final season on USA Wednesday, July 17, at 9 p.m. ET.”

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From Variety: “Get ready to make Friends with HBO Max: That’s the name of WarnerMedia’s new direct-to-consumer streaming service, set to launch in the spring of 2020 with some 10,000 hours of content, including all episodes of ’90s hit Friends.

“However, WarnerMedia still hasn’t announced pricing for the service, which will compete with Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus, among others.

“Under a new deal with Warner Bros. Television, HBO Max will have exclusive streaming rights at launch to all 236 episodes of Friends — which will roll off Netflix in 2020. ‘We’re sorry to see Friends go to Warner’s steaming service at the beginning of 2020 (in the US),’ Netflix tweeted after WarnerMedia’s announcement. ‘Thanks for the memories, gang.’

“Netflix had reupped its deal with Warner Bros. TV for exclusive streaming rights to Friends through the end of 2019, but AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson recently said that WarnerMedia would be reclaiming popular titles that were licensed to others for its own subscription VOD service.

“WarnerMedia also announced new exclusive movie production deals for HBO Max with Greg Berlanti and Reese Witherspoon. Under the pacts, Berlanti will produce an initial four movies in the young-adult genre, while Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine will produce at least two films for the service.

“Berlanti, the prolific producer behind such shows as Arrow, The Flash, Riverdale and Blindspot, said in a statement about the HBO Max pact, ‘What I’ve always loved about creating shows that connect with a young audience is that these fans grow up with the programs and will remember them for the rest of their lives. Now I get to do even more of that for HBO Max, where viewers will be able to discover shows on their own time, in their own way.’

“In addition, HBO Max will include all episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air starring Will Smith and Pretty Little Liars, the ABC Family/Freeform hit — which also will be leaving Netflix.

“Moreover, HBO Max will be the exclusive streaming home new Warner Bros.-produced dramas for The CW starting with the fall 2019 season, including the DC Entertainment series Batwoman, and Katy Keene (a spinoff of Riverdale). CW shows going forward will be available on HBO Max beginning 30 days prior to the TV premiere of the next seasons of those shows.

“Overall, HBO Max will combine content from HBO with a slate of originals and programming from Warner Bros., New Line, DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, and Looney Tunes. In its announcement, WarnerMedia highlighted some of the content coming to HBO Max, including previously announced originals.

“‘HBO Max will bring together the diverse riches of WarnerMedia to create programming and user experiences not seen before in a streaming platform,’ Bob Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer, said in a statement.

“It’s still not fully clear how HBO, as a standalone service, will be differentiated from HBO Max. WarnerMedia has been considering a price point of $16-$17 per month for the new SVOD product and would likely bundle in HBO and Cinemax, the Wall Street Journal reported a month ago.

“HBO Max programming will continue to be overseen by Casey Bloys, programming president of HBO. According to WarnerMedia, HBO’s investment in original programming has increased 50% over “normal spending” leading up to the launch of HBO Max in 2020.

“Kevin Reilly, president of the WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks that include TNT, TBS, and truTV, also serves as chief content officer of HBO Max overseeing all new originals and library content. Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media, now oversees the development of HBO Max with Andy Forssell, also from Otter Media and formerly CEO of Hulu, as the general manager. In May, Brad Bentley exited WarnerMedia Entertainment group as EVP and GM of direct-to-consumer development after six months in the role.”

Hate the name, but I don’t think they’ll be short on subscribers.

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Per Deadline, “Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s short-form video platform, is expanding its scripted comedy slate with new series The Now, from Oscar winner Peter Farrelly (Green Book) and Anonymous Content.

“Co-written by Farrelly, Steve Leff (The Ranch) and Pete Jones (Hall Pass), The Nowis the story of a guy who is about to commit suicide when he finds out from his nagging mother that his brother just committed suicide – oh and his dad committed suicide in the past too. He can’t kill himself because he can’t do that to his mom so he has to learn to live life for today, in the now.

“The late Steve Golin and Jeff Okin executive produce. Anonymous Content produces for Quibi.

“Farrelly’s latest feature, the critically acclaimed Green Book, was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning three, including best picture and screenplay, both for Farrelly, as well as supporting actor for Mahershala Ali. The film was also a box office success, bringing in $314.7 million worldwide. Farrelly co-created and executive produces comedy series Loudermilk, which is going into its third season on AT&T Audience Network. He is next set to write and direct an untitled Skydance pic based on the book The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A True Story of Friendship Stronger Than War.

The Now joins Quibi’s growing slate which includes scripted comedy series Dummystarring and executive produced by Anna Kendrick, sci-fi drama series Don’t Look Deeper starring Don Cheadle, Emily Mortimer and Helena Howard and an action thriller starring Liam Hemsworth from Nick Santora and CBS TV Studios, among many other projects.”

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IMDb announced its first-ever scripted series You’re Not a Monster  eaturing the voices of Kelsey Grammer, Eric Stonestreet, Aparna Nancherla, Ellie Kemper, Patton Oswalt and others. The animated series is set to premiere this fall, but IMDb will give a sneak peek of the new show featuring iconic movie monsters at Comic-Con later this month.

You’re Not a Monster shows that even movie monsters have emotional issues — because the only thing worse than being undead is being unloved. In the series, Grammer will take a seat in the therapist chair for the first time since his Frasier days as former psychiatrist-turned-vampire who mentors his great-great grandson Max (Stonestreet),  a therapist who has inherited his practice.

“Each episode will be four to five minutes and will feature Max treating familiar faces in the movie monster world including Frankenstein, The Invisible Man and Medusa as they seek desperately needed therapeutic help.

“Rounding out the voice cast is Nancherla as a demon receptionist, Kemper as a therapist who thinks Max is imagining everything as well as Oswalt, Peter Grosz, Langston Kerman, Joel Kim Booster, Adam Pally, Amber Ruffin, Amy Sedaris and Milana Vayntrub. Show creators and cast members including Grammer and Nancherla will participate in an exclusive interview with host Kevin Smith on the IMDboat at San Diego Comic-Con on July 20.

“The comedy series is created and written by Emmy winner Frank Lesser (The Colbert Report) and Lily Stuart Streiff serves as Animation Director. You’re Not a Monster is produced for IMDb by Bold Soul Studios, Grammnet and Ranker.

“Beginning this fall, viewers can catch the premiere episode of You’re Not a Monster at http://www.imdb.com/monster as well as its streaming video channel and apps. You’re Not a Monster adds to IMDb’s existing original series slate that includes The IMDb Show, IMDbrief and Casting Call.

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After former Breaking Bad stars Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston appeared to hint at a movie based on the series last week, the actors revealed what they were really secretly collaborating on — a new brand of Mezcal.

“On Tuesday, Cranston took to social media to share the story behind their new booze.

“‘We had the time of our lives while shooting Breaking Bad and truly built a very special bond,’ the 63-year-old actor wrote. ‘Knowing that we couldn’t share the screen for quite a while – our thoughts turned to a new project.’

“He continued, ‘We searched high and low all over Oaxaca, met incredible people along the way and after a beautiful yet grueling search throughout that majestic landscape we believed we may have found our place. Our Mezcal. It was on a dirt-road, in a tiny village, hours away from the center of town, we found it and it was perfect. Holy s–t it was perfect. We looked at each other and just simply nodded. This is it. We named it Dos Hombres – two guys on a quest.’

“After the announcement, Breaking Bad fans didn’t hold back their disappointment.

“‘Biggest let down in history,’ one person wrote.

“‘I thought it would at least remotely be related to Breaking Bad. DISAPPOINTED,’ wrote another.

“‘WOWWW no breaking bad movie reveal. Who the f–k cares about this. Hyped up for nothing,’ added a third.

“Others, however, seemed happy about their alcohol collab, with one fan writing, ‘From getting people high, to getting people drunk, you go Heisenberg!’

“Either way, Paul, 39, and Cranston are thrilled to be working with each other again, even though it’s not on screen.

“‘It’s been a long and crazy journey and we couldn’t be happier to share this with you and the rest of the world,’ Cranston wrote.”

Tuesday July 9, 2019

CBS debuts Love Island tonight. “Love Island starts with ten sexy singles in impossibly small bathing suits living in a villa. For the American version they’re in the tropical paradise of Fiji — not that any of these kids are going to get to leave the house. The five men and five women are immediately paired up and share queen-size beds in one giant room. Slowly but surely, new guys and girls are added to the mix to see if they can “turn the heads” of those in couples. There are regular ‘recouplings’ and those who aren’t in a couple are kicked out of the villa. The most popular couple at the end, as voted on by the public, wins a (small) cash prize.”

If you like Paradise Hotel and Bachelor In Paradise, this RIGHT up your alley.

The MLB All-Star Game airs tonight on Fox.

Last night’s Home Run Derby was one for the ages.

NBC premieres Bring The Funny tonight. “The 10-episode series will bring together some of the most prolific comedians in the industry to serve as judges - Saturday Night Live's longest-running cast member, Kenan Thompson, cultural tastemaker Chrissy Teigen and comedy icon Jeff Foxworthy. Comedian Amanda Seales will serve as host for the competition. In partnership with the international organization Just for Laughs, which has given rise to some of today's most successful comedic acts via its iconic festivals, tours and television series, Bring the Funny will feature the best of the best stand-ups, sketch troupes and comedic variety acts. From solo comics to sketch troupes to musicians, magicians, podcasters, puppeteers, YouTubers and more - anyone who can make audiences laugh will have the chance to receive the career-changing $250,000 prize package and see their name in lights in the Bring the Funny showcase.”

Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix special is now available to stream.

Netflix has renewed The Society for a 2nd season.

40M+ HH have watched season 3 of Stranger Things thus far?

“Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s short-form video platform Quibi has put in development The Fugitive, from Scorpion creator Nick Santora, Thunder Road Films, 3 Arts Entertainment and Warner Bros. TV. The Fugitive is a new take on the classic title, which Warner Bros. owns. The studio previously produced the 1993 movie starring Harrison Ford. There also was a The Fugitive TV series, created by Roy Huggins and starring David Janssen, which aired on ABC from 1963 to 1967. It was produced by Quinn Martin Productions and United Artists Television.”

The winners and losers of Stranger Things Season 3.

HBO cut the scene in Big Little Lies where Reese Witherspoon throws a cone of ice cream at Meryl Streep and fans feel slighted.

CNN journalists Jake Tapper, Don Lemon and Dana Bash will moderate the next Democratic debates, which will again feature 20 candidates across 2 nights. The debates will take place on Tuesday, July 30 and Wednesday, July 31.

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, “Amazon is looking to Girls Trip scribe Tracy Oliver and Amy Poehler for its next scripted comedy.

“The retail giant/streamer has handed out a 10-episode, straight-to-series order for an untitled comedy written by Oliver and produced by Poehler. Previously titled Harlem, the single-camera comedy follows the lives of four black women — friends from their college days at NYU — as they navigate sex, relationships and chasing their dreams.

”Oliver will be credited as the show's creator, writer and exec producer. Poehler will exec produce the series via her Universal Television-based Paper Kite banner. 3 Arts' Dave Becky and Paper Kite's head of development, Kim Lessing, also exec produce.

“This is Paper Kite's first show for Amazon and joins Netflix's Russian Doll, Fox's animated comedy Duncanville, NBC's unscripted series Making It and Adult Swim's Three Busy Debras at the company. Paper Kite's credits also include Comedy Central's Broad City and Hulu's Difficult People as well as Netflix feature Wine Country, the latter of which served as Poehler's directorial debut.

“The series marks a reunion for Poehler with former NBC execs-turned-Amazon Studios leaders Jennifer Salke and Vernon Sanders, with whom she worked on Parks and Recreation.

"‘This series is a dream project for me,’ said Oliver. ‘I found the perfect partners in Amy Poehler, Amazon Studios, and Universal, who have championed this project from the beginning. I can’t wait to get started and share the story of these four women navigating the complexities of adulthood through their unbreakable friendship.’

“The untitled Amazon show is Oliver's second series order, joining TV Land-turned-Paramount Network-turned BET streaming service's reboot of First Wives Clubstarring Michelle Buteau, Jill Scott and Ryan Michelle Bathe.

"‘We are huge fans of Tracy and have long admired her work,’ said Sanders, Amazon co-head of TV. ‘She’s an incredibly talented writer and producer, and we’re thrilled to work with her on a project that reflects the kind of inclusive, joyful creative content we want to be involved with at Amazon Studios, and that our Amazon Prime Video customers want to see. We’re also so excited to be in business with Amy and Paper Kite. Jen Salke and I have known Amy for many years, and we’re so pleased to have the opportunity to work with her again.’

“The Oliver comedy joins a scripted roster at Amazon that also includes The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Boys, Carnival Row, The Expanse, Fleabag, Goliath, Hanna, The Hunt, Invincible, Jack Ryan and Lord of the Rings, among many others.”

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From The Atlantic: “Of the children on Big Little Lies, Chloe (Darby Camp) has always been one of the more perceptive ones. In Season 1, she tried to mend fences between Ziggy (Iain Armitage) and Amabella (Ivy George). In an earlier episode this season, she braved her mother Madeline’s (Reese Witherspoon) wrath by calling her ‘unhinged,’ a harsh burn from a second grader. And last night’s episode sees her wordlessly hugging her father, Ed (Adam Scott), prompting him to break down in tears.

“There’s no way Chloe knows that Ed and Madeline had just had another devastating conversation about their crumbling marriage. But she’s picked up on their pain and is weighed down by their emotional distress.

“This far into its second season, Big Little Lies doesn’t have to include moments such as these, considering how much ground the HBO drama still has to cover in its remaining two episodes. But Chloe’s display of affection for her father is a valuable reminder of how children—despite the efforts of the adults around them to protect them from strife—end up carrying a heavy emotional burden in their families. Though they may not know the particulars, their desire for clarity makes them extra sensitive to their parents’ turmoil.

“The show touched on this theme earlier in the season with Jane (Shailene Woodley) and Ziggy. Episode 5 explores it more deeply, in part through the custody battle between Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and her manipulative mother-in-law, Mary Louise (Meryl Streep), over Celeste’s twins. The boys (Nicholas and Cameron Crovetti), grieving their father’s death, have been lashing out: They get expelled at school after sending a bully to the hospital, and one of them calls Celeste a ‘bitch’ when she admonishes them for their actions. Big Little Lies has raised the question before of whether the boys have learned aggression from their abusive father, but here they seem more like they’re trying to get their mother’s attention.

“The twins’ reactiveness is apparent, too, when Celeste comes to them for help. Needing to prove herself a fit mother to a judge, she explains as she tucks them into bed that Mary Louise is ‘worried’ about her well-being, but that she thinks she’s fine, so it’s important that they say how much they want to stay with her. In response, they pepper her with questions: Why would grandma do this? Should they say they don’t like grandma? And then, in a sweet, innocent scene, they tell her they’ll do whatever she needs them to. ‘We can protect you,’ one of them says. ‘Yeah,’ echoes the other, ‘we can say whatever you want us to say.’ At that, Celeste tries to walk her instruction back: ‘You do not need to protect me, alright?’ she tells them. ‘You just have to tell the truth, that you want to live here.’

“To the twins, such a circular conversation, accompanied by their mother’s apparent anxiety, must be upsetting—even if they don’t show it. And they aren’t the only ones feeling the strain. The episode shows each of the Monterey Five’s children trying to understand their parents: There’s Ziggy, broaching the question of whether he’d grow up to become like his father to Jane. There’s Skye (Chloe Coleman) curling up to and comforting Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz) in the hospital, where Bonnie is caring for her ill mother, Elizabeth (Crystal Fox). (Even the flashbacks that show Elizabeth’s aggression toward her daughter illustrate, in a different way, the long-term strain that parents can put on their children.)

“Finally, there’s poor Amabella, once again affected by the circumstances her parents—amid their bankruptcy and fraying marriage—have created. Her mother, Renata (Laura Dern), is stinging from Mary Louise’s vicious comments about her parenting style. ‘You work, don’t you, Renata?’ Mary Louise says. ‘That must be especially devastating, for a working mom to lose her house, her belongings, because, just to think about the sacrifice and all the missed dinners with kids … so many many moments lost, and for what? A screening room. Maybe a boat.’

“Feeling guilty, Renata later keeps Amabella home from school for some ‘mother-daughter time.’ But her daughter intuits deeper troubles. ‘It’s because we’re broke, isn’t it?’ she asks. The question pains Renata, and her answer—that not everything has to be about money even though it does, sort of—fails to clear up Amabella’s worries. After all, she’s missing school to palliate Renata’s sense of culpability, and one day of playing hooky won’t erase the turbulence of their family’s plight.

“The adults of Big Little Lies have become entangled in personal crises throughout the second season, but it’s the next generation that has quietly absorbed it all. As Mary Louise’s lawyer tells Celeste, no matter the outcome of their legal proceedings, ‘the biggest losers would be the children.’”

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Per EW, “[r]eady for some new info about HBO’s mysterious Game of Thrones prequel series?

EW recently spoke to author and executive producer George R.R. Martin about showrunner Jane Goldman’s pilot, which is currently filming in Northern Ireland. HBO and Martin have previously revealed the show takes place roughly 5,000 years before the events in Game of Thrones, when Westeros was a very different place, and leads up to an epic confrontation with the White Walkers known as The Long Night. Since some fans have been concerned that the show is pre-Targaryen (and therefore pre-dragon), we asked Martin what are some families and creatures that are around during this time period.

“Martin gave some intriguing hints about the state of Westeros during this time period, and even noted a possible new title:

1. Westeros is divided into roughly 100 kingdoms in the prequel. ‘We talk about the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros; there were Seven Kingdoms at the time of Aegon’s Conquest,’ Martin says. ‘But if you go back further then there are nine kingdoms, and 12 kingdoms, and eventually you get back to where there are a hundred kingdoms — petty kingdoms — and that’s the era we’re talking about here.’ The Seven Kingdoms maintained some degree of order (at least, until war broke out). So it sounds like Westeros could be even more dangerous and chaotic and lawless than it is in GoT — like Wild West Westeros.

2. There are Starks and direwolves. The pack survives. This should be obvious given the time period (the Starks were descended from the First Men), but in case there was any doubt Martin confirms the fan-favorite family is around. ‘The Starks will definitely be there,’ he said. And while much has been made about the fact the prequel predates dragons, that doesn’t mean there won’t be other creatures. ‘Obviously the White Walkers are here — or as they’re called in my books, The Others — and that will be an aspect of it,’ Martin says. ‘There are things like direwolves and mammoths.’

3. There will not be any Lannisters — at least not at first… The prequel predates the rise of the Lannister family, Martin says. But there is another family currently residing in the future Lannister homestead. ‘The Lannisters aren’t there yet, but Castlery Rock is certainly there; it’s like the Rock of Gibraltar,’ he says. ‘It’s actually occupied by the Casterlys — for whom it’s still named after in the time of Game of Thrones.’ The Casterlys were supposedly swindled from their homestead by Lann the Clever — who founded House Lannister — though it’s unclear if this tale will be told in the prequel.

4. It’s a true ensemble. HBO’s cast breakdown appeared to suggest the show might be led by a trio of female leads (Naomi Watts, Naomi Ackie, and Denise Gough). Asked about this, Martin said the prequel — like Game of Thrones — is more accurately described as an ensemble story. ‘I hesitate to use the word “lead,”’ Martin says. ‘As you know for Game of Thrones, we never even nominated anybody for lead actress or lead actor [during awards season] until recently; it was always for supporting [categories] because the show is such an ensemble. I think that will be true for this show too. We don’t have leads so much as a large ensemble cast.’

5. The show might get a slightly different title than the one you’re expecting. The prequel is still officially untitled, Martin emphasizes. In the past, the author has suggested the title The Long Night. One behind-the-scenes factor that complicated this choice is that the third episode of Game of Thrones season 8 is also titled The Long Night. While The Long Night remains Martin’s preferred title, there is another similar possibility being considered. ‘I heard a suggestion that it could be called The Longest Night, which is a variant I wouldn’t mind,’ he says. ‘That would be pretty good.’

“While Martin has many projects in the works, including the prequel pilot, he notes he’s currently only writing one thing: The sixth Ice and Fire novel The Winds of Winter.”

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Some industry fodder courtesy of Deadline: “Six years ago, 20th Century Fox TV made a giant off-network deal with FX for The Simpsons. Shortly after Disney’s March acquisition of major Fox assets, including 20th TV and FX, the studio — now part of Disney Television Studios — made a new deal so the comedy could be announced as a cornerstone of the new Disney+ streaming platform, and another agreement for repeats of the show to also air on Disney’s Freeform.

“A new deal template, which is being floated by the recently formed Disney TV Studios as well as sibling FX Prods., will eliminate all that. I hear Disney TV studio executives have been informing agencies and producers of a new compensation model they are looking to employ across the board for broadcast, cable and digital series. It would replace the current profit participation blueprint and would aid the company’s flexibility to distribute content within its ecosystem of networks and digital platforms.

“Disney likely won’t be alone. Warner Bros TV has already been experimenting with a similar setup, I hear. It is part of an industrywide push among studios to move beyond backend. It is a push that could raise legal issues, by shifting from paying talent a percentage of a show’s profits to fixed cash amounts so studios can put series wherever they want without having to report to profit participants. It is a major paradigm shift that some observers tout as being even more significant in its ramifications for the industry than the ongoing WGA-ATA standoff.

“Referred to as ‘per-point,’ the model currently being pursued by Disney simplifies the way profit participation fees are paid off. Each point of an upcoming series’ backend is assigned a numerical value that is uniform across the portfolio of shows. The payments to creators/producers start right away, and the value goes up the longer a series runs. It varies based on on the show’s ratings performance and awards recognition.

“In exchange, the studio gets the right to exploit the show on any platform without having to make a separate deal for profit participants. The proposed model streamlines dealmaking in a multi-platform universe, especially in one like Disney that includes multiple streaming and cable networks in addition to broadcast. It also would prevent profit participation-related lawsuits like the one 20th TV has been embroiled in over Bones.

“While the template is not breaking new ground for streaming series, it would be a game-changer for a broadcast business steeped in the decades-old tradition of deficit financing which, in success, leads to a profit participant financial windfall of tens of millions of dollars from off-network, streaming and international sales starting 4-5 years into the show’s run.

“Amazon Studios is believed to have been the first company to introduce a per-point model for its shows a couple of years ago. I hear its version of the model involves escalators for multiple seasons and the payoff of the points’ value after a threshold is reached — for example a fourth season — somewhat similar to the traditional broadcast setup in which profit participants start to get backend payments once a series amasses a significant number of episodes (usually after four seasons) and is sold in off-network syndication.

“Netflix’s cost-plus model bypasses backend altogether as the platform takes on all worldwide rights exclusively. It involves the streaming platform effectively ‘buying out’ series auspices’ backend at the outset, in exchange for paying a full license fee plus a premium (typically in the 125%-130% range). It allows studios to start making profit from Day 1 vs. incurring deficits for years under the traditional broadcast/cable model, and creators and producers seeing ‘backend’ payments also from the start. (Netflix’s deals include bump/bonuses after each season that are getting progressively bigger, though few shows get to take full advantage as many of the platform’s series tend to get canceled after 2-3 seasons.)

“With Netflix changing the TV business paradigm, the per-point compensation model proposed by Disney TV Studios — which encompasses 20th TV, Fox 21 TV Studios and ABC Studios/ABC Signature — will also offer payoffs that starts early in a show’s run compared with down the road, I hear.

“The backend point rates for new series are still being fine-tuned as the studio had been seeking feedback from agents and other industry types. The initial reaction to the plan by reps and producers has been mixed. Some fear the new model would reduce potential payoff for profit participants on very successful shows. But most people I spoke with agree that this likely is the way of the future, and a switch to a fee-based model for creators and talent in a multi-platform world dominated by content streaming seems inevitable.

“In fact, I hear Disney’s upcoming streaming platform Disney+ began experimenting with the per-point model at the end of last year before it was embraced by Disney TV Studios. Similarly, Warner Bros TV also has started to use elements of this structure in some deals across the board, a move I hear has been driven by streaming pacts.

“As models that upend traditional backend paradigms have been made industry standard for streaming series by the likes of Netflix and Amazon, ‘old media’ studios like Disney and WarnerMedia whose parent companies are launching streaming platforms may feel competitive pressure to adopt a similar template. The sensible thing to do is apply that template to their entire slates. In the case of Disney, sources said, the push for the new model is less about streaming and more about seamless content movement within the company’s ecosystem of studios, networks and streamers.

“The new model is expected to benefit middling/mildly successful series that go on for a couple of seasons to respectable/modest ratings and would not normally be able to generate a meaningful backend under the traditional mechanism. They will be rewarded under the new arrangement.

“On the flip side, the new deal structure would likely cap the financial windfall for profit participants on blockbuster hits like The Big Bang Theory or Modern Family, way below what they would get under the traditional model. However, these outsized hits are few and far between, and industry insiders expect the auspices for such mega-hits would likely be able to renegotiate their terms at some point. That already is the case on a streaming platform like Netflix that does not offer backend. Following the blockbuster breakout success of Stranger Things’ creators the Duffer Brothers were reportedly able to renegotiate their deals.

“The industry consensus at the moment is that junior writers will likely come out ahead in the new model, which protects downside, while heavy hitters may get shortchanged because the model limits upside. We will have to wait and see what numerical value points are ultimately assigned. I hear that in informal conversations with the creative community, Disney TV toppers have indicated that the proposed new template would be lucrative for talent and that the formula could potentially be comparable to the payout in a traditional setup.

“Coming up with a fair backend valuation during a series’ original run is tricky, because there are late bloomers. For instance, while Friends has been a blockbuster hit on broadcast, in off-network syndication and now in streaming, The Office was a respectable success on broadcast and a modest performer in off-network syndication. It wasn’t until its streaming run that the series became a giant hit that is believed to be the most popular acquired series on Netflix, and on par and possibly even outrating Friends. Even NBCUniversal executives have acknowledged they did not expect such a ratings success, a decade after the show’s airing on NBC. Netflix is paying a hefty license fee for The Office, which profit participants share, and NBCU recently outbid the SVOD giant to move the series to its own streaming platform, providing an even bigger financial windfall for producers.

:Since in the per-point model the value of the backend points is assigned at the outset, some wonder whether there will be a mechanism to correct undervaluation, years after the initial run. While I hear there are no plans for such point-value reassignment later on in the Disney proposal, series that over-perform following inauspicious starts are expected to be rewarded with incremental payments for downstream success.

:In pursuing the new template, the biggest driver for Disney ls to make the exploitation of content across the company’s multiple networks and streaming platforms simple and hassle-free, with no danger of accusations by creators and talent of self-dealing and potential litigation. Some suspect that the ongoing bigBones lawsuit, which thrust profit-participation issues and vertical integration back into the spotlight, was an impetus to implement the new model that boosts distribution flexibility.

“With the exception of Warner Bros, I hear the other major TV studios have no immediate plans to change their profit-participation structure, but that could change: several are evaluating their options.

“‘This could change how business is done as it turns the backend model on its head,’ one studio executive said.”

If you think this is confusing, try getting a handle on the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

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Controversial Bachelorette contestant Jed Wyatt says his loved ones have received threats after an ex-girlfriend claimed she and Wyatt were still involved when he signed up for the show.

“Ever since ex Haley Stevens came forward, the Tennessee-based singer-songwriter and his family have been targeted online and at their homes, he wrote on Instagram, ‘affecting all of our mental and physical health.’

“‘It goes beyond what is said online,’ Wyatt, 25, wrote on Instagram. ‘Threatening letters and phone calls have been sent to our homes. My parents and sister are being verbally attacked in public.’

“Wyatt,  one of the final four suitors vying for Bachelorette Hannah Brown’s heart, came under fire last month after his ex alleged the musician saw the ABC series as a platform for his burgeoning career.

“‘He told me [early on] that he had applied,’ Stevens said in an interview with People. ‘He said, “It’s probably not going to happen, but it’s a huge opportunity. I’m only doing this for my music.” He only did it for his career.’

“Though Wyatt spoke about the notion of a platform to Brown, 24, during an episode this past season, Stevens claimed she and Wyatt had been dating for four months, believing their relationship would survive reality TV.

“‘We spent the night together the night before he headed to LA,’ Stevens said of Wyatt. ‘He told me [the show] was just an obstacle and we’d be stronger on the other side because of it.’

“In Wyatt’s Instagram post, he asked fans for ‘patience and kindness’ until he is ‘able to speak openly.’

“‘I beg you to remember what seems like a harmless action is damaging to real people. I want to thank all of you who have reached out or reserved judgement until I am able to speak openly and I can only ask for your patience and kindness until then,’ he wrote.”