Wednesday April 1, 2015

FX has renewed The Americans for a 4th season.

Fox has renewed New Girl for a 5th season.  TVLine has exclusively learned that at least one (but likely more) of those Season 5 episodes will feature a guest turn by John Cho. The Harold & KumarSelfie, and Sleepy Hollow vet will play a guy Jess meets when she excitedly reports for jury duty.

Showtime renewed House of Lies for a 5th season.

Chris D'Elia was on the Howard Stern Wrap Up Show this morning.  If you're not on board with his comedy yet, what on earth are you waiting for?

If you're not watching FYI's Married At First Sight, you should be.  Season 2 is on par with season 1 and it's a great social experiment played out before our eyes.

I watched Fox's Weird Loners last night.  Average at best.  I will probably stick with it for another week, but I'm not sure this one has the legs to go the distance.

I also checked out TVLand's Younger.  Again, it was average.  Interesting premise, but I can see it getting old and tired pretty quickly.  Here's a piece on the show's star Sutton Foster.

A reader brought this to my attention so I wanted to pass it along for you to check out.  We talk about the enigmatic role of a "showrunner" a lot on here and in tv land, but for a real look at what a showrunner does and how important he/she is to a production, check out this documentary film called none other than Showrunners - The Art of Running a TV Show.  The film is described as: "the first ever feature length documentary film to explore the fascinating world of US television showrunners and the creative forces aligned around them. These are the people responsible for creating, writing and overseeing every element of production on one of the United State’s biggest exports – television drama and comedy series.

"Often described as the most complex job in the entertainment business, a showrunner is the chief writer / producer on a TV series and, in most instances, the show’s creator. Battling daily between art and commerce, showrunners manage every aspect of a TV show’s development and production: creative, financial and logistical."  I encourage you to check out the trailer.

"IFC has ordered eight half-hour episodes of Benders, a new scripted comedy that follows friends who are bonded by an irrational completely reasonable obsession with their beer-swilling amateur hockey league. The hockey enthusiasts may not be great at the game (they are less the fast-paced, brawler-types and more the falling down in slow motion sort), but while their skills may be limited, their passion is not.

"The new series will be produced by Apostle, who IFC partners with on Maron, with Jim Serpico, Tom Sellitti and Denis Leary serving as executive producers. Serpico and Sellitti created and will write the series. Production begins this spring.

Benders is exactly the type of fresh, original comedy that complements our existing programming slate. Hockey knowledge not required, these guys are all about their beer and their bros” said Jennifer Caserta, IFC’s president. 'We’re also excited to continue our relationship with Apostle, they have been a great creative partner for us on Maron.'”

A handful of new series were announced by Discovery.  Here's the skinny:

"NAKED AND AFRAID XL – What do you get when you multiply Discovery Channel’s monster survival hit Naked and Afraid by six? A survival challenge unlike any other survival challenge attempted before. Naked And Afraid XL will premiere this summer on Discovery Channel with 12 of the smartest, most dynamic survivalists who have previously appeared on Naked and Afraid. These six men and six women, all extreme survivalists with their own expertise, will find themselves in an almost un-survivable situation, stranded in a very remote area with no food, no water, and no clothing, and at first, they won’t even have each other. Some may find a partner within minutes or hours. Some may not meet up with anyone at all. At its core, Naked And Afraid XL is a societal challenge. How will these survivalists respond to each other if and when they meet up? Will they live together as one large group or will they break into smaller pockets of people? Will some want to survive solo for the full challenge? (Renegade 83)

"TREASURE QUEST – In 1524, a horde of Incan gold – known as the 'Treasure of the Trinity'– was stolen. For 500 years, Jesuits priests, privateers such as Thomas Cavendish and mathematician Paul Thiry have all searched for this legendary bounty but it has remained elusive. But now a new theory has emerged about the treasure’s possible location – a remote location home to 1,000’s of deadly vipers. The series will feature a team of the world’s top explorers who set out on a two-month journey to find this priceless treasure. Along the way, they’ll need to solve complex mathematical clues and puzzles protecting the treasure – the same ones that have thwarted countless others before them. But most of all, they’ll need nerves of steel as they brave one of the most deadly places in the world – where one careless step could not just cost everyone incredible riches, but ultimately their lives. (MAK Pictures)

"PACIFIC WARRIORS – This new series follows the only commercial fishermen in the world who fish from a kayak…alone. With only a paddle, these brave Hawaiian men and women venture out to catch some of the most desirable fish in the sea. They must rely on brute strength to pull in 500 pound Marlin, Tuna, Mahi Mahi and Ono. However, the battles on the sea aren’t just with the fish. Turf wars and classic rivalries among families run deep among this tiny community of kayak fishers, with the natives coming into conflict with the newcomers – not unlike a modern/Hawaiian West Side Story. They put everything on the line – with families battling it out on their turf. But the slightest mistake could cost them their lives. Fishing is their livelihood, and nothing will stop them from feeding their families. (Original Media)

"LUNAR XPRIZE – It’s been 46 years since millions of television viewers witnessed man first set foot on the Moon in 1969. In 2016, history will be made again when Discovery Channel partners with XPRIZE on the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE to bring an edge-of-your-seat international space competition to homes around the world. In this special, space exploration will reach new heights as teams from all over the world set off on a race of stellar proportions to launch and land a robot on the Moon. Lunar XPRIZE will go behind-the-scenes of a competition nearly a decade in the making as viewers witness the enormous engineering challenges undertaken by the teams and the extraordinary history of Moon exploration as the robots beam back footage from the journey that includes a 500 meter dash across the lunar surface. Discovery Channel will take audiences to new frontiers and inspire a new generation of space exploration. (Arrow Media)

"KILLING FIELDS – An all new series that uses the most up to date science advancements and technologies to reveal the deep history attached to isolated and idyllic outside areas in America that are killing fields; locations where crimes have occurred and have gone undetected due to their geography and outside elements that have erased the scene of the crime. Investigations are followed in real time through the course of each episode as unmarked graves are uncovered as attempts are made to find the truth and bring resolution to what lurks just below the surface. (SirensMedia)

"CUBAN CHROME – After the 1959 Cuban Revolution and the subsequent United States embargo, it has been illegal to import American cars to the island nation – as a result, Cuba’s vintage American vehicles are frozen in time, and each of these cars has a unique story to tell. ForCubans, these cars are not just a means of transportation, but a way of life. Cuban Chrome will give viewers an intimate look into this rarely seen country as they meet the men who put everything on the line to keep these classic cars running. Through A Lo Cubano Car Club– a passionate group of car enthusiasts, restorers, mechanics and apprentices – the series explores the challenges and joys of life in Cuba, presenting an authentic look into their culture of passion,grit, determination and ingenuity. (Pilgrim Studios)"

Animal Planet announced it's new slate.  Here you go:

"Sheriff of Cross River is the latest in Animal Planet’s epic muscular conservation genre in the vein of the popular series Whale Wars. Sheriff of Cross River follows Peter Jenkins – Nigeria’s leading wildlife warrior and a cross between Clint Eastwood and Paul Watson. In the extremely dangerous Cross River region, Peter and his team go to any means necessary to ward off poachers, clear cutters and other nefarious human threats from the area’s animal population; including the drill, the world’s most endangered primate. (Red Rock Films with Triosphere Productions)

"America Builds A Shelter -- Think Extreme Home Makeover but with an Animal Planet twist. Animal shelters around the country are in desperate need of help; they are underfunded and overtaxed but determined not to turn away any animals. With AMERICA BUILDS A SHELTER, viewers identify deserving animal shelters in need of renovations to help with their noble missions. In each quarterly special, one fortunate shelter receives a complete transformation, which viewers are able to see from inception to completion. (Ardaban)

"Restoration Wild is a nature build series that captures the mind-blowing magic of Treehouse Masters. The series follows visionary wild man Jay Chaikin and his crew of expert builders and designers as they identify and repurpose the coolest vintage structures and relics left abandoned in the landscape. Jay and his team transform this waste into amazing one-of-a-kind living spaces. An expert in transforming dilapidated spaces, Jay converts a vintage bus into a breathtaking guesthouse on wheels, flips a centuries-old cabin into an over-thetop hunting-lodge basement hangout and much, much more. (Loud TV)

"Living With Maneaters -- In India, the close proximity of human and great predatory cats has created a fascinating and very complex relationship. Perhaps nowhere else in the world is the line between the untamed and the developed so incredibly thin. This two-hour special explores the delicate balance among man, tigers, leopards and lions all living on top of each other and examines what happens when this balance is thrown off. (NHNZ Ltd.)"  

If I told you how many internal conversations I've had with brands and production companies about developing a show around animal shelter rescues, you'd call me a liar.

Per Deadline, "Google’s augmented reality game Ingress is eyeing a leap to television. I’ve learned that the web giant has teamed with The Sean Daniel Company, which produces Syfy’s upcoming space opera The Expanse, to develop a TV drama series based on Ingress, a game which uses real locations and social media interactivity to bring its 10 million players together in a global sci-fi mystery. This would mark Google’s first foray into television.

"The Sean Daniel Co. is meeting with writers and directors on the project, which will be looking to bring an innovative twist to the traditional TV drama genre. Part political thriller, part conspiracy/mystery and part supernatural action, Ingress is set in present day. The story begins when an international team of scientists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland make an unexpected discovery that could change the world. The idea is to craft a TV series that has real-time interplay with the audience that already is engaged, in the game and socially, in a big mystery that spans the globe. That could involve the episodes of the series fitting into the storyline of the game, loading the TV show with interactive elements for real-time play or have the game world/story react to what happens in a TV episode when it airs.

"In the realms of the game, bread crumbs in the mystery lead players to uncovering clues across both the Internet and real locations. The basic storyline of the game is that our world is being flooded with XM (Exotic Matter) by extradimensional beings called Shapers via portals. Ingress players — or agents, as they are called — align with one of two factions: Resistance, working against Shapers, or Enlightened, looking to collaborate with them. Google’s game studio Niantic Labs sponsors events, referred to as “anomalies,” where employees playing characters from the story interact with players in real-life locations around the world. One was held in Pasadena this past weekend, with thousands showing up."

Nathan Fillon wrote an open letter praising The Walking Dead: "If you are looking for a recap of the last episode, you are going to be disappointed. There are no tidbits or insights about 'What do you think this character will do?' here. This is a love letter.

"Let’s talk about entertainment. Some television I watch for the escape, and some, for the journey. The difference being is whether this show is distracting me, or can this piece of work suspend disbelief and transport me to a realm of 'what if.' I certainly won’t tune in next week if I don’t care about what happens next. Give me a story that has me asking what I’d do in that same situation. Let me be concerned for characters I’ve come to know, watch them learn and grow, or stagnate and fail. Let me hate them, let them disappoint me. Let me see them make choices shaped by their experiences. 

"When I really sink into a program, it transcends the typical watching at home alone experience. I want to share it, to gather my friends. I have beverages and food, sometimes in the theme of the show. It becomes an event. We revel in the excitement of having waited all week, chatting about parts that moved us, predicting what will happen next and why we think so. I bring new people who have never seen the show into the fold, and I see the excitement grow inside them just from being surrounded by others who are already swept away. We gather in front of the TV and dim the lights. Everyone finds a comfortable position, we make our last minute jokes and comments, and then—silence. The show begins. The waiting is over. The week spent talking about the last episode is over. The anticipation is satiated. The journey continues.

"We spend commercial breaks hooting, gasping, and commenting, positively or negatively, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are being made to feel. Emotions are welling up from nothing—nothing but a well-crafted story.

"Thank you, Walking Dead. Thank you for enduring the heat in Atlanta. Thank you for the sacrifice of displacing yourselves from your homes. Thank you, cast and crew, writers and producers, casting and costumes. Thank you, make up and hair departments, PA’s and all the artists who play walkers. All of you, thank you.

"For those of you who have not yet seen The Walking Dead, you don’t have to be interested in the apocalypse. You needn’t enjoy wondering about how you’d survive if society, commerce, infrastructure, and civilization stopped. You don’t even have to like thinking about defenses against zombies to enjoy good storytelling… but it helps."

Trying to break up all of the new show announcements from networks you don't watch all that much.  That said, here's the latest platter from TLC (per Deadline):

"TLC wrapped up a year in which it dumped Honey Boo Boo and welcomed back Stacy London, with 30 series averaging more than 1 million viewers, including 19 Kids and Counting’s highest-ated season premiere and a Top 5 ranking among cable’s most social networks for reality programming in 2014, according to Nielsen Social rankers.

In 2015, TLC is planning more than 500 hours of original programming, including more than 50 new and returning series. Here’s the network’s announcement about its 2015-16 slate of new programming in the following genres:

FAMILY

At the core of TLC, viewers find families of all shapes and sizes. As the next generation from some of TLC’s most popular series – including 19 Kids And Counting and Little People, Big World – get married and create families of their own, viewers are responding and taking the exciting journey with them. This year, TLC welcomes the Willis family, who have already sung their way into America’s hearts. The network is adding more families to the mix, all bringing larger-than-life personalities, laughter, and love:

Long Lost Family – New series, 1Q 2015
This series helps people reunite with the family, friends, or loved ones they’ve desperately been seeking. (Shed Media)

Hardly Royal (working title) – New series, 3Q 2015
Maryland native David Drew has a story we all dream about. Several years ago, after some web surfing, this blue-collar car repair advisor discovered that he descends from a long line of British royalty. David’s discovery confirmed that he is heir and rightful King of the Isle of Mann in the United Kingdom, and now it’s time for him and his family to see if they can not only claim his throne, but also the acceptance of both aristocrats and locals. (MAK Pictures)

Quinceañera (working title) – New series, 3Q 2015
Cousins Alexis and Jarling are Miami’s premiere Quinceañera party planners and dress shop owners servicing Latin American families as they celebrate their teenager’s transition into womanhood. From the cultural traditions of finding the perfect dress and the father daughter dance to the new American traditions of shooting music videos and mid-party outfit changes – the cousins are constantly working their magic to create memories that will last a lifetime. (High Noon Entertainment)

I Got You Babies (working title) – New series, 1Q 2016
We’ll follow four unique sets of parents over the course of a year as they tackle the ups and downs of being first time parents. (Magilla & Drew Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen’s Flower Films)

AISLE AND STYLE

TLC reintroduced viewers to the makeover space with new series such as Love, Lust or Run and Style By Jury, and the network continues to offer fan-favorite fashion and wedding programming to close out the week. Friday nights now serve as destination viewing with the perfect pairing of 'Aisle and Style,' with five new titles being added to the party this year, including the return of style expert and former co-host of What Not To E, Clinton Kelly:

Dare to Wear – New series, 2Q 2015
Some people get locked into one sense of fashion so strongly that they identify with only one look. In every episode, host and style expert Tai Beauchamp guides two extreme fashion disasters on total opposite sides of the style spectrum. After being shocked to learn that they have to swap clothing, these women will spend time living in one another’s look and then, with new found understanding, branch out to leave their comfort zone for a head to toe transformation. (Shed Media US)

Brides Gone Styled – New series, 2Q 2015
What happens when a fashion victim’s bad taste threatens to ruin one of the biggest days of her life… her wedding day? In this exciting bridal makeover series, style experts Gretta Monahan and Robert Verdi have made it their mission to take the worst of the worst dressed brides and transform them into the most stunning brides imaginable, leaving their family and friends speechless! (Half Yard Productions)

Extreme Dream Weddings (working title) – New special, 3Q 2015
Extreme Dream Weddings follows three brides experiencing their most mind-blowing fantasy weddings in some of the unique, most extreme terrains on Earth. It’s each bride’s shot at a made- to-fit fairytale wedding. (Discovery Studios)

#SaveMyStyle (working title) – New series, 3Q 2015
You’ve seen them on Facebook and Instagram – photos of friends who really shouldn’t be wearing that outfit! But finally there’s someone who can help. Celebrity stylist June Ambrose simply can’t resist bringing her distinctive styling skills to the people who reach out through her active online community. On each episode of #SaveMyStyle, June scours her social universe for a person in need of a fashion overhaul, then changes their lives forever by helping them to discover their best personal style. (Haymaker Content)

Swipe Right (working title) – New series, 3Q 2015
Today’s dating world has moved beyond the boy next door, the guy at the end of the bar and the friendly set-up. Dating has gone digital by scrolling through hundreds of online photos and ‘swiping’ to show your interest. Hosted by Clinton Kelly and Devyn Simone, Swipe Right is the groundbreaking new series that brings the traditional makeover show up to date by transforming not only the wardrobe and attitude of our contributors but their entire social media profile. (Jane Street Ent.)

LIFE’S MILESTONE MOMENTS

TLC takes viewers inside life’s relatable milestone moments like no one else can. First comes home, as the series My First Home – going on the search for a perfect first home – returns to the network’s weekend lineup. Then comes marriage…but, maybe with some unlikely matchmakers. The network is adding four more series that tap into the moments that make up our lives:

3 Bad Dates, 1 Soul Mate (working title) – New special, 3Q 2015
Each episode recreates the dating misadventures of two women whose love lives play out like Hollywood rom coms, and retells each of their three dating disasters with three very different guys. Despite these seemingly doomed dates, our self-confessed Bridget Jones’ ends up marrying one of these men. (October Films)

Marriage Pact (working title) – New series, 3Q 2015
It’s a cold hard fact that 50% of all marriages in the US result in divorce. It seems that you can boil down what most people deem the best foundation for wedded bliss into two things: compatibility or chemistry. In this new social experiment, we’ll put to the test if the best marriage success comes from marrying your best friend or friend with benefits. (Magical Elves Inc.)

Married by Mom and Dad (working title) – New series, 4Q 2015
In this new social experiment, men and women who have been unlucky in love have agreed to put their love lives and their futures in the hands of the people who know them best: their parents. Once their parents pick their perfect match they’ll tie the knot to find out if being married by mom and dad leads to happily ever after…or not. (Thinkfactory Media)

Untitled 3Ball Weight Loss Show – New series, 1Q 2016
In each self-contained hour we’ll follow an obese person on the transformation journey of a lifetime. Their journey starts with a declaration: they will go to the object of their affection, declare their romantic intentions, and admit they want to ask them out. But not right now, in 90 days. Our hero promises to make some huge changes in their life – and after they do, they’ll come back to meet their crush – completely transformed. (3Ball Productions)."