Monday October 2, 2017

O.J. Simpson is a free man.  More to follow.

Larry David and Curb Your Enthusiasm didn't miss a beat.  Bravo.  More below.

An oral history of MTV's TRL, which premieres today.

CBS premieres 9JKL tonight, starring Dr. Hank Lawson.  Per CBS, "9JKL stars Mark Feuerstein in a family comedy inspired by his real life. Josh Roberts is a new divorcé and actor between projects who moves home to New York to regroup, living in an apartment sandwiched between his doting, meddlesome parents on one side and his brother, sister-in-law and their new baby on the other. Josh’s well-intentioned mom, Judy, is so excited to have her beloved son home after his 12 years in Los Angeles that she bribes their doorman, Nick, to secretly call her every time Josh comes up the elevator so she can greet him in the hallway. Also thrilled is Josh’s larger-than-life father, Harry, an attorney with no personal boundaries who’s eager to help Josh land his next starring role using his Hollywood 'connections.' Teasing Josh about his return home are his competitive brother, Andrew, a successful surgeon who, unlike Josh, doesn’t have a problem saying “no” to their interfering parents; Andrew’s Harvard-educated pediatrician wife, Eve; and 12-year-old neighbor Ian from 5A, who hangs out in the lobby. As Josh’s family literally comes at him from both sides, he realizes he desperately needs to establish some ground rules, because his loving family is always going to be right there for him."

Fox debuts The Gifted tonight.  The Gifted "tells the story of a suburban couple whose ordinary lives are rocked by the sudden discovery that their children possess mutant powers. Forced to go on the run from a hostile government, the family joins up with an underground network of mutants and must fight to survive."

MTV has ordered eight more episodes of its new summer reality series Siesta Key ahead of the finale of its original 10-episode run tonight. That will bring Siesta Key‘s season 1 cycle to 18 episodes. Production is currently underway, with the new episodes set to air in winter 2018.

R.I.P. Monty Hall.

A review of ABC's The Mayor, which premieres tomorrow night.

Things are not going well for Megyn Kelly at The Today Show.

I'm still in awe about how much post-mortem takes place after each episode of Saturday Night Live.

Kristin Davis is upset that there won't be a Sex In The City 3?

Amy Carlson is leaving Blue Bloods.

What's it like to be set up by Patti Stanger?

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Per Deadline, "Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan have signed on as judges for ABC’s revival of American Idol. The network confirmed the news that they’ll join Katy Perry on the panel of the singing competition, which returns Ryan Seacrest as host. The first live auditions are set to begin next week so the urgency to seal the deals had been growing.

"The group will make its first public appearance together on ABC’s GMA on October 4, ABC said.

"Country star Bryan had already agreed to join the revival of the venerable series which is returning to TV after the original Fox version sang its final tune in April 2016 after 15 years. ABC picked it up for an early 2018 bow and has said there will 'absolutely' be format changes.

"Richie was previously in talks to join the show but that had seemed to cool, with names like Charlie Puth being bandied about. Perry joined up early in a rich deal and Seacrest soon followed."

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"Leah Remini might soon be loosening the leash on her signature bulldog determination to expose alleged abuses inside religious institutions, as the Emmy-winning actress and activist tells EW she is currently in the early 'talking stages' of mapping out a third season of her hit A&E series, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.

“'Yes, I’m open to doing a season 3 in a different way. We’ve been getting an overwhelming amount of emails and people contacting us through [social media] about other cults that are similar [to Scientology], so I’m looking into that,' she says, indicating Jehovah’s Witnesses could find themselves under the microscope in future episodes (the network notes a third season has not yet been confirmed).

"According to Remini, someone contacted her recently about Jehovah’s Witnesses, comparing the denomination to a 'diet Sea Org,' the religious order for Scientology which 'is composed of the singularly most dedicated Scientologists — individuals who have committed their lives to the volunteer service of their religion,' according to the Scientology website. The unnamed contact told Remini she should be careful about Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, because 'these f—ers are super powerful.'

“'Are you ready for my response?' the Kevin Can Wait star says. 'I don’t give a sh– about powerful. The truth is what I care about.'

"A denomination of Christianity, Jehovah’s Witnesses were founded in the late 19th century in Pittsburgh and has since grown its membership to just over 8.3 million worldwide, according to a 2016 census posted on its official website. The site also indicates Jehovah’s Witnesses are different from other Christians because they believe that Jesus is the Son of God, not part of a trinity, nor do they believe that 'the soul is immortal, that there is any basis in Scripture for saying that God tortures people in an everlasting hell, or that those who take the lead in religious activities should have titles that elevate them above others.'

"The faith — followers of which don’t celebrate Christmas, Easter, or birthdays — has come under fire in the past, however, particularly for its reported cover-ups of sexual abuse, as detailed by former parishioner Candace Conti in a 2015 op-ed for The Guardian.

"The group’s site indicates Jehovah’s Witnesses are 'far from being a dangerous cult,' and lists  involvement in addiction recovery, literacy initiatives, and disaster relief as examples of the goodwill it has done.

"A representative for Jehovah’s Witnesses did not respond to EW’s request for comment."

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, "Jon Hamm is joining the cast of Amazon and BBC Studios' Good Omens, a six-part TV adaptation of the best-selling novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

"The Mad Men alum will play the archangel Gabriel, God's primary messenger, which has a fleeting role in the novel but is being further developed in the TV series, Gaiman, who's serving as showrunner for the in-production project, explained.

“'Once we had finished writing Good Omens, back in the dawn of prehistory, Terry Pratchett and I started plotting a sequel. There would have been a lot of angels in the sequel. When Good Omens was first published and was snapped up for the first time by Hollywood, Terry and I took joy in introducing our angels into the plot of a movie that was never made. So when, almost thirty years later, I started writing Good Omens for TV, one thing I knew was that our angels would have to be in there,' Gaiman said in a statement. 'The leader of these angels is Gabriel. He is everything that Aziraphale isn't: he's tall, good-looking, charismatic and impeccably dressed. We were fortunate that Jon Hamm was available, given that he is already all of these things without even having to act. We were even more fortunate that he's a fan of the books and a remarkable actor.'

"Hamm added in his own statement, 'I read Good Omens almost 20 years ago. I thought it was one of the funniest, coolest books I'd ever read. It was also, obviously, unfilmable. Two months ago Neil sent me the scripts, and I knew I had to be in it.'

"Good Omens is currently in production and will be released on Amazon Prime Video in 2019 followed by a run on BBC Two in the U.K.

"The series is being produced by the comedy team at BBC Studios, Narrativia and The Blank Corporation, in association with BBC Worldwide."

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Variety is reporting that "Fox News Channel has announced that President Donald Trump will sit down for an interview with Sean Hannity on the host’s evening show.

"The interview will take place in front of a group of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents at the Morgantown Theatre in West Virginia and air Oct. 4 at 9 p.m. ET.

"According to the press release, Hannity and Trump will discuss tax reform, the economy, and news of the day, and there will be time allocated for a Q&A session with the audience at the end of the interview. The interview will be pre-taped.

"This is not the first time President Trump has been interviewed on Hannity. He was previously interviewed live by the Fox News host during the Republican primaries, as well as following his inauguration in January. His son, Donald Trump, Jr. sat for an interview back in July to discuss his meeting with a Russian lawyer. The show was still on its 10 p.m. timeslot and his interview delivered strong ratings for the show.

"Possible subjects of discussion under 'news of the day' include the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico, the resignation of HHS Secretary Tom Price, and Trump’s comments regarding NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem."

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An interview with Curb Your Enthiasm executive producer Jeff Schaffer:

How did you come up with the premiere concept of issuing a fatwa against Larry David?

It was very important for us to address what Larry had been doing in the last five or six years since we last saw him. We kept thinking about what he could have been doing and landed on him working on something. The idea of Larry writing a musical called Fatwa seemed funny, and then the idea of Larry getting a fatwa for writing a musical about a fatwa seemed really funny. Once we had that, I knew we were coming back. We had a season arc and I saw where it could go. Larry still didn’t know we were coming back [when we were working on the season]. We had outlined six or seven episodes before it was like, “Are we going to tell HBO we’re doing this, or not?” The back end of the season ends in a way that you would never know going from where we started.

The fatwa keeps him in L.A. because it ruins the play. How does it set up the rest of the season and will the fatwa continue to hang over his head?

The fatwa doesn’t just go away. Once Ayatollahs give one, it kind of sticks! So Larry has to deal with being a wanted man. We see how that impacts his social life, his friends. It permeates the entire season, but not in ways you’d expect.

At the season nine premiere event, you screened the first episode and the fifth episode, because the fifth is a standalone that you said doesn't give away any more of the season arc. Why are there non-related episodes in the middle?

There are real reasons for why Larry is normal in [the fifth episode], which is why we screened it during the premiere. We wanted to show you what the season was about, but we didn’t want to tell you any more about what is going to happen. Lots of stuff happens between the first and fifth episode that makes the fifth episode make sense. Right now, we look schizophrenic by saying it is a big deal and then in five, it’s not a big deal. But once you see the other ones, you will understand. That’s not the end of it. It permeates the entire arc of the season.

When Curb aired years ago, it was a much less politically correct world that didn't have social media. In the premiere alone, Larry is antagonizing the Islamic community, lesbians, his disabled assistant with a history of molestation and he also questions PTSD. Are you worried about how people might react and was that something you spoke about when making the season?

I can honestly say, and I speak with full confidence and I speak for Larry also, he has never once taken the audience into consideration. Not once, not ever. We are just working on a show that we think is funny, and that’s that. Larry is still great at finding things that he feels are universal and relatable, and these tiny minutiae things. It’s either one side or the other. It’s, “Oh my god! I know someone who did that to me!” Or, “Oh, I’m so happy Larry is saying that. That happened to me.” So he gets to play both sides of that. Larry’s genius is that he knows innately when to really step on the gas and when to throttle up and down on a subject and how to hit it.

Have you ever said, “That’s too far. We have to dial it back”?

The joke I always say is that we know where the line is — because we can look back and see it. It’s back there in the distance, somewhere over there! No subject is off limits, it’s all how you do it. It’s finding the funny way to do a subject that most people wouldn’t touch.

That status of Cheryl and Larry’s relationship is a big burning question heading into the season. We know Lauren Graham is going to enter later in the season as Larry’s love interest and that Cheryl will have a romance of her own. What do Cheryl and Larry look like in 2017?

Cheryl and Larry are both still single, they’re still divorced. What we wanted to do is see what happens when single Cheryl and single Larry are both still swimming in the same, small L.A. pond. There’s going to be some big complications as they both go about their dating life. And it’s really funny.

Ted Danson also returned for the premiere and told Cheryl and Larry that he and wife Mary Steenburgen (they also play loose version of themselves) are separated. Was that a seed you guys were planting for a potential Ted and Cheryl courtship?

The first episode sets up the major story arc for Larry, but there’s a lot in the episode that is setting up a lot of other plot points and stories that are going to be going on throughout the season. There are a lot of things in there that seem innocuous but are really step one of a story that is going to be a story in episodes two, three, four or five. There are a lot of things where you will look back and say, “Oh, that’s where that started.”

In today's world, keeping the season a secret is also a tougher task. David isn’t even sending out screeners to press. What was he like during the HBO hack?

We spent the last six years making three dummy seasons — so I don’t even know if they got the right ones! (Laughs.) Anyone can put anything on IMDB. I remember seeing something wrong and I just said, “Let it stay up and be wrong. That’s great.” The thing with Larry is that we worked hard to make these surprises be surprising and he doesn’t like people who ruin a surprise party. So that was the biggest thing. It wasn’t about ratings. He just wanted people to enjoy the show the way he wanted them to enjoy the show. But this is also a guy who will run out of a movie with his hands over his ears if there is a trailer for a movie that he wants to see. He takes it to the extreme!

How did you keep the Jimmy Kimmel Live! taping in the premiere a secret?

We filmed it with a closed set and brought in the audience. The audience was actually our crew.

Jimmy Kimmel is just one of the many celebrity guests this season. Are there more that you haven’t announced?

We had a great time with celebrity guests this season. Bryan Cranston does a great job as Larry’s therapist. There's Lauren Graham, Elizabeth Banks, Nick Offerman and Elizabeth Perkins, who is amazing and plays Marty Funkhouser's (Bob Einstein) girlfriend who he is in love with and a little afraid of. She and Larry just went at it — amazing. All these great people came into the show, but there are a few very special guest stars that we are not telling anyone about that you are just going to have to watch and see. We needed these very specific people for these very specific reasons and we wrote the episodes never asking if they were available or interested — because we are the dumbest people on the planet. We wisely had no plan B. Through some scheduling back-flips it did work, and it came out even better than I could have thought.

You also directed the premiere. How did you go about setting the vibe for the entire season?

The vibe really comes from Larry and these guys being together for so long. Everyone is so happy to be together. The set of Curb is one of the most fun places on earth because it’s a bunch of really funny people making each other laugh. You just make sure you are covering it. It’s like covering a live-comedy sporting event. You just let them go."