Tuesday October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween.

House of Cards' 6th season will be its last, sadly.  “Media Rights Capital and Netflix are deeply troubled by last night’s news concerning Kevin Spacey. In response to last night’s revelations, executives from both of our companies arrived in Baltimore this afternoon to meet with our cast and crew to ensure that they continue to feel safe and supported. As previously scheduled, Kevin Spacey is not working on set at this time.”

I'm clinging to whatever faith in humanity I might have left. . . . 

Vanderpump Rules returns December 4.  Just an FYI.

Stranger Things' Charlie Heaton issued a statement (see below for more on his recent trials and tribulations): "My planned travel to the U.S. last week was affected by an issue at U.S. immigration, and I am working to rectify it as soon as possible. I do want to clarify that I was not arrested or charged with a crime, and cooperated fully with the U.S. officials at LAX.  I’m sorry to all the fans and my Stranger Things family for missing the premiere. We are all so proud of this season and I would never want this story to negatively impact the show.”

USA has canceled Playing House.  

The meteoric rise of Millie Bobby Brown.

"Rules of Engagement alum Adhir Kalyan has been tapped as the lead in Making Friends, Amazon Studios’ multi-camera comedy pilot from How I Met Your Mother creators/executive producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas. HIMYM director/executive producer Pam Fryman, a frequent Bays and Thomas collaborator, is on board to direct the pilot and executive produce with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Preacher). Sony Pictures TV Studios, where Bays & Thomas as well as Rogen & Goldberg have overall deals, is the studio. Written by Bays and Thomas, Making Friends — which marks Amazon’s first multi-camera pilot — centers on Mark (Kalyan), a brilliant guy with an artificial intelligence degree who creates robots and spends his days hanging out with them as his main group of friends." You had me at "Rules of Engagement alum."

"A former Bachelor staffer has sued Warner Bros. Entertainment for sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination, and says she was fired for “complaining about the hostile work environment that Defendants created by pervasive and persistent sexual inquiries.” In a lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles on Oct. 30, Becky Steenhoek, a former Production Assistant on The Bachelor series, including The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise and Jade & Tanner’s Wedding, alleges that the inquiries were not part of the 'creative' process of the show but were 'instead intended to embarrass her because of her sexual inexperience and conservative views about sex.'”

"Larry David has released a pretty, pretty good Curb Your Enthusiasm playlist for Spotify. To celebrate the HBO show’s new season following a six-year hiatus, David curated 27 tracks, starting with the tuba-tastic theme song Frolic, and ending with Andras Schiff’s rendition of Overture in the French style, BWV 831. Other classic tracks included are I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Frank Sinatra, (What A) Wonderful World by Sam Cooke, The Godfather Waltz by Nino Rota, and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Frankie Valli. Editor and music supervisor Steve Rasch recently said that music for the ninth season 'represents some pretty intense scenarios,' adding, 'There’s a lot of arguing and a lot of stress. The music functions like a laugh track. It’s a cue for the audience to view what’s happening through a comedian’s eyes. It’s a funny look at heavy topics. The music lightens the mood.'”  Talk about a waste of time.

strangerthings2.jpg

I'll cool it on the Stranger Things posts so you have time to watch as I don't want to be as presumptuous as this story starts: "By now, you’ve watched all nine episodes of Stranger Things season two (or, Stranger Things 2). You’ve also read our reviews of the season overall and individual episodesdecided on a Halloween costumeconsidered what the finale means for season threeanalyzed the newest monster, and wondered what’s the deal with episode seven. And if you haven’t, well, you’re about to be spoiled, because this post covers the five biggest questions we have after digesting the new season quicker than D’Artagnan eating nougat:

1. Should Hopper and Dustin be worried?

Good things usually don’t happen to humans who come in contact with alien spray. Just ask literally everyone in Prometheus and Covenant. But despite Hopper and Dustin both inhaling some Upside Down nastiness, neither has shown any side effects. No puked-up slugs, no nothing. The symptoms would have revealed themselves by the dance, which takes place a month later, so maybe the time for worry has passed. But it’s possible they’ll have a connection to the Upside Down in season three. It might not be as powerful as Will’s, but it could still come in handy. You know what Dustin should be worried about, though? The dead “demodog” in Joyce’s freezer. Surprise?

2. Is Dr. Brenner still alive?

Matthew Modine is credited with appearing in two episodes this season, but they were confined to flashbacks from season one when Dr. Brenner was attacked by the Demogorgon. During Eleven’s trip to Chicago (more on that later), though, she sees a vision of “Papa,” leaving open the possibility of his return. That would be bad news. With Hawkins Lab permanently shut down (and its employees dead, save for one guy who claims he knows where the Bad Doctor is) and Dr. Owens on the side of good after forging adoption papers for Hopper, Brenner is the only one out there who knows Eleven’s true identity. He’s had a lot of time to work on his experiments, too…

3. Which pairing should there be more of in season three?

Let’s rank season two’s best unexpected friendships, in ascending order.

#5. Max and Lucas

#4. Eleven and Hopper

#3. Dustin and D’Artagnan

#2. Billy and Karen

#1. Dustin and Steve

Actress Sadie Sink was given an impossible task: replace Eleven, the show’s most popular character. Maybe that’s a little reductive, but her character was clearly set up as “The Girl” in the group. She was a welcome addition to the cast, though, allowing for numerous Mad Max references and she gave Lucas, the most sidelined of the core kids, someone to frequently interact with. In fact, they more than interacted: they’re middle school sweethearts. Max even has a cute nickname for Lucas: “Stalker.” By next season, they’ll be super annoying — they’re future “romantic couple in jeans with hands in pockets”stock photo models — so enjoy Mucas (that needs works) while you can.

The most emotional moment of the season wasn’t Bob dying, or Eleven visiting her mom, or Mike seeing Eleven at the school dance — it was Hopper turning off Cheers. That was his intention, at least, until he remembered that he’s fostering a mutant who can control things with her mind. Hopper, who’s not in the best shape, would already have a difficult time lifting a television; Eleven psychically holding it down makes the task impossible.

Her punishment for leaving the cabin could have waited until after the episode was over. It was even a Sam and Diane scene! Did I say until after the episode? I meant until the Rebecca years.

D’Artagnan is the Gizmo to Dustin’s Billy, if Gizmo went on a killing spree. So, he’s Stripe? Whatever. (I’m mad there wasn’t a single reference to Gremlins in season two. Wait until the 1990-set season seven, when Mike takes Eleven to see Gremlins 2: The New Batch. She’s going to love Electric Gremlin.)

Poor Karen Wheeler. She just wants to relax with a bath (while her daughter is trying to solve her best friend’s death, and her son is being terrorized by Pennywise the Clown), but her husband is too lazy to answer the door. But good things come to those who… read romance novels while soaking in the tub, I guess. It’s bad boy Billy, with his wild hair, wilder personality, and wispy mustache, on the other side of the door. Look, Billy is a dick to his sister, he eats cookies like an insane person, and he’s potentially a racist (his thing with Lucas is… weird); he’s the most 1980s villain Stranger Things has seen. But Billy brought joy to poor Karen’s life, so how bad can he be, really?

4. Will we see Kali and her “MTV punks” crew again?

Alternately, why did Stranger Things leave Hawkins? The most polarizing episode of the season was episode seven, “The Lost Sister,” in which Eleven travels to Chicago (so far so good!) and almost kills a guy (uh oh) because a group of comically over-the-top ’80s nogoodniks tell her to. Also, she gets a punk makeover, which is the best part of the episode. The last time we see “sister” Kali is in her getaway van; she’s crying after Eleven runs away, and there’s a single stream of blood coming from her nose. The Duffers likely intended for Kali to return in season three, to help Eleven fight the Shadow Monster with her psychic powers, but considering the reaction to the character, that may no longer happen. But her influence, of opening the universe of the show up and teaching Eleven to better understand her powers, will be felt.

5. Will Stranger Things move beyond the Upside Down?

Stranger Things 2 was a sequel in every respect: it was bigger, bolder, looked more expensive, the cast returned with a few new additions, and the season replayed the plot from the original. There was a lot of the Upside Down, arguably (if you’re like me) too much. The Duffers created some indelible characters, but it would be a shame if they restricted them to fighting the same monsters season after season. The brothers originally conceived Stranger Things as an anthology, but “Netflix was really interested in it as a series, because rightfully so.” Is it, though? It would be interesting to see Stranger Things take the American Horror Story model — same cast, different characters, do something new every season — but make it, y’know, good.

The Gate ended on a note that suggests season three will cover familiar territory, even if, once again, there will be a time jump. “They’ve shut the door on the Mind Flayer,” the Duffers said about the finale, “but not only is it still there in the Upside Down, it’s very much aware of the kids, and particularly Eleven. It had not encountered her and her powers until that final episode. Now, it knows that she’s out there. We wanted to end on a little bit of an ominous note on that level.” They succeeded, but if they don’t shake things up next season, at least a little, the future of Stranger Things could also look ominous."

bullseye.jpg

Per EW, "Time Inc. Productions and Paramount Network are joining forces to bring EW’s The Bullseye to life.

"A TV show based on the wildly popular column in the back of the magazine has been ordered to pilot as a late-night comedy panel and talk show. Each half-hour episode will feature a celebrity host and panelists who discuss, debate, and probably fight over the wild pop culture stories from the past week.

"Entertainment Weekly: The Bullseye will be produced by Time Inc. Productions and Conveyer Media, with EW’s Digital Features Editor and The Bullseye writer Marc Snetiker acting as a consultant. This month, The Bullseye celebrated 10 years of jokes, hits, and way off-target misses.

"Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated also announced a team-up of its own on Monday. The magazine will be working with Jerry Bruckheimer TV to produce Sports Illustrated: True Crime. The show based off of the magazine’s popular SI True Crime franchise will investigate the criminal activity and misdeeds of famed athletes.

"Chachi Senior, Senior Vice President, Alternative Programming, Paramount Network, will oversee the projects for the network along with Tori Socha Vice President, Development and Dana Tuinier, Vice President, Development and Original Programming. Time Inc. Productions is led by Bruce Gersh, SVP Strategy and Business Development, and Ian Orefice, Head of Programming.

"The Paramount Network launches on Jan. 18, 2018."

house-of-cards-season-5.jpg

"A House of Cards spinoff could be on the way at Netflix, TheWrap has learned. This comes hours after the streaming service announced that the political drama would end with its upcoming sixth season in light of Anthony Rapp accusing Kevin Spacey of a sexual advance years ago.

"Netflix and House of Cards producer Media Rights Capital are exploring a number of possible ideas, include a project focused on Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) to be written by Eric Roth, an executive producer on the flagship drama.

"Rapp, who appears on Star Trek: Discovery, said Spacey tried to 'seduce' him three decades ago, when Rapp was 14. Spacey has apologized but said he does not remember the events in question.

"Spacey has starred as diabolical politician Frank Underwood since the February 2013 launch of House of Cards, which is currently in production on Season 6. He has earned five consecutive Emmy nominations for the role.

"Netflix declined to comment on this story."

Marcus_Samuelsson3_original_13159.jpg

Per The Hollywood Reporter, "PBS' appetite for food programming is growing. 

"The public broadcaster has ordered a travel food series, working title No Passport Required, from Vox Media. 

"Hosted by Red Rooster Harlem chef Marcus Samuelsson, No Passport Required will travel across America to spotlight the cuisines of immigrant communities, from Little Ethiopia in Washington, D.C., to Little Kabul in Freemont, Calif. 

"The six episode, hourlong series will debut on PBS in 2018. 

"'We're trying to move food into primetime,' says Beth Hoppe, chief programming executive and general manager of general audience programming at PBS, which also airs A Chef's Life and The Great British Baking Show

"'We do a lot in the how-to genre but to get into primetime it has to be bigger than that. [No Passports Required] is a great way into culture and cultural identity.' 

"No Passports Required is one of the first television projects to originate from Vox Entertainment, the studio arm of the publisher behind The Verge, Recode and SB Nation. Vox and its Curbed brand are also currently in production on Prefab Nation for FYI. 

"Vox president Marty Moe calls the series concept 'deeply rooted' in the company's Eater brand. 'We thought it matched up really well with PBS given that they have both this national perspective but also deep local affiliate programming,' Moe adds. 

"PBS and Vox are planning a series of events in the cities showcased by No Passports Required. 'Bringing people together to learn more about each other and the communities can only serve to make the programming more real for people,' says Moe. Hoppe adds, 'people are looking for an opportunity to have in-person connections and don't just want to consume media alone in their bubble.'

"Eater is also planning to host behind-the-scenes digital video and to promote the series through its local city websites.  

"PBS senior vp programming and business affairs Michael Kelley oversaw the deal. No Passport Required will be executive produced by Moe, Chad Mumm, Amanda Kludt, Jim Bankoff and Marcus Samuelsson for Vox. Pamela A. Aguilar and Bill Gardner are the executives in charge for PBS."

Is it me, or does this sounds like some lame concept that has been pitched around for the last decade?

kathy-griffin-01.jpg

From Architectural Digest: "Tyler Shields has never shied away from controversy. In 2010, the now-35-year-old photographer featured actress Lindsay Lohan in studio portraits brandishing a gun. A year later, in 2011, he received death threats for photographing Glee star Heather Morris with a 'bruised' eye in representation of domestic abuse. The same year, he personally collected blood from 20 of his celebrity friends to make a piece of art for his Life is Not a Fairytale exhibit in Los Angeles, and in 2015, he featured a black man hanging a Ku Klux Klan member in his Historical Fiction series.

"But perhaps his most contentious piece of work is one of his most recent, and the one that continues to make headlines: In May 2017, a photograph shot by Shields was released depicting actress Kathy Griffin holding a prop that resembled the bloody decapitated head of President Donald Trump. The initial backlash was so strong Griffin felt forced to apologize. Still, CNN terminated her agreement to appear on the network's New Year's Eve program; her comedy tour was temporarily put on hold; and friends, like Debra Messing and Anderson Cooper, turned against her. The President tweeted: 'Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!' Griffin went underground for almost three months, while Shields remained quiet—until now.

"'The day that we realized this was going to be really crazy—I don't remember if it was the day after, or a couple days later—I called Kathy and I said to her: 'Listen, this happened with the Dixie Chicks, if you remember with the George W. Bush thing, and people were burning their albums, and driving over their albums or whatever,' Shields recalls. 'Kathy was in a tough mental place and I said, 'Kathy, this happened to them and they thought they were over, and they had that song and it wasn't an apology, and it ended up being their biggest song ever, but it took time.'

"And the photographer has one more comparison between the musical group's 2002 comments publicly disavowing former President George W. Bush and Shields's picture of Griffin: 'When they said what they said, people weren't ready to hear it. When we did that photograph, people hadn't seen anything like that before. That's the point of living in this country: You can make something people don't like.'

"Despite losing jobs, fans, friends, and colleagues (Andy Cohen, who worked with Griffin for ten years at Bravo, recently told paparazzi he didn't know who she was), Griffin no longer seems to be sorry for the photograph. 'Stop acting like my little picture is more important than talking about the actual atrocities that the President of the United States is committing,' she snapped on an Australian morning show two months ago, listing off several recent actions of President Donald Trump that she disagreed with.

"Over the weekend, Griffin made a 17-minute long YouTube video specifically aimed at Andy Cohen and TMZ's Harvey Levin. 'Because of the Trump photo, because of the faux outrage pushed by Anderson's tweet and TMZ and obviously, literally, the Federal government, I'm the first person to be put under a federal investigation by the Department of Justice for two months at the taxpayer dollars [sic] expense,' Griffin claims. She goes on to say she is making the video because she's on a world tour, which has been very successful, but fears that because she has been put on the Interpol list and, having been previously detained at airports, she may run into trouble while traveling. 'So when I go to Singapore, if I just don't return, I just want you guys to know that's why,' said Griffin. 'Because I took a picture of a mask with ketchup on it. It was not illegal. You may have hated it, but if any one of your kids took that picture and put it on Twitter, they shouldn't have to be on the Interpol list or be detained or be under Federal Investigation.'

"Even Shields admits he was surprised at the monumental reaction to the photograph he took with Griffin. The celebrity photographer estimates the pair have been friends for about seven years. 'I've shot her naked before. We've done all kinds of stuff,' he says. When she came to one of his exhibits at Leica Gallery on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles, Shields tells us that Griffin said, 'It's been too long. It's time to shoot again.' Shields's response? 'I completely agree,' he said. Thus, the infamous decapitated Trump photograph was born—and the backlash began.

"'There was a part of me, when that happened, I was like, Wow, I didn't think that could still even happen. I didn't think you could have something go big like that anymore,' says Shields.

"Shields says that things have changed since what he calls 'the Lohan era.' He explains, 'If you wanted to see a picture of Lindsay Lohan, you had a paparazzi picture, you had a magazine cover, or you had me. People would do things with me that the magazine wasn't going to do. You weren't going to see a picture of Lindsay covered in blood or with four guys undoing her pants. So you had the ability to create images with her that would go everywhere.'

"But according to Shields, things in the Instagram era are incredibly different. 'People are posting not one image of themselves, sometimes ten. Even paparazzi photos aren't what they used to be. You're never going to get more intimate with these people then they're going to get with themselves,' he says. 'They're the photographers now.'

"As times have changed, so has the way Shields presents his work. 'Now what I'm doing is I'm creating art. I'm creating characters; I'm creating movies.' The photographer uses original Fuji Polaroid film—which is now out of production—and blows the prints up to 60 inches. 'They look incredible when you seem them printed in someone's house,' he says. 'I walked in the other into a house in London and the Bunny picture was next to a $15 million Warhol. It was crazy.'

"While Shields rarely takes commissions, and there are certain things he won't sell, most things seem to eventually end up in the hands of the right buyer. Shields reportedly has received thousands of offers, as high as $150,000, for an original print of the Kathy Griffin photograph. He has passed on those offers. But he has a particular size in mind for the piece when it is printed: 72-by-52 inches.

"Shields's other work has recently been on display—at Imitate Modern in London, Guy Hepner in New York City, Leica Gallery in West Hollywood, Samuel Lynne Galleries in Dallas, and alongside Helmut Newton in Mexico City—but he's especially looking forward to the new year. 'There's going to be something that's going to come out that's a bit more in depth at what and how I do stuff in January in Los Angeles,' he hints. 'That's all I'm going to say.'"