Thursday December 21, 2017

That was arguably the best season finale of Survivor in 17 years.  Great twist at the last Tribal, but my vote still would have gone to Chrissy, hands down.

Jeff Probst explained the origin of that new twist: "This idea came about to solve a problem that has bothered me for years. If someone plays a great game and gets to the final four, it has always bothered me that the other three can simply say, 'We can’t beat him, so let’s all just vote him out.' So this year we decided to make a change. If you get to final four, you are guaranteed a shot to earn your way to the end.  And if you are the one to win the final four challenge, you are in charge of who you take and who you force to fight for it in a fire-making showdown. And of course, it goes without saying, we got lucky with a huge million dollar showdown between Ben and Devon. It was electric. And yes, that will be a new format change and will appear in next season, Survivor: Ghost Island."

More TJ Miller accusations.  This one from a porn star.

More Harvey Weinstein accusations.

If you're looking for an interesting Netflix doc to watch over the holidays, check out Icarus. "An American filmmaker and cyclist unwittingly wades into a global scandal when a Russian scientist leaks shocking details of a vast doping conspiracy."

Here's the trailer for Dave Chappelle's latest Netflix special, which drops on New Year's Eve.

Tristan Thompson has knocked up Khloe Kardashian.

"NFL Network chief David Eaton has resigned from his post after a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against his channel last week, which resulted in suspensions for a trio of on-air talent. Eaton has also been recently criticized for his public interactions with escorts and porn starson Twitter — he’s since deleted the social media account. 'Tuesday night David Eaton tendered his resignation from NFL Media effective immediately,' NFL Network spokesperson Alex Riethmiller told TheWrap via a statement. As president of NFL Media, ABC News alum Eaton also oversaw the NFL’s website."

Per Deadline, "Hulu has released the official trailer and key art for Season 3 of provocative drama series The Path. The first two episodes of the 13-episode third season will launch on Wednesday, January 17 on Hulu.

"In Season 3: After a miracle by Eddie Lane (Aaron Paul) goes viral, and Meyerism has grown exponentially across the world. As the new Guardian of the Light, Eddie is forced to face the question of whether he can grow the movement without becoming a cult leader. Cal (Hugh Dancy) is haunted by dark demons from the past and must come face to face with them in order to defeat them. Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) questions her faith and in looking outside the movement for answers, she may discover one of Meyerism’s deepest secrets, and the one person who could put an end to it all. Kyle Allen, Emma Greenwell, and Freida Pinto also star.

"At Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys event at the DGA Theatre last spring, The Path creator/executive producer Jessica Goldberg told attendees that Season 3 may reflect even more of the political atmosphere of today’s America in which new movements may be started — much like the made-up one in her show — as people search for deeper meaning.

"The Path hails from Universal Television and True Jack Productions. Jason Katims and Michelle Lee executive produce."

Watch the trailer above.

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Per Adweek, "HGTV spotlights brands in almost all of its shows, but the network had never produced a special with one of its advertising partners before.

"That will change in 2018, when HGTV airs Home United, a 30-minute special produced with Wayfair that features home renovation stars Chris and Peyton Lambton helping a newlywed couple merge their design styles.

"The show, which airs at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 6, will feature furnishings and décor from Wayfair.com, which sells more than 8 million items for the home. It will also incorporate Wayfair’s Idea Boards, which allow users to curate and save products from the site.

"Wayfair’s website will include a curated collection of items featured on the show.

"The idea for Home United came out of a brainstorming summit between HGTV and Wayfair, which have been partners for several years. 'We were both looking for ways to give the consumer more ‘shoppable’ ideas within a show,' said Donna Stephens, svp of ad sales, Scripps Networks Interactive.

"That led to HGTV doing something it had never done before: producing a special with a brand partners.

“'Typically, advertisers do not have the opportunity to get on the ground floor with networks on program content creation. Product placement into existing storylines is most common,' said Courtney Lawrie, director of brand marketing, Wayfair. 'We felt this was a great opportunity to differentiate together, and provide HGTV viewers something they haven’t seen before on the network.  In partnership with HGTV, we’re able to showcase how Wayfair can help create a home you love … even when there are style discrepancies amongst homeowners.'

"While this co-production is new territory for HGTV, this isn’t Wayfair’s first time teaming up with a network in this way. A year ago, Wayfair launched a branded content series with Lifetime, called The Way Home.

"Chris and Peyton Lambton—Bachelor and Bachelorette alums who later hosted HGTV’s Going Yard—'went through the exact challenges when they got married' and were the ideal pair to help the couple navigate the merging of design styles, said Stephens.

“'Wayfair has such a large variety that it made it easy for the homeowners to capture their dream look,' said Stephens. 'Throughout the show, the viewer received helpful information and solutions for their own home design dilemmas. That’s what both HGTV and Wayfair wanted: to give viewers information that helps them work through their challenges.'”

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"Let's be clear to start: NBC reviving The Office for a potential tenth season is far from a done deal. The network has yet to comment or confirm any details about a potential revival of Greg Daniels-created workplace comedy.

"Sources confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that NBC is eyeing a potential revival of the comedy about paper supply company Dunder Mifflin, with a search under way for a new regional manager to replace Steve Carell's Michael Scott. Carell, sources confirm, is not expected to be part of any potential revival. Sources caution that a deal is far from set for a revival, which could include somereturning faces as well as a new cast of characters.

"The biggest test for any Office revival will be in discovering new faces as the original series made stars out of Carell, Rainn Wilson, Mindy Kaling, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Craig Robinson and Ellie Kemper, among others.

"With that said, THR takes a look at what some of The Office's central staff are up to and examines the chances that they could return — should, you know, NBC actually greenlight a revival — and should the stars actually want to revisit the past. (Listed below are actors who appeared in half of the show's 201 total episodes):

Steve Carell (Michael Scott): He exited the series in season seven, returning only for the series finale, and has focused on TV producing (TBS' Angie Tribeca) and feature films since.
Chances of returning: Zero.

Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute): Since being eyed to topline an Office spinoff of his own (RIP, The Farm), Wilson has explored drama with Fox's short-lived Backstrom and a current role on CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery. On the feature side, he's remained busy, voicing Gargamel in The Smurfs: The Lost Village, and roles in indies like Permanent and Thom Pain, among others.
Chances of returning: 50-50

John Krasinski (Jim Halpert): The actor will make his first TV return since wrapping The Office in 2013 with the lead role in Amazon Studios' Jack Ryan franchise (due in 2018). That series is produced by Paramount Television, making a return in any regular capacity to NBC's Universal Television-produced reboot highly unlikely. On top of that, Krasinski has focused on raising his profile with features, including a role in awards vehicle Detroit and executive producing Manchester by the Sea, among others.
Chances of returning: Highly unlikely.

Jenna Fischer (Pam Beesly): Fischer has ABC midseason comedy Splitting Up Together awaiting a slot on the schedule in 2018 and has feature The 15:17 to Paris also due next year. Since wrapping The Office, she's retained close ties with NBC, with a role on short-lived comedic drama You, Me and the Apocalypse and an arc on the since-canceled The Mysteries of Laura. Fischer was set to star opposite Matt LeBlanc on CBS' Man With a Plan but was recast after the pilot. Splitting Up Together is produced by Warner Bros. Television and should that series work, it would limit her availability for an Office visit. That said …
Chances of returning: 60-40

Leslie David Baker (Stanley Hudson): The actor, whose character retired at the end of the series, has retained a low profile since wrapping The Office, with roles on CMT's since-canceled Still the King and animated features Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie and the upcoming Happytime Murders.
Chances of returning: Why wouldn't he return?!

Brian Baumgartner (Kevin Malone): Baumgartner, whose character was fired from Dunder Mifflin in the finale, has floated from show to show after The Office with a steady stream of guest gigs on series including Life in Pieces, Hand of God, Chicago Fire, The Goldbergs, Scream Queens and Good Behavior. He had an uncredited role in Ghostbusters and a few minor film roles. He also reteamed with Office creator Greg Daniels for a project at ABC in 2012 that didn't go forward.
Chances of returning: Again, why wouldn't he come back?!

Angela Kinsey (Angela Schrute): A slam dunk here as Kinsey tweeted that she's just waiting for NBC's call to return. She also has remained busy post-Office, with roles on Fox's New Girl, NBC's Bad Judge, TBS' Your Family or Mine and Netflix's since-canceled Haters Back Off on top of a steady stream of film gigs.
Chances of returning: All NBC has to do is make the call.

Phyllis Smith (Phyllis Vance): The actress took a break after The Office and recently returned with a role on Netflix's The OA and a voice role in Inside Out.
Chances of returning: Again, why wouldn't she come back?!

Kate Flannery (Meredith Palmer): A regular voice on Cartoon Network's OK K.O.!, the actress has guest-starred on a long roster of series including Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, American Housewife, New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine on top of a handful of roles in low-budget films.
Chances of returning: Again, why wouldn't she come back?!

Creed Bratton (Creed Bratton): Per Kinsey, he's down to return as well. Bratton still has love for The Office,most recently performing a sing-along to his own version of the show's theme song.
Chances of returning: A lock.

Oscar Nunez (Oscar Martinez): We're going to consider Nunez a lock should Daniels run the Office revival and here's why: The duo remain close as the actor is starring on the prolific producer's TBS comedy People of Earth. Yes, that's produced by a different studio (Warner Horizon Television), but it'd be highly unlikely for both shows to be in production at the same time, especially given People of Earth's 10-episode orders. (Our best bet is that any revival of The Office would also be a short-order series, a la Will & Grace.)
Chances of returning: A lock.

B.J. Novak (Ryan Howard): Novak has been selective with his career choices since The Office. He's largely remained close with co-star Kaling, with a long-running role on The Mindy Project as well as film roles in both Smurfs features as well as The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and The Founder.
Chances of returning: Maybe for an episode or two.

Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor): Here's where things get dicey. Many of The Office's stars who popped are unlikely to return for a revival, as most have made it a point to move beyond the show that helped make them a star. Kaling, fresh off the birth of her first child and wrapping The Mindy Project, next stars in big-budget features Ocean's 8 and A Wrinkle in Time. That said, she's keeping her hand in television with ChampionsNBC's midseason comedy which she wrote, executive produces and recurs on. It's also produced by Universal Television, which helps open the door for a guest gig or two.
Chances of returning: As a guest star? Maybe.

Ed Helms (Andy Bernard): Helms has largely focused on features since The Office ended, including We're the Millers, Vacation, Love the Coopers, Central Intelligence and Chappaquiddick.
Chances of returning: Slim to none.

Paul Lieberstein (Toby Flenderson): The one-time Office showrunner (who would have also served in the same capacity on The Farm) remains close with Daniels after recurring on People of Earth and with Kaling after directing and guest-starring on Mindy Project. He's currently in postproduction on the feature Song of Back and Neck, in which he stars, directed, wrote and produced.
Chances of returning: A good bet.

Craig Robinson (Darryl Philbin): Robinson currently stars on Fox comedy Ghosted, produced by 20th Television. While the series is currently on the bubble, a new showrunner was recently brought in — which often is a good sign the network is committed to investing in a show's future beyond its freshman run. But that's not the biggest hurdle to getting the in-demand Robinson back, as the actor remains a prolific talent on the feature side with the Hot Tub Time Machine franchise, This Is the End, Sausage Party and multiple films in the works including Zeroville and An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn.
Chances of returning: Slim to none.

Ellie Kemper (Erin Hannon): Kemper went from NBC's The Office to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which moved from the network to Netflix, where it has become a critical favorite. The series is produced by Universal Television — opening the door for Kemper to have a larger role in an Office revival should she want to — but her time may be best spent on the feature side, where she's had roles in Smurfs: The Lost Village, The Lego Batman Movie, The Secret Life of Pets, Sex Tape and 21 Jump Street.
Chances of returning: Slim to none."

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Per Vulture, "[c]an you imagine being an acting student and having Samuel L. Jackson coach you through Pulp Fiction’s final diner scene? A lucky handful of budding thespians got to experience just that as part of Jackson’s first and only online teaching gig, with the video-lecture series MasterClass, wherein, for a fee, the masses can find out how to design clothes from Marc Jacobs and Diane von Furstenberg, how to write a script from Shonda Rhimes and Aaron Sorkin, how to max their tennis or basketball games from Serena Williams and Stephen Curry, or how to make movies from Martin Scorsese and Werner Herzog.

"Jackson had never watched a MasterClass before he signed up to do one, so he just winged it — and seemed to have a blast. He tells his personal story, goes step-by-step through how he builds characters, does workshops on not just that iconic Pulp Fiction scene but also Black Snake Moan and Kingsman: The Secret Service. His intro, of course, features multiple 'motherfuckers,' as he cycles through non-air-able promos like 'Welcome to my MasterClass, motherfuckers!' and 'You wanna be a motherfuckin’ better actor? Take my motherfucking class!' And he ends the whole thing by stepping out of camera range and exclaiming to the MasterClass crew, 'Fuck, that was awesome! That was amazing! I can’t do it any better than that!' We spoke to Jackson on the phone and got a ton of new lessons — on his disdain for acting classes, Tarantino’s new movies, and more — ourselves:

He’s much more into learning on the job than taking acting classes.
Jackson told me he’d actually never taken a class like the one he teaches here, where you watch a bunch of people doing a scene and then talk about it. “Even when I was in college [at Morehouse in Atlanta], we were encouraged to go to work,” he told me. “So that’s what we did. I got a job at a children’s theater and another repertory theater, and we had our own kind of street theater and revolutionary black theater that we did.” He got so much experience that by the time he got to New York, he didn’t feel the need to take any more formal acting classes. “I went to New York to go to work,” he said.

Still, he was astounded that none of the students knew Ezekiel 25:17, the Bible passage about striking people down with “great vengeance and furious anger” — the one his Pulp Fiction character, Jules, likes to recite before shooting people, and the one that earned Jackson an Oscar nomination.
To be fair, the final diner scene is a long one, and the students had to memorize all the parts — and they hadn’t prepped the Ezekiel 25:17 part due to an error by whomever had given them the scene. It got added back in that day at Jackson’s insistence. But come on! It’s the most famous passage of the movie, one of the most quoted movies of all time. It’s on the soundtrack. And yet none of the students, who didn’t look all that young, could make it through it without reading the script or messing up. “I don’t know if it was an age thing or that people like different things so they just didn’t know it,” Jackson told me, “but people try to recite that speech to me all the time. If you’re an actor, that’s one of those actors’ speeches that people try to imitate. So I was shocked they didn’t have any reference for it whatsoever.” In the end, the lesson was less about how to deliver that speech, since Jackson nailed it so well it’s hard to hear anyone else do it. Instead, he taught them how to cope when they get thrown last-minute curveballs. “Sometimes that happens. You go up to an audition, they give you something on the spot and say, ‘Go out here and read this a couple times and come back over here and do it.’”

He has no clue whom he’s going to play in Quentin Tarantino’s “untitled Manson Family Project” or Star Trek movies, or if he’s even in them.
It kind of feels like the world would collapse in on itself if Tarantino made a movie without Jackson in it. When I asked about his involvement in Tarantino’s upcoming projects, “I haven’t spoken to Quentin,” Jackson told me. “Last time I saw him was his engagement party and what we talked about then was his engagement. We didn’t talk about what he was getting ready to do or what he was going to do or what the rumors were. None of that came up. Right now, I’m doing stuff until July, so when I hear from him I hear from him, and we’ll go from there.”

But surely he’s got to assume he’s in them, and maybe reserve a little space on his calendar, right? “I never take anything for granted in the movie business!” he said, laughing. “You can’t assume that you’re going to be in something just because you’ve been in all the rest of them. I can’t make that assumption. I’m not in Death Proof!”

Just like at the beginning of his career, he still gets mistaken for Laurence Fishburne. 
“I guess it’s because he’s another black actor who’s my age and tall,” Jackson said. “That was the most common one for a very long time. Now I can be Morgan [Freeman]. People call me Mr. Washington.”

He’s never done a film and felt like he came away a different actor. 
Jackson actually burst out laughing when I asked him this. “Uh, no. My life pattern’s pretty set.” Though he did add that he gets something special out of doing films about cops or the military. “It gives you a different way of viewing how they do their jobs or who those people are or what they do,” he said. “When you go to a particular setting and you interact with those people in very structured jobs as they’re actually doing their jobs and you see what their motivation is and why they’re there, you can be changed by that.”

He’s not rushing out to see The Last Jedi (but will definitely see it). 
Jackson has been doing voice work on Incredibles 2, just finished shooting Glass (M. Night Shyamalan’s sequel to Unbreakable), and is now in Atlanta for Son of Shaft through the New Year, so he’ll have to watch it after that: “I do not feel the need to be in the first wave.”

He did, however, famously rush out to see his own Star Wars movies in the theater with real audiences. “Yeah! Always!” he said. During the MasterClass, he says that he can’t understand actors who say they never watch themselves. “How you gonna judge yourself or gauge any kind of progress or digression, even if it’s just like, “Oh, huh. Am I getting better at this or am I getting worse?” You generally want to know! Or you need to know.”

Jackson, who’s done some 175 films (remember Snakes on a Plane?), would do even more if he could. And he’ll take your TV and theater jobs, too. 
“If I could get up every day and go somewhere and act, I’d be the happiest person in the world,” he says in his MasterClass intro. “Writers get up and write, painters get up and paint. Why can’t I get up and act? Because somebody’s got to hire you to do it.” And it’s not that he just loves movies above all other acting forums. “Movies just happen to be the things I’ve been hired to do,” he told me. He’s constantly looking for ways to get back into theater, “because I kind of miss eight shows a week, doing something from beginning to end, rather than going to work every day and doing a little piece of something,” he said.

And he’d be really into finding a great TV show. Not necessarily a prestige TV show, just one that people would be obsessed with. “I mean, everything can’t be Breaking Bad. Everything can’t be Game of Thrones. Everything can’t be Narcos,” he told me. “But if I did a television show I would want people to want to see it every week and not ‘Oh, I have to finish this because I started it.’ I want it to be something compelling.”

His biggest takeaway from doing the MasterClass is that he’s less of an asshole than he thought he was. 
“I think I learned that I wouldn’t be as difficult an individual as a director as I thought I would be,” Jackson tells me, with a little bit of astonishment in his voice. Workshopping the scenes with the acting students, he said, “I actually had fun doing it, and I don’t like to criticize actors, but I think the fact that I was able to do it but not abrasively was surprising to me. I didn’t get upset with them because they didn’t get every damn word I wanted them to do. I was sort of surprised at myself that I didn’t snap at people. So I think I could do it!”

Does that mean he finally wants to get behind the camera? “Not particularly,” he said, laughing. “I’m still not bitten by the directing bug, no.” The job just isn’t appealing, even now that he knows he’d be a non-jerk at it. “That’s not what’s kept me from directing,” he said. “What’s keeping me from directing is the fact that directing takes up almost a year of your life, and when you direct a movie you’ve got to cut it and then you’ve got to be dealing with the music and then you’ve got to run around the world talking about it — and [as an actor] I could do four movies in that time.”"