Thursday December 7, 2017

A new season of Top Chef premieres tonight.  Season 15 to be exact. More below.

Nice to be reunited with DirecTV. 

Psych: The Movie airs tonight on USA.

The season finale of Gotham airs tonight as well.

I saw President Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) at an event this week and was honestly blown away by how great she looks in person.  

The fix HAD to be in on Are You The One? right?  No way they go from 5 beams to a win over the course of one week.  They're way to dumb to have figured that out.

Well played Trevor Noah.

Jeff Probst talks about last night's Survivor, which was a good one.

The latest on Jeffrey Tambor, for those who care.

Judd Apatow talks about returning to stand up.

Epix has renewed Berlin Station for a 3rd season.  I don't even know what to say about that one.

People are still enjoying Mr. Robot.  

What's in store for the Walking Dead midseason finale?

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Per EW, "[t]he British are coming! The British are coming!

"Well, that’s not actually the theme of the 31st season of MTV’s The Challenge, but it might as well be. The Challenge: Vendettas will premiere on Jan. 2 and include a bunch of new players, including some from Big Brother and MTV U.K.’s Geordie Shore and Ex on the Beach.

"Of course, many familiar faces will be in the mix as well — Johnny 'Bananas' Devenanzio and Cara Maria Sorbello wouldn’t miss this! — as 28 challengers assemble in Spain to 'pursue personal vendettas against one another,' according to the network. And they’ll be going it alone — only one winner will come out on top, competing for a 'final prize that has the potential to exceed $500,000.'

"We’ll let MTV explain: 'The winners of each challenge will receive money for their individual bank accounts, but once players are eliminated, their money is added to the final prize pot. In a major game twist this season, ‘Grenades’ will be awarded to players surviving grueling elimination rounds, giving them a chance to get back at anyone else in the house they may have a vendetta against. With everyone out for themselves, stealing an entire bank account from another player, forcing players to be shackled together during another challenge or selecting players to stay up the entire night before a challenge, will surely shake up the competition and heighten the drama, doubt, and deception in the house.'

"As Bananas warns, 'I hope you wore protection, ’cause this Challenge is about to get hot,' so here are the 28 challengers who will be duking it out:

  • Alicia Wright (Original series: Are You the One? season 5; rookie)
  • Brad Fiorenza (Original series: 2004’s The Real World: San Diego; last Challenge: 2010’s Cutthroat)
  • Britni Thornton (Original series: Are You the One? season 3; last ChallengeDirty 30)
  • Cara Maria Sorbello (Original series: Fresh Meat II; last ChallengeDirty 30)
  • Cory Wharton (Original series: The Real World: Ex-Plosion; last ChallengeChamps vs Stars)
  • Devin Walker (Original series: Are You the One? season 3; last ChallengeDirty 30)
  • Eddie Williams (Original series: Are You the One? season 5; rookie)
  • Jemmye Carroll (Original series: 2010’s The Real World: New Orleans; last ChallengeDirty 30)
  • Johnny Bananas (Original series: The Real World: Key West; last ChallengeChamps vs Stars)
  • Joss Mooney (Original series: MTV U.K.’s Ex on the Beach; rookie)
  • Kailah Casillas (Original series: The Real World: Go Big or Go Home; last ChallengeDirty 30)
  • Kam Williams (Original series: Are You the One? season 5; rookie)
  • Kayleigh Morris (Original series: MTV U.K.’s Ex on the Beach; rookie)
  • Kyle Christie (Original series: MTV U.K.’s Geordie Shore; rookie)
  • Leroy Garrett (Original series: 2011’s The Real World: Las Vegas; last ChallengeDirty 30)
  • Marie Roda (Original series: The Real World: St. Thomas; last ChallengeDirty 30)
  • Melissa Reeves (Original series: MTV U.K.’s Ex on the Beach; rookie)
  • Natalie Negrotti (Original series: Big Brother 18; rookie)
  • Nelson Thomas (Original series: Are You the One? season 3; last ChallengeDirty 30)
  • Nicole Ramos (Original series: Battle of the Bloodlines; last ChallengeDirty 30)
  • Nicole Zanatta (Original series: The Real World: Skeletons; last ChallengeInvasion of the Champions)
  • Rogan O’Connor (Original series: MTV U.K.’s Ex on the Beach; rookie)
  • Shane Landrum (Original series: Road Rules: Campus Crawl; last ChallengeInvasion of the Champions)
  • Sylvia Elsrode (Original series: The Real World: Skeletons; last ChallengeInvasion of the Champions)
  • Tony Raines (Original series: The Real World: Skeletons; last ChallengeDirty 30)
  • Veronica Portillo (Original series: Road Rules: Semester at Sea; last ChallengeDirty 30)
  • Victor Arroyo (Original series: Big Brother 18; rookie)
  • Zach Nicols (Original series: 2011’s The Real World: San Diego; last ChallengeChamps vs Stars)

The Challenge: Vendettas premieres Jan. 2 on MTV

From Yahoo!, "The Paramount Network — which officially launches Jan. 18 as the rebranded version of Spike TV — has chosen wisely for its first scripted drama. As seen in the exclusive clip above, Friday Night Lights alum Taylor Kitsch stars as David Koresh in Waco, Paramount’s six-episode series about the true story of the deadly 1993 fire and shootout between the FBI, ATF, and Koresh at Koresh’s Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.

"In a scene from the series premiere, Koresh bursts into a gathering of his fellow Branch Davidians — a religious movement spun off from the Seventh-day Adventists — and talks to them about the joy he has found in their off-the-grid community. They don’t have running water or a lot of 'stuff,'  he points out, but everyone there, from a Harvard Law grad to a professor who left a beach house in Hawaii to relocate to the compound, has found happiness in their Texas plains home.

“'Joy doesn’t come from havin’ somethin’ or bein’ somethin’,' Koresh says to his rapt followers. 'It comes from becomin’. Becomin’ more than you are today.'

"Koresh, along with dozens of men, women, and children who lived at the compound, as well as four ATF agents, were killed in April 1993 after a siege that began when the government suspected the Branch Davidians of weapons violations. The series covers all the facts of the controversial case — some which remain in dispute — including charges of abuse of the compound’s children and claims that Koresh engaged in sex with some of the minors.

"The series’ stellar cast also includes Michael Shannon, John Leguizamo, Andrea Riseborough, Rory Culkin, Melissa Benoist, Paul Sparks, Shea Whigham, Camryn Manheim, and Julia Garner.

"Waco is one of several buzzworthy series Paramount will launch in its first year; others include a dark comedy series adaptation of cult-fave movie Heathers and the family drama Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner and created by Hell or High Water’s Oscar-nominated screenwriter (and former Sons of Anarchy co-star) Taylor Sheridan.

"Waco premieres Jan. 24 at 10 p.m. on the Paramount Network."

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, "[i]t's official: CBS All Access is boldly going to a new dimension.

"The subscription video on demand service has handed out a series order for a Twilight Zone reboot from Jordan Peele (Get Out) and Simon Kinberg (X-Men). An episode count and premiere date have not yet been determined. The news comes a month after THR reported Peele and showrunner Marco Ramirez (The Defenders, Daredevil) were attached to the revival. The new series will be produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions and Kinberg’s Genre Films. Peele, Kinberg and Ramirez will executive produce for the series and collaborate on the premiere episode. Win Rosenfeld and Audrey Chon will also serve as executive producers.

“'Too many times this year it’s felt we were living in a twilight zone, and I can’t think of a better moment to reintroduce it to modern audiences,' said Peele, who has found success and awards acclaim with the horror feature Get Out, which many have described as an African-American version of The Twilight Zone.

"Added Kinberg: 'The Twilight Zone was a touchstone in my life. The opportunity to continue its lineage is a dream come true, and I’m so thrilled to be doing it with Jordan, Marco and the team at CBS All Access.'

"The news comes as CBS All Access has found success with its revival of Star Trek: Discovery, which the streamer said drove record subscriptions to the platform and has been renewed for a second season. The Twilight Zone joins a roster of CBS All Access scripted originals that includes dramas The Good Fight (a spinoff of The Good Wife), Kevin Williamson fairy tale anthology Tell Me a StoryStrange Angel, $1 and comedy No Activity.  

“'The original The Twilight Zone bridged science fiction, horror and fantasy together to explore human nature and provide social commentary in a way that audiences had never seen before,' said Julie McNamara, exec vp originals at CBS All Access. 'Under the auspices of Jordan Peele, Simon Kinberg and Marco Ramirez, and with the creative freedom that the CBS All Access platform affords, this is an incredible opportunity to bring today’s audiences a modern reimagining of this iconic series.'”

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Per EW, "[s]harpen your knives because the stakes have never been higher — literally thousands of feet above sea level — as host Padma Lakshmi and judges Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and Graham Elliot head to Colorado for Top Chef’s new season.

"Lakshmi tells EW that the new season’s location brought up some unexpected difficulties that really put her and the 15 cheftestants to the test. Simmons, who’s been a judge on the show since season 1, echoes the sentiment, saying that altitude 'definitely changed the game.'

“'For me, filming was a challenge, just to digest all the food because I had terrible altitude sickness,' says Lakshmi. 'I’d been there before, I’d been to the Food & Wine festival, I’d been to Aspen several times, but I’d never been there with the show for that long.'

"Not only did the altitude affect Lakshmi, but it also contributed to the show’s dynamic and overall difficulty. All the judges agree that cooking that high up is completely different than cooking at sea level — for example, Elliot says, 'not everyone took that into consideration because water doesn’t boil at the same temperature and other key cooking things like that.'

"But the location didn’t just affect the technical aspects of cooking. 'I think what the big difference is that the last 10 seasons focused more on avant-garde cooking,' says Colicchio. 'I think this season we don’t see much of that — we saw more home-style, more basic cooking, rustic cuisine, comfort food, which was interesting.'

“'We’re out in the mountains, in the city, in like the really rich, ritzy part and also in Aspen at the Food & Wine festival,' Elliot adds. 'You’re seeing all the challenges based around that — everything from cooking in the mountains with snow falling down on you to cooking for the Broncos at the stadium.'"

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Per Vanity Fair, "[o]n Wednesday, six women announced plans to sue disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein—and they’re not alone. The shellacked mogul is in the midst of legal hell, currently staring down several lawsuits with at least one more to come from a former assistant, which will apparently be filed in federal court in New York over the next few weeks. When it rains, it pours, and Weinstein is currently caught in a brutal storm.

"The latest chapter of this litigious saga comes from the six women who filed a class-action lawsuit in a federal court in New York against Weinstein, as well as Miramax and the board of the Weinstein Company, according to Variety. The 14 counts in the suit include 'witness tampering, mail and wire fraud, assault, civil battery, negligent supervision and retention, and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress,' per Variety. The six women are Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall,Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Masse, Melissa Sagemiller, and Nannette Klatt.

“'Harvey Weinstein is a predator. Bob [Weinstein, Harvey’s brother] knew it. The board knew it. The lawyers knew it. The private investigators knew it. Hollywood knew it. We knew it. Now the world knows it,' the plaintiffs said in a statement. 'We have watched with horror, amazement, pride, and gratitude in the last two months as women (and men) the world over have come forward and named their abusers. We stand with all those brave people who have had the courage and temerity to shine a spotlight into the darkness. Predators thrive in the shadows. It is only by keeping their secrets for them that we allow them to get away with it.'

"The suit, Variety notes, compares Weinstein’s alleged behavior to that of organized crime. 'Over time, Weinstein enlisted the aid of other firms and individuals to facilitate and conceal his pattern of unwanted sexual conduct,' the suit reads. 'This coalition of firms and individuals became part of the growing ‘Weinstein Sexual Enterprise,’ a R.I.C.O. enterprise.'

"Over the last few weeks, there have been several detailed reports about Weinstein’s alleged behavior and the purported lengths he went in order to silence his accusers. The New Yorker published a report claiming that Weinstein hired Kroll, a massive corporate-intelligence company, and Black Cube, which is largely comprised of 'former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies,' to allegedly gather information about his accusers and the journalists preparing stories about the accusations. Weinstein, via his representative Sallie Hofmeister released the following statement in response to the story: 'It is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or suppressed at any time.'

"Aside from the six women suing Weinstein now, there are also other suits that have been lobbed at the former Hollywood star. In November, an actress filed a class-action suit against Weinstein, alleging that he invited her up to his office for a casting session, then asked her to show him her breasts. When she declined, he threatened her, the suit states. 'You know, I could launch your career, and I can make you or I can break you,' the suit quotes him saying, according to Variety. The suit also names the Weinstein Company as a defendant. In response, Weinstein reps issued this statement: 'Any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.'

"Shortly after that, another woman filed a suit against Weinstein—this time in Britain. She’s seeking damages for “personal injury, expenses, and consequential loss,” which could amount to $400,000, per Variety.

"The Weinstein Company itself is also facing legal issues. The New York Times filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in New York state court for unpaid advertising bills that total $229,567.68, per Deadline. The four-page complaint, filed by attorney William J. McDermott, notes that 'payment of the aforesaid amount, which is due and owing, has not been provided, although duly demanded by plaintiff.' News of the suit arrives mere hours after the Times published yet another shocking report about the allegations against Weinstein.

"The company is also facing a $5-million civil suit from actress Dominique Huett,who claims Weinstein sexually harassed her, then performed oral sex on her and masturbated in front of her. Her suit claims the Weinstein Company board 'had actual knowledge of Weinstein’s repeated acts of sexual misconduct with women.'

"This won’t be the last of the company’s, or Weinstein’s, legal troubles, either. On Wednesday, Variety reported that Sandeep Rehal, a former assistant who worked for Weinstein for almost two years and is quoted in the latest investigative Timespiece, reportedly plans to sue him for sexual harassment in the next few weeks. Representatives for Weinstein have not yet responded to Vanity Fair’s request for comment."