Wednesday March 29, 2017

So here's a little tale about the inner workings of the "new regime" at MTV.  I was asked to help out on the casting for their new gimmicky Challenge season featuring Challenge vets competing against professional athletes.  To say the process was haphazard and a complete and utter $hitshow would be an understatement.  In a pinch yesterday morning, I was asked to help secure a professional athlete who just happened to be available to begin shooting immediately (production started yesterday).  Miraculously, I delivered a recognizable retired NFL player who said yes, received a contract from production, after which the NFL player signed said contract.  In the interim, another former NFL player expressed his interest and availability, and MTV decided to go with option B despite having a signed agreement from the player I secured, leaving him at home waiting for a car to pick him up.  What did they offer in the form of an apology?  Absolutely nothing.  Keep it classy Music Television.  When one of your "professional athletes" on the show is a retired NFL player who I have to Google, you have done a $hitty job, case closed.  I've watched virtually every NFL game played over the past 20+ years, FYI.  

Netflix has renewed Santa Clarita Diet for a 2nd season.

I guess not everyone enjoys The Mindy Project as much as I do.

Bill Eichner has signed on for season 7 of American Horror Story.

The series finale of Duck Dynasty airs tonight, FINALLY.

The premiere of Imaginary Mary airs on Fox this evening.  Described as a sitcom about an independent career woman (Jenna Elfman) who begins seeing her childhood imaginary friend (voiced by Rachel Dratch) again just as she falls for a divorced father of three. 

The Voice really is nothing more than an empty promise of fame for those competing.

How the cast of The Big Bang Theory has aged.

The trailer for Louis C.K.'s next Netflix special has arrived.  If it's the same set I saw him perform a few months back, it's as raunchy as he's ever been.  Look for it starting April 4.

Grease turns 40 years old next year, and it seems like the original cast might have something major planned for the film's big anniversary. According to The Mirror, Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta could be reprising their iconic roles as Sandy and Danny for 2018. Before accepting an award in Las Vegas last week, ONJ hinted that she and Travolta have been discussing a reunion. "We are thinking up ways. Nothing to announce yet," she said.  Stay tuned.

"Investigation Discovery is continuing its push into scripted programming. The Discovery-owned cabler has ordered Universal Cable Production's six-part scripted true crime series The Von Bulow Affair (working title), The Hollywood Reporter has learned."

They will also examine the serial killer known as "Son of Sam" in a new three-part documentary series, Investigation Discovery announced Tuesday.  Son of Sam: The Hunt for a Killer will air in accordance with the 40th anniversary of the capture of David Berkowitz. The miniseries will track the stories of a Berkowitz’s unsuspecting victims, while following the detectives who worked to capture him.

For the first time ever, NBC will broadcast all of the 2018 Winter Olympic programming at the same time across all time zones, the broadcast network announced Tuesday. The XXIII Olympic Winter Games will take place in Pyeong Chang, South Korea, and all events will be be broadcast simultaneously across all US time zones in daytime, primetime and late night.  It's about time.

Per Deadline, "Amy Poehler and her Paper Kite Productions are making a foray into unscripted TV with The Handmade Project, a competition reality show which has received a six-episode straight-to-series order by NBC. Poehler is reuniting with her former Parks and Recreation co-star Nick Offerman on the show, which celebrates artisanship and the makers who can create amazing things with their hands … and a few tools too.

"Poehler and Offermanwill host the series, which hails from Universal Television Alternative Studio and stems from Poehler’s overall deal with both Universal’s scripted and unscripted television studios.

"Each week eight all-around makers, from all walks of life, will take on a series of projects with the hopes of impressing Poehler, Offerman and our expert judges. Over the course of each episode, the contestants must tackle a different theme, hand-making items in different disciplines — the difficulty of which increases with every episode until a winner is crown. Shot in an outdoor setting, the series will also focus on the characters and camaraderie of those who enjoy creating their own crafts, all under the comedic guidance of Poehler and Offerman.

"Poehler is a self-proclaimed crafting novice who has long harbored a secret appreciation for those who can imagine and execute incredible things by hand. Offerman is a best-selling author in the woodworking space, owner of Offerman Woodshop in Los Angeles and is well known for his love for making a variety of objects with his own two hands.

“'I’m thrilled to be celebrating artists who make things by hand, and I’m looking forward to finally conquering my fear of paper mache,' Poehler said.

"Added Offerman: 'People who make things are my favorite kind of folk. Practical, clever and terrific in a pinch. That makes me tickled pink to have a front row seat at this prodigious display of talent, and admiring and cheering on an amazing crop of American makers. Plus, Amy and I have a strong tradition of tomfoolery so let’s see if we don’t have some good fun.'

"The Handmade Project marks another original format to come out of the recently launched Universal Television Alternative Studio under Meredith Ahr, following game show The Wall.

“'With millions of mass-produced products, a handmade item can be the most valuable treasure one can possess because it’s one of a kind and made with love,' said Ahr, President, Universal Television Alternative Studio. 'We are thrilled that Amy Poehler’s first venture into the unscripted space is so refreshingly unexpected and original, and can’t wait to see Amy and Nick back together again!'

"The Handmade Project is open to contestants of all ages who can apply at handmadeprojectcasting.com."

"TLC is bringing back one of its most successful shows, Trading Spaces.

"The network announced the news Tuesday as part of its upfront presentation to advertisers. The announcement was light on details about the new iteration, but president and general manager Nancy Daniels said Tuesday that it will return in 2018.

"The original version followed two sets of neighbors as they swapped houses to transform a room in 48 hours and on a $1,000 budget. It ran for eight seasons from 2000-11.

"The Discovery Communications networks have been reviving beloved properties lately. On Monday, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Cash Cab is getting revived at Discovery Channel, and last year THR also broke the news that Science Channel was bringing back MythBusters, with the new hosts hired via a reality competition series.

"Elsewhere, corporate sibling Discovery Channel on Tuesday said it has ordered three new series as part of its upfront announcement to advertisers.

"The network said it has picked up Cold Case Alaska, Devil's Canyon and Motorheads, the latter of which will air as part of Discovery's 'Motor Monday' lineup.

"Cold Case Alaska is set in a remote area of Alaska where people go missing at an eerily high rate: More people go missing there per capita than any other state. While some disappear by choice, others vanish 'because someone else wanted them to.'

"These cases were originally handled by the recently disbanded Alaska Bureau of Investigation's Cold Case Unit, but now many of the missing person cases remain unsolved. The new series, from M2 Pictures, will follow "one man who will stop at nothing to find some answers."

"Devil's Canyon is set in the area of the same name in British Columbia that is home to the "largest creek-side gold deposit the world has ever seen." It's also hostile terrain.

"In the series, from Magilla, three extreme prospectors —Ben van der Valk, Boyce Goff and John Belcik — take a huge risk as they journey into the most remote areas of the canyon to seek their fortunes. The miners, equipped with only the tools and food they can carry in on their backs, head deep into the forest where big mining companies can't reach. But they have only a small window in which to find gold before winter hits and they must deal with raging windstorms, bone-chilling rain and snow, falling trees, hypothermia and deadly bears.

"The tentatively titled Motorheads follows Carlos Becerra, a 25-year-old Mexican-American, as he 'attempts to hustle his way into the car business and become one of the top classic car flippers in the country.'

"The series, from Leftfield Pictures, follows Becerra and his team — who build one-of-a-kind cars — as they hunt down potential cars to flip in the most unlikely of places. They search across Northern Washington, where cars litter the landscape as the teams does everything to find them. Becerra sees potential in the even the most seemingly unsalvageable vehicles, but he must prove himself in a highly competitive field.

"These shows are part of an overall slate of 20 returning series and 18 new ones, including several previously announced shows. Click here for more details on Discovery Communications' upfront announcements."

Per TVLine, "[i]s New Girl big enough for two Winstons?! The Fox comedy posed that very unlikely question in Tuesday’s penultimate Season 6 episode when it was disclosed that Schmidt’s elusive first name is eerily, coincidentally, hilariously similar to bestie Winston’s. Actually, it is Winston. 

"Below, exec producers Brett Baer and Dave Finkel break down the story behind the long-awaited revelation, while also weighing in on the episode’s other major plot turn — the breakup of Nick and Reagan and the looming second coming of Nick and Jess. The pair also offers an update on New Girl‘s very uncertain future beyond next week’s finale:

How long have you known that Schmidt’s name was Winston?
BRETT BAER
 | Dave and I wrote an outline for [Season 1] Episode 14 where we revealed what Schmidt’s name was and we decided to hold off. It was just too early. But the funny thing is, it wasn’t [Winston] at all. Over the course of six years there have been a lot of iterations of what Schmidt’s name was. And we stumbled on the [Winston] idea early into Season 5. I think [series creator] Liz [Meriwether] came up with it over lunch, and we thought it was hilarious. And then it became a question of when to pull that trigger. There was some debate about doing it during [Schmidt’s Season 5 wedding to Cece] and then we decided to wait.
DAVE FINKEL | We were waiting for the moment when it felt right and most impactful. And we still don’t know if there will be a Season 7, so it’s one of those things where if we’re going to do it, we better do it [now].

Did you keep it a secret from Max Greenfield and Lamorne Morris?
BAER
 | It was a secret. We kept it in the writers room for as long as we could. And I have to say, the table read [for this episode] was one of the best table reads we’ve ever had because everyone was learning about it at the same time. I could tell by the response they were having while reading the script that they seemed to dig it.

The other big development in the episode: Nick and Reagan broke up. Does Megan Fox still have a role on the show should there be a seventh season?
BAER
 | Absolutely. One of the great things about this show is we’ve established this great family of characters that will sometimes leave the show and then reappear in surprising ways… We’re so fortunate to have such incredible and funny actors on the show, and when they’re available to return we will always find ways to weave them back in.

Is Nick and Jess’ seemingly inevitable reunion also a byproduct of the show’s uncertain future? Like, it’s now or never?
BAER
 | That obviously plays a part in it. I think it would be really disappointing to have the show go off the air and not give the audience a satisfactory conclusion to a story line that’s been the engine of the show since Season 1. That said, we’re obviously hoping [for a Season 7]. We have ideas for how to propel the show into the future. But we didn’t want to go off the air without answering this question.
FINKEL | People are so rabid about [Nick and Jess] it would be unfair to deprive them of [a resolution].

Alternately, if they do get back together in next week’s finale and the show does get renewed for Season 7, then you’re back to trying to figure out how to make Nick and Jess as interesting together as they were apart. 
FINKEL
 | They will still be characters in flux. I definitely think they’ve grown in massive ways since the last time they were together, but are they ready for each other yet? I don’t necessarily know. They are still weirdos.
BAER | We’ve also got a couple of ideas on the table that [would give] us some creative opportunities to move things in a different direction [in a potential Season 7]. I don’t want to get too specific. But we don’t feel too hemmed in by anything.

Ten-year time jump?
BAER
 | There’s been talk… [Laughs]
FINKEL | There has been talk.

Jake Johnson’s gut seems to be telling him Season 6 will likely be the end. Is your gut saying the same?
FINKEL | We still feel like we have stories to tell. And given where the season finale ends, you can sort of see where we could pick up and where future stories can come from.
BAER | All indications are that it’s a very good possibility that we are coming back. I think what Jake was responding to was the fact that we were trying to… end the season in a way that could satisfy audiences."

Per Yahoo!, "Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Richard Lewis confirmed that the Larry David cult series has wrapped production on its 9th season with a series of tweets earlier this week.

“'Curb 9 wraps with two of the funniest comedians I’ve ever known,' Lewis said about David and his 'odd couple' co-star, J.B. Smoove.

"So far, we know the funnymen will be joined by recurring guest stars Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Gilmore Girls’ Lauren Graham, and longtime series favorites Susie Essman, Jeff Garlin, and straight-shooting Cheryl Hines.

"Production on Season 9 kicked off last November with a goofy HBO video of Smoove trying and failing to get Larry out of his trailer. Smoove recently told Complex that, for better or worse, his dynamic with Larry won’t have changed in today’s political climate. 'Larry is an old white man … You know how hard it is to tell somebody to be woke and they ain’t woke? He’s not woke,' Smoove says, but he promises, 'I’m going to get that man woke before the season is over, I’ll tell you that much.'

"Curb Your Enthusiasm launched all the way back in 2000, but has issued 'only' eight seasons, because, let’s be real: When you’re Larry David and you have 'Seinfeld creator' money, you’re not about to be on anyone else’s schedule."

According to The New York Post, "Michael Strahan’s role at Good Morning America is still ruffling feathers at the morning show. Sources claim fellow anchors on the show are sick of ABC bosses giving him preferential treatment.

“'They roll out the carpet for [Strahan] while seasoned talent is treated like dirt. He’s been given a lot of opportunity, flexibility, when the others who have been working there longer don’t get that kind of treatment,' a source said.

"Strahan signed a special deal that allows him to continue to analyze football at Fox NFL Sunday and host ABC’s $100,000 Pyramid. But he was forced to drop most of his lucrative endorsement deals when he joined the morning show.

"Meanwhile, pop anchor Lara Spencer, 'feels like her role has been minimized with Strahan. There’s not a lot of love between the two. They know how to put it on for the cameras, but he’s doing a lot of what Lara should be doing [on the show] and she’s not happy. She’s the pop person.'

"We also hear that George Stephanopoulos is over it. 'He’s bored with the fluff. He goes into work, does the show and leaves by 8:57 a.m. He doesn’t interact. He’s been phoning it in for quite some time,' the source said.

"An ABC News exec insisted that Spencer has fully welcomed Strahan into the fold. 'That’s just bulls - - t. They get along great. She loves having someone with his sense of humor on the show. Michael is lovely with the staff . . . And as for Lara, she has far more airtime in the 8 a.m. hour and is loving the studio audience.'

"Plus, other stars are juggling just as many outside projects as Strahan.

“'The idea that George is phoning it in is absurd. He gets to GMA at, like, 3 in the morning. He works 16 hours a day,' the exec continued. 'He goes home because he does all of the special reports in addition to GMA, and he’s calling sources and getting ready for his Sunday show. He comes back to the office in the afternoon . . . And he’s incredibly engaged in the news coming out of DC right now.'

"An ABC rep added: 'We’ve tripled our lead over the Today show [in total viewers]. The show has never been better.'”

Per Uproxx, "[b]etween the crumbling House Intelligence Committee investigation into possible Russian ties, his response to the American Health Care Act’s failure, and a sinking approval rating, President Donald Trump is making things rather difficult for the reporters and late night comedians who are trying to keep up. Then again, ever since the Tweeter-in-Chief announced he would run for office in 2015, the Donald has been doing almost nothing else. After all, his tweets are so seemingly random and volatile they’ve caused 'World War III' to trend across the globe.

"Hence why The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is launching a new initiative to, erm, 'honor' President Trump’s rapidly growing collection of tweets. Per a press release from Comedy Central, the new 'Presidential Twitter Library' will be an 'actual library' located in New York City. What’s more, the 'fully interactive' exhibit will be free and open to the public:

"'The Daily Show Presents: The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library will open in June, and it will be tremendous. It will be so tremendous that you’ll get tired of the tremendousness, so it will then close only a few days later. Sad!'

"By 'showcasing our Commander in Chief’s preferred vessel for communicating with the public, his Twitter feed,' The Daily Show‘s latest contribution to the country’s ongoing political conversation will surely turn heads. After all, Trump tweets so often (and so randomly) that it’s hard to keep up with his attention span. Are Bill and Hillary Clinton being investigated for their Russian ties? Did President Obama really wiretap Trump Tower? What’s going on with Kristen Stewart?

"Precisely which of Trump’s tweets will meet the library’s guidelines remains to be seen. As for whether or not the man himself decides to attend the exhibit bearing his name and social media likeness, who knows?"