Wednesday April 5, 2017

Amazon has bought the rights to the NFL's "streaming package, and will offer the games for free to its Amazon Prime subscribers around the world. Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube had also expressed interest in carrying the games this year. Amazon is paying around $50 million for the 10 games it will show next fall, according to a personfamiliar with the deal. That’s a big increase from the $10 million Twitter paid for last year’s games. The rest of the deal is roughly similar to the one Twitter had last year: CBS and NBC will each broadcast five games, and Amazon will stream the networks’ coverage, including their ads. Amazon won’t have exclusive streaming rights for the games. CBS and NBC will also have the ability to stream the games they broadcast, and Verizon will stream the games to its wireless subscribers."

Archer returns tonight on FX.

IFC premieres Hank Azaria's new show Brockmire tonight.  Not only that, but IFC has already ordered a 2nd season of the series!  More on this show below.

Down goes Bananas!  Can't win em all Johnny.  You're still a first ballot Hall of Famer in my book and the G.O.A.T. to compete in the Challenge.

The season 2 trailer for Master of None.

FXX has canceled Man Seeking Woman.

WE has ordered its 2nd season of Million Dollar Matchmaker which will premiere later this year.

"Chris Hardwick might be the literal host with the most, and now he's bringing The Awesome Show to NBC. The six-episode series, announced Tuesday by NBC, will focus on science and technology, which are close to Hardwick's nerdy heart. 'The opportunity to develop a primetime show that celebrates science and technology was too good to pass up,' Hardwick said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 'I started Nerdist 10 years ago as a tech news site. I was a contributor to Wired magazine for several years and hosted Wired Science on PBS. It is very important to me to make something that positively promotes these topics in order to share humanity’s triumphs, to instill hope for our future and to inspire the next generation of young thinkers.'”

Was last night the end of Fox's New Girl?  Sure would make sense if that was the series finale.

Discovery Family has announced a premiere date for Girl Starter: Thursday, May 4 at 8p. The competition series brings girls from across the country to New York City to compete in a series of challenges in order to develop, pitch, brand and fund a new business venture. 

Highlights from Louis C.K.'s latest Netflix special.  I haven't watched yet, but this is the same set that I saw him perform live a few months back.  To say that he has reached a new level of crude would be an understatement.  Watch for yourself and tell me I'm wrong.

Another review of Louis C.K.'s latest.

Netflix has renewed A Series Of Unfortunate Events for a 3rd season.

USA has renewed Colony for a 3rd season.

Reese Witherspoon seems like she has a little too much time on her hands these days.

"Gustavo 'Gus' Fring was one of the standout villains from Breaking Bad. He was connected, calculating, manipulative, and really good at hiding his meth side business. So of course he’s the star of a new series of videos promoting Better Call Saul Season 3 — and his fast-food chain, Los Pollos Hermanos. The network is teaming up with Acura to sponsor a series of weekly training videos hosted by Fring (played by Giancarlo Esposito) that will let fans imagine what it’s like to work for Fring — at his legitimate business, that is."  You can watch the video here

A review of new documentary Robert Klein Still Can’t Stop His Leg, airing now on Starz.

Everything you need to know about the Bill O'Reilly sexual assault allegations, presuming you give a crap.

Chelsea Handler said on Howard Stern yesterday that she believes that the President MIGHT be suffering from syphilis.  She also talked about partying with the late Florence Henderson FYI.

Handler was pretty awful on The Daily Show.  Perhaps she was on something?  She did say that she likes to be buzzed on something every night.  Either way, she came across quite poorly in her interview with Trevor Noah  See for yourself.

An interview with comedian Tim Heidecker about his anti-Trump songs.

Per Deadline, "Comedy Central is sticking to its playbook, once again going with a Daily Show spinoff toplined by one of the program’s correspondents as an 11:30 PM strip. The network has picked up a new late-night talk show headlined by The Daily Show with Trevor Noah‘s Jordan Klepper reprising the persona he developed as a Daily Show correspondent. The new series will debut in the fall, serving as a Daily Show companion Monday – Thursday. The current 11:30 PM slot occupant, @midnight, will move back to its original midnight start time.

"Like with the two previous Daily Show spinoffs which aired behind the mothership series, The Colbert Report and The Nightly News with Larry Wilmore, both executive produced by Jon Stewart, the Jordan Klepper-fronted show will be exec produced by Stewart’s Daily Show successor, Trevor Noah, along with Daily Show with Jon Stewart alum Stuart Miller.

"There is very little information about the format of the new series, which is still in the beginning stages of development. Per Comedy Central, the show 'will look to embrace and define the chaos of our country by channeling Klepper’s steadfast attitude that institutions are to be trusted less than the lies of the mainstream media. He’ll surround himself with a hand-picked team of contributors contractually obligated to reinforce his singularly correct world view.'

"The description sounds in the vein of The Colbert Report, which also was built around the strong views of Colbert’s conservative persona and also featured correspondents.

"Comedy Central had been high on Klepper, who was hired by Stewart to join The Daily Show in 2014 and continued on to become the senior correspondent under Noah. Last year, the network signed a development deal with him to produce and star in a late-night talk show presentation."

I almost omitted this from today's post solely because the production company on this is the worst in this town IMHO.  That said, "Amazon is launching its first competition series.

"The streamer is in negotiations to order K-POP: The Search for the Next K-POP Superstar, a global competition docu-series that looks for the next K-Pop breakout. From A. Smith & Co. Productions and Cheyenne Enterprises, the series will follow aspiring K-Pop performers from around the world as they compete for a recording contract with a major music label.

"Contestants will work on their singing, dancing, acting and style on the show. They'll also have the chance to travel to Korea to participate in an immersive Korean language program so they can learn to sing in the language if they don't already know it. A panel of judges and mentors will preside over weekly training and performances and will send home anyone who’s not cutting it.

"K-POP: The Search for the Next K-POP Superstar marks the streaming service's continued push into reality programming. It joins the recently renewed football docu-series All or Nothing and big-budget motoring show The Grand Tour, among others."

I hope this is an epic fail.

"13 Reasons Why isn't just another teenage drama.  Netflix's newest original series,  created by Brian Yorkey and based on Jay Asher's best-selling novel by the same name, explores the dark traumas facing teenagers today.  

"Told from the eyes of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) and Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), the series explores why Baker decided to end her life. Baker uses 13 cassette tapes to reveal the reasons that led to her suicide.

"In sharing Hannah's story, the series shines light on socially current topics including harassment, bullying, rape, mental illness and teenage suicide."It's bizarre that we haven't had any TV series or film that actually addresses these issues in a way that is parallel to people's current knowledge of them," Langford tells The Hollywood Reporter.

"Executive producer Selena Gomez shares that sentiment. The singer and actress was originally attached to star as Hannah in a movie adaptation of the best-seller when it was first optioned by Universal Pictures in 2011 before she decided to stick solely behind the camera on the project. "I see myself as Hannah so much," she says. "I wanted it to feel like anyone can see themselves in this." 

THR spoke with Gomez and Langford about relating to the show's lead, Hannah, and what a second season could look like:

Can you talk about the challenges of adapting and bringing Asher's best-selling book to the screen?

Gomez: A book is frightening for me because I know the cult following it has, which is the reason why I didn't want to be in it. Originally, my mom and I found the project because I wanted it to be a transition piece. From that point on, a lot of people wanted to make it something that it wasn't. It can teeter on the line of being a little too preachy. Jay knew that my mom [exec producer Mandy Teefey] and I would be behind it for years, no matter how long it took to take it to that place.

Langford: The novel has such a huge fan base that Brian Yorkey and Jay Asher worked really closely making sure the show adheres quite strongly to what is in the book. We also expand on that world that Hannah Baker lived in, and we're able to see more of what happened around Hannah and not just what happens between Hannah and Clay. When we were cast, we were told we could either read the book or we didn't have to. We were told that the show is going to expand and be different. In the show, we cover a lot of really personal issues that are relevant to people today. In doing that, I hope we can further the dialogue about why this stuff is happening. And also bring across the message that the smallest thing you do can affect someone so significantly.

Katherine, what were your conversations with Selena like?

Langford: When I met her, it was the last day of set and she had just flown out from the AMAs, where she did that incredible speech and she said something about, "The people that know me, what they know about me is that I care about people." And that sums up Selena in a very truthful way. You can tell this story means a lot to Selena, and it means a lot to her fans. Even though Selena is Selena Gomez and ridiculously busy, Mandy and Selena were always there for us. They sent us emails and checked up on us and made sure we were OK. I give them so much praise for holding onto this story until they were absolutely happy with how it was going to be told. With Netflix, we were able to tell this story in a way it needed to be told. 

Do you personally relate to these stories?

Gomez: I see myself in Hannah so much. Seven years ago I did and even more so today, which I think is funny because it's backwards. The older I get the more insecure I get, which is odd. But that's something a lot of people can relate to. Her personality is a quiet strength. I've never really been the one to be in anyone's face. A lot of girls feel like they have to be a certain way for attention. Social media has amplified all of that. I get that she didn't want that to be what her life was.

How does the show address these issues compared to other shows geared toward young adults?

Gomez: I wanted it to feel like anyone can see themselves in this.

Langford: A lot of shows and a lot of films prior have tried to tackle these issues, but often end up romanticizing them or using them in a throwaway way as a plot device. The big difference with this show is that we're showing this in a really authentic and unflinching way. Something I'm really proud about is that there was a choice to respect the intellect of the audience. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds are not idiots. You know what sex is, you know about drugs, your friends are going through mental illness. It's bizarre that we haven't had any TV series or film that actually addresses these issues in a way that is parallel to people's current knowledge of them. We're not sugarcoating it. The thing I'm proud about is in respecting the intellect of the audience [and] people who may be going through depression, mental illness, bullying, anxiety -- whatever they may be going through -- for once it's going to be addressed in a way that's direct. Those people who may not know they may be going through mental illness, it might encourage them to speak out or ask for help. Or on the reverse side, it may prompt people to be more aware of what's going on around them and how what they're doing is affecting the people around them. 

Katherine, what were some of the hardest scenes for you to shoot? Hannah faces a lot of traumatic events, including being raped. 

Langford: To do them was tricky. I took a pretty heavy hit physically and emotionally. But I wanted to make sure that I did the character justice. I know there are so many girls out there who are Hannah. For me personally as someone who has never done a show or anything before, it was hard for me as an actor doing scenes like episode 12 and 13. They were challenging because they are issues that are so potent and intense and agonizingly painful to even think about. The scenes that we deal with, there was so much discussion about how to do it safely and making sure I was comfortable. 

The series shows Hannah's suicide in a graphic way. How important was it to show it in such detail and not glorify her death?

Gomez: You can either go really extreme with it where it's just vulgar and pointless, or you can go really cheesy. I'm somebody who is that audience that reads [and sees] that more than anything. 

Langford: Everyone really wanted to show it as truthful as possible. We realize that it is an important issue. The way it's being represented in past popular TV shows, it has romanticized it and used it as a plot device. When we shot that scene in particular, I had been playing her for six months and had gone through everything she had gone through up until the point, and I realized that this isn't just a story about Hannah. This girl represents so many people. And this story belongs to everyone who is watching it. It is confrontational and it is ugly, and we needed to show that because we needed to show the truth. I was also at the point of having played this girl for 16 hours a day, six days a week for six months, and when episode 13 came around, doing that scene was hard for me because I had to let her go. I grew so close to her as a person, and she's not just a character -- this happens to people every day. I didn't want to let her go. 

The first season runs 13 episodes, with each episode focusing on a different tape Hanna left behind, but it seems as if there could be more stories. Could there be more episodes? 

Gomez: We don't know what is going to go beyond it, but we know there are so many stories that lie beneath each character. That's why it became a series in the first place. So we'll see.

Langford: There's definitely more story to tell. It would be cool to continue the dialogue of this story. There are so many cliffhangers at the end of the season. At the end of the season, I had to sit back. I didn't think about what happens next. It's more of this feeling like, "Oh my God, that's the story that needed to be told.""

Per Deadline, "Freeform has set a six-week run for its first late-night entry — Truth & Iliza, hosted by comic and writer Iliza Shlesinger. The weekly show will launch at 10 PM Tuesday, May 2, on the Disney-owned cable net and its digital platforms.

"Each episode of Truth & Iliza will center on a themed question that the host will try to answer using audience interaction, field pieces, commentary and, of course, jokes. Shlesinger will draw from her decade of stand-up experience to focus on the sociopolitical issues of the day, providing a forum for viewers to discuss everything from the necessary to the inane to the taboo.

“'I’m so grateful to Freeform for inviting me to create a show that occupies a space between social commentary, politics, pop culture and my specific brand of comedy and feminism,' Shlesinger said. 'This show will inform, entertain, and it’s a great excuse to get a spray tan.'

"Shlesinger — who is coming off a national stand-up tour and will have her debut book published in the fall — created, writes and toplines the web series Forever 31, which has been renewed for a Season 2 on the ABCd app. Her third concert special, Confirmed Kills, is steaming on Netflix.

"She will executive produce Truth & Iliza along with Jon Thoday, Richard Allen-Turner, David Martin and Kara Baker from Avalon Television (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver). The Colbert Report alum Kim Gamble also is an EP.

“'We are committed to introducing culturally important narratives and voices to our viewers,' said Karey Burke, Freeform’s EVP Programming and Development. 'Iliza is one of those voices, and we can’t wait to bring her fearless, yet brilliantly funny social commentary and wit to our audience.'”

Hank Azaria has been promoting his new IFC show Brockmire, as he should be, and it looks great.  Here's an interview he did with Yahoo! [pared down]:

"Hank Azaria has won Emmys for creating wonderful animated and live-action characters, and his latest — disgraced sportscaster Jim Brockmire — may be his best one yet. The titular figure at the center of IFC’s new comedy, Brockmire is a 1970s-style baseball announcer, complete with plaid jacket and a neverending supply of pop-culture references he likes to drop into his play-by-play. His signature sign-off for every game is a shoutout to his wife, Lucy, so when he returns home unexpectedly one day to find Lucy in the middle of an orgy, he returns to work and has a NSFW on-air meltdown that goes viral.

"Disgraced, Brockmire flees the country for a decade, but returns home for a job offer with no knowledge that he is a viral video legend whose meltdown has become a verb. Lifelong baseball fan Azaria talked to Yahoo TV about how he’s been thinking about this character since he was a teenager, and how it was a perfect fit for the current climate of Peak TV. He also credits his talented behind-the-camera collaborators and co-stars Amanda Peet (as his boss/love interest) and Tyrel Jackson Williams (as the workplace social media expert and Brockmire’s unlikely new friend) for helping him make a series that exceeds even his expectations for his passion project:

I was expecting all the funny, but there’s also some sadness, some sweetness to Brockmire. And Jim Brockmire is just a great, great character.
It exceeded my expectations, honestly, and I had pretty high hopes for it, but I’m really, really happy with how this turned out. I would have been very happy with something that was just pretty sophomoric, smart, and funny. And it is that, but it also had a lot more depth, like you just said, and emotion, and reality than I expected it to have. And a good narrative, too; a very nice narrative. That’s thanks to Joel Church-Cooper especially, the writer, and our director, Tim Kirkby, as well, not to mention we were smart to cast it the way we did in a bunch of places, where we got actors who really kind of brought a little something more to it than was necessarily on the page.

How do you describe Brockmire?
(Adopting the Jim Brockmire voice) The show or the man? Or the legend? Which one? C’mon, be more specific.

How would you describe the legend, the man, Jim Brockmire?
Jim Brockmire’s an old school baseball announcer. He’s got the generic baseball announcer voice; not the iconic voice. Not like guys like Vin Scully or Rick Barber or Harry Caray — they’re iconic and very individual. This is sort of a down the middle, vanilla, everyday, what you heard, especially in the ’70s, kind of voice. And that voice fascinated me ever since the ’70s. And I always wondered, “Do these guys really always sound like this?” It was sort of the jumping-off point, comedically, for the character. It kind of became funny, the idea, “What if a guy like this lost his mind, would he still sound like this, first of all, and what would make a guy like this lose his mind?” The writer kind of got on to [the idea that] like baseball itself, a guy like this sort of represents time gone by. He’s sort of a man out of time, really, including catching up to things like the Internet. He says, “If I want porn, I’ll just buy a nudie mag like my father and his father before him.” So, this is a guy who is trying to catch up to the modern world even in that way, and has to kind of do it in a crash course that is very unpleasant. He’s become a meme.

That was the start of it: he’s a man out of time trying to catch up with it. But I got really lucky. I’ve gotten unlucky in the past when I’ve tried to develop television; it just wasn’t the right chemistry, which would mean the writer or right circumstance, whatever it is. I got, I think, phenomenally lucky this time with a guy who just got it even more than I did, kind of saw in the character a way that’s “let’s take a look at things like alcoholism, and the modern world, and the traditions of our American society as we try to move forward.” Given where we are now politically and everything, this show seems even a little bit more relevant than when we shot it.

The Brockmire character was introduced in a Funny or Die video, and the first thought was that it would be a movie, maybe, instead of a series. Why did you decide, ultimately, that it worked better as a series?
We failed to get the movie made. We actually were down the road in pre-production, and we lost our financing, and then spent about another year trying to reconfigure it and couldn’t. And then we sort of got the idea of, “Let’s try it as a cable series.” And then as we all thought about it, we’re like, “You know, it actually might be better suited as a cable series, anyway.”

I love this golden age of television we’re in, the way you can take time with a story and characters, and go in-depth and not rush things along or force an Act 3 kind of movie ending onto a story. Not to mention that Joel had been writing half-hour television the last five or 10 years. It’s a medium he knows better. He did a wonderful job with the movie script, but as he adapted it into eight episodes of a TV series, he added detail and depth, a deeper understanding of how to be funny and the rhythms and pace of a half-hour comedy. I think it ended up benefiting us.

Is this your favorite character you’ve ever created? It feels like you have that affection for him.
First of all, it’s been an idea that I’ve had in one way, shape or form since I was a teenager, literally. And it’s something that we’ve been actively trying to make for about 10 years. And there’s been a lot of trials and tribulations with it. And to just make it at all, it felt like a gift, and then to finish it, it felt like, “You know, I think we actually did a good thing.” Very, very exciting.

And I love baseball. When people ask me, “What do you aspire to do?” This is kind of it. A show like this. Not to mention, I’ve been doing television for about 30 years. This show was not even possible, you couldn’t have made it seven years ago; forget about 30 years ago. And some of the ways I’ve been frustrated in television in the past and not developed this, you’re just not allowed to curse, you’re not allowed to go to the dark side with characters, you’re not allowed to go dramatic with it for a few minutes in order to tell the story. It’s so thrilling to me, not just for this show, but to watch all these wonderful shows, like Transparent and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Game of ThronesStranger Things… To be able to watch all these shows get to do what they want to do and to be part of that is very thrilling for me.

No spoilers, but it is left open at the end of the season that there could be a Season 2. Have you thought about what it would be?
They’re all written, in fact, and we’re just awaiting. I’m pretty hopeful that we’ll get our pickup word pretty soon. I think we’re just figuring out the budget. I have to say, once again, Joel Cooper… no pun intended, but he knocked it out of the park with Season 2. It gets even darker and more real and more intense and funnier in many ways. It’s pretty exciting.

Are you a Royals fan, specifically? Is that why that’s who Brockmire worked for before the meltdown?
I grew up in Queens, so I’m a Mets fan. We felt that his demise and his meltdown is a little more shocking in a Midwestern sensibility backdrop, as opposed to, like, if you did that in New York or L.A., which would also have been shocking. But doing that in Kansas City is just so horrific for the character.

And I have to ask about Ray Donovan. You won the Emmy last year for playing Ed Cochran. Will we see him in Season 5?
You will not. No. They tried to work my character in, and the storyline just did not go that way for Season 5, but I’m fairly certain that in Season 6, Ed Cochran will return."

I am all in on this one.

"The Jersey Shore cast members have turned over a new leaf.

“'I definitely don’t drink as much anymore,' Vinny Guadagnino told Page Six of his current healthy lifestyle. 'I stay away from sugar and grains and do more of a Paleo-type thing.'

"Even though the Staten Island native, 29, still indulges in his mother’s Italian cooking, he’s learned that moderation is key.

“'I should have had pasta maybe once a week, not every day, and not every meal has to be a party,' he said at the Healthcorps Charity Gala at Chelsea Piers on Monday night. Referring to his formerly unhealthy eating habits he said, 'I wish I would have known this.'

"But one habit that Guadagnino and the rest of the cast haven’t ditched is the 'G' in GTL — the Shore crew’s famed love of 'gym, tan, laundry.'

“'We always went to the gym, right? We still work out, I just worry about my diet more,' he said.

"Guadagnino — who recently wrapped an online series for the Cooking Channel with his mom — isn’t the only Shore star to make healthy changes since the MTV show wrapped in 2012.

“'I think when you get older you realize "Wow, maybe I should start to take care of myself a little bit more,”' Sammi 'Sweetheart' Giancola told us, emphasizing that she’s nixed tanning, a favorite pastime of the show’s entourage.

“'I used to go tanning all the time but now I don’t like the way my skin looks,' Giancola, 30, said.

"Now, she chooses foods with her complexion in mind.

“'When I was growing up I didn’t care what I was putting in my body whereas now when I’m eating healthy, I look good I feel good about myself. I’d rather stay that way than feeling gross and down.'”