Monday May 15, 2017

I watched season 2 of Master of None on Netflix.  I actually thought it was fantastic.  It was much less a 5-hour romantic comedy, as was the case in season 1, and explored a myriad of topics in an interesting and unique way.  Save for the scene where Dev had his heart literally ripped out and it was a terrific effort, that carried itself through the very last scene.  More on Aziz below.

Cannot say the same about The Handmaid's Tale.  I'm struggling to get through this.  Five episodes in and I don't know how much longer I can stomach this slow paced bore.

To the people who felt the need to post Happy Mother's Day messages on social media, spend that time actually speaking to and showing true appreciation for your mother or wife or whomever it is that you're praising instead of trying to get likes and recognition from people who really couldn't care less about you or your mom.  Thanks.

CBS has canceled Two Broke Girls . . . finally.

They also 86'd Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.

R.I.P. Brad Grey.

Fox has canned 24: Legacy and Prison Break, execs announced today– though there might be a chance of escape to another revival eventually for the latter.

They've also canceled Scream Queens.

The network is also seemingly unhappy about losing American Idol to ABC.  It shouldn't be.

NBC has announced its fall schedule.

Jim Parsons got married over the weekend.  Mazel tov.

"New Girl is getting a proper goodbye. Fox has renewed the Zooey Deschanel-led comedy for a seventh and final season. While an official episode count has yet to be determined, sources say the final season will be a shorter run. New Girl ended its sixth season in April on an ambiguous note, with a finale written to serve as both a season and potential series ender. That's how uncertain Fox brass were about its renewal prospects. But even though the bloom was off the rose of the Deschanel starrer, it has been a steady draw — even in its sixth season."

"CBS is doubling down on Elementary and The Amazing Race. The network has renewed both of the shows, neither of which were among the 11 returning and five new series the network renewed in March. The procedural drama, which debuted in 2012, will return for its sixth season. Meanwhile, the long-running reality series will be back for its 30th. Elementary, a modern spin on Sherlock Holmes, scored a renewal despite being CBS' lowest-performing returning scripted series, averaging just a 1.2 rating in the key demo with a very old audience of 7.7 million viewers."

"As it gets set to wind down its debut season on Wednesday, IFC’s Brockmire already ranks as the network’s highest-rated new series, as well as cable’s most time-shifted new comedy.  Since launching April 5, the show starring Hank Azaria has averaged more than 500,000 live-plus-three-day viewers, according to Nielsen, racking up 8 million cumulative viewers plus another million via VOD and TV Everywhere. According to IFC, the show’s weekly audience nearly doubles on average within three days, making it the most time-shifted new comedy in cable. (Years ago, networks might have been reluctant to brag about time-shifted viewing, but it is now considered a badge of honor and a sign of standout content in today’s crowded, on-demand landscape.)"  This show is terrific and should be heavily considered come awards season IMHO.

An interview with Stranger Things' David Harbour about season 2.

Game of Thrones is considering a 5th spin-off?

Per Deadline, "[t]he race for A-list judges/coaches between NBC’s The Voice and ABC’s rebooted American Idol continues. After The Voice signed two of the most famous Idol alums, Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson, American Idol is in negotiations with the hard-to-get Katy Perry, who had turned down previous offers to be a judge on singing competitions, including Idol when it was on Fox.

"Perry, whose potential involvement in Idol was first reported by TMZ, would be looking to join host Ryan Seacrest who also is in talks to resume his duties on the revamp. Both are expected to command marquee salaries for what is shaping to be a big-budget Idol reboot.

"With the stake so high, it is not surprising that I hear ABC is looking to use its biggest telecast of the year, the Academy Awards on March 4, to launch the new Idol. Plans are still in flux but speculation if that Idol would launch the following night, Monday, and air Sunday and Monday. That would fit the 40 hours the Idol installment is expected to include into the rest of the 2017-18 season. If that plan sticks, we will see if ABC would opt to rest Dancing with the Stars, going to one installment a year.

"An earlier premiere for Idol is improbable as it would go against NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympic Games."

Per Variety, “Arrested Development fans could very well have reason to celebrate, with series star Jason Bateman saying he has 'officially signed on to more' of the cult hit series.

"Bateman tweeted on Friday: 'Look very probable I’m going to put some miles on the Stair Car this summer. Just officially signed on to more ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT today.'

"There has been considerable buzz surrounding a new season of the comedy for quite some time with cast members and producers teasing the likelihood of Season 5, though noting that scheduling issues caused some difficulty.

"Executive producer Brian Grazer said two years ago that he was working on 17 new episodes. Around the same time, Netflix boss Ted Sarandos teased a possible fifth season, telling reporters, 'We’re plugging along. It’s a long, complex deal … The talent is very busy… and it’s owned by Fox,' though he confirmed discussions with the cast were underway. About one year ago, series creator Mitch Hurwitz said he is outlining a new season, but would not start writing scripts until the cast was officially signed on.

"The sitcom went to Netflix for a fourth season in 2013, after airing for three seasons on Fox from 2004-2006. The series never achieved significant broadcast ratings, but garnered widespread critical acclaim. It was nominated for 25 Emmy Awards, winning six.

"In addition to Bateman, the cast included Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor, and Jessica Walter.

"Many of the cast members have commented on a future season, including Jeffrey Tambor, who in early 2016 told Variety at the SAG Awards, 'First of all, we’re always coming back and there’s always that,' moments after winning his award for Transparent. 'I think it’s prophetic that Jason Bateman handed me the award tonight and said, "Come on up, Dad.”'

"The timing of Bateman’s deal is also interesting, considering De Rossi just departed ABC’s Scandal on which she was a series regular for the past two seasons. She left the show on her own terms, but did not mention “Arrested Development” as reasoning for her exit."

Per The Ringer, "[w]hen Aziz Ansari hosted Saturday Night Live in January, it included, of course, the monologue segment. One problem: Ansari had just finished Master of None Season 2 and hadn’t done stand-up since his 2015 Netflix special. He had to put something together in just a month. On the latest episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, he explained how he did it.

“'I’m not even exaggerating, the night when I finished the cut [of Master of None], I went to some Christmas party and I ran into one of the people in the talent department at SNL,' Ansari said. 'She was like, "I’ve been trying to get you all day! We want to have you host!" And I was like, "Oh my god!”'

"He had never hosted SNL before, so this was a big opportunity.

“'It was something that I had always really wanted to do. Of course I was like, "Forget everything else I had planned, I’m going to do this.”'

"But the show was in a month, and Ansari had been on a stand-up hiatus while working on Master of None. He had only a short amount of time to get back into the groove. As a result, he often found himself at the Comedy Cellar in New York City practicing his routine. He wasn’t the only famous face that showed up.

“'That was a really crazy month of stand-up comedy. Because [Dave] Chappelle was dropping in, Louie [C.K.] was dropping in, [Chris] Rock was dropping in. Everyone was working on stuff. You would go to the Cellar, there was one time — they wrote a whole New York Times article about it — where it was [Jerry] Seinfeld, Rock, me, [Amy] Schumer, and Chappelle. And there were so many nights where someone would go to the Comedy Cellar and it’d be like, me, Louie, Rock. That happened all the time.'

“'That night, when they wrote the New York Times piece, that was the craziest thing I had ever seen.'

"All of these comedians have hosted SNL. Ansari took the opportunity to grab some advice.

“'So, I saw Louie, and I was like, "All right man, what do I do? How do I pull this off?" And he said, "No one will watch any stand-up set you do more than this. This will be the most watched stand-up set you’ve ever done." And he said, "Don’t try to write a set for this. Just do your best stuff and you’ll be fine." And I said, "Louie, I have no stuff, I’ve been shooting my show!" All my stuff was in my last special. And he’s like,"‘Oh, well you need to be here [at the Comedy Cellar] all the time.”'

"What followed was a whirlwind of stand-up events for Ansari.

“'The Comedy Cellar had all these shows for the holidays. So, they would do three shows a night in all of these [different] rooms. I would just do as many as I could. I would do like eight, 10 a night, just running back and forth. I came to L.A. and I would do the same thing at The Comedy Store. I was here for a few days and I would just go one after another. Someone would just grab me and I would just do all of the rooms.'

"Ansari’s SNL appearance was scheduled for the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. After that Friday, the mood shifted.

“'The day before was the inauguration. Everyone was just so down on that set. I’ve never been there, it was like something truly awful had happened. Everyone was so sad. … I was like, "Oh my god, what’s going to happen here?" And then the next day, that Women’s March boosted everyone’s spirits. I changed a few things because of that. I had to change it the day of, because everyone’s mood was totally different that day.'

"Chris Rock gave him the final boost he needed to make his monologue sing.

“'I was constantly talking to Rock and would send him files of things. He was super nice and very helpful. He sent me a text that I will never forget. He was like, "Look, it’s the day after the inauguration, you’re doing the monologue. Be big. Seize the moment."'"

From TheWrap: "Timeless fans, cast and crew were shocked last week after NBC decided to cancel the show, only to announce it was renewing it three days later.

"On a conference call with press on Sunday, NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt expanded on the network’s change of heart, and it came down to the fans.

“'We heard from fans and the outcry and we woke up the next morning and thought, "Let’s figure out how to bring it back,”' Greenblatt said. 'We went back to the drawing board in every way.'

"NBC said that the executives had high hopes for it when it debuted last fall — along with a roster of other time travel shows that were also launched across multiple networks.

“'We all love the show creatively and we were hoping for it to have a bigger audience in the fall,' Greenblatt continued. 'Once it came off the schedule in midseason, we thought, "Well, we love it, but can it grow, and do we have a place for it, and all those questions that you ask yourself when you’re looking at the renewal of a show that is a borderline.”'

"However, execs couldn’t find a room for the show in the network lineup and along with the dwindling ratings, decided to cancel it after just one season.

"The show averaged a 1.1 rating and 4.62 million viewers in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic — rising to an average of 2.1 and 7.97 million viewers with seven days of delayed viewing. But the same-day rating slipped as low as 0.6 near the end of its run in the post-“The Voice” Monday time slot.

"As soon as the news was announced, though, fans took to the internet to express their disappointment with the decision. Despite some low ratings, the show had gained a strong cult following, allowing for Timeless to join an exclusive group of shows that have been brought back from the dead. It’s also the only time travel show that premiered last season that has survived into the new year.

"In response to a question about whether the move was a marketing ploy for the show, Greenblatt quickly denied it.

“'I wish we were that clever,' he joked. But he added, 'we would never do that to the creators of the show.'”

"Two of publishing's biggest names are getting the small screen treatment.

"Bravo has greenlit a limited scripted series centered on former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor Tina Brown and Vogue chief Anna Wintour.

"Announced Monday as part of NBCUniversal's upfront presentation, All That Glitters is a six-part drama that will examine the rivalry and friendship between the pop culture and fashion icons. Based on Thomas Maier's award-winning book Newhouse, the series will look at the true story of Brown and Wintour's impressive ascents. As they have to fight their way to the top of a male-dominated industry driven by greed and betrayal, they each find new paths to change the world around them - Tina, through the intersection of high-culture and celebrity, and Anna with a gut instinct for high fashion and emerging talent. 

"Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal (Roots) will write with Maier, the latter whom will produce. Konner and Rosenthal will exec produce with Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead) and Judith Verno (Masters of Sex). Universal Cable Productions will produce in association with Sony Pictures Television."

Per EW, "13 Reasons Why fans now know what to expect from the show’s upcoming second season, whether it be more Hannah, potential justice for Jessica, or an answer as to whether Alex is still alive. But the show’s second season wasn’t always going to follow the characters fans met through the telling of Hannah Baker’s story.

“'When we sold the show, there were two ways we thought the show could continue,' showrunner Brian Yorkey tells EW. 'One way was continuing to follow these characters who really have been through tremendous trauma, all of them in some part coping with the trauma of Hannah’s death and the aftermath. [But] when we originally pitched it, there was another version, which was an anthology version where, in sort of True Detective mode, every year you start with a new 13 reasons.'

"Translation: If the show had chosen to go the anthology route, season 2 would have consisted of an entirely new cast of characters. 'I thought that was really interesting as well because I think there are all sorts of issues that could be discovered,' Yorkey says, before explaining why the 13 Reasons Why team ultimately chose not to go the anthology route. 'It became very apparent to me, somewhere in the middle of the season, that I wasn’t going to be done with these characters after the first season, that I would want to know more and I would want to follow them.'

"And now, we’ll get to do just that when 13 Reasons Why season 2 hits Netflix in 2018."