Tuesday May 16, 2017

Bravo Vince Gilligan.  You are turning Better Call Saul into one of the best. S'all good, man.  More below.

CBS has canceled The Odd Couple.

ABC has renewed Quantico for a 3rd season.

NBC released a five-minute trailer for its reboot of Will & Grace.

Here are the trailers for all of Fox's new shows.

HBO has renewed The Young Pope, sort of.  They have greenlit a series they are calling The New Pope.  Either way, I won't be watching.

Bill Cosby will not testify at his upcoming assault trial.  More on this misfit below.

At its upfront sales presentation yesterday, Fox announced that it will join NBC by offering advertisers packages that are not based on conventional Nielsen ratings. Fox will guarantee the number of viewers that ad messages will reach on TV as well as digital platforms based on the Video Quality Score from Oracle’s MOAT.

Aziz Ansari recapped episode one of season 2 of Master of None in great detail.

And EW has some book suggestions if you liked season 2 of Master of None as much as I did.

Well-played Andy Cohen.

Why The Walking Dead will never be canceled.

And why millennials can't afford to buy homes.

Former Real Housewives of New Jersey cast member Dina Manzo and her boyfriend, Dave Cantin, were victims of a home invasion this past weekend after two robbers broke into their New Jersey townhouse.

"ESPN’s popular radio program Mike & Mike officially has an expiration date. The network announced during Tuesday’s Upfront presentation that Mike Greenberg’s new morning show will premiere on January 1, 2018 without Mike Golic. 'One of the many benefits of working at ESPN is that change and evolution are in our DNA,' Greenberg said. 'My run with Golic has been an incredible experience that I’ll always treasure, but having the chance to engage multiple voices every morning in a dialogue on each day’s sports stories will be a great new challenge.' Greenberg will be joined by several full-time co-hosts and a rotation of various guests and expert contributors, while Golic will remain on the radio. ESPN Radio will debut its new morning drive show hosted by Golic and Trey Wingo later in the fall."

Per Deadline, "[t]he upcoming eight-episode seventh and final season of Fox’s New Girl, which was picked up yesterday, will feature a time jump. But before we get to that and other details about Season 7, let’s look back at the wild past few days when the comedy series went from a shoo-in for a 13-episode final season to the brink of cancellation to an eight-episode renewal.

"New Girl has been an important show for Fox and sibling 20th TV: It was the network’s first big comedy hit in a long time, it became the first big SVOD sale of a current broadcast comedy series to Netflix for a reported $900,000 an episode, and six seasons in it continues to be Fox’s highest-rated comedy series. So when the Season 6 finale came and went last month, everyone assumed the comedy was getting one more chapter for a proper sendoff. But as broadcast series renewals and cancellations started rolling in midway through last week, a shocker hit the rumor mill — New Girl was getting canceled. While the show did not officially get the ax, it came very, very close to it.

"I hear that was because of various reasons (for instance, star Zooey Deschanel is on maternity leave having just given birth to her second child), most if not all main cast members would not be able to return to work until the fall. With the logistical challenges, no space on the midseason schedule and a Season 6 finale that tied in a bow so many loose ends, the network leaned heavily toward not going with a seventh season.

"That’s when I hear creator/executive producer Liz Meriwether made a last-minute call and pitched a final-season arc that turned the tide. I hear it features a time jump, with Season 7 picking up three years after the Season 6 finale, in which Jess (Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) rekindled their romance, Cece (Hannah Simone) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield) became expectant parents, and Winston (Lamorne Morris) called his father.

"I hear Season 7 would feature major milestones for all main characters over the period of one year, including a big one in the series finale.

"I hear that pitch got everyone excited. Fox’s midseason schedule was revisited. After some discussions, the network’s executives were able to find a stretch of eight weeks for New Girl. Next, the actors’ deals had to be renegotiated to lower their guarantees from 13 to eight. When that was also done, with not a minute to spare, New Girl was officially renewed Sunday, just a day before Fox’s upfront presentation.

"So, after a roller-coaster final stretch, a show with a long and successful history on Fox will get a proper send-off from the network and give fans a chance to say goodbye, instead of an after-the fact cancellation."

THR interviewed Better Call Saul writer Anne Cherkis.  "Check out the full Q&A...

I talked with Gennifer Hutchison a couple weeks ago and she was saying that episode assignment on this show is a bit of a lottery. What was your reaction to getting to be the writer to finally introduce Saul Goodman to Better Call Saul?

I was so excited. It is a lottery and so you get what you get, which is always great, but I was very excited and I guessed that it would be tremendously fun to write it and then to watch it being produced. And I was right. It was fantastic.

How long has this particular domino run of events leading up the commercial that ends Monday's episode been on the storyboards? How long have y'all known that this was the set of things that had to happen to get us to Saul Goodman in some form?

As you probably have gathered from speaking to other Better Call Saul writers, we don't do a lot of planning. We do some in terms of what may happen in a season, but in terms of very specific things, we mostly go episode-by-episode. I can't remember exactly, but I'm pretty sure that this was not planned too far in advance.

We obviously knew that we wanted to plant our Saul Goodman flag this season and we weren't really sure how we were going to do it. We just knew that we wanted to do it in some way. As we were breaking this season and we were coming up on this episode, we started to understand the repercussions of the tape of Jimmy's break-in and then the repercussions of the pre-prosecution diversion and what Jimmy actually had to do to fulfill the requirements for the PPD. I think that's when we started to come up with this idea of, "Well, he's not going to be a lawyer for a year, so what is he going to do?" That brought on many, many ideas about "What could Jimmy McGill do?" Then we came upon the idea that he has all of this air-time that he's pre-bought for his "A lawyer you can trust" commercial and he's going to lose a lot of money and he needs to somehow recoup that. That led us to making a commercial and in that, we had the idea that he can't make this commercial as Jimmy McGill because, as he says, it was off-brand. It went from there. Then we came up with this idea and it was perfect.

The whole way that it goes down is just pure Jimmy, just making this decision off-the-cuff, just like Jimmy always does, and then in that way we plant the Saul Goodman flag and we meet Saul Goodman because of this very practical reason, which I love. It's just a really fun way to meet Saul Goodman.

Had the planting of the Saul Goodman flag felt like it was putting pressure on you? Like did you get through the end of last season and go, "Well, I guess that was another season that went by where we didn't do it and next year we really have to"?

Yes, in that I do think that when we're in the room and we're breaking the stories, it is always in the back of our minds, obviously, or maybe not so far back. So yes, this season we knew that we wanted to do that. Yeah, there is a little bit of pressure, but with this group of incredibly talented writers, I think we all knew that it was in the cards and that we would figure out a way to do it. You just want to figure out the best to do it, or the most fun way. I really think we did.

And I like that, as it happened here, it could just be a little blip. It's not like he became Saul Goodman, fully formed, forever. It's something he did for this purpose. It's utilitarian. Where do you think this moment finds him on that journey to being Saul Goodman permanently?

I do feel that we have started to see and we will continue to see this season, Jimmy act very Saul-like. I think that we have been building towards that and so there are specific things that he has done throughout this season and, of course, the rest of this season that we haven't seen yet, we will see that. I do think that because of this deterioration of his relationship with Chuck, it is pushing him in that direction.

The scene with Rebecca, Jimmy and Kim is a tough one, because we've been booing Chuck all season long and everything Chuck has done seems worse than the thing before, but we still have to want or expect that Jimmy will still do the right thing for his brother. And he doesn't. How did you want that scene to work as a pivot to Saul?

We're picking up almost right where we left off last episode and we knew that we wanted to see Rebecca one more time. It's important to tell the audience that there's no question about where Jimmy's head is at regarding Chuck. And you're right, the Jimmy that we've known up until now, or certainly before he knew he was taped, would have immediately gone to help, but we've reached, I feel, the point of no return in terms of their relationship and now we know that. It's hard, because we know that Chuck is sick, but we also know what Chuck has done to Jimmy and Jimmy has finally, after all these years of taking care of his brother, he's finally put his foot down. Honestly, he's probably been better to his brother than most people, or other brothers, would have been. He's put up with so much crap. I don't think that Jimmy particularly liked taking his brother down. I know that deep-down, this was really hard for him. I just feel that, just knowing that character. But he did what he had to do.

You also got to introduce another key piece of the Breaking Bad mythology. When things were getting structured in the room, why was this the right time and circumstance with Gus to bring in Lydia?

That was so much fun to get to see her. We have been talking about giving the audience more backstory in terms of Gus and a big part of his operation is the super-lab. We just thought it would be really fun and we just had this opportunity to do this very quiet scene with no dialogue of him just looking at this potential space for his empire. We had had a number of ideas of just going back into Gus' origin story in terms of his organization and we finally thought it would be fun to see the laundry and then, given that, we had the idea to bring Lydia into it. He and Lydia obviously have been doing business. We don't know how long it's been since they started, but she's the one who basically brought this property to him, knowing that he has big plan.

When it comes to introducing a Lydia or going into any of these points of overlap and backstory, what is the dynamic in the writers room between the many writers who are Breaking Bad veterans and those who are Saul only?

Sure, the people who worked on Breaking Bad have more experience with those characters, but we have this board in the room and tacked to it are all of these index cards with the name of every character from Better Call Saul or Breaking Bad that we can come back to, so that's there for everybody. Anybody can bring up anybody, any of these characters, and just propose it. That's how it happens. Somebody like Tom Schnauz or Gennifer Hutchison, maybe they would naturally think of that before maybe I would, but we all participate in that fairly equally.

Last week was only the Jimmy storyline. A week or two before that we had the episode that started off with nearly half of Mike-only. I'm curious how things have evolved this season when it comes to varying the back-and-forth Jimmy-Mike storyline structure. 

It all happens very organically. We don't have any sort of mandate like, "These characters need to be in this episode" or "These particular characters need to be in that episode." We're pretty fluid. We decide what happens in each episode based on what needs to happy story-wise. 

The first part of the season, yes there was a lot of Mike. It's because that story that we were trying to break about how Mike figures out who got the drop on him, it just took us down that road that, for whatever reason, just took up more story. There was something interesting there that we wanted to pursue and that's where it took us. In terms of last week's episode, it was the same thing. We knew that we wanted to have the bar hearing and when we started talking about it, we realized that we needed to give it a lot of time and we eventually decided, "You know what? We've never done this before, this episode we're basically going to be doing, for the first time, our version of a courtroom drama." We needed the time and so we just decided, "Alright, let's just go for it, because we want to tell this story in the best way possible." So that's just what ended up happening. 

In this episode, that is over or almost over, and the world opens up to us again and we can come back to Mike. For instance, this is a very Nacho-heavy episode, because we've seen Nacho just a little bit and now we have the time and the space to bring Nacho into the story. It's an organic, free-form type of storytelling."

"Kevin Costner is coming to the small screen.

"The Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy winner has been tapped to star in Paramount Network's Taylor Sheridan drama series Yellowstone, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

"Yellowstone — picked up straight-to-series as the first show developed specifically for the rebranded Paramount Network — revolves around the Dutton family, led by John Dutton (Costner), who controls the largest contiguous ranch in the U.S. that is under constant attack by those it borders: land developers, an Indian reservation and America’s first National Park.

"The 10-episode drama from Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water, Sicario) is described as a study of a violent world far from media scrutiny — where land grabs make developers billions, and politicians are bought and sold by the world’s largest oil and lumber corporations. Where drinking water poisoned by fracking wells and unsolved murders are not news, but a consequence of living in the new frontier. It is the best and worst of America seen through the eyes of a family that represents both.

"'Our goal is to bring premium cinematic storytelling to television. With an icon such as Kevin Costner in front of the camera, and the renowned Taylor Sheridan behind the camera, we are off to a great start,' said Keith Cox, president of development and production at Paramount Network and TV Land. 'We are thrilled to have such a celebrated actor as Costner to play the lead role in such an important project for Paramount Network.' 

"Sheridan will write and direct Yellowstone. John and Art Linson (Sons of Anarchy, Fight Club, Heat) will exec produce alongside the Weinstein Co.'s Harvey Weinstein and David Glasser as well as Sheridan. Costner will also be credited as an EP.

"Yellowstone is Costner's first series regular role. He won an Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award for his role in the History miniseries Hatfields and McCoys, and counts Dances With Wolves, Hidden Figures, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, JFK and Untouchables among his credits. The actor, repped by WME and Rod Lake, earned best picture and best director Oscars for Dances With Wolves."

Per TheWrap, "NBCUniversal officially kicked off the 2017 broadcast television upfronts this morning from Radio City Music Hall, when Comcast’s prized small-screen media company pitched advertising executives on next year’s schedule.

"Here are seven things that stood out from the annual ad sales event:

It Was Looong
The presentation — which combined both NBC/Telemundo broadcast and all NBCUniversal cable — lasted a hair under two hours, though it felt more like three. Thankfully, NBC provided attendees with a granola bar, a bottle of water, and some classy popcorn. That helps.

The Voice Is Getting a Coach With Chops
Jennifer Hudson opened this morning’s event by absolutely crushing And I’m Telling You. Unfortunately, the speaker volume didn’t do the Dreamgirls star and Voice Season 13 coach any favors — either it was way too loud in there, or this writer is getting way too old. Possibly both.

Will & Grace Pre-reunion Reunion
Without a doubt, the most impressive part of NBCU’s giant sales pitch was how seamlessly and hilariously a pre-recorded Will & Grace sketch-turned-musical turned into a live performance, complete with the cast members rising from beneath the stage, accompanied by a full orchestra. Yeah, it was cool — watched the pre-taped part here.

The Cell Phone Cameras Came Out — and Stayed Out
It didn’t hurt that NBCUniversal owns cable channel E!, which owns — err, employs — Kim and Khloe Kardashian, who were in attendance. The cast of This Is Us were treated to a ton of smartphone flash photography, as well World of Dance and Shades of Blue star Jennifer Lopez. If you want to see what we’re talking about, check pretty much any advertising exec’s Instagram this afternoon

Seth Meyers Kills
NBC saved its Late Night host for last this time — and as usual, he delivered. Click here for Meyers’ best jokes. Seriously, don’t sleep on Meyers in the conversation of late-night’s best.

Though the Best Laughs May Have Come From Law & Order: SVU
Yes, you read that right. A pre-taped sketch of rapper/actor Ice-T interrogating NBC executives in SVU character was way funnier than the premise may sound — especially when he asked them all if they’re afraid of ad sales boss Linda Yaccarino. The answer? “Everybody’s afraid of Linda Yaccarino.”

Megyn Kelly Is “Here” and “Psyched”
The new NBC daytime and Sunday prime host didn’t say anything beyond that. Like, anything. Sorry to disappoint, Fox News haters."

Per The New York Post, "Bill Cosby said the sexual allegations launched against him could be due to racism during an interview Monday as the legendary comedian prepares for his sexual assault trial next month.

“'Could be. Could be,' Cosby told Sirius XM’s Michael Smerconish, referring to new racism charges made by Cosby’s daughter, Esna.

“'There are so many tentacles. So many different – "nefarious" is a great word. And I just truly believe that some of it may very well be that.'

"Ensa Cosby released an audio statement Monday that said 'racism has played a big role' is her father’s sex scandal.

“'The accusations against my father have been one-sided from the beginning,' Esna Cosby said.

“'I’ve witnessed my father’s reputation and legendary works be dismissed without any proof.'

"Bill Cosby also questioned the timing of the allegations, claiming they were made all at once to sway public opinion.

“'So, the piling on, so to speak is a way — and certainly an impressive, impressive way to get public opinion to come to the other side,' Cosby told Smerconish.

The interview airs this morning. on Sirius XM’s channel 124.

If Joe Morton doesn't play Bill Cosby in the screen adaptation of this saga, I give up!

From BGR: "Netflix is among a small handful of companies that are known far and wide for having decidedly pro-consumer policies. Needless to say, that’s a rare characteristic among businesses in the technology and consumer services industries. Netflix regularly fights for pro-consumer causes such as net neutrality, and the company has never been shy in voicing its opinions. At the moment, however, the company is testing a new policy that is the exact opposite of pro-consumer. In fact, some people out there might consider it to be the most anti-consumer move Netflix has ever made.

"Even when Netflix has raised its prices in the past, most users shrugged it off as a necessity for the company. After all, Netflix is a publicly traded corporation with a responsibility to shareholders as well as to its customers. But the company is currently running a test in Australia that can’t be shrugged off. In its essence, this new Netflix policy would hike the monthly price of Netflix service for anyone who signs up during the most popular time period for Netflix binge watching.

"As first reported by The Australian, Netflix is trialling a new policy that will increase the monthly subscription cost by as much as AU$3 for users who sign up over the weekends. So, users who sign up a new Netflix account over the weekend would be charged AU$9.99 instead of AU$8.99 a month for the Basic plan, the Standard plan would rise from AU$11.99 to AU$13.99 a month, and the Premium plan would increase from AU$14.99 to AU$17.99 a month.

"Netflix confirmed the tests in a statement, but made clear that it currently has no plans to actually implement the new policy in Australia or anywhere else.

“'We continuously test new things at Netflix and these tests typically vary in length of time,' a Netflix spokesperson. 'In this case, we are testing slightly different price points to better understand how consumers value Netflix. Not everyone will see this test and we may not ever offer it generally.'”

Per Uproxx, "The Purge is one of America’s most fascinating (if sometimes undercooked) thriller franchises at the moment. The series centers around the one night a year when all law enforcement is suspended and everything, short of attacking government installations, is legal, including murder. But the TV series, it turns out, won’t be dealing with the Purge, but the fallout during the other 364 days a year.

"The show will be overseen by the series’ creator, James De Monaco, who will be writing and directing the series as well, and while it will feature a Purge, it’ll also delve into why Americans are so intent on killing each other in an America run by a fascist dictatorship. It’ll also air simultaneously on two networks, both USA and Syfy, building up to the fourth Purge movie, arriving in 2018. This might, believe it or not, fill in an odd gap in the series’ logic: Why the hell is everybody so intent on killing each other, instead of looting, robbing banks, and generally stealing stuff? Seriously, here in America, burglaries were one hundred times more common than homicides. The real Purge would backfire because it’d just be Heist Night in America where everybody steals TVs.

"Anyway, the show will help fill in a few of the gaps the movies necessarily gloss over, like how the hell this happened in the first place. Considering The Purge isn’t a subtle franchise, we fully expect it to spend a lot of time ripping on the current administration. After all, they already have the creepy masks."