Thursday May 4, 2017

Well this is exciting: "After mentioning last night that he was working up plans for a Daily Show reunion of sorts on his Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Colbert and CBS have unveiled details today. Former Daily Showers Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Ed Helms and Rob Corddry will join Colbert on Tuesday, May 9 for the special episode, timed to coincide with Colbert’s 20th anniversary in late-night TV."  More on Colbert below.

Please stop telling us why we do or do not need another season of 13 Reasons Why.  Thank you.

What more do you need to know before you start watching Brockmire on IFC?

The Goldbergs rarely ever disappoints.

"Amazon Prime subscribers who’ve been using the service to binge older HBO series such as The Sopranos, Flight of the Concords, and Six Feet Under, take heed: A sudden departure is in the works. Richard Plepler, the network’s chairman and CEO, told investors today HBO has no plans to renew its output deal with Amazon Prime when it wraps up in May 2018. The move comes a week after Amazon started noting on its site that a number of big HBO shows would be leaving the service later this month, but then quickly backtracked and told Vulture a technical error was behind the messaging. 'HBO titles are not coming off the service and will remain on Prime Video,' an Amazon Studios spokeswoman told us last week. But it turns out that while the HBO shows are safe on Amazon for now, they won’t be sticking around long — and the decision isn’t all that surprising. As with most such streaming shake-ups, ever-shifting strategic goals explain why the HBO shows are leaving."

"Nashville and Smash vet Will Chase will soon be belting out a chorus of 'WTF?!' The actor-singer has joined Stranger Things‘ anticipated second season in a pivotal recurring role, TVLine has learned exclusively. He will play Neil Mayfield, the father of a family of recent transplants to Hawkins Indiana from California. Our guess? He’s the dad of the two new kids in town, played by American Odyssey‘s Sadie Sink and Power Rangers‘ Dacre Montgomery.  Much of Season 2 has been shrouded in secrecy, although a few details have trickled out. Here’s what we know: Mad About You‘s Paul Reiser and Lord of the Rings‘ Sean Astin have signed on for recurring roles, with the former playing a high-ranking member within the Department of Energy on a ‘clean-up’ assignment and the latter portraying a kindhearted former nerd who went to high school with Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Hopper (David Harbour). Danish actress Linnea Berthelsen, meanwhile, will play an emotionally damaged, magnetic young woman who suffered a great loss as a child. Although she does not live in Hawkins, she is mysteriously connected to the town’s supernatural events."

In case you're wondering what's up with Punky Brewster's Soleil Moon Frye.

Hands on with Hulu's new live streaming service.

Another half million people cut the cord Q1 of 2017.

"Does NBC see a future for Seeso? It doesn’t necessarily seem so. Vulture has learned that Evan Shapiro, head of NBCUniversal’s all-comedy streaming service, is leaving the company this week. Seeso, for the foreseeable future, will be run by Maggie Suniewick, president of NBCU digital enterprises, instead of operating semi-independently. (Shapiro had been reporting to Suniewick since October.) A source with knowledge of the situation says it is business as usual over at Seeso and that the moves won’t effect 2017: New programming will still premiere through the end of this year, productions aren’t shutting down, and the company is still signing up new subscribers. Moreover, Seeso recently unveiled summer premiere dates for a number of shows and premiered the pilot for new a series, There’s … Johnny, at the Tribeca Film Festival.  But beyond the near term, the future of Seeso is decidedly unclear. Multiple sources indicate the service is, for all intents and purposes, on its way out. Already, agents and managers Vulture spoke with say they’re now having a hard time getting people at Seeso to return calls. For now, NBCU is only confirming Shapiro’s departure."

Per TheWrap, "FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has responded to the stir surrounding Stephen Colbert’s “c— holster” joke on The Late Show earlier this week by reminding the outraged that 'it’s a free country.'

“'The FCC — outside of our decency rules — we don’t get into the business of regulating content,' Pai said in an interview Wednesday. 'What I can say is that I realize this is a politically polarized time and I would hope that everyone can participate in the public discourse in a way that’s civil and operates in good faith.'

"Pai’s comments came in an interview with Newsmax TV‘s Steve Malzberg on America Talks Live on Wednesday afternoon. Malzberg asked the FCC Chairman if he was 'considering any action' against CBS for the raunchy joke."

“'It’s a free country, and people are willing and able to say anything these days,' Pai said, referencing the First Amendment right to free speech and a Supreme Court decision limiting the FCC’s ability to sanction broadcasters for what they put on the air.

“'That’s one of the things we have to respect going forward, what the courts have said about our legal power in this area,' he said. 'By and large, unless it’s indecent, profane obscene under our rules or as interpreted by the Supreme court, the FCC’s authority here is pretty limited.'

"The joke came on Monday’s episode of The Late Show when Colbert rose to the defense of his CBS colleague John Dickerson, who became the target of President Donald Trump after a contentious interview on Face the Nation.

“'Mr. President, your presidency — I love your presidency — I call it Disgrace The Nation,' Colbert said before launching into a long string of insults that culminated in the line, 'the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c— holster.'

"Colbert soon came under fire from viewers who said the joke was homophobic or inappropriate, leading the hashtag #FireColbert to trend on Twitter the following day."

Per The Hollywood Reporter, "Amazon is bulking up its comedy roster.

"The streaming service is developing a half-hour untitled series starring Danny DeVito and Jeff Goldblum. Created by The Simpsons writer-producer Tim Long, the comedy hails from Imagine Television.

"In the series, DeVito and Goldblum will play an iconic music duo from the past, Matt Downey (Goldblum) and Arlo Finkleman (DeVito), who are forced to reunite despite their longstanding hatred for one another. As the talented but strong-willed pair attempt to reconcile, they turn to the people who somehow manage to love these two incandescent idiots — their wives, ex-wives, children, managers, friends and lovers — all of whom turn out to be as brilliant, infuriating and frustratingly lovable as Matt and Arlo themselves.

"Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo will serve as executive producers on the project alongside DeVito and Goldblum. Imagine TV's Jon Radler brought in the project and will oversee for Imagine, which is also behind EmpireArrested Development and 24: Legacy.

"The project is the latest in Amazon's lineup of shows from high-profile creators and stars. Among the series already in the works at the streamer: David O. Russell's mafia drama starring Julianne Moore and Robert DeNiro, Matthew Weiner's Mad Men follow-up The Romanoffs, Nicolas Winding Refn's crime drama Too Old to Die Young and Barry Jenkins' The Underground Railroad adaptation."

Not sure how this doesn't make it to series.

"Lifetime has greenlighted a beauty competition series executive produced by Kim Kardashian West. Also EP’d by Style Lab creator Diana Madison, Glam Masters will pit beauty bloggers against one another for an opportunity to be part of Mrs. Kanye West’s 'glam empire,' the cable net said.

"The logline: Each episode will feature four beauty bloggers who will go head-to-head to show they have the talent, charisma and vision it takes to be the next big name in the beauty world– all while facing expert judges who will critique every stroke of the contouring brush. The winner each week will qualify to advance to the semi-finals where the best will battle it out for one of three spots in the Tournament of Masters finale. In the end, only one of these beauty-obsessed bloggers will get to claim the title of Glam Master.

“'I’m such a beauty junkie and am fascinated by how artists are able to transform someone’s look with makeup and couldn’t be more ecstatic for them to show what they can really do,' Kardashian West said.

"Produced by Shed Media, a unit of Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative Television, Glam Masters will begin production in the summer, but no premiere date was set. Pam Healey, John Hesling and Dan Peirson executive produce for Shed Media, while Mary Donahue, David Hillman and Kim Chessler executive produce for Lifetime.

“'Kim Kardashian West is a social-media titan and a fashion icon. I’m thrilled she is on board to executive produce Glam Masters,' said Mike Darnell, President of Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative Television."

Per Uproxx, "'I’m sorry.'  That’s how The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman began his letter to readers in Issue #167 of the comic book series, which came out [yester]day. He was apologizing for the death of a long-time character, someone who was introduced in Issue #2, someone who was killed off long ago on the television show, someone who had a romantic relationship with Rick Grimes.

“'I’m sorry to my fans and to myself,' Kirkman wrote, 'and to Andrea.' After being bitten by a walker while protecting Eugene (what a troublemaker) a few issues ago, Andrea Grimes is killed by Rick with a knife after she reanimates. 'I had plenty of time to change my mind,' Kirkman continued. 'I had plenty of time to just not do it. I am in control of this story after all. But honestly, sometimes it feels like I’m not. This was one of those times… I don’t want this. I want Andrea to live. I want to write more stories with her. I want to see her and Rick grow old together, watching Carl grow up and have kids of his own. I want that kind of happiness for these characters. And yet, here we are.'

"There are two big differences between Andrea in the comics and Andrea on the TV show: she survived much longer in the former than the latter (she was killed in season three’s Welcome to the Tombs), and she and Rick never hooked up. It was more than just a hook-up in the comics, too — they genuinely loved each other. 'I can’t go on… not without you,' Rick pleads in the new issue, while watching Andrea fade away. 'I’m scared. I’m tired. I’m weak. I can’t do this anymore.' That sounds very similar to something TV show Rick told Michonne (who, for what it’s worth, is also still alive in the comics) last season.

"Which begs the question, should we be scared for Michonne?

"The TV show is on a different path than Kirkman’s comics, but it’s still using the same map. As noted by ComicBook.com, Michonne is 'filling in as the strong girlfriend of Rick Grimes. She has quickly become a mother figure for Carl. She has adopted the rifle skills Andrea has in the books and even portrayed the fake-out death where readers and character both thought [she] fell from a ledge after fighting a Savior in the season seven finale.' It wouldn’t be a surprise if showrunner Scott Gimple simply replaced Andrea with Michonne (probably around season 10 or 11, when things will start to get really interesting). There aren’t many OG characters, or at least long-time characters that would emotionally devastate Rick, left to kill."

"In a sprawling interview [which I've pared down] with The Hollywood Reporter, Zeke dives into his Game Changers experience in vivid detail, covering his earliest days on Nuku beach, the two subsequent tribe swaps, the real life and in-game fallout from being outed by Jeff Varner, his explanation for why he was voted out and what happened next, and much more:

How are you feeling, Zeke?

I'm feeling great. It's a little insane that the ride is over. Well, it's almost over. There's still the finale. But I've been doing Survivor non-stop since Halloween of 2015. Every day, Survivor has presented me with a new challenge. It's a little nutty that this ride has come to a close.

Let's start there, with the ending. What's your best explanation for how you were voted out of Survivor this time?

After what had happened with Varner, my life in the game was pretty short. It became abundantly clear on the first day of the merge. My name started getting tossed around, and the reason why is that nobody wanted to sit next to me in the end, because I had a very compelling story. The biggest sign was that I had a lot of great relationships with a lot of people, and all of the sudden, nobody was coming to me to talk to me, about anything. The events of what transpired at that Tribal Council were really never spoken of again, after I had the fireside chat with everyone after the merge feast. I would chase people down and we would have conversations, but they were very surface level. Even with people I was tight with, like Andrea and Cirie. We went from a ride-or-die final three deal to saying, "Let's lock in a really great final seven." I knew it was over. 

What happened at that Tribal is probably the meanest thing that's ever happened to me, and there was no calling my best friend or hugging my dad or even having a night alone to process. I made the decision on the way back to camp that you're either going to quit or you're going to play, and if you play, there's no crying, no woe is me, no sitting around moping. You suck it up and you play the bold and reckless way you play. When I saw that I didn't have a shot to win, that my time would be so immediately cut short — I knew it could come any day — I just said, "You gotta go out swinging, man. You have to swing your sword while you have a shot." Maybe if I wasn't on the tail end of a second season, and really running out of mental gas, maybe I would have had more patience. But where I was emotionally... I had been in Fiji for a long time. I agreed to do a second season within 48 hours of being voted out the first time. My life back home was already a question mark, and when [the outing] happened, I knew it was going to turn my life completely upside down. And my game life was in total chaos. So, dear god! What do you do? 

Well, I couldn't stop playing. Trans people report violence and hate crimes on a daily basis. Ninety percent of trans people report being harassed or discriminated against in the workplace, and often the result is depression or self-harm or suicide. I felt I was in a position where it was very important to model resilience. No matter when I went, I needed to go out swinging. Sure, I did not play well in the merge. I did not make great decisions. I'll give you that. My options were limited. I wouldn't do anything differently. I was proud that when I was backed into the corner and the cause was lost, I never stopped swinging my sword. 

Were you feeling burned out from playing two times back-to-back, even before the incident with Varner?

I think I was. There was a secret scene where I talked about losing a love for the blindside. I love Survivor. The first time you play, you don't know what it's like to get voted out or harbor regrets. I was having a pretty profound life experience in Fiji. I expected to get voted out third last season, and here I was now facing my second merge, finding new depths of myself. I was coming alive again out there. I saw that in my compatriots in 34. They weren't just pawns to be shot down; they were people for whom Survivor meant as much to them as it did to me. I was losing a bit of that edge. I don't think it negated that I wanted to win or play hard. I think I got a little less joy out of seeing people's torches snuffed.

You were part of the original Nuku, a tribe so strong that they are only now starting to vote each other out. What were those early days like?

It was very much boys versus girls. The boys immediately bro'd down and started fishing and building shelter, while the women were waiting on the outskirts. Everything was friendly. The camp was amazing. We had so much food from the marooning. The beach was beautiful. We had so much firewood. There were all these cool goats running around. Those were some of the most miraculous days on Survivor. Cirie and Andrea were quickly on the outs, but they were the two I was tightest with. Sierra Dawn Thomas and I found each other in the middle and the question was, "Do we go with the boys or the girls?" I think we would have gone with the boys and voted out Cirie, and Andrea if we had to subsequently, but we never had to test those relationships. The most meaningful connection I formed was with Sarah Lacina at Nuku. We immediately connected. We both liked to roll our eyes at Brad Culpepper's stories. I was glad I got to play the entire game with her.

You reach night six. The tribes are getting reshuffled the next day. Did you know a swap was on the horizon, and if so, what were the conversations at camp like?

Mana lost two challenges. We had ten people. We knew we were swapping and we felt good that we would have the majority in a couple of tribes. We were "Nuku Strong," and we stayed that way through the entire pre-merge. The original Nuku never turned on each other, until Ozzy, who was the first to be done dirty by a fellow Nuku. I think that Brad, Sierra, JT and Debbie all felt solid together, but I felt that I knew where I stood with the Culpepper alliance. I knew they were wary of me. I had stronger relationships with Sarah, Andrea and Cirie, who were on the bottom of the tribe. I didn't feel "Nuku Strong," but the way the swap worked out, it made sense to stay that way. 

Just to explore Ozzy for a moment, one of the catalysts of Varner's explosion at Tribal Council was his belief that you and Ozzy were a tight pair. Was there truth to that?

Ozzy and I did have a strong relationship, and I did not want him to go home. I wanted him to stick around for a while. But it was hard for me to know exactly where my trust was with Ozzy. The quintessential Survivor skill is the ability to make others feel comfortable, and he doesn't have that ability. I felt like Ozzy should trust me. I have an unknown strategic threat aura about me, and Ozzy is Ozzy, so we should stick together. But I still didn't know if he trusted me. That's why he was eventually voted out. No one knew where Ozzy stood. That's important. It's important to have options, but people need to have a sense of where you stand. I think Ozzy would play for a fifth time, and that would be the one piece of advice I would give to him. Let people know where you stand, bro.

How are we supposed to forgive you for voting out Sandra, the only two-time winner in Survivor history?

I paid for it, didn't I? If anyone did penance, it was me! (Laughs) Here's what I would say about Sandra. We met her, and she was the coolest. As a haughty fan, I was one of those people who felt Parvati should have won against Sandra in Heroes vs Villains. That changed immediately when I met Sandra. She knows exactly what she's doing. She's pretty incredible. We saw that, and that just underscored why she needed to go. If you release Sandra into the merge, I think there's a 75% chance she becomes a three-time winner. Even if she doesn't win, but she makes it to six or four or five? If you let her get past you, you're going to kick yourself that you didn't take the shot when you had the chance. You did feel like you were part of Survivor history, but it was out of respect.

You wrote extensively for THR about what happened next: Varner outing you at Tribal Council. What has life been like for you in the three weeks since "The Episode" aired?

I'm still making sense of everything that happened. The way I approached it was, I have nine months to prepare for this thing, to bolt the furniture to the ceiling, because my life is going to be turned upside down, and I didn't know what was going to happen past April 12 at 8:48 PM on the east coast. I just knew I would control everything I could control. I wanted my version of events out there in a couple of different forms, and we'll just see. There was no way to plan for what happened next. 

I was surprised at how overwhelmingly positive the reaction was. How well reported it was by the media. Everything reported it well. I was prepared for salacious headlines and dredged up photos from my past. I was prepared to be re-victimized. That the outrage was all toward the wrongdoer and the sympathy was towards me, and that people went out of their way to not even call me the trans Survivor player, but Zeke the Survivorplayer who is transgender — using the long way of writing about it — I was really overwhelmed. It was a unique moment in the way trans people are handled in the public eye. I'm very humbled and still awestruck at what happened. 

I also can't believe how wide it went! I was in a gas station in Los Angeles, and TMZ came on, and I heard the words "Tribal Council," and somehow, it was great. Holy smokes, there's even a Breitbart article that was well-reported and quoted GLAAD in a non-ironic way. I didn't anticipate how much love I received. I would say there was maybe a slim one percent of negativity that was almost not even noteworthy, because there was this outpouring of love, and people wanted to share their stories and tell me about conversations they were having with their kids or their parents or LGBT people who reached out. I don't know. I'm a goofy guy who wears dumb shirts and has a ridiculous mustache and doesn't get haircuts often enough, you know? I went to go run around in my underwear on a reality show. That all of this happened? I still don't know [how to process it].

Some people openly wondered whether CBS should have aired this moment. What are your thoughts on this, as the person at the heart of the matter?

I spoke about this on The Talk the day after the episode aired. I very much wanted it to air. First, I didn't go on national television unprepared for the world to know that I'm trans. I was ready, should that part of my life become part of my Survivor story. But I wasn't crazy about the way it happened. It never crossed my mind that it shouldn't air. Ever since it happened, I felt it was important for the world to see. The way my tribe mates reacted, and the way Jeff Probst reacted, is a case study in how you should respond to injustice. It also marks a moment in the way trans people are accepted in this country, that everyone knew what he did was wrong, immediately. Even people who aren't well-versed in trans issues, like Sarah Lacina, knew what he did was wrong. They overwhelmingly rebuffed his actions. That was important for the world to see. 

You're being a negative nancy if you think it's a dark moment or a mar on Survivor history. It certainly started in a dark place, but the conduct of my tribe mates and the masterful conducting of Jeff Probst definitely made it into something great. We have to tie this conversation with how trans people are represented in media. There's no greater example than how I was treated by Survivor and CBS. From the minute I approached them [to play], they told me that they wouldn't sensationalize or exploit anything. When it did happen, they always said that I was going to lead them. I had no say in the editing or how the episode went down, but they told me I was going to lead them in how I wanted to handle the reaction. All the way back in Fiji, Jeff Probst and I had conversations about how those nine months were going to go down...

And when did these conversations start? After you were out of the game?

Yeah, about two days after I was voted out. One of the things he made clear is they were not going to tease it or promote it. They weren't going to treat me with kid gloves. They weren't going to lionize me. He said, "There are people who are going to want to exploit you, and I am going to fight them. That's what I promise you. And I also promise that if you want to hide in a hole, or if you want to lean into it and use this to help others, then I will be with you every step of the way fighting with you." Jeff Probst has kept every single one of his promises. I have usually found it true that you should not meet your heroes. Jeff Probst is a bright, shining exception to that. He promised me: "I am never going to leave you hanging." And he has never let me hanging. The commitment he has led with was modeled by CBS and the Survivor crew. Joe Lia, a fantastic filmmaker and storyteller who was the supervising producer of the episode, has been a friend. He's always been a phone call away. I've called him in moments of crisis. He has always wanted to listen, to understand the significance of what went down, the history of words like deception. He wanted to do this right. Everyone did. That's something trans people have long desired: to be listened to and to have their stories told. This is how you do it.

You, Andrea and the others came back together to vote out Debbie. How were you able to put your differences aside for this vote?

Because Debbie pooped on the bamboo in the middle of camp. 

Excuse me?

There was a pile of bamboo in the middle of camp, and one night, Debbie woke up and pooped on it. She blamed a cameraman, but we all knew Debbie pooped on the bamboo.

How are you so certain?

You can't wake up in the night without waking people up. We all knew Debbie pooped on the bamboo. It's not why Debbie was voted out, but it's a fun Debbie story. (Laughs) But I epically apologized to Andrea a few times. It's Survivor, so the gloves are off, and you make the moves you think are in your best interest. I was also right, that we were not in the numbers. I wanted to go with Sarah, and she wanted to go with the numbers. So Andrea and I healed, we were able to vote together, and the truce was to the loved ones visit. We were going to stay six strong until then. 

After you're voted out, you're sent to Ponderosa as the fourth member of the jury. What were those final days of the season like for you?

It started pretty wildly, because I was voted out the day before the loved ones visit, and my father was in Fiji. Ozzy told me that night that I was going to see my father the next day. The next morning, I woke up and was taken to a different resort in Fiji and my father and I were given a bungalow and an open bar tab and a day to spend with each other. It was an infinitely better loved one visit than you normally get on the show!

You applied for Survivor because you loved the show. As you mentioned, you competed in Survivor simulations in Brooklyn. You went out for your first season, and did well enough to get the call back for the very next season, in which this life-changing incident occurs. Where are you with Survivor now, as a fan?

I would never have chosen this to be my Survivor experience. In fact, if you would have told me that this is the Survivor experience I would have had — if I could peek into the future — I wouldn't have done it. I wouldn't think I was capable of doing it. But what Survivor strengthened in me was resiliency and adaptability. Those muscles grew quite strong, so that when I did encounter something that I did not want to encounter, I knew I had it within me to turn something dark into something very positive. Although I wouldn't wish what happened on anyone, I am very proud of the man that Survivor forged. Without Survivor, none of this happens. I'm not the guy who responds the way I did at that Tribal. I'm certainly not the guy who can stand pretty tall today. As complicated as it is, I will forever be grateful to Survivor for turning me into the person that I am today.

What's next for you?

I have a few irons in the fire, and a few passions. I have always been a queer history nerd. The people I have met over the past few months, and the worlds I have been introduced to, remind me how excited I am by figures in the LGBT world that are badasses and you would not think they're badasses. There are so many great figures in LGBT history who were not recognized in their time, because this movement has happened so fast and so quickly. I think a lot of young LGBT people are not as connected to our history, and I think it's really cool. If I can help connect them to that history, and give people who are so instrumental in making it a chance to speak before it's too late? That's what I would really like to do next."