Wednesday June 21, 2017

Peter Gould on what helps make shows like Better Call Saul such a success and a quick update on season 4: "There's a term that I learned in the Breaking Bad writers room, we used to call it 'schmuck-bait.' We learned it from the aptly name George Mastras, because he is a master and a maestro. George taught us this term 'schmuck-bait,' which basically means making it look like something big has just happened in order to get the audience to keep watching and then taking it back at the first possible opportunity. It's a bait-and-switch, the shows that make it look like somebody's dead or somebody's facing a certain horrible fate and then you see a commercial and as soon as the commercial's over, it's off the table. Our show, we try to think about consequences, not about tricking the audience or hiding things to fool the audience. We try to face down the consequences head-on as much as we can. But this is a long-winded way of also saying that the season four writers room has not opened as yet, so anything that wasn't on the screen is still fair game in my book."

The season finale of Fargo airs tonight.  We're losing two great ones in the same week.

CBS will air the 11 unaired episodes of Doubt, which has been canceled.

Daniel Day-Lewis has decided to quit acting.

James Corden sent Donald Trump 297 copies of the movie Philadelphia.

The cast of Orange Is The New Black all dolled up.  If this show doesn't garner Emmy consideration for the transformations it would be a shame.  Click and take a look.

How to save Seeso.

I REALLY don't care about the "investigations" going on into what happened on the set of Bachelor In Paradise.  Here's the official statement from the network: "As we previously stated, we recently became aware of allegations regarding an incident on the set of Bachelor in Paradise in Mexico. We take all such allegations seriously. The safety, security and well-being of the cast and crew is our number one concern, and we suspended filming so that the allegations could be investigated immediately and thoroughly. Our internal investigation, conducted with the assistance of an outside law firm, has now been completed. Out of respect for the privacy interests of those involved, we do not intend to release the videotape of the incident. We can say, however, that the tape does not support any charge of misconduct by a cast member. Nor does the tape show, contrary to many press reports, that the safety of any cast member was ever in jeopardy. Production on this season of Bachelor in Paradise will be resuming, and we plan to implement certain changes to the show’s policies and procedures to enhance and further ensure the safety and security of all participants."  Honestly, I didn't even read it, just copied and pasted.  Moving on.

TruTV premieres Talk Show the Game Show tonight.  "We already know Wendi McLendon-Covey’s character on The Goldbergs has a sharp tongue — ABC’s censors work overtime to make Beverly’s F-bombs appropriate for primetime. But who knew the actress could be so salty in real life?  McLendon-Covey recently stopped by Talk Show the Game Show to play a little game called 'Prostitution Whore.' The Real Housewives superfan had 30 seconds to show how she can 'turn social occasions into emotional battlefields,' and let’s just say, she gives those Bravo chicks a run for their money.  The actress hurled insults at simulated versions of Nene Leakes (Real Housewives of Atlanta), Vicki Gunvalson (Real Housewives of Orange County), Lisa Vanderpump (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), and Bethenny Frankel (Real Housewives of New York City), letting them know exactly what she thinks of them — and it’s not much, by the way. If Wendi’s harsh words weren’t enough, then that glass of wine in the face surely got her message across. (We hope it was Skinnygirl.)"

"Jamie Foxx has come on board to executive produce The Displaced, a drama series project in development at Killer Content’s division Killer Impact. Foxx had been interested in the project since Killer Content (Amazon’s Z: The Beginning of Everything) last year optioned the TV rights to the New York Times’ 2015 multimedia documentary The Displaced, which tells the stories of three children whose lives have been devastated by war in South Sudan, Syria and the Ukraine. Karen Croner (Admission) was brought in to write a script for a drama series inspired by the documentary. The Displaced follows three children fleeing war in their home countries, seeking refuge from violence, and finding courage through their imaginations. Upon reading Croner’s script, Fox has joined the project and will serve as an executive producer alongside Killer’s Adrienne Becker and Rachel Gould, Illustrious Entertainment, Duane McLaughlin and Matt Earl Beesley. Beesley is set to direct. The project will be taken out this summer."

Another review of GLOW, which begins streaming on Netflix tomorrow.

A little more post-OITNB fodder: "Destruction of property, kidnapping, abuse—this is just a sampling of what’s plagued Litchfield Penitentiary over three seemingly endless days. The riot—which began as a cross between unadulterated revenge and noble aspirations for reform—has left the Litchfield and all connected to it in shambles. From inmates to guards to the callously neglectful MCC (Management & Correction Corporation), no one is making it out of this riot unscathed, and for some, we have no idea if they’ll make it out at all. Here are the eight questions we came away with after that cliff-hanger ending:

1. Who, if anyone, survived the S.W.A.T. team’s assault on the pool bunker? 

Taystee (Danielle Brooks), Piper (Taylor Schilling), Alex (Laura Prepon), Red (Kate Mulgrew), Frieda (Dale Soules), Suzanne (Uzo Aduba), Black Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore), Gloria (Selenis Levya), Nicky (Natasha Lyonne), and Blanca’s (Laura Goméz) fates were left up the in air at the end of the season. After sweeping the jail several times, the S.W.A.T. team realized that 10 inmates were missing (more on this in a minute) and went back in to find these women, who were hiding in Frieda’s bunker. So, the season ended with the women holding hands and bracing themselves for the SWAT team’s assault, which is bound to include some casualties — or at least some injuries — because the governor has authorized lethal force if there’s any resistance.

2. What’s the future of Litchfield?

In addition to the inmates’ uncertain future, there’s also the matter of the prison itself, which went to hell and back during the course of this three-day riot. Will part of the show still be set there? If so, will any of the changes Taystee bargained for be implemented, even though negotiations fell apart? Or, will MCC just go back to running the prison the way it was before the riot broke out. There’s also the question of management — because there’s little doubt in our mind that Caputo is done for.

3. If Litchfield is done for, where will the inmates be sent?

No question; we’d probably be hard-pressed to find another prison that manages such a balancing act of terror and heartwarming camaraderie, especially a maximum-security prison.

Though it seems like a lifetime ago, we have switched prisons at least once before in the Orange canon. Granted, it was way back in season 2 when Piper was mysteriously shipped off to Chicago, but it happened. Who’s to say it couldn’t happen again?

The difference this time, of course, is that Piper is no longer the face of Orange, and hasn’t been for a while. Following the eccentric — and sometimes terrifying (see: that time she got branded in the kitchen) — experiences is pretty doable, but following the many characters now in the limelight might make for a disjointed experience.

This leaves us with two probable scenarios. One would see most or all of the primary inmates (essentially everyone stuck in Frieda’s bunker) ending up in the same prison, be it Litchfield 2.0 as Maria (Jessica Pimentel) called it, or Max, or what have you. The other scenario would see a good amount of the inmates we’ve come to know being phased out of the story line altogether.

What makes the former less likely is the potency of doom-and-gloom that hung over the sequence in which the prisoners were being loaded onto buses. Punctuated by The Cinematic Orchestra’s “To Build a Home,” the fear and confusion were pushed further by emotional and vulnerable farewells. To come back next season and say that, for instance, Maritza (Diane Guerrero) and Flaca’s (Jackie Cruz) tear-ridden goodbye was all for naught would be a relief, sure, but a slap in the face to the plot. Given that Poussey’s (Samira Wiley) spirit pretty much drove this season’s story, the latter scenario seems more and more feasible.

To not see the inmates face any consequences, as they would in the real world, would be to backtrack and lose momentum. The Litchfield we know can’t last forever; nothing does.

4. Which inmates will get extended sentences?

We already know Daya (Dascha Polanco) got sent to Max, but what about Maria? Piscatella’s (Brad William Henke) punishment might have just been for show, but that was before she was a ringleader in the riot. Her only real bargaining chip is that she released the guards.

Once they had the gun, Angie (Julie Lake) and Leanne (Emma Myles) regularly threatened the safety of the inmates and guards. Ouija (Rosal Colon), Pidge (Miriam Morales), and Zirconia (Daniella De Jesús) were all key players in the mayhem. Frieda shot guards with darts, and the skinhead posse kidnapped Judy (Blair Brown). While “D-List Martha Stewart” likely won’t press charges, Brandy (Asia Kate Dillon) and friends were rounded up after their Home Alone-style attack on the CERT team. Could Taystee’s decision to prolong the riot make her semi-responsible for the damage caused, including Piscatella’s demise?

Though Red and the gang captured Piscatella, there’s little chance they’d rat on each other. The same is true for Suzanne, who’s unlikely to tell anyone Maureen caused Humphrey’s stroke.

5. Is the S.W.A.T. team just bad at math? 

If you paid attention to the finale, you know that those 10 women in the bunker aren’t the only inmates missing. When the S.W.A.T. team breached the prison, both Chang (Lori Tan Chinn) and Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning) managed to escape through a hole in the prison fence, which means there are actually 12 prisoners missing. However, we also know that they’re erroneously counting Linda (Beth Dover) as a prisoner. So, they should have come up with 11 missing prisoners, right? How did the S.W.A.T. team screw that up?

6. How did Frieda build/furnish that bunker without anyone noticing?

Frieda is, without question, a successful survivalist, but there’s a difference between knowing how to build a bunker and being able to execute it, especially in prison. Litchfield’s guards have never been the brightest, but what are the chances that Piscatella, always searching for “conspiracy,” never noticed when items like an old desktop went missing?

The pool was the first place Fig (Alysia Reiner) and Caputo (Nick Sandow) thought of when they were told prisoners might be hiding, yet we’re supposed to believe Caputo never checked up on it? Especially since Caputo and Fig always aim to one-up each other, it seems odd that he would not have gone back down there, if only to find a new use for the area and prove Fig wrong.

Also, do minimum-security prisons usually have pools, and if so, why was this one emptied to begin with?

7. Will we see Healy again? 

At the end of season 4, C.O. Healy (Michael Harney) checked himself into a mental facility after realizing he needed help because he almost took his own life. This explains why we didn’t see him in the time-compressed fifth season. At this point, we have no idea what season 6 looks like, but hopefully, if the show returns to the prison, we’ll see him again.

8. Will Alex and Piper actually make it to the altar?

While the show’s lovebirds took a backseat to most of the action this season, they did take one big step in their relationship. After their deadly encounter with Piscatella, Piper decided to propose to her on-again-off-again girlfriend, and Alex said yes. Given the season’s cliff-hanger, we can expect that it’ll be some time before they actually walk down the aisle — assuming they both make it out alive."

"Production has begun in Vancouver and cast set for Hit The Road, Audience Network’s half-hour original comedy series co-created by and starring Seinfeld alum Jason Alexander. 

"Amy Pietz (The Office), Natalie Sharp (Live Like Line), Nick Marini (Summer of 8), Tim Johnson Jr. (Fist Fight) and Maddie Dixon-Poirer (Hell on Wheels) will join Alexander in the 10-episode series set for release on AT&T Audience Network in the U.S. this fall.

"Co-created by Alexander, Emmy-nominated comedy writer Peter Tilden and British screenwriter Dean Craig (Death At A Funeral),Hit The Road is about the greatest family band you’ve never heard of – yet! This chaotically dysfunctional family of would-be rock/pop stars traverse the country in a cramped tour bus sacrificing privacy, comfort and dignity while in search of fame and fortune. Struggling to navigate their lives and relationships while juggling what’s best for the family versus what’s best for the band, they invariably end up making very unfortunate decisions. Yet nothing will stop them from claiming their rightful place in pop history.

"Alexander stars as family patriarch Ken Swallow. Pietz is Maggie, the bohemian, unorthodox mom. Sharp plays Ria, the supremely talented diva who has her sights set on stardom. Marini portrays Sam, the impulsive and endearing son who aims to please. Johnson is Jermaine, the smart, slightly neurotic adopted son who seeks stability more than anything else. Dixon-Poirier plays Casey, the youngest sibling and the moral compass of the family.

"Hit The Road is produced by Primary Wave Entertainment, who also co-finance the series, and Fabrik Entertainment. Executive producers include Alexander, Tilden; Dean Craig; Bart Peters; Christopher Long for Audience Network; David Guillod and Mark Burg for Primary Wave Entertainment and Melissa Aouate and Henrik Bastin for Fabrik Entertainment."

"A Watchmen television series is in early development at HBO, with The Leftovers' Damon Lindelof attached, a source close to the production confirmed to TheWrap.

"Zack Snyder was originally shopping around the Watchmen series back in 2015. However, Snyder is no longer attached to the project. The source said Lindelof is starting over independently.

Watchmen will be based off the Alan Moore graphic novel of the same name, which was released in 1986-87. The story follows a group of superheroes that falls apart at the onset of one of their own getting murdered and with the world on the brink of World War III.

"Moore wrote it to reflect the cultural anxieties surrounding the Cold War and to deconstruct the do-gooder mythology surrounding superheroes. Since Watchmen, superhero comics have become more complex and darker.

"Lindelof is coming off of The Leftovers, which he created, executive produce, and co-wrote for HBO. The show recently ended after three seasons.

"His other credits include Lost, which he co-created with J.J. Abrams, along with the screenplays for Star Trek: Into DarknessTomorrowland and World War Z.”

Per Deadline, "Epix has slated a pair of original documentaries on barrier-smashing athletes and a stand-up special  from the woman behind the MadTV character Bon Qui Qui.

"New sole owner MGM said last month that it plans to increase spending on Epix originals, and these three projects are the first to be announced. The two docu specials will focus on Danica Patrick, the race car driver who shook up a male-dominated sport, and George Foreman, the 1970s heavyweight champ who reclaimed the world title as a 45-year-old in 1994.

"Directed by Hannah Storm and produced by Epix in conjunction with Brainstormin Productions, Danica will premiere in the fall. Foreman, directed by Chris Perkel and executive produced by Gary Cohen, is set to bow September 13.

"Anjelah Johnson: Mahalo and Goodnight, the Bon Qui Qui comic’s fourth stand-up special, takes on such topics as awkward massages, home invasions, spiders and being a full-grown child. Premiering on September 29, the show is directed by Ryan Polito and exec produced by Johnson, Dave Rath, Brian Volk-Weiss, Cisco Henson and Ross Bernard and produced by Valerie Bishop Pearson.

“'Epix is proud to continue its long-standing tradition of delivering thought provoking, insightful documentaries and specials to our audience,' President and CEO Mark Greenberg said.  'As Epix continues to expand its slate of originals, these new additions underscore our commitment to delivering the kind of relevant, incisive programming for which we’re known.'

"Here are descriptions of the specials, provided by premium cable net:

DANICA

Danica Patrick has commanded attention with her achievements in professional motorsports, making herself a household name by going against the current and succeeding in a male-dominated world.  Now, at 35, this transcendent sports star stands on the cusp of something even bigger than she ever might have imagined growing up as a girl racing go-carts for her dad.

In Danica, the racing superstar reveals herself like never before: as a competitor eagerly preparing for her next race; a woman confidently considering when she wants to start a family; and a budding mogul carefully considering thinking about her next steps.  Directed by award-winning journalist and pioneer in sports broadcasting Hannah Storm (Brainstormin Productions), this documentary will take a rare, candid look at an icon, capturing never-before-seen moments on and off the track with Danica Patrick and those closest to her.

FOREMAN

In 1994, at the age of 45, George Foreman completed the greatest comeback in the history of heavyweight boxing. Not only did he reclaim the heavyweight championship crown that was lost in spectacular fashion 20 years earlier to Muhammad Ali, but he went on to complete an unparalleled personal transformation – from reviled street bully to beloved teddy bear. Foreman is the unlikely story of a boxer who struggles with, and later establishes, a sense of purpose on his remarkable journey to achieve the impossible.

ANJELAH JOHNSON: MAHALO & GOODNIGHT

Filmed at the Hawaii Theater in Honolulu, Hawaii, Anjelah Johnson’s fourth stand-up comedy special dishes on awkward massages, home invasions, spiders and being a full-grown child.

Born and raised in San Jose, California and of Mexican and Native American descent, Anjelah Johnson is a sought-after actress and comedian who is best known for her role on the beloved series MADtv, leaving a memorable legacy with the breakout original character – and Internet sensation – Bon Qui Qui.   This original character, a disgruntled fast food employee with no filter, has been enjoyed by over 65 million people worldwide. Johnson has also appeared in multiple commercials and on film, and guest-starred on shows such as The ShieldUgly BettyCurb Your Enthusiasm and others all while touring with her sold-out stand-up comedy shows."

Per Mashable, "[t]rust Netflix to be the platform that introduces choose-your-own-adventure TV. Starting Tuesday, Netflix will roll out exclusive interactive features that have been in development for almost two years, allowing viewers to choose the outcome of shows while watching them.

"'Content creators have a desire to tell non-linear stories like these, and Netflix provides the freedom to roam, try new things and do their best work,' Netflix said in a press release (Arrested Development Season 4, one of the platform's first originals, had no formal episode order). 'Being an internet-based company enables us to innovate new formats, deliver at scale to millions of members all over the world on multiple device types and, most importantly, learn from it.'

"For now, the feature is only available on select kids' & family content; Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale, and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile, out July 14. While watching, viewers will be presented with a screen that offers two possible outcomes of the unfolding scene. Choose by touching the screen on a mobile device or pressing the corresponding arrow on a smart TV remote and voila — you just influenced the story.

"Netflix has over 100 million users worldwide, and roughly 54% of households engage with kids & family programming. 

"'The children’s programming space was a natural place for us to start since kids are eager to “play” with their favorite characters and already inclined to tap, touch and swipe at screens,' the release went on. 'They also talk to their screens, as though the characters can hear them. Now, that conversation can be two-way. It’s really about finding the right stories — and storytellers — that can tell these complex narratives and bring them to life in a compelling way.' 

"While there's no current plan to bring this format to live-action shows, Netflix is all about giving creators the chance to tell stories however they see fit — if that means a choose-your-own adventure House of Cards spinoff, so be it.

"Netflix interactive is currently available on smart TV platforms and streaming, as well as iOS devices."

"Tara Reid has seen it all. The 41-year-old actress has experienced life as an in-demand Hollywood starlet and as a tabloid mainstay just as famous for her off-screen antics. But, three decades into her career, some out-of-the-box roles have her working more than she has in years. Page Six recently spoke with the actress about why her career is hotter than it’s been in years:

Your new film Worthless comes out in September. What drew you to it?

It’s about the power of bullying. People have no idea how much it affects people. Say you go home and you bully me and I’m in a bad mood because you bullied me today and I wind up bullying someone else and they wind up killing themselves. You don’t realize the power of bullying.

Your character, Talia, starts off the movie as a bully. What was it like playing her?

It was probably the most challenging role I’ve ever played. It’s a true drama piece. I really went there. At the time, when I was shooting the film, my father was also passing away. He was dying, so there was a lot of stuff going on in my life while I was shooting this movie. There’s a lot there and you’ll see it through the character, for sure.

Have you been bullied?

I feel like bullying is such a big part of Hollywood and of the world. When I read the script, I really related to it and it was something that I really wanted to get involved in. I also am an executive producer on it. It was just something that I understood.

There’s a new Sharknado movie coming out later this summer. Did you expect the first film to spawn four sequels?

I don’t think anyone did. They’re completely crazy. I think that’s kind of the beauty of Sharknado. It works because it’s a movie that clearly doesn’t take itself seriously. When there are so many problems in the world and fighting and arguing, to have a movie like Sharknado just takes you out of everything. It makes you have a good time and laugh — and it’s become a social event. It’s like the Super Bowl of movies.

Is it challenging acting alongside CGI sharks?

Absolutely. You have to be incredibly imaginative to make it even work. It is hard to do. You don’t really know until you see the final product. What is it really going to look like? You really have no clue. How is this shark going to eat this building and how am I holding up this airplane? And each “Sharknado” gets more and more outrageous.

You have another film coming out called Party Bus to Hell. What’s that about?

Have you ever heard of Burning Man? Basically, it’s about these kids who are on their way to Burning Man and they’re in a party bus and it’s in the desert. Basically, everything that could possibly go wrong, goes wrong. It’s a horror movie but it’s kind of a comedy.

You’ve been really busy the last couple years. 

I’m getting a whole second chance. I’m finally getting to play older roles and that’s what I needed because I was kind of stuck. I looked too young to play the mom, but yet I was too old for a high school girl. Now, I’m getting to play the mom and adults. I love it. I’m getting the chance to show another side of me that I wanted to do for a while, but they weren’t ready to hire me because they still thought I looked young.

What do you think was the turning point? 

I started moving things around after “Sharknado” [in which she played a mother]. We did so many but then these other movies started filtering in as well. Work brings work. When you’re not working, people forget about your name. They don’t think to hire you but then your name comes up and they think, “What about her?” Being out there and working and even doing interviews with you, it really helps me. You never know who reads it and it could be someone who’s casting a big movie right now. That’s the way karma goes, which is crazy.

Are you happy with your career right now?

I’m making the most movies I’ve done in my whole life ever in one year. This is the best I feel like I’ve done in years. When you’re busy, life’s good. When you’re working, life’s good. When you have nothing to do, you start going crazy. You’re bored. What are you supposed to do?"

This interview has been edited and condensed.