Monday June 26, 2017

Happy birthday Mom.

ABC has canceled Downward Dog.

Netflix has canceled Girlboss after only one season.

I fell asleep during episode 3 of Planet of the Apps.  That cannot be a good sign.

Chip and Joanna Gaines are on the cover of People magazine, but I'm hearing that they are interested in exploring life outside of HGTV.  They may be secretly floating their name out there to other networks to see what type of deal they can strike.  My advice, don't bite the hand that feeds you. Stay the course and remain the king and queen of HGTV and the sandbox in which you play.

I made it through season 3 of The Ranch and actually enjoyed it  Sam Elliott is phenomenal and the show is a very easy watch.  There are much worse ways to spend your time.

"As part of its push into reality programming, Netflix has greenlighted an original magic series created and headlined by magician/comedian Justin Willman. I hear the streaming network has ordered six half-hour episodes of the untitled project for a 2018 launch. In what is believed to be Netflix’s first original foray into the magic space, the comedic docuseries will follow Willman as he brings his skills as a magician to the strange and misunderstood subcultures of America. Willman executive produces with Abso Lutely Productions’ Dave Kneebone (Nathan for You)."

Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger has never heard of the show Seinfeld.  His teammates reacted and responded.

Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons talk Fargo.

A preview of tonight's episode of The Bachelorette.

"According to Bill Cosby’s PR team, the comedian’s upcoming 'town hall' tour will not focus on teaching people about sexual-assault accusations, despite what you might have heard from Bill Cosby’s PR team. 'The town-hall meetings are not about sexual assault. I will repeat. These town-hall meetings are not about sexual assault,' the comedian’s publicist Ebonee Benson said Sunday to CNN New Day weekend anchor Christi Paul. 'When we initially talked about the town-hall meetings,' clarified Benson. 'It was about restoration of legacy, much to what Mrs. Cosby spoke on in her statement, is the sensationalism brought on by the media. This is another example of that. To take something meant to talk about the restoration of this man’s legacy that was destroyed by the media before he even had a chance to step into the courtroom. That’s what this is about.'”

Vimeo has canceled its plans for a video on demand service.

An interview with Mike Judge about Silicon Valley.  More below.

I caught T.J. Miller's HBO stand-up special.  Very funny.

Has Phil Donahue aged a day since he left TV?

"Netflix announced that She’s Gotta Have It will release on Thursday, Nov. 23, with all 10 episodes directed by [Spike] Lee. The series stars DeWanda Wise (Shots Fired) as Nola Darling (played in the 1986 film by Tracy Camilla Johns), a Brooklyn-based artist struggling to define herself and divide her time amongst her friends, her job and her three lovers: cultured model Greer Childs (played by Cleo Anthony, Divergent), protective investment banker Jamie Overstreet (Lyriq Bent, The Book of Negroes) and 'Da Original B-Boy Sneakerhead' Mars Blackmon (Hamilton alum Anthony Ramos, in the role played by Lee himself 31 years ago)."

"Raze, the Latino-focused media company founded by Modern Family star Sofia Vergara and longtime entertainment execs Emiliano Calemzuk and Luis Balaguer, is going after cord-cutting millennials with the launch of its mobile-first digital portal. The platform, also called Raze, is available at raze.tv. Raze was formed this January and has a slate of shows in development at other digital, broadcast and cable outlets, as well as for its own site. Raze’s first show, Her Name Was Dolores – The Jenni I Knew premiered on Univision in January and was produced in partnership with BTF and Dhana Media."

Per Engadget, "Facebook is very serious about its original programming ambitions -- $3 million per episode serious. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the tech giant is courting Hollywood agencies for original scripted TV shows, in some cases offering up to $3 million per episode. It's also keen on procuring less-expensive productions that would cost hundreds of thousands each episode to make. The Journal's sources said that Facebook has set late summer as a tentative launch window, and that it hopes to reach audiences aged 13-34.

"In particular, the company is reportedly focusing on those aged between 17 and 30, and is therefore looking for shows like ABC's Pretty Little Liars, Scandal or The Bachelor. We're already expecting about two dozen titles from the social network when it launches its programming lineup, including reality show Last State Standing.

"We've yet to hear back from Facebook on this, and the company has kept mum about previous rumors. The Journal's report falls in line with everything we've heard so far on the social network's push into original content, though. Last year, Facebook offered media companies millions of dollars to stream live content on its website.

"The focus on high-end content could help Facebook better take on its rivals like Snapchat and, to a lesser extent, Twitter. Snapchat already has a large stable of original content coming from major names in entertainment, including DisneyMTVMGMTime Warner and A&E. But Snapchat shows are of a different format -- each episode lasts between 3 and 5 minutes long.

"It's not yet clear if Facebook plans to have similarly short clips just yet, but the Journal's report indicates it is considering a variety of runtimes from ten minutes to thirty minutes. If these latest rumors are true, we could be looking at a greater diversity of shows coming to our Facebook feeds very soon."

From Vanity Fair and a piece you should definitely read if you are a fan of Orange Is The New Black: "Catherine Cleary Wolters can speak to many of the actual events behind the hit Netflix series Orange Is the New Black with a hard-won authority, but there is one detail that seems particularly crucial.

“'We did not have sex in prison,' the 51-year-old ex-felon says of her relationship with Piper Kerman, on whose book the show is based. 'Not even a little bit.'

"Wolters is the real-life inspiration for the character Alex Vause on the soon-to-return women’s prison series, a fictionalized version of the liberal arts-to-lockdown memoir of the same name by Kerman, Wolters’s ex . . . ex-something or other (but more on that in a bit). Orange Is the New Black was a near-instant smash when it debuted last summer, and eventually became Netflix’s most popular original program. Though much of the show’s appeal lies in its brilliant ensemble cast, helmed by celebrated show-runner Jenji Kohan of Weeds fame, the relationship between Vause (called Nora in the book) and Piper Chapman provides a lot of its addictive propulsion. On the show, Vause and Kerman’s alter-ego, Chapman, are surprised to be re-united in prison years after the globe-spanning, drug- and money-trafficking romance that landed them both behind bars. The sultry, smoky-voiced Laura Prepon of That ‘70s Show fame plays Vause, while Taylor Schilling, that gorgeous blond actress with the hypnotic Crest teeth, plays Chapman as they act out a season-long dance of on-again, off-again attraction.

"Yet, according to Wolters, she and Kerman were only ever in the same prison facility for just five weeks—mostly during a brief stretch in a Chicago detention center in 2005. They were both in town to testify against a co-conspirator in their case, and their environs and mental conditions were not well suited to rekindling lost love. Shackled together on the Con Air flight there, Wolters says Kerman refused to even speak to her.

“'We were ghosts of the humans we had once been, milling about amongst hundreds of other human ghosts, shackled and chained, prodded through transport centers at gunpoint, moved through holding facilities,' says Wolters from her mother’s house in Ohio. These days, Wolters is just shy of a PhD in information technology, assurance, and security, and exhibits a flair for the philosophical.

“'Praying is about the most intimate thing two people can do in some places, not sex,' Wolters says. 'We made some mean dinners together, though, out of cans of cheese, corn chips, and chili, and Piper learned how to communicate effectively through a toilet—a little something you’ll never pick up at Smith.'

"In other words, as Wolters is clear on: the two women most certainly did not consummate a will-they-or-won’t-they narrative arc in a burst of prison-chapel passion, as the show has it. On the whole, Wolters says that the true story would be 'so wretched and stinky, it would quite possibly result in a collapsed universe. So I guess it’s a good thing Piper and Jenji stick with the fun little tidbits.'

"The tale of the real-life Kerman and Wolters begins in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1991. The pair became friends around the time the Boston-raised Kerman graduated from Smith College, but stuck around town. Both women ran in what Wolters calls 'the same little Noho lesbian social circle.'

“'I was not Piper’s first, and I certainly did not seduce her,' Wolters says, contrary to the show’s first episode meet-cute, which gives way to the fictional Piper’s dalliance as a cash mule.

"Wolters and Kerman drank and went clubbing together. Kerman took care of Wolters’s cats when she traveled and shared in her tales of adventure, or served as a shoulder to cry on, when she returned. In her version, she and Kerman did not become romantically involved until after they had trafficked either heroin or money, for a network run by the alleged Nigerian drug kingpin Buruji Kashamu.

“'When we were traveling together I started developing a crush on her. And eventually that turned into a crazy mad love affair,' Wolters says. 'But that was after she had already done the deed that made her complicit.'

“'We weren't girlfriends,' Wolters adds for good measure. 'We were friends with benefits . . . I was not the older sexy, glamorous lesbian who snatched her from her pristine Smith College cradle.'

"Eventually, Kerman parted with Wolters, met a man named Larry, and got engaged. When the feds came knocking years later with charges related to her past cash smuggling, Kerman struck a plea. She spent 13 months in a Danbury, Connecticut, minimum-security prison beginning in 2004, an experience that formed the basis for Orange Is the New Black. Wolters, meanwhile, was charged with conspiracy to import heroin and served almost six years in a Dublin, California, prison before being paroled in 2008. She is working on a memoir of her own, titled Out of Orange. Wolters has also written three novels.

"One of the first season’s major plot points concerns whether or not Vause snitched on Chapman. The state of the pair’s romance often hinges on whether Chapman thinks Vause was the informant who 'named' her. In reality, Wolters says, everyone involved in the case talked.

“'They had picked the first round of us up two years prior to Piper’s somewhat congenial visit from the feds,' Wolters says of the ring’s undoing. 'So, yes, I named her, she named me, and we all named each other. Fact was, we all thought we were doing the right thing, confessing, getting protection, and saving ourselves from certain death at the hands of a Nigerian drug lord who we knew would soon find we had all been arrested.'

"All told, Wolters says she’s done almost 20 years either in prison or on parole for her involvement in the ring. In fact, she only finished her last stint of supervised release on April 10, 2014. Whereas Kerman has blanketed the news promoting first her book, published in 2010, and now the show, Wolters has been on the sideline. She’s watched on as events inspired by her own life have become the subject of marathon binge-watches the world over.

"When I reach her by way of some Googling and a [Chicago Tribune update on the case] (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-11-14/news/ct-met-orange-new-black-20131114_1_piper-kerman-piper-chapman-drug-case/2), she says that I’m the first reporter she’s spoken to. Today, Wolters is thrilled to be free and dreams of life away from the confines of Ohio, where she has been on supervised release for five years, staying with her mother. (That her mother is still alive at all is another departure from the show’s narrative.) Wolters is a software test engineer by profession, and wonders if she may soon be walking the beaches of Provincetown, Massachusetts, or riding her car down Lombard Street in San Francisco. Most importantly, somewhere out there, she’s hoping to find love again. Perhaps she’ll seek out one of the 'two wives' she had in prison.

“'They were sexy,' she says. 'One looked just like Jennifer Lawrence.'

"Though she and Kerman may not have hooked up in prison, Wolters was by no means celibate.

“'Usually what you would do was have sex in your jail rooms,' she explains. 'You’d have sex anywhere you could: the tennis court, the outdoor squash court, or the rake pile. Anyplace! When the guards aren’t around all bets are off. Everyone goes to it!'

“'They romanticize sex on the TV show,' she adds.

"When I ask if she’s a fan of the show at all, Wolters offers a truly conflicted response. She says she and Kerman eventually made peace during their Chicago layover, and she sounds genuinely proud of Kerman’s decision to put her own story out there. 'That takes balls the size of Oklahoma,' she says. But it is strange for her to see her own life, as she puts it, interpreted and abstracted by actors.

“'This story isn’t about a fun ride through some old familiar haunt, giving me little glimpses and peeks of some fond old stomping ground,' she says. 'Christ, it’s my nightmare, the one that wakes you gasping on your rubber legs that won’t run. . . . This stress is real, it is unrelenting. I've had a heart attack, a five-way bypass, been judged, humbled, and hobbled, but I made it.'

"She pauses.

“'But I watched, and of course I’ll watch the rest,' she says. 'I can’t help it. It’s a great show. The actors are incredible, the story line is interesting, and come on, who doesn’t want to see Donna from That ’70s Show have lesbian sex?”

"In response, Piper Kerman says the following: “I’m glad Cleary is getting the chance to tell her story, because she is a charismatic and funny person. It should come as no surprise that we may have different points of view about the time we spent together. I think anyone would understand that my relationship with her was, and is, complicated. What I wrote about us in my book is true. If Cleary believes we were never girlfriends, that is startling news to me, though it’s certainly not the first time she has surprised me.

I was an out lesbian when I met Cleary, and dated many women before and after her (Larry Smith is the only guy I’ve ever considered a “boyfriend”). After my indictment for criminal conspiracy, I plead guilty to a lesser money-laundering charge and served 13 months of a 15-month sentence. Before pleading guilty, I received a copy of Cleary’s “proffer,” her official statement to the U.S. Attorney about her crimes—and in her proffer she implicated me for the crime I committed. When I plead guilty I was required to provide my own proffer—I could not possibly have described my crime without mentioning Cleary.

Although I did plead guilty and tried hard to take responsibility for my actions, there is no doubt that I held on to blame for Cleary. As I describe in my book, I did not speak to her on the flight from Oklahoma to Chicago, though we were seated together (not shackled together). We certainly did not have sex in prison, and that should be quite clear in my book. The relationship between the characters in the Netflix series, Piper Chapman and Alex Vause, is fictional. I did have the opportunity to make peace with Cleary in Chicago, to relinquish any sense of blame for her, and to work through my ideas and emotions about forgiveness and responsibility. Cleary did not force me to do anything, but rather made me seductive offers that I found very compelling back when I was 22 years old. I am exceptionally grateful that our odd chance meeting in Chicago happened, and I wish Cleary a very happy life moving forward.”

Per TheWrap, T.J. Miller ended his run on Silicon Valley last night, "and co-star Thomas Middleditch says that the exit could have been 'handled differently.'

"Just after the HBO comedy was picked up for a fifth season in May — and with production already wrapped on Season 4 — Miller announced that he will not return to the show. HBO said in a statement that producers and Miller, who portrays self-centered entrepreneur Erlich Bachman, had “mutually agreed” to part ways.

"Middleditch, who plays Pied Piper founder Richard Hendricks, called Miller’s exit “expected.” He added that the show might have given Erlich a different curtain call if producers had definitively known before writing the episode that it would be the character’s last.

“'Lots of things could have been done differently if things were handled differently on the part of the people involved,' Middleditch told TheWrap. 'It could have been a lot more ceremonious.'

"The actor continued: 'There’s been articles, ‘too big for the show,’ but that’s one way of putting it, that’s for sure.'

"Zach Woods, who plays the docile Jared on Silicon Valley, previously told TheWrap that Miller’s exit 'wasn’t a great surprise.' Woods added, 'I love T.J., and I love Erlich — I think that character is super funny. I’m excited to see what he’ll do coming up.'

"In an interview with TheWrap, Miller told the Wrap that Erlich exits the show with a cliffhanger, and that reading the finale script made him realize the timing was right to walk away.

“'It was an a-ha moment — they had given me this out,' said Miller, who pointed out that he remains on good terms with the network and the show’s team. 'So that was my a-ha moment with, "I could do something unexpected, something dynamic.”'

"Co-showrunner Alec Berg told TheWrap that the finale was written in the way it was because producers 'kind of had a sense that this might be the end of the road for him.'”

Per Deadline, "Amazon has given the green light to an untitled documentary adventure series inspired by Hannah Grant’s book The Grand Tour Cookbook, about the athletes competing in the 104th Tour De France and the food that keeps them alive.

"The untitled Hannah Grant series follows Grant, known as the Queen of Performance Cooking among pro cyclists, as she and her crew source and prepare healthy, high-performance meals for Team Orica-Scott’s nine riders during the 23-day endurance race that covers 21 stages and 2,200 miles.

"The series goes behind-the-scenes at the 104th Tour De France, beginning in Dusseldorf, Germany and ending in Paris for the famous ride through city streets and the finish line at the Champs-Élysées.

“'Hannah Grant is a world-class chef who has dedicated her career to fueling some of the world’s most incredible athletes, operating under impossible conditions to create cuisine that is gourmet and that also fuels performance,' said Conrad Riggs, Head of Unscripted, Amazon Originals. 'We are thrilled to give Amazon Prime members an inside look at the organized chaos behind one of the world’s most prestigious and intense sporting events, in which Grant and her team thrive.'

“'It’s a rare gift to find a powerful new story angle into a world and event as big as the Tour de France. It’s the unprecedented intersection of sports, travel, and food,' said Executive Producer Christof Bove. 'Our goal is to give Amazon’s global audiences an all-access look into the mechanics and passion of this monolithic sporting event. Hannah is part of the vanguard of next generation cooking. She brings with her attitude and insight equal to this world of performance excellence. To survive the Tour, you simply have to be the best of the best.'”

This sounds absolutely awful.

From Decider: "Whether you’re a fan of his or not, Danny DeVito is probably one of the most prolific actors of our time. Owning roles like The Penguin in 1992’s Batman Returns or Vincent Benedict in 1988’s Twins, all of DeVito’s past roles have prepared him for his current endeavor, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. DeVito plays the gang’s father-of-sorts and 'financier' in the FXX original comedy series, which just ended its 12th overall season.

"It’s no mystery why the 4’ 10” comedic legend has always been so easy to watch. This writer has been watching DeVito’s repertoire since before he can remember and has never once been disappointed. His knack for delivering on both crazed and chaotic roles made him a perfect candidate to portray the self-centered, self-destructive and free-spirited addition to the gang that we have all grown to love.

"We first have to bring light to the uncanny resemblance between DeVito’s version of The Penguin in Batman Returns and his troll character in Charlie’s play The Nightman Cometh. While the latter role is a bit less devious, both makeup, costume and demeanor are pretty similar between the two.

"Not only that, but the villain’s crotchety tone and tendency to deliver angry rants seem to be characteristics that the two characters share:

"In 1988’s Twins, a film in which DeVito co-starred with Arnold Schwarzenegger, some may say he really started to develop his crooked antics and unconventional negotiation tactics. The scene where Vincent realizes he’s made a deal for $5 million is a perfect example:

"In It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Frank Reynolds is a retired businessman (nicknamed 'The Warthog' for his fierce business sense) who loves to bargain and get over on people when making deals. Once instance that exemplifies this point is when he’s negotiating for a pig to roast, pitting two pig dealers against each other:

"Matilda is another classic film where DeVito really started to develop his current acting persona, particularly when it comes to perfecting failed parenting on screen. In the film, his character Mr. Wormwood has an exceptionally low opinion of his children and consistently teaches them the wrong life lessons:

"In IASIP Frank fails to put both of his children Dennis and Dee first, especially after finding out that they were never his children to begin with. He even goes as far as to buy himself the Christmas gifts that they want as part of a convoluted attempt to teach them the value of earning.

"The list is endless and would take pages and pages of essay to properly address as DeVito has played a ton of classic roles over the years, each one of which can somehow be linked to Frank Reynolds. Regardless of how he built up to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the creators made a wise choice casting him in the part.

"For now, fans can look forward to seeing DeVito in the show’s forthcoming 13th and 14th seasons, which will tie it for longest running live-action sitcom in American TV history. The acting legend is also set to co-star with Jeff Goldblum in an upcoming Prime Video original comedy series, which should be equally enjoyable."

"Jamie Foxx and Ed Sheeran go way back.

“'Ed Sheeran slept on my couch for six weeks before he was famous,' Foxx said while on The Graham Norton Show Friday night. 'I was doing a radio show in L.A. and he knew that we do music so he came to my radio show.'

"Foxx explained that Sheeran went to him in person and asked him to listen to his songs, while doing an impression of the British singer.

“'I said, "well let me hear it," he comes to my crib…he plays and I’m like "you’re incredible.”'

"The actor immediately decided to take in the then unknown musician.

“'I said, "listen, I know you don’t have anywhere to go, just chill here," he recalled on the late night show alongside fellow guests Dame Judi Dench, and actors Kristen Wiig and Steve Carrell. 'I was giving him food and "my daughter was like ‘who do you have over here now?”'

“'I would always champion the artist,' he said.

"But Foxx felt the need to put Sheeran’s skills to the test.

“'I took him down to this show I was doing every Monday … and there was like 800 black people. Just the best musicians …'

"And when it was time for Sheeran to take the stage, Foxx remembered, 'he pops out with his little red hair and a ukulele … and he went out there on that ukulele and got a standing ovation for 12 minutes.'

“'The rest is history,' said Foxx."