Tuesday July 18, 2017

"The Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere broke ratings records on HBO Sunday night. The episode drew 16.1 million total viewers, including 10.1 million who watched on the linear channel and the rest coming from DVR and streaming. That represents an incredible 50% increase from last year’s premiere, when the show premiered in the spring when TV viewership is typically higher than the summer. That also makes the episode the most-watched season premiere for any HBO series to date. The Season 7 premiere also saw the highest number of concurrent viewers across the streaming services HBO Go and HBO Now. Game of Thrones Season 6 ultimately averaged a gross audience of 25.7 million viewers per episode across platforms and in delayed viewing, making it the most watched season of an HBO series on record. The series is also a rarity in today’s television landscape, in that its viewership has increased with each season."

Season THIRTY of The Challenge debuts tonight.  More below.

Bravo unveils this gem: "What would you do if you had the chance to spend an entire night with your ex? Bravo Media is bringing together ex-couples for one night to hash out their unresolved issues in the new original docu-series A Night With My Ex, premiering Tuesday, July 18, at 10pm ET/PT. Over the course of ten self-contained episodes, each pair of exes will spend a night together in a multi-camera-rigged one-bedroom apartment, with no producers and no interruptions. Viewers will witness startling confessions, wild hook ups, and shocking resolutions in a format where anything can – and does – happen."

Fox News Channel (FNC) will present live coverage of OJ Simpson’s parole hearing on Thursday, July 20th from Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada, as well as from the Nevada Parole Board in Carson City, Nevada. Throughout the day, FNC correspondents Claudia Cowan, Jonathan Hunt and Dan Springer will contribute live news updates on the hearing to FNC’s daytime and primetime programming.

Per online book Bovada, O.J. Simpson is at -270 to be granted parole. A parole denials bet is +180.

"Mindy Kaling is taking on the role of a lifetime! Multiple sources tell E! News that the A Wrinkle in Time actress is currently pregnant with her first child. An insider explained that the future arrival for the 38-year-old actress was 'an unexpected surprise' but that there will not be any changes made to production schedules for her upcoming projects. While little else is known at present time about Mindy's little one, years back she openly expressed wanting to have children."

A look at the current landscape at MTV.

Tyga and C.J. Wallace have signed on as series regulars for the upcoming third season of MTV‘s Scream, which premieres in March 2018 as a three-night event on MTV.  Oh joy!

"Big Brother is about to explode with a racist controversy ... if houseguest Paul Abrahamian follows through with plans to dress in black face to mock a fellow houseguest ... who is black. Paul hatched his plot over the weekend -- fans watching the live feed watched him whisper to other houseguests, who are white, about dressing in dark leggings and "blackface." Later, he instead used the term 'black mask.' Paul's had beef with Dominique on the show because they've accused each other of pulling double-crosses. While discussing his plan for revenge, Paul said he was trying to look like a snake ... because that's what he's called her, and vice versa. Unclear if Paul will go through with his plan or if producers will step in, and tell him to 86 the whole idea. We've reached out to CBS ... no word back yet." Um, wow.

You’re the Worst returns to FXX in September, and while the wait is still over a month and a half away, the network recently released some season 4 promos to get you excited.

Why is T.J. Miller still talking about Silicon Valley?  Let's move on.

Production has resumed on The Walking Dead.

A&E Networks will premiere The Murder of Laci Peterson, an original limited documentary series on August 15. The six-part series takes a fresh look at the trial of Scott Peterson for the murder of his wife Laci. Through unprecedented access and interviews, including new interviews with Scott Peterson from prison, the docuseries explores the story in great detail.

Per TV Guide, "[w]hat began as an experimental episode of The Real World crossover with Road Rules in the late '90s has become a reality institution at MTV -- I'm talking, of course, about The Challenge. The reality series begins its 30th season on Tuesday and shows no signs of going into a final elimination.

"The latest iteration, taglined 'XXX: The Dirty 30,' will bring, you guessed it, 30 previous Challenge/Real World/Are You the One and yes, even Road Rules competitors together to compete for their share of the largest Challenge prize ever -- $1 million. The landmark season will celebrate everything that has made The Challenge a reality TV institution -- nostalgia, drama and backstabbing in a formula that has been perfected over a decade and a half of programming.

"'I think The Challenge is in a good place,' creator Jonathan Murray told TV Guide at the ATX Television Festival in Austin last month. 'The audience has reacted really well to Champs vs Pros, so you know I think it's got a good future.'

"The expected names have returned for XXX, including Challenge legends CT, Johnny Bananas and Derrick, along with a handful of Are You the One newcomers. But this season's roster also includes some older familiar faces like Veronica from Road Rules: Semester at Sea. The MTV veteran made a brief appearance on Champs vs Pros earlier this summer, but otherwise hasn't been on a full season since 2009's The Ruins. Darrell is also returning for his third consecutive season, proving he's ready to get back in The Challenge game full-time after dominating the reality show's early seasons before the reign of Johnny Bananas. Those nostalgic names are part of what creates The Challenge magic.

"'The thing that makes The Challenge unique is that the MTV audience has grown up with this cast,' Murray explained. 'They've watched CT from the time he was on Real World: Paris. They watched him be sort of a bull in the China shop punching Adam and they've watched him go through his love affair with Diem. They've watched him grow up. They love being on this journey with him and he's not the only one. There are lots of people on The Challenge that the viewers enjoy coming back to them season after season and catching up with them.'

"While the competition show is mostly known for its debauchery and backstabbing politics, it also promotes conversation in the same way its mothership series The Real World has done with iconic stories like Pedro's battle with HIV during Real World: San Diego and transgender activist Katelynn's journey on Real World: BrooklynThe Real World: Go Big or Go Home alum Christopher Ammon, now going by Ammo, joins The Challenge for the first time on XXX and will provide a valuable opportunity for the audience at home to discuss gender and sexual identity.

"'[Ammo] comes back to the next challenge and he's had an evolution as far as his identity. I think viewers are going to find that really interesting,' Murray teased.

"The producer goes on to explain conversation has always been the driving force of his reality TV empire.

"'As far as the conversations the show raises amongst young people -- which is the conversation I'm most interested in -- a lot of the issues that were relevant in 1992 when the show started are still relevant today,' he said. 'We may have made some strides forward as a society to be more accepting of people's differences, but a lot of kids still come from communities where they grew up with people just like themselves and they don't really have a real opportunity to be in a diverse setting until they go away to college or go into the Army.'

"The Challenge making it to this milestone season has been in large part due to Murray and his team's genius way of upping the ante each season and reinventing the politics of the game to put fan favorite characters in brand new and more stressful situations with each new adventure. They're pulling out all the stops this season, meaning that along with hopefully insightful conversation will also come the gritty drama the show has built its reputation on as new twists throw even the most seasoned veterans for a loop.

"'Particularly for The Challenge, we need to constantly be changing the game, changing what we're doing not only to keep the show interesting for the viewers but to keep it interesting for those cast members,' Murray said. 'We don't want them coming into a season thinking they know how to play the game. We've got to find some ways [to make them go], "Oh, it's not working the same way as before. I need to rethink my strategy." We need to keep them on their toes.'

"The Challenge's ability to reinvent itself every season without alienating its core DNA has helped it survive more than 15 years on the air. It continues to be one of MTV's most valued properties as the network bucks almost all of its scripted programming and buckles down on its established franchises. It's more likely to see more of The Challenge than it is to see the reality show retire.

"'It's interesting because I'm not involved in everything that MTV is doing, but what I am feeling is that they're embracing some of their franchise series like The Challenge and Teen Mom,' Murray explained. 'That's sort of great because the last few years, I think they were trying a lot of different things whether it was scripted or new ideas. It's great to be embraced by the network. There's a lot of energy going into The Challenge and some of those mainstay series.'"

"Truth be told, it's never felt so good to turn 30."

From Deadline: "The story of Mariah Carey’s rise to fame is getting a drama series treatment. We have learned that Starz is developing an untitled fictional scripted drama series based on the the music superstar’s real-life experiences, with Carey executive producing alongside longtime friend Brett Ratner.

"Written by Nina Colman (Mahogany), the drama is set in 1986 New York City and chronicles the rise of an ambitious  bi-racial 16-year-old girl, an aspiring singer/songwriter who survived a difficult childhood to become the biggest selling female music artist of all time.

"Colman, who will serve as showrunner, executive produces alongside Carey and Golden Globe nominee Stella Bulochnikov (Boss) via their Magic Carpet Productions as well as Ratner, Teri Weinberg (Ugly Betty), who previously had developed with Colman, and John Cheng (Horrible Bosses).

"Carey had a meteoric rise, launching her career with five consecutive Hot 100 No. 1 hits in 1990-91: Vision Of Love, Love Takes Time, Someday, I Don’t Wanna Cry, One Sweet Day, Fantasy and Emotions. The Grammy-winning pop diva is next set to return to her Las Vegas residency and will embark on a North American summer tour with Lionel Richie.

"On TV, Carey recently toplined and executive produced a docu-series series for E!, Mariah’s World."

From EW: "The season 2 finale of Mr. Robot left Elliot (Rami Malek) in a precarious spot: Bleeding out from a gunshot, the hacker hero had been duped by his bespectacled worse half (Christian Slater) and E Corp exec Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström).

"But creator and executive producer Sam Esmail doesn’t expect fans were holding their breath about Elliot’s fate. 'I never intended to have the question of his condition be lingering between seasons 2 and 3,' Esmail said. 'We respect the audience too much to leave that as a cliffhanger.'

"In this season 3 first look, not only does Elliot have his life back, he seems to be living it to the fullest. In a room crowded with hackers and their weapons of choice, Elliot begins his next steps after learning about Mr. Robot’s phase 2.

“'Season 3 is about Elliot trying to bounce back and fight against the people who have been using him,' said Esmail, who reveals that a central theme for the 10-episode run (which premieres in October) is disintegration. 'Elliot isn’t going to take this lying down.' It’s a safe bet he’ll be sitting in front of a computer, though.

"The other big piece of the puzzle is Wellick, who was missing for most of season 2. Esmail confirmed that the former E Corp exec will be back in a big way this year, and we can expect some info on what he was up to during his time away from Elliot.

“'With Tyrell, we really don’t know much about his whereabouts or what happened to him,' Esmail said. 'There’s a lot of that circular storytelling that we really delve into with his character this season.'”

Per The Hollywood Reporter, "Alec Baldwin should remain in the zeitgeist for at least a little longer.

"Fresh off his two Emmy nominations for his defining turn as President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, Baldwin is set to star in another NBC production: a live staging of Aaron Sorkin's A Few Good Men, with Sorkin writing and the net's go-to event producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan attached to executive produce. Baldwin will play Col. Nathan Jessep, a role made famous by Jack Nicholson in the beloved 1992 film, which also starred Tom Cruise along with Demi Moore and Kevin Bacon.

"The televised play will air in the second quarter of 2018, and will mark the first live production of a Broadway drama in more than 50 years. In recent years, NBC, under the direction of entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt, has been aggressively expanding its live output, but the emphasis has been on musicals (Peter Pan, The Wiz, Hairspray, Sound of Music) until now. 

“'No stranger to live television, Alec is the most multifaceted actor in the world and his range is incomparable. He will put his own inimitable stamp on the role of Col. Jessep in a play that is still as surprising and relevant as ever, from one of the most gifted writers working today,' said Greenblatt of an actor whom he calls 'the gift that keeps on giving at NBC.' Before SNL, Baldwin earned accolades and Emmys for his work as Jack Donaghy on the comedy 30 Rock, also on NBC.

"Sorkin's first pass at A Few Good Men came at age 26, when he wrote the stage play that premiered on Broadway to immense critical acclaim in 1989. Three years later, he adapted the play as a feature, and that, too, went on to receive heavy attention, including an Oscar nomination for best picture. NBC first announced Sorkin would be taking a fresh look at the project in March 2016, but the casting process (along with Sorkin's schedule) is said to have caused delays. 

"'Alec is one of our greatest actors,' Sorkin said of finally landing his star. 'Having him play this role — live onstage for a television audience — is a dream come true. This will be a brand-new take on Nathan Jessep, and I expect that Alec is going to bust through TV screens and right into living rooms.'

"The famed play takes place in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 1986 and centers on newbie military lawyer Lt. Daniel Kaffee, who comes up against the formidable Col. Jessep when he is asked to defend three Marines on trial for murder. El Dorado Pictures’ Mallory Schwartz and Storyline Entertainment’s Mark Nicholson will also produce the NBC iteration, which will also count Baldwin and Sorkin as exec producers. The telecast will be produced by Universal Television in association with Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros. Television."

Per Deadline, "Lifetime will be the fly on the wall in real time as couples play the summer dating game. The cable net said today that it will premiere Date Night Live at 10 PM July 27. The eight-episode docuseries hails from Big Fish, the production company behind Live PD on Lifetime’s sister net A&E.

"Promising heaps of 'can’t-look-away dating action, 'Date Night Live follows couples from New York City, Atlanta, Dallas and San Diego and gives viewers a candid and discreet point of view in real time, across multiple time zones. Using mobile-live technology, cameras capture the promise of romance, awkward conversations, cringe-worthy moments and everything else from as many as nine dates per episode. Hosted by comedian Michelle Collins, Z100 radio personality Bethany Watson and relationship coach Paul Brunson will be in on all the dating action as they bounce from city to city and provide commentary as the evening develops. Will it be love at first sight? Or will the date crash and burn?

“'We’ve all had those moments where we been at a restaurant, eavesdropped on a date, watching fascinated as it unfolds' said Liz Gateley, EVP Head of Programming at Lifetime. 'Date Night Live is a unique opportunity for our audience to experience that same phenomenon, from the comforts of our home. This is America’s chance to watch love and romance unfold live, where anything can happen.'

"Said  Dan Cesareo, President of Big Fish Entertainment, whose Live PD just got an order for 100 additional episodes on A&E: 'Our goal is to reinvent various genres; with Live PD, we busted open the doors and brought true transparency in law enforcement to television for the first time, and we knew that this unique viewing experience could translate into other formats,' said 'With Date Night Live, Lifetime gave us the incredible opportunity to turn the traditional dating show on its head with couples getting to know each other completely unvarnished for the first time on live TV, unfiltered and unedited. This is what it’s really like to date in America.'”

Sadly, I'm likely to watch this drek.

andrew_2.jpg

Per Yahoo!, "[y]ou know all there is to know about Rick Grimes, his on-screen persona, but how much do you really know about the off-screen life of The Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln, if that is his real name (hint: it isn’t). Read on for the scoop on that and 19 more things you should know about TWD’s leading man:

1. We know him as Andrew, or Andy, Lincoln, but he was born Andrew James Clutterbuck on September 14, 1973. “I always joke that there was another Clutterbuck in Equity,” Lincoln told The Washington Post. “And people go ‘What?’ No, it was my first agent who said, ‘Oh, come on, you’ve got to change that, it’s ridiculous. Sounds like a Hobbit.’ But in one sense it’s brilliant because it means that along the road, I have a separate identity, which is brilliant to my family and has been very good for privacy. On the other hand, I’m fiercely proud of my name and everything in my life in England is Clutterbuck.

2. He’s married to Gael Anderson, whose father Ian is the lead singer of Jethro Tull. Andy and Gael met on the set of the British series Teachers, which he starred in and directed. She was a production assistant who won his heart despite refusing to bring him a cup of tea. “She was a P.A. and was supposed to make a cup of tea. That was her job. She didn’t make me a f**king cup of tea that whole job,” he told Rolling Stone. “But I just saw her silhouette — she had this crazy mullet with spiky — she looked like Sonic the Hedgehog. I saw this crazy looking girl with these beautiful green eyes, and I just went, ‘Who the hell is that?’ I was spellbound.”

And yes, Lincoln’s father-in-law is a Walking Dead fan. “It’s quite hard for me to watch,” Ian Anderson told WCBS radio. “Andy’s one of the family. It’s like my wife, she can’t watch me on stage, it’s just too weird. The idea that you’re at a concert, and just a few hours later, you’re gonna slip naked between the sheets with someone you’re watching on stage… It’s quite hard to detach yourself from someone that you know in the family capacity and then somehow divorce yourself from that when you watch them do their shtick. I can’t quite shake the idea that Officer Rick Grimes is in Cornwall on a brief holiday with my daughter, and he will be sleeping with her tonight.”

Andy and Gael were married in 2006, with Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s daughter Apple, then 2, as a flower girl at the wedding. The Lincolns have two children of their own, daughter Matilda and son Arthur.

3. During the first season of TWD, then-showrunner Frank Darabont told Lincoln to speak with his Rick Grimes Southern accent at all times, even during down time on the set. At the end of the season, some of crew didn’t even know Lincoln is British.

4. Among the 100 actors he beat out for the role of Rick Grimes: Jonny Lee Miller, Thomas Jane, Stuart Townsend, Jamie Bamber, Mark Pellegrino, and Ethan Embry (who guest-starred as Rick’s Alexandria nemesis Carter in the Season 6 premiere). Lincoln has joked that he got the role because he looked like a zombie on his audition tape… his son had been born shortly before, and he hadn’t slept in several days before filming his initial audition.

5. He has an idea for how Rick Grimes should die in the AMC series, and it involves him being the cure for zombiedom.

6. Shiva the tiger saved Rick and Carl’s lives in the Season 7 finale. Andy Lincoln once dressed up like a tiger himself, in the 2004 British TV movie Whose Baby?, in which his character finds out he has a child he didn’t know about and he has to fight for his parental rights. His co-star, and the mother of his character’s child in the film: Hotel Rwanda Oscar nominee Sophie Okonedo.

7. Rick Grimes is an intense guy; Lincoln describes himself as more laidback. He likes to wear flip flops on The Walking Dead set, which he says TWD creator Robert Kirkman hates. “He takes pictures of my flip-flops and keeps sending them to me, like, ‘What are you doing? Rick Grimes is not a flip-flop kind of guy,’” Lincoln told Rolling Stone.

8. He played lawyer-turned-chef Egg on the hit ‘90s BBC drama This Life, which was named by the British Film Institute as one of the 100 best British TV series of all time. Future The Office and Sherlock star Martin Freeman guest-starred in one episode, in which his character accidentally drank Egg’s urine from a beer bottle.

9. Another urine-related TV moment for Lincoln: In the History Channel 2009 Apollo 11 moon landing movie Moonshot, he plays astronaut Michael Collins, who was charged with perfecting the suits the astronauts would wear during their mission. In one scene, Collins has to test the apparatus which will allow the spacemen to pee during their mission.

10. During his live TWD audition — the great car scene from the pilot episode with Jon Bernthal — Bernthal’s dog fell asleep and started snoring while Lincoln was delivering dialogue, and he jokes that he took it as a review of his performance. “Jon had already been cast,” Lincoln recalled in The Hollywood Reporter. “I remember doing the big car scene with him and thinking, ‘That was a really great take, and one of them, we really clicked.’ I kept hearing this noise, and I thought it was the car engine. We looked around and realized that one of Jon’s dogs had fallen asleep and was snoring in the middle of my take. I thought, ‘I’m never going to get this job.’”

11. He says his pal and Shaun of the Dead star Simon Pegg “gave me a primer in zombie lore” after he landed the role of Rick Grimes.

12. He doesn’t have a smartphone or use apps or social media. He says his wife is his app, as she’s the one who keeps their lives running. “She’s the reason I’m able to do this mad job,” Lincoln told The Guardian. “She has built a life in Atlanta while I’m away filming. I don’t have a smartphone or apps or anything and people ask me why. I say, ‘My wife is my app. She’s magnificent. She’s in the most honorable profession in the world… she’s a full-time mom.”

13. He once chopped the end of his finger off during a live theater production, while quickly yanking off a costume ring. The play, Blue/Orange, also starred Bill Nighy and his Love Actually co-star Chiwetel Ejiofor. Lincoln continued on with the play after the injury. “At one point, I had to say, ‘You!’ and gesture, and a spray of blood went from my hand across the front row of the audience,” he told Metro.co.uk. “It was horrific. All the ladies had their hands over their mouths like they were going to be sick.”

14. He was an official participant in Princess Diana’s funeral. All the charities and organizations she was a patron of were asked to have a representative there, and Lincoln was asked to represent the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art as a graduate of the prestigious acting school.

15. Lincoln’s father, a civil engineer, wasn’t thrilled with the idea of his son becoming an actor, but agreed to sign off on him pursuing the career if he could get admitted to the top five acting schools in England. He did.

16. The actor ran the London Marathon with his mom, who didn’t start running until she was 60. He was later told by a trainer to stop running so he could bulk up for The Walking Dead, so he lifts weights instead. “That’s the astonishing thing about my career,” he says. “I turned 40, my bones started aching, and it was the weirdest thing: I became a leading-man action hero.”

17. He’s one of the most sought-after celebs at fan conventions, with estimates that he could be making an additional seven figures a year if he participated in more of them. As it is, he usually does just one a year, and donates all his profits from the events to charity.

18. For his most famous pre-TWD role, in Love Actually, he hand wrote the cards his character Mark holds up for Juliet in the beloved movie’s most iconic scene.

19. He has narrated several episodes of the nature documentary TV series Wildest Africa, which is available on Netflix.

20. Like many actors, he doesn’t watch himself. “It’s not just this show; it’s been for the last [19] years or so. I watched a little bit of This Life, and maybe a couple of episodes of Teachers. And now I’m done,” he told Atlanta magazine. “It just doesn’t help. If I watch something, and I like something I do, then I’d try to replicate it. That’s self-consciousness, and I’m trying to put myself out of the equation. I don’t want to be in it. The enjoyment and satisfaction I get is from the doing of it.”