Wednesday July 5, 2017

The Seinfeld pilot aired 28 years ago today.  A quick look back at that first episode.

Mahershala Ali is in early talks to join the cast of season 3 of HBO's True Detective.

I watched season 2 of Amazon's All or Nothing which featured the Los Angeles Rams.  IF you're a football fan, this is a great watch.  It remains superior to Hard Knocks in my opinion and it's easy to rip through the season quickly despite knowing the outcome of the Rams' 2016 season.

Don't waste your time with Gypsy on Netflix.  It's slow and not particularly entertaining.

FX premieres Snowfall tonight.  Here's a review.

Some things you might not have known about Alex Baldwin.  For example, he's owned as many as 11 dogs at one time.

Hey Jamie Horowitz, karma can be a REAL bitch.

Seth Rogen talks Preacher.

Maria Menounos is leaving E! and recovering from the removal of a brain tumor!

Hell on Wheels and The Knick alumna Jennifer Ferrin and Miriam Morales (Orange Is the New Black) have joined the Season 2 cast of Amazon's Sneaky Pete in recurring roles.

Wait, people AREN'T tuning into to season 2 of the John Cena-hosted American Grit?

"UFC has set a premiere date for its new show, The Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series. The two-and-a-half hour show will premiere July 11 on UFC Fight Pass, the mixed martial arts organization’s subscription video service. Hosted by UFC president White, Contender Series will feature five fights per episode in a variety of weight classes. The fights will be regulated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Competitors will be effectively auditioning for slots as UFC fighters. At the end of each episode, white will decide whether to offer any of the fighters a UFC contract. Some episodes will see contracts offered to multiple fighters, while other episodes could see no contracts offered." Hard hard hard pass.

"NBC’s The Carmichael Show won’t be returning for a fourth season. The network and studio announced the news shortly after creator and star Jerrod Carmichael revealed he was exiting the series as cast options were set to expire at the end of today.

"The Carmichael Show, from 20th TV, which is the leading studio, and Universal TV, scored a dramatic eleventh-hour renewal last year, with a deal coming after NBC had announced its fall schedule and its executives had faced questions about the show’s uncertain future in light of its acclaim.

"Carmichael released a statement to Deadline today through his publicist.

“'For three seasons (okay 2.5), I got to make a show that I love with my friends,' he said. 'It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was 13. Now, I’m excited to go make other things that I love. Thank you to every person who worked on or watched The Carmichael Show.'

"Just like last May, we heard renewal negotiation between NBC and 20th TV had been difficult, with the two sides far apart and talks going slowly. With no clear indications from the network one way or the other, I hear 20th TV quietly sent out feelers to other networks to gauge potential interest in case NBC opted to cancel the show.

“'The Carmichael Show was such a wonderful show that we choose to focus today not on its loss but on the three incredible seasons we had the pleasure to produce,' said 20th Century Fox TV Presidents Jonnie Davis and Howard Kurtzman today in a statement. 'We are thankful to the brilliant Jerrod Carmichael and his talented cast, and to showrunner Danielle Sanchez-Witzell, our fantastic writers and devoted production team. It’s a rarity that a comedy series tackles the social and political issues of the day in such a clever and hilariously funny way. This show was special, and we will miss it.'

"Said NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt and President Jennifer Salke: 'We are enormously proud of The Carmichael Show and Jerrod’s talent and vision to do a classic family sitcom that also taps into issues and relevant stories from the real world. We thank and salute the cast, crew, and producers — and especially Jerrod — for three critically acclaimed seasons.'

"Season 3 of The Carmichael Show — a rare critically praised multi-camera sitcom — was produced for this midseason but was held until May 31. There had been concerns the delay would chip away at the show’s timeliness, which had been part of its DNA as the show had regularly taken on hot-button subjects like police violence.

"But Season 3 has proven very timely — two weeks ago NBC postponed at the last minute an episode that deals with a mass shooting as it fell on a day of two real-life mass shootings in the U.S. — including the one at a congressional GOP baseball practice. The network’s decision was publicly criticized by Carmichael who called it 'criminal.' That episode aired last [week].

"Last week, The Carmichael Show tackled the N-word and whether white people can say it on the heels of the controversy surrounding comedian Bill Maher’s use of the word on his HBO show.

"Ratings-wise, The Carmichael Show has been relatively stable. Airing on Wednesdays behind Little Big Shots and its offshoot Little Big Shots: Forever Young, the comedy’s adults 18-49 ratings have stayed within the 0.7-0.9 in Live+Same Day."

This is horrible news.  What a great show.  I will certainly miss it.

"Keegan-Michael Key and the cast of the new Netflix series Friends From College couldn’t get co-star Fred Savage to socialize when the cameras weren’t rolling.

“'Good old Kevin Arnold,' Key told us, referring to the name of Savage’s childhood character on The Wonder Years. 'As lovely and delightful as he is, has a very strict policy of not hanging out with his cast members.' When the director yelled, 'Cut! We’re wrapped . . . he goes back to his hotel room and watches prime time television all night.'

"But Key concedes, 'Not a bad policy.'

"Billy Eichner added, 'He really creates boundaries. He’s like "Nope, I’ve had enough of you.”'

"And Nat Faxon chimed in, 'He basically said, "We’ll be friends on-set, and when we wrap I will no longer be your friend," and he was not kidding. I made it my purpose all season to get him to hang out with me because he’s such a fantastic, lovely hilarious guy . . . I succeeded, twice.'

"Faxon figures, 'He’s such a pro and has been in the business longer than anybody, so he’s like, "I’m going to do my thing, and then go home.”'"

Per TheWrap, "HGTV ratings will likely hit the roof as the home improvement network breaks ground on its latest offering — a gay version of its hit show Property Brothers, featuring an explosion of six pack abs courtesy of its hosts, a married same-sex couple from Tennessee.

"The network recently aired a pilot for Down to the Studs, starring husbands PJ and Thomas, who refer to themselves as the 'Property Lovers.'

"Thomas is the designer and PJ is a realtor. Together the couple — along with their neighbor and Thomas’ sister — find and then flip houses in their hometown of Chattanooga.

"The network used the June 24th episode as a test run. It’s unclear whether the show will get picked up. In the meantime, PJ and Thomas have been building up buzz on their Instagram account with a flurry of half-naked pictures along with the hashtag: #HGTVDowntotheStuds.

"The couple told a local TV station that they had 'a production company contact us because of a social media account that Thomas and I started. The account at the time was called the "Property Lovers," and we had a pretty big following on that so it kind of just developed from that.'

"The news hit the gay blogosphere like thunder on a hot Tennessee summer day.

“'This gay couple is hoping to take HGTV by storm,' proclaimed Queerty in its headline. While the Gaily Grind went with: 'HGTV’s Newest Hosts Are An Adorable Married Gay Couple.'

"The network, which has a large gay audience, has been under fire recently after Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTV’s hit show Fixer Upper made headlines last year for their association with a Texas church whose pastor had advocated converting LGBT people into being straight. In 2014 HGTV was forced to cancel Flip It Forward, a show starring twins David and Jason Benham, after the brothers told a right-wing site that 'homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation.'"

"Coming off of the July 4th holiday, this makes me weep for America: "WE tv has found great success following its rebrand in 2014 under network president and general manager Marc Juris.

"The AMC Networks-owned WE tv experienced its best April ever this year in women 25-54, adults 25-54, and total viewers in primetime, according to Nielsen data. Compared to April 2016, the network’s ratings were up 32% among women 25-54, 30% among women 18-49, 29% among adults 25-54, 24% among adults 18-49, and 15% among total viewers. For the month of May, WE tv’s primetime ratings were up 15% among women 25-54, 14% among women 18-49, 14% among adults 25-54, and 14% among adults 18-49 compared to May 2016.

"The positive results are another feather in the cap of Juris, who is no stranger to rebranding a network. He came to WE tv after helping CourtTV successfully relaunch as truTV, as well as turning MuchMusicUSA into FUSE Network. According to Juris, the process of reshaping a network is as much about heart as it is about viewer data.

“'It’s all about understanding your audience and having passion and a point of view,' Juris told Variety. 'It’s not about graphics. It’s about what you’re trying to say and represent. It’s about having a clear, consistent voice…Creating a brand can’t be all research and science-driven. It has to ignite your soul a little bit. You know when something is great. Sometimes it’s hard to get there, so you have to be patient and always look to improve. You have to be open and flexible and recognize when a great idea is coming your way.'

"Juris is a self-described TV addict, who jokes he prefers watching reality series to spending time with real people. He has found particular success with new unscripted series following reality stars who initially appeared on other shows. Take, for example, Kendra Wilkinson. Wilkinson first rose to national fame during her time as one of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s three girlfriends, which was documented on the E! reality series Girls Next Door. She eventually got her own E! spinoff series, Kendra, which aired 45 episodes between 2009 and 2011. Shortly after parting ways with E!, Wilkinson launched Kendra on Top with WE tv, with the show’s first season reaching 7.5 million total viewers for the network. On June 23, Season 6 of the show premiered and was among the top five ad-supported cable telecasts in its time period among women 18-49 and women 25-54.

“'WE tv, they are so 100% with me on my journey,' Wilkinson told Variety. 'They believe in family. They believe in telling a truthful story. They believe in getting the most authentic story we could put out there. They’re geniuses at that. WE tv is honest TV,' she continued. 'They are giving you real TV, real stories, real pain, and real truth to what life is really all about. There’s no sugar coating anything and they do it in the most beautiful way they can. I am very thankful to be a part of WE tv. This is a real reality network.'

"And then of course there is June 'Mama June' Shannon, who first appeared on TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras. She and her family were then the subject of their own series, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, which drew significant ratings for TLC in its initial run, but was canceled in 2014. Now, Shannon is back in the limelight thanks to her new WE tv series, Mama June: From Not to Hot, in which she lost over 300 pounds.

"That show is currently the number one new reality show of 2017, averaging more than 2 million viewers per episode. It also showed growth from the season mid-way point through to the finale, ultimately increasing viewership by 48%.

"Another successful brand on the network is Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars, the cast of which has included Jersey Shore alum Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino, The Hills stars Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, and Mob Wives' Renee Graziano, among many others throughout its run. In 2016, the network partnered with Millionaire Matchmaker star Patti Stanger for a new reality series called Million Dollar Matchmaker, which reached 12.4 million total viewers in its first season.

“'We’re at a really important moment in time given the impact of social media on entertainment and really how everyone interacts, I think that has really been helping drive reality TV’s success,' Juris said. 'I think you want your brand to be known for one thing and in the days of only 500 channels, that was easier. Now there are so many options, you need to be clearly defined. There are great characters and stories in unscripted, and they have a very specific viewer. We really do want people to come with an anticipation of some sort of experience. It’s about representing a type of program or experience the viewer will get.'

"So what is it that makes people like Wilkinson and Shannon so captivating to viewers years after they first debuted?

“'Their stories aren’t finished,' Juris said. 'They provide a sense of familiarity. You already know these people, these characters. Mama June is a well-known TV character. If I told you someone you didn’t know was going to lose 300 pounds, you really wouldn’t care. But because you know who she was, that journey became a lot more interesting and a lot more jaw-dropping when you saw the transformation. We all love things that are familiar but different, so a character you know is a shortcut that lets you get right into the story.'”

Per Deadline, "Fox isn’t taking lying down ABC’s order to reboot Fox’s long-running singing competition American Idol, pushing forward with development of Israeli singing format The Final Four.

"This franchise, licensed by Armoza Formats eliminates the pesky so-called 'lousy auditions' stage of Idol, unveiling four finalists in the opening episode, as show name suggests, picked by the show’s three judges. Each week, new competitors are introduced who will attempt to dethrone one of the finalists. Show tagline: 'We start with the best and only get better.'

“'The Final Four is a new take on the singing competition genre, bringing all the most loved elements of music shows to the table and serving only the best of them in a way that has never been seen before,” Armoza Formats CEO Avi Armoza said back in March when the 'shiny-floor singing competition' format officially was unveiled.

“'And because of its unique structure, any viewer who thinks they’re good enough to challenge one of the finalists can do so through the app at any time, involving the audience throughout the season,' he added.

"And, so as not to confuse fans of NCAA 'Final Four,' the singing competition’s name will be changed.

"ABC, in unveiling its primetime plans for next season said it would bring format changes to American Idol, which Fox execs had suggested, after losing out in talks with Idol producers FremantleMedia and Core Media Group, was coming back too soon after their network pulled the plug, owing to lagging ratings and soaring costs. Those changes will reflect 'clear ABC hallmark and brand,' entertainment division chief Channing Dungey told reporters during Upfront Week."

We're all waiting with bated breath to see how this plays out!!

From The Hollywood Reporter, "[o]n Thursday, when the Big Brother season 19 live feeds went live, one thing was noticeably missing: one of the houseguests.

"Megan Lowder, a 28-year-old dog walker who also once worked in a prison in the Middle East, was gone. Her picture on the memory wall was faded to gray, and no clear explanation was given. 

"Based on the houseguests' conversations about what happened to her, fans were quick to judge Megan last week, claiming she 'locked herself' in the diary room and 'self-evicted.' Even former players of the game expressed similar sentiments along with disbelief that a contestant had quit before the game really began.

"Megan, who was predicted as a potential winner by executive producer Allison Grodner, left the game for personal reasons. Since her exit, she has cited PTSD as being the root of her departure, and on Sunday's episode, the events leading up to her exit showed the emotional toll this season had on her. 

"In the episode, she revealed in the diary room, 'I just wish it wasn't personal. Josh attacked me, now Cody's attacking me. I feel like everyone's attacking me. I just don't know if I can handle it.' 

"After that, she became the center of racist allegations. While overhearing houseguest Jessica Graf talking about her ally Alex Ow, she claimed that Jessica had used a racial slur against Alex.

"Megan notified Alex that she heard Jessica call her a 'panda,' which she interpreted as racist telling her, 'Isn't that a little racist?' Although Jessica did not call her a 'panda,' she did refer to her as season 16 houseguest Paola Shea, who is also of Asian decent. Jessica referred to her as Paola's nickname 'Pao Pao,' and Shea has since taken to Twitter to call the comparison by Jessica, and fans of the show, racist.

"With Alex not believing Megan, this led her to being yelled at yet again in the house and then emotionally breaking down in the diary room. The dog walker had now become the most isolated houseguest in the game and returned to the diary room, from which she then didn't come back.

"When she didn't return from being in the diary room for 'hours,' current head of household Cody read a statement from production to the entire house. The statement read, 'Due to an urgent personal matter, Megan will no longer be participating in Big Brother this summer.'

"And the reasoning was left at that. The PTSD that Megan has since spoken out about was not addressed. Her storyline on the show was wrapped up with her photo on the memory wall fading away and some of her now-former houseguests laughing at her exit. One houseguest who didn't laugh, though, was current fan favorite Kevin Schleuber, who said, 'I feel sorry for her. I just hope she's all right.'"