O.J. Simpson has been granted parole and will be released from prison by October 1. Lots to cover on this below.
"An insider tells Page Six the former NFL star, 70, who was granted parole Thursday after serving nine years on an armed robbery conviction, is being swamped with offers to film a reality show. 'Everyone in town is shopping him a reality show,' a source said. 'The question will be if that’s a provision of parole to not do media,' the insider continued. 'It would be odd because he hasn’t bothered anyone in the media. He would have to get permission from parole to do that. Whatever he does for work, he will have to get it approved.' Dozens of companies across a variety of networks are said to be pitching ideas. If reality TV doesn’t work out, he’ll have a steady job signing autographs and taking photos with fans."
Ozark is now streaming on Netflix.
Ballers and Insecure return to HBO on Sunday night.
Hulu just released its slate of fall premiere dates, which kicks off with new seasons of The Mindy Project on Sept. 12 and Chance debuting Oct. 11. Here's the full list for those who like to plan ahead:
The Mindy Project, season 6 (10 episodes): Tuesday, Sept. 12
Chance, season 2 (10 episodes): Wednesday, Oct. 11
I Love You, America, season 1 (10 episodes): Thursday, Oct. 12
Freakish, season 2 (10 episodes): Wednesday, Oct. 18
Too Funny to Fail: Saturday, Oct. 21
Obey Giant: Saturday, Nov. 11
Future Man, season 1 (13 episodes): Tuesday, Nov. 14
Marvel’s Runaways, season 1 (10 episodes): Tuesday, Nov. 21
East Los High: Finale Event, season 5: Friday, Dec. 1
Shut Eye, season 2 (10 episodes): Wednesday, Dec. 6
Season 5 will be the last for The Originals.
After months of teasing and speculation, Ryan Murphy finally revealed the title of the seventh season of American Horror Story. The series will be titled American Horror Story: Cult and will debut on Tuesday, September 5.
"Seacrest’s busy schedule doesn’t exactly offer a lot of flexibility — especially when you consider that Idol tapes in Los Angeles and his new gig as co-host of Live With Kelly and Ryan is Monday-Friday in New York City. And then there is his daily syndicated radio show, On Air With Ryan Seacrest.
"How is Seacrest going to possibly balance all of that? (Thank goodness Knock Knock Live didn’t make it to season 2.)
"Well, for starters, ABC built Seacrest an on-site Manhattan radio studio just for On Air. Problem 1: solved. There are plenty more where that came from, however.
"As anyone who followed Fox’s American Idol knows, one of Ryan’s main jobs is as the guy who celebrates a trying-out talent’s golden ticket moment when they’re welcomed to Hollywood.
"For those geographically challenged, Hollywood — Seacrest’s old stomping grounds — is very far from New York City. Even flying privately that trip takes six hours in the air. It’s extremely unlikely that American Idol will move to New York for its host, so how could this guy even pull it off?
"The predominant theory seems to be that the new-look Idol would involve one live episode per week, and probably on a Sunday evening when the show returns early in 2018. Seacrest would then be able to take a red eye back East for Live and his radio show on Monday morning. In theory, he could also pull Idol off on a Friday, though that’s cutting it much closer and it feels unlikely that ABC would banish its big splash to the worst weeknight for television.
"If Ripa was willing to pre-tape every Friday show — which they do from time to time — the same argument could be made for scheduling the new Idol on Thursday nights.
"Officially, the network is mum on what night Idol will air. 'We have no further information than what it is in the press release,' an ABC rep told TheWrap this morning after its big announcement. 'Scheduling will be announced at a later time.'
"If the Sunday plan is truly in the cards, we can give readers a fairly accurate idea of the Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve host’s schedule, simply by basing it on what he used to do for Fox.
"Kicking off the season, Fox’s American Idol would film its Audition Round in seven cities — ABC has announced that tryouts will begin August 17, which is a bit later than Fox used to start the process.
"Fox mostly shot auditions on weekends to accommodate Ryan’s popular radio show. When he had to stay out of L.A. for a while, he was usually able to find a local radio station from which to work.
"The always punctual Seacrest would typically get to the auditions at 8 a.m. local time to film the opening scene — you know, the helicopter shot with all the excitable and starry-eyed locals. That setup took about an hour, a person familiar with the former iteration’s schedule told TheWrap.
"Seacrest would then put in a few more hours of on-camera stuff each day, and he always had some press commitments to fulfill as well — especially during the groundbreaking show’s historic heyday.
"So, yeah, the dude is busy — and American Idol is demanding. But if anyone could pull this off, it’s a workaholic who wakes up at 5 a.m. anyway."
Variety weighs in on O.J. which a puzzling case: "You can’t turn around these days without coming across a media property that riffs on the ‘80s or ‘90s. Nostalgia is big business, and can even lead to great art, as we saw when The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, garnered just about every award it was nominated for.
"But the upswing in interest in all things O.J. should not lead Hollywood and the entertainment industry to put the former football player to work again. No company would come out of such an arrangement thinking they’d made the right call.
"Even though the parole board granted him his freedom and he will walk out of a Nevada prison at some point relatively soon, allowing him to join the world of entertainers and reality-show stars would be a terrible idea.
"Let’s set aside for the moment the issue of his innocence or guilt in the matter of the brutal murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Simpson was convicted of an array of crimes in Nevada that prompted a judge to give him a minimum of nine years in prison. Lots of reality-show stars have checkered pasts. But being convicted of 12 criminal counts in a court of law is far more serious than the usual speeding tickets or drunk-and-disorderly citations found on the resumes of some reality stars or D-listers.
"Before the unsavory events that Simpson was part of in 2007, some of us remember what happened the year before. In late 2006, Fox planned to air a special in which Simpson would discuss the contents of a book titled If I Did It. The book and special were parts of one of the most tawdry media spectacles of the modern age, one that the network found difficult to live down. In the special, Simpson would have allegedly described how he committed the murders of his ex-wife and Goldman. The attempts to spin it away from what it clearly was — a heinous attempt to cash in on the deaths of two human beings — crashed and burned.
"Fox was clearly taken aback by the firestorm that the announcement of the book and special generated. But there’s no reason to think such a thing would not happen again. If nothing else, other media companies could learn from that depressing spectacle, and avoid giving Simpson the kind of media spotlight that would undoubtedly reflect negatively on their brands.
"A scripted program that intelligently and thoughtfully explored the complex set of events set off by the brutal death of Brown Simpson and Goldman was a terrific idea. The brilliant ESPN documentary OJ: Made in America took a different tack but was a multiple award-winner for similar reasons: It cogently excavated matters of race, crime, punishment and media failings. There’s a lot to examine in that trial, in the troubled history of the LAPD and in the ways in which sports stars are often shielded from the consequences of their worst behavior, and that’s why stories about the O.J. circus can be not only compelling but necessary.
"But it’s hard to forget that OJ: Made in America put into detailed context the chilling 911 tapes in which Nicole Brown Simpson was clearly terrorized. That Simpson beat his wife, who feared him deeply, is not in doubt. And for those pushing a redemption narrative — and that was the spin Simpson and his attorney put forward during the hearing — it was hard to square with the combative stance the former athlete took at various points during the proceeding. America has learned (or re-learned) a lot about the O.J. murder trial in the last year or two; what’s far less clear is whether Simpson himself has learned anything from the past few decades.
"Giving Simpson a slick reality show or some other lucrative vehicle that allows him to make money while rehabilitating his image would be one more example of the media — more specifically, the entertainment industry — getting it wrong. Making O.J. the center of a new story and telling it from his point of view would, inevitably, make him sympathetic to some. Point of view is a powerful tool, and storytellers taking up O.J.’s cause, whatever the environment, would not hard-pressed to resist a redemption narrative. But that tendency would have the unfortunate effect of minimize and possibly even de-legitimize those who think his troubled past — which was not, as he claimed at the hearing, free of violence — is problematic in the extreme.
"America loves second chances, but this one has far too many queasy elements to make it work.
"Of course ex-prisoners deserve a chance to rebuild their lives. But whenever Simpson is allowed to resume his life, let’s just hope it’s far, far away from the spotlight."
I'm shocked by the naïveté exhibited by a source such as Variety. The notion that O.J. will not somehow someway get a stage on which to pontificate is a brand of wishful thinking with which I am not familiar. He will be given a spotlight and he will be offered an opportunity to put forth his point of view, and people will come out in droves to have a listen. America has given much more heinous human beings a level of attention that is beyond comprehension (e.g., Charles Manson), so what is to make anyone think that in 2017, where there are more platforms on which to consume content, someone won't hand him a microphone and put a camera on him? Shame on you and your upside down credulity in an industry which you should know better, because, by its very nature, it allows you to have a voice and an existence. Shame on you.
"Laci Peterson was the subject of a nationwide media frenzy after she went missing while eight months pregnant on Christmas Eve in 2002. Her body and that of her unborn child were discovered on the shores of San Francisco Bay four months later.
"While her husband, Scott, was convicted of murder and and is on death row, little is known about how, when and where Laci died.
"Produced by Left/Right and BQE Films, The Murder of Laci Peterson takes a new look at the case, re-examines the circumstantial evidence and investigates the media’s influence on the case and its outcome. The six-episode docuseries also includes access to Scott and his family as they speak directly about his conviction.
"In addition, the series will include interviews with key eyewitnesses, experts, lawyers, cops, journalists and professional and amateur detectives, including Nancy Grace, Gloria Allred, Amber Frey, detectives Jon Buehler and Ed Steele, journalists Ken Auletta and Maureen Orth, reporters Gloria Gomez and Garth Stapley, Scott Peterson’s trial co-counsel Pat Harris, his appellate attorney Cliff Gardner, attorney and CNN and ABC contributor Chris Pixley and local reporter turned CNN correspondent Ted Rowlands among many others.
"Executive producers for the series include Left/Right’s Banks Tarver, Ken Druckerman and John Marks. Executive producers for BQE Films are Shareen Anderson and Po Kutchins. Executive producers for A&E are Elaine Frontain Bryant, Amy Savitsky, Brad Abramson and Emily Flood. A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights for the series.
"The Murder of Laci Peterson is set to premiere Aug. 15 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on A&E."
Need I say more?
Per TheWrap, "[a]s a kid growing up in Harlem, Snowfall actor Amin Joseph remembers seeing rumblings of what would grow into the crack cocaine epidemic: parks and school yards that had become places where people would do or sell drugs.
"This wasn’t something that hit him until years later. Yes, he participated in jokes about people being 'crackheads' and was surrounded by Nancy Regan’s 'Just Say No' campaign — but Joseph said he wasn’t cognizant. Even when he stepped on a crack pipe when walking home from school, he didn’t think much of it.
“'I do remember those times when I wasn’t aware,' he told TheWrap. 'We were not really understanding the ramifications of what the drug was doing to our community. Looking back on it in hindsight is really terrible.'
"In a way, the younger Joseph is similar to his character Jerome Saint in the FX show Snowfall, although Jerome doesn’t have the benefit of hindsight.
"In the series, John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood) tackles the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s through the eyes of people that would’ve lived through it. One of those characters is Jerome Saint — played by Joseph — who is an ex-felon and small-time drug dealer who gets pulled into the world of drug dealing after his nephew Franklin (Damson Idris) decides to start selling the drug in South Central Los Angeles.
"Unlike Franklin, who quickly establishes himself as an enthusiastic entrepreneurial genius, Jerome is comfortable dealing pot to people in his neighborhood. He rocks a Jheri Curl (Joseph calls the hairdo Sheila), lifts weights in his yard, and listens to funk music. To him, it’s less about rising to the top of a drug cartel or becoming a millionaire and more about living a life that he’s comfortable with. This is all before it gets turned upside down by Franklin and his romantic partner Louie.
“'The character isn’t really aware of the bigger ramifications,' Joseph said. 'I kind of like that about the character. In a way he’s between his four squares of the corner. That’s where his kingdom is. He’s looking to control what he can.'
"Before Snowfall is set, crack and cocaine were mostly consumed by the rich. However, when sellers began distilling it into a smokeable form, it became cheaper and easier to produce. This allowed it to reach, and profoundly shake up, a whole new clientele. Its effects on lower-income communities like LA, New York and Miami are still being felt today, with some of those areas still decimated by the increases in crime. People of color are still getting incarcerated more harshly for possessing crack thanks to the panic that arose following its widespread distribution.
"The significance of works like Snowfall is how it focuses on these events — whether they show a good side of American history or not. The crack epidemic is a sore spot in that history thanks to all the harm it did to mostly communities of color. However, discussions concerning trying to fix those problems or acknowledging the negative impact the government had have been erased.
“Snowfall is an example of how you can tell an American history story without having to tone down that criticism. It doesn’t place the blame on any one group, but it doesn’t hold back.
“'We should be telling or stories in a way that we don’t have to throw out all our patriotism,' Joseph said, 'but at the same time we can’t, for lack of a better term, whitewash some of the cup stains.'
“'I think that we realize there is a great divide in America right now because the telling of our history is slanted,' he continued. 'Sometimes we hide some of the more shameful parts of our country’s past.'
"Taking into account what came about because of the crack cocaine epidemic then is more important to Snowfall than where the drug came from. The most fascinating stories from the first few episodes are about normal people who get caught up in something larger than themselves. It’s another piece of work from Singleton, who made a name for himself in the 1990s with Boyz in the Hood and other films that represented the people and socioeconomic issues that affected South Central.
“Snowfall, which draws a lot from Singleton’s youth, is deeply rooted in the time period and it was important from Joseph to understand that to get into his character.
"Like, super important. Even Singleton said so.
“'I was getting mic’d up and John walks up to me and says "hey man I know that you’re from NY and everything, this is South Central bro… this is my neighborhood, this is where I’m from. You can’t make me look bad,"' Joseph recalled from one of his first days on set.
"Singleton wasn’t being harsh though, just straightforward.
"Joseph looked up everything he could about the time period to try and get into his character. He listened to the music, tried to figure out what Jerome’s favorite movie would be, what politics would be on his radar, and even what football team he’d be a fan of.
“'He was always really instrumental in letting us know the time period,' he continued. 'That gives an actor a lot to pull from.'
"Plus, it gives the character more depth, even if it’s not something the audience would see. And adding dimension to a character in Snowfall is the whole point.
“'I think that hopefully the show can encompass a lot of that and the viewer can see some of the humanity… not sensationalize the next drug dealer,' Joseph said."
From People, "America’s Got Talent runner-up Jackie Evancho is returning to television in a new TLC special.
"The 17-year-old singer, who made headlines in January when she agreed to sing the National Anthem at President Donald Trump’s inauguration, will lead Growing Up Evancho, an hour-long program following her life at home.
"All of Jackie’s family will be featured on the show, including mom Lisa, 50, dad Mike, 47, and siblings Rachel, 13, Zach, 15, and Juliet, 19.
"She and Jackie have been outspoken about transgender rights since, and last fall, Juliet even filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against her Pennsylvania high school after she and her trans peers were barred from using the bathrooms of their choice. (A judge granted a preliminary injunction allowing Juliet and her fellow trans students to use the bathroom of their gender identity choice in February.)
"Jackie also took to social media in February after Trump signed the executive order rolling back protections for trans youth, requesting a meeting with the President. (The White House said Trump would 'welcome' a meeting but have yet to confirm an appointment.)
“'I had to do something about it,' Jackie told People in March. 'Because at that point, something had changed that was going to affect a cause that I believe in. It was going to affect my sister, who I truly love, and people that I know. It was just natural instinct.'
"She says she hopes to talk to Trump about passing federal laws to protect her sister and other transgender people. 'My goals are mainly just to continue what I’m doing, but on a bigger scale — to inspire people, to use my voice to do good, to help people,' Jackie said. 'I definitely want to change things.'”