Wednesday August 23, 2017

MTV has renewed a 2nd season of Fear Factor.

Harvey learns the extent of Alex’s involvement in the prison case, as Mike attempts to keep the case alive.   Let's close out this storyline tonight and get back to Harvey and Mike on the same side whooping ass, please.

I'm enjoying The Sinner.  Definitely worth checking out if you're looking for something new.

Allison Janney talks about how her Mom co-star is handling her separation from husband Chris Pratt.

People still watch America's Got Talent?  

Saturday Night Live‘s experiment in season 42 was a success: broadcasting the final four episodes live from all time zones across the country broke ratings records for the  series and produced its most-watched season finale in 6 years. Ergo, Lorne Michaels is now confident this broadcast strategy will continue in season 43.

"In a new interview with Vulture, the brothers Matt and Ross Duffer teased a second season of Stranger Things in which they 'wanted to push things a bit,' because, like any good movie sequel, 'No. 2 is always a little bit bigger.' In the process, they also confirmed that season three of the show is officially a go, and that they plan to do one more after it. 'We’re thinking it will be a four-season thing and then out,' says Ross. The showrunners talked about continuing to evolve the story since, as Matt is aware, constantly running their child stars through the Upside-Down wringer might not be sustainable: 'I don’t know if we can justify something bad happening to them once a year.' And as for the end game, Ross did offer one hope for where the members of the Hawkins A.V. Club might go off to. 'They’re going to have to get the fuck out of this town!' Ross told Vulture. 'It’s ridiculous!' See the bigger and badder monsters terrorize small-town America when Stranger Things returns to Netflix on October 27."

Mark Wahlberg is Hollywood's highest paid actor.  More on what some of television's highest paid stars are making below.

Congratulations to Sharon Levy who was named president of Endemol Shine North America's Unscripted and Scripted Television. Levy was most recently executive vice president of Original Series for Spike TV, where she worked for a dozen years.

"The long-running franchise MTV Unplugged returns on Sept. 8 with a performance by Shawn Mendes. It will be followed a week later with Bleachers in the headlining slot. Joining the Jack Antonoff-fronted band will be special appearances by Lorde and Carly Rae Jepsen."

ESPN has removed announcer Robert Lee from its broadcast of the University of Virginia's first football game of the season next month, owing to what the network said was "the coincidence of his name."

A sneak peak at Jordan Klepper's new Comedy Central show.

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, "Jerry Seinfeld is inching closer to his Netflix debut.

"The acclaimed comedian and Seinfeld co-creator signed a massive deal with the streaming giant in January that included two stand-up specials and 24 new episodes of his Emmy-nominated talk show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The deal, which will also see old episodes of Comedians move from Crackle to Netflix, kicks off in late 2017.

"Ahead of that, Netflix has slated Seinfeld's first stand-up special for the streamer to launch worldwide Tuesday, Sept. 19.

"The hourlong special, titled Jerry Before Seinfeld, will see the comedian return to New York City's famed The Comic Strip — the club that helped launch his career. The set will be interspersed with never-before-seen material, including an extensive library of legal pads containing every joke Seinfeld has written since 1975 as well as childhood videos. As part of his set, Seinfeld will perform the jokes that helped ignite his career.

"Seinfeld is one of a slew of A-list comedians who have been lured to Netflix for stand-up specials as the streaming giant competes against long-established homes for stand-up specials like HBO and Comedy Central. Others include Dave Chappelle, Ellen DeGeneres, Louis C.K., Amy Schumer, Kevin James, Sarah Silverman and Tracy Morgan, among many others.

"As part of the release date announcement, Netflix unveiled several videos from the special on Instagram, as well as up-close looks at Seinfeld's material."

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"The explosion of demand for high-end TV series and the emergence of deep-pocketed new buyers such as Netflix and Amazon has been an enormous windfall for marquee talent. Just ask Robert De Niro, or David Letterman, or Katy Perry.

"Stars with brand names are more in demand than ever as dozens of competing outlets search for anything that will help a show stand out from the pack. The new business models that govern streaming services have also had the effect of raising upfront payments to top talent because traditional forms of generating a profit from a hit series — through international sales and off-network syndication — are no longer an option.

"Among the winners in the past year on the drama side were Robert De Niro, who is in line to receive an eye-popping $775,00 per episode for the untitled Amazon drama series from director David O. Russell. Other big gainers include Shameless stars Emmy Rossum and William H. Macy and the Ozark duo of Jason Bateman and Laura Linney.

"On the flip side, lesser-known actors such as Justin Hartley and Chrissy Metz started out with modest (by comparison) episodic fees for the first season of This Is Us, although they are surely poised to add more zeroes in the future. Claire Foy has been collecting awards and praise for her work as Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s The Crown, but her Season 1 episodic fee reflects the markedly lower pay scales for British productions.

"Here’s a sampling of estimates for the paychecks banked by some of TV’s most notable stars. In some cases, the per episode fees reflect additional compensation for their work as producers or for their profit participation stakes.

"It’s good to be Dwayne Johnson. The versatile superstar has become one of TV’s highest-paid comedy players thanks to the success of HBO’s Ballers. Meanwhile, Donald Glover is betting on the long-tail theory with his FX series “Atlanta,” agreeing to more modest fees upfront in exchange for a larger share of the backend.

"The Will & Grace quartet of Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally and Sean P. Hayes are back in the top echelon for the NBC revival series. The Modern Family and Big Bang Theory troupes had high-profile contract negotiations that plumped some paychecks. But it’s not all about the money. The original five stars of Big Bang agreed to slight pay cuts to help fund raises for their co-stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch.

"How badly did Netflix want David Letterman on its platform? Enough to pay him an estimated $2 million per episode for a six-episode commitment for an in-depth interview series. That number has sent jaws dropping throughout the unscripted TV community. So did Katy Perry’s deal to preside as a judge over ABC’s new iteration of American Idol. Nevertheless, it’s two daytime syndication stars who pace the race for big paychecks among reality, news and host talent. DeGeneres has seen her salary and profit participation on Ellen soar in recent years. “Judge Judy” boss Judith Sheindlin is right behind her, and she stands to reap another eight-figure check this year on the sale of the show’s library to CBS."

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"Late last month, ABC retitled its forthcoming drama The Gospel of Kevin to the more playful (and long-winded) Kevin (Probably) Saves the World. At first glance, this seems like a minor title change, its blithe tone better selling the show's comedic aspects. But as star Jason Ritter sees it, the switch serves a greater purpose.

“'It felt like the original title could be interpreted as exclusive right off the bat,' the said actor during a break from filming. 'So you go, "Gospel" — this word means this specific thing in my brain, and so if that's not a word that I use or say on a daily basis, the show's probably not for me.’

"'Exclusive' certainly isn’t what creators Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas (Reaper, Agent Carter) had in mind when they conceived the series, which centers on a selfish, depressed man tasked with saving the planet, with help from Yvette (Kimberly Hebert Gregory, who replaced Cristela Alonzo), a so-called messenger of God who travels to Earth inside a meteor. Given the subject matter, one could be forgiven for assuming the series is aimed at 'faith-based' viewers who made hits out of shows like Touched by an Angel and 7th Heaven. But Butters and Fazekas would take issue with that characterization.

“'Ultimately you can be a religious person or you can not be a religious person and still connect with Kevin's quest to be a better person,' Butters tells THR. 'For us, the show really is about hope, because I feel like right now on television, there [are] more shows about dystopian possibilities than there [are] about people actually learning to be kind to each other. Now, I say that, and then [I] want to undercut the earnestness of that line. At the heart of our show, [the message is]: "Don't be an asshole."'

"Viewers who have followed Ritter’s career will note that in concept at least, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World is more than a little similar to his previous series, Joan of Arcadia, which ran on CBS from 2003 to 2005. On that show, Amber Tamblyn played a teenager with a direct line of communication with God. Here, Kevin communicates with a hired hand of the Almighty who is often fuzzy on the details of the plan herself. It’s a facet that Ritter sees as an important distinction between the two series. 'Yvette is trying to help Kevin, and she has her own mission, but she doesn't know how it's all going to unfold,' Ritter siad [sic]. 'She's on the journey with Kevin.'

"Casting Yvette proved to be a bigger challenge than either Butters or Fazekas had anticipated. After the original pilot was shot with Alonzo, the role was recast with Gregory, who had previously auditioned for the part before signing on to another pilot (ABC’s Unit Zero, opposite Toni Collette, which was passed over). When asked about the change, Butters and Fazekas were quick to claim that a change of direction — not anything regarding Alonzo’s performance — was behind the switch. Still, they noted that Gregory grasped the tone of the show better than anyone else.

“'She inherently understood that it was [a] comedy, where I think some people looked at [the character] and they think, it's an angel, so they think, "Well, I have to act like an angel,"' Fazekas said. 'That's part of your character, but that is not all of your character.'

"The irreverence required to play Yvette is an extension of what Butters and Fazekas are trying to accomplish with the show itself. In Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, angels aren’t called angels, and they certainly don’t fit the mold of what one would expect a 'messenger of God' to look and act like. 'We didn't want to do a show about "capital R" religion,' said Fazekas. 'We did want to do a show about hope and about spirituality, and taking what you think you know about God and any of the sort of dramatic tropes about that and sort of turn them on their head.'

"While comparing the series to Joan of Arcadia is an oversimplification, that show brought a similarly light touch to the topic of spirituality. As Ritter put it, both shows conceptualize God as 'loving and benevolent' — not the merciless, judgmental arbiter so many people grow up learning about. 'When you hear [a TV show] is even going into this sort of realm, I and a lot of people can sort of tighten up and be ready to be attacked or something like that, or feel excluded,' he said. 'And [the script] kind of untied those knots in my stomach. Even by the end of the pilot, it was like, "OK, this is a good direction. This feels right and this feels comfortable.”'

"Thematically, God is just one of the series’ potentially button-pushing elements. In the pilot, viewers learn that Kevin previously attempted suicide and has come to the rural home of his sister Amy (JoAnna Garcia Swisher) and her teenage daughter Reese (Chloe East) to recuperate.

“'When people are shorthanding what the show is about and calling his character ‘selfish’ in bios and pilot descriptions, really what we’re talking about is...his life prior to even his suicide attempt,' said Butters. 'I think a lot of shows that do deal with suicide, the problem is, they're not showing that there might be another way.'

“'Having been touched by suicide in my own personal life, and seeing suicide attempts and [trying] to sort of deal with the aftermath of that, it's something that I take really seriously, and I felt like they do too,' added Ritter. 'I mean, they chose that Kevin tried to do this very specifically. It wasn't just sort of like, ‘How low can we make this guy?’...It feels like it's given the weight that it deserves.'

"Ultimately, Kevin’s dark past ties in with Butters and Fazekas’ stated mission: to spread a message of faith — not religion — in a TV landscape that doesn’t often showcase it. 'I hope what comes out of this show,' said Butters, 'is [the message] that you can hit your lowest point and still find hope.'

"Kevin (Probably) Saves the World premieres Oct. 3 on ABC."

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, "Manning Marable's Pulitzer Prize-winning Malcolm X biography is getting the TV treatment.

"Independent studio Critical Content has optioned Marable's Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention and plans to adapt the book into a scripted drama series. David Matthews (Boardwalk Empire, Tyrant) is on board to pen the script and exec produce alongside Critical Content's Tom Forman, Andrew Marcus and Ray Ricord. Dr. Leith Mullings and Michael Tyner will produce and serve as consultants. A network is not yet attached as producers search for filmmakers to join the project. Critical Content, the company behind CBS' The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey, also plans to produce a subsequent documentary on the ongoing legacy of Malcolm X.

"Critical Content says the TV project will be informed by the biography and dramatize the life of Malcolm X. The book has become the definitive guide to his life, with the author's research uncovering previously unknown details about Malcolm X and his evolution into a human rights activist.

"The project remains in early development; casting has not yet begun.

"Should the drama move forward, it would become the latest of several portrayals ofMalcolm X in film and television. Denzel Washington starred in the 1992 feature film; James Earl Jones took on the role in 1977's The Greatest; and Al Freeman Jr. and Morgan Freeman starred in 1979 mini and 1981 TV movie Roots: The Next Generations and Death of a Prophet, respectively. More recently, Nigel Thatch starred as Malcolm X in 2014's Selma."

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From TVLine: "You know how they say smoking marijuana can make anything funny? Well, whoever said that never watched Netflix’s appallingly bad new weed-com Disjointed. Because it would take a tractor-trailer full of ganja to make this mess tolerable.

"You might have seen that Disjointed (debuting this Friday) stars the great Kathy Bates and airs on Netflix, and assumed that it must be innovative in some way. But don’t be fooled: This is basically a lame CBS sitcom dressed up in hip, streaming-service clothing. Chuck Lorre (of Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory fame) is an executive producer here, and it shows, from the crude punchlines to the live studio audience’s prodded laughter. (At one point during the pilot, the studio audience even lets out a TGIF-style 'awwww.' What decade is this?!)

"Bates plays Ruth, the aging-hippie owner of a L.A. cannabis dispensary, where her 'budtenders' recommend the stickiest strains to a grateful clientele. Marijuana legalization is admittedly a timely topic, and one that’s clearly ripe for comedy, but aside from a few thuddingly obvious stoner jokes, the setting is irrelevant here. Disjointed is a generic workplace sitcom that might as well take place at a health-food store, or a chiropractor’s office. (We’ve Got Your Back, coming to CBS this fall!) The weed theme is just a sham: Even the CGI plumes of smoke that Ruth’s customers exhale are fake.

"It’s a bit baffling why an actress of Bates’ stature would stoop to appearing in such a dud. (She does have a history with Lorre, having guest-starred on Two and a Half Men and Mike & Molly.) Playing Ruth gives her a chance to add another strange accent to her acting repertoire — AHS: Freak Show fans know exactly what I’m talking about — but she mostly drops Ruth’s grating Noo Yawk twang after the pilot, anyway. Disjointed‘s hacky sitcom format is a poor fit for Bates, who looks uncomfortable throughout, even appearing to read her lines off of cue cards at times. I have no doubt Bates could be hilarious and terrific in the right TV comedy. This, however, is not it.

"Disjointed‘s supporting cast is mostly forgettable, because their characters are patched together from sitcom clichés. Dougie Baldwin gives off a pleasing James-Franco-in-Pineapple-Express vibe as weed connoisseur Pete, but too often, he’s just standard-issue stoner. Elizabeth Ho plays 'Tokin’ Asian' budtender Jenny… and the audience inexplicably laughs when she speaks Chinese to her mother on the phone. (Is speaking a foreign language what passes for a joke here?)

"Across the board, Disjointed is marred by very broad, yell-y acting, with the cast straining to sell woeful jokes that range from tired pothead stereotypes (boy, are they forgetful!) to vulgar double-entendres. (Ruth refers to fist-bumping as 'fisting.' Ha?) The show even awkwardly lurches into drama with the tale of security guard Carter (Whitney‘s Tone Bell), an Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD. The surreal animated interludes depicting Carter’s troubled state of mind are actually pretty cool — dig those crazy colors, maaaan! — but they don’t mesh with the rest of the show at all, and quickly vanish to make room for more lazy punchlines.

"With shows like this and Fuller House, Netflix seems to be trying to establish a foothold in the traditional three-camera sitcom game. Which would be fine — if these shows were any good. But Disjointed‘s failings just underline why the old-fashioned sitcom is a dying art these days. Michael Douglas actually just signed on to star in a new Netflix comedy series produced by Lorre. Mike, buddy, save yourself a lot of time and heartache: Watch five minutes of Disjointed to get an idea of what you’re in for… and then run for the hills."