Thursday August 10, 2017

FX has picked up Snowfall for a 2nd season.

The season premiere of Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update airs tonight.

Least surprising news of the month: "After months of rumors, Seeso has confirmed it will close its doors later this year. The NBCUniversal-owned comedy-centered SVOD service made the official announcement Wednesday on Facebook. There had been much speculation about Seeso’s future, following the departure of Evan Shapiro as head of the service, which was followed by layoffs amid an announcement that its business model was being reassessed. In its farewell message, Seeso noted that There’s…Johnny! would not premiere later this month as planned, but the service is hoping to find it a new home. And current series HarmonQuest, My Brother, My Brother and Me, Hidden America with Jonah Ray and The Cyanide and Happiness Show will now be found on VRV Select. HarmonQuest Season 2 will debut September 15 on VRV Select."

Difficult People took a great jab at Seeso.  You should be watching Difficult People, without question, if you're a Hulu subscriber.

Bob Newhart deserves more credit as an innovator.  The Bob Newhart Show, "he said, is timeless because they shied away from political or topical jokes that would date the series in syndication. 'I told the writers this show is going to be syndicated and we are going to look pretty silly in 20 years if we are doing a Gerald Ford joke. And I was right. It’s easy to write topical jokes, but you are going to look stupid. They all agreed.' [There are] ripples of his show in Seinfeld, Cheers and Parks & Recreation. 'I see a huge influence your show has had,' [Conan O'Brien] said. 'Are you willing to take credit for all of those programs here tonight?' Newhart paused before he replied, 'Yes. Notice the pause.'”

The Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Western anthology has been picked up by Netflix for premiere in 2018. The series will feature six tales about the American frontier told through the voices of Joel and Ethan Coen. Each chapter will feature a distinct story about the American West.  I'm all in.

Lou Diamond Phillips will appear as a guest star on the upcoming season of You're The Worst.  This on the heels of news that he'll also appear on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.  He'll always be Ritchie Valens to me.

Jane Lynch has signed on to guest star in Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which stars Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam 'Midge' Maisel, a 1958 New York City woman who has everything she’s ever wanted, but whose life takes an unexpected turn when she discovers a previously unknown talent for stand-up comedy. Lynch will play Sophie Lennon, the most famous female comic of her time, who plays sold out shows and has been a popular fixture on radio and TV for years.

Season 2 of The Crown will be available on Netflix on December 8.

Per TheWrap, “Louie fans would be well-advised to not hold their breath for Season 6.

"Series creator and star Louis C.K. told reporters during the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour on Wednesday that he doesn’t plan on bringing Louie back to FX anytime soon, although the network is open to it returning. New episodes of the Emmy-winning comedy haven’t aired since the Season 5 finale in May 2015.

“'I don’t know that I’ll ever do it again, but I loved doing it,' said C.K., who is an executive producer on FX’s Better Things. 'I’m not going to do it soon, and it may come back in the future.'

“'I don’t think about it much, but there’s no reason to say I’ll never do it again,' he continued. 'And also, I loved it, so any time I get distance from something, it gets fonder for me. One thing I don’t ever want to do is make a bad episode of that show, just so that I can keep it going. That’s why I stopped.'

"The comedian pointed out that he wouldn’t again do the 'exact version' he had previously done, given that he is now older and hasn’t 'been that guy for a while.'

"FX president and general manager John Landgraf told reporters that he has his 'fingers crossed' that the show will eventually come back.

“'I think it’s possible there will never be another season of Louie, and I think it’s also possible there will be four or five more seasons of Louie over the next 30 years,' he said."

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From The Hollywood Reporter: "A Fox Sports 1 panel designed to promote First Things First turned briefly political Wednesday morning.

"A month after the ouster of Fox Sports 1 programming chief Jamie Horowitz amid a sexual harassment probe — which followed a series of other high-profile firings at cable cousin Fox News, including late head Roger Ailes and longtime host Bill O'Reilly — FS1 personalities Cris Carter, Nick Wright and Joy Taylor were asked to comment on the corporate culture at 21st Century Fox. All three were emphatic in their support of their employer during their otherwise sports-focused half-hour before the Television Critics Association.

"Carter took the mic first. 'I'm not familiar with what goes on at the other Fox, but as far as Los Angeles and under the leadership of Eric Shanks, I haven't seen that,' he said, adding: 'I was totally shocked by it and that's as far as I'm going to conversate about it. I'm not at liberty to discuss [the Horowitz firing]. There are other things going on that I'm not privy to.'

"Taylor fielded the question next, looking down at her feet the entire time. 'The culture and the environment at Fox Sports 1 has always been professional, and an overall great experience. It's a great place to work,' she said. 'That isolated situation aside, I think that everyone who works there enjoys working there. It's run well by professionals who care about what they're doing and come to work every day wanting to enjoy not only the people they work around but what they do.'

"Speaking last but with the most passion was Wright. 'People may see me on TV and think I'm a jerk, but it's important to me that people who know me and my character think I'm a good guy, and … if I felt that there was any type of hostile work place for people who aren't me … who are women, people of color … it [would be] incumbent upon me as a man and as a person to raise that issue and use whatever power I have to help the people affected or put a stop to it,' he said. 'If there was a bad culture at FS1 that I had seen in any capacity, I wouldn't be here.'

"In early July, Horowitz was abruptly dismissed after two highly active years at the helm. In that time, he had recruited an impressive, noisy stable of talent, including Wright and Carter. Specifics about the event or events that led to Horowitz's ouster have been kept under wraps. What is clear is that 21st Century Fox execs, who have had to pay out at least $85 million in settlements, are now acting swiftly and brazenly when it comes to such issues. Horowitz has since hired fiery L.A. litigator Patty Glaser."

"Hulu is developing a series based on the life of RuPaul with J.J. Abrams serving as executive producer, Variety has confirmed.

"The series, currently titled “Queen,” will present a fictionalized version of RuPaul’s rise to prominence beginning in 1980’s New York up to the present day as a world-renowned drag queen and global icon for the LGBT community.

"RuPaul will executive produce along with Gary Lennon, who will also write the script. Abrams and Ben Stephenson will executive produce through Abrams’ Bad Robot banner. Tom Campbell, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato will executive produce through World of Wonder. Warner Bros. Television will produce. Bad Robot is currently under an overall deal at Warner Bros. TV. 

"RuPaul, whose full name is RuPaul Andre Charles, rose to fame in the New York club scene. He skyrocketed to fame with the release of the dance track Supermodel (You Better Work). The song and music video became a major hit on MTV, leading RuPaul to sign a contract with MAC Cosmetics, making him the first drag queen supermodel. He is best known for hosting “The RuPaul Show” on VH1 and RuPaul’s Drag Race and its spinoffs for both Logo and VH1.

"In addition to Queen, Bad Robot is also developing the series Castle Rock at Hulu, which is set in the Stephen King multi-verse. Castle Rock has landed a 10-episode first season order, with Hulu describing the project as an 'ongoing series,' meaning it’s not intended to be a 10-episode limited run."

Per The New York Post, "NBC News is sparing no expense on its new star, Megyn Kelly, and the lavish spending is ticking off some of her new colleagues at the Peacock Network.

"Kelly is on a five-day nationwide tour to visit affiliates in major markets, and she is traveling on a charter jet with a support staff of five or six people, including a hairstylist, a makeup artist, a publicist and a security detail.

“'People are outraged over her divalike ways,' one network source told me. 'They wonder, "When does NBC stop throwing money at her?”'

"Kelly left Fox News in January to take over the 9 a.m. hour of Today, which launches on Sept. 25 as “Megyn Kelly Today.” Her salary is said to be $18 million a year.

"NBC hired new staff, built a new set and will be spending extra on a live audience for the show, which Kelly’s been touting in Dallas, Houston and Denver.

“'She’s working sunup to sundown every day — some days, two cities a day,' an NBC insider said, and shooting multiple promos and pieces for the new show.

“'It’s a standard affiliates tour, which many new NBC News anchors have done before her. There’s huge excitement for Megyn Kelly Today in these markets, and it’s a great thing that the show is covering people and places outside of New York City.'

"The insider said most staffers for the morning show were already working for Today, and that the expenses for the show’s launch were all budgeted long in advance.

"Kelly’s newsmagazine show Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly debuted in June to much fanfare, but had mediocre ratings and ended after eight episodes. It is expected to return after the NFL season and the Winter Olympics."

From Facebook: "Watching video on Facebook has the incredible power to connect people, spark conversation, and foster community. On Facebook, videos are discovered through friends and bring communities together. As more and more people enjoy this experience, we’ve learned that people like the serendipity of discovering videos in News Feed, but they also want a dedicated place they can go to watch videos. That’s why last year we launched the Video tab in the U.S., which offered a predictable place to find videos on Facebook. Now we want to make it even easier to catch up with shows you love:

Introducing Watch

We’re introducing Watch, a new platform for shows on Facebook. Watch will be available on mobile, on desktop and laptop, and in our TV apps. Shows are made up of episodes — live or recorded — and follow a theme or storyline. To help you keep up with the shows you follow, Watch has a Watchlist so you never miss out on the latest episodes.

Watch is personalized to help you discover new shows, organized around what your friends and communities are watching. For example, you’ll find sections like 'Most Talked About,' which highlights shows that spark conversation, 'What’s Making People Laugh,' which includes shows where many people have used the 'Haha' reaction, and 'What Friends Are Watching,' which helps you connect with friends about shows they too are following.

We’ve learned from Facebook Live that people’s comments and reactions to a video are often as much a part of the experience as the video itself. So when you watch a show, you can see comments and connect with friends and other viewers while watching, or participate in a dedicated Facebook Group for the show.

A Platform for Shows

Watch is a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work. We think a wide variety of Facebook shows can be successful, particularly:

  • Shows that engage fans and community. Nas Daily publishes a daily show where he makes videos together with his fans from around the world. The Watchlist makes it easy for fans to catch every day’s new episode.
  • Live shows that connect directly with fans. Gabby Bernstein, a New York Times bestselling author, motivational speaker, and life coach, uses a combination of recorded and live episodes to connect with her fans and answer questions in real time.
  • Shows that follow a narrative arc or have a consistent theme. Tastemade’s Kitchen Little is a funny show about kids who watch a how-to video of a recipe, then instruct professional chefs on how to make it. Each episode features a new child, a new chef, and a new recipe. Unsurprisingly, the food doesn’t always turn out as expected.
  • Live events that bring communities together. Major League Baseball is broadcasting a game a week on Facebook, enabling people to watch live baseball while connecting with friends and fellow fans on the platform.

We think Watch will be home to a wide range of shows, from reality to comedy to live sports. To help inspire creators and seed the ecosystem, we’ve also funded some shows that are examples of community-oriented and episodic video series. For example, Returning the Favor is a series hosted by Mike Rowe where he finds people doing something extraordinary for their community, tells the world about it, and in turn does something extraordinary for them. Candidates are nominated by Mike’s fans on Facebook.

We’re excited to see how creators and publishers use shows to connect with their fans and community. You can learn more about making shows on our Media blog."