Tuesday September 5, 2017

American Horror Story: Cult premieres tonight.  More below.

Bravo unveils a new season of Below Deck tonight.  Oh joy!

Suits' Meghan Markle spoke to Vanity Fair about her relationship with Prince Harry, amongst other things.

Everything you need to know about season 8 of The Walking Dead.

"Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball will make his acting debut as a guest star in an episode of Fuller House, set to air during the second half of Season 3. In the episode, which finishes filming this week, Lonzo visits the Tanner-Fullers at their home in an effort to recruit someone to join the Lakers organization."  Gross.

Speaking of which, Terrell Owens has signed on for season 25 of Dancing With The Stars.  That's sad.

Billionaire businessman and CNBC’s Billion Dollar Buyer star Tilman Fertitta has agreed to buy the Houston Rockets for a league record $2.2 billion. That's $200M more than the previous record of $2 billion, Steve Ballmer paid for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014.

Dulce Sloan has joined The Daily Show as a correspondent.  First order or business, get a real website.

What's in store for season 4 of Black Mirror?

Fox & Friends host Clayton Morris has retired from television.

A list of fall premiere dates.

In support of Brickleberry.

I'm still very much enjoying I'm Sorry on truTV.

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, "[d]espite what some may think, American Horror Story: Cult isn't an attack on President Trump.

"After deciding to deconstruct his FX anthology series last year with the mysterious sixth season of Roanoke, Ryan Murphy is calling the upcoming seventh season another 'unexpected jolt' for longtime viewers of the franchise. Though there were passionate Hollywood voices in the writers room when they started to plot the season in December, the showrunner is now saying that it was never a 'pro-Hillary, anti-Donald Trump conversation.' Instead, 'it was really about trying to understand: Why are people voting for X or Y candidate? What are they feeling? Why are they feeling belittled or disenfranchised or upset with the patriarchal system?'

"During a recent press event attended by The Hollywood Reporter, Murphy explained how no matter who people voted for, everyone can relate to the feeling of experiencing the 2016 election night. When Murphy first conceived his election-themed idea in early September, Hillary Clinton was the presumed winner and the opening scene he then imagined was 'a little different,' he said.

"'Our feeling is that everybody lost their shit after the election — Republican, Democrat — and everybody's still losing their shit, and nobody's really figured out from either side where to put those feelings,' Murphy explained of the genesis of Cult. 'There is no real discussion. Everybody's still at each other's throats, you're either on one side or you're on the other. The season really is not about Trump, it's not about Clinton. It's about somebody who has the wherewithal to put their finger up in the wind and see that that's what's happening and is using that to rise up and form power, and using people's vulnerabilities about how they're afraid and don't know where to turn, and they feel like the world is on fire.' 

"THR joined a handful of press in screening the first three episodes of the highly anticipated season and, as promised, Cult does kick off on 2016 election night, using real footage of both Trump and Clinton ahead of the former's astounding win. As shown in the season trailer, Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters portray characters with reactions on opposite sides of the spectrum, serving as an entryway into the political divide that quickly splintered, and is still splintering, in America.

"Kai Anderson (Peters) reacts to Trump's election night win by blending Cheetos and smearing them across his face as makeup. From there, however, the season quickly reveals itself to be more about the blue and the red — rather than the orange.

"'The characters have very strong views about Trump and Hillary Clinton, but it really is not about them,' Murphy reiterated during the event. 'It really is about the cult of personality that can rise in a divisive society. That's what this show is about. And I hope that people can figure that out.'

"Murphy also revealed that Peters will go on to play multiple cult leaders, six in total, in addition to playing Trump supporter Kai — a seemingly racist, homophobe who is accused of emerging from his 'parent's basement' after Trump's win — in order to examine how those people rise to power and why people follow them.

'"We wanted to do Charles Manson for a long time, and I couldn't figure out how to do it,' Murphy explained. 'Evan Peters is playing Kai, this cult leader in this small town who we follow as he rises. And the thing that we're doing is we're really examining all different sorts of cults. And there are many, many famous ones.'

"Peters will go on to play six cult leaders total, including Manson, David Koresh, Jim Jones and even Andy Warhol. Lena Dunham plays the woman who shot Warhol, Valerie Solanas, in a one-episode run to explore 'female rage' both then and in the country now.

"'They're all such idiots,' says Murphy of the cult leaders they will examine. 'But for some reason in the culture at that time there was something going on that people were so disenfranchised that they were, like, "Yeah, I'm going to follow you, Charles Manson, and I'm going to do whatever you say."'

"Ally Mayfair-Richards (Paulson), meanwhile, finds old phobias retriggered after election night, but an ongoing fight with her wife, Ivy (Alison Pill), revolves around Ally's voting for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, instead of Clinton. While the well-off, white lesbian liberals quickly become a target in the small town, Murphy spreads the commentary by having Ally defend herself against her coulrophobia (fear of clowns) with bottles of rosé during a grocery story nightmare sequence and by telling her wife a line many Clinton supporters know all too well: 'As much as I hate him, I didn't trust her.' Billie Lourd's character Winter, also devastated by the election results, realizes she fell victim to the over-confident liberal media.

"Murphy cracked of the premiere grocery scene, 'I think we've all turned to rosé a lot in the past year. And I was doing that in my life.'

"The showrunner, who hails from Indiana, acknowledged early criticism from conservatives about the season who are jumping to conclusions that the outspoken Clinton supporter has simply infused his own political beliefs into the show. 

"'People have the wrong idea already about what it's going to be,' he said of monitoring tweets from the conservative side of the audience. 'People in the Rust Belt who have loved the show [are tweeting], "I'm out. I can't believe that you're tackling this." They don't understand that every side on our show gets it just as much. The white privilege that Sarah and Alison['s characters] deal with is satirical as well.'

"He said he set the season in Michigan because it was a battleground state that only became more polarized when Clinton lost the assumed win, a world that he felt he knew. Indeed, Cult's community after the election sees racial tensions heightened to horror-story proportions as a series of tragedies befall the small town. The growing fear, stemming from identity politics, is something Kai capitalizes on and Murphy leans into that fear with Ally's many phobias: She has a fear of clowns, blood, holes and coffins, to name a few.

"Though the season is due to offer many of its usual twists and turns, Murphy calls the cycle a 'grounded' one and compares it to common fan-favorite season Asylum. Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch) might be making his return, but this season will be the first to not feature a supernatural element.

"Ultimately, the question this season will ask is: How did Trump get elected?

"'What did he tap into as a candidate? We don't have to say that we love or hate Trump, but we were interested in his rise and how that happened,' said Murphy, who admits to feeling, like many were, shocked by his election. 'I feel that in this country, probably in my own bubble, there was a sense with the election of Barack Obama, like, "Oh, things are changing; people are getting along; diversity is happening." That's when my career started to happen. So, I felt really shocked by what happened, and then, looking at it in the writing, I realized I shouldn't have been so shocked. I should have understood more.'"

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From TheWrap: "Is the future looking thorny for The Bachelor?

"Franchise creator Mike Fleiss has whipped up fans into a bit of a frenzy in recent days with a series of cryptic tweets that have some viewers worried that the fate of the popular dating franchise could be in jeopardy.

“'Stand by for shocking news regarding #thebachelor …' he wrote — and then 30 minutes later, he followed with, 'Tv trivia… Has a broadcast network ever canceled its No. 1 show???'

"Could this 'shocking news' in fact have something to do with ABC potentially sending The Bachelor packing?

"To be clear, both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have already been renewed for an additional season, and new spinoff The Bachelor Winter Games is set to arrive next year. It’s also hard to say whether Fleiss was even referring to his programs, given that the ratings for the Bachelor shows are below such ABC series as Grey’s Anatomy, although The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise are the network’s two top-rated shows of the summer.

"Certainly, the franchise has endured a bumpy summer, with Bachelor in Paradise production getting shut down briefly following allegations of sexual misconduct.

"Additionally, Fleiss’ tweets were written on the same day TheWrap reported that ABC is planning to trim 10 percent of its budget.

"Also causing concern for fans is the fact that Good Morning America tweeted this week that the next Bachelor would be revealed Sept. 1 on the morning show. But the tweet has since been deleted, and no such announcement was made.

"Fleiss said on Thursday that he was 'waiting for final approval' to make an 'unbelievably shocking announcement today regarding #thebachelor.' On Friday, after a fan tweeted that Fleiss may have had something to do with the GMA announcement’s delay, Fleiss replied, 'Wasn’t me.'

"That said, the franchise may indeed live to break more contestants’ hearts. In an apparent effort to quell fan concerns, Fleiss later tweeted on Friday, 'Don’t worry, #BachelorNation …'

"ABC declined to comment for this story."

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From Refinery29: "We're just weeks away from the season 2 premiere of This Is Us, and NBC is giving fans the tiniest of bread crumbs to remind us how much we want to know what happens next to the Pearson clan. The network dropped a bunch of photos from the upcoming season. Though it's hard to tell if the photos contain clues about the show's plot, at the very least they show what the mood will be: somber, sad, funny, and a little bit sexy.

"In an interview with Entertainment Weekly last month, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman revealed a little about what would happen in the first five minutes of the season.

"'You're picking up the storyline the morning after Jack has left the house, and what happens next,' he said. 'It's intense — and it's all in the first five minutes of the show.'

"According to Variety, the present-day part of the show will pick up three months after the events of the season finale, when the Big Three turn 37.

"We also may learn how Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) died in that episode. One thing we definitely know is that we will cry because even on repeat viewing, the sneak peek of season 2 — in which we see the first time Rebecca (Mandy Moore) saw baby Randall — yanks the tears right out of our face.

"This Is Us returns to NBC on September 26."

"With the return of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory just around the corner, fans were treated to their first look at the upcoming season. A teaser for the new episodes was released and it features a little glimpse into the now-infamous cliffhanger of Season 10.

"For those that are unfamiliar, Season 10 ends with Sheldon flying directly to Princeton to propose to Amy after a coworker kissed him. Sadly, the season ended just before Amy could answer, or even properly react. In the new teaser, fans see that the moment in question will get a little more complicated thanks to an ill-timed phone call from Leonard.

"Sadly, the trailer doesn’t offer much in terms of letting fans know whether or not Amy and Sheldon will actually get engaged. Furthermore, other than a few brief glimpses at Leonard, Howard and the gang, there’s not much discussion on where they’ll all be when Season 11 kicks off on September 25.

"Right now is a good time for any Sheldon-centric stories as the CBS comedy is getting a single-camera prequel spinoff series called Young Sheldon. It will chronicle a 9-year-old Sheldon Cooper as the small genius begins high school in east Texas. Fortunately for The Big Bang Theory fans that aren’t ready to take on yet another show, creator Chuck Lorre explained to Entertainment Tonight that there’s no immediate plans to crossover the two shows.

“'We’ve discussed that the stories we tell in Young Sheldon can echo in Big Bang Theory,’ he explained. 'We might meet them on the Big Bang Theory’20 years later. We’re definitely discussing the ripple effect that the shows can have going forward in time but we’re not there yet.'”

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Per Billboard, "[i]t remains to be seen what, if any, new angle or information will be added to the story of Tupac Shakur's mysterious death when his Snapped: Notorious documentary airs next Sunday night (Sept. 10) -- but signs are pointing to a suggestion that the rapper knew his killer.

"In the show's trailer, released by Oxygen, Tupac's former girlfriend Yolanda 'Yo-Yo' Whitaker is shown tearfully saying that she had asked 'Pac if he knew who shot him.

"And, although TMZ writes, 'The trailer … paints a vivid picture of Pac's last breaths on his deathbed in a Las Vegas hospital … his finger shot off and nodding that he knew who did this to him" -- that scene is absent from the clip.'

"The two-hour episode will recount the night the rapper was fatally shot in Las Vegas in 1996, and is reported to include interviews with Danny Boy and Yo-Yo, DJ Mister Cee, Pac's first manager Leila Steinberg, music journalist Toure and other close friends and fellow MCs.

"The Oxygen special will arrive two weeks before Fox's Sept. 24 Tupac doc hosted by Ice-T and Soledad O'Brien, called Who Shot Biggie & Tupac?, which will also detail the murder of Notorious B.I.G.."