Wednesday January 3, 2018

Dave Chappelle's new Netflix specials were both great, as I expected.  Also, as expected, people have a lot to say about it.  I'll say this, they were both funny and entertaining, and if you like Chappelle's comedy, you'll be happy.

Some additional reactions.

One more for good measure.  "It suggests he cares far less about the process of telling a good joke and more about being the first to say anything at all — no matter how lazy."

Yara Shahidi was on The Daily Show last night.  Damn, she's an impressive teenager.  Check out the interview here and her new show Grown-ish tonight on Freeform.  More below.

Netflix is staying in the Ricky Gervais business.

I definitely did not love the USS Callister episode of Black Mirror that everyone seems to be gushing over. Am I missing something?

If you're new to the show, here's everything you need to know.

Showtime has ordered a 3rd season of The Circus.

A new season of The Match Game premieres tonight.  I remain a sucker for that show.

Kate Beckinsale "has signed on to star in The Widow, a globe-spanning drama series for Amazon, TVLine has learned. She’ll play Georgia Wells, who — as the title indicates — has lost her husband and is now living in seclusion. But when Georgia spots her supposedly dead husband alive and well on the news, she sets out to find out what really happened to him — a quest that takes her from the UK to the depths of the African Congo. Harry and Jack Williams, who co-created the acclaimed Starz drama The Missing, will write and executive-produce the eight-episode thriller, a co-production with British broadcaster ITV that will begin filming this month in South Africa, Wales and Rotterdam."

A new series chronicling the rise of modern-day dance fitness guru Caleb Marshall, known to his fans as The Fitness Marshall, debuts January 9 on Verizon’s go90.  Couldn't possibly be more out.

Ryan Murphy's new Fox show 9-1-1 premieres tonight.  More below.

Gaten Matarazzo (Stranger Things) has a band called Work In Progress.  Here are a couple of clips from a show they performed last week.  Brace yourself.

Guy Fieri's Times Square restaurant has finally closed.

"Facebook is the exclusive official live-streaming platform for the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards red-carpet show — landing the pact after Twitter had the exclusive red-carpet treatment last year. The social-media giant secured the deal with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Dick Clark Prods., which is producing the kudocast on Sunday, Jan. 7. The two-hour preshow, The HFPA Presents: Globes Red Carpet Live, produced by DCP in association with the HFPA, will live-stream exclusively on the Golden Globes Facebook page from 6-8 p.m. ET (3-5 p.m. PT). Hosts for the Golden Globes pre-show on Facebook are slated to include AJ Gibson, Jeannie Mai, Scott Mantz, and Laura Marano. As part of the partnership, 360-degree videos will be captured from the red carpet and throughout the pre-show and distributed on the Golden Globes’ Facebook page. The HFPA also will share exclusive red-carpet and backstage content on Facebook and the @goldenglobes account on Instagram. And on Jan. 7, the @Instagram Story — followed by 229 million users — will be hosted by actress-singer Laura Marano."

rose-mcgowan-0.jpg

Per Deadline, "Rose McGowan, one of the strongest voices of the #MeToo movement, is set to star in and produce Citizen Rose, a five-part documentary that looks at the world through the artist/activist’s eyes for E! The network will air a two-hour documentary special on Tuesday, January 30 at 8 PM ET/PT, followed by four episodes airing in the spring. McGowan executive produces with Bunim/Murray Productions.

"Citizen Rose follows McGowan as she readies her memoir/manifesto, Brave, for release. The project, according to E!, describes McGowan’s world: the art, the #ROSEARMY, her special punk brand of activism and the music she makes to heal. McGowan was one of the first among Harvey Weinstein’s accusers.

“'You are formally invited into my mind and world. I am thrilled to partner with E! to amplify my message of bravery, art, joy and survival. As I ready my book, Brave, I realized I wanted to show how we can heal through art even when being hounded by evil,' said McGowan. 'I want to have a conversation with everyone, and most especially, you about looking at things differently and seeing beauty everywhere. E!’s tremendous reach and impressive platform allow me to globally communicate the importance of living a Brave life.'

“'Rose McGowan’s courage in addressing sexual abuse and harassment in Hollywood ignited a conversation and inspired other women to speak out against their abusers,' said Amy Introcaso-Davis, Executive Vice President, Development and Production, E!. 'We look forward to taking viewers inside this talented, dynamic woman’s world as the first allegations unfold and she becomes a leading voice in a critical cultural change.'"

9-1-1-Peter-Krause-3.jpg

From Yahoo!: "Per usual, it took just one great meeting with Ryan Murphy to get a trusted, veteran TV actor fired up about his latest project. That’s how it happened for Parenthood‘s Peter Krause, who joins Murphy regulars Connie Britton and Angela Bassett in 9-1-1, a new Fox series premiering Jan. 3 that revolves around first responders — an emergency operator (Britton), a police field sergeant (Bassett), and a fire captain (Krause) and his squad. 'Given Ryan’s history and the way he described it, I knew it wouldn’t be the standard type of emergency show,' Krause says. 'It felt new to me. And, as described, it would be something that I would enjoy watching as well.'

"Krause spoke with Yahoo Entertainment to give us the scoop on the 'biggest' TV production he’s ever been a part of. Read on to find out why the fiftysomething actor wishes he’d booked this gig at 25:

What excited you about this project and ultimately made you sign on?
Ryan Murphy and I sat together for quite a while. He laid out what his vision for this series and the character was. I’ve always enjoyed doing a wide variety of things as an actor, and this was something I had never done before. As described to me, the character was equally as rich as Nate Fisher on Six Feet Under. The tone of the series was going to include a lot of adrenalized action on top of a lot of psychological investigation and introspection of the characters. And there was also going to be a fair amount of comedy, albeit gallows humor. I thought that the ingredients of the total tone of the show were very appealing.

I have interviewed many actors now as they have joined Murphy’s troupe of go-tos, and they all basically said what you said — that it all starts with a very good meeting with him. What is it about him and his company’s shows that speaks to actors so intensely?
I can only speak for myself, but I get to do my job. And by that I mean, looking all the way back to my first day of graduate school at NYU, the head acting teacher, Ron Van Lieu, told us what our job was. He was very succinct and said, “Your job is to illuminate the human condition.” There are plenty of entertainment products out there where you really don’t do that. That’s the highest calling of an actor, and you get to do that on Ryan Murphy shows. Along with getting to do cool things in emergency situations, you deal with great scripts and you get to explore what it feels like to be a person in these circumstances or investigate what is motivating a character and people for that matter. Ryan’s interests are always pointed in that direction. That’s very appealing to an actor.

What kind of research did you do for this part?
I continue to learn a lot about it. We have some wonderful consultants — firemen, medical, and so on — on the show. I talk with them daily. As we deal with the content of each episode, we ask them if they’ve faced this, and then they’re constantly giving us notes about how they would deal with this situation. Sometimes, we have to do things that aren’t exactly accurate in order to tell the story. So it’s learn as you go. I think of it as the Nike school of production — you just do it. We’re always figuring things out on the fly. I think I can speak for everybody that we wish we had more time. This is the largest TV production I’ve been a part of. These are big major motion picture-sized things that we’re trying to do in much less time.

It certainly seems to be more physically demanding than your past gigs on Parenthood and Dirty Sexy Money.
I’m physically exhausted. I’m emotionally spent some days, but I’m having the time of my life. There are some days where I think it would be nice to be sitting behind that anchor desk on Sports Night rattling off Aaron Sorkin’s wonderful dialogue. Every day I think, “Well, here’s something I haven’t done before.”

In the pilot alone you are climbing ladders, wielding heavy machinery, running, and you even make a point to the rookie that he should simply focus on how heavy his pack is. Are they making you guys really carry what real firemen carry? Or is it lightened up and you’re using fake hoses and such?
It depends on the scene. Generally speaking, it’s all real. Obviously, if I am wielding an axe in proximity of somebody else’s limbs, we’re substituting it with a rubber axe. But usually we’re carrying around what we have to carry. We carry the heavy packs, climb the real ladders. They do have lightweight versions of things in case we have to be doing it for hours on end.

I definitely worried about your backs.
It forces me to get up and go to the gym. Every day I work on the show my respect for what first responders have to go through deepens. They are really, really difficult jobs. These are jobs that people can feel really good about. They’re serving the greater good. And I think these jobs are good for an individual’s ego, even though they’re really difficult and you have to deal with tough emotional situations, again and again on the job and at home. That constant adrenaline rush and emotional tension gets to a lot of them, and that’s why many of them are addicted to something, which we also deal with on the show.

There will be blood and guts and other bodily fluids and gross-outs undoubtedly. Are you squeamish?
Not particularly. Although having never handled a 12-foot python before [as I do in the pilot], I will admit that I was sweating like Albert Brooks on Broadcast News [during filming]. When the snake handler told me that it was a female snake and that I should let go if she starts to fight and constrict, I thought to myself, “Don’t worry, buddy. I will let go. I will be out of that room so fast.”

Can you tease an upcoming case that you think is particularly cool or crazy? In the first episode, you save a newborn stuck in toilet pipes, lose a jumper, and battle with a giant snake, so it already sounds hard to top.
The whole world and journey of emergency response — from the time the 9-1-1 operator gets a call to the time, at least on the fire department’s side, we hand somebody off to doctors at an emergency room — is fascinating to me. Having to let go of this person that you have been trying to save for 20, 30 minutes, or an hour and a half, and immediately move on to the next, wow. I also think that people will really enjoy exploring these characters behind the emergencies; who they are and what they’re about. But in terms of one particular thing, I can say burning buildings, plane crashes, floors dropping out from beneath us — those are a few things that come up.

When your character, Bobby, jokes about being 50 and taking the elevator while the rookie Buck (Oliver Stark) half his age wants to run the stairs, I thought, “Oh, they aged Peter up.” Then I realized you are actually 52 in real life. And then I thought, “Wow, someone in Hollywood who is OK with their age being highlighted on TV.”
I’m perfectly comfortable with when I appeared here on earth. It doesn’t bother me that they use it in the script because I think that it helps explain the relationship between Bobby and Buck on the show. This is a guy who’s twice his age and he’s still doing this. It’s not as easy as it used to be. Personally, I’d love to have played this role half my lifetime ago when it didn’t hurt so much. But I’ve had a really nice career since I’ve started back in 1990, particularly since I did Sports Night in 1998. For the last 20 years, I can’t really imagine a better life in TV. Not everything has been a home run. Dirty Sexy Money was problematic. The Catch had some issues, too. But this is one where I think everybody’s in agreement about what the show should be. I experienced that on Sports NightSix Feet Under, and Parenthood. So I have a good feeling about 9-1-1.

Yes, but acting your age and admitting it is still an issue in Hollywood, especially for actresses. Although that’s another selling point of Ryan Murphy shows — he employs people of all ages and types and skin colors.
I think that that’s a weird aspect of Hollywood — that obsession with youth. I haven’t thought about it that deeply, so I don’t think I’m going to say anything particularly wise about it. I think if you can gracefully accept it and embrace it, you will be happier. It’s also a part of illuminating the human condition. It happens to all of us eventually. Rather than try and hide the fact that you’re aging, just be open about it. Certain things get harder as you get older, and other things get easier.

Most days you couldn’t pay me to go back to being a twentysomething.
I was at the Laugh Factory a long time ago. There was a comic, I can’t remember who it was, up onstage who announced that he’d just turned 40. There were some women up in the front area. They exclaimed, “Oh my God, you’re 40?” He looked at them and said, “How old are you?” Very brightly [one] said, “26.” Then he got real close to her and said, “Don’t blink.” And it’s true. It goes by really fast. I mean, sometimes I feel like I was doing, Sports Night a couple years ago. It will actually be 20 years ago in 2018.

As the saying goes, life is short and it goes very fast.
Yeah, the last 20 years especially. When we first started Parenthood, Craig T. Nelson asked me how old I was. We established that I’m 21 years younger. He has a cigar in his hand. He took a draw, looked at me, he said, “Pete, the next 20 years are going to go by real fast.” And even that was, gosh, 10 years ago. We just gotta appreciate every day."

Netflix-Bright-Will-Smith-Joel-Edgerton.jpg

Per Deadline, "[w]hen Netflix doubled the bidding for the Max Landis-scripted Bright with David Ayer attached to direct and Will Smith and Joel Edgerton to star, it committed over $90 million — twice what the picture cost to make — for what it expected would be its first franchise with feature caliber talent, as Smith and Ayer had just wrapped Suicide Squad, a film that went on to gross $746 million worldwide for Warner Bros.

"Netflix announced on social media that it will in fact make a sequel, with Smith and Edgerton back along with Ayer, who’s writing the script this time. Eric Newman and Bryan Unkeless are producing.

"While Netflix doesn’t release viewing numbers, the service declared that Bright was the highest viewed Netflix film ever for its first week, in every one of the 190 plus countries it services. Nielsen reported that 11 million watched in the U.S. over three days. This despite a dismal Rotten Tomatoes aggregated critical ranking of only 28%. Netflix commitment was high because it paid the stars and director their quotes, and then bought out the estimated back end they would have received had a performer like Smith made his usual cash break gross deal.

"The film followed LA-based cop procedurals that Ayer has made including End of Watch, Street Kings and Harsh Times, only this world melded an Alien Nation element: Smith’s cop partners with an Orc (Edgerton), and the world was populated by other mythic creatures.

"It was a big swing, but an important move for Netflix as it tries to create the kind of zeitgeist moments in movies that it has managed to do with series like House of Cards, Stranger Things, and 13 Reasons Why."

I tried to watch it.  Didn't make it all the way through.

082217-celebs-Yara-Shahidi.jpg

Per The Hollywood Reporter, "[w]hen ABC passed on its Black-ish spinoff about the Johnsons' eldest daughter, Zoey, heading off to college, it was an easy decision for Freeform executives to pick up the series for its younger-skewing cable network.

"Freeform's executive vp programming and development Karey Burke said it came down to something very simple: 'Two words: Yara Shahidi,' she tells The Hollywood Reporter. 'And two more words: Kenya Barris.'

"Even before ABC passed on the series, the team at Freeform had been tracking Barris' show — and immediately leaped at the opportunity to snag the series — and its star — for themselves.

"'We were in love with her just as fans at Freeform,' Burke says. 'What's she been doing for Teen Vogue, what she's been doing as an emerging voice for her generation, as a cultural figure — we have our eyes on all the young talent that we feel are making a difference and making some noise in the world.'

"Added Burke, 'She's brilliant. She's beautiful. She's generous. She's thoughtful. She's funny. She's everything. She speaks for that generation because she's not one thing. She's an activist; she's an actress; she's a student; she's a fashion icon, a role model. My 14-year-old daughter and my 19-year-old daughter look up to her. She has power in the world.' 

"As a series, however, Grown-ish might be able to do more on Freeform than it ever could on ABC.

"'We serve a different audience,' Freeform president Tom Ascheim tells THR. 'We spent a lot of time working on saying, 'OK, this is a show that fundamentally the young adults are at the center of all of the stories. Even in the spinoff pilot that they produced inside of Black-ish there was just more grown-up time on camera. I think in this one, the students are at the center of the show. It's Zoey's story and there's this other great cast around us that are part of her story.'

"As a college student in 2018, Zoey's story involves subject matter that might not have fit on ABC Family before the network's rebranding. There's drinking, drugs (cocaine!) and, in the second episode, Zoey takes Adderall.

"'This is what happens at college and I think for us to be good at what we do we have to be authentic,' Ascheim says. 'The show tries — I think with a sense of humor — to portray what's really going on in a college life. Black-ish has always been so honest with a sense of humor about the world that the family is facing, this is the world that Zoey's facing.'

"Put simply, 'it's edgier,' says Shahidi. 'It's not what we're used to seeing of Zoey or many kids. What I really loved is that it allowed us to relish our youth in a way that isn't usual on network comedies. Because [Freeform is] so aware of their demographic, we were allowed to tell those storylines without so much [interference]. I know the one note we got from ABC — rightfully so, too — was, "Where's the adult presence?' On Freeform, that isn't the case, because it is just so much about our stories as these college students and we're allowed to really revel in it.'

"While there will be plenty of organic opportunities to bring characters back and forth between Black-ish and Grown-ish — Anthony Anderson's Dre appears in the first Freeform episode, and the rest of the Johnsons will drop by at different points; Zoey occasionally will head home to Black-ish — Barris reiterated that the spinoff is Zoey's story.

"'There was a natural translation to her going from her house to college,' Barris says of the decision to spin off that character in particular. 'But that's not to say that Yara doesn't just sparkle. There's just some people who the light shines a little brighter on them in the room, and she's one of those kinds of people. I met Yara when she was a kid.... I've seen her grow up, and I'm so proud of her to see what she's become on her own, as Yara, and how different she is from Zoey. It showed me what she could do as an actress, how much she could stretch her arms. She puts this show on her back.'

"Shahidi is joined by a stacked ensemble, which includes singer-actor Trevor Jackson, fashion influencer Luka Sabbat, musical sister duo Chloe and Halle Bailey (aka YouTubers Chloe x Halle, who wrote and perform the theme song) and teen drama vet Francia Raisa (Secret Life of the American Teenager).

"'It's fucking St. Elmo's Fire. I engineered these people,' Barris joked. 'No, it was so luck of the draw. And really hard work. Amazing casting people brought amazing people together, but it really was the combination. It is so interesting how certain elements by themselves are just certain elements, but then you put them together and they make something beautiful.'

"The young cast — the majority of the actors are in their late teens and early 20s — help Barris and the writing staff with stories, as do his daughter, an USC freshman, and her friends. That personal connection has made Grown-ish even more special an experience for Barris, who serves as showrunner on both series.

"'Because this is new and it's my baby, I'm super protective of it. And I feel like the network has given me a lot of faith in getting this together. I want to see it be a success. I want people to see what we see in this show. It's really important to me,' he says.

"For her part, Freeform exec Burke says she's never felt Barris gives anything less than 100 percent to the show. 'I don't know how he does it, because he gives everything to Black-ish and he gives everything to Grown-ish, and the movies he writes, and the other shows he has coming. He's been a joy'" she says. 'He's deeply, deeply impressive in the amount of passion and attention to detail that he puts into the shows. I knew he was supremely talented and passionate, but I didn't know, I was surprised by his level of commitment to detail. He oversaw the promo shoot. He oversaw every detail about the main title. Every musical choice. He's just a perfectionist in the greatest way.'

"But that perfectionism is taking a toll. 'I'm fucking exhausted, dude,' Barris confesses. 'I'm burned the fuck out.'

"While he does want to continue to be involved in both shows, Barris knows that it's not something he can sustain for much longer. 'It has been more difficult than I ever thought it would be,' he says. 'I feel like Black-ish has a different love in my heart, a different place. Because it is a cultural talking point and right now that's an important thing, to be able to have that platform to talk. I've been given the opportunity, and there's a responsibility that comes with that.'

"For the time being, he'll continue to run both series.

"'I'm really tired, but my family has been really supportive in saying right now it's something I have to do,' he said. 'Obviously I can't do this forever — or even for much longer — but I think I can hopefully try to make it successful.'"

Grown-ish premieres tonight on Freeform.