"The Contender is back in the ring, this time on Epix. Mark Burnett, MGM TV and Digital and Paramount TV are reviving the boxing competition series that ran on NBC from 2005 to 2009. The show revolves around an elimination-style competition among 16 boxers as they train and fight in the hopes of winning a six-figure purse and the title of “The Contender.” Several pugilists from the earlier incarnation went on to compete in world championships, including Sergio Mora, who took the WBC Super Welterweight Championship title in 2008. Eric Van Wagenen is executive producer and showrunner alongside Burnett, who is now president of MGM Television and Digital. Van Wagenen worked on the original series with Burnett. Sylvester Stallone was also on board the NBC version but there’s no word if he’s back again this time."
Vulture sat down with Zach Galifianakis who had this to say about Louis C.K.: "'This is the poison of celebrity culture: The fact that someone can think that just because they’re loved, they can do what they want. It grosses me out.'”Ellen DeGeneres turns 60 on Friday?!?
Season 3 of Baskets premieres on FX tonight.
Season 5 of Drunk History launches on Comedy Central this evening as well.
As does the season 3 premiere of TBS' The Detour.
"Netflix took a $39 million write-down for its fiscal fourth quarter related to two projects involving Kevin Spacey, who became one of the key figures in the sexual harassment and abuse scandals that began late last year."
"CBS has given pilot orders to three projects from women writers and executive producers. History of Them is a multi-camera hybrid from One Day at a Time executive producer Gloria Calderon Kellett. The multi-cultural ensemble comedy is about how two friends, Luna and Adam, meet and fall in love, using the couple’s social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) as a guide. Broadway star Ana Villafañe is attached to play Luna in the project co-produced by Sony Pictures Television and CBS Television Studios. Pamela Fryman will direct and executive produce alongside Marc Provissiero. Murder is an hourlong drama pilot from Lethal Weapon and Law & Order: SVU alum Amanda Green. Executive produced by Dan Lin and Lin Pictures, the project is shot like a true crime documentary and 'explores crime through the unique and often conflicting perspectives of cops and killers, witnesses and victims, friends and family.' Alongside Lin and Green, Lindsey Liberatore will serve as co-executive producer. I Mom So Hard is an adaptation of the webseries of the same name by Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley. Smedley and Hensley are attached to star in the multi-camera comedy and write the pilot with 2 Broke Girls alum Michelle Nader."
"In advance of Waco's Jan. 24 premiere, [Taylor] Kitsch talked with The Hollywood Reporter about humanizing a modern-day bogeyman, navigating the show's unfortunate Weinstein Co. connection and why he'll never take part in a Friday Night Lights reunion:
David Koresh is someone who has been demonized in the public imagination, and you have the unenviable task of making him sympathetic in some ways. In researching who David was, what did you learn about him that surprised you or challenged your perceptions?
This whole event really was just an amalgamation of ego, and one wrong decision after another on both sides. And obviously posturing in the worst way. I had no idea he was the musician he was, and his mom was 14 [when she gave birth to him], he was abused growing up. Obviously, that lends a hand to a lot of other things in shaping his own mindset and how much he wants control over his own environment. Hence him creating his own environment. And not just with scripture — with the wives, with how he would test and be able to manipulate and how shifty he was. Someone who memorizes the Bible by the age of 16 or 17, there's something there that needs to be dealt with. That's really what I focused on, him blatantly overcompensating for things that maybe he feels he never had as a child to creating that environment.
We kept going back to that purpose, and I think that's what is relatable to anybody, religion or not, belief or not, everybody searches for this purpose. [It's] something to wake up to. Whether it's as mundane as losing five pounds, or if you want to do a 180 in your life. And I think from my experience, reading and talking to [David] Thibodeau [the author who wrote the book on which Waco is based] and [lead FBI negotiator Gary] Noesner, Dave enabled that [for others]. And that's a huge thing in my own life, having a sense of purpose every day. That kept coming back to me. You talk to Thibodeau, his drummer who he recruited from L.A., to these people that were under Dave, to the letters, to the recruitment tapes, you gave them that, and in return he got that back as well. He was the Lamb of God. If he had nobody to give that message to, his purpose dissipates to nothing.
Did you talk to any of the former Branch Davidians in doing your research?
Absolutely. We had Thibodeau [who was one of the nine surviving Branch Davidians] on set every day I was on set, and I've read his book I don't know how many times now. I was actually going to go visit him, and a snowstorm stopped me. He lives in Maine now, and he was Dave's right-hand man, or one of them, and [his] lead drummer. And his stories are enthralling. He helped me mentally, from like my 2 a.m. texts to him while we were shooting to improvise the Psalms that Dave liked to have. There's a beautifully tragic scene when Dave gets shot at the door twice and another man that was beside him gets shot, his father-in-law, and he ends up dying in the compound a couple days later. I asked Thibodeau and [Waco exec producer] John Dowdle to give me some kind of simple, beautiful Psalm, something you could hear Dave saying to this man on his deathbed as he asked to be released from everything.
You're an executive producer on Waco. What was the extent of your involvement behind the scenes?
It was quite a bit. I loved it. You always want that creative outlet and to be heard. This is probably top three, if not the most fulfilling creative outlet I've ever had as an actor, just because of that environment. loved batting ideas around with producers and the cast.
The Weinstein Co. produced the show, though the company's name has now been removed from the series in the wake of allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Were you shocked when that story came out?
Yes. I'd never met Harvey. I had literally no idea. He never came to set. He was more involved in and packaging the show.
Having worked in Hollywood for as long as you have, is it one of those things where you'd heard rumors about him? How surprised were you when all of that came out in the press?
When you read those stories, you're dumbfounded — or I was. I had no idea. I'd never worked with him. Whether you're in the business or not, you knew he was a powerhouse guy who could throw his weight around in the room. I knew he was a ballbuster in the sense of negotiations.
In addition to executive producing Waco, you've got a movie called Pieces that you're set to write, direct, produce and star in. How much of that has to do with previous points in your career where you were the star of projects that were perceived as disappointments, that you didn't really have a hand in aside from being an actor. Is this your way of trying to take more control of your career?
Yes. The story of Pieces wasn't derived out of "failure" of a box office movie; it was a story that I would have written if John Carter made a billion dollars. It's a story that's been in me that I feel I just had to get out. I think any artist wants that creative control and that challenge and to work with great people like Pete Berg [with whom he worked on Friday Night Lights] and Taylor Sheridan. Being behind the camera will make me a better actor as well. It's part of my growing process — and that's a big reason to [play] a [character like] Koresh. I take a lot of pride in playing such different guys, and I love that challenge.
When films like John Carter and Battleship don't work in the way that they were intended and you're the face of the film, you take the hit for its failure in a lot of ways. After those movies came out, how responsible did you feel for their failure?
It stings. You want your voice to be heard, or you feel you've done everything you've can. If you're the face of the franchise, you feel bad not just for yourself but the other cast and the whole process. Nobody goes out to make a movie to not do well. I put everything I had into it. The worst thing would be to look back and [think], "Man, maybe I should have prepped harder, maybe I should've done 'x.'" You just don't want to regret anything and I don't really have that. In hindsight, I wouldn't be near the actor I am today if those movies did start raking in money. Because I signed two three-year contracts, more or less. I was on two multi-film deals with Battleshipand John Carter. I'd be going into my late 30s just going back and forth with these franchises. I wouldn't be the same actor I am now, because I wouldn't have taken the risks, or I wouldn't have the time to take the risks either. So, it's a blessing in a way.
Peter Berg and showrunner Jason Katims have said that the Friday Night Lights film follow-up to the show is now off the table. You've said in the past that you never wanted to play Tim Riggins again, but was there ever a point in the process —
I said from day one that I don't want to play him again.
Was there ever a time where you considered stepping back into that beloved role?
No. I mean, you play a guy for four-plus years, and I feel we dived into it enough and explored that whole thing of not just Riggins but the stories in Dillon, that I don't know, I have such great closure and I think it ended on such a beautiful note that it's just like, I honestly don't know the point of doing it again. I have to look for new challenges as well.
How would you feel if they did end up going ahead with it without your involvement?
I wouldn't be up in arms for a quarter second. I would wish them all the best, and I would be curious and watch it. I'm grateful for that time. I know it was a springboard for me, and Friday Night Lights has got such a cult following. People still stop me all the time on the street to talk about Riggins, but I think it's sometimes a beautiful thing just to let it be and realize that that was a time in your life where you grew as a person and as an actor. We had such a great set, and I still have amazing relationships with Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton and Derek Phillips, and that's what I'll take from it. There's no point for me to just relive something that feels like it went off into the sunset in the right way."
Per Vulture, "[a] few months ago, New York and L.A.’s comedy communities were abuzz. It seemed like every stand-up was putting themselves on tape. Sure, every once in a while you might see a couple of folks taping for late-night submissions, and there is always that week when a handful of comics are running a half hour to submit to Comedy Central’s Presents. This was different. The word was that Netflix was asking for submissions. Vulture can report now that it was for a series of 15-minute stand-up specials for the streaming service.
"Netflix’s yet-to-be-titled stand-up series will tape next month at Atlanta’s historic Terminal West; the 15-minute specials will be released in bundles throughout the year. The initial lineup is as follows: Aisling Bea, Michelle Buteau, Tim Dillon, JR De Guzman, Sabrina Jalees, Janelle James, Sam Jay, Josh Johnson, Ian Karmel, Jak Knight, Matteo Lane, Max Silvestri, Taylor Tomlinson, Phil Wang, Emma Willmann, and Kate Willett. Though all up-and-comers, most are well-established comics, many of whom are touring nationally as headliners, doing sets closer to an hour. Heck, four of them — Michelle Buteau, Sam Jay, Tim Dillon, and Josh Johnson — have already taped Comedy Central half hours.
"The move represents Netflix’s continued investment in stand-up comedy. Last year, the streaming network released a half-hour series called The Standups and committed to releasing a new stand-up special every week. With these quarter-hour specials, Netflix will be offering a greater diversity of lengths, comedy styles, and comedians to meet the differing demands of their subscribers. Netflix already has relationships with some of the biggest stand-ups ever — Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, Ellen DeGeneres — but this will effectively create a pipeline for new talent, not unlike what Comedy Central has done for years. Your 15-minute tracks well, well then how about a half hour? Your half hour tracks well, how about an hour or a TV show?
"A quarter hour might seem like a weird amount of time, but that’s just because there’s no precedent for it on TV. Stand-up sets that air on television tend to fall into one of four categories: 5-minute late-night sets, 7-to-10-minute sets on stand-up showcases, 30-minute stand-up specials, or the hour-long stand-up specials. But 15 minutes is a pretty standard set length at clubs like L.A.’s Comedy Store and New York’s Comedy Cellar, so this will be an opportunity for a wide audience to actually see stand-ups perform in the way they’re most used to."
In. All in.
Per Deadline, "Netflix has given an eight-episode order to Unbelievable, a limited series from Erin Brockovich writer Susannah Grant, CBS TV Studios, studio-based producers Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly (Masters of Sex, Elementary) as well as Katie Couric.
"Co-written by Grant, who will serve as showrunner, Michael Chabon (John Carter) & Ayelet Waldman (Applebaum),Unbelievable is based on The Marshall Project and ProPublica Pulitzer Prize-winning December 2015 article, An Unbelievable Story of Rape, written by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong, and the This American Life radio episode about the same case, Anatomy of Doubt. It tells the true story of Marie, a teenager who was charged with lying about having been raped, and the two female detectives who followed a twisting path to arrive at the truth.
"Grant, Chabon, Waldman, Timberman, Beverly and Couric executive produce. Timberman & Beverly and Couric had been independently pursuing the rights to An Unbelievable Story of Rape and decided to join forces on the project.
"Unbelievable reunites Grants with Timberman/Beverly and CBS Studios after she created and executive producing the CBS drama series A Gifted Man for them. It marks Timberman/Beverly’s first series at Netflix."
"The Mighty Ducks franchise may be coming to the small screen. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that ABC Signature Studios is in early development for a series based on the 1990s dramedy about a youth hockey team. A network is not yet attached.
"ABC Signature Studios, the cable- and streaming-focused arm of ABC Studios, declined comment.
"Sources tell THR that ABC Signature head Tracy Underwood, always looking to identify Disney titles and intellectual property that can appeal to a global audience, put Mighty Ducks in development after being approached by original trilogy screenwriter Steven Brill and original producer Jordan Kerner. Brill will pen the script in-house for ABC Signature. If that comes in well, ABC Signature would package the project with talent and shop it to streamers this year. Brillstein Entertainment's George Heller and Brad Petrigala will, like Brill, be credited as EPs.
"Feature film star Emilio Estevez is not currently attached as a script has not yet been written. What remains unclear is if the potential Mighty Ducks TV series is a sequel or reboot as the logline for the half-hour or hour project is being kept under wraps.
"Sources stress that the Mighty Ducks TV show is in its early stages and will not be taken out anytime soon. As for a potential home, insiders note that ABC Signature could take the project out to other broadcast or cable networks in addition to shopping it to streaming platforms. (Another option could be to keep it in-house and set it up on Disney's forthcoming stand-alone SVOD service that will be home to Marvel and Star Wars movies as well as original scripted TV shows based on Star Wars, High School Musical and Monsters, Inc.)
"The Mighty Ducks was released in 1992 by Walt Disney Pictures. Produced on a budget of $10 million, the Stephen Herek-directed movie starred Estevez as Gordon Bombay, a Minneapolis attorney who winds up coaching a pee-wee hockey team as community service after a drunk-driving arrest. Despite negative reviews from critics, the film went on to be a box-office hit, grossing $50.7 million domestic. That led to two sequels — 1994's D2: The Mighty Ducks (with Estevez) and 1996's D3: The Mighty Ducks, which was built around original film star Josh Jackson's Charlie Conway. They grossed $45.6 million and $22.9 million, respectively, with the success of the first feature inspiring producers Disney to name Anaheim's 1993 NHL expansion team after the franchise.
"Should the ABC Signature effort come to fruition, it would be the second time The Mighty Ducks has been explored for the small screen. An animated series was launched in 1996 on ABC and as part of its syndicated programming block The Disney Afternoon. The 26-episode series last aired on Toon Disney in 2004."
Per TechCrunch, "Hulu and YouTube are battling for subscribers for their respective live TV streaming services, according to a CNBC report out this morning, which says that Hulu Live has grown to 450,000 paying subscribers and YouTube TV has just over 300,000. Both are still trailing competitors, including Dish’s Sling TV, which has more than 2 million estimated subscribers, and AT&T’s DirecTV Now, which just hit 1 million.
"Of course, DirecTV Now has benefited from AT&T promotions that allowed customers to tack on the streaming TV service to their mobile plan for $10 per month, as well as those where it doled out free HBO. That’s given it an edge in growing its base.
"Meanwhile, Dish’s Sling TV has been around longer than the others — it opened up to users back in early 2015.
"YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV are both relative newcomers to the streaming TV market, on the other hand. The two services launched last year — the former in April 2017 and the latter the following month.
"Hulu’s lead over YouTube in terms of subscribers could be chalked up, in part, to availability. Hulu Live TV launched across the U.S., but didn’t make the four major networks — ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC — available in all cities, as it hashed out its deal.
"YouTube took a different approach. It didn’t roll out to a city unless it could offer all four, or in some cases, at least three, of the major networks. Today, it’s available in 80 percent of U.S. households, CNBC notes.
"The subscriber numbers it reported, which came from CNBC sources, were not confirmed by either Hulu or YouTube.
"CBNC’s report also downplays the potential for streaming TV, citing BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield’s rather bearish description of the market. Greenfield said these services will struggle to substantially grow their customer bases because they’re so easy to cancel, and they still have to compete with video-on-demand alternatives, like Netflix.
"That said, if the sources’ numbers are accurate, you’re looking at services that are each approaching the half-million mark in less than a year’s time. That’s not something to outright dismiss — especially given how many options there are now for streaming TV. In addition to the four named in CNBC’s report, there’s also PlayStation Vue; the new, entertainment-focused Philo; and sports-focused fuboTV.
"Plus, not only is YouTube TV’s rollout incomplete, it hasn’t even launched its app across all platforms yet. (For example, its Roku app is still in the works.) In other words, it could be too soon to discount YouTube TV’s potential, given its appeal to the young YouTube user base, and its plans to potentially incorporate social elements similar to those YouTube into its TV app at some point in the future.
"Hulu hasn’t fully fleshed out its own user experience, either. The company at CES 2018 described its plans to better personalize its suggestions, give users more control over various settings, add a live TV guide, and launch a customizable Olympics dashboard, among other things. Next year, it plans to add social features, including those that will highlight TV trends among your friends, let users create lists of recommendations and co-watch with friends.
"When these product plans are realized on YouTube and Hulu, both will have a better value proposition beyond over-the-top TV alone. They could turn TV watching into a social experience of its own, and new way to network online. This, in turn, could spur more subscriber growth, if streaming TV audiences find the new features compelling."