Thursday October 10, 2018

Netflix has ordered a 3rd season of Ozark.

Showtime has renewed Kidding for a 2nd season.

Fox has picked up 9 more episodes of The Resident.

NBC has ordered a full season of New Amsterdam.

Ned Schneebly needs to get more involved on Survivor!

MTV premieres How Far Is Tattoo Far? tonight.

TBS has given a series greenlight to the comedy game show Misery Index, fronted by the troupe behind TruTV’s Impractical Jokers. The series features teams of contestants challenged to rank “hilarious and miserable real-life events” on a scale of 1 to 100. The teams will consist of one contestant and two members of the Tenderloins troupe: Brian ‘Q’ Quinn, James ‘Murr’ Murray, Joe Gatto and Sal Vulcano. Misery Index is based on the card game Sh*t Happens. Andy Breckman, creator of USA’s Monk, developed the TV rendition along with Ben & Dan Newmark of Grandma’s House Entertainment.”

“In its return to Bravo, Project Runway has tapped supermodel Karlie Kloss as host and executive producer and CFDA fashion designer Christian Siriano as mentor for the rebooted franchise. In addition, Elle Editor-in-Chief Nina Garcia, who has been with the series since its 2004 launch, will return as judge, along with newcomers, fashion designer Brandon Maxwell and journalist and former Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Elaine Welteroth. The series is currently in pre-production and will premiere in 2019. As it moves from Lifetime to its original network Bravo, Project Runway is undergoing a major makeover. Its signature stars Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn recently exited after 16 seasons to develop, produce and headline a new fashion reality series for Amazon Prime Video. Designer/judge Zac Posen, who joined Project Runway in Season 11, taking over for Michael Kors, also lefty the series ahead of its Bravo relaunch.” Yay.

Josh Radnor is joining Grey’s Anatomy.

The Simpsons vs. South Park

United Talent Agency (UTA) has set a joint venture with Valence Media and its independent studio division, Media Rights Capital (MRC), to develop, produce and finance premium television series and partner with the creative community’s top artists. The new venture will be named Civic Center Media, of which UTA will have an undisclosed financial stake. The financial details of the transaction were also not disclosed. A search is currently underway for an executive to lead the new venture. Valence Media and MRC’s film and TV roster includes House of Cards, Ozark, Counterpart, Ted, and Baby Driver. As part of the new venture, UTA will offer the agency’s clients access to significant resources for development and production. Through more streamlined overhead and processes, Civic Center Media will be able to offer more attractive terms — both financially and creatively — to partners who bring their content projects to the studio. In particular, clients will benefit on the back end, where they stand to make the most money if their content is well-received by audiences.”

Joe Giudice, the husband of Real Housewives of New Jersey's Teresa Giudice, will be deported back to Italy after completing his 41-month prison sentence for fraud, a Department of Justice official has confirmed. On Wednesday, Immigration Judge John Ellington ordered Joe Giudice to be removed from the United States, according to the Department of Justice. Giudice has been in federal prison since March 2016 serving his fraud sentence. He is currently an inmate at the Allenwood low-security federal prison and set to be released March 14, 2019. Because he is not a US citizen, it was always clear that Giudice could face deportation at the end of his prison term. Now, instead of going back to his wife and daughters in New Jersey, he will be taken straight from prison to the airport and flown back to Italy.”

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I’m proud to be involved in one of these shows: “Ellen Digital Network (EDN) unveiled new and returning innovative, original programming during the 2018 Digital Content NewFronts West. The unique and diverse slate reinforces Ellen DeGeneres’ distinctive brand, showcasing the power of funny, kindness, and authenticity. EDN continues to be a powerhouse in the digital space by producing and distributing high-quality content immersed in positivity and heart.

“EDN is excited to announce their collaboration with body activist, entrepreneur, supermodel and one of today’s most powerful voices, Ashley Graham. The new digital series titled Fearless will explore self-acceptance and belonging in a new and deeper way. Ashley, a game changer in the body-positive movement, will host the series infusing her own personal and authentic insight to help empower audiences to embrace their true self with confidence.

“In a continued effort to celebrate empowering women whose values perfectly align with Ellen’s brand, EDN announces their partnership with entrepreneur, mom, television host, restaurateur, and cookbook author, Ayesha Curry. The mother of three will help other busy moms by offering valuable professional advice and providing motivating tips on how to juggle work and motherhood.

“EDN will also join forces with Ellen’s favorite cousins and home makeover experts Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri for a new digital series, The Build Up. The series will follow a deserving community in need of support as The Cousins provide their expertise and resources to rebuild and instill a sense of hope.

“Based off two successful seasons resulting in over 154 million cross-platform views, EDN is delighted to announce Season 3 of the original digital series Momsplaining with Kristen Bell. The series will continue to highlight the multi-talented Kristen Bell who will infuse her one-of-a-kind humor throughout the new season as she attempts to master motherhood while taking viewers along for the ride.

“In addition, EDN has seen great success in the mobile gaming app world with Ellen’s Road to Riches Slots and Heads Up!, which continues to be the #1 Paid App for the past four consecutive years in Apple’s App Store with over 39M downloads and over 1 billion games played. Inspired by Ellen’s continued love for games, EDN is thrilled to announce the launch of two new apps:

Ellen’s Game of Games App will launch timed to Season 2 of the hit NBC primetime game show. The innovative app will give users the chance to play fan-favorite games from the show. The more fans play, the more chances they have to win real-world prizes like gift cards and tickets to a taping. Plus, when viewers tune-in to the show each week, they can play the Watch Along Challenge for a chance to win big from home.

The Truth Comes Out allows users to play and laugh with family and friends around the world by answering fun and hilarious questions about each other, then choosing their favorite answers. ‘What’s the last thing Maria googled?’ ‘Who is David’s celebrity doppelgänger?’ ‘What’s the biggest secret Laura’s keeping?’ Find out who knows you best!

Ellen Digital Network Content Slate:

Fearless with Ashley Graham: In each episode, body activist, entrepreneur, and supermodel Ashley Graham is inspiring unique individuals to take the next step in defying naysayers and encouraging those in need of a total confidence boost – whether its leading them to moments of discovery or how they can accentuate their true-self!

Ayesha Curry Project: In the age of the mom-preneur, Ayesha Curry is sharing her journey from chef to boss lady to conqueror! In each episode, Ayesha will help young women as they make plans to dominate their respective industries and learn from her hustle. Ayesha will tackle the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to start a business while encouraging others along the way with pro tips on the different aspects of mom-preneurship. 

The Build Up with The Cousins: In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, cousins Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri partnered with Ellen to rebuild homes for those who lost everything. Now, they’ve teamed up with Ellen to once again bring attention to an underserved community providing resources and opportunities to build themselves back up and most importantly, some much needed hope!

tWitch, Please…Help Me Dance! (Season 2): Ellen’s resident DJ, tWitch, is back at it with the second season of the original series, “tWitch, Please... Help Me Dance!” From helping a high school senior learn a dance for prom to the most romantic flash mob proposal you’ve ever seen, tWitch is using his dancing talents to surprise and delight aspiring dancers everywhere, giving them all the right moves for their magic moment!

Momsplaining with Kristen Bell (Season 3): The two previous seasons of Momsplaining took viewers by delight and created a relatable space for moms and female viewers alike to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly of motherhood, resonating with women and moms everywhere! Now, Kristen Bell, the multi-talented actress of film, television, Broadway, and above all mother-of-two, is back for more Momsplaining!

OMKalen: Kalen Allen from Kansas City, KS first caught Ellen’s attention with his hilarious ‘Kalen Reacts’ videos where he gives colorful and witty commentary on culinary concoctions online. After inviting Kalen to her show in January 2018, Ellen knew she found something special and offered him an opportunity to collaborate and produce content for her digital platforms. Today, Kalen has found himself with a regular guest spot on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and his very own weekly digital news series, OMKalen. Every Saturday, or ‘SaturKay’ as Kalen calls it, viewers get their laugh-out-loud dose of Kalen as he reacts to some of the most eye-popping, hilarious, and trending stories of the week.”

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Per Deadline, “Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke joined in a procession of entertainment executives to break news from the stage at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit on Wednesday, saying that Blake Lively will bring a scripted show to the streaming service.

“Salke said she has been meeting in New York with the Gossip Girl and A Simple Plan actor, discussing an original show that is both culturally relevant and has a merchandising component.

“‘I told business affairs I’m going to do this,’ Salke said, observing this announcement might come as news to Lively. ‘She’s in Rome, asleep. She’ll wake up to it.’

“Salke also used Wednesday’s one-on-one discussion to talk about this latest chapter in her professional career, an opportunity that was created by the exit of Amazon’s Roy Price amid allegations of sexual harassment.

“‘There had been a coming together at the company since that time. I never met Roy Price. I can’t speak to him personally,’ Salke said. ‘There had been a lot of negativity and trauma around the company.’

“Salke said Amazon took steps to ensure that would never happen again — and recruited her to help in resetting the studio’s culture. The executive said she has been working to foster an environment where people love to work and talent feels at home.”

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From The Hollywood Reporter: “Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman's short-form video venture has an official name and has started to line up talent from a group of top-tier talent. 

“Going forward, NewTV will now be known as Quibi. 

“The name, Whitman explained on stage at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit, is a combination of the words ‘quick’ and ‘bite’ — how she and Katzenberg have been describing the types of content that they want to produce. 

“The high-profile project, a next act for Katzenberg after he sold DreamWorks Animation to Comcast's NBCUniversal, raised $1 billion in investment earlier this year from all the major film studios and Alibaba. Already Katzenberg is putting that money to use. He also revealed on stage on Wednesday morning that the company has struck deals with Oscar winning director Guillermo del Toro, Training Day director Antoine Fuqua and producer Jason Blum. 

“The del Toro project, per Katzenberg, is ‘a modern zombie story,’ while the Fuqua project is ‘a modern version of Dog Day Afternoon,’ with ‘two great acting roles.’ He likened the Blum project, called Wolves and Villagers, to Fatal Attraction

"‘You have to give them the money to do it,’ Katzenberg noted, ‘which is why raising the billion is so important.’

“Quibi has also lined up an anthology series from Sam Raimi and Van Toffler called 50 States of Fear.

“Katzenberg has been working on Quibi for the better part of the last two years, pitching investors and content creators on his vision for a video platform that focuses on premium episodic content told in bite-sized chunks. At first, Katzenberg said he was looking for as much as $2 billion to get the business off the ground. Earlier this year he tapped former HP chief Meg Whitman to help him run the business. By the end of the summer, they had announced $1 billion from 21st Century Fox, Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony, Warner Media, Viacom, eOne, ITV, Lionsgate and MGM. Madrone Capital led the round and Alibaba, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Liberty Global also participated. 

“Whitman told the Vanity Fair summit crowd that she brought a ‘dose of practicality’ to the venture. ‘We needed to be able to explain what we were doing so that an investor would underwrite it.’ She added that she's focused on the business, on building up subscriptions to the venture, while Katzenberg is focused on the content. 

“The company is expected to hire hundreds of employees to build out its vision. Some of the early hires include Janice Min, former co-president and chief creative officer of The Hollywood Reporter, to oversee news content. Katzenberg also said on stage that former Viacom executive Doug Herzog was involved in the company. A spokesman later clarified that he had consulted with the business but was not an employee. On the technology side, Quibi has tapped former Instagram product manager Blake Barnes to lead product for the company and former Hulu CTO Rob Post to lead engineering.”

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Per Variety, “WarnerMedia is joining Disney in the race to launch a global direct to consumer streaming platform next year.

“WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey unveiled the plan Wednesday during his address at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in Los Angeles. Stankey said the company will mine its library and content engines to create such a service by the end of 2019.

“The new platform will be fronted by HBO, with content from additional WarnerMedia brands bundled around that premium cable service, Stankey said.

“Price for the service will not be determined until the project comes to market, but Stankey said it will be more expensive than the current HBO over-the-top subscription plan (which he said is priced more than fairly, thanks to the ‘emotional engagement’ of WarnerMedia content like Game of Thrones).

“The CEO also said the content spend at WarnerMedia would be ‘competitive’ to that of Netflix, which stands at about $8 billion, respectively, according to wide reports. Many traditional media brands being transformed by consolidation are arming up to battle Netflix, Variety recently covered at length.

“‘This is another benefit of the AT&T/Time Warner merger, and we are committed to launching a compelling and competitive product that will serve as a complement to our existing businesses and help us to expand our reach by offering a new choice for entertainment with the WarnerMedia collection of films, television series, libraries, documentaries and animation,’ Stankey said in an announcement released ahead of the summit.

“In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, AT&T addressed the significant costs of launching such a venture.

“‘We expect financial support to launch this product to come from a combination of incremental efficiencies within the WarnerMedia operations, consolidating resources from sub-scale D2C efforts, fallow library content, and technology reuse,’ AT&T said in the filing. ‘We expect to defer some licensing revenues to later periods in the form of increased customer subscription revenues.’

“By ‘sub-scale D2C efforts,’ AT&T is likely referring to existing WarnerMedia properties such as Boomerang (featuring classic cartoons), DramaFever (a Korean programming service) and the fledgling DC Universe streaming platform. It’s understood that those ventures will be rolled into the larger new service in an effort to cut operating costs and more quickly aggregate audiences by offering a wider menu of programs.

“WarnerMedia’s streaming venture comes as Disney is actively preparing for the launch of its Netflix rival, also targeted by the end of 2019. The consolidation push that drove AT&T to buy Time Warner and Disney’s pending acquisition of 21st Century Fox is fueled by the desire to amass content assets that can feed direct-to-consumer platforms with global scale — following the path forged by Netflix.

“Like Disney, WarnerMedia is taking a gamble with the decision to forgo some traditional revenue from licensing TV shows and movies to outside buyers in favor of keeping all of that content in-house to make for a compelling subscription-based offering.

“The hope is that the long-term profits from a sizable subscription venture will be greater than the upside the studio has traditionally harvested through syndication sales and international licensing. In the short-term, however, this shift will require patience from investors. A source close to the situation stressed that WarnerMedia will look at properties on a case-by-case basis, and that some content will still be made available to outside buyers.

“Stankey seemed more than aware of the cost by comparing the WarnerMedia brands to high-end retail, saying he wanted the service to resemble ‘a collection of boutiques that meet your particular needs, but all have an understood level of quality.’

“CNBC anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin, who moderated the conversation, asked if Stankey suffered any ‘night sweats’ over the possibility that the Department of Justice might successfully be able to reverse the AT&T-Time Warner Merger in appeals court.

“Stankey said he’s sweat-free, and has let go of the Trump-infused ordeal to preserve his own ‘health, sanity and well being.’”