Wednesday October 24, 2018

Megyn Kelly is the moron of the week. Congrats!

And this was a pretty weak ass apology. Just go away.

Cory from The Challenge comes in 2nd with Johnny Bananas a close 3rd. Good lord. Devin, you’re 4th, STFU.

New Netflix series Bodyguard is now available to stream. The BBC import is described as follows: “After helping thwart a terrorist attack, a war veteran is assigned to protect a politician who was a main proponent of the very conflict he fought in.”

Here is a review.

If you thought you knew how to Netflix, think again. Looking for an independent movie to watch? Or, more specifically, a British independent movie from the 1980s? Maybe a critically-acclaimed independent showbiz movie? Well, with the help of this truly awesome Netflix hack, you can narrow down genres to their most hyper-specific subgenres. This incredible list of all 76,000 subgenres classifies the streaming service’s catalogue of TV shows and movies by genre, subgenre, sub-subgenre, language, decade, topic, star, director and/or relevant adjective. Dramas starring Helena Bonham Carter? You got it. Feel-good movies starring Elvis Presley? That, too. Dark movies starring Robert De Niro? Hey, no one’s judging. All you have to do is log into your Netflix account and enter into your browser’s toolbar, replacing the Xs with the relevant codes from the list to access all the weird, wonderful and extremely specific categories of your dreams.”

Fox’s new thriller The Passage will premiere Monday, January 14.. Based on the best-selling trilogy by Justin Cronin, the action-drama series is written by Liz Heldens of Friday Night Lights. Following a secret medical experiment called Project Noah, scientists experiment with a virus that could either cure all diseases or wipe out the entire human race.

More bad news about The Walking Dead’s ratings.

Gold Rush creator and star Todd Hoffman has partnered with Bering Sea Gold executive producers Thom Beers and Jeff Conroy on another series set in the world of amateur gold mining, this time in the competition reality space. Hoffman and Jose Behar’s Züm Media has signed a development deal with Beers and Conroy’s new multi-platform production company BoBCat Studios to create the show. Tentatively titled Greenhorn Gold, the series will feature a cast of men and women from all walks of life as novice miners attempting to dig for gold in a blue collar, competition-style reality show. After a massive tryout, the greenhorn miners will be eliminated one-by one until only six remain at the end of the season. Those six will walk away with life-changing money in raw gold to take home to their families.” Riveting!!

“Jerry Springer's long-running talk show is not in production at the moment, but he may not be done with daytime TV just yet. NBCUniversal, which produces The Jerry Springer Show, and the host are developing another syndicated show, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The show, Judge Jerry, would have Springer, a former lawyer and the one-time mayor of Cincinnati, presiding over small-claims cases a la Judge Judy and numerous other courtroom shows. NBCUniversal declined comment on the project. It is being targeted for a potential fall 2019 launch.”

“The team behind E!’s upcoming LadyGang talk series want to be the confidante you never had. Inspired by their podcast of the same name, hosts Keltie KnightBecca Tobin, and Jac Vanek, will explore the ‘taboo’ with frank discussions about womanhood, the female brain, vices, and more. They’ll get candid with celebrity guests like Ed Sheeran, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown. Variety spoke with the three hosts ahead of the half-hour series premiere on Oct. 28.”

The Situation is a free man, until January 15, 2019.


Per The Hollywood Reporter, “Steve Carell is returning to television.

“The Office alum has booked the male lead in Apple's untitled morning show drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. The casting, which marks Carell's first series regular role since he wrapped the NBC comedy in 2011, marks the latest high-profile star to join an Apple series.

“Picked up with a two-season, 20-episode order, the project will offer an inside look at the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning. Brian Stelter's book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV serves as background for the series, which is based on an original concept by Michael Ellenberg.

“Carell will play Mitch Kessler, a morning show anchor who is struggling to maintain relevance in a changing media landscape. Production on the show is set to begin next week in Los Angeles.

“Carell's credits include co-creating, writing and executive producing TBS' Angie Tribeca and, more recently, starring in the features The Big Short, Foxcatcher, Battle of the Sexes and Beautiful Boy. He is repped by WME, Media Four and Ziffren Brittenham.

“Aniston — for whom the Apple series marks her TV return following Friends — and her Echo Films partner Kristin Hahn are exec producing alongside Witherspoon and her Hello Sunshine topper Lauren Levy Neustadter. Ellenberg's Media Res serves as the studio on the series. Mimi Leder (ER) will exec produce and direct. Kerry Ehrin (Bates Motel, Friday Night Lights) exec produces and serves as showrunner on the series. Stelter serves as a consultant.

“Still to be determined is how — and when — Apple will release its scripted original programming.”


Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in here (from The Verge): “Apple’s streaming television service, which is said to resemble Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, will launch in the first half of next year, according to a report today from The Information. The service, which may exist as a standalone app or within the existing TV app, will launch in the US first and become available in more than 100 countries after a few months of availability, the report says. It will feature a mix of original programming, access to third-party services, and the ability to subscribe directly to channel packages offered by network and cable providers, similar to Amazon’s Channels feature.

“For years, Apple has been trying to crack streaming like it did digital media and smartphone apps. But due to complex licensing deals and media conglomerates’ tight control on pricing and bundling, the iPhone maker has been less successful than competitors like Amazon and Netflix, both of which have built strong ecosystems mixing licensed content and original programming. And although Apple has sold its own set-top box since 2006, the device has largely remained a conduit for other companies’ media, and it lags behind Amazon and Roku hardware in market share.

“Apple appears ready to try and change that with the launch of its official streaming TV service, which will be free for iOS device owners and exist as the home interface of its Apple TV line, reports The Information. One snag is that Apple doesn’t appear willing to let the software exist outside its own hardware, which may limit its ability to expand. Both Amazon, through its Prime Video app, and Netflix exist as mobile apps, built-in native smart TV apps, and streaming set-top box apps. In the case of Amazon, which produces the Fire TV line, its software is the entire home interface on its devices. That means consumers have numerous access points to Prime Video and Netflix, while Apple will necessarily limit its own service’s reach.

“Still, this mirrors Apple’s approach to many of its other hardware and software products, and it could prove to be irrelevant if the company’s free service gets millions of iOS and Apple TV users signing in. (Notably, Prime Video requires you pay Amazon’s $119 annual fee, while Netflix costs $7.99 a month.)

“The obvious solution there is original programming, which Apple has reportedly set aside $1 billion for in 2018 alone. So far, Apple has put its original shows, like Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps, on Apple Music. But this new service would be home to a dizzying number of in-the-works projects that have been confirmed in the last couple of years. As my colleague Andrew Liptak put it, there’s a lot Apple is working on:

“So far, Apple has signed a multiyear deal with Oprah Winfrey to develop new shows, ordered a pair of children’s shows from the creators of Sesame Streeta reboot of the science fiction anthology show Amazing StoriesHunger Games-style dystopian show called See, a series from La La Land director Damien Chazelle, a thriller series from M. Night Shyamalan, a space drama from Battlestar Galactica creator Ron Moore, a drama about a morning show starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, and an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s classic science fiction novel Foundation. There are also reports that it’s working to acquire the rights for an animated film.

“We have no idea if this programming will be any good. Considering it took years for Amazon and Netflix to find their footing in Hollywood and start turning out Emmy- and Oscar-winning projects, it could be a while before Apple attracts the same level of talent and creates a production environment where high-quality television and film can succeed. But Apple clearly has the money to spend and the desire to compete.

“Fifteen years ago, iTunes dominated the digital media landscape as the place where you went to browse, purchase, and play music, TV, and movies on your computer and MP3 player. Despite the dominant position of the iPhone in the age of the smartphone, Apple missed the boat on streaming video and is still playing catch-up with Spotify on streaming music. With the launch of a successful TV service, however, the company could start making up for lost time.”


Alexandra Trent’s lawsuit against Flipping Out star Jeff Lewis and his partner Gage Edward will go to trial, according to court documents obtained by TheWrap on Tuesday.

“Trent, who says she was a surrogate mother for the couple, filed the lawsuit in June against Lewis, Edward and Bravo, which airs Flipping Out, accusing the reality show’s producers of filming the birth without her permission.

“‘Defendants filmed Trent’s genitalia without her knowledge — and against her express prohibition — while she gave birth, then made crude and disgusting jokes about her genitalia and grooming in the pursuit of ratings,’ said the original lawsuit, which was filed at Los Angeles Superior Court.

“During the episode that aired in last August, Lewis says in a clip: ‘If I was a surrogate, and I had known there was going to be an audience, I probably would have waxed … And that was the shocking part for Gage. I don’t think Gage had ever seen a vagina, let alone one that big,’ he added.

“Trent signed a five-page release from production company AE when she first met with Lewis and Edward at a restaurant to discuss becoming their surrogate but was told it only covered that initial meeting, she claims in the suit. She said she was later told that anything after the initial ultrasounds would require her to sign an additional release for them to be allowed to film. The court ruling on Tuesday states ‘nowhere does it mention whether the agreement includes filming [Trent’s] giving birth.’

“Bravo declined to comment.”


From The Ringer: “The stated purpose of Making a Murderer, the Netflix true crime docuseries created by Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi, is for the audience to have ‘a better understanding of the criminal justice system.’ By this standard, the 10-episode first season of the Making a Murderer saga was a massive success. Released in December 2015, the series was an early example of a streaming service turning a traditional TV downtime—in the case, the end-of-the-year holidays—into an opportunity. Sure enough, millions of people watched the story of the possibly wrongful convictions of blue-collar Wisconsinites Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey over the holidays. Along with the podcast Serial and HBO’s The JinxMaking a Murderer became a foundational member of the still-thriving true crime boom, a phenomenon that now includes comedy podcastsscripted adaptations, and in a postmodern twist, a Making a Murderer–style parody also on Netflix. Meanwhile, Avery and Dassey’s cases became a cause célèbre, attracting national scrutiny and dialogue surrounding police misconductcoercive interrogations, and the many, many qualifications to the supposedly ironclad dictum of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’

“The second volume of Making a Murderer, released last Friday, has a more complicated relationship between its mission and its outcome. Rather than recounting the circumstances that initially put Avery and Dassey in prison—Avery’s initial wrongful conviction for rape in 1985; the death of Teresa Halbach in 2005; Manitowoc County police subsequently planting evidence against Avery and eliciting a false confession from Dassey—Part 2 follows the post-conviction phase of the two men’s legal sagas. Avery and Dassey remain in the picture, but the focus shifts from Avery’s initial defense team, Jerry Buting and Dean Strang, to the convicts’ new counsel. Avery is currently represented by Kathleen Zellner, an attorney whose work has led to more overturned convictions than any other private practitioner in the United States. Dassey’s case is now handled by Steven Drizin and Laura Nirider, professors at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and co-directors of its Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth.

“An educational component is certainly present: Part 2’s most consistent visual device might be the flow chart, outlining the many different phases of the appeals process in painstaking detail. But as Zellner, Drizin, and Nirider make their way through state and federal courts, motions, and forensic testing, it becomes clear that Making a Murderer no longer depicts the kind of railroading and abuses of power that occur in the American criminal justice system every day, albeit an extreme example of it. Part 2 tracks a chain of events very few defendants will ever go through, because it requires resources and commitment very few defendants will ever get.

“The awkward truth hanging over Making a Murderer’s second installment is that virtually everything in it is a direct result of the first. In the years since Part 1, Zellner took Avery on as a client; Avery got engaged to Lynn Hartman, a woman who learned of his existence from the show; and Dassey’s parents were flooded with gifts for their incarcerated son, whose conviction was overturned in 2016 then upheld by a federal appeals court. (Hartman has subsequently broken off her engagement to Avery.) Making a Murderer is no longer a story about Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey’s legal battles; it’s an inextricable part of them. Which means that Demos and Ricciardi are no longer separate, impartial narrators of the story, if in fact they ever were. They’re major characters within it, influencing people’s opinion and even behavior through their work.

“Yet Part 2 barely reckons with Demos and Ricciardi’s ethical quandaries or even acknowledges their presence. The viral ubiquity of Part 1 is acknowledged in a montage early in the premiere then largely kept in the background. Widespread criticisms of Part 1, such as its omission of the so-called sweat DNA introduced by the prosecution during Avery’s trial, are quickly waved away by Zellner. Her point that the origin of DNA is almost impossible to pinpoint is a sound one. What stands out is that Zellner is refuting an argument about the filmmakers’ creative decision-making—not the filmmakers themselves. In works like Serialand The Jinx, Sarah Koenig and Andrew Jarecki make their investment in the action visible, letting the listener or viewer decide for themself the extent of their bias. Demos and Ricciardi, on the other hand, remain firmly behind the lens, a creative decision that becomes more and more of a liability.

“Every episode of Part 2 ends with a list of the relevant parties who declined to speak with Demos and Ricciardi for their follow-up, a caveat that takes up the entire screen with dozens of names, including almost every member of the Halbach family. Demos and Ricciardi have said that they wanted to do Halbach and her loved ones justice in Part 2 by giving more voice to their perspective, yet their only representative is Chris Nerat, a college friend of Halbach’s who voices skepticism toward Zellner’s attention-getting tactics, including her use of Twitter. Meanwhile Zellner, and to a lesser extent Drizin and Nirider, gives the documentarians full access, resulting in extensive interviews with expert witnesses for the defense with little to no rebuttal from the opposing side. The reasons for this imbalanced point of view are easy enough to infer. It’s in Avery and Dassey’s interest to have their case in the public eye, garnering supporters and maintaining pressure on the state. It’s not in the interest of a mourning family trying to process their grief on camera, or a prosecutor trying to keep widely known defendants in jail. But the skew makes Demos and Ricciardi’s pretense of neutrality harder to maintain.

“Part 1 of Making a Murderer balanced advocacy with illustration. Despite the second Avery trial that ensued in the court of public opinion, the season maintained its focus on the actions of Manitowoc County law enforcement, illustrating the distressing ability of police and prosecutors to bypass due process and retaliate against perceived enemies. (At the time of his murder trial, Avery was waging a multimillion dollar civil suit against the county for his wrongful conviction.) By entering into the far more rarefied legal sphere of the appeals process, Part 2 leans heavily toward pure advocacy. There aren’t many new facts for Demos and Ricciardi to introduce—just new interpretations of existing ones, such as Zellner’s alternative theories of who could have killed Teresa Halbach. Some of Part 2’s frustratingly slow pacing is a conscious attempt to mirror the agonizing crawl of an actual legal battle, yet much of it also feels like Demos and Ricciardi straining to keep their cause in the spotlight, stretching relatively less material into an equivalent amount of screen time.

“At the end of Part 2, little has materially changed for either Dassey or Avery. The Supreme Court declined to take up Dassey’s appeal, effectively siding with the 7th Circuit in its decision to let his conviction stand; Zellner continues to argue hearings and litigate evidence in lower courts. There’s no conclusive twist to culminate the new episodes or serve as a peg for them. Instead, Making a Murderer has delivered a smaller, slighter postscript, tightening its focus from examining criminal justice through the lens of one sensational case to the case itself. That’s quite the burden to put on just a handful of developments. It’s little surprise they don’t hold up to it.”