Friday February 23, 2018

Comedy Central has renewed Drunk History for a 6th season.

I remain all in on Michael B. Jordan.

It's the beginning of the end for the NCAA so enjoy March Madness while you can!

Michelle Wolf will host the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

New Netflix drama Seven Seconds is now streaming.  More below.

You can also stream new series Ugly Delicious on Netflix if you're in the mood for something lighter.  Ugly Delicious features chef David Chang as he travels the world, using food to break cultural barriers.

President Mellie Grant has lined up her next gig.

Kristen Chenowith has joined NBC's Trial & Error.

"Making a Murderer became a cultural phenomenon when it hit Netflix in 2015. Audiences obsessed over the true crime series, desperate to know the truth about what happened to Teresa Halbach, and if Steven Avery was truly guilty of the crime. Now the Steven Avery story will continue with Convicting a Murderer, a Making a Murderer sequel series that will present a whole new side of the case. Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos’ documentary series Making a Murderer received a lot of acclaim, but it also garnered a fair share of criticism. Many contended that Making a Murderer presented a one-sided story clearly intended to benefit accused murderer Steven Avery. Now, Convicting a Murderer will attempt to tell a different side of the story. The series comes from documentary filmmaker Shawn Rech. Rech will have “unprecedented access to District Attorney Ken Kratz, Lead Investigator Tom Fassbender, and other major players in State v. Avery.” Rech released the following statement: 'When Making A Murderer was produced, many on the law enforcement side of the story could not, or would not, participate in the series, which resulted in a one-sided analysis of the case…This docu-series will examine the case and the allegations of police wrongdoing from a broader perspective. It will also share with viewers the traumatic effects of being found guilty and vilified in the court of public opinion.'"

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Per The New York Times, "Seven Seconds is a crime story in which you know immediately who did it. Pete Jablonski (Beau Knapp), a Jersey City police officer, is driving through a park on the way to the hospital to meet his pregnant wife, when he hits something. Or someone, it turns out: There’s a bicycle in the snow, and a trail of blood.

"In shock, Pete calls Michael DiAngelo (David Lyons), his sergeant in his narcotics unit, who finds the victim: an African-American teenage boy. They have to cover it up, DiAngelo says. Otherwise, he adds, Pete will be crucified, payback for 'Ferguson, Chicago, Baltimore — every white cop who ever killed a black kid.'

"The boy is in a deep coma. We never hear him speak, see only a few glimpses of him taking his last bike ride. But we hear his name again and again: Brenton Butler, which hangs over the story like others — Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray — that have become totems and rallying cries.

"The cover-up leads inexorably to further crimes. But the true mystery in Seven Seconds is, Will Brenton get justice? What would justice look like? And how many other lives will be destroyed in the wake of Brenton’s?

"These are timely questions emerging from a too familiar tragedy, even if Seven Seconds is ultimately not as well executed as it is well intentioned.

Seven Seconds comes from Veena Sud, whose last series, The Killing, was at its best a mournful look at murder’s toll on the survivors, the accused and the investigators. (Just as The Killing was based on a Danish series, Seven Seconds is based on the Russian film The Major.) But in its initial case, which stretched beyond the first season, The Killing became a grim slog of red herrings and implausible twists. It later rallied, but never wholly recovered.

"The new series, arriving on Netflix on Friday, shares with The Killing a brooding tone and a concern with the ripple effects of violence. But it’s an anthology series, in which each season tells a complete story. This helps focus the cat-and-mouse procedural at this season’s center.

"The case falls to K. J. Harper (Clare-Hope Ashitey), a prosecutor who makes a politically convenient point for her boss because she’s African-American, and Detective Joe Rinaldi (Michael Mosley), known as Fish, who begins to realize that the cover story doesn’t add up.

"As evidence starts to point toward the brutal, corrupt narcotics unit (shades of The Shield), K. J. — already haunted by a past case that had a disastrous effect on a family with children — dulls the stress with booze and karaoke. Fish, a newcomer to the department with his own troubled past, relishes the animosity of his fellow police officers almost masochistically.

"K. J. and Fish have an eccentric rapport that will be familiar to fans of The Killing. Ms. Sud has a feel for creating broken characters whose pieces somehow work better in combination.

"But Seven Seconds has ambitions far beyond telling a procedural story, and that’s where it becomes the most dour and heavy-handed.

"Much like a previous anthology series, American Crime, on ABC, Seven Seconds aims at a head-to-toe diagnosis of national ills: racism, police violence, drug abuse, homophobia, an overtaxed public sector and the treatment of veterans are all folded in eventually. Lest the themes elude you, the opening montage includes a blindfolded figure of Justice, American flags and the Statue of Liberty, whose distant presence across the water the series returns to again and again.

"While the season runs 10 episodes, several over an hour, most of the supporting characters grow no deeper the longer we spend with them. The police are all chest-thumping aggression and “we take care of our own” machismo, with the exception of Pete, who’s trapped between guilt and fear.

"Regina King, also a co-star of American Crime, is devastating as Brenton’s mother, Latrice, who spirals into loss, desperation and rage at the system’s indifference. But they’re all that defines her; so many of the characters here seem more like personifications of suffering or dysfunction than like people.

Seven Seconds is good at showing its characters’ pain; it’s less effective at giving them a more rounded humanity, as Showtime’s series The Chi — also about the aftermath of violence — has done much better.

"But there’s a purity of dark vision driving the series, if you’re willing to take it without sweetener. There’s a legal term that comes up in the investigation, “depraved indifference”: inaction so egregious that it amounts to murder. Seven Seconds suggests that there’s plenty of such guilt to go around, well beyond the suspects in the case.

"The black hit-and-run victim, for instance, is immediately assumed to have gang connections. But later, a drug-addicted white girl from a rich suburb is let off for shoplifting by a store manager who says: 'She was from a good home. I figured I’d give her a break.'

"Ultimately, that’s what Seven Seconds, however imperfectly, is about: who gets a break and who gets broken."

The aforementioned notwithstanding, I liked The Killing and am all in on this one . . . for now.

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Per Variety, "[f]ormer MMA fighter and podcaster Brendan Schaub is set to host a new Showtime digital talk show called Below the Belt, the premium cabler announced Thursday.

"The twice-monthly, 30-minute show will debut on February 28th. The show will explore the latest news in combat sports and pop culture. It will also feature interviews with combat sports and entertainment figures, road trips, fight camp visits, sketches, animation, and pop-culture spoofs. The initial guest list of combat sports athletes and entertainers scheduled to appear includes Stone Cold Steve Austin, Paulie Malignaggi, and Joe Rogan.

"The multi-platform program will also include weekly podcast and a composite program that will air once per month on Showtime Extreme. The podcast will premiere on March 6, and the composite program will premiere on March 29. Below the Belt will be produced by Showtime Sports with Embassy Row.

"Schaub rose to fame during his time on the UFC reality series The Ultimate Fighter in its tenth season. Schaub finished as the runner-up in that season, losing in the finals to Roy 'Big Country' Nelson. He went on to a succesful career in the UFC, winning six of his ten fights for the organization, including wins over notable fighters like Gabriel Gonzaga and Mirko Cro Cop. He retired from MMA in 2015 with a record of 10 wins, 5 losses.

"Schaub is a frequent guest on the popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, and currently co-hosts the podcast The Fighter and the Kid with fellow Joe Rogan Experience regular and comedian Bryan Callen. The Fighter and the Kid currently averages over nine million downloads per month. Schaub also hosts a solo podcast, Big Brown Breakdown, which averages 4 million downloads per month.

"On the television side, Schaub was named a correspondent on After Party for the E! Network, and co-hosted this year’s Golden Globes and Grammy Awards after-shows. He will appear in the same role for the network’s upcoming Academy Awards after-show. Additionally, Schaub has performed sold-out live comedy shows around the world and does regular sets at the well-known LA comedy clubs The Comedy Store, the Hollywood Improv, and The Laugh Factory."

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From TheWrap: "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was not only one of the biggest shows on broadcast, it was also among the nicest — though perhaps the series became too popular for its own good. At one point deep into its ABC run, Makeove” began getting press pushback (like here and here and here) for how a few of its featured families fared financially after the cameras stopped rolling.

"The logic behind the media backlash never sat well with this writer, so TheWrap asked the face of the program Ty Pennington if he could explain it to us.

“'On Extreme Makeover Home Edition, we did absolutely phenomenal things,' the TV host and carpenter began. 'And honestly I don’t know if there will ever be a show quite like that — that on network television, there’s a show that actually benefits a family. On television, that’s just unheard of. Let’s face it, it’s about ratings, it’s about ad sales — it’s about all those sorts of things.'

"Yeah, yeah, that’s all nice — but get to the part where you left the reality show’s subjects in financial ruin, Ty!

“'Not only do we build a brand new house, we usually paid off the college tuition for their children — basically left them without any debt whatsoever,' Pennington told TheWrap. 'But yes, the property tax probably went up a little because the value of the house went up.'

"Oh, and some utilities rose, too, as modest homes became McMansions. But is that really what all the late-breaking fuss was about?

“'There’s a couple of stories that families lost their home,' Pennington continued. 'We left them with a financial adviser. However, if the family chooses to triple-mortgage their house to start a business that they’ve never done before just to see if they can get into it, that’s their own demise. That’s how you lose your home, is you’re like, "Oh, let’s use it as a lottery ticket and see what we can get out of it." And then you lose it because you can’t make the payment.'

"The Trading Spaces star added: 'But that’s what press does. They were like, "This is too good to be true, what is really happening?" But with Extreme it really was that good.'

"Our bad.

"Readers can next catch Pennington in TLC’s Trading Spaces reboot, which returns to TV on April 7.

"He’ll also co-host Season 3 of Hulu’s Small Business Revolution – Main Street, which will premiere this fall. We’ll find out on Tuesday which of five finalist towns — Alton, Illinois; Amesbury, Massachusetts; Bastrop, Texas; Martinez, California; or Siloam Springs, Arkansas — won the public’s vote for a $500,000 renovation.

"Try not to look for the negative in that wonderful concept, fellow reporters."

If you miss that kind of feel good programming, you're in luck.  NBC's George To The Rescue is the last show of its kind.  One where people and families in need are taken care of.  I implore you to watch.

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Per Deadline, "Lionsgate is making some moves in the digital content space with their newly branded Studio L. The studio announced today their initial slate which includes three features set to bow this spring along with episodic projects in development.

"The announcement was made by Studio L Executive Vice President Seth Laderman and the slate of projects is looking to hone in on millennials in partnership with leading brands and digital platforms as well as distinctive creative voices.

“'In today’s fast-changing media landscape, Lionsgate is committed to creating and distributing various types of content for next generation audiences with some of the most exciting creative voices and innovative partners in our industry,' said Laderman. 'The projects announced today signal our commitment to finding stand-out material, incubating new talent, and delivering authentic storytelling. We will also continue to cultivate and foster fresh opportunities with existing Lionsgate properties, all built around Studio L’s low-risk, high-reward distribution model.'

"The slate includes the coming-of-age female-driven drama The Honor List featuring a cast that has prominent social media presence including Meghan Rienks (FreakishMr. Student Body President), Sasha Pieterse (Pretty Little Liars, Inherent Vice), Karrueche Tran (ClawsThe Bay), and Arden Cho (Teen Wolf).  Australian director Elissa Down (The Black BalloonConfess) helms the film written by Marilyn Fu. The movie is also the debut release of newly-launched POPSUGAR Films, the film unit of the popular website POPSUGAR. The movie is set for a May 11 release date.

"Studio L will also release Most Likely To Murder which is set to premiere at South by Southwest in March. The home-for-the-holidays noir-comedy stars The Mindy Project‘s Adam Pally, Golden Globe-winning Crazy Ex-Girlfriend actress Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and Mad Men alum Vincent Kartheiser. The movie, which will be released May 1, comes from he writing-producing team of Dan Gregor who directs the film in his feature debut; and Doug Mand, who plays the supporting character, Duane.

"Later this spring, Studio L will partner with new media network Brat to distribute their first full-length feature film, Chicken GIrls: The Movie, a feature film-scaled extension of the wildly popular YouTube sensation.

"Other Studio L projects on the horizon include a second Blue Mountain State film, which follows the success of Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland, based on the popular Lionsgate television series. The studio is also developing a series based on the horror phenomenon The Blair Witch Project as well as the comedy hit Waiting which originally starred Ryan Reynolds and Anna Faris. Studio L is working on film production partnerships with BuzzFeed and The Onion."