Tuesday February 27, 2018

Survivor returns tomorrow.  Just a heads up to set your DVRs.

I finished Seven Seconds last night.  If you like a good dirty cop / murder drama, start this one tonight.

USA premieres it's Biggie Tupac series Unsolved.  "From Universal Cable Productions (UCP), Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. is a scripted true crime serial that chronicles the two major police investigations by LAPD Detective Greg Kading (Josh Duhamel) into the murders of Tupac Shakur (Marcc Rose) and Biggie Smalls (Wavyy Jonez)."

MTV unveils Winter Break: Hunter Mountain tonight.  "For one season out of the year, the East Coast becomes the Ice Coast.Serving as a rite of passage for young people who want to get away for a winter break, Hunter Mountain is an idyllic ski resort that offers twenty somethings the chance to escape their regular lives, ski and snowboard their brains out and party with other like-minded singles. On Winter Break: Hunter Mountain, we document the lives of 8 young people who move into a share house for the season – and the impact their winter together has on their lives."

Ryan Seacrest's stylist from E! has detailed abuse and harassment allegations against the American Idol host.  "Seacrest subjected Hardy to years of unwanted sexual aggression — grinding his erect penis against her while clad only in his underwear, groping her vagina, and at one point slapping her buttock so hard that it left a large welt still visible hours later."

A Carl Grimes obit.

Nat Geo has a new late night show in the works.

The New York Times has a series in the works as well. "The Times is searching for an Editor/Executive Producer to help bring the show to life. We are looking for someone with vision, news judgment and the instincts to find new ways of delivering the most important stories of the week and explaining the forces that are driving them. You will get to work with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists covering the biggest stories of our time, from the Trump presidency to the #MeToo Movement to the rise of artificial intelligence, the consequences of climate change, the spread of populism and much, much more. The Editor/Executive Producer will develop relationships with Times editors and reporters around the world and will determine each week which visual stories demands to be told on screen, and how best to do it. The Times is working with Left/Right (which produced This American Life’s TV show for Showtime, as well as The Circus and multiple episodes of the PBS series Frontline) to develop and produce the show."

A post Big Brother interview with Omarosa for those who care.

Mindy Kaling talks about her new NBC show.  "'It’s about a gay, biracial 15-year-old son trying for Manhattan’s fancy performing arts school,' she says. 'The show’s full of appealing weirdos,' she says. 'And I’m in it,' she says."

"CBS is adding three more original castmembers to its upcoming revival of Murphy Brown. The network confirmed Monday that Faith Ford (Corky Sherwood), Joe Regalbuto (Frank Fontana) and Grant Shaud (Miles Silverberg) will all join series star Candice Bergen for the 13-episode revival of Diane English's classic sitcom. These additions round out much of the original regular cast, with Charles Kimbrough (now 81) the lone member of the core fivesome to sign up. New Murphy Brown episodes will air during the 2018-19 season, with the Warner Bros. Television production set to start filming in the summer."

Joseph Morgan, star of the CW’s The Originals, has been cast as the male lead in Fox’s untitled pilot based on the best-selling book Gone Baby Gone.

Comedy Central has renewed Corporate for a 2nd season.  I watch this show, though I still remain on the fence.  My sense is that it will get better over time.  Comedy Central seems to be making that same bet.

Bill Cosby's daughter Ensa (44) passed away on Friday after suffering kidney failure.

"While the great U.K. sitcom Peep Show may be sadly no more, the onscreen collaboration between its two stars, David Mitchell and Robert Webb, remains an ongoing concern and it was announced today that the pair’s new show, Back, will premiere on SundanceTV, 11 p.m. ET, March 7. Created and written by Simon Blackwell (Veep), Back stars Mitchell as the small town-dwelling, sad-sack Stephen who, following the death of his pub landlord father, finally has a chance to shine as he is set to take over the family business. But his plans are interrupted when the charming Andrew (Webb), a former foster child briefly raised by Stephen’s parents, turns up out of the blue at his father’s funeral and is eager to renew his relationship with the closest thing to a family he has ever known. While Andrew quickly charms the rest of Stephen’s dysfunctional family, including his mother Ellen, sister Cass, and uncle Geoff, Stephen begins to resent Andrew, whom he sees as a glib, dangerous sociopath who’s about to steal his family, his business, and his life."

Bobby Flay Iron Chef Showdown.jpg

From PEOPLE: "[a]fter reports surfaced that Bobby Flay abruptly quit Iron Chef Showdown during filming, the celebrity chef initially brushed off the incident as a joke. Now, Flay has confirmed he indeed will no longer be competing on the show—and is explaining his decision.

“'I’ve done over 100 Iron Chef competitions, and frankly they are exhausting,' Flay said on Saturday during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. 'They are exhausting physically but, even moreso, they are exhausting emotionally.'

“'When I do a season, I do between 6 and 8 [battles] in a week and it crushes me because it’s 60 minutes of pure energy, creativity and execution,' he said during an 'In Conversation' discussion moderated by Michael Symon. 'And so at some point I was like, "I’ve been doing this for a long time and I want to go out on a high note.”'

"During his final competition over the summer, Flay removed his chef’s coat 20 minutes in to reveal a shirt that read: 'THIS IS MY LAST IRON CHEF BATTLE EVER.' Flay explained that the drama of the stunt was precisely why he did it. 'I wanted everyone to know that this is my last Iron Chef battle,' he said. 'And my objective, though it was probably not the best idea, was that that’s what would be filmed. When the camera’s on you, that’s what the viewer would see. So I did it.'

"Though he said the Food Network has been 'incredibly supportive of everything that I do,' Flay acknowledged that this was one exception. 'The network was not thrilled,' he said. 'I thought it would be good TV. They didn’t think of it that way, and that’s obviously their prerogative.'

“'[Food Network] said to me, "Why didn’t you tell us?', and I was like "I didn’t tell anyone. That’s the whole point, that it’s a surprise!”' he said.

"The Beat Bobby Flay star also revealed that the network 'blacked out' the incident for airing—which he acknowledged is a 'really expensive thing to do.'

"Still, Flay, who has been on the network since 1996 and hosted over a dozen shows, insists there is no bad blood over the incident. 'It was no big deal,' he said, adding that he would 'consider it' if they asked him to return—though he wants to pave the way for the next generation.

“'I think that Iron Chef is a great place for new and younger people to come on and start taking the reigns,' he said. 'How many times do you want to watch Bobby Flay do Iron Chef?'”


Per The Hollywood Reporter, "Yvette Nicole Brown is staying at ABC.

"The Mayor and Community actress has been tapped to star in Most Likely To.

"Written by Diablo Cody (Juno, United States of Tara), Most Likely To revolves around Liz Cooney, who, in high school, had everything, and Markie McQueen, who had nothing. Twenty years later, they're reunited under the same roof as single moms and unlikely housemates.

"In the Greg Berlanti-produced comedy, Brown will take on the role of Markie McQueen, who is described as radiant and warm, quietly confident, with a successful salon and brilliant daughter — but her insecurities are reignited when her high school bully arrives in town. (The role of Liz is currently uncast.)

"With the casting, Brown will stay at ABC weeks after learning that the Disney-owned network effectively canceled freshman comedy The Mayor after its initial 13-episode order. Sources said at the time that producers ABC Studios believed in the show and planned to shop it but did not find a home for the low-rated yet well-reviewed comedy that was a high priority at ABC this fall. (Star Brandon Micheal Hall recently booked a CBS drama pilot in first position as well.)

"For Brown, Most Likely To marks a return to the multicamera format after the actress spent three seasons co-starring on CBS' The Odd Couple Reboot. Her credits include Community and geek-friendly fare like hosting a Syfy cosplay competition series as well as regular appearances on AMC's Talking Dead where the Walking Dead superfan is a frequent guest."


"Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, Disney chief Bob Iger elaborated on the company’s ambitious OTT plans, saying the launch of ESPN Plus a month from now will signify the beginning of a key cycle for the company.

"The topic dominated the 40-minute session. Disruptions to the TV ecosystem, Iger conceded, have had a 'faster and a more profound impact than we ever expected.' He said the rollout of the company’s two apps will enable Disney to. 'participate in the very business that is doing the disrupting.'

"The launch of the long-awaited ESPN Plus, expected in late March or early April, offers a version of the sports network for $4.99 a month, as Disney disclosed this month on its quarterly earnings call. Describing that price as 'reasonable' given the less-than-platinum offerings at launch, Iger said plans call for tiered pricing as OTT rights to top-tier sports are solidified.

“'I imagine you’ll see that price rise for the augmented service,' Iger said. 'We have the opportunity to enable customers to buy seasons, teams, weekends.' The ESPN Plus app will also enable sales of Major League Baseball and National Hockey League out-of-market packages, he added.

"Iger said the nurturing and development of the app will remain a long-term priority for the company. 'Over time, our intention would be for that app to be the app that people experience ESPN on,' he said, 'but we’re going to manage the migration of that very carefully because right now we have a business — the multi-channel business — that is serving our company quite well.'

"Also as discussed on the quarterly call, Iger said the studio output of four to five original series and another four to five original movies will head to the Disney entertainment OTT service for its planned launch in late 2019.

“'We’ll see how that goes and we’ll have a better sense of what kind of volume we can provide after the Fox transaction closes,' Iger said. Once regulators have signed off, which Iger maintained is a given, the combined company will look to mobilize OTT exclusives from National Geographic and other brands.

"While the emphasis on stand-alone, direct-to-consumer services risks alienating MVPDs, Iger acknowledged, 'A number of them have already contacted us saying they are interested in distributing the app, even if it means slightly lower margins for them … it is a reality.'”

From EW: "Jay Z’s Trayvon Martin docu-series has released its first teaser (above), a 20-second look at the commentary surrounding Martin’s death in 2012, an event that helped spark the Black Lives Matter movement.

"According to the press release, Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story is based on the book Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin, by Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. In February 2012, Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old high school student, was shot and killed by neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman, who claimed he shot Martin in self-defense and was acquitted on a second-degree murder charge. The event and Zimmerman’s acquittal led to Martin’s enduring legacy as one of the faces of the Black Lives Matter protests.

"Viacom picked up the six-part docu-series in April 2017 for its relaunch of Spike as the Paramount Network. At the time, the series counted Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company among its producers; after Weinstein’s sexual misconduct scandals broke at the end of 2017 (Weinstein denies allegations of sexual harassment and assault), his and his company’s name have been removed from the series, which has also been the case on other Paramount titles like Waco and Yellowstone. Also removed from the latest announcement: any mention of Lisa Bloom, Weinstein’s initial harassment lawyer, whose 2014 book Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice was a title listed as one of the source materials for the docu-series.

"Now executive produced by JAY-Z, Fulton, Martin, Chachi Senior, Michael Gasparro, Jenner Furst, Julia Willougby Nason, and Nick Sandow, Rest in Power will investigate the themes of “race, politics, power, money, and the criminal justice system” surrounding Martin’s death and its aftermath, according to the press release.

"Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story premieres in July on the Paramount Network."


Per Deadline, "[f]ormer East Los High star Gabriel Chavarria has been tapped as the lead and Jessica Garza (Six) has been cast as the female lead in the upcoming The Purge series for USA Network and Syfy.

"The project comes from franchise creator James DeMonaco, Blumhouse Television, the TV divisions of the movies’ producer Blumhouse Prods. and Universal Cable Productions. The franchise — about one day each year when murder and mayhem is legalized — hatched its highest grossing effort so far with the most recent The Purge: Election Year in 2016. DeMonaco oversees the series which will be an entirely new chapter in America’s 12 hours of annual lawlessness and is slated to launch in concjunction [sic] with the next installiment [sic] in the movie franchise, The First Purge.

"Chavarria will play Miguel, a US Marine with a hard edge and a noble mission. After receiving a cryptic letter from his little sister, Penelope (Garzia), he returns to town on Purge Night – prepared to face the senseless violence in the streets alone in order to protect what he loves most – his family.

"Garzia’s Penelope belongs to a Purge-worshipping cult. Having pledged herself to be sacrificed at the behest of their charismatic leader, Penelope’s faith is tested when she is exposed to the ghastly realities of the Purge.

"The films’ Platinum Dunes and DeMonaco’s longtime producing partner Sebastien K. Lemercier will executive produce.

"Chavarria is best known for his lead role in the Emmy nominated series East Los High. He has also appeared in the feature films War For the Planet of the Apes, Lowriders, and Freedom Writers. TV credits include Aquarius and Southland."

Two typos?  C'mon Deadline.  And I need to know who's going to play Rick!  I have an idea as to who it might be . . . .