Wednesday February 7, 2018

CBS premieres Celebrity Big Brother tonight.  More on this guaranteed train wreck below.

"Arnold Schwarzenegger is making his move to streaming in Amazon’s new project Outrider. The former Governator is in talks to star and executive produce, TheWrap has learned. Mace Neufeld will also executive produce, along with co-writers  Trey Calloway and Mark Montgomery. The series is a mystery set in 1800s Oklahoma Territory, and tells the story of a deputy who must apprehend a dangerous outlaw and partner with a Federal Marshall to ensure justice. Through twists and turns, the lines between good and evil will become blurry. Schwarzenegger would play the Federal Marshall."

Stormi?  For real?

ABC's Once Upon A Time will conclude after this, its 7th season.

Here's what Disney CEO Bob Iger said yesterday: "We are developing not just one, but a few Star Wars series specifically for the Disney direct-to-consumer app. We’ve mentioned that and we are close to being able to reveal at least one of the entities that is developing that for us. Because the deal isn’t completely closed, we can’t be specific about that. I think you’ll find the level of talent on the television front will be rather significant as well.”

"National Geographic is going to the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang — but they won’t be there to watch figure skating. With correspondent and host Bob Woodruff, Nat Geo will explore North Korea’s diplomatic legacy through the lens of the Olympics in Inside North Korea: Live from the Games. The hourlong special will premiere at 9 PM/8 PM CST on Sunday, Feb. 11."

"Alec Baldwin out. The actor, who was attached to star in a straight-to-series show from Black-ish creator Kenya Barris, has exited the untitled multicamera comedy. Technically speaking, he was never formally attached to star in the project. Baldwin, who will remain an executive producer on the comedy, exited after reading the script, when he and producers Barris and Julie Bean (Grown-ish) realized the part wasn't right for him. Baldwin also is said to have wanted to film the show in New York — which would have posed a problem for Barris, who shoots Black-ish and spinoff Grown-ish in Los Angeles. The comedy is now reverting to a pilot as a casting search for a new lead begins."

Julie Bowen has filed for divorce.

Here's the latest trailer for season 2 of Jessica Jones.  

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"ESPN’s standalone streaming service will launch this spring, Disney CEO Bob Iger told analysts and investors shortly after the media conglomerate posted its quarterly earnings. The over-the-top offering will be priced at $4.99 a month and will debut as part of a new ESPN app.

“'This will enable people to access ESPN just about any way imaginable,' Iger said. 'If anything points to what the future of ESPN looks like, it will be this.'

"The announcement comes at a troubled time for ESPN. Once a major source of revenue and profits for Disney, the sports network has been a drag on its stock price. Investors have become concerned about consumers cutting the cable cord to explore cheaper digital services, and their fears have been heightened as ESPN has suffered lower viewership and declining ad sales.

"The new app is not a total break with ESPN’s TV past. It will give users the ability to live stream the channels themselves, but they will have to be a subscriber of ESPN via “traditional or non-traditional” methods. It will also give them access to a collection of sports news, scores, and highlights that Iger said will be 'highly personalized' based on geography, sports team affiliation, and other data points. In addition, subscribers can access a library of ESPN content, such as its 30 for 30 documentary series, as well as live events that are not broadcast on its suite of channels.

"Apple iOS, Android, and ChromeCast will be the initial platforms for the app. BAMTech, a streaming specialist and technology company that Disney acquired a controlling stake in last year, helped create the new app."

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, "[f]or the first-ever celebrity spinoff of the CBS series in order for the show to work it all depended on its casting. And for the show's part, Omarosa is definitely their biggest sell. 

"The other major draw is that she'll be under close watch given the shows multitude of cameras and 24/7 live feed feature, leaving the potential for the controversial figure to speak openly about her former boss, President Trump. To find out the details behind Omarosa's casting and what she can and can't say about Trump during the show's 24/7 surveillance, The Hollywood Reporter dialed up executive producers Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan. 

"'She is fully aware of the 24/7 live nature of the show. . .The live feed experience is going to be an interesting one because that's where you'll hear a lot of these conversations,' said Grodner. 'It will be up to Omarosa what she chooses to share and up to her houseguests on what they choose to ask.' 

"And though Omarosa's political background and relationship to Trump is likely to come into play, the Big Brother bosses want to make one thing clear: 'This is not a political show. . .this isn't becoming 60 Minutes.'

"Below, THR talked further with Grodner and Meehan about casting Omarosa and what fans can expect this season:

How did Omarosa's casting come to be? Did that follow right after her exit from the White House?

Grodner: With Omarosa the timing was just right. We were in the process of casting when we learned she was exiting the White House. She wrapped up her obligations to the White House [laughs] about a week or so before we were set to move in. The timing worked well. The other part about her that we knew is that she is a Big Brother fan. We're not talking about her just being familiar with the show. She is a legitimate super fan who knows many details about all of the seasons.

Meehan: She has favorite players, favorite competitions. She knows a lot about the show.

Grodner: She's also one of the most notorious reality contestants of all time and has experience like this. It seemed right in terms of timing, what her background is and her interests.

Meehan: If she wasn't a super fan of the show . . .

Grodner: It probably wouldn't have happened. 

How much influence will President Trump have in storylines on the show this season considering his close relationship with her as well as her recent dramatic exit?

Grodner: [Laughs!] Well, he's not in the cast. Will there be a tweet? It's yet to be seen.

Meehan: It would be the first time a president has ever tweeted about Big Brother

Is she restricted from discussing Trump?

Grodner: That is not a topic we can answer. That's only a topic Omarosa can answer. She knows what her restrictions are. 

Meehan: She's in the house and it's really up to her what she decides to do.

Grodner: The unique element of Big Brother is the 24/7 live nature of this. She is fully aware of the 24/7 live nature of the show. And it's ultimately up to her and the rest of the people in the house to figure out what they want to share and not share. We're following and documenting what they're doing inside the house. We're not following what's going on outside of the house. Big Brother is very much about the game, the social experience in this house and interesting conversations that certainly come up within the house. The only way that would become part of the show is if she chooses to share this with her other houseguests and talk about it. They know who she is, well not all of them realized she worked in the White House, [laughs]. But many of them of course do and certainly have a lot of questions for her. We'll see how that unfolds. 

Did you expect her casting to cause such a stir in the media?

Meehan: How often do we get CNN or MSNBC suddenly talking about Big Brother and the cast of Big Brother

How well do you think she'll do in the game?

Grodner: So far she seems to be trying to integrate and it appears to be happening. Of course, things change on a dime in the Big Brother house and the game has yet to really get going. She's come here to win and bring a good social game as well as a competitive one. 

With Omarosa's political affiliation do you see how that could turn off some viewers from tuning in? The reaction to her joining the show was mixed. 

Grodner: We cast a diverse group of people with a diverse point of view. If you look at our past summer we had extremely liberal houseguests and we also had more conservative houseguests. Look at Cody [Nickson]who represented a lot of that. There were definitely political and social topics that represented all viewpoints. You're going to find the same thing in the celebrity house. But that's not what Big Brother is all about. That's part of it and day-to-day living and eavesdropping on really interesting conversations that represent all viewpoints is always an interesting thing in this house, but really these people also came to play this game for $250,000 and that game is going nonstop. 

Meehan: There's 11 people in the house. The tone and style of our show isn't changing just because she has a political background.

Grodner: This isn't becoming 60 Minutes

Meehan: There could be some interesting conversations that are fun, but it's still Big Brother at its heart. 

Grodner: Big Brother will never become 60 Minutes you know that. We poke fun at things. It's goofy. Then it's the drama and soap opera of the game in the house. This is not a political show. The live feed experience is going to be an interesting one because that's where you'll hear a lot of these conversations. It will be up to Omarosa what she chooses to share and up to her houseguests on what they choose to ask. Everyone in the cast has something interesting to say. 

During the first live feed tease you gave viewers she looked as if she's right at home. 

Grodner: Absolutely. She's really is fitting in, It's a question we all have because her reputation precedes her especially from her reality show days and what she might do in there. It will be interesting to see how she does, but she does have to overcome that. And from the glimpse you saw it appears that she's working the social game quite well. 

Meehan: All different types of people win the show. Depending on what your reputation is and how you play you never know. Just because she comes in with that reputation [things] can happen in a lot of different ways in the Big Brother house. 

In that sneak peak viewers also witnessed an alliance between her, Shannon Elizabeth and Marissa Winokur. 

Grodner: You know what happens to alliances. They change quite quickly. We'll see. 

Who in the cast do you predict going far?

Grodner: Some of our super fans like Shannon, Marissa and Omarosa are coming out fast and playing the game hard. I wonder if some people who are not super fans, like Metta World Peace is someone who could sustain for a bit because he's not going to be seen as a threat, which is pretty funny that Metta World Peace is not seen as a threat. 

What was the cast's reaction to Omarosa moving in?

Meehan: They were very surprised when she walked onstage.

Grodner: There was quite a dramatic entrance. 

Have there been any arguments yet?

Meehan: Everyone's getting along fine right now. 

Grodner: With those first nominations everything changes.

Is there a major twist this season?

Grodner: We will tease that there will be a twist in the premiere. There will be a new vote put out to the public.

How do you plan on changing the competitions this season to cater to this new cast?

Meehan: They're going to be getting messy and the competitions are going to be just as hard as they always are. We're not changing the difficulty level, but we are changing the themes of our challenges. 

Grodner: Night one you will get the gist of what it is. There are celebrity themes to some of these things and it's a lot of fun. It's very tongue in cheek.

Meehan: Every competition has a celebrity theme to it in the tone of Big Brother

When I interviewed Keshia she admitted that if the show gets to be too much that she would consider quitting. Do you see her or anyone else quitting?

Grodner: No. It's not a surprise. They knew what they were getting into.

Meehan: We'll see what happens. 

Grodner: We'll see how volatile this house is. When the game gets real and people start being evicted, feelings get hurt, alliances form and people feel left out of things all of that is part of the Big Brother game. But they all know what they signed up for. Keshia looks like she's playing and she's in. 

Who has surprised you the most in terms of how they've adjusted to living in the house?

Grodner: Chuck Liddell! On night one, he and Metta were sitting there with the girls getting press on nails and facials. 

Meehan: And about two hours ago he was getting a mud mask in the bathroom by Ariadna. 

Grodner: He has what I call a resting Chuck face. But he's having fun in there and is a really nice guy. And a lot of the cast were impressed when he walked in. He has some real fans in this house. Omarosa and Mark McGrath are big Chuck Liddell fans. 

What are you looking forward to most about this special edition of the show?

Grodner: The unexpected. 

Meehan: This season we have no idea with this group of people how they're going to play and what they're going to do."

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Per Uproxx, "[i]n an upcoming episode of HBO’s new drama Here and Now, Greg Boatwright (Tim Robbins), depressed and seeking answers for why his world no longer makes sense, follows a deer into the woods and gets lost. He falls asleep in a torrential rainstorm, and wakes up muddy and confused to find the beautiful creature is now standing in front of him in a clearing. The rain is gone, a dapple of golden sunlight is streaming through the trees, and the setting couldn’t seem more perfect for Greg to receive the wisdom he seeks.

"Instead, the deer shits. A lot.

"Now, Greg is a philosophy professor and acclaimed author who has devoted his career to 'thinking about thinking.' If ever there were a TV protagonist suited to find valuable insight from this pile of excrement, it would be him. Instead, he storms into an academic conference to bitterly announce, 'If a deer shits in the woods, whether you’re there to see it or not, it means nothing. It’s. Just. Shit.'

"By this point in viewing Here and Now (it debuts Sunday; I’ve seen four episodes), the viewer may feel a lot like Greg. The series has impressive auspices: created by Emmy and Oscar winner Alan Ball (Six Feet Under, American Beauty), it stars a pair of Oscar winners in Robbins and, as Greg’s therapist wife Audrey Bayer, Holly Hunter. It has a lot to say about race, religion, sexuality, gender, mental health, and the state of the world in 2018. But it’s alternately suffocating and baffling, making almost every character as miserable to each other as they are to watch, and occasionally dropping in bizarre hints suggesting the series might borrow as much from Ball’s work on True Blood as his Six Feet days.

"Surely, there must be more to this project than a bunch of oblivious hypocrites treating each other badly, right? There must be some hidden value, some deeper meaning?

"Or maybe, as Greg puts it, it’s just… well, you know.

"The Bayer-Boatwrights are pillars of the liberal community in Portland. He teaches philosophy, she has a business called The Empathy Project that tries to solve differences peacefully (in an early episode, a high school brings her in to mediate between minority students and those who want to start a white pride group), and they’ve adopted children from Vietnam (Raymond Lee’s Duc), Liberia (Jerrika Hinton’s Ashley), and Colombia (Daniel Zovatto’s Ramon), in addition to their youngest child, biological daughter Kristen (Sosie Bacon). The older siblings are all acutely aware that they were, as Duc puts it, 'advertisements for how progressive and evolved our parents were,' and there are various tensions baked into the family: Duc and Ashley resent that Ramon can pass for Caucasian whenever it’s convenient, while Ashley changed her name at 18 from the Liberian one her parents chose to the whitest one she could think of, and later married a white Republican ('You know, before Donald Trump') as a further act of rebellion. Ramon is gay, and embarrassed by how excited Audrey seems to be about this for what it says about her own politics, while Kristen is both envious of her siblings for not being a boring white girl like her and blind to the privilege this gives her. (When she and Ashley are arrested for getting into a fight with a Planned Parenthood protester, Kristen views the whole thing as an adventure she can post to Instagram, while Ashley is subtly humiliated by a white cop.)

"With the exception of Ramon and his new boyfriend Henry (Andy Bean), a barista at a combination laundry/cafe, the main characters feel less like people than avatars for the sociological arguments Ball wants to make about liberal hypocrisy and depression in Trump’s America. Those two are also, not coincidentally, among the few people on the show — other exceptions include Iranian-born shrink Farid Shokrani (Peter Macdissi, who’s also one of the show’s executive producers), his wife Layla (Necar Zadegan), and their gender fluid teenager Navid (Marwan Salama) — who aren’t instantly loathsome. Six Feet Under had an unfortunate tendency to wallow in the misery of its family, and at times seemed determined to make the audience suffer along with them; Here and Now starts at that point. Ball and his collaborators have a lot to say about life as we know it, but their messengers are fundamentally off-putting. (After a while, main character Nate Fisher’s abrasive self-righteousness became the toll Six Feet viewers had to pay to get to the better stories involving the rest of the family; this is a show largely populated with Nate Fishers.) The stories in the early going are mostly so ephemeral and low-stakes — Why isn’t anyone coming to Ashley’s daughter’s birthday party? Does “motivational architect” Duc want Greg to write the foreword to his new book? How will the smugly celibate Duc react when Ashley’s husband Malcolm (Joe Williamson) tries to fix him up with a woman? — that they only work involving people the audience is much more willing to invest in than this group.

"Other than Ramon and Henry’s budding relationship, which feels detailed and lived-in rather than existing solely as a position paper, the first episode is such a joyless slog that I was prepared to give up after it, pedigree or no. Then something happens in the final scene that’s so strange and divorced from the rest of the show, I decided to keep going for a bit to see if the whole pilot wasn’t some kind of alienating Trojan horse for an entirely different series than what had been promised.

"This proved not to be the case. The next three episodes are largely more of the same, pausing the various rants and mortifications at random intervals to offer hints of this weird, alternate, potentially supernatural show, only to jump right back into the muck with Greg, the deer, and everyone else.

"Ball (who also produced Banshee for Cinemax) is one of the most successful and important creative talents in HBO history. When he came in to pitch an Important Drama about The Way We Live Now, with Hunter and Robbins attached as the leads, is it any wonder HBO execs said yes? It’s plenty ambitious, but an ambitious failure, where the more you make like Greg and try to think about what the characters are thinking, the more unbearable most of it becomes."

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"HBO is staging a bit of a mother-daughter reunion.

"Weeks after casting Meryl Streep in season two of Big Little Lies, the premium cable network has cast her daughter Mamie Gummer in season three of True Detective.

"Gummer will recur in the Nic Pizzolatto-created drama and play Lucy Purcell, a young mother of two at the center of a tragic crime.

"Season three of the anthology tells the story of a macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods. Moonlight Oscar winner Mahershala Ali stars as Wayne Hays, a state police detective from Northwest Arkansas. Carmen Ejogo (Selma) will play the female lead, Amelia Reardon, an Arkansas schoolteacher with a connection to two missing children in 1980. Stephen Dorff and Scoot McNairy co-star.

"Pizzolatto serves as showrunner and directs alongside relative newcomer Jeremy Saulnier. Executive producers include Pizzolatto, Saulnier, Scott Stephens and season-one stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, as well as original director Cary Joji Fukunaga. Anonymous Content's Steve Golin, Bard Dorros and Richard Brown will also be credited as executive producers.

"Gummer's credits include CBS' The Good Wife and CBS All Access' The Good Fight, WGN America's Manhattan and Amazon's The Collection. Next up she has An Actor Prepares, opposite Jeremy Irons and Jack Huston. 

"True Detective season three will air in 2019."

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Per Yahoo!, "[a] lawsuit seeking $35 million over an Oxygen Media television series about the disappearance of an Alabama teenager in Aruba presents an 'inaccurate depiction' of the show, the company said in response to the complaint.

"A statement released late Tuesday by Oxygen, which specializes in true-crime entertainment programming for women, said it has 'deep compassion and sympathy' for relatives of Natalee Holloway and was disappointed in the lawsuit by her mother, Beth Holloway.

"Holloway has filed a federal lawsuit in Birmingham contending The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway was a fake documentary that subjected her to weeks of anguish when it aired last summer.

"Aside from Oxygen Media, which is an arm of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, Holloway also is suing the Los Angeles-based Brian Graden Media, which developed the show.

"The six-episode series included the discovery of what were supposedly remains that could be those of Natalee. But the lawsuit claims producers knew that bone fragments featured in the production weren't linked to Natalee before supposed testing produced inconclusive results.

"Oxygen Media said the show followed Dave Holloway, a Mississippi insurance agent who was Natalee's father and the former husband of Beth Holloway, as he searched for answers about his daughter.

"'We had hoped, along with Mr. Holloway, that the information was going to provide closure,' said the statement. 'We cannot comment further on ongoing litigation.'

"Natalee Holloway was 18 when she was last seen during a trip with classmates to Aruba. Her disappearance after a night with friends at a nightclub sparked years of news coverage, particularly in the tabloid and true-crime media.

"No remains were ever found, and the Dutch teen suspected in her death, Joran van der Sloot, is now imprisoned for the slaying of another young woman in Peru in 2010.

"A judge acting at Dave Holloway's request declared Natalee Holloway legally dead in 2012."