Tuesday March 20, 2018

Amazon's Sneaky Pete has relocated production from New York to California.  It hasn't been officially renewed for a 3rd season yet, but that announcement should (hopefully) be forthcoming.

Season 3 of You, Me, Her premieres tonight on Audience.

Lifetime debuts Love At First Flight tonight as well.  "Nothing tests a budding relationship like travel and the new series Love at First Flight takes it a step further, matching new couples to embark on a romantic (and stressful) journey across North America — with the chance to get married at the airport immediately after their final flight lands. Meeting for the first time in New York, the couples criss-cross the country towards Los Angeles, as their compatibility is tested not only by the unpredictable pressures of travel but also by a series of uniquely crafted travel-based challenges. Love at First Flight is produced by Pilgrim Media Group. Craig Piligian and Mike Nichols serve as executive producers for Pilgrim."

I'm not watching American Idol, but this is a pretty cool audition.

Juliette Lewis is set as a series regular opposite Jennifer Garner and David Tennant in HBO's new half-hour comedy series Camping.

Cynthia Nixon is running for Governor or New York.

"With the success of their Emmy-winning All or Nothing NFL series, Amazon Prime Video unveiled today that they will launch more sports programming under the All or Nothing banner. The docuseries will put the spotlight and give unprecedented access to a team’s entire season, character-driven storytelling and compelling visuals. It all starts with All or Nothing: The Michigan Wolverines on April 6. Narrated by NCIS actor Mark Harmon, all eight episodes of  All or Nothing: The Michigan Wolverines will be available for streaming exclusively on Prime Video. The series will offer the never-before-seen inner workings of the winningest program in college football, chronicling Michigan’s 2017 season. The cameras follow Coach Jim Harbaugh in his third season leading his alma mater’s storied program through triumphs, trials and tribulations as they play in the Big Ten, one of the toughest college football conferences in the nation. The series also provides an intimate look at the lives, both on and off the field, of the student athletes charged with carrying on Michigan’s legacy.  All or Nothing: The Michigan Wolverines is executive produced by Sandy Montag (Perfect in ’76), Jim Jorden, Kirk Reynolds and Ron Lynn, and produced by BTN Originals and The Montag Group. Consulting producers are Paul Camarata and Keith Cossrow."

NBC has renewed Hollywood Game Night for a 6th season.  Gross.

A look at the upcoming season of The Bachelorette, albeit blurry.

John Oliver’s new children’s book about Veep Mike Pence’s bunny, Marlon Bundo, called Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, has sold out, and another printing is in the works.  Brilliant.

A review of season 2 of The Standups on Netflix.  I look forward to watching as soon as this NCAA tourney thing concludes.

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Per Deadline, "Stranger Things has been a runaway success for Netflix, the first homegrown series produced by the streaming platform to hit it out of the park. And now the stars of the 1980s supernatural drama are sharing in the windfall with major salary bumps going into Season 3.

"While actors cast as series regulars on a TV show almost always have long-term deals, it has become a tradition for the casts of successful series to renegotiate their contracts after the second season after receiving one-time bonuses ahead of Season 2. That is what happened with the main players on Stranger Things. I hear that the lead child and adult stars of the show, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Noah Schnapp and Caleb McLaughlin, Winona Ryder and David Harbour, all have reached or are finalizing agreements that will see their pay increase significantly.

"The rise is especially dramatic for the young stars who were mostly newcomers before being cast in Stranger Things, reportedly pulling in about $30,000 an episodes the first two seasons. I hear their per-episode fee will go up to more than $200,000 an episodes and possibly around $250,000.

"Brown, who emerged as the breakout star of Stranger Things, is believed to have landed a bigger raise than her young counterparts.

"Ryder and Harbour, who were established actors with sizable resumes, started higher and I hear will remain ahead of their younger co-stars, including Brown. I hear their new salaries are north of 300,000, approaching 350,000 an episode.

"Also getting a bump are the other Stranger Things series regulars, including Natalia Dyer and Charlie Heaton, whose new paychecks are said to be in the $100,000-$150,000 range.

"Netflix declined comment.

"In addition to a ratings mega hit, Stranger Things has been a licensing bonanza for Netflix with a slew of deals for Stranger Things-branded merchandise. 

"Stranger Things is expected to go into production on an eight-episode Season 3 next month. It will see the storyline jump ahead a year and will also introduce new forces of evil."

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From The Hollywood Reporter: "The masterminds behind HBO's Silicon Valley had a few things to say about the criticism the comedy has endured during its  four-year run.

"During a Paleyfest panel on Sunday night ahead of the tech parody's season five premiere on March 25, the cast and producers on hand —  which included showrunners Mike Judge and Alec Berg and stars Thomas Middleditch, Martin Starr, Zach Woods, Kumail Nanjiani and Amanda Crew — were asked about how the show has portrayed the gender imbalance in the industry. 'We started out looking at the tech world, going, "This is just sort of absurd,"' said Judge, referring to the fact that it's roughly 85 percent male. 'So if anything, you exaggerate it. I don’t think we’ve pulled back — but certainly, I wasn’t prepared for what a sensitive thing it was.'

"Judge, who sat on the panel moderated by New York Magazine's Stacey Wilson Hunt, went on to explain that he was taken aback by the critics who claimed that the show was only serving to worsen Silicon Valley's gender gap. 'I did 13 seasons of King of the Hill, and nobody in those whole 13 years ever complained there weren’t enough women in Propane,' he joked, adding that he was simply 'making fun of another thing.' He then acknowledged, 'I mean, we probably think about it a little bit more than we might have if nobody had ever said anything about it because you don’t want to piss everybody off. But at the same time, I don’t think it’s good to pretend that there’s not a gender gap there. You want to make fun of it and that’s what we do.'

"Berg, for his part, agreed. 'We’re a satire, and at a certain point the job is to hold a mirror up to a real thing and say, "This is what it is,"' he said, noting that some of the criticism is unfair. One example he pointed to is an episode in the first season where the show shot and aired actual footage from a tech conference. 'A friend of mine who works in tech called me and said, “I got to tell you, you completely whiffed it on that TechCrunch Disrupt thing — you didn’t put any women in that." And I said, "You know that the shots we used of TechCrunch Disrupt were real shots of the real TechCrunch Disrupt? So, who do yo think actually whiffed it?"' said Berg. 'We got a lot of flack about not putting enough women in the show but now I think tech has started to actually turn its eyes inward and go, "Oh, maybe we’re the ones f—king this up and just because you’re portraying us as we are, we can’t yell at you and say you’re the bad guy."'

"In fact, the show's most prominent female character (Crew's Monica) isn't a love interest of any of the leading male characters, which is extremely rare. 'Every episode I open up the script and I’m like, "If there is a f—ing love scene in this, I’m out,"' said Crew to laughs from the crowd at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. 'No, but it is one of the things that I love about Monica and I don’t think is highlighted much in the press about the show is that they have created a character who is not serving as the love interest or eye candy. It's maybe the first role I’ve done where that isn’t an element of it.' Nanjiani joked of getting Middleditch and Crew's characters together, 'Correct me if I'm wrong but you guys tried and there wasn’t enough chemistry between them, right?'

"The Silicon Valley team also broached the topic of T.J. Miller's exit this season (the breakout actor decided to leave the series at the end of the fourth season). 'We had kind of been through it before so we knew going in that it was a surmountable challenge,' said Berg, referring to the unexpected death of castmember Christopher Evan Welch in between the first and second seasons. 'We knew it was going to be difficult.' The co-showrunner added that it was getting harder and harder to write for Miller's character, Erlich, because he wasn't somebody who worked at the company, and that the writers had begun to even do storylines about how he was feeling marginalized. 'And then TJ, for a number of reasons, just decided that his time had come and gone and he wanted to move on, and so we had the narrative challenge to keep him in the show and then it just became, 'Ok, well maybe it's time to not keep him in the show.'

"As for the future of the comedy, Judge has said in the past that he sees the show running for about six seasons. But when asked whether the next season would be the show's last, the showrunner paused. 'We don’t know. Looking at these episodes, it kind of takes on a new life and a second wind to me in a way,' he said, teasing: 'I think it could go on for a while, you never know.'"

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"When Billions returns for its third season, Damian Lewis’ Bobby Axelrod is in a very unfamiliar place: Under indictment, separated from his wife, and banished from the hedge fund company that bears his name. 'It’s a fun trajectory for the character,' he says.

"Ahead of the premiere, Lewis talked to Variety about what’s in store for the embattled hedge fund manager, whether Wendy (Maggie Siff) can be trusted, and how closely the season mirrors current headlines:

How does this season compare for you?

I think Billions has found its sweet spot. Season 1 was a look at this world and these people behaviorally. Now the cat-and-mouse game has really taken off and the stakes have become higher. It’s helpful to the drama of it. I like the fact that Axe was outmaneuvered at the end of last year by Chuck. And so he finds himself in a unusual position that he’s not used to being in — back to the wall and working out a way of getting back into the game.

It’s really an interesting place for a character who’s been so cocky and confident. He even says at one point, “I don’t know what to do with myself.”

I think the dark side of human personality is writ large in the show — the way in which people are prepared to behave to get what they want. This is a very compromised group of human beings: People who are extremely powerful, extremely wealthy and will do what they can to retain that. Shysters shystering is a lot of fun to watch, it turns out. If it’s done with bravado, and great joy and relish, it makes for a very entertaining story. But I think when there are moments with vulnerability with Axe, it tends to be with the women in his life — Wendy, who he can open to. But even that maintains a professional veneer. He goes to her to be fixed and can be open and honest with her about how he’s feeling. And for Lara — that is collateral damage at the moment, his wife and his children. He doesn’t give them enough time. He doesn’t have the time because he’s got himself caught up in this contest about survival for himself. It has evolved now into, for Axe, about survival and being able to continue a life that he has become used to and philosophically he believes in. It’s not just about beating the other guy, although that’s always important. He can be brought down and ruined and ended.

He’s much more aware of that this season. He knows he’s on thin ice.

The stakes are little bit higher. This is a show that’s a little bit of a superhero show. The bullets bounce off these guys. People go down, but they get back up quite quickly. [Executive producers Brian Koppelman and David Levien] want that buoyancy for the show. They want it to be funny — it’s a very funny show. It’s a dramedy, really.

This season also feels particularly timely — it feels more ripped from the headlines than ever.

Of course, there are parallels with what’s going on. Never before has it been so overt that politics and money have merged right in the White House. I think your current president comes from the world we’re exploring. A lot of his friends and his appointees come from this world. It’s fun to get into this world and see the way these guys move. Our show is authentic in that way. It’s not over the top. I think it’s good now to see the stakes heightened and they’re real. What is it like when you’ve made a billion dollars? If you might lose it all, how does that make you feel? And Axe is really presented with that drama.

How far is Axe willing to go?

Axe may lose his entire fortune, his lifetime’s achievement. At the beginning of season 3, he’s going to have to to go to court. He’s going to have to answer for what he did if the other side can put this case tougher. And he’s busy, running around, moving pieces in the background to make sure they don’t have the evidence they need. He’ll do whatever it takes. Like deporting a poor innocent Guatemalen woman. One shouldn’t judge one’s characters, but I make an appalling play where I have someone deported because I need to move the pieces around in order to keep myself alive. This poor woman was used as a pawn. That is reminiscent of some of the headlines over the last year.

Given that, how do you manage to keep him sympathetic? Is it important to you to keep the audience on his side?

These guys, it’s the sheriff and the cowboy. It’s the FBI and the gangsters. That’s where this show sits, it’s set in American mythology. They speak in heightened ways. They do outrageous things. They get away with it or they don’t, but if they get hit they get back up again. And quick. That buoyancy is very entertaining for people. There’s also humanity in the show. I think that’s why you root for Axe. You root for Chuck when he’s sitting at the kitchen table with Wendy and discussing their marriage. How do we fix this and look after the kids? Chuck himself is pulling all kinds of moves as he shimmies up the greasy political pole. No one behaves well in this show. [The producers] are saying, we believe this way to be the way the rich and powerful behave. Corruption is endemic on both sides, it’s everywhere. Now it might even be at the top. In our show, we don’t want to proselytize. We don’t want to be didactic. It doesn’t have to be worthy. We can laugh with them and at them, and enjoy the sheer chutzpah of these characters. That’s why we enjoy Bobby. That’s why we enjoy Chuck. That’s why we love Wags (David Costabile). They’re outrageous and most of us don’t behave that way. Most of us appeal to a common moral system. People who want that much wealth, that much power, they have to create their own moral system. That’s why they are masters of the universe. But it’s not without consequence.

Can Wendy be trusted? She seems to be playing both sides.

I think it’s great what they’ve done with Wendy. She seemed to be a moral arbiter and she’s shown herself to know how to cut a deal as well as anyone else. Again, I don’t wish to be heavy-handed, but the word transactional as been thrown around a lot in the last year because we seem to have a president who understand the transactional nature of life. That’s how he lives his life. This show is about transaction. If you give, I’ll give and we will make a deal. That’s the world of Billions. Deals can be made. Wendy understands that as well as anyone. In season 2, when she gets wind of the deal, of the short I’m making on ice juice, she decides to short it, too, unbeknownst to her husband, who is doing something on the other side. So there is a chance that she will be implicated. Things thicken for her. She’s thrown into new territory that she’s not used to. But there’s a tension there now that there never was before. Because people have become untrustworthy in this world. If you want to look for a greater message, you see what’s happened to Taylor (Asia Kate Dillon). What happens to everybody in this world of “Billions,” power and money finally corrupt. Everything and everyone. Wendy was set up as a center of calm between these two raging bulls. But we’ll see that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

And what’s the state of his relationship with Lara? 

Good for her, she finally says, “Bobby, you can charm your way back only so many times. And keep lying so many times.” And it was one of the attractive things about Bobby is that he did adore his wife and his children and seemed to be a family man. But he is so in the mire now with his professional life that there has been collateral damage and that has been his personal life. He has not paid attention to his wife and kids. Bobby’s a scrapper, a pugilist, a fighter. When he’s in the corner, he just comes out hitting harder. That’s what he does. He is going to treat his wife even more appallingly. You don’t ever threaten to take my boys away from him again. Ever. Billions likes to stroll in that area. It loves its Godfather references. That’s why it’s just so entertaining to watch."

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This just makes me laugh it's so pathetic.  "Years before Vanessa Trump filed for divorce from Donald Trump Jr., their marriage was rocked when Don Jr. fell in love with a contestant on NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice.

"Page Six has exclusively learned that Don Jr. — then a so-called 'adviser' on the show — fell for Danity Kane star Aubrey O’Day while filming the show in 2011.

"Sources say that Vanessa — who filed for divorce from the president’s son last week after 13 years of marriage — was devastated when he told her that he planned to leave her for O’Day.

"Vanessa was pregnant with their fourth child, Tristan, around that time.

"Don Jr. 'pursued her. It was him who chased her,' said a source familiar with the situation. 'He told her that his marriage was already in the process of dissolving.'

"Added the insider, 'I think his marriage to Vanessa was over long before Aubrey came along.'

"A second source said that Donald Trump Sr. stepped in when he heard about the relationship and told Don Jr. to 'knock it off.'

"The first source said that his family 'pressured [Don Jr.] to stay in his marriage.'

"On election night in 2016, O’Day — who became famous after appearing on P. Diddy’s reality show Making The Band in 2015 — tweeted, 'my story I didn’t tell is worth millions now.'

"However, sources say that O’Day was truly in love with Don Jr., and never wanted money either to tell her story or to keep quiet, and that she was never given any by the Trump family.

"A third source said that Vanessa 'was going to leave [Don Jr.] then. That was the start of the downfall.'

"Don Jr. and Vanessa have five children together.

"Reps for Don Jr. and Vanessa didn’t respond to our repeated requests for comment."