Wednesday March 28, 2018

SUITS returns tonight. More below.  I'm nothing if not predictable.

ABC premieres Alex, Inc. tonight as well.

The final season of The Americans bows tonight on FX.

Samantha Bee travels to Puerto Rico on her show tonight to see how fellow Americans are coping six months after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

James Corden is returning for his 3rd Carpool Karaoke primetime special. The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special 2018 will air Monday, April 23 at 10 PM on CBS.

Sean Penn is really not looking good these days.

Do not waste your time with ABC's new show Splitting Up Together.  I didn't make it to the first commercial break.

Cinemax has renewed something called Strike Back for a 6th season!

CBS has renewed SEAL Team and “S.W.A.T. for 2nd seasons.

"Donald Glover on Tuesday took to Twitter (which he rarely does) to share a script for the now defunct animated Deadpool series —  which is about the series being canceled. 'For the record: I wasn't too busy to work on Deadpool,' Glover wrote before sharing page after page of his meta script that finds Deadpool in Africa, protecting the world's last male northern white rhino, Sudan. The real Sudan died days ago. In the script, Deadpool wonders aloud why his animated series got scraped. 'Do you think they canceled the show because of racism?!' Deadpool asks Sudan in the script. 'Yeah, all the writers were black. The references were pretty black, too. I heard they went over lunch budget ordering Jamaican food at least once a week.'" 

"Craig Carton is headed back on to radio. Well, not the terrestrial kind — or the satellite version, for that matter. The former WFAN host, who was arrested by the FBI in September and charged with running a fake-ticket scheme, is returning to the digital airwaves tomorrow, when SportsGrid launches his new Carton & Friends program. The daily weekday show will be broadcast live 9 a.m. ET to 1 p.m. ET from Manhattan’s FNTSY Sports Network’s Studio 34, which is located inside Rock & Reilly’s gastropub on the fifth floor of the Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel."

How to save ESPN.

ICYMI, here's how the Rosanne premiere handled Donald Trump.

A Dawson's Creek reunion.

"Morgan Spurlock, who late last year admitted to sexual misconduct, is now being sued by a company that says a project about women’s issues was halted after the Super Size Me filmmaker made the admission. In the suit, filed Tuesday in federal court in California, Turner Entertainment Networks says that it entered into a production services agreement with Spurlock’s production company Warrior Poets — also named as a defendant in the suit — for a project titled Who Rules the World? The project is described in the suit as 'a series focused on issues facing women.' However, the suit says, things went south in December 2017 when Spurlock 'issued a public statement in which he confessed to sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and substance abuse and stepped down from his position at Warrior Poets.' The project was halted, according to the complaint, and '[c]ritical partners involved in the Project severed their relationship with Spurlock and Warrior Poets'.”

Does anyone REALLY care who the F bit Beyonce?  Please tell me no.


Per Deadline, "[t]he story of golf’s most legendary American player is being adapted for television. Oscar-winning producer, director and writer Alex Gibney and his Jigsaw Productionsare developing a docuseries based on Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian’s anticipated biography, Tiger Woods, which is being released today.

"The docuseries will showcase the authors’ three years of work, which includes over 400 extensive interviews and in-depth research of Woods’ life. Gibney will use the book as a foundation to portray Woods’ early years as an introverted child prodigy, his meteoric rise as a mixed-race golfer, nearly twenty years of dominating national titles, and his struggle with the demands of fame, media attention and family.

"Benedict and Keteyian will executive produce with Gibney.

"Gibney has been widely praised for his work which includes scripted Hulu miniseries The Looming Tower, the triple Emmy-winning film Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Oscar-nominated film Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Roomand the Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side. He recently executive produced Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, as well as Magnolia Pictures’ Wall Street documentary, The China Hustle, set to open in theaters on March 30.

"Benedict is a special features writer for Sports Illustrated and a TV and film producer with 15 published books including the New York Times best-selling autobiography of Hall of Fame quarterback, Steve Young. His stories have served as the basis for segments on 60 Minutes, 20/20, 48 Hours, Good Morning America, CNN, and the Discovery Channel.

"Keteyian is a network television correspondent for CBS News and a longtime contributing correspondent for 60 Minutes. Previously he has served as the lead correspondent for 60 Minutes Sports and a Chief Investigative Correspondent for CBS News. He has written or co-written 11 books including the New York Times best-seller, The System, an inside look at big-time college football, co-written with Benedict.

"Jigsaw Productions’ slate of TV series and feature films include Dirty Money, a six-part series on Netflix that delves into corporate corruption and scandal, Death Row Stories, the CNN series executive produced by Gibney and Robert Redford, and Zero Days which premiered to critical acclaim at the 2016 Berlinale and was released by Magnolia Pictures shortly thereafter."


Per TVLine, "[c]hange is in the air on Suits.

"After seven seasons, the USA Network drama will bid adieu to original series stars Patrick J. Adams and Meghan Markle when their characters, Mike and Rachel, make their final appearance in Season 7B’s two-hour finale (airing April 25).

"While viewers are already anticipating the exits, the pair’s departure will come as somewhat of a surprise to the engaged couple themselves, executive producer Aaron Korsh tells TVLine below:

Are there going to be hints leading up to the finale as to how we will be saying goodbye to Mike and Rachel?
Yes. We lay the groundwork in a subtle way, and then we also have some actual logistical things that happen within the show. But if we hadn’t made the announcement that they were leaving, I do not think you would have seen them leaving coming.

Now we’ll be reading into everything instead.
Yeah. I don’t think that they knew, Mike and Rachel.

What can you say about the circumstances under which they’re going to be leaving? Is it a business thing, a personal decision?
Mike and Harvey, at the end of Season 6, made the deal about “one for you, one for me,” meaning “one pro bono case for you, and one corporate case for me.” And the truth of the matter is that’s a tough thing to maintain. Do you want to be a pro bono attorney that helps people? Or do you want to be a corporate attorney that’s about money? It’s hard to have a major foot in both camps. And in large degree, Season 7 is about Mike realizing that, and the back six [episode arc] codifies that in his mind through one particular incident that happens on a case that he’s trying.

And how does Rachel play into it?
Also in the back six and in Season 7, they’re finally getting down to, “Listen, we put this wedding off. You’re now out of prison. Are we going to focus on it or not?” And the front half of Season 7 was them saying, “Let’s put it to the side a little bit,” and then the back half of Season 7 is them saying, “Let’s put it on the front burner a little bit.” And in putting it on the front burner, I wouldn’t say it forces you, but when you’re getting married, you tend to think about what you want out of life. Where do you want to spend it? How do you want to lead it? There’s a particular episode where that comes to the fore with them, and that plays into what’s going on with Mike, professionally — and collectively, they make this decision.

Looking at the more immediate future and the premiere, where does it pick up, and what state of mind are Harvey and Donna in?
It picks up right where it left off. The state of mind that Harvey is in is he’s in shock. He walked into a room to tell Donna that Malik had come after Jessica. She was going to lose her license and, basically, her name has to come off the wall. So he was already in shock when he walked into the room. And he’s in a relationship with Paula. Donna plants a kiss on him, and he is clearly affected by that kiss. He was already in shock, and he has an unforeseen major thing happen to him that is obviously going to have ramifications on his current relationship. Donna’s state of mind leading up to that kiss was Mike got in her head, Louis got in her head, and she had to know what her own feelings for Harvey were. She didn’t know about what the future would hold for them, and she just did something, a bold thing, spur-of-the-moment. I’m going to leave what effect that kiss had in her brain to the episode."


Turner has announced that "it will launch its new premium live sports streaming service – Bleacher Report Live – in April.  B/R Live will serve as the central hub for both the discovery and consumption of live sports content. The new streaming service will allow fans to find and watch their favorite sports content anywhere, anytime and on the screen of their choice.  Beginning this summer, B/R Live will implement flexible pricing options, providing direct access to live games for purchase on an individual or subscription basis.  

"The new B/R Live streaming platform will provide three core services:

-Find and watch live sports with the ability to scroll through a feed of real-time sporting events
-Personalization features which aggregate live sports content that is the best fit for each fan
-A modern approach to live sports discovery, giving fans the tools to locate and watch their favorite games

"B/R Live will be the destination for passionate fans to access a wide variety of their favorite premium live sports content, including events that are most meaningful to them and their personal interests.  Among the thousands of live sporting events available directly through the service will be the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, NBA League Pass games, 65 NCAA Championships, PGA Championship, National Lacrosse League, The Spring League, Red Bull Global Rallycross, World Arm Wrestling League and more.

"NBA League Pass, in particular, will provide an innovative, first-of-its-kind experience that will allow fans to purchase and watch live NBA games in progress at a reduced price. Available on B/R Live, the NBA App and, the new offering for all NBA League Pass games will debut for the 2018-19 regular season.

“'As viewing habits continue to evolve, Turner is well positioned to provide fans with direct access to premium live sports content that is highly coveted by audiences of scale, including a high concentration of millennials,' said David Levy, President of Turner.  'When we first acquired Bleacher Report in 2012, we knew the definition of a network was changing and we anticipated a time when B/R would become a virtual network. Today is a significant step in that direction and we will fully leverage the reach of B/R and its deep connection with passionate sports fans to provide compelling experiences for them across this new, exciting platform.'

“'At Turner, we believe watching live sports should be easy and B/R Live has been created with the fan at the center of our universe,' said Lenny Daniels, President of Turner Sports. 'From discovery to the delivery of live sports content, B/R Live is a game-changing product that will serve as the ultimate destination for the sports fan.  Whether fans are seeking ways to catch their favorite team or turn to B/R Live for one of the thousands of live sporting events offered directly through the product, we’re aiming to provide an experience that keeps them coming back for more.'

"B/R Live – powered by Turner’s iStreamPlanet – will initially launch with all streaming content available as part of a free preview period extending throughout the opening months of the product.  The first event available through the service will feature Johnny Manziel’s debut in The Spring League on Saturday, April 7.  B/R Live will launch on iOS, Android and the Web.

"B/R Live will fully leverage the Bleacher Report brand and its unique ability to reach and connect with millennial and Gen Z fans. Tapping into mainstream sports properties with avid fan bases, and niche sports with passionate communities, B/R Live will provide a gateway for content to be enjoyed by all audiences.

"Bleacher Report was acquired by Turner in 2012 and has grown into becoming the leading digital destination for millennial sports fans.  Through its development and distribution of premium original content, such as Game of Zones and Gridiron Heights, and strategic investments – including the acquisition of the widely popular House of Highlights platform – B/R has established itself as an influential brand that drives the connection between sports and culture.

“'B/R has grown immensely in recent years, in no small part because of our total dedication to serving fans, and we have a proven track record of helping fans find the best digital sports content,' said Dave Finocchio, CEO of Bleacher Report. 'Historically, we’ve pointed fans to the best content – whether on B/R or another destination – to deliver the greatest experience possible.  We’re excited to bring this same approach to the live sports space, helping millennial and Gen Z fans, especially, with a more streamlined experience as they watch their favorite teams and leagues.'

"B/R Live is the latest move in Turner's overall strategy to innovate beyond the traditional television ecosystem by providing rich viewing experiences that drive engagement across all platforms. The launch of the sports streaming platform is part of Turner’s growing portfolio of direct to consumer offerings including FilmStruck and Boomerang."


Per EW, "John Goodman has been fairly open about his past struggles with alcoholism. Even now, as he makes the press rounds for the revival season of Roseanne, the actor doesn’t shy away from talking about it. Accompanied by costar Roseanne Barr on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM show Tuesday, both Goodman and Barr discussed how she confronted him about his drinking problem during production on the original show.

“'She was scared for me, but she was more confrontational,' Goodman recalled. 'She’d already had a husband go through the process.'

"Barr, who was married to Tom Arnold for four years, added, 'It’s hard to watch.'

"Though she could have chosen to keep quiet on the issue, Barr — who admitted she’s always had a crush on Goodman — decided she had to intervene. 'Me and John, we have a friendship off the show, too,' she said. 'John has held my head when I was barfing in a bar. I drank too much, too. I still do. I didn’t give up like John,' she cracked.

"Goodman, who has said in the past that he also drank during filming of the Coen brothers’ The Big Lebowski, revealed his poison was 'anything that was wet and of a certain proof.' He added, 'The last four years were pretty bad, and I was drinking at work and [Barr] was scared for me. I was ashamed of myself, but I couldn’t stop.'

"He’s since been sober for the past eight years.

"While Goodman appreciated Barr speaking up about his alcoholism when she did, looking out for her castmates is something that came naturally to her.

“'I was pissed at everybody,' she said. 'Like, I found out the crew was letting Sara Gilbert smoke pot with them and I was f–king furious over that. I called her mom, I called everybody’s mom. Lecy [Goranson] was having trouble, too. I called her parents. I’m Jewish and I’m a mother. What do you want?'”


From Vanity Fair: "Amazon’s quest to best HBO by creating a show even bigger than Game of Thrones just took an intriguing new turn. The platform got a head start on its journey last year, when it partnered with J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate to create a Lord of the Rings TV series—a pricey bet that could cost up to $500 million. (The rights alone reportedly went for a cool $250.)

"Now, the company is reportedly adding another potentially massive asset to its lineup: according to the Financial Times, Amazon is in talks to adapt the popular Chinese book series The Three-Body Problem into a three-season show. How much will that cost? A smooth $1 billion. That may be a drop in the bucket compared to Jeff Bezos’s net worth, but it’s also a hefty enough sum to make this potential adaptation one of the most expensive shows of all time—and that’s before production even begins.

"The Three-Body Problem is a 2008 sci-fi novel by Liu Cixin. It’s set in China and, in brief, is about aliens readying to invade Earth. The novel was both a best-seller and a huge critical success, earning Cixin a Hugo Award, among other literary prizes. It also got some high-profile praise last year from none other than President Barack Obama, who called it 'just wildly imaginative, really interesting,' and a work that helped him escape the 'petty' day-to-day problems he faced in Congress.

"The rights to the work are currently held by Lin Qi, the chairman of online-gaming giant Youzu Interactive. Per FT, some insiders hazard that Amazon’s adaptation could be an even bigger success than Thrones, which is why that price tag is so enormous. Of course, let’s also take a step back here and consider that for the last seven years, no show has managed to outshine Thrones—though plenty have tried, and plenty more have been content to imitate it in hopes of some reflected glory. (Remember The Bastard Executioner?) It’s the biggest series on television, a ratings giant that practically absorbs the zeitgeist with each new season, and continues to set viewing records in an era when people prefer to watch TV on their own time. HBO is still sitting pretty on the Iron Throne.

"Amazon is, however, making wise steps to imitate and, perhaps, even overthrow the prestige network’s series—an attempt that will be greatly aided by the fact that Thrones is coming up on its last season, set to debut in 2019. After that, viewers will likely be searching for a new fantastical project—and, if the timing is right, Jeff Bezos will be there to scoop them up into his surprisingly sturdy arms."


Per AdWeek, "[t]here are many reasons that The Good Doctor became this year’s breakout freshman drama, as detailed in this week’s cover story. But showrunner and executive producer David Shore says the real secret of the ABC medical drama’s success is its star, Freddie Highmore, who plays autistic surgeon, Dr. Shaun Murphy.

“'On day one of filming, it just came to life,' recalled Shore. 'It’s a role that is easy to do badly—and he has done it exquisitely. You just get the sense that there’s so much going on behind those eyes, even though it’s not being communicated in a traditional way.'

"Highmore spoke with Adweek about why he initially turned down the role last year, why he insisted on capping the season at 18 episodes and what’s on tap for Season 2 after last night’s season finale.

"After wrapping five seasons as Norman Bates on A&E’s psycho prequel Bates Motel, Highmore was wary of diving immediately into another long-running TV series just days later. So while he was intrigued by playing Shaun Murphy, he initially passed on the role.

“'When you’ve just finished a show that had been on for five seasons, you’re aware of the necessary commitment that is behind it, and the fact that you need to choose wisely because otherwise you could end up on something that you might not want to be doing for years and years,' said Highmore.

“'The crazy thing about pilot season is everything is so quick and thrust upon you with such immediacy that the decisions need to be made within hours. I guess it was just a case of finally getting home and sitting down and figuring out that this was indeed the right thing to be doing, and not wanting to jump into something if you couldn’t commit yourself a hundred percent to it. But it was really talking with David Shore that convinced me that this was going to be a wonderful project to be a part of.'

"One way that Sony Pictures Television, which produces the series, was able to convince Highmore was to sign him to a deal that caps each season at 18 episodes, instead of the standard 22-episode season for broadcast dramas. While some actors insist on shorter-than-normal orders to give themselves more time to squeeze in other film and theater projects, Highmore said that wasn’t the case here.

“'It’s the idea of making the show as good as it can possibly be,' he said. 'You feel better in a slightly more contained version of a season. You’d never want to just be doing more for the sake of it, and so it seems like a wise idea to start with that and see how things go.'

"Highmore thinks that The Good Doctor has become a hit because it serves as a needed beacon of positivity in the world. 'I think people have responded to the optimism, that idea of people wanting to get behind someone who has a hopeful outlook on the world in a time where there is so much negativity that’s so easy to come by. You don’t necessarily want to turn on your television and see more,' he said.

“'And then I think there’s an innate curiosity to the way in which Shaun views the world that’s also intriguing and makes us better as people learning through him. He asks questions on the show that I think are interesting questions for us to consider in our day-to-day lives, and hopefully that sticks with people after they’ve finished.'

"Viewers are increasingly binge-watching entire seasons of TV, but Highmore said The Good Doctor’s success proves that there’s still value to broadcast’s weekly model.

“'I wonder whether seeing the journey of Shaun over time is better placed over the course of several months, as opposed to someone sitting down and binge-watching an entire season of it,' he said. 'I think there’s something to be said about a model that still gives you bits of the story week after week, instead of everything in one long go, that changes your relationship with the show. It might be more positive in this case for it to be a sort of long-term relationship, as opposed to something that’s sort of done and dusted within a week.'

"Watching one episode a week 'allows for a greater conversation about the show' than binge-watching, he said. 'And hopefully The Good Doctor raises questions that are interesting to seek answers to with friends or colleagues at work. If everyone watched it individually over the course of a weekend, you’d miss out on that discussion and the questions that the show poses.'

"With The Good Doctor’s season finale airing, Highmore is already looking ahead to Season 2. 'There’s so much more room for growth from Shaun’s point of view. It’s interesting, this idea of acceptance and to what extent Shaun will ever reach a point where people will wholeheartedly embrace him, or whether there’s one particular mistake that he can make, that will then change people’s opinions of him and reset them back to the beginning of the pilot, as proof of what we knew about him all along,' he said.

"Highmore also hopes to write or direct some episodes next season, much as he did during Bates Motel’s run. 'I’d love to be involved in that way in the second season,' he said."