Friday March 30, 2018

IFC has renewed Brockmire, its baseball-announcer spoof starring Hank Azaria, for two more seasons and also plans a third season of Documentary Now! in 2019.

Another great episode of Atlanta last night.

I watched the first two episodes of season 2 of Nobodies last night.  There are worse things you can do with 22 minutes of your life than check out an episode of this show on Paramount Network.

"A Maryland appeals court has granted a new trial for Adnan Syed in a murder case that gained the national spotlight after it was featured on the popular podcast Serial. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals found that Syed had ineffective assistance at his trial and ordered his convictions vacated in the murder of his former girlfriend Hae Min Lee. Syed, now 38, was convicted in 2000 of killing Lee and burying her body in a shallow grave in a Baltimore park. Syed has been behind bars since his arrest in February 1999.  In 2016, a lower court judge vacated Syed's conviction and ruled that he deserved a new trial, reports CBS Baltimore. Prosecutors appealed that decision to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the state's intermediate appeals court. In a 2-1 ruling, the three-judge appeals court panel agreed with Syed's current lawyer that his trial lawyer was ineffective for failing to investigate a potential alibi witness who said she saw Syed at a public library at the time the state claimed Syed killed Hae. The panel said in its written decision that if testimony from Asia McClain had been presented to the jury, it would have 'directly contradicted the State's theory of when Syed had the opportunity and did murder Hae' and could have created reasonable doubt in at least one juror's mind and led to a different outcome."  Awesome.

The creator of Ren & Stimpy preyed on teenage girls.

Bill Simmons talks about the upcoming HBO Andre The Giant documentary.

"Janice Dickinson has filed a lawsuit against Ryan Seacrest’s production company, NBC Universal and others, alleging that she was tricked into appearing on Bravo’s Shahs of Sunset reality series and falsely painted as a villain on the episode. In the suit, filed Thursday in federal court in California, Dickinson — described in the suit as a 'world-famous, and indeed legendary supermodel' — says that she regularly appeared as a runway model for designer Erik Rosette during Los Angeles Fashion Week for free, to promote Rosette’s charitable efforts. According to the complaint, Rosette knew that she wouldn’t appear pro bono if the designer was “planning to exploit Dickinson’s celebrity without her consent by, for example, facilitating a reality television show’s exploitation of Dickinson’s celebrity.”

"YouTube viewers could soon be getting an even bigger dose of Jake Paul.  The at-times controversial vlogger is developing a talk show with YouTube Red, sources familiar with the project tell The Hollywood Reporter. Although YouTube Red doesn't have traditional programming blocks, the project is expected to have a late-night variety show feel. Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens' Propagate Content is producing the untitled series alongside Five All in the Fifth Entertainment, with Douglas Banker executive producing. Gavin Purcell, the showrunner on Sarah Silverman's Hulu talk show I Love You, America, has been tapped to executive produce the pilot, which could be shot as early as May, according to sources. Paul will host and executive produce."  On second thought, maybe I won't subscribe to YouTube Red . . . . 

The Professional Fighters League has teamed up with Mark Burnett, to develop and produce new programming for its upcoming season. Burnett will both join as an investor in the sure to short-lived league, but he'll produce some sort of content with them as the ship sinks. The league's season debuts June 7 and will air 11 live events on NBC Sports Network and Facebook Watch.

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, "Netflix had a peculiar announcement to make on Thursday: It has purchased Seth Rogen.

"The streaming giant piqued the interest of its users when the top promo on the platform announced: 'Netflix Acquires Seth Rogen: Netflix is all-in on a major Hollywood talent.' The promo, bearing Rogen's image — the comedian, albeit, with a confused expression — said that more would be "coming soon."

"Some savvy viewers were quick to take to social media to suggest April Fools had come early on Netflix. Others linked the marketing stunt to Rogen's upcoming comedy special, where he will host his sixth annual star-studded Hilarity for Charity event. The special, taking place at the Hollywood Palladium on March 24, will be broadcast for the first time, thanks to Netflix, on April 6. 

"On board for the Los Angeles variety show benefiting Alzheimer's patients are the likes of Tiffany Haddish, Sarah Silverman, Michelle Wolf, John Mulaney, James Corden, Post Malone, Nick Kroll, Kumail Nanjiani, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Che, Craig Robinson, The Nasty Delicious and The Muppets. Rogen founded the charity and event with wife Lauren Miller Rogen in 2012.

"But, there's more.

"An inquiry from The Hollywood Reporter about the Thursday announcement was returned with an email from Rogen himself. Rogen, using his new Netflix email address, signed the note as a 'wholly owned and licensed subsidiary of Netflix Inc.'

"Read the full message below:

Hello loyal fan / persistent detractor,

I am currently away from my desk doing rich successful Hollywood things like hanging out at an exclusive club or getting into a fight with the Del Taco counter staff. If you have any questions that need immediate attention, please feel free to search your local police scanner for mentions of Del Taco.

Best,

Seth Rogen

*Seth Rogen is the creator of Hilarity for Charity and a wholly owned and licensed subsidiary of Netflix Inc. Any unlawful reproduction of Seth Rogen will result in Netflix terminating the real Seth to end the cycle of Rogen causality.
"

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From The New York Times: "Two weeks into their monthlong stay here, the reunited roommates of MTV’s Jersey Shore Family Vacation had settled into a comfortable routine. On this warm February evening, Vinny, Ronnie, Pauly D and the Situation were in town buying groceries. On the upper level of their Spanish colonial waterfront home, Snooki was showering. Downstairs, JWoww and Deena were preparing a meal of chicken parmigiana and splitting a bottle of wine.

"There would be dining and conversation later that night, before the seven friends went out to a burlesque nightclub. At present, though, JWoww was predicting that it would take her and Deena 'about seven glasses of wine each' to finish cooking. As Deena said: 'We’re trying to keep it classy. We’re older now.'

"It has been just over five years since the curtain came down on Jersey Shore, the reality series that tracked a group of lovably loutish young men and women at their Seaside Heights, N.J., vacation house and in the bars, gyms and tanning salons of the world beyond. In the six seasons it ran from 2009 to 2012, Jersey Shore was a genuine phenomenon, drawing up to 9 million viewers an episode, giving MTV much-needed cachet and making unlikely cultural icons of its proudly unrefined leads.

"Since then, life has changed for this bronze-hued crew. Jenni Farley (JWoww), Nicole Polizzi (Snooki) and Deena Cortese all found husbands; Ms. Farley and Ms. Polizzi are each the mother of two young children; and Paul DelVecchio (Pauly D) is the father of a young daughter. Michael Sorrentino (The Situation) got sober, and in January, he pleaded guilty to a federal charge of tax evasion, for which he faces sentencing this spring.

"MTV has had its own drama, turning over executives and never finding another show to match the viewership or influence of Jersey Shore at its peak.

"Now the network is readying the resuscitated Jersey Shore Family Vacation — which makes its debut on April 5, and for which it has already ordered a second season — when it’s unclear if there’s still staying power in the franchise or if it was just a fun cultural fluke.

“'I’m super-excited, but also I’m nervous, because what if no one cares, no one watches?' Ms. Polizzi told me. 'This is our family. This is our baby.'

"Did audiences still expect the housemates to behave like they used to, and could they live up to the benchmarks their younger selves set, she wondered.

“'We can party like we used to, but we can’t recover like we used to,' Ms. Polizzi said. 'I would need a few days off if we do a real rager. Like, in bed, with an I.V.'

"SallyAnn Salsano, the creator and executive producer of the Jersey Shore series, stepped outside the darkened guesthouse that serves as the Family Vacation control room to explain that she’d been baffled by the show’s original cancellation.

“'I always felt like it ended before its time,' said Ms. Salsano, who was previously responsible for MTV reality franchises like A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila.

"In its last season, Jersey Shore was drawing about 2 to 3 million viewers an episode and the show was assumed to have run its course. The cast members were, inevitably, growing older and growing out of their party-all-the-time ethos. But, Ms. Salsano said, 'I understood that their lives were changing and the show can change with it.'

"MTV tried a spinoff reality series, Snooki & JWoww, which ran from 2012 to 2015, and gave Vinny Guadagnino his own offbeat talk program, The Show With Vinny, which ran one season in 2013.

"Cast members made their own forays into other media projects: Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and Mr. DelVecchio each did stints on the E! channel’s Famously Single, while Ms. Cortese appeared on VH1’s Couples Therapy. Mr. Sorrentino was featured on the Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America and Ms. Polizzi was a short-lived contestant on NBC’s The New Celebrity Apprentice (the season hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger).

"All the while, the housemates said, no other opportunity felt like the right fit. 'We basically were begging MTV to bring us back,' Ms. Polizzi said. 'We were begging everyone to bring us back.'

"Last year, some of them participated in an E! special, Reunion Road Trip: Return to the Jersey Shore.

“'I wanted to show what I had going on in my life now,' said Mr. DelVecchio, who appeared in the reunion program. 'But I also felt like I was betraying the network and the producers.'

"Ms. Salsano, who had no involvement in the E! special, was blunter. 'To say I had a mini-meltdown would be the understatement of the century,' she said. But she also saw an upside: 'Even before it aired, I was so invigorated and I was like, there is an appetite for this.'

"For her part, Ms. Salsano was busy running a new MTV reality series, Floribama Shore, which made its debut at the end of 2017 and followed a different group of young revelers in Panama City Beach, Fla.

Floribama Shore was a modest hit, drawing under 1 million viewers an episode, and has since been renewed for a second season. But its announcement caught the stars of Jersey Shore off guard.

“'The second that show aired, my social media was on fire,' Mr. DelVecchio said. 'Everybody was like, "Where’s the original guys?"'

"Ms. Polizzi said: 'We were all in shock because none of us had any idea it was coming out. We were like, "Oh, are we 50 years old and dying? What’s going on?”'

"But in further conversations with Ms. Salsano and with MTV, the housemates were assured that their return to the network was closer than ever.

"And in group texts and face-to-face meetings, the co-stars realized they had matured, ever so slightly. They said they had moved beyond the infighting that had sometimes made the show’s original run tense and uncomfortable.

“'We should have been praising each other,' Ms. Farley said. 'But when you’re all competing for the same tanning deal or other shows, it becomes taxing and draining. Jealousy occurs.'

“'We put all that aside and said, yo, we’re in it as a team,' she said. 'When you put us together, it’s a family that nobody can touch.'

"Chris McCarthy, who became MTV’s president in October 2016, said that the success of Floribama Shore was one of several factors that encouraged the network to bring back Jersey Shore.

“'We saw where we could really stretch what the brand meant,' said Mr. McCarthy, who also oversees the VH1 and Logo networks. 'What coming-of-age looks like for a 16-, 17-, 18-year-old is one thing. What it looks like in your 20s or 30s is different, but the sentiment is a lot the same.'

"If it’s assumed that MTV is only interested in a teenage audience, or that viewers who grew up on the original seasons of Jersey Shore were no longer welcome, Mr. McCarthy said this was not the case.

"Coming back to the Jersey Shore series brought up a range of anxious and existential feelings for its cast, who wonder if viewers will still want to see them settle their differences with calm consideration and less head-butting and fisticuffs.

"Mr. DelVecchio said he was concerned because 'I’m basically the only single one in the house.'

“'I’m like, how’s this going to work?' he said. 'Who’s going to be my wingman?'

"Ms. Polizzi said she worried about being away from her young children for long stretches of time and how her husband would feel about taking on additional household duties.

“'He was like, "Go, babe, have fun,”' she said. '“Make that money. Enjoy yourself.”'

"And, Ms. Polizzi said, she did. 'I had to keep telling myself, yes, you miss the kids, but you can be a bad mom for a little bit. Go drink. Go blackout. Do what you’ve got to do.'

"Not everyone was as eager to relive their past exploits. Sammi Giancola, who was known as Sammi Sweetheart on Jersey Shore, and who dated and broke up with Mr. Ortiz-Magro, declined to be part of Family Vacation. (In her absence, the housemates have a sex doll that they named Sammi.)

“'I am extremely happy in every aspect of my life and want to avoid potentially toxic situations,' Ms. Giancola said in a statement.

"Though she loved and missed her roommates, Ms. Giancola added, 'I have just decided to live my life for me these days.'

"No one would discuss their salaries on Jersey Shore Family Vacation, but Ms. Polizzi expressed gratitude for the work. 'You don’t get a second chance like this,' she said. 'We definitely weren’t being greedy.'

"Ms. Farley felt her life as a wife and a mother of two was fully compatible with her Jersey Shore identity. She said she just wanted to be 'the one who tells my daughter that I peed behind a bar' before one of her classmates can reveal it first.

"She added, 'I probably will have to tell her tomorrow so I can guarantee that.'”

The fact that they repeatedly (in NY Times fashion) referred to the cast as Mr. and Ms. made me laugh throughout.

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Per TheWrap, "[w]aiting for flights at airports across the country suddenly got a lot more interesting for sports fans, as ReachMe TV has a launched a new partnership with sports network Stadium.

"Just in time for MLB opening day, the multi-channel digital platform — available in airports, hotels and retail stores nationally — announced the new deal on Thursday.

"Stadium will contribute daily sports content to the company’s recently-launched ReachMe Sports Channel, which features a growing list of production partners, including Players’ Tribune, Sports Illustrated, CBS, Virgin Produced and Audience Network. 

"According to a statement from ReachMe, Stadium will syndicate sports highlights, original programming and daily studio programming. The network will also provide viewers with in-depth news and analysis around MLB Opening Day, including insight on the players, teams and predictions for the upcoming season. 

"Founded by Lynnwood Bibbens and Ron Bloom, ReachMe TV now reaches over 100 million viewers. The company recently scored a 10-year deal with CBS allowing it to distribute news and sports programming, including local news, weather and sports reports from CBS stations.

"Along with sports content, ReachMe TV also features entertainment, news and pop culture."

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Per Deadline, "Britt Baron (GLOW), Eliza Coupe (Future Man, Scrubs), Billy Merritt (Happy Endings), Dave (Gruber) Allen (Love), Alison Rich (The Goldbergs), Carl Tart (Comedy Bang! Bang!), Samm Levine (Freaks and Geeks) and Rizwan Manji (Mr. Robot) have rounded out the ensemble cast of Crackle’s Rob Riggle’s Ski Master Academy, which has begun production in Malibu.

"In the eight-episode series, Riggle, who is mostly known for his legendary ski master movies, has invested all of his money and reputation into an Academy celebrating America’s truest art form – personal watercraft riding. Rob, his legendary stunt man commandant Dirk Hamsteak (Merritt) and their entire staff of instructors spend a semester defending their beloved Academy at all costs. No matter how many people criticize it… go missing…or die!

"Character descriptions are as follows:

Rob Riggle (Riggle), a brash, partying, self-proclaimed megastar prone to impulsive decisions and foolish investments. His latest venture may be his least necessary yet, but it’s also the one he’s most passionate about. Because of his eight ski master movies, Riggle is now considered the ‘Vin Diesel of the Personal Watercraft World’ (just ask him!). Rob sees it as his personal mission to teach cadets to be as kick ass and free living as him. And with his help, he believes, they too can be ski masters, but he has a dark secret and a mortal enemy to contend with this semester. Either could bring the whole place down.

Dirk Hamsteak (Merritt) was Riggle’s stuntman for all of his ski master films. Dirk suffered countless injuries doing way-too-dangerous water stunts for Riggle but remains loyal because after Dirk fell into a dark, pill popping, binge-eating spiral, Rob gave him a new life as commandant of his Academy. Rob also likes keeping Dirk close because he knows all of Rob’s deepest, darkest secrets…

Brit Brit Brit Hamsteak (Baron) is Dirk’s daughter and one of the Academy’s most passionate teachers. Brit desperately wants to follow in her father’s footsteps as a top water stunt performer and instructor. The problem is Dirk doesn’t want that life for her. At first, Brit’s relegated to teaching water safety, history and other land based classes, but she’s constantly plotting ways she can get on the water and show the world and her father her stuff.

Preggers (Coupe) is a southern, no nonsense sort of gal. She’s abrasive but principled and not to be screwed with. Her self-appointed role at the Academy is to epitomize the attitude needed to truly kick ass in the watercraft world, and celebrate the lake lifestyle she’s believed in all her life. Preggers practices what she preaches and keeps the entire Academy in line, allowing no selling out or unauthorized nonsense whatsoever. Rob met her in a bar fight, and hired her right after he got her fired. Preggers is not pregnant though…she’s just named after her momma…

Gil (Gruber Allen) is the Academy’s personal watercraft mechanic, lake hermit, and all-around character. He’s their sketchy version of Hagrid, and essentially came with the lake. Gil lives in a shack on the premises and knows all of the lake lore and all about his drinking buddy Rob Riggle. Sure, he’s had a few watercraft manslaughter convictions, but he’s still a valuable source of knowledge for everyone at the Academy and a sweet, helpful man…when sober and not dating mysterious women…

Chandler (Rich) is the youngest and most enthusiastic cadet. She’s a teacher’s pet who Preggers believes could use some “lake smarts” (i.e. street smarts for lake folk). Preggers vows to make Chandler a bit more awesome so she can survive in Ski Master society and pass her Lake and Ski Culture exams.

Chauncy (Tart) is a well-to-do cadet whose absentee parents are, for a time, bankrolling the academy. He is by far the Academy’s fanciest enrollee, and often is not afraid to question the staff and call them on their poor people nonsense.

Jeb (Levine) is a Levitical Scientist…his religion requires him to learn a cool water sport as a rite of passage. Jeb struggles at first, but ends up bonding with the core cadets.

Todd (Manji) is an older dad in the midst of a mid-life crisis who has jumped from rock ‘n’ roll fantasy camp to space camp right into Rob Riggle’s Ski Master Academy. He insists that people call him 'Big Pound' and owns every season of Entourage on DVD.

"In addition to Riggle, Jonathan Stern, Keith Quinn, Bennett Webber and Chris Pizzi serve as executive producers. Rob Riggle’s Ski Master Academy is produced by Sonar Entertainment (Mr. Mercedes) and Abominable Pictures (Wet Hot American Summer)."