Friday March 9, 2018

NBC has renewed Days of our Lives for a 54th season!

Word I am hearing is that, now that Scripps is part of Discovery, they need to trim some fat and we could see as many as 350+ people jettisoned (some Scripps and some Discovery).

I'm also hearing that many of the pilots that were in the works under the Scripps banner are being shutdown immediately.  Here's how they're couching it (tell me if you know what this means): "I think the pilot was an interesting swing for us into new territory.  In the end, however, the show felt like it didn’t have a strong enough identity . . .  in the end, didn’t feel like it was a strong enough player in either camp for our viewers to accept."

Lots more to follow . . . . 

American Idol returns on Sunday.

Here are some of the best performances in the show's history.

Malala Yousafzai sits down with David Letterman on tonight's episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.

Season 2 of Sneaky Pete is now streaming on Amazon.

The 3rd and final season of Love is available to stream on Netflix (more below).

As is season 2 of Jessica Jones.

Kathy Griffin will appear on Real Time with Bill Maher tonight.

Here's the first trailer for season 2 of The Handmaid's Tale.

"Showtime is doubling down on Our Cartoon President. The network has extended the order of its half-hour animated series starring a cartoon version of Donald Trump with seven new episodes, set to debut this summer. The show will air the last of its initial 10-episode run on Sunday, April 8, at 8 p.m., a week ahead of the season premiere of the network's political docuseries The Circus. Our Cartoon President, from The Late Show's Stephen Colbert and Chris Licht, premiered in Feb., drawing 2.3 million subscribers and averaging 2 million viewers per week since. The series offers an "all-access" look into Trump's day-to-day in a parallel cartoon universe, following the tru-ish misadventures of him and his merry band of advisers and family members."

CMT is reviving Wife Swap.

"Blake Anderson has landed a series regular role in the NBC comedy pilot Like Family. The multi-camera comedy centers on Aubrey (Kether Donohue) and Artie (Brandon Mychal Smith), who formed the tightest of sibling-like bonds growing up together in foster care. But they are now discovering that such closeness makes adulthood even more complicated. Anderson will play Mason, described as a completely self-assured millennial with nothing backing it up other than a lifetime of his parents telling him he’s great. In addition to Donohue and Smith, Anderson will star alongside Rebecca Mader."

Check out the promo for NBC's Making It, a crafting competition series from Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler.

"Netflix is seriously upping its game in 2018. The streaming giant is already a leader in the industry, and it’s planning on releasing over 700 shows and movies this year alone. From classics like Friends and The Office to Netflix’s original shows like Stranger Things and Orange Is the New Black, you can stream pretty much whatever you want these days. What kind of shows can we expect in 2018? According to Simple Most, the CFO of Netflix, David Wells, just confirmed that his company will release an astounding 700 original shows and films this year. To accomplish the feat, Netflix will spend a breezy $8 billion in 2018, all on content."

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Season 2 of SIX on History will premiere on May 28.

They are SAVAGES in the state of Minnesota.

Starting strong on a Friday! "USA Network’s Suits is officially a franchise with two shows. The network has given a series order to a spinoff from the long-running legal drama, which is toplined by the mothership series’ alumna Gina Torres and centers on her character, powerhouse lawyer Jessica Pearson, as she enters the dirty world of Chicago politics.

“'Gina’s portrayal of Jessica Pearson as one of television’s strongest, most successful businesswomen has made a huge impact with fans,' said Chris McCumber, President of Entertainment Networks at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. 'We can’t wait to explore this next chapter in the Suits legacy – and a brand-new world for Jessica.'

"The pickup comes ahead of the airing of the the Season 7 finale of Suits, which serves as a backdoor pilot for the spinoff.  The pilot was written by Suits creator and executive producer Aaron Korsh and executive producer Daniel Arkin, and was directed by Suits alum Anton Cropper  The new series, which hails from Universal Cable Prods., is executive produced by Korsh, showrunner Arkin, Torres and Suits executive producers Doug Liman, David Bartis and Gene Klein of Hypnotic.

“'It was an extraordinary pleasure working with Gina on Suits for six years,' said Korsh. 'Beyond her undeniable talent, she is an incredible partner and collaborator, and I always hoped we would work together again. I am sincerely grateful to USA and UCP for giving Dan Arkin, my producing partners at Hypnotic and me the opportunity to continue Jessica Pearson’s journey in this new series that will encapsulate all that our fans love about her and Suits – but with its own distinct story that will be unique to the franchise.'

"Suits and its spinoff will co-exist as the mothership series recently was renewed for an eighth season without two of its original stars, Patrick J. Adams and future British royal Meghan Markle. Returning cast members Gabriel Macht, Rick Hoffman and Sarah Rafferty will be joined by Dulé Hill, who is being promoted to a series regular after recurring this season, and new addition Katherine Heigl.

“'What’s wonderful about USA is how they have brought all this together and have really embraced me not just an an actress but also as a producer,' Torres said, noting the big responsibility the team of the spinoff is taking on. 'The audience that is watching [Suits] holds us to a golden standard that we hope to meet and, in our wildest dreams, maybe push the envelope up.'

"Jessica Pearson, originally introduced as managing partner of one of New York City’s top corporate law firms, left to follow her heart to Chicago in Season 6’s midseason finale. In the Season 7 finale airing April 25, Harvey Specter (Macht), Mike Ross (Adams), Louis Litt (Hoffman), Donna Paulsen (Rafferty) and Rachel Zane (Markle) with reunite with their old boss and friend Pearson as she adjusts to her new life in the Windy City. When she is forced to enter the dirty world of Chicago politics, Pearson must rely on her legal wits and valiant relationships from Pearson Specter Litt to navigate this unknown territory

“'Fans of Suits have come to know Jessica as this confident, kick-ass attorney who is always five steps ahead of everyone, but that’s only 5-10% of the entirety of this woman,' Torres said. 'What is wonderful is that the audience will be treated to not just the great television expected of Suits but also peek into Jessica’s world.'

"Torres called the backdoor pilot 'is a setup, a recipe not just for entertaining but interesting, thought-provoking television.' 'We want to talk today’s topics and really go in and do some commentary and entertain at the same time.'”

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"Retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning is in talks with both Fox Sports and ESPN to become a color analyst for either Thursday Night Football or Monday Night Football games, TheWrap is told by multiple people with knowledge of the conversations.

"Manning’s agent, Sandy Montag, is apparently looking for $10 million per year for his client’s services. That would be an enormous sum of money for the actual amount of work involved — but Manning’s star power and crossover appeal just might be worth it. After all, Fox just dropped $3.3 billion for those Thursday Night Football rights, so why stop writing massive checks now?

"Plus, the TNF ratings have been pretty rough after the last few NFL seasons and a mainstream star might be just the kick in the pants the newest night in football needs.

"And just one season into his own color commentator role at CBS Sports, retired Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo has kicked down the door and opened up wallets for the service’s of Papa John’s former BFF.

"Beyond the $10 million price tag, Manning and Montag have another request — they’d like Mike Tirico as their play-by-play man. There’s just one problem with that: Tirico is currently employed by NBC Sports, the place he left ESPN’s Monday Night Football to be.

"Tirico, who is also repped by Montag, is interested on heading to rival Fox once a week should this work out. Bob Costas’ Olympics successor actually wanted the Thursday Night Football gig when he moved to NBC, but the NFL blocked him, insisting instead on the primetime Sunday Night Football team of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth pulling double-duty.

"Such an agreement would finally bring Tirico back to calling weekly NFL football. It also wouldn’t be unprecedented: Fox and ESPN currently share Alex Rodriguez for baseball, for example.

"If the Tirico-share doesn’t work out, however, we’re told Joe Buck is also being considered to take on the new Thursday night duties (with or without Peyton), and will continue to work Sundays with Troy Aikman.

"ESPN needs Manning even more on Mondays, however.

"The self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports is losing popular Monday Night Football color analyst Jon Gruden back to the NFL, where he will again coach the Oakland Raiders. And ESPN doesn’t exactly have a ton of talent to backfill the crucial role: lesser-know Louis Riddick has expressed interest in taking over the spot, and while another ex-NFL quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, is more of a name and also waiting in the wings — he’s certainly no Manning.

"Should Manning end up at ESPN, it is unlikely Tirico will join him back there. Tirico’s replacement, Sean McDonough, seems to have job security at Monday Night Football.

"James Pitaro, the brand new president of ESPN, has a tough call ahead of him. On the one hand, landing Manning fills a need and could make a huge first splash. On the other, overpaying for a guy to work a couple of times a year might be a bad deal for a company hemorrhaging cable subscribers."

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Per Deadline, "David Chase is finally ready to return to the New Jersey turf of his iconic creation The Sopranos. New Line has purchased the screenplay The Many Saints of Newark, the working title for a feature prequel of The Sopranos that is set in the era of the Newark riots in the 60s. That was a time when the African-Americans and the Italians of Newark were at each other’s throats, and amongst the gangsters of each group, those conflicts became especially lethal.

"The script was written by Chase and Lawrence Konner, the prolific screen and television writer whose credits include The Sopranos.

"Chase finally returning to expand The Sopranos lore will be welcome news to the legions who still feel that his HBO series is the greatest of all time. The groundbreaking show ran for six seasons from 1999 – 2007. It put HBO on the map, established the market for DVD sales of popular series, and won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, and Peabody Awards for its first two seasons. It launched the stars of a slew of actors and revived others, most notably the late James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Steven Van Zandt, Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperioli, Dominic Chianese, Steve Schirripa and on and on.

"Some of the beloved characters from the series will appear in the film. I couldn’t get any more information about the plot, but the time period indicates there will be room for Tony Soprano’s father, Giovanni “Johnny Boy,” the former captain of the Soprano crew (played in flashbacks by Joseph Siravo), and a younger version of his wife Livia (played indelibly in the show’s first season by Nancy Marchand), and Tony’s uncle Junior, played by Chianese.

"Chase will serve as producer as well as co-writer, and he will be involved in selecting a director."

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From Decider: "It’s official — Love is dead. After three seasons, many fights, and countless awkward silences, Netflix‘s Judd Apatow, Paul Rust, and Lesley Arfin-created comedy will premiere its third and final season this week. Things certainly don’t end on a perfect note for Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) and Gus (Rust), but this upcoming season is pointedly sweeter and more romantic than any other season of the series.

"Love has always been a remarkable show for Netflix. It’s the streaming service’s first big collaboration with Apatow — who later starred in his own Netflix standup special — and it’s one of Netflix’s few original rom-coms. On the flip side, Love stands as one of 10 major Netflix originals that have been cancelled by the streaming service (not counting children’s shows or one-off shows like w/ Bob and David). Not only that, but Love is one of the few Netflix originals that has ended on its own terms, like Bloodline did with its final season and House of Cards and Sense8 will do in  the future.

“'The first [season] you’re just trying to establish the tone and sort of present the characters in a way that feels natural or not rushed. Or "sweaty,”' Rust told Decider.

"This season’s challenge was more about allowing the show reach its natural conclusion than trying to one-up itself. 'It’s interesting that you say it was a sweet season because that was the challenge … usually at this stage of a relationship, it is nice.'

“'We have a line of dialogue in the episode that’s something [that] happened to me like 10 years ago,' Rust said. Early in Season 3, one of Mickey and Gus’ couple friends ask them how long they’ve been dating. When they tell them five or six months, the friend tells them they’re in the best part. That sort of relaxed joy is what Season 3 of the series captures. 'It’s still exciting because you’re still feeling the vibe of getting into somebody. But you’re not in that weird phase where you’re like, "Oh maybe I’m going to screw up the third date, and then they won’t want to be with me anymore,”' Rust said.

"Speaking of timing, Love has a surprising connection to the 2016 election. If you plotted out the timeline of the series, Mickey and Gus’ whirlwind romance would end around October of 2016. 'Judd and I were joking about how it’s like the last days of innocence,' Rust said.

“'I’m a big fan of this movie Shampoo, and I would by no means ever compare ourselves to that because Shampoo is a masterpiece. But the whole movie plays out on the night that Richard Nixon was elected,' he said. 'So I thought we’re in a bit of a Shampoo moment.'

"According to Rust, the Love team started working on Season 3 about 15 months ago. When they started this new season, they had a good idea that this would be the show’s final season. 'We were definitely feeling a little bit like, "Hey, we might want to make this the last season, so what can we be doing here if we do decide that?”' Rust said.

"The decision to end Love was a mutual one between Netflix and the show’s creators — Judd Apatow, Paul Rust, and Lesley Arfin. 'The three of us along with talking to Netflix, we all decided you know what? This feels like a really good and appropriate time to wrap up the show. We feel like we’ve said what we wanted to about these characters, and I think we just didn’t want to end it where we’re in a position like, "Oh, the tank’s been dry for a couple seasons now,”' he said.

“'We have really amazing and supportive collaborators throughout the three seasons, and it was nice to be able to have the freedom to be having conversations like that with them as opposed to having somebody else decide for you after you’ve completed the season,' Rust said of Netflix. 'It’s nice.'

"Currently, Rust doesn’t have any other projects lined up with Apatow or Netflix, but he’s open to working with Apatow again in the future. 'We’re ending the show, but we still really care about each other, and I could see us working on something again in the future,' he said. 'But right now I’m just really enjoying the process of writing something new, and I’m hoping to do that soon.'

"Last year when Decider interviewed Rust and his co-star Gillian Jacobs, the two said that the ultimate happy ending for their characters would be 'self-awareness and feeling content.' Rust still largely agreed with that sentiment but added some insight from Jacobs, whom he called a 'phenomenally talented and gifted actor.'

“'I remember one time she said something like, "Oh I think Mickey would be happy if she recognized I’m never going to be able to fill this gaping hole of need that’s just in my life. And that that’s always going to be there." I don’t know if that’s necessarily totally clear in the ending … but I’d like to think that that’s partly some sort of happy ending that they came to,' he said. 'It’s not the happiest ending, but if you can kind of go like, "You know, his idea that I’m totally going to be eventually fulfilled and happy …" if you can kind of let go of that as an illusion that that’s not possible, that can be a sort of happy ending. Hopefully, we got there.'

"However, one of the biggest changes of the season isn’t about Mickey or Gus at all; it’s about Claudia O’Doherty‘s Bertie. 'We have been blessed with two amazing actors who can make every single line and scene that they’re in come alive and they’re just so compelling on screen,' Rust said of O’Doherty and Mike Mitchell, who plays Randy.

"After exploring Mickey and Gus’ relationship for two seasons, Love decided to expand relationship its universe. 'It would be nice to look into different characters’ relationships to have different insights to love and relationships,' Rust said. 'But I also think it probably came out of what we were talking about before, which is like Mickey and Gus are in a good place, and if you need drama and you need conflict, you can kind of turn to [Bertie and Randy].'

“'I think it was also interesting with Claudia’s character — she makes a choice that’s similar to one that Mickey made in Season 2,' Rust said, adding that the choice he was referring to was controversial with fans. 'There was something interesting and exciting about, ‘What if we put Bertie, who’s this sort of widely and rightfully beloved character, and you have her in a similar situation.'

“'How does an audience respond to "Oh wait, maybe this is OK,”' he said. 'Just having the ability to have those contradictions felt really fun.'

"Though Love has ended, that doesn’t mean there’s no remaining love among the show’s cast and creators. Rust, Arfin, and O’Doherty have started having TV nights together. 'My wife and Claudia are close friends and huge fans of Friends, and I’ve been a little snobby and just going like "I don’t need to watch Friends!”' However, Arfin and O’Doherty have since sucked Rust into the Friends void. 'We’ve just been having the most lovely nights where we get together and we watch five episodes of Friends and laugh and laugh and laugh.'”

Per Yahoo!, "[f]or Julianna Margulies‘ next act, she’s playing… a redheaded Miranda Priestly?

"The Good Wife Emmy winner is returning to TV in the upcoming AMC drama Dietland — debuting Monday, June 4 at 9/8c with back-to-back-episodes — and based on the new first-look photos the network just released, she’s definitely in charge. Margulies plays Kitty Montgomery, the high-powered editor of one of New York’s hottest fashion magazines, and she looks commanding sitting behind a desk, The Devil Wears Prada-style. (And the red hair color actually kind of works on her, doesn’t it?)

"Based on the bestselling novel by Sarai Walker, Dietland stars Joy Nash (Twin PeaksThe Fosters) as Plum Kettle, a ghost writer for Kitty’s fashion magazine who struggles with body-image issues while working among stick-thin models and considers drastic weight-loss surgery. Meanwhile, high-profile men accused of sexual assault are meeting untimely deaths all across the city.

"Marti Noxon (UnREALMad Men) serves as showrunner and will direct multiple installments of the 10-episode first season. Margulies and Nash are joined in the cast by Robin Weigert (Big Little Lies) as therapist Verena Baptist, Tamara Tunie (Law & Order: SVU) as fashion editor Julia and Adam Rothenberg (Ripper Street) as NYPD detective Dominic.

"AMC has also released a teaser for the series, with Margulies and Nash setting up the show’s premise."