Monday April 16, 2018

CBS has renewed NCIS for a 16th season.

Netflix is bringing Ali Wong back for another stand-up special.

Donald Glover will host SNL on May 5.

Finally we got to see Rick vs. Negan, mano a mano.  More below.

HBO premieres I Am Evidence tonight, a film the net describes as follows: "I Am Evidence tells the story of four survivors whose rape kits went untested for years, following them as they navigate their way through the criminal justice system and learn that so often, the system is broken. The film reveals the historic nature of the way we treat the crime of sexual assault in this country, and the positive effects that occur when perpetrators are held accountable and survivors are given an opportunity for healing and justice. I Am Evidence has won the audience award for Best Documentary Film at both the Provincetown and Traverse City Film Festivals."

"A+E Networks has launched a new in-house nonfiction production unit called A+E Originals, with Scientology and the Aftermath star Leah Remini the first to sign to an overall deal. A+E Originals will develop and produce nonfiction and documentary content for distribution across the A+E portfolio, including A&E Network, Lifetime, History, LMN and FYI. The division was created by A+E Networks Portfolio Group president Paul Buccieri, and will be run by former History executive Steve Ascher, now vice president of A+E Originals. Under the two-year deal, Remini will develop new projects under the banner, in addition to her ongoing docu-series Scientology and the Aftermath, which was renewed for a third season last month."

"Jason Bateman joined Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys event to talk about the next season of his Netflix series Ozark, which he calls a sequel 'as opposed to a second season.' 'We’re approaching [Ozark] as a 10-chapter movie… the second year is not a completely new story, but it is another single beginning, middle, and end.' Bateman, who was joined onstage at the DGA Theater today by his co-star Julie Garner, gave props to the Netflix format. 'It’s fantastic from a creative standpoint in that you can make assumptions that people are going to be biting off big chunks of this. From a writing standpoint, you don’t feel the same obligation to reestablish things.' He also touched on the show’s comparisons to Breaking Bad, calling it 'flattering.' 'You got a fortysomething-year-old white guy who’s got a family and a very domestic situation and he gets himself involved in a criminal situation in order to provide for his family,' said Bateman. 'Hopefully, we separate a bit from that show no better no worse.'”

Hulu has renewed Sarah Silverman's I Love You, America for a 2nd season.

"The Vampire Diaries alum Ian Somerhalder is returning to the vampire drama genre. Netflix has ordered 10 hourlong episodes of V-Wars, based on Jonathan Maberry’s bestselling book, from IDW Entertainment and High Park Entertainment. Somerhalder is attached to star and also direct. The project was developed as straight-to-series in 2014 as the initial project under IDW Entertainment and then-eOne TV’s first-look co-production deal. The book, published in 2012 by IDW Publishing, debuted as a collection of prose stories that chronicles the first Vampire War. In the series, Somerhalder will star as Dr. Luther Swann, who enters a world of untold horror when a mysterious disease transforms his best friend, Michael Fayne, into a murderous predator who feeds on other humans. As the disease spreads and more people are transformed, society fractures into opposing camps pitting normal people against the growing number of these “vampires.” Swann races against time to understand what’s happening, while Fayne rises to become the powerful underground leader of the vampires."

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Per Deadline, "Kyle Chandler has been tapped as a lead opposite Christopher Abbott in Catch-22, Hulu’s high-profile limited series co-directed and executive produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov.  Chandler will play Colonel Cathart, the role Clooney was originally slated to take on. Clooney will now play the supporting part of Scheisskopf, which would give him more time to focus on his directing and producing duties.

"Written by Luke Davies and David Michôd based on the seminal Joseph Heller novel, Catch-22 hails from Anonymous Content and Paramount Television. Set in Italy during World War II, it tells the story of the incomparable, artful dodger Yossarian (Abbott), a bombardier for the U.S. Air Force, who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy, but rather his own army which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to avoid his military assignments, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule which specifies that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers which are real and immediate is the process of a rational mind; a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but a request to be removed from duty is evidence of sanity and therefore makes him ineligible to be relieved from duty.

"Chandler’s Colonel Cathcart is a full Colonel that takes himself very seriously. In the 1970s Mike Nichols movie, the part was played by Martin Balsam. Clooney’s Scheisskopf is a training commander at cadet school in California. Ambitious, humorless, inept, angry, sadistic – and above all else, obsessed with parades and winning parade tournaments. At cadet school he makes the men’s lives a living hell. Deep down he’s just an angry idiot, so there’s no real danger he’ll ever be sent overseas. And then: he is sent overseas. As the Head of Operations for the entire Mediterranean Theater. And straight back into Yossarian’s life.

"In addition to Abbott and Clooney, Chandler joins previously cast Hugh Laurie who plays Major de Coverley.

"Clooney and Heslov will direct the series alongside Ellen Kuras. Clooney and Heslov executive produce via Smokehouse Pictures alongside Davies and Michôd as well as Anonymous Content’s Richard Brown and Steve Golin. Kuras is a producer."

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[This story contains spoilers from the season eight finale of AMC's The Walking Dead and the comic book series the show is based on.]

Per The Hollywood Reporter, "The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman used his time on Talking Dead to address the surprising end to the All-Out War arc in the AMC zombie drama's eighth season. 

"After two seasons of battles, the clash between Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) came to a game-changing end during Sunday's season eight finale. Rather than killing the man who murdered Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), among countless others, Rick opted to honor his late son Carl's (Chandler Riggs) dying wish and not kill the ruthless leader of the Saviors. Instead, Rick ended season eight with an impassioned speech to the remaining Saviors: help rebuild civilization and fight the common enemy — the undead.

"While the decision to keep Negan alive followed Kirkman's comic series, it was a twist for the show that tends to take a 'remix' approach to its source material. What's more, it was one of the rare finales — midseason or otherwise — in which none of the show's large cast of series regulars were killed off.

"'This is a huge turning point in a long series of turning points for Rick,' Kirkman said on Talking Dead. 'This is him finally realizing that he has to choose a different way. Every major conflict in the history of The Walking Dead has ended with a huge death or someone dying and this is him choosing life and turning over a new leaf and deciding that there's a different way forward. To have that moment where he's slashing a throat and saving a guy's life, to have it so heightened, it marks time in a very important way and shows that from this point on the stories are going to be very different.'

"For his part, Lincoln said Negan's reveal that he did not pick Glenn and Abraham at random — but instead selected them because he didn't want to kill a father in front of his son — was a tipping point for Rick.

"'When Negan says the kid didn't know a damn a thing, he realizes where he's about to go and what he's about to become,' Lincoln said on the AMC post-show. 'In that fleeting moment, that's when he decides, "If I continue with this and don't try to save this man's life, it's over." It ultimately is a story about restraint rather than revenge and love rather than hate, which has always been integral to our show.'

"Lincoln and Kirkman's comments come as outgoing showrunner Scott M. Gimple — who was promoted to oversee all things Walking Dead at AMC — told THR that Sunday's season eight finale was the 'end of a chapter of the show.' He echoed Kirkman's remarks that the series would be very different in season nine, which will see Angela Kang take over as showrunner.

"'The show evolves. They're facing different problems, different problems with each other and the world itself will be very, very different,' Gimple said on Talking Dead.

"As for Morgan, the actor appeared on Talking Dead with a sizable beard as production on season nine begins in a few weeks. That provides a solid clue that the series could feature the larger time jump reflected in the comics following the end of the All-Out War arc."

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Per The Ringer, "[i]f you are like me, you have probably thought long and hard about whether you could hack it on HGTV. Not so much with the construction—it recently took me three attempts to get a nail in my wall, and I worry even now that the little plant I hung from it will soon come crashing down—but at least with the mannerisms. Were you to find yourself suddenly home-shopping on House Hunters, could you convincingly demand an open floor plan and luxury finishes? Could you envision the pink-tile walls of some dehomed grandmother crumbling to reveal the requisite master suites, teen rooms, and crown molding, and speak imperiously about equity and neighborhood comps? If you are like me, you have probably not been given the opportunity to try.

"So, let us thank the network formerly known as Scripps for bestowing such an attempt on a supremely worthy couple: actress-designer-author-titan-of-industry Gabrielle Union and her husband, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, whose house-flipping special, All-Star Flip, aired Thursday night. All-Star Flip is OK television: Union and Wade buy what they describe as 'an undervalued house in an up-and-coming neighborhood' in the Miami area. They hire contractors to spruce it up, and then resell it, all while amicably bantering throughout. It’s notable, mostly, for how very normal it is: Union and Wade follow the HGTV house-flipping script—and you better believe there’s a script on a network that currently features no fewer than 34 different shows with 'flip' in their names—to a T.

"I do not know for sure that Union watches HGTV. She might not! Certainly, she has better things to do than await the Property Brothers’ installation of white subway tile, or parse the romantic underpinnings of interactions between Clint Harp and Joanna Gaines (RIP, Fixer Upper).

"And yet, having watched her—less so Wade, who is 'away' (i.e. playing basketball) for much of the episode—wander into a bland suburban bungalow and leave a gleaming, monochrome spectacle in her wake, I can’t help but wonder if she, too, has spent more than a few Sundays in the land of Beachfront Bargain Hunt. She confidently rattles off HGTV buzzword after HGTV buzzword, extolling the value of 'indoor-outdoor living' and the transformation of the kitchen into 'a cook’s paradise.' 'You know how I feel about breakfast nooks,' she tells Wade with the utmost seriousness.

"And where there is house-flipping, so too is there demo day. Here we have Wade trying his hand at Bobcat demolition:

"Still, there are some hints that Union and Wade are not quite your standard house flippers. As they tour the property, Wade says sagely of a fountain, 'The only thing about these is that it never seems like it works right. It always gets clogged up.' Our man has seen a lot of fountains. Then there comes a laugh-out-loud moment when, midway through construction, Union spontaneously decides to tack on a second floor to the house. 'Yes,' she tells the camera, 'we are upping the budget by almost $100,000, which is a bit radical. But based on my research of comps in the neighborhood, when we go to sell this home, it’s going to pay off big time.'

"It does, of course. In the end, there are eager buyers and a tidy profit, because HGTV is a vector with room only for success. Union cheerfully informs us that they’ll take home a $130,000 profit, a sum that would probably qualify as 'life-changing' for most people but for Union and Wade might fairly be considered a rounding error. Still, you can hardly fault them, and let’s hope that this paycheck at least gives them some extra time to relax—and maybe, just maybe, catch up on a little HGTV."

Don't get it twisted, this is a one-off special that is not going to series.

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Per Variety, "[t]he trickiest thing about making The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was not writing stand-up sets for characters like the titular Miriam 'Midge' Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), her estranged husband Joel (Michael Zegen) or guest stars like Luke Kirby as the famed Lenny Bruce — nor was it casting those parts. Instead, the biggest challenge might just have been finding a way to capture a vibrancy in the pace and tone of the show to match its heroine.

“'We didn’t want it to be precious or sepia-tone or have it feel like ‘This is your grandmother’s show,' co-creator Amy Sherman-Palladino said at Amazon’s For Your Consideration event for the Golden Globe winning comedy Saturday. 'We wanted this journey, even though it was 1958, to feel energized and vibrant and for an 18-year-old to look at it and go, "I get that. And that is my story, too."'

"Sherman-Palladino is known for quick-witted dialogue that also asks its actors to be quick-tongued. But beyond her main cast (which also consists of Alex Borstein, Marin Hinkle and Tony Shalhoub) everyone on set — down to the background extras — had to be able to move quickly. This is why they often hired dancers to flesh out those background roles. Sherman-Palladino herself grew up dancing and says “they can do anything!” Specifically for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, they were brought in for the wide, long one-shot takes the show did so often in its first season.

"The team behind the show also took great pains to ensure that the world — from sets to props to costumes — was period-accurate while allowing the actors to just focus on creating real, human characters.

“'People living in 1959 thought they were living in the modern world. They didn’t know they were living in our past,' co-creator Dan Palladino pointed out.

"The inspiration for the show came to Sherman-Palladino as memories from her youth sitting around the backyard with her comedian father and his colleagues talking about their own experiences playing various clubs. But she also specifically wanted to follow another woman around — 'a heroine to go up against things.' And, she noted, 'We thought, "We’d like to live in 1958 right now!" I like Ike! So we thought, "Let’s do something where a woman who has a really specific place and a specific role to play decides to break out of that role and go against the tide.”'

"The idea of putting her in comedy came because of how many conflict areas that would create for the character.

“'Being a woman in stand-up comedy today, it’s still "Hey baby, show me your tits,”' Sherman-Palladino said. 'But to do it in 1958 when a woman was really not supposed to talk too loud or have thoughts that weren’t clean and pure, and Bambi dresses you in the morning when that wasn’t your life and suddenly you’re up there and you’re taking about betrayal and heartache and your husband f—ing somebody else, that could be funny — that could be a way of dramatizing "Your way was supposed to go this way and now it’s going this way.”'

"The producers noted that putting Midge into the comedy world acted as a 'tidal wave that really f—ed up a lot of people around her,' which added to the intrigue in the story as well. Characters including her husband and her parents all became fishes out of water as they tried to navigate what life would be like with Midge embarking upon this new career.

“'Everything was a big bang in the pilot, and everybody’s kind of shooting out into space,' Palladino said, adding that they are continuing that in the second season.

"No one may have had a tougher time of it than Joel, though, a character Sherman-Palladino lovingly compared to 'the hunter that shot Bambi.'

“'These were two people who were so deeply in love, and I keep saying, "For a man in 1958 to look at that broad to get up at her own wedding and steal the spotlight and say, 'That’s the woman for me,' that took more balls than anything else in the world,”' she said.

"The pilot episode saw Joel at his lowest, noted Zegel. He left his wife and kids because he wasn’t happy with the life he was living and had a mini crisis over realizing he would never become a professional comedian. But he also saw his wife’s own genius, which Sherman-Palladino felt was important to point out. 'The person who had the most to lose from it was the first to acknowledge it,' she said.

"When it came to the stand-up, Brosnahan admitted she was thrown in without any special preparation, as she had never done stand-up before. She credited the writers for helping her get through it. Unlike real stand-up comedians, she doesn’t have to worry about writing material — 'Somebody else has written these brilliant jokes for me,' she noted. But she does get to hone her material. Only instead of performing night after night in different clubs, she has multiple takes on set.

“'We specifically picked a style of comedy that was stream of conscious [for Midge] because we knew we were going to get an actress and an actress needs an emotional through-line to latch onto,' Sherman-Palladino added, 'so we picked a style that was going to reflect an emotional something that she was going through.'

"Sherman-Palladino half-joked that it is 'right in [the] wheelhouse' for her and Palladino to write some of Midge’s standup simply because they are always ranting at each other. But they do rely on two specific writers in their room who are both veteran comics and bring many years of road stories to the table — Jen Kirkman and Noah Gardenschwartz.

"As Midge continues to perform and begins to be surrounded by other comics, the show will continue to expand the 'types' of comics depicted, the producers shared. (Season 1 saw a take on the aforementioned Lenny Bruce and a representation of persona comics in Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch).) Midge will also continue to hone her craft, take on new topics on stage, and ultimately grow as a person on the forefront of comedy.

“'We’ve talked about politics, and we’ve talked about racial relations and divorce and religion and a lot of things that really hadn’t been part of the comedy vernacular before, and that was the path we wanted Midge to take. She can plan her tight 10 all she wanted, but what happens to her five minutes before she walks on stage is what she’s going to talk about — and that can be anything,' Sherman-Palladino said.

"But the world of comedy within the actual Amazon comedy is just one part of the storytelling puzzle.

“'There’s different aspects to the show — there’s the family aspect to the show; there’s a romantic aspect to the show; there’s the single woman forging a new way [aspect]; and on par and equal with all of them is the female buddy relationship [between Midge and Susie],' Sherman-Palladino acknowledged about Brosnahan and Borstein’s characters. 'They have nothing really to talk about, they have nothing really in common, but the need now is so great for both of them. They’re not going to make it apart — they’re only going to make it together.'”

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From Vulture: "'See that guy?' says Dom Detore, chucking a thumb over at an unassuming-looking gentleman in thick dad sneakers and an oversize hoodie. 'That guy’s got the most money on Staten Island.' He lets out a phrase in quasi-Italian: 'Mataraz!'

“'That means "mattress," right?' deadpans Adolfo LaCola, his castmate on CNBC’s new reality show, Staten Island Hustle, a kind of Shark Tank for the forgotten borough. (It’s actually a localism meaning, more or less, a miser.)

“'That’s right,' Dom says, 'and that’s where he keeps it!'

"It’s a few days before the show’s premiere, and the cast is at the Panini Grill, an Italian restaurant on Forest Avenue, enjoying giant plates of cold antipasto and calamari fritti. Every week on Staten Island Hustle, which premiered this week on CNBC, the hustlers — Dom, Adolfo, Mike Palmer, Tony DeCicco, and Big Ron Montana — get together to suss out kooky get-rich-quick schemes. The hope is to reflect the familial, bootleg, quasi-legal nature that small-time business dealings in places like Staten Island can at times take on. In the first episode, Ron finds a deli meat slicer and trades it to some bodega guys in exchange for raw meats, which he trades to a travel agent in exchange for plane tickets to California. Multiple other favors are secured via the surreptitious gifting of fresh mozzarella.

“'We’re like Shark Tank meets Duck Dynasty!' says Dom. 'Like they were in a car together and they crashed' — he slams his hands together — 'and we popped out!' Mike nods effusively, and points to a nearby CNBC rep with an implicit write that down gesture. All five guys grew up either in Staten Island or Brooklyn and have been pals (and occasional business partners) for decades. The conceit of the show is that they brainstorm these side-hustle schemes together, then collectively invest in them and try to make them happen. Their big idea these days is the New York WaterMaker, a filter specifically designed to mimic New York City water so that far-flung eateries can ostensibly use it to make their pizzas and bagels as good as New York’s. (Dom also claims to have racked up nearly $300,000 selling a 'ready-made' salad product called Just Add Lettuce.) But they’ve been scrappily entrepreneurial from early on.

"Dom, who owns a citywide construction company, made his first dollar shining shoes. Adolfo has marijuana dispensaries in Vegas and California; he first hustled his mom’s homemade chicken parmesan sandwiches to other kids at lunch. (Soon after, he switched to selling them fireworks.) Mike, a third-generation auto-shop proprietor, shoveled snow. Ron, who’s an investor in a Hoboken pizzeria and manages a rapper named JoJo Pellegrino, used to have a whole crew of kids helping him move blow pops. (Tony, a financial services consultant, is absent: He’s in Chicago, 'doing a deal,' Dom explains vaguely.)

"Hustle has been in development for a few years, originally under the title I Got a Guy. It comes with a reality-TV pedigree: Dom’s sister-in-law is Big Ang, the Mob Wives legend who passed away in 2016. Right across the street from the Panini Grill, there’s a massive and lovely Big Ang mural. Janine, Dom’s wife, comes and goes from the dinner table with a bottle of Big Ang–branded prosecco. And the series already has some notoriety. In January, one of the show’s schemes — a prototype for a luggage-compressing vacuum — caused a bomb scare at Newark Airport. TSA found the device in a carry-on bag and thought they’d found an IED; nine members of the show’s crew, including Mike and Adolfo, were arrested.

“'We can’t, you know, discuss that at the moment,' Adolfo says, citing their attorney’s advice. 'I mean I’ll tell you the truth — we’d be more than happy to, down the road …'

“'Eeeeeerccchhh,' Ron cuts in, squealing. 'Pump the brakes.' Over the course of his life, Ron has served about seven years in prison altogether, he explains, on a variety of charges: 'Racketeering … conspiracy … I stole checks when I was a kid …' While inside, he took anger-management classes. He does something called the 'camera check,' in which you moderate yourself by trying to imagine what your actions would look like on video. 'I’m sensitive,' he continues. 'I’m a Scorpio. I’m a mix of emotions. I fight hard, I love hard, I try hard, I …' — he drops his voice — 'fuck hard. Everything I do is extreme.'

"Now that he’s actually on camera, is this how he envisioned TV stardom? 'We actually envisioned we’d be retired already,' Ron says, '$20 million in the bank!' 'After we came up with the [WaterMaker] idea,' Adolfo adds, 'Ron put a deposit down on a Dassault Falcon.' (That’s an extremely expensive private jet.) 'We’re gonna make big money off this!' Ron swears. 'What’s better marketing than a TV show?'

“'We joke, we spoof, we kid around,' Mike adds, 'but it’s not a game we’re playing. We’re all in our late 40s, early 50s. We only got a certain amount of time, and we got obligations to our families. We wanna take it to the next level.' He reaches over to grab a bite of chicken scallopini off Ron’s plate and is rebuffed. 'But I ordered the bolognese for us!' he whines. 'For us, I ordered the bolognese!'

"As the hustlers start to wind down, their plates are cleared, and amassive platter of cannolis and ice cream covered in whipped cream is laid on the table. The aforementioned richest man in Staten Island comes by the table and Dom greets him with a cheek kiss. Dom’s daughter, Jeanie, comes over, too, and he lights up, listing off her accomplishments: 'She’s brilliant! She’s going to medical school to be a surgeon, she has an online store that does very well, and she manages a psychic!'

"Before they take their leave, they try to impart the spirit of what they do. 'Hustling is not for the faint of heart,' Dom explains. 'There’s a lot of rejection.' In his construction projects, he says, 'I’ve put millions of dollars out there knowing I could lose it all. And people got over on me more than I got over on them, trust me! But we’re showing what the true Italians did. They were bricklayers and laborers. They broke their backs to support their families!”"

“'It’s not necessarily about the money,' Ron adds. 'I can hustle the waiter to give me a discount, or hustle a girl’s phone number. It’s the challenge of getting something. I don’t know. I can’t explain it. But you’re born with it.'

"Janine, Dom’s wife, suddenly stands up from the table and offers her take: 'We hustle hard, our daughter hustles hard, and we’re all hustling,' she says. 'It’s the hustle!'”