Monday April 23, 2018

How Scandal and Shonda Rhimes changed television.

Here's another piece espousing the exact same notion.

How dumb can you be Jay Feely??

Brooklyn Nine-Nine really needs to update its opening credits.

"CBS All Access has nabbed the development rights to limited event series 8 Fights, which follows the life and career of boxing great Muhammad Ali. The project, which is based on Jonathan Eig’s biography Ali: A Life, comes from Morgan Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment and CBS TV Studios. The streaming service’s order is considered straight-to-series."

"In a jail call recorded in 2015, Robert Durst told a friend he regretted giving interviews to the producers of The Jinx, saying he realized while watching the six-part HBO documentary that he 'definitely had a problem.'"  Gee, I wonder why.

A couple of under the radar shows that I'm enjoying are Nobodies on TVLand and The Resident on Fox.  

ABC has renewed Grey's Anatomy for a 15th season.

SyFy has canceled Ghost Wars.

"Natalka Znak has revealed how Fox boarded a pilot for Rollerball-style British entertainment format Revolution. The I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here producer, who runs U.S./UK production company Znak & Co., scored a U.S. pilot for the big-budget skateboarding and BMX format after securing a series from British pay-TV broadcaster Sky. The show, which launched in the UK earlier this year, is a, large-scale competition format in which contestants will compete across a series of urban sports-style challenges including skateboarding, rollerblading and BMX. 'I sold it to Fox in quite possibly the worst pitch of all time because I couldn’t get any of my materials or the tape to play but then I just told them about the show and they absolutely loved. They said it’s like Ninja Warrior, in the sense that it’s exciting, it’s sport, it’s got very strong characters, so it has that co-viewing feeling. You’re watching it for the thrills, spills and amazing drama and amazing accidents that we dealt with all of the time but actually you’re really rooting for people and turning on week after week to see how they do. It’s got everything a breakout entertainment show should have,' she said."

Why so many people make their password "DRAGON."

Starting Sunday, April 29, American Idol will offer a simulcast that will allow viewers across all time zones to watch and vote at the same time. The simulcasts will take place for three weeks, and viewers can vote via text, on American Idol.com, or on the American Idol app.

God bless John Oliver.

I mean it, we need more of this guy.

I watched about 5 minutes of CNBC's Staten Island Hustle.  It's excruciating.  Stay away.

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From EW: "Sometimes it feels like, what is even left to say about Freaks and Geeks? It’s the quintessential show-made-before-its-time, and nearly 20 years since its first (and only) season hit the airwaves, it’s been the subject of various online listicals, reunion specials, and general 'Things You Didn’t Know.' With Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary, director Brent Hodge found something else to say.

"Following the film’s world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, Freaks and Geeks creator Paul Feig discussed the project with Hodge, in a conversation moderated by EW’s Jessica Shaw.

"The Documentary is about a show chronicling a group of high school rejects that was itself a reject. With plummeting ratings and little interest from the shifting executives at NBC, Freaks and Geeks went off the air in 2000. Now, with its source material rising again as a cult classic, the film is a telling of the show’s life and death, made for both newbie and veteran fans.

"Here are the biggest highlights from Feig and Hodge reminiscing on the series.

1. James Franco and Jason Segel were cast at the same time

James Franco and Jason Segel, who played two of the “freaks” on Freaks and Geeks, sat in the waiting room of the audition at the same time on the same day. According to Segel in the documentary, Franco went in first, he went in second, and they both walked to their cars that day with the gig. As a young actor, the future Forgetting Sarah Marshall star asked how their chemistry would work: Would he be the goofy one and would Franco be the cool one? Franco’s one-word response was: “Yeah.”

2. Most of the set footage in the doc came from producer Gabe Sachs

Hodge recalls stepping into the home of writer-producer Gabe Sachs and seeing it as a “museum.” He had heard from Feig that there was a lot of “stuff” lying around, but he didn’t realize he still had items like the Parisian night suit worn by John Francis Daley in “Looks and Books” — and again at the finale wrap party.

“He handed me this box of mini DVDs from 1998. He was like, ‘You can have this. No one’s seen this footage,’” Hodge said. “There was hundreds of hours of footage.” That included moments like writer-producer Judd Apatow’s birthday, a time when “Paul didn’t have a suit on,” the graduation party for Seth Rogen (which we’ll get to later) — essentially “all the behind-the-scenes” footage shot on set with a camcorder.

“I didn’t realize you were videotaping some of the stuff,” Feig told Sachs, who was sitting in the audience.

3. About that time NBC wanted Britney Spears on an episode

If you’ve been maintaining a working knowledge of Freaks and Geeks trivia, then you know NBC executives, as a solution to make the show popular, proposed writing a character for Britney Spears. “One of the [network notes] was that they really wanted us to write Britney Spears into an episode,” Feig said with a laugh. “They were like, ‘She’s really popular now. Maybe she can play, like, a waitress or something.’” The series creator doesn’t look back on any of the network’s stunt suggestions and think they could’ve worked.

Feig even slightly defended Garth Ancier, the now former NBC Entertainment president who famously didn’t understand the allure of Freaks and Geeks. “He didn’t get the show and that’s fine, people don’t get stuff all the time,” he said. “In his defense — not in that regard, but just out of canceling us — you saw that thing at the end [of the documentary]. We were the bottom-rated show on NBC for pretty much the second half of the run. It’s show business, and the business side just didn’t hold up.”

4. Getting Garth

Ancier has been vilified by fans in the past for not championing the series while it was on the air. So for better or worse, he was part of the Freaks and Geeks legacy, and Hodge really wanted him for the documentary.

“Everyone was talking about Garth Ancier. He’s this other figure, and I just reached out to him on Twitter, actually,” the director said. “I was just like, ‘Everyone’s talking about you and I feel like you deserve a chance to at least tell your side of the story.’ He said, ‘I’d be happy to.’ Honestly, I really respect him, even though he’s the most evil man — no, I’m kidding.”

5. On the “obligation” to make the quintessential Freaks and Geeks film

Feig knew his brainchild was in good hands with The Documentary when he drove to the shooting location for his interview and found Hodge’s team had recreated the sets, something Hodge said “snowballed.”

“You liked it,” he told Feig, “then Jason Segel really liked his 27-piece drumset. We just kept going. It almost went overboard.”

There were some things, though, he said needed to be in the film — like an interview with Dennis DeYouny from Styx, whose song “Lady” is at the center of Sam’s awkward school dance, and a cover of Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” that plays over the credits.

“There’s an opportunity to make the Freaks and Geeks film,” Hodge said. “There’s 100 O.J. documentaries and I’ll watch them, they’re great, but if you get the chance to nail it, you gotta nail it. You have one chance. You have to get Dennis DeYoung from Styx. You have to get that song, you have to get Joan Jett. It’s almost like an obligation to do that.”

6. The wrap party turned into a graduation for Rogen, Samm Levine, and Martin Starr

Rogen didn’t finish high school, but he finally got a graduation during the Freaks and Geeks wrap party. Footage shot by Sachs and given up for the documentary shows Feig and Apatow giving out caps, gowns, and diplomas to Rogen, Samm Levine, and Martin Starr on stage.

7. Revisiting Ken’s controversial girlfriend in The Little Things

Feig said everyone in the writer’s room was pretty much in sync, but recalled the biggest battle amongst the team being the 17th episode, “The Little Things.” In it, Ken (Rogen) falls for the school’s tuba player and learns she was born with ambiguous genitalia. What started as a joke between Apatow and and fellow writer-producer Mike White became a more serious look at this topic.

“‘What if his girlfriend ended up having a dick?’ is basically what their joke was,” Feig said, “and then suddenly Judd’s like, ‘Well, wait a minute. Let’s actually look into this thing.’” Jonathan Kasdan wrote the first draft of the episode, which “became very contentious” because everyone “wanted to do a lot more things with it.”

“Everybody tried to get us to stop it, but then we all pitched in and started rewriting it,” Feig recalled, “and then, like it says in the documentary, Judd took Jessica [Campbell] and Seth into his office, and they started improving.”

“You don’t want to back down from these stories, and that’s what the network hated,” he added.

8. The real-life stories behind the episodes

Questionnaires were a big thing among the writers to get to know each other’s stories. The goal was avoid writing about something that had already been done before. As a result, much of their own personal experiences were translated to the screen.

Feig’s fear of asking out the girl to the dance before it was too late is played out in the character of Sam, the titular moment behind “The Garage Door” was lifted from the life of writer-producer Jeff Judah, and Apatow remembers doing exactly what Starr’s Bill does — making grilled cheese, eating Entenmann’s, and watching Garry Shandling on TV.

“When we did those questionnaires, we got the group together before we started writing anything,” Feig recalled. “We locked ourselves in the room for two weeks and would read those questionnaires out loud and elaborate on it and interview each other because it’s a way for everyone to get completely honest and not hold anything back — and that’s where the good stuff comes from.”

9. The moment Feig knew the show was dead

“I was talking to some critic. He loved the show and he had just watched the ‘I’m With the Band’ episode, with Jason Segel auditioning for the band,” Feig explained. “I said, ‘What did you think about the audition scene? It was great, right?’ And he goes, ‘When that scene came on, I had to get up and leave the room. I couldn’t watch it because I knew it was gonna go wrong.’ I was like, ‘Well, that’s not what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to revel in how fun this is.’” This, he said, was the moment he knew “the show was dead.”

10. Why Feig doesn’t go to high school reunions

The same reason Feig thinks Six Feet Under has the greatest series finale ever is the same reason why he doesn’t like going to his own high school reunions. The HBO show had a finite conclusion, without any room to think about what could’ve been for its characters. “I want to remember people as I did,” he said of his own former classmates. “I don’t want to know if something bad happened. So many people relish in [who became] bald and fat. No, I like those people and I like my memories of them.”

11. The episode Feig was “desperate” to tell, but couldn’t

Feig had already mentioned in past interviews the real-life drama teacher he wanted to work into the show for a hypothetical second season, and he detailed his own experience and what he wanted for the character of Sam.

“When I was in school, I was in drama club — a big drama geek — and my teacher, who I credit my entire career [to], Ms. Konrad, she was an amazing drama teacher who shouldn’t have taught high school; everything she taught was much deeper than that, but she was an alcoholic,” he said. “I was the one she would call to bail her out of trouble. So I would be in class and suddenly there would be a knock on the door and they’d be like, ‘Uh, there’s an emergency phone call for Paul.’”

The call would always be something like, “You gotta come pick me up. I left my car at the bar.”

“I was learning amazing things from her about acting and about theater and just about art,” Feig recalled, “but she was just a complete disaster, and I really wanted Sam to have that kind of relationship with a drama teacher.”

12. Feig believes a Freaks and Geeks musical will happen

In the documentary, Hodge asks the cast and crew about a potential revival or reunion episode for Freaks and Geeks, and they all have the same answer: How would that work? Feig, however, wants to do a staged rendition of the show. “I’ve been saying for 15 years I so wanna do the Freaks and Geeks musical,” he said. “I just gotta write the book for it, but I think it will happen one day because it’s just sitting there, waiting to be done. A musical number of a dodgeball game, come on!”"

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"Sharp Objects is HBO's newest limited series and it's here to SCARE THE SHIT OUT OF YOU.

Here's everything we know about it so far:

1. It's based on a Gillian Flynn novel. Yes, the same woman who brought you the royally effed up tale of Gone Girl, is bringing you the even more royally effed up tale of Sharp Objects.

2. The plot is MESSED UP. Mild spoilers ahead: It's about a small time newspaper journalist, Camille Preaker, who must return to her hometown to report on a series of grisly murders. Of course, her past and her present are dragged into it when she realizes she's closer to the subject than she ever imagined. SHUDDER.

3. It stars Amy Adams, who is also executive producing the project. Adams has talked honestly about inhabiting Camille Preaker, a very dark character. "It’s just an intense experience," Adams told T Magazine "And especially when you’re working every day of production, all day every day, in a dark character, and then trying to manage the other stuff — for me it was challenging."

In the same article she talks about how she had to drink fake vomit and then spit it out, take after take. So there's that!

4. It's directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, the same man who directed Big Little Lies.He's already got one hit HBO limited series under his belt — will this make #2? Also, the scripts are by Marti Noxon, and Flynn herself!

5. HBO just release some promos, and they're terrifying. On Friday, April 20, HBO began releasing promos on their Twitter account.

6. A trailer premiered Sunday, April 22 on HBO. The last promo teased, "Welcome home. Your first look at #SharpObjects premieres this Sunday before #Westworld." I'm already screaming.

7. It's set to premiere summer 2018. But maybe we'll get an actual date after the trailer comes out before Westworld. Fingers crossed, but also, I don't know if I ever want to see this terrifying torture TV show?!?!

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Per Variety, "[a]mping up its battle with talent agents, the Writers Guild of America has issued proposals to Hollywood agents aimed at stopping potential conflicts of interest.

“'The Guilds’ proposals are entirely reasonable,' said WGA West president David A. Goodman. 'If you review them closely, they read like a voluntary code of conduct that an agency would put up on their own website to attract writers and other talent. The proposals demonstrate a commitment to the fiduciary principles of law, always putting the client first and being an honorable representative.'

"The WGA’s actions have raised alarms at major agencies, which are unlikely to agree to the proposals. Should the agreement expire next year, it’s uncertain what kind of oversight the WGA would be able to exercise over agents.

"The specific proposals were sent to ATA members and first unveiled Friday by Deadline Hollywood. The key proposal says, 'No agency shall accept any money or thing of value from the employer of a client' — which would effectively end all packaging deals, in which agencies receive both upfront and back-end fees.

"The WGA is also proposing that 'no agency shall derive any revenue or other benefit from a client’s involvement in or employment on a motion picture project, other than a percentage commission based on the client’s compensation.'

"The WGA has also proposed that 'no agency shall have an ownership or other financial interest in, or shall be owned by or affiliated with, any entity or individual engaged in the production or distribution of motion pictures.'

“'The agency’s commission shall be limited to 10% of client’s gross compensation, including client’s profit participation,' the proposal said. 'Agency’s commission shall not reduce client’s compensation below MBA scale compensation. Agency shall not circumvent limits on commissions by charging fees for other services.'

"The WGA notified Hollywood agents on April 6 that it wants to renegotiate its 42-year-old franchise agreement after the WGA West board and WGA East council voted unanimously to reopen the guilds’ agency agreement. The WGA West held three meetings in March, during which their leaders accused Hollywood’s top talent agencies of being engaged in conflicts of interest in how they represent writers.

"The WGA material distributed to attendees at the meetings asserted that agencies with a financial interest in shows may have less incentive to get the best deals for writers.

"The issue has gained prominence in recent months due to Hollywood’s two largest agencies — WME and CAA — aggressively moving into production. As Variety noted in a Feb. 13 cover story, the issue has the potential for conflicts of interest that arise when the same company represents the creative talent on one side of the table and is the employer on the other.

"The WGA told members on April 6 that it has sent the Association of Talent Agents a 12-month notice to terminate the existing deal, known as the Artists’ Manager Basic Agreement. The terms and conditions of the current agreement will remain in effect through April 6, 2019, but will expire if a new agreement is not reached.

"ATA executive director Karen Stuart told Variety at that point that she has received the guilds’ “Notice of Election to Terminate” and said in response, 'It’s unfortunate that the WGA has taken this step without ever having reached out to ATA to discuss any of the issues it raises in its proposals. That said, the ATA will do what it’s always done: constructively engage in a dialogue with the Guild to address any legitimate concerns.'

"The specific proposal also includes this language covering the agency-client relationship:

a. Agency shall at all times act as a fiduciary of client, and shall comply with all fiduciary duties imposed by statute or common law.

b. Agency’s representation of a client shall not be influenced by its representation of any other client.

c. Agency shall promptly disclose to client all inquiries, offers and expressions of interest regarding employment or sale or option of literary material, and shall keep client apprised of the status of all negotiations.

d. Agency shall maintain confidentiality with respect to client’s employment and financial affairs.

e. Agency shall not submit client for employment where the employer or producer has not yet secured underlying rights necessary for the assignment.

f. Agency shall be responsive and professional in communicating with client."

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Per TV Guide, "Cary Elwes has just joined the cast of Netflix's , but he's already turning the third season upside-down with his social media savvy.

"Shortly after it was announced that he would join the Hawkins, Indiana crew in an official capacity — to quote him, 'there's a new mayor in town' — he decided to offer up a glimpse of himself and now-co-star Joe Keery (who plays Steve 'The Hair' Harrington, of course) posing for a Polaroid in true '80s fashion.

"Elwes, who'll forever be associated with era favorite The Princess Bride, was among several actors to be added to the call list for Season 3, including Jake Busey and Maya Hawke. It remains to be seen whether the new season acknowledges that piece of pop culture coincidence or not, but it'd be surprising of the Duffers to pass up the opportunity.

"Regardless, it's a good thing the town does have some new leadership on the way. After the second season exposed an elaborate tunnel system — a literal wormhole — full of terrors that connected Hawkins to the upside-down, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) was able to shut it down. However, the last frame of the season revealed that their troubles are nowhere near from over. The mega-monster that infected Will Byers' (Noah Schnapp) mind so well is nothing compared to the creature that haunts the place in secret now. Yikes.

"Also ... could this mean that Steve's new career path is gonna be in politics somehow? That would be a twist.

"Stranger Things Season 3 is expected to premiere in 2019."