Wednesday May 2, 2018

HBO has renewed Westworld for a 3rd season.

HBO also premieres Being Serena tonight.

Season 3 of Colony premieres on USA tonight.

Hulu has renewed The Handmaid's Tale for a 3rd season.

"Hulu is officially back in business with Mindy Kaling. The comedian’s Four Weddings and a Funeral anthology adaptation has been given a series order at the streamer, Hulu executives announced Wednesday from the stage of its annual upfront presentation. Kaling penned the series remake — which follows a group of friends as their lives intersect over the titular weddings and funeral — with Matt Warburton, who served as showrunner on her The Mindy Project. Billed as a limited series, Hulu's Four Weddings follows a group of friends as their lives intersect through five events. Richard Curtis, the writer of the original 1994 film starring Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell, is executive producing alongside Jonathan Prince, 3 Arts' Howard Klein, Working Title's Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. MGM, which co-produced the film with Working Title, is producing alongside Universal TV, where Kaling is based. It's unclear if Kaling will have any on-screen role."

One more from Hulu..."The streamer has ordered Ramy Youssef vehicle Ramy from producers Jerrod Carmichael and Ari Katcher, who most recently teamed for NBC’s critical favorite The Carmichael Show. Hailing from A24, Ramy stars Youssef as a Egyptian-American Muslim man caught up in what it means to be Arab, American and Muslim at a time when those identity markers are going through a crisis of definition. The series is based on comedian Youssef's real-life experiences and takes viewers into the world of a first-generation American Muslim who is on a spiritual journey in his politically divided New Jersey neighborhood. Ramy explores the challenges of what it's like being caught between an Egyptian community that thinks life is a moral test and a millennial generation that thinks life has no consequences."

I finished season 3 of Amazon's All Or Nothing and if you even remotely like football, go watch it.

You can't make headlines like this up: KANYE WEST: I GOT HOOKED ON OPIOIDS After Liposuction.

Not everyone in the TMZ newsroom (where Kanye decided to pontificate) was enamored with what the insane rapper had to say.  Rightfully.

Kanye has responded, via Twitter of course.

More Cobra Kai fodder.  The full season is available to stream on YouTube Red.  I started my free 1-month trial subscription today.  Check out a full review below.

"The Professional Fighters League announced their broadcast team for the 2018 PFL Inaugural season which will include all-stars and legends from the MMA world. The broadcast team, which includes Randy Couture, Bas Rutten, Yves Edwards, Caroline Pearce and Todd Harris, will cover all PFL live events and pre- and post-event shows. The PFL 2018 league season debuts June 7 from Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden and consists of 7 regular season events, 3 “win or go home” playoff events, and concludes with the $10 million PFL championship event on December 31. PFL events and fights will be streamed live and on-demand on pflmma.com and the PFL apps, broadcast live in primetime on NBC Sports Network, and streamed live globally on Facebook Watch."

Arrested Development is returning to Netflix on May 4 — but not with its new season quite yet. Instead, as series creator Mitch Hurwitz announced through the show’s Twitter page, the fourth season will be rereleased, 'remixed' as a more traditional 22 episode season with its storylines interwoven and each episode, therefore, featuring A, B, and C plots. 'The original season four of Arrested Development on Netflix, as some of you know, experimented with a Rashomon-style of storytelling — with each episode dedicated to the adventure of one member of the Bluth family,' Hurwitz wrote. 'The goal was that by the end of the season a unified story of cause and effect would emerge for the viewer — full of surprises about how the Bluths were responsible for most of the misery they had endured.' Hurwitz likened that experience to eating 'some toast, then some bacon — maybe a sliced tomato followed by some turkey' which amounted to a realization that you had just had a deconstructed BLT."

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Least shocking news of the day: "Just a week after an arrest finally came in the decades-long hunt for the Golden State Killer, HBO and Liz Garbus are moving forward with a documentary about the alleged murderer.

"HBO Documentary Films and the Oscar-nominated documentarian are producing a true-crime series based on late writer and journalist Michelle McNamara's best-selling book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer. The exhaustive reporting, published after McNamara's untimely 2016 death, has been widely credited with the capture of the alleged killer.

"The Golden State Killer was one of the most notorious criminals to evade capture in the 20th century, terrorizing California throughout the 1970s and '80s with home invasions, sexual assaults and 10 murders. Though he disappeared without a trace for decades, DNA evidence recently pointed to former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo. He was arrested on April 24 outside of Sacramento.

"McNamara's book, which features an introduction by Gillian Flynn and afterword by McNamara’s husband, Patton Oswalt, also explores the writer's obsessive quest to find closure for the victims and survivors of DeAngelo's alleged crimes.

"It's yet another project from Garbus to add to her HBO portfolio. She also was behind Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper and There’s Something Wrong With Aunt Diane, as well as Netflix's What Happened, Miss Simone? Garbus recently debuted The Fourth Estate, for Showtime, at the Tribeca Film Festival."

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Per Deadline, "[i]n her first U.S. TV starring vehicle, Salma Hayek Pinault is set to topline and executive produce a comedy series project executive produced and directed by Paul Feig. The comedy, from Imagine Television, is in negotiations at Amazon. I hear it is eying a pilot commitment to series.

"Written by Patty Breen (HBO’s Divorce), the potential series takes place in London and is set in the world of international diplomacy, with Hayek Pinault in an ambassador-type role.

"Hayek Pinault executive produces with her longtime producing partner Jose 'Pepe' Tamez via her Ventanarosa Productions banner. Feig and Jessie Henderson executive produces via Feigco Entertainment alongside Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo.

"Hayek Pinault, who was a TV and film star in her native Mexico before making a name for herself in Hollywood, has recurred on ABC’s dramedy Ugly Betty, which she executive produced, as well as on NBC’s 30 Rock. This would be her first series starring role in the U.S. On the feature side, the Oscar-nominated actress was recently seen in How To Be a Latin Lover and The Hitman’s Bodyguard as well as Beatriz at Dinner, which earned her an Indie Spirit Award nomination. Additionally, Hayek Pinault and Tamez just inked a first-look deal with Lionsgate to produce films via Ventanarosa. She is repped by CAA and Management 360.

"Freaks & Geeks creator Feig has directed a number of feature comedies starring Melissa McCarthy, including Bridesmaids, The Heat, Ghostbusters and Spy. In TV, he has comedy pilot Girls Code at Freeform."

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From Uproxx: "Midway through the Karate Kid sequel series Cobra Kai, Daniel LaRusso prepares to tell his frustrated new student that day after day of backbreaking manual labor was, in fact, the crucial first step on a journey towards mastering martial arts, just like Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel-san himself back in 1984.

“'God, I love this part,' Daniel says.

"So do all of us — at least, all the Gen X’ers YouTube is targeting with the new half-hour dramedy, which releases all 10 episodes of its first season tomorrow to its YouTube Red subscription service. (I’ve seen the whole thing.) Daniel is as much a fan of the story as we are — it’s a running gag that even in his 50s, Daniel can’t stop telling people about his teenage days apprenticing under Mr. Miyagi — and seems delighted to step into his old friend’s role and pay those lessons forward.

"If Cobra Kai were just the tale of how Daniel and his high school nemesis Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka, the world champion of ’80s teen movie villains) training the next generation of karate kids, it would be shameless pandering — at times effective pandering, because Macchio and Zabka really commit to their most famous roles, but not something capable of filling out 3 hours of story (and counting, if it gets renewed). On paper, there’s barely enough material there for a 10-minute comedy short.

"Yet somehow, Cobra Kai — created by Harold & Kumar writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg and Hot Tub Time Machine writer Josh Heald — keeps surpassing all reasonable expectations. Every time I thought the idea had exhausted its usefulness, the story took another turn, or another character dynamic came into play, and I just wanted to see more of it. I wouldn’t exactly call it 'good' — in part because its appeal rests enormously on your level of knowledge about and affection for the original movie (whereas someone who’d never seen a Rocky movie could still love Creed) — but it’s compulsively watchable, emotionally engaging, and almost always one step ahead of where you think it’s going.

"A lot of this comes from the way the creators keep switching up the roles from the first movie (and to a lesser extent, the two Macchio/Pat Morita sequels, both of which play into the plot to varying degrees) so that it’s more than just a rehash of a story told so many times before. As the title suggests, the early focus is on Johnny, who initially seems like he’s going to be the Mr. Miyagi of this story. His life clearly having peaked around the time he first met Daniel LaRusso, Johnny’s a drunken handyman with a teenage son (Tanner Buchanan’s Robby) he never sees, no friends, and nothing of value (even sentimental) besides his rusting vintage Firebird. He’s brought back to life when his young neighbor Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) runs into trouble with some bullies of his own, and before you can say, 'Wax on, wax off,' Johnny has begun mentoring the kid and resurrecting the Cobra Kai name in a new strip mall dojo.

"Miguel is clearly meant to be a 21st century Daniel LaRusso, while the actual Daniel in turn appears very much the bully to Johnny, a wealthy and influential businessman doing everything in his power to shut the new Cobra Kai down before it’s even really started. The tables have completely turned, and they continue to rotate, with Cobra Kai in time becoming a haven for Miguel’s fellow outcasts, and Robby showing more interest in his father’s former rival than in the old man himself. Maridueña, Buchanan, and (as Daniel’s daughter Samantha) Mary Mouser all evoke various aspects of, respectively, Macchio, Zabka, and Elisabeth Shue — particularly the way Maridueña displays some of the same gawky earnestness that the eternally boyish Macchio still possesses — while also seeming like fleshed-out and modern kids. So when the story keeps mixing and matching their positions relative to the original story, it doesn’t just feel like a writing exercise, but an interesting and fun way to keep exploring who everyone is.

"But just as the show is likely meaningless to anyone who hasn’t seen the first movie — even though the season gradually features clips covering about 40 percent of the original running time — much of the dramatic and comedic weight falls on our two defending champs.

"Macchio’s been a professional actor for four decades, and while the adult roles haven’t always been there for him (it was a pleasant surprise to see him as one of the cops on The Deuce), he slips back into Daniel-san’s skin as easily as Daniel once caught that fly with chopsticks. This is a Daniel whose dreams have almost entirely come true (when we meet him, the only blemish in his life is that his younger son Anthony is a spoiled brat who won’t look up from his tablet), and who very clearly knows it. He’s a generous and patient husband, father, and boss, but he’s also just smug enough in his success that you can see why he makes Johnny crazy all these years later. When the story calls upon Daniel to rediscover his own love of karate, Macchio is more than up to the dramatic challenge — one sequence in particular, borrowing liberally from Bill Conti’s score for the first movie, will send chills down your spine if you’re a viewer of a certain age — but he also re-establishes his light comedy chops well enough that it will hopefully bring him out of career limbo.

"For that matter, Zabka and the writers work wonders in making Johnny quasi-sympathetic, even as he’s portrayed as exactly what you might expect that snot-nosed kid to grow up into: a bitter, racist, sexist misanthrope with little understanding or interest in the modern world. There’s a Make Karate Great Again vibe to a lot of what Johnny does, even as his student are likable victims like Miguel or Eli (Jacob Bertrand), who’s mocked by more popular kids for his cleft palate scar, as well as his social awkwardness. (When Eli tells Johnny that doctors think he’s on the spectrum, his new sensei retorts, “I don’t know what that is, but get off it, pronto.”) The scripts and Zabka’s performance almost magically find the right balance that allows Johnny to be entertainingly awful even as he’s doing right by Miguel and the other students, and there are moments where it’s startling to find him the more rootable of the two adult leads.

"It was a running gag on How I Met Your Mother — where both Zabka and Macchio did good-natured cameos over the years — that Barney Stinson always viewed Johnny as the wronged hero of The Karate Kid, but Cobra Kaisomehow manages to take that joke seriously, and make it work. There’s a scene late in the season where Johnny tells Miguel the story of the movie from his point of view (again, with ample clips of the younger Zabka and Macchio), and he makes a mostly convincing case(*) for Daniel being as much at fault as he was for everything that happened. When he laments that Daniel won their final match with an illegal kick to the face, he’s not wrong, even as his insistence on making that point 34 years later points out how much he and his opponent are both living in the past.

"Some callbacks land more gracefully than others — there’s an attempt to introduce yet another unstoppable Mr. Miyagi move, but the execution is very underwhelming, and Macchio remains a much less convincing martial artist than Zabka — but the creators have brought Johnny, Daniel, and the world around the All-Valley Karate Tournament into the 21st century far more nimbly than they have any business doing. It remains to be seen whether the show’s target demo has even heard of YouTube Red — or at least whether they’ll be willing to shell out for yet another streaming service — but if it draws enough subscribers to merit a second season, I want to see what happens next. Cobra Kai should be a one-joke idea, but — like an unknown Daniel carving his way through more seasoned tournament opponents while wearing a stolen black belt — it keeps getting back up every time you think it’s finished, and has another move to display."

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Per AdAge, "Conde Nast unveiled its plans for three over-the-top channels at a $60 million penthouse in downtown Manhattan (home to the biggest living room in the borough), which was the site of its NewFront presentation on Tuesday afternoon.

"A dedicated Wired channel will debut later this year, followed by channels for Bon Appetit and GQ. They will be available on Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire.

"Conde Nast is bringing back 35 of its series and has more than 60 digital video pilots in production this year. New pilots include Glamour's Money Tours, which examines the day in the life of women living within a range of budgets; GQ's Don't be That Guy, which features famous women giving men life advice as the try to improve the world one guy at a time; and Moral Code from Wired, which examines awkward moral questions surrounding new technologies.

"Its Snapchat Show, TrueCrime/Uncovered, was renewed for a second season. The show debuted in March, with the first three episodes that have already run fully sponsored. The show has generated over 10 million viewers, according to Conde Nast and three more episodes are being produced for this season.

"Conde Nast will also reimagine four of its digital series for Snapchat. And it's expanding its partnership with Google's virtual reality platform Daydream with new episodes of its Closests series and several other series in development.

"The new OTT expansion 'brings the quality of Condé Nast to next-gen consumers on new platforms, and in new ways,' Pamela Drucker Mann, chief revenue and marketing officer, Condé Nast, said in a statement.

"Conde Nast will allow advertisers to integrate in its top-performing series across its 20 exclusive YouTube channels through its new Collaborations ad product. It will also connect brands with its social communities on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter through its Amplify program."

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, "E! is returning to the late-night space with Busy Philipps.

"The NBCUniversal-owned cable network is teaming with the actress and social media favorite for a late-night talk show hosted by Philipps, called Busy Tonight. The late-night talk show was part of a slate that included five other new series pickups and three more in development.

"Production on Busy Tonight will begin in the summer in Los Angeles, with the Freaks and Geeks and Cougar Town grad also exec producing the series alongside Julie Darmody and Eric Gurian. The series will feature what E! says is comedic commentary, interviews and segments that go behind her most popular Instagram stories. Unfiltered, in-the-know and always entertaining, Philipps will give offer unique and hilarious point of view on literally everything. The series hails from Tina Fey's Little Stranger banner. 

"Busy Tonight, which will premiere this year, comes as Philipps has become a social media favorite thanks in part to her public Instagram feed in which the actress documents her (amusing) everyday life via the platform's story option.  

"The E! series brings the cable network back into the late-night fray following its longtime relationship with Chelsea Handler. Philipps joins a growing roster of female late-night hosts that includes BET's Robin Thede, TBS' Samantha Bee and Hulu's Sarah Silverman.

"The E! slate featured five other new series as well as three unscripted projects in development. Here's a look at the rest of the slate:

Ashlee and Evan (working title)

This new docuseries will follow actress and singer Ashlee Simpson-Ross and her husband, actor and artist Evan Ross. We’ll get an inside look into this young millennial couple as they try to balance life as new parents with a solid foundation of humor and love.  Coming from two famous music families, Ashlee and Evan will take viewers inside the recording of their first duet album. Fans will see Evan’s rising star in music and Ashlee cautiously jumping back into the music world.  We will watch as they face challenges and success in their marriage and music while receiving the unwavering support from their legendary families and lifelong friends. Ashlee and Evan is produced by Citizen Jones and Cinema Giants, with Jonah Bekhor, Jonas Bell Pasht, Jessy Terrero, Angela Aguilera, Simpson-Ross and Ross serving as executive producers.    

E! True Hollywood Story

The series that told Hollywood’s most compelling stories is back. E! True Hollywood Story is taking a modern approach, and providing a voice to the moments that are reshaping popular culture. Each self-contained documentary will explore a topic, headline or person that became the ground zero for a revolution, change or shift in culture, told by the people who were on the frontlines of the story. E! True Hollywood Story is produced by Wilshire Studios.

The Funny Dance Show (working title)

For more than a year, Stand Up 2 the Streets has played to sold-out crowds at the No. 1 comedy club in the country, The Comedy Store.  Created and hosted by comedians Justine Marino and Heidi Heaslet, this one-hour format harnesses the conventions and spectacle of dance pop culture found in movies like the wildly popular Step Up franchise and TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars, but with a comedic POV.  In each stand-alone episode, four comic celebrities compete for a donation to the charity of their choice.  Anchored by comedian and pop culture expert Justin Martindale, an irreverent judging panel critiques the performances so that the audience can ultimately vote on the winning team. The series is produced by Ugly Brother with Mike Duffy, Tim Duffy, Marino and Heaslet serving as executive producers.

The LadyGang (working title)

What happens when you mix the Girls Trip sense of female community with juicy pop culture commentary, no-holds-barred celebrity interviews and three equally gorgeous and hilarious L.A. ladies? You not only get a Podcast of the Year winner with over 22 million listens, but a phenomenon that graced People magazine and made Entertainment Weekly's "Must List.”  Welcome to The LadyGang, the TV show based on the podcast created by Keltie Knight, Becca Tobin, and Jac Vanek. The LadyGang is produced by Purveyors of Pop and Entertainment One (eOne) with Matt Anderson, Nate Green and Cooper Green for Purveyors of Pop, Tara Long for eOne, Keltie Knight, Becca Tobin and Jac Vanek serving as executive producers.

Nat & Liv (working title)

Natalie Halcro and Olivia Pierson are influencers, designers and fashion and beauty bloggers that have over 5 million followers on Instagram alone. But more important, they are family — cousins and best friends. This docuseries will take us to a part of their lives that we’ve never seen before from Vancouver to Los Angeles. From their hilariously direct older brothers, to Nat’s hippy sister, to their hysterical parents, Nat and Liv’s family will make you laugh and cry…sometimes at the same time.  Nat & Liv is produced by Machete Productions and Cineflix, with Amber Mazzola, Kim Bondi and Dave Hamilton serving as executive producers. 

Three unscripted projects in development:

The Twins Project (working title)

Three vibrant sets of twins all have their sights set on conquering each of their own worlds. The docuseries will explore their dynamics as siblings, best friends and co-workers while reaching new heights in their careers — from radio DJs, to pop artists and social media fame — and choosing to do so together, rather than alone. The Twins Project is produced by World of Wonder, with Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato and Tom Campbell serving as executive producers.

Written by the Stars (working title)

Written by the Stars takes the most ridiculous firsthand excerpts from celebrity autobiographies and transports them from the page to the screen. Quoting directly from the books and with the help of a hilarious SNL-esque troop, the most epic celebrity stories come to life — viewers will see their favorite celebrities' hazy nights, crazy affairs, behind-the-scenes antics and Hollywood secrets. Written by the Stars is produced by Haymaker, with Aaron Rothman and Irad Eyal serving as executive producers.

Wonder Women (working title)

The need for stuntwomen in the entertainment industry has never been greater. This competition-elimination docuseries will follow a stunt director on a journey to find the next great stuntwoman. Each week, hopefuls will face challenges that test their physical, mental and emotional strength — requiring them to give their all if they want to become the next breakthrough female stunt performer. Wonder Women is produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions, with Arthur Smith and Toby Gorman serving as executive producers."

Well this network should be out of business sometime before 2020.