Wednesday May 9, 2018

Netflix has renewed Santa Clarita Diet for a 3rd season.  

NBC has renewed A.P. Bio for a 2nd season. 

Bravo has handed a June 12 premiere date to the new season of Million Dollar Listing: New York.

Olivia Munn has her next gig

Someone bought The Weinstein Company

The CW has canceled Lucy Hale's Life Sentence.

Adam Sandler and Chris Rock's new Netflix movie is completely unwatchable, not surprisingly.

Former ESPN exec John Skipper has landed a new job. “Skipper has been appointed executive chairman for Perform Group, the streaming sports media firm announced Tuesday. Skipper, who is based in New York, will oversee all of Perform Group’s operations and strategy and report to the firm’s board. London-based Simon Denyer, Perform Group’s founder, will continue as the company’s CEO.”

"Stakes are high for the May 24 season 36 finale of CBS' Survivor: Ghost Island, and not just for the contestants. Screenwriter superfans including husband-and-wife team Cormac and Marianne Wibberley, Leverage and Sleepy Hollow writer Albert Kim, Ready Player One wordsmith Zak Penn, The Bold Type's Sarah Watson, and Midnight Radio partners Jeff Pinkner, Andre Nemec, Scott Rosenberg and Josh Appelbaum have been watching and betting on the reality stalwart for years. 'Our pool was born out of the Alias writers room in the early 2000s,' says Appelbaum. Adds Rosenberg of the pool, which also includes actress Lindy Booth: 'There's a $200 buy-in — the winner gets all the cash. Second place picks a restaurant. The loser, the first who gets knocked out, has to pay for the dinner,' and the tab has run as high as $8,000. 'Our pool is all done online on a chat board plus trash talking on Twitter,' explain the Wibberleys via email, adding, 'which we can't do this year since we are losing so badly.' It’s not the first time the duo have done poorly in their picks. Kim recalls one year when he pulled out a win out from under the Wibberleys’ feet in the last week of the season, sparking something of an intense rivalry. 'They made it their mission for the next few seasons to beat me,' said Kim. 'I think at one point one of their pool names was "Take Albert Kim Down."' Penn invites up to 25 guests to his house to watch — from Flight writer John Gatins to The Bye Bye Man scribe Jonathan Penner, also a three-time contestant on the show. Contestants Tyler Fredrickson and Max Dawson also have joined."

Megan Markle's history in Hollywood.

CNN and PBS are launching new late-night public affair series called Amanpour & Company.  The show will launch in July on PBS. 

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Per Deadline, "Fox has made its first pilot-to-series order of the upfront season with drama The Passage, starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar, from Liz Heldens, Matt Reeves, Scott Free and 20th Century Fox TV.

"The Passage, based on Justin Cronin’s best-selling fantasy book trilogy, is a retooling success story. Originally shot last summer, the pilot was reworked and partially recast and reshot this pilot season as three characters were replaced with new ones. The second pilot was very well received and had been considered the clear frontrunner on the drama side at Fox.

"Written by Heldens, The Passage is an epic, character‐driven thriller about a secret government medical facility experimenting with a dangerous virus that could either cure all disease or cause the downfall of the human race. The series focuses on a 10‐year‐old girl named Amy Bellafonte (Saniyya Sidney), who is chosen to be a test subject for this experiment and Brad Wolgast (Gosselaar), the federal agent who becomes her surrogate father as he tries to protect her.

"Jason Ensler, who directed the new footage, and Marcos Siega, who helmed the original pilot, are both credited as directors. Heldens executive produces with Reeves, Free, David W. Zucker and Adam Kassan. 20th Century Fox TV produces with 6th & Idaho, Scott Free.

"In addition to Gosselaar and Sidney, the cast includes Vincent Piazza as Clark Richards, Brianne Howey as Shauna Babcock, Jamie McShane as Dr. Tim Fanning, Caroline Chikezie as Dr. Major Nichole Sykes and Emmanuelle Chriqui as Dr. Lila Kyle."

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From The Hollywood Reporter: "Hulu is expanding its genre lineup with supernatural thriller Light as a Feather

"The streamer has given a 10-episode straight-to-series order to the project, which is based on the novel Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board by Zoe Aarsen that has received more than 2.9 million reads on self-publishing platform Wattpad. 

"Light as a Feather hails from AwesomenessTV, Wattpad and Kelsey Grammer's Grammnet. The show was created by R. Lee Fleming Jr. (She's All That, One Tree Hill) and will follow five teen girls whose innocent game of Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board leads to supernatural fallout. When the girls start dying off in the exact way that was predicted, the survivors must figure out why they're being targeted — and whether the evil force hunting them down is one of their own.

"'Light as a Feather is a captivating and unique story, with supernatural twists and thrills that readers all over the world have fallen in love with,' said Aron Levitz, head of Wattpad Studios. 'The story is another example of a Wattpad fan favorite that is perfect for adaptation and new life on another platform. We're excited to be working with AwesomenessTV and Hulu to bring Light as a Feather to a new audience in a new format, while also giving the story's millions of current fans another way to enjoy the story they couldn't put down.'

"Fleming will serve as an executive producer on the series, which goes into production in June, alongside AwesomenessTV's Jordan Levin, Shelley Zimmerman, Joe Davola and Brett Bouttier; Wattpad's Levitz and Eric Lehrman; and Grammnet's Tom Russo, Brian Sher and Stella Bulochnikov. BloodList's Kailey Marsh is co-executive producing. 

"Light as a Feather joins a growing slate of genre projects at Hulu, including Stephen King anthology Castle Rock, Blumhouse TV anthology Into the Dark and sci-fi comedy Future Man. Hulu and AwesomenessTV have previously worked together on horror series Freakish, which has yet to be renewed for a third season." 

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Per Variety, "'[s]tandup comedy’s the most mysterious profession in show business,' Jerry Seinfeldtold David Letterman during a Los Angeles taping of the host’s Netflix series “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction…” a rollicking, wide-ranging conversation that explored their long shared history as comedians and occasionally diametrically opposed views on comedy and show business.

“'It’s completely shrouded in mystery,' Seinfeld continued. 'How do these people do it? How do they do it so often? Do it so consistently? Only other comedians understand it. It’s like being a cop or a prostitute: you can only hang out with other people that do that.'

"Now arguably among the most preeminent and influential comedic presences of their generation as they sat down at Netflix’s FYSee exhibition space at Raleigh Studios, the two in part explored their 40-year association. They first met around 1978 at The Comedy Store comedy club in West Hollywood, where Letterman was a favorite of its owner, the late Mitzi Shore, while Seinfeld was effectively 'non grata' there because Shore disliked his act.

"But in 1982, during the first month of Letterman’s genre-smashing wee-hours NBC talk show Late Night, Seinfeld made his first of many appearances on the host’s program and his subsequent CBS series The Late Show throughout his own rise and reign as an equal master of TV reinvention with his NBC sitcom Seinfeld.

“'I was one of the first comedians on your show — that was a big deal at that time,' Seinfeld reminded Letterman after the two were brought to the stage by Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos (clearly a longtime comedy junkie in his youth, given his spot-on recall of both performer’s classic comedy bits). 'I was the only guy at the time, the early ’80s, that was welcome on your show and on [Johnny] Carson [and The Tonight Show] — usually there was a bit of a wall there. If you were a Carson comic, you were probably not young enough or cool enough for Late Night, and vice versa, but I for some reason was able to go back and forth, and I was very proud of that in the early days.'

“'And I was very nervous,' Seinfeld added. 'It’s very fun to be with you now and not really care how I do, because for so many years it was so important. It was terrifying to be on either of those shows. Those were the only shows!'

“'I know the experience of being with Johnny,' nodded Letterman. 'If you didn’t do well, they would pull your show business license, and you would be gone. And many people did not come back from a bad experience on that show.'

"In recalling his early career ambitions, Letterman had simple — if not exactly realistic — goals. 'All I wanted to do was get on The Tonight Show’ and I thought "Once I get on The Tonight Show, by God I bet they’ll give it to me."'

"During a conversation that lasted for more than an hour, Letterman and Seinfeld shared views and anecdotes on a slew of topics, often playfully vying for control of the line of questioning and frequently revealing sharp differences in the way they viewed the art of comedy, the field of show business and their estimations of their own contributions to both. While both men were quick to casually dismiss high appraisals of their own work, Seinfeld largely displayed the sense of confidence, pride and self-satisfaction with his craft that so often informs his comedic perspective, while Letterman exhibited hints on the more self-critical and sometimes tortured approach for which he’s been known.

"In a particularly revealing moment, Letterman admitted he felt he may have stayed on the late night talk show stage too long.

“'When you’re in show business, it’s so self-consuming and so egomaniacal that you only look at a very small focus, which is yourself. And if you have the energy and the ability to do that, you should do it — but don’t do it as long as I did it. I did it too long,' he said. 'I should’ve left 10 years ago, because then I could’ve taken some of that energy and focus and applied it to actually doing something good for humans.'

"Seinfeld quickly took exception. 'I think you could not have done more for humans than what you did,” he said. “You think of your career as a self-satisfying, self-aggrandizing, self-enriching pursuit, and if you’re any good at it, Mr. Letterman, you’re not that kind of person. If you’re really thinking like that you’re gonna suck. …The people that are good at it do it because they know it’s making people happy, and that’s what’s driving them, and that’s why you were so great.'

"Still, Letterman would demure. 'I didn’t think I would change anything,' he revealed. 'We had the benefit that we were hiding. It was 12:30. In those days, TV was off the air at 1:30 — maybe 1, maybe midnight. So we really were niche programming and hiding and hiding and hiding, so in many ways we would do stuff and let it go and not worry about it. But I did worry about it. But changing? No. All I was trying to do was stay employed. I wanted to stay on TV.'

"Seinfeld was especially interested in exploring their shared roles as disruptors who brought fresh and especially personal takes to hidebound television formats. 'The secret to television is the person who gets the opportunity wants to re-form this type of content to them personally,' he offered.

“'That’s absolutely true,' agreed Letterman. 'When I started in television, I used to talk to people on the staff and it was "Oh boy, wait’ll they see this! This is the thing that television has been waiting for! I can’t wait to get out there and show them what they’ve been missing all these years.' And then you get out there and you realize, well, no, you’re not the savior that you would like to be.'

“'You couldn’t be more wrong there,' countered Seinfeld, 'because you were the savior, you were the guy who smashed the glass, and said, "What if we do this a whole different way that I think is funny, for no particular reason?”'

"Letterman explained that much of his early, innovative approach to his show’s format was in response to all of the things the network told him he couldn’t do, to avoid infringing on territory that The Tonight Show had already staked out and remained possessive of. We looked around at what we were left with and said, ‘We’ll pick up the pieces and do what we can with what we’re left with.’

“'It was the same thing' for his series, agreed Seinfeld, who wasn’t even a fan or regular viewer of sitcoms, favoring only The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Honeymooners.

“'Anytime somebody said ‘I think they kinda did something like that on Newhart,’ we’d say, "Forget it." Anything that somebody else had touched. It just had to be something weird, something unusual.'

"He admitted that he and co-creator Larry David were largely driven by ideas and concepts that amused and entertained themselves — any other laughs they got were bonuses. 'Larry and I were so good together, if we both thought something was funny, that was good enough for us. If it can get through those two filters and we both think that’s funny, I wouldn’t even care if it wasn’t funny,' he said.

"Seinfeld and Letterman also discussed some current comedy they favored, including the series Portlandia, the Broadway production The Oh, Hello Show and comedian Michelle Wolf. Of the latter’s recent controversial stint hosting the White House Correspondents Dinner, Letterman expressed his respect for Wolf’s performance.

“'It took me a couple of days to consider what this had been, because you heard from certain elements just outrage — "Oh my God, she’s set [a] fire, it’s a grassfire and we’ll never put it out,”' he told Seinfeld. 'And the more I got to thinking about it, it’s like "Wow — that was great." Because whatever the reaction, there’s no damage, and she had the guts to stand up there and didn’t apologize, where everybody is now apologizing for everything. So whether you liked it or not, I really have great admiration for the fact that she was able to walk into that room and decimate the place.'

“'What I love about comedy is that no one has to talk about what happened — we all saw it,' said Seinfeld, stating that his opinion about Wolf’s act was irrelevant. 'We don’t need the critics. I love when a critic reviews a comedian. You go, "I’ve left town already — with the money." I don’t care what you think. It’s the ultimate democracy. The laugh is the vote.'

"Much like the use of profanity, Seinfeld assiduously bypasses political humor in his stand-up even in this contentious moment in time. Trump material, he said, 'doesn’t interest me. I do a lot of raisin stuff.'

"While hitting topics that included their children, baseball, infomercials, old bits about Martinizing Dry Cleaning and their shared passion for automobiles, Seinfeld posed a provocative notion: 'Do you envision yourself ever not being in show business at all?'

“'I’m kinda there now,' quipped Letterman of his series, which has featured long-form interviews with the likes of Barack Obama, George Clooney, Jay-Z, Tina Fey and Malala Yousafzai, prompting laughs from the audience that included Netflix execs and his old bandleader/current theme composer Paul Shaffer.

“'You’re kind of the opposite now,' countered Seinfeld, who also recently relocated his own series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee to the streaming colossus. 'You’re on the biggest show business platform that’s ever been.'”

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From Uproxx: "In addition to the news that Amazon’s complicated deal for the TV rights to Lord of the Rings includes the ability to 'use material from the films,' a report is suggesting that Amazon may be going back to the original well in more ways than one. Lord of the Rings fan-site The One Ring is reporting that Amazon is actively seeking writers and directors for their billion-dollar adaptation, and one of those collaborators is none other than Peter Jackson.

"(He directed and won an Academy Award for his work on the Lord of the Ringstrilogy and also made Dead Alive.)

"With Amazon under the gun with less than two years to start production, per the TV rights deal, they’re moving fast looking for:

"'We have confirmed that Amazon is actively reaching out to multiple established writers, directors and showrunners for their visions of the billion dollar LOTR series. Peter Jackson is of course on the list... But one of many currently pitching.'

"The TV show based on the years prior to The Fellowship of the Ring has had Jackson’s name floating around the production before. The Hollywood Reporter stated last month that Peter Jackson’s name was floated to Amazon by his lawyer, but now we know that with a production that must get underway by early 2020, writers and directors need to be locked down. Who better than Peter Jackson, considering his footage, and possibly some of his locations scouted and used for The Hobbit trilogy as well as his Lord of the Rings trilogy will be used. Still, he must pitch.

"So if Amazon does allow him onboard, will Jackson be there to simply kick off the series, or will he be deeply embedded in a show that’s guaranteed to be at least five seasons-long on Amazon Prime? He’s already dedicated years of his life to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, so what’s a few more?"