Friday June 8, 2018

To the surprise of exactly no one, FX announced on Thursday night that Atlanta has been picked up for a third season.

Billions wraps up an absolutely spectacular season on Sunday. Sad to see this one go.

Speaking of which . . . .Rest in peace Anthony Bourdain.  You will be missed.

The world is reacting to Bourdain's passing.

HBO has released the first trailer for its upcoming Robin Williams documentary.

President Fitzgerald Gerald has landed his next gig.

Jax and Brittany are engaged?!?!

Take a look at Harvey Weinstein's employment contract.

"Mark Burnett is bringing back Eco-Challenge. The environmentally conscious reality competition, which launched back in 1992, kick-started the reality producer's illustrious career, paving the way for Survivor and a wave of other competition series. Reviving the show, whose last cycle aired in 2003, has long been a passion project for the MGM TV topper. The new version has yet to find a broadcast home, but famed survivalist Bear Grylls (Running Wild) has boarded to host and serve as executive producer."

"The Real World is making a comeback. MTV Networks and producer Bunim-Murray Productions is reviving the long-running reality series and is looking to push the show onto a streaming platform, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. With a Real World revival,  MTV is continuing its strategy of giving new life to some of its better-known reality properties. Last year, the network brought back My Super Sweet 16, and in April of this year, the channel gave Jersey Shore a second chance. However, both of those shows stayed on the network, somewhat contrary to the plans for Real World, which may follow the route of Bravo's Queer Eye, which moved to Netflix for its revival."

Was the first act of last night's Jersey Shore really about a grown woman soiling her pants in a cab?

"Ronnie from Jersey Shore came THIS close to an all-out brawl on the second day of filming season 2 in Vegas. The incident went down Wednesday at a pool party at the Flamingo ... where Ronnie had to be restrained from going after some loudmouth. You can see from the start of this video Ronnie was charging at the guy, but both were restrained by the massive security team present. It's unclear what triggered the confrontation. You can also see several cameras are rolling ... so the guess here is MTV cameras captured it for the show. Check it out ... the man Ronnie's beefing with keeps shouting something about Gucci and hustling. Not the first time Ronnie gets heated with strangers. He landed behind bars in season 1 after knocking a man unconscious. He also brawled with another dude while filming the show, but cops were not involved. And, more recently, there was this."

Alan O’Neill, who played Hugh on Sons of Anarchy, has died. He was 47.

"Budding digital sports network Overtime today launches Hype School on Snapchat, a weekly highlights show with a funny, fast-paced style that’s tailored to the sensibilities of the platform’s millennial users. Unlike traditional cable sports shows, whose pundits obsess over professional and college games, players and stats, Hype School casts its gaze on high school athletes. The show is infused with the sensibilities of the internet generation — focusing on epic fails as well as spectacular dunks. It’s hosted by a comedian, Kyle Pennant. Think of it as ESPN SportsCenter’s younger, hipper cousin."  Sure, whatever you say.

"David Harbour may portray the emotionally hardened and nigh-invulnerable Sheriff Hopper on Stranger Things, but in a recent segment on Variety’s Actors on Actors, presented by Shutterstock, Harbour opened up about the pain he went through during shooting with Twin Peaks star Kyle MacLachlan. 'The first season was the most miserable time in my life,” Harbour said. “It was sort of the greatest time in my life, too, but I just wanted to work on it so hard.' He told MacLachlan that, for much of the first season, he pushed himself too hard, knowing he had a 'shot at the pro ball,' so much so that he was depressed whenever he wasn’t working on the show. 'We went down to Atlanta to shoot it, and I had very little interaction with anyone,' Harbour said. 'I just would sit in my house, and be very depressed. I would rarely go out. I started to learn the ukulele a little bit, so I’d play weird songs on the ukulele and just sit.'"  Harbour should be much happier now . . . PLUS he's using some of that Stranger Things paper to have his home redone by a "celebrity contractor" as we speak.

zach-galifianakis-comedians-in-cars-getting-coffee.jpg

Per The Hollywood Reporter, "Netflix announced on Thursday the official lineup for season 10 of Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. After Seinfeld previously confirmed appearances from the late Jerry Lewis and Ellen DeGeneres, the streaming service revealed the remaining names on the star-studded roster.

"In addition to Lewis and DeGeneres, Seinfeld will laugh it out with Dave Chappelle, Kate McKinnon, Hasan Minhaj, Dana Carvey, Neil Brennan, Tracy Morgan, Brian Regan, Zach Galifinakis, Alec Baldwin and John Mulaney.

"Lewis filmed his episode prior to August 2017, when he died at age 91 from heart disease. At the time, Seinfeld took to Instagram to pay tribute to the legendary comedian by sharing a photo of their ride-along interview, accompanied by a touching caption. 'As I've said many times, if you don't get Jerry Lewis, you don't understand comedy,' Seinfeld wrote. 'Spending an afternoon with him a couple of months ago in Vegas for Comedians in Cars was a comedy life moment for me.'

"In February, Seinfeld appeared on DeGeneres' talk show, where the two reminisced on the funny moments they shared during their caffeinated excursion in Montecito, California.

"'I thought it was just the title of the show. Oh my God, the amount of coffee you drink is not good for you,' DeGeneres quipped to the former sitcom actor. 'He never stopped drinking coffee, and we were there hours and you never peed, never got up and you sleep at night.'

"New episodes of Comedians in Cars moved from Crackle, its original distributor, to Netflix in late 2017. The streaming giant has since become the exclusive home to all 59 of the previous episodes of the series in which Seinfeld takes his famous guests for a ride — and, often times, a trip down memory lane — in various vintage vehicles.

"Season 10 of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee will be available to stream on Netflix on July 6."

55b6628c1d00002f00142c13.jpg

"Lizzy Caplan has a grabbed a lead role opposite Octavia Spencer in “Are You Sleeping,” Apple’s upcoming Reese Witherspoon-produced 10-episode thriller drama series, an individual with knowledge of production tells TheWrap.

"The Emmy Award-nominated Masters of Sex alum will play twin sisters Josie and Lanie, whose lives have taken very different paths. The project is co-produced by Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and Chernin Entertainment.

Are You Sleeping is created and written by Nichelle Tramble Spellman (who will serve as showrunner) and based on the true-crime novel by Kathleen Barber, which focuses on America’s obsession with true-crime podcasts.

"The series is executive produced by Spencer under her Orit Entertainment banner, Tramble Spellman, Witherspoon and her Hello Sunshine partner Lauren Neustadter, as well as Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Kristen Campo for Chernin Entertainment.

Are You Sleeping is one of three series Apple has ordered from Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, including the actress’ morning show drama with Jennifer Aniston and the Kristen Wiig-led comedy, You Think It, I’ll Say It.

"The Witherspoon-produced projects are just three of the tech company’s newly-ordered lineup of originals, which includes (but is not limited to) J.J. Abrams and Sara Bareilles’ dramedy Little Voice, the Hailee Steinfeld-led comedy about Emily Dickinson, Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories, Ron Moore’s space drama, the series See from Steven Knight and Francis Lawrence, and the docuseries Home from Matt Tyrnauer and Matthew Weaver."

"Showtime on Thursday offered a first glimpse at Jim Carrey's return to scripted television.

"The premium cable network released the first-look trailer of Kidding, its 10-episode, straight-to-series comedy starring the I'm Dying Up Here executive producer.

"Carrey will star in Kidding as Jeff (aka Mr. Pickles), an icon of children's TV, a beacon of kindness and wisdom to America's impressionable young minds and the parents who grew up with him — and who also anchors a multimillion-dollar branding empire. But when his family life begins to implode, Jeff finds no fairy tale, fable or puppet will guide him through this crisis, which advances faster than his means to cope. The result: A kind man in a cruel world faces a slow leak of sanity as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

"The role is Carrey's first series-regular part in more than two decades. The half-hour comedy will reunite Carrey with his Oscar-winning Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind writer-director, Michel Gondry, who will helm the series, as well as with I'm Dying Up Here co-executive producer Dave Holstein, who created the new series. The show is being produced in-house at Showtime.

"Catherine Keener, Justin Kirk (Weeds), Judy Greer and Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) co-star.

"Kidding will debut Sunday, Sept. 9 at 10 p.m., following the season nine premiere of Shameless on Showtime."

handmaids-c04a026.jpg

Per Variety, "[w]ith peak TV hovering at almost 500 scripted shows alone, for many content providers the question is not how to break through that glut with a standout original of their own but instead how to make sure the audience can find the content they will connect with on their specific platforms.

“'Roku has over 5000 channels,' Rob Holmes, head of programming for the OTT service, said at the ATX Television Festival Thursday. 'Our purpose was really to make it easy to find free stuff. …We worked with a variety of partners to make…sort of an end-cap, like you’d find in a supermarket. [The free content] is curated into this experience that’s front and center on the platform.'

"Holmes acknowledged that as the landscape changes, there is an 'increasing challenge to highlight the great stuff that’s there.'

“'We’re going to leave the super high quality, must have, must pay [programs] to the others who are doing it very well,' Holmes said of Roku’s content plans.

"For some, attracting an audience without focusing on originals is also about the sheer diversity of offerings.

“'We set out to basically reinvent television. We were the first channel to present multi-channel television [online],' Dwayne Benefield, head of Playstation Vue, said, adding that the reason they have been able to have the high ratings they have is because they are doing something digitally that other streaming services are not yet.

"Vue also uses 'channels' as a way to further curate its content and help users navigate the large amount of choices they have, which Benefield acknowledges could go away in the future but for now has helped the audience narrow those choices down.

"While originals are an important side to Hulu’s business, the acquisitions are key, too. Curating content for which the audience is clamoring is key there, and series such as Golden Girls, Boy Meets World and ER have been proven performers in getting viewers staying on the platform for days at a time. ER, for example, attracted more than 35,000 bingewatchers who watched every single episode within the first two months it was available on the service.

“'We look for those shows that are sort of the comfort food to blend in with [originals like The Handmaid’s Tale’s] intensity,' said Lisa Holme, vice president of content acquisitions at Hulu.

"Hulu also expanded into the live television experience to provide consumers who cut the traditional cable cord a chance to watch series when they air in a more traditional time period.

"But whether or not it will expand into hosting or creating live events the way YouTube has, Holme says it’s about, 'What’s the right content that matches the right business model that hopefully matches the delightful consumer experience?' So while there are no solid plans to expand in that way today, '[it] could come some time,' she said.

"As the success of series such as The Handmaid’s Tale proved for Hulu, the evolving landscape does often require the creation of original series to push streaming services forward in a bigger way.

"YouTube Red also saw success with Cobra Kai last month and certainly hopes to continue it with series such as Impulse and Origin. The service, which is rebranding to YouTube Premium, gets a lot of pitches for high school set series as well as tech-based shows, said head of scripted drama Jon Wax. But that’s not all they want to be.

“'On the drama side, we’re definitely looking for some more premium content that could compete with our brethren…but with probably a slightly younger bent for our audience,' he said.

"Both Hulu and YouTube are open to acquiring series that started their lives on other networks. But both Holme and Wax said that the decision over whether or not to 'save' someone else’s original comes down to if the “economics of the show and the size of the audience” match.

“'The reality is that often when a show has declined over time and lost some of the audience over time and the network decides not to continue with it, that was the right decision,' Holme said.

"The production of new streaming originals, whether traditional TV-length or shorter form experiments with run times, is not slowing down anyway. The trick for those who are on the production side, Peter Girardi, executive vice president for Warner Bros.’ Blue Ribbon Content, pointed out, is flexibility.

"Blue Ribbon Content is 'not an incubator,' Girardi added, noting 'between Warner Bros. Television, Warner-Horizon, Telepictures. I’m not going to be a little scrappy guy that spends a third and [can compete]. That’s not going to happen.'

"Instead, the focus is on content that is for the consumer that naturally lives online. This means attracting 'younger talent [that] comes into the studio and tries to get overalls,' as well as 'experimenting' with formats, he continued.

"What is most important to come next, Holmes said, though, is that since 'all TV will be streamed…how do we make it available to everybody?'

"Beyond the need for user-friendly interfaces and further curation of the content being offered, it’s also about making the evolving technology accessible and, equally importantly, known as a viable option in the marketplace."

stranger-things-3840x2160-4k-11309.jpg

Per Deadline, "Penguin Random House will partner with Netflix on a worldwide publishing deal for books based on the critically acclaimed Netflix original series Stranger Things, Deadline has learned.

"The first two titles, set for a release this fall, will be a behind-the-scences companion book and a hardcover gift book for young readers.

"Those two books will be followed next spring by a Stranger Things prequel novel, written by author Gwenda Bond, about Eleven’s mother and the MKUltra program. Additional titles for both adults and young readers will arrive later in 2019.

"This fall’s companion book will be titled Stranger Things: World Turned Upside Down: The Official Behind-The-Scenes Companion. The as-yet-untitled gift book will offer 'advice, wisdom, and warnings from the Stranger Things world,' says the publisher.

"The Stranger Things books will initially release under the U.S. and British Commonwealth publishing teams of Del Rey Books, Random House Children’s Books, Cornerstone Publishing, and Penguin Random House Children’s UK, with additional territories and imprints to follow.

"Audiobook editions will be published by Penguin Random House Audio.

"The fall arrival of the first two books might tide over fans of the Duffer Brothers’ supernatural Netflix hit until Season 3 arrives, most likely sometime early-ish 2019. All that’s known so far about the new season is that Francesca Reale, Cary Elwes and Jake Busey are joining the show, that Reale will play a popular lifeguard at the Hawkins Community Pool who becomes the centerpiece of a dark mystery, and that Elwes will portray Mayor Kline and Busey will be Bruce, a journalist for the The Hawkins Post."