Kudos to Big Brother for FINALLY getting rid of "who wants to see my HOH room?!"
Sacha Baron Cohen new show is exactly what you'd expect it to be. Hilarious if you find him to be so.
Here's a recap, in case you missed it.
HBO's Succession continues to shine.
The fourth and final season of Lifetime’s UnReal is now available for streaming in its entirety on Hulu.
HBO's Robin Williams documentary Come Inside My Mind airs tonight. More below.
A+E airs a Freaks and Geeks documentary tonight offering an inside look at the making of the show. Interviews include James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Linda Cardellini and Busy Philipps, as well as co-creators Paul Feig and Judd Apatow.
"Yvette Nicole Brown will be filling in as an interim guest host of The Walking Dead Season 9 Preview Special and Talking Dead as AMC continues to investigate former Talking Dead and Walking Dead specials host Chris Hardwick, a network spokesman said Friday. The special will air Aug. 5, while Talking Dead will return after the premiere of Fear the Walking Dead on Aug. 12."
"Denis Leary’s Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll co-star Elaine Hendrix has joined the cast of his USA pilot Erase. Co-created by Leary and Homeland vet Alex Cary, the dark comedy follows Donal O’Neal (Leary), a dirty ex-cop who decides to do the right thing and bring down his complicit superior officers. Hendrix will star in the pilot as Bella Tanne, a fling from Donal’s past. She is described as “daring, fun, flirtatious and big hearted. Bring her a problem and she’ll find a solution.”
A new season of Southern Charm: Savannah premieres tonight on Bravo.
Netflix has renewed Queer Eye for a 3rd season.
From Variety: "HBO has given a series order to The Nevers, a science-fiction drama from Joss Whedon. The series is described as a sci-fi epic about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world.
"Whedon will serve as writer, director, executive producer, and showrunner.
“'We have long been fans of the incredibly talented and prolific Joss Whedon and we can’t think of a better project than The Nevers with which to welcome him to the HBO family,' said HBO programming president Casey Bloys. 'We look forward to meeting the strange, multifaceted characters of The Nevers, to learn their stories, see them in action and share them with our viewers. We’re honored that Joss chose HBO as the place to build his ambitious new world and we are excited to get started.'
"HBO landed the project in a competitive situation. Netflix had also bid for the The Nevers.
“'I honestly couldn’t be more excited,' Whedon said. ‘The Nevers is maybe the most ambitious narrative I’ve created, and I can’t imagine a better home for it than HBO. Not only are they the masters of cinematic long-form, but their instant understanding of my odd, intimate epic was as emotional as it was incisive. It’s been too long since I created an entirely new fictional world, and the HBO team offer not just scope and experience, not just "prestige," but a passionate collaboration. I could go on, but — I’m impatiently grateful to say — I have work to do.'
"Whedon is also serving as exec producer on Pippa Smith: Grown-Up Detective, a half-hour comedy series in development at Freeform."
Per Deadline, "[s]on’t look to today’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia tweets — with new key art and a teaser promo — for answers on whether Glenn Howerton’s Dennis will be on the show when it returns September 5 for Season 13 on FXX.
"But there are clues on this Friday the 13th. Sorta.
"In the new key art, Sunny‘s Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, Danny DeVito and Kaitlin Olson are pictured, in slasher-flick style, running terrified from a secluded cabin. In the background, on the cabin porch, is an ax-wielding, hockeymask-wearing maniac. Could the Jason Voorhees wannabe be the gang’s Dennis?
"Very possibly, given Dennis’ well-established sociopathic tendencies and serial killer fantasies. But more to the point, does his background placement signal a reduction in Howerton’s presence on the comedy? The actor’s NBC sitcom A.P. Bio was renewed in May for a second season.
"We already know that Sunny‘s upcoming season picks up from 2017’s Season 12 cliffhanger, when Dennis bid goodbye to the Paddy’s Pub gang after learning that he’d fathered a baby boy during a layover in North Dakota. The official FXX synopsis for Season 13 has Mac (McElhenney), Charlie (Day), Dee (Olson) and Frank (DeVito) back, as always, at Paddy’s Pub, while Howerton’s Dennis “takes on the new role of father in North Dakota.”
"The teaser tweeted today (watch it below) doesn’t help much either, showing only the show’s recurring characters, with the message: “After 12 seasons we have a lot of stories to tell.” The promo shows, campfire-style, Gregory Scott Cummins as Mac’s dad Luther, Artemis Pebdani’s Artemis, Lynne Marie Stewart as Charlie’s mom Bonnie, Andrew Friedman as Charlie’s Uncle Jack, Lance Barber’s Bill Ponderosa, Thesy Surface’s Margaret McPoyle, Mary Elizabeth Ellis’ Waitress and Sandy Martin as Mac’s mom.
"The clip starts as the camera zooms past someone’s shoulder before Cummins begins his tale. Dennis? Nah. On closer inspection, the shoulder seems to belong to Mac’s mom, suggesting the camera is moving in a round-the-campfire way."
Per The Hollywood Reporter, "Sugar, a series executive produced by Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, will debut on YouTube Premium on Aug. 15.
"Inspired by the Maroon 5 music video for the band’s 2014 same-titled hit in which the band crashed several weddings across Los Angeles, the 8-episode series features a different artist each week surprising fans who have given back to their communities. Among the treats are pop-up performances by the artist and other events. The video for Sugar has earned more than 2.5 billion views.
"Levine’s The Voice pals Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson are among the acts taking part, as well as Snoop Dogg, Charlie Puth, A$AP Ferg and Bad Bunny.
“'I'm really excited to show this interesting show/experiment filled with many different experiences and emotions; based on the concept behind our video for Sugar. I'm extremely grateful and equally excited for all who participated on both sides of the camera,' Levine said in a statement.
"Sugar is from Levine’s 222 Productions and Renegade Productions, an eOne Company. The series is executive produced by David Dobkin, who directed Maroon 5’s Sugar music video, as well as the film Wedding Crashers. Alex Van Wagner is the director. In addition to Levine and Dobkin, Jay Renfroe, David Garfinkle, Megan Wolpert Dobkin, Josh Gummersall and Todd Yasui are executive producers."
From The Huffington Post: "'Hello, Bill, it’s Lord Sisley,' says a man in a posh English accent. 'I’m in Africa. And dear God, man, you should be here. There’s creatures who would adore you. I send you all my love. But not like that day in boys school. Something different. Something wonderful. A hug. But if you wish, Bubbly, call.'
"This is one of the many voicemails Robin Williams left for his longtime pal and fellow comedian Billy Crystal over the course of a decadeslong friendship. Like Lord Sisley’s communiqué, each message Williams concocted featured a new character formed inside his ever-churning brain ― a hobby taken up just to make his buddy laugh.
"As Crystal explains in the new HBO documentary on the late, great actor, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind, he always knew that if he had a missed call from Williams it was going to be a wonderful day.
“'The phone would ring and I’d look at it and see the 415 area code,' Crystal recalls with a smile. 'I knew it was him. I knew it was going to be something really good.'
"One time, Williams aped Ronald Reagan. Another, Sam from the Sibilance Society. So, when Williams underwent heart surgery in 2009, Crystal returned the favor by leaving him a dozen voicemails from Vinny the Valve Guy ― a mechanic character who 'supplied the valve' for Williams.
“'A day and a half [after his procedure],' Crystal says, 'and he was in pain and had just gone through this massive surgery, he called me, "Oh god, ohhh, hilarious! You know, can I talk to Vinny?”'
“Come Inside My Mind director Marina Zenovich told HuffPost that she heard about the voicemails from an assistant of Williams’ longtime manager, David Steinberg, who was helping her and producer Alex Gibney secure old footage and audio of the comedian.
“'So I chased down Billy to get the messages and it took awhile, but one day they appeared on my phone,' Zenovich said, her initial excitement still oozing through the phone. 'It’s like, "Are you kidding me?!" They were just so wonderful and showed the fun they had.'
“'I think that they really loved each other and could keep up with each other,' she added. 'One line, in particular, I love in the movie is when Billy says, "Everybody wanted something from him. I just liked him."You really got a sense of that.'
"Zenovich, who interviewed everyone from David Letterman and Steve Martin to Williams’ first wife, Valerie Velardi, and his son Zak Williams, said there was something particularly moving about Crystal’s sit-down.
"On the whole, her documentary centers around memories from the people who knew Williams best, along with anecdotes from the man himself. Come Inside My Mind is almost fully narrated by the Oscar-winning actor; his sketches and candid interviews with celebrity interviewer Lawrence Grobel form a throughline in the film. It’s powerful, funny and, well, extremely sad.
"It’s a bittersweet experience for the audience, and for Zenovich, who recounted her time making a film about everyone’s favorite comedic genie in the conversation excerpted below:
Why Robin, and why this portrait of his life?
I think for every documentary filmmaker, you’re always trying to figure out what to do next, what interests you, what intrigues you. I’ve been a fan of Robin since I was a kid. There are particular movies that spoke to me. I never saw him live, but he’s just utterly intriguing. His mind was just something that was a gift from God. So basically I decided to make a film about him, and there were two competing projects and we merged. And here we are!
What were these competing projects?
Alex Gibney was making a film and I was making a film. Alex is an old friend and a mentor, and so it was kind of one of those, “Are you making a film about Robin Williams? I’m making a film about Robin Williams!” So we decided to merge and he was the producer and I was the director.
Alex is someone who I’ve gone to for advice through the years. Documentary filmmakers are all kind of a similar breed ― we try to help each other.
Do you find that there’s a lot of overlap, especially in the documentary world, when you want to be current and cover topics that will interest viewers at a particular time?
Yeah, it’s hard because when things are happening, you’re kind of like, “Oh my God. I should be making a documentary about this!” Or it’s either you need to do it super fast or you need to wait awhile, you know?
So when you and Alex came together, at what point were you at in the process?
I was at the beginning and I think Alex was not even at the beginning, so it was perfect timing. I don’t have a big production company or anything so it was hard at first. It was during a time when the Williams camp wasn’t interested in doing anything, so it took some time. These things always do.
I’m sure you reached out to his widow, Susan Schneider, and his second wife, Marsha Garces, who weren’t in the film. How did that feel when they said, “I don’t want to be a part of it”?
Yeah. There was a time when my specialty was making films about people who weren’t in them. And so I’m kind of relentless for chasing people down and trying to get them to be in the film. I did that with [Williams’ close friend] Bobcat [Goldthwait] ― he really didn’t want to be in it and I respected that. With Marsha and Susan, I reached out to both of them. Both of them didn’t want to be in it. Neither did the two younger children, and it’s a little different in that I really respect that. I respect their need for privacy and not wanting to talk about it.
It’s hard, but you get over it. You move on and you try to be as true to the story as you can and pick archive and pictures that help you tell their story without their cooperation.
You ended up interviewing a lot of incredible people from Robin’s life.
When I reached out to Robin’s first wife, Valerie Velardi, she put me in touch with people. First, you reach out to people and either they’re OK with you or they’re not. If they are and they like you, then they connect you with other people.
You really shine a light on Robin’s personal life through interviews with his close friends like Eric Idle and Billy Crystal, who shares those great voicemails.
One of the great things about doing the film with the estate was that Robin’s manager was able to help us get some interviews with David Letterman and Billy Crystal. ... You want these people to kind of be there to tell you about what it was like in the ’70s when they were all starting out. David Letterman talks about that and he says, “It was the best time of my life.” And you really feel like you’re capturing something that people love, you know?
And getting Zak, his son, was invaluable, because he could speak to being the child of Robin Williams. If we didn’t have him, we wouldn’t have that. He’s so thoughtful and well-spoken and really seemed to understand his dad so much. I was really pleased that he was willing to talk to us.
Oh, totally. I mean, it’s like who was going to say that? We didn’t have Robin’s widow saying it or Robin’s son, so I thought Bobcat would be perfect, because he talked about it in an interview and he was close to him. So you make these choices as you go along and sometimes when you don’t get interviews, you end up finding a way to make it work.
I love that the film focuses on Robin and his career and not too much on his death. Is that something you were aiming for, to give people an insight into his life more so than his death?
We knew from the beginning we didn’t want to focus on the death. We knew that it was going to be a part of the story, but I just felt he had such an amazing life and there was so much energy to it. We knew we always had to tackle his death and didn’t know how we were going to. But when I interviewed people I didn’t even have to bring it up, because they would bring it up.
I feel like for my characters in the Robin film, they wanted to show up for Robin and they wanted to tell their stories. All these little moments paint a portrait of a life that you’re trying to capture without the main character. You have his voice and you have his image and you have him doing stand-up and acting, but it all helps.
Just to go through all the photos and clips and get permission to use that sort of content must have been tough. Can you talk about the process of gathering the information and piecing it together?
I came up with an analogy of spinning a lot of plates. What was great with partnering up with Alex is he had the big production company, we had a big research team. They were in New York, I was in Los Angeles. My other producer Shirel Kozak was in New York. We were working with the estate, I was working a lot with Robin Williams’ former manager David Steinberg, who was helping us ― just gathering footage, looking for archives, reaching out to people. I mean, it’s kind of like doing a lot of things at the same time. And then we started filming. We shot in New York, LA, Nashville, San Francisco.
Once we did all the interviews, I had my editor and assistant editor in Los Angeles. We were going through all the archives and getting it transcribed and trying to figure out how we wanted to tell the film. We knew that we wanted to tell it with Robin’s voice as much as possible, kind of have him telling his own story. So we were really looking for audio. It turned out that Larry Grobel, who had interviewed Robin twice for Playboy, had kept all of his audio tapes. It was that kind of stuff ... always looking for something that people haven’t seen or heard before.
I had an editor named Greg Finton, who I worked with on the Duke lacrosse film for ESPN. And then we ended up bringing in a second editor, Poppy Das, later in the process, because what you really need with this kind of film ― where you have 100 to 150 hours of archives ― is time. You need time to look at things. You need time to pick out audio lines that you’re going to use. You need time to try things out.
Lastly, you did a film on Richard Pryor in 2013 and Robin was in it. Did you get to interview him?
I didn’t. I was sick that day. I was so excited to do the interview and I was deathly sick. I mean, so much so that I couldn’t fly and my producer did it. I felt like that was a missed opportunity and I wonder how this film would have been different had I met him. I don’t know."
Per The Ringer, "[i]t’s hard to keep a straight face on a conference call with Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson, the cocreators, cowriters, and costars of the Comedy Central sitcom Detroiters. Conference calls can crush souls, but every hiccup on this particular call—trouble connecting, an audio delay, muffled voices, and confusion about whose turn it is to talk—reminds me of a scene from Season 1 of Detroiters, in which Richardson and Robertson mock conference-call conventions.
"Even though they don’t preface every statement with 'This is Tim' or 'This is Sam,' it makes me smile to play the third party while we unintentionally reenact that call. But it’s OK that I can’t stay serious, because Richardson and Robinson keep cracking up too. Richardson says something, and Robinson giggles in response. Then Richardson snickers about Robinson’s reaction, which makes Robinson chortle more. This process repeats itself, sometimes in reverse; the two sketch-comedy veterans are breaking on a conference call. If this is how much fun they have in separate places, joined by only a fuzzy phone connection while a stranger asks them questions and multiple PR people silently listen in, one can only imagine how much fun they have in person.
"Alternatively, one can watch Detroiters and experience some of that fun for oneself. The series, which reached the halfway point of its second 10-episode season Thursday, centers on the bond between the on-screen Sam and Tim, two dimwitted but well-meaning partners at Cramblin Duvet, a local ad agency they inherited when Tim’s confidence-inspiring, Don Draper–esque dad (played by actual Detroiter Kevin Nash) lost his grasp on reality, brought a briefcase full of feces to a back-to-school sales meeting, and distributed its contents to each attendee. 'The shit in the briefcase? Wasn’t my shit,' he later confides to Tim. 'I think that actually makes it worse, dad,' Tim tells him.
"With 'Big Hank' hospitalized, the agency’s employees quit, and its clients left. Now Sam (who’s preening, sensitive, and slightly more competent than Tim) and Tim (who’s louder, less refined, and slightly less egotistical than Sam) are building the business back up again, one small-time client and low-budget, poorly produced, and often ill-conceived spot at a time. “We’ll come up with something,” Sam says in the pilot, as the two brainstorm taglines for an out-of-their-league Chrysler campaign. 'No we won’t, man,' Tim answers. 'We’re dumb.' Sam restores Tim’s resolve by reminding him of their first satisfied customer: Stan from the carpet store, whom they rebranded from Big Stan the Carpet Guy to Big Stan the Carpet Man. 'It rhymed,' they recall. They’re bad, but they’re trying.
"Richardson jokes that the duo’s Detroiters doppelgängers are 'just smarter versions of ourselves.' On the show, the two fictional friends are inseparable even outside of the office; Tim is married to Sam’s sister, and their houses stand side by side, which allows them to lean out the windows and talk at intimate moments. Privacy is rarely something they seek, except when their proximity sabotages Sam’s dating life—a story inspired by actual events. 'The [TV] friendship is not really that heightened,' Robinson says. 'It might even be more heightened in real life.' Richardson responds, 'Yeah, exactly. It might be toned down to make sense for TV.' To which Robinson says, 'It might seem unbelievable if we showed the truth.'
"The truth is that the two Detroit-area natives met at the since-shuttered comedy venue Second City Detroit, when the then-21-year-old Robinson (who’s now 37) served as a Level-A improv instructor for the then-18-year-old Richardson (who’s now 34). They became fast friends, performing first in Detroit and later in Chicago and as part of Second City’s touring companies. Both went on to more prominent roles post–Second City: Robinson joined Saturday Night Live as a performer in 2012 and transitioned to staff writer in 2013. Richardson joined Veep as Selina Meyer’s earnest, endearing, and bumbling handler Richard Splett in Season 3, cracking one of the best casts in comedy to become a series regular in Season 4. Even as their careers took them to separate sets and stages, though, they remained real-life besties and wanted to work together again.
"Roughly five years ago, Jason Sudeikis—who appears in two Season 1 episodes and, along with Lorne Michaels, is credited as an EP—suggested that the two pitch a project for TV. 'The number-one thing we always talked about was it had to be about Detroit,' Richardson says. 'So finally we were like, "Let’s make a show about us in Detroit.”' Comedy Central okayed the concept, and the pair shot the pilot in June 2015. Production proceeded in 2016, and the series premiered the following February, earning a renewal last March and glowing reviews.
"Although many previous series have been set in and around Detroit—includingMartin and Home Improvement, whose casts Richardson and Robertson have mined for memorable cameos—no show has embraced their city (or perhaps any city) more wholeheartedly than Detroiters, right down to the title and theme song. Despite the untimely end of Michigan’s film-incentives program shortly after the pair produced the pilot, Richardson and Robertson pushed for the show to be shot in Detroit, and the network approved the extra expense, understanding that the city was integral to the show. 'We felt like filming anywhere else, it would be untrue to what we were trying to accomplish with the show, and that’s to show the city in its truth,' Richardson says.
"That truth includes occasional jokes about crime and poverty, as well as winking plotlines about economic renewal—in Season 1’s sixth episode, Third Floor, a tech company moves in downstairs, immediately drawing praise for “saving Detroit” even as it robs Tim and Sam of the bathroom that they delighted in visiting to take the 'Browns' to the 'Super Bowl'—but every dig is delivered with warmth, affection, and a lifer’s sense for idiosyncrasy, the way 30 Rock ragged on New York. Detroiters’ Detroit is a welcoming place; this is not another RoboCop. 'We wanted the show to be a positive depiction of Detroit,' Richardson says. Although he and Robinson have pursued opportunities outside the city, the middling brains behind Cramblin Duvet wouldn’t dream of going national; they rejoice over repping the Michigan Science Center and fantasize about landing Little Caesars.
"Area exports and stalwarts, among them Michael Che, Tim Meadows, Keegan-Michael Key, Jim Harbaugh, and Rick Mahorn, flit in and out of frame, and the references to Detroit staples—including a tossed-off reference to Bob Seger’s diet tequila, 'Light Moves'—come almost too quickly to catch. Local actors—some of them first-timers—litter the cast, and area sensations and celebrities like the defunct The New Dance Show and former newsman Mort Crim play prominent roles. Non-natives might never realize that they’re seeing real people, places, or things, because Detroiters never signals that it’s making inside jokes and excluding those not in the know, and the local legends are funny the first time. 'Even though they are very specific-to-Detroit references, every area has their own [quirks] that they are proud of too,' Robinson says. 'So I think it resonates with people.'
"The cast’s racial makeup mirrors the city’s, which Richardson confirms isn’t an accident: 'It’s 80 percent black because the city of Detroit is that,' he says. Although racial issues surface at times in the series, they aren’t a primary source of either conflict or comedy, which Richardson attributes to how rarely they arise in his friendship with Robinson. 'Tim and I don’t say, “Oh man, I’m black, you’re white, how are we going to live today?”' he says. 'As it does in real life, [race] does affect us, but that’s not what the focus of the show is because that’s not what we want to focus on. We wanted to be truthful to it but not have it be a race comedy. This is a friendship comedy.'
ˆ"Detroiters dwells comfortably within the friendship-show lineage: The city and the ad agency are grounding, guffaw-inducing platforms for the real business of being buddies, playing the parts that Pawnee and local government occupied in Parks and Recreation. The well-honed chemistry between Richardson and Robinson forms the meat of each episode; Robinson jokes that that chemistry 'comes from a mutual fear of each other.' Some of the funniest scenes stem from wordless, physical, madcap comedy that seems almost improvised, although according to the costars, most of the improv occurs while they’re working on the scripts.
"When those scripts’ laughs come at characters’ expense, Robinson and Richardson are their own most frequent targets. 'Whenever we’re mean, we’re mean as dummies,' Richardson says. 'We get angry about the banal, about things that don’t matter. But really, the main overarching thing is love, and that is on purpose. And that’s also how we are wired.' Detroiters exudes the positivity of a Michael Schur show, but because of its cocreators’ origins, it’s often slapstick and silly. 'There’s certainly a sketch element to it,' Robinson says. 'A lot of the outside characters are kind of one-off characters that have a sketch premise within them.' At times, he and Richardson have to rein in their improv impulses. 'With Sam and [me], we have to really look at when we go too far, as far as what’s believable and what’s too cartoony,' he says. The show’s world is whimsical, populated with likable oddballs such as Sheila, the aged assistant who still does the bend and snap, and Ned, the downstairs security guard who tries out terrible taglines whenever the ad men enter. ('Campbell’s Soup: It’s just wet-ass food,' he hopefully volunteers.) In only 15 aired episodes, the show has established a number of Easter eggs, recurring bits, and callbacks, from the pause-worthy titles of made-up magazines and books to Sam’s father’s fondness for doing the hustle. 'We try to build that universe as much as we can and as big as we can,' Richardson says.
"Unfortunately for the show’s future, the ratings haven’t kept pace with the world-building. When Robinson made it to SNL, he was joining a TV institution. When Richardson reached Veep, the series was already acclaimed and on the verge of an Outstanding Comedy Emmy three-peat. With Detroiters, the two friends are trying to start something from scratch in an incredibly crowded scripted landscape. 'Our viewership is not a billion,' says Richardson wryly. A million would be a sizable bump; the series averaged 366,000 live viewers last season and sank to 265,000 through its first four episodes this year, although its audience on DVR delay was a bit more robust. (Predictably, metro Detroit was its no. 1 market.) According to Comedy Central president Kent Alterman’s comments last year, the network renewed the show largely out of faith in Robinson and Richardson, and while the duo’s second-season output—which expands the show’s scope both in terms of its extra-office locations and its leads’ family lives—has been just as strong creatively, the program has yet to break through the static of its peak-TV competition.
“'We’ve got an everyday struggle to get people to actually just see or know about the show, whereas people will just tune into SNL because they just know SNL exists,' Richardson says. 'There’s so much stuff out there, and so many presumptions [about] what the show is. A lot of people assume—looking at the poster or whatever, hearing the title—that either the show is an Atlanta knockoff or the show is just heavy bro humor.'
"Like the city it celebrates, Detroiters could use some outside aid and a ratings stimulus. 'My reach is as far as my Twitter handle goes and as far as my Instagram goes,' Richardson says. 'Past that ...' He trails off, and then laughs. That laughter, at least, hasn’t stopped—not for Richardson and Robinson, and not for the relative few who’ve discovered what for me has, even pre-conference call, been the best comedy of the summer. The off-screen Sam and Tim seem to cherish writing a sitcom about their city as much as their characters relish shooting ads. The difference is that in real life, they deserve to keep doing it."