Tuesday July 24, 2018

I'm seeing a LOT of praise for Pose. I haven't watched and don't really have much interest in doing so.

"Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson are returning to HBO with more 2 Dope Queens specials. The network announced today that Williams and Robinson’s podcast will return next year with four new hour-long specials. The first round of specials, which were directed by Tig Notaro, debuted earlier this year featuring special guests Jon Stewart, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tituss Burgess, and Uzo Aduba plus appearances by John Early, Rhea Butcher, Kevin Barnett, Naomi Ekperigin, and more."

In the event you had doubts that any group of people could make the cast of Jersey Shore look intelligent, I bring you the cast of MTV's Floribama Shore. Sally Ann Salsano is the undisputed champion of casting dipshits. Bravo!

I've mentioned this before, but Dax Shepard's podcast is very very good. His banter with celebrities is amongst the best I've heard.

Matthew McConaughey making noises. Amazing.

Variety spoke with John Krasinski about Jack Ryan amongst other topics.

"Sony Pictures Television chairman Mike Hopkins wants to grow the studio's advertiser-based SVOD platform Crackle — but wants to do so by bringing in a partner on the service that's home to scripted originals including Snatch. On Monday, Hopkins informed staff of the company's plans to bring in another outside partner for the venture via an internal memo. Sources stress the move is considered a way to bulk up the service. One option could be selling a stake in Crackle, though insiders caution Sony is not looking to completely sell that part of its business. Hopkins is seeking a potential partner to help drive Crackle's scale and position the streamer to better compete in a landscape that also features deep-pocketed streamers Apple, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube and Facebook, among others."

"Riverside, Calif., police are currently investigating the disappearance of former MTV video jockey Josiah Camp, better known as Jesse Camp. Officer Ryan J. Railsback, a spokesman with the Riverside Police Department, confirmed to Variety that Camp was reported missing by his sister, Mariah, on July 19 after he failed to respond to calls from herself and other family members, which, according to her, is unusual. Though he does not live in Riverside, Camp was known to frequent the town and surrounding areas, and was apparently last seen there. Though his sister noted that Camp 'might have been a little bit depressed lately,' Railsback said, other behavior that might have contributed to his disappearance was not specified. Mariah Camp also went on social media to request help in finding Jesse. In an Instagram story titled 'SOS!!!!,' she wrote, 'If anyone has seen or heard from my brother Jesse since Saturday, please, please, please reach out to me or ask him to call home!!!'”

"Nicholas 'Duffy' Fudge, a recurring cast member on the hit reality show Wicked Tuna, is dead at a very young age ... according to Nat Geo. Nicholas had been on the show since 2013. His death was announced on the the show's Facebook page ... which only said he had passed away last week. The post did not mention a cause of death. He was a New Hampshire-based fisherman who served as first mate to Captain Tyler McLaughlin on their fishing vessel, Pinwheel. If you haven't seen it ... Nat Geo's very successful show follows the fishermen as they head out to sea attempting to catch bluefin tuna, which can weigh hundreds of pounds and be worth thousands of dollars each."

The 76th Golden Globe Awards will air January 6, 2019, with nominations set to be announced on Thursday, December 6, 2018. It has not yet been determined which network will broadcast the ceremony.

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Per EW, "[f]or at least a half-hour per week, Abbi Jacobson hopes the upcoming final season of Broad City can bring happiness during an otherwise 'f—ing insane' time.

"Broad City hasn’t shied away from politics as season 3 featured Hillary Clinton, while season 4 had Donald Trump’s name bleeped out and an episode where Ilana (Ilana Glazer) sought help after going orgasm-less since the election. And ahead of season 5, the country has only become more divided.

“'The state of the world is f—ing insane; it’s like hard to go on social media, it’s hard to go on any news source, it’s just hard to be around right now,' Jacobson tells EW. 'And I just want to make this last season something that people can watch and kind of be happy for 21 minutes and 15 seconds, that’s kind of my goal.'

"After starting as a web series in 2010 and moving to Comedy Central as a full-fledged series in 2014, Jacobson and Glazer have decided to end Broad City with the upcoming fifth season.

“'We’ve been talking about it for probably a year before we made the decision,' shares Jacobson. 'This show should not go on forever. These characters are so based on us and it’s really about New York when you’re in your 20’s and this fleeting moment of time. I’m 34, Ilana is 31 — and I know we look way younger. It’s our baby and we wanted to retain all of our creative juices and enthusiasm, and if it kept going, it just sort of felt like it wasn’t going to be able to do that.'

"The end is starting to feel real for Jacobson now that they’ve completed work on all of the final season scripts and production has recently started up. 'We want to go out on a bang,' she declares. 'We’ve already done table reads for it and it’s bittersweet, but it feels very true to the characters.'

"The final season of Broad City is set to air in early 2019."

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"HBO will remain in the Bill Simmons business.

"The premium cable network has inked a new deal with Simmons, still the most prominent voice in sports journalism. He’ll continue to be focused on creating and producing sports-themed content across the portfolio, be it series, films or the kinds of documentary programming with which he had considerable success at his former home, ESPN. The announcement arrives on the heels of his first foray into the latter at HBO with April's Andre the Giant, which quickly became the most-watched documentary in HBO Sports history with nearly 7 million viewers across the network’s linear and digital platforms.

“'I’m thrilled to keep going with the HBO family and can’t wait to get started on a couple of the more ambitious projects we’ve hatched,' said Simmons, effusive in his praise as he continued: 'I witnessed it firsthand with our Andre doc — when you create something unique for HBO, they’ve built so much trust and equity in their audience over the years that it’s always going to be seen. Every single time. If it’s good and it’s on HBO, it will stand out. Even though we have more entertainment choices than ever right now, HBO still cuts through in an incredibly precise, almost unassailable way — and they work better with creatives than anyone, period. I am lucky to work with them and I know it.'

"Simmons’ new deal comes as HBO looks to up its output under new AT&T ownership. In a widely covered town hall meeting with the staff, WarnerMedia’s new chief, John Stankey, a longtime AT&T executive, stressed the significance of adding considerably more content across the portfolio, noting: 'I want more hours of engagement.' Still, the new deal is not as broad-sweeping as Simmons’ original, which included a talk showAny Given Wednesday. The weekly show launched in June 2016 and was pulled in November of the same year. During its run, Simmons had a wide range of guests come through, including a memorable turn from Ben Affleck, as well Jimmy Kimmel, Larry Wilmore and soccer star Abby Wambach. The episodes reportedly averaged only 200,000 viewers for their premiere showings, roughly a fifth of fellow HBO host Bill Maher's regular haul.

"It was former programming chief Michael Lombardo who initially lured Simmons to the network in 2015, following his famously messy divorce from ESPN. At that time, Lombardo had been impressed by Simmons' podcast work, pointing specifically to his interviews with Girls creator/star Lena Dunham and NBA forward Serge Ibaka. 'I just thought, "This guy can go from Lena to Serge Ibaka with such passion and dexterity, I have to meet him,"' he told THR shortly before the series debuted. As part of the initial pact, HBO made a small investment in The Ringer as well.

"The Ringer's podcast network has grown significantly in the years since. At last count, it was home to 26 podcasts, including The Dave Chang Show, Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air, The Watch and Simmons’ own eponymous show. Collectively, the network lays claim to over 32 million downloads, with Simmons’ podcast averaging nearly 1.2 million downloads per episode. The site, for its part, notched its most trafficked month in June, with more than 40 million page views and close to 10 million unique visitors, up 40 percent from a year earlier.

"Looking ahead, Simmons intends to expand The Ringer into films, having recently launched Ringer Films. He is staying mum on specific plans for now but intends to announce his first slate of scripted and non-scripted projects later this year. There will be more ad partnerships and more shows, too, be they digital (his NBA Draft show averaged close to 10k viewers over three hours) or linear (a la his Courtside at the NBA Finals for HBO)."

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"TNT is replenishing its pilot crop.

"The Turner-owned cable network has handed out pilot orders to dramas Constance, starring Elisabeth Shue and exec produced by Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey, as well as Beast Mode, from writer David Schneiderman (Level Up).

"Constance, written by KC Perry (The Originals), is described as a fun, darkly humorous, veneer-stripping story about one woman's refusal to fade into obsolescence. It follows former beauty queen-turned-small town bureaucrat, Constance Young (Shue, Leaving Las Vegas, CSI), whose life is thrown into turmoil after her husband’s mysterious death. Realizing she and her family are on the verge of financial ruin, Constance turns to cooking the books at City Hall, while simultaneously trying to reinvent herself through the hyper-competitive world of direct-sales cosmetics. 

"The potential series hails from Sonar Entertainment, where the Iron Man star and his wife's production company, Team Downey, have an overall deal. Both exec produce alongside Amanda Burrell, Bill Dubuque (Ozark), Tom Lesinski, Jenna Santoianni (Mr. Mercedes) and Jesse Peretz (GLOW), with the latter set to direct the pilot, which is a co-production with Turner's Studio T. Shue, who next stars in Amazon's straight-to-series comic book drama The Boys, and Perry also exec produce.

"Beast Mode, meanwhile, is inspired by the life of legendary boxing trainer Ann Wolfe and tells the story of a brilliant-yet-damaged woman with a "kill or be killed" mentality. While those qualities make her a great trainer, they tend to cause problems in the rest of her life. Schneiderman will exec produce the pilot, which hails from MACRO and Studio T. Stefanie Huie and MACRO's Charles D. King (Mudbound), Kim Roth (Inside Man) and Poppy Hanks (Fences) will exec produce. Wolfe will be credited as a producer.

"'Constance and Beast Mode exist in two radically different worlds, one of cosmetics and crime, and the other of elite boxing, but both pilots are about complicated, empowered women who are incredible forces of nature,' said Sarah Aubrey, exec vp originals at TNT. 'Their passion and ambition, mixed with a healthy dose of craziness, make them unforgettable characters that our viewers will love.'

"Beast Mode and Constance mark TNT's latest pilot orders. They join Margaret Cho vehicle Highland at the Kevin Reilly-led cable network. TNT's scripted roster includes The Alienist, Animal Kingdom, Claws and the upcoming I Am the Night, Snowpiercer and Tell Me Your Secrets."

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From Variety: "Castle Rock, Hulu’s latest psychological-horror series from the Stephen King oeuvre, is set to premiere Wednesday, July 25. After the recent release of the eerie trailer for the first season and a packed panel discussion at Comic-Con this weekend, details about the horror-thriller starring Bill Skarsgard and Andre Holland are starting to come together.

"Here’s what we know so far about the anthology series set in the most famous fictional town in the Stephen King universe:

Castle Rock, Maine, Is Familiarly Creepy Territory for a Stephen King Project

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that another chilling mystery has reared its foreboding head in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine, as the ill-fated spot has played the central setting in a number of King tales like Cujo, The Body, and Needful Things. Because Castle Rock is an important town in the Stephen King library, co-creator and executive producer Sam Shaw explained at the ATX Television Festival, receiving the go-ahead for the series from King himself was crucial to him and his collaborator, Dustin Thomason. 'We needed and wanted to have his blessing.'

A Familiar Character Returns

King fans who’ve read up on his 1990s-era novels will be familiar with Scott Glenn’s character, Alan Pangborn. The show will feature scenes with Pangborn set in the 1990s, which were shot on film as compared to the digital shooting they did with his present-day story set decades later, producers told Variety. Pangborn was the former sheriff of Castle Rock, and during his tenure he faced off against a malevolent demon disguised as a curio shop owner and the evil spiritual twin of a novelist. Pangborn was also previously played by Ed Harris in the 1993 adaptation of Needful Things.

Andre Holland Is Our Way Into the Story

As is seen in the trailer, the mystery all begins with Henry Deaver, as portrayed by Andre Holland. The Moonlight actor’s ability as someone “who really brought you into a world and made itfeel totally true and and human and natural, even as strange occurrences began to happen around them” was essential to his landing the part of the death row attorney with a unique and complicated history, according to Thomason.

King Veterans and Fresh Meat Comprise the Cast of Townies

No stranger to King adaptations, Bill Skarsgard, who is already set to reprise his role as Pennywise in It: Chapter 2, will be playing the man at the center of the first season’s mystery set in Shawkshank Penitentiary. Another veteran King universe cast member is Sissy Spacek, who Thomason called “sort of the original Stephen King star” for her titular role in “Carrie.” Spacek plays Deaver’s adoptive mother. Additional cast members include Glenn, who plays Spacek’s character’s 'seen-it-all sheriff' boyfriend and Terry O’Quinn, whose character grew up in Castle Rock and saw many tragedies pass through the town. Melanie Lynskey appears as Molly Strand, a woman with a rare medical condition who’s barely scraping by as a real estate agent in a town where every third property is the site of someone’s worst nightmare. Allison Tolman was cast to play Lynskey’s sister after tweeting at Lynskey to congratulate her on booking the role and suggesting that they should play sisters.

This is J.J. Abrams and Stephen King’s Second Hulu Collaboration

Previously teaming up for 11.22.63 starring James Franco, Castle Rock marks the second time Abrams and King are coming together as executive producers for the streamer. In particular, for a story exploring 'the kinds of people who would stay in a town after experiencing demonic dogs and serial murderers,' as Shaw puts it, the waters for such a pitch had previously been tread at Abrams’ Bad Robot banner. 'It was our understanding that we were not the first people to knock on his door and ask for a cup of sugar and to set a show in the town of Castle Rock,' Shaw said. But once Abrams and Warner Bros. made the series a go, King 'was flexible and gave us great license,' Shaw said of the writer.

Castle Rock Is an Anthology Series

Like the 'seasonal anthology style' of storytelling Ryan Murphy made a trademark, viewers will watch one story 'run its course throughout the episodes' of the first season, Shaw noted. It will focus on the town as a place that has been 'visited and revisited,' featuring some characters that are from the Stephen King universe and some that just share DNA-style traits with previous Stephen King characters. Both Shaw and Thomason like the idea of the town as a kind of 'advent calendar' and being able to jump around in time and bring in different characters that 'intersect in different ways.'

Hulu’s Roll-Out Plan Will Be Similar to the Release of The Handmaid’s Tale Episodes

Like the spring launch plan of Season 2 of The Handmaid’s TaleCastle Rock will premiere three episodes available at once on Wednesday, July 25. The following episodes will then be released one at a time. Shaw admitted that the decision was 'above his pay grade,' but thinks that the “IV drip” way of television rolling out slowly was the right way to go for the series — especially with darker material. 'There are…horror movies and stories that are uncomfortable because you don’t know what to expect from them,' Shaw said. 'There’s something queasy-making and unsettling about entering into scenes and stories and not [being] exactly sure what to be afraid of or what you don’t need to be afraid of. And that’s what Stephen King does.'

The First Episode Was Screened at Comic-Con

During their panel in Ballroom 20 on Friday, July 20, Hulu gave the audience an exclusive screening of the show’s pilot, which centers on Henry Deaver, a capital punishment lawyer who was rescued by Alan Pangborn from drowning in a frozen lake in the 1990s, returning to Castle Rock to solve a mystery involving his father and a mysterious Shawshank prisoner found in an unused cell block."

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Per Realscreen, "Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment has begun production on unscripted financial series The Fixer, with executive producer Ashton Kutcher.

"Hosted by Dan Rosensweig, CEO of Chegg Inc., the 10 x 30-minute series is aimed at helping millennials overcome their struggles with financial debt, while also addressing the issues that have caused it.

“'These millennials have just spent a fortune on their education and have to find a way to pay back their immense debts while also making a living, said Kutcher in a statement. 'Their inexperience with personal finance has led to overspending, a lack of financial planning, and a lack of knowledge that puts these kids in terrible financial situations. It is important not only to help them learn how to pay off their loans, but also to lay the groundwork for them to achieve success without being held back by legacy financial concerns.'

“'Pairing millennials with a fixer who introduces them to resources and companies that can help, like our sponsors, will provide a crash course in money management,' added William J. Rouhana Jr., chairman and CEO of CSS Entertainment. 'We are aiming to lessen the burden and stress and give millennials the tools they need to take control of their lives and their finances.'

"The Fixer stems from a deal signed last summer between CSS Entertainment and Ashton Kutcher that saw the actor serving as executive producer for two new unscripted television series.

"At the time, the agreement expanded the relationship between Kutcher and Chicken Soup, which entered into an exclusive distribution agreement in September 2016 with Kutcher’s digital impact media company, APlus.com."