Monday July 9, 2018

During my vacation, I decided to rewatch Breaking Bad.  Some 3+ seasons in, this show has lost nothing and remains atop my list of the best dramas in modern television.  

Outside of a lot of Breaking Bad, I've seen nothing and have a DVR filled with hours of content.

"Bravo Media has given the green light to Real Men Watch Bravo, a new late-night talk show executive produced by Andy Cohen and Jerry O’Connell with O’Connell to host, set for premiere this fall. Each episode will feature O’Connell, alongside a panel of male celebrities, comics and tastemakers, discussing the buzziest Bravo moments and a variety of topics steeped in pop culture. The description per Bravo: O’Connell “From offering advice to The Real Housewives from every franchise to taking sides on some of the most controversial Bravo feuds, Jerry is truly a walking encyclopedia of Bravo history. Real Men Watch Bravo will offer unprecedented access to the male point of view pertaining to all things Bravo and entertainment. Whether realizing they were a die-hard Vanderpump Rules fan after being introduced to the sizzling series by their girlfriends or learning how to cook the perfect filet from binging Top Chef episodes for hours, these men are unapologetic Bravoholics and hope to encourage others to step out of the shadows and admit what some have known all along…Real Men Watch Bravo.”

Stop showing up at Negan's house.

A review of HBO's Sharp Objects, which premiered last night.

Netflix has released a new trailer for season 6 of Orange Is The New Black.

Bill Maher has offered Mitt Romney $1M to take over the United States.

Season 2 of MTV's Floribama Shore premieres tonight.  I have a lot of Big Brother to get through first.

Zac Efron is in a bit of hot water for no good reason.

On the other hand, "Jonathan Rhys Meyers was detained by police Sunday after allegedly getting into a verbal altercation with his wife on an American Airlines flight. Sources tell TMZ ... Meyers, his wife Mara and their 1-year-old son were on a flight from Miami to L.A. when Jonathan allegedly became verbally abusive to his wife after getting into an argument with her. We're told the tirade was laced with profanities and upset other passengers. We're told Jonathan -- who had been drinking -- stood up and walked to the bathroom as he smoked an e-cigarette, which is a federal violation. A flight attended told him to stop vaping, and he did. When the plane landed, a number of LAX Airport cops were on the tarmac and detained Meyers. Law enforcement sources tell us he denied vaping. Our sources say the argument didn't constitute a crime. As for the vaping, it's an FBI thing. LAX police called the FBI but the agency chose not to respond so Meyers was released. Meyers has had a long history of substance abuse and has been to rehab several times."

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House of Cards star Robin Wright spoke out Monday for the first time about allegations of sexual harassment and assault leveled against her former co-star, telling NBC’s Today that she didn’t know Kevin Spacey outside of their professional relationship.

"The allegations cost Spacey his job on the Emmy-nominated Netflix show. The drama series was salvaged for a sixth season with the focus shifting firmly to Wright’s Claire Underwood character, who had become a bigger component of the storytelling during the past few years. Wright has been credited with galvanizing the effort to save the show from cancellation after actor Anthony Rapp came forward last November with the allegation that he was assaulted by Spacey when Rapp was 14.

"During the interview, Wright spoke about returning to the political tale — and about the embattled star she shared a screen with for nearly five years.

“'I think we were all surprised, of course, and ultimately saddened,' Wright told Today anchor Savannah Guthrie.

"Wright emphasized that she did not socialize with Spacey, despite their working relationship as spouses on the Washington, D.C.-set drama. She has not spoken to him since the scandal broke.

“'I don’t even know how to reach him,' Wright said. 'Kevin and I knew each other between "action" and "cut," and in between setups where we would giggle. I didn’t know the man. I knew the incredible craftsman that he is.'

"Wright said she has faced harassment and uncomfortable power dynamics in her long career as an actor.

“'This is a bigger, broader issue, I think — which is seduction,' Wright said. 'I don’t care who you are. It’s about power, and once you overpower someone, that person then becomes vulnerable. And this last year, I think, has shined a light in a new way to allow us to start a new conversation.'

"Season 6 of House of Cards is expected to bow by year’s end."

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Per Deadline, "[f]or almost a week now, Showtime has been running online promos, teasing the July 15 premiere of 'perhaps the most dangerous show in the history of television' with a lead character that is 'shameless', 'unhinged' and 'cold-blooded.'

"They were followed yesterday by a cryptic video tweet by Cohen that 'He’s back as you’ve never seen him before.' There was no date listed about his project but the Borat and Ali G star said it was coming 'soon.'

"Reps for Showtime would not comment on the Sacha Baron Cohen series and whether it is the mystery show the network had been promoting.

"There are clues to what the series would be about in Baron Cohen’s video, titled 'a message from your President Donald Trump on Independence Day,' that included a clip of Trump dissing the comedian, saying he should 'go to school' to 'learn about being funny.' That is likely a reaction from a pre-POTUS Trump to his long-standing beef with Baron Cohen who interviewed the then-real estate mogul/reality star years ago for Da Ali G Show, trying to get him to invest in 'an ice cream glove.' Trump later said he saw through the 'scam' and 'immediately walked out' of the interview, while Baron Cohen told James Corden on The Late Late Show in 2016 that Trump was there 'for about seven minutes' which was a relatively long time for interview subjects on the mock series.

"According to Variety, which first reported about the Sacha Baron Cohen Showtime series, it is said to be in the vein of the interview-based Da Ali G Show, which put the sock comedian on the map. It aired on Channel 4 in the U.K. before being picked up by HBO in the U.S. The irreverent comedy show introduced several characters that were spun off into their own movies, Ali G, Borat and Brüno. 

"It is part of the Baron Cohen’s MO to film his docu series/movies secretly in order to have the surprise element that is key to their success.

"It is unclear whether the new show would have a deeper Trump connection — for instance a character played by Baron Cohen attending Trump University — but the Baron Cohen video ends with the tagline 'Sacha graduates. Soon,' followed by the Trump University logo.

"Such a connection would make for a Trump-themed block on Showtime. The network has Our Cartoon President returning on July 15 at 10 PM. Showtime had kept a hole on the schedule at 10 PM, likely for its secret show."

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From The Hollywood Reporter: "Curb Your Enthusiasm famously took five years off before launching a comeback with season nine. Now, J.B. Smoove is doubling down on a promise made by his bosses: viewers won't have to wait that long for season 10.

"After a long hiatus, the Larry David comedy returned for a 10-episode season in 2017. Prior to that, the series hadn't aired a new episode since 2011. The 10th season was announced in late 2017 and Smoove says the gang will be returning to set later this year.

"'Sometime this year we'll be going back to work,' Smoove told The Hollywood Reporter at the recent New York premiere for basketball movie Uncle Drew. 'I cannot wait. I have a whole list of new Leonisms to drop on Larry, I can't wait to hit him with them and see how he feels about them — good ones, too. I'm looking forward to going back to work — it won't be five years like last time, that's for sure.'

"Smoove joined the long-running comedy, which began in 2000, in its sixth season as the scene-stealing Leon Black. After moving his family into Larry's (David) house in Los Angeles, he never left his curmudgeonly friend's side. In season nine, Leon continued his goal of trying to educate Larry with his words of wisdom — dubbed Leonisms — when living in his guest house. Smoove even parlayed his role as the breakout permanent houseguest into a bound collection of his Curb-inspired musings with The Book of Leon.

"But when the show returns for the milestone season, Smoove is hoping to dig deeper into his character and find out more about Leon. Though his and Larry's odd-couple routine continued, viewers have similarly expressed interest in seeing more Leon when the show returns.

"'I would love to see a little bit more of Leon's origins,' says Smoove of his season-10 hopes. 'All we know is this guy showed up at the door and came in and made himself at home. I would love to know a little bit more about Leon. I would love to see a good flashback of who Leon was before he walked into Larry's house.'"

He adds, "Where did Leon come from? Did he abandon his old apartment? Did he leave his family? What happened? How did he get there? That would be great."

When breaking down the season nine finale, executive producer Jeff Schaffer dropped some hints about what the show will look like when it returns, similarly promising: "There won't be as long of a wait."

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Per Variety, "[c]ount Sony Pictures Entertainment and Lionsgate among the early suitors for Endemol Shine, the global production group that is home to such well-traveled series as Big Brother, MasterChef and Black Mirror.

"Based in the Netherlands, Endemol Shine is jointly owned by 21st Century Fox and Apollo Global Management. Fox’s 50% share of the company had been slated to be part of the pending acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets by Disney. But Fox and Apollo last month retained Deutsche Bank and Aryeh Bourkoff’s Liontree to handle a sale. There have been rumblings for more than a year, prior to Disney’s courtship of Fox, that Fox and Apollo were prepping Endemol Shine for a sale.

"Endemol Shine CEO Sophie Turner Laing and other execs have in recent weeks been on a roadshow pitching the company to prospective bidders in the U.K. and U.S. Interested parties have been asked to submit expressions of interest by the end of next week in order to get access to a deeper look at the company’s books. One source familiar with the process said the information presented to date indicated a valuation in the $2 billion range although the asking price is expected to be higher.

"Reps for Sony Pictures Entertainment and Lionsgate declined to comment as did spokespeople for 21st Century Fox and Endemol Shine. Others expected to proceed through the early rounds include Liberty Global, ITV, Vivendi and RTL, parent company of FremantleMedia, as reported earlier this week by Reuters. Private equity giants such as Carlyle Group and Blackstone may also join the fray, industry sources said.

"Endemol Shine has a big content library and global distribution infrastructure through its outposts in the U.K., U.S., Europe, Australia, Latin America, and Africa. That would seem to make it an attractive target at a time when media firms are focused on high-wattage brands and global scale. But the timing of the sale and the recent history of deals involving unscripted production companies may put a damper on the bidding.

“'Many of the most likely buyers may well be sale targets themselves over the next 12 to 18 months. Their owners may be wary of diluting what they own with a large acquisition at this point,' said Lisbeth Barron, chairman-CEO of Barron International Group, an investment banking firm that focuses on media but is unconnected to the Endemol Shine sale. 'Given the collection of assets, this may not be such an easy sale. We believe buyers are seeking more than just a portfolio of diversified assets. They’ll pay more for iconic, impactful brands and franchises.'

"Endemol Shine was created in 2014 through the merger of Apollo’s Endemol and Fox’s Shine Group. The combined entity has struggled to generate a new generation of reality hits to follow Big Brother and MasterChef. Endemol Shine was part of a wave of consolidation among unscripted production entities into what became known as 'super indies' including Liberty Global/Discovery’s All3Media Group and RTL’s FremantleMedia and France’s Banijay. U.K. broadcaster ITV went on a tear during the past decade of acquiring small production companies at high valuations in an effort to diversify its revenue base beyond advertising into content."