Wednesday August 22, 2018

Louis and Harvey evaluate their relationship; Donna has her doubts about Samantha’s motives for helping her. #SUITS

"Veronica Mars starring Kristen Bell is making another comeback, this time as an eight-episode limited series at Hulu....[T]he streaming platform is finalizing deals for the new installment, with star Bell set to reprise her role as sleuth Veronica Mars. I hear there have been preliminary conversations about bringing back a number of the other cast members from the original series and follow-up movie. Doing Veronica Mars is not going to interfere with Bell’s duties as star of the NBC comedy series The Good Place."

"Brody Jenner is in negotiations to join MTV's reboot of The HillsThe Hollywood Reporter has learned. Though he was missing from the Hills cast reunion during Monday night's MTV Video Music Awards, Jenner, who is now married to blogger and model Kaitlynn Carter, is in talks to join The Hills: New Beginnings." More below.

Netflix has handed Norm Macdonald Has A Show, a September 14 premiere date. Celebrity guests for the 10-episode first season include: Drew Barrymore, David Spade, Judge Judy, David Letterman, Jane Fonda, Chevy Chase, M. Night Shyamalan, Michael Keaton, Billy Joe Shaver and Lorne Michaels. Riveting.

David Harbour talks Stranger Things season 3.

People didn't tune in to watch the VMAs. What a shock.

Netflix has released a trailer for season 2 of American Vandal.

Netflix has also renewed The End Of The F***ing World for a 2nd season.

"Actress Asia Argento on Tuesday denied allegations that she sexually assaulted a 17-year-old former co-star — claiming her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain paid the hush money only to stave off 'negative publicity.'” Sure thing.

NBC has renewed Making It for a 2nd season.

Fox has somehow renewed Beat Shazam for a 3rd season.

Anthony Michael Hall is joining the cast of Riverdale.

"The Little Drummer Girl is coming this Thanksgiving. Following 2016’s The Night Manager, the network has announced a premiere date for its latest miniseries based on a best-selling spy novel from John le Carré. Starring Emmy-winner Alexander Skarsgård, Oscar-nominee Michael Shannon, and Florence Pugh (The Commuter), The Little Drummer Girl will serve as a three-night event, airing in two-hour installments on Nov. 19, 20, and 21. Here is the official description for the project from South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook (Oldboy): 'Set in the late 1970s, the pulsating thriller follows Charlie (Pugh), a fiery actress and idealist whose resolve is tested after she meets the mysterious Becker (Skarsgård,) while on holiday in Greece. It quickly becomes apparent that his intentions are not what they seem, and her encounter with him entangles her in a complex plot devised by the spy mastermind Kurtz (Shannon). Charlie takes on the role of a lifetime as a double agent while remaining uncertain of her own loyalties.'”

What TV execs really think about this year’s Emmy-nominated shows.

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"The Hills is joining the reboot movement.

"The Hills: New Beginnings, following original castmembers and their children and friends living and working in Los Angeles, was announced Monday via the above promo, with a stripped-down version of the The Hills' "Unwritten" theme song airing during the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards.

"Earlier in the evening, Hills castmembers Heidi Montag, Spencer Pratt, Audrina Patridge, Jason Wahler, Frankie Delgado, Justin Bobby Brescia and Stephanie Pratt reunited on the MTV Video Music Awards red carpet, with Montag and Pratt's baby son Gunner in tow. While the group of castmembers from the MTV reality show remained coy on the preshow about why they were at the awards show, during the VMAs itself, they teased an announcement during the ceremony.

"Neither original star Lauren Conrad nor famous foe Kristin Cavallari, who replaced her for the last season and a half of The Hills, were in attendance at the VMAs.

"Cavallari, currently starring on E's Very Cavallari reality series, previously told Montag and Spencer Pratt on their Make Speidi Famous Again podcast that she 'would love nothing more than a Hills reunion.'

"Conrad looked back at her time on The Hills 10 years after the show premiered in an hourlong MTV special two years ago, The Hills: That Was Then, This Is Now. On the special, which featured Conrad revisiting some of the series' most memorable moments and a look at her life now, she indicated she didn't love being a reality TV star but said she'd 'absolutely' do the show again.

"'Knowing what I know now, looking back, I would absolutely do it again,' Conrad said of The Hills. 'It brought me so much good to my life. While it was hard at times, it brought me to a place where I'm really happy and I get to do what I love.'"

That's some fake news on Conrad. She will not be participating, evidently.

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From The Ringer: "One of the small miracles of Better Call Saul—the rare prequel that lives up to the highs of its award-winning predecessor—is its ability to consistently remain compelling despite most of its characters’ fates already being established. As Jimmy McGill (a.k.a. Saul Goodman) smarms his way through courtrooms or Mike Ehrmantraut and Gus Fring operate their criminal enterprise in Albuquerque through dimly lit warehouses and the never-ending expanse of the Chihuahuan Desert, Breaking Bad viewers are well aware these men will outlast the obstacles presented to them in Saul. The thrill is connecting the pieces of how Jimmy, Mike, and Gus became their formidable future selves—and the best way to understand those journeys is through Better Call Saul’s non–Breaking Bad characters. They’re frequently catalysts for the evolution of the main characters, though their stories are just as compelling. And all while, one question looms over them: Why won’t they show up a few years down the road?

"Depressingly, we got our first answer to a question of that nature at the end of last season when Jimmy’s truculent brother Chuck set his house on fire and killed himself, one of the many tragic fragments of Better Call Saul that explains Jimmy’s odious transformation into the go-to lawyer for Albuquerque’s seedy underbelly, and a clear statement that Saul’s original characters are—perhaps simply by nature—at great risk. It is sensible, then, to now worry about Kim Wexler—Jimmy’s love interest, the easiest character to root for, and, evidently, the last person you’d want to set off on a seething rant. But a burgeoning lawyer is still at far less risk than someone working for one of the show’s warring drug cartels—more specifically, someone caught right in the middle of the show’s warring drug cartels.

"Ignacio 'Nacho' Varga is the only character from the drug world of Better Call Saul whose endpoint is unclear—though, the fact so many cartel members from Breaking Bad met biblical demises doesn’t bode well for him. Nacho is introduced as a right-hand man to Tuco Salamanca, and immediately serves as the antithesis to that villain. Whereas Tuco is an unrelenting whirlwind of chaos, Nacho is brooding and calculating, the kind of character who always seems two steps ahead of everyone else. But in world of drugs and violence, even a character as whip-smart as Nacho is constantly in peril. Nacho-related anxiety reached a fever pitch in the second episode of the fourth season, Breathe, when Fring and his lackeys forced Nacho to watch his comrade Arturo slowly suffocate to death. 'I know what you did,' Fring tells him, referring to Nacho switching out Hector Salamanca’s medication and nearly killing the rival kingpin at the end of the third season. 'From now on, you are mine.'

"Monday night’s episode, Something Beautiful, revealed what Fring meant by this: He essentially turns Nacho into his sleeper agent, demanding that he feign loyalty to the Salamancas. To explain Arturo’s death, Fring’s men stage a drive-by—unfortunately for poor Nacho, to sell the whole charade, he has to get clipped in the shoulder and the stomach, and is left to slowly bleed out in the desert. He only survives thanks to the Cousins arriving and some impromptu stitchwork by Better Call Saul’s resident vet. His reward for not dying? Getting to infiltrate and spy on the cartel he’s desperately been trying to escape from, while secretly under the thumb of another, equally menacing kingpin. Being an employee of Fring’s will be no less miserable—and likely more precarious.

"The undeniable feelings of sympathy that Nacho’s predicament inspires aren’t merely proof of our humanity, but of the character’s empathetic nature in a world that rarely provides it. Nacho is compelled to turn against Hector when his father—a well-meaning mechanic—puts his life on the line, standing up to Hector and risking death as a matter of principle. Unlike Jimmy, who views goodness as an exploitable weakness, Nacho considers his father’s morality a rare virtue—to the extent that he’s willing to risk his own life to protect him. There’s no guarantee that Nacho’s betrayal of Hector will save his father’s life—this is the Breaking Bad–verse, after all—but it’s the consideration that deserves commendation. Nacho is willing to take on this burden, and prioritize his father’s life over his own.

"There is perhaps no gangland character spanning both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul who adheres to such a code, and openly struggles with such a moral compass. The actor who plays Nacho, Michael Mando, never expresses these feelings outright; instead, they’re conveyed through Nacho’s actions—and, increasingly, in his sullen mood, and his devastatingly sad eyes. There are precious few characters in the Breaking Bad–verse who still retain vestiges of their humanity despite a line of work that actively works to strip it away. (Gus may have had such principles at one point, but lost them when his partner was summarily executed by Hector in Mexico.) Nacho’s underlying humanity is why he is so easy to root for, and why it’s agonizing to watch as he sinks into the grips of another dangerous and potentially more cunning villain. Is he going to be safe, or will he be another prequel character who meets a calamitous end?

"Here’s the only thing we do know about post–Better Call Saul Nacho, and it’s quite vague: Jimmy-turned-Saul mentions him by name, once, in Breaking Bad’s second season. After a masked Walter White and Jesse Pinkman kidnap Saul at gunpoint, the desperate lawyer assumes one of the cartels is exacting revenge and pleads, 'It wasn’t me, it was Ignacio! He’s the one!'

"What did Saul mean? Could he be referring to Hector’s wheelchair-bound state? Perhaps, though he could just as well be referring to something that Better Call Saul viewers aren’t yet privy to, something that Nacho orchestrates in the near future. (It also needs to be said: It would also be entirely in character for Saul to make something up to save his own ass, even if it means throwing Nacho under the bus.) But Nacho’s absence on Breaking Bad lends his story a hint of dramatic irony—we know he’s gone in the future. The best hope for Nacho, then, may be a fate similar to that of Walter White post-Ozymandias: Forging a new identity and fleeing to another part of the country, far from the clutches of Fring and the Salamancas. Hardly an ideal future, even before considering the questionable safety and fate of his principled father.

"That Better Call Saul can make the safety of a character who’s committed violent crimes feel this urgent is a testament to the work of the show’s creators, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. The portion of the show occupied by cartels could feel one-note and repetitive, but with Nacho as its steady, ruminative anchor, it is instead profound. While Better Call Saul often allows one to luxuriate in the shady antics of Jimmy McGill, Nacho’s story compels one to consider the forces and interplay of good and evil, the concept of responsibility, and the notion that most times, our fates are tragically uncontrollable."

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"HBO has given a series order to the comedy Mrs. FletcherVariety has learned.

"The premium cabler originally ordered the project to pilot back in April. The series is described as a dual coming-of-age story, exploring the impact of internet porn and social media on the lives of an empty nest mother (Kathryn Hahn) and her college freshman son (Jackson White).

"In addition to Hahn and White, the series will also star: Casey Wilson as Jane Rosen, a married mother of academically gifted twins, she’s Eve’s close friend and a reliable source of emotional support and unsolicited advice; Owen Teague as Julian Spitzer, a high school classmate of Brendan’s who is a smart but underachieving skater who’s stuck in his hometown after graduation, trying to figure out what happens next; and Jen Richards as Margo Fairchild, a transgender woman who teaches Eve’s community college writing course. Margo is confident and charismatic in the classroom, but sometimes anxious in social situations.

"The series is based on the New York Times bestselling novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta, who will write and executive produce the series. Nicole Holofcener will direct and executive produce, with Jessi Klein and Sarah Condon also executive producing.

"Hahn recently starred in the Amazon series I Love Dick and Transparent, the latter of which earned her an Emmy nomination. She also starred in the hit comedy films Bad Moms and A Bad Moms Christmas” Her other credits include films like Captain Fantastic and This Is Where I Leave You and shows like Parks and Recreation and Girls.”

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From The Motley Fool: "A year after its launch, Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) video platform, Watch, still hasn't found much of an audience. Half of all adult Facebook users in the U.S. haven't even heard of Watch, according to a recent survey from The Diffusion Group.

"However, there is a small dedicated audience -- 21% of users view something on Watch at least monthly, 14% at least weekly, and 6% at least once a day, according to the survey results. Those numbers are much lower compared to the takeaway from a Morgan Stanley survey earlier this year that 40% of U.S. Facebook users click on a Watch video once a week. But considering Facebook hasn't touted any successes or released any engagement details, it's a good bet it's not entirely happy with the platform's performance thus far.

"Facebook is making a lot of efforts to take on and differentiate itself from Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) YouTube, which recently surpassed 1.8 billion logged-in users per month. Will its investments pay off?

"Facebook budgeted up to $1 billion to spend on content to seed the platform during its first year. Facebook produced dozens of original shows, but none of them have really caught on. It's also spent millions on sports rights to stream soccer and baseball games, but it's been quiet about the audiences those events attract.

"Facebook certainly has the cash to spend. It's currently sitting on $42 billion in cash and equivalents, as of the end of the second quarter. It produced free cash flow of nearly $8 billion through the first half of the year.

"But spending on content alone isn't going to attract an audience to Watch. Facebook has tried national ad campaigns to increase awareness of its platform, which don't seem to have moved the needle. Finding an audience for Watch has been surprisingly difficult for Facebook considering it counts 2.5 billion people using its products every month.

"Facebook didn't grow into a 2.2-billion-user social network due to excellent marketing; it got there because it built a product that made people share it with their friends. Every successful Facebook product has benefited from the network effect.

"Instagram Stories is a recent example of how Facebook took a product done well on another platform (in this case, Snap's (NYSE:SNAP) Snapchat) and made it go viral by creating features that encouraged people to share with friends. Instagram Stories now has more than twice as many users as Snapchat, and it's caused a serious setback for Snapchat's user growth over the last two years.

"Facebook only recently went back to the formula that's worked for it in the past. In June, the company rolled out new features -- including polls, quizzes, and challenges -- to allow creators to make videos more interactive. Last week, it 'acqui-hired' Vidpresso, a seven-person start-up specializing in creating interactive online video.

"Creating more-interactive content -- content that makes people share -- could help increase awareness of Facebook Watch, which seems to be its biggest challenge, based on the Diffusion Group survey. If Facebook can attract a meaningful audience, it will attract the attention of creators as an alternative to YouTube.

"Facebook shouldn't be trying to displace YouTube for free online videos. It's built an audience of 1.8 billion users watching an average of one hour per day on mobile alone. If Facebook can get just 5% of that engagement across its 617 million user base in North America and Europe, it can break even on that $1 billion content budget, according to an analysis from Morgan Stanley's Brian Nowak.

"Watch needs to be an alternative to YouTube, a destination for video that offers something different. Facebook started by trying to mimic YouTube, but it's starting to find a new angle to take advantage of its massive built-in user base.

"For Facebook, a $1 billion investment is probably just a start. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made it clear how important he thinks video is going to be over the next decade. The company is also investing in long-form video on Instagram. Don't expect Facebook to lie down after a couple years of limited progress in video. This is a long-term plan, and Facebook has the resources to continue investing. With a relatively low break-even point (considering the massive user base of Facebook), it won't take much for Facebook to start seeing positive returns. It might take some time, though."

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, "Apple is ready to explore the world of climate change.

In a competitive situation with multiple outlets bidding, the tech giant is teaming with Anonymous Content to produce a TV series based on Nathaniel Rich's New York Times Magazine story 'Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change,' and his upcoming book, Losing Earth.

"Rich will executive produce the potential TV series alongside Anonymous Content's Steve Golin (Spotlight).

"Losing Earth is Rich's story of a small group of American scientists, activists and politicians who between 1979 and 1989 tried to save the world from the ravages of climate change before it was too late. The piece occupied an entire special issue of the magazine.

"Produced with the support of the Pulitzer Center, Losing Earth is based on more than 18 months of original reporting, more than 100 interviews and thousands of archival documents — many previously unreported — from government and industry sources. In recounting the story of the decisive decade when humankind first gained a broad understanding of global warming, the article raises difficult questions about human nature and the moral dimensions of climate change. Rich's forthcoming book will feature an expanded narrative and broader discussion of the current and future state of the crisis. The book, from MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, is due in 2019 with a special edition for young readers to arrive afterward.

"Losing Earth is Apple's latest TV series buy as the iPhone maker continues to collect IP and ramp up its scripted originals. Still to be determined is when — and how — Apple will release its roster of high-profile productions."