Wednesday September 12, 2018

A familiar foe backs the firm into a corner; Alex and Sam try to broker peace between clients. #SUITS

Dee hires an at-home “Escape Room Experience” to come to Dennis and Mac’s apartment. #ITSALWAYSSUNNY

“Former Turner Broadcasting CEO John Martin and newly added CBS board member Richard Parsons have emerged as two top external candidates for the chief-executive role, sources tell Variety. In addition, the CBS board of directors is expected to initiate a process that could see possible internal candidates such as acting CBS Corp. CEO Joseph Ianniello and Showtime CEO David Nevins make their cases for the job. Variety has learned that Shari Redstone, head of National Amusements, Inc., which owns a controlling share of CBS, met with Martin some time in the last six weeks. The former Turner executive has since emerged as a potential frontrunner for the top CBS position. Martin exited Turner in June, where he had been CEO, after AT&T finalized its long-simmering acquisition of the company’s corporate parent Time Warner. Parsons emerged as a top consigliere to Redstone in the now-settled legal fight between CBS and NAI and the negotiations for Moonves’ exit. A veteran executive, Parsons led Time Warner through the recovery from its disastrous marriage to AOL, and was recently added in an overhaul of the CBS board tied to Moonves’ ouster.”

Good for Geoffrey Owens.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in the subscription video landscape, HBO is ‘the Tiffany’ to Netflix’s Walmart. Shots fired!

I have zero intention of watching one second of Norm MacDonald’s new Netflix show. Something about him irritates me. More on Norm below.

Showtime's SMILF has lined up four actors, including Melanie Griffith, for its second season. Tony nominee Sherie Rene Scott, Emmy-nominated writer and actor Claudia O'Doherty and newcomer Dan Aid will have recurring parts on the series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Griffith will guest-star as Enid, the free-spirited mother of Nelson (Samara Weaving). Married her whole adult life, Enid has embarked on a new chapter of self-exploration. She also has a codependent, micro-managing relationship with her two daughters.”

Mark Wahlberg is nuts.

A sneak peak of NBC’s upcoming I Feel Bad.

Shane West has joined the cast of Gotham for the show’s final season.

Similar to Season 1’s penultimate episode, Season 2’s second-to-last outing of The Sinner, which airs tonight, answers pretty much everything. And just when you think things are beginning to wind down, another huge twist drops. I’m still watching this one.

Welcome to Dancing With the Stars, Grocery Store Joe! During the Tuesday, September 11, Bachelor in Paradise finale, ABC announced that Joe Amabile would be joining the season 27 cast. Amabile, 31, first appeared on Becca Kufrin.’s season of The Bachelorette and quickly became a fan favorite. He went on to appear on Bachelor in Paradise. However, after finding what seemed like love with Kendall Long, he abruptly left during the Monday, September 10, episode, after she put her guard up when he expressed he was ready to get engaged.”

The rest of this cast of “stars” includes: Harry Potter alum Evanna Lynch (never heard of her), Fuller House‘s Juan Pablo Di Pace (never heard of him) and former Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider (LOL), comedian Nikki Glaser (this is beneath her), radio host and American Idol mentor Bobby Bones (no idea), singer Tinashe (I got nothing) and Instagram model Alexis Ren (who?), along with athletes Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton (she FINALLY said yes?!), Paralympian Danelle Umstead (who?) and former NFL player DeMarcus Ware (weak move by D Ware).

They join previously confirmed Facts of Life alum Nancy McKeon, Milo Manheim (Disney Channel’s Zombies) and Joe Amabile (Bachelorette Season 14).

A Crazy Rich Asians sitcom is in the works at ABC. Of course it is.

Shockingly, it’s not all paradise for recently engaged Bachelor In Paradise couple Jordan and Jenna.


Per Deadline, “Netflix has bought global rights to Steven Soderbergh’s sports-themed feature High Flying Bird, marking the director’s first collaboration with the streaming giant.

“The anticipated drama, set during a pro basketball lockout, follows a sports agent who pitches a rookie basketball client an intriguing and controversial business proposition. The film reunites Soderbergh with his The Knick star André Holland who also reunites on the movie with Oscar-winning Moonlight writer Tarell Alvin McCraney.

“Also starring are Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2), Melvin Gregg (UnREAL), Sonja Sohn (The Chi), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek: Beyond), Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks) and Bill Duke (Predator). Holland plays the agent, Beetz his right-hand and Gregg the rookie basketball player.

“Joseph Malloch, Soderbergh’s producer on 2018 horror Unsane, is producing the film. Executive producers are Ken Meyer (Unsane) and André Holland via his outfit Harper Road Films. Soderbergh is understood to have shot the movie in double quick time earlier this year on an iphone, as he did with Claire Foy starrer Unsane.

“The maverick director has long-advocated making movies outside the studio system and it’s almost a surprise it has taken this long for him to hook up with the streaming giant. Some have been expecting the duo to team up on Panama Papers movie The Laundromat.

“Soderbergh said of the Netflix deal, ‘We had several strong options for distributing High Flying Bird, but to borrow the patois of the movie itself, this deal felt like a slam dunk and the perfect way for me to begin my relationship with Netflix as a director.’ Netflix is planning a 2019 global rollout.”



From The Hollywood Reporter: “Norm Macdonald is giving TV another shot.

“Despite having one of the most dedicated fanbases in comedy, he hasn't had a lot of success in the medium. After being famously fired from Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update desk in 1998 and failing to launch two early-2000s sitcoms (NormA Minute With Stan Hooper), the Canadian stand-up's career has taken some haphazard detours. He's popped up as judge on NBC's Last Comic Standing; as Colonel Sanders in a series of KFC ads; and on talk shows plugging his (semifictionalized) memoir, Based on a True Story.

“It's been a tumultuous year for Macdonald, 58, since that book came out: The close friend who penned its forward, Louis C.K., saw his career derailed by #MeToo, while the woman who gave Macdonald his first break in Hollywood — Roseanne Barr, who hired him to write for the original Roseanne — squandered her comeback with a tweet, costing Macdonald a writing job on the reboot. So when longtime mentor David Letterman suggested that Macdonald topline a Netflix talk show (with Letterman producing), he saw very little reason to say no.

“The result, Norm Macdonald Has a Show, which debuts Sept. 14, is a freewheeling hour that focuses on one guest per episode — including Jane Fonda, Judge Judy Sheindlin, Macdonald's former SNL boss Lorne Michaels and Letterman.

“THR talked with Macdonald about C.K. (the conversation was several days before C.K.'s controversial Aug. 28 return to the stage) Barr, Trump, Emmy hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost, and his own foray into TV talk":

In 2015, you warned about the dangers of a Trump presidency when most people thought his candidacy was a joke.

Wow. How about that?

Is it as bad as you feared?

Not at all. I don't know anything about the Constitution. But it seems that the framers of this republic figured out how to make it bulletproof to this type of interloper. I don't know what [lasting damage] you could point to except, you know, the Supreme Court judge nomination, which is certainly not an anomaly: I mean, a right-wing guy is going to put in a right-wing guy.

What about all this emboldening of racism, though?

I live in L.A., where I'm always faced with the lunacy of the left. I didn't know that the same lunacy existed on the right. So I never really bought into this notion that everybody is racist — because there was a black president, you know? But the Sacha Baron Cohen show has been a frightening eye-opener. I was also in a bubble, but in a different way. I guess everyone is a fucking idiot. Everyone is an idealogue. Hopefully the pendulum will slow down in the next four years. 

And swing back toward liberalism?

Not necessarily. I'm happy the #MeToo movement has slowed down a little bit. It used to be, "One hundred women can't be lying." And then it became, "One woman can't lie." And that became, "I believe all women." And then you're like, "What?" Like, that Chris Hardwick guy I really thought got the blunt end of the stick there. 

What about when someone admits to wrongdoing?

The model used to be: admit wrongdoing, show complete contrition and then we give you a second chance. Now it's admit wrongdoing and you're finished. And so the only way to survive is to deny, deny, deny. That's not healthy — that there is no forgiveness. I do think that at some point it will end with a completely innocent person of prominence sticking a gun in his head and ending it. That's my guess. I know a couple of people this has happened to.


Well, Louis [C.K.] and Roseanne [Barr] are the two people I know. And Roseanne was so broken up [after her show's reboot was canceled] that I got Louis to call her, even though Roseanne was very hard on Louis before that. But she was just so broken and just crying constantly. There are very few people that have gone through what they have, losing everything in a day. Of course, people will go, "What about the victims?" But you know what? The victims didn't have to go through that.

What did the two of them talk about?

They both said they had a good conversation and were just giving any advice you could give to each other. There would be no way for me to even understand that advice, because who has ever gone through such a thing? All their work in their entire life being wiped out in a single day, a moment.

Barr gave you your first job in Hollywood. You also wrote for the reboot. Is she a racist?

I always knew her as a very left-wing person. On the original show, she had [a network sitcom's] first gay couple. She would always want more minorities on the show, on the writing staff. When she did this [reboot,] it was all her idea to get all these different orientations and religions and so forth represented. So that's how I always knew her.

So what do you make of her incendiary tweeting?

I had looked on her Twitter feed once in a while. I really couldn't understand her because I am not that worldly in politics. Her feed was so arcane about these Middle East politics. What I do know is that she is a single-issue motivated person. And that issue is Israel. That's all she cares about politically. She is left wing in everything else. But that is why she did not like the Obama administration, because they snubbed Netanyahu. I believe that is the only reason that she voted Trump. She is certainly not a racist. That's just crazy.

You were my favorite Weekend Update anchor on Saturday Night Live. What kind of job do you think Colin Jost and Michael Che are currently doing behind the desk?

I like both of those guys. I always really liked Michael's stand-up. Colin comes from Harvard and is a completely different kettle of fish than Michael. But he is an exceptionally good writer. I find Colin's jokes to be very precise and have a lot of respect for those jokes. And I think Michael's delivery is fantastic. He is also a more politically incorrect person, as most stand-ups are compared to most Harvard graduates. But I am a big fan of those two guys.

Michael has drawn some heat for suggesting stand-up comedy has lost the plot — that's its more about confessionals and identity politics than making the audience laugh.

I have never seen the Nanette thing because I never wanted to comment on it. But from what I have read about it, [comedian Hannah Gadsby] is saying that comedy is now not about laughter. And of course that's a slap in the face of a traditional stand-up comedian who thinks that comedy by dictionary definition is about laughter. And that that's your job. You actually do have a job onstage. Nanette doesn't sound like stand-up to me. That sounds like a one-woman show. And one-person shows are, to me, incredibly powerful. But it's not stand-up comedy and it's not the same thing.

What sets Norm MacDonald Has a Show apart from the current wave of comedian-hosted talk shows?

I decided very early on there can be nothing topical. Ever since Jon Stewart, late-night hosts have all been forced to become political pundits, you know? Even down to Jimmy Fallon. And he is derided for his treatment of Donald Trump.

Do you think Fallon has been unfairly criticized?

Completely. He is just all about fun and silliness. That's what his audience wants. And then to be maligned for quote-unquote humanizing Trump. Funny, I thought he was a human. If you have the nominee to be president on your show and he is your guest, then he is your guest. Don't have him on the show if you don't want him.”

He’s getting a fair amount of backlash on the comment in bold above.


Per Variety, “Julie Chen remains an integral part of two CBS Corp. TV programs, even as her husband, former chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves, has left the company under a cloud. That awkward situation has given rise to speculation about whether she can continue her work.

“Viewers of The Talk, one of two CBS series on which Chen serves as a host, have not heard directly from her this week in the wake of Moonves’ forced resignation on Sunday. Moonves was ousted just hours after the CBS Corp. board of directors announced Moonves would be leaving the company amid multiple accusations of sexual misconduct leveled at him. He has denied many of the allegations.

“‘I am taking a few days off from The Talk to be with my family. I will be back soon and will see you Thursday night on Big Brother,’ Chen said in a statement issued just before Monday’s edition of The Talk aired. Her other co-hosts on the program, including Sharon Osbourne and Sara Gilbert, have discussed the fallout from Moonves’ departure on both episodes broadcast this week so far.

“A CBS Entertainment spokesman declined to elaborate on Chen’s statement. A representative for Chen did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“Chen’s status at CBS isn’t the most pressing issue for the CBS board to consider, said Charles Elson, director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. “Their careers are separate,” said Elson of Moonves and Chen. ‘The issue for the board is between they and him,’ he added. Chen’s employment, he added, ‘is a secondary issue.’

“But it can be a thorny one. Chen might find taking part in some broadcasts of The Talk awkward, particularly because the hosts occasionally talk about their personal lives. This week’s episodes would be particularly excruciating for anyone in her situation.

“On Tuesday, Talk co-hosts railed against the disclosure that CBS would may not make its investigation into Moonves and the company’s culture public. ‘I feel like it would be difficult to work at a company feeling like things aren’t going to be told, if things go wrong or things are done that put women or anyone in a compromising position. You want to feel like it’s going to become public,’ Gilbert said on Tuesday’s episode.

“‘I don’t like it, because the situation is every other person who’s a powerful CEO of a public company can do the same thing if it happens again,’ said co-host Osbourne on Tuesday.

“Osbourne had previously expressed some qualified support for Moonves and Chen after the first wave of allegations against Moonves surfaced in the July 27 report by Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker. But in light of the troubling allegations in Farrow’s Sept. 9 follow-up story, Osbourne took a stronger stand. ‘How are women ever going to feel comfortable in the workplace if they still think that power and money will be held over their heads?’ She added: ‘It shouldn’t be allowed for anybody to have the verdict kept sealed. It’s not fair to women. It will never end.’

“Staying on Big Brother might be an easier assignment for Chen, who has been the host of the U.S. version of the program since it debuted in 2000. The job does not require personal disclosure, but straight reporting on the actions of the participants in the show, who must live together in a house while under constant surveillance, as well as interviews with them.”


Per AOL, “Though the stars of Queer Eye ‘don't want’ the upcoming third season of their Netflix hit to be a ‘major departure’ from the previous two seasons, the cast's skyrocketing fame has undoubtedly affected the show.

“Antoni Porowski and Tan France, two of the Fab Five, explained that their increased notoriety creates different reactions between them and the so-called ‘heroes’ being made-over on Queer Eye, but they've made a conscious effort during filming this summer to take steps to combat that change.

"‘For the most part, they’ve seen the show and know what it is,’ Antoni told AOL's Gibson Johns during a recent sit-down on behalf of Excedrin. "Fans of the show approach it in many different ways: Some are just really excited and have a personal story to share about, like, their little brother who came out to their parents after seeing the A.J. episode, which f-cking pulls at your heart and makes you want to snot cry. And then there are people who get very afraid, because there’s this weird phenomenon where people get scared with people that are public and you stop them in their tracks."

“Tan added that it's not just their newfound ‘celebrity’ titles that have altered the show, either: It's also the popularity of the show itself, which is available to stream on Netflix in countries all around the world. The idea of being watched by millions of people across the globe isn't always lost on the show's subjects.

"‘Some of them also realize how big the show is globally,’ he explained to us. ‘It was a very different experience last year, where they thought, “Maybe nobody will watch this.” Now, they know that people are watching and they walk into this room with us and realize, ”Oh sh-t, these cameras don’t just mean five people in the room -- they means millions are watching."‘

“Because of this altered dynamic, Antoni, Tan and the rest of the Fab Five have been determined to make sure that they're still completely plugged in during filming, so that they can continue to create the emotional connections with their heroes that define the show. Without those connections, the show would lose its heart.

"‘I have been extra conscious even when the cameras aren’t rolling,’ Antoni said. ‘Sometimes you check out and it’s an opportunity to check your phone and find out what else is going on, because our phones are blowing up all the time now. But, what I realized is that, you actually have to stay connected with the hero and, this is weird to say, you have to humanize yourself so that they don’t see you as a concept and they see you as an actual individual.’

“Both Tan and Antoni agreed that they're ‘enjoying it more this year because it's more of a challenge’ that requires each of them to ‘really have to go for’ that connection. That being said, they've both come to understand the pressures of being a public personality and the expectations to always be ‘on.’

"‘We are very grateful and lucky for the jobs we have, but it’s exhausting being Tan France and Antoni Porowski 12 hours a day in the public eye and living up to what people expect you to be,’ Tan explained, noting that he combats that stress with Excedrin. ‘They see a version of you on TV, and they want to see that on the street or at a panel or an event and to keep that up is exhausting.’

“Another thing that has made that pressure more manageable is the way in which the show was embraced this summer by the people of Kansas City, where the third season was filmed.

"‘Kansas City could not have been more welcoming to us,’ Antoni said. ‘They have gay pride colors on one of their main buildings that apparently went up for us, and they still shine every single night, and seeing that at night is kind of amazing. They’ve been opening their businesses and their homes and all of these public spaces that we get to use, and we want to showcase the city.’

“Both Tan and Antoni admitted that the show could theoretically be filmed anywhere in the country, but they also acknowledged that there were experiences specific to the South and the Midwest that they noticed in their heroes.

"‘The experience of what they were exposed to when they were younger was different,’ Tan said. ‘For example, in Georgia they had more people of color at school, whereas in Kansas City a lot of these people haven’t had that.’

"‘The public sphere is certainly different, but I think the private sphere -- in terms of family dynamics and the way people are exploring growing up -- those stories are very similar,’ Antoni added. ‘There’s a universality there.’"


From E!: “When Ellen DeGeneres made her daytime TV debut 15 years ago, a lot of people weren't very sure if the world was ready for her.

“The hesitancy makes a bit of sense. After all, it had only been five years since her very public coming out had brought her hit sitcom Ellen to an early demise. Her second attempt at a sitcom, The Ellen Show on CBS, had crashed and burned after only 13 episodes in 2001. Finding Nemo had only been in theaters for a few months and, while her voice work as Dory stole the film, Pixar wasn't exactly betting the farm on the down-and-out comedienne when making the movie.

“Not only was DeGeneres' star not on the rise, there was the fact that there had never been an openly gay talk show host on TV—in the daytime or otherwise. And despite getting then-President of Warner Bros. Telepictures Productions Jim Paratore—who'd developed The Rosie O'Donnell Show and The Bachelor, to name a few—on board for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, affiliates weren't exactly chomping at the bit when the pair tried to syndicate her show.

"‘Jim was a straight, white man, and he loved me, and he could not believe the resistance from all these station managers who didn't want to buy my show,’ DeGeneres reflected with The Telegraph in 2016. ‘They said: she's a gay woman, and the women at home watching daytime TV are straight housewives with kids – what does she have in common with them? So Jim said: we're going on tour – you're going to show them who you are. So I had to go from city to city. We would make these men come out and sit in the audience. They were looking around and seeing what kind of audience I had. I did a meet-and-greet with everyone afterwards, from city to city. They were shocked that I didn't curse – I guess cursing goes with being gay?’

“Eventually, she won them over and The Ellen DeGeneres Show premiered in syndication on September 8, 2003. But in those early days of the show, DeGeneres was still forced to fight an uphill battle when it came to the one aspect of daytime talk that shows tend to live and die by: authenticity.

"‘They didn't think anyone would watch a lesbian during the day,’ she told Ryan Seacrest during a 2017 appearance on his radio show. ‘[Keeping my sexuality quiet] was really not just implied it was verbal … I remember there was something that happened to my finger and I was in a relationship and I was going to say “we” and they wouldn't let me say “we."‘

“And for someone who had literally lost everything for the sake of being honest about who they truly were, that didn't sit well. ‘It felt horrible because I had worked so hard to be truthful and to come to terms of my shame of hiding something that I knew wasn't wrong … It was a hard balance,’ she admitted. ‘What's more appealing than anything is honesty.’

“But as the show, which debuted to solid ratings, only continued to see its audience grow, it was clear that there was little need to worry. And so things got easier. Now, it's hard to imagine tuning in for the show and not getting an update on her marriage to Portia De Rossi, whom she began dating a year after the show launched.

“Quickly, The Ellen DeGeneres Show became known as the place where celebrities could feel safe and let their hair down a little, dancing with the affable host as they made their way on stage. It also became known as the place where viewers tuning in could find a fun and, above all else, nice hour-long respite from an increasingly cynical, spiteful world. And that's something that's remained paramount for DeGeneres in the 15 years that she's captained this particular ship.

"‘Every single day, it is my stamp on everything—it's my name—so I have to answer every question. I have to make every decision. I have an amazing team, I have amazing producers, I have amazing writers, but at the end of it, it's me making the decisions on the writing, the tone, the editing. I want the show to reach people and to be something positive,’ DeGeneres said, explaining her mission to W Magazine in 2007. ‘Because the world is full of a lot of fear and a lot of negativity, and a lot of judgment. I just think people need to start shifting into joy and happiness. As corny as it sounds, we need to make a shift.’

“As the show has continued to grow over the years, launching hit apps—Head's Up! has been downloaded more than 25 million times—discovering stars-in-the-making (Sophia Grace and Rosie, anyone?), and earning an impressive 59 Daytime Emmy Awards and 20 People's Choice Awards (most than any other person in the show's history!) with another nomination for The Daytime Talk Show of 2018 at this year's ceremony, DeGeneres' commitment to shifting folks into joy and happiness has never wavered.

"‘It is a happy show, on purpose. I represent happiness to a lot of people. I want to keep myself as open and as nonjudgmental as possible,’ she told Parade in 2016. ‘Before the show was picked up, I think a lot of station managers thought I would have an agenda to try to somehow turn the world gay. People did worry. Our only agenda is to make people feel good. It's an hour of joy.’

“That's not to say that DeGeneres is afraid of taking people to task for their perpetuation of inequality in the world, as we've seen her do in her own unique way in these recent, more politically-divisive years. ‘I mean, my show's always been a place where people watch for an hour and feel good,’ she told The Telegraph months before the 2016 presidential election, ‘and that will certainly be the case when I go back this next season. But there will also probably be elements of me speaking out a little bit more about what's going on. Because you can't stay quiet.’

“But mostly, DeGeneres is just proud that, in her time on the air, she's bucked the growing trend of nastiness in comedy. ‘You listen to any monologue on late-night TV or just in general, to people talking, and there's always a joke at someone's expense. It's sarcasm; it's nasty,’ she told Good Housekeeping in 2011.

"‘Kids grow up hearing that, and they think that's what humor is, and they think it's OK. But that negativity permeates the entire planet. I think that's where bullying comes from. I mean, I grew up watching Dick Van Dyke and Lucille Ball, and they were nothing but sweet and funny. It wasn't “negative comment, negative comment, laugh track.” So I'm really proud I'm not adding to the negativity. I'm proud that for the hour my show is on television, I'm not being mean, and I'm hopefully helping one other person go, I'm going to be kind. Because then it all just kind of spreads, and the world is a little nicer out there.’

“Now that's a mission we can get behind.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show, currently in its 16th season, airs weekdays.”