Thursday September 13, 2018

Netflix has renewed Insatiable for a 2nd season.

I miss Mike Ross.

Another season of Match Game wraps up tonight. One of my guilty pleasures.

“As Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas, HGTV is postponing productions in the category 2 storm’s path. ‘Production for some of our house hunting series with episodes planned in North Carolina is postponed,’ an HGTV spokeswoman told TheWrap exclusively. Specifically, House Hunters and Island Life will be shuttering while the area braces for impact. We then asked the team there specifically about Love It or List It, which also shoots in the Carolinas.”

Phil Lord and Chris Miller may have just taken meta joke telling to a new level. The celebrated writers, producers, and directors are set to executive produce a single-camera comedy project currently in the works at NBC, Variety has learned exclusively. Hailing from writer and fellow executive producer Hayes Davenport, the project is titled Business as Usual. It is described as a comedy about everyday employees at a company in crisis, trying to keep their jobs and maintain their relationships as their workplace goes insane.”

Good riddance Jeff Fager.

Netflix announced on Wednesday it has picked up U.S. and international rights to Dumplin, a comedic drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Patti Cakes$ star Danielle Macdonald.

Teddy Geiger and Emily Hampshire (Schitt’s Creek) are an item.

The Goldbergs is kicking off its Season 6 premiere with a tribute to the John Hughes classic Sixteen Candles, and fans’ first look at the mayhem is here. After Adam’s parents forget the most important birthday of his teenage life, the party he does get goes quickly off the rails. In the episode, which was announced last month, Adam’s parents are distracted with Barry and Lainey’s engagement and Erica’s band ambitions. ‘Why did John Hughes make this seem so whimsical and fun?’ Adam asks as we see pizza spinning on a record player and foam coming out of the vents. It’s become a tradition for The Goldbergs to put its own spin on 1980s classic movies. The ABC sitcom has previously paid tribute to The Breakfast Club, Indiana Jones, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Dirty Dancing, and The Karate Kid. The Goldbergs Season 6 premieres Sept. 26 on ABC.”

I think it’s time to put Rosanne Barr to sleep. She was back at it chirping at Dr. Oz about what being on Ambien does to her. In the ultimate retort, Oz tells her “[y]eah, so I actually looked up Ambien, and tweeting is not a side effect.”

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From The New York Times (thanks AYR!): “If not for the financial crisis, it’s entirely possible that American TV viewers would never have heard of shiplap or considered Waco, Tex., a cool place to visit.

“Chip and Joanna Gaines, the hosts of HGTV’s hit show Fixer Upper, popularized farmhouse chic — and with it, shiplap, a cladding material that was once used for barns — as they went about their inexpensive but stylish home renovations.

“Entire neglected neighborhoods in Waco, the Gaineses’ home city, underwent a transformation during the five years the couple spent providing loving care to creaky old houses, including a gut job of a 100-year-old Colonial with warped and rotted floors and resident critters.

“Mrs. Gaines was the brains, Mr. Gaines the brawn, and they drew in viewers partly because of the charming married-couple banter that punctuated their planning sessions and construction work. Fixer Uppe” was markedly different in tone and purpose from the flashy home TV shows popular in the go-go years before the crash. With their focus on family (the couple have five children), the Gaineses became unlikely stars by celebrating the virtues of responsible home stewardship, rather than trying to turn run-down properties into profit centers.

“Back when banks were handing out mortgages as if they were lollipops, the fun was in seeing what all that easy money could buy: 6,000-square-foot McMansions in freshly landscaped exurbs; high-rise condos with granite counters, marble tubs and top-of-the-world views.

“And when most shows of the pre-2008 era did feature older, more modest houses, as on Bought & Sold (HGTV), Flip This House (A&E) and The Real Deal (TLC), it was to illustrate how easily those homes could be turned into cash machines.

“As the foreclosures piled up, however, networks like HGTV and DIY faced the problem of how to keep broadcasting houses 24/7 to a public traumatized by them.

“In the immediate aftermath of the crash, some HGTV shows were scrubbed midproduction because they no longer suited the recessionary times, recalled Kathleen Finch, the chief lifestyle brands officer for Discovery, which owns the network. HGTV also stopped telling viewers that if they remodeled their bathroom or kitchen, it would increase the value of their home.

“‘It wasn’t responsible information,’ Ms. Finch said. ‘There was no guarantee.’ [HOW RIGHTEOUS OF YOU KATHLEEN!]

Flip This House was canceled in 2009, and one of the show’s high-flying speculator couples later filed for bankruptcy, caught short like so many Americans when the tide turned.

“The Bravo show Million Dollar Listing, which followed a group of luxury-car-driving real estate agents in Los Angeles, was a hit before the collapse and managed to survive afterward. It made occasional references to the dire market, but still seemed cocooned in a wealth bubble, out of touch.

“It wasn’t until DIY debuted Rehab Addict, in 2010, that viewers glimpsed a new spin on the old dream of happiness through homeownership. The show’s star, Nicole Curtis, wasn’t your average greed-head flipper. Befitting a financially humbled nation, the single mother was instead a recycler.

“‘I restore old homes to their former glory,’ she announced during the opening credits.

“And she wasn’t working her magic in telegenic Florida or California but in the industrial upper Midwest. In the debut episode, Ms. Curtis scrambled through a snow-encrusted yard to check out a run-down Victorian in South Minneapolis she had just bought out of foreclosure for $156,000.

“‘I’m, like, 60 days from being bankrupt,’ she told the camera, echoing the financial insecurity of viewers in those years.

“A program that occupied a middle ground between the home-restoration and cash-in genres was Flip or Flop, an HGTV show starring Tarek and Christina El Moussa, married real estate agents from Orange County, Calif. The promos for Flip or Flop, which first aired in 2013, made some viewers pause at the hubris. A show about house flipping in foreclosure-pocked Southern California? So soon?

“‘There was a lot of hand-wringing over that show,’ Ms. Finch said. ‘We didn’t know how our audience would react to it.’ [YET YOU BANKED ON THE MOST ERRATIC MILQUETOAST TALENT YOU COULD FIND. BRAVO!!]

“But built into the premise was a twist: The hosts had Great Recession bona fides. When the real estate market tanked, so did their business, forcing them to downgrade to a $700-a-month apartment. They began feeding off fellow casualties of the mortgage crisis, flipping foreclosures, short sales and bank-owned properties.

“And they were earning it. As Mr. El Moussa told viewers, ‘The bigger the disaster, the better the makeover.’

“Many of today’s home shows, with names like Maine Cabin Masters, Lakefront Bargain Hunt and Tiny House, Big Living, suggest that TV networks, and viewers, have learned the perils of overreach. But spend some time watching house porn and you can detect the old exuberance creeping back in.

“Twelve million isn’t a record-breaking figure but the standard ask for a badly decorated SoHo loft on Million Dollar Listing New York. HGTV has franchised Flip or Flop, with editions of the show set in Las Vegas, Atlanta and Nashville, suggesting that the dream of making a killing in real estate speculation doesn’t lie only with the El Moussas.

“Indeed, Tarek and Christina, who have since gone through a tabloid divorce but are continuing to film episodes, have been charging the public to attend real estate seminars of the get-rich-quick variety. In some hot markets, network producers struggle to find projects to showcase, because so many people are flipping properties.

“With the stock market roaring, the genre seems to be entering a gilded age. Netflix’s entry, The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes, leaves viewers gawking at out-of-reach luxury homes. Apple, as part of its $1 billion initiative to make itself into a major producer of new programming, plans to unveil a similar series, Home, next year.

“As for the Gaineses, they pulled the plug on Fixer Upper last year. The couple wanted ‘to catch our breath a bit, Mrs. Gaines said, and focus on the 500-employee, multimillion-dollar lifestyle empire that grew out of their show. It includes a home renovation company, Magnolia Homes, and a number of other businesses under the Magnolia name, including a bakery, a furniture line, a paint collection and a bed-and-breakfast.

“Their exit at the peak of their popularity was a shock to their fans. Especially since they had achieved their larger goal. The housing market in Waco is ‘booming,’ and there’s even a bus tour of Fixer Upper homes.

“Perhaps, like savvy investors, the couple sensed another bubble about to burst.”

I HIGHLY doubt that. They were never long for the TV game and I knew that from the first conversation I ever had with the esteemed Mr. Gaines. The DIY/HGTV inner workings are a bit of a mess right now. I had one exec tell me that he/she often finds him/herself looking for a hidden camera because the hypocrisy of what top level execs want in terms of new programming is ludicrous.

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Per EW, “House of Cards has always managed to surprise viewers with twists. But the drama had its own offscreen shock last fall: Production was halted after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against star Kevin Spacey, who played power-hungry politician Frank Underwood.

“Ultimately, showrunners Frank Pugliese and Melissa James Gibson decided to do the final season without Spacey. EW spoke with them about the actor and how season 6, debuting Nov. 2 on Netflix, shifts the focus to Frank’s wife, Claire (Robin Wright):

What were your reactions to the Kevin Spacey allegations?
MELISSA JAMES GIBSON: Highly distressing.
FRANK PUGLIESE: It was disappointing, and yet at the same time there was work to be done, and there was an attitude of trying to finish the story that we began. So that was a priority.

Did you have any indication of this alleged behavior?
GIBSON: No. Even though we started writing for this show in season 3, we weren’t on set until season 5 when we took over as co-showrunners [from creator Beau Willimon]. If we had ever had anything reported to us or been aware of anything, of course we would have reported it because we took that seriously as our jobs and our position of authority.

Frank appears to be dead based on a new trailer, but did you ever think the series should just end?
PUGLIESE: That probably was a thought. The truth is, there was a story that was initiated — a story about a marriage and what was happening to the partnership. Even where season 5 ended, with Claire saying, “My turn,” it seemed impossible not to tell her story. So whatever the conditions, however it broke, we had to tell her story.
GIBSON: One of our driving narrative forces [for season 6 has been] an exploration of “Who owns the White House?” It also became a season of reckoning for Claire to face herself in a way that maybe she’s never had to, to this degree. A reckoning with her own ambition and herself and the definition of power.

Losing your main character, did this require a page one rewrite?
GIBSON: Look, it was a significant pivot, obviously. We had to rethink to a profound degree. However, I would say thematically and what it felt like the show needed to grapple with, at the end of the day didn’t change so much. It was just the elements changed.
PUGLIESE: We had an idea how to finish this story, and maybe the specifics of it had to change, but it would be disingenuous to change that so we had to complete it where it felt true to the story we were telling.

At the end of season 5, it seemed like Leann (Neve Campbell) had died in a car accident. What can you say about her?
GIBSON: Well, that’s another thing that will have to get negotiated … the fallout from that.
PUGLIESE: The notion of reckoning will play out across the characters and the sort of shifting notion of who is Claire’s partner? Doug (Michael Kelly) potentially being one or not. Something we’re always going to be playing with. But there’s a lot to be reckoned with after six seasons of the show.
GIBSON: Right. And is this country ready for a female president? Will they allow it? You know? That is a huge thing hanging over the season. The real world didn’t.

What can you say about Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear, who are joining the cast as siblings who become involved in Claire’s presidency?
PUGLIESE: In the last couple years there’s been an opportunity to explore generational aspects of D.C. and how new power moves in and out of D.C.

What was the final day of shooting like?
GIBSON: It was sad. It was cathartic. It was draining. It was exhilarating. It was a really amazing day.
PUGLIESE: Nobody wanted of leave. We just stayed. Some people stayed ’til daybreak. Nobody wanted to leave the set.”

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Per Variety, “Fewer than 24 hours after Leslie Moonves was ousted from his position as CBS Corp. CEO amid sexual harassment and assault claims, CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl held a staff meeting to address the transition.

“Kahl, who heads all entertainment programming for the CBS Television Network, notified executives early Monday that he would hold a meeting that day to discuss Moonves’ departure. Kahl, according to a network insider, sought to reassure staff members. At that Monday meeting, he said, ‘We’re going to be okay. The sun has come up today, and the sun will come up tomorrow,’ and added that he had already spoken with new interim CEO Joseph R. Ianniello.

“Workplace culture at CBS has come under intense scrutiny since allegations against Leslie Moonves of sexual harassment were published in two recent New Yorker articles, and Kahl told those assembled — a group that included personnel from network development, current programming, public relations, casting, and marketing — ‘If you see something, say something.’ He encouraged anyone with workplace concerns to communicate them to human resources or upper management. When the floor was opened to questions, only one was asked.

“Thom Sherman, who joined the network in 2017 as the top programming executive under Kahl, also spoke. ‘This is really hard,’” Sherman said, noting that he had worked with Moonves for several years in Sherman’s previous role as development chief at the CW, a joint venture of CBS and Warner Bros.

Kahl held a second meeting to discuss the Moonves transition on Tuesday, using a regularly scheduled current-programming meeting as a forum to include employees who had been out of the office Monday for the Rosh Hashanah holiday. CBS Television Studios president David Stapf, who was out of the office on Monday for the holiday, held a similar meeting with his team on Tuesday. Both execs, sources close to them said, sought to reassure their staffs amid the fallout from the New Yorker articles and emphasize a forward-looking message.

“The attitude of senior level executives in these meetings was described by one attendee as ‘heartbroken.’ At none of the meetings did a female executive speak, and no one from human resources attended the meeting with network staff. Neither has there been any discussion at staff meetings of any policy changes regarding workplace harassment, nor communication about how to contact human resources.

“Multiple CBS insiders speaking to Variety described an atmosphere at the company in recent days ranging from business as usual to resignation. ‘This is not business as usual,’ one insider said, noting that executives have emphasized in meetings the need to stay focused at a critical time of year — the launch of the fall broadcast season is just two weeks away — but have not initiated any in-depth discussion of workplace culture.

“Another source credited Kahl, who walked the halls to speak with staffers after the first New Yorker article was published in August, for providing visible leadership at the network amid the uncertainty surrounding Moonves. At the Television Critics Association summer press tour last month, Kahl drew positive reviews for fielding questions just days after the first allegations against Moonves surfaced. In the weeks since the publication following the first New Yorker article, Moonves made no attempt to engage employees regarding the allegations against him or the controversy generated by them, drawing widespread internal criticism.

“Another CBS insider noted that the second New Yorker article — which contained allegations even more severe than the first — came as an upsetting surprise, but that staffers, who had been reading speculation about Moonves’s departure in the press since last week, had come to anticipate that the end was nigh for the longtime chief executive. The person added, ‘At least this gives it some resolution.’”

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Newly released footage shows Harvey Weinstein sleazing onto a young woman in his office — just hours before the woman alleges the pervy producer raped her.

The video shows Melissa Thompson, one of three women currently suing Weinstein for sexual assault, pitching her tech startup to the movie mogul at The Weinstein Company offices in 2011.

“Their meeting begins with a hug — where Weinstein rubs her back and says, ‘That’s nice, let’s keep it up’ — then the clip cuts to Thompson, 28, giving her pitch.

“At one point, she jokes: ‘Data’s so hot right now.’

“‘It is hot. You’re hot,’ Weinstein replies. ‘Let me have a little part of you. Give it to me. It’s okay, would you like to do it some more?’

“It’s not clear what he is doing off camera, but she replies: ‘That’s a little high, that’s a little high.’

“He then strokes her arm while she continues trying to discuss her business.

"After the meeting, she says, Weinstein arranged to meet her a few hours later at a hotel lobby, where she thought they were going to close the deal, according to Sky News.

“Instead, she alleges, he lured her to his hotel room, where he raped her.

“Weinstein has denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyer told Sky the video had been edited to obscure ‘casual — if not awkward — flirting from both parties.’”

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From Vulture: “Forever is one of the best new shows of the fall TV season. But here’s the thing: I can’t fully tell you why.

“Amazon, which will premiere Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen’s dramedy on its Prime Video platform Friday, has asked critics to stay mum regarding many of the major details that might ordinarily appear in a review. You know, little things like what this show is actually about.

“In this case, I completely get the desire for secrecy. One of the joys of Forever— and there are many — is that it constantly takes unexpected left turns, shifting the show’s premise and genre more than once, especially in the initial half of its eight-episode first season. To deprive anyone of the surprises would leech some of the pleasure out of the show and miss its point. This is a series about marriage, but also about how readily human beings succumb to routine and resist being shaken out of it. By luring us into thinking we know what Forever is and where it might go next, then totally switching everything up on us, co-creators Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard are forcing us out of our habitual TV comfort zones, too.

“I can tell you this much, and if I’m wrong, I’m sure I’ll be hearing about it from Jeff Bezos: Forever begins with a long series of images that slide by and explain how June (Rudolph) and Oscar (Armisen) met, began dating, and eventually embark on married life together. It’s like that famous montage from Up, but steeped in banality instead of pathos.

“In certain ways, June and Oscar are a perfect match, with idiosyncratic perspectives that snap together like two halves of a locket. But when it comes to a desire for adventure, they increasingly live on separate islands. Oscar is a hoarder of habits who loves cooking the same meals and taking the same vacations, day after day, year after year, and can’t comprehend why anyone would want to mess with a blissfully comfortable thing. June increasingly feels stifled by that routine and tries to mix things up by the tiniest of degrees when she suggests that, perhaps, they could try a ski trip instead of their usual visit to a cottage by the lake.

“That’s about as far as I can go plot-wise before my Prime membership gets rescinded. While that may not sound like the most enticing of setups — a show about two bored married people trying not to be boring! — there’s a sly sense of humor and a Spike Jonze-esque filmmaking style that engages right from the jump, especially if you’re the kind of person who’s into that sort of Spike Jonze-y, relationship-driven, indie-spirited sort of thing. (Note: I am that kind of person.) Yang, co-creator of Master of None, and Hubbard, a 30 Rock veteran who first worked with Yang on Parks and Recreation, co-wrote the first episode, among others, and Yang directed it. Together, they immediately establish a narrative authority and tonal command that instills confidence in taking this trip with them, whether it winds up at a lake, a ski resort, or somewhere else.

“Then there’s Armisen and Rudolph, who spent years together on Saturday Night Live and share a natural ease that evokes the lived-in nature of marriage. Because June is the more dynamic character, Rudolph has more emotional meat to chew on, but she never overdoes it. Just like those of us watching, she projects the sense that she’s constantly trying to figure things out in a multitude of ways. Even when she looks content, her eyes project a suppressed desire for something more. Rudolph is famous for her array of acting gifts and she gets to draw on many of them here, jumping down some serious emotional wells and tossing off some great, wry dialogue. Also, at one point, she sings a highly spirited version of Montell Jordan’s This Is How We Do It, and if that’s not an endorsement of a TV show, I frankly don’t know what to tell you.

“Armisen has a harder task in that Oscar is basically Walter Mitty without the capacity to fantasize. His character evolves over time in ways that hint at more depth than what’s on the surface, but for much of the season, he’s got to play the straightest of straight men. To his credit, he commits to it completely in a performance that’s so deceptively straightforward, it becomes funnier on multiple viewings.

“Rudolph and Armisen are backed up by equally wonderful supporting players, including Catherine Keener, Peter Weller, Noah Robbins (who you might recognize from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Younger), and, in a bottle episode of sorts that completely breaks away from Forever’s principal players, Jason Mitchell and Hong Chau. That’s about all I can say about that.

“I so wish I could talk about all the other films and TV series that I was reminded of while watching Forever, but to mention even one might be too much information for anyone who, rightly, wishes to go into this as cold as possible. As much as this series evokes slivers of other projects, though, it is very much its own unique creation. Forever will mystify you, make you laugh, and force you to think deeply about how and why people hold themselves back from taking risks that can elevate their lives. It’s the kind of show you can’t stop watching even though you want to savor it, and that you’ll want to discuss with someone as soon as you finish. Even though I can’t discuss it in nearly enough depth in this review, when I tell you it’s great, I’m hoping you’ll do what any partner in a marriage does for their spouse: Just trust me.”