Friday September 14, 2018

“ABC has given a script commitment to what is described as a ‘sequel’ to the classic 1990s sitcom Designing Women, with the series' original creator Linda Bloodworth Thomason heading the new iteration, Deadline has confirmed.”

A myriad of series are now available for you to stream:

Forever (Amazon)

The First (Hulu)

American Vandal (Netflix)

BoJack Horseman (Netflix)

Norm Macdonald Has A Show (Netflx)

Enjoy.

“The very idea of ads popping up on Netflix – which currently runs none – recently spurred a national debate. Over at Hulu, meanwhile, the commercials are growing more sophisticated. Hulu, the video-streaming service controlled jointly by Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox, and Comcast, will launch its new space-adventure series The First with ads from SunTrust Bank that mirror the themes of the show. A commercial for SunTrust crafted by Hulu shows a young girl moving from playing at being an astronaut as a child to taking the first Mars spacewalk. The First centers on five astronauts, one of them played by Sean Penn, who take an early trip to Mars. The idea is to get Hulu viewers to think about being confident enough to try new things and work towards fulfilling big dreams – and remind them to start planning and saving for them.”

Aaron Paul has joined the cast of HBO’s Westworld.

“I’m Julie Chen-Moonves.” C’mon Julie. I thought you were better than that.

Jane Fonda said this after the Moonves ouster: “This has been happening for a long time and it’s been an epidemic of behavior like this on the part of people who have power. I think the #MeToo movement has started an avalanche. And it’s only the beginning.”

Netflix has released a trailer for the upcoming Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

National Geographic's limited series The Hot Zone has fleshed out its cast ahead of the start of production. The Americans star Noah Emmerich, Topher Grace, Game of Thrones' Liam Cunningham and several other actors have joined lead Julianna Margulies on the project, which began filming Thursday in Toronto. The six-episode series, based on Richard Preston's best-selling book, tells the story of the origins of the Ebola virus and its arrival in the United States in 1989. Margulies plays Dr. Nancy Jaax, a U.S. Army scientist working with a secret military team who risks her life to stop an outbreak of Ebola when it suddenly shows up in monkeys at a primate lab in Virginia. Emmerich will play her husband, Col. Jerry Jaax, who also puts his life on the line in the operation to stop the virus. Cunningham will play Wade Carter, a vital ally of Nancy's in the race to stop the virus' spread. Grace (BlacKkKlansman) will play Dr. Peter Jahrling, a virologist for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases who butts heads with Dr. Jaax over the best way to contain the virus.”

Season EIGHTEEN of Hell’s Kitchen premieres on September 28. Why? Who’s still watching this trash?

Another Norm Macdonald interview, in the event you haven’t had enough of him this week.

Barely a valiant effort by Cynthia Nixon in her attempt to run for Governor of New York. She was easily defeated by Andrew Cuomo last night.

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From The Hollywood Reporter: “After a nearly month-long negotiation, Brody Jenner and his wife, Kaitlynn Carter, have reached a deal with MTV to join the network's reboot of The HillsThe Hollywood Reporter has learned. 

“News of Jenner's participation comes after the reality show revival was announced during the MTV Video Music Awards. During the Aug. 20 broadcast, the network aired a teaser for the show, titled The Hills: New Beginnings, which will follow original castmembers, their significant others, children and friends living and working in Los Angeles. 

“Hours before the clip aired, castmembers Heidi Montag, Spencer Pratt, Audrina Patridge, Jason Wahler, Frankie Delgado, Justin Bobby Brescia and Stephanie Pratt reunited on the VMAs red carpet at New York's Radio City Music Hall. Jenner, along with series lead Lauren Conrad and her mid-season five replacement, Kristin Cavallari, were noticeably absent. Whitney Port was also missing, but later confirmed on Instagram that she will appear in New Beginnings.  

“Last month, THR reported that Jenner was in talks with MTV to join the reboot. ‘Everybody wants Brody to come back. He was such a big part of the show,’ a source close to the revival said at the time. ‘It truly wouldn't be the same without him.’

“"Jenner, who wed model and blogger Carter earlier this summer in Indonesia, famously dated Conrad on The Hills. Their relationship fueled many storylines throughout the show's six-season run. Conrad, who exited the series halfway through season five in 2009, will not be involved in the reboot.

“Though Cavallari previously revealed on Pratt and Montag's Make Speidi Famous Again podcast that she would ‘love nothing more than a Hills reunion,’ her contractual obligations with E! are likely to prevent her from participating. Along with her role as a red-carpet correspondent for the network at major awards shows, her E! reality series, Very Cavallari, was recently picked up for a second season.”

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Per Deadline, “NBC is doubling its bet on series projects with basketball pedigree from NBA star LeBron James and his SpringHill Entertainment.

“The network has given a script commitment plus penalty to basketball-themed drama Hoops, from writer Jennifer Cecil (Notorious), LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment, Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman’s Brownstone Productions, and Warner Bros. Television where both SpringHill and Brownstone are based.

“NBC also recently gave a script commitment plus penalty to Brotherly Love, a single-camera comedy from 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons, James and his SpringHill Entertainment as well as writer Kourtney Kang.

“"In Hoops, after years on the road as both a star player and coach in the WNBA, Stevie Decker jumps at the chance to return to her alma mater to become the first female head coach of a men’s college basketball team. But coming home isn’t easy as her career took a toll on her family, and the school she loves is embroiled in a sex scandal involving her mentor, a legendary former coach.

“Cecil is the writer. She executive produces with James and Carter of SpringHill Entertainment, and Banks and  Handelman of Brownstone Productions.

“SpringHill Entertainment’s TV series portfolio includes game show The Wall on NBC,The Shop on HBO, Do or Dare on Facebook Watch and the upcoming docuseries Warriors of Liberty City on Starz, competition reality series Million Dollar Mile on CBS and limited scripted series Madam C.J. Walker starring Octavia Spencer for Netflix. James and SpringHill are repped by WME and Ziffren and Brittenham.”

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Per EW, “Modern Family will return for its 10th season later this month, and the creators of ABC’s veteran family comedy are hoping that the laughs aren’t the only thing that draw tears from viewers.

“Yes, the grim reaper will visit the show in an episode airing in the first half of this season, co-creator Christopher Lloyd tells EW. ‘We’re handling some bigger life events in this season,’ he says. ‘We do deal with a death, which is certainly a topic that families have to deal with, and on television, it’s not easy to do because that’s a heavy subject. But at the same time, it would seem unusual for a family not to go through it.’

“Not surprisingly, Lloyd isn’t revealing who is headed six feet under — or if it’s one of the main family members — but he promises that he/she is a ‘significant character on the series’ and the death ‘will be a moving event — and an event that has repercussions across several episodes.’

“Modern Family — which features Ed O’Neill as the grand patriarch of the family and stars Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Ariel Winter, Sarah Hyland, Rico Rodriguez, Nolan Gould, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, and Jeremy Maguire — is entering the last season of its contract. Will this be the last-ever season for the veteran comedy that won a record-tying five consecutive Outstanding Comedy Series Emmys (and has been nominated every year but this one)? Lloyd remains optimistic that there will be Dunphy doofiness beyond this season. ‘There’s goodwill on both sides to make it happen, but there’s also complicated matters that have to get worked through, and there’s a time constraint on it, because we can’t have it take too long,’ he shares. ‘I’m hoping that that doesn’t make the whole thing go away, but I think there’s a decent chance we’ll see it happen. I hope there is. From our standpoint creatively we’ve gotten excited writing this season and changing the lives of the characters — some in a significant way — and it’s made us think, “Wow, there’s a lot to explore in the lives of these characters.” They’re in many ways such different characters than they were five or 10 years ago when we started and they’re just as interesting and just as funny. So our standpoint was, “Well, if we can do another season, we may as well.” I’m hoping that we have some news on that [soon], and if it winds up that we tried and just couldn’t make it work, we will have a great final season for sure.’

“Asked for an overall hint about season 10, Lloyd says, ‘There is a significant change in the dynamics of the family that people maybe thought was going to happen at some point down the line that is happening sooner than expected.’ Is that clue related or unrelated to the aforementioned death? Well, that’ll be the joy of discovery that awaits you when Modern Family kicks off season 10 on Sept. 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.”

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A review of Hulu’s The First from Rolling Stone: “Hulu’s The First is being sold as the story of Sean Penn leading the crew chosen for the first manned mission to Mars. This is two bait-and-switches for the price of one. For starters, when the series begins, Penn is not actually part of that first crew until something goes wrong and he’s asked to lead a second mission. And the series, from House of Cards creator Beau Willimon, is barely interested in Mars (which no character gets physically close to in Season One), preferring to use the mission as expensive and distracting window dressing for a story about a father and daughter struggling through shared grief in different ways.

“The Second isn’t as snazzy a title, I suppose, and the father/daughter angle sounds much less exciting, even if it stars a two-time Oscar winner in his first regular TV series role. But the series (Hulu is releasing all eight episodes on September 14; I’ve watched the whole thing) periodically seems to remember what it’s supposed to be about, providing all the attendant pageantry and triumphant music and inspirational speeches you might expect, before shifting back to the glummest, slowest, least enthusiastic approach possible to the material.

“"Characters are repeatedly asked to justify the enormous expense, risk and time (the crew will spend 18 months on the Martian surface in addition to the round trip from Earth) of the mission. Some give answers about the grandeur of exploration or the necessity of colonizing other worlds in the wake of how badly we’ve treated this one. The First itself rarely seems to buy into their arguments. It’s possible to tell a deeply skeptical story about this subject, but it’s less that the series thinks going to Mars is a bad idea than that the whole space travel thing is an inconvenient impediment to the family tale.

“So let’s talk about that. Penn plays Tom Hagerty, a legendary astronaut who has already walked on the moon (the series takes place in the early 2030s). He’s still in flying shape — the 58-year-old Penn is all sinew and bulging veins — but has been emotionally derailed by the death of his tattoo artist wife Diane (Melissa George) and the spiral of addiction into which their daughter Denise (Anna Jacoby-Heron) fell as a result. Tom is a sad man on a sad show, and even after the Elon Musk-esque tech baron Laz Ingram (Natascha McElhone) asks him to lead a new Mars mission, his eyes only fully come to life when he’s around Denise. It’s a performance so understated it verges on bored at times, even as we’re meant to see that Diane’s death has snuffed out whatever spark drove him to join NASA in the first place.

“Jacoby-Heron gives the more dynamic performance, and is by far the best reason to watch, even if you have to slog through a lot of tedium about the mission to get to the livelier personal story. The fifth episode, which rapidly flashes through Tom and Diane’s marriage, Denise’s childhood and adolescence, and the immediate aftermath of Diane’s death, is still melancholy and slow. But it feels vivid and immediate in a way that almost none of the rest of the season does, where we watch the socially awkward Laz struggle to schmooze additional government funding, explore the personal lives of other crew members (played by, among others, LisaGay Hamilton, Keiko Agena and Hannah Ware) and listen to a mysterious and deeply pretentious narrator drone on about cicadas.

“The whole series is emotionally monochrome, but it at least makes sense when we’re in Tom and Denise’s orbit. And even that’s not enough to fill eight episodes of TV; each installment clocks in at a theoretically brisk 45 minutes, but feels twice that, particularly whenever the focus returns to the loooong prep for Tom’s new mission. All those scenes carry the weight of obligation: the commercial peg for the story Willimon’s more excited to tell, bleached of all passion, humor, fun or even basic energy.

“The First is under no burden to be as quippy or feel-good as The Martian, as awestruck as The Right Stuff, as gee-whiz as Apollo 13 or From the Earth to the Moon. But it needs to have some compelling reason to tell this story, in this way, and it never really finds one.

“Why should we as a species try to visit our nearest planetary neighbor? There are a lot of reasons to consider it. Why doesThe First want to go there? Eight episodes in, I have no idea.”

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From Variety: “YouTube has greenlit State of Pride, an original feature documentary that promises an unflinching look at the significance of the gay-pride movement from award-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman.

The documentary is slated to debut in June 2019 on YouTube — on the free, ad-supported version of the service, not behind the YouTube Premium paywall. Epstein and Friedman’s past work documenting the LGBTQ experience include the Oscar-winning Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt and Emmy Award-winning film The Celluloid Closet. The duo direct State of Pride, which is produced by digital studio Portal A.

State of Pride promises to capture a diverse range of LGBTQ+ perspectives on the meaning and value of the pride movement through interviews by Raymond Braun, who previously led LGBTQ outreach efforts for YouTube and has become a leading voice in the community. In the film, Braun travels to major U.S. cities and rural towns to speak with individuals about the significance the Pride event in their personal journeys. The documentary is being filmed over multiple months, covering the entirety of the Pride calendar in America and set to launch during next year’s Pride Month.

“‘We are incredibly honored to bring this important and compelling documentary State of Pride to people around the world,’ Susanne Daniels, Global Head of Original Content, YouTube. ‘The film features powerful conversations with inspiring individuals as they open up about Pride and how it has changed over the past 50 years.’

“Jeremy Blacklow, GLAAD’s director of entertainment media, commented, ‘State of Pride is set to amplify the voices of LGBTQ+ people and allies that audiences need to hear. Raymond’s unique ability to tell powerful, inclusive LGBTQ+ stories that enlighten and inspire, coupled with Rob and Jeff’s legacy of gifted storytelling, will no doubt lead to a film that showcases the true diversity of the LGBTQ community.’

State of Pride is developed and produced by Portal A with executive producers Nate Houghteling, Kai Hasson, and Zach Blume for Portal A, Jeffrey Friedman and Rob Epstein for Telling Pictures, and Raymond Braun.”