Monday September 24, 2018

Tried getting into Maniac on Netflix and am struggling to do so. Five eps in and I am lukewarm at best. More below.

On the flip side, I really enjoyed season 2 of Atypical. If you liked season 1, you’ll enjoy season 2.

The Resident returns tonight to Fox. A very underrated show that I recommend checking out.

CBS premieres its reboot of Magnum, P.I. tonight.

ABC launches new season of The Good Doctor. More below on this one.

The final season of The Big Bang Theory kicks off at 8pm.

Followed by the season premiere of Young Sheldon.

HBO airs its Jane Fonda doc tonight as well.

NBC unveils the heavily promoted Manifest this evening.

That’s following the premiere of a new season of The Voice.

Bravo gives us Play by Play hosted by Jerry O’Connell. “Jerry is the captain of the ultimate Bravo post-game and he’s breaking it all down play by play. Bravo's Play by Play will spend a half hour on Monday nights reviewing the wildest Bravo moments of the week from everyone's favorite shows, discussing the juiciest news, highlights, and updates that viewers absolutely need to know. Host Jerry O'Connell is truly a walking encyclopedia of Bravo history, joined by a panel including Esquire's editor-at-large Dave Holmes, former UFC fighter Brendan Schaub, and TV host and comedian Michael Yo. Additionally, Jerry will be checking in with his wife and fellow Bravo superfan Rebecca Romijn to get her take on all of the weekly drama. Bravo's Play by Play will create a safe space for any and all of the unapologetic Bravoholics who just can't get enough of their favorite network.”

NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt is preparing to step down from his role at the company, TheWrap has learned. The executive, who has led NBC and its sister studio Universal Television since 2011, is expected to meet with NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke this weekend to discuss a plan for his exit. He is expected to depart by the end of the year. Greenblatt’s exit had been widely speculated about throughout the summer, and the news comes just days after the network’s broadcast of the 70th Emmy Awards earlier this week.”

“We are about a week or so away from Disney unveiling the names of top 21st Century Fox executives who would be joining the company following the acquisition of key Fox assets; we hear an announcement of the company’s post-acquisition structure expected may be coming on Oct.1. With 21st Century Fox president Peter Rice’s deal said to be all but done and Fox TV Group chairman Dana Walden negotiating hers, the first major Disney-ABC departure, which had been in the works for weeks, has been confirmed. Disney-ABC TV Group Ben Sherwood is not expected to continue in the combined company. The move had been fully expected with Rice and Walden coming on board in top TV roles — Walden has been in talks to oversee key divisions that Sherwood currently does, which would include the combined 20th Century Fox TV-ABC Studios, under Rice, who would be heading all TV content.“

Ego Nwodim has joined the cast of Saturday Night Live.

A&E is betting big (again) on its docuseries Live PD. The show, which airs in three-hour blocks on Friday and Saturday nights, has been a strong performer for the cable channel since its premiere in October 2016. So strong, in fact, that A&E has ordered 150 more episodes — a whopping 450 hours — that will take the series through 2019. The order comes just before the premiere of Live PD's third season Friday night. It follows a 100-episode pickup in 2017.”


Per The Hollywood Reporter, “here's a lot about Netflix's mind-bending new limited series Maniac that viewers won't see coming, from its genre-hopping fantasy sequences to its surreal dystopian vision of New York. But Justin Theroux's gleefully unhinged wildcard performance as Dr. James Mantleray, the mastermind behind a clinical trial that aims to cure mental illness through psychotropic drugs, takes the cake.

“Between his physical tics, his questionable toupee and his deeply unhealthy, quasi-Oedipal relationship with his overbearing yet dismissive mother Greta (Sally Field), Mantleray is a bewildering and thoroughly entertaining spin on the mad scientist trope.

"‘I never quite knew what Justin was going to do in any given moment,’ showrunner Patrick Somerville, who previously worked with Theroux on The Leftovers, told The Hollywood Reporter. ‘With his hair flips, his intonation, moments like when he misses his pocket with his pen — all of that stuff, both he and Sally were always throwing in new jokes, new takes, side-barring, doing unexpected things. The two of them were amazingly improvisational, and that comic energy coming into the show is great.’

“Theroux was quick to downplay the idea that he had improvised much of Mantlery when THR caught up with the actor at At Maniac's New York premiere.

"‘I think Patrick's taking credit away from himself, because most of it was on the page,’ he says while confirming that the character came together through a lot of spontaneous experimentation. ‘He was the one opportunity in the show to have a little bit of fun comedically, and I really took advantage of that. A lot of it was last-minute decisions: when he's about to see his mom, I was like, "Wouldn't it be funny if he's putting on lip balm here, because he's so self-conscious about seeing his mother?" And even when we kissed, and it sort of goes on a little too long, that was another moment where we decided to just try it.’

“On that particular excruciating moment, Theroux added, ‘Who doesn't want to kiss Sally Field?! She really is heaven to work with, she's hilarious, she's fun, she's game and she's a pro.’"


From Deadline: “Kevin Durant’s Thirty Five Media is partnering with ESPN to create The Boardroom, a new sports business show for the ESPN+ streaming service.

“ESPN’s Jay Williams will host the six-episode series with Jordan Schultz as a correspondent. The Golden State Warriors star and his business partner, Rich Kleiman, will make regular appearances and also serve as the show’s executive producers.

“The Boardroom will be available exclusively on Disney’s ESPN+ sometime next year. The direct to consumer service, which debuted in April, has attracted more than one million subscribers with its lineup of Major League Baseball, college sports, boxing, soccer and UFC matches. The programming is complementary to ESPN’s cable lineup.

“The new show will bring fans behind the scenes of the modern boardroom, showcasing the evolution of sports business, as told from the perspective of athletes, sports executives and tech moguls. Each episode will focus on a broad theme, focusing on topics such as team ownership, player development and the business of social media.

“‘We’re excited to partner with ESPN for this series,’ Durant said in a statement. ‘I’m looking forward to bringing fans insights from some of the greatest minds in in the sports business world and show how athletes and thought leaders are changing the game.’

“The series marks Thirty Five Media’s first partnership with ESPN. The NBA standout has translated his success on the court to budding media business that affords behind-the-scenes looks at professional athletes. Durant’s YouTube channel has attracted more than 27 million views, and led to similar channels for  NFL All-Pro Richard Sherman and NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns. Durant’s media company also partnered with Imagine Television to create a basketball-themed dramatic series for Apple.

“‘This is a particularly interesting time for the business of sports. Players are increasingly evolving from business endorsers to active participants, decision makers, and owners,’ said Connor Schell, ESPN’s executive vice president of content. ‘We are excited to collaborate with Kevin and Rich, who have both had a profound effect on the way that athletes interact with the business of sports and investment community.’

“Additional details and the official launch date will be announced soon.”


Netflix has added another family sitcom to its ever-growing roster of original productions

“The streaming service has picked up No Good Nick, which will star Melissa Joan Hart and Sean Astin as parents who unwittingly welcome a teenage con artist into their home. 

“The Netflix production will also star Siena Agudong (Star Falls) as the title character and Kalama Epstein (The Fosters) and Lauren Lindsey Donzis (Liv and Maddie).

"‘Melissa Joan Hart and Sean Astin are beloved by millions of fans around the world, and we are delighted to bring them together as parents for the very first time,’ said Melissa Cobb, vp kids and familiy at Netflix. ‘We hope to entertain kids and families with heart, mystery and a lot of fun when No Good Nick comes to Netflix.’

“Hart will play Liz, a type-A career mom who's married to Astin's Ed, a lovable, dorky "fun dad." They welcome Nick into their home before realizing she's a con artist who has a secret agenda. Epstein and Donzis play Liz and Ed's daughters. Astin is returning to Netflix after recurring on Stranger Things' second season in 2017.

“Netflix says the series will also have elements of serialized drama as it reveals whether there is more to Nick than meets the eye.

“Production has already started on No Good Nick, which was created by David H. Steinberg and Keetgi Kogan. Andy Fickman (Kevin Can Wait, Liv and Maddie) is directing.”


From Variety: “The Good Doctor is one of the few shows that puts an autistic character front and center. But the hit Sony TV-ABC series, which returns for its second season on Sept. 24, has another distinction. One of the writers, David Renaud, is a ‘good doctor’ himself off-screen — and uses a wheelchair in daily life.

“Canadian-born Renaud, who goes by ‘Doc’ in the writers room, went to medical school to find a cure for paralysis after a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed at 19.

“‘When I went to medical school, the campus was not even accessible. I can’t tell you how many times I had to go through kitchens or even be carried up stairs to go to class,’ Renaud tells Variety.

“Now married with two children, Renaud has transitioned into a career in writing, working previously on Blood & Oil and Jason Katims’ Pure Genius, which Renaud recalls as a serendipitous staffing experience: ‘That show was unique, about a guy who started a hospital to find a cure for himself.’

“‘Good Doctor was the same sort of thing. The story is about autism, but in my mind, it’s a story about a disabled character. Autistic, blind, deaf, wheelchair-users — we’re all part of this big community of people who are struggling to have our stories told. And not just told, but told in an authentic way.’

“To help achieve this, David Shore, creator of The Good Doctor, has inaugurated ‘Friday Afternoon Arguments’ in his writers room, challenging his staff to create the most fleshed-out stories for the show.

“‘He loves the spirit of debate and we send two sides of an argument in every Friday. They’re like our writing exercises,’ Renaud says. ‘He loves to represent different voices and different ideas, and so he has created a very diverse room with voices that you don’t necessarily see in a lot of writers rooms.’

“The roster of contributors in Shore’s writers room includes not only House alumni like Liz Friedman and Simran Baidwan, but also practicing nurse Karen Struck and Mark Rozeman, who is on the autism spectrum.

“‘You don’t see a lot of people with disabilities in front of the camera. Less behind the camera, perhaps,’ says Renaud. ‘I think there’s something that makes people uncomfortable about seeing somebody with a disability. They feel sorry for the person. They feel guilty that the person has that life.’ Renaud shrugs, ‘Actually, that’s just my life, you know?’

“When setting up meetings, Renaud prefers not to draw attention to his wheelchair at first. ‘There’s something about surprising someone that puts them a little bit off-guard,’ he says. ‘Then, I just launch into my shtick. And some of it is, “Oh yeah, by the way, I have this disability. This is what that’s all about.” Not just because I have it and I feel like I need to apologize for it, but because this is why it adds value to the story. In this show, Shaun Murphy (played by Freddie Highmore) has a disability. He has autism. And I want to help bring that voice to the show.’

“Renaud insists that feeling sorry for people under the umbrella designation of “disabled” is a mistake. ‘I don’t go around feeling bad for myself. I think there are challenges to just pushing past what you see.’

“In light of Easterseals’ recently issued challenge for TV-series writers to create at least one character with a disability this season, Renaud is optimistic that with more representation on-screen and off, stories of disability will not seem so out of the ordinary and apprehension will eventually develop into comfort among viewers.

“‘We’ve had a guy in a wheelchair in front of the camera in an episode. We’ve had other autistic characters in front of the camera,’ Renaud cites. ‘Hopefully, putting disability in front of the camera, soon people won’t want to look the other way. They’ll just be like, “Oh yeah, I’ve seen that. I don’t know why it looks so familiar to me, but it does. I think they’re just a normal person. I don’t know why.”’

“He continues: ‘It’s because we’re telling normal stories about them. We’re telling normal stories about people who are just like everybody else — struggling to get through life and struggling to find happiness and struggling to better themselves. And I think that’s a universal truth.’

“Although he is very happy participating in the Friday Afternoon Arguments for the time being, Renaud hopes to one day tell his own story.

“‘I want my own show, eventually. I do think there are some interesting things about my experience going through medical school and being a resident on the floor with a different kind of disability in what is a really big challenge. And there are a million stories as to how that went that I think are interesting.’”


Lamorne Morris says he was ready for New Girl to come to an end after five seasons, but he still keeps in touch with the cast.

“‘I keep in touch with pretty much everyone. We’re always talking or texting’ Morris told Page Six on Friday, ‘I literally texted Hannah Simone today asking her for house advice.’

“‘It was sad when we ended but it was about time,’ he said of the Fox show that wrapped earlier this year while chatting at the Tribeca TV Festival premiere and panel discussion for his new show, Valley of the Boom.

“Of the National Geographic show which follows the 1990s rise of the Internet, Morris said that decades after the the story took place, he’s more connected to technology than he realizes.

“‘I used to say I wasn’t, but a recent relationship I was in shed some light that I was always on my phone,’ he admitted. ‘Usually it’s work but then the next thing you know you’re scrolling through Instagram, next thing you know you’re messaging people, next thing you know you’re looking at videos and before you know it, an hour has passed.’”


Per Yahoo!, “The last voiceover Anthony Bourdain did for Parts Unknown was a fitting one.

“As a packed, emotional house discovered at the Tribeca screening of the show’s upcoming Kenya episode — the twelfth and final season premiere featuring “United Shades of America” host W. Kamau Bell — Bourdain wanted to emphasize a point that has sometimes gotten lost in his work. ‘I do my best,’ he said of his exploratory travel around the world. ‘I look, I listen. But in the end, I know it’s my story. Not Kamau’s, not Kenya’s. Those stories have yet to be heard.’

“The coda, which airs after the credits on the episode, is one that not even his producers quite understood when Bourdain wrote it. ‘We didn’t have any idea what the fuck he was talking about,’ said director Morgan Fallon, with a small laugh. But after Bourdain died, they revisited the tape and ‘it was almost uncanny.’ (This episode marks the last time that Bourdain’s narration will be featured on the show.)

“Everyone on the panel — which included Fallon, Bell, showrunner Sandy Zweig, and Bourdain’s longtime producing partners Chris Collins and Lydia Tenaglia — agreed that Bourdain’s priority on No Reservations and beyond was to step back and let the country and the people he was visiting take the spotlight. Fuller remembered how Bourdain would often return to a variation on the same theme while producing an episode: ‘I’m not the story here. The story is this place, and these people.’

“‘He evolved into a kind of cultural anthropologist,’ added Tenaglia, who had been working with Bourdain since A Chef’s Tour, his first foray on television in 2002. ‘He gave us and the audience an opportunity to see the world in a very intimate way. It wasn’t just a travel show.’ As Bell put it, ‘if there’s anything Tony taught us, it’s how to be a good guest.’

“After the fact of Bourdain’s death, the Kenya episode is bittersweet. On the one hand, most of it is full of jokes and joy as Bourdain shows Bell around a country that Bell had long considered a part of his ancestral history, but never visited. ‘It felt like I won a contest,’ said Bell, who wore a t-shirt featuring a picture of the moment he first met Bourdain at the Emmys years ago. Over and over again, Bell described himself as a longtime fan of Bourdain’s who couldn’t believe his luck. ‘I’m just one of the people on the couch who got to be on the show.’

“The episode shows the pair palling around Nairobi, meeting Kenyans working to create an equitable and inclusive future, and yes, sampling some seriously intense local dishes. (Keep your eyes peeled for a classic Parts Unknown highlight featuring Bell, a cow, and a delicacy drink he dared not refuse.) From time to time, there’s even room for a little sarcastic snark about how ‘this is decidedly not a s—hole,’ a pointed barb aimed at President Trump’s reported dismissal of African nations.

“But of course, Bourdain’s sudden death in June left them all reeling. Having traveled and collaborated with so many of the same people for so long, Zweig said, ‘the people he worked with were like family to him.’

“Collins, who admitted that watching the new episodes is now ‘difficult,’ described how Bourdain’s approach to making travel shows changed over the years. ‘For him, it began as a ruse. Like, ‘they’re really gonna let me do this?!’ Over time, it turned into a job. Then, it turned into a profession. Then, it turned into a life’s work.’

“So while most of the Kenya episode revolves around Bell’s experience and Bourdain’s glee at getting to steer it, one of the most poignant moments comes as the two sit quietly on a crest, overlooking an expansive savannah stretching as far as the eye can see. ‘As soon as the cameras turn off,’ Bourdain said, ‘I f—ing pinch myself. I can’t believe I get to do this.’”