Monday October 1, 2018

The Kavanaugh hearings gave MSNBC its highest ratings ever.

SNL of course had its fun with the Kavanaugh hearings.

Showtime has canceled I’m Dying Up Here.

I’ve been catching up on NBC’s The Good Place. Kudos for being an original idea. I’m still on season 2, but bravo.

I implore you to watch John Oliver’s episode of Last Week Tonight, which aired last night. Here’s a link to make it easy to do so.

CBS premieres two new “sitcoms” tonight: The Neighborhood and Happy Together.

Here is a review of the former.

Crackle has released all 7 episodes of Us & Them, starring Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel This single-camera comedy that was initially set to air on Fox in 2013, but was ultimately cancelled prior to ever airing. Rejoice!

Apple Music is partnering with ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! for the second iteration of its Up Next program which showcases new and emerging artists. The first group to be featured will be K-Pop dance act NCT 127, who perform on October 8. The previous season of Up Next featured Khalid, 6lack and Daniel Caesar, each Grammy-nominated, as well as Latin sensation Bad Bunny and Aria-winning Amy Shark. The teaming includes the performance as well as creation of a custom content package, production of an audio EP from a bespoke live session and a filmed interview for Beats 1.  In addition, the artist is upstreamed to music and video playlists promoting new acts.”

Someone please send Kanye West away . . . forever.

Michael Darby is no longer filming with The Real Housewives of Potomac -- he's been suspended from doing so in the wake of being charged for sexual assault. According to Bravo and the show's production company, Truly Original ... they've stopped shooting scenes with Ashley Darby's husband following the allegation he groped a cameraman. Bravo says it has ‘comprehensive policies and guidelines relating to the safety of cast and crew. We take all allegations seriously and then proceed accordingly with our producing partners.’"

Good on ya Eddie Murphy.

And good on you Annalise Puccini.

Jennie Garth sold her Studio City, CA home. That 90210 money can get one some nice digs.

“After former Mad Men writer Kater Gordon accused series creator Matthew Weiner of sexual harassment, he has denied the claims numerous times. The allegations came to light again in a recent interview with Vanity Fair and Weiner, once again, had to stand his ground. In a report from The Information in November 2017, Gordon alleges that Weiner told her that she owed it to him to let him see her naked. Gordon told the website her confidence was shaken by the incident and she hasn’t worked in television since. ‘I really don’t remember saying that,’ he told Vanity Fair. ‘I’m not hedging to say it’s not impossible that I said that, but I really don’t remember saying it.’”

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From Vanity Fair: “The ninth season of The Walking Dead, which begins October 7 on AMC, is the end of the line for Andrew Lincoln, who’s played the show’s main character since it began in 2010. As sheriff Rick Grimes, Lincoln has been the face of a massively successful franchise, and an integral part of the drama’s story line. Lincoln attended his last red carpet premiere with his castmates on Thursday night, a bittersweet event filled with joy and sadness.

“‘It’s a very emotional and rough night for me,’ Lincoln told reporters at the show’s Season 9 premiere party in Los Angeles. ‘This has been the most extraordinary experience of my career. The people that I have worked with on this show have become my extended family, and, without a doubt, I’m going to miss them the most. The real love and respect for them makes it hard to say farewell. It was a difficult decision for me to make—to leave the show—but the right decision.’

“The British actor is exiting the series in order to return to London, where his wife and two children reside. The Walking Dead shoots about seven months a year in Georgia, a schedule that’s kept Lincoln away from his family for long periods of time over the past eight years straight.

“‘I get why he’s leaving,’ said Norman Reedus, who plays fan favorite Daryl Dixon on the show. ‘I have a son myself, and I’m constantly going back and forth to go see him, and it’s hard to do that. He’s got a beautiful family, and he needs to be with them. Family is the most important thing in life, so you can’t be mad at him for leaving. But I’m going to miss the hell out of him every day. He’s like a brother, and he’s a very important person to me.’

“Reedus said he’s going to miss spending almost every lunch break in his trailer with Lincoln, talking about life and playing games of backgammon. Danai Gurira—who plays Rick’s katana-wielding partner, Michonne—is going to miss his leadership, and his endless kindness in helping cast members when they’re in need.

“‘You don’t meet people like Andy Lincoln often. He’s really the quintessential leader,’ said the actress. ‘He’s so loving and supportive. He wants you to succeed, and he’s happy for you when you do. He makes you a better actor, and teaches you to be better to others. His form of leadership makes you feel immediately part of the family. I’m going to miss his generosity, his presence, and his energy. It’s been a beautiful journey, and an honor to work with Andy Lincoln.’

“At the premiere, the cast and creators kept mum about whether Rick will die, like his wife and son did in earlier seasons, or if he’ll be kept alive so that he might appear again in the future. Seth Gilliam, who plays Father Gabriel, did say he was pleasantly surprised when he first read the script and found out how Lincoln leaves the AMC zombie show.

“‘I thought, “Wow! That is really cool,”’ Gilliam said with a coy grin. ‘I think it’s going to be really trippy for the audience.’ Executive producer Greg Nicotero added that he and the show’s new show-runner, Angela Kang, wanted to give Rick an appropriate finale. ‘We wanted to write him out by giving Rick a send-off that paid tribute to his entire journey on the show, and in a way that was worthy of his character.’

“As for Lincoln, he described his final season as ‘breathtaking,’ mixed with ‘kick-ass scenes with horses.’

“‘I’m very proud of the work we’ve done this season, and where the story is going,’ said Lincoln. ‘In the episode I leave, it launches and makes the rest of the season even more incredible and so beautiful. One that you have never seen before.’”

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, “Netflix is showing no signs of slowing down, especially in its push for sci-fi fare.

“The streaming giant has handed out straight-to-series orders for three dramas: Kate Bosworth's The I-Land; IDW's' October Faction and Manga hit Warrior Nun. The three series join a rapidly growing sci-fi slate at Netflix that includes recent series pickups for secret society entry The Order,martial arts-themed Wu AssassinsIDW favorite Locke & KeyV Wars and Katee Sackhoff space drama Another Life.

“Lost-like drama The I-Land, which Bosworth will star in and produce, is described as a sci-fi adventure series. When 10 people wake up on a treacherous island with no memory of who they are or how they got there, they set off on a trek to try to get back home. They soon discover this world is not as it seems. Faced with the island’s extreme psychological and physical challenges, they must rise to their better selves — or die as their worst ones. Natalie Martinez (Under the Dome) and Alex Pettyfer (Magic Mike, Endless Love) star opposite Bosworth in the seven-episode drama from writer, director and showrunner Neil LaBute (Billy & Billie, Van Helsing). Lucy Teitler (Mr. Robot) is also attached as a writer on the Nomadic Pictures Entertainment series with fellow co-exec producer Jonathan Scarfe (Van Helsing) also attached to direct. Chad Oakes (Fargo) and Mike Frislev (Van Helsing, Wu Assassins) exec produce. The drama is the first TV series Bosworth will produce via her NONA banner.

“October Faction becomes the third Netflix series based on an IDW property. The 10-episode drama, based on the comic series of the same name, revolves around globetrotting monster hunters Fred and Deloris Allen who, after the death of Fred's father, return to their hometown in upstate New York with their teenage children Geoff and Viv. As the family adjusts, Fred and Deloris must hide their identities as members of a secret organization, and the heroes quickly discover that their new small-town setting isn’t as idyllic as it seems. Casting has not yet begun on the High Park Entertainment and IDW Entertainment series. The latter company will distribute the series worldwide (excluding Canada). Damian Kindler (Sleepy HollowKrypton) created the series and will exec produce and serve as showrunner. Kindler, Megan Follows (Reign), Mina Shum, David Frazee and Director X (Superfly) are on board as helmers on the 10-episode drama. James Thorpe, Steve Niles, Thomas Walden and Eric Birnberg exec produce. George Strayton and Melissa Blake (Sleepy Hollow) co-exec produce. John Calvert and Mohamad El Masri produce.

“Warrior Nun, picked up for 10 episodes, is inspired by the manga novels created by Ben Dunn. The drama revolves around a 19-year-old woman who wakes up in a morgue with a new lease on life and a divine artifact embedded in her back. She discovers she is now part of an ancient order that has been tasked with fighting demons on Earth, and powerful forces representing both heaven and hell want to find and control her.

“Simon Barry (Ghost Wars, Continuum) will serve as writer, exec producer and showrunner. Amy Berg (Counterpart) will consult Terri Hughes Burton (The 100) will co-exec produce, while Stephen Hegyes (White Noise) is an exec producer.

“The pickups arrive as a recent study from Ampere Analysis found that Netflix, which already has a content budget of more than $8 billion, is expected to double down on sci-fi and comedy series. The study, released Tuesday, found that Netflix has more than 250 new series pickups planned — with that tally expected to more than double the 229 originals currently in the streaming giant's catalog as it faces increased competition from Apple, Facebook, Disney's forthcoming SVOD service and other recent upstarts including DC Universe.”

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On that note, Bloomberg reports that “Netflix Inc. is about to let you decide how your favorite show will end.

“The streaming service is developing a slate of specials that will let viewers choose the next storyline in a TV episode or movie, according to people familiar with the matter. The company expects to release the first of these projects before the end of this year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are still private.

“Viewers will get to choose their own storylines in one episode of the upcoming season of Black Mirror, the Emmy-winning science-fiction anthology series. The show is famous for exploring the social implications of technology, including an episode where humans jockey to receive higher ratings from their peers. The fifth season of the show is expected to be released in December.

“The foray into choose-your-own-adventure programming represents a big bet on a nascent form of entertainment known as interactive TV. As Netflix expands around the world, it’s looking for new ways to lure customers. By blending elements of video games with traditional television, the company could create a formula that can be applied to any number of series.

“Netflix upended the business model of television by delivering new episodes of a season all at once -- letting viewers watch shows on-demand rather than live. But so far, the company has done little to change the way shows are conceived or produced. It releases the same 25-minute sitcoms, hourlong documentaries and two-hour movies as other TV networks.

“Netflix has already released a handful of episodes of choose-your-own-adventure animated programs designed for kids. Within the first couple minutes off Puss in Book, the viewer must choose whether the pugilistic feline fights a god or a tree. After watching one version, the viewer can go back and choose the alternate scenario.

“Netflix also is about to release a new animated series based on the popular video game Minecraft. Telltale Games, the company that was working with Netflix on the show, recently laid off most of its staff. But the show, based on one of the world’s most popular video games, is mostly finished and will be released later this year.

“The Black Mirror episode is the first of several experiments with live-action interactive programming for Netflix, and the first interactive show designed for adult viewers. The Los Gatos, California-based company has closed a deal for at least one more live-action project, and is negotiating the rights to others, said the people.

“Two of the projects are adaptations of video games, though Netflix has no plans to start releasing video games -- contrary to recent reports.

“This new type of narrative can complicate the production, and dealmaking. While a traditional movie has a 100-page script, a two-hour experience needs to have a longer script and production to account for all the different scenarios. Writers and producers are still determining how the extra demands affect their pay, among other matters.

“Former journalist Charlie Brooker created Black Mirror in 2011 for the British TV network Channel 4 and oversaw four seasons alongside Annabel Jones. Netflix got on board in 2015, acquiring the rights to past episodes and the rights to release future seasons.

“Two of the four previous seasons of Black Mirror have debuted in December, including the most recent six episodes. Production of the fifth season began earlier this year.

“The stories that branch off from the main narrative of Black Mirror will be more complex than the options in the kids’ programming, though it remains to be seen just how complicated the show will be. Consumer experience is paramount at Netflix, which employs executives who test everything from the quality of mobile networks in Mumbai to Brazilians’ preferences for subtitles versus dubbing.

“Producers of interactive TV are hoping Netflix’s growing investment is a sign that their time in the spotlight is approaching. HBO, one of Netflix’s fiercest rivals, released its first interactive TV show earlier this year. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the longer version of Mosaic was available in a separate app.

“While many TV viewers have voted for candidates in reality programs like American Idol and The Voice, no narrative TV show that asked viewers to engage with the plot has become a big hit.

“That could soon change, said Jim Eko, the chief operating officer of Eko, a company that produces interactive shows. The widespread availability of high-speed internet, the prevalence of touch screens and interactive games have all laid the groundwork for shows that ask the viewer to engage.

“‘The time is right for interactive TV to become a mainstream experience,’ he said.”

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Per Variety, “CNN founder Ted Turner open[ed] up about his battle with a brain disorder that is causing dementia in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning.

Turner tells CBS Sunday Morning senior contributor Ted Koppel he is grappling with a condition known as Lewy body dementia.

“‘It’s a mild case of what people have as Alzheimer’s. It’s similar to that. But not nearly as bad. Alzheimer’s is fatal,’ Turner says. ‘Thank goodness I don’t have that. But, I also have got, let’s – the one that’s – I can’t remember the name of it.’

“Following a pause, Turner says, ‘Dementia. I can’t remember what my disease is.’

“Turner build up his Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting System in the 1970s and ’80s to be a cable powerhouse with networks including CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network and TCM. Turner sold his empire to Time Warner in 1996. Turner is also known for his philanthropic efforts, most notably donating $1 billion to the United Nations to create its public charity.

“Known for his outsize personality and for experiencing ‘euphoric highs and dark lows,’ Turner says he was originally misdiagnosed with manic depression. The candid interview marks the first time Turner has spoken in detail about the severity of his illness.

“Turner reveals other aspects about his life today and says while he doesn’t watch the news a lot, he occasionally tunes in to CNN.

“‘I think they’re stickin’ with politics a little too much,’ he says. ‘They’d do better to have – a more balanced agenda. But that’s, you know, just one person’s opinion.’

“Turner also says he thought about running for office when he was married to Jane Fonda, who had previously been married to politician Tom Hayden. But Fonda gave him an ultimatum. Turner recalls Fonda informing him: ‘If you run for, for office, you run alone.’”

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From TheWrap: “Big Brother couple Chris ‘Swaggy C’ Williams and Bayleigh Dayton addressed pregnancy speculation in a new video uploaded to YouTube on Friday.

“Seated side-by-side, the newly engaged couple informed fans that Dayton did indeed get pregnant during her time in the Big Brother house, adding that she suffered a miscarriage shortly after her eviction.

“‘During our time in the Big Brother house, I did conceive a little baby,’ Dayton said in the video. ‘But unfortunately, and we don’t know why, but I had a miscarriage in the jury house. And it’s something that we’re still figuring out. We actually just got a chance to talk about it for the first time today.’

“Fans had long speculated that the couple, who quickly developed a romance on the most recent season of the CBS reality show, were going to have a baby. Viewers of the show’s live feeds caught Dayton confiding in another Houseguest earlier in the season that she believed she may have gotten pregnant but had not taken a pregnancy test.

“Speculation only intensified when Williams proposed to Dayton during the show’s live finale, after having spent just 23 days together.

“But Dayton and Williams had not addressed the topic publicly until Friday’s video.

“‘I would’ve been ecstatic if I were to have a baby. It would’ve been a blessing,’ Dayton said. ‘We were both really excited when we found out. And we were both really, really upset when we found out we lost it.’

“None of the other Houseguests knew about the pregnancy, which Dayton learned about a day before she had a heated argument with eventual runner-up Tyler Crispen.

“‘I know you guys saw a crazy, hysterical fight, but I actually found out the day before … that I was pregnant,’ she said, adding that the blow-up ‘probably’ would have happened regardless of her pregnancy.

“‘I didn’t propose because of that situation alone, or do it to make her feel good. I did it because I love her, and that situation … made us stronger,’ Williams said.”