Friday September 7, 2018

HBO has renewed Ballers for a 5th season.

HBO has also renewed Insecure for a 4th season.

Season 2 of Netflix series Atypical is now available to stream.

Same goes for season 2 of Iron Fist.

Here's a quick recap to get you caught up on the latter.

Rest in peace Burt Reynolds.

Jim Carrey's new Showtime series Kidding premieres on Sunday. More below.

You premieres on Lifetime on Sunday as well.

Ditto for the new season of HBO's The Deuce.

D.L. Hughley will release his debut Netflix Original stand-up comedy special, Contrarian, on September 18. Here's the trailer.

TLC is getting closer to green lighting a reboot of While You Were Out.

The latest on Les Moonves' seemingly impending departure from CBS.

"Disney has revealed the first official details for its upcoming High School Musical TV series, which will air on the upcoming Disney streaming service. The 10-episode series will be titled High School Musical: The Musical.  Shot as a docu-style series, the show follows a group of students at East High who stage a performance of High School Musical for their winter theater production, only to realize that as much drama happens offstage as onstage. It will feature an entirely new cast of characters, the descriptions for which can be read below. Casting has begun on the series, with casting being led by Julie Ashton. Each episode will include a rendition of a favorite musical number from “High School Musical,” along with a new original song. Oliver Goldstick will serve as executive producer. As Variety exclusively reported, Tim Federle will serve as writer and executive producer."

"Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia are back on Bravo! The dynamic design duo are teaming up for the new series Get a Room with Carson & Thom, premiering Friday, October 19 at 9/8c.  Of course, from watching these two on Bravo's Queer Eye, we know that Thom is an expert interior designer, while Carson is a fashion guru. However, Carson has recently been bitten by the decor bug, and Thom will be there to take him under his wing to tackle home projects big and small together in this new series. Luckily, we get to go along for this fun and fabulous ride.  Each episode of Get a Room with Carson & Thom will feature two clients enlisting the help of Carson and Thom to transform their spaces into something spectacular."

Bobby Berk talks season 3 of Queer Eye.

FreemantleMedia has rebranded itself as Freemantle. Big time!

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Per TheWrap, "Comedy Central has greenlit the new digital series Unsend, which will look at social media’s sublime and bizarre reactions to everything happening in the world each week.

"Paul Scheer (The Disaster Artist, The League) will produce the series, which is hosted by Joel Kim-Booster (Conan) and Patti Harrison (Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon) and created by Deanna Cheng (Heathers) and Matt McConkey (Heathers and the Homophilia podcast).

"The show examines the week’s events through social media, focusing not so much on what happened as on how people reacted online — from Reddit to 'ill-informed tweets and TMI Instagram stories,' according to a release. The hosts will cover everything from entertainment to sports, spotting trends and interviewing celebrities about online regrets. Daily Show-style correspondents will do deep dives into memes and baffling feuds.

Unsend does not yet have a release date.

"Besides acting and producing, Scheer is a podcasting veteran, responsible for How Did This Get Made, which looks at cinematic misfires, and Unspooled, which focuses on every movie on the AFI top 100, has been a top performer on iTunes since its launch this past spring.

"Scheer also appears in the upcoming film Slice, A24’s pizza shop horror movie starring Chance the Rapper, and is currently shooting Showtime’s Black Monday with Don Cheadle and Regina Hall."

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The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that "Freeform is moving forward with its fresh take on Party of Five.

"The Disney-owned cable network has handed out a pilot order to the reboot, which hails from original series creators Christopher Keyser and Amy Lippman. The duo co-wrote the script for the drama, which is described as a modern twist on the original series that follows the five Buendias children as they struggle to survive together as a family after their parents are deported to Mexico.

"'Twenty-five years ago, we imagined a story about five kids navigating the world after the untimely death of their parents,' Lippman and Keyser said in joint statement. 'Today, stories of families being separated, children having to raise themselves in the wake of their parents’ deportations, don’t require any imagination; they are everywhere. This new iteration of Party of Five isn’t a retread of the original; it’s a whole new look at kids trying to parent each other in the wake of circumstances beyond their control, yet learning a similar lesson: that families persist no matter how great the obstacles.'

"Lippman and Keyser penned the pilot with Michal Zebede (Castle). Rodrigo Garcia (Nine Lives) is set to direct the Sony Pictures Television drama. Keyser, Lippman and Garcia will exec produce, while Zebede will be credited as a co-EP. The pilot order arrives nine months after THR exclusively reported that Freeform was circling the deportation-themed reboot of Party of Five.

"'From the moment we heard that Amy and Chris were updating their iconic series with this timely and powerful twist, we knew we had to have this pilot. We’re honored to be the home for the next, brilliant iteration of their vision,' said Karey Burke, Freeform executive vp programming and development. Burke aggressively pursued the Party of Five revival as the young-skewing cable network headed into 2018 with a plan to air originals on four nights a week, using its notable film library to help boost scripted fare. 

"The original Party of Five ran for six seasons and focused on five siblings — Bailey (Scott Wolf), Charlie (Matthew Fox), Julia (Neve Campbell), Claudia (Lacey Chabert) and their baby brother, Owen — who unite as a family after their parents are killed in a car crash. The San Francisco-set Party of Five aired for six seasons on Fox, from 1994-2000. The show helped launch the careers of Wolf, Fox, Campbell and Chabert, as well as notable guest stars, including Jennifer Love Hewitt, while tackling serious themes such as substance abuse, domestic abuse, cancer and its central theme: the loss of a parent. The series won a Golden Globe in 1996 for best drama. Party of Five also spawned a short-lived spinoff — Time of Your Life, which centered on Hewitt's Sarah Reeves as she moved to New York — that lasted one season on Fox. Also created by Keyser and Lippman, the short-lived series co-starred Jennifer Garner and Pauley Perrette."

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Per Vulture, "Jeff Pickles, the children’s television show host played by Jim Carrey in the new Showtime series Kidding, is not Fred Rogers, the beloved American icon responsible for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. But the two share a few things in common.

"They both bring a calming sense of comfort to children everywhere via their television shows. Both are viewed as beacons of goodness by the general public, including adults who grew up watching them on television. As made clear by a scene in the first episode of Kidding, which airs Sunday night, Jeff Pickles, like Fred Rogers, has testified before Congress, as illustrated by footage that looks remarkably similar to Rogers’s famous 1969 appearance before a Senate subcommittee. The difference is that while Jeff provides his testimony, back home, his wife Jill (Judy Greer) and their twin boys are about to get into a car accident that results in the death of one of those sons.

"That incident highlights the fundamental difference between Jeff Pickles and Fred Rogers, and the underlying question raised by this uneven series, created by Dave Holstein of Weeds and the Carrey-produced I’m Dying Up Here: What happens when the equivalent of Mr. Rogers suffers from profound grief?

"What happens is that you get another post-comedy comedy, which means Kidding is melancholy more often than laugh-out-loud funny, and well-acted even if some of its character development is lacking. More than anything else, it’s a showcase for Carrey, who returns to television in a regular role for the first time since In Living Color, no doubt lured by the prospect of bringing to life yet another off-kilter protagonist. (Jim Carrey playing someone who’s a little odd? Never!) To his credit, he keeps Jeff firmly tethered to the ground in an understated performance that conveys childlike gentleness, but at times also comes across as just the tiniest bit unsettling. That seems right, somehow; there’s something a little disturbing about a middle-aged man who still can’t figure out how to look at the world through entirely seasoned eyes. (That’s another way that Jeff Pickles differs from Fred Rogers: Nobody ever doubted that Mr. Rogers was a grown-up.)

"When Kidding begins, it’s been a year to the day since Jeff and Jill’s son was killed in that accident, which was caused by a faulty traffic light and a snack-cake truck driver who ran through an intersection. Separated from Jill and still trying to help raise their surviving son Will (Cole Allen), Jeff is fraying at the edges. For starters, he’s intent on discussing Phil’s demise during his show, Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time — 'I want to do a show about death,' he announces — an idea that his producer Seb (Frank Langella) thinks is absolutely terrible. He’s also a bit unpredictable. At one point, Jeff shaves part of his head so that there’s an empty landing strip right in the middle of his pageboy haircut. 'You look like Lee Harvey Oswald’s creative younger brother,' observes Seb, who’s worried that his star’s psychological collapse will mean the financial collapse of the lucrative ancillary merchandise machine generated by Mr. Pickles.

"Seb isn’t the only one who’s worried. Jeff’s head puppet maker, Deirdre (Catherine Keener), is concerned about him — that is, when she’s not distracted by her own problems, including a husband (Bernard White) who’s unfaithful, and a daughter (Juliet Morris) struggling with her own emotional issues. Keener is a natural at playing the part of a no-nonsense, slightly frazzled mother and colleague, and it’s clear that this side plot serves a purpose: It’s another way for Holstein and the show’s writers to demonstrate that Jeff isn’t the only person in denial about his family life. There’s also something darkly funny about a woman who devotes her days to making fuzzy puppets to entertain children, but has next to no patience for her own daughter. But at least in the first four episodes, the only ones made available for advance review, Kidding doesn’t depict Deirdre’s family life with anything more than surface sweep, even though the situations she’s confronting cry out for more depth.

"As is customary in any non-children’s piece of pop culture about a kiddie show, Kidding highlights the depravity that lurks beneath the world of Mr. Pickles. Two guys who share the Snagglehorse costume routinely have sex in it; there’s more than one joke about how funky it smells underneath all that blue fuzz. Many of the more mature fans who write letters to Mr. Pickles are women who also send revealing photographs. “Why can’t you meet a new fuck friend?” Seb asks Jeff, while suggesting that perhaps one of those Pickle-loving ladies could take Jeff’s mind off of his sorrow. Most of these attempts at perverse humor seem a little too played out and Happytime Murdersish for their own good.

"Kidding is much better when it leans away from the crass and embraces a sense of odd whimsy. Michel Gondry, who directed Carrey in the sublimely bizarre Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, helms the first two episodes and he’s perfectly suited to a milieu that involves ukulele puppets named Uke-Larry, purple bumblebees, fluffy clouds that hang on strings, and a tone that hopscotches from sweet to slightly subversive. When the house next to his former home, still occupied by Jill and Will, goes on the market, Jeff buys it in a very sly nod to Mr. Rogers: Instead of, 'Won’t you be my neighbor?' it’s, 'I’m going to be your neighbor whether you like it or not.' Gondry has fun capturing the close proximity between these not-quite-identical suburban dwellings, particularly in one scene that tracks Jeff spying on Jill while moving up the stairs and down again, mirroring his estranged wife’s path through the house that they used to share. The writing also sharpens as the series progresses. When Jeff is introduced to the word neuroplasticity, he delights in the sound of it. 'That’s a fun word to say,' he declares. 'Neuroplasticity! Makes your mouth into a bouncy house.' Even the way Jeff expresses himself is steeped in the imagery of childhood.

"Jeff is a true believer in the idea that the world is good. It’s unclear whether he’s bought too heavily into his fake persona, or if he’s just that much of an optimist at his core. But in the fourth episode, the best of the ones I’ve seen, Jill makes it clear that his naivete and the fact that she’s always played second fiddle to his perceived perfection is what really drove a wedge into their marriage, even before they lost their son. 'You’re Santa,' she tells him. 'And I’m Mrs. Claus.' It’s a shattering scene, played with all kinds of raw edges by Greer, who brings new dimension to the role of a practical, grounded wife, and Carrey, who’s just heartbreaking. That exchange tells me that Kidding has the potential to be great, even if it’s still finding its footing four episodes into its ten-episode debut season.

"Unlike Jeff, the team behind Kidding doesn’t want to make a show about death. Not exactly, anyway. But the more it focuses on the messy aftermath of loss, and how that affects Jeff and Jill specifically, the more interested I am in seeing where it bounces next."

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When will they learn? "Nathan Morris, one of the founding members of Boyz II Men, is taking a hiatus from singing, in favor of a much different vocation — house flipping.

"There are many shows whose premise involves flipping — or buying houses, renovating them and selling them for more money than their previous value. Flip or Flop is famous, but there's also Desert FlippersFive Day FlipVintage FlipMy Flippin' Family, or Philly Street Flippin'.

"Even rapper Vanilla Ice has a house-flipping show: The Vanilla Ice Project.

"But Hit Properties with Nathan Morris, a new DIY network miniseries, is the only show that can boast a Grammy-winning, CAPA grad as its intrepid flipper.

"Morris' four-part series premieres on Saturday, October 6 at 10:30 p.m.

"'On the business side, I've invested in some lucrative real estate deals, and, on the personal side, I've done some construction, renovating and designing,' said the singer in a release. He will put this experience to the test on the show, which follows his 'odyssey' transforming a decrepit Florida mansion into a 'grand showplace.'

"Morris' taste err toward glamour — the Orlando house he is flipping will be retrofitted with 'smart home upgrades' like 'remote-controlled toilets, WiFi enabled lighting and mirror TVs.' It won't be all glamour, however. Morris' crew also encounters obstacles like 'a Category 2 hurricane, a costly plumbing leak and the consequences of new landscaping devoured by wildlife.'

"Morris, whose Philly group first became famous for their hit single, Motownphilly, is not giving up his musical career any time soon. Boyz II Men released their latest album, Under the Streetlight, last year. They were also recently featured in a Charlie Puth's song, If You Leave Me Now. Morris and the band are also currently on tour with Bruno Mars. They hit the Wells Fargo Center for a two nights Sept. 19 and 20."