Monday January 14, 2019

I watched season 2 of Friends From College. Feel free to save this one for a very long and rainy week.

Showtime has released a trailer for season 4 of Billions. “When everyone is out for revenge, no one is safe. This is never more true than in season 4 of BILLIONS. Bobby Axelrod (Lewis) and Chuck Rhoades (Giamatti), former enemies, and Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff), the chief counselor to each, have come together to form an uneasy but highly effective alliance, aimed at the eradication of all their rivals, including Grigor Andolov (guest star John Malkovich), Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon), Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) and Waylon ‘Jock’ Jeffcoat (guest star Clancy Brown). Ambition and betrayal have long been at the heart of BILLIONS, and this season all the characters find out exactly how high a price they'll have to pay to satisfy those needs. The series also stars David Costabile, Condola Rashad, Kelly AuCoin, Jeffrey DeMunn and Malin Åkerman, along with new guest stars Samantha Mathis, Kevin Pollak, Jade Eshete and Nina Arianda. Catch the season premiere Sunday, March 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. “

Fox premieres The Passage tonight following a new episode of The Resident.

Chris Pratt is engaged.

CBS on Sunday revealed the full cast line-up for Big Brother: Celebrity Edition Season 2, which includes Anthony ‘The Mooch’ Scaramucci, Ryan Lochte and Kato Kaelin. They’ll be joined by fellow houseguests Joey Lawrence (Blossom), Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls), Kandi Burruss (Real Housewives of Atlanta), Tamar Braxton (Braxton Family Values), Tom Green (Road Trip) and Dina ‘Mother of Lindsay’ Lohan. Also competing this winter are retired NFL running back Ricky Williams, former WWE personality Natalie Eva Marie and Olympic track and bobsled star Lolo Jones [who would show up to the opening of an envelope at this point.]”

Here are all of the winners from last night’s Critics’ Choice Awards.

Maroon 5 has been confirmed as the halftime performer at next month’s Super Bowl. Zzzzzzzzzz.

The lineup for PaleyFest 2019 has been announced.

“Nearly three months after NBC News cancelled Megyn Kelly Today in the wake of the host’s on-air Halloween blackface defense  the Andy Lack-run network division has finally reached an agreement with the former Fox News superstar for her to officially walk out the door. ‘The parties have resolved their differences, and Megyn Kelly is no longer an employee of NBC,’ said the company in a statement this evening. As soon as talks between her reps and NBC started in late October, Kelly’s formal exit from the News division of the Comcast-owned network became a matter of when and how –  not if. The details of the deal look to be held close to the Comcast-owned division’s  chest and Team Megyn too. However, it does seem that Kelly reaped all of the remaining millions on her $69 million dollar three year contract and there are no limitations on where she can work next, we hear. The confidentiality and disparagement aspects of the agreement are pretty standard corporate stuff As for what Kelly may eventually have to say about her time at NBC, there seem to be no current plans for the best selling Settle For More author to write a book or a similar public display.”

“Roseanne Barr accused her former employers at ABC of ‘anti-Semitism,’ contending in a recent interview that her outspoken support of Israel played a role in her firing last year. ‘I feel that what happened to me, a large part of it is anti-Semitism,’ Barr told the Jerusalem Post published Friday ahead of a planned address of the Israeli parliament later this month. ‘I think it played a part — the fact that I was never allowed to explain what I meant — and what I meant was a commentary on Iran — so they purposely mischaracterized what I said and wouldn’t let me explain.’ She continued, ‘In haste they did something unprecedented that they’ve never done to any other artist. And at the base of that I think it’s because I am the most vocal person about Israel and BDS.’” Ok . . . just go away, forever.

Billy Bush may be en route to his TV comeback, two years after getting the hook from the third hour of NBC News’ Today. Bush has had conversations with executives surrounding Extra about joining the syndicated entertainment newsmag, sources said, as the program prepares to make a major station move. Two weeks ago it was announced Extra had been acquired by Fox Television Stations in seven major markets; the transition in those markets from NBC to Fox stations in various markets is set for fall 2019.”

The Season six premiere of Brooklyn Nine-Nine on NBC put up a two-year high for the series in the overnight ratings. The season premiere averaged a 1.2 rating in adults 18-49 and 3.6 million viewers, up 71% in the demo from last season’s premiere on Fox.

“Jordan Peele may be horror’s new favorite son, but the ever-busy writer/producer/director is finding ways to acknowledge his comedy roots. Jordan Peele and former Key & Peele writer Charlie Sanders teamed up to create the YouTube Premium series Weird City, a sci-fi anthology that brings the funny to futuristic dystopias. Set in a society where classes are starkly divided by the haves and have-nots, labeled in this case as ‘Above the Line’ and ‘Below the Line,’ Weird City stars LeVar Burton as a mad scientist who introduces all kinds of bizarre gadgets to better optimize love and life — to hilarious results according to the Weird City trailer.”

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, “True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto is the primary creative force on the show. Fellow executive producer Scott Stephens is the guy who makes sure the vision for the show makes it onto the screen.

“So when Pizzolatto set the third season in rural Arkansas, Stephens secured locations and helped build out the show's production facilities in a former candle factory in Fayetteville.

“Similar to the show's Louisiana-set first season, the Arkansas locations help set a tone for the new episodes, in which a state police detective (Mahershala Ali) is haunted by a case involving two kids over 35 years of his life.

“Stephens, who has worked on all three seasons of True Detective, told The Hollywood Reporter he and Pizzolatto have forged a strong working relationship in part because ‘we don't have a lot of overlap in our duties.’

"‘I don't pretend to be a writer and try to dictate content that should be written into or out of the script, and he trusts me a lot with a lot of the execution of the written vision he presents to us,’ he said.

"‘The joy for me in this creative process is, for instance, location is very important to Nic, and it's always a character in the pieces that he writes. I get to be the guy to go out and find those — we approach locations like we do casting, and … I get to shape the look of the show just through how we find things. And invariably, Nic is such a descriptive writer, we're able to find things that are exactly as written or that even amplify what is written.’

“Stephens talked about how the on-location shooting helps bring the show to life, the central relationship between Ali's Wayne Hays and Amelia Reardon (Carmen Ejogo), who goes from a person tangentially connected to the case to his wife, and the way Ali helps sell the movement back and forth in time:

What was it about this region of Arkansas that appealed to you?

Nic had lived there when he was going to graduate school, so he was very familiar with the terrain and the people. He just felt it would be a compelling location for the story. The Ozarks are a very unique landscape, and they're always shrouded in this kind of low fog, this iridescent blue haze that hang throughout the Ozarks. It lends itself without being cartoonish or macabre to a dynamic environment to tell this story. For the most part, it's been untouched, certainly from a filmmaking standpoint.

The way the show weaves the different times together is somewhat different because of the older Wayne's dementia. How did you discuss integrating that into the storytelling?

First and foremost is how do you age somebody that drastically? We did an extensive search for the right makeup artist who understood what we were trying to achieve. It was important to age him and make him look like the appropriate amount of years had passed, but we also couldn't hide the actor under silicone and latex and hide all the emotion. It was finding that balance, and we feel in Mike Marino we found the best makeup artist to pull it off.

Once that heavy lifting is done, it's really up to the actors to take it the rest of the way. If you pay attention and start to study Mahershala's performance, he's playing the same character many years later, but there's a lot of nuance to it. His speech patterns are different, the timbre of his voice is different, the way he carries himself is different. He really kind of puts on the mantle of a 70-year-old man. It's pretty astounding. Once we saw him in full makeup and in character, we all knew this was going to work really well. It just has that feel of authenticity to it, and you could still see all the emotion in his performance.

What's behind the decision to center the relationship between Wayne and Amelia so much this season?

I think part of what Nic tried to do by telling Wayne's story is there's a big aspect of his life that's a love story, and it's all intertwined with the case. …. He wanted to write that love story that couldn't really be separated from the investigation. One drove the other. What we see in 1980 is when they fall in love, and in 1990 they've been married [almost] 10 years and it's a little more difficult balancing all the things you balance in a marriage with kids and careers.

There's a lot in the scripts that implies what happens in the times in between the three points on film. Did you discuss those missing years with the actors a lot, or did you leave it for them to fill in the blanks?

Nic is very good at back story. As a producer that's very handy, because you can always ask questions and Nic has the ability to tell you — deep, deep, deep down the list of questions you have about characters, he has answers for you. Actors love that, and he's able to convey these intricate stories about all parts of their lives that give them something to sink their teeth into and base their performances on.

So when we're talking about Wayne and Amelia, they know all the story of what happened to them in the interim years from 1990 to 2015. There's a whole story I could tell you — it's an entire story. We get bits and pieces of it [in scripts], but all that is conveyed to the actors, mostly through discussions with Nic. There's a lot of discussion about tone and character on set, and it most of it comes out of that process.

Mahershala's character was originally written as a white man, but he lobbied to play Wayne. What did changing Wayne's race do for the show in terms of other avenues you could explore?

After he read the script, he came in and met with us, and he pitched Nic hard that he loves this story and wanted to play the Wayne Hays character. Nic's concern was always that he didn't feel he could write the story about race, and was writing a different story about this man and about time and memory. Mahershala's answer was perfect, which was that's exactly what I want to do. I don't want to tell a story about race; I just want to tell this man's story. It resonated, and Nic rewrote a couple of the drafts, and it worked really well. It really wasn't more complicated than that. Mahershala read those drafts, and everyone was very happy — we were kind of off to the races at that point. It made a lot of sense.

From my standpoint, knowing both sides of the story, I think it's a much richer experience now. And certainly having him play this character is just a gift that continues for eight episodes. I've been in editorial for months. I watch him for hours a day, and I'm still astounded by the nuance of his performance. It keeps revealing itself, and it astounds me, it really does.”

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Seems like even disgraced comedian Louis C.K. fell under fraudster restaurateur Sarma Melngailis’ spell.

“In a series of emails between the two in 2012 Louis C.K. pines for the chef, telling her in one March note that, ‘My brain has thoughts about you in it. Somewhere between 27 and 93 ¹/₂.’

“The emails were part of a trove of documents provided to The Post that included sexual text messages between Melngailis and her high-powered defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman.

“But things turned slightly less romantic in one June when the funnyman defends himself against having potentially passed along an STD to Melngailis.

“The chef emailed him on June 17 regarding a previous email outburst, stating that she was ‘upset and freaked out.’

“Louis C.K. responded: ‘hey. I understand you’re upset. This kind of s–t is tough. I never swore that I was clean. I told you I may or may not have given this to you. I’m sorry if I did. If you gave it to me, it’s okay. We all share the current human bloodstream, which includes this kind of stuff. I should have worn a condom, you should have made me, we should have a lot of things. we are human,’ he wrote.

“‘Our generation has this stuff. the next generation will all be inocculated and will have sex with electric glass penises and digital vaginas and they’ll get software viruses instead. It’s part of life.’

“Later on he tells Melngailis that he accepts his responsibility ‘for our chemistry and exchange,’ and wonders whether anyone is ‘clean’ nowadays.

“‘I’ve been told the same thing, that there’s no good tests for guys and even that condoms don’t stop s–t. i don’t know. It’s a mess. I hope you’re okay. i think you will be. And I am sorry. …I still look back tenderly and happily on our time together. And that night. It was really wonderful, even though it never happened again and it seemed to be sort of a stopping point for us, unfortunately.’

“Louis C.K. could not be reached for comment and Melngailis declined to speak with The Post.

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Per Variety, “Alfonso Ribeiro burst on the entertainment scene with the title role in Broadway’s The Tap Dance Kid, and earned his first Variety mention on Dec. 22, 1983, a rave review, when he was just barely 12 years old. He went on to star in his most recognizable role as the sweater-loving Carlton Banks on 1990’s comedy The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, opposite Will Smith. Since then, Ribeiro has dabbled in a little bit of everything, from reality competitions like Dancing With the Stars”(which he won) to directing TV episodes (including comedies All of Us and Are We There Yet?) to his current gig as the host of America’s Funniest Home Videos — the big $100,000 episode of which aired Jan. 6. The multi-hyphenate isn’t going to stop anytime soon, and calls being an entertainer ‘all I’ve ever loved.’

Having been in the industry since you were 8, what kept you going when you faced adversity? What’s the best advice someone’s given you about the industry?

I wouldn’t ever say that there’s one piece of advice. Life is a journey. It’s a long road with many ups and downs and speed bumps and potholes and magnificent days. I am very much a glass-half-full person. I think passion is such an important part of success, and that’s translated to my career. This is a business where most people can’t say, “Hey, look at me — I’ve been doing this for [40] years.” I’m 47 now. It’s a very special thing.

Do you ever get tired of doing the Carlton dance?

I don’t get tired of doing the Carlton, because I don’t do the Carlton. Obviously this show is something I did for many, many years and has afforded me a wonderful life. I’m appreciative that fan base is still loving it, but I’m not doing it every time someone asks me to. I’m a little over it. I’ve been over it for 20 years. I’m appreciative of the fact that people get the joy out of the memory. I simply honor them, but it ain’t gonna happen.

You played Carlton, who’s very much the “uptight nerd” type, for six seasons. Did you ever worry about being pigeonholed for that role?

There was a time, yeah. I was younger and just out of Fresh Prince,”and during the later years of the show I wanted people to know I’m acting. I grew up in the Bronx, you know? And during that time, reality television was starting to take off, so the younger generation was having a hard time understanding the differences of what’s real, what’s acting. So people automatically thought I was that guy. I loved acting, but I couldn’t do that type of guy anymore. I’ve had to reinvent myself and change the entire narrative. I’m no longer able to act. I’m a host. I’m a director, in order to be able to continue doing a job in the industry that I love.

What drives your motivation to branch out into so many things?

I love being an entertainer, and I feel like I don’t have to work a day in my life. I go to work, but I don’t feel like I’m working. I don’t feel like I’ve got to struggle. But I don’t feel like I’m ever going to squander that. A day a job ends is the day you look for your next job.

If you weren’t doing entertainment, what  would you be doing?

It’s all I’ve ever loved. But if I wasn’t in the industry, I probably would have gone to law school. [Law is] something that I love debating. My wife says, “That would’ve been a lucrative career for you.””

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Per EW, “A man named Trump tries to convince a group of people in Texas that they must build a wall — and pay for it! — to protect them from an impending disaster.

“And this is in 1958.

“Twitter is re-discovering an episode of a CBS Western called Trackdown that’s making the rounds with its rather freaky parallels to our current political standoff.

“The episode had a fictional salesman named Walter Trump warning a town in the 1870s of apocalyptic doom if they did not agree to pay him to build a protective wall.

“‘Without my help and knowledge, every one of you will be dead,’ this multiverse version of Trump says (Snopes confirmed it’s real). ‘I alone can fix [the system] … Trust me. I can build a wall around your homes that nothing will penetrate.’

The TV show’s Walter Trump is even bald — the way nature intended Donald Trump to be.

Some of the townspeople #resist, of course, with one judge saying, ‘When we were kids, we were all afraid of the dark. And we grew up and we weren’t afraid anymore. But it’s funny how a big lie can make us all kids again.’

“Yeah, isn’t that funny?

“Fictional con man Trump causes a lot of chaos in the town of Porter, Texas, during the episode. But it’s not like the guy, oh, shuts down the entire U.S. government for a historic length of time over his wall quest — because that would have been really tough to buy.

“In the end, Trump gets the votes he wants, but is then arrested.”