Tuesday January 22, 2019

In case you didn’t get enough Celebrity Big Brother last night. Not sure how that’s possible, but ok.

Speaking of which, if we’re going to refer to shows as “Celebrity” or with “Stars,” we need to modify the definition of these words officially. At this point, for purposes of reality competition programming, a “celebrity” is anyone who has experienced a scintilla of attention that has lasted beyond one news cycle.

Per Miriam-Webster, a “celebrity” is “a famous or celebrated person.” The VAST majority of those participating in these types of shows nowadays are neither famous nor celebrated.

Conan returns tonight with a new episode.

Sunday’s AFC and NFC championship games were nail-biters that went into overtime and sent viewership into overdrive. CBS harvested a whopping 53.9 million viewers as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady led his team to their third consecutive Super Bowl berth in a hard-fought primetime game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Viewership for the AFC clincher was up 27% from the comparable game window last year, when Fox had the late game berth for the NFC’s Vikings-Eagles bout. The crowd that turned out to watch the Patriots land a 37-31 victory peaked at 63.8 million viewers in the game’s final half-hour. CBS said it was the second most-watched AFC championship in 42 years, trailing only 2011’s New York Jets-Pittsburgh Steelers face-off, which brought in 54.9 million viewers. Fox’s Sunday afternoon NFC championship game, which sealed the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl spot with a 26-23 win over the New Orleans Saints, commanded 45 million viewers across Fox, Fox Deportes and the Fox Sports streaming app. The game ranks as Fox’s most-watched telecast since it last aired the Super Bowl in February 2017. The Rams-Saints battle peaked at 54 million viewers.”

Good people do still exist in this world.

And good on ya Jameela Jamil!

Another, interesting and seemingly plausible, theory on this season of True Detective.

EW can exclusively reveal that a new horror anthology show called Folklore will premiere Feb. 1 on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and partners’ streaming platformsFolklore is a six-episode, hour-long series that takes place across six Asian countries — Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Each episode is based on the respective country’s myths and folklore, featuring supernatural beings and occult beliefs. Overseen by different directors, each story was also filmed in the local language of the country. Episodes include the Indonesia-set A Mother’s Love about a single mother and her young son who discover a group of dirty and underfed children living in a mansion’s attic and a tale from Malaysia called “Toyol” in which a Member of Parliament turns to a mysterious woman who possesses shamanistic powers in order to salvage his town’s dire economic situation.” Not in this lifetime . . . .

Why Netflix's You had to make this major change from the book. “The show's co-creator Sera Gamble has revealed that co-writer Greg Berlanti concocted the character of Paco, not just to convey that Joe is at odds with himself, but to give viewers more of an understanding into Joe's own childhood, and identity.”

How many of these characters’ last names do you know?

25 Words or Less, the syndicated game show hosted and produced by Meredith Vieira, has been sold in 75% of the country ahead of its debut this fall. A quarter of you are lucky ones.

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From The Hollywood Reporter: “Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer aren't quite finished with Broad City. The co-creators and stars will be editing the fifth and final season of their Comedy Central series through February, adding another layer to a goodbye process that began back in November 2017.

"‘We have known how the show would end for a long time. We didn't know exactly how we would get there, but we knew what the last scene would be,’ Jacobson tells The Hollywood Reporter. And the ending, Glazer promises, will be a satisfying one. ‘It's uplifting and hopeful, too,’ she adds.

“Jacobson and Glazer gave birth to their TV alter-egos — who are slightly younger, more exaggerated versions of themselves also named Abbi and Ilana — 10 years ago with their web series. In 2014, and with the support of executive producer Amy Poehler, the show moved to Comedy Central and found a wider audience as Abbi and Ilana continued to fearlessly navigate New York City, their 20s and being a woman under President Trump. 

“After four seasons, including a more political 2017 run that bleeped the president's name amid the explosion of the #MeToo movement, Jacobson and Glazer let their network in on the big secret they had been discussing among themselves. ‘It was very theoretical at that point, the idea of it ending,’ says Glazer. Once they had the conversation with Comedy Central, the pair spent 2018 working on Broad City's final chapter. ‘I’m so confident in the episodes. It’s just that we bare our souls in this show, so it feels extra vulnerable with it being the end.’

“The final 10 episodes, which premiere Jan. 24, will tackle milestone moments as Abbi and Ilana barrel their way through life for one final TV run, leading to a "much bigger shift than we've ever seen" when the series concludes, says Glazer. In real life, the creative partners and friends have since branched out to write memoirs and pursue other film and TV roles, while also developing upcoming projects for their soon-to-be former network. Below, Jacobson and Glazer speak to THR about growing up and saying goodbye to Broad City, while getting emotional along the way":

What was the conversation like when you officially decided you were going to end the show?

Abbi Jacobson: We had made the decision more internally before we went to Comedy Central and talked it out with them, because it was a big convo.

Ilana Glazer: It was in this break between seasons four and five that we realized we had to approach this. We wanted to know creatively that we were going to end the show. We don’t just want to cut off and say — that’s the end! We’d want to have a big buildup to our ending, so it was important to be honest about that so that we all can make the best final season of this show.

How did you two feel once you made the decision?

Glazer: I think at first, in November of 2017 after we talked to Kent [Alterman, president of Comedy Central], I couldn’t really process it. We had just made this decision and it was hard to pull this thing out from inside of us, the thing that we had been considering for a while — when is it going to end? — that once we said it to him and he announced it and agreed with it, it didn’t feel over then.

Jacobson: It’s interesting because we’re still in it right now and every step of this ending has been different and still does not feel quite like the end yet. It’s starting to sink in more and more, but I think when we finally had that conversation with Ken, that felt like a little bit of relief, because we’d been talking about it.

Glazer: It was very theoretical at that point, the idea of it ending.

Jacobson: We’ve become very close with him and to a lot of people at Comedy Central, so it really brought us on the same page to have him finally know how we’ve been feeling. And then we had a lot of those conversations with different people who are involved.

What were the emotions like once you started to say goodbye?

Glazer: Abbi and I have been doing Broad City for 10 months a year plus a month of press; so 11 months a year for six years. And we’ve been creating this world for 10 years, since 2009 when we started the web series. It’s the actual making of the show that makes it feel over. The entire time during the writing period, I was processing the ending because we were building up towards it narratively more than we had ever built up to a 10th episode before. Shooting felt final in its own way and editing is feeling final in its own way.

Jacobson: For me, the writing is always the hardest part because Amy [Poehler] always likes to say, "We’re starting at the bottom of show mountain," and you don’t have anything. It’s the most stressful part. Is this going to be good? There’s more pressure this season because it’s the end, and we want to make sure it’s as good as the rest of the seasons. Slowly, once the scripts were written, I’d keep going, "I love them." Then we shot it all and I thought, "Ok, this went really well." And now that we’re in the edit and cutting — and this happens every season for me — I am like, "OK, this is awesome. I love these episodes." And I start to feel more at ease,. But then, it adds another layer because it’s also the end.

Glazer: It's such a feeling every year when we have these episodes and then put that out into the world. It goes from it being our private project to the world’s Broad City season. And since it’s the final one, it feels especially vulnerable. Like when you ask someone out and finally do it, and it’s so scary after you make yourself vulnerable. It’s so amplified, that vulnerability, after showing people. 

Last season you took on Trump and #MeToo and the tone shifted a bit. When it came to making this last season — what did you have to say about the world and these characters? Would you define this as a “growing up” season?

Glazer: I think so. Thematically, yes. Last season was almost like a learning and consciousness season, and this is definitely a shift out of our 20s and into our 30s and the girls realizing that there’s a lot of life left and — what do they want to do with it? Before, there was nothing strategic. They were doing and being. The characters are now more thoughtful in that way.

Will there be some big life realizations for Abbi and Ilana by the end?

Jacobson: I don’t think we should go too specific, just because there’s such a build-up throughout the season.

Glazer: There are big life moments happening in each episode, actually. Because we’re creating a much bigger shift than we’ve ever seen. Before, the joke was how little they’ve grown and now there are big life moments all season.

In the three episodes screened for press, Abbi turns 30 and explores the idea of dating a woman, and Ilana and Lincoln (Hannibal Buress) powwow about their future. 

Glazer: These episodes are more steps for them. Those topics cover a lot of ground for us personally and creatively. I don’t think we necessarily gave more than we did seasons before to this season, but it felt like there was more to give knowing it was the end. When you start processing this journey from 2009, or when we met in 2007, it felt like there was more to rip off of our bodies and then hand over the audience. It was like, "Would you like this arm of mine?"

Will the door be left open for you to possibly revisit them down the line? Given the reboot craze, is that something you had in the back of your minds? As you said, they do have a lot of life ahead of them.

Jacobson: I don’t think we’re planning on doing that. I think it would really be a little lazy for us to be planning a reboot when we haven’t finished yet. (Laughs.) We want to come up with a lot of new ideas. It’s not really something that we’re thinking about. Right?

Glazer: Yeah. I think it’s just counter-productive for us personally and creatively to think about it right now. I think we need at least a 15-year pause. This has been 10 years of our lives and I can’t really imagine it quite yet, because we’re still in it. There are so many reboots and remakes. I love what it is right now.

You said that you both weep in the series finale. What were the emotions like when you wrote, filmed and then edited that episode? And how do you each feel about it now?

Jacobson: We haven’t seen it yet, actually. We have a couple we haven’t seen yet because the editors just finished, so we haven’t gotten to it yet. Even when we were writing the last script — we write the first act together and then we each take an act. We were sitting across from each other and we were both just crying across from each other at the table.

Glazer: And then looking up and laughing and then being like, "OK, ok," and then go back to writing, and then crying at our ending and having each other crying and laughing. It really mirrored the content and exactly encapsulates the product.

Looking back, did you envision that Broad City would run this many years? When was that moment that you realized people were watching and that it was launching your careers? 

Jacobson: I don’t think we ever thought this. When we started the web series, I think we were just hoping we could get staffed on another show. Then we realized that maybe we could star in it and really try to harness our voice as both writers and actors. Then season to season, for a while, we got picked up one season at a time. Season one we had no idea if we were going to be picked up again, same with seasons two and three. That’s why all of the finales for those seasons are really grand, as if they’re a series finale, because we never knew If we were going to get to make more. Which is so great, creatively, because that unknown I think made us work harder. I don’t think we could have imagined exactly what happened.

Glazer: That feeling of what you are saying started for us on Facebook. When we were making the web series we were putting it out on Facebook and that’s how it gained some sort of following. I remember when we were averaging 2,500 views a week and that was the first time for me where I was like, "Holy shit, this is what it feels like for people to watch your stuff and ask for more." 

What do you hope Broad City’s legacy is?

Jacobson: Obviously for us, this has felt like such a pivotal 10 years of our lives. Broad City has been a lot of our lives so far. And — I hope this makes sense — I hope that the audience feels like they were a part of something the way that we do. And that it was this thing that happened in this time, because it’s very pop-culture reference-y and it’s very specific to right now. I hope they feel like they were in it with us.

Glazer: That’s perfectly said and just to add, I feel like people feel not alone when they watch it. If they don’t have an Abbi or Ilana, then they have the show for the meantime until they do. We all have our shows that we watch to comfort ourselves. We’ve heard that Broad City provides that kind of comfort for our audience and I hope that lasts. Because that’s a really valuable thing in television.

You are continuing your partnership professionally and developing shows with Viacom with your first-look deal. What are you most looking forward to when it comes to both your professional and personal relationship after Broad City?

Glazer: Professionally, the two of us have gotten to be such a well-oiled machine as producers and that’s really exciting to usher other projects in, but have it not take up all of our time like Broad City did. I think we can do that better now. We’re also writing a show for them. It’s exciting to me to have something that we’re less precious about, that we’re just cranking out and trying stuff and we’re being a little more flexible with, because it’s not every ounce of our being. Being a little bit lighter about our work together. And the other thing is just having more time to be actual friends, which is going to be a huge privilege.

Jacobson: We have spent the last 10 years simultaneously being friends and having the episodes be our friendship, and writing everything down. And now we can just be in it and not looking at it, as well.

Glazer: It’s challenging. It’s habit now, but there’s something so beautiful in not capturing a moment but living in it. Oh my God, I’m going to cry!

Jacobson: You got her! She hasn’t cried yet today!”

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From TV Guide: “Created by two former SNL head writers, Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, The Other Two is a Comedy Central sitcom that at first glance feels too on the nose. Two down-on-their-luck elder millennials who are siblings have, by their own expectations, washed out in the city of their dreams. But while Cary (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Helene Yorke) are both adrift, their tween sibling, Chase (Case Walker) becomes an internet sensation à la Justin Bieber. Breaking out with a corny YouTube single, Chase has the perfect combo of nice-guy attitude, Middle American mall looks and earnest naiveté to appeal to a massive demographic ranging from tweens to their moms. What initially seems like a blip of fame turns into a potential career, reuniting Chase, Cary, Brooke and their mother Pat (played by Molly! Shannon!) in New York City. Cary and Brooke aren't really doing anything right? So, much like they were gang-pressed into doing chores as children, they find themselves working for Chase Dreams as Chase chases his dreams. And here's where the show begins to really surprise you.

“In between the expected (and loving) jokes about viral fame, influencer culture, and the cost of creative meritocracy, there's a surprisingly sweet human connection as we find out that Cary, Brooke and Chase recently lost their father. In a scene-stealing moment, an exhausted and overworked Chase mentions as he and siblings hang out in the lap of recently obtained luxury that he misses their dad. And it's only then that Cary and Brooke show what they truly excel at — not acting (Cary) or the real estate biz (Brooke) — but being there for Chase and each other as they try and drag themselves back up from hitting bottom. As two adults in their mid-30s who feel like they haven't thrived in all the ways they were promised, they still manage to set aside an innate jealousy (which is excellent fodder for comedy on this show) to be there for a scared kid who isn't sure who he is with a major part of his family gone.

“It's in these tender moments that Cary and Brooke, despite questioning their brother's talent and meteoric rise to the top, remind us that love him dearly which enables the rest of the show (and cast) to revel in the delightful pettiness that is a hallmark of all showbiz satires. Shannon as a Midwest momager living her "Year of Yes" feels like a role that Shannon was born to play. Ken Marino as the desperately lonely agent of Chase who is hellbent on becoming a part of this family is pitch perfect. And let us not forget the perpetually slept on Wanda Skyes as Chase's record label publicist who lives and dies on whether the gays are on her client's side.

“Across the board the cast is phenomenal and, combined with the comedic legacy of the writers (Sarah Schneider, in particular, wrote the insanely catchy Do It In My Twin Bed for SNL which bodes well for future Chase Dreams singles), the show does so much more than expected. In lesser hands, it would be fair to worry about how the premise could wear thin — after all, when the comedy comes from a place of being brought low, it's hard for the characters to grow and still be funny — but The Other Two stands steady on purposefully meandering feet. In fact in a few episodes it'll be hard to remember why it's called The Other Two at all.

“The Other Two premieres on Comedy Central Thursday, Jan. 24 at 10:30/9:30c.”

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Per Variety, “Bringing to bear a talented cast on a story of real geopolitical significance, Black Earth Rising, Netflix’s drama about the long-tail aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, would seem to have had the potential to be one of 2019’s early television successes. Which makes its falling short all the more painful and pronounced. The show, previously aired in the U.K. on BBC Two and written and directed by Hugo Blick (The Honourable Woman), squanders the audience’s goodwill with ill-conceived narrative turns, a reliance on cliché, and, worst, dialogue that defies belief. Its potential resonances as a story about how we metabolize, and prosecute, the worst of crimes ends up, soon enough, squandered as the audience loses faith in the story and its telling.

“Michaela Coel (Chewing Gum) plays Kate Ashby, an investigator working for human-rights attorney Michael Ennis (John Goodman, taking a welcome break from The Conners). Ennis, an American, plies his trade in the United Kingdom — and Kate, an ethnic Tutsi woman adopted as a baby amidst the mass murder of her cohort in Rwanda, doesn’t quite know where she fits, a struggle that’s resulted in both a carapace of toughness and a roiling inner life. When her adoptive mother Eve (Harriet Walter), a prosecutor who works at the Hague, prepares to bring charges against a Tutsi leader for war crimes, Kate attacks her for not understanding the impact it’d have on their relationship. As the story proceeds, though, Kate finds herself both awash in complicated emotions of displacement and enmeshed in a story of increasing potential danger and intrigue.

“All of which sounds fascinating on paper. But onscreen, the emotional core of the story is wasted; the relationship between Kate and Eve is cut short before it can develop further, ending with a burst of invective from Kate when a fuller investigation of the complicated interplay between a white British mother and her black Rwandan daughter could have borne fruit. And the grand adventure aspects of the story, kicking off with a risible action sequence in which Kate races through an air vent to find an unseen assailant, play as unintentional comedy.

“Worst of all, even when she’s not playing at vent-crawling superheroics, Kate never feels real. As a character whose sense of alienation both from her country of origin and the country she presently inhabits, her struggle is relatable to millions of potential viewers, but as a figure who spouts lines like ‘Nothing about me is normal’ or ‘Don’t expect me to behave the way others do,’ she’s a cardboard cutout of an angsty rebel. By the time she throws herself at Goodman’s character (the second black woman to do so in a single episode, incidentally), it’s become clear the show has no real idea of how to write Kate as anything other than living symbol of the aftermath of war. (Goodman’s character is similarly freighted with trauma — he’s a physically ill alcoholic with a daughter in a coma — that supplants, rather than develops, character development.) Kate’s backstory is tragic and evocative, yes. But the character, despite the best efforts of the gifted Coel, doesn’t evolve past a list of biographical details.

“Which raises questions about why Black Earth Rising exists at all, so inept is it at conveying the struggle at its center. Written and directed by a white Briton, the series places at its center a woman scarred (in all senses) by her personal history, and it has no idea what to do with her besides trauma that announces itself through aberrant behavior and rage. Both of those reactions are merited, but, bolstered as they are with dialogue that’s perpetually just announcing Kate’s state of mind with none of the shading or nuance of human speech, neither are ever believable. Perhaps, given the obvious difficulty he evinces in depicting what life would be like and what politics would feel like for a Rwandan adoptee, Kate’s was not Blick’s story to tell.”

Black Earth Rising will be available to stream on January 25.

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Per TheWrap, “Disney is losing big money on streaming — and it hasn’t even launched Disney+, its new, trademark streaming service, yet.

“The Mouse House lost more than $1 billion in 2018 combined between Hulu and BAMTech, the technology that powers its ESPN+ streaming service, according to an SEC filing on Friday. Hulu drove a $580 million equity investment loss during Disney’s fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30, while BAMTech was the primary reason for a $469 million loss in its direct-to-consumer segment.

“Disney owns a 30 percent stake in Hulu, which is set to double after its buyout of much of 21st Century Fox’s assets. Hulu recently boasted that it hit 25 million paying subscribers across all its products, including its $7.99 a month base subscription and its $39.99 per month Hulu with Live TV option. Hulu has gained fans and critical acclaim thanks to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” its bedrock original series, but hasn’t been able to turn a profit, with the service on pace to lose $1.5 billion during its fiscal year.

“Disney’s billion-dollar loss on Hulu and BAMTech comes as it prepares to debut Disney+, its streaming answer to Netflix, later this year. Disney+ — along with housing titles from Disney brands including Marvel, Pixar, LucasFilm and its own vault — will feature a number of original productions. In late 2017, Disney chief Bob Iger said the plan is to price its streaming service ‘substantially below’ Netflix, which now has a high-end plan of $15.99 per month, after raising its prices last week.”