Thursday January 31, 2019

Photos from the upcoming season of The Walking Dead.

AMC will simulcast season two of BBC America’s Killing Eve when the series returns in April, AMC Networks announced yesterday.

Fox has renewed The Masked Singer for a 2nd season. Gross.

Tori Spelling got bounced last night.

Pop has ordered a 2nd season of Hot Date.

I am really going to miss Suits when it’s gone.

Chelsea Peretti bids adieu to Brooklyn Nine-Nine in tonight’s episode.

Watch Broad City (which airs tonight on Comedy Central), if you’re not already doing so. It’s in its final season, but is really smart and different and something that deserves more attention. If you don’t believe me, start with last week’s season premiere.

Stephen King's post-apocalyptic epic best-seller The Stand is coming to CBS All Access. Following a prolonged dealmaking process, the SVOD platform on Wednesday announced a straight-to-series, 10-episode order for a drama based on the novel of the same name. Josh Boone, who was previously attached to write a feature film based on the epic novel, is set to pen the script alongside Ben Cavell (Justified, Homeland). The Stand has long been a passion project for Boone. ‘I’m excited and so very pleased that The Stand is going to have a new life on this exciting new platform,’ King said of the series. ‘The people involved are men and women who know exactly what they’re doing; the scripts are dynamite. The result bids to be something memorable and thrilling. I believe it will take viewers away to a world they hope will never happen.’"

HBO will make the next episode of True Detective available to subscribers (via HBO GO) on Friday, two days ahead of its linear TV debut. This Sunday’s episodes of Crashing and High Maintenance will also be accessible on Friday.

More Super Bowl commercials in advance of the big game.

“In her follow-up series to Scandal, Darby Stanchfield is set to star as Nina Locke in Locke & Key, Netflix’s adaptation of Joe Hill’s comic, from Hill, Carlton Cuse and IDW Entertainment. Locke & Key is a horror-fantasy series that revolves around siblings Kinsey, Tyler and Bode (Emilia Jones, Connor Jessup and Jackson Robert Scott) who, after the gruesome murder of their father, move to their ancestral home in Massachusetts only to find the house has magical keys that give them a vast array of powers and abilities. Little do they know, a devious demon also wants the keys, and will stop at nothing to attain them. After the traumatic home attack, Nina Locke moves her family across the country to Keyhouse for a fresh start — and also to solve the mystery surrounding her late husband Rendell’s murder. She struggles with her new role as a single mom, as Rendell was always more the traditional parent type. She’s much more comfortable as an artist and house renovator.”

JWoww (Jersey Shore’ s Jenni Farley) opened up about her abusive ex Roger. I’ll warn you in advance, it’s pretty heavy stuff.

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From The Observer: “After his contract with Paramount Pictures expired last summer, J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot banner became the most sought-after free agents in recent Hollywood history. (Think Super Bowl–winning quarterback Peyton Manning hitting the open market in 2012, but about five times bigger in terms of dollars and cents.)

“It has been widely reported that the writer, director and producer is now looking for a lucrative, cross-platform mega-deal that will enable him and his studio to continue their successful work on the big and small screens (linear, theatrical and streaming), while also adding video games, live theater, music, merchandising and even theme park attractions to their growing repertoire.

“Studios eyeing Abrams include Universal, Warner Bros. (which houses Bad Robot Television) and Disney, with the latter two considered the front-runners, per Deadline. Unsurprisingly, these studios routinely pull in the biggest annual numbers at the domestic box. Universal is said to be making a strong push against its competitors, while Sony and Apple are also reportedly interested. And the Lost mastermind can hardly ignore the allure of deep-pocketed streamers like Netflix and Amazon, though they remain unlikely next destinations for him at this point.

“So which landing spot is ultimately the right one for Abrams? And which will benefit the industry the most?

“First, when considering the bidding war that has surely erupted, studios must acknowledge that Abrams’ greatest skill isn’t necessarily creating original concepts with repetitive cash flow (i.e., sequels) like his mentor Steven Spielberg or James Cameron.

“‘He’s the guy who comes in and reimagines franchises,’ Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, told Observer. ‘What he did with Star Trek was brilliant. It was the same tactic he took with Mission: Impossible III, and it’s what fans saw with the successful Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’

“That’s exactly what studios want to hear as they increasingly rely on established properties to draw audiences to the box office.

“‘I think moving forward he will take on high-profile films that keep the money flowing, but juggle that with smaller projects that are more fulfilling to him as an artist,’ Gitesh Pandya, founder of the film industry analysis site BoxOfficeGuru.com, told Observer. ‘He can definitely make that balance work.’

“It’s not that Abrams can’t create compelling original content. Super 8, the Cloverfield series and much of Bad Robot’s small-screen work (LostAlias, FringeCastle Rock) are evidence of that. But his track record suggests that he’s best suited for a studio that boasts an extensive library of existing intellectual property. That is a major reason Disney is considered a favorite to land his services.

“‘As director of the highest-grossing domestic movie of all time [2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens], Abrams is in the enviable position of having many suitors give him a home for his future projects,’ Pandya said. ‘As owner of Lucasfilm, Disney has an existing relationship and could end up being a great home for him.’

“This is the prevailing sentiment throughout the industry.

“‘Every company consumed by Disney has had tremendous success,’ Dergarabedian said. ‘Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm—there’s really no downside here.’

“Yes, Disney is the biggest entertainment conglomerate on the planet, and Abrams already has very strong ties to it. But is this the most ideal scenario for Hollywood?

“The Mouse House has led the film industry in domestic market share three years running. It broke its own all-time industry record for the highest-grossing domestic year in 2018 with a gargantuan $3.1 billion. The studio will very likely shatter that number this year with massive home-run swings like Captain MarvelAvengers: EndgameToy Story 4 and Abrams’ own Star Wars: Episode IX. In other words, Disney doesn’t need Abrams to succeed. They’re the Golden State Warriors of the biz right now.

“There’s also the question of just how much ownership a conglomerate can effectively handle. Once Disney’s acquisition of Fox is approved, it will control an astonishing 35 percent of the North American box office, two rising streaming services (Disney+ and Hulu) and multiple linear television networks (including ABC, ESPN, FX and NatGeo)—not to mention boast the most expansive back catalog of content in the game. Is there even any room for the ambitious expansion of Bad Robot’s multi-pronged aspirations? Wouldn’t another studio or streaming service winning the J.J. sweepstakes mean that he’d get the attention and carte blanche he deserves?

“‘Whoever you go with on the theatrical side needs a strong marketing and distribution team,’ Dergarabedian said. ‘Any home that gives him a massive amount of creative freedom to do his thing, that’s a good home.’

“While the streaming services are a long shot, they do seem to have the resources and open-mindedness to support Abrams’ more niche tastes.

“‘Digital and streaming giants could establish themselves even more by reaching into their deep pockets and offering a more handsome deal,’ said Pandya, ‘plus more creative freedom to allow him to fund personal projects and ventures that are less commercial, which traditional studios would pass on.’

“Universal could also be a great home, but it’s unknown if Abrams would want to be under the same umbrella as Spielberg. Which leaves Warner Bros. We can’t help but be intrigued by the thought of Abrams partnering with a studio that owns a slew of successful blockbuster franchises, including the Harry Potter series, DC Universe, Lego and Legendary’s surprisingly successful MonsterVerse (Godzilla and King Kong). WB also boasts some marquee in-limbo series that could be resurrected under his stewardship, such as The Matrix and Mad Max. Plus, WB has shown the ability to develop original franchises like James Wan’s Conjuring universe. The studio hasn’t finished below the top three in domestic market share since 2006 and has a reputation as a filmmaker-friendly outfit. The quantitative and intangible arguments are strong.

“Bad Robot Television is already housed at WB, which has one of the largest small-screen branches in entertainment. WarnerMedia is developing its own streaming service, which would give Abrams and his flock ample room to stretch out. Warner Bros. Records and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment can scratch his music and video game itches. And while WB isn’t known for theme parks, it does own Warner Bros. Movie World in Australia and partners with Universal on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter around the world. He can work with that.

“At the end of the day, Disney will probably wind up signing Abrams to a deal that could “perhaps reach $500 million, for everything,” reports Deadline. And that will be perfectly fine. We imagine only good things will come from an industry behemoth playing with one of Hollywood’s shiniest toys. But it might help even the playing field if another studio were able to add him to its arsenal.

“Either way, the real winner—besides the Abrams family bank account—will be the fans. As Dergarabedian put it, ‘I think there’s so many great movies still to come from him’.”

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Per TheWrap, “NFL fans don’t have to wait for long after Super Bowl LIII to get a new football fix.

“The newly-formed Alliance of American Football launches it’s rookie season on Feb. 9, and Turner Sports announced on Thursday that they’ve signed a multi-year, cross-platform partnership with the league that will include live event coverage extending across a combination of Turner Sports platforms TNT and the B/R Live streaming service.

“TNT will exclusively televise one Alliance regular season game and one playoff game each season throughout the length of the agreement, with additional regular season games available weekly via B/R Live.

“‘Our focus has always been, and will always be, to create an Alliance of players, fans and the game. Joining forces with world-class partners like Turner Sports allows us to keep our mission moving forward and reach thousands of sports fans across their Turner family of platforms,’ the Alliance’s co-founder and CEO Charlie Ebersol said in a statement. ‘Turner’s focus on providing high-quality live event programming and their commitment to digital with B/R Live, fits seamlessly into our distribution model, and ultimately offers fans the opportunity to watch more football.’

“Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports, added: ‘We’re looking forward to this exciting partnership with The Alliance — including working closely with its leadership team of Charlie Ebersol, Bill Polian, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu — and share the enthusiasm and forward-thinking vision being applied to this newly-formed league.’

“‘This is a true partnership and The Alliance will have our full support in the distribution of its live game coverage and content across the Turner Sports portfolio.’

“TNT will kick off it’s Alliance coverage on with Salt Lake Stallions vs. Birmingham Iron on Saturday, Feb. 16, leading into NBA All-Star Saturday Night – and will conclude with one Alliance playoff matchup in April.

“Before then, B/R Live will launch the inaugural season of The Alliance with a special program available Saturday, Feb. 9, introducing fans to the league including some of the top moments from the preseason.  B/R Live’s game coverage will begin Saturday, Feb. 23, with the Arizona Hotshots vs. Salt Lake at 3 p.m. ET.

“The Alliance features eight teams with 52-player rosters playing a 10-week regular season schedule  beginning Feb. 9 on CBS, followed by two playoff rounds and culminating with the championship game at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas on April 27.

“The eight cities, stadiums and head coaches are as follows:

Orlando Apollos / Spectrum Stadium / Steve Spurrier

Atlanta Legends / Georgia State Stadium / Kevin Coyle

Memphis Express / Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium / Mike Singletary

Salt Lake Stallions / Rice-Eccles Stadium / Dennis Erickson

Arizona Hotshots / Sun Devil Stadium / Rick Neuheisel

San Diego Fleet / San Diego County Credit Union Stadium / Mike Martz

Birmingham Iron / Legion Field Stadium / Tim Lewis

San Antonio Commanders / Alamodome / Mike Riley”

Why? Just why? There is a zero percent chance this succeeds. I don’t care who’s behind it. Lest you don’t believe me, here’s one reason why. And here’s another.

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Per The New York Post, “The rivalry between LeBron James and Michael Jordan over who is the GOAT (greatest of all time) was kicked up a notch last year when Jordan refused James’ request to use video of His Airness for a documentary, which James executive produced with Maverick Carter, sources say.

“Without the Jordan footage, the film about the 1984 NBA draft, in which Jordan was selected third, had to be changed, and it became a three-part documentary about the civic activism of basketball players, Shut Up and Dribble,’ which Showtime aired in November.

“Sources say that’s why King James said a month ago that winning the 2016 NBA championship for Cleveland, coming back after being down three games to one, ‘made me the greatest of all time.’

“‘LeBron was pissed at Michael Jordan — that’s why he lashed out,’ one source told me. ‘They hate each other — these two camps.’

“Jordan’s camp didn’t respond to my request for comment, but James’ adviser Adam Mendelsohn denied the rejection of the request for Jordan footage was an issue: ‘LeBron has absolutely zero problem with Michael Jordan controlling his content, and didn’t even know it was requested.’

“Jordan is producing a 10-part documentary on his basketball career — totaling six championships — using wall-to-wall video that NBA Entertainment recorded during 1997-1998, his final season on the Chicago Bulls.

“An NBA insider told me, ‘LeBron’s people wanted an extensive amount of footage of Michael, and the league said, ‘‘You have to ask Michael.” And his people said “no.”’

“Following in Jordan’s footsteps, camera crews have been following LeBron this season documenting his relocation to the Los Angeles Lakers. No one will be allowed to use that video without James’ permission.

“But the NBA insider doesn’t think the two superstars hate each other: ‘I think LeBron and Michael have fun with it.’

“The rivalry will continue beyond the hardwood and the TV screen if James also follows Jordan in becoming an NBA owner. Jordan is chairman of the Charlotte Hornets.

“Carter said last summer, ‘Ten years from now, I think — I don’t think, I know — LeBron will be owning a basketball team.’ Imagine their teams meeting in the finals.”

Let’s be CRYSTAL clear on this. There is only one GOAT and his name is Michael Jeffrey Jordan. Move along.

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Per Variety, “There’s room in the unscripted television landscape for more than one talent variety show, according to the The World’s Best producers at CBS’ winter TCA press tour Wednesday.

“While indicating that the mid-season edition of NBC’s America’s Got Talent: The Champions was a ‘direct shot at us,’ executive producer Mike Darnell sounded bullish on the prospects for “The World’s Best,” a talent competition show that incorporates an international judging element.

“In addition to judges RuPaul, Drew Barrymore and Faith Hill, 50 expert talents from around the globe – K-pop singers, martial arts experts, ballet dancers – constitute the Wall of the World and will also weigh in on the contestants on stage.

“Watching performers who have spent years perfecting their expertise, RuPaul said he ‘wasn’t prepared for the emotional journey’ that the show took him on, calling it ‘fantastic.’

“Darnell, an executive whose credits include Ellen’s Game of Games, Love Connection, and Little Big Shots – not to mention American Idol during his time at Fox – said that the reality genre is ‘healthy.’

“While genres like comedy and drama are pretty well defined, he said, unscripted is a pretty wide swath, ‘so when something’s not working, something else is taking off.’ He also said reality is a ‘super important’ genre on an advertiser level, given the heft of reality-show seasons compared to scripted series.

“Hosted by James Corden and offering a million-dollar prize, The World’s Best has a coveted premiere spot, debuting on CBS immediately after the Super Bowl on Sunday.

“Calling it a ‘mighty title,’ executive producer Alison Holloway said that the name has ‘spurred us as producers to do the very best that we can’ with a new talent format that has ‘no template.’

“And pointing to the success of The Voice and its swinging judging chairs amid an already competitive landscape of singing competition shows, Darnell highlighted the way that a new element can differentiate a show. The World’s Best adds a ‘global feel’ and ‘dramatic way of scoring’ that he says makes the show feel ‘fresh and new.’

“‘We’re ready for the challenge,’ said Darnell. ‘We think we’ve got the next new spin on a variety show.’”

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, “CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl doesn't want to talk about Bull star Michael Weatherly or the future of NCIS: New Orleans, both have which have been plagued by sexual harassment scandals. The executive, who bypassed a Q&A session during CBS' time on Wednesday at the Television Critics Association's winter tour, declined to field questions about either subject during a sit-down interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Instead, he addressed the company's ongoing culture woes a day after a second top producer was fired from NCIS: New Orleans, the future of CBS' comedy brand after mega-hit The Big Bang Theory wraps its run in May, why Murphy Brown didn't resonate and what to expect this pilot season (and beyond):

What are you doing to fix CBS' culture problem? Just yesterday another high-level producer from NCIS: New Orleans was fired.

Our CEO has been saying that culture is very important and getting it right and the corporation is committed to that. They have been doing a lot of listening, a lot of interaction — more so than in the past. The actors talked today that every show has a seminar with HR professionals talking about what is and what is not acceptable behavior. We are 100 percent committed to a safe and collaborative workplace. I absolutely believe strides have been made in that area, and it's been communicated that we will not tolerate anything less than that.

Have you had any showrunners say that they don't want to do business with CBS?

None that I know of.

The Big Bang Theory is ending this year. How will CBS' comedy change, post-Big Bang? Will you stick with multicameras? Your roster currently includes Mom, and bubble rookies Happy Together and Fam. Spinoff Young Sheldon is a single-cam …

We really enjoy our multicamera heritage and still think those tend to be the backbone of your schedule. But as Young Sheldon and Life in Pieces have show, single-cams can certainly work on our air. The bottom line is, I don't really care what the format is, as long as the shows are funny and they work.

How would you characterize the network's plans for Big Bang Theory's series finale?

You're not going to not know it's coming! We will support it heavily and celebrate it. It's been 12 amazing years and hundreds of millions of viewers. It's been a special show for me and everybody at CBS. These kinds of shows don't come along that often. We want to give it the proper respect it deserves on its way into the sunset.

Any plans for an extended finale or retrospective of any sort?

We're still talking about those things.

CBS hasn't done any veteran series renewals yet, but is Young Sheldon the heir apparent for Big Bang's Thursdays at 8 p.m. slot?

When we've lost some kind of big shows in the past — when Everybody Loves Raymond and Two and a Half Menended and now Big Bang — we've always been fortunate to have what looks to be the next show. We've never been stuck with nothing to replace it. I don't know that anything necessarily replaces Big Bang Theory, but we feel fortunate to have an extremely strong comedy that is still getting better and has already established a large audience. Will it probably be the No. 1 sitcom on TV next year? Yes, I think it probably will be. I think it's a show that certainly does more than just draft off of Big Bang; it's its own show with a loyal audience. We've had shows that people actively turned the dial after Big Bang, and they don't do that for this show. I think it has more to do with that it's a prequel.

Have you talked at all about other spinoffs from Big Bang Theory?

If Chuck Lorre or one of his awesome producers want to come to us with a new idea, we are all ears.

You have a new comedy in the works with Big Bang co-creator Lorre. Mom, also from Lorre, is up for renewal as its stars are looking for new deals. What are your hopes for his future at the network? His overall deal with Warner Bros. expires in June 2020, with several top showrunners leaving for Netflix — and Lorre just took home a Golden Globe comedy win for the streamer's Kominsky Method, his first top prize in his career.

We will do shows with Chuck as long as Chuck wants to do shows with us. I can't speak for him, but I do believe he's had a very good experience with us and I'd like to think very possible you can enjoy both experiences and take something away from each. I certainly hope he will be in business with us for many years to come. He is the best in the business and a great partner.

Murphy Brown likely didn't perform the way you would have hoped. Looking back, is there anything you'd have done differently? Why do you think it didn't find a larger audience?

No. It actually improved the time period from a year prior. I heard from people that they really enjoyed the show. [Creator] Diane English came to us and said this was the show she wanted to do and we let her do that show. I think she would agree with that. It was a very fun show to be involved with and it certainly remains in contention for next year.

I'd heard from sources that multiple people associated with the production wanted some sort of additional episode order beyond the initial 13 it was picked up for. But in success, had Murphy Browndelivered a Roseanne-like rating, would you have done a back order?

Diane and Warner Bros. TV came to us from minute one and said we'd like to do 13 episodes of the show — and only 13 episodes of the show. We understood we were doing 13 episodes of the show and planned it that way. There was really no talk of anything beyond that because that's what we understood; that was the deal with the show when it came to us.

So even if it popped, you would not have ordered one, two or five more?

I stick with what I just said.

Would you want another 13 or a shorter order?

It depends. You get to May [upfronts] and you have to look at all the pieces in contention and piece together a new season. You have to try to make everything fit the schedule to the best of your ability.

Life in Pieces is without a premiere date. Will it air this season?

It's going to air.

We're in the midst of pilot season and CBS feels like it's about halfway done with pickups. What's the mandate there? Across broadcast, it feels like it's more of the same: procedurals, family comedies and lots of IP.

It's a mix. Procedurals are the backbone of our network and our audience likes them. Do we want to do the same old, same old procedurals we've done? No. In most of our procedural development, there's some twist on an old medical show and an old cops and robbers show and an old legal show; it's something different. Going into development, we want to cast a wide net. There's no preset formula on, "this is what we're looking for." We read the material and see what rises to the top and then go to pilot. The numbers [orders between comedy and drama] will be about the same.

Do you envision the FBI universe similar in size as Dick Wolf's Chicago franchise on NBC?

We are taking it one at a time. We've learned a bit in the past with the NCIS and CSI franchises. The key for us and to be successful for the audience is any extension really needs to be distinctive with its look and characters. It can have some DNA with the mothership, but they have to stand on their own. Dick's pitch for FBI: Most Wanted was a distinctive show from FBI.

FBI: Most Wanted is one of multiple spinoffs and reboots already in the works this season. Is there an over-reliance on broadcast on reboots and spinoffs, or is that what broadcast networks need to do to stand out in the Peak TV era?

You have to look at them one at a time. Everybody's circumstances are different. Can a brand extension or reboot maybe help you stand out in the marketplace? Yes. You can promote it to people who are already fans of that show or genre. Is it a guarantee of success? Absolutely not. You still have to execute the same as any new show.  

Last summer you mentioned taking another look at bringing Code Black back after the series — a co-production with ABC Studios — was canceled. What happened?

We couldn't get to the financial place we needed to in order to bring it back. It was a bummer. The financial model for co-productions can be complex, and we just weren't able to get to the place where it made sense for us and for their studio and made sense for the general schedule.

Looking ahead to summer, are you looking to stick with a mix of scripted and unscripted?

It'll be a little of each. We need to find what that new model [for scripted] is. We have Love Island this summer, which is a pretty significant jump into adding another unscripted franchise. We have Blood and Treasure coming, which is a big dive into scripted to see if we can crack that formula again. It's probably less about the model and more about that we haven't found the right show. And we have to find the show that gets people to sit up in their chair and really gets their attention again. Under the Dome did that, and we've had a harder time since.”