Friday February 1, 2019

In the event you live in a cave and just came out for air, a reminder that the Super Bowl will air on Sunday on CBS.

Best news of the day so far . . . “In his first series gig since departing Suits, Patrick J. Adams is set for a recurring role on the upcoming third season of Amazon’s series Sneaky Pete. Created by Bryan Cranston and David Shore, Sneaky Pete stars Giovanni Ribisi as con man Marius, who left prison only to find himself hunted by the vicious gangster he once robbed. With nowhere else to turn, he took cover from his past by assuming the identity of his cellmate Pete, “reuniting” with Pete’s estranged family. Adams will play Stefano Kilbane, an arrogant business magnate who is obsessed with fine art and has a deep need for revenge.”

The CW has handed early renewals to 10 series for the 2019-2020 season. They include second seasons of Charmed and Legacies, as well as new seasons of Arrow (Season 8), Black Lightning (Season 3), DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (Season 5), Dynasty (Season 3), The Flash (Season 6), Riverdale (Season 4), Supergirl (Season 5) and Supernatural (Season 15).

Showtime has renewed Shameless for a 10th season.

Fuller House has been renewed by Netflix for a 5th and final season.

Netflix has ordered a 2nd season of Sex Education.

All 8 episodes of Russian Doll are now available to stream on Netflix. “Nadia keeps dying and reliving her 36th birthday party. She's trapped in a surreal time loop -- and staring down the barrel of her own mortality.”

Here is a review.

Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders is available to stream on Amazon Prime. “1933. Hercule Poirot, older and greyer, receives letters threatening murder. The sender signs themselves only as ‘A.B.C. When he takes the letters to the police looking for help, Hercule finds all his old friends have moved on. But soon there is a murder and the once-great detective must take matters into his own hands.”

You can watch YouTube’s Freelance beginning today as well. Here’s the teaser. I’m all in.

Chelsea Peretti talks Gina’s farewell from Brooklyn Nine-Nine last night and promises big things when she returns.

A sequel to The L Word is coming to Showtime, with the cable network granting an eight-episode order to a follow-up series to its groundbreaking drama, set to premiere by the end of 2019. Marja-Lewis Ryan (The Four-Faced Liar, 6 Balloons) serves as showrunner on the sequel and is executive producing, along with The L Word series creator Ilene Chaiken and original series stars Jennifer Beals, Katherine Moennig and Leisha Hailey.”

ABC has given a pilot order to the drama Heart of Life, based on the song by singer-songwriter John Mayer. Written by Drive and A to Z creator Ben Queen, the pilot follows two sets of adult siblings from wildly different worlds who discover they’re related and must reassess everything they thought they knew about their shared father. As they explore the mystery of their separate childhoods, they’ll experience the difficulty in overcoming the sins of the past, and learn the joys of reuniting with long-lost family.”

“There's a photo circulating trying to pin Colton Underwood as a non-virgin long before his reign on The Bachelor ... but, rest assured, he hadn't swiped his v-card before his reality TV debut. Sources close to Colton tell TMZ ... the Snapchat photo of a young Colton is legit. We're told Colton admits the person is him from YEARS before he set foot in the Bachelor franchise. But, our Colton sources are making it clear -- the caption is ONE MILLION PERCENT FAKE.” Oh thank god!!!!

Oh sweet, Roger Matthews has responded to JWoww’s accusations (see yesterday’s post for details).

Steven Yeun, J.K. Simmons, Sandra Oh, Seth Rogen, Gillian Jacobs, Andrew Rannells, Zazie Beetz, Mark Hamill, and more will star as voices in Amazon Prime Video’s new hour-long animated series Invincible from The Walking Dead writer Robert Kirkman. Based on the comic book series of the same name, the eight-episode series will premiere globally in 2020.

Hulu has released a teaser for its upcoming series Shrill. “From Executive Producers Lorne Michaels and Elizabeth Banks comes Shrill, a comedy series starring Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live) as Annie, a fat young woman who wants to change her life — but not her body. Annie is trying to start her career while juggling bad boyfriends, a sick parent, and a perfectionist boss.”

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From PEOPLE: “Jeff Lewis and Gage Edward are taking a break from their 10 year relationship.

“The Flipping Out stars — who have dated for a decade and share 2-year-old daughter Monroe — are living in separate residences now, Lewis revealed on Thursday’s episode of his Sirius XM radio show Jeff Lewis Live. 

“It’s not clear how the couple will handle custody of Monroe. Asked about it by a caller, Lewis said, ‘I don’t even want to go there,” though he did admit earlier in the program, “I’m now a single dad ’cause the baby is with me.’

“Edward did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

“According to Lewis, the two had been living in separate rooms in the same house for the better part of a year up until Wednesday, when Edward moved out of their home and into a hotel.

“‘This has been a long time coming. We were in separate rooms a significant portion of last year, so it was kind of like a roommate situation,’ Lewis, 48, said, explaining that the two had be trying to work through their problems.

“‘I think the reason we hadn’t ripped the Band-Aid off and separated is because a) we had the baby and neither one of us want to leave the baby and then b) financially, it wasn’t the best time because I have four properties right now — three of which are in construction and one of which is sellable.’”

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“Bryan Cranston has signed on for the lead role in the upcoming Showtime limited series Your HonorVariety has learned.

“Cranston will also serve as executive producer on the 10-episode series, described as a legal thriller that rips through all strata of New Orleans society. Cranston will star as a respected judge whose son is involved in a hit-and-run that leads to a high-stakes game of lies, deceit and impossible choices. The series is based on the Israeli series Kvodo, which was created by Ron Ninio and Shlomo Mashiach, produced by Ram Landes, airs on the country’s Yes TV and is produced by yesStudios.

“Peter Moffat will serve as showrunner on Your Honor in addition to writing multiple episodes, including the first episode. Robert and Michelle King will also executive produce via their King Size Productions banner along with Liz Glotzer, Alon Aranya and Rob Golenberg of Scripted World, and James Degus. CBS Television Studios, where the Kings are under an overall deal, will produce. The series will go into production in New Orleans later this year.

“‘Peter, Michelle and Robert have crafted an original thriller with gut-wrenching suspense, raw emotion and moral complexity,’ said Gary Levine, president of entertainment for Showtime Networks. ‘And we are simply ecstatic that Bryan Cranston, one of the planet’s finest actors, shares our enthusiasm and has agreed to play the lead. I can’t wait to shoot ‘Your Honor’ and show it to the world!’

“Cranston received near universal acclaim for his role on the AMC drama series Breaking Bad. He won the Emmy for lead actor in a drama series four times for that series. He is also well-known for playing family patriarch Hal on the comedy series Malcolm in the Middle, which earned him an additional three Emmy nominations. His recent TV roles include Sneaky Pete–which he also co-created and executive produces–and appearances on shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams.”

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Per CNBC, “The CBS board has decided the company needs to get bigger, but merging with Viacom is not enough for Shari Redstone, who has voting control of both companies, according to people familiar with the matter.

“If the CBS-Viacom deal gets done, Redstone's National Amusements would like to move quickly with a second deal, the people said. Discovery Communications is interested in selling to CBS or a combined CBS-Viacom, according to two people familiar with the matter. Redstone is open to the idea, but would also consider buying other companies, including Sony Pictures and MGM, according to people familiar with her thinking.

“No talks have taken place between CBS and Discovery, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the company's plans are private. But bankers have already pitched Discovery on merging with CBS, one of the people said. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who extended his contract with his company in July through 2023, would be interested in eventually running a combined company with CBS, according to a person familiar with the situation. Zaslav has also spoken about selling Discovery to other companies in recent years, including Comcast, said another person.

“CBS plans to discuss merger options at a board meeting on Thursday. The board will listen to its bankers as they present a variety of merger options, though step one is expected to be a deal with Viacom, two of the people said.

“Spokespeople at Discovery and CBS declined to comment.

“It's imperative for CBS to get bigger quickly so it has the balance sheet capacity to compete for National Football League broadcast rights, which it owns through the 2022 season. Renegotiation discussions for those rights typically take place about a year before expiration of the agreement. While CBS believes its long-standing relationship with the NFL will help cement a new deal, the company also realizes it needs to have the financial capacity to compete against enormous technology companies such as Amazon for the rights.

“A CBS-Viacom merger nearly happened last year, with the two companies agreeing to an exchange ratio, but talks fell apart over who would run a combined entity and board composition. Since then, CBS has retooled its board and former CEO Les Moonves resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations.

“Redstone has long been in favor of putting CBS and Viacom together but can't personally push for a merger for about two years, a result of a settlement between CBS and National Amusements last year that included the resignation of Moonves. CBS has a market cap of about $19 billion and an enterprise value of about $29 billion, while Viacom has a market cap of about $12 billion and an enterprise value around $20 billion.

“Discovery, with a market capitalization of about $20 billion and an enterprise value of about $37 billion, could be appealing as a second step. Discovery and CBS have a mix of assets that make a combination strategically feasible and potentially compelling. Discovery's strength is international programming and nonfiction cable stations, including the Discovery Channel, HGTV, Animal Planet and Food Network. CBS is led by the strength of its broadcast network and Showtime. Discovery could benefit from CBS' retransmission fees and premium movie channel.

Viacom nearly acquired Scripps Networks in 2017 and was outbid by Discovery, which ended up buying the company for $14.6 billion. If a combined CBS-Viacom acquired Discovery, then Viacom and Scripps would come together after all.

“The concept of putting together smaller media companies to gain scale has been long championed by John Malone, who controls more than 27 percent of Discovery's voting rights. Malone also owns about 8 percent of Lions Gate Entertainment, another media entity that could eventually be rolled into a larger company. A CBS merger with Viacom before a Discovery deal would help Redstone keep control of a combined company.

"‘Not everybody is going to be able to do a global direct-to-consumer platform,’ Malone said in November at Liberty Media's annual investor day. ‘Many will be trying to move into that space as a supplier or a player, perhaps in some cases branded or in other cases as part of the food chain. ... I think you can expect a lot of transactions.’

“A spokesperson for Discovery told CNBC the company is not for sale.

"‘Discovery is not for sale,’ the spokesperson said. ‘Any reports to the contrary is not accurate. We remain extremely confident in our growth strategy in the US and globally as we continue to build the leading portfolio of superfan brands in every market around the world.’

“CBS is actively looking for a new CEO with merger and acquisition experience and will try to choose one by the end of March, according to people familiar with the matter.

“Executive search firm Korn Ferry has selected a handful of people who will be culled down to a short list of finalists over the coming weeks, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. The CBS board and Redstone, whose National Amusements controls about 80 percent of CBS' and Viacom's voting power, will then meet with the finalists to pick the candidate.

“The CBS board has taken its time selecting a full-time CEO to replace Moonves, who stepped down in September. Six new independent directors were elected to the board when Moonves departed. Those board members have spent the last several months learning about CBS so they can help chart its future course.

“If CBS moves forward with a Viacom merger, Redstone would like a CEO who can work with Viacom CEO Robert Bakish in a leadership position, with either Bakish running a combined company or being the No. 2 to a new CEO, one of the people said. When CBS nearly merged with Viacom last year, Moonves would have been the CEO and Bakish his second-in-command.

“CBS interim CEO Joe Ianniello is still a candidate to become the company's full-time chief, two of the people said.

“Ideally, CBS would like to select either a nonwhite or female CEO with experience running a large media company, one of the people familiar with the discussions said. But the CBS board may not be able to find that candidate and values experience growing companies over demographic traits, said the person. Any candidate will likely be given incentives through compensation to make the company larger — either through a merger or a sale, one of the people said.

“CBS has already hired several female executives post-Moonves, including its CFO (Christina Spade), Chief People Officer (Laurie Rosenfield) and president of CBS News (Susan Zirinsky).”

My sense is that we' haven’t heard the last of these discussions.

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From MTV: “Blond or brunette, light or dark eyes -- everyone has an ideal type that embodies their dream significant other, or maybe they're crushing on a certain celebrity. But what if you could have seven identical versions of that person, all with the physical characteristics you find most pleasing?

Game of Clones, a new MTV series premiering on February 21, will feature Paul "DJ Pauly D" Delvecchio, Kailyn Lowry and other MTV eligible reality stars dating seven exact lookalikes of their celeb crush. In each episode, the well-known folk will be forced to look beneath each interchangeable face in the hopes of finding their perfect match. Through compatibility tests, challenges and more, each clone will strive to stand out from the rest during this radical dating experience. The race is on to find their one and only clone-ly. Hello, dolly(s)!

“Check out the full cast below -- and be sure to catch Game of Clones on Thursday, February 21 at 9/8c!

• DJ Pauly D, Jersey Shore: Family Vacation

• Kailyn Lowry, Teen Mom 2

• Cara Maria Sorbello, The Challenge: War of the Worlds

• Kam Williams, The Challenge: War of the Worlds

• Leroy Garrett, The Challenge: Dirty 30

• Nicole Zanatta, The Challenge: Vendettas

• Derrick Henry, The Challenge: Final Reckoning”