Thursday October 3, 2019

Netflix has renewed Dear White People for a 4th and final season.

Panda on The Masked Singer was Laila Ali.

I didn’t hate Fox’s Almost Family, which premiered last night.

USA premieres a new season of Chrisley Knows Best tonight. How and why I guess we’ll never know.

Following the big ratings for the Season 1 finale of Marrying Millions, Lifetime has renewed the reality show for a second season. It will consist of 16 episodes, up from 10 for its freshman season, and is slated for premiere in 2020. From the creators of 90 Day Fiancé, Marrying Millions follows relationships where one partner is incredibly wealthy and the other definitively is not.”

Snowpiercer is moving back to TNT from TBS

Add clothing designer to Erin Andrews‘ already stacked résumé. On Thursday, the Fox Sports reporter dropped her first-ever collection of game-day apparel with her brand WEAR by Erin Andrews, which consists of nine styles for all 32 NFL teams and is currently available on NFLShop.com and Fanatics.com..”

A&E Network is preparing a two-hour paranormal investigation special, just in time for Halloween. World’s Biggest Ghost Hunt: Pennhurst Asylum is the longest continuously filmed paranormal investigation in television history, according to A&E. It sees five investigators locking themselves into the infamous Pennhurst Asylum for two weeks to document unexplained or paranormal activity, based on reports of full-body apparitions, physical attacks, mysterious noises and more. Ghost Hunters team leader Grant Wilson hand-picked this group of professional ghost hunters made up of Daryl Marston, Kristen Luman, Brandon Alvis, Mustafa Gatollari, Brian Murray and Richel Stratton. The special is produced by Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary’s Revelations Entertainment with Mark Marinaccio, Jon Crowley, Kelly Mendelsohn and James Younger serving as executive producers. Amy Savitsky, Devon Graham Hammonds and Molly Ebinger serve as executive producers for A&E Network. A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights. World’s Biggest Ghost Hunt: Pennhurst Asylum.premieres Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on A&E, followed by the season final of Ghost Hunters.”

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From The Hollywood ReporterI: “Netflix is adding to its roster of sketch-comedy series with a show from comedian Iliza Shlesinger.

“The six-episode project, The Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show, is set to premiere in 2020. It extends the relationship between Netflix and the comedian, who has done four stand-up specials for the streamer (Elder Millennial, Confirmed Kills, Freezing Hot and War Paint) and is prepping a fifth. 

“The sketch series will take viewers into a secret world filled with absurd characters, insight into the female experience and irreverent yet poignant social commentary. The effort is being produced by Avalon Television (Catastrophe, Last Week Tonight).

“Shlesinger became the first woman to win NBC's Last Comic Standing in 2008 and has been featured on Comedy Central Presents and John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show in addition to her Netflix specials. She also hosted the late-night series Truth & Iliza on Freeform, which had a brief run in 2017.

“Shlesinger is executive producing the sketch series with Kim Gamble, Kara Baker, David Martin, Richard Allen-Turner and Jon Thoday. Laura Murphy (Girl Code, Adam Ruins Everything) will direct.

The Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show joins fellow sketch series I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson and the upcoming Kenya Barris-produced Astronomy Club on Netflix. 

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“Amazon is developing a one-hour crime drama that boasts Michael B. Jordan and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg among its executive producers.

Variety has learned exclusively that the streamer is currently working on the drama “Middle West.” In the series, two Chicago FBI agents get called to Gary, Indiana as they investigate the murder and disappearance of two cops who were searching for an array of missing young men.

“The series hails from writers Alexander Aciman and Julien Martin Hawthorne, who will also serve as executive producers. Jordan and Alana Mayo will executive produce under their Outlier Society production banner, while Rogen and Goldberg will executive produce along with James Weaver and Josh Fagen for their Point Grey Pictures. Loreli Alanis, Point Grey’s head of television, will oversee the project for that company. Steven Caple, Jr. is attached to direct and executive produce.

Middle West is a co-production between Amazon Studios and Lionsgate Television. Outlier Society is currently under a first-look TV deal at Amazon, while Point Grey recently signed a multi-platform production deal with Lionsgate.

“Outlier Society’s current TV slate includes the OWN series David Makes Man and the Netflix series Raising Dion, which is due to debut on Netflix this Friday. The company is also producing the legal drama 61st Street, which was ordered to series at AMC on Tuesday.

“The Point Grey-produced AMC series Preacher recently wrapped up its run after four seasons this past Sunday, while the company’s Hulu series Future Man was renewed for a third and final season back in April. The company also produces the Showtime comedy Black Monday, which launched on Showtime back in January and has been renewed for a second season. Most recently, Point Grey produced the Amazon series adaptation of the comic book The Boys, with that series receiving critical acclaim upon its debut. It was renewed for a second season before the first had debuted.”

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Per Deadline, “TBS has given a straight-to-series order to Obliterated, a 10-episode one-hour action drama from Cobra Kai creators Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg and Josh Heald and Sony Pictures Television where the trio is based.

“This marks the first series order for TBS this cycle and the second drama series pickup for the once-comedy-focused TBS following the May announcement that upcoming sci-fi drama Snowpiercer was moving from TNT to TBS. UPDATE: Shortly after the Obliterated pickup announcement, WarnerMedia revealed that the decision to move Snowpiercer has been reversed, and the drama will air on TNT as originally planned. 

“Written and executive produced by Hurwitz, Schlossberg and Heald, Obliterated is a serialized action dramedy focused on an elite special forces team tracking a deadly terrorist network, hell bent on blowing up Las Vegas. After their raging end-of-mission party filled with alcohol and drug-fueled debauchery, the team discovers the bomb they deactivated was a decoy. With the clock ticking, the intoxicated team has to fight through their impairments, overcome their personal issues, deactivate the bomb, and save the world.

“Dina Hillier from Hurwitz, Scholossberg and Heald’s Counterbalance Entertainment will serve as a co-executive producer.

“‘As TBS’ brand continues to evolve, our primary focus of late has been for us to find dramas that are as much fun as they are high stakes,’ said Brett Weitz, general manager, TNT, TBS, truTV. ‘We’ve worked with Josh in the past and tried to buy Cobra Kai, so letting this series get away from us just wasn’t an option. This incredible team brings heart and absurdity to a situation as serious as saving the world, which makes Obliterated a perfect fit for TBS.’

“In a recent interview with Deadline, Weitz hinted at pending series and pilot orders at TBS and TNT and talked about the TBS brand filter that involves adding “more humorous, premium populist dramas” to the network’s slate of original half-hour comedies.

“‘We could not be more excited to be making Obliterated with our friends at Sony and TBS, who have embraced our concept and empowered us to push the envelope on how funny, action-packed, heartfelt, and totally badass a one-hour show can be,’ said Hurwitz, Schlossberg and Heald.

Obliterated falls under the overall deal the trio inked at Cobra Kai studio Sony TV in May. Cobra Kai has been a mega hit for YouTube, where it is heading into a third season and is expected to serve as an anchor of the platform’s transition from SVOD to AVOD.

“‘Jon, Hayden and Josh are incredibly talented visionaries with a unique approach to character and tone. They hit the bull’s-eye with Cobra Kai, also a pitch to series, and have crafted an undeniable story with Obliterated,’ said SPT co-president Jason Clodfelter. ‘All of us at Sony Pictures Television are thrilled to be part of their creative journey.’

“This marks Sony TV’s return to TBS where the studios has produced such original comedy series as My Boys, Men at Work and Your Family or Mine.

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Per Decider, “TV shows aren’t made in a vacuum, and all art is reflective of the times that created it. That’s the way it’s always been, too, even if the passage of time has dulled the those once sharp political edges. Just look at the sitcoms of the ’70s, from the actively political All in the Family to the actively apolitical Brady Bunch. Norman Lear and Sherwood Schwartz were both acutely aware of the issues of the day, from Vietnam to women’s lib and Watergate, and their shows were equally a response to those issues either by tackling them directly or providing escapist fare for stressed out audiences.

“That’s why, under the current administration, a lot of scripted shows have sharpened their political voice—which sometimes makes for a natural fit as politics have become deeply, literally personal. Specifically, shows like One Day at a TimeJane the VirginSupergirlThe ConnersMurphy Brown, and Superstore have all tackled the topic of immigration and deportation in different ways, bringing the tragedies of our headlines to the small screen, with or without the cover of metaphor.

“This is an important step in fostering empathy between those who don’t live in fear of ICE raids and those that do (although, TBH, the empathy should be there from the jump because we’re all people). But it’s easy for some to remain ignorant of the fears faced by other communities, and these storylines on these shows do their part to break down those barriers. Progressive ideas on TV can change the way people think about political issues.

“That’s all well and good, but after a couple years of seeing fictional characters deal with the very real, very traumatic effects of a zero tolerance deportation policy, Netflix’s docu-series Living Undocumented goes where no TV show, especially no sitcom, can.

“The show comes from Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman, whose work on Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath earned them an Emmy, and follows the disparate but heartbreakingly similar stories of eight undocumented immigrants from all across America. It’s unflinching in its portrayal of the callousness with which these people are being treated. It doesn’t matter if you’re a born again ex-convict, a successful entrepreneur, or the wife of a military veteran. There’s no mercy shown, no understanding, no path forward.

“That’s why Living Undocumented is a sobering watch after years of seeing these stories unfold primarily on sitcom sound stages. Unlike a multi-cam show, Living Undocumented never has to hold for applause. Whatever you think of the deportation storylines featured on revivals like Murphy Brown or The Conners, they can only do so much and go so far before returning to their predominantly white, documented characters and the storylines that don’t involve an ICE raid.

“Of the shows currently on-air and dealing with immigration issues, NBC’s Superstore strikes the right balance—and it’s clear why when you see the similarities between Mateo’s storyline and what the real subjects of Living Undocumented are facing.

“Mateo, like the teenage daughter of Israeli immigrants Ron and Karen, came to America as a young child and didn’t even know about his undocumented status until Season 2. And Mateo’s current situation as a detainee at a Homeland Security facility looks a lot like what one subject of Living Undocumented endures in Episode 2. Mateo’s storyline isn’t played for jokes, and Superstore takes its screen-time with Mateo (an original cast member and series regular) very seriously. Superstore succeeds in selling the seriousness of this issue in a sitcom format because it’s paying attention to the small, upsetting details.

Living Undocumented is a powerful, necessary watch, especially after years of seeing these storylines unfold in fiction. This Netflix series is the most 2019 show on TV, and that’s the devastating truth.”