Thursday March 14, 2019

Free Solo, the Academy Award-winning documentary about climber Alex Honnold braving the El Capitan vertical cliff, is now streaming on Hulu.

Season 3 of The Good Fight is available on CBS All-Access.

A new season of Project Runway starts tonight on Bravo after which someone will be crowned a winner of Top Chef.

This Wendy woman on Survivor is certifiably insane, huh? She makes the guy who refers to himself as The Wardog look normal.

A new season of NBC’s George To The Rescue returns March 23, and airs on local O&O’s. If you like anything you’ve seen on HGTV, you should be watching this show.

More prep for the return of the Game of Thrones.

What does the release of Blake Bortles mean for The Good Place?

Chris Messina is set to star in the YouTube series Dark Cargo. Ben Stiller and Nicky Weinstein will executive produce via their Red Hour Productions banner. Penned by Adam and Max Reid and directed by The Girlfriend Experience’s Lodge Kerrigan, the series is described as a high-octane, cliffhanger-driven, neo-noir thriller set in the big rig cab of Joe Dobbs (Messina) as he traverses the darkest nights of his life. What begins as a random encounter with a disturbed stranger turns into a race against time, the police, and even more malevolent forces. Meanwhile, Joe just wants to get back to his family.”

Wendy Williams really pissed off Howard Stern this week.

“NBC and CBS have made their own NFL trade, as the two networks have swapped their upcoming Super Bowls, CBS confirmed. CBS, which just aired Super Bowl LIII last month, will now air its next Super Bowl on February 2021, a year earlier than scheduled. That means NBC moves back a year to February 2022. There was no monetary compensation between the two networks for the swap.”

“If you’ve been searching the internet for Felicity Huffman’s mug shot since yesterday — and Lori Loughlin’s since this morning — then we can let you know that your search is over because they aren’t likely to be released. A spokesperson for the Department of Justice confirmed to TheWrap that mug shots are only released by the U.S. Marshals “under very specific circumstances that do not apply here,” and that the ones for Huffman and Loughlin will not be released.”

A series adaptation of the novel An Anonymous Girl is in the early development stages at USA NetworkVariety has learned exclusively. eOne acquired the rights to the book prior to its publication in January. Written by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, the best-selling book follows Jessica Farris, who signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields. She thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking–and what she’s hiding.”

gettyimages-528271592.jpg

Per Deadline, “Two more classic game shows are making a return to TV. ABC has ordered revivals of Card Sharks and Press Your Luck. Produced by Fremantle, the shows will go into production this spring. Hosts and premiere dates will be announced soon.

“In each game of Press Your Luck, three contestants compete against each other answering questions to earn spins on the Big Board. Contestants then use their spins to win cash and prizes while trying to avoid the Whammy, who could take all of their winnings and leave them with nothing. The winning contestant moves on to the All-New Bonus Round to face the Whammy in a final battle for the chance to win a fortune. John Quinn will serve as showrunner and executive produce, along with Fremantle’s Jennifer Mullin.

Card Sharks features two players who face off in a head-to-head elimination game with the goal of one player making it to the grand prize winning deck. Each contestant has to decide if the odds are worth the risk of losing it all and making it to the big game. Ultimately, players can either take their earned cash and quit or continue betting with the hope of reaching the top for a chance to take home a major cash prize. Scott St. John will serve as showrunner and executive produce with Jack Martin and Mullin.

“The original Card Sharks was created by Chester Feldman for Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions. It ran on NBC from 1978-1981 with Jim Perry as host. CBS followed with a revival from 1986-1989, hosted by Bob Eubanks, and it was accompanied by another version in syndication with Bill Rafferty. Gene Wood was the announcer on all three series.

“Created by Bill Carruthers and Jan McCormack, the original Press Your Luck premiered on CBS on September 19, 1983, and ended on September 26, 1986, with Peter Tomarken as the show’s host, and Rod Roddy as the primary announcer. The show was a retooling of the earlier Carruthers production Second Chance, which was hosted by Jim Peck and aired on ABC in 1977.

“The new iterations of Card Sharks and Press Your Luck join ABC’s current revival game show lineup of Match Game, $100,000 Pyramid, Celebrity Family Feud (revival of Family Feud) and To Tell the Truth.

I’m not mad about any of this.

tonight-show-with-jimmy-fallon-2.jpg

Not to be outdone, “NBC has given a 10-episode series order to That’s My Jam, an unscripted music and variety game show inspired by Jimmy Fallon’s viral hit Tonight Show segments Wheel of Musical Impressions.

“Fallon will executive produce the hourlong competition series, which ‘will be infused with Fallon’s one-of-a-kind comedic style, feel-good energy and a carousel of his classic and brand-new music-based games, featuring a new group of celebrities each week,’ NBC says.

“‘We love playing these games on the show, and it’ll be fun to see it taken to the next level,’ Fallon said.

“The format was brought to Universal Television Alternative Studio by Fallon, longtime Tonight Show producer Jim Juvonen and writer Josh Knapp. Jeff Apploff will serve as showrunner.

“‘Jimmy reinvented the late-night genre with his one-of-a-kind celebrity game segments that show our favorite stars at their most clever, creative and relaxed,’ said Meredith Ahr, President of the Alternative and Reality Group at NBC Entertainment. ‘We’re thrilled to bring viewers a new set of games and create a weekly party that is just as much fun to watch as it is to play along.’

“From Wheel of Musical Impressions and Musical Genre Challenge to History of Rap, Fallon’s musical games, sketches and challenges have made a mark on late-night TV, drawing moer than 20 million YouTube subscribers.

That’s My Jam mirrors NBC/Warner Bros.’ Ellen’s Game of Games, which also is inspired by recurring segments on Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show, featuring classic and new games.

“NBC previously passed on a reality series based on another popular Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon segment, Lip Sync Battle. The project eventually landed at Spike (now Paramount Network), where it has been a hit, currently airing its fifth season.”

cnn-anchor-ashleigh-banfield-s-salary-and-net-worth-cnn-anchors-salaries.jpg

Per The Hollywood Reporter, “A&E is building on its popular Live PD franchise with a spinoff focusing on rescue calls.

“The cabler has ordered eight two-hour episodes of Live Rescue, which like Live PD will follow first responders from across the U.S. Instead of police calls, however, the new show will focus on emergency rescue calls.

“Big Fish Entertainment, the MGM company behind Live PD, will produce Live Rescue as well. Journalist Ashleigh Banfield will serve as host for the series, which is set to premiere April 22.

"‘Live Rescue is the next incarnation of our groundbreaking partnership with Big Fish Entertainment, following the brave paramedics and first responders who risk their lives every day to keep us safe despite the challenges of their jobs,’ said Elaine Frontain Bryant, executive vp and head of programming at A&E. ‘The team at Big Fish has assembled a best-in-class production team of broadcast news veterans, and we are looking forward to adding Live Rescue to the A&E portfolio of brave storytelling.’

“Since its premiere in 2016, Live PD has been one of A&E's top-rated series. The three-hour show, airing Friday and Saturday nights, ranks No. 1 among all cable series on those nights in adults 18-49 and 25-54. 

“A&E ordered 150 more episodes — 450 hours' worth of programming — of Live PD last September, taking the show through 2019. It also airs the spinoffs Live PD: Police Patrol (half-hour episodes with unaired footage and highlights from past episodes) and Live PD Presents: PD Cam (half-hours hosted by Live PD's Sean "Sticks" Larkin and featuring footage from police and surveillance cameras).”

1133308141.jpg.jpg

From Rolling Stone: “Idris Elba’s new Netflix comedy Turn Up Charlie seems less a TV show than a checklist of things Elba wanted to do on camera. In the series (it debuts March 15th; I watched six of the eight episodes), which Elba co-created with Gary Reich, he plays Charlie, a Nineties one-hit wonder (he’s confused for Lou Bega in one episode) who these days DJs at weddings while lying to his parents in Nigeria that he’s still a huge success. His childhood best mate David (JJ Feild) is now a famous actor with an equally famous DJ wife, Sara (Piper Perabo), and through a series of wacky hijinks, Charlie winds up playing nanny to their lonely, disruptive daughter Gabby (Frankie Hervey).

“The premise allows Elba — who has long moonlit as a DJ, often billed as DJ Big Driis — to play a man who can spin records and get a party going. It lets him do light comedy, when he’s primarily known for intense characters like The Wire‘s Stringer Bell and Luther from the BBC show of the same name. And it shows a softer side of the reigning Sexiest Man Alive by letting him bond early and often with a cute but troubled kid who really needs some attention that her celebrity parents are too busy to provide.

“You can’t blame the great Elba for wanting to stretch himself and prove he’s more than just a devastatingly handsome guy who broods well on camera. But Turn Up Charlie feels so calculated, it’s a wonder math equations don’t float across the screen. The show’s vanity project aspirations frequently clash with some of its individual aims. It’s meant to show, for instance, that Elba works just as well in a family-friendly context as in the gritty adult fare that made him famous, but there’s a running gag where Sara and her manager Astrid (Angela Griffin) talk about how well-endowed Charlie is. And all the characters curse frequently, Gabby included.

“Mostly, though, there’s very little substance, or humor, to be found. The show’s insights into parenting, marriage, fame and even the art of DJing all feel familiar and flimsy. Elba has a nice rapport with all of his co-stars, Hervey in particular, but the whole thing just left me wanting to see Elba demonstrate his chops in a better-written comedy.

“Which maybe is all that matters here. Turn Up Charlie isn’t good, but it at least makes plausible the idea of a funnier or more laid-back Elba than we’re used to seeing. As our hero’s aunt/landlady tells him midway through the season, ‘Well done, Charlie. You’ve proved you’re more than just a pretty face with sick beats.’ Maybe the next project will show just how far his many talents can take him.”

21-david-costabile-chatroom.jpg

Per The Ringer, “[y]ou’ve seen David Costabile, but you may not have known that his name is David Costabile. To you, he’s probably Gale, the quirky scientist from the third and fourth seasons of Breaking Bad. Or perhaps more likely, he’s Mike ‘Wags’ Wagner, the eccentric financial consigliere to hedge fund manager Bobby ‘Axe’ Axelrod on Showtime’s finance drama Billions; he’s the man full of bravado and creative obscenities, the guy with the pointy facial hair that evokes Satan. When traveling in Europe, he mostly meets fans of Breaking Bad. Oddly enough, a disproportionately large number of New York City doormen, as well as TSA agents, are most familiar with his work in Suits. Venture to guess where the largest ratio of Wags fans are found? ‘If I go down to the Financial District, if I go to Midtown, my bros are there,’ Costabile says. ‘My financial bros.’

“Costabile has become one of our most treasured That Guys, an actor who consistently lurks just behind the main characters, whose performance always seems to outshine the spotlight he’s been afforded. In theory, he’s meant to be a lesser character, but his grip on you is so strong because he always delivers much more than expected. And that’s how you end up thinking of him only as one of his characters.

“It’s OK, Costabile assures—you’re not the only one like this. ‘I remember the very first time it happened,’ he tells me over a cup of coffee. ‘The second season just started airing and the garbage man, he saw me, he slowed down, stopped the truck, and shouted, “Fucking Wags! You’re the fucking man!”’

“‘Do people tend to quote the stuff your character says on the show?’ I ask.

“‘No. They’re usually just like, “Fucking Wags!”’

“List enough of Costabile’s prominent television roles and something will click. Newspaper editor Thomas Klebanow on Season 5 of The Wire; the cuckolded husband of a folk music superfan on Flight of the Conchords; sociopathic detective Rick Messer on Damages; the villainous attorney Daniel Hardman on Suits; the meek and ultimately tragic chemist Gale Boetticher on Breaking Bad (a role Costabile has since reprised in the fourth season of AMC’s prequel series, Better Call Saul); and currently, a walking manifestation of id on Billions.

“It’s a heck of a small-screen résumé—to say nothing of secondary roles in two Steven Spielberg historical films (LincolnThe Post) and a Michael Bay movie (13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi). Yet Costabile is in the midst of transcending his That Guy status, thanks in large part to his breakout performance on Billions. The Showtime series has built a foundation on over-the-top characters, and Costabile’s character is, rather delightfully, far more over-the-top than the rest. If the ‘Fucking Wags!’ proclamations from ebullient fans weren’t enough of a hint that the performance has become a bit of a phenomenon, headlines like Billions Is Back and It’s Finally Wags Season Again ought to be.

“This ascension may seem like the product of one actor’s grand design, but Costabile assures me it’s anything but. In a low-key bar in Park Slope, Brooklyn—pretty much the last place you’d expect to find Wags—the actor listens to me recite his résumé, sips his coffee, and ponders for a moment. ‘You start looking at [my career], you see this staircase, but it doesn’t really work like that,’ Costabile explains. ‘There is no staircase.’

“Costabile can’t recall a specific moment, film, or performance that made him want to become an actor—it was just something he was drawn to. ‘I had a thing for musicals,’ he says. After graduating from Tufts University in the late ’80s, he traveled around the country performing on stage, and briefly ran a Shakespearean theater company in Albany. ‘I knew that acting was what I wanted to do with my life,’ he says. He rattles off some of the stuff he did in the intervening years: stints with Shakespeare in the Park, appearances on Broadway, more musicals.

“‘The whole job you just live with a constant sense of fear,’ Costabile says, looking back on his lean times. ‘It makes you get what you want, it makes you strive toward what you want. And, you know, having kids, getting married just kind of pushes you to the high end of the casino—like, I need much bigger chips. But it never feels like it’s a short battle.’

“To get by, Costabile even briefly became an acting teacher, but never stopped taking auditions, hoping for a break. ‘My wife was saying the other day that she had a manager who once said, “Luck is necessary, but you also have to be ready to walk through that door when luck presents itself,”’ he says. One of Costabile’s doors was a recurring role on the fifth and final season of The Wire as the hard-nosed managing editor for the show’s fictional equivalent of The Baltimore Sun, which aired in 2008. By that point, even though The Wire never drew massive ratings for HBO, David Simon’s series had cemented itself as one of the greatest television shows of all time.

“That pressure cooker of a situation didn’t initially bother Costabile—because he didn’t even know it was supposed to. ‘When I walked in I was like, “What the fuck is this?”’ he tells me. ‘Then I got hired. Then I started watching and getting progressively more anxious [because] I realized what unbelievable talent and incredible writing there was. I’m very lucky [I didn’t know because] I would not have made it through those first five episodes. I totally would have fucked up.’

Breaking Bad was a different story. Costabile was already watching the show by the time Gale Boetticher was set to debut midway through the third season in 2010. And though Breaking Badhadn’t yet become a phenomenon, Costabile fought like hell to get on the show. ‘They tried hard not to cast me, tried for a long time to find somebody else,’ he says. ‘But I was like, “I am that character.” And that was the truth. … I dare you to find somebody who’s going to do that [role] better than me.’ While Gale’s stint on Breaking Badis short, the character serves a vital function as the wholesome antithesis to Walter White. Just as Walt reached a point of no return in the second season when he watched Jesse Pinkman’s girlfriend Jane (Krysten Ritter) choke to death on her own bile, Gale would serve as Jesse’s inflection point. Gale met his end at the hands of a reluctant Jesse in the third-season finale: a heartbreaking, game-changing moment with reverberative effects throughout the rest of the series.

“While Costabile’s journey has been paved by the opportunities he seized on two of the most acclaimed shows of the 21st century—as well as roles in DamagesFlight of the Conchords, and Suits, which have all been buzzy in their own right—he maintains that he’s never had a master plan. Instead, he learned to be more self-selective, and eventually gained enough traction in his career to have that luxury. ‘The decision-making process for me is much more about what actually interests me,’ he tells me. ‘That question was always important, especially after a lot of experience doing a lot of bullshit.’

“Still, it’s not lost on Costabile that, in addition to determination, perseverance, and a propensity to be attracted to good projects, his career has been aided by a bit of luck. ‘There have been many times in my life when I’ve been able to identify something, like, “I want that,” and get it. And most people will be like, “You’re so fucking lucky,” and the answer to that is, I am.’

“Brian Koppelman—cocreator and co-showrunner of Billions—was, as Costabile recalls, the ‘big man on campus’ when they both attended Tufts in the ’80s. It’s easy to see why: When he was still in school, Koppelman discovered singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman and helped produce her first album. (‘It was a no. 1 album,’ Costabile says, ‘back when you actually bought albums.’)

“While both men admit they didn’t know one another that well during their college days, Koppelman remembers taking an acting class with Costabile. ‘It wasn’t a calling to me,’ Koppelman tells me over the phone. ‘I just thought it was fun to do.’ One day in class, the two were called to perform a scene together. ‘There was this light in his eyes,’ Koppelman recalls. ‘There was this power. There was this intelligence. I tell you, I knew in that instant I was never gonna be an actor, and I knew this guy was going to be a successful actor.’

“Years later, Koppelman devised a theory, unbeknownst to Costabile at the time: If someone like David Costabile can ‘make it’ as an actor, there might be some justice in this world. ‘I wondered what happened to that guy from college,’ he says. ‘This is pre-internet where it was harder [to know]: When is that guy going to surface?’ Finally, Koppelman saw Costabile popping up on acclaimed shows like The Wire and Breaking Bad. ‘When it started to happen for Costabile, it really reaffirmed for me if you’re very talented and you work incredibly hard, the world might find you.’

“The two Tufts alums—along with Koppelman’s frequent collaborator David Levien, who serves as Billions’ other showrunner and cocreator—first worked together on Solitary Man in 2009, in which Costabile played Jenna Fischer’s on-screen husband, Gary. They reunited for 2013’s Runner Runner, in which Costabile portrayed a university professor. Costabile believes it was that existing relationship that opened the door for him to play Wags—even though the original conception of the character wasn’t nearly as flashy or worthy of cult status.

“This might come as a bit of a shock to Billions-heads, so brace yourself: When Koppelman and Levien first began working on the show, Wags was intended to be a much more subdued character. He was still going to be Axe’s right-hand man at Axe Capital, but Wags was meant to be, as Levien describes the character to me, ‘an old-line Wall Street, WASP-y kind of guy’ who kept his boss in check. Blessedly, that idea was quickly retooled—so much so that, if you rewatch the series pilot, you’ll find Wags’s actual screentime is uncharacteristically thin.

“The creation of the Wags we’ve come to love—crass yet intelligent, the kind of guy who is the chief operating officer of a multibillion-dollar hedge fund and also, for some reason, is banned from attending Little League games—was a collaborative process, ushered in primarily by Koppelman and Levien, with some gentle nudges by Costabile along the way. (It was Costabile who suggested, for instance, that Wags ought to live in the Pierre hotel, as he felt the character was perfectly suited for an older, embellished staple of Manhattan.) The notion of completely revamping Wags on the fly with Costabile didn’t concern the showrunners: They believed they still had the right man for the job. ‘There was never a thought that we would recast him or anything like that,’ Levien tells me. ‘We knew that we had an actor who could go anywhere. He’s just got a million gears. … We just realized that with this actor, and with this character, we had a chance to show the unbridled side.’

“The gambit worked. Costabile admits it’s been the most entertaining character he’s played in his career—a man with a penchant for snorting Adderall, throwing out lurid insults, and extolling the virtues of perfectly sauced nigiri at upscale sushi establishments.

“But what elevates Wags beyond mere caricature are the subtleties Costabile imbues into the role. Wags is cartoonish, sure, but he’s got an undercurrent of empathy for the people within his inner circle. He’s awful to people who get in his way, but he’d also take a bullet for Axe and defend gender-nonbinary coworker Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) from anti-LGBTQ slander at a Turkish bath house. ‘He is a respectful person, unless you have shown to not be worth something,’ Costabile explains. ‘That’s when [he’s] going to fuck with you. Unmercifully.’

“‘He likes to make the person who resents him uncomfortable—it balances him. That’s fucking weird. It’d be strange if I came in here and the more awkward I made you feel, the better I felt.’

Billions can be dense, plotty, and full of confusing financial-speak, but Wags is the essential comic relief. With his twisted, much-needed levity and occasional pathos, Wags, more than anyone else, is the fabric that holds the whole enterprise together. Sometimes, the levity and pathos come hand in hand, as seen in Wags’s existential crisis during the second season that, among many things, produced the character’s infamous Yosemite Sam ass tattoo. (Behold at your own risk.) ‘For the record, we never say that that tattoo was actually Yosemite Sam,’ Koppelman tells me, after I prod for specifics. ‘The dialogue actually gets cut off before they say the word Sam. They just say “Yosemite.”’

“Still, it’s important to remember that all the characters orbiting Damian Lewis’s Axe and Paul Giamatti’s U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades are abhorrent people. Like HBO’s SuccessionBillions demonstrates not just the glorious excess of living among the 1 percent, but also the misery inherent to the relentless pursuit of more. ‘It’s kind of open to, you know, the depravity that [being rich] brings,’ Costabile says. ‘It’s on some level based on fact.’

“That means, of course, that as much as we’re entertained by the on-screen antics of Wags, meeting a real-life version of the man would be a miserable affair. If you saw him creating a scene or showing off his wealth—or both—you’d probably hate the guy. ‘There’s no fucking way I could be near that,’ Costabile says, a smirk growing on his face. ‘But what could be more fun than playing an unapologetic asshole?’

“Costabile is a resident of sleepy Park Slope, which itself seems like a betrayal of the essence of Wags. But because the hold the character can have on you is so strong, it’s important to note: Even though he looks just like Wags, has Wags’s pointy facial hair, and maybe even sips coffee the way you imagine Wags would sip coffee, David Costabile is not Wags. When I ask Costabile what he likes to do to relax, he laughs: ‘Relax? You must not have children.’ He has two daughters under the age of 4, and one of them spilled milk on him right before we met up. He tells me—half-joking, half-serious—that the walk back to his apartment after our interview will be a nice reprieve, one he’s looking forward to. ‘A nap this afternoon would be extraordinary,’ he adds.

“As for after that afternoon nap? Billions won’t continue in perpetuity—even its Showtime sister series Shameless has to end someday—and eventually, Costabile will be moving on to new creative pursuits. ‘I still want to do comedy,’ he tells me. ‘Really high comedy, or French comedy. I’ve done work in period movies, I love period movies.’

“Those avenues aside, Costabile tells me he’s pretty much up for anything—as long as it’s attached to a good script. He’s always been attracted to projects with good writing; more than once during our conversation he gushed over Tony Kushner, the playwright he worked with on Lincoln. He also says he’d work with Paul Thomas Anderson in a heartbeat. He even says he’d collaborate with Michael Bay again—’For more money, but I would do it’—despite his famously aggressive directing style. ‘I really liked him by the end,’ he tells me of the experience filming 13 Hours with Bay. ‘Primarily because he was surprised that I shouted back at him.’

“But for the time being, Billions remains the top priority. I ask Costabile whether he knows anything about returning to Better Call Saul, after Gale makes a couple of appearances in the prequel’s fourth season, and he assures me he hasn’t heard a thing. Still, he would come back—so long as his schedule allows it. Filming those Better Call Saul scenes last season coincided with working on Billions, which meant a lot of travel, as well as navigating a headspace embodying two extremely different characters—a process he astutely describes as a ‘double mind-fuck.’ ‘I had one day [in New Mexico] and I shot that first scene, and then had to play Wags the next day. That was a strange transition.’

“Costabile is almost done filming Billions’ fourth season—when I spoke with him, as well as Koppelman and Levien, they were in the process of working on the finale in the city. And if there’s a through line between my conversations with all three, they couldn’t be more excited to share this new season with the world—to the extent that they were wary not to spoil anything. The series did leave things on a beguiling note last year: After spending three seasons clawing at each other’s throats, Bobby Axelrod and Chuck Rhoades have formed a temporary (if not unstable) alliance. They need help squashing their respective enemies: Former Axe financial savant Taylor has started their own rival hedge fund, while Chuck was just fired from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York by Attorney General Jock Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown), with the help of his former protégés Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad) and Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore). The TL;DR version: Shit’s about to go down, and Wags will undoubtedly be in the thick of it.

“Costabile, describing the season’s overarching theme of payback without wanting to give anything away, opts for a fishing metaphor. ‘The other seasons were more like long-line fishing, and this is more like net fishing,’ he tells me. With respect to the subtleties of fishing nomenclature, Koppelman’s teaser feels more on-brand for a show whose characters almost exclusively speak in pop culture references. ‘This season,’ Koppelman says, ‘Wags proves himself to be a wartime consigliere.’

“After a couple of hours, Costabile and I prepare to part ways. Hedge fund mafioso or genial chemist, Costabile insists that he always wanted to do this with his life. You get the impression he’d still be doing it at a theater in Albany if his career didn’t take off. But because of shows like The WireSuitsBreaking Bad, and especially Billions, we’ve instead been subjected to his explanation of the true, disgusting meaning of the acronym ATM, and his cult fandom grows larger with each passing week.

“‘We’re in an industry where you could [easily] give up,’ Costabile says. ‘I was always offended by people—people who said, “You should do this differently.” Like, fuck you. I don’t shit on your dream, and tell you that you should come up with another dream. Dream bigger is what I say.’

“As Costabile leaves the bar, the barkeep comes by with the check. I offer an apology for staying too long and ordering only two coffees. ‘Are you kidding?’ he replies. ‘Highlight of my day. I love that guy.’ I only realize now that I probably needed to ask him which specific performance he might have been referring to.”