Thursday March 21, 2019

March Madness starts today. Enjoy. I know I will.

A new season of The Good Fight is now available on CBS All-Access.

“Fox Broadcasting unveiled a new sizzle reel on Wednesday night in the wake of the Disney-21st Century Fox merger officially closing, with the broadcaster touting its current series roster.”

TBS has announced the series regulars for its upcoming pilot Chad, created by Saturday Night Live alum Nasim Pedrad, who plays the titular 14-year-old Persian boy. Ella Mika portrays Chad’s younger sister Niki, and Saba Homayoon plays their mother Naz on the family comedy. Paul Chahidi stars as Hamid, a distant relative of Naz helping raise the kids and trying to adapt to American culture, and Alexa Loo plays Su Chin, the children’s school friend who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome and uses a motorized scooter to get around.”

“It’s going to take more than the filing of a lawsuit to make the owner of a house inspired by ’60s primetime animated series The Flintstones remove the 15-foot dinosaur statues and a Yabba Dabba Do sign from her yard. The town of Hillsborough, Calif., is suing Florence Fang in California Superior Court in order to get some of the whimsical details taken down, alleging that she didn’t obtain the necessary permits and approvals. The so-called Flintstone House was built in 1976, although it was only given its pop culture nickname after it was painted all orange in 2000, according to Atlas Obscura. Fang, the retired owner of the San Francisco Examiner, reportedly purchased the property for $2.8 million in 2017 and made some changes. In October, Fang was ordered to pay a $200 fine to the city, as her home, which can be seen from the interstate, was deemed a ‘highly visible eyesore.’”

Here’s a photo of said Flintstones house. It’s undoubtedly an eyesore.

“Illustrating the strategy Netflix executives have long articulated — and pointing to a wider gap between the company and its rivals — a new report shows that for the first time most new releases coming to the platform are originals. Among all releases available in the U.S. that went live during the year leading up to December 2018, 51% were originals, as opposed to programs or films that had been acquired, according to a report by UK-based research firm Ampere Analysis. That share is more than double the 25% recorded in December 2016. ‘Original’ can mean a few different things, of course. There are shows or films that Netflix has nurtured from script stage, but also others where Netflix teams with established partners (e.g., Sony for The Crown, Lionsgate for Orange is the New Black).”

The WGA is deputizing managers and attorneys to procure employment for writers and negotiate their over-scale terms – essentially taking the place of agents. The move comes as the guild prepares for the possibility that it might ask all writers to fire their agents en mass if it can’t come to terms with the Association of Talent Agents for a new franchise agreement. With that agreement set to expire on April 6, the guild said that it is ‘preparing for the possibility that members may have to leave their agency after April 6. To ensure that as much support as possible will be in place for writers seeking work, the WGA is providing a limited delegation of our exclusive bargaining authority to managers and attorneys who represent guild members.’” Fire em. All of em.

Lena Dunham is proud of Wendy Williams and Lala Kent. Doesn’t that just warm your heart?

Why Jordan Peele is the new master of suspense.

I’m a fan of the way John Mulaney’s brain works.

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, “Mindy Kaling is bringing her childhood to life at Netflix.

“The streaming giant has handed out a straight-to-series order for a half-hour coming-of-age comedy series based on the actress, writer and producer's childhood.

“The untitled project, which has received an order for 10 episodes, explores the complicated life of a modern-day first-generation Indian-American teenage girl.

“Kaling created the series and will serve as a writer, executive producer and showrunner alongside Lang Fisher, with whom she worked on the Fox-turned-Hulu comedy The Mindy Project. The effort is the last sale for Kaling under her Universal Television overall deal and was in the works before the Late Night writer decamped from her longtime home for a massive six-year, mid-eight-figure pact with Warner Bros. TV. 3 Arts' Howard Klein (who worked with Kaling on The Office) and David Miner (30 Rock, Master of None) will also exec produce the comedy. It's unclear if Kaling will have any sort of onscreen role.

“The series arrives as Kaling continues to see her stock rise since her breakout role on NBC's The Office. Her credits since include The Mindy Project, NBC's short-lived comedy Champions and Hulu's upcoming anthology take on Four Weddings and a Funeral, which is due this year. The Emmy-nominated writer also saw Amazon shell out $13 million for rights to her Emma Thompson-led Sundance feature Late Night. Kaling wrote the feature, which landed at Amazon following a multiple-studio bidding war. Amazon will release the feature, which has already garnered strong critical reviews, theatrically in the summer.

“Fisher's credits include the Fox-turned-NBC comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Billy on the Street and The Onion News Network. She is repped by UTA, 3 Arts and Ziffren Brittenham.

“The Kaling comedy arrives as Netflix continues to aggressively spend billions of dollars on scripted programming and days after the streamer canceled the critical darling One Day at a Time.”

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From TheWrap: “Duff Goldman is adding another course to his ever-expanding menu with a fifth — yes, fifth – Food Network show, Duff Takes the Cake.

“The five-episode, half-hour series joins four other Duff-hosted shows including Spring Baking Championship, in which 10 bakers face a panel of judges, and Buddy vs Duff, where Goldman faces off against Cake Boss Buddy Valastro. Goldman is also a co-host on Kids Baking Championship, which just wrapped its latest season on Sunday, and Holiday Baking Championship, which airs every winter-holiday season.

“Adding a fifth series puts Goldman up there with Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri in the league of Food Network hosts with the most shows airing in a single year.

Duff Takes the Cake finds the Ace of Cakes star creating next-level cake creations to celebrate important milestones for people doing good in their communities. From birthday cakes for survivors of the Northern California wildfires to cakes for Goldman’s own wedding reception, each order is riddled with obstacles for the chef and his team of cake engineers to overcome. Making things even more difficult, every custom creation must arrive on time to unconventional locations like a fireworks festival in Los Angeles’ Chinatown or even the middle of a rodeo.

“‘Viewers will be amazed by the unrestrained creativity and ingenuity of the one-of-a-kind, impressive cake designs that Duff and his extraordinary team of artists create,’ said Courtney White, president of Food Network. ‘No job is too big, and no detail is too small adding a mix of intensity and entertaining comedy to the series.’”

“Duff Takes the Cake premieres Monday, April 15 at 10/9c on Food Network.”

The creativity over there in Knoxville is just off the charts these days!

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Per EW, “[i]t is not only the moral responsibility of every great leader to govern the people with innovation, justice, compassion, and humility — he or she also must write a self-important autobiography that falls shy of compelling.

“The trailblazing Selina Meyer serves as your standard torchbearer in this department. The self-obsessed former vice president turned former president turned presidential hopeful appeared in season 6 of Veep on The Tonight Show to promote her book, A Woman First: First Woman, though the host (played by Adam Scott) was more interested in the scandal radiating from Mike’s diaries. If you ever wished that you could crack open that tome and learn about the rest of Selina’s rise to power via the written word, today brings great fortune. In full commitment to the bit, the Veep folks are making Selina Meyer’s A Woman First: First Woman available for your perusement.

“Described as ‘an intimate first-person account of the public and private lives of Selina Meyer, America’s first female president that we know of,’ the 100-ish-page book (Abrams Press)this link opens in a new tab unspools the life of the only woman brave enough to start a foundation that aims to eliminate attacked adult illiteracy, AIDS, and childhood obesitythis link opens in a new tab. In writing her own book, or at least having a ghostwriter write the book for her, the one-time short-term POTUS (played by the Emmy-winning Julia Louis-Dreyfus) chronicles the history of her family dating back to Mayflower times, explains how she met her financially and morally suspect husband Andrew, and triumphed in a male-driven sphere of politics. For those of you here just for some quality Catherine-bashing, there’s a chapter in which Selina authorizes Gary to organize a secret DNA test to find out if the First Daughter was actually adopted.

A Woman First is billed as written by Selina, but it was actually penned by Veep showrunner David Mandel and writer-producer Billy Kimball. Mandel viewed this tome in the tradition of bringing the Veepverse into the real world, such as with Jonah Ryan’s campaign websitethis link opens in a new tab. ‘I love when these things exist in reality,’ he tells EW, ‘and it just seemed that Selina would write that book. And, as far as I’m concerned, she did.’

“The goal of this project was to emulate the spirit of these grand memoirs that often leave something — or possibly, everything — to be desired. ‘These presidential autobiographies, but also these candidate-to-be autobiographies, as a genre unto itself, they’re never that good,’ says Mandel. ‘They’re never as revealing as you want them to be and certainly never quite as well-written as you want to be. And there’s a real art form to that terrible plaintive writing, in the sense of how badly these people want to run for president and they’re trying to tell you what they think you want to know and what you might want to elect. I think Selina’s book lives up to the finest worst candidate autobiographies ever.’

“Below, find an exclusive excerpt from A Woman First, in which Selina attempts to explain why she has earned the title of “The Education President.” And for those who hold fast to the constitutionally provided freedom to not read, you will be heartened to know that A Woman First will be available in audio-book form.

Veep returns to HBO for its seventh and final season on March 31.

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It is well-known that I have often been called “The Education President.” Am I ashamed of this? No! Quite the opposite, in fact. I am proud to have been called “The Education President.” Of all the many issues that a president can concern him or herself with, I think a very good case can be made that education is one of the most important. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s try a little exercise: What do you think is the most difficult challenge we face in the world today? Maybe, for you, it’s jobs. Well, you can’t get a good job without an education, now can you? I mean, some good jobs, sure. Working turning a crank in a factory for a few months and then faking an injury that entitles you to both a settlement in a lawsuit and a lifetime of disability payments could be considered a good job, I guess, if you want to get paid to spend your life fishing or watching car racing on television, and you don’t need much education to fake an injury, one would think. And I suppose, in that case, your crooked lawyer would fill out all the forms for you so you wouldn’t really need to know how to read and write or express yourself particularly well.

But that’s an isolated case. An exception that proves the rule, if you will.

Let’s pick a different policy arena in which to prove the importance of education. How about climate change? You can’t do anything about climate change if you don’t have an education. You’d need to be a physicist or maybe a chemist to figure out what to do about that. It’s a huge, interdisciplinary problem with many facets, so biologists and biochemists also have an important role to play. Geologists a bit also maybe. Archaeologists not so much. And the algorithms that predict complex interactions in the upper atmosphere require the input (no pun intended!) of computer scientists, mathematicians, and statisticians who, like economists, are considered “poor man’s scientists.”

All of these different highly educated people—not just men but also women, too!—have to work together to solve the problem of climate change. Now, to be fair, while these scientists seem to be pretty good at identifying the problem, it’s not as if they’ve been terribly great at coming up with solutions, despite all their education.

Okay, so maybe that wasn’t the best example either. Doctors! Doctors need education. Think about the life of a doctor. Pretty much your entire working life is spent writing. Doctors write hundreds, if not thousands, of prescriptions every day, so there’s simply no way you can be a doctor if you don’t know how to write. I think we all wish doctors could spend a little more time learning how to write clearly so that a prescription for, say, sleeping pills isn’t filled incorrectly by the idiot pharmacist so that you wind up with a strong laxative or something. That happened to someone I know, which resulted in her inventing (but tragically failing to trademark) the expression “sh-t the bed.”
 Here’s something they don’t teach you in school but is really worth knowing: Take anything a doctor tells you with a giant grain of salt, because I have learned that more often than not they’re just lazy clueless losers like everyone else.

Pharmacists are supposed to be educated, but a lot of the time it doesn’t seem like they are or, if they are, it seems they weren’t educated very well. Don’t take this the wrong way, but a lot of them also look like they learned how to do pharmacy in Korea or the Philippines or someplace like that, and God only knows whether they value education as highly in those countries as we do here in America.

Here’s something you may not know about pharmacists: The arts and sciences of pharmacy are the second most popular thing for inmates to study in prison after—you guessed i—the arts and sciences of locksmithing. Look, I guess anything’s better than giving prisoners even more time to do pull-ups, lift weights, and toss around the medicine ball so that they can become even scarier and more dangerous than they were when they got sent to jail. And as the daughter and ex-wife of men who, due to misunderstandings both on their part but also on the part of law enforcement, very nearly went to jail on a number of occasions, I am a firm believer in second chances and in allowing people to pay their debt to society and get the whole thing over with rather than spend a fortune on legal bills.

All of that said, one kind of education I’m not a huge fan of is teaching prisoners how to pick locks and make drugs. Let me explain my reasoning here. Two of the activities that land people in jail in the first place are burglary and robbery and, if we want to reduce recidivism, I think we should make it harder for criminals to reoffend rather than making it easier by teaching them how to open locks better than they did the last time, when they got caught. The same goes for pharmacy. I mean, on some level, I get it. If we teach prisoners how to make their own drugs or give them better access to drugs by helping them get jobs as pharmacists rather than having to buy them on the street, which can often be a prelude to crime, we might be able to reduce drug crime or, at least, improve the quality of the drug crimes in this country. But I happen to think that it might be best if we tried to keep them away from drugs altogether and leave pharmacy work to Koreans and Phillipinesians. Besides, how do we know that inmates who study pharmaceutical dispensation in prison are going to actually try and get jobs in legitimate pharmacies such as Rite Aid, CVS, or, my personal favorite, Walgreens? If those pharmacies were not as deeply committed to second chances as perhaps they should be, then they might not want to hire former drug criminals to be their pharmacists. That would leave these prison-trained pharmacists with nothing to do except manufacture crystal meth in their bathtubs at home—crystal meth that, by virtue of the taxpayer-subsidized prison education, might be far more potent than their competitors’.

The one area of prison education that I do support wholeheartedly is legal education. It makes simple common sense that the best lawyers—the best criminal lawyers at any rate—would have at least some prison experience. The same goes for judges, though probably not Supreme Court Justices because, as with everything, there is a limit.*

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Per Deadline, “Ava DuVernay (Queen Sugar) has set her next series at OWN. The network has given a straight-to-series order to Cherish the Day, an original anthology series from DuVernay and Warner Horizon Scripted Television. The project is part of DuVernay’s overall deal with Warner Bros. TV. Oprah Winfrey will executive produce alongside DuVernay for a winter 2020 premiere on OWN.

“Created by DuVernay, in each season, Cherish the Day chronicles the stirring romance of one couple, with each episode spanning a single day. The season-long narrative will unfold to reveal significant moments in a relationship that compel us to hold true to the ones we love, from the extraordinary to the everyday.

“Tanya Hamilton (Queen Sugar, Night Catches Us) will serve as executive producer/showrunner and will direct the series premiere. DuVernay’s longtime producing partner Paul Garnes (Queen Sugar, Selma) will also executive produce the series.

“‘OWN is home. I’m honored to create television for a network headed by an artist with spectacular vision and unbridled passion for the stories that we want to tell,’ said DuVernay.

“‘Ava is a visionary storyteller. She brings so much care, so much heart, so much love to the art she creates,’ said Winfrey. ‘I’m excited to continue collaborating together with our very first anthology series for OWN.’

Cherish the Day is produced for OWN by Forward Movement and Harpo Films in association with Warner Horizon Scripted Television. Ava DuVernay, Paul Garnes, Tanya Hamilton and Oprah Winfrey are executive producers.

Cherish the Day will join OWN’s programming slate of top-rated dramas includingQueen Sugar, Greenleaf, The Haves and the Have Nots and If Loving You is Wrong.In addition, OWN will premiere two new drama series in 2019, Ambitions from Will Packer and David Makes Man from Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight).”