Thursday March 28, 2019

Happy MLB opening day!

The series finale of Broad City airs tonight. Farewell to a great show.

Season 1 of The Other Two wraps up tonight. Another very good show which will be back.

More importantly, the Sweet 16 airs tonight with 4 games.

Jussie Smollett’s case is getting kicked over to the feds for further investigation.

Heck of a blindside last night.

John Legend and American Idol producer Simon Lythgoe are among those teaming up to develop Love at First Song, a music competition-dating show hybrid, Variety has learned. The show, which is based on a format first seen on Vietnamese TV and hails from South Korean entertainment and mass media company CJ ENM, will likely try and emulate the success of Fox’s The Masked Singer, another adaptation of a hit Asian music show which came from a South Korean entertainment entity. The U.S. version of Love at First Song is being developed by Critical Content, Get Lifted Film Co and Lythgoe’s Legacy Productions, with Legend serving as an executive producer. Love at First Song pairs two singers together and has them ‘virtually rehearse a romantic duet, before revealing themselves and their potential chemistry during a live performance. The couples then live together, practice together, perform and compete together, but may swap partners in every episode — for love or music.”

The heads of the Abrams Artists Agency took a dig tonight at the Association of Talent Agents in the first open schism among the major agencies, as the showdown between the WGA and the ATA looms ever larger. The firm’s three partners – Adam Bold, Robert Attermann and Brian Cho – confirmed tonight that they will not be signing the WGA’s new Code of Conduct, but a memo they sent to their staff said that they have not even been consulted by the ATA about its negotiations with the guild.” That’s because you’re completely IRRELEVANT!

The author of Sex and the City has found a home for a potential follow-up series to the HBO classic. Paramount Television and Anonymous Content have landed rights to Is There Still Sex in the City? by SATC author Candace Bushnell, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The book, scheduled to be published in August by Grove Atlantic, looks at sex, dating and friendship after age 50 in New York. The potential series wouldn't necessarily be a direct sequel to Sex and the City, which ran on HBO from 1998-2006 and spawned two feature films. Bushnell's nonfiction book looks at the love and dating habits of middle-aged men and women on Manhattan's Upper East Side and in a country enclave known as The Village, ranging from what it's like to go on Tinder dates as a fifty-something divorcee to an update on her SATC story The Bicycle Boys.”

A TV writer filed suit against Creative Artists Agency on Tuesday, alleging that his agents stole his idea for a show and gave it to a higher-profile client. John Musero worked as a writer on the Aaron Sorkin show The Newsroom in 2014. The following year, he says he wrote a pilot called Main Justice, which would focus on the inner workings of the U.S. attorney general’s office. Though the series was optioned and developed by the Mark Gordon Co., it never went beyond that. Musero’s suit alleges that another CAA client, Sascha Penn, sold a pilot called Main Justice to CBS in 2018. The show was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Television and former Attorney General Eric Holder, and similarly focused on the attorney general’s office. The suit claims that both pilots ended with an assassination attempt on the attorney general. The suit contains echoes of the ongoing fight between talent agencies and the Writers Guild of America, which claims that agents take packaging fees at the expense of their own clients. ‘This is not a case where our client was packaged. This is something more egregious,’ said Musero’s attorney, Stephen Doniger. ‘This is something where the agent said, “You have a great idea, I can make a small percentage selling your idea or I can take your idea and give it to a bigger client, and make a much bigger fee.”’ The suit accuses CAA of breaching its fiduciary duty to Musero.” Which it did…

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Per Deadline, “A&E Network has set a four-part special on Garth Brooks under the umbrella of its mainstay Biography franchise, and also competition series Top Dog, a canine showcase from the team behind Live PD.

Garth: The Road I’m On (working title) is slated to air in the fourth quarter of this year. It will highlight the prolific career of the best-selling solo artist of all time through never-before-seen interviews with Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, the original road band and other personal and professional figures.

“The network, which announced the programming as part of parent A+E Networks’ upfront pitch to advertisers, is promising ‘unprecedented behind-the-scenes access’ from the record-setting Garth Brooks stadium tour.

“‘The Biography brand continues to be the gold standard for superior biographical storytelling and we are truly honored to have the opportunity to partner with the iconic Garth Brooks,’ A&E programming chief Elaine Frontain Bryant said. ‘The story of his meteoric rise to fame is one of true grit, talent and sacrifice with him reaching a level of global success very few have ever achieved and we couldn’t think of a better platform than ‘Biography’ to share his personal journey with viewers for the first time.’

“Garth Brooks said A&E topped his list of prospective partners on a documentary. ‘If I was EVER going to do a documentary on my life and music, I wanted A&E to do it. They have interviewed all the people who would know what the true stories are so n matter how this turns out… I can’t say it isn’t the truth.’

“Garth: The Road I’m On is produced by Film 45 and Endeavor Content’s non-scripted division for A&E Network.

“Top Dog, meanwhile, comes from MGM’s Big Fish Entertainment, the producers of A&E hit Live PD. It features what the network describes as “working K-9s and their handlers” competing against amateur counterparts on “television’s first full-run K-9 course.”

“The spinoff stems from the dogs who play a key role in law enforcement activities captured on Live PD.<

“‘The K-9 officers featured on Live PD’have received a tremendous response from viewers, many of which now have their own fan clubs and hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers,’ Bryant said. ‘This series will highlight the important and dangerous work being done every day by these four-legged law enforcement officers, while also giving them a chance to show off their skills and have some fun with equality skilled civilian dogs.’

“Big Fish President, Dan Cesareo, called the competition arena ‘a very exciting new space for us,’ adding that it ‘felt like a fresh and unexpected way of expanding the Live PD brand. We’re thrilled to deliver more K-9 action and expertise to viewers and look forward to unveiling the course.’”

Meh.

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“As part of A+E Networks’ suite of upfront announcements, History said it is teaming with Sylvester Stallone to develop the drama series The Tenderloin (working title).

“The show comes from A+E Studios in association with Balboa Productions. Stallone, who has seen a career resurgence in recent years thanks to the Creed extensions of the Rocky saga, will executive produce and direct multiple episodes. Stephen Kay, whose credits include Sons of Anarchy and The Shield, is set to write the pilot.

The Tenderloin is based on the true story of Charles Becker. A New York cop at the turn of the century, Becker led the Strong-Arm Squad, tasked with going to war with the Italian, Jewish and Irish gangs in a violent New York City neighborhood called The Tenderloin. As the official logline has it: Becker and his squad were dirty cops but at the same time tried to impose order in a city controlled by gangs and Tammany Hall.

“After some dramatic developments, Becker wound up the first and only policeman in U.S. history to be executed for murder.

“‘Long before Miranda Rights or the fictional series The Shield, there was the very real Charles Becker, a police officer living by his own moral code,’ History EVP and Head of Programming Eli Lehrer said. ‘This is a passion project for Sylvester, who has discovered new facts on Becker’s case that shed new light on this infamous anti-hero. We look forward to joining forces with him to bring this incredible story to History audiences.’

The Tenderloin is an A+E Studios production in association with Balboa Productions. Stallone, Kay and Braden Aftergood (Hell or High Water) executive produce. Barry Jossen serves as executive producer for A+E Studios.”

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, “Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) will see their stories come to an end when HBO airs the series finale of Game of Thrones on May 19 — but the greater narrative behind the historic drama doesn't end there.

“HBO has announced a new feature-length documentary called Game of Thrones: The Last Watch, which is set to air May 26, one week following the series finale. Directed by filmmaker Jeanie Finlay and running at two hours, Last Watch will chronicle the making of the final Game of Thrones season, drawing on Finlay's experiences while embedded on the set for a year.

“The doc ‘delves deep into the mud and blood to reveal the tears and triumphs involved in the challenge of bringing the fantasy world of Westeros to life in the very real studios, fields and car-parks of Northern Ireland,’ according to HBO.

“Although not part of the series proper, Game of Thrones: The Last Watch nevertheless adds an additional two hours to fans' final-season viewing plans. What's more, it stands to pull the curtain back on some of the season's greatest mysteries and filmmaking secrets, thanks to ‘unprecedented access’ to the cast and crew who have brought the Seven Kingdoms to life for nearly a decade.

“Outside of The Last Watchthe final season of Game of Thrones will span six episodes and roughly 432 minutes total, just a few minutes shy of the seventh season's cumulative running time — an impressive feat, considering season seven boasted an additional episode. The final four installments of Game of Thrones will all clock in at nearly 90 minutes a piece. Creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss directed the series finale, with the other four episodes split across helmers Miguel Sapochnik ("The Battle of the Bastards") and David Nutter ("The Rains of Castamere"). The final season premieres April 14 on HBO.”

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From TheWrap: “Lifetime is beefing up its TV film slate for next year, increasing the total to 150 movies and bringing in Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige and Queen Latifah to help.

“The high-profile female trio will executive produce a biopic on the Clark Sisters. The authorized movie will detail their humble beginnings, struggles to find their place, to later becoming the best-selling Gospel group in the music world. The movie will feature re-recordings of some of the Clark Sisters biggest hits like You Brought The Sunshin” and stars SAG nominee Aunjanue Ellis.

“Elsewhere on the scripted front, Lifetime has set a miniseries on the female rap duo Salt-N-Pepa.

“The miniseries follows the story of nursing students Cheryl ‘Salt’ James and Sandra ‘Pepa’ Denton as they fall into the world of rap and hip hop, after recording for a friend’s school project. Salt-N-Pepa made a huge impact in hip hop by being one of the first all-female rap groups, changing the look of hip hop and unafraid to talk about sex and share their thoughts on men. Salt-N-Pepa became the first female rap act to go platinum and experienced ground-breaking success with multiple Grammy wins, paving the way for all female rappers to follow.

“The miniseries will also feature their greatest hits like Let’s Talk About Sex, What a Man, Shoop and Push It, among others. Salt-N-Pepa is executive produced by Cheryl James, Sandra Denton and Jesse Collins. Queen Latifah and Shakim Compere also executive produce from Flavor Unit. The miniseries is co-executive produced by Andy Hume, Dionne Harmon and James ‘Jimmy’ Maynes and written by Abdul Williams.

“‘Bringing untold stories of phenomenal women to life has been a core tenant of Lifetime,’ said Tanya Lopez, executive vice president of movies, limited series & original movie acquisitions, Lifetime and LMN. ‘We are thrilled to partner with Cheryl, Sandra, Queen Latifah, Mary, Missy and The Clark Sisters for the new projects that will showcase these iconic women in music to new audiences.’”

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Per Variety, “Both the worlds of television and the world of politics have changed a lot in the two years since Veep was last airing on HBO. For its seventh and final season, showrunner David Mandel says he wanted to take advantage of that change in politics to inform the storytelling.

“‘If you look back at the previous six seasons, so much of the show was, “Oh my God, this is what a politician is like behind closed doors” — but those closed doors are gone,’ he tells Variety. ‘So often, it was shocking how incompetent her staff is. Well, turn the TV on and you can see that. So much of the show was often her messing up and then paying a very public price for something, and I’m not sure that exists either anymore. So a lot of our bread and butter, if you will, changed.’

“Heading into the final, shortened run (Season 7 consists of only an apt seven episodes), Mandel says he and his writing staff really thought of the show in modern times, not about ‘Oh Trump said this’ but ‘how history will judge these years some day.’

“‘I definitely felt like we needed to address the fact that politics have gotten darker and that we’re living in a very pessimistic world, and in some ways the voters are to blame,’ Mandel says. ‘Every day of my life I bump into people who are like, “Selina should be president,” and I say, “I think you mean Julia should be president” — and I don’t disagree — but they’re very different things.’

“In the premiere episode, the former vice president-turned-brief president who is toying with running again Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) comments about being the leader of ‘real Americans,’ which Mandel admits is a ‘horrific statement.’ Although the comment is very much speaking to ‘where we are’ in the country, he believes, it is also not a new idea. ‘It’s something that unfortunately existed in the history of American. You can go back and see it in McCarthyism, the War of 1812,’ he cites, ‘but it’s having it’s day again.’

“Despite Veep re-entering a landscape that is very different from the one it launched in in 2012, Mandel notes that the show can ‘traffic in bad behavior [and] bad candidacy’ because the characters and the actors who portray them are likable. Without that key factor, he doesn’t think the show would have made it past the pilot stage.

“‘It does allow us to explore the dark in a really wonderful way,’ Mandel says, adding that this season sees characters ‘pandering to the anti-vax crowd and basically being heartless about a shooting.’

“In crafting the final season, Mandel admits to having a ‘wish list’ of moments to include, including some specific story ideas, some combinations of characters not often seen with each other, some familiar faces to bring back and some jokes to get in. He also wanted to make sure to still spend time on characters’ relationships, even if they were off the campaign trail.

“‘There’s no perfect formula, but at the same time I’m always happy when we can find the time to see Mike’s family, and there’s more of that this season,’ Mandel says. ‘Marjorie and Catherine, I love that relationship and I love how it’s grown, and it’s going to go through some rocky patches this year but it’s very real. Richard Splett is maybe the actual one genuinely decent character. So it allows us to have a lot of different shades and colors to the season.’

“When it comes to sending off Selina, Mandel notes that sometimes what a character ‘thinks is a win isn’t a win’ and there is ample story to mine there. But he also wanted to make sure to dig deep with her, too. ‘Her mom wasn’t great [and she] loved her dad but then found out her dad wasn’t such a good guy, and it’s sort of haunting her and why did she throw away so much to run for the presidency?’ he points out. ‘Well, this is what drives her. She was made by these people; this is what they turned her into.’

“Although the show has taken some dramatic turns, such as with Selina learning the truth about her father or Gary (Tony Hale) having a heart attack, the most important thing to Mandel was to end the series in a way that put the comedy first.

“‘What can we do to her that you’re not expecting that will make you laugh?’ he says. ‘When we read it amongst ourselves the first time out-loud, we just knew it was it. It’s hard to explain why. It just felt like it clicked in the right way.’”

Veep returns on Sunday.