Friday March 8, 2019

Billions is returning next Sunday, and here is a refresher on the terminology Axe and co. throw around.

The season 2 finale of Love After Lockup airs tonight. Here’s how I rank the non-cons in order of stupidity:

6. Marcelino — at least he seems to have a finger near the pulse of reality
5. Caitlin — she seems wise enough to see the writing on the wall
4. Megan — she’s more naive than dumb, but still dumb nonetheless
3. Sarah — fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; what about fool me thrice?
2. Clint — blinded by love or utter stupidity and desperation? I’m sticking with the latter
1. Scott — arguably the dumbest and most gullible person we’ve seen on TV in a long time; he drove himself to bankruptcy trying to support and heroin addicted hooker in prison. Bravo.

Ricky Gervais’ new Netflix series After Life is now available to stream on Netflix.

More R. Kelly and Gayle King tonight on CBS at 8p.

The lawyer who defended R. Kelly in a decade-old child pornography case said Thursday that the R&B legend was guilty of those charges — and even received anti-libido drugs to help contain his urges. ‘He was guilty as hell!’ Ed Genson, 77, told the Chicago Sun-Times from his Deerfield, Ill., home. But the former criminal defense attorney said he believes the Trapped in the Closet singer hasn’t done anything ‘inappropriate’ in years. ‘I’ll tell you a secret,’ he said. ‘I had him go to a doctor to get shots, libido-killing shots. That’s why he didn’t get arrested for anything else.’ Genson, who has terminal bile duct cancer, told the paper he doesn’t feel ambivalent about getting Kelly acquitted and keeping him out of prison in 2008.”

Here is the new trailer for season 2 of Killing Eve, which returns on April 7.

HGTV is adding a new home renovation series to its lineup with Rock The Block, in which four of the network’s top [FEMALE] reno experts will go head-to-head in competition. It’s slated to premiere this fall. With a time limit of four weeks and budget of $150,000 each, Leanne Ford (Restored by the Fords), Jasmine Roth (Hidden Potential), Mina Starsiak (Good Bones) and Alison Victoria (Windy City Rehab) will take identical suburban properties—located side-by-side in the Greater Los Angeles area —and morph them into extraordinary custom dream homes. Hosted by Property Brothers star and real estate expert Drew Scott, Rock the Block will spotlight the power reno professionals as they infuse the houses with their distinctive signature style. The HGTV star who adds the most value to her home will claim victory and bragging rights.”

Walt Disney Co. is in advanced talks to sell a majority stake in YES Network to a group that includes the New York Yankees, Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., in a deal that would value the sports network at around $3.5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.”

Amazon drama Homecoming will see another big change going into its second season. In addition to Julia Roberts not returning to star, Sam Esmail will not direct any episodes for Season 2, Variety has learned. Both Esmail and Roberts will remain on the show as executive producers, however. Amazon declined to comment.”

Season 2 of Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It will return to Netflix on May 24.

On My Block will return for Season 2 on Friday, March 29, Netflix announced Thursday.

An episode of The Simpsons featuring the voice of pop singer Michael Jackson is being pulled from circulation amid the fallout from HBO’s shocking Leaving Neverland documentary.

Per Deadline, “[b]ang a gong — it’s time to get it on. YouTube Premium has set an April 24 premiere date for Season 2 of its original series Cobra Kai, starring Ralph Macchio and William Zabka — with Martin Kove resurfacing from The Karate Kid source film. Watch the first teaser trailer above.

“Season 2 kicks in with Daniel LaRusso (Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (Zabka)after the shocking cliffhanger featuring the return of John Kreese (Kove). When a new rivalry between opposing dojos is born in the aftermath of Cobra Kai’s controversial win at the All Valley Championships, Daniel realizes his next countermove is to open his own karate training school called Miyagi-Do, in honor of his mentor Mr. Miyagi.

“What once was a personal feud between Daniel and Johnny escalates beyond their differences to engulf their students — who, as teenagers, already are challenged to figure out who they are and who they want to be. Which path will they follow: Cobra Kai or Miyagi-Do?

“The freshman season of Cobra Kai was a digital sensation, topping 55 million YouTube views for Episode 1 and ranking as the sixth-most Google-searched TV show in 2018. Produced by Overbrook Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television Studios, the series is written and executive produced by Josh Heald and Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg — who together conceived the new Karate Kidstoryline that picks up decades after the original film. Susan Ekins, Will Smith, James Lassiter and Caleeb Pinkett also serve as EPs.”

From The Hollywood Reporter: “Viacom continues to rearrange its programming offerings.

“A year after announcing a revival of Wife Swap for CMT, the new take on the unscripted series is moving to broad-focused Paramount Network. The updated incarnation of the former ABC social experiment will premiere Thursday, April 4 at 9 p.m. on the network formerly known as Spike TV.

“This is the first programming acquisition for Paramount Network since Comedy Central president Kent Alterman added oversight of the cabler following Kevin Kay's dismissal from the Viacom-owned general entertainment hub. Sources note Paramount Network remains committed to scripted despite the addition of a broad-skewing unscripted series like Wife Swap. The cabler's scripted roster includes season two of Yellowstone,TV Land transplant Younger and Darren Star's Emily in Paristhe latter of which is currently casting.

“Alterman, who has yet to unveil his plans for Paramount Network, is said to want to augment that schedule with unscripted, sports and documentaries, which was the bulk of Spike TV's slate.

“Paramount Network is the highest of priorities for Viacom CEO Bob Bakish in his plans to reinvigorate the media behemoth. Since its rebranding in January 2018, Paramount Network has struggled to launch new series, with TV Land imports American Woman, Nobodies and Heathers all axed. Only Yellowstone — the first scripted series picked up and developed specifically for Paramount Network — has continued. Even First Wives Club, which was redeveloped for Paramount Network after being passed over at TV Land, was moved to Viacom sibling BET. (A premiere date for that remains a mystery.)

"‘Wife Swap is an iconic international hit that's more relevant now than ever,’ said Keith Cox, president of development at Paramount Network (and formerly of TV Land). ‘There are plenty of fireworks in each episode that audiences expect, but they'll also be surprised as they watch these families learn about new lifestyles and choices to find resolution.’

”CMT, meanwhile, is Viacom's niche cable network. It exited the scripted space after Nashville wrapped its run a few years ago.”

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Per Deadline, “[b]arely a year after Meredith Corp. closed its $2.8 billion acquisition of Time Inc., one of the biggest jewels in that crown is entering the daily syndicated TV market through a synergistic new effort.

People, which already has an ad-supported streaming app and a weekend TV show, will mount a daily syndicated half-hour in the fall of 2020, Deadline has learned. The initial rollout will be on all 17 local TV stations owned by Meredith, which reach 11% of the country and cover large markets like Atlanta, Phoenix, St. Louis, Portland, OR, and Nashville.

“The weeknight program then plans to seek additional clearances on stations beyond Meredith’s footprint, depending on the initial performance of the show.

“While the realm of red-carpet-centric showbiz shows is hardly an open field, with Entertainment Tonight and Extra two of the mainstays and the more gossip-oriented TMZ and Page Six have also carved out space, People’s entrant promises to be a bit different. The show will bring a range of elements from the media brand to TV viewers, including entertainment news, exclusive interviews, features, beauty and crime. The show will be produced by Four M Studios, Meredith’s in-house production company.

“‘This will be another first for People,’ said Bruce Gersh, president of PeopleEntertainment Weekly and Four M Studios, in announcing the move. ‘People is a cultural force, and this is a natural extension of one of the most trusted brands in media. The Meredith Local Media Group has been an incredible partner and we are thrilled to be able to bring premium programming to local audiences and People consumers around the country.’

“The group currently airs a 30-minute weekend show, People Now Weekend, which will continue to air after the daily show arrives.

“‘We couldn’t be more pleased with the success that People Now Weekend has had on Meredith’s local television stations,’ said Patrick McCreery President, Meredith Local Media Group. ‘Since we launched People Now Weekend in our 12 markets in June, we have seen unparalleled success. It’s clear our audiences want entertainment and celebrity news, and we are excited that we can offer the programming they want and it’s produced by the trusted People brand.’

“Four M Studios, formerly known as Time Inc. Productions, launched in 2016. It develops shows that tap the equity of Meredith brands like Better Homes & Gardens, InStyle and Real Simple, but also goes beyond the walls of the company. The division won an Emmy in 2017 for A Year in Space, which aired on PBS, and has had shows on air or in development at ABC, Apple, Netflix, Paramount Network, Fox, A&E, Investigation Discovery and other networks.

“Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith closed its purchase of Time Inc. in February 2018, ending an era that helped define 20th century magazine publishing and media. The company has since sold off Time and Fortune and is reported to be shopping Sports Illustrated, in keeping with initial forecasts of a tighter focus on female-skewing lifestyle brands.”

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Per EW, “Don Winslow’s epic Cartel Trilogy is headed to TV, with FX purchasing the rights to all three of the author’s harrowing novels about life, death, and loyalty in the crossfire of the international drug war.

“The final book in the series, The Borderjust debuted last week and reached No. 3 on the New York Times Best Seller list yesterday.

“The plot of the series is vast in scale, but the official synopsis summarizes it this way: ‘It portrays Mexican cartel power struggles, the narcos and cops on both sides of the border, the traffickers and drug mules, lawyers, journalists, junkies, teenage hitmen, children seeking asylum, and political corruption from poppy fields in Mexico to the White House.’

“John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks, acknowledged the challenge of adapting the three sprawling novels into episodes of television.

“‘Nothing excites the team at FX more than the daunting challenge of helping great creators make a television show as ambitious and good as the epically acclaimed books on which it will be based,’ Landgraf said. He called the books ‘one of the great crime epics of all time.’

“Winslow, a former private investigator and trial consultant, has been researching the cartels and American drug enforcement agents for nearly two decades, and he began his trilogy focusing on the odyssey of obsessive DEA agent Art Keller with 2005’s The Power of the Dog.

“He continued the story of Keller and cartel leader Adán Barrera a decade later with 2015’s The Cartel, which hit shelves just a month before ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, one of the inspirations for Barrera, shocked the world with a dramatic tunnel escape from a penitentiary outside Mexico City.

“The Border continues the story in the present day. Although Winslow works in fiction, his narratives are fortified with details of the actual bloodshed and brutality that perforates the boundaries of both the U.S. and Mexico, as well as the Central American nations caught in up in the trafficking networks.

“The real-life Guzman was recaptured, placed in U.S. custody, and convicted last month on all ten counts of drug trafficking, money laundering, and weapons charges in a trial that also revealed his horrific brutality, including numerous cold-blooded killings and the rape of underage girls.

“In The Border, Barrera is also out of the picture, but as with the real drug war that has only brought a different kind of chaos and bloodshed.

“‘This is closely based on reality – in which Guzman’s family fell into conflict with each other, with other elements inside the heretofore dominant Sinaloa cartel, and with other cartels who saw blood in the water and rushed in to attack,’ Winslow told EW in a recent interview. ‘As a result, we swapped one wolf for a dozen coyotes.’

“Winslow will serve as an executive producer of the series along with writer and agent Shane Salerno, who represents him through his Story Factory company.

“Winslow and Salerno first collaborated together on the 2001 crime series UC: Undercover, which they co-created and executive produced with Landgraf.

“Ridley Scott had also been considering adapting The Cartel into a feature film, but now he will also be an executive producer of the TV series. A showrunner has not yet been announced.

“Winslow’s work has previously been adapted with the 2012 Oliver Stone kidnapping drama Savages, starring Taylor Kitsch, and the 2007 mistaken-identity thriller Bobby Z starring Paul Walker and Laurence Fishburne.

“His 2017 novel The Force, about an outlaw New York cop, is currently being adapted by Logan and Copland filmmaker James Mangold and Out of Sight and Logan screenwriter Scott Frank, while his 2011 historical novel Satori is in development at Warner Brothers for producer and star Leonardo DiCaprio.”