Tuesday April 16, 2019

17.4M tuned in for the season 8 Game of Thrones premiere.

Rob McElhenney and Martin Starr were in the Game of Thrones season 8 premiere.

HBO has confirmed that neither Curb Your Enthusiasm nor Westworld not Insecure will return until 2020.

NBC has renewed Manifest for a 2nd season. Color me surprised.

Viceland has canceled Vice Live.

Season 10 of Archer will premiere on May 29.

This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown will spend part of his hiatus from the NBC series on another Emmy-winning show. Brown has joined the cast of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for its third season. He announced the news in a video posted to his social media accounts Monday, saying he was "eastward bound" to start work on the show, which is in production on season three. ‘The Palladinos were kind enough to write a little something for your boy, and I said yes,’ Brown said in the video, referring to Mrs. Maisel executive producers Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino. ‘I'm gettin' together with Midge, and it's going to be awesome.’ Details about the role and its duration are being kept under wraps at the moment.”

AT&T has sold its minority stake in Hulu back to Hulu. The transaction valued Hulu at $15 billion, with AT&T’s 9.5% interest worth $1.43 billion. The transaction did not require any governmental or other third-party approvals and was simultaneously signed and closed. Hulu is the entity purchasing AT&T’s shares, and Hulu’s owners — Disney and Comcast — will have an undisclosed window of time to allocate the shares.”

A review of Dax Shepard’s new show Bless This Mess, which premieres tonight on ABC.

Lala Kent doesn’t know when she’s getting married but is ready to be a mom.

Here's how she stays sober around her drunken castmates.

"As of April 15, WGA members demonstrated an impressive level of solidarity with the guild. Prominent screenwriters and showrunners shared copies of their termination letters via social media and voiced strong support for the guild’s campaign to reform the rules that govern how agents work with WGA members. Talent agents, represented by the Assn. of Talent Agents trade organization, are digging in their heels in opposition to the WGA’s new rules. In blowing up the negotiations, both sides have seemingly decided to see who will feel the most pain from the separation — and who will be motivated to offer concessions in order to reunite the warring parties. The WGA is expected to soon file a lawsuit against the ATA and its members, putting a legal framework on the guild’s opposition to talent agents earning packaging fees and the expansion of the largest agencies (through parent companies) into the finance and production arena. But a legal process will likely take months to produce any decisions. The industry is highly attuned to whether dealmaking for new projects or the management of existing business will be affected by the absence of agents from the equation. There are also questions about how strictly the WGA will enforce its mandate that members sever business ties to agents who refuse to affirm the guild’s newly implemented Agency Code of Conduct."

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, "MTV on Tuesday announced plans to launch RealityCon. The first-ever event will convene stars, producers and creators of reality TV's biggest franchises — including original MTV hits such as The HillsJersey ShoreThe Real World and The Challenge, among others.

"RealityCon will take place in the summer of 2020 with a soft launch this fall. According to a press release, the event will feature fan activations, performances, interviews and roundtable discussions exploring the genre's impact on society, representation of diversity in media and influence on entertainment, among other topics.

"Aside from MTV's own programming, RealityCon will welcome familiar faces from other networks' roster of reality. Key players from Big BrotherThe BachelorRuPaul's Drag Race, SurvivorDuck DynastyLove & Hip HopMob Wives and The Real Housewives are also expected to participate.

"RealityCon is the latest expansion in MTV's fast-growing live events business, which already includes the SnowGlobe Music Festival and MTV Spring Break. A location and venue for RealityCon will be announced at a later date.

"MTV's event follows the trend of networks holding daylong events to promote their own shows. Freeform just held its second annual summit in March, while Comedy Central is hosting its third annual Clusterfest comedy festival for three days this June."

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From TheWrap: "Forget all that 'Winter is coming' stuff — CNBC is ready for summer. TheWrap can exclusively reveal the cable channel’s Summer 2019 slate, and we’ve also got your first look at JoJo Fletcher’s and Jordan Rodgers’ house-flipping series Cash Pad, among other shows.

"This summer season, CNBC will air its biggest primetime slate yet, with more than 50 new hours of premieres. Included among them are three new original series: the aforementioned Cash Pad, as well as Listing Impossible and Five Day Biz Fix (working title). Returning are new installments of CNBC’s popular franchise series, Deal or No Deal with Howie Mandel, The Profit: An Inside Look with Marcus Lemonis, Season 3 of Jay Leno’s Garage, Season 13 of American Greed and Season 2 of The Deed: Chicago.

"CNBC’s full summer programming line-up is below in airdate order — all descriptions are in the cable channel’s own words:

Deal or No Deal Premieres Wednesday, June 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT
The new Deal or No Deal with host and executive producer Howie Mandel returns with 10 all-new episodes and continues to offer up a high-pressure, high-stakes game of risk and reward, in which contestants face a series of potentially life-altering decisions. With 26 sealed briefcases full of varying amounts of cash – ranging from a penny to $1 million — contestants have to decide whether to accept an offer of cash from the mysterious entity known only as “the Banker,” in exchange for what might be contained in the contestant’s chosen briefcase. The new Deal or No Deal is produced by Truly Original, a subsidiary of Endemol Shine North America, with Steven Weinstock, Glenda Hersh and Scott St. John as executive producers. Jim Ackerman and Christian Barcellos are the executive producers for CNBC.

The Profit: An Inside Look Premieres Tuesday, June 18 at 10 p.m ET/PT
Marcus Lemonis looks back at a classic episode, discussing lessons learned and revealing behind-the-scenes stories about filming with Executive Producer Amber Mazzola.  The Profit: An Inside Look is produced for CNBC by Machete Productions with Amber Mazzola serving as executive producer. Jim Ackerman and Luke Bauer are the executive producers for CNBC.

Cash Pad Premieres Thursday, July 25 at 9 p.m ET/PT
JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers, the engaged break-out stars of The Bachelorette, are also experienced house flippers.  In this eight episode series, the dynamic couple partner with homeowners in Dallas, Austin, and Phoenix who are in serious need of extra income and hoping to turn their properties into thriving short-term rentals.  Whether they’re transforming a decrepit shipping container, a rundown airstream, or a garage in disrepair, JoJo and Jordan are up for the task of creating one-of-a-kind vacation hot-spots that will provide a life-changing financial boost for their homeowner partners. Produced by Electus with Chris Grant, Drew Buckley, Tim Puntillo, Craig Plestis and Ming Lee Howell as executive producers. Jim Ackerman and Marshall Eisen are the executive producers for CNBC.

Listing Impossible Premieres Thursday, July 25 at 10 p.m ET/PT
When L.A.’s wealthiest put their multi-million dollar properties up for sale, they sometimes learn that the house of their dreams… isn’t anyone else’s. And as a result their very, um, unique creations can end up sitting on the market for years. That’s where superstar real estate agent Aaron Kirman and his team come in. To fix up the homes and attract the right buyers, they’ll need to tell these owners the cold, hard truth – something the rich and powerful don’t always like to hear. The eight episode series is produced by Authentic Entertainment, a division of Endemol Shine North America, with David Tibballs, Helga Eike, and Sara Reddy as executive producers. Jim Ackerman and Luke Bauer are the executive producers for CNBC. 

American Greed Premieres Monday, August 12 at 10 p.m ET/PT
Narrated by award winning actor Stacy Keach, CNBC’s true crime series, now entering its 13th season, examines the dark side of the American dream, unveiling scandalous stories of massive fraud by criminals motivated by greed. From the disastrous Fyre Festival, to Paul Manafort’s fraud, to the college admissions scam, some people will do ANYTHING for money. Produced for CNBC by Kurtis Productions with Mike West as Executive Producer. Charles Schaeffer is the Executive Producer for CNBC.

Jay Leno’s Garage Premieres Wednesday, August 28 at 10 p.m ET/PT
Jay Leno’s Garage, hosted by legendary comedian and “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno, returns for season five with eight episodes full of adventure, cool rides, plus a few special guests including John Travolta, Martha Stewart, Tim Allen, and Jim Jefferies, among others. Jay Leno’s Garage takes the fast and the furious car fan for a high-octane spin across the country with a mix of stunts, reviews, celebrity interviews and challenges. As well as putting some of the world’s most amazing vehicles through their paces, Jay meets fellow car enthusiasts from who he’ll discover the touching, hilarious and sometimes hard to believe stories that make these cars more than just rubber and metal. There’s no wheel Jay won’t get behind to tell the story of our love affair with the automobile. Jay Leno’s Garage is produced by Original Productions, a FremantleMedia Company, and Kitten Kaboodle, with Jay Leno, Jeff Hasler, Jeff Bumgarner, Brian Lovett, Ernie Avila and Abby Schwarzwalder as executive producers. Jim Ackerman and Adam Barry are the executive producers for CNBC.

Five Day Biz Fix (wt) Premieres Thursday, September 19 at 9 p.m ET/PT
Husband and wife team Chrissy and Erik Kopplin re-think, re-design, and renovate small businesses in just five days. Using their years of high-end retail design experience and construction know-how, Chrissy and Erik come up with innovative ways to revamp underperforming spaces. Whether it’s building a bar in a book shop or creating a restaurant in a hotel bedroom, these out-of-the-box renos are guaranteed to boost revenue. Produced by Turn Card Content with Audra Smith, Courtney Smith, and Karin Jarlstedt as executive producers. Jim Ackerman, Marshall Eisen and Adam Barry are the executive producers for CNBC. 

The Deed: Chicago Premieres Thursday, September 19 at 10 p.m ET/PT
On CNBC’s The Deed: Chicago, multi-millionaire real estate mogul Sean Conlon helps rescue struggling property developers from the brink of financial ruin, in exchange for a piece of the property and a share of the profits. This season: more ambitious projects come with bigger risks… and bigger potential paydays – from a high end commercial designer who’s more concerned with her brand than the budget, to an ambitious ex-con who’s buried under a thirteen property flip. Produced for CNBC by Cineflix (Deed 2) Inc. with Dave Hamilton and Mark Powell as executive producers for Cineflix. Jim Ackerman and Adam Barry are the executive producers for CNBC."

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Per Deadline, “Katz Networks, a unit of the E.W. Scripps Co., has set May 8 for the relaunch of the iconic TV brand Court TV, and unveiled its programming schedule for the network as well as courttv.com.

“Weekday programming will kick off at 9 AM EDT daily with live, gavel-to-gavel coverage, legal reporting and expert analysis of trials across the country. Yodit Tewolde will anchor trial coverage from 9 AM-Noon, Julie Grant picks up from Noon–3 PM, followed by Seema Iyer from 3-6 PM, all times EDT. The first trial the network will be covering will be announced shortly.

“When court recesses for the day, Emmy-winning legal journalist, former prosecutor and original Court TV anchor Vinnie Politan will host Closing Arguments with Vinnie Politan weeknights from 6-9 PM ET. He’ll lead viewers through the key events and moments of the legal day, joined by Court TV’s team of anchors, legal correspondents and veteran crime and justice journalists, along with top attorneys, investigators and experts who will provide legal insights, opinion, discussion and debate.

“‘What SportsCenter is to sports, Closing Arguments will be to the legal world,’ said Politan. ‘Viewers will get nightly highlights of the trial we’re covering plus we’ll also tick through news from the other major true crime stories of the day. After our great, all-day trial coverage, it’ll be must-see viewing for those who want to keep up with everything happening in our nation’s legal system and courtrooms.’

“Court TV’s team of legal correspondents and reporters includes Chanley Painter, Ted Rowlands and Julia Jenaé. Overseeing Court TV programming are former Court TV and CNN producers John Alleva and Scott Tufts as vice presidents and managing editors.

“For nearly two decades, Court TV brought high-profile courtroom dramas into American living rooms with trials such as O.J. Simpson, the Menendez Brothers and Casey Anthony. The new Court TV will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will be carried on cable, satellite, over-the-air and over-the-top. The network has agreements with local TV station groups including Tribune, Scripps and Univision. Those deals will make Court available in more than 50% of U.S. TV households at launch, with cable reach to 25% of homes. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Miami, Washington and Detroit are among the major markets in which Court TV will be seen; more distribution agreements will be announced before launch.

“During its prime years in the 1990s and early 2000s, Court TV, then owned by Turner Broadcasting, was desirable acquisition target and an incubator of notable talent both on camera and in the executive suite. Its on-air personalities included Nancy Grace, Dan Abrams, Catherine Crier and Terry Moran and its executive roster included Henry Schleiff (now a group president at Discovery), Erik Sorenson (who went on to lead MSNBC) and Evan Shapiro (a producer and former head of cable networks IFC and Pivot). Court TV’s 17-year run ended in 2008, when Turner rebranded it as truTV.

“In order to pull off the reboot, Katz acquired Court TV’s intellectual property, including the trademark, website and 100,000-hour library from Turner.”

Per The Ringer, “The Game of Thrones title sequence is, without exaggeration, a modern masterpiece. Born of the practical need to show people who never read the books where the hell this story is taking place, the literal gears and machinations of power evoke the world-building that is the heart and soul of George R.R. Martin’s series. The introduction, set to the sensational composition by Ramin Djawadi, is beloved by critics. Game of Thrones has won 38 Emmys, but its first was for its title sequence. It’s beloved by the people: It’s among the most parodied videos on YouTube and has even been commodified by Oreos. But rather than rest on their laurels, the people who made this iconic work plucked out the title sequence root and stem and remade the entire thing for the final season.

“The changes were the first twist of Thrones final season. With all the living characters in just a few places, the introduction condensed the show’s world to a handful of familiar locations but dove deeper into them. Rather than starting from the sun that illuminates the map and diving down toward King’s Landing, we begin north of the Wall and move south. Specifically, we move through the Wall, which has a gaping hole, and see some neat light-up blue tiles from the Billie Jean music video. We visit Winterfell, dive inside the Great Hall, and head to the crypts beneath lit by torch light. Then we fly to King’s Landing, visit the Red Keep, and enter the Throne Room, coming face-to-sword with the Iron Throne.

“The title sequence has been modified before. In each episode, the cities shown are altered based on what is depicted in that week’s plot, and new locations have been added when new cities are introduced. But it’s never been revamped quite like this. To get to the bottom of these changes, we spoke to two of the project leaders at Elastic, the studio that creates the visuals for Thrones’ opening sequences and has also done intros for True DetectiveThe LeftoversDeadwoodCarnivàle, and Westworld. Elastic creative director Angus Wall and art director Kirk Shintani broke down why they updated the sequence, how the coolest part of the Thrones intro was inspired by a ’70s show about a private detective, and whether the intro could be a physical object that exists in Westeros. (These interviews have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.):

Was there any discussion about which places you wanted to highlight in the new intro? Or was it obvious?

Angus Wall: It was fairly obvious. Before every season, we have a conversation with [creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff and producers Greg Spence and Carolyn Strauss], and there wasn’t a lot of doubt about where we needed to go. And quite honestly, they give us the places. They give us just enough information to do what we need to do every season and nothing more. We don’t know all the story beats that happen in Season 8, for instance. But we do know kind of the basics, and given that brief from them it became very obvious where we needed to go. I think there were questions about where we should start and where we should end. I mean, the opening of this is very different from previous seasons, which all start from King’s Landing, or they start at the astrolabe and then dive down to King’s Landing. We wanted to start in a very similar way but begin in a different location, which is north of the Wall, and then we sweep through the gap in the Wall and head south. It made sense given, frankly, the name of the show, Game of Thrones, to end inside and at the Iron Throne for this new title sequence as that, in an ultimate way, that’s where the whole show is heading. It’s like, that’s the seat of all power.

Had you thought about going inside the buildings before?

Kirk Shintani: That was something that Dan and David approached us about in 2017. They had a definite vision as to what they wanted to accomplish for the main title in the last season. And they wanted to go in and change everything and give the viewer a new look on what this main title could be. And for them I think it had everything to do with furthering their story, which I appreciate 100 percent.

That’s definitely one of the things where for us we wondered [after Season 1] what would that look like? We kind of took this bird’s-eye view and it was very wide and the scope of it was more broad. And when Dan and David came to us and said they wanted to fly into stuff, we were pretty thrilled. And then it begged the question of, “How do we do that?” Because we basically had to throw everything out and start over from scratch in order to go from the outside to the inside. This season was closer to Season 1 than the other seasons because we redid the whole thing. We didn’t reuse anything from the previous seasons. Season 2 through 7 it was more of an editorial exercise of updating shots and keeping some of the stuff we had done prior, but this one is all brand new, so it was kind of flashbacks for the crew to Season 1.

You guys go into the Red Keep and the crypts and the Throne Room. What’s the difference between designing architecture versus interior design?

Wall: When you’re inside, we had to answer a couple new questions, and that is, “How are these spaces lit?” In the crypt beneath Winterfell, in particular, that is almost entirely lit by torchlight so, actually, the Winterfell crypt was the design that required the most iterations because we started with one concept of how to light it and we ended up with a very different one. Not radically different, but a slightly different version of it that was more like the actual physical location. … When we first go inside Winterfell, there are some really beautiful lighting effects. There are panels that open, and this happens all the way through the sequence; there are panels that open and let in the exterior light, and that really allows for some additional drama when you’re revealing these spaces, which is pretty cool.

The Last Hearth is new. What was it like designing that?

Shintani: I think the big thing with the new location was you’ll notice the land that it is sitting on is actually a spiral, so that is thematic of what’s been going on with the White Walkers since Episode 1. So for us that was a cool little tidbit to figure out how to incorporate the spiral into the location. And that is something Dan and David thought would be really cool to throw into there.

And I also noticed that the title now has blue tiles moving in the direction of some of the show’s settings, and obviously that is ice expanding, but I’m curious why you chose to go with the square pattern.

Wall: It’s one of the things we had talked about in the early design sessions for Season 1. Making these tiles that would create the ground plane but actually see them change. It could represent the movement of people, it could represent the movement of armies, it could represent the movement of seasons, or whatever. So that’s a design system that we never implemented until Season 8.

Were there any great ideas you had to leave on the cutting room floor?

Shintani: I think, ironically, for us we’ve been staring at this main title for almost nine years now. For Season 1, there were tons of ideas that we didn’t get in there, and over the last seven seasons we’ve always wished we could redo it. So this last season gave us that chance. … Season 1, we’re trying to establish everything; we had to take this broader view and show people this is where King’s Landing is, this is where Winterfell is, this is where Astapor is. It was more about localizing the viewer so they understood what this world was. But now, in Season 8, everybody knows where everything is. I mean, there is no big mystery to where these locations are, so we had an opportunity this season to add the finer details we were toying with in Season 1.

Is the process easier now than it was nearly 10 years ago, when you started on the original introduction?

Shintani: The biggest thing is the sheer amount of power you have on the desktop versus now. Ten years ago is eons in technology terms. … The updates to the software have been mind-boggling. We’re using basically the same packages, but just the execution of it is so much easier to get super detailed. Season 1, we were afraid we were going to fill up our servers because the size of the stuff was so big because we had so many moving parts. I don’t know the exact number, but Season 8 compared to Season 1 is probably 20 times, 25 times larger. It’s a little gnarly. We’re talking about a lot of data.

Wall: One of the things we did this year that we did for the new season was actually gave everything a very specific scale. In the first seven seasons, the actual scale of all the textures and of the different structures was a little bit nebulous. So for instance, in the first seven seasons, it’s hard to know really how big the Red Keep is proportional to, you know, the real world. In the new season the Red Keep is 20 feet tall. So in designing all these things we were very, very specific in trying to approach reality as much as possible with the scale of all of the objects.

The astrolabe—the rotating thing with the bands and light and logo—I know there’s three bands on it and it tells the history of Westeros. Did you consider adding a fourth ring?

Shintani: It did come up as a possibility, but I think up until this point it’s kind of been—the point of the astrolabe in seasons 1 through 7 was to kind of give the prehistory. So if you look at what is on there, it’s all of the stuff that leads up to Season 1. So it kind of gives the astute viewer a background of where you are in the broader history of Westeros. So in Season 8, we actually updated all of the bands. And they all reflect stuff that’s actually been in the show to kind of show that it has been a long time and there has been significant events that have transpired in the show that need to be recorded down in history. So for us the hardest part was figuring out which three events to highlight because there’s pivotal moments in the show.

I read that for the original maps you consulted with George R.R. Martin for scale and to make everything right. Did you consult with him for the interiors or anything on this version?

Wall: No.

How does it feel to make an intro that some fans may consider among the greatest ever?

Wall: It’s kind of a leading question. Better than The Rockford Files, are you kidding? And actually I believe the message left on Jim Rockford’s phone changed every episode, which is actually a little bit of the inspiration—I don’t know that I’ve ever said this before—but it was actually part of the inspiration of changing this every episode.

Wait, the Rockford Files phone message was the reason that you thought about changing the title sequence?

Wall: Well, it was definitely a reference for like, “Hey, title sequences don’t have to be the same every episode.” It’s kind of cool when there are things that change episode to episode.

You said in a great interview with Art of the Title that the goal for making the original title sequence was “to replicate something that looks and acts like a physical object.” Why was it important to make it feel like a physical thing?

Wall: I think we wanted to build something that could theoretically exist within the show. Within the world of the show. And because of that, the goal should be to make something that was made from the materials that you see throughout the show, which is wood, metal, leather, fabric, some glass, primitive glass, that all seems like it needed to be in keeping with the materials of the show proper.

Is it possible that the intro is a thing that exists in the show?

Wall: Somebody asked me, “Where is this?” We did have this early mental construct of sort of mad monks watching everything unfold, watching the narrative unfold through the map and sort of monitoring things. I don’t know where the map would be if it was in the show. It was designed as a separate, almost like a companion world to the world of the show. Obviously there’s an astrolabe in the show, which we were really delighted to see, quite frankly. But yeah, I think you’d have to ask Dan and Dave that.”