Wednesday May 15, 2019

Survivor will crown a new winner tonight, which means 3 hours of Probst and company.

A new season of Wahlburgers premieres tonight on A+E.

Fox is really burning off these episodes of Paradise Hotel as another new one airs tonight. It’s horrendous.

Season 3 of Riverdale wraps up this evening.

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman will return to Netflix on May 31.

The New Orleans Pelicans won the NBA Draft Lottery last night. Kudos to Commissioner Adam Silver et al for making the night into a drama-filled televised spectacle. The NBA continues to outshine all others.

Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones was the most-watched in the history of the series.

What was Bran doing while King’s Landing burned to the ground?

Season 6 will be the last for Madam Secretary.

TBS has renewed Miracle Workers.

Ditto for The Last O.G.

TBS also handed a 10-episode series order to Chad, Nasim Pedrad’s single-camera comedy pilot starring the Saturday Night Live alum as a 14-year-old boy.

Full Frontal correspondent Amy Hoggart is striking out on her own at TBS. The WarnerMedia cable network has greenlit a semi-scripted series starring Hoggart and executive produced by Full Frontal host Samantha Bee. The untitled show will feature Hoggart, who's also writing, attacking issues that make people's lives harder. Calling herself a wannabe psychologist, Hoggart ‘will go to ridiculous lengths to tackle issues such as monogamy and polyamory, friendship and shame — always aiming to make everyone feel just a little better.’”

I haven’t bothered mentioning it here but Constance Wu is a “fucking” moron and should be fired from her show and blackballed by Hollywood. “If you need a refresher, here’s a breakdown of Wu’s recent meltdown at the thought of returning to work for her very popular TV show: When the news about Fresh Off the Boat’s renewal broke last Friday, Wu went on a tweeting and Instagram commenting rampage to express her utmost discontent. ‘Fucking hell,’ she wrote, among other things. Some called her a feminist icon (I did) for bravely declaring that she did not want to work anymore (thank you, Ali Wong), but the next day, Wu had clearly been cornered into addressing her comments rather than letting them linger without explanation, and penned a lengthy statement explaining that, in fact, she loves Fresh Off the Boat.”

Here are the trailers for ABC’s new shows.

Freeform has picked up a fourth season of dramedy The Bold Type. Series stars Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee and Meghann Fahy made the announcement during the Freeform portion of the Disney upfront presentation in New York City. The Bold Type was a breakout for Freeform, earning a two-season pickup. As was the case at the time of the Season 2 and Season 3 renewal, the series is changing showrunners. Amanda Lasher, who ran the dramedy the last two seasons, will be succeeded by Wendy Straker Hauser, who has been with the series since its first season.” I went on a blind date with her about 18 years ago. Small world.

Keegan-Michael Key is set to host National Geographic‘s reboot of Brain Games.  Produced by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz from Alfred Street Industries, the series stars world-famous mentalist Lior Suchard as he challenges celebrities with interactive mind games. The reboot premieres on December 1.

Black Mirror's long-awaited next season finally has a premiere date. The fifth cycle of Charlie Brooker's sci-fi anthology will release June 5 on Netflix, the streaming giant revealed on Wednesday along with a trailer (watch below). Though recent Black Mirror seasons have been comprised of six standalone episodes, the fifth season has been trimmed down to three. The runtime of the new stories, however, have yet to be revealed. The episode titles also have yet to be released. The announcement from Netflix teases three stories and ‘one future we should have seen coming.’ And the high-octane trailer weaves together the stories in such an action-packed and artful way that, as is typical to any Black Mirror teaser, viewers will certainly be left wanting more.  The cast for season five includes Anthony Mackie, Miley Cyrus, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Topher Grace, Damson Idris, Andrew Scott, Nicole Beharie, Pom Klementieff, Angourie Rice, Madison Davenport and Ludi Lin.”

Salon Media says they have reached an 11th hour deal to sell the company and its flagship property Salon.com for $5 million. In an SEC filing, Salon also revealed its position was dire and that it would face imminent “bankruptcy and liquidation” if the deal should fall through. ‘We have agreed to sell substantially all of our assets (the “Asset Sale”), including all pertinent intellectual property rights comprising the Company’s business of owning, operating and publishing the website known as Salon.com,’ the filing read. The company buying Salon was named only as Salon.com LLC and appeared to be getting an even better deal than the top line figures first suggest. To complete the sale, the buyer need only pay $550,000 at closing, with an additional $100,000 left in an escrow account. The filing also showed that a deposit of $500,000 had already been paid.”

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From Mashable: “[i]n Game of Thrones' penultimate episode, we watched the once beloved Mother of Dragons go full Mad Queen, barbecuing innocent civilians, the Lannister army, and a sizable portion of King's Landing out of sheer spite. Her enemies had already surrendered, no more blood needed to be shed, and yet she went full-flamethrower anyway. It was a very bad look. 

“Now, two things are crystal clear: First, Varys was totally right (sorry, buddy.) Second, there's no way in hell Dany is surviving this finale.

“Here are some of our favorite theories on how The Unburnt will go up in flames in Thrones' last chapter, finally taking her rightful place as the series' Biggest Bad:

Jon betrays Dany thanks to the Azor Ahai prophecy

Long-time Melisandre stans are still waiting on The Prince That Was Promised to do whatever it is he was promising. In the series' final episode, that moment could finally come. 

The full history behind this bit of Thrones lore is markedly complex, and has yet to be resolved in the books. In the simplest of terms and as it applies here: If Jon Snow is in fact Azor Ahai come again as Melisandre believed, then to fulfill The Legend of Lightbringer he will have to do a number of things — not the least of which involves making an ominous sacrifice. 

That sacrifice could very well involve killing the woman he loves for the good of the realm and taking his rightful place as King. But whether or not Jon has the guts to take on the title of Queenslayer remains to be seen. 

However, if that Lord of Light prophesy is to be resolved during the series' run, then it has to happen during the finale, and it might as well happen to Jon.

Tyrion makes an executive decision

The Queen's Hand has had a rough go of it since taking on the job in Season 6 — and while he's not mad (just disappointed) it could be time for Tyrion to take matters into his own hands.

After watching Dany murder his friend Varys, both of his siblings, and thousands of innocents in Episode 5, Tyrion has all the motivation needed to commit treason against the once promising Targaryen Queen. But how would he do it?

While we're rooting for a cross-bow on the toilet situation à la Tywin Lannister, it is far more likely that Tyrion would conspire with other dissenters to assassinate Dany. We could see Brienne, Podrick, Tormund, Sam, really any surviving character offering to help out at this point. Seriously, she messed up.

House Stark takes the Iron Throne

With a disproportionate amount of the remaining cast hailing from House Stark, it's not too late to place one of these northerners on the Iron Throne — and consequently, on Team "Let's Murder the New Queen."

Arya and Sansa have more than a few reasons to want Dany dead, and Bran (aka ruler of all that is weird, but generally reasonable) likely also sees the major threat she poses to The Seven Kingdoms. 

While the specifics of how the Starks would take out Dany are tough to predict, there's plenty of foreshadowing to indicate that they are destined to do so. Namely, their series-long underdog narrative and persistent dedication to justice, honor, and not committing mass murder by dragon.

Grey Worm kills Dany (but it isn't really him)

In a truly brilliant fan theory, Reddit user u/hoowuurd proposes that former faceless woman Arya Stark will use her powers of illusion to sneakily assassinate Dany from within her inner circle.

"Arya will use Grey Worm's face to kill Dany, and set it up to look as if either Grey Worm killed Dany and then himself, or just flee the scene and leave it a mystery to the realm," the theory details.

It's a fantastically cinematic end to the series, supported by some fan's interpretation of Melisandre's eye color prophecy in Episode 3. If Arya is destined to kill Dany, this would be one hell of a way to do it. 

Grey Worm kills Dany (and yes, it's really him)

Alternatively, Grey Worm could actually flip on Dany, a development that would be just as entertaining and way more cathartic. 

Quiet, but observant, Grey Worm has had a front row seat to the Mad Queen's downward spiral for some time now, making him the perfect candidate to lead a surprise coup. The Unsullied's steady support of Dany seems to make this an unlikely theory — but where there's a will, there's a way. 

Grey Worm has the access, the skill, and, in the wake of Missandei's tragic death, possibly the  motivation needed to pull this off. At this point, what does he have to lose?

Varys began poisoning Dany well before she had him executed

According to a number of Thrones theorists, Dany's refusal to eat in Episode 5 was more than pre-pillage jitters. Rather, the now-deceased Varys may have been attempting to poison the rising Queen — and she may have known it.

Before facing death by dragon, Varys speaks with one of his little birds, a young girl named Martha who has been tasked with bringing the Queen her meals. Their conversation plays out as follows: 

Martha: “She won’t eat.”
Varys: “We’ll try again at supper.”
Martha: “I think they’re watching me.”
Varys: “Who?”
Martha: “Her soldiers.”
Varys: “Of course, they are. That’s their job. What have I told you, Martha?”
Martha: “The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.”

Yeah, suspicious doesn't even begin to cover it. 

If this theory proves true and Varys's little birds continued with the poisoning plot after his execution and unbeknownst to Dany, then the Breaker of Chains could be well on her way to death's door and not even know it.

Gendry returns for his crown

Remember in Episode 4 when Dany made a big show of naming Gendry as Lord of Storm's End, so she could manipulate him into dropping his claim to the Iron Throne? Yeah, that could backfire. 

On the one hand, the political move seems like a safe bet for Westeros's new Queen. By gifting Gendry with a title and land, Dany seemingly secured his loyalty — preemptively dissuading Gendry from attempting to outrank her. 

On the other hand, Dany's decision to legitimize Gendry as the bastard son of Robert Baratheon in the eyes of the public substantially strengthens his claim to the Throne. Should the people of Westeros not like Dany as their Queen for I don't know, some reason, they could back a possible claim by Gendry through a rebellion. 

That being said, there are no major signs that Gendry actually wants to be King. However, we can think of a certain Hero of Winterfell who might be able to persuade him to take on the job.

Drogon gets fed up and bails

Dany is nothing without her dragons... er, dragon. And she hasn't exactly been the best mom in Season 8. 

Drogon, now the last remaining dragon in Westeros, has been through it. With both of his siblings dead and his mom gone fully off the deep end, Drogon is more than justified in flying off to hunt sheep, explore the kingdoms, and go to dragon college or whatever.

If the Mother of Dragons is going down, her child is going down with her. Let's hope he's leading the charge, and not a casualty of bad parenting.”

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Per Deadline, “WarnerMedia’s forthcoming streaming service will rack up ‘tens of millions’ of subscribers due to its strong library and partnerships with pay-TV providers, who will offer it free to HBO subscribers, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson predicted.

“The head of WarnerMedia’s parent company offered his streaming outlook during an appearance at J.P. Morgan’s Global Technology, Media and Communications Conference in Boston. He didn’t attach any time horizon to the time to reach tens of millions, and thus far the company has kept details about timing and strategy close to the vest. Disney, pursuing a pure subscription model, has projected signing up 60 to 90 million subscribers around the world by 2024, though its price point for Disney+ is just $7 a month. HBO Now has been available for four years at $15 a month, and will be the bedrock of the forthcoming WarnerMedia service.

“In previous remarks, Stephenson has explained that the streaming service, which will launch in beta in the fourth quarter of 2019 and in a full version in early 2020, will employ a ‘two-sided model’ blending subscription and advertising. In the conference session, he elaborated on the strategy, explaining that pay-TV providers will not be competition as the service rolls out, but rather closer to business partners. (Such distribution relationships are woven into HBO’s DNA, as the premium network for decades has been sustained by partnerships with cable and satellite operators.)

“‘Comcast is going to be an important partner,’ Stephenson said, using the No. 1 cable provider by way of example. ‘If you’re a Comcast subscriber and you acquire HBO, you will get this capability with your HBO subscription on Comcast. And then we want to continue to push digital distribution on top of that as well.’

“Stephenson described the streaming service as the company’s ‘key video product,’ being counted on to drive considerable revenue. In order to drive customer acquisition, the company is prepared to bring ‘a lot of these rights back to ourselves’ to Warner Bros. shows like Big Bang Theory and Friends.

“The rights dilemma is a central topic in the industry as media companies come to terms with the model they established, perhaps inadvertently, in recent years by giving rights to Netflix and other streaming services in exchange for hefty license fees. Disney has begun taking films and TV shows off Netflix and warning investors of the hundreds of millions of dollars the decision will cost. Comcast, whose NBCUniversal is preparing a major ad-supported streaming launch in 2020, and to this point WarnerMedia/AT&T, have described more of a case-by-case evaluation of licensing shows out versus holding back for their own purposes.”

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Per Deadline, “Shaquille O’Neal will give fans a look into his post-NBA season dealings in the upcoming TNT docuseries Shaq Life.

“The series takes viewers along with the four-time NBA champion for a look at his summer break business and entertainment dealings, TNT announced Wednesday.

“It will reveal how Shaq spends his time on DJ gigs in Las Vegas, an International DJ tour, filming commercials, shooting a film, as well as his speaking appearances, hosting the NBA Awards, running his Big Chicken restaurant and spending time with his five children.

“‘Over the years, I’ve had many endeavors outside of sports but never this many all at once,’ O’Neal said in a statement. ‘I’m ready to bring viewers along for the wild ride that is my life.’

“‘Shaq is the ultimate example of living your biggest, best life,’ added Michael Bloom, senior vice president of unscripted and specials for TBS and TNT. ‘Shaq Life will be the first time viewers will get a fly on the wall look inside his extreme ambitions and the non-stop fun he brings to everything he does.’

Shaq Life is produced by Steve Michaels, Jodi Flynn, and James Macnab of The Content Group. Perry Rogers, Colin Smeeton and Mike Parris serve as executive producers.

“A premiere date for the series will be announced later.”

Not sure why Shaq would want to do this, but it should be a fun watch.

Per TheWrap, “[n]ot far from Oracle Arena where the Golden State Warriors play in Oakland, California, prisoners at San Quentin State Prison have formed their own team of warriors, leading a basketball league of convicts that are helping to reform even the toughest of criminals.

Q Ball, a new documentary from Fox Sports Films and executive produced by Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, tells their inspiring story.

“‘Basketball is all I’ve ever had,’ one prisoner says in the exclusive first trailer for the documentary film. ‘I’m not locked up, I’m not caged up. I’m not in prison. This is where I’m free.’

Q Ball follows the lives of the San Quentin Warriors — teammates and inmates at ‘The Q,’ California’s San Quentin State Prison. A prisoner explains that each week, free men from outside prison come into San Quentin to compete with the convicts. What’s surprising is that many of these convicts are playing ball at the level of NBA athletes, but have never gotten the chance to make something of themselves.

“But Q Ball also looks at how the basketball league has offered an avenue for prisoners to reform and find new paths as some are prepared for release. It explores the inmates’ personal struggles as they search for redemption and transcendence both on and off the court.

“Durant and other members of the Golden State Warriors have visited the players at San Quentin, and their trips there helped kickstart the documentary.

“‘My first visit to San Quentin with my teammates was an unforgettable experience that moved me and made me want to bring it to a larger audience,’ Durant said in a statement. ‘This film shines a light on these individuals, their struggles and their connection through basketball.’

“Emmy and Peabody Award-winning director Michael Tolajian (30 for 30: Once Brothers), who is now SVP for Fox Sports Films, directs Q Ball. It’s the fifth documentary in Fox Sports Films’ Magnify series, which has since won two Sports Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Long Sports Documentary since it launched in November 2017.

Q Ball opens in theaters in Los Angeles this Friday, May 17, followed by New York on May 24. It will then broadcast on Fox Sports 1 on May 28 at 9 p.m. ET.”