Friday May 3, 2019

Netflix has released a bunch of new original series and movies, all of which are now available for your streaming pleasure:

Tuca & Bertie
Dead To Me (review below)
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
The Last Summer

HBO premiers At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal tonight.

Adam Sandler makes his SNL hosting debut on Saturday.

YouTube has renewed Cobra Kai for a 3rd season.

YouTube announced yesterday “that pop sensation-turned-bad boy heartthrob Justin Bieber is working on a “top secret” project at the online streaming platform. The project is set to debut next year. The details about the yet-to-be-titled project have been under lock and key.”

ABC is committed to Black-ish. The network has renewed the comedy for a sixth season and handed out an early series order to the prequel spinoff Mixed-ish.The latter is set in the 1980s and revolves around a young version of Tracee Ellis Ross' Rainbow Johnson (played by Arica Himmell). The comedy, which was developed under the radar, had quietly been building buzz and had been considered a frontrunner to go to series. Mixed-ish was poised to air May 7 as a planted episode of Black-ish. That episode will now be held for next season. (Bless This Mess will air in its 9 p.m. slot the same night.) Mixed-ish revolves around young Bow as she recounts her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the '80s and the dilemmas they faced over whether to assimilate or stay true to themselves when her parents move from a hippie commune to the suburbs. Tika Sumpter, Christina Anthony, Mykal-Michelle Harris and Ethan Childress round out the castMixed-ish becomes the third show in the Black-ish franchise and joins the spinoff Grown-ish at ABC's younger-skewing cable network Freeform. The role played by Anders Holm, who was set to star in the backdoor pilot, will be recast as producers opted to move in a different direction.”

Elizabeth Banks has signed on to host the reboot of Press Your Luck for ABC.

FX Networks has set summer premiere dates for three critically-acclaimed series, comedy Baskets, and dramas Legion and John Singleton’s Snowfall. The fourth of season of Baskets starring Zach Galifianakis premieres Thursday, June 13 at 10 PM on FX. Legion, from Noah Hawley will kick off its third and final season Monday, June 24 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX and the third season of Snowfall, co-created by Singleton, will premiere Wednesday, July 10 at 10 PM ET/PT on FX.”

Sports Business Daily reports that Super Bowl LIV — in addition to being kind of a cool thing for gals named ‘Liv’ — will feature four commercial breaks per quarter versus the usual five, which is in keeping with NFL playoff games in recent years. Those ad breaks, however, will run 30 seconds longer to offset any lost inventory/income (Fox is expected to command $5.5 million dollars for each 30-second spot). The NFL reportedly approached Fox with the proposal, citing research showing that fans felt the pace of games was better with fewer commercial interruptions. ‘For several years now, we have been working with our broadcast partners to make changes to our game broadcasts that are intended to improve the viewing experience,’ NFL VP/Broadcasting Cathy Yancy said in a statement. ‘We’ve seen positive results from these efforts.’”

Sinclair Broadcast Group has reached a deal to buy the 21 Fox regional sports networks from Disney for more than $10 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Per Yahoo!, “Dan Patrick’s one of sports’ best-known and best-loved commentators, a guy who turns a wry but loving eye on every sport and every star. So when he announced on Thursday that he’d been suffering from a disease that’s debilitated both his mood and his much-lauded ability to think on his feet, it was both sobering and, in a way, hopeful.

“‘There’s something I wanted to bring up,’ Patrick said, stopping the usually freewheeling show to go behind the scenes. ‘It’s had to do with my health over the past seven years. There are moments on this show when I have had memory loss, and I’ll tell you what it’s due to. There are times when I feel like my mind and my mouth are not working together. I think you’ve come to expect me to perform at a high level. I was just going to pull the curtain back because I don’t know where I’m headed over the next five months.’

“Patrick revealed that he has suffered from polymyalgia rheumatica, an intense joint pain, for the last seven years. ‘It’s like having the flu and you’re not nauseous,’ he said.

“To combat the disease, Patrick began taking the steroid Prednisone, which he described as a ‘wonderful and horrible’ drug. Wonderful in that it addressed the pain and inflammation; terrible in that it wreaked havoc on the rest of Patrick’s life.

“‘I was depressed. I would have suicidal thoughts,’ he said. ‘I would get emotional and cry for no reason.’ He debated ending the Dan Patrick Show entirely. He also confessed to using Vicodin to help him get through a round of golf, and said he regularly self-medicated with alcohol in the evenings.

“Ultimately, though, he learned of a so-called ‘light chemo I’” treatment involving an hour of an IV injection once a month for 10 months. He’s halfway through it now, and while he’s seeing progress, he’s also noted there are drawbacks — specifically memory lapses and ‘brain fog.’

“‘I went to the store to buy one thing,’ Patrick said. ‘I walked around for a half hour. I was going for salad dressing, and I came home with olives.’ He said he was unable to remember Albert Pujols’ name during a segment, and entirely lost the memories of dinners the next day.

“Memory lapses are terrifying enough, but when you’re running a three-hour show, they can be catastrophic. Patrick gave credit to his crew — the Danettes — for filling in around the edges and keeping him on-task. He’s got five more treatments, and he’s hopeful that this will address the pain he’s lived with for most of the last decade.”

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Per Deadline, “YouTube has confirmed a significant shift of its original programming strategy, announcing all of its originals will now get a run on the free, ad-supported side of the fence.

“The strategic evolution has been in the works over the last several months, with YouTube Premium (which was born in 2015 as YouTube Red) holding off on any major scripted buys. As Deadline reported last fall, the company has been looking to embrace unscripted fare anchored to recognizable stars as opposed to incubating scripted originals and trying to compete in a crowded landscape.

“The Google-owned video hub will now secure free windows for originals such as Cobra Kai, the Karate Kid continuation which the company has picked up for a third season. The exact windows are expected to vary somewhat with each property.

“YouTube said in a press release issued ahead of its Brandcast event at the NewFronts that it would now focused on three types of series: music, learning and personalities. It maintained that scripted would remain an active component of its development and programming plans, joining unscripted, interactive and live entertainment events.

“‘For today’s viewers, primetime is personal and our content resonates so strongly due to the diversity and richness of our unmatched  library and platform capabilities,’ Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl said in the official announcement. ‘While every other media company is building a paywall, we are headed in the opposite direction and now have more opportunities than ever to partner with advertisers and share our critically- acclaimed originals with our global audience.’”

“At the start of Brandcast, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki emphasized one stat as a motivating factor behind the shift. She said the fastest growth in viewing is in the living room, where about 250 million hours of YouTube fare are watched every day, on average. According to comScore, YouTube has the broadest reach of any ad-supported streaming service (and 2 billion monthly active users across all devices.)

“Wojcicki described the company’s programming direction as aiming to ‘delve into topics that people truly care about. … That’s why people watch YouTube.’ Topics such as beauty, cooking, music and science took up the opening minutes of the CEO’s remarks. ‘And, of course, slime. We’ve had lots of slime.’”

Per The Hollywood Reporter, “Paramount Network is taking its unscripted Rescue franchise from the bar to the altar.

“The cabler has greenlit Marriage Rescue, a spinoff in which Bar Rescue star Jon Taffer tries to help couples save their unions. Taffer brings the participants to a resort in Puerto Rico and uses unconventional methods — including paintball, skydiving and no small amount of direct confrontation — to help them get a fresh start. The six-episode series premieres June 2.

“Paramount has also renewed Bar Rescue for a 12-episode seventh season. The show, which has Taffer helping the owners of family-run bars revitalize their businesses, is a reliable ratings draw for the network and has shown an uptick in the key adults 18-49 demographic through the first six episodes of its current run.

"‘I am very excited about Marriage Rescue,’ Taffer, who is also an executive producer, said Thursday in a statement. ‘Bar Rescue is first and foremost about helping people flourish in difficult situations. Marriage Rescue will allow me to focus my energy and passion on couples that need to confront issues and cause serious change in their relationship. At the end of the show, whether the couple decides to stay together or part ways, I know that our work together will leave everyone in a better place with confidence in their future.’

“Added Keith Cox, president, development and production for Paramount Network and TV Land, ‘We are thrilled to add Marriage Rescue to our roster of successful Jon Taffer-led programming. Like fan-favorite Bar Rescue, this series is a raw and emotional look at high-stakes relationships on the edge of shutting down.’

Marriage Rescue comes from 3 Ball Entertainment; Taffer, Ross Weintraub, Ronak Kordestani and Joel Rodgers are executive producers. 

Marriage Rescue joins an unscripted slate on Paramount Network that also includes Lip Sync Battle, Ink Masterand a revival of Wife Swap that moved to the cabler from fellow Viacom network CMT. The network also recently picked up the drama Heaven of Hell, which will have a first window on Charter Communications' Spectrum platform, and is developing Coyote from Breaking Bad's Michelle MacLaren and star Michael Chiklis.

“Kent Alterman, president of Paramount Network and Comedy Central, told The Hollywood Reporter he wants to develop shows for Paramount Network that have ‘broad appeal but not broadcast sensibility,’ which he defines as ‘deep, rich, emotional storytelling with compelling characters.’ He said he wants to apply that template to both scripted and unscripted shows.”

Kent should probably go back to the drawing board over there.

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Per Mashable, “Dead to Me gets the job done. 

“No, it isn't the best TV around. But if you're looking to be entertained this weekend (without catching up on Thrones or heading to the movie theater), then this low-commitment, big payoff Netflix debut is for you.

“Created by the über-talented Liz Feldman, Dead to Me begins its 10-episode journey at a grief support group in Southern California. There we meet Jen (Christina Applegate), a buttoned-up mother and real estate agent, struggling with the recent death of her husband.

“Enter Jen's polar opposite, Judy (Linda Cardellini). Also grieving the loss of a partner, Judy is an optimistic, spiritually-attuned bohemian seeking connection in the wake of tragedy. 

“The pair meet over grief group coffee, setting the stage for a life-after-loss tragicomedy. Leaning over glossy marble countertops with long-stemmed glasses of red wine in hand, the two women spend a good chunk of the first episode humorously reflecting on coping with the sudden death of a loved one and waxing poetic about their families' futures.

“Then, things get Hollaback Girl-style B-A-N-A-N-A-S. 

“At just 30 minutes a pop, each of episode of Dead to Me Season 1 is packed with more twists and turns than a daytime soap. 

“Lies are told. Trust is shattered. James Marsden shows up looking like a blue-eyed snack. It's an obsession-worthy delight that will have you eating out of its skillfully misleading hand in minutes. 

“Feldman knows how to turn a joke, bring the drama, and leave you slack-jawed, often demonstrating all of three of those abilities in a single, perfectly rendered scene. Applegate, Cardellini, and Marsden deliver their varied performances with jack-of-all-trades mastery, slaying the bizarre material they've been given with marked realism. 

“Applegate, in particular, portrays Jen with the kind of believability that is often reserved for award-season ringers. It's reason enough to watch the whole series. (We'd tell you more about it, but her complex performance is absolutely critical to the show's secretive plot. Buckle up.)

“As the show goes on, the central fun and main performances remain strong, but the story's inherent messiness becomes more profound. Plot points get slippery, characters lose all touch with reality, and the ‘Where are we going with this?’ vibes border on incoherent. 

“Whether that's because Dead to Me bit off more than it could chew or just lost track of its original plan is unclear. Luckily, it's still fun, and the story's longterm viability won't hinder you from enjoying it.

“Season 2 or no, Dead to Me is a good time that asks very little of its viewers. You needn't strain yourself keeping track of details, or obsess over unanswered questions. Just press play, sit back, and enjoy whatever this grade-A bonkers universe wants to throw at you. 

“After that? Well, it can be dead to you. (Wink.)”

Good enough for me.