Wednesday May 22, 2019

Ellen has signed on for 3 more years of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

The final season of Orange is The New Black will be available to stream on Netflix on July 26. More below.

Season finales are aplenty tonight including: Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., My Last Days, Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, SEAL Team, Whiskey Cavalier, and Brockmire.

I tried to watch Tuca & Bertie on Netflix. Unless you’re in an altered state of mind, I don’t expect that you’re going to love this show. I was not in said state of mind and struggled to get through an episode.

“Oscar- and Emmy-winning actress Holly Hunter is joining the Season 2 cast of HBO’s drama series Succession in a recurring role. Created by Jesse Armstrong (In the Loop) and executive produced by The Big Short‘s Adam McKay, Season 2 of Succession follows the Roy family as they struggle to retain control of their empire, and while the future looks increasingly uncertain, it is the past that threatens ultimately to destroy them. Hunter will play Rhea Jarrell, the politically savvy CEO of a rival media conglomerate.”

A scripted miniseries on Tiger Woods, based on Jeff Benedict’s book about pro golfer is in development at Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse Entertainment. Benedict reached a deal with Montgomery to set up a joint venture at WHE, with “Tiger Woods” as the first project that Benedict and Wheelhouse will take to market. The book, which Benedict co-authored with “60 Minutes” correspondent Armen Keteyian, was published last year and became a New York Times bestseller. The book begins with Woods’ 2009 car accident and subsequent martial infidelity that began the once-dominant golfer’s career downturn, which included numerous back injuries as well. During Woods’ early career, he appeared in prime position to supplant Jack Nicklaus as the record-holder for the most major tournament victories.”

The Hills alum Lo Bosworth is dating a guy who was once on Shark Tank, we’re told. The 2000s reality star was at an event over the weekend with Jimmy DeCicco, co-creator of organic energy drink Kitu Super Coffee, which was featured on the hit ABC show last year. DeCicco and his two brothers, who are also his business partners, didn’t land an investment from the show’s sharks, but their company has been a hit regardless. The couple — who appear to have been dating about four months — were at something called the High-Performance Lifestyle Training Retreat at the Ainsworth.”

And here’s the newest trailer for The Hills reboot.

10 show suggestions to fill your Game of Thrones void.

Artie Lange was arrested Tuesday in Essex County, New Jersey, for violating the terms of his drug rehabilitation program. He is currently being held at Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark.”

gettyimages-892111606.jpg

From Variety:: “YouTube could be the key to Will Smith finally earning a Primetime Emmy nomination — or win.

“The superstar Formerly Known as the Fresh Prince has been nominated for two Academy Awards, five Golden Globes and one Screen Actors Guild Award, and has won four Grammys (out of eight nominations). Yet a Primetime Emmy nomination has so far eluded Smith.

“That’s despite Smith’s long-running stint as the star of the hit 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Smith’s other TV credits include executive producing UPN’s All of Us. But neither of those even got him a primetime nod. Smith technically was nominated in 1992 for a Daytime Emmy Award, in the outstanding special class program category for his part in the special NBA All-Star Stay in School Jam, but that’s it.

“One explanation is obvious: After Fresh Prince, Smith mostly turned his attention to film. His Oscar noms came in 2002, for Ali, and 2007, for The Pursuit of Happyness, both in the lead actor category.

“Smith, however, has recently branched out into the online world, and YouTube is hoping that a viral stunt performed by the rapper-turned-actor will finally get him some Emmy attention.

“YouTube is submitting Will Smith: The Jump in the outstanding short form nonfiction or reality series category. Originally billed by YouTube as a special, the streaming platform is repackaging it as a series to make it eligible for Emmy consideration. The Jump featured Smith as he bungee jumped out of a helicopter over the Grand Canyon to mark his 50th birthday.

“The specific video of Smith’s jump on Sept. 25 now boasts nearly 20 million views — including more than 17.5 million that came within the first 48 hours. Smith also used the livestream to raise awareness and solicit donations for international advocacy group Global Citizens and its education campaigns. The stunt came about after YouTube creators Yes Theory challenged Smith to bungee jump from a helicopter.

“According to YouTube, Will Smith: The Jump is eligible for the short-form series Emmy nomination because it was cut up into eight episodes, ranging from two minutes and 36 seconds to 24 minutes and 16 seconds. Here’s how YouTube says the show now breaks down:

Episode 1: Why I’m Jumping into the Grand Canyon (Total Run Time: 7:38)
Episode 2: My First Time Bungee Jumping (TRT: 4:04)
Episode 3: The Jump (TRT: 8:35)
Episode 4: Will Smith Reacts to Celebrity Birthday Wishes (TRT: 2:36)
Episode 5: Will Smith Reacts to his 50th Birthday Bungee Jump (TRT: 4:31)
Episode 7: Will Smith’s Terrifying POV of the Helicopter Bungee Jump (TRT: 4:18)
Episode 8: My Family Thought I Was Crazy (TRT: 24:16)

“Smith is also an executive producer on YouTube’s Cobra Kai Season 2, which is submitting in the outstanding comedy series category. Other submissions for that show include lead actor in a comedy (Ralph Macchio and William Zabka), supporting actor in a comedy (Martin Kove) and writing for a comedy (creators Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg).

“YouTube will also be submitting Step Up: High Water in outstanding choreography for scripted programming. Impulse will be submitted in drama series categories including outstanding drama, lead actress (Maddie Hasson), supporting actor (David James Elliott) and supporting actress (Missi Pyle).

Wayne submissions include comedy series, lead comedy actor (Mark McKenna), supporting comedy actress (Ciara Bravo), supporting comedy actor (Mike O’Malley, Dean Winters) and guest comedy actress (Michaela Watkins, Abigail Spencer). Charlie Sanders and Jordan Peele’s Weird City will submit for best comedy, as well as supporting comedy actor (LeVar Burton), guest comedy actor (Ed O’Neill, Michael Cera, Dylan O’Brien) and guest comedy actress (Awkwafina, Laverne Cox, Yvette Nicole Brown). And unscripted show Best Shot will be submitted for reality directing.

“Smith, meanwhile, will have some competition in the short form nonfiction or reality series category from another YouTube entry: Kevin Hart. The comedian’s series Kevin Hart: What the Fit is also being submitted in the category.”

ew_gameofthrones_illo.jpg

Per Vulture, “[t]he most predictable thing about the Game of Thrones finale was the rage that consumed Twitter as soon as it was over. At least in my timeline, everyone immediately started laying waste to the ending as if they were Drogon unleashing hellfire on the people of King’s Landing. Phrases like ‘I wasted eight years of my life’ and ‘ruined the whole series’ were common refrains. So was the word ‘sucked.’

“In general, TV critics and writers have not been much warmer. The Rotten Tomatoes scores went from fresh for the first three episodes of the season to a trio of splats; more than half of the included critics gave the finale a negative review.

“‘Game of Thrones itself unwittingly became the victim of an ironic and agonizingly protracted Game of Thrones ending,’ wrote our Matt Zoller Seitz.

“‘Tonally odd, logically strained, and emotionally thin, The Iron Throne felt like the first draft of a finale,’ said Spencer Kornhaber in a roundtable discussion about the episode for The Atlantic.

“‘The kindest thing I can say about the Games of Thrones series finale,’ offered Time critic Judy Berman, ‘is that it might have satisfied Plato.’ Even Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is super pissed-off.

“The disappointment and outright resentment about the end of Game of Thrones feels bigger and sounds louder than anything we’ve heard about a TV finale in years, because there hasn’t been a show this big and loud in years. Game of Thrones became a phenomenon on par with Star Wars or TheLord of the Rings. On Sunday night, 19.3 million people tuned in to find out how it would end. It even inspired its own brand of Oreos. Oreos, for God’s sake!

“The last time a TV finale spawned backlash this strong, in volume and sheer force of opinion, was nine years ago when Lost ended. There are a lot of similarities between the two shows in terms of what’s driving the complaints, specifically frustrations with holes in logic and/or unanswered questions. On Game of Thrones, if Bran can see all things, why didn’t he see what Daenerys was going to do in King’s Landing and warn Jon so she could be stopped? What is the point of being all-knowing if you don’t share your knowledge? And while we’re at it, what is the point of the Night’s Watch now that the Night King and White Walkers are dead? And why did Drogon melt the Iron Throne instead of burning Jon Snow to death for killing Daenerys? (Symbolism. The answer to that question is symbolism.)

“These are good questions, and reminiscent of what drove viewers nuts after Lost aired its last episode. (Walt, like Bran Stark, was a young man who seemed to have special powers. But why?! I still want to know.) Lost fans were even more confused about some of the basics than Game of Thrones fans were, leading to extended arguments about whether everyone on the island was really in purgatory the whole time. (They were not in purgatory. Lost co-creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse had always said they were not in purgatory. Here’s Lindelof, four years after the finale, once again explaining that it was not purgatory. But I guarantee you that at some point, when this show comes up in casual conversation, some random acquaintance will say to me, ‘Wait, they were all in purgatory, right?’)

“Others accused both Game of Thrones and Lost of getting too hokey. The former, for some, got too cornball with its meta Song of Ice and Fire book and that Brienne moment where she finished writing Jaime’s history, one of too many instances where that warrior of a woman was defined by her relationship to the Kingslayer. Lost, which reunited all the Oceanic 815 survivors in a multi-faith afterlife church, was even more explicitly sentimental in its conclusion, though that didn’t seem particularly out of character for the series.

“In the finales of both shows, heroes with the initials J.S. — Jon Snow and Jack Shepherd — were reunited with their furry friends after making sacrifices for the greater good. Everyone could agree, at least, that the direwolf and the dog were great. But just as soon as Lost wrapped things up on a Sunday night back in May 2010, people were screaming that they had been robbed of the ending they deserved.

“For shows that are so ambitious and serialized and epic in scope, it’s difficult to create a finale that’s going to please everyone. Not impossible, but certainly difficult. I would argue that Game of Thrones had an easier shot at pulling that off because they the show was being made on HBO in 2019, a time when creators — especially guys who sparked a pop-culture phenomenon the way David Benioff and D.B. Weiss helped to do — are given a lot more artistic freedom than Lindelof and Cuse would have had working in network television in the 2000s. Lost was also created with no blueprint, as opposed to a book series to build upon, and the demand to produce far more episodes of television than Game of Thrones had to create. (There were 121 of the former, and 73 of the latter.)

“What I’m saying is that, if forced to choose, I would pick the Lost finale as the better of the two, despite its flaws, although, full disclosure, I was always more emotionally invested in that series than I ever was in Game of Thrones. But my larger point is that neither of them are the unmitigated disaster that some people have made them out to be. The most egregious error that Game of Thrones made in its closing stretch was mishandling Daenerys Targaryen’s arc: While she had committed violent acts in the past, it was extremely important to persuade the audience that, despite the promises she had made about how she would handle the attack on King’s Landing, she would suddenly snap and wipe out thousands of innocent people. Despite Emilia Clarke’s best efforts, the show failed to trace that emotional journey in a way that made us believe that, at this stage, she would engage in such unnecessary mass murder.

“That all happened in the penultimate episode, so to enjoy the finale, you had to accept that flaw and try to appreciate what the show was still doing well, which is not an easy thing to do. That said, there was plenty left to admire. Peter Dinklage, the actor given the most to do in The Iron Throne, was superb. Benioff and Weiss, who had never co-directed an episode before now, made some striking visual choices, including that all-timer of Daenerys striding forward as the wings of Drogo unfurled behind her. The moment when Jon stabs Dany was a shock, and up until the second that Bran was named Lord of the Six Kingdoms, I had no idea what was going to happen next. Truly terrible television doesn’t deliver that much good stuff. Great television with noticeable flaws does, though.

“You may not agree with me. And that’s more than fine. Many of the criticisms about The Iron Throne are perfectly valid. My concern about the rabid nature of the anti–Game of Thrones finale movement, which echoes the Lost backlash, is that it overemphasizes the importance of an ending. Everyone wants stories they enjoy to solidly land all their wheels on the runway and glide to a satisfying stop. But the last moment is not the only one that matters. If you enjoyed most of Game of Thrones up until this past season, then you didn’t waste eight years of your life watching it. It just didn’t end the way you wanted it to. Frankly, that is not a TV show’s job.

“A TV show’s job is to move you and transport you and make you believe in the world and characters it has built. Game of Thrones definitely struggled on that last front in its eighth season, but that shouldn’t negate what it accomplished and how enthralling it was for so many years.

“The same is true for Lost, which has become synonymous with the term ‘bad finale’ in the nine years since it signed off, which is simply not fair. For starters, if you go back and look at some of the reviews, you may be surprised to learn that many are not nearly as scathing as you might expect given the finale’s reputation. (One example from James Poniewozik, now of the New York Times, but then writing for Time: ‘The End’ was an epic, stirring two and a half hours of television, full of heart and commitment, that was true to Lost’s characters as we knew them from season one.’)

“More to the point, it’s inadequate to judge an entire TV show on its last episodes. To consider shows like Lost or Game of Thrones — both of which raised the bar for the scope and scale of television storytelling — solely on the quality of their finales is like assessing the value of a Shakespeare play based on its last page or the quality of Anna Karenina solely on the part where Anna throws herself in front of the train. (‘Too depressing. No stars.’) Both of these shows were larger in terms of storytelling — we’re talking the number of characters, the backstories, the special effects, the budgets — than anything else on the air when they debuted. To reduce either one to a bad finale or a bad season is, well, reductive, especially for series that are so deliberately sprawling.

“That’s another thing: Our view of how effectively a piece of pop culture achieves what it’s set out to achieve can shift, positively or negatively, as time progresses. But we’re so conditioned to have knee-jerk responses to every blessed thing that we form quick opinions, and then, sometimes, we stubbornly cling to them. When those opinions harden into an overall reputation, that doesn’t fully capture what a show meant or what it did.

“By all means, keep talking about what you loved or hated about Game of Thrones. But also, try letting a finale sit in your brain and heart for a while — even, like, two minutes — and see if you feel any differently. You may hate it even more the longer you process it. Or you might recognize something of value that tempers your tilt toward the negative.

“At the end of The Iron Throne, when Jon asks Tyrion if he thinks they were right to kill Daenerys, Tyrion responds: ‘Ask me again in ten years.’ That’s good advice when it comes to series finales, too. Did I like the last episode of Games of Thrones? I had very low expectations, so yes, it was better than I thought it would be. But do me a favor: Ask me again in ten years.”

tupac_1_screenshot-.jpg

Per The Hollywood Reporter, “Allen Hughes has reached a deal with the estate of Tupac Shakur that will grant him full access to all of the late rap icon's recordings and writings — part of his plan to direct and executive produce a five-part docuseries on Shakur.

“While there's not yet an outlet set for the project, this is the first time the Shakur Estate has offered its full cooperation on such an endeavor. Hughes, a prolific writer, director and producer, last helmed HBO's much-lauded docuseries The Defiant Ones, which chronicled the careers of and partnership between Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. It won a Grammy and also received five Emmy nominations.

“Shakur was murdered in 1996 in Las Vegas at the age of 25. His brief but prolific career remains a point of public fascination, as he has sold 75 million records worldwide to date.

“The deal grants the filmmakers access to recordings both released and unreleased, as well as Shakur's poetry and other writing.

“Hughes will direct the as-yet untitled project, with Lasse Järvi and Charles D. King joining as executive producers. It will be produced under the Interscope Films and MACRO shingles.”

oitnb_s7_production_still_3-h_2019.jpg

From The Hollywood Reporter: “Orange Is the New Black will be following a free woman when it returns.

“Jenji Kohan's Netflix prison dramedy, from Lionsgate Television, has released a first look at the seventh and final season — which will debut all 13 episodes July 26 on Netflix — and among the photos for the final episodes of the Emmy-winning series is a glimpse at Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) on the outside. Wednesday's news also came with a video announcement from the cast.

“In a game-changing twist that ended last season, Piper was set free on early release thanks to a prison-privatization oversight. Despite having five months left on her sentence, the white inmate was pushed to the top of Litchfield Penitentiary's release pile, her fortune standing in stark contrast to the fates of many of the other less-privileged prisoners. In the final moments of the extended season six finale — after marrying Alex Vause (Laura Prepon), who still has four years left on her sentence, in a celebratory prison sendoff — Piper gains her freedom back for the first time since season one.

“In the final season description from Netflix, the ladies of Litchfield will be coming to terms with the fact that prison has changed them forever. Taystee’s (Danielle Brooks) friendship with Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore) still hangs in the balance as her life sentence looms, Gloria (Selenis Leyva) and her kitchen staff are confronted by the hard truth of [the corporation that owns Litchfield] Polycon’s newest profit stream, while others chase drugs or dreams and grapple with the reality of their place in this world. Piper struggles with life on the outside, while life in the maximum security prison she left behind — as corrupt and unjust as ever — goes on. 

“Though Piper leaves Litchfield a completely altered person, her future looks bright when compared with that of Taystee, who was sentenced to life in prison for a murder she didn't commit, and Blanca Flores (Laura Gomez), who is now facing deportation and a transfer to the for-profit prison's new immigration detention center.

"‘Both Taystee and Blanca have treacherous, devastating roads ahead of them, whereas Piper, given her privilege, has a comparatively easy transition back,’ Schilling had told The Hollywood Reporter about Piper winning the Polycon lottery in the finale cliff-hanger. ‘It feels as though if you are a white person, particularly a white person with money and financial means, that the law doesn’t touch you. And conversely, people are punished for being poor, as opposed to being punished for any kind of crime. There are parallels between a black or brown person committing a crime and a white person committing the exact same crime, and the disparity in sentencing is remarkable. It’s incredibly important to bring that to light and I’m glad that we’re having a chance to talk about that through the show, and particularly through that dynamic with the Piper-Taystee parallel. Seeing how their two paths contrast each other so darkly really hits the message home. And now that Litchfield is a privatized detention center, [the Blanca storyline] is happening: There are massive corporations that are making huge amounts of money off of detaining immigrants, and they’re making huge amounts of money off of imprisoned people.’

“Executive producer Tara Herrmann had told THR that OITNB planned to follow Piper's life on the outside just as much as it did on the inside, and that their star's post-prison journey would help to shine a light on how difficult re-entry into society can be. Aleida Diaz (played by Elizabeth Rodriguez) is also on the outside and has returned to selling drugs in order to make enough money to pull her younger children from foster care — echoing how Taystee violated her probation and returned to Litchfield back in season one.

"‘There’s no comparison to Piper going back and maybe struggling while having food, a home, a network that supports her and having access to work, basically because she is white,’ Schilling had added to THR after the season six finale. ‘It’s a vitally important part of this entire arc of seeing this white woman enter the system and then leave the system. It has to include the disparity of re-entry. And now more than ever, as I think these conversations about privilege are being had and are much more present in popular culture, there’s even more room for us to examine it in depth.’

“When it comes to her season seven arc, viewers should take note of the final line of season six dialogue as a tip-off about where the Piper-centered show plans to go. As her brother asks, ‘So what are you going to do next?’ a look of dread washes over Piper's face.

“Since the Netflix series is based on the true story of Piper Kerman, her post-prison story could provide hints about OITNB's Piper. After serving 13 months of her 15-month sentence in a minimum security prison, Kerman wrote her memoir of the same name, inspired the Netflix TV show and continues to be an activist for prison reform. Midway through OITNB's sixth season, Piper the character suggested she might write a memoir to "expose" the system. Kerman remains a consultant on OITNB, but the Netflix series has significantly veered from her memoir since season two. Piper's release could provide an opportunity for the two stories to meet up once again.

“Meanwhile, the first-look photos also provide a peek at some of the rest of the starring ensemble back in Max. After spending five seasons on the minimum security grounds at Litchfield, the riot of season five sent a core group of prisoners down the hill to the maximum security prison. Season six separated the main ensemble out into warring cell blocks until the finale united all the surviving women through a peaceful game of kickball. 

“One of the photos reveals that Lorna Morello (Yael Stone) is indeed OK. After going into a worrisome early labor in the finale, the inmate is seen standing in line with Red (Kate Mulgrew), Nicky Nichols (Natasha Lyonne), Flaca Gonzales (Jackie Cruz) and Gloria. Though Lorna is smiling, the rest of the inmates have concerned looks on their faces as they are flanked by returning guards (Nick Dillenburg and Josh Segarra).

“In one of OITNB's more devastating turns, Daya Diaz (Dascha Polanco) developed a heroin addiction when faced with her life sentence for the murder of C.O. Humphrey (who was actually killed by Kukudio, who is now dead). Daya, now dealing drugs with girlfriend Daddy (Vicci Martinez), is seen shaking hands with Taystee in the prison courtyard. 

“Alex, meanwhile, is shown sneakily with a cellphone in her hand. Before finding out about Piper's early release, Alex made a deal to be second in command with her block's gang. Now that boss is deceased and perhaps Alex is taking over the reins; she was last shown tearing up her grad school application. ‘[Alex] basically falls on the sword to make sure that Piper gets out, because she knows that's what Piper wants,’ Prepon had told THR of Alex's goal of keeping Piper out of trouble so she could finish her sentence. ‘Alex sees the reality of the situation and knows how much more time she's in there for. I think in the back of her mind, she knows she's going to have to do some things to survive that aren't going to lend itself to taking classes. And it's unfortunate. Alex is really smart, but it's just one of those realistic things where, especially now with Piper gone, she's going to have to survive.’

“Other photos show Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning) taking classes of her own at Litchfield, presumably turning over a new leaf after leaving CO Coates (James McMenamin) behind during her brief escape; Nicky is seen leaning on chosen mother Red in a van; and Suzanne Warren (Uzo Aduba), after spending much of season six digressing without the support of her prison family, is shown having a happy embrace. 

“And the cast video announcement hints to viewers that Maritza Ramos (Danielle Guerrero) could be making a return in the final season for a Flaritza reunion. Martiza, best friend to Flaca, was sent to a separate prison after the riot and the character was absent for all of season six. The video, posted Wednesday, sees the main castmembers singing the OITNB theme song — Regina Spektor's You've Got Time — around the final season set and Guerrero is among the group. The video also calls out Lea DeLaria's Big Boo, who appeared only briefly in season six, and Constance Shulman's Yoga Jones.

“After six seasons of awards and critical acclaim, prescient political storylines, and becoming a platform for timely topics from prison reform and institutional racism to human rights, Kohan and Netflix announced in October that the already renewed seventh season would be the series' last. OITNB has been a staple drama for the streamer since helping to launch Netflix into the scripted originals business when it premiered in 2013.

“When production wrapped in February, the cast and crew took to social media to honor the show from the final days on set. When speaking to THR before filming the last two episodes, Lyonne promised a ‘satisfying’ ending; Brooks warned of "surprises"; and Schilling said the end is coming at the right time culturally: ‘I feel like we’ve told the stories, and I don’t feel like any stone is left unturned. I think [the show] did what it came to do. And now, in the Trump era, there are new stories to tell.’"