Friday June 14, 2019

A new season of Life After Lockup premieres tonight on WE. Rejoice.

Cinemax unveils new series Jett tonight. “Jett stars Carla Gugino as world-class thief Daisy “Jett” Kowalski. Fresh out of prison, she is forced back into doing what she does best, and a cast of morally ambivalent, dangerous and eccentric criminals, from budding femme fatales to compromised law enforcers, are determined to exploit her skills for their own ends.”

Season 3 of Jessica Jones is now available to stream on Netflix.

Here’s a review.

HBO debuts Euphoria on Sunday night.

And a review.

Season 2 of Absentia is now available on Amazon Prime.

As is season 1 of Too Old To Die Young. “In one tragic night, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Martin Jones's life is blown apart, and he is forced into a deadly underground of Cartel soldiers, Yakuza assassins, and mysterious vigilantes. Soon he finds himself lost on a surreal odyssey of murder, mysticism and vengeance, as his past sins close in on him.”

A review, for completeness.

Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston’s new Netflix movie Murder Mystery is now available for your viewing pleasure.

Netflix also drops this gem today as well: Awake: The Million Dollar Game. “Sleepless for 24 hours, contestants in the comedy game show stumble through challenges both eccentric and everyday for a chance at a $1 million prize.”

Showtime officially premieres City On A Hill on Sunday, although it released the first episode last week.

Congratulations to the Toronto Raptors for winning the NBA Championship last night.

Jersey Shore Family Vacation returns on July 11.

Tracee Ellis Ross is set to play a prominent role, both as a star and executive producer, in MTV’s upcoming adult animated series Jodie. The series is a reimagining of the classic animated show Daria, and is described as a satire of the post college workplace and personal adventures of Gen Z. Daria was itself inspired by MTV’s Beavis and Butthead, based on the widespread appeal of the Daria Morgendorffer character whose wry wisdom was beyond her high school years. The new series will center around Daria’s good friend Jodie Landon (Ellis Ross), an African American character from the original series. Viewers will follow her as she comes into her own and enters the workplace in her first post-college job in tech. Other former students from Lawndale High School will also appear.”

I applaud Alyssa Milano’s passion.

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Per Deadline, “Idris Elba (Luther) is taking to the road with renowned rally driver Ken Block in Elba vs. Block, a new car-stunt series for Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s short-form video platform Quibi.

“In Elba vs. Block, the duo go head-to-head as they pit a variety of cars against each other through increasingly outrageous stunts to prove whose car, and which driver is the best.

“The series will be shot in London’s Docklands over eight episodes that will feature eight jaw dropping stunts, such as the Wall of Death, the Car Tightrope and the Flaming Obstacle Course.

“‘Ken is my driving hero… I’ve never worked with a driver as skilled as him so I’m a little intimidated by his talent. I love challenges, I love speed and I’m a ‘wheel man’ so let’s see how this plays out,’ said Elba.

“Block is professional rally driver known for his extreme choreographed driving stunts. His viral Gymkhana video series received over half a billion views on YouTube and pushed the boundaries of automotive filmmaking.

“‘I’m really excited to be partnering up with Idris on this new show,’ said Block. ‘I’ve admired his work for years and he has a reputation as a man who likes to go fast behind the wheel of a car, so I think we’re going to have a lot of fun with these challenges that the producers have lined up for us.’

Elba vs. Block is a co-production between Workerbee (part of EndemolShine UK) and Elba’s Green Door Pictures for Quibi.”

Zero interest.

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From TheWrap: “Orphan Black is coming back in the most unexpected of ways: as an audio sequel series. And yes, Tatiana Maslany is involved.

“Temple Street Productions, the production company behind the now-ended BBC America drama, is partnering with digital fiction startup Serial Box for an audio continuation of the TV show, Orphan Black: The Next Chapter.

“The 10-episode series is set eight years after the events of the show’s fifth and final season and will be released by Serial Box later this summer in audiobook and text formats. The official continuation of Orphan Black will feature the same characters from the series, with all 14 members of the original show’s clone sisterhood voiced by Maslany.

Temple Street and Serial Box (which is invested in by Temple Street’s parent company, Boat Rocker Studios) haven’t made additional plot details public yet, except to say ‘#cophine’ — a reference to the couple Cosima (Maslany) and Delphine (Évelyne Brochu) — ‘definitely plays a big part in the story.’

“Malka Older has been set as showrunner on The Next Chapter, with Mishell Baker, Lindsay Smith, Heli Kennedy, Madeline Ashby and E.C. Myers enlisted as writers.

“Co-created by John Fawcett and Graeme Manson, Orphan Black launched in 2013 and ran for five seasons. The critically-acclaimed series starred Maslany as a woman who discovers that she is a clone and that someone is plotting to kill her and her clone ‘sisters.’

“Maslany was nominated for three Emmys — winning best actress in a drama series in 2016 — and a Golden Globe for her performance on “Orphan Black.”

As TheWrap reported in March, a new Orphan Black series set in the show’s universe is currently in the works at AMC. An individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap that the show is in the very, very early stages of development at BBC America’s sister network, with Temple Street attached to produce the new show.

“The individual added that the follow-up series would not be considered a spinoff of the original but rather an entirely new show set in the same world as Orphan Black.”

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Per Variety, “Salacious behavior, twists that push the human psyche to the extreme, and pressure-cooker production schedules are just some situations for which reality-show contestants may be signing on. Add in the increasing role of social media and audience tendencies to see contestants as characters, and providing proper mental-health support becomes more important than ever.

“Before Melissa Barrera broke through with American audiences as one of the leads on Starz’s Vida, she made her television debut in the 2011 Mexican reality show La Academia. At 21 years old, she says she loved the experience, but admits it nearly broke her.

“‘Reality TV is like a snake pit,’ she says. ‘You think the entertainment industry can be hard, but reality TV? That’s the epitome of whether you’re ready for this or not. If I could survive that show, it meant I could do anything. I wouldn’t change anything, but it was people constantly criticizing you for you — not even for a character you’re playing. It’s for your personality and who you are. That can be hard for a 21-year-old.’

“Barrera notes that she wanted to quit more than once, but fellow contestant Paco Zazueta, whom she eventually married, encouraged her to keep going.

“‘We would take turns telling each other we had what it takes to stick it out,’ she says. ‘When I left that show I didn’t want to sing ever again. They made me believe I was no good at it. It was a weird technique they used.’

“While Barrera was able to overcome the mental toll her reality experience took on her, some contestants haven’t fared as well. On the heels of making its American franchise debut on CBS this summer, ITV’s Love Island has faced backlash for its lack of mental-health support following the suicides of former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.

“These are far from isolated incidents. Nearly 40 stars from a variety of reality programs, from Kitchen Nightmares and The Bachelor to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and American Idol have been found dead by suicide or overdose around the world, prompting a larger conversation surrounding the mental effects of appearing on such series and whether production needs to offer more pre-show screening and post-show support.

“‘Everyone is really dying to be seen, and for some people, the way they imagine they will fulfill that ultimate experience of being seen is by being on television, by being the center of an entertaining, all-eyes-on-you experience,’ says clinical psychologist Brie Rosenfield. She has consulted on a number of unscripted series across network and cable for the past three years, and specifically works with contestants following their time on such series.

“‘Being seen is very different in your own personal life than it is on reality television. It can trigger a lot of the areas where we may not have a tremendous amount of resiliency and where, if there is a pre-existing condition in the face of that level of stress and discomfort, some people will not be able to move through.’

“Since the early days of reality television, producers and therapists have used emotional intelligence testing to cast contestants based on a variety of factors that play into the personalities they’re looking for on any particular series.

“Clinical psychologist Steven Stein has developed a series of scientifically validated assessments used to pre-screen during casting on dozens of North American reality series over the years, including Survivor, The Apprentice, Big Brother Canada and Scare Tactics.

“‘We usually tailor the tests to the show in terms of what they’re looking for. Some shows like Big Brother rely a lot on social and interpersonal skills. Other shows sometimes require stamina and managing stress, and so we focus on those areas,’ he says, noting the system is now mostly automated to keep up with the speed of production.

“But, he adds, ‘The first and most important thing we always do is a mental-health screening because we want to make sure that it’s safe. That the person is not going to be self-injurious or aggressive. That there are no real addiction problems. No sort of borderline personalities.’

“Stein says emotional intelligence is used to determine how potential contestants may interact with one another while on the series, to the point where he can often predict a winner before the season even begins. His team was correct in gauging the likelihood of this year’s unanimous Big Brother Canada winner, Dane Rupert, who notably dedicated his win to mental health following his own father’s suicide.

“Overall, Stein says perhaps less than 5% of the contestants they evaluate don’t make it through to actual production, because they’ve been pre-screened by casting and other departments. Once production kicks off, he’s on-call for any additional support that may be needed, and helps to prepare contestants for the upcoming downtime or how they may be perceived by others while on the series.

“When it comes to twists or particular production issues that could affect a contestant’s mental health however, he’s rarely consulted.

“According to The Challenge executive producer Justin Booth, contestants’ phobias can sometimes make for better television, but the timing of the casting process and the creation of the games on his series mean that it’s hard to specifically take those phobias into consideration.

“‘It can be noted, but sometimes when we develop these games the casting process goes on simultaneously,’ he says. ‘We might consider, “Well, we do have a lot of games that are up in the air, and I know for a fact that Cara Maria might lose her mind.” And she might get special consideration to get an invite because of it. There might be a little manipulation, but not overtly.’

“Whatever the mental toll contestants face while on a series, the real work begins once the cameras have shut off and they prepare to re-enter their former lives — all while facing the pressures of social media, public critique and newfound fame. Rosenfield says the productions she works with often offer up to three follow-up sessions, but after that, contestants are on their own to seek help.

“‘Unfortunately we are paying for the mistakes of our past and in order to be legally and financially responsible, you really have no choice but to support these contestants so that you don’t have a tragedy,’ she says.

“When it comes to unforeseen outcomes and legal issues involving former reality-show contestants, Stein theorizes it’s a matter of numbers — with more contestants participating on a growing number of reality shows, the likelihood of someone being unable to cope with these issues following production increases. He maintains that’s why it’s important to offer mental-health support for all contestants across the board.

“‘The shows I’ve worked with do invest in me, or someone like me, to ensure mental health is protected. I find the producers I work with are really cautious and when they sense or when one of the crew senses something is wrong, I get notified right away and we intervene.’

“He adds that diverse casting on series including Big Brother Canada has sparked conversation on a variety of additional issues such as Tourette’s, ADHD, bullying and gender identity.

“‘That should be the way it works for almost all of these shows. Whenever you’re taking average or normal people out of the population and putting them in this current environment, at some level there should be a psychologist involved. Just like you have usually a medical person around, for those kinds of issues, there should be someone looking into mental health. Because stuff does happen.’”

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Per Vulture, “[o]n May 24, after 2,000 episodes, Carson Daly’s late-night show came to an end, and as you read these words, I wonder if you can remember its name. To be fair, late-night shows tend to have sound-alike titles — Late Night, Late Show, Later, The Late Late Show — and Daly’s entry (let’s kill the suspense: It was called Last Call With Carson Daly) was no exception. So you may be surprised to learn that the show aired for 17  straight years in the same time slot with the same host — the longest such run of any contemporary late-night host.

“How? Last Call survived in part by changing its form radically over the years in response to budget cuts, cancellation threats, writers’ strikes, network conciliations to higher-profile hosts, and the general ongoing effort to figure out just what exactly a late-night show starring Carson Daly should look like. Last Call premiered in 2002 as a typical studio-bound talk show with a rotating house band. But the studio and the sidekick band proved to be an ill fit. So the show was reconfigured as a sit-down chat show with longer, more intimate interviews. Finally, after 2013, as Daly shuttled between New York and L.A. to host and produce The Voice and co-anchor Today, Last Call was recast as a series of produced segments, with Daly providing pretaped interstitial commentary. All of this was aired, through three presidents, two wars, and one global recession, five nights a week on NBC in the prime viewing slot of 1:30 in the morning.

“Daly claims he couldn’t be happier about the show’s relative obscurity, evincing the kind of tireless agreeability that has kept him on television for two decades now. ‘If you’d told me, “We’ll give you a choice: You’re going to have the biggest talk show in the history of mankind and you’ll have it for six years, or you’ll have a show that probably the majority of people aren’t going to know about but we’ll guarantee it will be on for twice as long,” I would take the latter every time,’ he says. At a lounge in the Regency Hotel in New York, from the same seat where his now-wife, food blogger Siri Pinter, sat six years ago when he proposed (it was a hectic day, they were in town for Today and staying at the hotel, and he just needed to get it done), I ask him whether the end of Last Call feels like a victory lap or an Irish wake.

“‘It’s a huge victory lap. A talk show? First of all, everybody was like, “No one ever makes it past MTV,”’ he says. ‘Getting the late-night show was another big step, but I’d heard of Magic Johnson and Chevy Chase, and people said this will be another one of those. So just defying those odds, and then having it go on so long, sort of quietly, while America is fast asleep — I feel like I stole something from society. Like they just never saw me coming.’ If you didn’t see Carson Daly coming, let’s recall where he was coming from circa 2002. He’d been a DJ at the influential L.A. radio station KROQ credited with, among other things, breaking the band Marilyn Manson. MTV recruited him in 1997 to host a music show called Motel California; that stint went well enough that he was hired as a permanent VJ. When MTV asked him to pitch ideas, he proposed a canny update on American Bandstand that ended up as Total Request Live, a countdown show that played the top-ten requested videos of the day, as requested by viewers, via email or phone.

“Premiering in 1998 and filmed in a studio overlooking Times Square, TRL was less a TV show than a televised pep rally and a necessary promotional pit stop for pop stars like Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, and the Backstreet Boys. Throngs of screaming teens would crowd Times Square to wave at his studio’s windows, and Carson Daly would smile and wave back at the people below. He was an ideal host for the show: seemingly edgy but never threatening; seemingly cool but never intimidating; attractive but not so charismatic that he’d distract from the real attractions. He became a celebrity, but of a particular kind: He was famous for his fame-adjacency (including in his love life; Page Six eagerly covered his relationships with Tara Reid and Jennifer Love Hewitt). He had become, in his late 20s, America’s Forever Teenager, a gee-whiz bystander in the Dick Clark mold, at the very last moment when American teenagers were interested in watching the same TV channel to collectively scream at the same thing. He recalls a young girl holding a sign on the street below that seemed to encapsulate his TRL status. The sign read, ‘Hey Carson, Let Me Up — I Want to Meet Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys.’ ‘Therein lies the relationship between me and the audience,’ he says. ‘They needed me. I was the access point, the portal to their celebrity. I’m not the celebrity per se. I’m a conduit to power — that’s really all I’ve ever done.’

“Daly didn’t want to stay forever at MTV, and he’d seen how other VJs got branded as MTV personalities. He had no interest in acting and turned down offers to take a version of TRL to network television. Instead, he went to NBC looking for opportunities, and, he tells me, ‘they said, “The only thing we have available is that, at 1:30 in the morning, we’re running SCTV reruns, and we’d be willing to pull those off the air. But why would you want to be on at 1:30 in the morning?”’

“Daly has never been an obvious fit for late night, where the most straightforward path to a host’s chair is a career in stand-up and shows are typically built around a host’s comedic sensibility. You watched Letterman, for instance, both to see Letterman and to see Letterman interacting with whoever was on that night. Daly comes not from comedy but from radio, and to hear him tell it, he has no discernible talents — or at least he’s aware that this is an opinion of him that has long existed in the world. ‘The most common thing has been people behind closed doors saying, “He seems like a nice guy, but what does he really possess?”’ Daly says. ‘I’ve heard this my whole life. “What tangible talent does he have?” The answer is none.’

“Yet Last Call With Carson Daly was born. And reborn. And reborn again. Then very nearly canceled several times, most notably in 2008, when Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien were wrestling over The Tonight Show. One proposed solution was to push everyone — Leno, Conan, and Jimmy Fallon, then host of Late Night — later. But that would push Last Call right off the schedule’s edge: NBC affiliates had a contractual obligation to air Poker After Dark at 2 a.m. ‘I got this call from Rick Ludwin, the head of late night at NBC,’ recalls Daly, ‘and he said, “I’ve got to be honest with you. We’ve got some issues. The network’s in a dispute with Conan and Jay, who are feuding over the Tonight Show. In one of the scenarios we’ve put on the table, it’s a time-slot thing, and it’s possible Last Call will just go away all together.”’ Daly, who has been open about his struggles with anxiety, recalls thinking at the brink of the show’s cancellation, after he’d just bought a house in Malibu (two houses, actually; it was a teardown project) and his now-wife was pregnant, ‘Fuck, what did I do? I’m going to be homeless with my wife and a little baby on Hollywood Boulevard. And I deserve it.

“But Conan blinked, Leno won Tonight, and Last Call survived to see another decade. In 2010, Stewart Bailey, a former Daily Show producer, came aboard to help reimagine the show — this time spotlighting acts Daly found interesting. Talent spotting turned out to be a real strength for Daly, obscured on TRL by the fact that he was playing your requests, not his. On Last Call, Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar, and the Killers all made their U.S. TV debuts. ‘It felt like a college film that never lost its funding,’ says Bailey of the show’s latter incarnation. ‘Our wardrobe budget was $50 a year because every year we’d just buy Carson a new hoodie.’

“‘The best way to describe it is: Let’s say you live in a really big house, and that represents the network,’ Daly says. ‘When we moved into this house with this big, giant family, I was like, “I’ll take the shitty little room in the basement that has a half-bath,” while everybody else scattered for the bedrooms in the nicest parts of the house. Through the years, my room never got redone — but I had a fucking room. I had skin in the game.’ Seventeen years later, Last Call With Carson Daly could just as well have been titled Last Laugh.

“In 2015, Vanity Fair did a photo shoot featuring ten late-night hosts as a celebration of the medium’s ascendancy. The most-remarked-upon aspect of the photo: It was all dudes. The second-most? It was almost entirely white dudes. Even so, Carson Daly didn’t make the cut.

“By that point, Daly had already joined Today, thus completing the logical evolution from affable afternoon VJ to affable early-morning co-host. His initial role on Today, at age 40, was to be the show’s social-media liaison, reporting from the Orange Room, where viewers could interact with him on Facebook and Twitter, which is sort of the early-21st-century equivalent of hosting TRL. From the beginning, Daly has been savvy enough to recognize an opportunity in that slim space between celebrity and civilian; the value in being the person who gets to do the things we wish we could do and stand next to the people we wish we could meet. If TRL’s obvious antecedent is American Bandstand, Carson Daly’s is Dick Clark, even though Generation X likely never felt it needed a Dick Clark. (Oddly, it wound up with two: Daly and Ryan Seacrest.)

“When Daly was still in his 20s and just starting out in his career, he wangled a meeting with Clark. ‘I asked him, “How did you do this so long? How can I stay in this fight?”’ says Daly. ‘He told me, “Work hard. People think this shit’s easy — it’s not.” Then he told me: “Being likable is everything. I’d rather be likable than talented.” That one stuck with me. Because I thought, I can be that.

“Whereas once you’d find him in Times Square in front of a backdrop of screaming teenagers, now you’ll find him outside Rockefeller Center in front of a backdrop of screaming middle-aged Midwesterners. America grew up, sort of, and so did Daly, sort of. ‘Oh my God, it’s the same,’ he says of Today. ‘It’s literally TRL for grown-ups. It plays to this tiny skill set I have. It’s a perfect place for me.’ He still hosts The Voice, for which he won an Emmy, which means he shuttles from coast to coast every week. ‘People probably think I’m in a fancy hotel or taking a private jet, and I’m on a goddamn red-eye,’ he says. ‘I’m hustling. This shit is a hustle.’

Last Call’s time slot will go to a new show called (here’s the sound-alike name again) A Little Latehosted by Canadian YouTube star Lilly Singh. Her channel has over 14 million subscribers, which is roughly 13 million more people than watched Last Call on a typical night. Daly’s happy to pass the baton. ‘She’s popular. She’s talented. She comes with a bag of tricks,’ he says. As for Daly, he’s got Today and The Voice. He’s maybe cooking up a reality show with his wife. He co-hosts a podcast for the Golf channel with pro golfer Rory McIlroy. ‘Someone just wrote to me on Twitter about it,’ Daly says. ‘They wrote, “Shut the hell up. I came into this because you have incredible access to Rory McIlroy, the No. 4 golfer in the world, so do me a favor and shut the fuck up.”’ As always, Daly is open to viewer feedback. ‘I wrote back, “A hundred percent.” It’s a good note. I should remember — that’s my role.’”