Tuesday July 16, 2019

Suits returns tomorrow. That’s all.

MTV premieres a new season of Ex On The Beach tonight.

“Yahoo Sports kicks off its Play It Forward series with the Seattle Seahawks’ Shaquill Griffin and his twin brother and teammate Shaquem Griffin. The series takes viewers into the lives of NFL players, and how they reward family, friends and teammates for their support in achieving their wildest dreams. Seattle Seahawks twin brothers linebacker Shaquem Griffin (L) and cornerback Shaquill Griffin leave the field following a preseason game against the Colts on Aug. 9, 2018. (AP) In Episode 1, the Griffin brothers take us on a tour of a couple of Atlanta spots, including the Georgia Aquarium. But the trip that most pertains to the spirit of giving in Play It Forward is a stop at the Icebox jewelry store, where the brothers go hunting for a gift for mom.”

Alton Brown is returning to host Good Eats on Food Network with a new title: Good Eats: The Return.  In its first new episodes since 2012, Brown pursues an all new map of food exploration. The series premieres August 25.

A sneak peak at CNBC’s upcoming series Crash Pad starring JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers. It premieres on July 23 and looks pretty bad.

And a trailer for Showtime’s upcoming show On Becoming A God In Central Florida. “This dark comedy series stars Kirsten Dunst as Krystal Stubbs, a minimum-wage water park employee who lies, schemes and cons her way up the ranks of the cultish, multibillion-dollar pyramid scheme that drove her family to ruin in the first place. Premieres Sunday, August 25th at 10/9c on Showtime.

Enter for a chance to stay in the newly renovated Brady Bunch house.

Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ has found a new home at Pluto TV and will return sometime in August.

Quibi is to launch two daily news shows aimed at millennials after striking a deal with NBC News. The broadcaster’s news operations becomes the first producer to partner with Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s short-form digital service for its curated daily news strand Daily Essentials. The company will produce a morning and evening news show, each under six minutes, seven days a week. The shows will have hosts and dedicated correspondents, who will create original news content out of New York’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza and will feature mixed reality graphics. Breaking news coverage will be powered by NBC News Now, the network’s digital streaming service, and Quibi will have access to NBC News’ worldwide newsgathering teams, as well as its archival footage.”

“More than two years after the 13 Reasons Why season one finale stirred controversy over a graphic suicide scene, Netflix has edited the scene. The original, nearly three-minute-long scene — which is no longer available on Netflix — aired midway through the season one finale. It depicted breakout star Katherine Langford's Hannah assessing her life in the mirror before she is depicted sitting in a bathtub, tear on her cheek, taking a razor blade to her left wrist and piercing the skin. The camera then holds on the character as she shrieks in pain as blood gushes from an increasingly long cut that extends nearly up to her elbow. Hannah is then seen gasping for air as her breathing ultimately slows and bloodstained water tips out of the tub. Not long after, Hannah's mother (Kate Walsh) discovers her daughter's lifeless body in the blood-filled tub. Male lead Dylan Minnette provides voiceover during the entire scene as he tells the school's guidance counselor (played by Derek Luke) precisely what happened to Hannah. The episode opened with a warning to viewers that the installment ‘may not be suitable for younger audiences’ and included "graphic depictions of violence and suicide." The new scene, which has been updated on the Netflix site, features Hannah looking at herself in the mirror before cutting to her parents' reaction to her suicide. There is no longer any depiction of the character taking a razor blade to her wrists and the immediate aftermath. Sources say Netflix will also monitor and issue take-downs for any pirated clips that feature the original, unedited scene.”

Amazon has landed the rights to develop a series based on Lee Child’s best-selling novel character Jack Reacher, which will be led by Scorpion creator Nick Santora. Santora will serve as writer, executive producer and showrunner on the upcoming series, which was given a script-to-series to commitment by the retail giant. The series is a co-production between Amazon Studios, Skydance Television and Paramount Television, the same team behind Amazon’s “Jack Ryan” series, which has been greenlit through Season 3.”

jeff-probst-hosts-survivor-south-pacific-when-the-emmy-news-photo-130713430-1556916400.jpg

Per The Ringer, “[i]t should not be very difficult to make a good season of Survivor. The show’s basic formula has been a winner since the very first season aired in 2000, when Survivor: Borneo introduced a simple conceit: Stick a bunch of people in an isolated place and have them vote each other out until one winner remains. It’s a perfect blend of prisoner’s dilemma gameplay, Game of Thrones-ian backstabbing, island locales, and beach bods. From there, all it takes to make great TV is a good cast of characters.

Survivor’s straightforward premise creates tension by forcing the contestants to figure out how to balance three things:

  1. Controlling the game enough to not get voted out, but…

  2. Not being such an obvious threat that others target you, while…

  3. Not being so under-the-radar that you can’t convince the jury you played the best game.

“It’s a balancing act that is nearly impossible to master. Overplay your hand, and your allies will blindside you. But wait too long to make your signature move, and you end up in the dreaded ‘goat’ role with no shot at earning the respect of the jury. All of this is underscored by an extreme sense of stakes: One misstep, and your chance at a million dollars goes up in literal smoke delivered via Jeff’s torch snuffer.

Survivor has ridden this compelling formula to 38 seasons and nearly two decades on the air. But CBS can’t get out of its own way and leave well enough alone. Last spring as part of Season 38, Survivor introduced a twist they called the Edge of Extinction. After players were voted off, they could remain at a desolate island and wait for a chance to win a challenge that would grant them re-entry into the contest. This twist virtually broke the game, ultimately allowing a player who was voted out on day eight to come back and win the entire thing. What’s worse: The Edge of Extinction will reportedly return for Season 40, which will air in the spring of 2020.

“Season 40 is set to be the most anticipated season in the show’s history; it will reportedly bring back 20 previous Sole Survivors for an All-Winners battle royale. Fans have been frothing at the mouth for an All-Winners season for years, ever since it became clear that Survivor had racked up enough seasons and winners to make such an idea possible. But instead of making Season 40 a relatively classic contest buoyed by the most stacked cast in reality TV history, CBS has decided to bring back a reviled twist. And just … what the actual hell?

“The Edge of Extinction stripped Season 38 of so much of the show’s formula: Players didn’t have to do the usual high-wire act—they could lose balance, get voted out, and still get another chance. The winner, Chris Underwood, overplayed early in the season and was voted out, and when he came back in he was granted an idol—as if reentering the game wasn’t its own reward—along with the other advantage of not having contributed to the vote-offs of many of the jury members who ended up awarding him the million dollars. In fact, he spent nearly four weeks palling around with the jury on Extinction Island, an unprecedented advantage. His win is easily the most confounding in the show’s history.

“The Edge of Extinction was a clear failure—to bring it back for a season that doesn’t need any overwrought twist to generate interest defies belief.

“The rationale for the decision is hard to parse. Perhaps to get such an all-star cast together, CBS had to shell out far more than usual in appearance fees, and the Edge of Extinction twist guarantees that most of these returnees will get at least some screen time for the majority of the season. There’s no concern over fan favorites getting voted out early—the show will always be able to cut back to their adventures on Extinction Island. But this creates more problems for the storytelling: Extinction Island is boring, and cutting to it in Season 38 took away time from the contestants who were in the thick of the action. It thinned out the plot, and in Season 40 the Edge of Extinction will take away from Survivor legends that are still in the game.

“To be fair, Survivor can’t be blamed for tweaking with its formula over the years. Without some experimentation, we never would have gotten the hidden immunity idol—first introduced in 2005’s Guatemala, the show’s 11th season—which has become an essential gameplay element. But Survivorhas been allowing twists to control the gameplay for a while now. Ever since the show permanently relocated to Fiji in 2016, Survivor has needed to employ more and more elaborate themes to differentiate one season from the next. There are vote steals, legacy advantages, tribe swaps, extra votes, exile islands, fire-making challenges, and more immunity idols than you can count. It’s enough to make your head hurt. And with every season that introduces a change, the show feels less and less like Survivor and more and more like … something else.

Survivor’s inability to stick with its tried-and-true formula would be comical if it weren’t coming at the expense of a truly great (or once-great?) reality show. For example, Season 39, which will air this fall, will feature Sandra and Boston Rob in mentor roles for a cast of newbies, and the show built nonsensical, haunting statues of their heads to accompany them.

“This is the part of the blog where I have to cover my bases and acknowledge that, despite what appears to be a complete lack of self-awareness from the show’s producers, these next two seasons of Survivor may still turn out good. Ghost Island (Season 36) and David vs. Goliath (Season 37)—which both aired just last year—had contrived themes but managed to be enjoyable nonetheless, with the latter being one of the best seasons in recent history.

“But those installments were entertaining despite their themes and twists, not because of them. They had great casts that produced natural drama. In between seasons, though, Survivor has been chipping away at its core formula, slowly eroding the basic premise that made it a reality TV tentpole nearly two decades ago. Bringing back the Edge of Extinction is the biggest chip to that formula yet. There are a lot of sharks in the South Pacific Ocean; Survivor may have just jumped one.”

sean-diddy-combs-ellen-degeneres.jpg

Per Deadline, “Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and MTV are reteaming to bring back iconic music-competition series Making The Band for premiere in 2020. A global casting call begins today across all major social media platforms in the search for the next breakout superstar.

Making the Band first premiered on MTV in 2002 with Combs at the helm. The series quickly became a breakthrough concept in music and television that chronicled the real-life drama and intimate journeys of chart-topping musical acts Danity Kane, Day26, Da Band and Donnie Klang. Under Combs’ tutelage, MTV’s Making the Band changed the game for the music-competition genre, creating some of the most memorable and buzzed about moments in popular culture.

“Earlier this week, Grammy-winning artist and business mogul Combs set off a social media firestorm by suggesting the idea of the show’s return, prompting an outpouring of support by fans.

“‘MTV and I are back together again!! Making the Band is coming back bigger, bolder and more cutting edge. MTB on MTV was the pioneer of reality TV. We’re going to bring that supernatural energy back to the format and bring the world it’s next global superstars,’ said Combs.

“‘We couldn’t be happier to welcome back the incomparable Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs to his rightful home at MTV,’ said Nina L. Diaz, MTV’s President of Entertainment. “Making the Band was ahead of its time and the ultimate disruptor – fans everywhere have been clamoring for a return and they are in for the biggest, most iconic season yet.’

“Combs announced the news today revealing open call across all major social media platforms, including Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, by uploading a video submission using #MTBCasting. Casting opportunities will be announced in the coming weeks. Contestants must be at least 18 years of age and be able to comply with the eligibility requirements and all rules. Watch

“MTV is also bringing on music performance app Smule to launch the Making the Band campaign, a first-of-its-kind feature offering fans a curated playlist of songs to choose from to create video auditions that can be shared across social media.”

tmp_sNOyuZ_d4668cc61d106f47_d6b03984f5feac360e7d27df2a7162686c3382397ef82b189e4f23f7dd92828c699b1fd6979fbfb652638c2ef0312a4e.jpg

From TheWrap: “If you weren’t already confused about where Maddy and Nate stood before Sunday’s Euphoria, then you most definitely were by the end of the episode, because the hour offered more questions than answers when it comes to the teens’ complicated relationship.

“Episode 105, titled 03 Bonnie and Clyde, explored the aftermath of Nate (Jacob Elordi) strangling Maddy (Alexa Demie) at the carnival, with her trying desperately (and unsuccessfully) to cover up the bruises on her neck to keep him from getting in trouble, and him trying desperately to keep his parents from getting upset with him.

“The installment, which also revealed Nate and Maddy’s history, ended with the two embracing at a motel, apparently putting the dramatic ordeal behind them and attempting to be together in secret.

“Despite their incredibly dysfunctional relationship, Elordi tells TheWrap he thinks ‘Nate really loves Maddy — 100%.’

“‘I do believe he’d do anything for her, ‘he said. ‘I don’t doubt any of what they say they feel for each other in Episode 5. I think they feel like it’s them vs. the world.’

“He added: ‘I think their focus for next week is figuring out how they can be together in a world that doesn’t want them to be, they’re going to be faced with a lot of harsh realities that will put their relationship to the test.’

“The subject of whether or not Nate is gay has been brought up more than once on screen this season and Sunday’s episode raised it once more, with other students at school questioning Nate’s sexuality after his fight with Maddy. Elordi can’t tell us one way or the other, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t put a great deal of thought into the matter.

“‘I have a world of thoughts on Nate’s sexuality and it’s something that I dwelled on a lot leading up to and during the show, I think he develops as a person as the series progresses,’ Elordi said. ‘As for his sexuality, I can’t say.’

“Jennifer Morrison, who directed Sunday’s Euphoria, told TheWrap that when she and Elordi spoke about the episode, ‘he talked a lot about how he feels like Nate really believes that he loves Maddy.’

“‘For him it’s real, in his mind he believes he loves her,’ she said. ‘That doesn’t mean it’s healthy or he handles it right or treats her in a way that’s respectful, but based on his baggage and his damaged situation, even with all that, he really believes he loves her. So we were operating from a place that he is genuinely fighting for this relationship. I can’t speak to other episodes, but ultimately that could be him running from his sexuality that could be him numbing some of what he knows about his father or confusion. Or all of that’s mixed together. But in Episode 5, we really took the stance he was going to do whatever it takes to make it work with Maddy at this point.’

“Speaking of baggage, Nate’s issues with his father, Cal (Eric Dane), are piling up as he deals with his anger over his father’s hidden sexuality — and the fact he committed statutory rape with Jules (Hunter Schafer), who Nate has threatened in order to keep her quiet. All of this might be what leads Nate back to Maddy in the end.

“‘Nate’s whole life he has lived with his dad’s secret and I think when we find him in the story we’re catching him at an age where he’s finally starting to confront it and question him,’ Elordi told us. ‘I think he’s less worried about what his father thinks as he is about keeping this idea of normalcy alive. Maybe she’s even a challenge to his father in some kind of way.’”

Love-Island-USA-Feature-Image.jpg

From Vulture: “Love Island, the new CBS version of the popular U.K. reality franchise, is much like the other entries in the long history of inescapable fictional islands (Crusoe’s island, Lost’s island, Gilligan’s Island). Maybe you were trying to get to the island on purpose. Maybe you washed up there by random chance. Regardless, once you’ve arrived, it seems like it should be relatively easy to leave, especially because life on the island is often stultifyingly boring. And yet, somehow, leaving is hard. The island pulls you in. You may be stuck there for the duration.

“This is more true for Love Island’s audience than for its participants: Viewers must stay with Love Island seemingly eternally because it’s a nightly reality format, so committing to the show requires committing to hour-long episodes every weeknight. Participants are not stuck for quite as long. They’re all trapped together in a villa on Fiji, yes, but they’re also sometimes kicked off the island, especially if they fail to be in an officially designated couple by the time a ‘recoupling ceremony’ rolls around. Eventually, the couple who makes it all the way to the end wins $100,000.

“But the timing of recoupling ceremonies, and the structure for how one actually works, are designed to be a bit of a mystery. In fact, all the rules of Love Island are purposely vague. Games happen sometimes, a format the cheeky announcer readily admits ‘is just a reality-TV mechanism designed to reveal the islander’s deepest and dirtiest secrets.’ Occasionally the islanders receive text messages informing them of things like an upcoming game, or that they get to go on a date with someone, or that a recoupling ceremony is nigh.

“On the first week of Love Island, after two new male participants arrived to shake up the early established couples, they received texts informing them that America had voted: Dylan would go on a date with Alexandra, and Cormac would go on a date with Caro. Then, in the middle of that date, Dylan and Cormac received another text informing them that Alexandra and Caro would be shuffled off back to the villa, and they should each pick a new date for the rest of the evening. There was no way to know the texts would be coming when they did (although viewers did vote for the initial dating couples), no idea that the dates would be broken up midway through, no meaningful understanding of what these dates would accomplish that just hanging around the villa together wasn’t already accomplishing, and little way to predict how soon a recoupling might be coming. On the island, there’s not much to do except give yourself up to the whims of the mercurial producer-gods.

“While participants wait for those whims to arrive, they do what comes naturally to a dozen hot singles trapped together in a tropical villa with plenty of alcohol but no access to the outside world. They … work out. This is not a euphemism. The trouble with the U.S. Love Island, at least so far, is that, in spite of all the pressure from unknowable producers who insert dramatic twists whenever they can, in spite of the inherent drama of being trapped together in a villa, and in spite of the most effective Love Island premise — which is that couples have to sleep in a bed together even though they barely know each other — nothing interesting happens. The betrayals are low-key. The participant who was kicked off in the first week did not seem upset. The relationships currently forming seem mostly friendly, with very little sexual tension. Every time a camera catches two people having a potentially fraught conversation, it mostly fizzles. And meanwhile, the background scenery is almost perpetually full of contestants lifting weights. That’s fine, of course — the dress code for Love Island is tiny bathing suit plus hilariously visible microphone pack, so it’s hard to blame any of them for wanting to look their best. But it adds to the sense that, like Robinson Crusoe trapped on his island for weeks on end, the real challenge of the experience is just filling the time.

“Still, there is something about it, something about the insularity and banality of it all, that makes the show hard to quit. Maybe it’s the unknowability of it, the refusal to outline how any of the rules work, or to even commit to the existence of rules at all. Maybe it’s that the hot singles are all new faces, bringing with them none of the exhausting personal histories that preload the drama on Bachelor in Paradise, a similar ‘singles in bikinis’ reality format. Maybe it’s that none of them have yet been revealed as villains. It’s boring, sure, but also after the first week no one hates each other. That’s a surprisingly rare commodity on love-based reality TV.

“That may change as people get to know one another better, as feelings get stronger, and as the producers start to inevitably double down on the dramatic twists. For right now, though, the appeal of Love Island may just be that, for a show about people trapped together on a villa and forced to share beds with strangers, it’s surprisingly comforting. Are there more interesting things to watch? Sure. But is it nice to watch an unexpectedly gentle reality show about hot, superficial singles just trying their best to get along while wearing bikinis and not (as yet) being embroiled in messy, unsubstantiated sexual-assault allegations? Strangely enough, for right now, it is.”

Spot on.