Thursday August 1, 2019

A new season of Million Dollar Listing: New York premieres tonight on Bravo.

The NFL returns tonight with the annual Hall of Fame game.

Sundance premieres No One Saw A Thing tonight.

Season 4 will be the final one for Baskets on FX. I am still really enjoying this season.

Netflix has ordered a 4th and final season of 13 Reasons Why. Season 3 will be available to stream on August 23.

Showtime has given a straight-to-series order to Rust, a drama based on Philipp Meyer’s debut novel American Rust, starring and executive produced by Jeff Daniels(The Newsroom, Godless). Oscar nominee Dan Futterman (Capote) will write multiple episodes of the series, which is co-produced with Platform One Media. Rust is a compelling family drama that will explore the tattered American dream through the eyes of complicated and compromised chief of police Del Harris (Daniels) in a Rust Belt town in southwest Pennsylvania. When the woman he truly loves sees her son accused of murder, Harris is forced to decide what he’s willing to do to protect him.”

Congrats to Vanderpump Rules’ Stassi Schroeder on her engagement.

Heidi Montag wants another baby — and she’s doing it on MTV’s schedule. The reality star and husband, Spencer Pratt, caused quite the scene over the weekend at Gucci in Beverly Hills, where they were sipping Champagne. The fame-hungry couple bumped into Page Six TV”co-host Elizabeth Wagmeister and revealed Montag’s trying for baby No. 2. ‘I asked MTV when would be the best time [to get pregnant] and they said, “Right around January!”’ she told Wagmeister. ‘That’s when I wanted it anyway, so it works out perfectly, because we’re not filming.’” Sure thing Heidi.

First Responders Live has been picked up by Fox for an additional 6 episodes.

Ariana Grande will make a cameo during Season 2 of the Showtime’s Kidding, which stars Jim Carrey.

Everything we know about Netflix and Shondaland's Bridgerton series.

Tyler Perry isn't wasting any time getting started with his massive content partnership with BET. The multihyphenate, who inked his mammoth deal with Viacom in July 2017, has announced his second series for the conglomerate's BET: dramatic comedy Sistas. Picked up straight to series, Sistas revolves around a group of single black women from different walks of life who bond over their one common thread: why they're single. Viewers will watch the women navigate their complicated love lives, careers and friendships through the ups and downs of living in a modern world of social media and unrealistic relationship goals.”

“Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile-only streaming video service Quibi is asking media companies and production studios to produce up to twice the amount of content for each episode of the programs they are creating for the platform so that viewers can choose between horizontal and vertical versions of a show. While that increases the workload for these companies, entertainment executives largely are not balking at Quibi’s so-called dual asset demand, though some worry that offering vertical and horizontal versions of videos will overcomplicate the viewing experience and turn off audiences. When Quibi debuts in April 2020, it will be neither a horizontal video platform like Netflix nor a vertical video platform like Snapchat. Instead, it will be a hybrid of the two. Viewers will be able to watch Quibi’s shows vertically or horizontally and switch between the two while watching a video on their phones. That may sound like Quibi is hedging its bet by neither following Snapchat’s vertical-only model nor risking ridicule by asking audiences to Go90 and turn their phones horizontally. However, entertainment executives who have seen demos of Quibi’s product said its horizontal-vertical hybrid viewing experience may help the platform to stand out in an increasingly crowded market….While platforms like YouTube and Facebook adjust their video players based on whether someone is viewing a video holding their phone vertically or horizontally, the difference with Quibi is that the app is not reorienting a single video but switching between two separate videos (the dual assets). When people hold their phone vertically, the vertical version of the video plays, and when they turn the phone to hold it horizontally, Quibi’s videos player switches to the horizontal version….Editing the two clips alone to work seamlessly requires companies allotting an extra day’s worth of post-production work, according to the second exec.”

DAZN is expanding its behind-the-scenes series The Making Of, setting the unprecedented launch across all nine of its global streaming markets on August 9 of a new soccer-themed installment. The nine-part original series relives the significant games that helped define soccer’s — er, football’s — greatest figures. Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr. and legendary football manager José Mourinho headline the show. Each 25-minute installment is dedicated to a particular match. Each of the three figures recounts three meaningful matches, recalling the emotion of the night and the impact it had on their careers and lives. Surrounding those centerpiece interviews are those with other players who were involved in the games, among them John O’Shea, Rafael Alcántara, Fernando Santos, Roberto Carlos and Julio Cesar. Journalists who covered the games and fans who were in the stadium join the reminiscences.”

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From The Verge: “Broadcast TV streaming app Locast had hoped that qualifying itself as a not-for-profit might be enough to avoid the wrath of the major networks and the same demise as Aereo.

“It was wrong on the first part. We’ll have to see about the second.

“Today, all four of the big broadcasters — ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC — filed a lawsuit against Locast under the argument that the free service is violating copyright law by retransmitting their also-free over-the-air television signals to its customers. The Wall Street Journal first broke news of the complaint.

“Locast doesn’t charge for streaming access, but it encourages users to make donations in order to keep the service running. ‘We really did our homework,’ David Goodfriend, Locast’s founder, told The New York Times earlier this year. ‘We are operating under parameters that are designed to be compliant within the law.’

“At that point, Locast had drawn in over 60,000 subscribers, and the broadcasters had already taken notice but not yet taken action. Now, here we are. Goodfriend said he was ready for a potential face-off with ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. There’s an exemption in copyright law for retransmission by a nonprofit, and that’s what the company will bet its defense on.

“‘Locast is an independent, non-profit organization that provides a public service retransmitting free over-the-air broadcasts,’ lead counsel Dave Hosp said. “Its activities are expressly permitted under the Copyright Act. The fact that no broadcasters have previously filed suit for more than a year and a half suggests that they recognize this. We look forward to defending the claims — and the public’s right to receive transmissions broadcast over the airwaves — in the litigationA court loss could be damaging for the networks, but that’s not dissuading them from trying to sue Locast into oblivion.

“‘Locast’s operation is an acknowledged effort to devalue the entire market for the rights to retransmit Plaintiffs’ copyrighted content,’ the court filing reads. ‘Indeed, Defendants have candidly admitted that their unauthorized streaming service aids authorized services that pay for the rights to stream or otherwise retransmit over-the-air broadcasts in their efforts to negotiate lower fees for those rights.’ This likely references a report that Charter representatives were briefly pointing customers toward Locast during a blackout that stemmed from a retransmission fee dispute.

“But the broadcasters are going a bit further and pulling AT&T and Dish into this fight because of their support of Locast. ‘Locast not only is securing important commercial advantages for itself, in forms including nationwide distribution of its application and valuable viewer data, but it is also operating in collaboration with, and for the commercial benefit of, two companies that are among the largest pay-TV distributors in the country,’ the complaint reads. Having Locast as a convenient backup would make TV providers more willing to drop local stations from their cable packages, the broadcasters are arguing.

“AT&T added the Locast app to DirecTV and U-verse set-top boxes back in May and has contributed funding to the service. That level of integration seems a step too far for the networks. As for Dish, Goodfriend previously worked at the satellite provider under Charlie Ergen, who has regularly criticized the rising retransmission fees that networks collect. ‘No, Charlie hasn’t given me any money,’ Goodfriend told the Times. ‘Charlie just said, “Good luck.”’ ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC seem to believe that the connection runs deeper than goodwill and motivational support.

“‘Dish has no more links to Locast than we do with over-the-air antennas, but we continue to believe consumers deserve a choice when it comes to how they receive their local broadcast channels, whether through satellite retransmission, over-the-air antennas or through other legal means,’ the satellite provider told Variety.

“This situation is somewhat similar to that of Aereo, a paid subscription service that provided access to the big four broadcast networks. Aereo’s defense was different: it gave every subscriber their own mini-antenna and insisted this strategy adhered to the law. The broadcasters vehemently disagreed, and the case went all the way to the US Supreme Court where Aereo was handed a defeat that quickly put it out of business.

“The parallel is not lost on the broadcasters. ‘Locast is simply Aereo 2.0, a business built on illegally using broadcaster content,’ the lawsuit says. ‘While it pretends to be a public service without any commercial purpose, Locast’s marketing and deep connections to AT&T and Dish make clear that it exists to serve its pay-tv patrons.’

“‘Locast is not the Robin Hood of television,’ the networks said. ‘Instead Locast’s founding, funding, and operations reveal its decidedly commercial purposes.’”

Here’s what I want to say on this….Locast STINKS. Since I don’t have CBS on DirecTV any more I have tried using the Locast app several times, both on my television and via the app on my phone, and the service is horrendous. So much so, that I (temporarily) subscribed to CBS All-Access so I can continue to watch a few things on that network while the dispute with DirecTV is being resolved.

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Per Decider, “[t]he end is nigh for Suits: the long-running legal drama has been a USA Network staple since its debut in June 2011, and when this current season wraps up, so too will the series. As it happens, the show’s profile has never been higher, thanks to one of its cast members having joined the long-running British reality series known as The Royal Family —it feels like it’s been going on for centuries at this point!— so securing a recurring gig on the final season of Suits would be a nice score for anyone. Having secured one of those plum roles, it’s doubtful that anyone would question Denise Crosby’s credentials: in addition to playing Lt. Tasha Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation, she’s been bouncing up and down the TV dial for quite some time now, having popped up on just about every drama of note for an episode or two, not to mention a number of high-profile and critically acclaimed films.

Decider talked to Crosby in conjunction with her Suits debut, got the scoop on her character, and learned just how much she loves the man who plays Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman), but she was also kind enough to indulge us as we asked her to reminisce about some of her past projects, which resulted in anecdotes about Pet SemataryMiracle Mile, Leonard Nimoy, the Tom Tom Club, and the Fox drama which she would’ve been happy to do forever but instead saw it cancelled after a mere 13 episodes:

To ask the obligatory first question, how did you find your way into the Suits family in the first place?

Oh, well, like anything, I had to audition. This is their final season, and this is a really dynamic, pivotal character, and they wanted to really be sure that this was the right move. So I tested, and Aaron Korsh, the creator, said, “That’s my Faye Richardson!” [Laughs.] So here we go!

How did they describe the character of Faye Richardson to you?

Well, Faye is what’s called a special master, which is an actual thing. She is sent by the New York Bar Association to come into the firm, and she delivers a court order giving her the complete control. At this point, they’ve had two managing partners be disbarred and an associate go to jail, and they’re on the edge of disaster and total chaos. So they’re allowed to have a chance to clean up their act, and I’m sort of the “fixer,” in that case.

Of course, despite trying to fix things, I’m sure they don’t exactly see you as “the good guy.”

Precisely. They don’t want someone coming in and making them do things their way.

Well, nobody likes change. 

[Laughs.] No. Especially not when you’re getting away with all kinds of shenanigans!

How was it for you to come onto the series? Not only is it heading for the end of its run with this season, but there’s just the whole thing of stepping into an pre-existing “family” like that.

Exactly. It can go either way, but I must say, this group was so welcoming and embracing and patient with me kind of getting up to speed. This is a well-oiled machine on every level. The actors, certainly, are trusting and familiar with each other, and it’s a very specific sort of rhythm and style, this kind of writing and the tone of the show. But they have been nothing but gracious and helpful.

I know working actors don’t always get to watch a whole lot of TV, but were you a Suits fan going in? Or if not, were you at least aware of the show?

Oh, sure, I was aware of it. I mean, you’d have to live under a rock to not be aware of that one, with our Duchess [Meghan Markle] coming out of there! [Laughs.] Well, not our duchess. England’s Duchess. We fought that war and won!

But it’s interesting: I had never seen the show, and I was cast, so I had to quickly kind of get up to speed and binge a little bit so that I could get an understanding. Certainly people have talked to me about Suits. I’ve heard people loving it. I’m thinking of one particular close friend of mine who said years ago, “You’re not watching Suits? What is wrong with you?” [Laughs.] But like you said, there’s so many things on TV, there’s no way you can watch all of it, unless… I don’t know, unless you sit in front of the TV 24/7. And I don’t!

Who do you tend to work with on the show? Or is it a case where you get to spread the wealth?

I’m pretty much working with everyone at this point. Some relationships are a little bit easier than others. Harvey gives me a good run for my money, and I’m trying to sort of gain the trust of Donna, who is sort of the heart and soul of the firm and may be the one who can be the most reasonable. I think Katrina as well is a very smart one. Basically, I’m provoking them into asking themselves, “What kind of lawyer do you ultimately want to be?” So it’s kind of going that way. But they all have their very unique personalities. Louis is just a riot. Rick Hoffman was the first one I kind of had real scenes with, and he’s the first person I appeal to. I’m basically delivering him the court order. He’s just… I just adore him. [Laughs.] I love him. His body language. Everything about him.

He’s actually the person I was most curious about in terms of working with him, because since the first season of that show, he’s struck me as being almost a modern-day Paul Lynde. 

Oh, my God, that’s really a very accurate description. You’re right! You’ve got to be on your toes with him, because he’ll try different stuff and he’ll change it up a little bit. And I love that. I’m just really tickled and ready to go wherever he wants to go with that. But I love that description of him! He’s just so loose-limbed and…he’s hysterically funny!

I wanted to ask about a few projects from your back catalog, starting with the fact that you were in a number of Blake Edwards movies. I know that part of the reason for that ongoing collaboration was that you were married to his son, Geoffrey, but I presume you must’ve worked well together, too.

Blake was just a master. He really ran just a beautifully crafted set and was such a fine director. I was blessed to be able to work with him and these incredible actors he hired. For me, it was just wonderful.

Before I even knew I was going to be talking to you, I noticed that Skin Deep had been added to  Amazon Prime, so I revisited it. I’d forgotten how funny it was. 

Oh, my God, I haven’t seen it in so long. Does it hold up?

I will say that it holds up predominantly because of John Ritter. He’s great. 

Well, what a gift it was to be able to work with him. I worked with him twice, actually. I did a TV movie with him as well, me and Katey Sagal. What a wonderful, wonderful guy. And what a loss.

Okay, the time has come to ask the requisite Star Trek: The Next Generation question. 

Oh, that old thing… [Laughs.]

Yeah, you know, a guy’s gotta ask. Looking back on your experience on the show and the short-lived run of Tasha Yar, do you still look back on that as a positive experience? Do you wish it had lasted longer? 

Oh, my God, yes, it was an extraordinary thing to be part of. It’s just bigger than the sum of its parts. It just continues, and it’s touched so many people. My favorite part of it, I think, is when I meet young women who were little girls when they were watching it and have now become scientists. They went into science because they saw women in these kinds of roles that were technical, and they were allowed to be strong, and that it was a possibility for them. That’s just, like, wow. I’m so encouraged by that and just really grateful to be part of that, to show girls that they can be strong.

I loved it when you returned as Sela. It seemed like you were more comfortable in her shoes than you were in Tasha’s.

Well, you know, it was a great surprise to be able to continue. I mean, when I died at the end of the first season, I never anticipated that I’d be back in any way! So it began with “Yesterday’s Enterprise” in the third season, which has become a fan favorite and is so well-written, and that kind of opened the door for me to kind of come up with the idea of this character Sela. It was kind of amazing, when you stop and think about it, what I was able to do with that. It was really good.

And you got to work with Leonard Nimoy.

Right? [Laughs.] How cool was that? Brent Spiner and I were both… You know, we kind of stepped away from the set and we went, “Wow, man, this is pretty cool, working with Spock!” Never thought that would happen…

And kind of a sidebar question, but when Patrick Stewart announced that he was going to be doing this Picard series, I was startled. What was your reaction? 

Oh, it was jaw-dropping! [Laughs.] I never thought that would happen! I just thought, the man had delivered that role and put the period at the end of the sentence. Done! And I remember him announcing it, because it was at the big Star Trek convention that they have annually in Las Vegas. It’s coming up next month, in fact! But there was this big presentation with him making this announcement. It was pretty secret. I mean, there were rumors, but none of the cast members knew. So it was pretty surprising! I hope it works in the way that he anticipates.

Lastly, do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on over the years that didn’t get the love you thought it deserved?

Yes. Absolutely. I did a series for Fox called Key West, and we only did 13 episodes, one season, but I just think that show… I would’ve been happy to let that thing run forever. It was such good writing, so colorful, and so interesting. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, but David Beard was the creator and writer, and it was one of Showtime’s very first collaborations with broadcast television. But it just didn’t get a fair shot. The pilot premiered opposite Bill Clinton’s inaugural ball, and I think Barbra Streisand was singing for the first time on television in, like, a hundred years or something. [Laughs.] So nobody tuned in. And then the head of Fox Television left to become the head of film production, and they bought in this new guy…and historically the new guys don’t like what the old guys develop. So we were cancelled. But to be down in Key West shooting a series with Jennifer Tilly and Fisher Stevens and this eclectic group of actors and colorful characters… I would’ve really kept going with that one!”

This interview has been condensed.

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Per Yahoo!, “Whitney Cummings knew Roseanne Barr's tweets were bad news for the Roseanne reboot — and now she says they were behind her decision to quit the show just over a week prior to it all coming to a head.

“Cummings was the co-showrunner of the ABC reboot, but as a hugely successful first season, which ran from March to May 22, 2018, came to an end, she abruptly quit. The reason given was that she was “too busy.” Less than two weeks later, on May 29, ABC canceled the show after Barr posted a racist tweet comparing Obama aid Valerie Jarrett, who is black, to an ape.

“In an interview on Daily Beast’s podcast The Last Laugh, Cummings reveals for the first time why she left. It had nothing to do with her busy schedule and everything to do with Barr’s tweets.

“‘I wanted her to get off Twitter,’ Cummings said of the show’s star. ‘I felt like it was going to come to a head. It was like whack-a-mole.’

“Cummings, who said she was unaware of Barr’s long history of offensive tweets prior to signing on as showrunner, called the situation ‘a nightmare’ and said she ‘was pissed’ at Barr for her behavior.

"‘We all worked really hard on that show and it's just a shame,’ Cummings said. ‘You put your heart and soul into something for 12 months and it's just for nothing.’

“Cummings said that she had been a Barr fan prior to getting involved in the reboot — and a big fan of the original show.

“‘I grew up poor and that was the first show that looked like my house,’ she said. It was ‘the first show that didn’t make me feel bad about myself,’ compared to Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place and shows of that era.

“As Cummings notes, Barr’s tweets were an issue behind the scenes before her firing. It has since come to light that in the the fall of 2017 — before the reboot even premiered — ABC execs were monitoring Barr’s tweets and meeting with her to discuss them. And a report called ‘Roseanne Barr’s Anti-Trans’ record was put together by the network as the show explored an LGBT storyline but had concerns due to Barr tweets. (An example the document cited was that Barr ‘tweeted story that Obamas killed Joan Rivers for saying Michelle Obama is a tranny.’)

“In fact, Barr had posted other racist tweets, conspiracy theories and Islamophobic comments prior to her firing. Barr also questioned whether the Parkland shooting survivors were child actors.

“However, Barr tweeting that Jarrett looked like the “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby” was the final straw. Wanda Sykes quit the show and Barr’s co-stars Sara Gilbert, Michael Fishman and Emma Kenney spoke out against her. (Barr, who has apologized for the tweet, has said she’ll never forgive Gilbert.) The network called Barr’s remark “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values” and the show was canceled.

“The show, in a new form — The Conners — lives on, of course, without Barr. Her character was killed off after suffering an opioid overdose. It was renewed for a second season and will return in Sept. 24.”

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Per Realscreen, “MTV’s hit dating format Are You the One? has been making headlines and attracting viewers since the announcement last May that the cast of its eighth season would be composed exclusively of cast members who are sexually fluid, meaning there are no gender limitations on who they might pair up with. This was a first for the traditionally straight series.

“‘We have seen incredible response to the show,’ Rob LaPlante tells Realscreen. LaPlante is co-president of unscripted prodco Lighthearted, which produces Are You the One? for the Viacom-owned youth-skewing cable network. He co-created Are You the One? with Jeff Spangler and serves as executive producer on the dating series, which has received media attention from unlikely outlets in response to the new season’s diverse cast and rejigged formula.

“Everyone from The Atlantic, to NPR, to Vice, to Slate, to the New York Post, to CNN has tapped into the energy coming off of this season’s dating format behemoth, and no one is skating around the question of sexual orientation, which drives much of the discussion.

“And there’s been a groundswell of support from fans. ‘We’ve now got three weeks of ratings back, and they have gone up week over week, every single week,’ says LaPlante. ‘I think that the audience is seeing something that they find relevant.’

Are You the One?, which first premiered in 2014, sees 16 singles heading to Hawaii in search of their perfect romantic match and a possible US$1 million cash prize. Joining the series this season is Dr. Frankie, a relationship expert who helps the singles navigate dating and their own behaviors and priorities. Actor, model and entertainment reporter Terrence J. serves as host.

“The change to a sexually fluid cast — including gender diverse contestants — wasn’t exactly a no-brainer, as the series was already a ratings success with a solid fanbase. ‘Any time you make a change to an existing franchise like this, you get concerned that you might aggravate the audience in some way, just because they like it — they’re watching it,’ LaPlante explains.

“Still, the timing felt right, and MTV was immediately on board, he says: ‘I think reality shows mirror life. And I think the world is evolving on these issues.’ With seven seasons under their belts, the Lighthearted team had noticed increasing discussions around sexual fluidity during the casting process. Refocusing the show just meant listening to the people interested in participating, while speaking to MTV’s young and diverse audience in a way that expanded representation, making the show more inclusive.

“And at the end of the day, that didn’t mean anyone had to reinvent the wheel.

“‘These people are just 20-year-olds who would like to hook up and are single. Nothing out of the ordinary. In every single season of this show, the cast — to some degree, at some point in time — are bucking broncos and they’re on emotional roller coasters,’ says LaPlante. Season eight ‘was the normal level of extreme emotional roller coaster that we always have.’

“Lighthearted produces Are You the One? for MTV, with Matt Odgers executive producing alongside LaPlante and Spangler.

“The dating format is currently airing its eighth season on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.”