CBS debuts Love Island tonight. “Love Island starts with ten sexy singles in impossibly small bathing suits living in a villa. For the American version they’re in the tropical paradise of Fiji — not that any of these kids are going to get to leave the house. The five men and five women are immediately paired up and share queen-size beds in one giant room. Slowly but surely, new guys and girls are added to the mix to see if they can “turn the heads” of those in couples. There are regular ‘recouplings’ and those who aren’t in a couple are kicked out of the villa. The most popular couple at the end, as voted on by the public, wins a (small) cash prize.”
If you like Paradise Hotel and Bachelor In Paradise, this RIGHT up your alley.
The MLB All-Star Game airs tonight on Fox.
Last night’s Home Run Derby was one for the ages.
NBC premieres Bring The Funny tonight. “The 10-episode series will bring together some of the most prolific comedians in the industry to serve as judges - Saturday Night Live's longest-running cast member, Kenan Thompson, cultural tastemaker Chrissy Teigen and comedy icon Jeff Foxworthy. Comedian Amanda Seales will serve as host for the competition. In partnership with the international organization Just for Laughs, which has given rise to some of today's most successful comedic acts via its iconic festivals, tours and television series, Bring the Funny will feature the best of the best stand-ups, sketch troupes and comedic variety acts. From solo comics to sketch troupes to musicians, magicians, podcasters, puppeteers, YouTubers and more - anyone who can make audiences laugh will have the chance to receive the career-changing $250,000 prize package and see their name in lights in the Bring the Funny showcase.”
Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix special is now available to stream.
Netflix has renewed The Society for a 2nd season.
“Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s short-form video platform Quibi has put in development The Fugitive, from Scorpion creator Nick Santora, Thunder Road Films, 3 Arts Entertainment and Warner Bros. TV. The Fugitive is a new take on the classic title, which Warner Bros. owns. The studio previously produced the 1993 movie starring Harrison Ford. There also was a The Fugitive TV series, created by Roy Huggins and starring David Janssen, which aired on ABC from 1963 to 1967. It was produced by Quinn Martin Productions and United Artists Television.”
CNN journalists Jake Tapper, Don Lemon and Dana Bash will moderate the next Democratic debates, which will again feature 20 candidates across 2 nights. The debates will take place on Tuesday, July 30 and Wednesday, July 31.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, “Amazon is looking to Girls Trip scribe Tracy Oliver and Amy Poehler for its next scripted comedy.
“The retail giant/streamer has handed out a 10-episode, straight-to-series order for an untitled comedy written by Oliver and produced by Poehler. Previously titled Harlem, the single-camera comedy follows the lives of four black women — friends from their college days at NYU — as they navigate sex, relationships and chasing their dreams.
”Oliver will be credited as the show's creator, writer and exec producer. Poehler will exec produce the series via her Universal Television-based Paper Kite banner. 3 Arts' Dave Becky and Paper Kite's head of development, Kim Lessing, also exec produce.
“This is Paper Kite's first show for Amazon and joins Netflix's Russian Doll, Fox's animated comedy Duncanville, NBC's unscripted series Making It and Adult Swim's Three Busy Debras at the company. Paper Kite's credits also include Comedy Central's Broad City and Hulu's Difficult People as well as Netflix feature Wine Country, the latter of which served as Poehler's directorial debut.
“The series marks a reunion for Poehler with former NBC execs-turned-Amazon Studios leaders Jennifer Salke and Vernon Sanders, with whom she worked on Parks and Recreation.
"‘This series is a dream project for me,’ said Oliver. ‘I found the perfect partners in Amy Poehler, Amazon Studios, and Universal, who have championed this project from the beginning. I can’t wait to get started and share the story of these four women navigating the complexities of adulthood through their unbreakable friendship.’
“The untitled Amazon show is Oliver's second series order, joining TV Land-turned-Paramount Network-turned BET streaming service's reboot of First Wives Club, starring Michelle Buteau, Jill Scott and Ryan Michelle Bathe.
"‘We are huge fans of Tracy and have long admired her work,’ said Sanders, Amazon co-head of TV. ‘She’s an incredibly talented writer and producer, and we’re thrilled to work with her on a project that reflects the kind of inclusive, joyful creative content we want to be involved with at Amazon Studios, and that our Amazon Prime Video customers want to see. We’re also so excited to be in business with Amy and Paper Kite. Jen Salke and I have known Amy for many years, and we’re so pleased to have the opportunity to work with her again.’
“The Oliver comedy joins a scripted roster at Amazon that also includes The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Boys, Carnival Row, The Expanse, Fleabag, Goliath, Hanna, The Hunt, Invincible, Jack Ryan and Lord of the Rings, among many others.”
From The Atlantic: “Of the children on Big Little Lies, Chloe (Darby Camp) has always been one of the more perceptive ones. In Season 1, she tried to mend fences between Ziggy (Iain Armitage) and Amabella (Ivy George). In an earlier episode this season, she braved her mother Madeline’s (Reese Witherspoon) wrath by calling her ‘unhinged,’ a harsh burn from a second grader. And last night’s episode sees her wordlessly hugging her father, Ed (Adam Scott), prompting him to break down in tears.
“There’s no way Chloe knows that Ed and Madeline had just had another devastating conversation about their crumbling marriage. But she’s picked up on their pain and is weighed down by their emotional distress.
“This far into its second season, Big Little Lies doesn’t have to include moments such as these, considering how much ground the HBO drama still has to cover in its remaining two episodes. But Chloe’s display of affection for her father is a valuable reminder of how children—despite the efforts of the adults around them to protect them from strife—end up carrying a heavy emotional burden in their families. Though they may not know the particulars, their desire for clarity makes them extra sensitive to their parents’ turmoil.
“The show touched on this theme earlier in the season with Jane (Shailene Woodley) and Ziggy. Episode 5 explores it more deeply, in part through the custody battle between Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and her manipulative mother-in-law, Mary Louise (Meryl Streep), over Celeste’s twins. The boys (Nicholas and Cameron Crovetti), grieving their father’s death, have been lashing out: They get expelled at school after sending a bully to the hospital, and one of them calls Celeste a ‘bitch’ when she admonishes them for their actions. Big Little Lies has raised the question before of whether the boys have learned aggression from their abusive father, but here they seem more like they’re trying to get their mother’s attention.
“The twins’ reactiveness is apparent, too, when Celeste comes to them for help. Needing to prove herself a fit mother to a judge, she explains as she tucks them into bed that Mary Louise is ‘worried’ about her well-being, but that she thinks she’s fine, so it’s important that they say how much they want to stay with her. In response, they pepper her with questions: Why would grandma do this? Should they say they don’t like grandma? And then, in a sweet, innocent scene, they tell her they’ll do whatever she needs them to. ‘We can protect you,’ one of them says. ‘Yeah,’ echoes the other, ‘we can say whatever you want us to say.’ At that, Celeste tries to walk her instruction back: ‘You do not need to protect me, alright?’ she tells them. ‘You just have to tell the truth, that you want to live here.’
“To the twins, such a circular conversation, accompanied by their mother’s apparent anxiety, must be upsetting—even if they don’t show it. And they aren’t the only ones feeling the strain. The episode shows each of the Monterey Five’s children trying to understand their parents: There’s Ziggy, broaching the question of whether he’d grow up to become like his father to Jane. There’s Skye (Chloe Coleman) curling up to and comforting Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz) in the hospital, where Bonnie is caring for her ill mother, Elizabeth (Crystal Fox). (Even the flashbacks that show Elizabeth’s aggression toward her daughter illustrate, in a different way, the long-term strain that parents can put on their children.)
“Finally, there’s poor Amabella, once again affected by the circumstances her parents—amid their bankruptcy and fraying marriage—have created. Her mother, Renata (Laura Dern), is stinging from Mary Louise’s vicious comments about her parenting style. ‘You work, don’t you, Renata?’ Mary Louise says. ‘That must be especially devastating, for a working mom to lose her house, her belongings, because, just to think about the sacrifice and all the missed dinners with kids … so many many moments lost, and for what? A screening room. Maybe a boat.’
“Feeling guilty, Renata later keeps Amabella home from school for some ‘mother-daughter time.’ But her daughter intuits deeper troubles. ‘It’s because we’re broke, isn’t it?’ she asks. The question pains Renata, and her answer—that not everything has to be about money even though it does, sort of—fails to clear up Amabella’s worries. After all, she’s missing school to palliate Renata’s sense of culpability, and one day of playing hooky won’t erase the turbulence of their family’s plight.
“The adults of Big Little Lies have become entangled in personal crises throughout the second season, but it’s the next generation that has quietly absorbed it all. As Mary Louise’s lawyer tells Celeste, no matter the outcome of their legal proceedings, ‘the biggest losers would be the children.’”
Per EW, “[r]eady for some new info about HBO’s mysterious Game of Thrones prequel series?
“EW recently spoke to author and executive producer George R.R. Martin about showrunner Jane Goldman’s pilot, which is currently filming in Northern Ireland. HBO and Martin have previously revealed the show takes place roughly 5,000 years before the events in Game of Thrones, when Westeros was a very different place, and leads up to an epic confrontation with the White Walkers known as The Long Night. Since some fans have been concerned that the show is pre-Targaryen (and therefore pre-dragon), we asked Martin what are some families and creatures that are around during this time period.
“Martin gave some intriguing hints about the state of Westeros during this time period, and even noted a possible new title:
1. Westeros is divided into roughly 100 kingdoms in the prequel. ‘We talk about the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros; there were Seven Kingdoms at the time of Aegon’s Conquest,’ Martin says. ‘But if you go back further then there are nine kingdoms, and 12 kingdoms, and eventually you get back to where there are a hundred kingdoms — petty kingdoms — and that’s the era we’re talking about here.’ The Seven Kingdoms maintained some degree of order (at least, until war broke out). So it sounds like Westeros could be even more dangerous and chaotic and lawless than it is in GoT — like Wild West Westeros.
2. There are Starks and direwolves. The pack survives. This should be obvious given the time period (the Starks were descended from the First Men), but in case there was any doubt Martin confirms the fan-favorite family is around. ‘The Starks will definitely be there,’ he said. And while much has been made about the fact the prequel predates dragons, that doesn’t mean there won’t be other creatures. ‘Obviously the White Walkers are here — or as they’re called in my books, The Others — and that will be an aspect of it,’ Martin says. ‘There are things like direwolves and mammoths.’
3. There will not be any Lannisters — at least not at first… The prequel predates the rise of the Lannister family, Martin says. But there is another family currently residing in the future Lannister homestead. ‘The Lannisters aren’t there yet, but Castlery Rock is certainly there; it’s like the Rock of Gibraltar,’ he says. ‘It’s actually occupied by the Casterlys — for whom it’s still named after in the time of Game of Thrones.’ The Casterlys were supposedly swindled from their homestead by Lann the Clever — who founded House Lannister — though it’s unclear if this tale will be told in the prequel.
4. It’s a true ensemble. HBO’s cast breakdown appeared to suggest the show might be led by a trio of female leads (Naomi Watts, Naomi Ackie, and Denise Gough). Asked about this, Martin said the prequel — like Game of Thrones — is more accurately described as an ensemble story. ‘I hesitate to use the word “lead,”’ Martin says. ‘As you know for Game of Thrones, we never even nominated anybody for lead actress or lead actor [during awards season] until recently; it was always for supporting [categories] because the show is such an ensemble. I think that will be true for this show too. We don’t have leads so much as a large ensemble cast.’
5. The show might get a slightly different title than the one you’re expecting. The prequel is still officially untitled, Martin emphasizes. In the past, the author has suggested the title The Long Night. One behind-the-scenes factor that complicated this choice is that the third episode of Game of Thrones season 8 is also titled The Long Night. While The Long Night remains Martin’s preferred title, there is another similar possibility being considered. ‘I heard a suggestion that it could be called The Longest Night, which is a variant I wouldn’t mind,’ he says. ‘That would be pretty good.’
“While Martin has many projects in the works, including the prequel pilot, he notes he’s currently only writing one thing: The sixth Ice and Fire novel The Winds of Winter.”
Some industry fodder courtesy of Deadline: “Six years ago, 20th Century Fox TV made a giant off-network deal with FX for The Simpsons. Shortly after Disney’s March acquisition of major Fox assets, including 20th TV and FX, the studio — now part of Disney Television Studios — made a new deal so the comedy could be announced as a cornerstone of the new Disney+ streaming platform, and another agreement for repeats of the show to also air on Disney’s Freeform.
“A new deal template, which is being floated by the recently formed Disney TV Studios as well as sibling FX Prods., will eliminate all that. I hear Disney TV studio executives have been informing agencies and producers of a new compensation model they are looking to employ across the board for broadcast, cable and digital series. It would replace the current profit participation blueprint and would aid the company’s flexibility to distribute content within its ecosystem of networks and digital platforms.
“Disney likely won’t be alone. Warner Bros TV has already been experimenting with a similar setup, I hear. It is part of an industrywide push among studios to move beyond backend. It is a push that could raise legal issues, by shifting from paying talent a percentage of a show’s profits to fixed cash amounts so studios can put series wherever they want without having to report to profit participants. It is a major paradigm shift that some observers tout as being even more significant in its ramifications for the industry than the ongoing WGA-ATA standoff.
“Referred to as ‘per-point,’ the model currently being pursued by Disney simplifies the way profit participation fees are paid off. Each point of an upcoming series’ backend is assigned a numerical value that is uniform across the portfolio of shows. The payments to creators/producers start right away, and the value goes up the longer a series runs. It varies based on on the show’s ratings performance and awards recognition.
“In exchange, the studio gets the right to exploit the show on any platform without having to make a separate deal for profit participants. The proposed model streamlines dealmaking in a multi-platform universe, especially in one like Disney that includes multiple streaming and cable networks in addition to broadcast. It also would prevent profit participation-related lawsuits like the one 20th TV has been embroiled in over Bones.
“While the template is not breaking new ground for streaming series, it would be a game-changer for a broadcast business steeped in the decades-old tradition of deficit financing which, in success, leads to a profit participant financial windfall of tens of millions of dollars from off-network, streaming and international sales starting 4-5 years into the show’s run.
“Amazon Studios is believed to have been the first company to introduce a per-point model for its shows a couple of years ago. I hear its version of the model involves escalators for multiple seasons and the payoff of the points’ value after a threshold is reached — for example a fourth season — somewhat similar to the traditional broadcast setup in which profit participants start to get backend payments once a series amasses a significant number of episodes (usually after four seasons) and is sold in off-network syndication.
“Netflix’s cost-plus model bypasses backend altogether as the platform takes on all worldwide rights exclusively. It involves the streaming platform effectively ‘buying out’ series auspices’ backend at the outset, in exchange for paying a full license fee plus a premium (typically in the 125%-130% range). It allows studios to start making profit from Day 1 vs. incurring deficits for years under the traditional broadcast/cable model, and creators and producers seeing ‘backend’ payments also from the start. (Netflix’s deals include bump/bonuses after each season that are getting progressively bigger, though few shows get to take full advantage as many of the platform’s series tend to get canceled after 2-3 seasons.)
“With Netflix changing the TV business paradigm, the per-point compensation model proposed by Disney TV Studios — which encompasses 20th TV, Fox 21 TV Studios and ABC Studios/ABC Signature — will also offer payoffs that starts early in a show’s run compared with down the road, I hear.
“The backend point rates for new series are still being fine-tuned as the studio had been seeking feedback from agents and other industry types. The initial reaction to the plan by reps and producers has been mixed. Some fear the new model would reduce potential payoff for profit participants on very successful shows. But most people I spoke with agree that this likely is the way of the future, and a switch to a fee-based model for creators and talent in a multi-platform world dominated by content streaming seems inevitable.
“In fact, I hear Disney’s upcoming streaming platform Disney+ began experimenting with the per-point model at the end of last year before it was embraced by Disney TV Studios. Similarly, Warner Bros TV also has started to use elements of this structure in some deals across the board, a move I hear has been driven by streaming pacts.
“As models that upend traditional backend paradigms have been made industry standard for streaming series by the likes of Netflix and Amazon, ‘old media’ studios like Disney and WarnerMedia whose parent companies are launching streaming platforms may feel competitive pressure to adopt a similar template. The sensible thing to do is apply that template to their entire slates. In the case of Disney, sources said, the push for the new model is less about streaming and more about seamless content movement within the company’s ecosystem of studios, networks and streamers.
“The new model is expected to benefit middling/mildly successful series that go on for a couple of seasons to respectable/modest ratings and would not normally be able to generate a meaningful backend under the traditional mechanism. They will be rewarded under the new arrangement.
“On the flip side, the new deal structure would likely cap the financial windfall for profit participants on blockbuster hits like The Big Bang Theory or Modern Family, way below what they would get under the traditional model. However, these outsized hits are few and far between, and industry insiders expect the auspices for such mega-hits would likely be able to renegotiate their terms at some point. That already is the case on a streaming platform like Netflix that does not offer backend. Following the blockbuster breakout success of Stranger Things’ creators the Duffer Brothers were reportedly able to renegotiate their deals.
“The industry consensus at the moment is that junior writers will likely come out ahead in the new model, which protects downside, while heavy hitters may get shortchanged because the model limits upside. We will have to wait and see what numerical value points are ultimately assigned. I hear that in informal conversations with the creative community, Disney TV toppers have indicated that the proposed new template would be lucrative for talent and that the formula could potentially be comparable to the payout in a traditional setup.
“Coming up with a fair backend valuation during a series’ original run is tricky, because there are late bloomers. For instance, while Friends has been a blockbuster hit on broadcast, in off-network syndication and now in streaming, The Office was a respectable success on broadcast and a modest performer in off-network syndication. It wasn’t until its streaming run that the series became a giant hit that is believed to be the most popular acquired series on Netflix, and on par and possibly even outrating Friends. Even NBCUniversal executives have acknowledged they did not expect such a ratings success, a decade after the show’s airing on NBC. Netflix is paying a hefty license fee for The Office, which profit participants share, and NBCU recently outbid the SVOD giant to move the series to its own streaming platform, providing an even bigger financial windfall for producers.
:Since in the per-point model the value of the backend points is assigned at the outset, some wonder whether there will be a mechanism to correct undervaluation, years after the initial run. While I hear there are no plans for such point-value reassignment later on in the Disney proposal, series that over-perform following inauspicious starts are expected to be rewarded with incremental payments for downstream success.
:In pursuing the new template, the biggest driver for Disney ls to make the exploitation of content across the company’s multiple networks and streaming platforms simple and hassle-free, with no danger of accusations by creators and talent of self-dealing and potential litigation. Some suspect that the ongoing bigBones lawsuit, which thrust profit-participation issues and vertical integration back into the spotlight, was an impetus to implement the new model that boosts distribution flexibility.
“With the exception of Warner Bros, I hear the other major TV studios have no immediate plans to change their profit-participation structure, but that could change: several are evaluating their options.
“‘This could change how business is done as it turns the backend model on its head,’ one studio executive said.”
If you think this is confusing, try getting a handle on the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“Controversial Bachelorette contestant Jed Wyatt says his loved ones have received threats after an ex-girlfriend claimed she and Wyatt were still involved when he signed up for the show.
“Ever since ex Haley Stevens came forward, the Tennessee-based singer-songwriter and his family have been targeted online and at their homes, he wrote on Instagram, ‘affecting all of our mental and physical health.’
“‘It goes beyond what is said online,’ Wyatt, 25, wrote on Instagram. ‘Threatening letters and phone calls have been sent to our homes. My parents and sister are being verbally attacked in public.’
“Wyatt, one of the final four suitors vying for Bachelorette Hannah Brown’s heart, came under fire last month after his ex alleged the musician saw the ABC series as a platform for his burgeoning career.
“‘He told me [early on] that he had applied,’ Stevens said in an interview with People. ‘He said, “It’s probably not going to happen, but it’s a huge opportunity. I’m only doing this for my music.” He only did it for his career.’
“Though Wyatt spoke about the notion of a platform to Brown, 24, during an episode this past season, Stevens claimed she and Wyatt had been dating for four months, believing their relationship would survive reality TV.
“‘We spent the night together the night before he headed to LA,’ Stevens said of Wyatt. ‘He told me [the show] was just an obstacle and we’d be stronger on the other side because of it.’
“In Wyatt’s Instagram post, he asked fans for ‘patience and kindness’ until he is ‘able to speak openly.’
“‘I beg you to remember what seems like a harmless action is damaging to real people. I want to thank all of you who have reached out or reserved judgement until I am able to speak openly and I can only ask for your patience and kindness until then,’ he wrote.”