Tuesday September 17, 2019

Biggest news of the day IMHO: “After losing The Office and Friends, Netflix has stepped up to secure the SVOD rights to another classic NBC comedy series. The streamer, which had emerged as the main contender for the Seinfeld library, has struck a deal with distributor Sony Pictures Television to become the global exclusive streaming home for the entire Seinfeld collection beginning in 2021, when the series’ domestic pact with Hulu expires, for five years. This is the first time Seinfeld will be available on Netflix and the first time that all 180 episodes will be on one service globally and in 4K. Seinfeld made its streaming debut with the Hulu deal. Internationally, it is streaming on Amazon in a number of territories; that will all be consolidated on Netflix under the new deal.”

The Hollywood Reporter that the new Seinfeld streaming deal is worth more than $500 million and covers global rights. By comparison, The Office and Friends moved to NBC's streaming platform and HBO Max, respectively, for similar valuations that only covered domestic. The deal, sources stress, was competitive with Netflix beating out rich offers from the likes of Amazon, NBC's streamer, HBO Max, Hulu and CBS All Access.”

The season finale of Bachelor In Paradise airs tonight.

A new season of Tosh.O premieres tonight on Comedy Central.

HBO Max landed the first-ever U.S. streaming rights to all 12 seasons of The Big Bang Theory. That’s 279 episodes available for subscribers when the service launches in spring 2020.”

“NBCUniversal’s newly named Peacock streaming service will feature several original series, the company said Tuesday, including a pair of reboots from the vaults: a newly unveiled Saved By the Bell with original castmembers including Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez, and Punky Brewster, which returns original star Soleil Moon Frye as a grown-up version of her former character. The titles were unveiled along with several other original offerings set for the April 2020-launching service this morning including a rebooted Battlestar Galactica that will be executive produced by Mr. Robot‘s and Homecoming‘s EP Sam Esmail. All the reboots originated from NBCU-created series and will be part of the 15,000 hours of content expected at launch spanning original and library titles along with movies from the NBCU family.” More below.

Here’s the trailer for season 3 of Big Mouth, which will be available on Netflix on October 4.

Shane Gillis will not be joining Saturday Night Live after all. Here’s the statement from via Lorne Michaels’ spokesperson: “After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL. We want SNL to have a variety of voices and points of view within the show, and we hired Shane on the strength of his talent as comedian and his impressive audition for SNL. We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days. The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard.”

Out of the dozens of summer broadcast shows, only one* was up in ratings from last year: The Bachelorette, will you accept this rose? With a 2.1 rating among adults 18-49 vs. a 2.0 last summer, The Bachelorette is up 5% year over year. Those ratings include a week of delayed viewing for each episode. A two-year high for the dating competition’s recent season finale sealed that claim. That asterisk above wasn’t a typo, by the way. The Monday episodes of ABC’s Bachelor in Paradise are technically up 6% year over year at this point in the summer, according to Nielsen’s ‘most current’ ratings. ‘Most current’ numbers count a week of delayed viewing for each episode — but the delayed-viewing numbers for a few Summer 2019 Bachelor in Paradise episodes are not yet available.”

Alex Trebek has resumed chemotherapy.

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From The Hollywood Reporter: “Justin Theroux is headed for Apple.

The Leftovers grad has been tapped to star in the tech giant's adaptation of Mosquito Coast. The series, from Luther's Neil Cross, is based on the 1981 novel by Paul Theroux — Justin's uncle.

Mosquito Coast follows an idealist who uproots his family to Latin America. Cross and Tom Bissell will pen the first episode, with the former attached to serve as showrunner. Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) will also exec produce and direct the pilot and subsequent episodes. The series hails from Fremantle and exec producers Alan Gasmer, Peter Jaysen and Bob Bookman. An episode count and premiere window has not yet been determined.

Mosquito Coast is the latest acting role for Theroux, whose credits include Netflix's Maniac, The District and Disney+'s upcoming live-action take on Lady and the Tramp (he will voice the Tramp). Additionally, Theroux exec produced ABC's Live In Front of a Studio Audience alongside Norman Lear and Jimmy Kimmel. He will return for the two follow-up live events that are currently in the works for the broadcaster.

“For Cross' part, Mosquito Coast marks his latest TV foray following BBC's Luther, Hard Son and NBC's Crossbones. He is in postproduction on feature Escape From New York.

Mosquito Coast was subsequently turned into a 1986 feature starring Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren and River Phoenix.

“Apple is set to launch originals on Nov. 1 with a slate of originals including Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon drama The Morning Show at a price of $5 per month. Other originals will launch in the months that follow as the iPhone-maker slowly but surely builds a library of star-studded originals from many of the industry's top creators.”

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Details about each NBCU streaming service project follow. (All are straight-to-series orders unless designated otherwise):

RUTHERFORD FALLS (scripted comedy)
Logline: Ed Helms portrays Nathan Rutherford, the eponymous denizen of a small New England town, who is having difficulty facing the inevitable changes to his way of life.
Cast: Ed Helms
Team: W/EP/co-creators: Ed Helms, Mike Schur,  Sierra Ornelas (Brooklyn Nine-Nine); EP David Miner, Mike Falbo
Studio: Universal Television, Fremulon, 3 Arts Entertainment, Pacific Electric Picture Company

THE AMBER RUFFIN SHOW (unscripted comedy)
Logline: Each week The Amber Ruffin Show will showcase Amber's signature smart-and-silly take on the week. A late-night show with just the good parts - the comedy.
Team: W Jenny Hagel; EP Seth Meyers, Mike Shoemaker
Studio: Universal Television

STRAIGHT TALK (comedy pilot)
Logline: Examines what happens when two opposing ideologies are forced into an odd coupling. The main characters will be challenged by one another, making the moral lines at which they once stood harder to define. Jada Pinkett Smith stars.
Team: W/creator: Kara Brown (In the Dark, Grownish); D/EP Rashida Jones; T/EP Jada Pinkett Smith; EP: Joy Gorman (Anonymous Content), Deniese Davis (Color Creative)
Studio: Universal Television & Anonymous Content

PUNKY BREWSTER (comedy pilot)
Logline: In this multicamera/hybrid continuation of the iconic '80s sitcom about a bright young girl raised by a foster dad, Punky is now a single mother of three trying to get her life back on track when she meets a young girl who reminds her a lot of her younger self. Soleil Moon Frye reprises the role that made her famous.
Team: W/EP Steve and Jim Amogida; EP/T Soleil Moon Frye; EP Tim Pastore, Jimmy Fox (All3Media America/Main Event Media), David Duclon; D/EP Jonathan Judge
Studio: UCP, Universal Television

DR. DEATH (drama)
Logline: Based on Wonderly’s hit podcast of the same name, Dr. Death tells the terrifying true story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch (Jamie Dornan), a rising star in the Dallas medical community. Young, charismatic and ostensibly brilliant, Dr. Duntsch was building a flourishing neurosurgery practice when everything suddenly changed. Patients entered his operating room for complex but routine spinal surgeries and left permanently maimed or dead. As victims piled up, two fellow physicians, neurosurgeon Robert Henderson (Alec Baldwin) and vascular surgeon Randall Kirby (Christian Slater), set out to stop him. Dr. Death explores the twisted mind of a sociopath and the gross negligence of the system designed to protect the most defenseless among us.
Team: W/EP Patrick Macmanus (Happy); EP Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch (Escape Artists); Hernan Lopez, Marshall Lewy (Wondery)
Studio: UCP

ANGELYNE (limited drama series)
Logline: A limited series based on The Hollywood Reporter  feature that explored the identity of L.A.’s mysterious billboard bombshell. Shameless grad Emmy Rossum will star as Angelyne.
Team: EP Emmy Rossum (Composition 8), Sam Esmail (EsmailCorp), Chad Hamilton (Anonymous Content), Lucy Tcherniak, Allison Miller; Consultant: The Hollywood Reporter's award-winning senior writer Gary Baum
Studio: UCP

BRAVE NEW WORLD (drama)
Logline: Based on Aldous Huxley’s groundbreaking 1932 novel, the drama imagines a utopian society that has achieved peace and stability through the prohibition of monogamy, privacy, money, family and history itself.
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Jessica Brown Findlay, Harry Lloyd, Kylie Bunbury, Hannah John-Kamen, Sen Mitsuji, Joseph Morgan, Nina Sosanya, Demi Moore
Team: W/EP/showrunner David Wiener (Homecoming); EP Grant Morrison,  Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey (Amblin Television); EP/D: Owen Harris; EP (first episode): Brian Taylor
Studio: UCP

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (drama)
Logline: Battlestar Galactica returns to television with Sam Esmail producing.
Team: EP Sam Esmail, Chad Hamilton
Studio: UCP

ONE OF US IS LYING (drama pilot)
Logline: Based on Karen M. McManus’ New York Times best-selling novel of the same name, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into
detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has
something to hide.
Team: W Erica Saleh (Instinct); Producers: John Sacchi and Matt Groesch (5 More Minutes Productions)
Studio: UCP

PSYCH 2: LASSIE COME HOME (TV movie)
Logline: Santa Barbara police chief Carlton Lassiter is ambushed on the job and left for dead. In a vintage Psych-style Hitchcockian nod, he begins to see impossible happenings around his recovery clinic. Shawn and Gus return to Lassie’s side in Santa Barbara and are forced to navigate the personal, the professional, and possibly the supernatural. Separated from their new lives in San Francisco, our heroes find themselves unwelcome in their old stomping grounds as they secretly untangle a twisted case without the benefit of the police, their loved ones, or the quality sourdough bakeries of the Bay Area. What they uncover will change the course of their relationships forever.
Cast: James Roday, Dulé Hill, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Corbin Bernsen and Tim Omundson
Team: W/D/EP Steve Franks; W/EP James Roday; W Andy Berman; EP Chris Henzie, Dulé Hill
Studio: UCP, Thruline Entertainment

SAVED BY THE BELL (comedy)
Logline: When California Gov. Zack Morris (the role memorably played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar) gets into hot water for closing too many low-income high schools, he proposes they send the affected students to the highest performing schools in the state – including Bayside High. The influx of new students gives the over privileged Bayside kids a much needed and hilarious dose of reality.
Cast: Mario Lopez, Elizabeth Berkley
Team: W/EP Tracey Wigfield; EP Peter Engel, Franco Bairo; P Lopez, Berkley
Studio: Universal Television

WHO WROTE THAT (docuseries)
Logline: Offers a behind the scenes look at Saturday Night Live's most important writers.
Team: W/EP Andy Breckman & Susan Morrison; D Brett Hodge; EP Lorne Michaels, Andrew Singer, Erin Doyle, Erik Howard (Broadway Video); Howard Klein (3 Arts), Derik Murray, Brian Gersh (Network Entertainment); AP Eddie Michaels (Broadway Video)
Studio: Universal Television”

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Per Deadline, “Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones, Dark Phoenix) and Corey Hawkins (BlacKkKlansman, Straight Outta Compton) are set to star in the Quibi thriller Survive from EMH Consulting Group, Inc and Gunpowder & Sky.

“Directed by Mark Pellington (Arlington Road, Mothman Prophecies) and based on the novel by Richard Abate, Survive follows Jane (Turner) whose plane crashes on a remote snow-covered mountain and she, along with Paul (Hawkins), the only remaining survivor must pull themselves out of the wreckage and fight for their lives. Together they embark on a harrowing journey out of the wilderness, battling brutal conditions and personal traumas.

“‘After reading the script, it was clear that we’d need to find the right artist to take on the lead role in Survive and we couldn’t be happier than to have Sophie starring who brings a high caliber of talent to the table,’ said Van Toffler, CEO of Gunpowder & Sky. ‘I’m also thrilled to be making a movie with Mark Pellington who had the office next to me at MTV in the 80s and has grown to be an exceptional director.’

“‘I couldn’t be more honored to portray the role of Jane in Survive for Quibi,’ said Turner. ‘She’s a complex character fighting against the odds to not only save her life, but to also find her own source of strength and courage. I only hope this can impact anyone struggling with self-worth to understand they are braver than they know and to seek the support they need’

Survive has been greenlit for Quibi and is currently in production. Richard Abate and Jeremy Ungar adapted the novel. Cary Granat, Ed Jones and Richard Abate are producers. Executive Producers are Van Toffler, Floris Bauer and Barry Barclay for Gunpowder & Sky.

“Turner received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for playing Sansa Stark in the eighth and final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. She can be seen in the forthcoming crime thriller Heavy alongside Daniel Zovatto.

“Hawkins is currently in production on Jon M. Chu’s film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical In The Heights. He also stars in Michael Bay’s upcoming Netflix action thriller 6 Underground, opposite Ben Hardy, Ryan Reynolds, and Melanie Laurent.”

In what direction is this network going?? I’m not going to lie, I will likely check it out, but STILL. “Paramount Network has set an Oct. 15 premiere date and released a trailer for Battle of the Fittest Couples, which, from the looks of the clip, is precisely what it sounds like.

Hosted by former Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher and former NFL quarterback Jordan Rodgers – a real life couple – the new series pits “ripped couples” against other similarly jacked duos in contests of physical and mental toughness. The “swolemates” – the show’s word (Google “swole” if you must) – are pushed to limits, form alliances and judged in part on how they work as a team.

One couple ultimately will be named Fittest Couple, their bank account getting $100,000 fitter.

“We love working out as a couple, through doing so, we have learned so much about each other, and it has strengthened our relationship,” says Fletcher, with Rodgers adding, “Not only is this a physical competition, but it’s about partnership and our goal is to have every couple leave this competition stronger both emotionally and physically.”

The format: Twelve couples will battle their way through each episode of physical and mental challenges, with the week’s losing duo put up for elimination and the winning couple choosing another couple to battle the losers in the “Rage Cage.” The prevailing couple stays, the other gets sent home.

The series is a 51 Minds Production with Christian Sarabia, Nicole Elliott, Keith Geller, and Steve Kaufman serving as Executive Producers. Paramount Network’s Tori Socha is the series’ executive in charge of production.

Battle of the Fittest Couples premieres Tuesday, October 15 at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT on the Paramount Network.”.

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Per EW, “Welcome! Everything is final.

“Just a time-knife’s throw from Ponzu Scheme, the stars of The Good Place have gathered outside a familiar frozen-yogurt shop to film one of their last-ever group scenes. It’s hotter than Hades (hmmm) on the Universal Studios lot, but a figurative chill fills the air as the cameras roll on yet another loaded goodbye for the series finale of NBC’s ambitious afterlife comedy. ‘I can tell you’re sad,’ dopey, pre-successful Jacksonville DJ Jason (Manny Jacinto) observes of Team Cockroach. ‘You have the same look on your faces that my teachers did whenever I raised my hand in class.’

“Creator and finale writer-director Mike Schur minds the minutiae, readjusting trays of oysters and a bong while tweaking punchlines involving ‘concussion sauce’ and ‘younger bodies.’ ‘There’s a lot of endings,’ he teases of the finale, ‘and there’s a lot of resolution to a lot of the characters’ stories in certain ways.’ 

“Schur certainly won’t reveal the fates awaiting our scrappy in-limbo souls—reforming dirtbag Eleanor (Kristen Bell), overanxious ethics professor Chidi (William Jackson Harper), self-consumed socialite Tahani (Jameela Jamil), and Jason—or humanized Bad Place architect Michael (Ted Danson) and ever-evolving database Janet (D’Arcy Carden). But there are scads of colorful clues on set: a mini football field; people in matching outfits; a hybrid tanning booth/karaoke machine (leisure activity? torture device?). Oh, and Shakespeare has done something dramatic that’s the talk of…wherever this is.

“We can’t disclose what the fork is going on, but it’s a cosmic swirl of joy, melancholy, loopiness, poignancy, and the profound. Some actors do battle with moistening tear ducts. ‘We’re supersensitive right now,’ mock-warns Jacinto. Says Carden: ‘We’ve been trying to keep the tears inside of our eyes.’

“Even the genial general of the show (make that: of TV) is feeling the sting. ‘It’s like, “Oh wait, we may be acting sorrow, but it’s creeping in here,”’ offers Danson. ‘But there’s also a great deal of satisfaction and pride in being part of this chapter book about morality and farts.’ Adds Jamil: ‘I’m f—ing overwhelmed. I’m in denial. I may never leave and just walk the lot like a ghost. I’ll dress up as Tahani and haunt tourists.’

“However you cope with loss, prepare to bid farewell to one of TV’s most inventive com­edies — one thoughtful enough to explore the pursuit and value of goodness; one brave enough to feature giant toads, a bagel shop named From Schmear to Eternity, and references to Kierke­gaard and Hume. Only 14 chapters remain in this underdog series that toiled in overnight-ratings purgatory, built a dedicated audience online, charmed critics, won a Peabody, and recently nabbed five Emmy nominations. (It also mic-dropped one of the mightiest mind-melting finales of the new century when Eleanor deduced that she and her beleaguered companions were actually in the Bad Place, not the Good Place.) But before retirement (not the soul-disintegrating punishment facing Michael), a final test awaits (besides the can humans evolve? experiment): concluding this paradigm-shifting adventure on a heavenly note. “This will be worth it,” declares Bell. “It will give you a lot of feelings — and one is a strong sense of satisfaction. Not only will the ending be worth it, you’ll understand why the whole thing was worth it.”

“Schur says the decision to end the series after four seasons ‘felt right’ and ‘fell into place’ once the writers decided to have Judge Gen (guest star Maya Rudolph) allow the Soul Squad a redo on Earth at the end of season 2. An early exit from No Exit-ville was arguably necessitated by design, as this show burns through plot faster than Eleanor through shrimp. Ever since Schur moved up Michael’s ‘discovery’ about Eleanor — something that would seem like the logical ending of season 1 — to about the halfway point of the season, story speed doubled, ‘which means four seasons became eight seasons,’ explains the creator. ‘I think that’s about right. The goal has been to chew through story and accelerate things twice as fast as the old system of network TV suggested.’

“This fearlessness was something that he learned in the writers’ room of The Office when Greg Daniels (with whom he would eventually create Parks and Recreation) decided to advance the Jim and Pam’s Will-they-or-won’t-they? relationship. ‘It was among the many great lessons that Greg Daniels taught me,’ notes Schur. ‘Sometimes the best thing to do is to just plow headlong into the scary thing and trust that you’ll be able to keep up the drama and the intrigue of the show. And in this case, we applied that lesson to literally every single aspect of the show.’ Not that the news was easy for all to digest. ‘It’s the best-worst feeling in the world to be a part of something you love that’s ending,’ says Bell, adding that it’s ‘so meaningful and impactful because the entire last season is such a lesson, a gift.’ Shares Danson: ‘I was slightly stunned— you rarely get canceled by your creator. But it had so much integrity.’

“That’s one quality the Soul Squad aims to imbue in the new test subjects for this not-so-modest experiment that could save Team Cockroach (plus all of humanity) from eternal torture via butthole spiders and spastic dentistry. When we left off eight months ago, Michael and the team showed Judge Gen that the points system for determining entrance into paradise had gone to hell — somewhat literally — and pitched a grand and desperate test to settle the score. Season 3’s finale unveiled the first two subjects — Chidi’s neuroscientist ex Simone (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) and Tahani’s gossip-blogger foe John (Brandon Scott Jones) — and now viewers will meet the other two human guinea pigs, also chosen by Bad Place boss Shawn (Marc Evan Jackson): a pleasant-ish Norwegian and a fourth soul who are ‘more abstract in the ways they are designed to drive everyone crazy,’ hints Schur. Once test subjects themselves, the members of the Soul Squad face great challenges in mentoring this foursome, with Eleanor doubly taxed; this former lone wolf must lead the operation and tolerate the pain of spending quality time with memory-wiped beau Chidi, who is now what Schur calls ‘an ethical sleeper agent.’ 

“Also in this ambitious and bonkers fourth season (which begins Sept. 26): a new version of Janet; visits to old-school locales; returns of old friends/fiends; surprise guests (‘I really couldn’t believe who I was standing next to on the screen throughout the season,’ teases Jamil); a secret-spilling baby elephant made of pure light; and an episode modeled after a John le Carré mystery. ‘When we were told [about season 4], we had no idea,’ says Harper with a chuckle. ‘There’s no way anyone’s going to conceive where we’re going with this.’ ‘It’s like a board game,’ adds Carden. ‘Not Monopoly. More Candy Land vibes.’ Bell chooses a different analogy: life (not the board game). ‘It is frustrating, requires effort, hilarious at times, and in the end is really meaningful,’ she explains. ‘And over too soon.’ 

“As for that End, the cast found the capper to this comedy to be unexpectedly powerful and poignant. ‘It’s completion of our journeys in a way that I find satisfying, hopeful, and goes beyond our conventional understanding of storytelling,’ declares Harper. Jacinto was compelled to action. ‘After I read the finale, the first thing I did was call my parents,’ shares Jacinto. ‘I just needed to see them after that.’ And Jamil just needed a moment to fully embrace it. ‘I raged against the ending ever so briefly when I first read it,’ she admits. ‘I wasn’t ready for it, emotionally. But then, as the brilliance of it — the complete correctness of it — washed over me, I started to accept it.’

“How the audience will respond is both final frontier and great unknown, but rest assured that one of comedy’s brightest and most humane creators strove to answer those giant-picture questions that the series has been asking. ‘We didn’t pull any punches,’ he says. ‘This show explicitly laid itself out like a book, in that we call every episode a chapter and it feels like an old-timey serial in the way that novels [were] published in magazines, one chapter at a time. That’s true to the way that the show was meant to feel, and the way we were creating it. But it also means it’s like, “All right, a–holes, whaddaya got? What’s the final chapter of the book?” So it definitely feels like a tall order.’ Fans aren’t asking for much—just a finale that unmasks the secrets of the universe, redefines the human condition, takes the Jaguars to the Super Bowl, and explains how to rig one of those dope shrimp-dispensing soda fountains.”