Wednesday September 18, 2019

In the series’ penultimate episode, Mike helps Harvey get over a personal loss, while an attempt to take down Faye doesn’t go according to plan. #SUITS

“Penultimate episode.” Sigh.

The season 1 finale of Pearson airs tonight.

The most important POV of the summer takes place tonight as well.

FX airs the season premiere of American Horror Story: 1984 tonight.

Some guy named “Pilot Pete” will be the next Bachelor.

Kiefer Sutherland and Boyd Holbrook are set to star in Quibi’s The Fugitive, a new take on the 1993 Harrison Ford film which was based on the 1960s TV series of the same name, from Scorpion creator Nick Santora, Thunder Road Films, 3 Arts Entertainment and Warner Bros. TV.”

Netflix has ordered a 2nd season of Family Reunion.

Comcast is offering its internet-only customers free access to Xfinity Flex, its streaming-centric gateway to 10,000-plus movies and TV shows. The service used to cost $5 a month. The company said these customers will also get Peacock, the newly named streaming offering powered by NBCUniversal.”

Dick Wolf may be the only producer on the planet who can top Big Bang Theory's eye-popping five-year, multibillion-dollar streaming and syndication deal with WarnerMedia, announced Sept. 17.  The Hollywood Reporter has learned that the prolific producer and executives at Comcast, his home of nearly three decades, are in early discussions for a mass licensing deal that, if Wolf has his way, could include the complete catalog of Law & Order and spinoffs SVU and Criminal Intent; his three Chicago shows; potentially CBS' FBI as well as New York Undercover; and unscripted shows like Cold Justice. That's 72 seasons and 1,568 total hours of content — plus a possible green light for the updated New York Undercover, which is drawing interest after ABC's pass in May. Factor in unscripted and those rare one-and-done Law & Order spinoffs, and there's another 150 episodes of crime-focused programming ready to be streamed. Sources say NBCUniversal's newly named Peacock is among the outlets eyeing what is sure to be one of the most complex and richest library deals ever, as other potential bidders have begun to surface. Those include WarnerMedia-backed HBO Max, the new streaming home of said billion-dollar-plus Big Bang library, with others likely to emerge as the shopping process continues.”

“HBO has cast another former Los Angeles Lakers player for its drama pilot based on the franchise’s 1980s Showtime era. DeVaughn Nixon has joined the project, where he will play Norm Nixon, who is his father. The elder Nixon played six seasons for the Lakers as a point guard, winning two of the franchise’s five championships during the decade. He was traded to the then-San Diego Clippers in 1983 (the franchise would relocate to Los Angeles in 1984).”

Matt Jones will reprise his role as Badger in the Breaking Bad movie.

Timothy Olyphant has joined the cast of season 4 of Fargo.

Netflix an October 29 premiere date for Arsenio Hall‘s new stand up special entitled Smart & Classy.

“A Jersey Shore star turned-Staten Island EMT was hounded for sex and groped by one of her supervisors — and pestered by another boss about how many guys she’d slept with on the hit MTV show, she alleges in a new federal lawsuit. Angelina Pivarnick, 33, claims Lt. Jonathan Schechter sexually harassed her while she was at the EMS’ Rossville Station on Staten Island in 2017 and 2018 — and that she was punished when she spoke up, according to her complaint filed Monday in Brooklyn federal court.”

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From The Hollywood Reporter: “Netflix will put human faces to the immigration debate with a documentary series called Living Undocumented.

“The series, which premieres Oct. 2 and counts Selena Gomez among its executive producers, follows eight families who agreed to let film crews chronicle their lives as they faced potential deportation. Their stories range from harrowing to hopeful and illuminate and humanize the complex U.S. immigration system, while the families endure in their quest to pursue the American dream.

“Along with Gomez, Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman executive produce via Industrial Media's Intellectual Property Corp. Mandy Teefey, Anna Chai and Sean O'Grady also exec produce; Saidman and Chai co-direct the series.

"‘I chose to produce this series, Living Undocumented, because over the past few years, the word 'immigrant' has seemingly become a negative word,’ said Gomez. ‘My hope is that the series can shed light on what it's like to live in this country as an undocumented immigrant firsthand, from the courageous people who have chosen to share their stories.’

“Added Saidman, ‘Living Undocumented is designed to illuminate one of the most important issues of our time. But rather than discussing this issue with only statistics and policy debates, we wanted viewers to hear directly from the immigrants themselves, in their own words, with all the power and emotion that these stories reflect.’

Living Undocumented joins a roster of docuseries at Netflix that includes Our Planet, Chef's Table, Diagnosis, Ugly Delicious and Explained, among others.”

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Per Variety, “[a]s one of TV’s most popular shows of the past 20 years, The Big Bang Theory was sure to command a huge price when the streaming rights were finally shopped in a red-hot market for iconic comedies with large libraries.

“But Big Bang Theory wasn’t shopped widely on the open market before the streaming pact with HBO Max and the four-year cable extension with TBS was announced early Tuesday morning. The reason is because of a provision in the original megabucks syndication deal that TBS set with Big Bang back in 2010.

“Even 10 years ago, that agreement anticipated that streaming services could compete with cable channels for rerun rights. The deal granted TBS a number of years of exclusivity for the show, barring Big Bang producer Warner Bros. TV from selling the streaming or on-demand rights separate from the cable deal. TBS’ window of exclusivity on the show was extended by nearly a year for every season that Big Bang stayed in first-run production for CBS. Once the show ended its CBS run last May, the end of TBS’ exclusivity window was set at 2024.

“To have Big Bang rights ready for the spring 2020 launch of HBO Max, TBS needed to give up that exclusivity right and get something in return. Although TBS, HBO Max and Warner Bros. TV are all in the same family, the dealmaking was arm’s length and scrutinized by representatives for co-creators and profit participants Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. To make the deal work for all sides — profit participants included — WarnerMedia stepped up with a big number to secure the various rights. It’s unclear exactly how TBS was compensated for giving up its rights but it ends up with an extension through 2028 on the cable rights that otherwise would have ended in 2024.

“A WarnerMedia representative declined to comment.

“Because of TBS’ rights, it was not feasible for WarnerMedia to shop the show widely to outside buyers. The common parent company — and common executive leadership for TBS and HBO Max in WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt — for all three players helped ease the process. But there’s no way WarnerMedia could have lowballed the price for Big Bang because the profit participants would have swiftly gone to court howling about self-dealing claims.

“In the end, industry sources said WarnerMedia committed about $600 million over five years for Big Bang rights across HBO Max and TBS. The show is prized because it has yet to be exploited in the streaming market, but at the same time there’s no certainty that it will be a binge-worthy hit as a streaming offering. However, the show has a sterling track record as the pillar of TBS’ schedule ever since the show made its syndication debut on TBS and local TV stations in 2011.

“Tuesday’s Big Bang news comes on the heels of other megabucks streaming deals for contemporary classic comedies. Earlier this week Netflix committed an estimated $500 million for the Seinfeld archive. HBO Max committed about $425 million to reclaim the streaming rights to Friends from Netflix. NBCUniversal’s nascent Peacock service, also set to bow next spring, is said to have committed $500 million to relocate The Office from Netflix staring in 2021.”

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20 questions with Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch: “Q1: The real Silicon Valley has changed drastically since Silicon Valley debuted on HBO in 2014. Would it be a different show if it were starting now?

MIDDLEDITCH: I really don’t know, but I do wonder if this show has had anything to do with the consciousness of that. Season six will deal with privacy issues: Richard is pushing a new, decentralized internet where no one tracks or sells user data.

Q2: The show has been nominated for a best comedy Emmy for the five preceding seasons but has never won. You’ve been nominated for best actor once. As you head into the final season, does it seem like Silicon Valley has always been HBO’s bridesmaid?

MIDDLEDITCH: I always figured the most I would get would be a nomination. Even if you’ve told yourself that this is all stupid, when you lose you’re like, “I shouldn’t be bummed, but I am quite sad about it.” I’m sure HBO would rather have the show go on for a few more seasons, but our showrunners are like, “No, this is the story.”

Q3: With Silicon Valley, Veep and Game of Thrones each having their swan songs this year, is anyone at HBO thinking, 'Shit, we’re losing all our great shows'?

MIDDLEDITCH: The TV landscape in general is figuring out how to compete in the new world of television. Players like Netflix have forced everyone to reinvent themselves. I don’t think anyone is panicked—I mean, they’re cleaning house with Game of Thrones, but HBO is a prestige network. In the end, a network has to have just one good thing that people watch in order to get awards.

Q4: Having left Facebook and Twitter, you’re presumably not a fan of Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey. Do you agree with Elizabeth Warren and other presidential hopefuls who want to break up Facebook, Amazon and other tech giants?

MIDDLEDITCH: It’s a great idea. And no, I’m not a huge fan of Zuckerberg and Dorsey, but I don’t like to slight them either. Without selling user data, it’s not a viable business. And I still have Instagram. Also, I was never really good at Twitter, to be honest.

Q5: Do you have a fear of the unknown, post–Silicon Valley?

MIDDLEDITCH: Of course I do. When something is successful, you’re like, Okay, how do we figure out how to keep it going a little longer? There are 4 million shows; we’re definitely not the biggest, but people watch us, which is nice. It’s a challenge when you’re involved in something to make the decision to end it. It’s hard to shoot Old Yeller—not that we’re Old Yeller, because that would imply we’re a sick dog. It’s more like crawling into your best friend’s window and murdering them. It’s hard to do that when you don’t know what comes afterward. Even if everyone who’s involved in the show is guaranteed work, will it be the same type of work?

Q6: Has your role in this year’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters changed your standing in Hollywood?

MIDDLEDITCH: I think so. Unless you’re ordained as an attractive teen, it’s hard to get crazy fame right out of the gate. I would love to do big movies all the time or work with great filmmakers; I would love to star on Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series and transform as the Riddler in a new Batman. I don’t think about it analytically, though, because it makes you feel as though you’ve taken a bath in oil. I just try to do good work so that when I have early-onset Alzheimer’s and I’m looking at my IMDb page and my wife tells me, “That’s you,” I can register that I did some cool shit.

Q7: You and one of the Godzilla writers visited a swingers club with your partners during production. Are you and Mollie, your wife of four years, familiar with the swinging scene?

MIDDLEDITCH: I don’t know how much I can say, because I don’t want my wife to be mad at me. Only after I got married was I like, “Mollie, I’m sorry, but we have to get nontraditional here.” To her credit, instead of saying “Fuck you, I’m out,” she was like, “Let’s figure this out.” To be honest, swinging has saved our marriage. We have different speeds, and we argue over it constantly, but it’s better than feeling unheard and alone and that you have to scurry in the shadows. By the way, it’s now called being “part of the lifestyle.” The term swinging is old.

Q8: Is being “part of the lifestyle” something you’ve always been interested in?

MIDDLEDITCH: Absolutely not. I self-deprecatingly call myself a pervert, but that’s not what it is. I just like it. I’m sexual. I’d always thought I was a romantic and that when I fall in love, that stuff fades away. It does for some years—enough to be like, “I should get married, and I’ll be different.” But it’s part of me. If that’s part of your being and it feels important to you, find a way to explore it, because repression sucks.

Q9: Do you have any advice for couples who may be exploring that lifestyle?

MIDDLEDITCH: For anything sexual—whether in terms of the sex act or identity or kink—you want to know where the walls of the box are. Mollie and I have created our own rules, and compared to most of the people we’ve met who do this kind of shit, our rules are strict. We’re not off on our own; we’re together, a unit. It’s a perpetual state of management and communication, to the point where it’s like, “All right, we’ve got to stop. Chill.” I’m gas, and she’s brakes. This is actually the premise for a comedy series we’re writing together.

Q10: How do you identify?

MIDDLEDITCH: Pretty vanilla, probably cis-hetero. Even if I’ve witnessed situations that may not be for me, I want to witness them anyway. I’m of the mentality “We’re only here once.” I don’t believe in reincarnation or an afterlife, any of that shit. If I look around, I actually see a lot of shit that makes me sad about the world. This is a positive way of connecting with people and experiencing things on a very selfish level.

I’ve also been to some weird parties that were very Eyes Wide Shut, from which I walked away thinking, I don’t need it, but I’m glad I saw that. I’ve seen some dicks, I’ve seen some butts, I’ve seen some tits. It’s weird—I’ve totally gotten to the point where I can see a dick and just be like, “Nice hog, buddy.” [laughs] And it’s not weird. “Man, I’m jealous. Good stuff.” I’d like to have gone to the Playboy Mansion, just to have the knowledge. Myself and a lot of other people who start on this journey don’t know where they’re at in it. They’re going, “I think I just need a thing to happen. All I know is, this particular situation is hard.” I love my wife like I’ve never loved anyone before. With two people who feel that way about each other, how do you go down that road? It’s tough. Bring a therapist along for the ride.

Q11: Are you concerned that speaking about this publicly could inadvertently make you a face of the lifestyle?

MIDDLEDITCH: I would be honored to be the face of something. I don’t give a fuck, but my wife is more private, so I have to juggle that. I don’t think I would ever be the face of a full-tilt, your-body-is-my-body lifestyle. The perception is that you open up that door and it’s Eyes Wide Shut, which isn’t necessarily the case. You can go to that party, of course. You pay the fee, you’ll go. [laughs] My mantra is, How can I explore this with a 1960s, peace-and-love, full-understanding, everyone’s-connected-and-feels-good kind of way? Not every corner is explored, but you have to be patient. I battle my own needs. Sometimes I’m a ravenous little monster, and how do I calm that down?

Q12: Are you comfortable with your body?

MIDDLEDITCH: I am, but I’m 37 now, and there are moments lately when I’ve been having body-image issues. Not many people talk about it being okay for a guy to want to feel sexy. Typically it’s “Get fucking swole!” No, I want to look in the mirror and know that I have some semblance of a jaw line and feel confident. No one really talks about the fact that guys don’t always feel that. It’s okay for boys to want to feel pretty.

Q13: You’ve said that you first had the experience of fans wanting to sleep with you as a Second City improv performer on cruise ships. Has that sort of attention increased?

MIDDLEDITCH: Personally, that’s one of the trickier elements of it all, because Mollie doesn’t get that and yet she has to witness it. I’m like, “Come on, what about this chick who’s obviously really into me?” And Mollie will say, “Yeah, she’s into you. Where do I fit in?” That question comes up. There’s a lot of negotiation, and adding fame sometimes makes it easier and sometimes complicates things.

That’s the forever-changing landscape in our relationship, because it’s about everybody feeling safe. The internet is a possibility for meeting people, but Instagram fucks up marriages. If your partner brings this very forward person from Instagram to you, you’ll be like, “Do you guys have a thing?” Whereas if your partner bumps into someone and they start a conversation, it all happens in front of you. It’s a game of inches on a minefield to try to predict who’s going to feel safe. My first concern is Mollie. Anything that happens has to be run by the queen.

Q14: You’re a fan of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Explain that show’s greatness to people who hate on it or who’ve never seen it.

MIDDLEDITCH: The fun of it is thinking, What would I do? I always think about how utterly difficult it would be for me to survive in that house with all those alphas. Not that I’m not an alpha. I don’t perceive myself as a beta or a submissive little bitch—or whatever the fuck betas are supposed to be. But who am I going to joke around with? Even though I know I’m funny and cool, would that person even look at me when compared to all the boneheads? My wife’s like, “I think you’d fucking get voted off first,” and I’m like, “Me too.” [laughs]

Q15: A 2018 Hollywood Reporter cover story featured the cast of Silicon Valley with the headline Triumph of the Beta Male, which led to a rant by Alex Jones about modern masculinity. How does it feel to piss off Jones?

MIDDLEDITCH: Hilarious. I shot guns with him and my friend at this ranch in Texas maybe six years ago. This was before InfoWars got big, and I didn’t really know who he was. If I hadn’t later learned that he constantly spews awful nonsense, I would have been like, “That guy was super nice.” It made me think, Does he really believe all that shit? Because if he’s really saying all that just to sell protein powder, he’s a diabolical motherfucker. I’m so glad YouTube removed him. There should be more accountability. I don’t want to censor everybody, but I want to fucking censor some.

Q16: You were bullied growing up and have dealt with depression over the years. Is there still pain in that?

MIDDLEDITCH: It’s all part of the path. There were things that were painful, for sure, but I’d rather have that happen versus me being the aggressor. I was catching up with a hometown friend, and she said, “You were really mean to me when I was a kid.” I was like, “I didn’t even know—I’m so sorry. If only you knew I had a crush on you the whole time.”

Q17: How have success and fame changed the way you cope with those emotions?

MIDDLEDITCH: Success has changed everything. Fame is something that guarantees change, even if I don’t have Pirates of the Caribbean fame like Orlando Bloom. But there’s no way to go through fame without it changing you. It’s more about how you respond to it and how elastic you are—if you’re able to go back to who you really are. Fame becomes dangerous only when you start believing the hype and believing you’re a special person above the normal tier of people. And that’s hard to avoid because of all the times you get to go to the front of the line. It’s difficult not to think, Oh, I am totally special.

Q18: How does fame affect friendships? You and your former co-star T.J. Miller were once close, right?

MIDDLEDITCH: Everyone reacts differently to fame. It’s a shame. T.J. is very funny. Whatever he’s doing or whatever he wants to do, I wish him success. I’m not going to get into whatever happened. We just stopped seeing eye-to-eye. I’m not the only one he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with.

Q19: You’re in Zombieland: Double Tap, out in October. Do you have the skills to survive a zombie apocalypse?

MIDDLEDITCH: I’m an instrument-rated private pilot. I’d been wanting to fly since I was 14 or 15 years old, when I got into military history and aviation and PC flight simulators. So if you have a bunker in Montana, save me a bed. I’ll get you there.

Q20: Do you think the public knows the real you?

MIDDLEDITCH: Look, I play a ton of video games, but there are other parts of me. There’s going to hockey games and flying airplanes. There’s a bit of a hippie in me, because I was raised in Nelson, British Columbia, a hippie town. As much as I enjoy spending an entire weekend playing computer games, I also like to take mushrooms and drink rainwater off a tree. It’s all important.

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Per Realscreen, “Travel Channel has greenlit two new UFO-centric specials, timed to coincide with the upcoming Alienstock festival in Rachel, Nevada, where UFO aficionados have been planning the alien celebration along with a viral #StormArea51 event, a campaign to expose government secrets at the famed Area 51, long thought to hold evidence of human contact with aliens.

“The first project is the the one-off special Storming Area 51, part of Discovery’s ‘instamentary’ strand which covers cases making headlines within weeks of the initial incident. The special will follow the UFO Bros (Joe and Emmett Hayes; pictured) as they pack up their RV and road trip from Northern California to Nevada to explore all things Area 51.

“The brothers will meet with various experts to discuss alien life and the history of Area 51. Guests include filmmaker Jeremy Corbell, Penn State professor Greg Eghigian, Mutual UFO Network investigator Earl Anderson, UFO eye-witness Shawn Johnson and former government employee Rick Doty.

Storming Area 51 is produced for Travel Channel by Anomaly Entertainment. For Anomaly Entertainment, Matt Kelly and Mike Sorensen are executive producers. Chris Pizzi, Bennett Webber and John Gunn also serve as executive producers. For Travel Channel, Angela Freedman and Vaibhav Bhatt are executive producers, Julie Meisner Eagle is VP of production and development, Matthew Butler is GM and Henry Schleiff is group president of Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, American Heroes Channel and Destination America.

“The special airs Sept. 29 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Travel Channel.

“Elsewhere, Travel Channel will produce live digital coverage of Alienstock and the ostensible storming of Area 51 as a series of Facebook Live events hosted by veteran of live paranormal experiences James McDaniel. The live coverage will roll out throughout the day on Sept. 20 on Travel Channel’s Facebook page.

“‘The event surrounding Storming Area 51 is one of the most talked-about experiences this year and, of course, Travel Channel will be there for our unique perspective on the that moment and its fascinating history through the lens of our alien experts, The UFO Bros,’ said Matthew Butler, general manager of Travel Channel, in a statement. ‘We can’t wait to share their enthusiasm for all things alien as they bring our audience along for this once-in-a-lifetime road trip to the ultimate alien community celebration.’”