Monday September 23, 2019

Season 17 of The Voice premieres tonight.

As does a new season of 9-1-1.

The premiere of season 3 of The Good Doctor airs tonight.

CBS debuts a new season of The Neighborhood and debuts Bob Hearts Abishola as well as All Rise.

Fox unveils Prodigal Son.

NBC premieres Bluff City Law.

Netflix has ordered what will be the 4th and final season of GLOW.

“After winding up in an historic tie in 2018, HBO held off Netflix in this year’s Emmy race to capture the most wins among networks across the awards’ three primetime ceremonies, 34-27. Amazon Prime Video, meanwhile, couldn’t close the gap with the top two but made the streaming derby a lot more interesting by winning a company-record seven trophies Sunday night at the Microsoft Theater. Fleabag‘s win for Outstanding Comedy Series gave Amazon its second straight victory in that top-shelf category (after The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), and an overall tally of 15. HBO came into this month’s Emmy ceremonies with a record 137 nominations, powered by 32 alone for Game of Thrones, which punctuated its farewell season with an Outstanding Drama Series triumph. Netflix had 117 total nominations. By the end of last Sunday’s second Creative Arts Emmys show, HBO led Netflix by a count of 25-23.” A full list of winners is below.

I’m just happy Patricia Arquette won!

Quibi has put into development The Monarchy Is Going to S***, a comedy from writer Amy Reed (Diary of a Female President), Jim Parsons’ That’s Wonderful Productions and Warner Bros. TV. Written by Reed, The Monarchy Is Going To S*** is set in the modern-day kingdom of Andova, where the lives of twin princesses are thrown into utter disarray when the King’s newly discovered illegitimate son is named as the rightful heir to the throne. But the two irreverent princesses won’t exactly go away quietly, not when they believe The Monarchy Is Going To S***.”

Ryan Seacrest has signed on to host another season of American Idol.

Lifetime has ordered two new seasons — Seasons 10 and 11 — of its flagship reality series Married at First Sightwhich is getting supersized with more couples and longer episodes. The news comes a week after the Season 9 Decision Day finale of the Kinetic Content-produced show last week hit a series high. Starting with Season 10, which will be set in Washington D.C. area and will debut in January 2020, Married at First Sight will feature for the first time five new couples — up from three in Seasons 1-7 and four in Seasons 8-9 — and two-hour episodes, up from an hour originally and 90 minutes most recently. Season 11 is expected to take place in New Orleans. Seventeen two-hour episodes have been ordered for both new seasons”.

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Below are the winners from last night’s Emmy Awards:

Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Bodyguard
** Game of Thrones
Killing Eve
Ozark
Pose
Succession
This Is Us

Outstanding Comedy Series
Barry
** Fleabag
The Good Place
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Russian Doll
Schitt’s Creek
Veep

Outstanding Limited Series
** Chernobyl
Escape at Dannemora
Fosse/Verdon
Sharp Objects
When They See Us

Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
** Billy Porter, Pose
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us

Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
** Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Laura Linney, Ozark
Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul
Alfie Allen, Game of Thrones
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones
** Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
Chris Sullivan, This Is Us

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve
** Julia Garner, Ozark

Directing For A Drama Series
Game Of Thrones, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Game Of Thrones, David Nutter
Game Of Thrones, Miguel Sapochnik
The Handmaid’s Tale, Daina Reid
Killing Eve, Lisa Brühlmann
** Ozark, Jason Bateman
Succession, Adam McKay

Writing For A Drama Series
Better Call Saul, Peter Gould and Thomas Schnauz
Bodyguard, Jed Mercurio
Game Of Thrones, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
The Handmaid’s Tale, Bruce Miller and Kira Snyder
Killing Eve, Emerald Fennell
** Succession, Jesse Armstrong

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Don Cheadle, Black Monday
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
** Bill Hader, Barry
Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
** Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Carrigan, Barry
Stephen Root, Barry
Henry Winkler, Barry
Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
** Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Tony Hale, Veep

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Sarah Goldberg, Barry
Sian Clifford, Fleabag
Olivia Colman, Fleabag
Betty Gilpin, GLOW
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
** Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Directing For A Comedy Series
Barry, Alec Berg (The Audition)
Barry, Bill Hader (ronny/lily)
The Big Bang Theory, Mark Cendrowski (The Stockholm Syndrome)
** Fleabag, Harry Bradbeer (Episode 1)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amy Sherman-Palladino (All Alone)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Daniel Palladino (We’re Going To The Catskills! )

Writing For A Comedy Series
Barry, Alec Berg and Bill Hader (ronny/lily)
** Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Episode 1)
The Good Place, Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan (Janet(s))
PEN15, Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle (Anna Ishii-Peters)
Russian Doll, Leslye Headland, Natasha Lyonne, and Amy Poehler (Nothing In This World Is Easy)
Russian Doll, Allison Silverman (A Warm Body)
Veep, David Mandel (Veep)

Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Mahershala Ali, True Detective
Benicio del Toro, Escape at Dannemora
Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal
Jared Harris, Chernobyl
** Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us
Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon

Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Amy Adams, Sharp Objects
Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora
Aunjanue Ellis, When They See Us
Joey King, The Act
Niecy Nash, When They See Us
** Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
** Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal
Stellan Skarsgard, Chernobyl
Paul Dano, Escape at Dannemora
John Leguizamo, When They See Us
Michael K. Williams, When They See Us
Asante Blackk, When They See Us

Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Emily Watson, Chernobyl
Margaret Qualley, Fosse/Verdon
Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects
** Patricia Arquette, The Act
Marsha Stephanie Blake, When They See Us
Vera Farmiga, When They See Us

Directing For A Limited Series or Movie
** Chernobyl, Johan Renck
Escape At Dannemora, Ben Stiller
Fosse/Verdon, Jessica Yu (Glory)
Fosse/Verdon, Thomas Kail (Who’s Got The Pain)
A Very English Scandal, Stephen Frears
When They See Us, Ava DuVernay

Writing For A Limited Series or Movie
** Chernobyl, Craig Mazin
Escape At Dannemora, Brett Johnson, Michael Tolkin, and Jerry Stahl (Episode 6)
Escape At Dannemora, Brett Johnson and Michael Tolkin (Episode 7)
Fosse/Verdon, Steven Levenson and Joey Fields (Providence)
A Very English Scandal, Russell T. Davies
When They See Us, Ava DuVernay and Michael Starrbury (Part Four)

Outstanding Competition Series
The Amazing Race
American Ninja Warrior
Nailed It!
** RuPaul’s Drag Race
Top Chef Bravo
The Voice

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
At Home With Amy Sedaris
Documentary Now!
Drunk History
I Love You, America With Sarah Silverman
** Saturday Night Live
Who Is America?

Outstanding Variety Talk Series
The Daily Show With Trevor Noah
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
Jimmy Kimmel Live
** Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
Late Late Show With James Corden
Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Outstanding Television Movie
** Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
Brexit
Deadwood: The Movie
King Lear
My Dinner With Hervé

Per Deadline, “Oprah Winfrey made a guest appearance on CBS This Morning on Monday to announce her pick for her re-activated book clubThe Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates. (See video above.)

“Her interview with Coates will stream on Apple TV+ when the subscription service launches on November 1, under the title Oprah’s Book Club. New episodes of the show, centered on future club picks, will appear every other month.

“‘It is one of the best books I have ever read in my entire life,’ Winfrey said. ‘Right up there in the Top 5.’ She said later that she wished that author Toni Morrison had lived long enough to read The Water Dancer. ‘I think she would be so proud.’

“Also on Monday, Winfrey touted the pick on The Ellen Show (see video below). Host Ellen DeGeneres asked about the rumors of Winfrey doing a talk show for Apple. ‘I’m kind of done with the talk show,’ she said. On Apple, she said, ‘I can do whatever I want — that’s what’s wonderful.’ While some talk-show elements — interviews with newsmakers, for example — will remain in play, Winfrey said documentaries and the book club would be her main focus. ‘I’m kind of done with the every day,’ she told DeGeneres. ‘I’m going to let you handle that. You are the gold standard.’

“The Water Dancer is the debut novel from Coates, author of non-fiction books including Between the World and Me. Rooted in the story of slavery in America, the book charts the path of a young boy born into bondage on a plantation.

“Winfrey appeared last March at an event teasing the Apple TV+ service. She highlighted the reach of the platform, which will roll out in more than 100 countries, amplified by the amount of Apple devices in the world. ‘They’re in a billion pockets, y’all,’ Winfrey said.

“Years ago, when Winfrey presided over her daily syndicated talk show and introduced her book club, the effect on book sales was dramatic. Publishers have long celebrated the club as a tonic, but in recent years, as Winfrey focused on building her OWN cable network as well as other projects, the club had a less regular platform. Apple is hoping to provide a more steady home while also benefiting from copies of club titles sold through Apple Books.

“‘Few people in the world can bring us together like Oprah, whose compassion and grace celebrating the power of books are unmatched,’ Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a press release. ‘It’s our honor to provide a new platform for Oprah’s Book Club and support the American Library Association in opening hearts and minds to the joy of reading.’

“On CBS, Winfrey was asked briefly about politics and whether she ever seriously thought about running for president in 2020. That notion gained currency after Winfrey’s galvanizing appearance at the 2018 Golden Globes, bringing the crowd to its feet with a speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award. ‘I never considered it,’ Winfrey said. ‘Because it’s the kind of thing I think you feel in your gut, your soul, your being. You know if that’s the thing you’re supposed to do in life.’ She added, ‘When I’m watching the debates, I’m so happy I’m not in any of it.’

“In what could be interpreted as a dig against Hillary Clinton, Winfrey continued, ‘A lot of the candidates make the biggest mistakes — and certainly that happened in the previous election. There’s a law, a natural law, that says what you give your attention to expands. So you should not talk about the other guy, because you only empower your opponents when you talk about them. You should talk about what you are going to do and as little as possible not discuss what the other guy is doing.’”

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From The Hollywood Reporter: “All's fair in love and war in the latest episode of Succession.

“In the aftermath of Waystar Royco's failure to acquire rival media company PGM, Logan Roy's (Brian Cox) ally in the latter company, former CEO Rhea Jarrell (Holly Hunter), has stuck around in a big way. In the seventh episode of the HBO one-percent drama, Return, the ousted PGM exec shows up on Logan's private jet nominally to offer him advice but, as his children suspect, her guidance soon transitions into a romance and deeper professional partnership. If Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roy (Kieran Culkin) and Shiv (Sarah Snook) are at first amused by Logan's new flame, by the end of the episode Shiv sounds the alarm that Rhea may be undermining the children's claim to succeed Logan at Waystar — and she isn't wrong.

“While Succession has refracted the lives of several high-powered moguls and their children — primarily the Murdochs and Redstones, though with echoes of the Trumps and Maxwells, among others — since its premiere, Return tackles, in particular, these titans' significant others: how they insert themselves into dynasties, the threats they pose to their children and their own ephemerality as contingent power brokers.

"Return focuses on three women who have flitted in and out of Logan's life over the past few decades, including his second wife Caroline Collingwood (Harriet Walter), third wife Marcia Roy (Hiam Abbass) and new fling Rhea. While Marcia and Logan have seemingly patched up their relationship since a spat in front of the Pierce family in the season's fifth episode, Logan, having doubts about all of his children's viability as successors, seeks Rhea's company for advice and seemingly to enjoy the company of an equal in business acumen and savagery. ‘Logan, particularly with the Holly Hunter character, likes strong women,’ Cox explained in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter about the sixth episode.

“Almost immediately, Rhea begins seeding doubt about all of his children's suitability: ‘Shiv thinks she's smarter than she is. Roman could actually be good but nowhere near right now,’ she starts. ‘Kendall, I don't know, it's like you put him in a big-kid diaper and he can shit himself whenever he likes. He has all the shots but he doesn't know when to play them.’ Rhea particularly savages Shiv, to whom Logan has, most recently, promised his CEO seat: Rhea participates in a group mocking of a memo the younger Roy wrote to her father and, later, suggests Shiv put herself forward for the PGM CEO job as leverage to use against her father. The move backfires and gives Logan a reason to block his daughter from succeeding him once and for all.

"‘[It'd be] like a rhino fucking a hummingbird,’ Roman Roy, speculating on what it would look like for his father to romance Rhea, says at one point in the episode — but throughout it, Rhea proves that her size belies a gargantuan ambition.

“Logan's relationships have always vaguely resembled those of News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch, who had a daughter with his first wife (like Logan had Alan Ruck's Connor with his) and three children with his second wife (à la Caroline; odds are Logan won't be having two children, as Murdoch did with third wife Wendi Deng, with Marcia). Return deepens these connections: In order to secure his ex-wife's shares of Waystar for an upcoming, threatening shareholder vote, Logan reopens Caroline's divorce settlement, making it ever-richer and recalling the reported $1.7 billion fortune Murdoch's second wife, Anna Torv, received upon their divorce.

“Caroline, ever-savvy, stirs up some filial resentment when she asks Logan to choose between a prized piece of real estate and losing his children for Christmas, or vice versa, in the ensuing negotiations; Logan chooses keeping his Hamptons estate. But if Caroline attempts to pull her children's heart strings by complaining that they are constantly spending time with their father and that they have come to "screw" money out of her, the episode also suggests she isn't a very enthusiastic mother to begin with. When Kendall seeks her advice and comfort after he visits the home of a man he killed in a drugged-driving incident, she cuts him off before he gets started, suggests they talk in the morning and then hightails it out of her house before he wakes.

“The hackles raised by Rhea in Return also recall how a distrust of Deng, in particular, united Murdoch's often sparring children, as a New York Times Magazine story published earlier this year on Murdoch's succession struggles, reported. The final moments of Return set up a battle between the children and their father's new girlfriend when Shiv calls Kendall on the family's private jet to air her concerns about Rhea. ‘I think I just got fucked,’ Shiv tells Kendall of her latest dealings with Rhea, where she calls the former exec a ‘problem.’

“The brewing battle between Shiv and Rhea also echoes the battles between Shari Redstone and Sumner Redstone's live-in girlfriends, Sydney Holland and Manuela Herzer, following Redstone's divorce from his second wife. While it remains to be seen how Shiv responds to Rhea's sabotage of her succession prospects, Shari, finding herself and her family out of favor with her father due to the influence of his girlfriends, enlisted his nurses to monitor their influence over him and performed a background check on his girlfriends to "have them pegged," according to Keach Hagey's 2018 biography The King of Content.

“Unlike Redstone, Logan, post-stroke, seems stronger and more determined to maintain his control over Waystar Royco than ever. And in Return, he makes clear that his extramarital and marital relationships, as well as his relationships with family members, are subordinate to his need for control. He may feel love for his family, but he also has no problem manipulating the language of loyalty and love to get what he wants. Right after telling off Shiv for testing the waters of a potential CEO position with PGM, saying she can ‘fuck off’ if she doesn't understand the importance of family, he asks Rhea to look ‘further afield’ than his children for a successor candidate and thanks her for giving him "ammunition" against Shiv. ‘I think I got the noose [off] from around my neck,’ he says.”

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From EW: “Arriving at the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia set, you might first think you’ve stumbled into a different part of Pennsylvania. Scranton, to be exact, considering that the FXX comedy recently moved into the building that was once home to NBC’s The Office. That fun fact also serves as a telling marker of Always Sunny’s impressive — and surprising — longevity. The two shows premiered just months apart back in 2005, but nearly a decade and a half later, The Office has been off the air for six years while Sunny is on the verge of making history.

The origins of Sunny go back to actor friends Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, and Charlie Day growing frustrated with auditioning and opting to create their own content. With little money and a camcorder, they shot a pilot, which was eventually bought by FX. The show would go on to chronicle the misadventures of four degenerate friends as they occasionally run Paddy’s Pub in the City of Brotherly Love. Joining Mac (McElhenney), Charlie (Day), and Dennis (Howerton) in the first aired episode was Dee (McElhenney’s future wife, Kaitlin Olson), while Danny DeVito was recruited ahead of season 2 to play Dennis and Dee’s wealthy father, Frank — and to help boost the show’s popularity. The bump wasn’t immediate, but Sunny would survive initial low ratings, Emmy snubs, and a network move to eventually tie The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet as the longest-running live-action sitcom, by season count, in American television history.

Ahead of the record-tying 14th season, Day, Howerton, McElhenney, Olson, and DeVito sat down with EW on the Sunny set to look back on their notable run, explain how they became a voice for social and political commentary, and ponder whether the end is near.

This show has always been unique in that you’re so involved in every facet of making the show. So now in season 14, are you still as hands-on? How different is filming season 14 versus filming season 2 or 3?
KAITLIN OLSON: It’s a well-oiled machine at this point. We’re cranking out our days so fast, we’re like, “Oh yeah, we can slow down and play around like we did in the first few seasons.”
ROB MCELHENNEY: It’s less stressful for us. Well, it’s still just as much work, but it’s less stressful because we have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t work. We’re laughing a lot more. I think in the beginning we were just still trying to figure out what the show was and who the characters are, and that’s stressful.
GLENN HOWERTON: It has been a fun year. It’s always a lot of work, though. Because we’re involved in every aspect of it, so it’s exhausting.
CHARLIE DAY: Something about the scripts we wrote this year feels to me like some of the older seasons of Sunny.
HOWERTON: There’s been a lot of great, smaller relationship episodes.
OLSON: Also, you’re not really having to work on your character. [Laughs] You’re just showing up to rehearsal, doing it as scripted a few times, and then trying to make each other laugh.
DANNY DEVITO: Everything we do seems like it’s a lot of fun. It’s really weird, because I guess this is 14, and it doesn’t seem to be. For me, it doesn’t get old. I just love going to work.
OLSON: For Danny and I, we work two months out of the year on this show. These guys are writing, and then after we’re done with production, they go and edit it. It’s a no-brainer for us.
DAY: When we were young, it was so new, and I mourn the loss of the newness of everything, because that’s just an exciting time in your life where just the opportunity to get to do it really fuels you in a way.
HOWERTON: Kaitlin just posted on Instagram from our last day of shooting season 1, and we were in my trailer and drinking straight out of a bottle of whiskey.
DAY: Celebrating, “We did it!” And we didn’t know if we’d ever get to do it again — and here we are 14 years later. But one of the advantages now is really having a better grasp on how to do it, so that we manage our time better, and in some ways, it’s less stressful because we know everything will come together. Whereas you don’t have the youthful excitement, you don’t have the youthful angst too.

How surreal does it feel to hear “14 seasons”? A lot of shows do seven seasons and people are like, “Okay, we get it, wrap it up.” But you all seem immune to that.
DEVITO: It’s crazy. It goes by fast. I did five seasons on Taxi, that’s it.
OLSON: I feel like when we’re in it, it’s not, but then when I see pictures or hear people talk about episodes that were a decade ago, that’s when it’s crazy, because it feels like a lifetime ago.
MCELHENNEY: The Office shot here and they started the same year as us, and it seems like they’ve been off the air for a while — and were on the air for a while.
OLSON: That’s a long time. Basically we’re just getting old and we don’t like thinking about it, so next question. [Laughs]
MCELHENNEY: We have the luxury of only doing 10 episodes a year, that’s huge. It allows us to have a tremendous amount of free time. So when we come back and it takes six or seven months to make this series, we’re fresh. And then beyond that, it’s because we all still love it and we’re still having fun, and there’s no disconnect between the writers and the actors, because we’re one and the same.
HOWERTON: It feels more like being in a band than being on a show. I’ve been on other shows [Howerton currently stars on A.P. Bio], and there’s something so much more expansive about those other things. You’ve got the directors and writers and producers and actors, and they’re all different people. We are like a band. We write and play all of our own music. And we’ve been together for 14 years, writing and playing and performing, and all the internal fights and struggles that go along with that, the sort of internal therapy sessions.
DAY: I can see it that way too, where the time flies by, because what are you we going to do, not make music this year?
HOWERTON: That’s the thing, every year we put out a new album.
DAY: Let’s get in the garage for a few months, come up with something, and then do a few shows. It does feel like that, which is cool. Even though I can’t really say because I was never in a band. [Laughs]
HOWERTON: It’s what I imagine it to be. It feels like you’re on stage with a group of musicians that you’ve been playing with for a very long time. Like, I know exactly what I need to say to tee Charlie up. It’s like we speak our own language.
DAY: When you go do another show or movie and you’re working in a different style with different people, you forget, “Oh yeah, it doesn’t just all click in the same way that this clicks.” You have to find the way that the other thing clicks.
HOWERTON: Yeah, it messes me up a little bit sometimes. Because I come up thinking, “Okay, if I say this, then he’ll say this,” and he doesn’t. And I’m like, “Oh right, that isn’t Charlie.” But I do think it is actually important for us to get out and play with other musicians, to take that analogy further, but it’s always fun to come back together and be home. It’s like a family.

After season 1, it seemed like the show was truly at risk of being canceled, and then Danny was brought in and the rest is history. When did you feel like you started to be truly embraced?
MCELHENNEY: Probably for the first four years we were like, “Oh, that was fun, but that’s it. No one’s watching, so we will just move on with it.” But we always thought we had something good, it was just a matter of getting people to watch it.
DEVITO: They did seven episodes, and [FX CEO] John Landgraf, who I’m good friends with, called and told me to take a look at this show, “See what you think about it, because I don’t know what the future of the show is going to be.” I looked at it, and then I think six months later, Landgraf called me up and said, “We’re thinking of doing the show, we want to put someone in it, are you interested?” And I said, “Yeah.” What made me do it was the fun of it. I love to have a good time. Let’s see, I’m 30 years older than them, so it’s kind of like hanging out with your kids. Glenn and Kaitlin are my kids on the show, but I feel like they’re all my kids.
MCELHENNEY: Season 5 was when we realized, “Oh, there’s an audience.”
OLSON: People came out of the woodwork, and everyone’s thing was that they wanted to claim that they had been watching from the beginning.
MCELHENNEY: We’ve been doing this so long that it was before real social media.
OLSON: This is back in the MySpace days.
MCELHENNEY: So there was no barometer, like you just really didn’t know. It was only Nielsen ratings, which everyone kind of recognizes is bulls‑‑‑. Now you can go on your phone and see exactly how people feel, or at least the vociferous 10 percent — we didn’t even have that. And walking around L.A., no one seems to care anyway, because there are so many other shows and movies. So when we went out into the real world with the live Nightman Cometh show ahead of season 5 and went to places like Philadelphia, Seattle, New York, and San Francisco, you got a good sense of how popular the show as.

Last year you did a Time’s Up episode and the episode with Mac coming out to his dad. But that’s not anything new for you — you’ve been doing it from the beginning, whether it’s the housing crisis or gun control. How have you been able to so hilariously give this social commentary through the years?
MCELHENNEY: We’re always really careful about it. It’s not about laying out some political or social agenda — and it’s not because we’re afraid to do that — it’s because we don’t feel like it’s our place to do that with the show. Our job with the show is to entertain people, and one of the ways we try to do that is to take the conversations that people are having culturally right now and try to put them through the prism of a 22-minute sitcom. And we wind up jumping into these hot-button issues where people feel so passionately about them, and then what we try to do is find the margins, since whoever is in the 10 percent on either side tends to be insane. On the left and right, progressive or conservative, that far hardcore 10 percent tends to be crazy people — and those are the kinds of people that we are on the show and the kinds of stories that we like to tell.
DAY: It’s the greatest gift that this show provides to us, the ability to have a voice that can have a comedic take on anything.
HOWERTON: We sort of accidentally fell into that. We became these characters that could represent a side of an argument, and the characters have become a mouthpiece for a certain way of thinking that exists in society. It’s always the loudest, most extreme people that are heard, so watching the extreme points of view play out to their inevitable finish line is a fun way to satirize the fact that being really extreme in your point of view is never really going to get anything done.
DAY: I think people are nervous these days about what they say — maybe for the best, maybe not. And it’s probably a relief for people that there’s a television show based on a bunch of characters who always say the wrong thing. [Laughs] So it’s kind of fun that you can at least get the chance to see someone say the wrong thing and laugh at them, or with them, depending on where you fall on the sides of the spectrum.
HOWERTON: It’s an equal-opportunity show. We’re going after anybody who’s got a really strong ideological point of view and refuses to look at the facts. Right from the beginning, we were tackling things like, “Let’s make something funny that most people don’t want to talk about, but that you do talk about.” The whole cancer thing in season 1: Your friend has cancer but nobody ever wants to talk about the guy who is like, “Is it bad that I don’t want to listen to my friend bitch about the fact that he has cancer and I just want to get the f‑‑‑ out of his apartment?”
DAY: We thought that those uncomfortable situations were really fertile soil for comedy, so that is why we were writing towards that. But FX was the one pushing us towards making entire episodes about those things. But sometimes the episodes are just about going to a water park and what’s going to happen there. I think if it was all one or all the other, then the show wouldn’t have lasted this long.

Rob, what have you enjoyed about exploring Mac’s sexuality? There have always been hints about him being gay, but you’ve really focused on it in the last two seasons.
MCELHENNEY: I think making sure that we are very careful to not change the fact that Mac is an abhorrent person. And that was something we made a concerted effort on, to make sure we were servicing a very large part of our community, which is the LGBTQ community, and we wanted to make sure that we were having a character who was going to come out in a way that would feel satisfying and be in the tone of the Sunny, while also not just all of a sudden dramatically changing Mac’s character, because that just wouldn’t resonate with Sunny. And I feel like that’s something I hear over and over again from our fans, who say, “Hey, man, it’s great that Mac came out and it’s great that you didn’t change him, that he’s still so unlikable and such an a‑‑hole and that everyone hates him.” That is true inclusion, as opposed to saying he’s come out and now all of a sudden he’s this great guy. It doesn’t work like that. True inclusion is bringing the LGBTQ down into the gutter with us.

What was the reaction like to your epic dance number in the season 13 finale?
MCELHENNEY: It was both negative and positive, which is one of those things we talked about. It’s great to surprise people and have them not have any idea what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. I have people saying, “Oh my God, I love this, it’s one of the best things you’ve ever done,” and then I have other people saying, “You’ve destroyed my show, you’ve ruined it.” And I’m like, “Great!” That’s exactly what we should be doing on the show, is we should be destroying somebody’s idea of what Sunny is on a regular basis.
OLSON: It was kind of weird just how many people would just blatantly comment on his body and to me, and we were like, “What would happen if they were commenting on my body to you? Like, ‘Ahh, Kaitlin’s chest…’”
MCELHENNEY: A lot of people didn’t like it. Because a lot of people felt like it didn’t fit into the lexicon of what the show is. And I can’t say that they’re wrong, but the difference is that I get to dictate what the lexicon is and they don’t, and that’s a part of the experience.

Danny, you’ve gotten real down and dirty on Sunny. Hell, you’ve even gotten greased up and emerged naked from a couch. Is there anything you won’t do for a laugh?
DEVITO: In life I think you’ve got to have that attitude, as long as you’re doing it for fun and you’re having a good time and not hurting anybody. You have to have compassion and mercy. I keep saying to them, “Just push the envelope — what can you do?” It’s kind of like a challenge, the Frank challenge. I wouldn’t skydive, I don’t think, I’m chicken. I limit my stunts, I’ve got a stunt guy, but I do quite a bit of things. As long as it’s funny, I’ll slime around and s‑‑‑ like that.

Kaitlin, you’re used to Dee getting crapped on all the time. Do you just want them to keep finding new ways to make her life miserable?
OLSON: Dee should be dead. It’s so funny to me. I don’t think I can articulate why, but I find myself skimming story lines to see where I’m going to be exploded or beaten or whatever. It makes me laugh. Like when she tried to become a comedian. That was so mean. My favorite part of that episode was filming the twist, because we didn’t really rehearse it this way, and having no idea that when I walked out, the way Charlie and Mac celebrated, they almost started crying they were celebrating so hard, and throwing champagne all over each other. It was so victorious and so emotional for them that they did this thing. Oh my God, it was so funny to me.
MCELHENNEY: Dennis didn’t know, though. He was getting so mad that he didn’t know it was fake. So really the joke was also on Dennis and he’s like, “No, no, it’s not.” Even in that, ultimately, the true target was Dennis. He would be the one who would revel in it the most. So Dee can’t even be the butt of her own joke.

As we’re on set, you’re shooting a laser tag episode, but what else should we expect in this historic season 14?
MCELHENNEY: Every year is the exactly the same in terms of the approach, which is to try and do things that would be “stereotypical” episodes of Sunny, very Sunny-esque episodes with a similar structure, and then we try to mix up a few. We always notice that people either love or hate those different ones. And that’s great, that’s part of the experience. I truly and firmly believe that if we were just giving something by the numbers week to week, that ultimately we wouldn’t be going into season 14. It would just get tired. If they hate an episode every once and a while, that’s fine as long as they keep coming back to see what they might love or hate the following week.
DAY: This laser tag episode that we’re shooting right now is a Waiting for Godot-themed laser tag episode, which America has always wanted.
MCELHENNEY: And this is one people are going to hate. [Laughs]
DAY: We have film noir episode, shot in black and white, using much fancier cameras than we shoot our show on. It makes you realize we should shoot on those cameras anyway. Oh, we got Dolph Lundgren!
HOWERTON: Playing John Thunder Gun. And I directed two episodes this year.
DAY: Which was great. It felt like old-school Sunny to me, when we started as just a couple of guys with cameras.
OLSON: There’s a great episode called “The Right to Chop,” where the guys weigh in very heavily on whether Dee should be able to cut her own hair, because they have to look at it, which I love. We have an episode on global warming.
MCELHENNEY: Again, we’re not saying anything… Well, we are in that episode a little bit. But really we’re just watching as the temperature in the bar is rising and rising and rising and the air conditioning eventually breaks, and all we’re asking people to do is, “We don’t have to stop, we just have to slow down a little bit.” But nobody wants to slow down, they want the party to keep going, and to tragic results. But that is the impending doom that is It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — and our species.

Have you thought about the end? Clearly you have to do at least one more to break the record.
MCELHENNEY: For us, we just have a short checklist: Do we still enjoy it, are we still having fun, are we still stretching ourselves creatively, and is the audience still there? It seems like all those boxes keep getting checked, so we keep coming back.
DAY: It’s whether we can put out a good season of television. So it’s always making sure everyone has the time and desire to put in the hard work we put in to make the show what we think it is.
DEVITO: There’s no rumblings about stopping. Next year we’ll come back and do another season and just keep going. Right now I’m having everyone sign this script for a friend of mine’s kid who is in England and went through something. It’s his favorite show and he pops it on when he feels like he needs a lift. He’s 11. So our fanbase is growing; we have older guys, women, 11-year-old kids. If we can be like Warner Bros. cartoons, let’s do it. Throw on a Looney Tunes once and a while and see what Frank and the gang are doing. Maybe we’ll expand in the next couple years to some really specific special-effects things, because don’t you think we should all be able to fly? [Laughs] No skydiving, though!