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Monday, August 6, 2018

TV/STREAMING . . .

'The Americans' Wins Big at TV Critics Awards. The FX spy drama leads the winners with three, while 'Killing Eve' takes home the prize for outstanding new program. FX's The Americans ended its run on a high Saturday, taking home TCA Award wins in three of the four categories in which it was nominated, including program of the year. Heading into Saturday's 34th annual Television Critics Association Awards with the second-most nominations (four), star Keri Russell took home the award for individual achievement in drama as the dearly departed FX spy drama was also recognized as outstanding drama series. The Americans was the night's only multiple award winner. BBC America's Killing Eve -- which entered the night with a leading five nominations -- took home the win for outstanding new program. NBC's Mike Schur comedy The Good Place collected the prize for achievement in comedy, while The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star Rachel Brosnahan took home the individual achievement award for comedy. HBO's Last Week Tonight With John Oliver won for outstanding sketch/variety series (a new award this year), while CNN's Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown was recognized as the best news and information series. HBO's Sesame Street was recognized for achievement in youth programming, while Netflix's Queer Eye revival took home the top reality programming award. On the miniseries front, the second season of FX's American Crime Story -- The Assassination of Gianni Versace -- took home the prize. The non-televised event, hosted by comedian Robin Thede, formerly host of BET's The Rundown, was held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, home of the three-week TCA summer press tour that is currently underway. The awards were voted on by more than 200 television critics and journalists from the U.S. and Canada. The nearly two-hour ceremony also featured the TCA honoring NBC's Friends with its highest honor, the Heritage Award, while presenting Rita Moreno with its Career Achievement Award. "This year's TCA Awards offered the welcome opportunity to say goodbye to one of the era's most critically acclaimed shows in The Americans, a drama that combined espionage thrills, high emotional stakes and international intrigue that couldn't have been more current," said Daniel Fienberg, TCA president and The Hollywood Reporter's chief TV critic. "Our other winners included new shows like Killing Eve and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, rebooted shows like Queer Eye, the anthological darkness of another American Crime Story chapter and the hopefully timeless and unending wonder of Sesame Street. As we always say, TV offers something for every audience in 2018 and if you can't find anything to watch, you're not trying hard enough and you need to read some more TV critics!" In perhaps a sign of the quality of programming in the Peak TV era, there wasn't a single repeat winner from last year. (Hollywood Reporter)

Patrick Stewart Announces Return as Picard for New Star Trek Series. Red alert! Patrick Stewart is returning to Star Trek. The 78-year-old fan-favorite actor will once again play Jean-Luc Picard, the Star Trek: The Next Generation TV role that made him internationally famous, in a new series for the franchise that will air on CBS All Access. Stewart announced the news to fans during a surprise appearance at the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention on Saturday. "The time has come to Make it so!" read a post on the official Star Trek Twitter page. "@SirPatStew will be returning to his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard in a new #CBSAllAccess #StarTrek series that tells the story of the next chapter in Picard's life." Star Trek: The Next Generation aired between 1987 and 1994, after which Stewart reprised his role as Picard, captain of the starship Enterprise, in four movies based on the show, the last of which, Star Trek: Nemesis, was released in 2002. Over the next few years, Stewart would gain a slew of new fans thanks to his portrayal of Professor X in the X-Men series. "I will always be very proud to have been a part of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but when we wrapped that final movie in the spring of 2002, I truly felt my time with Star Trek had run its natural course," he wrote on social media on Saturday. "It is, therefore, an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him. Seeking out new life for him, when I thought that life was over." "During these past years, it has been humbling to hear stories about how The Next Generation brought people comfort, saw them through difficult periods in their lives or how the example of Jean-Luc inspired so many to follow in his footsteps, pursuing science, exploration and leadership. I feel I'm ready to return to him for the same reason -- to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times," he said. "I look forward to working with our brilliant creative team as we endeavor to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to live once more." Onstage at the Las Vegas event, Stewart told fans his character "may not be a captain anymore. He may be someone who has been changed by his experiences." "We have no scripts as yet," he said. "We're just talking talking storylines. It will be something very different, but it will come to you with the same passion." The new Star Trek series' name and release date has not been disclosed. It is the second franchise show for CBS All Access. Star Trek: Discovery, the sixth live-action Star Trek series, debuted on the digital streaming service last year. In June, Stewart teased a possible return to the Star Trek franchise, telling Red Carpet News TV that while he hasn't seen Star Trek: Discovery yet, he "may have good cause to look at it very soon." That month, the Hollywood Reporter had said that there were "rumblings" of a new Star Trek series featuring Stewart as Picard. (Eonline)

Pose Season 2 Details Revealed: Time Jumps, Madonna and Dealing With HIV. Pose is going to the future... sort of. The first season of the FX period drama ended in 1988, but season two, which has yet to begin production, will jump ahead to 1989 and end in March 1990 when Madonna's "Vogue" debuted. Series co-creator Ryan Murphy said he has a pretty good relationship with Madonna but doesn't know if he'll get her to appear on the series. "I think the thing about this show thus far is the casting that we've done, we haven't tried to do too much of my typical stunt casting and I don't think we will," Murphy said at 2018 TCA summer press tour. "I don't think that's what the show is about, but I always love to talk to Madonna. I don't know how she'd feel about playing 1990 Madonna." And if Madonna offered to appear? "I would say let's talk to Janet Mock about that," Murphy joked. The use of "Vogue" will be about the characters experiencing their world and community put on display for the world to see. "How that song sort of took something that was unknown in the culture and made it mainstream," Murphy said. The FX series features HIV-positive characters, but they haven't discussed when and how the show will tackle whether or not Blacna (Mj Rodriguez) and Pray Tell (Billy Porter) would succumb to the disease during the series' run. "I think it's something that's very difficult when you work on a show and you grow to love these characters and actors," Murphy said. But there's a responsibility to show the cold, hard truth, he said. "We will see that on our show," he said. "How we will do that I don't know." But if/when they do, it will be an event in the life of the show with the cast involved. The second series will feature more of Blanca and Pray Tell's HIV experience and feature the return of Sandra Bernhard as the nurse she played in season one. "We want to be truthful about that," he said. Pose returns in 2019. (Eonline)

Jessica Lange Returning For American Horror Story: Apocalypse and More Season 8 Details. Ready for some very good news, American Horror Story fans? After much speculation, Jessica Lange will be back for American Horror Story's big Murder House/Coven crossover that premieres September 12. Sarah Paulson gleefully announced the news at near the top of the show's panel for FX's summer TCA press tour. "Yes, she will be back as Constance in an episode that I'm going to direct," Paulson revealed, and further explained that it will be the sixth episode of the season. Constance was Lange's character in season one, the next-door neighbor of the Harmon family and the mother of Tate (Evan Peters). She's also the grandmother of Michael Langdon, the baby/anti-christ who has already been revealed as a character this season. While the cast and EPs behind the series are being secretive as usual, we did get a few other details about Apocalypse during the panel. EP Alexis Martin Woodall revealed that "the story begins with the end of the world, and then our world begins," though she would not say exactly what kind of apocalypse we're facing. "It starts in the real world, it's very tangible," she continued. "If [the apocalypse] is what launches it, what's the fantasy world of what happens next?" The stars in attendance also all revealed the names of the characters they're playing. Leslie Grossman will be playing someone named Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt. Billie Lourd plays Mallory, "just Mallory," and Adina Porter plays Dinah Stevens. Emma Roberts will be reprising her role as Madison Montgomery, promising many more meme-able moments. Kathy Bates revealed that her name is Ms. Meade, and Paulson will not only play Coven's Cordelia, but she'll also return as Billie Dean and another mysteriously named character that sounds like "Venable." Paulson also revealed that Cordelia is still the Supreme "for now." "At the beginning of our story that is the title she still holds," she said. "I don't know how long that's going to last and enjoyment is not possible juncture of this story," she continued when asked if Cordelia was having a good time. "She's not running around like her mother and snorting cocaine and throwing young witches against the wall." The panel also confirmed that Peters will be playing a hairdresser this season, and that the story takes place about 18 months in the future. For everything else we know so far, head to our handy gallery! American Horror Story: Apocalypse will premiere September 12 on FX. (Eonline)

The Facts of Life Reboot From Jessica Biel and Leonardo DiCaprio Might Be a Thing. You take Leonardo DiCaprio, you take Jessica Biel, you take them both and there you have...The Facts of Life reboot? According to Deadline, DiCaprio's production company Appian Way and Biel's company, Iron Ocean Films, are in talks to work with Sony Pictures Television to reboot the beloved sitcom The Facts of Life. The Facts of Life, a spinoff from Diff'rent Strokes, ran for nine seasons on NBC. The series followed a group of girls at a boarding school who were looked after Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae). As the ladies grew the show shifted settings, at one point having them run a bakery and then a tchotchke store. In addition to Rae, the cast of The Facts of Life included Kim Fields, Mindy Cohn, Cloris Leachman, Lisa Whelchel, Nancy McKeon and at various points Molly Ringwald, George Clooney and even Pamela Adlon. The Facts of Life is just one of many reboots in the works. This season alone there's Charmed, Magnum P.I. and Roswell in the works. Warner Bros. is also working on bringing ALF back. Recently, CBS already successfully rebooted MacGyver and Hawaii Five-0 and Netflix and Sony brought back One Day at a Time. No network is attached to The Facts of Life reboot. Request for comment was not immediately returned by Sony. (Eonline)

Southern Charm's Kathryn Dennis Says She's "in Talks" to Become the Next Bachelorette. Has the next Bachelorette star already been chosen? Not so fast... Earlier this week, Southern Charm star Kathryn Dennis took to Twitter to respond to a fan who asked her if she would ever consider being on the The Bachelorette. "Actually I'm kind of in talks about it," the 25-year-old star shared. When one Twitter user told her she has to be the next Bachelorette star, Dennis replied, "Maybeeeee." However, it might be a bit too early to tell who will land the coveted reality role, considering the current season of The Bachelorette is still airing. After viewers learn who Becca Kufrin ends up with on Monday's episode, ABC will then start airing the new season of Bachelor in Paradise. After Bachelor in Paradise wraps up, the next season of The Bachelor will be up next. So, it will be quite some time before production on the next season of The Bachelorette even begins. Southern Charm fans have already gotten a glimpse into Dennis' personal life on the Bravo series. She had previously been in a relationship with co-star Thomas Ravenel, who she shares two children with, but the couple split in 2016. Dennis has also hooked up with another Southern Charm co-star, Shep Rose. ABC has not commented on the casting speculation. (Eonline)

Chris Rock Joins Fargo Season 4: Get the Details on the 1950-set FX Drama. FX is going back to Fargo, and Chris Rock is coming along. Rock will star in season four of Noah Hawley's Fargo, set to begin production in 2019. "I'm a fan of Fargo and I can't wait to work with Noah," Rock said in a statement. The new season is set in 1950. FX's official description: "In 1950, at the end of two great American migrations -- that of Southern Europeans from countries like Italy, who came to the US at the turn of the last century and settled in northern cities like New York, Chicago -- and African Americans who left the south in great numbers to escape Jim Crow and moved to those same cities -- you saw a collision of outsiders, all fighting for a piece of the American dream. In Kansas City, Missouri, two criminal syndicates have struck an uneasy peace. One Italian, one African American. Together they control an alternate economy -- that of exploitation, graft and drugs. This too is the history of America. To cement their peace, the heads of both families have traded their eldest sons." Look for Rock to play the head of one of the families. In order to prosper he surrendered his oldest son to this enemy and now must raise his son's enemy as his own. The tension isn't gone, but things are now profitable. But then the head of the Kansas City mafia dies and everything changes. "It's a story of immigration and assimilation, and the things we do for money. And as always, a story of basically decent people who are probably in over their heads. You know, Fargo," FX said in a release. You know what this means right? Rock's pretty much assured an Emmy nomination. He already has four Emmys and three Grammys. Fargo's first installment won three Emmys and two Golden Globes. Season two took home two awards and season three netted one. Over the three seasons Fargo's cast included Carrie Coon, Ewan McGregor, Kirsten Dunst, Jean Smart, Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Allison Tolman, Ted Danson and Jesse Plemons. Production begins in 2019, no premiere date is set. (Eonline)

Fox's New Show The Masked Singer Is Very Mysterious and Totally Bonkers. Get ready for all your dreams and all your nightmares to come true at the same time. Fox's newest show, announced on Thursday during the network's summer TCA press tour, features celebrities dressed up in terrifying full body costumes and performing musical numbers. A panel including Jenny McCarthy, Robin Thicke, Nicole Sherzinger, and Ken Jeong, along with host Nick Cannon will then have to guess who the celebrities are. The show, which is an American version of a format that already exists in many other countries, will feature a cast of 12 celebrities competing to stay on the show, but one will be eliminated each week, with their identity revealed as they leave. EP Rob Wade promised that the caliber of celebrities behind those masks will be impressive, including "65 Grammy nominations, 16 Emmy nominations, four stars on the walk of fame, and four Super Bowl rings," and that they will be "household names." "I feel very strongly that this is a very well-known cast," he said. "I think most of the people, all of you in here, will recognize all our masked singers." The commitment for the celebs was only eight days over the course of a month, and all they really had to do was put on a costume -- no hair and makeup required -- and sing a song. That means that in theory, we're likely to have a much more impressive list than the typical cast of Dancing with the Stars. The show is massively popular in countries like Thailand and South Korea, and Jeong says he was encouraged to say yes to joining the series by his Korean mother, who's a huge fan of the series. Ryan Reynold seven recently competed in a unicorn costume on the Korean version to promote Deadpool 2, so perhaps we'll see him again on the American version. Probably not, but perhaps! The Masked Singer is set to premiere on Fox in January 2019. (Eonline)

'The Simpsons' Is Staying on Fox for the "Foreseeable Future." Fox heads Dana Walden and Gary Newman also address the Apu controversy, saying they're leaving decisions to the creative team. The Simpsons has been a part of the Fox network almost as long as there has been a Fox network. Chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman don't see that changing when the network separates from 20th Century Fox TV, the show's studio home. "The Simpsons is so much a part of the brand, there's been such an incredible halo effect of that show and the other animated series that are on our Sunday night," Walden said Thursday during her time at the Television Critics Association press tour. "There are no plans for them to go anywhere other than Fox." Walden added that "a couple years of episodes" for the show are already in production, given the long lead time for the animation process, so it's very likely the show will continue beyond the upcoming 30th season. "Down the line, what kind of decision is made, I can't really speak to, but for the foreseeable future, there's so much upside and benefit to having a great, Emmy Award-winning, smart, provocative, quality show," she said. "There's no consideration of not ordering more Simpsons." When 20th TV and other 21st Century Fox assets become part of Disney, Newman said, The Simpsons will become to Fox what The Big Bang Theory is to CBS -- a long-running show licensed from an outside studio. "As long as we've all been in business, networks have licensed shows they don't have ownership of," he said. "It is challenging, and I anticipate it will be challenging on The Simpsons. But as Dana said, The Simpsons is so associated with Fox, and that association benefits both the network and the owner of the IP. ... I feel confident Disney and Fox are going to find a way to both have an interest in that show." Walden also briefly addressed the controversy of the show's portrayal of Apu, who's voiced by Hank Azaria. She said she wasn't surprised with reaction to the way The Simpsons addressed it onscreen in April -- "in a day of social media, fans are able to have a very public forum and have these conversations" -- but the network is leaving it in the hands of the writers as to how to handle things in the future. "We have had conversations with Jim Brooks and his team, and basically we've left it up to them. I think they've treated the show and the characters on the show with such respect that we trust them to handle it in a way that will be best for their show," Walden said. "I'm not sure yet what they're going to do, but ultimately we decided that was their decision." (Hollywood Reporter)

CBS Hires Multiple Law Firms to Investigate Claims Against Leslie Moonves. The network also said that it had formed a "Special Committee" on the Board of Directors to help investigators in their efforts. The CBS Board of Directors on Wednesday said that it had retained Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton to conduct investigations into network chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves following allegations of sexual misconduct. The company said the board of directors "approved the retention of Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton to conduct a full investigation of the allegations in recent press reports about Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, CBS News and cultural issues at all levels of CBS. At Covington & Burling the investigation will be led by Nancy Kestenbaum, and at Debevoise & Plimpton it will be led by Mary Jo White." The board also announced that it had formed a "Special Committee," consisting of Bruce S. Gordon, Linda Griego and Robert N. Klieger, to help the investigators in their efforts. Moonves is recused from the inquiry. In addition, the board announced that has decided to name Bruce S. Gordon Lead Independent Director of the Board of Directors. "The Board noted that it takes these allegations seriously and is committed to acting in the best interest of the Company and all of its shareholders and is confident that the employees of CBS will continue to perform at a high level as this process unfolds," the network said in a statement. The company's investigation arrives in the wake of a July 27 story penned by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker that reported six women were accusing the CBS chief of sexual misconduct between the 1980s and the mid-2000s. Moonves, in his own statement after the New Yorker story went live, admitted that "there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected -- and abided by the principle -- that 'no' means 'no,' and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone's career." CBS Corporate retained firm Proskauer Rose last March to investigate allegations against Charlie Rose. That investigation -- which is led by Betsy Plevan -- should be winding down. Sources tell THR that the investigation has examined accusations against 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager, which were made public in the New Yorker article. CBS has not announced any plans to make the report public. Earlier on Wednesday, Moonves stepped down from the Anita Hill-led Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, which intends to improve parity and end harassment in the entertainment industry, and was suspended from the USC School of Cinematic Arts Board pending further discussion at a board meeting. CBS will retain Moonves as its chairman and CEO while the investigation unfolds. The Hollywood executive, who has run the network since 2003, is one of the highest-paid CEOs in the world, earning $69 million in 2017 alone, and would walk away with a golden parachute close to $210 million if he chooses to leave CBS. Moonves introduced retransmission fees and hit TV franchises like NCIS and The Big Bang Theory, along with CBS All Access, the streaming service where the newest incarnation of Star Trek resides. His value to CBS, therefore, is difficult to underestimate. (Hollywood Reporter)

Dish Loses 151,000 Pay TV Subscribers in Second Quarter. The company reports its latest financials. Dish Network on Friday reported higher second-quarter earnings as it lost fewer pay TV subscribers. The satellite TV company, led by chairman Charlie Ergen and CEO Erik Carlson, lost 151,000 net pay TV subscribers, including its Sling TV streaming service, in the quarter to end it with nearly 13.0 million, down from 13.3 million in the year-ago period. In the year-ago quarter, the company had lost 196,000 net subscribers. Dish reported a net gain of 41,000 Sling subscribers in the latest quarter to 2.34 million. It lost 192,000 traditional pay TV subscribers in the latest quarter for a total of 10.65 million at the end of June. Dish's earnings for the second quarter reached $439 million, or 83 cents per share, compared with $40 million, or 9 cents per share, in the year-ago period. The year-ago period was negatively impacted by litigation expenses, net of related taxes, of $280 million. The second quarter of 2018 benefited from non-cash adjustments related to the adoption of the new revenue recognition accounting standard, net of related taxes, of $33 million. Dish's quarterly revenue of $3.46 billion was down from $3.64 billion in the year-ago period. (Hollywood Reporter)

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