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Netflix’s Lemony Snicket Series Taps ‘True Blood’s’ Mark Hudis, Barry Sonnenfeld (Exclusive)

40 minutes ago

Former “True Blood” showrunner Mark Hudis and director Barry Sonnenfeld have signed on to steer Netflix’s adaptation of the Lemony Snicket “A Series of Unfortunate Events” fantasy book series.

Hudis will serve as showrunner and exec producer of the series, while Sonnenfeld will direct and exec produce. Lemony Snicket creator Daniel Handler is also an exec producer for Paramount Television, which produced the 2004 feature rendition starring Jim Carrey in 2004.

Netflix billed the series as having multigenerational appeal to kids and parents when it announced the acquisition of the property in November. The “Unfortunate Events” series revolves around a trio of orphans who encounter the villainous Count Olaf and a host of other obstacles as they search for their rightful family fortune and the truth about their parents’ death.

The book series has sold more than 65 million copies since its debut in 1999.

There’s no word yet about a production timetable for the series. »

- Cynthia Littleton

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Stephen Colbert’s Best ‘Late Show’ Pre-Premiere Promotional Stunts

54 minutes ago

Stephen Colbert’s first night as host of CBS’ “Late Show” is Sept. 8, and the comedian and his staff have spent the better part of the summer finding interesting ways of reminding you of that. From puns to public television, Variety ranks our favorite campaigns, thus far.

Only in Monroe

In July, Colbert spent a day as host of a small-time public television program in Michigan titled “Only in Monroe.” His interview subjects include the real hosts of the program — one of whom he challenged to a fingernail-painting contest — and “a local Michigander who is making a name for himself in the competitive world of music,” Eminem.

“I wanted to cut it down to the length of show that we would do on CBS, which is a little bit over 40 minutes, but there’s another 20,” Colbert told reporters at “Late Show’s” Television Critics Assn. panel, which happened a few weeks after the broadcast. »

- Whitney Friedlander

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Espn to Tackle Late-Night Crowd With Scott Van Pelt’s Midnight ‘SportsCenter’

1 hour ago

When Scott Van Pelt comes on the set of his new show at midnight at the tail end of Labor Day, he won’t have many of the trappings one might expect. There will be no in-studio band, and he won’t stand up in front of a microphone and spout a series of one-liners about whatever was trending on social media during the day.

Why would he? This is a sports-news program on Espn.

And yet, when Van Pelt greets viewers tuning into  a new midnight edition of “SportsCenter” as Labor Day melts back into the working week, he may offer a few elements that would make his program a distant cousin, perhaps, to the antics-filled shows seen elsewhere at that time from Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel. This “SportsCenter” arrives with ideas for segments like a bit of Van Pelt’s signature commentary, or “Best Thing I Saw Today, »

- Brian Steinberg

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Disney Channel Orders Latino Family Sitcom Toplined by ‘Jane the Virgin’ Star (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

Disney Channel has ordered new series “Stuck in the Middle,” starring “Jane the Virgin’s” Jenna Ortega, Variety has learned exclusively.

The comedy is slated to debut in spring 2016 with production beginning this November.

The family sitcom marks a move toward Latino-targeted programming for the kids’ cabler. The single-cam series is centered around the Diaz family, and is told from the perspective of the middle child, Harley, played by Ortega, whom Disney Channel is grooming to be their next big star.

Ortega’s character is an engineering whiz who uses her inventions to navigate life as the middle child in a large family of seven kids. Harley’s overlooked status proves to be both a blessing and a curse, as she maneuvers her way through the everyday antics that come with being part of a big family.

The siblings are played by a mish-mosh of familiar Disney faces and newbies to the network. »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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‘Game of Thrones’ Casts ‘UnREAL’ Star Freddie Stroma for Season 6

2 hours ago

Game of Thrones” has added Freddie Stroma, star of Lifetime’s “UnREAL,” for season six, Variety has confirmed.

Stroma will play Dickon Tarly, brother of Samwell (John Bradley), in the HBO series’ upcoming season. We’re expected to meet the rest of Sam’s family, including his father, the ruthless Randyll Tarly, in the new season.

In addition to his breakout role as Adam Cromwell on the Lifetime drama — which has already been renewed for a second season — Stroma is best known for playing Cormac McLaggen in the “Harry Potter” franchise.


- Laura Prudom

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‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Viewership Grows 43% With Time-Shifted Numbers

3 hours ago

The ratings tally for the second outing of AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead” grew by a whopping 3.5 million viewers with three days of time-shifted viewing factored in.

Total viewership climbed to 11.7 million with Nielsen’s live-plus-3 ratings, up from 8.2 million for Sunday’s premiere. In adults 18-49, the L3 numbers brought in another 2.4 million for a total of 7.6 million, a 46% gain from Sunday’s live-plus same-day numbers.

The second installment saw a slight uptick in time-shifted viewing compared to the Aug. 23 premiere. That 90-minute episode opened to 10.1 million viewers and added 3.2 million in the L3 measure.

AMC will serve up reruns of the first two “Fear” episodes this coming Sunday because of the Labor Day holiday weekend. The next fresh episode will air Sept. 13. Here’s a glimpse of “The Dog.”


- Cynthia Littleton

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Espn Benches Curt Schilling for Duration of Baseball Season

5 hours ago

Espn will keep baseball analyst Curt Schilling off the network for the duration of the current Major League Baseball season, the Walt Disney-owned outlet said Thursday, an extension of a punishment meted out after the broadcaster sent out a dispatch on Twitter in August comparing Muslim extremists to Nazis.

Espn decided to prolong Schilling’s sit-down in the wake of an emailed statement he sent to sports-news site Awful Announcing offering more thoughts about the tweet he made, then deleted. The two parties had additional exchanges, and Espn seemed less than pleased.

“At all times during the course of their engagement with us, our commentators are directly linked to Espn and are the face of our brand. We are a sports media company. Curt’s actions have not been consistent with his contractual obligations nor have they been professionally handled; they have obviously not reflected well on the company,” the network said in a statement. »

- Brian Steinberg

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Showtime Sets Teddy Roosevelt Limited Series in Development (Exclusive)

20 hours ago

Showtime is developing a limited series revolving around Teddy Roosevelt, Variety has learned exclusively.

The project, in early development, will be penned by “American History X” screenwriter David McKenna, who will also serve as an exec producer.

Hailing from Electus and Authentic Talent and Literary Management, the limited series will also be exec produced by ElectusBen Silverman and Sean Canino, plus Authentic’s Jon Rubinstein and Jason Egenberg.

Insiders tell Variety that the series will be a “brilliant take” on Roosevelt’s life, presented as a big epic. McKenna is said to be adapting “the real-life heroic story” of the 26th U.S. president for television in a moment in time when there is significant interest in larger-than-life political figures.

The creative team have their eye on someone for the lead role who will also serve as an exec producer, but no actor is formally attached yet.

The project, »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Director Paul Quinn, Brother of Aidan Quinn, Dies at 55

20 hours ago

Paul Quinn, writer and director of “This Is My Father,” died in his New York home on Sept. 2 after a long battle with cancer. He was 55.

Quinn collaborated with his brothers Aidan and Declan when he directed his debut and most notable feature, 1998’s “This Is My Father,” which screened at the Sundance and Toronto film festivals. The award-winning film stars Aidan, and Declan served as d.p.

Quinn achieved accolades along the festival circuit for the second feature he directed, “Never Get Outta the Boat,” in 2002.

His latest directorial work, “Good Ol’ Boy,” is set to premiere in competition at the 2015 Woodstock Film Festival. The contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” stars Keith David and Angus Macfadyen.

Paul Quinn was also an actor who appeared in “Leaving Las Vegas,” “Bob Roberts” and “Avalon,” and he directed episodes of the NBC comedy “Scrubs.”

Quinn, who trained at Chicago’s Piven Theater Workshop, »

- Mannie Holmes

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Photo: ‘Arrow’s’ David Ramsey Teases Diggle’s New Costume

21 hours ago

It’s about time John Diggle got some respectable attire around Starling City.

The CW has released the first photo of “Arrow” actor David Ramsey sporting his character’s new crime-fighting duds. Complete with a leather jacket and a protective, yet stylish, helmet, Oliver Queen’s former bodyguard seems better protected as he prepares to defend the newly renamed Star City.

Diggle isn’t the only one of CW’s returning heroes to get a new look. “Arrow’s” Stephen Amell debuted his character’s new superhero suit at Comic-Con. And Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen will also have a “flashier” new costumefor Season 2 of “The Flash.”

All the new costumes will be featured in the shows’ season premieres. “The Flash” is back Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. on The CW and “Arrow” returns Oct. 7 at 8 p.m.


- Whitney Friedlander

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Heidi Klum, ‘UnReal’ Stars Added to Creative Arts Emmy Presenter List

21 hours ago

The list of presenters at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards includes reality stars … and those who pretend to work on a reality show.

Project Runway’s” Heidi Klum and “UnReal” stars Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer are among the final list of talent who will be presenting during the ceremony.

The list also includes past and current nominees Scott Aukerman, who was part of the “Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis” team that took home the 2014 Emmy for outstanding short-format live-action entertainment program; “House of Cards'” Reg E. Cathey, who is nominated for his second year in a row in the guest actor in a drama series category; and “Big Bang Theory” co-creator Chuck Lorre.

The final list of presenters also features Pamela Adlon (“Louie”), Sasha Alexander (“Rizzoli & Isles”), Kristen Schaal (“The Last Man on Earth”), Billy Eichner (“Billy on the Street,” “Difficult People”), Aasif Mandvi (“The Brink”), Katharine McPhee »

- Whitney Friedlander

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‘Marvel’s Luke Cage’ Casts Mahershala Ali as Cottonmouth

22 hours ago

“Marvel’s Luke Cage” has tapped “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” star Mahershala Ali to play Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes in the upcoming Netflix series, the studio announced Thursday.

Stokes, a Harlem nightclub owner, will become an unexpected foe in the life of Luke Cage (Mike Colter) when Stokes’ criminal activities threaten Luke’s world.

Other rumored cast additions for “Luke Cage” include Alfre Woodard as a powerful politician who impacts Luke’s life (possibly as an iteration of the comic book character Black Mariah); Theo Rossi as street criminal Shades, aka Alvarez; Simone Missick, who may be playing Marvel comic book character Misty Knight, and Rosario Dawson, who is expected to reprise her role as Claire Temple following appearances in “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones.”

In addition to his “Hunger Games” role as Boggs, Ali has also appeared in series such as “Treme,” “The 4400” and Netflix’s “House of Cards. »

- Laura Prudom

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Ratings: USA’s ‘Mr. Robot’ Steady in Finale, Ends As Cable’s No. 2 New Summer Drama

22 hours ago

A softer lead-in and a week off seemed to impact same-night ratings for the finale of “Mr. Robot,” but the first new USA drama in years to have pop culture buzz still had a solid finish and ends summer among the top-rated new cable series in key advertising demos.

USA is expected to release additional ratings info next week when three-day DVR playback tallies are included, but Wednesday’s 74-minute finale of “Mr. Robot” averaged a 0.46 rating in adults 18-49 and 1.21 million viewers overall in Nielsen’s “live plus same-day” estimates. It was the No. 1 scripted original on cable Wednesday in 18-49 and 25-54.

In 18-49, it matched its June 24 premiere and was a bit below both its prior episode of two weeks ago (0.49) and  its season average (0.48).

The “Robot” finale had been delayed a week by USA because the episode includes a scene with similarities to the real-life murders that occurred Aug. »

- Rick Kissell

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Cmt Greenlights Series for Viral Sensation Comedy Group ‘Dude Perfect’

23 hours ago

Cmt has greenlighted a series for web stars Dude Perfect, the sports and comedy viral sensation composed of five best friends and a panda mascot, who have amassed more than 1 billion online video views, among their 23 million digital fans and followers.

“The Dude Perfect Show,” which marks the group’s first-ever TV series, hails from Rob Dyrdek’s Superjacket Productions. It is slated for a 2016 debut.

Dude Perfect announced the news of their Cmt show today with a video message, which was also shared via their popular social-media channels (watch below).

The series will combine comedy and live-action stunts and follow the lives of Dude Perfect, as they dream up their next viral video, work with famous athletes and celebrity guests, prep performances, meet fans at live events or create hilarity in their Dallas, Texas, headquarters. “The Dude Perfect Show” will showcase exactly how the group comes up with their next idea. »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Disney Xd Greenlights ‘Lab Rats’ and ‘Mighty Med’ Spinoff Series

3 September 2015 11:55 AM, PDT

Disney Xd has given a series order to “Lab Rats: Elite Force,” a spinoff merging the cable net’s sitcoms “Lab Rats: Bionic Island” and “Mighty Med.”

Both “Lab Rats” and “Mighty Med,” which are currently in the midst of airing new episodes, will end after their respective season runs are over, being succeeded by the “Elite Force” offshoot.

Lab Rats: Elite Force” will bring together the stars of the other two series, as they reprise their “Lab Rats” and “Mighty Med” roles.

Lab Rats” cast members Billy Unger and Kelli Berglund will star in the new show, returning as their characters Chase and Bree, while “Mighty Med” actors Bradley Steven Perry, Jake Short and Paris Berelc round out the cast as Kaz, Oliver and Skylar.

The spinoff will be set in the “Lab Rats” world, after the Mighty Med hospital is destroyed by a band of unknown super-villains. »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Why Stephen Colbert Could Be CBS’ Golden Ticket

3 September 2015 11:50 AM, PDT

Talent and timing can be a formidable combination. Throw in media savvy and a get-along attitude, and Stephen Colbert is increasingly looking like the potential answer to CBS’ late-night prayers.

Colbert makes his debut as the host of “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Sept. 8, but has already exhibited considerable media savvy in building anticipation for that day. After dealing with David Letterman’s cranky-old-hermit routine, the network’s marketing/promotion department must feel as if it’s died and gone to Heaven, with Colbert seeming eager to adopt new avenues of getting the word out.

Still, Colbert also appears to be the beneficiary of coming on air at a moment that uniquely suits him, and might provide a logical point of differentiation from the other late-night hosts. Specifically, that’s the topsy-turvy nature of the current presidential election, where the jockeying has taken on an absurdist quality that lends »

- Brian Lowry

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A+E Networks Named TV Acad’s 2015 Governors Award Winner

3 September 2015 11:28 AM, PDT

Thanks in part to its corporate social responsibility programs, A+E Networks is this year’s recipient of the TV Academy’s Governors Award, the Academy announced Thursday.

Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO of A+E Networks, was overjoyed that her company’s long history of philanthropic efforts are being recognized, saying in a statement: “For over 30 years, A+E Networks has had an unwavering commitment to the communities we serve. It is a great honor for our corporate outreach initiatives to be recognized by the Television Academy with its Governors Award. Television is a powerful medium, and we are proud to be able to use our networks and platforms to shine a light on important social issues.”

A+E Network’s work includes partnerships with such organizations as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, March of Dimes, NAACP, Stand Up to Cancer and Team Rubicon. In addition, »

- Whitney Friedlander

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Seth Meyers and the Cast of Hulu’s ‘The Awesomes’ Celebrate Season Three

3 September 2015 11:11 AM, PDT

The Awesomes” are suiting up once again. Hulu’s popular animated superhero comedy from the minds of Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker returns Sept. 8 with more laugh-out-loud moments. With “The Awesomes” now in its third season, the cast have  found their stride and mastered the voice-recording skills necessary for the tongue-in-cheek adult show.

“For me, doing the voice work is easy, because I’m recording basically my own voice and not playing a character,” Meyers told Variety at the show’s screening party Wednesday evening at the Microsoft Loft in New York. “For the rest of the people, we tried to make it very easy for them because so many of them are friends who are giving their time, and we just wrote towards their strengths. Kenan Thompson never needs more than two takes because we know Kenan really well. We don’t try to write things outside of his wheelhouse. »

- Paul Chi

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NBC Taps Lionsgate’s Cara Dellaverson as Svp of Drama Development

3 September 2015 11:06 AM, PDT

Cara Dellaverson has joined NBC as senior vice president of drama development, the network announced Thursday.

Dellaverson comes from Lionsgate, where she was Svp of television development and current programming, and oversaw the launches of ABC’s”Nashville” and Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black.” She also worked on “Mad Men” and “Nurse Jackie,” among other projects.

“We are excited that Cara will be contributing her amazing talent for developing compelling drama to NBC,” said NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke. “Cara’s knack for finding fresh and unique stories that resonate with audiences is evident through her success with series such as ‘Nashville’ and ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ and we are thrilled that she will be bringing that passion to NBC.”

In her new role at the Peacock, Dellaverson will report to Pearlena Igbokwe, Evp of drama development. She commented: “I had the pleasure of working with Cara »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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EOne TV Promotes Jeff Lynas to Chief Operating Officer

3 September 2015 11:01 AM, PDT

Entertainment One Television has named Jeff Lynas its chief operating officer, promoting him from his previous title of senior VP of operations and business development.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with Jeff for many years, and I say with certainty that there’s no better person for the job,” said eOne CEO John Morayniss. “He has been instrumental in the strategy development, growth and success of eOne Television, and was a key member of the leadership team of its predecessor Blueprint. Jeff is forward-thinking, understands the U.S. and international markets and plots how best to make it all work for our business.”

Lynas will take on oversight of all day-to-day operations for eOne Television on a global basis while continuing in his business development capacity to establish and structure new business relationships for eOne Television.

“This is a very exciting time for eOne Television, and I’m »

- Jacob Bryant

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