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‘Westworld’ Comic-Con Experience Lets Fans Live Without Limits

11 minutes ago

“Westworld” arrived at its first San Diego Comic-Con in fine style, with a fan experience that is sure not to disappoint anyone who follows the HBO drama series.

Of course, this experience will not be open to everyone. From Thursday, July 20, through Sunday, July 23, attendees with a valid 2017 Comic-Con badge who are 21 and older who want to journey to Westworld will have to make an appointment with a Delos representative at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. All appointments are on a first come, first served basis, with the representative taking appointments beginning at 9:30 a.m. until all appointments for that day are filled. All appointments for Sunday will be booked on Saturday.

If you are able to get in though, you are in for a treat. You will be sent to an offsite location, which HBO asks not to be revealed. There, you are greeted by two white-clad Delos hosts who play the parts of »


- Joe Otterson

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Ryan Seacrest Returning to Host ‘American Idol’ Revival

1 hour ago

Seacrest … in!

After months of talks and speculation, Ryan Seacrest will officially return to host the “American Idol” revival on ABC. The network made the announcement after Seacrest broke the news on Thursday morning’s “Live With Kelly and Ryan.”

Seacrest served as host for the franchise during its 15-season run on Fox, which aired its “farewell season” last year. The multihyphenate will continue to co-host and executive produce “Live With Kelly and Ryan” from New York in addition to hosting and executive producing his iHeartRadio-syndicated morning radio show “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” from Los Angeles.

“It’s genuinely hard to put into words what ‘American Idol’ means to me,” Seacrest said in a statement. “I’m so grateful for the show and all the career and life opportunities it’s allowed me to experience. It’s been an incredible journey from day one. To be asked to return this year, at »


- Maane Khatchatourian

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TLC to Debut Jackie Evancho Special Examining Transgender Issues, Family Values (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

Jackie Evancho made headlines when she agreed to sing the national anthem at President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January. Now, the teen who rose to fame on NBC’s “American’s Got Talent” is back in the spotlight with her own TLC special.

In “Growing Up Evancho,” TLC will go behind the scenes with Jackie and the Evancho family — including transgender sister Juliet — in a one-hour special set to air Wednesday, Aug. 9 at 10 p.m. Et. The Evancho family includes parents Lisa and Mike, and their four kids — Rachel, 13, Zach, 15, Jackie, 17, and Juliet, 19.

At the time the special was taped, Juliet was planning to move out of her parents’ house to start a life with her boyfriend, pursue her dreams of becoming a model, and continue as an Lgbtq activist. Together, the sisters (pictured below) learn to navigate the challenges of career and family, while also utilizing their platform to speak out against Trump’s rollback »


- Rebecca Rubin

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‘Carpool Karaoke’ Producer Making Live-Music Series for the BBC

3 hours ago

The BBC is bringing a live-music series back to its flagship BBC One channel, with “Carpool Karaoke” producer Fulwell 73 making a new show that will launch later this year.

James Corden is a partner in Fulwell 73, which produces “The Late Late Show,” but the BBC told Variety that he will not host the new British music series.

For decades going back to the 1960s, music-chart series “Top of the Pops” was a mainstay of the BBC’s weekly schedule, but the pubcaster took the show off the air in 2006. Unlike “Top of the Pops,” which centered on live acts and music videos, the Fulwell 73 show will also feature sketches and interviews, as well as music from the biggest British and international acts. The show launches on BBC One this fall.

“This series will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase the biggest and best U.K. and international bands and artists, and »


- Stewart Clarke

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21st Century Fox Must Wait for U.K. Decision on Bid for Sky

4 hours ago

The British government said that it would not make a decision on 21 Century Fox’s takeover bid for Sky before Parliament breaks for summer Thursday but added that a decision could be announced “within weeks.”

Culture secretary Karen Bradley said she could reach a decision during Parliament’s summer recess and, having not received any new information or concessions from the parties involved, remains “minded to” refer elements of the deal concerning media plurality to British competition authorities, and to waive the element about whether the Murdochs are “fit and proper” owners of a merged group.

“There was nothing in their representations that, at this stage, has led me to change my mind about the appropriateness of referral,” Bradley told Parliament. “Unless new evidence from other representations changes my mind in coming weeks, the bid will therefore be referred for a Phase 2 review on at least one ground: media plurality.”

Bradley »


- Stewart Clarke

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Esai Morales Urges ‘No’ Vote on SAG-aftra Contract

9 hours ago

SAG-aftra Presidential candidate Esai Morales has urged members of the performers union to vote down the proposed tentative agreement on a three-year successor deal to its master contract.

Morales contends that the pact, which has been sent out to the 160,000 members for ratification, falls far short of what performers need. Ratification ballots will be counted on Aug. 7.

“The nominal gains in this agreement do not match the cost of living increases in the real world,” Morales said in a video posted Wednesday on the Facebook page of the Membership First faction. “Send them back to the table.”

Morales detailed problems with changes in the travel costs, basic cable, motion-capture and background players asserting that SAG-aftra leaders had promised to rectify perceived abuses and have failed to do so.

He also questioned why the union leadership reached a deal at 6 a.m. on July 4, asserting that fatigue may have played a factor in making concessions in the tentative »


- Dave McNary

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Lena Dunham Joins ‘American Horror Story’ Season 7

12 hours ago

American Horror Story” Season 7 is adding a new “Girl” to its cast.

Lena Dunham is joining the FX horror anthology, co-creator Ryan Murphy announced in a tweet on Wednesday evening.

“Thrilled that my talented friend Lena Dunham is joining the American Horror Story family,” he wrote. “Always wanted to work together, and now we r!”

Additional details about Dunham’s role have not yet been revealed. The title of “Ahs” Season 7, which Murphy previously revealed will be inspired by the 2016 presidential election, will be announced on Thursday.

Previously announced cast members include “Ahs” veterans Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters, as well as franchise newcomers Billie Lourd (who worked with Murphy on “Scream Queens”) and “Billy on the Street’s” Billy Eichner. Beyond that, however, Murphy and FX have unsurprisingly revealed little about the upcoming season, with Murphy most recently dropping a clue in the form of a nightmarish bee-filled photo on his Instagram.

Dunham »


- Alex Stedman

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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 Photos

14 hours ago

Photos from the seventh season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” »


- Jacob Bryant

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TV News Roundup: Suranne Jones to Star in HBO Drama ‘Gentleman Jack’

14 hours ago

In today’s roundup, HBO’s “Gentleman Jack” casts its lead, and A&E reality series “Wahlburgers” gets a premiere date.

Casting

Sally Wainwright’s “Gentleman Jack,” formerly known as “Shibden Hall,” cast Suranne Jones to star in the new HBO and BBC One drama series. Jones will play Anne Lister, who is depicted as the charismatic, single-minded landowner who charms her way into high society, ignores convention, and sets out to marry a wealthy man. Based on historical fact, “Gentleman Jack” centers on an unlikely love story set in 1931 Halifax — the cradle of the industrial revolution. The series examines Anne’s relationships with her family, her servants, her tenants, her industrial rivals, and her would-be-wife, the wealthy heiress Ann Walker.

Crackle’s drama series “The Oath” added cast for three recurring roles: Billy Malone, Sarah Dumont, and Aaron Abrams. Malone plays Frank Albanese, the casino manager and longtime mentor and father figure to Steve Hammond (Ryan Kwanten »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Lighthearted Entertainment Expands Development Team

16 hours ago

Lighthearted Entertainment, the production company that specializes in unscripted television and is behind shows such as MTV’s “Are You The One?” is boosting its development team.

The company has brought on two new executive hires and promoted another, Variety has learned.

Lighthearted Entertainment is proud to both add to our team and promote from within as we address the needs of our constantly evolving industry. We look forward to working with our new team as the company continues to produce provocative unscripted content,” said Rob Laplante and Jeff Spangler, presidents of Lighthearted Entertainment.

Unscripted exec Paul Taylor has come aboard Lighthearted Entertainment to serve as senior vice president of production, overseeing all financial and logistic aspects of the company’s production and development slate. Before joining Lighthearted, Taylor was vice president of production for 51 Minds Entertainment where he oversaw production of shows like “Below Deck,” “Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge” and “Redneck Island.” Taylor »


- Erin Nyren

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Forest Whitaker Joins ‘Empire’ Season 4 in Recurring Role

16 hours ago

Forest Whitaker is joining the cast of “Empire,” Variety has learned.

The Academy Award and Golden Globe winning actor has joined in a recurring role and will appear in a multi-episode arc in the fourth season.

Whitaker will play Uncle Eddie, a charismatic music icon and bonafide hitmaker, who gave an unknown Lucious (Terrence Howard) his first radio airplay years ago. Decades later, Eddie steps up for Lucious at a critical moment during his rehabilitation, and a grateful Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) invites him to produce a song in celebration of Empire Entertainment’s 20th anniversary.

Whitaker is the latest Hollywood heavyweight to join “Empire” Season 4, joining Demi Moore who has a large recurring role in the upcoming season and made her first appearance in the Season 3 finale.

“Empire” is known for its A-list guest stars, which over the course of the series, have included Mariah Carey, Rosie O’Donnell, Eva Longoria »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Chris Hardwick on the End of ‘@midnight’: ‘It’s Time to Do Something Different’ (Exclusive)

17 hours ago

When Comedy Central’s “@midnight” premiered in 2013, it was revolutionary – a new take on game shows that combined the improv sensibilities of classics like “Whose Line Is it Anyway?” with today’s internet jargon (#HashtagWars!) that allowed some of the best comics in the business to riff on what could be found in the deepest, most bizarre parts of the internet. Comedian Chris Hardwick, who had already enjoyed gigs on MTV’s “Singled Out” and G4’s “Attack of the Show,” was the ideal host, given that he’d already made a name for himself in the online community thanks to his popular social media feed and his geek-themed website, Nerdist. Hardwick is also profiled in this week’s Variety, celebrating his 25 years in comedy.

But four years is an eon in the internet age, and it was announced late yesterday that Comedy Central would be ending “@midnight” next month with its 600th episode. But »


- Whitney Friedlander

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‘Game of Thrones’ Creators Land New Series at HBO

17 hours ago

The end of “Game of Thrones” is on the horizon, but creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have already mapped out their next plan at HBO for when they officially depart Westeros.

HBO has given a series order to “Confederate,” a new drama that hails from Benioff and Weiss, Variety has learned. The show has no ties to “Game of Thrones” and is not one of the many potential prequels in development at the network.

“Confederate” chronicles the events leading to the Third American Civil War. The series takes place in an alternate timeline, where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution. The story follows a broad swath of characters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone – freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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TV Ratings: ‘America’s Got Talent,’ ‘World of Dance’ Top Night of Repeats

19 hours ago

NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and “World of Dance” were easily the top-shows of the night in the Tuesday overnight Nielsen ratings, with all the other broadcast networks airing nothing but repeats.

“Agt” averaged a 2.4 rating in adults 18-49 and 12.4 million viewers, airing from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. “World of Dance” averaged a 1.6 rating and 7.1 million viewers at 10.

For the night, NBC averaged a 2.2 and 10.6 million viewers. CBS and ABC tied for second in the demo with a 0.5 each. CBS was second in total viewers with 5.7 milllion. ABC was third in viewers with 2 million. Fox was fourth in the demo with a 0.4 and fifth in viewers with 1 million. The CW averaged a 0.3 and 1.1 million viewers. »

- Joe Otterson

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‘Hawaii Five-0’ Adds Three Series Regulars After Season 8 Casting Shakeup

19 hours ago

Hawaii Five-0” is making big changes ahead of its eighth season, adding three series regulars to the CBS series. Variety has learned that Meaghan Rath and Beulah Koale have joined the cast, while Ian Anthony Dale has been upped to a series regular.

The casting news comes after stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park departed the series, as both actors were not able to come to terms on new deals to return for another season.

Rath will play Tani Rey, who McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) recruits after finding her working as a lifeguard at a hotel pool after she was kicked out of the Police Academy, despite being a first-rate candidate. Rath is best known for starring on “Being Human,” and also has had prominent roles on Fox’s “Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life,” “New Girl” and ABC’s “Secrets and Lies.” She is repped by Paul Kohner Agency.

Koale »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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International Newswire: Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ Drives Back Opposition in France

19 hours ago

In today’s roundup, Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” drives back the opposition in an early sortie into mainland Europe, fresh research points to a surge in online video consumption driven by a rise in viewing on mobile devices, and Latin America witnesses an innovation in windowing with the launch of TV series “The Cockfighter.”

Box Office

Acclaimed by most — but not all — French critics, Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” swept away the competition at its first early afternoon screenings in Paris, as it made its commercial bow in one of its first major territories abroad. Tickets sold — 3,145 at 35 locations in the French capital — were nearly three times those for No. 2 release, Sony Pictures Releasing’s “Baby Driver,” according to website cbo-boxoffice.com.

Results were under half those of “Despicable Me 3,” the best first-session Paris bow of this year with 7,359 admissions. But “Dunkirk,” released by Warner Bros., came in seventh-best for the year, despite »


- John Hopewell and Leo Barraclough

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‘Walking Dead’ Sets Season 8 Premiere Date, Releases Key Art

19 hours ago

The Walking Dead” Season 8 premiere date and key art (below) was released by AMC on Wednesday.

Season 8 will officially premiere on Oct. 22 on AMC, with the premiere also happening to be the series’ 100th episode. The art, released ahead of the show’s annual panel at San Diego Comic-Con in Hall H, features Rick staring down Negan. In the Season 7 finale, the stage was set for the Alexandria-Hilltop-Kingdom coalition to square off against Negan and The Saviors.

Production on Season 8 was briefly shut down last week following an on-set accident Wednesday that led to the death of stuntman John Bernecker.

Berecker was filming a scene with series regular Austin Amelio that required him to fall approximately 22 feet off of a balcony onto a safety cushion below. But something went wrong during the jump and Bernecker instead landed on his head and neck on the concrete, missing the cushion by “just inches,” according »


- Joe Otterson

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‘Mad Men’ at 10: Cast Then and Now

19 hours ago

It has been 10 years since “Mad Men” first premiered and put AMC on the map as a cabler with a keen eye for original programming. The Madison Avenue advertising period drama received heaps of critical acclaim, as well as 16 Primetime Emmy Awards during its run, paving the way for complicated anti-hero dramas like “Breaking Bad” to follow. To commemorate the 10th anniversary of its series premiere, Variety looks at where the talent behind AMC’s first scripted series is now. »


- Danielle Turchiano

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Liberty Media Could Be Interested in Univision Stake – Report

20 hours ago

John Malone’s Liberty Media could be interested in buying a stake in Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc., which has been considering offers in the wake of a delay in its efforts to hold an initial public offering, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

A spokeswoman for Univision, which is owned jointly by private equity firms Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Tpg and Thomas H. Lee Partners, declined to comment on the report.  A spokesperson for Liberty Media could not be reached for immediate comment. Grupo Televisa Sab, a large producer of Spanish-language television, is a minority investor in Univision.

It is not clear that Liberty and Univision will complete a transaction, according to the report, which suggested that “the two sides were far apart on valuation.” Univision remains open to a number of different possibilities, according to a person familiar with the matter, including an Ipo.

Disclosure »

- Brian Steinberg

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Variety’s First-Ever Geek Power List, in Honor of Comic-Con

20 hours ago

To celebrate this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Variety put together its first-ever Geek Power List, comprised of the biggest movers and shakers in geekdom.

Every year, the buzziest shows and biggest blockbusters make the pilgrimage to San Diego for Comic-Con, and with them come A-list stars — like “Deadpool’s” Ryan Reynolds, “Wonder Woman’s” Gal Gadot, and the cast of Netflix’s uber-hit “Stranger Things” — and the people calling the shots on these power franchises, like Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy, Marvel’s Kevin Feige, and DC ComicsGeoff Johns.

Check out our list below to see which stars and shot-callers made the cut.

Variety’s Geek Power List »


- Jacob Bryant

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