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Hacker Threatens to Release New Season of ‘Orange Is the New Black’

3 hours ago

A hacker who claims to have stolen the new season of “Orange is the New Black” is threatening to release the episodes online, unless Netflix pays an undisclosed amount of money, Variety has confirmed.

“We are aware of the situation. A production vendor used by several major TV studios had its security compromised and the appropriate law enforcement authorities are involved,” Netflix said in a statement.

Using the alias The Dark Overlord, the hacker reportedly stole other TV shows in the breach, according to the AP, and may have already uploaded the first episode of “Orange Is the New Black” Season 5 to an illegal file-sharing website.

The F.B.I. is said to be investigating the matter. »

- Variety Staff

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Gordon Ramsay to Open ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ Restaurant in Las Vegas

5 hours ago

Gordon Ramsay is set to open a “Hell’s Kitchen” restaurant in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace, Ramsay announced Friday.

He unveiled the plans for the restaurant live to his fans on Facebook, with the new eatery expected to open this winter. To commemorate the announcement, Ramsay ignited his series’ 17-foot signature pitchfork, transported straight from the set of the Fox show, in the center of Caesars’ fountains. This marks Ramsay’s fifth Las Vegas restaurant and extends his partnership with Caesars Entertainment.

“Fans of the show have been asking us to bring a ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ restaurant to life since day one, so I’m thrilled to finally be doing it here at Caesars Palace,” Ramsay said. “A key element of the show’s success has always been the diners’ experience, so we are excited for guests in Las Vegas to feel like they too are part of the show – flames and all.”

Situated »

- Joe Otterson

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‘Sweet/Vicious’ Canceled by MTV But Should Live On Elsewhere (Opinion)

5 hours ago

I had a feeling this was coming, but that doesn’t make it sting any less.

News broke today that MTV has canceled “Sweet/Vicious.” In a message to the show’s fans, creator Jennifer Kaytin Robinson vowed to look for a new home for the comedically-flavored drama. “To say that I’m devastated would be the understatement of the year,” she wrote.

I’m too angry to mince words: This is just a stupid decision by MTV.

Having been in this TV-critic gig for a while now, I can say a lot of the network’s scripted programming has consistently had trouble gaining much traction with viewers, the media and critics. I say this as someone who watched and generally liked the entire first season of MTV’s “The Shannara Chronicles,” but it’s not like that low-budget fantasy series made such an big splash that the network can rest on its laurels when it comes »

- Maureen Ryan

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‘13 Reasons Why’: Canadian Schools Ban All Talk, Issue Warnings About Netflix Series

6 hours ago

13 Reasons Why” is causing controversy in Canada after some schools have started warning parents about the graphic nature of the young adult adaptation, despite the show’s positive messages regarding bullying and suicide prevention.

After debuting on the streaming service on March 31, executive producer Selena Gomez’s hit series has become the subject of dispute at multiple Canadian school systems in less than a month. According to the CBC, St. Vincent Elementary School in Edmonton, Alberta, sent an email to the parents of sixth graders letting them know their students were prohibited from even mentioning the show on school grounds.

“The discussion that is unfolding at school is troubling. This series is rated Mature and the theme is the suicide of a high school student. This show includes graphic violence (rape) and gore, profanity, alcohol/drugs/smoking, and frightening/intense scenes,” read the letter. “The purpose of this email is to provide you with this information. Please »

- JD Knapp

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TV News Roundup: Showtime Sets Summer Premiere Dates for ‘Ray Donovan,’ ‘Episodes’

7 hours ago

In today’s roundup, Showtime sets its summer premiere dates for “Ray Donovan” and “Episodes,” and more. 

Premiere Dates 

Showtime has set its summer premiere dates for two of its popular series: Season 5 of “Ray Donovan” will debut Sunday, Aug. 6 at 9 p.m., and “Episodes” will return for its fifth and final season Sunday, Aug. 20 at 10 p.m. Additionally, the new limited event series “Twin Peaks” will move to 8 p.m. on Sunday nights beginning Sunday, Aug. 6.

In the new season of “Ray Donovan,” viewers will find Ray (Liev Schreiber) focusing his attention back to Hollywood and his celebrity fixer firm. Mickey (Jon Voight) is thrilled to finally be invited into Ray’s home, swearing to fix his criminal ways once and for all. The fifth season will welcome guest stars Susan Sarandon as media mogul Samantha Winslow, as well as Brian White (“Chicago Fire”), Adina Porter (“American Horror Story”) and Rhys Coiro (“Entourage”), among others.

At »

- Sarah Ahern

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W. Kamau Bell of ‘United Shades of America’ on Listening, Learning and Laughing in a Dark Time

7 hours ago

On his adventurous and engaging CNN show, “United Shades of America,” which returns Sunday at 10 p.m., W. Kamau Bell laughs a lot. Even when he’s sitting with someone like Richard Spencer.

Spencer is one of the leaders of a loose coalition that calls itself the “alt right” but which really just shoves various long-standing racist and white supremacist movements into slightly slicker packaging. He’s odious, but his form of odiousness is, in some quarters, back in style.

The hallmark of Bell’s show is that he meets people where they are. He puts them at ease and lets them speak, without ever minimizing the fact that he may find their views off-putting or even reprehensible.

“It is sort of like being a host — not just being a TV host, but a host,” Bell tells Variety. His approach with interview subjects is about “really settling people down, starting a conversation before the cameras roll, so »

- Maureen Ryan

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WGA Says Estimated $156 Million in Increased Payments Would Be ‘Reasonable’

8 hours ago

With no resolution in sight for contract negotiations, the Writers Guild of America is estimating that it would cost employers $156 million annually to increase payments to writers under its proposal to production companies.

The WGA West, in a Friday afternoon post on its website, said, “The cost of settling is reasonable.” It also estimated that the combined annual costs to the six major companies — CBS ($14.02 million), Disney ($18.57 million0, Fox ($22.3 million), NBC ($15.68 million), Sony ($11.21 million) and Time Warner ($24.01 million) — would be $103 million.

The guild says those six companies generated $51 billion in operating profits in 2016. The additional estimated costs include $8.58 million for Viacom and $41.83 million for “smaller companies,” which it said includes Netflix, Amazon, Lionsgate, AMC and hundreds of others.

With four days left before the contract expires, sources indicate that the talks are likely to go on all weekend and into Monday. A strike could start as early as 12:01 am Pt on Tuesday. The »

- Dave McNary

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Unscripted Chief Eden Gaha Departs Endemol Shine North America

8 hours ago

Eden Gaha is departing his post as unscripted president of Endemol Shine North America.

Gaha, who joined Shine America in 2011, prior to Shine’s merger with Endemol, helped oversee the launch of “MasterChef Jr.” and sustain its parent “MasterChef” as well as the overall “MasterChef” franchise. CEO Chris Abrego will continue to oversee the company’s unscripted team with Rob Smith as exec VP, head of unscripted and Michael Weinberg as senior VP of unscripted development.

“After 15 years in unscripted television, going from Pa to President, it’s time for me to move on to the next challenge,” Gaha said in a statement. “While it’s difficult to say goodbye to such an incredible team at Endemol Shine, I’m excited by the opportunities that have come my way and look forward to soon sharing details of my new venture.”

Other series that Gaha worked on include “Hunted” (CBS), “Billion Dollar Buyer” (CNBC), and the upcoming “Page »

- Daniel Holloway

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Early Pilot Buzz: What’s Heating Up for the 2017-2018 TV Season?

8 hours ago

With Upfronts still more than two weeks away, it’s still early in the decision-making process, but as the current broadcast season winds down, television executives are beginning to form opinions on the pilots in contention for their network’s 2017-2018 slate.

As always, a handful of projects are rising as early frontrunners, while others have not impressed with their first cuts and are in need of re-shoots and re-tooling. No stark trends have emerged across the broadcast networks, though there are a number of military-themed dramas, many female-led comedies and lighter one-hours in the works. In contrast to the past few pilot seasons, reboots are not as hot this year, though there are a few, such as the CW’s “Dynasty,” “S.W.A.T.” at CBS and “What About Barb” at NBC.

Of course, television executives and writers are all on edge with a possible WGA strike on the horizon, but »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey Discuss ‘Ellen’ Coming Out 20 Years Later

8 hours ago

“I’m Ellen and I’m gay.”

In 2017, with “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” consistently ranking among the highest-rated syndicated TV shows and the film and television industry at large consistently working toward increased visibility of Lgbtq characters, a declaration of that sort doesn’t feel quite so jarring. But two decades ago, when Ellen Morgan — the quirky, sweater-vest-clad title character of DeGeneres’ then-sitcom, “Ellen” — spoke those words on network television, the confession was revolutionary.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the iconic five-word phrase that nearly destroyed — and later launched — her career, Degeneres sat down with Oprah Winfrey and Laura Dern (both of whom played integral characters to Ellen’s coming out story line) on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” Friday to discuss the repercussions of “The Puppy Episode.” »

- Emily Mae Czachor

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MTV Cancels ‘Sweet/Vicious’

8 hours ago

MTV has canceled scripted series “Sweet/Vicious.”

In a message posted on Twitter Friday, creator Jenn Kaytin Robinson wrote, “I got the news that MTV has cancelled Sweet/Vicious. To say that I am devastated would be the understatement of the year.”

It is with a heavy heart that I write this note to the Amazing, Beautiful #SweetVicious Fans. We all love you so much. pic.twitter.com/wrx7OZ6GGc

— Jenn Kaytin Robinson (@JennKaytin) April 28, 2017

In a statement, an MTV spokesperson said, “MTV has decided to not move forward with a second season of ‘Sweet/Vicious.’ We are extremely proud of this critically acclaimed series and are deeply disappointed such an impactful show did not find a larger audience. ‘Sweet/Vicious’ was a show we loved from the start, with empowering female leads and a message we believe in. We are grateful the series started a much needed dialogue around sexual assault, and »

- Daniel Holloway

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Megyn Kelly to Interview Kardashians on NBC News Morning Show

9 hours ago

Megyn Kelly is starting early on her new NBC morning program.

The new show won’t launch until the fall, but that doesn’t mean work on the new series hasn’t begun in earnest. Kelly visited Los Angeles this week to sit down with the entire Kardashian family for a piece that could run during her new morning show’s first week on air, according to people familiar with the matter. The revelation about the visit suggests the new show is further along than has been previously revealed.

An NBC News spokeswoman declined to comment. It was unclear what producers Kelly may have been working with, and NBC News has yet to announce any staffing for the new series.

Kelly’s new program is slated to air at either 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. NBC has not announced whether her show will be part of “Today,” NBC’s venerable morning-news franchise, or »

- Brian Steinberg

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Does Hulu Finally Have a Serious Emmy Contender?

9 hours ago

Hulu has struggled to break through into the Emmy arena so far, as shows like “Casual” and “The Path” have failed to translate with voters. Meanwhile other streamers like Netflix (“House of Cards”) and Amazon (“Transparent”) continue to boast flagship series that are consistently recognized by the TV Academy.

But all of that could change with “The Handmaid’s Tale,” showrunner Bruce Miller’s bleak and anxiety-inducing (given the political climate) adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel. Telling the story of a near-future theocratic military dictatorship, the show effortlessly feeds on contemporary socio-political angst, with the Trump regime continuing to play the role of boogeyman for many as a perceived threat to human rights.

The story also serves a feminist agenda with its depiction of female subjugation. Those involved with the show, including Atwood and star Elisabeth Moss, have suggested that such a label is limiting, leading to debate as to whether that element is being »

- Kristopher Tapley

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Netflix’s ‘Dear White People’ Creator Talks Picking Up Where the Film Left Off

10 hours ago

The cast and creative team of Netflix’s “Dear White People” turned out Thursday evening for the series’ premiere at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles. Creator/executive producer Justin Simien, director Barry Jenkins, and star Logan Browning were just a fraction of the stars who graced the red carpet.

Set within the posh, white-washed Winchester University, “Dear White People” explores racism — both systemic and overt — that takes place at the fictional Ivy League college, while also discussing identity politics and intersectionality. Based on the 2014 film of the same name, the show picks up right where the movie left off. According to Simien, there was “so much more to say and write” for the beloved characters.

“There was a lot of ‘Oh, I wish I had touched upon that!’ or wishing gone deeper into some plot lines after the movie wrapped,” Simien stated. “The series speaks to this time in a unique way. We »

- Arya Roshanian

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‘Roseanne’ Revival in the Works with Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Sara Gilbert

10 hours ago

A revival of the popular sitcom “Roseanne” is in the works with original cast members Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, and Sara Gilbert already on board, Variety has confirmed.

The project is currently being shopped to both broadcast networks and streaming services. The original series ran for nine seasons on ABC and was widely praised for its portrayal of working class Americans.

Revivals of old shows are all the rage of late. Fox debuted “24: Legacy” in January, while a new season of “Prison Break” began airing on the network in April. Last year, Netflix debuted a four-episode continuation of “The Gilmore Girls.” In addition, NBC is producing a new 12-episode run of “Will & Grace,” which will air during the 2017-2018 season, while Showtime is preparing to launch new episodes of David Lynch’s cult classic series “Twin Peaks.”

Deadline first reported this news.

More to come…


- Joe Otterson

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Netflix Targets Emmy Voters With 24,000-Square-Foot ‘Experiential’ Space in L.A.

11 hours ago

Netflix is trying to boost its chances of racking up Emmy Awards this year by inviting voters to a special, month-long immersive exhibition space in Beverly Hills.

The streamer’s “FYSee” — in a new kind of for-your-consideration stunt — will be a multilevel, 24,000-square-foot space. It will launch Sunday, May 7, with a private kick-off party. On Monday, May 8, Netflix will host a conversation with Kevin Spacey about the company’s first big original series, “House of Cards.” Season 5 of “Hoc” is set to debut May 30 on the service.

FYSee will be located somewhere in Beverly Hills; Netflix isn’t publicly disclosing the exact whereabouts. The space will be open by invitation only for industry professionals.

The company will keep FYSee for a full month. Netflix says it’s anchored by programming and storytelling installations for contenders such as “The Crown” (which won two Golden Globes) and “Stranger Things” (which won the SAG ensemble prize for drama series, among »

- Todd Spangler

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Remote Controlled: John Lithgow of ‘Trial and Error,’ ‘Superstore’s’ America Ferrera and Ben Feldman on Finding Laughs

11 hours ago

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front and behind the camera.

In this week’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum and TV critic Sonia Saraiya talk with the stars of NBC’s hilarious sitcom lineup: John Lithgow, of “Trial and Error,” and America Ferrera and Ben Feldman, of NBC’s “Superstore.”

In the first half of the podcast, Lithgow, who also starred in Netflix’s “The Crown” as Winston Churchill, discusses why he signed on for “Trial and Error” which he describes as parody of a true crime series — specifically, Netflix’s “Making a Murderer.”

Lithgow didn’t go looking for a sitcom. In his words: “This was the least looked-for job I ever took!” But the offer came while he was in the last stretch of his eight-month shooting schedule for “The Crown.” He took the call from “these two nutball »

- Sonia Saraiya

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‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Adds ‘Penny Dreadful,’ ‘Battlestar Galactica’ Vets to Cast

12 hours ago

CBS All Access’ “Star Trek: Discovery” has added five additional actors to its upcoming debut season. Among the new cast members are Shazad Latif of Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful” and Rekha Sharma of Syfy’s “Battlestar Galactica.”

The new cast additions are:

Shazad Latif (“Penny Dreadful”): Lieutenant Tyler, a Starfleet officer in the Federation. Rekha Sharma (“Battlestar Galactica,” “The 100″): Commander Landry, the security officer of the Starship Discovery. Kenneth Mitchell (“Jericho,” “The Astronaut Wives Club”): Kol, a commanding officer in the Klingon Empire. Clare McConnell (“Dim the Fluorescents”): Dennas, a leader in the Klingon Empire. Damon Runyan (“Suits,” “Supernatural,” “Gangland Undercover”): Ujilli, a leader in the Klingon Empire.

The new actors join a cast that includes “The Walking Dead” actress Sonequa Martin-Green, who will star as the lead lieutenant commander, plus James Frain as Spock’s father Sarek, Anthony Rapp as a space fungus expert, and »

- Daniel Holloway

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How ‘There’s… Johnny’ Series’ Cast and Creators Treated Johnny Carson’s Legacy With Reverence

12 hours ago

Tribeca audiences were transported back to the 1970s on Thursday night when Seeso’s “There’s… Johnny!” had its premiere screening.

Audiences got to see episodes one and four of the series about Andy, a young man from Nebraska, and Joy, a talent coordinator on the show, as

they work behind the scenes on “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.”

After the screening, stars Tony Danza, Ian Nelson and Jane Levy, creators Paul Reiser and David Steven Simon, and executive producer David Gordon Green spoke about bringing the seven episode series to life 17 years after it was conjured up by Reiser and Simon. The show, which is set in Los Angeles in 1972 and 1973, will premiere later this year.

Here are nine things we learned from the conversation about the series that, according to Simon, is not “That ’70s Show” with wacky Johnny

Carson clips.

1. Johnny Carson is played by Johnny Carson. Reiser »

- Addie Morfoot

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‘Vampire Chronicles’ Series in Development at Paramount TV, Anonymous Content

12 hours ago

Paramount Television and Anonymous Content have optioned the rights to 11 books from Anne Rice’s best-selling series “The Vampire Chronicles,” Variety has learned.

Christopher Rice, Anne’s son and four-time New York Times Bestselling author in his own right, will write the series and serve as executive producer alongside his mother, as well as Anonymous Content’s David Kanter and Steve Golin.

“It is undeniable that Anne Rice has created the paradigm against which all vampire stories are measured,” said Amy Powell, president of Paramount TV. “The rich and vast world she has created with ‘The Vampire Chronicles’ is unmatched and sophisticated with ’90s gothic undertones that will be perfectly suited to captivate audiences. The series is full of compelling characters led by Lestat, arguably one of the greatest original characters, literary or otherwise. We are thrilled to collaborate with Anne, Christopher, and the team at Anonymous Content on this epic series.”

The »

- Joe Otterson

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