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Oliver Hudson to Co-Star with Jenna Fischer in Ellen DeGeneres’ ABC Comedy Pilot ‘Splitting Up Together’

25 minutes ago

Oliver Hudson has booked to co-lead in ABC’s comedy pilot “Splitting Up Together,” opposite Jenna Fischer, Variety has learned.

Splitting Up Together,” which hails from executive producer Ellen DeGeneres, is the story of a couple, Lena and Martin, whose marriage is reignited by their divorce. They still live in the same house, alternating weeks, with one living upstairs and doing the parenting while the other lives downstairs in the guest apartment.

Hudson will play Martin, who is described as an athletic, easy-going kind of guy, who adjusts to his suddenly divorced life with hopeful optimism, but as a newly single parent, he can’t help but wonder what went wrong in his marriage. Previously announced, Fischer will play Lena.

Splitting Up Together” is based on the original Danish series, created by Mette Heeno. The ABC adaptation was penned by Emily Kapnek, and the pilot will be directed by Dean Holland. Exec »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Viacom’s Bob Bakish Talks Paramount CEO Search, Cable Strategy Revamp

38 minutes ago

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish has been meeting prospective candidates to take the helm of Paramount as part of the thorough revamp of the company’s strategic approach to operations.

Bakish detailed his rationale behind the plan unveiled last month to focus most of Viacom’s TV resources on six core cable channels. And he talked up the importance of Paramount working much more closely with its cable siblings during a 40-minute Q&A Wednesday held as part of the annual Morgan Stanley Technology Media and Telecom Conference.

Bakish was asked by Morgan Stanley’s Ben Swinburne about the status of the Paramount job search following last week’s formal announcement that Brad Grey was stepping down as chairman-ceo of the studio after 12 years. But he didn’t offer much in the way of details.

“I’ve met some exciting candidates,” Bakish said. “I believe that’s actionable in the near term.”


- Cynthia Littleton

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Alicia Keys Impersonates Adele on ‘The Tonight Show’

43 minutes ago

It’s difficult to mirror one of the most powerful voices in the music industry, but leave it to Alicia Keys to successfully fulfill the task.

On Tuesday night’s episode of “The Tonight Show,” host Jimmy Fallon invited Keys to participate in one of his popular games, “Wheel of Musical Impressions,” where she gave a masterful impersonation of Adele. The game pairs an artist with a well-known song, and asks the guest to do their best impression of the artist using that song.

After hitting the button to spin the wheel of impressions, a nervous Keys first landed on artist (and her costar on “The Voice”) Gwen Stefani, paired with “Miss Mary Mack.” To the tune of Stefani’s “Just a Girl,” Keys began the segment with a spot-on impression. With the band’s help, she quickly turned Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” into “Miss Mary Mack Girl.”

After Fallon took on the task of impersonating the »

- Sarah Ahern

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Nickelodeon Promotes Shelly Sumpter Gillyard to Executive VP, Talent, Music, and Events

57 minutes ago

Nickelodeon Group has upped Shelly Sumpter Gillyard to executive vice president, talent, music, and events. She was most recently senior VP of talent.

In her new role, Sumpter Gillyard will oversee talent relations across all Nickelodeon brands for live TV events, music, and live-action programming, inclusive of casting for live-action and animation properties.

She will be based in Nick’s Burbank office and will continue to report to Nickelodeon Group president Cyma Zarghami.

During her 19-year tenure with Nick, she’s brought kids-favorite celebrities like Blake Shelton, Justin Timberlake, Kobe Bryant, Nick Jonas, Will Smith, Dwayne Johnson, and Mark Wahlberg into much of the studio’s programming and tentpole events, such as “The Kids’ Choice Awards” and “Kids’ Choice Sports.” She also oversees selection and curation of talent for the studio’s annual pro-social-themed concert event, “Nickelodeon Halo Awards,” which honors teens who make a difference in their communities. The 2016 event featured Nick Cannon as host and »

- Terry Flores

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Bobby Moynihan to Star in CBS Comedy Pilot ‘Me, Myself and I’ — What About ‘SNL’?

1 hour ago

Saturday Night Live” veteran Bobby Moynihan will star in the CBS comedy pilot “Me, Myself and I,” Variety has learned.

Moynihan signing on to topline the broadcast comedy signals his potential exit from “Saturday Night Live,” on which he has been a staple since 2008. Should the CBS pilot go to series, Moynihan’s departure would mark the latest shake-up on “SNL,” following high-profile departures of Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah, who also left for other scripted series over the past year. Currently in his ninth season on “SNL,” Moynihan is one of the longest-running cast members, alongside Kenan Thompson.

Upon Variety‘s request, NBC did not comment on Moynihan’s future status on “SNL.”

“Me, Myself and I” examines one man’s life over 50 years. The show will focus on three distinct periods in his life: as a 14-year-old in 1991, a 40-year-old in present day, and a 65-year-old in 2042 — Moynihan will play the present day man, Alex Riley »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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‘Talking Dead’ Spinoff With Chris Hardwick Set at AMC

1 hour ago

AMC is expanding “The Walking Dead” aftershow “Talking Dead” into a year-round talk franchise. The cable channel announced Wednesday “Talking With Chris Hardwick,” a new hour-long talk show that will air at 11 p.m. on Sunday nights — specifically Sunday nights when new episodes of “The Walking Dead” or “Fear the Walking Dead” are not airing. On evenings when they are, Hardwick’s long-running aftershow “Talking Dead” will air instead.

Each hour-long episode of “Talking” will feature Hardwick interviewing a single guest or cast. Unlike “Talking Dead,” which focuses on the “Walking Dead” universe, “Talking” will feature guests from across pop culture.

Chris Hardwick is just the ultimate fan guide, advocate and conversationalist. He took our desire to serve the fans of ‘The Walking Dead’ with an hour of discussion and analysis following each new episode and turned it into the #1 talk show on television, and a model that has been widely emulated but never quite duplicated, because »

- Daniel Holloway

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Fox’s ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ Reboot Adds Two to Cast

1 hour ago

Gabriel Chavarria and Melia Kreiling have joined the cast of Fox’s “Behind Enemy Lines” television reboot, Variety has learned.

The pair joins previously announced stars Marg Helgenberger and B .J. Britt in the the pilot.

Behind Enemy Lines” is described as a military soap thriller wherein a group of U.S. soldiers find themselves trapped behind enemy lines.  The “distinctly patriotic” show is a multi-perspective narrative that closely follows soldiers on the ground, and the officers and service men and women on a nearby aircraft carrier, along with intelligence officers in DC as they attempt to bring the heroes home safely and under the radar.

Chavarria will play Ziggy Rodriguez, a Navy pilot and the son of lifetime career senior Navy executive, Officer Mateo Rodriguez, who is yet to be cast.

Kreiling will play Shia Irivani, a Naval officer of deep faith, who is strong, principled and a woman of integrity, but »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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How ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Helped Me Understand Donald Trump (Column)

2 hours ago

Fxx’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is the type of sitcom where the characters, instead of telling punchlines, are the punchlines. The show about five idiots who spend all their time in a decrepit Irish pub is two seasons shy of being the longest running live-action sitcom on television, a title currently held by “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.” In an era marked by the not-unrelated phenomena of audience fragmentation and political division, the Fxx comedy has found a way to be funny, politically relevant, and still-airing — quite a feat.

Perhaps it is not a coincidence, then, that its characters are uniformly terrible people.

I love “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and I even love its five idiots, though I think all of them should be in jail. But as this 12th season ends — and as the show moves from frat-bro staple and alt-comedy masterpiece to making television history under a Trump Administration »

- Sonia Saraiya

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Casey Wilson Joins Busy Philipps, Bradley Whitford in NBC Comedy Pilot ‘The Sackett Sisters’

2 hours ago

Casey Wilson will co-star in NBC’s comedy pilot “The Sackett Sisters,” Variety has learned.

The “Happy Endings” alum joins previously announced stars Busy Philipps and Bradley Whitford.

The Sackett Sisters” is a comedy about the Sackett family, which is reunited when two estranged sisters (Wilson and Philipps) perform an act of public heroism and are forced to navigate the aftermath together. Whitford will play the dad, Henry Sackett. 

The single-camera comedy pilot hails from “30 Rock” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” scribe Luke Del Tredici, who will serve as executive producer with Tina FeyRobert Carlock and David MinerUniversal Television is producing with Fey’s Little Stranger shingle.

The Sackett Sisters” is shaping up to be one of NBC’s hottest comedies with Fey exec producing, and Wilson and Philipps as the co-leads.

Following “Happy Endings,” Wilson previously starred in NBC’s comedy “Marry Me,” which ran one season during the 2014-2015 season. “Sackett »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Remembering Bill Paxton, Hollywood’s Scene-Stealing Everyman

2 hours ago

Bill Paxton was us.

Some actors project an air of unreality, as if they’re tuned in to a different frequency. Some are chameleons, taking pride in looking radically different with each role. Paxton was a versatile actor, but he wasn’t one of those kinds of performers. There was a solidity to him, a dependable core of raffish decency. His characters could be brash, calculating, and even shady, and they were often gleefully irreverent.

But most of the time, they’d end up doing the right thing. Or at least they’d try to do the right thing at some point — usually when the odds were most clearly stacked against them.

It’s easy to connect to the men Paxton played, because no matter what circumstances they were in, they responded as a regular person would. He didn’t play men with superpowers or resources that would ensure their success. He »

- Maureen Ryan

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June Squibb and Hal Holbrook to Guest Star on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

“Grey’s Anatomy” has tapped June Squibb and Hal Holbrook as guest stars, Variety has learned exclusively.

The duo will appear in the episode on Mar. 23, playing Elsie Clatch and Lewis Clatch, a married couple who visit Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. No other details on their storyline have been revealed.

Additionally, the Mar. 23 episode will also welcome back guest star Latanya Richardson Jackson, who will reprise her role as Maggie’s (Kelly McCreary) mother, Diane Pierce.

Squibb, who was nominated for the Academy Award for “Nebraska,” recently had an arc on Showtime’s “Shameless.” She will be in the upcoming film “Table 19.” She is repped by Brs/Gage.

Holbrook, star of his iconic Tony-winning one-man show “Mark Twain Tonight,” has been keeping busy in recent years. The multiple-time Emmy-winner had a recurring role on “Sons of Anarchy” and guest starred in an episode of “Bones” this year. He is repped by Jr Talent Group.

“Grey »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Ana De La Reguera Joins Season 4 of ‘Power’ on Starz (Exclusive)

3 hours ago

Ana De La Reguera has joined the cast of Starz’s hit series “Power,” Variety has learned exclusively.

The Mexican actress has been cast in a recurring role, playing a high-level drug dealer named Alicia Jimenez. She will appear in three episodes.

De La Reguera is not the first new addition to “Power’s” fourth season. “Fast and Furious” actor Sung Kang has also joined the series in an undisclosed role.

Power,” which has been renewed for a fourth and fifth season, is one of Starz’s all-time highest-rated series. The crime drama from executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and creator Courtney Kemp ranked as the second highest-rated premium cable show in all of 2016, only behind “Game of Thrones.”

Power” is the latest TV gig for De La Reguera, who is known from “Eastbound & Down.” She is coming off of a recurring role on Netflix’s “Narcos” and an arc on the CW’s “Jane the Virgin.” Up »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Viacom Names Bruce Gillmer Head of Music and Music Talent for Global Entertainment Group

4 hours ago

Viacom has named Bruce Gillmer as Head of Music and Music Talent for its Global Entertainment Group, Variety has learned.

In the newly created role, Gillmer will oversee music programming, talent and events for the portfolio. Gillmer will also continue in his current role at Viacom International Media Networks as Evp of Music and Talent Programming and Events and co-brand lead for MTV International. Gillmer will continue to report to Bob Bakish, President and Chief Executive Officer of Viacom.

“Music is a common thread that unites much of Viacom’s portfolio around the world, and we want to find even more powerful ways to connect artists and fans by leveraging our global scale, talent relationships, and programming expertise,” Bakish said. “Bruce is a passionate music industry leader who, during his tenure at MTV International, has orchestrated countless unforgettable performances, infused more music in the brand, and further established MTV as a worldwide leader in the space. I »

- Oriana Schwindt

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Updated: Trump’s First Address to Congress Draws Smaller Audience Than Obama in Early Ratings

5 hours ago

Updated: President Trump delivered his first speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening, and while the pundit class may be heaping praise on the performance, Nielsen’s metered market overnight ratings indicate that he likely didn’t draw as big a crowd as his predecessor.

In Nielsen’s fast national ratings, the speech drew an average audience of 23 million on the four English-language broadcast networks that carried the speech nationally. NBC, thanks to its lead-in of “The Voice,” pulled in the biggest audience of the broadcasters with an average audience of 8.27 million viewers from 9 to 10:30 p.m, with a 2.0 rating in the 18-49 demographic. CBS had 6.59 million tune in, with a 1.0 in the demo. ABC had 5.14 million and a 1.2 rating in the demo. Fox (the broadcasting channel, not Fox News) drew 3 million and a 0.9 in the demo. (The CW affiliates in New York and Indianapolis carried the speech, but »

- Oriana Schwindt

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‘Dancing With the Stars’ Season 24: Full Celebrity Cast Announced

5 hours ago

Dancing With the Stars” is returning to the ballroom next month for Season 24, and a new cast of celebrity contestants was revealed Wednesday morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, Charo, “SNL” comedian Chris Kattan, “The A-Team” star Mr. T, “Glee” alum Heather Morris and NFL player Rashad Jennings are among the contestants who will compete for the mirror ball trophy.

As previously reported by Variety, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, Fifth Harmony member Normani Kordei, and “The BachelorNick Viall will also put on their dancing shoes.

Here’s the full rundown of the “DWTS” Season 24 celebrities and their pro partners:

Bonner Bolton with Sharna Burgess Charo with Keo Motsepe Chris Kattan with Witney Carson David Ross with Lindsay Arnold Erika Jayne with Gleb Savchenko Heather Morris with Maksim Chmerkovskiy Mr. T with Kym Herjavec Nancy Kerrigan with Artem Chigvintsev Nick Viall with Peta Murgatroyd Normani Kordei with Valentin Chmerkovskiy Rashad Jennings with »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Gaumont Sells Cinema Chain Stake to Pathé for $400 Million

6 hours ago

Paris – Signaling its intent to concentrate on production, French mini-major Gaumont will sell its 34% stake in Les Cinemas Gaumont Pathé, one of Europe’s biggest cinema theater chains, to fellow shareholder Pathé in a deal worth €380 million ($400 million).

Gaumont’s exit from Les Cinemas Gaumont Pathé ends a 16-year partnership with Pathé on the theater circuit. The chain is France’s biggest, and also operates in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium, comprising 108 theaters and 1,076 screens.

Gaumont’s divestment will allow it “to accelerate the promising development of its TV production activities in the U.S. and Europe, to reinforce its theatrical film production and to plan the expansion of Gaumont’s activities in Europe,” said Gaumont CEO Sidonie Dumas.

Jérome Seydoux, Pathé president, added: “This acquisition is a clear sign of Pathé’s will to develop and modernize cinema theaters.”

“The cinema theater is essential for theatrical films and theatrical films for cinema theaters,” Seydoux »

- John Hopewell

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ITV Sees Revenue Climb 3% to $3.79 Billion

12 hours ago

British television company ITV reported Wednesday that its external revenue rose 3% to £3.06 billion ($3.79 billion) last year, with adjusted Ebita up 2% to £885 million ($1.09 billion).

Adam Crozier, ITV’s chief executive, said there had been a 3% decline in spot advertising revenues “resulting from wider political and economic uncertainty.” Revenue from its production division, ITV Studios, was up 13% to £1.4 billion ($1.73 billion), half of which came from outside the U.K.

ITV America’s revenue declined 27% to £235 million ($291 million), which was predominantly driven by the cancellation of two shows, “Texas Rising” and “Best Time Ever,” and the phasing of “Hell’s Kitchen,” which was not delivered last year but will return for two seasons this year.

ITV’s advertising revenue is expected to be down around 6% in the four months to the end of April, “impacted by the ongoing economic uncertainty.” Inflation in the U.K. economy, largely driven by the fall in the pound following Britain’s decision to leave »

- Leo Barraclough

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Stephen Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ Returns to Live Broadcast to Respond to Trump

15 hours ago

Stephen Colbert returned Tuesday night  to the late-night trick that has helped him win a broader audience for his “Late Show” on CBS: a live broadcast meant to play off breaking news that took place just an hour or so before his program went on the air.

Colbert took to the air live to poke fun at President Trump’s first speech to Congress, using CBS News clips to poke fun at some of the Commander-in-Chief’s remarks and policies. “The Trans Pacific Partnership is  one of the trans the President is withdrawing support from,” Colbert cracked.

But he took a bipartisan approach, using one segment to lampoon the evening’s Democrat response, from former Kentucky governor Steve Beshear, who held forth from a diner and spoke in folksy tones. “For their powerful rebuttal, the Democrats chose a rerun of ‘The Andy Griffith Show,'” Colbert quipped.

The wee-hours host has reason to tap the live technique »

- Brian Steinberg

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TV Academy ‘Confident’ in Emmy Procedures Following Oscar Flub

17 hours ago

The Television Academy isn’t shaken by the historic debacle that its film counterpart suffered at the Oscars Sunday night. The organization expressed assuredness Tuesday in the process by which it identifies and announces winners for the Primetime Emmy Awards.

“The Television Academy has hired Ernst & Young to oversee this part of the process and is confident with their safeguards,” a Television Academy spokesperson said in a statement. “Awards shows are very complex productions and we certainly sympathize with a problem like this. Ultimately, it shouldn’t diminish the remarkable work being honored.”

On Sunday, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced “La La Land” as the winner of the Oscar for best picture — before it was revealed two minutes later that “Moonlight” was the actual winner. The error has since been attributed to Brian Cullinan of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has handled vote tabulation and the winners list for the Oscars for 83 years.

Ernst »

- Daniel Holloway

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Hannah Ware Books Lead Role in NBC’s ‘Redliners’ Pilot

17 hours ago

NBC has cast Hannah Ware in the lead role for the drama pilot “Redliners,” Variety has learned.

Redliners” is a high-octane series that mixes humor, romance and espionage, and centers on a pair of former operatives who get reactivated and drawn into a larger conspiracy while attempting to maintain their undercover lives.

Ware will play Anne DeWitt, a fiercely intelligent, formidably lethal, charmingly mysterious force of nature. One of Anne’s many secrets is that she is an ex-teacher and trainer in the fine art of assassination for a security firm known as The Service.

Redliners” is based on short stories by best-selling “True Blood” author Charlaine HarrisKelly Sue DeConnick and Shaun Cassidy co-wrote the pilot, and will serve as executive producers with David Janollari, who’s producing through his David Janollari Entertainment shingle. Universal Television is the studio.

Ware is best known for starring on ABC’s short-lived series “Betrayal,” and »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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