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TV News Roundup: Naomi Campbell Joins Lee Daniels’ Music Drama ‘Star’

13 hours ago

In today’s TV news roundup, Naomi Campbell has boarded Lee Daniels’ latest Fox music drama, “Star,” while J.K. Simmons’ Starz spy series “Counterpart” adds two.

Casting:

Supermodel Naomi Campbell has been cast in Fox’s newest musical series, “Star.” Campbell will play Rose Spencer, a beautiful and wealthy London-er. Campbell has appeared in several other television series, her most recent being Lee Daniels’ other Fox drama, “Empire.” Other cast members include Queen Latifah, Benjamin Bratt, and newcomers Jude Demorest, Ryan Destiny, Brittany O’Grady, and Amiyah Scott. Lenny Kravitz will also make a guest appearance on the show. “Star” is created and produced by Daniels and Tom Donaghy, other executive producers include Pamela Oas and Effie Brown.

Olivia Williams and Harry Lloyd will star opposite J.K. Simmons in the Starz spy thriller “Counterpart.” The series is set in a parallel universe discovered by Simmons’ character Howard Silk. Lloyd will play Peter Quayle, a »


- Joshua Terry

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NBC’s ‘Mail Order Family’ Spiked After Backlash Over Ethnic Stereotyping, Human-Rights Concerns

13 hours ago

NBC will not move forward with “Mail Order Family” after news of the network’s plan to develop the comedy from Universal Television sparked an online backlash. According to a NBCUniversal spokesperson, the creators have decided not to proceed with the project, which was in very early stages of development.

“Mail Order Family,” from “Superstore” writer-producer Jackie Clarke and executive producers Ruben Fleischer and David Bernad was to tell the story of a widower who orders a bride from the Philippines to raise his two young daughters. It was loosely based on Clarke’s own family.

A Change.org petition protesting the project was launched Thursday, one day after news of the show’s development was first reported. By early Friday evening, it had garnered 9,169 signatures.

“We purchased the pitch with the understanding that it would tell the creator’s real-life experience of being raised by a strong Filipina stepmother after the loss of her own mother »


- Daniel Holloway

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‘Dynasty’ Reboot in the Works at CW

15 hours ago

The CW is developing a reboot of “Dynasty,” Variety has confirmed. The project, which is in script development, hails from CBS Television Studios in association with Fake Empire and executive producers and writers Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage and Sallie Patrick.

Esther Shapiro and Richard Shapiro, creators of the original “Dynasty,” are also serving as executive producers. Fake Empire exec Lis Rowinski will co-executive produce the series.

The new series will be told primarily through the perspectives of two female characters locked in conflict — Fallon Carrington, daughter of billionaire Blake Carrington, and her soon-to-be stepmother, Cristal, a Hispanic woman marrying into this Wasp family and America’s most powerful class.

Produced by Aaron Spelling, the original “Dynasty” aired on ABC from 1981 to 1989, lasting 220 episodes. It starred Joan Collins, Linda Evans and John Forsythe.

»


- Variety Staff

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PR Chief Hope Hartman Departing ABC

15 hours ago

Hope Hartman, Svp of communications for ABC Entertainment, is leaving the company, Variety has learned. Her last day is Sept. 30.

Hartman is departing PR to focus on her film career. Her upcoming projects are “The Judy Effect,” about feminist trailblazer and global humanitarian Judy Miller, and “Booked,” about the world of book tours where some of the most memorable characters aren’t actually in the books.

Hartman has been in her position since 2009 and with the Alphabet since 2006. In her role, she worked with ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey and ABC Studios president Patrick Moran, overseeing all communications strategy for primetime, daytime and late-night programming for ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios.

Prior to joining ABC, Hartman headed her own PR firm, Fingers Crossed Communications, where she worked with clients including UCLA, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, ABC Family and ABC Daytime.

She began her career in the office of the Lieutenant Governor of Indiana as an information specialist »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Lorne Michaels Breaks Silence on Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah’s ‘SNL’ Exits

16 hours ago

Lorne Michaels is breaking his silence on the eve of “Saturday Night Live’s” 42nd-season premiere on longtime cast members Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah’s departures.

The “SNL” creator and executive producer told USA Today that the NBC variety show’s roster changes keep the series fresh.

“I think they were great, and they did wonderful work when they were with us,” Michaels said. “They served the show well, and are two people I really care about.”

“Change is the lifeblood of the show; it always has been,” he added. “And you have to keep bringing new people in. Hopefully it’s for the best. I’m not worried about either of them going on to success.”

Both of the actors have since landed separate Showtime comedy pilots. Pharaoh will star in “White Famous” from exec producer Jamie Foxx, as a young African-American comedian whose star is rising, while Killam will lead “Mating” from Jason Katims, which »


- Arya Roshanian

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Gordon Ramsay Live Variety Show ‘The F Word’ Ordered by Fox

16 hours ago

Fox has ordered “The F Word,” a live cooking-variety series starring Gordon Ramsay, based on his U.K. show of the same name.

The F Word” will feature foodie families competing in a cooking competition in which they must impress not just Ramsay, but celebrity guests. The show will also feature Ramsay talking with VIPs, doing live remotes with guests from across the country, and appearing in field segments with fans and culinary experts.

The show is set to premiere in 2017.

Gordon Ramsay is not only one of the biggest names in the culinary world, but his expertise, combined with his larger-than-life personality, also make for genuine event television,” said David Madden, entertainment president, Fox Broadcasting Co. “Gordon Ramsay stands tall in the line of great Fox stars, those unpredictable originals whom you simply can’t afford to miss, and ‘The F Word’ could come from no one but Gordon. Let »


- Daniel Holloway

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TV Review: HBO’s ‘Insecure’

18 hours ago

One of the chief joys of “Insecure” — HBO’s new half-hour comedy from the mind of co-creator, executive producer, and star Issa Rae — is listening to its characters talk. The dialogue of the show is a combination of cadence, vocabulary, and implication that is both brilliant and not-safe-for-work. In one scene, when Issa (Rae, playing a version of herself) insists that she didn’t sleep with an old flame, her best friend Molly (Yvonne Orji) shoots back: “All that drama for zero dick? Bitch, you buggin’.” Upon discovering that an acquaintance is engaged to an Asian-American woman, Issa observes of black men: “They wife others up with a quickness.” Molly explains, cryptically and hilariously, that the main drawback of a dating app is “hotep n-ggas,” while Issa reminisces that her attitude from the night before was confident and bold: “no-fucksy.”

As “Insecure” unfolds, the striking quality of the language serves to punctuate not just conversation but context: »


- Sonia Saraiya

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‘Twin Peaks’ Revival: New Teaser Features Angelo Badalamenti

19 hours ago

Angelo Badalamenti is back in a new teaser for the upcoming “Twin Peaks” revival.

The video shows Badalamenti at the piano, playing the music that he composed for the original series in the early ’90s that has come to be one of the most recognized themes in television history.

The upcoming revival will pick up 25 years after the original “Twin Peaks,” which followed the FBI investigation conducted by special agent Dale Cooper into the murder of Laura Palmer in the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington.

Showtime bosses David Nevins and Gary Levine teased back in August that they were impressed with what they had seen so far of David Lynch’s work.

“We were both instantly transported,” Levine said. “The tone, the feel  — it is so singular. We can’t wait to show it to the world.”

The updated series will be feature music from Badalamenti, whose original music for the series won him a Grammy »


- Joshua Terry

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John Legend to Play Frederick Douglass on ‘Underground’

20 hours ago

John Legend will guest star as Frederick Douglass on the upcoming season of Wgn America’s “Underground.”

The singer-songwriter, who also serves as executive producer on the series, will star as the history-making abolitionist in the show’s upcoming second season, which is set to premiere in early 2017. Season 2 is currently being shot in Atlanta.

Speaking with Variety executive editor Debra Birnbaum in June at Variety‘s TV Summit at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, Calif., Legend he was thinking about guest starring in the upcoming season, but had no immediate plans to do so.

He also talked about why “Underground,” about the Underground Railroad, is relevant today. “We are in a moment now where we have a major candidate for office that is being very racist and divisive,” Legend said. “I feel the need to call that out all the time because I don’t want us to feel like it’s impossible for our »


- Daniel Holloway

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TV Review: ‘No Tomorrow’

21 hours ago

Leave it to the CW to come up with an optimistic apocalypse. The low-key but charming “No Tomorrow” is everything that “The Walking Dead” is not (and that’s no knock on the latter — there’s room in this vast television universe for all kinds of doom-laden scenarios).

Evie Callahan (Tori Anderson) is the kind of woman who would very likely enjoy a day spent at the Container Store: She organizes her closet by color and has desk drawers full of office supplies arranged in perfect rows. She’s also a loyal friend and a hard worker who’s trying to make the best of a clerical job that’s dominated by boring tasks and a boss nicknamed “Demon Breath.”

Of course, even hyper-organized people long for a little disorder now and then, and Evie, who’s beginning to feel family pressure to settle down, isn’t averse to someone shaking up her world. That »


- Maureen Ryan

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Fred Armisen to Guest Star on Fox’s Midseason Comedy ‘Making History’ (Exclusive)

21 hours ago

Months before its midseason premiere, Fox’s “Making History” has tapped its first high-profile guest star: Fred Armisen.

Making History” chronicles three friends from two different centuries, as they try to balance the thrill of time travel with the mundane concerns of their present-day lives. The big-swing comedy is described as two shows in one — a rollicking historical adventure and a contemporary comedy about love, friendship and trying to fit in to an increasingly complex and impersonal world.

Armisen will play Nikola Tesla, a famous, eccentric, brilliant scientist. He helps the central trio Dan, Chris and Deborah — played by Adam Pally, Yassir Lester and Leighton Meester — fix their time machine, and they become ensnared in his bizarre personal problems.

Making History” hails from scribe Julius “Goldie” Sharpe and exec producers Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Seth Cohen and Jared Hess, who directed the pilot. 20th Century Fox Television is the studio.

Armisen »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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TV Ratings: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Stays Strong

22 hours ago

ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” continued to dominate its 8 p.m. timeslot on Thursday evening. But despite a lack of “Thursday Night Football” competition, the rest of broadcast’s offerings failed to bring in significant viewership.

“Grey’s” drew a 2.4 rating among adults 18-49, down only one tenth of a point from its season premiere last week, and 8.3 million total viewers. But “Notorious” failed again in its second week to capitalize on a strong lead-in. The freshman drama drew a 1.1 demo rating and 4.6 million viewers in the 9 p.m. hour. That’s even in the demo with its series premier last week, but down 54% from its “Grey’s” lead-in. “How to Get Away With Murder” drew a 1.3, down one tenth of a point from its season premiere, and 4.4 million viewers.

ABC was the night’s top broadcaster, averaging a 1.6 rating and 6 share in the demo. CBS, which aired a lineup of reruns with no “Thursday Night Football »


- Daniel Holloway

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John Singleton’s ‘Snowfall’ Ordered to Series at FX

22 hours ago

FX has given a series order to “Snowfall” from Academy Award-nominee John Singleton. Set against the dawn of the crack-cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles in 1983, the 10-episode first season is set to premiere in 2017.

Production on the series is scheduled to begin in October. Singleton (“Boyz n the Hood”) will executive produce with Dave Andron (“Justified,” “Knight Rider”), Thomas Schlamme (“The West Wing,” “The Americans”), Eric Amadio (“After Sex,” “Stuntmen”), Michael London (“Sideways,” “House of Sand and Fog”), and Trevor Engelson (“Remember Me,” “All About Steve”). Andron, who will serve as showrunner, wrote the pilot with Singleton and Amadio. The pilot, which FX ordered last fall, was directed by the Belgian directing team of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (“Black,” “Image,” “Broeders”).

“We are excited to add Snowfall to our original series lineup,” said Eric Schrier, co-president with Nick Grad of original programming for FX Networks and FX Productions. “Dave Andron »


- Daniel Holloway

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MTV Enlists A$AP Rocky to Devise Concepts for Viewers, Advertisers (Exclusive)

30 September 2016 6:30 AM, PDT

Programming executives at MTV have introduced the world to everything from the battling housemates of “The Real World” to the squabbling cartoon figures Beavis and Butthead. Now rapper and entrepreneur A$AP Rocky says he wants to work with the Viacom outlet in harmony to produce new kinds of memorable content.

“I think we need to get people more in tune with vignettes, video clips,” the musician said in an interview. “That’s really going to be my strong suit.”

MTV has signed A$AP Rocky to a two-year deal under which he will devise original concepts, experiment with programming and various pieces of MTV intellectual property, and develop content for advertisers. He and his company, Awge, will form a venture called MTV Labs, billed as a “creative incubator” unit. The partnership is a “pick up fee deal” that “is like a contract for a specific number of projects that are developed by him over a period »


- Brian Steinberg

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‘Downton’s’ Joanne Froggatt, Ioan Gruffudd to Star in ‘Liar’ From ‘The Missing’ Creators for ITV, SundanceTV

30 September 2016 2:00 AM, PDT

Joanne Froggatt, a three-time Emmy nominee for “Downton Abbey,” and Ioan Gruffudd, best known for “Fantastic Four,” will star in a six-part thriller from the creators of Starz’s “The Missing,” Harry and Jack Williams. The show has been greenlit by the U.K. broadcaster ITV and SundanceTV in the U.S. All3Media Intl., which is handling international sales for the show, negotiated the deal with SundanceTV. The miniseries, produced by the Williams brothers’ Two Brothers Pictures, starts shooting in November.

“’Liar’ tells the story of a night that changes the lives of Laura Newell (Froggatt) and Andrew Ellis (Gruffudd) forever,” according to a press statement. “Laura is a smart and dedicated teacher, not long out of a relationship and unsure about getting back on the dating scene. Andrew is a renowned surgeon whose son is a pupil at Laura’s school. An initial attraction leads to a date, but »


- Leo Barraclough

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Sundance TV, ITV Partner for ‘Liar’ Starring Joanne Froggatt, Ioan Gruffudd

30 September 2016 2:00 AM, PDT

Sundance TV and ITV are teaming up to co-produce “Liar,” a six-part thriller starring Joanne Froggatt and Ioan Gruffudd. The miniseries hails from BAFTA- and Golden Globe-nominated producers and screenwriters Harry and Jack Williams and their company Two Brothers Pictures.

Liar” stars Froggatt (“Downton Abbey”) and Gruffudd (“Fantastic Four”) as Laura Newell and Andrew Ellis, whose initial attraction leads to a date and to far-reaching consequences for each other and their families.

“‘Liar’ is that rare combination of a thoughtful and emotional exploration of the human condition, and a page turner. The Williams Brothers have created something both relevant and compelling, attributes that the SundanceTV audience respect and embrace,” said Joel Stillerman, president of original programming and development for AMC and SundanceTV.

Harry and Jack Williams (“Fleabag,” “The Missing,” “One of Us”) will executive produce with James Strong, who will serve as lead director. Polly Hill, head of drama for ITV, will »


- Daniel Holloway

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‘How to Get Away With Murder’ Reveals First Person Who’s Not Killed Off This Season (Spoilers)

29 September 2016 8:00 PM, PDT

Spoiler Alert: Do not read ahead if you have not watched the second episode of “How to Get Away With Murder” Season 3, which aired Sept. 29 on ABC.

And the first person to not be killed of is… Oliver!

Thursday night’s episode of “How to Get Away With Murder” revealed more of what happened the night of the fire — aka the night when Annalise (Viola Davis) finds her house burning down, while police have a dead body under a sheet on a stretcher. That’s the central mystery of the season, which was set up in last week’s Season 3 premiere, posing the question: whose dead body is under the sheet?

Each week, the flash-forward scenes will reveal who is not under the sheet. “Every episode, you’ll see more of the night of the house fire and you’ll always see more of who is not under that sheet. So »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Lady Gaga Headlining 2017 Super Bowl Halftime Show

29 September 2016 5:18 PM, PDT

It’s official: Lady Gaga will headline the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show.

The superstar tweeted the news Thursday evening.

Giving a nod to her latest single “Perfect Illusion,” Gaga wrote on Twitter, “It’s not an illusion. The rumors are true. This year’s Super Bowl goes Gaga!”

It's not an illusion. The rumors are true. This year the Super Bowl goes Gaga! @nfl @Foxtv @pepsi #Perfectillusion #Gagasuperbowl pic.twitter.com/qR4O57451G

Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) September 30, 2016

This Super Bowl won’t be Gaga’s first big game. Last year for Super Bowl 50, she sang the National Anthem. The halftime performer in 2016 was Coldplay, who was joined by Beyonce and Bruno Mars. Performing her hit “Formation,” Beyonce’s dancers were dressed Black Panthers-esque, becoming part of the musician’s now-infamous performance that made waves for its political messaging.

No word yet on who else will join Gaga for her halftime performance at Super Bowl 51.

Last »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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‘The Real O’Neals’ Casts Kenny’s First Boyfriend (Exclusive)

29 September 2016 4:57 PM, PDT

Sean Grandillo, who starred on the first season of MTV’s “Scream,” has landed an arc on Season 2 of ABC’s “The Real O’Neals,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Grandillo will play Brett, Kenny’s (Noah Galvin) first real boyfriend. When they initially meet, Kenny doesn’t even know Brett’s gay, but through getting to know each other by their mutual love of singing, Kenny comes to realize Brett could potentially be more.

Grandillo will recur in three episodes this season with the option to appear in more.

“The Real O’Neals” stars Martha Plimpton, Jay R. Ferguson, Galvin, Matt Shively, Bebe Wood, and Mary Hollis Inboden.  The comedy returns on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 9:30 p..m.

Aside from “Scream,” Grandillo appeared on the recent revival of “Spring Awakening” on Broadway. He is repped by Apa.

»


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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TV Review: Woody Allen’s Amazon Comedy ‘Crisis in Six Scenes’

29 September 2016 3:59 PM, PDT

The second episode of Woody Allen’s first foray into television, “Crisis in Six Scenes,” ends with Allen’s character, Sidney, and a police officer played by David Harbour discussing the relative merits of adopted daughters. “Good luck with your daughter,” the cop says to Sidney. “You know, we adoptive parents, we’re always taking a risk, aren’t we? It’s a bit of a crapshoot. But uh, it’s well worth it. I love mine to death.”

Sidney, eager to get the cops out, mumbles, “As you can see, I do, too.” He closes the door behind the policemen, and then looks back down the entryway of his house towards the camera. Kay (Elaine May), his wife, walks forward from behind the camera, saying in a low voice, “God, that was close.” Sidney walks towards her — and the audience — saying, “It’s now, officially there. We’re criminals. We »


- Sonia Saraiya

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