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Oscars: Producers Michael De Luca, Jennifer Todd in Talks to Return, Possibly With Host Jimmy Kimmel

56 minutes ago

Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd are negotiating with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences about a possible return to produce the Oscars in 2018, sources have confirmed to Variety. AMPAS is also said to be interested in having Jimmy Kimmel reprise his role as host, but is first looking to hammer out a deal with producers.

De Luca and Todd were tapped to produce the 89th Oscars last year for the first time following an unusually lengthy search. Kimmel was named host in December, on the heels of a well-received turn as host of the Primetime Emmy Awards in September.

The most talked-about moment of the 89th Oscars last month was doubtlessly the initial mistaken announcement of “La La Land” as best picture over actual winner “Moonlight.” But the blame for that incident has fallen squarely on PricewaterhouseCoopers — which this week the Academy announced it would retain as accountant for the show. Kimmel »

- Daniel Holloway and Kristopher Tapley

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TV News Roundup: ‘American Gods’ Opening Titles Released, Seeso Announces Summer Premiere Dates

2 hours ago

In today’s TV news roundup, Starz has released the opening title sequence for “American Gods,” Seeso announced its upcoming programming schedule, and Netflix announced the premiere date for “The Ranch” second season. 

First Look

One month ahead of the series premiere, Starz has released the opening titles for its upcoming original series, “American Gods,” Bryan Fuller and Michael Green’s big-screen adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s award-winning novel of the same name. The title sequence, created by Elastic Media, sees a technicolor montage of stylized pagan relics alongside the series’ cast members: Ricky Whittle (“The 100,” “Austenland”), Ian McShane (“Deadwood,” “Ray Donovan”),  Emily Browning (“Sucker Punch,” “Legend”), and Pablo Schreiber (“Orange is the New Black”). “American Gods” premieres April 30 at 9 p.m.


AMC announced today an initial lineup of guests who are set to appear on “Talking with Chris Hardwick” (an hour-long spin-off of Hardwick’s after-show special, “Talking Dead »

- Emily Mae Czachor

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Emmys: ‘Big Little Lies,’ ‘Feud’ Highlight Competitive Limited Lead Actress Race

3 hours ago

This year’s Emmy race for lead actress in a limited series or motion picture made for television is set to be a scrappy competition on par with the Oscars skullduggery dramatized in FX’s “Feud.”

Indeed, Ryan Murphy’s saga about Golden Age fixtures Joan Crawford and Bette Davis warring over Hollywood recognition for their work in 1962’s “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” is one of two programs that have multiple shots on goal this year. Both Jessica Lange (as Crawford) and Susan Sarandon (Davis) are sure to be in the thick of it.

What’s interesting is how the two performances in some ways mirror Crawford and Davis’ own on-screen work; while Davis gets to chew the scenery, Lange’s is the more reserved and layered portrayal. It’s not necessarily more complex — both Crawford and Davis, as characters, are working through quite a lot with their careers winding down here — but it makes »

- Kristopher Tapley

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AMPTP Asks WGA to Resume Contract Talks

5 hours ago

The major studios have formally asked the Writers Guild of America to return to the bargaining table.

Carol Lombardini, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, sent a letter to WGA West exec director David Young and WGA East exec director Lowell Peterson today asking them to set a date for resuming the talks that ended last Thursday. The AMPTP wants the WGA to respond to what it described as the “Comprehensive Package Proposal” that was offered the last time they met.

The WGA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The AMPTP brought an end to the talks last Thursday after nearly two weeks at the table at AMPTP headquarters in Encino. The WGA has since initiated the process of conducting a strike authorization vote among its membership, and sent a message to members that was critical of the AMPTP offer in key arenas, particularly »

- Cynthia Littleton

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Espn Leads Sports Emmy Nominations, Brent Musburger to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

5 hours ago

Espn and its sister networks led all of their competition in the nominations for the 38th Annual Sports Emmy Awards, securing 50 nods across 41 categories. In addition, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced that legendary sportscaster Brent Musburger would be honored at this year’s ceremony with the lifetime achievement award.

“It has been another outstanding year for the sports television industry and the quality of this year’s record number of entries continues to raise the bar of what sports programming can be,” said Steve Ulrich, senior vice president of the Sports Emmy Awards. “With Brent Musburger being recognized for his almost 50 years in sports television, it will be a grand night as we celebrate this stellar cast of nominees on May 9th at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall.”

The NBC Sports Group trailed Espn by just nine nominations, racking up 41 of their own for their coverage of the 2016 Summer »

- Joe Otterson

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Comedy Central Teases New Late-Night Series ‘The President Show’

6 hours ago

Comedy Central appears to be launching a new late-night series called “The President Show” that will spoof President Donald Trump, based on several tweets sent out from two new network-linked Twitter accounts on Thursday.

The first, from Twitter user @PresidentShow, says simply “”Late night TV is broken. A Total Disaster. I alone can fix it!” The tweet also includes a link to a Comedy Central press release with the same quote but no further information. The other account is @LateNightDonald, whose Twitter bio reads, “Official Twitter profile for the host of @PresidentShow. Make Night Late Again!”

The second account has been active since March 21, tweeting things such as, “Steven Colbert portrayed a conservative on TV for many years. Why so dishonest? What is he hiding? The Russians should look into this” as well as “Hackers shining the spotlight on Weak late night. We need to bring American Jobs back to late night.” The »

- Joe Otterson

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ABC Orders ‘Boy Band’ Singing-Competition Series (Exclusive)

7 hours ago

ABC is jumping back into the reality singing-competition genre and adding a twist. The network has given a 10-episode series order to “Boy Band,” a show that will pit singers against one another in a battle to join the next music-group sensation, Variety has learned exclusively. Produced by Matador Content (“Lip Sync Battle”), the series is set to debut this summer on the Alphabet.

No host or judges have been selected yet, but insiders say that ABC is out to a number of boy-band and girl-band members past and present for the role of host and for the judges panel. The judges will be called “architects,” and will serve as mentors.

Performers will compete for spots in a band with a recording contract at Hollywood Records, with viewers voting live at home for their five favorite potential members. “Boy Band” will be executive produced by Todd Lubin, Jay Peterson, Jane Mun, and »

- Daniel Holloway and Elizabeth Wagmeister

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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 Teaser Trailer Is Here (Watch)

7 hours ago

In anticipation of the seventh season of “Game of Thrones” this summer, HBO has released the first official teaser.

Titled “Long Walk,” the 90-second video features Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) taking a long walk to take a seat at the Iron Throne. The promo ends with Cersei taking a deep breath on the throne, and then flashes to the Night King at the end of the video.

Game of Thrones” Season 7 premieres July 16 on HBO.

Watch the Season 7 “Game of Thrones” promo here:

7.16.17 #GoTS7 pic.twitter.com/2Juyc5K7n2

Game Of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) March 30, 2017


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ Season 11: Behind the Scenes of the ‘Satellite of Love’

7 hours ago

On a warm night in late September, a young man named Jonah Ray stands at the center of a mock space station in a yellow jumpsuit, flanked on either side by two robot puppets. This can only mean one thing: production on “Mystery Science Theater 3000” Season 11 is in full swing.

Mystery Science Theater 3000,” or “MST3K” as it’s been dubbed by its fans, was a cult TV series created by Joel Hodgson that first appeared on a Minneapolis Uhf station in the late 1980s. The story, or what passed for one, was that a guy is trapped aboard a space station called the Satellite of Love with two wisecracking robot companions named Tom Servo and Crow.

In each episode, they stay sane by providing a running joke commentary to a terrible B-movie they are forced to watch by a mad scientist. The show was particularly popular in the Midwest, given »

- Joe Otterson

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Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ Tops Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’ in Total Viewers for Q1

8 hours ago

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” outdrew “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in total viewers for the first quarter of 2017, according to Nielsen data released on Thursday.

Colbert’s CBS late-night series averaged 3.29 million viewers per episode during the first three months of this year, while Fallon’s NBC show averaged 3.02 million. Colbert’s ratings in the total viewers metric are up 17 percent compared to Q1 of 2016, while Fallon’s are down from 2016 by the same percentage. This marks CBS’ first late night win in the first quarter since 2010.

However, Fallon was still the top dog in the key adults 18-49 demographic, which is the metric preferred by advertisers. Fallon averaged a 1.0 rating in the demo versus Colbert’s 0.8. Colbert’s demo rating was unchanged from the same time frame last year, while Fallon dipped slightly from a 1.3 rating average. ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” ranked third in the 11:35 p.m »

- Joe Otterson

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Paramount Network Unveils 2018 Slate, Renews ‘Lip Sync Battle’

8 hours ago

Paramount Network has revealed its initial programming slate for its 2018 relaunch — a roster that includes new scripted series and a returning favorite in unscripted hit “Lip Sync Battle,” which has been renewed.

The fourth season of the Stephen Merchant- and John Krasinski-produced celebrity competition series “Lip Sync Battle” is set to debut in January, as its home, Viacom-owned Spike TV, relaunches as Paramount Network. The third season of the show is currently in production and set to premiere April 20.

In addition to “Lip Sync Battle,” Paramount Network has slated three new scripted series and one new documentary. hour-long drama “Heathers” and half-hour comedy “American Woman,” will premiere next year along with limited series “Waco” and documentary film “I Am Martin Luther King Jr.” Next year will also see new seasons of veteran Spike unscripted shows “Ink Master” and “Bar Rescue,” as well as Bellator Mma programming.

“As we started to think about how we wanted »

- Daniel Holloway

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Variety Announces Sixth Season of ‘Actors on Actors’ on PBS

8 hours ago

Variety and PBS SoCal have announced the lineup for the sixth installment of the Emmy award-winning series “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.”

The show will feature one-on-one conversations between this year’s Emmy contenders. Clips from the season, presented by Shutterstock, will be available to watch on Variety.com starting at the end of May.

This season’s featured conversations include Oprah Winfrey (“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”) with Thandie Newton (“Westworld”), Sarah Jessica Parker (“Divorce”) with Michelle Pfeiffer (“The Wizard of Lies”), Nicole Kidman (“Big Little Lies”) with Ewan McGregor (“Fargo”), Brit Marling (“The Oa”) with Issa Rae (“Insecure”), Riz Ahmed (“The Night Of”) with Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”) with Kaley Cuoco (“Big Bang Theory”), Minnie Driver (“Speechless”) with Christine Baranski (“The Good Fight”), Lauren Graham (“Gilmore Girls”) with Constance Zimmer (“UnREAL”), Giovanni Ribisi (“Sneaky Pete”) with Kaitlin Olson (“The Mick”), Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”) with Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld »

- Seth Kelley

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Cartoon Network Seeks Multiplatform Viewing With ‘Ben 10’ Revamp, Other New Shows

8 hours ago

Cartoon Network’s new programming lineup is designed to connect with younger viewers who are increasingly accustomed to engaging with favorite programs across multiple screens and formats.

The Time Warner- owned kids’ cable outlet, which suffered linear ratings declines in the core kids 2-11 demo in 2016, will push to weave itself into viewers’ spheres of activity with a new content slate that calls for six new series, seven returning programs and more than 20 original mobile and console games Among the new offerings is the U.S. launch of a revamped “Ben 10,” a massive sci-fi franchise that generated big ratings and sales of consumer products between 2007 and 2013.

“Everything we do is multi-screen from the moment it is thought of,” Christina Miller, president of Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Adult Swim, told Variety. “We have this true ‘always-on’ mentality. It is not a catchphrase, but a core belief being served up as kids are leaning into video on demand »

- Brian Steinberg

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TV Ratings: ‘Imaginary Mary’ Bows Soft, ‘Empire’ Dips But Wins

9 hours ago

Fox’s “Empire” was the top broadcast dog on Wednesday night, despite falling to a 2.4 in the 18-49 demographic, with an average audience of 6.8 million viewers. Leading into “Empire,” “Shots Fired” slipped to a 1.0 in the demo and 3.69 million viewers on the whole, though it managed to stay ahead of NBC’s “Blindspot.”

ABC bowed new comedy “Imaginary Mary” behind “The Goldbergs.” While “The Goldbergs” pulled in a 1.7 in the demo and 6.01 million viewers, “Mary” notched a 1.4 in the demo for its premiere, and 5.37 million viewers — well below the 2.0 premiere rating delivered by previous slot occupant “Speechless” in the fall. (“Speechless” premiered behind “The Goldbergs” season opener, which also drew a 2.0 demo rating). “Modern Family” ticked up from its last new outing to a 2.0 demo rating and 6.68 million viewers. “Black-ish” brought in a 1.5 and 4.95 million viewers. “Designated Survivor” weighed in with a 1.1 and 5.12 million viewers.

On CBS, “Survivor” brought in a steady 1.7 in the demo and 8.13 million »

- Oriana Schwindt

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HBO, Rai to Adapt Elena Ferrante’s ‘My Brilliant Friend’ as Drama Series

9 hours ago

Rome – HBO and Italian state broadcaster Rai have teamed up on “My Brilliant Friend,” the hotly anticipated drama series based on the first of four “Neapolitan Novels” written by Italian author Elena Ferrante, whose books have legions of fervent fans around the world.

FremantleMedia-owned Wildside and Domenico Procacci’s Fandango are producing the Italian-language series. The plan is to start shooting this summer in Naples for a premiere targeted in 2018.

Italian director Saverio Costanzo (“Private,” “Hungry Hearts”) will direct. Jennifer Schuur (“Big Love,” “Hannibal”) will serve as executive producer on “My Brilliant Friend” for Wildside and Fandango. The international distributor is FremantleMedia Intl.

Costanzo told Variety that Ferrante’s sweeping saga is “very literary but also very cinematographic” and said he planned to stick as closely as possible to the storyline of the book. “The characters really leap out of the book and come alive,” he said. “That makes it easier for us to transpose this cinematographically »

- Nick Vivarelli

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‘Prison Break’ Reboot Cast Explains Why the Reboot Makes Sense

10 hours ago

Fox’s popular drama “Prison Break” ended its run in 2009. But seven years later, given the industry’s fascination with reboots, the series is back with the original cast. Show creator Paul Scheuring returns as well, working with executive producers Vaun Wilmott and Michael Horowitz to craft the nine-hour story. The cast and creatives appeared at a special premiere event at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills on Wednesday. The panel featured cast members Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell, Robert Knepper, Rockmond Dunbar, Mark Feuerstein, Inbar Lavi, Augustus Prew and Paul Adelstein, and focused on why the reboot makes sense now.  

Purcell recalled how the reboot got off the ground. “Wentworth and I started reminiscing about the good old days on ‘Prison Break,'” he said. “And [we] talked about the Netflix generation discovering shows there.”

Scheuring chimed in, “There’s no version of recreating the show without Dominic and Wentworth. We »

- Diane Gordon

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MipTV: Secuoya, Focus, Dramedy Team to Develop ‘The Survivors’ (Exclusive)

11 hours ago

Barcelona — Spain’s Secuoya Group, Focus Group and Scenic Rights are developing historic thriller “The Survivors” a TV series inspired by the true story of the survivors from Che Guevara’s guerrilla fighting force in Bolivia, and their perilous escape from the CIA and the Bolivian army after Che Guevara’s arrest and execution on Oct. 8, 1967.

U.S. producer and writer Noah Evslin has boarded the project as the series’ showrunner. Evslin has served  as co-producer on ABC shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” He penned episodes of “Colony” and “Private Practice” and also worked as a history professor at the University of Hawai.

Series recreates the escape of the six survivors (three from Cuba, the rest from Bolivia) who formed part of the guerrilla force that revolutionary hero Ernesto “Che” Guevara formed in Bolivia.

Cubans Dariel Alarcón, Leonardo Tamayo and Harry Villegas and Bolivia’s David Adriazola, Inti »

- Emilio Mayorga

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eOne Sells Canadian Crime Drama ‘Cardinal’ to Canal Plus France

13 hours ago

European paybox Canal Plus France has acquired French pay TV rights to the first season of Canadian thriller series “Cardinal,” from co-producer and worldwide distributor Entertainment One.

Toplining Billy Campbell (“The Killing”) and Karine Vanasse (“Revenge”), “Cardinal” is set in a small town in Northern Ontario, following two detectives as they attempt to solve the mystery murder of a teenage girl.

The first season of “Cardinal,” made up of six one-hour episodes, recently aired on C More in Scandinavia, where it became the network’s biggest foreign drama series. The series will premier in the U.K. via the BBC later this year.

“We’re delighted to have secured Canal Plus as the French broadcaster for ‘Cardinal’ season one as we head into MipTV,” said Stuart Baxter, eOne TV International president. “We’re incredibly proud of this captivating series which is already gaining early success among international audiences.”

Produced by Sienna Films and eOne in association with »

- Emiliano De Pablos

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Former Rai TV Exec Giancarlo Leone to Head Italy’s TV Producers Association (Exclusive)

14 hours ago

Rome — Giancarlo Leone, the former top exec at Italian pubcaster Rai who launched its Rai Cinema unit, is set to become president of Italy’s TV producers’ association Apt.

The move is seen as instrumental within Italy’s industry to boosting its scripted TV content output and capitalising on buzz generated by the country’s widely exported “Gomorrah” and “The Young Pope” skeins.

Leone’s appointment by Apt’s board, which took place on Tuesday, still needs to clear a final collective vote on April 12, considered a formality. He will replace former local politician Marco Follini.

According to insiders a key plank of Leone’s plan is to boost high-end Italian TV production and accellerate its international expansion thanks in part to his vast network of international industry ties, including in Hollywood where as head of Rai Cinema Leone forged close rapports with Lakeshore Entertainment, Lionsgate, Harvey Weinstein, among other indie players, and »

- Nick Vivarelli

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‘Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ Head Writer A.D. Miles to Step Down

23 hours ago

A.D. Miles, the longtime head writer of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” will step down from that role to pursue acting and narrative television and film writing, Variety has confirmed.

Miles has been working with Fallon for the past eight years, with the two meeting at NBC’s “Late Night” before Fallon took over “The Tonight Show.” They have since collaborated on over 1500 episodes of late-night television. Miles and his family will relocate from New York to Los Angeles but he and Fallon are still planning to work together on an animated feature.

“Riding Jimmy Fallon’s coattails for the past eight years has given me all the confidence I need to strike out on my own and work on a movie with Jimmy Fallon,” Miles said in a statement. Fallon added, “Miles was there for the launch of ‘Late Night’ as well as the launch of ‘The Tonight Show.’ He »

- Joe Otterson

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