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‘White Queen’ Sequel Series ‘The White Princess’ Ordered at Starz

4 hours ago

Starz has greenlit “The White Princess,” a sequel series to the premium cabler’s Rebecca Ferguson-led miniseries “The White Queen,” which aired in 2013.

Hailing from Company Pictures and adapted from Philippa Gregory’s bestselling novel of the same name, “The White Princess” tells the story of England’s War of the Roses from the perspective of the women. The 8-episode limited series drama is currently in pre-production to air in 2017.

“White Queen” writer Emma Frost will once again serve as showrunner and executive producer with Gregory serving as exec producer. Lachlan MacKinnon will produce, and Playground’s Colin Callender will serve as executive producer along with Company PicturesMichele Buck.

“The White Princess” concludes the story of England’s War of the Roses and charts the rise of the House of Tudor through the tortuous marriage between Princess Elizabeth of York and King Henry Tudor. The year is 1485 and Princess Elizabeth, »


- Laura Prudom

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Walt Disney Notices Uptick in Espn Subscribers — CNBC

5 hours ago

Disney is expected to tell investors it has seen a slight uptick in subscribers to Espn, the company’s chief executive told CNBC on Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking to CNBC correspondent Julia Boorstin, Disney CEO Robert Iger said the company noticed a slight increase in subscribers to Espn, the sports-cable juggernaut that has become a source of concern for investors owing to recent evidence of longer-term subscriber declines. Iger did not offer a specific number of subscribers or otherwise quantify the increase.

The executive cited an ongoing passion for live sports and the availability of Espn in so-called light bundles that some cable operators are making available in new kinds of services. Iger suggested the introduction of services like Dish’s Sling, a broadband-distributed video option, may be drawing some consumers who have cut their cable and satellite subscriptions back to the fold.

The increase is not likely to affect the »


- Variety Staff

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‘Full Frontal With Samantha Bee’ Premiere Draws 2.2 Million Viewers Across Networks

5 hours ago

“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” a new weekly series on TBS fronted by the “Daily Show” grad, drew solid sampling of more than 2 million viewers across multiple Turner networks in its premiere last night.

Airing at 10:30 p.m., telecasts of “Full Frontal” combined to draw 2.16 million viewers on Adult Swim (986,000), TBS (629,000), TNT (402,000) and TruTV (142,000). Roughly 1.22 million of the viewers were adults 18-49, with Adult Swim accounting for about 570,000 and TBS about 355,000.

Full Frontal” will be serving as the lead-in to “Conan” every Monday night, and last night it easily outdrew over the long-running talkshow in the ratings. “Conan” on Monday averaged 368,000 viewers, including 236,000 adults 18-49.

It will take a few weeks to see how “Full Frontal,” which will air opposite the Grammys in its second week, settles in when it plays solely on TBS. Cable congloms have done similar roadblock programming in the past, including Viacom with the “MTV »


- Rick Kissell

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Jermaine Fowler to Produce and Star in CBS Comedy Pilot ‘Superior Donuts’

6 hours ago

CBS comedy pilot “Superior Donuts” has found its first cast member in Jermaine Fowler, Variety has learned. Along with co-starring in the potential series, the comedian will also serve as a co-exec producer.

“Superior Donuts” is based on the 2008 play by Tracy Letts. The multi-camera comedy follows the relationship between the owner of a donut shop, his new young employee and their patrons in a gentrifying neighborhood of Chicago.

Fowler will play Franco, the highly energetic new employee at the donut shop, working under the owner, Arthur (yet to be cast). As gentrification looms, Franco sees Superior Donuts as a symbol of everything he loves about the neighborhood with its authenticity and realness, so he makes it his mission to drag the shop — and Arthur — into the 21st century.

Fowler has previously been in business with CBS, as he sold to the network a comedy project that he wrote and »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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‘Walking Dead’ Lawsuit: Frank Darabont Can Move Forward on Added Claim

8 hours ago

A New York Supreme Court judge refused to dismiss an amended lawsuit brought by former “Walking Dead” executive producer Frank Darabont.

Darabont, who developed the series, sued the cable network two years ago along with his representatives, CAA. They claim that an AMC affiliate produces the show and then licenses it to another affiliate for an artificially low fee, reducing the revenue that goes into a pool for profit participants.

Darabont had sought to amend his lawsuit with added claims by arguing that he is due an additional 5% of contingent compensation. AMC argued that he was not entitled to that amount because he was terminated before the end of season two and had not yet vested.

Darabont’s legal team argues that he did vest in that profit participation, because he provided executive producer services in all episodes of the second season, including those completed after his removal.

In a statement, »


- Ted Johnson

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Cuba Gooding Jr. on ‘People v. O.J. Simpson’: ‘I’m Not Here to Prove His Innocence or Guilt’

8 hours ago

Of all the cast members in “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” Cuba Gooding, Jr. may have the toughest challenge: He has to embody someone everyone has an opinion on.

But guilty or innocent, Gooding says he’ll never reveal his true feelings about the case — or the former Heisman trophy winner, who’s now in prison on an unrelated charge. In this week’s episode, we’ll see the infamous Bronco chase — which reveals Simpson at his most vulnerable, threatening to commit suicide as pal A.C. Cowling drives along the 405.

Here, Gooding tells Variety about the role he calls the hardest he’s ever played.

Why did you decide to take on this role?

Two words: Ryan MurphyTrue story: My agent called and said there’s a script here. It’s 167 pages, some guy with a lot of money in Australia wants to tell the story of the innocence of O.J. Simpson. »


- Debra Birnbaum

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NBCU Cable Shakes Up Programming Operations With New Roles for Dave Howe, Bill McGoldrick

9 hours ago

Bonnie Hammer is blowing up the cable TV management playbook with a sweeping realignment of executive responsibilities across the largest channels that she oversees at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment.

The biggest break with tradition in the blueprint unveiled Tuesday is the move of Bill McGoldrick, formerly Syfy’s exec VP of original content, to the post as exec VP of scripted content for the NBCU Cable Entertainment channels group. McGoldrick will work with the respective network presidents and their teams in overseeing original scripted programming for USA, Syfy, Bravo, E! and any of the other channels that try scripted series. McGoldrick reports to Jeff Wachtel, NBCU Cable’s chief content officer and head of its Universal Cable Productions arm.

Dave Howe, who has been president of Syfy and Chiller, is shifting to president of strategy and commercial growth, another job that spans the 10 channels in Hammer’s group. He will oversee »


- Cynthia Littleton

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‘Star Trek’: Bryan Fuller Named Showrunner of New CBS Series

9 hours ago

Hannibal” creator Bryan Fuller has found his next mission: showrunner and co-creator of CBS’ new “Star Trek” series.

A longtime fan of science fiction, Fuller began his career writing for “Star Trek: Voyager” (1997-2001) and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (1997).

“My very first experience of ‘Star Trek’ is my oldest brother turning off all the lights in the house and flying his model of a D7 Class Klingon Battle Cruiser through the darkened halls. Before seeing a frame of the television series, the ‘Star Trek’ universe lit my imagination on fire,” said Fuller. “It is without exaggeration a dream come true to be crafting a brand new iteration of ‘Star Trek’ with fellow franchise alum Alex Kurtzman and boldly going where no ‘Star Trek’ series has gone before.”

The new series is set to bow on CBS in January 2017, then move to CBS’ All Access digital subscription service. It will »


- Debra Birnbaum

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Ratings: ABC’s ‘Bachelor’ Hits High; CBS Shows Get Post-Super Bowl Boosts

10 hours ago

The CBS Monday dramas — as well as “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” — saw expected lifts one night after the network’s coverage of Super Bowl 50, but it was Fox’s “The X-Files” and ABC’s rising “The Bachelor” that topped the night among young adults.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “The Bachelor” (2.4 rating/8 share in adults 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall) rose 0.2 week to week, winning its two-hour timeslot in 18-49, 25-54, 18-34 and all key female demos. The 2.4 rating represents a season high in the time period for ABC, and there’s a good chance the dating show (currently at 2.445 in the prelims) will finish at a 2.5 in the finals. Closing out the night for ABC was the return of “Castle” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall), which was in line with its sluggish averages of the fall; last week, the network did nearly as well in the demo (1.0) with a “Bachelor Live” post-show. »


- Rick Kissell

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Madison Avenue Stuffed Super Bowl 50 With More Ads Than Past Games

10 hours ago

TV viewers who tuned to Super Bowl 50 this weekend likely gorged themselves on chicken wings, beer and sandwiches. Their eyes, meanwhile, were led to feast on something else: ads.

Super Bowl 50 had the most commercials and promos of any regular broadcast of the annual gridiron classic, highlighting the dependence of both advertisers and TV networks on the game at a time when cultivating mass audiences for a media event has become a more arduous task.

The CBS broadcast contained 49 minutes and 35 seconds of advertising and promos, according to Kantar Media, a tracker of ad spending. Advertising, which totaled 39 minutes and 15 seconds, accounted for about 22% of the total broadcast. That total of ads and promos was surpassed only once, during CBS’ 2013 broadcast of Super Bowl Xlvii, when a blackout prompted the network to run a set of unscheduled promos for its shows as well as repeat one of the commercial breaks »


- Brian Steinberg

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SAG-aftra Pushing Unionization for Telemundo Performers

10 hours ago

SAG-aftra has called on NBCUniversal to allow for the unionization of Spanish-language performers on its Telemundo productions.

The performers union accused NBCUniversal of operating with a double standard between Spanish-language and English-language talent hired for productions under the same parent corporation.

SAG-aftra made the announcement Tuesday on the heels of NBCUniversal unveiling plans for a new headquarters in Miami for its Telemundo operations — including Telemundo Network, Telemundo Studios, Telemundo International, the cable network NBC Universo and all of the company’s digital media operations.

“SAG-aftra strongly supports the expansion of production infrastructure wherever it creates quality jobs for entertainment industry professionals,” said SAG-aftra Miami Local executive director Herta Suarez. “This ground breaking is an opportunity for NBCUniversal to lead the industry and help end the perpetuation of second-class status for professional performers who work in Spanish-language programming.”

The union said that because talent on Spanish-language networks are not covered by SAG-aftra contracts, »


- Dave McNary

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‘Fuller House’ Full Trailer Has Finally Arrived

11 hours ago

Updated: Have mercy! Netflix has finally given us the entire “Fuller House” trailer.

The stars of the Neflix revival, Candace Cameron Bure (D.J. Tanner-Fuller), Jodie Sweetin (Stephanie Tanner) and Andrea Barber (Kimmy Gibbler), debuted a clip from the trailer Tuesday on “Ellen,” and the streaming service released the full version later that day.

Netflix also released a behind-the-scenes featurette for the show on Tuesday.

The trailer is chock-full of ’90s references, including catchphrases from the original show, such as “Hola Tannerinos,” “Have mercy,” “Cut. It. Out” and “How rude” — including some courtesy of Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) and Uncle Joey (Dave Coulier).

“My moves are all that and a bag of chips. Talk to the hand, loser. Oh, snap! You go, girl. I think I just did,” Kimmy says in the video after Stephanie tells her she’s stuck in the ’90s.

The trio also said on “Ellen” that »


- Maane Khatchatourian

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Telemundo Builds New HQ to Kick Off World Cup Coverage

11 hours ago

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises has broken ground on a $250 million facility in Florida in a bid to consolidate its various divisions and gear up for its premiere coverage of the World Cup in 2018.

“I think we’ll move in by early 2018, in advance of our first World Cup coverage in the summer; it will be a natural transition for our next stage of growth,” said Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises and NBCUniversal International Group. “This significant investment clearly underscores once again NBCUniversal’s and Comcast’s long term commitment to our business and the U.S. Hispanic market,” he said.

In 2011 Telemundo Enterprises outbid its rival Univision for the Spanish-language U.S. broadcast rights of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup matches, allegedly paying nearly double the $325 million Univision shelled out to broadcast the 2010 and 2014 World Cups in the U.S.

The new 450,000 sq. ft Telemundo complex will occupy 21 acres »


- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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Italy’s Wildside To Produce TV Series Based On Elena Ferrante’s ‘The Neapolitan Novels’ (Exclusive)

11 hours ago

Italian film and TV company Wildside is ramping up production of TV series for the international market with a trio of high-profile projects based on hot literary properties, spearheaded by the four “The Neapolitan Novels” books by Italian author Elena Ferrante, the latest of which, “The Story of the Lost Child,” has been named one of the 10 Best Fiction Books of 2015 by the New York Times.

Other announced additions to Wildside’s expanded international TV pipeline are serial adaptations of French multihyphenate Emmanuel Carrere’s bestselling biographical novel “Limonov” and of prominent Italian author Niccolò Ammaniti’s apocalyptic, Sicily-set “Anna.”

“The Neapolitan Novels” are being co-produced by Wildside with Domenico Procacci’s Fandango, which owns the rights and originated the project. Fandango was among producers of Sky’s widely sold Neapolitan crime skein “Gomorra.”

The plan is for each of Ferrante’s four tomes, all centered around an intense female »


- Nick Vivarelli

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TV Review: ‘Vinyl’

11 hours ago

Vinyl” comes outfitted with such a gaudy band and intoxicating setting – reuniting the “Boardwalk Empire” pairing of Terence Winter and Martin Scorsese, coupled with producer Mick Jagger, star Bobby Cannavale and a 1970s rock ’n’ roll backdrop – that it’s hard not to root for it. The two-hour premiere, though, is a big, messy affair, sometimes mesmerizing, occasionally aggravating, providing a taste of what’s to come while feeling too caught up in stylistic flourishes. All told, this is a huge project that perhaps only HBO could deliver. But so far, the album isn’t quite as good as the liner notes.

Cannavale plays Richie Finestra, a record executive who is introduced at his wit’s end, buying coke on the street and snorting it up with gusto. His frantic situation unleashes a series of flashbacks, not just regarding what brought him to this point, but to his early days in the music business, »


- Brian Lowry

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Viacom Stock Plunges 21% After Chairman Philippe Dauman Slams Critics (Updated)

11 hours ago

Updated: Viacom was bloodied, bruised, and decidedly the worse for wear on Tuesday as the closing bell rang on trading. The embattled media company saw its shared plunge more than 21%, closing the day at $32.86 after hitting a 52-week low.

The blood-letting came after a disappointing earnings report and in the wake of Viacom’s newly appointed chairman Philippe Dauman vows to bolster the media company’s falling stock price a call with investors on Tuesday morning.

“I could not be more focused on getting Viacom’s stock price back to the much higher level enjoyed under my leadership just a short time ago,” Dauman asked analysts who questioned why he had been promoted while the company struggled.

The media conglomerate’s financial picture darkened with its quarterly results. Lower ad revenue at Viacom’s cable properties and a weaker film slate at Paramount, its film arm, pushed net income at »


- Brent Lang

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‘Face the Nation’s’ John Dickerson Talks New Hampshire Vote, Trump & Gop’s 4-Way Fight for No. 2

12 hours ago

Face the Nation” anchor John Dickerson is known among the Washington press corps for his clear-eyed analysis of the political scene and for being a student of presidential history. Dickerson, who is also political director for CBS News, will put those skills to good use on Saturday when he moderates CBS News’ Republican debate in Greenville, S.C., but before that contest, he headed to New Hampshire to report on Tuesday’s first-in-the-nation primary.

Variety caught up with Dickerson in a Manchester coffee shop to talk, over a latte and a strawberry-banana smoothie, about the Trump factor, why Marco Rubio came into New Hampshire “like the doomed guy in a horror film” and why politics has been such big business for TV this presidential cycle.

What’s the most intriguing political story coming out of New Hampshire this year?

The best story in New Hampshire has been the moderate Republicans. »


- Cynthia Littleton

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‘Mozart in the Jungle’ Renewed by Amazon for Season 3

12 hours ago

Amazon has renewed “Mozart in the Jungle” for a third season.

The comedy is returning, the streaming site announced on Tuesday, following its Golden Globe wins last month for best TV series (comedy or musical) and best actor in a TV series (comedy or musical) for star Gael García Bernal.

Bernal’s conductor character Rodrigo and the show’s other musicians will head to Europe in the new season, which begins production later this year.

“‘Mozart in the Jungle’ bursts with creativity and passion, and offers audiences something truly unique,” said Joe Lewis, Amazon Studios’ head of half-hour series. “Amazon is proud to have two of the most risky and enthralling comedy series on television today.”

Based on Blair Tindall’s memoir “Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs and Classical Music,” the show is exec produced by Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman and Paul Weitz.

It follow the New York Symphony, »


- Maane Khatchatourian

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‘The Bachelor’ Recap: Hurricane Olivia Makes Landfall

21 hours ago

There’s a point in almost every season of “The Bachelor” — before we get down to the last few episodes when it becomes “romantic,” but after the first few installments when we’re done laughing at the fact that someone’s occupation is “Chicken Enthusiast” — when the remaining contestants become weirdly melancholy. Maybe it’s because they’ve been trapped inside for too long. Maybe they reconcile themselves with the fact that they probably aren’t going to win. Maybe they suddenly realize they’re trying to marry a complete stranger on a nationally televised dating show. Whatever the reason, this week, the ladies get uncomfortable, boring and sad. But it also turns out that stir-craziness and self-awareness happen to be the perfect recipe for desperation and drama. Who knew?

This episode picks up where last week’s left off with the lingering question: Will Ben revoke Olivia’s rose? »


- Seth Kelley

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TV Review: ‘Full Frontal With Samantha Bee’

22 hours ago

Under Jon Stewart, “The Daily Show” had an enviable track record in developing talent, with many of the baby birds flying off to bigger solo ventures. Enter Samantha Bee, a bright light as a correspondent, who makes a relatively easy leap into the unfortunately named “Full Frontal,” a weekly half-hour on TBS. Although somewhat misleadingly billed as breaking up the late-night boys club (she actually airs in primetime, before “Conan”), Bee delivered a promising and pointed debut, demonstrating that when it comes to political satire, she can sting with the best of them.

Introduced with a multi-network launch on the Turner properties, “Full Frontal” doesn’t exactly try to reinvent the wheel. Indeed, about the only difference between her one-woman-with-clips shtick and that of John Oliver’s HBO program is that he sits, while she stands.

Still, a show like this is defined by its zingers, and as Bee noted near the outset, »


- Brian Lowry

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