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‘Blunt Talk': First Look At Patrick Stewart In Starz’s Scripted Comedy

22 hours ago | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Blunt Talk,” from exec producer Seth MacFarlane and starring Patrick Stewart, began production this week in Los Angeles on the first 10-episode season. Starz released the first photos from the scripted comedy Wednesday.

The half-hour comedy from Media Rights Capital (Mrc) and series creator Jonathan Ames who is exec producing with MacFarlane, Tristram Shapeero and Stephanie Davis was given a 20-episode, two season commitment.

“It was a great first day on the set of ‘Blunt Talk,'” said Ames. “Patrick Stewart was noble, loony, and heroic. And that was before the first shot. Later, in character as Walter Blunt, he was all those things and more.”

The original series, set in L.A., follows Walter Blunt (Stewart), a Brit who’s intent on taking over American cable news, and the fallout from his unintentional, yet misguided decision making both on air and off. Besieged by his network bosses, a dysfunctional news staff, »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Maya Rudolph, Jaden Smith Join HBO Comedy Pilot ‘Brothers in Atlanta’

22 hours ago | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

HBO has greenlit a new comedy pilot “Brothers in Atlanta,” which features Maya Rudolph and Jaden Smith, a spokeswoman for the network told TheWrap.

Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin, best known writing-performing on NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” will write, executive produce and star on the show. “Saturday Night Live” mainstay Lorne Michaels is also executive producing under his Broadway Video banner.

See Photos: 10 ‘True Detective’ Acting Teams We Want to See Next

Rudolph and Smith are said to be recurring guest stars, should the comedy make it to series. The story centers on best friends Langston (Riddle »


- Travis Reilly

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‘Justified’s’ Graham Yost and Noah Wyle Developing Pre-wwii Limited Series at FX (Exclusive)

23 hours ago | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Justified” creator/showrunner Graham Yost has teamed with actor Noah Wyle for a limited series at FX examining the political battles in the U.S. over the decision to enter World War II.

“Those Angry Days,” from Sony Pictures TV and FX Prods., will focus on the period between 1937 and 1941, as war spread across Europe while isolationist forces in Congress and elsewhere railed against the prospect of America coming to Britain’s aid in the fight against Hitler.

CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow is said to be a character in the series, as is President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Wyle is believed to be on board to play Murrow. The project is in the early stage of development with a script commitment at FX.

Yost (pictured left) and Wyle (right) are exec producers along with Jim Katz and Danny Sussman.

Yost is about to wrap up six seasons as exec producer of FX drama “Justified, »


- Cynthia Littleton

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‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 7 First Look Teases New Judges, Edgier Drag Queens (Video)

23 hours ago | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

Logo TV’s amping up the return of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” with a teaser trailer ahead of the Season 7 premiere.

In the video, the aspiring drag queens compete head-to-head on the runway as they vie for the crown to become a world renowned performer like host RuPaul Charles.

“You probably know what to expect,” RuPaul says in the trailer. “You don’t.”

Also read: Logo TV Responds to RuPaul’s Defense of the Word ‘Tranny’

The season appears to be glittered with grittier insults, colorful makeup and edgier drag queens than ever before. One contestant even walks the runway »


- Alicia Banks

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Rhys Ifans Engages In Jake Chapman’s ‘Marriage Of Reason And Squalor’ At Sky

15 minutes ago | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

Visual artist Jake Chapman is set to make his first foray into television drama with Mills And Doom: The Marriage Of Reason And Squalor. Sky Arts has ordered the four-part twisted romance to air this summer starring Rhys Ifans and Sophie Kennedy Clark (Philomena). Chapman is best known as one half of the Turner Prize-nominated Chapman Brothers who have been dubbed the enfants terribles of Britart for their deliberately shocking work. Mills And Doom: The Marriage Of Reason… »

- Nancy Tartaglione

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Ratings: Empire Audience Grows for Third Straight Week, Stalker Ticks Up

19 minutes ago | TVLine.com | See recent TVLine.com news »

Fox’s Empire this Wednesday night drew 11.3 million total viewers and a 4.3 rating, rising for a third straight week in audience while thus far matching last week’s preliminary demo number.

The already renewed freshman hit’s demo rating last week ticked up to a 4.4 in finals; we will of course keep you updated on how Episode 4 nets out.

In the meantime, I was in the mood to make a chart, so:

Elsewhere….

CBS | The Mentalist (9.1 mil/1.3) dipped 5 percent and two tenths, while Criminal Minds (10.6 mil/2.1) and Stalker (8.4 mil/1.6) each aded some eyeballs plus a tenth in the demo.

More to come… »


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UK Comedy ‘Catastrophe’ To Launch Stateside On Amazon Prime – Video

1 hour ago | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

Adding to its lineup of original series, Amazon will premiere Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan’s comedy series, Catastrophe, on Prime Instant Video this spring. The half-hour series is currently airing on the UK’s Channel 4 and will be also become available on the streaming service there later this year. (See trailer below) Created by and starring comedian and author, Delaney, and Bafta-nominee Horgan, Catastrophe is set in London and follows an Irish woman and an American… »

- Nancy Tartaglione

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TV Review: Lifetime’s ‘Beautiful & Twisted’

1 hour ago | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Being unabashedly trashy can be pretty entertaining, and Lifetime takes the plunge — a little too deeply in places — with “Beautiful & Twisted.” A ripped-from-the-headlines tale of sex and murder, this fact-based story about the comicbook-loving heir to a hotel fortune who married, and was murdered by, a stripper, is produced by and stars Rob Lowe. But it’s Paz Vega’s turn as a beyond-soap-opera femme fatale that should have people buzzing. Seemingly cognizant of its camp qualities, the movie finally can’t sustain its initial energy, and the violence proves needlessly graphic. Not that those shortcomings will detract from its ratings appeal.

Lowe plays Ben Novack Jr., who grew up surrounded by the opulence provided by his family’s ownership of Miami Beach’s Fountainebleau Hotel, and narrates his own sordid tale from beyond the grave. Like many a rich man (especially in Lifetime movies), he’s undone by an alluring woman — in this case, »


- Brian Lowry

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Univision Extends Randy Falco’s Term As CEO To Early 2018

1 hour ago | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications said it would extend CEO Randy Falco’s term through January, 2018, a nod to the growth the company has enjoyed since the former AOL and NBCUniversal executive came on board in 2011.

Under Falco, Univision has invested in bringing its content to new and non-traditional audiences. The company, the largest Spanish-media operation in the United States, has helped to launch El Rey Network, a new English-language cable outlet led by director Robert Rodriguez; Fusion, a news-and-entertainment cable network jointly owned with ABC News; and streaming-video hub UVideos. Univision has also grown more aggressive under Falco’s aegis, making the case to advertisers that a growing audience of Spanish-speaking Americans deserves more consideration – and ad dollars.

Univision’s backers include Saban Capital’s Haim Saban; Madison Dearborn Partners; Providence Equity Partners; Tpg and Thomas H. Lee Partners. Those investors bought the company in  2007 for $13.7 billion. Reports surfaced last »


- Brian Steinberg

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Showtime Brand Expands Beyond U.S. in Pact with Canada’s Bell Media

1 hour ago | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Showtime is heading north into Canada in a deal with Bell Media that marks the first showcase for the pay-tv brand outside the U.S.

The pact calls for a Showtime-branded collection of series, documentaries and specials to be made available as of today on Bell Media’s CraveTV Svod service. Later in the year a Showtime-branded block will launch on Bell Media’s linear The Movie Network channel.

In the past Showtime had licensed individual shows to Bell Media outlets, just as it does with foreign TV outlets around the world. But the Showtime-branded blocks are a first for CBS Corp.’s pay TV service, which has grown dramatically in stature in the U.S. but has virtually no international presence as a brand unto itself. Rival HBO, on the other hand, has a broad footprint and has been focused on international expansion through dedicated HBO channels for more than a decade. »


- Cynthia Littleton

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True Blood’s Mehcad Brooks Joins Supergirl As Jimmy Olsen

2 hours ago | TVovermind.com | See recent TVovermind.com news »

Last week it was reported that Glee and Whiplash actress Melissa Benoist had been cast as the lead in Greg Berlanti’s (Arrow, The Flash) and Ali Adler’s (The New Normal, Chuck) Supergirl TV show that is coming to CBS. Now, we have even more casting news to report, as CBS and Warner Bros. TV have announced that True Blood’s Mehcad Brooks has been cast as James Olsen. To Superman fans, they will recognize him as Jimmy Olsen, although based on the reports: it seems that he will mostly be referred to by his full name, James. On the show, James is a photographer at CatCo (Cat Grant’s company) where Kara (Benoist) works as well. He has been working and living in National City recently; however, the reason is being kept as a secret. In addition, James is being aimed as a love interest for Kara. In addition to True Blood, »

- Andy

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The Best of the Best ‘Friends’ Season 9 Episodes

2 hours ago | TVovermind.com | See recent TVovermind.com news »

It is hard to believe we are already in the ninth week of our quest to give our readers a list of the best episodes from the super funny and awesome sitcom Friends. Netflix has been streaming the series since January 1, and we have heard from many fans that they have been sitting in front of their television for hours on end watching Joey become a soap opera star then falling to his death down an elevator shaft, or Rachel pining over her hot younger assistant, or Chandler moving to Tulsa after falling asleep at a work meeting. This week we will be discussing the top three episodes of the ninth season of Friends.  This is the season that Phoebe began dating Mike, Ross holds a fake funeral for himself, and Monica takes a stab at singing karaoke. “The One with Phoebe’s Birthday Dinner,” original air date October 31,…

The »

- Tim Gerstenberger

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Nickelodeon to Unveil Stand-Alone Subscription Video Service in February

2 hours ago | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Kid-entertainment giant Nickelodeon intends to follow the example of HBO and unveil a direct-to-consumer subscription service in February, the chief executive of Nickelodeon’s parent, Viacom, said during a call with investors Thursday morning.

More details about the service will be revealed when Nickelodeon hosts its “upfront” meeting with advertisers next month. U.S. TV networks try to sell the bulk of their ad inventory in the upfront market, and TV networks that cater to children typically lead the salvo.

The new Nickelodeon service will be aimed specifically at consumers who use mobile devices, Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman said during a call held to discuss Viacom’s financial performance.  He suggested the service would have a different name or brand, and said it “will be very attractive to parents and children.”

A spokesman for Nickelodeon, Dan Martinsen, declined to offer additional details.

The idea of taking programming traditionally distributed »


- Brian Steinberg

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CBS, Bell Media Pact To Bring Showtime Brand To Canada

3 hours ago | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

CBS Corp and Canada’s Bell Media have entered a long-term exclusive content licensing and trademark agreement to bring Showtime to the Great White North. The deal marks the first time that the Showtime brand will be available in Canada, with hundreds of hours of current and library programming going out across Bell Media platforms in English and French. CBS and Bell previously operated under an agreement that licensed current Showtime series to Canadian pay-tv. Showtime… »

- Nancy Tartaglione

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Viacom Net Drops 8.6% Even As ‘Interstellar,’ Cable Fees Boost Revenue

4 hours ago | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Viacom said profit in its fiscal first quarter fell nearly 9% despite a 4.4% rise in revenue in the period sparked by box-office results for the Christopher Nolan-helmed “Interstellar” and an increase in the amount of fees the company’s various cable networks collected from cable and satellite operators.

Net earnings from continuing operations attributable to the owner of MTV and Comedy Central for the period ended Dec. 31  fell to $500 million, or $1.20 per share, compared with $547 million, or $1.20 per share, a year earlier. The results were affected by special items, which include a tax expense and pension settlement, as well as the effects of foreign exchange. Stripping out those items, Viacom would have earned $1.29 a share.

Revenue rose to $3.34 billion from $3.2 billion. Wall Street had expected revenue of $3.41 billion.

Wall Street may focus on a 6% decrease in U.S. advertising revenue, as the broader media sector has in recent months experienced »


- Brian Steinberg

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‘Thorn Birds’ Author Colleen McCullough Dies At 77

5 hours ago | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

Colleen McCullough, the Australian author of 1977 bestseller, The Thorn Birds, which served as the basis for one of the most popular TV miniseries ever, died today on Australia’s Norfolk Island. The novelist had suffered poor health in recent years. She was 77. McCullough was born in New South Wales in 1937 and worked as a neuroscientist before writing the first of her 25 books, Tim. Published in 1974, it was later made into a feature starring Mel Gibson and Piper Laurie… »

- Nancy Tartaglione

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Stephen Lambert Re-Ups With All3Media, To Expand Into Drama

6 hours ago | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

Producer Stephen Lambert has committed his future to the Discovery and Liberty Media-owned All3Media by re-signing a deal until 2020. As part of the pact, Lambert will launch a new drama division in his Studio Lambert banner. Lambert launched Studio Lambert in 2008 with initial backing from All3Media, before it was fully acquired by the super-indie in 2012. It specialises in factual and factual entertainment formats. Credits include Undercover Boss, Four In A Bed and Goggl… »

- alirjaafar

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Stephen Lambert Inks New Deal With All3Media, Moves Into Drama

6 hours ago | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

London — Leading TV producer Stephen Lambert has extended his contract with All3Media until 2020, and has secured extra funding that will enable his production company, Studio Lambert, to enter the drama production arena.

Studio Lambert was launched in 2008 with All3’s financial backing. Lambert’s company was fully acquired by All3 at the end of 2012 when the group launched its U.S. operation, All3Media America, chaired by Lambert, who divides his time between the U.S. and U.K. All3 was acquired by Discovery Communications and Liberty Global last year.

Studio Lambert has thus far produced only non-scripted shows, like multi-Primetime Emmy-winning “Undercover Boss” and BAFTA-winning “Gogglebox,” but it will now launch a drama division in the U.K.

Lambert’s new deal with All3 gives him the funding to launch the drama division. “We are in a golden age of scripted television on both sides of the Atlantic, »


- Leo Barraclough

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Soda Pictures Grabs Sundance Pic ‘Slow West'; Aussie ‘Suspects’ Coming To UK: Global Showbiz Briefs

10 hours ago | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

The UK's Soda Pictures has picked up Canadian rights to Slow West, the Sundance pic that premiered over the weekend. The debut feature from John Maclean stars Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Mendelsohn and Caren Pistorius. This is the third British film acquired for Soda's 2015 slate in Canada, a new division of the company that is now part of the wider Thunderbird Films. Set at the end of the 19th century, Slow West follows the story of 16-year-old Jay… »

- Nancy Tartaglione

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Bruce Jenner ‘Journey’ Docuseries In Development At E!

10 hours ago | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

E! is developing a docuseries following Bruce Jenner’s “journey,” Variety has learned.

The former Olympian and newly divorced husband to Kris Jenner of the Kardashian clan, which stars in several unscripted series at the cable network, has generated considerable speculation in the tabloid press that he is on the verge of revealing he is transgender.

The development process has gone as far as the head of publicity at E! planning a meeting with GLAAD about how to handle such a sensitive subject. Variety reached out to reps for E!, which declined comment.

But the project is not far enough along to have a title, premiere date or episode order.

“It’s in the very beginning stages, but it’s a go,” an insider close to production tells Variety.

Kim Kardashian West sat down with “Entertainment Tonight” to lend support to what she referred to as her stepfather’s “journey, »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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