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      • Kristian Alfonso departs Days of Our Lives after 37 years
        Source: Deadline

        Alfonso announced today she's exiting her role as Hope Williams Brady following news that Days was planning to return to production on Sept. 1 after the coronavirus shutdown in mid-March. “I feel blessed and honored to have been invited into people’s homes for over three decades. However, it is now time for me to write my next chapter," said Alfonso, one of daytime TV's most recognizable and longest-tenured stars, in a statement to Deadline. “I will not be returning to Days when it resumes production in September. I’ve already filmed my last episode several months ago.” Alfonso was nominated for two Daytime Emmys and won a special fan award Emmy with on-screen husband Peter Reckell for her her role as Hope, which she started playing in 1983.

        # TOPICS: Kristian Alfonso, NBC, Days of Our Lives, Coronavirus, Daytime TV

      • Comic-Con@Home will be almost entirely pre-taped
        Source: TheWrap

        San Diego Comic-Con’s upcoming virtual event, Comic-Con@Home, expects to have all of its 300 to 400 panels pre-recorded. A rep tells The Wrap Comic-Con does not currently “anticipate anything live” for Comic-Con@Home, but it is possible there will be “live elements to some programming.”

        # TOPICS: San Diego Comic-Con, Coronavirus

      • Michaela Coel rejected Netflix's $1 million offer for I May Destroy You after she couldn't secure 5% ownership of the show
        Source: Vulture

        In a profile of the Chewing Gum and I May Destroy You star and creator, Vulture's E. Alex Jung shares the lesson Coel learned while shopping the show that would end up on BBC and HBO. "This time around, she wanted transparency from her collaborators," writes Jung. "She learned the power of saying no. She declined to do a third season of Chewing Gum and an offer to have a production company under the now-defunct Retort. ('Something about it didn’t feel clean.') When she first began pitching the concept for I May Destroy You in spring 2017, Netflix offered her $1 million upfront — $1 million! But when she learned they wouldn’t allow her to retain any percentage of the copyright, she said no. No amount was worth that. She fired CAA, her agency in the U.S., too, when it tried to push her to take the deal after she learned it would be making an undisclosed amount on the back end. Throughout the fallout with Netflix and CAA, Coel asked questions relentlessly. She is eager, almost giddy, to say she doesn’t know something (even if she may have an inkling) because of the way it forces someone else to explain it to her. She has discovered that the explanation is where people begin to falter and the fissures of conventional wisdom crack wider. It may be business as usual, but is it right? Is it good? Coel recalls one clarifying moment when she spoke with a senior-level development executive at Netflix and asked if she could retain at least 5 percent of her rights. 'There was just silence on the phone,' she says. 'And she said, "It’s not how we do things here. Nobody does that, it’s not a big deal." I said, "If it’s not a big deal, then I’d really like to have 5 percent of my rights."' Silence. She bargained down to 2 percent, one percent, and finally 0.5 percent. The woman said she’d have to run it up the chain. Then she paused and said, 'Michaela? I just want you to know I’m really proud of you. You’re doing the right thing.' And she hung up." Months later, Coel pitched I May Destroy You to BBC, which gave her everything she wanted, including full creative control and ownership rights. HBO came on board as a co-producer during development.

        ALSO:

        • Curiosity is what distinguishes I May Destroy You from others in the cadre of post–Me Too entertainment: "Rather than immediately reducing bad sexual encounters into a singular label, it digs, peeling back the layers of power and privilege that are always at play when a person is assaulted," says Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz. "In doing so, it engages more capably and thoughtfully with the narrative of victimhood and the nature of harm than anything else in its genre. A genre whose harbingers — Bombshell, The Assistant, The Loudest Voice — have often framed these stories as not only straight and white, but unambiguous."
        • Paapa Essiedu says because I May Destroy You is hard to watch, it's good that it's being released weekly: "I watched a rough cut, and now I’m very tentatively rewatching the episodes on TV," says Essiedu. "And even though I’m in scenes, I’m seeing things and noticing connections for the first time. There’s layers to this work, which means I think it will really benefit from rewatching. Because it’s so direct and some of it is so hard to watch, sometimes your brain can’t tolerate accessing the nuance that lies underneath it. It’s good that the episodes haven’t been released all at once, because I think it’s really important that there’s time so we can properly taste it."
        • Essiedu recalls working on a drama school project with Coel: "Yeah, we did this final-year showcase, which is your introduction to all the professional agents," he says. "A lot of the work we’d done was made for white audiences by white authors that we had to do a lot of weird mental gymnastics to get ourselves in the right frame of mind to do. We wanted to do something that represented us and characters that spoke in our voices. So Michaela wrote a sick scene for the two of us. I actually ended up getting my agent from that, so I owe Michaela a whole lot!"
        • Michaela Coel praises BBC for letting her do anything: “Honestly, friends are like: ‘Oh, God, was it hard doing it with the BBC?’ I’m like: ‘Guys, they let me (do anything).’ You know those things you put your toddler in – some sort of harness?” Reins. “Yeah? The BBC took them off. And I just went running, sh*tting, vomiting, period-ing everywhere. And they were like: ‘Good!’”
        • Coel compared her first day on the set of Channel 4's Chewing Gum to a slave ship: She says five Black cast members were forced to share one trailer, while a white cast member had a trailer all to herself.
        • Essiedu's Kwame honors the Black British gay male experience

        # TOPICS: Michaela Coel, BBC, Channel 4, HBO, Netflix, Chewing Gum, I May Destroy You, Paapa Essiedu

      • NASCAR ratings are up after Confederate flag ban, despite Trump's claim of the "lowest ratings EVER!"
        Source: TVLine

        President Trump claimed in tweet this morning that the Bubba Wallace noose incident, which he called a hoax even though a noose was found in the stall of his garage, and the banning of the Confederate flag have caused ratings to drop. In fact, ratings are slightly up since the Confederate flag ban on June 10.

        # TOPICS: NASCAR, Bubba Wallace, Trump Presidency

      • Unsolved Mysteries immediately received tips following the premiere of the Netflix revival
        Source: USA Today

        Co-creator Terry Dunn Meurer says the show feels like it has received 20 credible tips in the immediate aftermath of last week's premiere.

        # TOPICS: Unsolved Mysteries, Netflix, Terry Dunn Meurer

      • Apple TV+ signs a deal with the Maurice Sendak Foundation
        Source: Variety

        The late author of Where the Wild Things Are and other children's books' charitable foundation has, for the first time, struck a deal to develop projects based on Sendak's books and illustrations. Apple TV+  will work with writer, director and longtime Sendak collaborator Arthur Yorinks to bring each project to life.

        # TOPICS: Apple TV+, Arthur Yorinks, Maurice Sendak

      • Dear White People creator Justin Simien calls viewership soaring 600% during Black Lives Matter protests "a weird consolation prize"
        Source: The Playlist

        "It’s nice that it’s happening," says Simien, adding: "It’s devastating that it’s happening on the heels of yet another series of murders by the state of Black people. But also, as an artist, you kind of wonder, 'Is anything I’m doing really even matter? Is anything I’m doing even really going to move the needle and what’s happening in the world?' And in that regard, it’s nice to know that there’s something that we’ve made, that we’ve been pouring our entire being into, and killing ourselves to make, that’s actually meeting the cultural moment right now. That does feel like, 'O.K., I don’t know, I’ve done something meaningful. So, it’s complicated.'"

        # TOPICS: Dear White People, Netflix, George Floyd, African Americans and TV, Black Lives Matter

      • Disney+'s Hamilton film is eligible for Emmy consideration, but not as a TV movie
        Source: Variety

        Lin-Manuel Miranda's acclaimed Broadway musical has won 11 Tonys, a Pulitzer and a Grammy, but the film of the musical released on Disney+ last Friday can't be entered for Oscar consideration because recorded stage performances aren't eligible. Disney originally planned to release Hamilton in theaters in August 2021, but moved it to Disney+ on July 3 because of the coronavirus pandemic and to celebrate the Fourth of July. "On the television awards front, Hamilton will indeed be eligible for Emmy consideration in 2021, but here’s the rub: It will have to enter in the outstanding variety special (pre-recorded) category, not the TV movie competition," says Marc Malikin. Per the TV Academy rules, “Programs exclusively originated for or derived/adapted from a medium other than television or broadband (e.g. taped concert tour performance, Broadway play, opera, night club act), and entertainment components of sports programs (e.g. halftime show) are eligible as appropriate in variety special (live) or variety special (pre-recorded).”

        # TOPICS: Hamilton, Disney+, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emmys, Oscars

      • How Christopher Meloni ended up back in the Law & Order universe
        Source: New York Post

        When Meloni exited Law & Order: SVU after Season 13, he says, "I left with zero animosity, but I did leave clearly and open-eyed in going forward and finding new adventures. I had done the Law & Order way of storytelling, which they do really well, and I was interested in telling stories from a different angle — whether comedic or inhabiting a new world or doing it on different platforms.” So Meloni says he was "shocked" when Wolf approached him about reprising his Elliot Stabler role for Law & Order: Organized Crime. “I never thought this was going to happen, but the circumstances for me changed,” he says. “So ‘yes’ became the correct answer.”

        # TOPICS: Christopher Meloni, NBC, Law & Order: Organized Crime, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Dick Wolf

      • Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan references Veep in Electoral College case
        Source: LawandCrime.com

        Kagan dropped pop-culture references to Veep and Hamilton in her majority opinion on the case of Electoral College "faithless electors," which asked: “What can happen when an elector goes rogue?” Noting how initially America's two warring political parties, the Federalists and the Republicans, would become president and vice president, respectively, Kagan wrote: "One might think of this as fodder for a new season of Veep."

        # TOPICS: Veep, Elena Kagan, Hamilton, U.S. Supreme Court

      • American Experience tells how women fought for the right to vote
        Source: TV Insider

        The two-part PBS documentary The Vote, airing Monday and Tuesday, tells the story of the journey of the 19th Amendment's passage, featuring voices including that of Laura Linney and Mae Whitman.

        # TOPICS: American Experience, PBS, Documentaries

      • Julie Chen looks back at 20 years of Big Brother, calls it reality TV's "bastard child"
        Source: Yahoo!

        "To be honest, I wasn't good. I didn't feel comfortable, like, it showed," Chen says of the first season of Big Brother, which premiered on July 5, 2000. "I didn't own it. I didn't know how to be." Chen says Big Brother back then "felt so overproduced, like stop trying to be such a serious show. It should be more fun-loving, like let's not try and break down what Dr. Drew Pinsky, like, you know, the psychology of this person, you know? That stuff kind of feels like, I can't believe we put that out." Chen admits now that she'd rather the show be enduring than met with acclaim. "We were always looked at as like, you know, the bastard child," she says of Big Brother never earning an Emmy nomination. "So it was like, all right. But I'd rather not get nominated ever and still have it renewed every year. You know? Because some of these other shows got a lot of accolades and awards... but they haven't marked a 20-year anniversary." ALSO: Big Brother has mostly been garbage for 20 years, unable to escape its racism, violence, and ugliness.

        # TOPICS: Julie Chen, CBS, Big Brother, Reality TV

      • JWoww slams critics of mask-less Jersey Shore reunion with co-stars for The Situation's birthday
        Source: TooFab

        In a photo posted to Instagram, only Vinny Guadagnino is shown wearing a mask to celebrate Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino's 34th birthday. When an Instagram user told her she should follow Vinny's lead and wear a mask. JWoww responded: "We have all been tested and don't see anyone who hasn't been regularly tested."

        # TOPICS: Jenni “JWoww” Farley, MTV, Jersey Shore, Jersey Shore Family Vacation, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, Vinny Guadagnino, Coronavirus

      • The Bold Type feels validating in its realistic depiction of working in the media
        Source: Observer

        "To those outside the media industry, The Bold Type’s goofy, seemingly unbelievable situations—like when the main characters break into a printing facility to steal magazines, or put $800 of drinks and cocaine on a company card at a bar for an Instagram influencer—may be purely entertaining," says Elly Belle. "To those of us in it, it’s something else. Many of us, quite frankly, have seen some unbelievable things. Most of the people I know who watch and enjoy the show have actually experienced the worst parts of being in media as workers: Black women, women of color and queer and trans people. For many people watching the show like myself, we don’t just watch it for entertainment and escapism—it also feels validating to see scenarios that rip the curtain down on problems like racism, sexism and queerphobia that have persisted behind closed doors in the industry, until more recently when they’ve come pouring through the doors of the internet."

        # TOPICS: The Bold Type, Freeform

      • Avatar: The Last Airbender's massive popularity on Netflix has been stunning
        Source: The New Yorker

        "A fifteen-year-old cartoon is an unlikely contender for most-watched show in America," says Alex Barasch. "And yet when Avatar: The Last Airbender arrived on Netflix, in May, it rose through the ranks to become the platform’s No. 1 offering, and even now it remains a fixture in the Top Ten for the U.S."

        # TOPICS: Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005 series), Netflix, Retro TV

      • Why Netflix's Floor Is Lava filmed in an empty Ikea building and why its lava formula is being kept under wraps
        Source: The Hollywood Reporter

        The surprise hit Netflix reality competition took advantage of an empty Ikea in Burbank for filming. "The studios here, we called everybody," says co-creator Megan McGrath, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "We asked all of the main studios and nobody wanted 100,000 gallons of lava on their stuff, which is understandable. Even the places with giant pools that typically hold water, lava is heavier than water so they didn't want that in their pools either. So we ended up lucking out and we found this Ikea and it was huge. We had all of our different teams in there. There was a welding shop and the casting department and challenge producers had a giant office that they were working in. It ended up working out really well. The main stage is in, I guess the self-serve area of Ikea?" What is the lava made of? "We're keeping it under wraps! It's a proprietary blend. I can't tell you what it is," says McGrath, who adds that "the reason we're being so secretive about it is because it really did take a long time to nail this down. You want the lava to glow." Fellow co-creator Irad Eyal calls it "literally our secret sauce," adding: "We tasked Hollywood's biggest chemists and slime/goopy substance-makers to come up with our lava. We did a ton of research about what lava looks like and how it moves and how it glows and we tried to really create that in ours. We spent months testing different lavas and different formulas."

        # TOPICS: Floor Is Lava, Netflix, Irad Eyal, Megan McGrath, IKEA, Reality TV

      • Inside the complex logistical operation of filming Below Deck
        Source: The New York Times

        "Because cast members are banned from interacting with, or even acknowledging, the coterie of producers, editors, camera operators, audio specialists, fixers, and occasional representatives from Bravo network brass who spend weeks tracking their movements — much of the production crew’s on-location work consists of attempting to reconstruct the cast’s inner monologues as they unfold inside cast members’ minds," says Caity Weaver. "To aid in this implausible task, the production crew relies on 19 cameras; typed chronologies of every action that has taken place since they began rolling; a walkie-talkie tuned, baby monitor-style, to the channel where the cast members communicate about work; extra ears in the form of two editors perpetually plugged into alternate live audio feeds; architectural diagrams of the yacht on which they sail; a hand-drawn map of the marina in which they dock; call sheets laying out each day’s likely schedule; cheat sheets featuring the photos, names, and roles of boat crew members ('DECKHAND') and yacht guests ('PRIMARY’S FRIEND, MARRIED TO YUKI'); and, at time of filming, more than 160 episodes’ worth of experience anticipating and on-the-fly adapting to human behavior."

        # TOPICS: Below Deck, Bravo, Reality TV

      • Carl Reiner spent his final day watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! with Mel Brooks, and eating a "Carl Reiner Dog"
        Source: Variety

        The Carl Reiner hot dog from the famous Pink’s Hot Dogs stand proved to be the TV icon's final meal before he died last Monday. “It was his favorite meal — a hot dog with mustard and sauerkraut and a side of baked beans,” said George Shapiro, the Seinfeld producer and Reiner's manager, a nephew of Reiner’s late wife, Estelle Reiner. Reiner spent his final day doing what he did every weeknight: watching Jeopardy! and Wheel with Brooks, his best friend of 70 years. Around 10 p.m., Reiner was walking out of his TV room with the help of a housekeeper when he stumbled. “He didn’t fall too hard. It was a gentle buckling of the knees,” Shapiro said. Minutes later, Reiner lost consciousness. “He went out within three minutes,” he said. “He didn’t suffer. Everybody wants to go that way.” Shapiro, who tweeted pictures of them together two days earlier in celebration of Brooks' 94th birthday, said Reiner had made a point of telling family and close friends in recent days how much they meant to him and how happy he was with his own remarkable life.

        # TOPICS: Carl Reiner, George Shapiro, Mel Brooks

      • Watch Conan O'Brien's first show in an empty theater
        Source: YouTube

        On Monday, Conan became the first late-night host to tape in a venue outside their home. Conan took his TBS show to the iconic Largo at the Coronet, where he took improv classes when he moved to Los Angeles in 1985. Conan was joined by a bare-bones crew and his assistant Sona Movsesian, who sat in the empty theater seats.

        # TOPICS: Conan O'Brien, TBS, Conan, Sona Movsesian, Coronavirus, Late Night

    • Earlier news - posted about 14 hours ago
    • Earlier news - posted about 16 hours ago
      • How Netflix became a leader in Black content as the rest of Hollywood scrambles to catch up
        Source: The New York Times

        Amid the George Floyd protests on June 10, Netflix released a "Black Lives Matter" collection of 56 shows, films and documentaries. Meanwhile, "Hollywood is scrambling, in its traditional way — late, liberal, a bit ham-handed — to catch up with this cultural moment," says Ben Smith. Ava DuVernay, who's made a number of Netflix projects including the acclaimed When They See Us, calls the streaming service “the foremost and most robust distributor of Black images in the world," adding: “Netflix doesn’t have to trot out the one or two things, but it has a library that’s a wide cross section of taste and content that speaks to the understating of that audience." As Smith points out, "in looking to Black audiences, the young Netflix was following an old pattern in the television business. In the 1990s, Fox and UPN built their networks with shows like In Living Color and Malcolm & Eddie. The year after Orange Is the New Black became a hit, Netflix began talking to (Justin) Simien about turning his film Dear White People into a show that would be a pioneer in a now-familiar genre, which Mr. Simien described as 'an ensemble of Black articulate millennial activists in a world of white people.' Now, he said, 'that’s everywhere, pointing to Atlanta, Insecure and Mixed-ish. But when he signed with Netflix in 2015, 'this show as a whole couldn’t have existed in any other place.'" Simien attributes the show’s place at Netflix to a Black executive there, Tara Duncan. “It’s the classic thing of — you just have Black people working at your company,” says Simien. As Smith reports, "in the summer of 2015, Black employees at Netflix produced a memo and PowerPoint presentation to make the case that the company was missing an opportunity with Black audiences. They argued in the documents, which I obtained, that Netflix risked missing a boom defined by Empire at Fox and Black-ish and How to Get Away with Murder on ABC. At the time, the memo estimated, only about two million Black households were subscribing to Netflix — 5 percent of its total subscribers. It said that Black households were a $1.4 billion revenue opportunity and that few of Netflix’s top 100 shows, popular across other groups, were resonating with Black audiences. The memo cited 'the (lack of) depth in our Black content catalog,' and said Netflix was spending more money on programming for British people and anime fans than for Black Americans. They made their arguments to (Netflix chief content officer Ted) Sarandos and his team in a conference room full of executives in the second half of 2015, two people who were there said. Crucially, they showed statistics suggesting that licensed Black content was, in the company’s terminology, 'efficient,' meaning that it was driving above-average viewership for every dollar spent." In recent years, Netflix has brought in former ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey, the first Black woman to lead a major network. Netflix also signed Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris, the best known Black showrunners in the country, to lucrative production deals, as well as Barack and Michelle Obama.

        # TOPICS: Dear White People, Netflix, When They See Us, Ava DuVernay, Channing Dungey, George Floyd, Justin Simien, Kenya Barris, Shonda Rhimes, Tara Duncan, Ted Sarandos, African Americans and TV, Black Lives Matter

      • Disney signs a first-look deal with Colin Kaepernick that includes a Jemele Hill-produced ESPN docuseries on his life
        Source: ESPN Pressroom

        One week after Kaepernick teamed with Netflix and Ava DuVernay on a scripted series on his high school years, Kaepernick has partnered with Disney on a first-look deal to tell "scripted and unscripted stories that explore race, social injustice and the quest for equity, and will provide a new platform to showcase the work of Black and Brown directors and producers." Kaepernick will also team with former ESPN personality Jemele Hill on a docuseires that documents the last five years of his life, including his decision to start kneeling in 2016 during the National Anthem to protest police brutality. "During this unprecedented time, The Walt Disney Company remains committed to creating diverse and inclusive content that resonates and matters. Colin’s experience gives him a unique perspective on the intersection of sports, culture and race, which will undoubtedly create compelling stories that will educate, enlighten and entertain, and we look forward to working with him on this important collaboration," said Disney executive chairman Bob Iger in a statement. ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro, who was hired to make sure the sports network avoided politics, said in a statement: “Developing exceptional storytelling told through a wide array of voices is at the core of who we are at ESPN. Colin has had a singular path as both an athlete and an activist, and, as the nation continues to confront racism and social injustice, it feels particularly relevant to hear Colin’s voice on his evolution and motivations.” Kaepernick said of his Disney deal: “I am excited to announce this historic partnership with Disney across all of its platforms to elevate Black and Brown directors, creators, storytellers, and producers, and to inspire the youth with compelling and authentic perspectives. I look forward to sharing the docuseries on my life story, in addition to many other culturally impactful projects we are developing.”

        # TOPICS: Colin Kaepernick, ESPN, Untitled ESPN Colin Kaepernick Docuseries, Bob Iger, James Pitaro, Jemele Hill, Disney, Documentaries

      • TV networks are scaling back their political convention coverage
        Source: The New York Times

        With the "quadrennial TV spectacle" of the Democratic and Republican conventions shrinking due to the coronavirus pandemic, the TV networks are reducing their coverage plans. "Many TV networks are now planning to keep correspondents stationed outside the convention venues, where the risk of transmission is lower," says Michael M. Grynbaum. "Instead of sitting in custom-built skybox studios, many anchors and commentators will offer analysis from desks in Washington and New York — or from their home quarantines. In one scenario floated by network executives, reporters could avoid entering the venue completely...Networks typically fly hundreds of crew members to convention cities, where they construct elaborate sets and maintain an on-the-ground newsroom, complete with well-stocked snack spreads and makeup trailers. In a pandemic, those plans have been mostly abandoned. Even basic transportation is proving to be a headache."

        # TOPICS: 2020 Presidential Election, Joe Biden, ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, Trump Presidency

      • Inside Quibi's disastrous launch: Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg claimed to "know millennials better than millennials"
        Source: Vulture

        In an exhaustive profile of Quibi, Benjamin Wallace points out that founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman may have been ill-equipped for the shortform streaming service they envisioned, despite surrounding themselves with young people and signing on a slew of big names. As one former Quibi employee says of Katzenberg, “there was an incredible lack of knowledge of the audience and dismissiveness of the audience. A thing Jeffrey always says is ‘I’m not a child or mother, but I made movies children and mothers loved. I know millennials better than millennials.’" Wallace adds of Katzenberg: "His gut extended to notes on specific scenes in scripted shows, interviews in documentaries, and talent appearances on news shows. Some welcomed them even if they disagreed...Others found his opinions annoying and unnecessary — for Daily Essentials, he had to repeatedly be talked out of his conviction that hosts and anchors should appear sitting down, the men wearing ties — or faulted him for an inability to truly listen." As a producer who worked with Quibi says: “That’s a microcosm of the Quibi story. 'Everyone else is f*cking wrong; I’m just going to do it.’ He willed it into being.” Wallace also suggested that Katzenberg and Whitman may be out of touch to lead a company with Quibi's goals. "People have wondered why Katzenberg and Whitman, in their late and early 60s, respectively, and not very active on social media, would believe they have uniquely penetrating insight into the unacknowledged desires of young people," says Wallace. "When I ask Whitman what TV shows she watches, she responds, 'I’m not sure I’d classify myself as an entertainment enthusiast.' But any particular shows she likes? Grant, she offered. 'On the History Channel. It’s about President Grant.' Katzenberg is on his phone all the time, but he is also among the moguls of his generation who have their emails printed out (and vertically folded, for some reason) by an assistant. In enthusing about what a show could mean for Quibi, Katzenberg would repeatedly invoke the same handful of musty touchstones — America’s Funniest Home Videos, Siskel and Ebert, and Jane Fonda’s exercise tapes. When Gal Gadot came to the offices and delivered an impassioned speech about wanting to elevate the voices of girls and women, Katzenberg wondered aloud whether she might become the new Jane Fonda and do a workout series for Quibi. ('Apparently, her face fell,' says a person briefed on the meeting.)" Wallace also reports that Quibi has been having trouble getting its brand across. "In market research following its Oscars and Super Bowl ads, 70 percent of respondents said they thought Quibi was a food-delivery service, according to two people separately briefed on the research. (A Quibi executive denies this account.)," reports Wallace. Another problem is Quibi signing up many A-list names and getting their B-material that has been rejected elsewhere. “If we have a show that’s going to be a huge hit, you pitch to Netflix, HBO,” says a producer with a project at Quibi. “If it doesn’t get traction, you pitch to Quibi.” In fact, many of the shows Quibi picked up had been widely shopped elsewhere beforehand.

        # TOPICS: Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Meg Whitman, Millennials

      • The Office is getting an oral history podcast, hosted by Brian Baumgartner
        Source: Entertainment Weekly

        The 12-episode Oral History of the Office, hosted by the Kevin Malone actor, will debut Tuesday, July 14 only on Spotify. The podcast will premiere with three episodes, followed by a new episode every Tuesday. Unlike Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer's Office Ladies, which covers the series episode by episode, Oral History of the Office will start from the very beginning, when executive producer Ben Silverman met with The Office creator Ricky Gervais at a Starbucks to see about adapting his BBC comedy for American viewers. The podcast will also feature interviews with cast and crew members.

        # TOPICS: The Office (US), Office Ladies, Oral History of the Office, Brian Baumgartner, Podcasts, Spotify

      • Netflix orders Pharrell Williams gospel docuseries Voices of Fire
        Source: Variety

        Williams' musically talented uncle Bishop Ezekiel Williams will be the subject of Voices of Fire, which will follow him as he builds one of the world’s most inspiring gospel choirs in their hometown of Hampton Roads, Virginia. "The bishop and his core team of influential gospel leaders will venture out into Hampton Roads to find undiscovered talent, and with the belief that diverse backstories can give their collective voice a greater meaning, the group will be searching for people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds," per Variety, which adds: "Insiders describe the series as an upbeat, feel-good project, which is 'just what we need right now,' during a fraught time in the world."

        # TOPICS: Netflix, Voices of Fire, Ezekiel Williams, Pharrell Williams, Documentaries

      • President Trump attacks Bubba Wallace, claims NASCAR's Confederate flag ban has "caused lowest ratings EVER!"
        Source: The Big Lead

        Trump wondered on Twitter this morning why Wallace didn't apologize for the noose "HOAX," even though NASCAR and the FBI confirmed that a noose was indeed found in the stall of his garage.

        # TOPICS: Bubba Wallace, NASCAR, Trump Presidency

      • Fox News "regrets" cropping Trump out of photo with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell
        Source: TheWrap

        The photo featuring Donald Trump, his then-girlfriend Melania Kanuss, Epstein and the recently arrested British socialite Maxwell was cropped to omit Trump Sunday on Fox News. “On Sunday, July 5, a report on Ghislaine Maxwell during Fox News Channel’s America’s News HQ mistakenly eliminated President Donald Trump from a photo alongside then Melania Knauss, Jeffrey Epstein and Maxwell. We regret the error," Fox News said in a statement.

        # TOPICS: Donald Trump, Fox News Channel, Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein, Melania Trump, Cable News

      • Dan Levy: Coronavirus would've permanently shut down Schitt's Creek
        Source: Variety

        “My dad (Eugene Levy) and I have had this conversation multiple times now: If our show had been shooting right now, we would have been done,” Levy said in a Variety Artists on Artists conversation with Kieran Culkin. “We would just never have shot it.” When Culkin responded "you guys would have figured it out," Levy said: “Done. I think we would not have been able to afford it. We wouldn’t have been able to afford to change the shooting schedule. It would have been awful.”

        # TOPICS: Schitt's Creek, Pop TV, Dan Levy, Coronavirus

      • New Zealand grants permission for Lord of the Rings and Cowboy Bebop to resume production
        Source: Variety

        International crews for the respective Amazon and Netflix shows have been allowed to enter the country in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, which is largely under control in New Zealand.

        # TOPICS: Lord of the Rings, Amazon, Netflix, Cowboy Bebop, Coronavirus

      • Days of Our Lives plans to restart production on Sept. 1
        Source: Deadline

        The NBC soap could be joining The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful and General Hospital with plans to resume filming following the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.

        # TOPICS: Days of Our Lives, NBC, Coronavirus, Daytime TV

      • An Illinois auto museum will keep The Dukes of Hazzard's General Lee on display
        Source: Variety

        Amid a nationwide backlash against Confederate displays, the Volo Auto Museum said it won't remove the car featuring the Confederate flag. “We feel the car is part of history, and people love it. We’ve got people of all races and nationalities that remember the TV show and aren’t offended by it whatsoever. It’s a piece of history, and it’s in a museum,” said the museum's director.

        # TOPICS: The Dukes of Hazzard, Retro TV

      • Tiger King's Carole Baskin joins Cameo
        Source: The Daily Mail

        Baskin is charging $199 for a 30-second personalized video message. The Daily Mail claims she earned $20,000 on her first day.

        # TOPICS: Carole Baskin, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, Cameo

      • Baywatch alum David Chokachi says there's been talks for a reboot
        Source: TooFab

        "Right before COVID, they were in talks of rebooting the show," Chokachi recently said on The Production Meeting podcast. "They were going to bring back three of the regulars from the original and I'm one of them, I found out, which is cool." Chokachi also said the failure of the 2017 Baywatch movie killed a previous attempt to reboot the show.

        # TOPICS: Baywatch, David Chokachi, Retro TV, Revivals

      • CBS All Access posts to YouTube The Good Fight's Season 4 premiere imagining a Hillary Clinton presidency
        Source: Deadline

        The episode titled "The Gang Deals with Alternate Reality" is available through July 15 as part of the show's Emmy For Your consideration campaign.

        # TOPICS: The Good Fight, CBS All Access, YouTube, Hillary Clinton, Emmys

      • Lucy Hale has a tearful reaction to Katy Keene's cancelation
        Source: TooFab

        "Hi guys, this is take ... I've had to do this a couple times just because I was a blubbering mess, and y'all don't want to see that," Hale began a video posted to Instagram following news that The CW canceled the Riverdale spinoff after one season. "So, I kind of struggled all day with what I wanted to say about this, or if I shouldn't say anything or ... nothing felt right."

        # TOPICS: Lucy Hale, The CW, Katy Keene

      • High School Musical actor Lucas Grabeel says he wouldn't play the gay role of Ryan today
        Source: TMZ

        Grabeel has spoken out after High School Musical director Kenny Ortega revealed last week that Ryan is gay. Reflecting on his role, Grabeel says he'd rather the Ryan role go to a gay actor.

        # TOPICS: High School Musical, Disney Channel, Kenny Ortega, Lucas Grabeel, LGBTQ

      • Quibi's Hello America trailer teases its British take on American politics
        Source: YouTube

        Nish Kumar, a British comedian of Indian descent, jokes he's like John Oliver meets Hasan Minhaj, adding: "How dare you racially profile me, twice?" Hello America premieres today. Watch the first episode, on the UK-U.S. special relationship.

        # TOPICS: Hello America, Quibi, Nish Kumar, Trailers & Teasers

      • Vanderpump Rules shows how reality TV racism can be systemic
        Source: Mother Jones

        Bravo has justified avoiding diversity on its Real Housewives shows by saying they "follow groups of friends who are organically connected, often through long, pre-existing relationships but in some cases only casually through a wider social circle or six degrees of separation.” "In other words, the racism isn’t Bravo’s problem. It’s America’s reality," says Molly Schwartz. "Bravo’s lack of diversity is part of the vast ecosystem from which these shows emerge. Bravo is essentially a platform for selling advertisements. In the case of Vanderpump Rules, brands like Procter & Gamble—the same company that’s now calling on white people to 'use your power' to combat racism—have bankrolled the cast for years, essentially subsidizing them to behave in ways that now justify firing them." In referring to Bravo's firings last month of Vanderpump Rules stars Stassi Schroeder, Kristen Doute, Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni for past racially offensive behavior, Schwartz says they were enabled by Bravo's reality TV structure. "These reality shows are not just stages for a few exhibitionistic cast members," says Schwartz. "There is a large infrastructure of advertisers, producers, showrunners, story editors, publicists, and network executives supporting them. And while firing some prominently offensive cast members may appear to address the problem, it doesn’t address the root causes. I reached out to a veteran Bravo producer, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid serious retributions for breaking their nondisclosure agreement. They told me that Bravo’s target audience is semiprofessional women in their 20s to early 40s and gay men. 'Were we asked as Bravo employees to cater to a certain demographic and marginalize people of color?' they said. 'Yes. Because it didn’t fit the brand.' They told me that on an early season of Vanderpump Rules there were two major storylines involving people of color; both got cut because they weren’t 'marketable,' which was in keeping with the instructions to producers and editors to 'cut for our audience.' The producer recounts not being allowed to include hip-hop music cues for the club scenes because it was 'not the tone for the show.' The cast members who appeared on the show were given the spotlight, incentivized with more screen time, and praised for having no filter while saying deeply troubling things. The producer said that even more offensive comments than the ones that have come into public view recently hit the cutting-room floor over years of filming. 'We have to make them seem human,' they said. 'We cut out that sh*t to make them seem not like sociopaths and relatable…We have to think about them like characters.' The producer notes that there are people of color with prominent roles on Bravo’s crew. There are also many people of color working at Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurants. And yet, season after season, the cast of Vanderpump Rules are almost exclusively white."

        # TOPICS: Vanderpump Rules, Bravo, Brett Caprioni, Kristen Doute, Max Boyens, Stassi Schroeder, Black Lives Matter, Diversity, The Real Housewives Franchise, Reality TV

      • CBS' Big Brother turns 20
        Source: Variety

        The American version of Big Brother launched on July 5, 2000, five weeks after the premiere of Survivor. It was based on a Dutch format that premiered a year before, and was shown five nights a week. Season 1 of Big Brother had its best ever total viewership that year, averaging 9 million. But it was being compared to the monster ratings of Survivor, which ended its first season with an unprecedented 52 million viewers in August. “In the first season, everything was exactly what they had done in Holland — from the technology in the house to the tone, everything. And I think maybe that was the first time that they realized that what works in Europe doesn’t always necessarily translate to an American audience,” says executive producer Allison Grodner. “I think one of the biggest issues was that the most interesting people — those who were creating the most story and drama — were getting voted out by America because they were seen as troublemakers. Maybe there was a morality issue. In the end you were left with people who weren’t making the most dynamic story.” So in Season 2, Grodner says Big Brother "borrowed from Survivor in terms of turning the game inside." Big Brother also cut down on the number of weekly episodes and increased the number of houseguests.

        # TOPICS: Big Brother, CBS, Survivor, Allison Grodner, Reality TV

      • Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich director reacts to Ghislaine Maxwell's arrest
        Source: Entertainment Weekly

        Lisa Bryant says the FBI's arrest Thursday of the British socialite who is accused of helping Jeffrey Epstein groom, traffic, and abuse underage resulted in one of his survivors to begin "sobbing on the phone. She was so relieved, so happy that the main co-conspirator had been arrested, someone she had direct and very negative interactions with." Bryant adds: "I think there's a lot of evidence, overwhelming evidence, or they wouldn't have made that arrest today. I hope that perhaps the awareness that the series created worldwide, and the outrage as most of the feedback was, 'What happened to these co-conspirators? Why aren't they getting Ghislaine?' I hope that that might have put pressure on the FBI to act quickly."

        # TOPICS: Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein, Lisa Bryant, Crime, Documentaries

      • Enough with TV's dependence on white women warriors!
        Source: Salon.com

        Netflix's Warrior Nun, Amazon's Hanna Season 2 and Netflix's Cursed are all premiering seasons this month with one thing in common: white women who kick butt. "Over the years audiences have tacitly accepted this notion that queens, knights and warrior princesses are some version of white by default, owing to the genre's roots in European myths, epic poems and fairy tales, as well as the prevalence of the J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis world-building structure," says Melanie McFarland. "We've only begun to recently question this unspoken rule as films and TV series featuring leads of color or, in the case of Black Panther, non-white casts featuring mighty women, have proven to be popular and therefore bankable. Nevertheless, this recent flood of releases highlights anew the fact that women of color are rarely allowed to flex the supernatural heroine mantle. Naturally there are a few exceptions. The CW's Black Lightning features Thunder (Nafessa Williams) and Lightning (China Anne McClain), daughters to the main hero. Over on The CW, a remake of Charmed renders The Charmed Ones as Latinx women although, in reality, only one member of the core cast is Latina, Melonie Diaz. Her co-stars Madeleine Mantock identifies as Afro-Carribean and Sarah Jeffery is Black. But when we call to mind the influential super-women made indelible via their time on TV, the names that spring to mind tend to be Buffy, Sydney Bristow of Alias fame or going back farther, Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman or The Bionic Woman, starring Lindsay Wagner. And while the racial identity of these characters does not prevent girls and women from every culture from claiming them as objects of power fantasy, it is one of those baked in entertainment tropes that has aggravating implications. The popularity of Game of Thrones, for example, ignited a fascination with dragons among teenage girls. But those watching the series received the message that only white people are able ride magical mythical beasts while characters of color served as the support staff."

        # TOPICS: Hanna, Cursed, Warrior Nun, Diversity, Women and TV

      • Forget the alleged blackface: The Golden Girls was mired in racism and rape culture throughout its run
        Source: Vulture

        As Steven W. Thrasher and others have pointed out, the blackface episode that was pulled last week wasn't really blackface. Yet The Golden Girls has been fair more racially offensive in many other instances, says Thrasher. He adds: "Now that its reckoning has happened in the Black Lives Matter era because of non-blackface blackface, I wonder: Will the show pull episodes where Ruby Dee plays Blanche’s 'Mammy Watkins' (in the 1990 episode actually named 'Wham, Bam, Thank You, Mammy')? Or when Sophia did a Black voice ('Them’s just the appetizers!') while dressed as a mammy in the 1991 series finale? Or Paula Kelly playing the Black, mysterious, and lazy voodoo housekeeper Marguerite? Or when Dorothy — after submitting his essay on how his family immigrated illegally to a contest — prompts her 'Prized Pupil' Mario Lopez to turn himself into immigration so his family can be deported? Or when Chick Vennera played both a Cuban boxer Sophia bought on the street named Kid Pepe ('Kill Gonsales!') and later played Latin TV reporter Enrique Mas? Or when Keone Young played both Dorothy’s Japanese student Mr. Tanaka ('Joe Mama!') in one episode and Dorothy’s Chinese physician Dr. Chang in another (enduring endless racist jokes about Chinese food from Sophia)? From the pilot episode onward, Sophia was always putting down Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Middle Easterners. All four of the girls were racist. Rose once whooped it up in a Native American headdress and pretended to be an exchange student named Kim-Fung Toi in the series’s penultimate episode, using a racist accent." Thrasher also wonders why there hasn't been a reckoning over The Golden Girls' rape-victim-shaming jokes lobbed at Dorothy across many seasons. "The Golden Girls is often celebrated as a feminist sitcom, yet though we see Dorothy angry at Stan for many reasons, that anger is never about the rape," he says. "Herb Edelman has a guest role as Stan 26 times, and the rape is never acknowledged."

        # TOPICS: The Golden Girls, African Americans and TV, Blackface, Black Lives Matter, Retro TV

      • Star Trek: The Next Generation really resonates during these uncertain times
        Source: Deadline

        Talia Levin says of spending the pandemic binging through all seven seasons of the Patrick Stewart-led Star Trek series: "The Next Generation is a deliciously peculiar show, and I found myself seduced by its expansive vision of humanity – a humanity that included countless alien races, adorned with putty on their foreheads and sometimes-impenetrable cultural mores, but which never flagged in its genteel optimism that all differences could be overcome, with enough Earl Grey and moral deliberation...As tens of millions of Americans face unemployment, eviction, and starvation, what began to strike me as the most radical element of The Next Generation were the things that had happened before it began: scarcity and poverty had been eliminated, and with it the drive to greed, and the desperation of the have-nots, and clenched fist of state violence shattering the will to upend a status quo that offers nothing to most, and the most to those who need nothing."

        # TOPICS: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Patrick Stewart, Retro TV

      • Meet Faye Emerson, who became network TV's first female late-night host in 1949 -- nearly 40 years before Joan Rivers
        Source: Deadline

        Joan Rivers is widely considered the first female late-night host with Fox's The Late Show, premiering in 1986. But in 1949, Emerson hosted The Faye Emerson Show on CBS. Her late-night shows came before late-night pioneers like Steve Allen and Jack Paar. Her show was recently preserved with the help of CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl and Maureen Mauk, a former Fox executive turned academic who wrote her thesis on Emerson. "Emerson’s show was considered radical for its time as it combined political conversations, such as U.S. relations with China, war with Korea, nuclear arms, and equality for women with guests such as Frank Sinatra, Frank Lloyd Wright, Tennessee Williams and Édith Piaf," says Peter White. Emerson even hosted Allen as a guest years before he launched what would become The Tonight Show. “Faye was a woman ahead of her time, and so is Samantha. Samantha Bee has never been afraid to speak up on politics and use her platform to do the right thing and say the right thing," says Mauk. "She was a stealth feminist just like Samantha Bee. You know, I think late night, especially cable, has evolved towards satire and political parody, but as far as some of the coverage and political hotspots of covering what was happening in the world on that day, they’re very similar."

        # TOPICS: Retro TV, The Faye Emerson Show, The Late Show with Joan Rivers, Faye Emerson, Joan Rivers, Women and TV

      • Kumail Nanjiani has come to hate his shirtless beefcake photo
        Source: UPROXX

        “Listen, it got so much bigger than I thought it was going to get,” Nanjiani admitted during a Hollywood Reporter comedy actor roundtable. “If I had known it was going to be like that, I probably wouldn’t have done it because, I’ll tell you, I have come to hate that picture.”

        # TOPICS: Kumail Nanjiani, Silicon Valley, Body Portrayals and TV

      • Los Espookys' existence on HBO is like "reverse gentrification"
        Source: Vulture

        The Spanish-language comedy from Julio Torres, Fred Armisen and Ana Fabrega "delights in the sort of breezy surety its whiter sister shows enjoy on HBO, from Girls to Barry or Silicon Valley, even if it has a fraction of the marketing budget," says Joshua Rivera. "Its existence on the only remaining premium network where every show is deemed worthy of consideration by mainstream media is akin to an act of reverse gentrification. It’s a deeply funny meta-joke: All you have to do to get white critics to pay attention is put three little letters next to a show, the same way international cuisines get more attention when you make the portions smaller and add five dollars to the price. It would feel condescending if Los Espookys didn’t run buck wild, making a show that doesn’t seem terribly concerned with being palatable to white people, even as it takes their money. Granted, the show’s placement is an act of disruption enabled by institutional stalwarts like comedy tastemaker Lorne Michaels, and the glow-up that comes with the involvement of popular Saturday Night Live alums like Fred Armisen and Julio Torres — each the rare Latinx artist to serve as performer and writer on the show, respectively. That’s not to say there isn’t tension behind the breeziness. Every character in Los Espookys is in danger of being pulled away to a more mundane life that was decided for them by someone else."

        # TOPICS: Los Espookys, HBO

      • Natasia Demetriou brings her British sensibility to What We Do in the Shadows while acting with her nails
        Source: The Hollywood Reporter

        "It's definitely a look," Demetriou says of Nadja's wardrobe. "The costumes are so heavy and make you stand up straight. Nadja's not a modern woman — she's definitely 800 years old. She has these very long, pointy nails, so I'm acting with nails. And I channel my dad and my Greek relatives. Everything with them is incredibly serious and dramatic."

        # TOPICS: What We Do in the Shadows, FX, Natasia Demetriou

      • How Perry Mason re-created 1930s Los Angeles
        Source: Los Angeles Times

        The HBO drama's production team relied on real-life locations around Southern California -- instead of visual effects -- to “find the right nooks and crannies," says executive producer Susan Downey, who produces the show with husband Robert Downey Jr. Perry Mason also relied on USC professor and historical consultant William Deverell to help capture the past. ALSO: Perry Mason’s Sister Alice  is based on real-life evangelist Sister Aimee Semple McPherson.

        # TOPICS: Perry Mason (2020), HBO, Susan Downey, Location Managers

      • See a compilation of every job Homer Simpson has had
        Source: Wired

        Wired has rounded up all of Homer's jobs from the Fox comedy, from working as a technician at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant to his forays into Tomacco farming and space travel.

        # TOPICS: The Simpsons, FOX

      • At Home with Amy Sedaris is a cathartic escape from our current reality
        Source: Salon.com

        No show better speaks to the bizarre nuances of both the pressures of and escape inherent to domesticity than Amy Sedaris' TruTV series.

        # TOPICS: At Home With Amy Sedaris, truTV, Amy Sedaris

      • The Sopranos is a time capsule of the 2000s
        Source: Nerdist

        The acclaimed HBO drama fully captures the early aughts, from the bad CGI to the portrayal of LGBTQ characters as a threat to masculinity.

        # TOPICS: The Sopranos, HBO, Retro TV

      • Friends theme song composer reveals the origin of the hand clapping
        Source: Variety

        Michael Skloff, who is Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman's ex-husband, helped create The Rembrandts' iconic theme song. The clapping, he says, came in the studio when they didn't have a drum fill, so Skloff and the recording engineer came up with the out-of-the-box idea of the hand claps.

        # TOPICS: Friends, Michael Skloff, Retro TV, Theme Songs

      • Netflix's Warrior Nun lacks the fun of its title
        Source: The Hollywood Reporter

        The drama series loosely based on Ben Dunn's early 90s manga-style comic book series Warrior Nun Areala trades the source materials' dedicated heroine, Shannon Masters, for a waif who has no interest in serving the Catholic Church after a degraded childhood in holy care, says Robyn Bahr. "Thematically, Warrior Nun is nothing you haven't seen before, and aesthetically, nothing you ever want to see again," says Bahr. "Bleak, dour and trudging, the series contains none of the kitschy, blasphemous fun of its title." Bahr adds: "Warrior Nun is another entry in the teen feminist occult fantasy genre, also populated by Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Motherland: Fort Salem and the late, great Sky One drama Hex, and each show no doubt looks upon Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Mother Superior. Ultimately, however, they're all male fantasies of muscular, hot-girl matriarchy, Warrior Nun just being the first to prove that sour-faced warriors are boring no matter their gender."

        ALSO:

        # TOPICS: Warrior Nun, Netflix, Alba Baptista , Ben Dunn, Simon Barry

      • Netflix's delightful The Baby-Sitters Club is smartly updated for 2020, without sacrificing the books' warmth and optimism
        Source: Vulture

        Watching the Season 1 adaptation of Ann M. Martin's popular book series "was the most comforting, delightful stretch of viewing I’ve had in the last few months," says Kathryn VanArendonk, adding: "I was worried about an adaptation of The Baby-Sitters Club with the same skepticism of anyone who loves something and then learns it’s going to be remade. I worried about casting, and whether the series would fall into the TV trap of making the protagonists seem implausibly old, even when they’re supposed to be 13. The two-decade time jump concerned me; what does The Baby-Sitters Club look like now that all these kids have mobile phones? Mostly, I had trepidation about mood. There’s an almost paradoxical sentiment in it, something like heady, thrilling earnestness. What does that look like onscreen? It would be terrible for the show to be thoughtlessly sweet, but arch detachment would’ve been even worse. The cast won me over first. In her new TV form, club president Kristy Thomas (Sophie Grace) is authoritative, well intentioned, and a little selfish. Claudia Kishi (Momona Tamada) is optimistic, creative, and a misfit in her own family. Stacey McGill (Shay Rudolph) is sophisticated, self-conscious, and boy crazy. Mary-Anne Spier (Malia Baker) has been rewritten as the mixed-race Black daughter of her uptight white widower father (Marc Evan Jackson). The adult cast is also strong, especially Alicia Silverstone as Kristy’s mom, a first-episode casting reveal that made me gasp in delight."

        ALSO:

        • The Baby-Sitters Club is not only warm and effervescent, it's downright among the best shows Netflix has produced to date: "Creator Rachel Shukert (GLOW) and executive producer/director Lucia Aniello (Broad City) understood their charge: to sensitively update the series to modern culture while upholding the magic of the original characters and stories. They delivered," says Robyn Bahr. "Lacking any cheap kiddie sheen, The Baby-Sitters Club should appeal to elementary school kids and millennials alike, the new series balancing digestible junior high storylines with sophisticated (though thoroughly wholesome!) joke-telling. While gritty middle school is all the rage these days, I felt bereft when there were no more episodes left to wolf down, immediately longing for the show's comforting escape."
        • The Baby-Sitters Club stays true to the source material while being relevant to today: "The books are straightforward and heartfelt, telling stories of smart and ambitious girls on the precipice of growing up that take great care not to condescend to them (like some of the grown-ups in their lives do by default)," says Caroline Framke. "Maybe that’s why, halfway through the first episode of Netflix’s The Baby-Sitters Club adaptation, I realized I’d been steeling myself for the moment that this modern reboot of a children’s property would turn dark and sexy, as per increasingly typical Riverdale standards. But much to my pleasant surprise (and downright relief), Rachel Shukert’s update of Martin’s beloved books is, in fact, a show about young teenagers starring young teenagers that’s entirely appropriate for young teenagers. Such a concept should not be radical, and yet, it’s remarkable that the sweet sincerity of this Baby-Sitters Club so closely matches that of its source material while also bringing it into a recognizable 21st century."
        • The Baby-Sitters Club was never only about babysitting: "I’m about as far from the show’s intended demographic as a person can get, but The Baby-Sitters Club is yet another reminder of the lucky life of a critic, who gets to watch everything and discover the unexpected trove of kindness and spirit seen here," says Hank Stuever. "The women in my life — especially those friends who grew up in the 1980s and ’90s reading the 2oo-plus novels in the original book series conceived by Ann M. Martin — are way, way ahead of me on this: The Baby-Sitters Club, which has sold more than 180 million paperbacks and was previously adapted into a short-lived TV series and a 1995 movie, was never only about babysitting. It’s an entire ethic, impressively built on the tenet that we are, each of us, becoming a better and more responsible person every day. How the books and now this series are able to do this without seeming saccharine, preachy or otherwise Disneyfied is part of why The Baby-Sitters Club is such a watchable treat. Not only do things generally work out for these girls, it works out because they work at it."
        • The Baby-sitters Club didn't seem like a franchise that could survive these cataclysmic times: "So it’s a wonderful surprise that the new Baby-sitters Club...isn’t an anachronism so much as a tonic," says Judy Berman. "Helmed by first-generation fans Rachel Shukert (GLOW) and Lucia Aniello (Broad City), who honed their voices telling lighthearted stories about women who have each other’s backs, the show strikes a shrewd balance between earnestness and humor, freshness and nostalgia, fidelity to Martin’s beloved characters and awareness of how much has changed since her books dominated girl culture at the end of the 20th century."
        • The Baby-Sitters Club is perfect kids' TV that isn't smarmy or prescriptive in its sunniness: "The small miracle of Shukert’s series is how free it is in its earnest assessment of the liminal time of middle school, when many kids (not all, certainly) are stuck between the trappings of childhood and the wilds of adolescence—both its excitement and its creeping cynicism," says Richard Lawson. "The Baby-Sitters Club addresses that shift in a way that I’d imagine will be quite palatable to and processable by its intended young audience, while also nudging them forward into new understandings."
        • The show is a joyous celebration of friendship: "A playwright best known for writing some of the most outstanding episodes of GLOW, Shukert parlays a lot of GLOW‘s charms into The Baby-Sitters Club," says Meghan O'Keefe. "Namely, the ability to tell a heart-felt, humorous story that easily juggles — and more importantly, celebrates — the varied POVs that can exist in a female-focused ensemble. Both shows follow a group of ladies who band together to create a business they are proud of, but neither puts the gig at hand before the emotional state of the characters. (Even if those characters are, uh, putting the gig first.)"
        • The Baby-Sitters Club could have easily sailed on the nostalgia of a generation past but it skillfully brings together the old and the new: "It’s amazing to watch a series that generally clocks in at about 25 minutes and never makes you feel as though you don’t know these characters," says Kristen Lopez. "Part of that is because if you if you have familiarity with the book series it’s ingrained; but even if you’ve never picked up a copy of these books you learn and bond with these amazing young women. And, I’m not mincing words, every single actress in this series is so sincere, charming, and wonderful, whether alone or together. At times it’s like watching the book series come to life in the best way, with a cast that’s far more inclusive than the book covers would have you believe. Grace aside, Malia Baker as the shy Mary-Ann and Momona Tamada as Claudia will steal your heart."
        • Alicia Silverstone signed on having never read The Baby-Sitters Club books: "Mainly I was just really excited to read a script that was female-driven and that was super positive and modern, and based on a story that so many people love," she says. "The show makes my heart so happy when I watch it. And it's nice to watch it as a family because it's such feel-good content for our precious little ones. I think that's important. I don't have to worry if my son wants to watch this — and he loves the show, by the way."
        • Creator Rachel Shukert and executive producer Lucia Aniello say Ann M. Martin's book series was already ahead of its time: “So much of what Ann laid in the groundwork was already ahead of its time, so it really wasn't a huge amount of work for us,” says Aniello, which is why it's set in the modern day. "Doing a period piece for kids can work really well—something like Stranger Things—but it did feel like we wanted to make things feel relevant and fresh," she says.
        • What do you do about the landline phone?: “The logistics of it were the first piece that had to be solved,” says Shukert. “How would this club work now?”
        • Shukert decided to start with the first 10 books of the 131-book series because they were the most canon: “The books are such a wonderful blueprint,” she says. “The first eight to 10 books, I would say, set up the world and the club, and their relationships get cemented, (as do) the bigger stories of what’s going on with their parents and how that affects them. It’s laying the architecture, so it felt like that was a good jumping off point.”
        • Author Ann M. Martin, who consulted on the series and vetted scripts, wouldn’t mind if the new show represented everyone: “I wanted any kid who was reading the books or seeing the series now to be able to see himself or herself reflected in the characters,” she says.

        # TOPICS: The Baby-Sitters Club, Netflix, Ann M. Martin, Lucia Aniello, Rachel Shukert, Teen TV