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      • In the battle of NXIVM cult docuseries, Starz's Seduced puts HBO's The Vow to shame
        Source: The A.V. Club

        At first, HBO's nine-part-and-counting The Vow and Starz's Seduced: Inside The NXIVM Cult seemed like "dueling Fyre Fest documentaries, with nefarious characters on both sides attempting to profit off of a story that had already been talked about in detail," says Ashley Ray-Harris. "But The Vow and Seduced are two documentaries with completely different goals. The Vow, which premiered in August, spends most of its time trying to convince viewers that Keith Raniere really was saying something his followers thought was worth believing in, and that’s why they got so lost. The producers, directors, and those involved with The Vow are mostly former NXIVM members who seemingly still have some need to tell themselves that some of what they did as part of the cult was good. The Vow is as much them telling the story of NXIVM as it is an attempt to justify the money they made off of NXIVM. It’s long and tedious, as most overly explanatory excuses tend to be. If you want to understand how Keith Raniere was able to break down so many young women, The Vow won’t explain that. It exists so those who were involved can point to something in order to make sense of their actions as they try to get back to their old lives—old lives that often involved famous friends and positive attention. As more details of Raniere’s crimes come out, it makes sense that high-profile ex-members would want to get ahead of the curve with their own narrative, which is what The Vow does. But when you finish The Vow, you’ll just wonder why you wasted nine hours learning about some pervert who stole money from rich white people and made filmmaker/NXIVM member Mark Vicente cry....Despite The Vow’s length, if you want to actually understand Raniere’s crimes, you’ll have to watch Seduced. Through it, you’ll learn that Dynasty actor Catherine Oxenberg wasn’t just one of many rich white people to get involved with NXIVM; she had the resources and fame to go up against Raniere and the Bronfmans’ wealth and actually did it...Seduced also reveals some startling details about India (Oxenberg's) time in NXIVM, when she helped normalized the group and boosted their reputation. Raniere viewed her as a commodity he had to hold onto. This is an important dynamic The Vow doesn’t address; in fact, the docuseries doesn’t seem ready to address any of the ways Raniere used people."

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        • The Vow is more like a cannily produced reality show than a docuseries: "In lieu of unpacking the layers of conspiracy, manipulation, and profit that allowed (Keith) Raniere to carry out genuinely monstrous acts on NXIVM members — apparently, for years — The Vow zoomed in on the self-flagellating Scooby Squad that’s assembled, on camera, to take him down," says Kelli María Korducki. "We see their remorse and emotional catharsis, disbelief at their own naivete. What we don’t see is the depth of their complicity in the master’s sins (all but Oxenberg had been longtime, high-ranking members) though we get a few hints. And we’re shielded, to great extent, from the master’s sins themselves. The end result is a kind of redemptive group hug among chosen family, drawn out over nine hours. To paraphrase one observation from Twitter, The Vow lets us watch a group of wealthy white adults as they effectively swap out one cult for another. It isn’t always what you’d call 'good TV,' or even successful storytelling. But in a time of crisis and isolation, as a depiction of purpose-driven bonding, the series scratches a primordial itch. It delivers a vicarious experience of indoctrination in a moment of collective weakness."
        • The Vow directors Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer wanted their docuseries to go past the "sex cult" headlines to tell a deeper story
        • NXIVM founder Keith Raniere apologizes, says "yes, I am innocent" in a Dateline NBC interview

        # TOPICS: Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult, HBO, Starz, Dateline NBC, The Vow, Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer, Keith Raniere, Documentaries, NXIVM

      • Jim Carrey always explodes into his roles: That's why his SNL Joe Biden impression was bound to be disappointing
        Source: The Ringer

        Carrey, says Rob Harvilla, is "one of the most overwhelming comedians of his generation, a rumbling boulder of wasabi, a human-shaped wrecking ball who in 2020 is just grabbing the camera by the throat and screaming JIM CARREY!!!! into it no matter who he’s actually supposed to be portraying. You don’t pay Jim Carrey to 'disappear' into a role; you pay him to explode that role entirely like the chestburster from Alien. The role he is currently exploding is that of one of the two remaining candidates for president, and by orders of magnitude the calmer one....JIM CARREY!!!! You’re never unhappy to see Jim Carrey, no matter the context, no matter the societal stakes. But he also makes you glance around for the nearest emergency exit. As the real-life chaos of this election spirals only further downward, and Actual Biden grows ever more stoic and exasperated within it, the sheer wrongness of this approach only intensifies. Even if you love the impressionist—and even if you’re voting for the guy he’s impersonating—you can cower and wince in the destabilizing presence of the impression itself." Harvilla says that maybe we should think of Carrey's Biden like Key & Peele's “Obama’s Anger Translator," with "one of our most famous living comedians playing 'Normal' Biden and Enraged Biden simultaneously. But respecting this approach isn’t nearly the same as enjoying it." ALSO: Why hasn't there been a good SNL movie in 20 years?

        # TOPICS: Jim Carrey, NBC, Saturday Night Live, Joe Biden

      • This Is Us creator: To return before Election, our cast and crew filmed on weekends and editors worked night and day
        Source: Deadline

        This Is Us originally was supposed to return the week after the election, not the week before. “It was really important to me — and to us — to get these episodes on before the election, not because they are political but because I think they are difficult and they are hopeful, and we felt it was important to us to put them on TV now with no agenda other than that,” says creator Dan Fogelman. “But it also created intense rush.” ALSO: Mandy Moore revealed her pregnancy to Fogelman before "most" of her family.

        # TOPICS: This Is Us, NBC, Dan Fogelman, Mandy Moore, 2020 Presidential Election

      • A "sincere Quibi fan" reacts to the shortform streaming service's demise
        Source: Slate

        Houston-based IT consultant Christopher Byrd was a "Day One" subscriber to Quibi, which he watched as much as YouTube during the pandemic. He enjoyed watching Chrissy's Court, Reno 911! and Shape of Pasta. Byrd he watched at least 20 minutes of Quibi a day. What was his reaction to the shutdown announcement? "I’m disappointed that it’s closing down, but I understand it," he tells Slate. "It’s not a good thing if you can spend so much money and you don’t see any return on investment. Especially when you saw big names like Peacock or Disney, they launch and they get millions and millions of subscribers right away. Probably because they have a lot of name brands already behind them. But this service had everything big on it, and that it’s still failing is really discouraging. It’s like, 'Maybe I shouldn’t hop on new services.' Because you do feel like you invest all that time, you want to see it thrive and keep going so that you get to see those Season 2s, or you get to see where these people’s creativity takes them. But now I won’t get to see that, and that is pretty discouraging and pretty sad overall. I think for folks like me, who don’t always have time to sit there for an hour to watch a show, this allowed me to feel like I was getting to consume those shows.

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        # TOPICS: Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Meg Whitman, Mike Catherwood

      • From I Love Lucy to Friends to Seinfeld: How sitcoms changed how the world sees New York City
        Source: Vulture

        "In its seven-plus decades, the sitcom has uncannily mirrored, and shaped, public perceptions of New York City," writes Kathryn VanArendonk in New York Magazine's new book The Encyclopedia of New York. "Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, in later seasons, moved from Manhattan to the suburbs like hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers did. During the urban-decay years, angry white conservatism in Queens made itself known on All in the Family, and as Black Americans made their way into the upper-middle class, so too did George and Louise Jefferson, movin’ on up from Queens to Manhattan. The 1970s impulse toward social conscience, told through two generations at a Brooklyn high school, made itself seen on Welcome Back, Kotter. Since then, sitcoms have helped America reconceive New York not as somewhere to get stabbed but as a place where you could live your best life. In 1989, Seinfeld began to promulgate the idea that New York City existence was principally about having wacky, if venal, neighbors, and it conveyed local references— H&H bagels, black-and-white cookies, subway seat-stealers, George Steinbrenner as perpetual white noise—to a national audience. Jerry Seinfeld once described the premise of the show like this: 'In New York, you can do nothing, and it’s very entertaining.'"

        # TOPICS: Seinfeld, All in the Family, Friends, I Love Lucy, The Jeffersons, Welcome Back, Kotter, Retro TV

      • Eric Andre got rid of all hair on his head and body for his Adult Swim return, including pubic hair: "I looked like Pitbull f*cked Kojak"
        Source: Vanity Fair

        Andre undergoes extreme physical transformations before each season of The Eric Andre Show. "For the show’s fifth season, Andre wanted to do the exact opposite of everything he did in season four," says Yohana Desta. "He redesigned the set to look like a purgatorial version of Las Vegas, then he got aggressively tan, bleached his teeth, doused himself in Brut cologne—'I wanted to reek in a different way'—got weekly manicures and pedicures, shaved his head, and got rid of the rest of his body hair, including his pubic hair." “It was excruciating pain, especially down the center,” he says. “It was rough. I don’t think I’d do it again.” He also gained 20 pounds, gorging on pizza and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. "I was kind of depressed ‘cause I was like, ugh, is this what I’m going to look like at 60? Horrendous…. I looked like Pitbull f*cked Kojak," he said with a laugh. "It was like, Surprise! You look like Vin Diesel after he dies.”

        # TOPICS: Eric Andre, Adult Swim, The Eric Andre Show

      • Deaf U shouldn't have to represent all deaf people
        Source: Los Angeles Times

        The Netflix docusoap has been criticized for its lack of diversity, including lack of Black deaf women. "As seems to be a pattern for films and TV series that represent marginalized groups, Deaf U....has attracted criticism, particularly from within the deaf community," says Shoshannah Stern. "Some of these concerns, addressed by executive producers Nyle DiMarco and Naimah Holmes in a Gallaudet University panel this week, are valid — particularly the lack of racial diversity among the women of the cast. But many critics’ apparent desire for the show to be an entirely different beast than what it actually is may have less to do with Deaf U itself, and more to do with its underrepresented and underserved audience. Though this frustration is understandable, given the embarrassingly few opportunities our community has had to see and be seen, it also sells short the central achievement of Deaf U: the students’ hopeful openness about issues like mental health and sexual positivity, even in the face of sexual trauma, and, most of all, their consistent refusal to feel shame about their choices — something unheard of (pun only slightly intended) even during my own stint at Gallaudet."

        # TOPICS: Deaf U, Disabilities and TV, Diversity, Reality TV

      • Misha Green has "wild" Lovecraft Country Season 2 plans that further aim to reclaim genre space for people of color
        Source: The Hollywood Reporter

        "You're supposed to say you know seven seasons of the show in your mind and you know exactly how it's going to end. No," she says. "I think that we've done some things in these last episodes that are going to lead to a wild season two. What's in mind right now is going to go to a place no one is expecting. I'm very excited about continuing to challenge the genre space and for this idea of reclaiming genre space for people of color. There's season after season you can do on this. There's so much genre space that is untouched by people of color — and not just African Americans." ALSO: Jamie Chung is "scared that I won't ever get a role like this again."

        # TOPICS: Lovecraft Country, HBO, Jamie Chung, Misha Green

      • Is 2020 to blame for The Great British Baking Show's disappointing season?
        Source: Eater

        "Despite the efforts and welcomed (sort of) addition of Matt Lucas, something about Season 11 feels, well, underbaked and underproofed," says Madeleine Davies of this season, adding: "It could be that the challenges have been leaning less and less on classic baking and more on viral Instagram foods (like the rainbow bagels), though this is hardly the first time that the show has gotten stunt-y. Then there’s the fact that none of the bakers could figure out brownies in the same episode — Season 11, Chocolate Week — that Leith insulted New York chocolate babka. This wouldn’t be a big deal in other shows, but considering that Bake Off’s biggest scandal was two bakers apologizing to one another and both claiming fault over a ruined baked Alaska, Leith’s verbal assault on a New York City delicacy might as well have reignited the Battle of Bunker Hill. There’s also a nagging bother for me personally as Bake Off’s judges and hosts — a group that, unlike the bakers, has been steadily and frustratingly white throughout the series’s run— have slowly gone from three women (hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc and judge Mary Berry) and one man (Hollywood) to three men (Fielding, Lucas, and Hollywood) and one woman (Leith). Whereas Perkins and Giedroyc seemed to rankle Hollywood on occasion, the current hosts are mostly reverent towards him, almost like he was the literal king of all bread. And of course, there was that brief and lovely period of the show where Fielding co-hosted with Sandi Toksvig, but that was all too short (pausing for a Fielding-esque joke about Toksvig’s diminutive height here). This isn’t a critique on Lucas. He is doing fine as a new co-host — though if there was even the slightest chance of Toksvig returning, I wouldn’t hesitate to shove him into a current, assuming that he’s a strong enough swimmer to get back to London. Maybe the issue isn’t the show, at all, but rather proof of how hard this year has been. 2020 has been such a sh*t show that the The Great British Bake Off no longer works as visual valium."

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        • Critics of this season are asking too much of The Great British Baking Show: "I did not set out to become a Great British apologist, but I did go back and watch a random episode from the supposed glory days (season three, episode six): The technical was flaounas. Nobody had heard of those, either," says  Rachel Sugar. "Is it not remotely possible that our dissatisfaction with this season is not, in fact, about Great British Bake Off, which is a still basically enjoyable show about nice British people baking, but instead with the world outside the tent? If I cannot get excited about the craftsmanship of Laura’s showstopping caged tart, is that because the show 'isn’t what it used to be,' or because I am distracted by a deadly pandemic and a terrifying election and the fact that I have barely left the house in seven months and have developed the attention span of a three-month-old goldendoodle and the emotional bandwidth of a stunted gnat? (I’ll concede: It could be both.) For all that the season has tried to recapture normalcy, there is only so much that it can do."
        • Here's a five-point manifesto on fixing The Great British Baking Show

        # TOPICS: The Great British Baking Show, Netflix, The Great British Bake Off, Coronavirus, Reality TV

      • HBO Max's Billy Porter-narrated docuseries Equal finds a totally fresh way to show LGBTQ progress before Stonewall
        Source: The Hollywood Reporter

        The HBO Max four-part docuseries covers about 25 years of LGBTQ history, from the post-World War II period to the first Pride parade in 1970. "But Equal is just as notable for its old-school-MTV style as for its content," says Inkoo Kang. "Visually busy and winkingly self-aware, the documentary slicks each one of its subjects with a one-dimensional rebellious cool that initially feels fresh, then increasingly ahistorical. The directors boast 'never-before-seen footage of actual events,' but more striking still is the fact that not a single shot lasts more than five seconds. And many of the subjects receive knowingly outrageous glow-ups, like Mattachine founder Dale Jennings, who’s played in reenactments by a monologuing, absurdly handsome Cheyenne Jackson. Samira Wiley, Anthony Rapp, Sara Gilbert, Theo Germaine and Keiynan Lonsdale are among the other camera-addressing celebrity soliloquists. The stronger performances — especially by Wiley, Lonsdale and Alexandra Grey as Hicks — make this potential abuse of dramatic license pay off. Even Porter gets in on the genre-convention-busting fun." ALSO: Documentarian Stephen Kijak says "we’re slipping in and out of strict documentary and impressionistic creative recreations but we wanted to bring the history as close to people and bring it to life in a unique way."

        # TOPICS: Equal, Billy Porter, Stephen Kijak, Documentaries, LGBTQ

      • Revisiting Nickelodeon's "Nickellennium"
        Source: Jezebel

        The 24-hour, commercial-free documentary that Nickelodeon aired on January 1, 2000 featured more than 600 children from around the world speaking candidly about their hopes and fears for the future and the realities of the present, from war and peace to climate change to beauty standards.

        # TOPICS: Nickelodeon, Kids TV

      • Larry David explains why "The Contest" is his all-time favorite Seinfeld episode
        Source: The Hollywood Reporter

        David recalled the making of legendary 1992 episode tackling masturbation on Friday night as part of a Seth Meyers-moderated virtual fundraiser for the Democratic Party of Texas with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander. "The Contest" is what put Seinfeld on the map as a watercooler show, said David. "That show changed something about how we were perceived in television land," said David. "It really catapulted us to another place. It moved us to another level, I think. And the show got much more popular after that episode."

        # TOPICS: Seinfeld, Larry David, Retro TV

      • Daveed Diggs on The Good Lord Bird's unusual take on Frederick Douglass: "Oh my God. It’s so much fun"
        Source: Vulture

        James McBride's book and its Showtime series adaptation portray the heroic abolitionist as somewhat of a jerk and vain playboy. "That dude (McBride) is a force of nature," Diggs says of the role. "How about Deacon King Kong? It broke my brain. It’s so good." How did Diggs end up playing Douglass? "I was doing a Suzan-Lori Parks play called White Noise at the Public. And Ethan (Hawke) came inside, and the next day we went out to coffee and he handed me the novel and said, 'Hey, look, I’m doing this. I’m adapting this for television. Frederick Douglass will be in two episodes. One of them is his episode.' He’s like, 'Don’t answer now. Read the book, because it’s a particular take on Frederick Douglass.' And when I went home, I started reading the book and I could not put it down. I read it faster than ever. I’m a very slow reader. I think I read that book in two days and called him back."

        # TOPICS: Daveed Diggs, Showtime, The Good Lord Bird, Frederick Douglass

      • Tucker Carlson mocks Whoopi Goldberg after she demanded he apologize to Kristen Welker for comments he didn't say
        Source: Mediaite

        On The View Friday, Goldberg called on Fox News and, in particular, Carlson to apologize to the NBC News White House correspondent, who was subjected to repeated criticism on the right-wing cable news channel ahead of moderating Thursday's presidential debate. But Carlson wasn't among those who went after Welker. “No one here can remember ever mentioning Kristen Welker’s name on our air," said Carlson. We’ve never attacked Kristen Welker. Honestly, never wanted to attack her.” Carlson then went on to refer to Goldberg by her birth name. “Sorry, Caryn Johnson, you’ve got the wrong show," said Carlson. "Call us when you’ve got a Kardashian update. The original Karen, it turns out.”

        # TOPICS: Whoopi Goldberg, Fox News Channel, Tucker Carlson Tonight, The View, Kristen Welker, Tucker Carlson

      • Chelsea Handler calls HBO Max's Evolution the "most personal" special she's ever done
        Source: Entertainment Weekly

        "It's me coming to terms with going to therapy, finding out I was a raging bitch and having no clue that's how I was coming across," Handler says of the HBO Max special that was filmed amid the pandemic amid coronavirus restrictions. Handler also tells EW that she doesn't miss doing a talk show. "The things that I’ve done since I’ve left doing a talk show have more heft, and have more weight," she says. ALSO: Handler says her special is trying to "teach white people how to think outside of their own experience because I'm guilty of that."

        # TOPICS: Chelsea Handler, HBO Max, Chelsea Handler: Evolution, Standup Comedy

      • Bob's Burgers' Halloween episodes tackle the scary part of growing up
        Source: Paste Magazine

        "Bob’s Burgers isn’t afraid of witches, werewolves, or zombies—in fact, Tina encourages mingling with zombies in her freaky friend fiction," says Rae Nudson. "Rather, when Bob’s Burgers does its traditional Halloween episode, the show digs into what it means to grow up, which can be scary enough on its own. Halloween is a holiday more focused on kids and hijinks than Christmas or Thanksgiving, two other holidays that Bob’s Burgers regularly portrays with episodes generally emphasizing family love and bonding. (The show’s Valentine’s Day episodes focus on missed love connections and failing to live up to romance’s expectations.) But Halloween is perfectly positioned to focus on kids’ adventures and what it means to be on the precipice of leaving those adventures behind; they are fun escapades that reveal the challenges of both youth and old age." ALSO: Ranking every Bob's Burgers Halloween episode.

        # TOPICS: Bob's Burgers, FOX, Halloween, Holiday Programming

      • David E. Kelley's Boston Public turns 20
        Source: TV Insider

        Kelley's 2000-04 Fox drama set in a Boston public high school, led by Chi McBride as the principal, featured a cast that also included Rashida Jones, Joey McIntyre, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Rapaport, Jeri Ryan, Kathy Baker, Nicki Katt, Loretta Devine, Jessalyn Gilsig and David E. Kelley favorite Fyvush Finkel.

        # TOPICS: Boston Public, Chi McBride, David E. Kelley, Retro TV

      • How old is Emily supposed to be in Emily in Paris?
        Source: Vulture

        Vulture investigates, determining that Emily Cooper must be around Lily Collins' real-life age of 31. But her behavior suggests she's closer to 24. ALSO: How to get the Emily in Paris look.

        # TOPICS: Emily in Paris, Netflix

      • Check out The Simpsons with a Wes Anderson makeover
        Source: Screen Rant

        HomeAdvisor recently re-created re-created The Simpsons rooms in the style of a Wes Anderson movie set. ALSO: What it's like to binge through 50 hours of "new" Simpsons episodes.

        # TOPICS: The Simpsons, FOX

      • HBO's How To with John Wilson is sometimes hilarious, often beautiful and perpetually odd
        Source: Rolling Stone

        The six-episode series from executive producer Nathan Fielder created by and starring John Wilson and his camera is at turns hilarious, poignant and disquieting as it reveals a profound humanity, says Alan Sepinwall. "Well, the challenge of writing about this show is that so much of the joy of it comes from the surprise. You never know what digression Wilson will follow next, or what the tone will be," says Sepinwall, adding: "The whole thing is an achingly gorgeous love letter to New York in the last months before Covid ground the city to a halt and perhaps irrevocably transformed it. More than even many complicated premium cable dramas, How To is a show that benefits enormously from devoting your full attention to it, rather than watching with a second screen. In this case, it’s because Wilson has taken the familiar concept of B-roll footage — establishing shots of buildings, neighborhoods, men and women on the street, etc. — and turned it into the best and funniest part of the series."

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        • How To is a "docu-comedy," but that term doesn’t do much to explain how weird and funny and sincere and idiosyncratic it is: "In some ways, it’s like a TV version of one of those cutesy gift books you might find in a guest bathroom, a series of aphoristic captions matched with photos of animals doing goofy things," says  Kathryn VanArendonk. "It’s a tightly matched combination of written narration and carefully selected clips, a partnership that dances back and forth between which piece is the setup and which is the punch line....Quickly, it becomes clear that How To with John Wilson is part scrapbook, full of tiny bits of footage Wilson happened to witness one day, and it’s also part memoir. Especially as the series goes on, Wilson gets more direct in the way he uses each episode’s theme to explore something happening in his own life."
        • How To is shockingly profound: "The goal of How To with John Wilson is not expertise or even proficiency," says Daniel Fienberg. "It's to illustrate a way of walking through the world with curiosity. His topics are fundamentally digressive, the questions that encourage him to leave his small apartment and to explore New York City or, occasionally, more exotic locations and bigger themes relating to humanity and human interaction. How does an interest in furniture covering, prompted by his barfing and destructive cat, relate to foreskin, and what does either say about our primal urge for self-protection and sheltering? Can a so-called 'memory palace' help you keep track of information you'd otherwise forget, and how does our insecurity about these ephemeral and fleeting links to our past relate to the phenomenon known as the Mandela effect? These are only the starting points for Wilson's free-associative journeys. How do these questions that begin as strange and not inherently interesting become universal? How To ultimately occupies a strange space between the partially scripted oddness of Nathan for You and the wholly scripted experimentation of Andy Daly's Review. That's a good place to occupy."
        • How How To is like Nathan for You: "There’s a rhythm to how Wilson peppers each of these tiny adventures with asides and little vulnerabilities, reassurances that this is mostly a set of small-scale daily dramas even if they come with the laughter of recognition," says Steve Greene. "Even if Nathan Fielder’s name didn’t pop up in the credits as an executive producer, there’s some noticeable shared DNA between How To and Nathan for You, the Comedy Central series that still stands as one of the best shows the last decade. Both shows take advantage of individuals’ inherent capacity to fill their time onscreen with a flurry of personal beliefs, unusual interests, and legitimately unexpected non sequiturs. That capacity for oversharing in How To never feels weaponized, though. Where Nathan for You was regularly astonishing as a Rube Goldberg high wire act (sometimes literally so), the storytelling forces guiding How To are far more subtle."
        • John Wilson says he's been shooting a "psychotic amount" of footage: "I can’t even give you a ballpark of how much material we shoot compared to how much of it makes it into the show," he says. "It is luck and it is a coincidence, and it’s just a numbers game. The more you shoot, the more once-in-a-lifetime stuff you’re going to capture. I’ve been just shooting every single day for the past couple of years for the show. I haven’t even stopped since we were technically wrapped. It’s just a rolling thing that happens, and I also have a team of second unit people that are just roving the city in multiple boroughs every single day during the production, just capturing as much as they possibly can. They may be out for a whole day and end up with one usable shot. But that is enough for the show. Or they could capture something else incredible. But I mean, I shoot about three-quarters of the show, and then the other quarter is more B-roll stuff."
        • Executive producer Nathan Fielder, whom Wilson refers to as his "Fairy Godfather," says of Wilson's work: “As someone who doesn’t live full-time in New York, you start to understand the city through what you see on TV and in movies. His New York is the one no one bothers to show, or is too bland or too upsetting or dirty to show.” Wilson, for his part, worried his show would become "aggressively dated" premiering amid the pandemic. “New York City is the best character — it’s constantly renewing itself, constantly regenerating itself, losing itself,” Wilson adds. “It makes me want to film as much of it as I can before it disappears.”

        # TOPICS: How To with John Wilson, HBO, Nathan for You, John Wilson, Nathan Fielder, Coronavirus, Documentaries

      • The Undoing is HBO's failed attempt to reverse-engineer the success of Big Little Lies
        Source: TIME

        "Big Little Lies was the right show at the right time," says Judy Berman. "A glossy, star-packed, surprisingly smart murder mystery, it appeared just as it seemed HBO was devolving into the Game of Thrones channel and proved that the brand The Sopranos built could still spin character-driven drama into a cultural phenomenon. Network executives responded by doing what network executives always do: they tried to replicate it. A miniseries adapted from the novel by Liane Moriarty, it delighted fans with a renewal that was never supposed to happen; Meryl Streep joined the cast for the not-bad but not-necessary 2019 sequel. Meanwhile, between the two seasons, HBO hired Lies season 1 director Jean-Marc Vallée to helm another show based on a best-selling whodunit, Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects, featuring another A-list, female-led cast. It was a fantastic adaptation, more potent and profound than its predecessor, albeit a bit too dark for viewers craving more Monterey moms. For a while now, critical and awards darling Succession has filled the role of HBO’s breakout drama. But that doesn’t mean the network is done trying to reverse-engineer another Lies. Its latest attempt, premiering Oct. 25, is The Undoing. Based on Jean Hanff Korelitz’s 2014 novel You Should Have Known, the six-part psychological thriller reunites Lies mastermind David E. Kelley—as creator, writer and showrunner—with star Nicole Kidman. Once again, there’s a big-deal cast and a name director (Susanne Bier of The Night Manager and Bird Box fame). The story features rich, gossipy moms and an elite school and a slowly escalating murder investigation. Yet this time, neither the sharp performances nor the lush window dressing can save scripts littered with predictable plot twists, hoary genre clichés, thin supporting characters and relatively little to say."

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        • The Undoing is pretty bad considering all the talent involved: "If you’ve ever been part of a group project at school where each member decides that someone else will pick up the slack — resulting in a half-completed mess that reflects poorly on everyone involved — the new HBO drama The Undoing should send a chill of familiarity down your spine," says Inkoo Kang. "It’s almost hard to believe that stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant, series writer David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies) and series director Susanne Bier (The Night Manager, the Oscar-winning In a Better World) could come up with a show so limp, so generic, so dispiritingly bad as this six-hour drama that only has enough story for a two-hour feature. (Five episodes were sent to critics.) It’s as if all the key decision-makers were in a collective spell, made to trust that someone else would do the work of making their program watchable."
        • Bizarrely and rather disappointingly, The Undoing goes from a compelling thriller to a courtroom drama: "Gone are the fantastically unnecessary interiors," says Sonia Saraiya. "Gone, even, is the unnecessarily attractive ill-tempered Detective Mendoza, whose antagonistic interrogation gave Kidman so much to snobbishly be offended by. Grant, gives the show something to chew on—his role gives him a lot of latitude to weaponize his natural oozing charm, revealing new sides of his personality with seemingly every episode. But as the show leans into legal strategy and the dreary interiors of courtrooms, it leaches out all the nasty fun that made the series so gripping in the first place. A bad man getting away with a bad thing? Lawyers obfuscating the wheels of justice? It’s all too familiar. And perhaps this is just 2020 talking, but it’s a little exhausting, too. The story seems to fly on greased rails for the first two episodes, only to slow down to a punishing grind by the fifth."
        • The Undoing is one of the most cathartic viewing experiences of 2020: "It’s a little like Oprah, but more chaotic: 'This character is stupid, this character is stupid, EVERY CHARACTER IS STUPID!!!'" says Brandon Katz. "None of this is to say that The Undoing is outright bad. I really liked it, I swear! Kidman and Grant deliver sharp performances in an enigmatic drama with a cavalcade of juicy misdirects that keep you guessing. At a time when your neighbor’s cheery attitude may inexplicably piss you off in the morning, you’ll revel in The Undoing‘s ability to cast doubt on every single character. Susanne Bier’s direction creates a compelling, often dreamy autumnal New York City doused in a sense of worst-case-scenario, which isn’t too far off from what we’re about to face. The show is a crackling mystery that, most importantly, invites you to feel superior in the midst of so much self-made misery. As such, it’s one of the most cathartic watches of the year. I think we, as a species, need this."
        • The Undoing acknowledges its privilege, but then throws a pity party for the 1%: "While The Undoing deploys keywords like 'white privilege' to acknowledge its chosen characters’ entitled perspective, the show is content with flagging them," says Ben Travers. "It has nothing to say about the wealth gap, and takes zero time to explore the actual victims’ perspectives (you know, the son who lost his mother and the dead woman herself). Kidman, as the misguided story’s ill-advised face, gets the worst of it. Her ability to embolden characters with innate delicacy and ferocious power doesn’t translate this time around, as she’s asked to turn an oblivious, jumpy waif into a commanding lead with little more than a constantly worried expression."
        • The Undoing is not as emotionally complex as Big Little Lies, but it's more immediately gripping: "I don’t want to say much more, because the primary pleasure of The Undoing is how it doles out its twists with efficient precision," says Dave Nemetz. "It plays like a compulsively readable page-turner as Grace is pummeled by a relentless barrage of jaw-dropping revelations that reveal serious cracks in the foundation of her marriage. Emmy winner Susanne Bier (The Night Manager) directs all six episodes, and she expertly amplifies the tension with jittery framing and intense close-ups with blurry edges. HBO is sticking with a conventional weekly release, but this show is custom-made for a binge; each episode ends on a stunning cliffhanger that leaves you wanting, no, needing to see more."
        • The Undoing is really worth watching for Kidman and Grant's performances: "There is no Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern or Meryl Streep to distract us from the work at hand, which is to figure out where a new piece of the Nicole Kidman puzzle fits in," says Hank Stuever. "In this one regard, for her loyal fans, The Undoing is worth a watch. Kidman is rivaled occasionally by the craggy yet sympathetically hangdog performance from Grant as the prime suspect. If you haven’t seen his recent works, Grant has aged interestingly into roles that all but obliterate the charming dandiness that initially propelled him to stardom in romantic comedies. Here, he’s far more interesting as a desperate, self-centered, possibly sociopathic antagonist."
        • The Undoing is the latest series from David E. Kelley's "amazing transformation": "Since freeing himself of network obsessions with Nielsen points, demos, and censors (yeah, they still exist, although your parents would probably find that hard to believe), he's turned out a string of intelligent and exciting suspense series unequaled by any another producer I can think of in the history of the medium," says Glenn Garvin. "Mr. Mercedes (AT&T's now defunct Audience Network), Big Little Lies (HBO) and now The Undoing (debuting on HBO this weekend) have all been exquisitely written and acted, melding doubt, tension, wit and occasional outright terror into simmering pots of dread. Kelley's latest, The Undoing (based on Jean Hanff Korelitz's 2014 novel You Should Have Known), is a murder story so full of plot twists and turns, so many characters shedding snakish skins, that it's nearly impossible to write about with scattering spoilers around like confetti. Yet in no way does it turn on plot gimmickry. It's about trust and relationships, authenticity and appearances, verisimilitude and veneers."
        • The Undoing has the potential to be more substantive than it is, and it’s a little disappointing that it isn’t: "The trajectory of The Undoing is all forward motion, driven by the whodunnit element, without much deep diving below the surface," says Jen Chaney. "Obvious issues related to class and ethnicity are raised by The Undoing but only lightly skimmed. Elena, a Latina artist who lives in Harlem with her husband and two children, clearly does not possess the same advantages as the other Reardon mothers, but the series doesn’t reckon with that much. It doesn’t even give Elena much of a personality. As in too many crime dramas, her existence within this story is defined by her victimhood. It may serve the murkiness surrounding her death to keep certain details vague, but it doesn’t serve the character, one of the few nonwhite people in the show. In short, The Undoing has the potential to be more substantive than it is, and it’s a little disappointing that it isn’t. Still, it offers a moody sense of atmosphere, a welcome reminder of New York’s pre-pandemic days (the series was shot in 2019), fine acting, and a seductive mystery that will likely lure in even viewers who try to resist it. It is chilly in here, yes. Nevertheless, you’ll still want to stay a while."
        • The Undoing would be better off avoiding race and class entirely: "The Undoing comes so close to commenting on privilege and injustice with something like awareness, but all too quickly devolves into the very stereotypes it purports to understand," says Caroline Framke. "After watching five of the series’ six episodes, I even found myself thinking that The Undoing might actually be more successful if it had eschewed addressing race and class entirely. Sure, it would be another kind of ridiculous to have a show entirely about the rich eating their own. But as something like Succession has shown, it’s more than possible to do so while making plain just how wildly privileged the characters are while avoiding tired clichés of the disenfranchised. In fact, there are moments when The Undoing does exactly that to very smart effect."
        • The Undoing feels like a throwback with its pre-pandemic setting and weekly release schedule: "Even though it is set in (almost) contemporary Manhattan — specifically, the ultraluxe Upper East Side of brownstones, private schools, and benefit dinners — it has been consciously shaped as ever-so-slightly retro, one-episode-at-a-time television, a psychological thriller scheduled to give viewers a month or so to feel anxiety about something other than the election results. (Which, of course, may or may not be established by the time the series ends on November 29. We’ll see.)," says Mark Harris. "There’s almost a nostalgic pleasure in that, and The Undoing is a throwback in another way as well: Shot entirely in and around Manhattan and Long Island over six months in 2019, it may be New York City’s last big television production of the pre-COVID days. Think of it as a time capsule of that era’s innocent obsessions. The drama — which focuses on a woman who happens to look like Kidman and be married to a doctor who looks like Hugh Grant and who lives in a lovely, light-filled townhouse and is completely oblivious to the fact that her world is about to be upended — unfolds in a metropolis of teeming sidewalks and crowded charity auctions, of long unmasked strolls, complaints about having too many social engagements, kisses in elevators, and other, more intimate encounters. Improbably, the miniseries now plays like a love letter from an Australian actress, a British actor (this is Grant’s first American TV work), and a Danish director, Susanne Bier, to money-flaunting, class-anxious, pre-lockdown New York."
        • Hugh Grant says The Undoing's cliffhangers are "beyond genius": “The way I can really judge is that, when I was reading the scripts, did I want to quickly pick up the next one?" he says. "And the answer was always ‘Yes.’ And that’s very rare.” It is Grant’s character who leaves the audience — and his on-screen wife — wondering if he can be trusted at his word about his role in the events."
        • Nicole Kidman and director Susanne Bier insist The Undoing isn't an East Coast Big Little Lies: The two shows have different visual styles, says Kidman. Bier, who watched both seasons of Big Little Lies, adds that "I liked it a lot, but it’s definitely very different. I think one of the reason why it gets compared a lot to (Big Little Lies) is that David E. Kelley writes (female characters) really well.”
        • Kidman says The Undoing is meant to be a love letter to New York City
        • Susanne Bier on directing Nicole Kidman: "You know, when she’s an actress, she’s like totally an actress. I mean, she can access any emotion with a blink of an eye and she does this totally uncompromising and uncannily sort of insanely, I mean, she can do anything. And she does that. Like when she’s on set, she’s an actress and she just goes all the way, and completely uncompromising. And then, as an executive producer, she’s your friend. I mean, she’s sort of the artistic endeavors friend. And so, you can call her up at night and you can discuss things and she will do whatever she can and she will be totally supportive. And she’s really savvy. She came to Hollywood when she was very young and she understands every single detail about the system. And so she’s like a very important ally and friend in that context."

        # TOPICS: The Undoing, HBO, Big Little Lies, David E. Kelley, Hugh Grant, Nicole Kidman, Susanne Bier, Coronavirus

      • Netflix's The Queen's Gambit makes chess mesmerizing
        Source: Vox

        "Chess shouldn’t be all that interesting to watch on screen, for probably obvious reasons," says Emily VanDerWerff. "The game involves a lot of people sitting and staring at a board, moving pieces around in quiet contemplation. And unless you’re a major chess fan, the moves the players make won’t immediately make sense in the way a baseball player hitting a home run does. But something that is interesting to watch onscreen is a great actor playing a compelling character who has a lot going on in their mind. A close-up on the actor’s face as the wheels turn in the character’s head can be gripping because attempting to think your way out of a problem is something we all have experienced. So the smartest choice Scott Frank makes in adapting Walter Tevis’s 1983 novel The Queen’s Gambit into a seven-episode Netflix miniseries is to focus not on the chess but on his actors’ faces, particularly that of his star. As chess prodigy Beth Harmon, Anya Taylor-Joy gives one of my favorite performances in ages. And Frank shows an understated confidence in relying not on fancy camera tricks but on close-ups that watch the star’s slightly too-wide eyes flicker with recognition as she finds the move to trounce yet another challenger."

        ALSO:

        • The Queen's Gambit is the kind of prestige drama TV doesn't make anymore: "Are TV dramas OK?" asks Judy Berman. "I ask because, sometime during the past decade, a format once rooted in the daily struggles of more-or-less normal human beings came a bit unglued. So-called prestige drama got darker, stranger, flashier, pulpier, scarier or simply more intense. Forced by a surplus of original content to find a gimmick, many TV creators have turned away from realistic stories, to embrace fantasy, sci-fi, superheroes, melodrama. Maybe the tipping point was Game of Thrones. Maybe it was American Horror Story or The Walking Dead or even Downton Abbey’s metamorphosis from stodgy period piece to self-aware soap. Now, pay TV platforms such as HBO and Amazon are loading up on genre fare—some but not all of it great. Emotional dramas like Six Feet Under and Friday Night Lights have given way to the mawkish This Is Us. Procedurals are getting weird; The Good Wife team begat Evil. And the most authentic, vividly wrought characters of the last several years have mostly come from half-hour dramedies: Fleabag, Atlanta, Enlightened, BoJack Horseman, Better Things, Insecure, Catastrophe, Vida. At this point, any hour-long drama that forsakes intellectual property, narrative histrionics and expensive special effects in favor of psychological realism represents a welcome change of pace. And one as excellent as The Queen’s Gambit feels very rare indeed."
        • The Queen's Gambit is really an Anya Taylor-Joy Showcase: "Taylor-Joy is one of a handful of exceptions to the rule that They Just Don’t Make ’Em Like That Anymore—'’Em' meaning 'movie stars' and 'Like That' meaning 'performers forging successful careers through small, interesting projects,' not through superhero movies or TikTok dance challenges," says Alison Herman, adding: "With her widely spaced eyes, expressive face, and a femininity that leads men to chronically underestimate her, Taylor-Joy’s Beth invokes Jodie Comer’s star-making turn as the assassin Villanelle. (The Killing Eve comparisons go from obvious to inevitable when Beth starts sashaying around Moscow in fabulous outfits.)"
        • Taylor-Joy takes a role here that could have been all melodramatic tics and make this complex character feel completely three-dimensional: "It’s a rich part thanks to Frank’s notable writing talent, and Taylor-Joy nails it, finding subtle beats even as the narrative verges into melodrama," says Brian Tallerico. "It’s in the way she always crosses her arms or looks downward when she feels threatened. It’s the look in her eyes when she knows she’s won or lost a game. It’s in the body language differences when she’s with Alma instead of the men in her life. She approaches life the way she approaches chess, trying to figure out her opponents’ moves and how to come out on top, but Taylor-Joy always makes the subtle choice to convey these aspects of her character."
        • The Queen's Gambit is simply spellbinding: "Because The Queen’s Gambit is a work of fiction (that title, by the way, is mentioned 33 minutes into the first episode and then dispatched with), it tells exactly the engrossing character story it wants to, and how," says Allison Keene. "That might sound obvious, but it’s no small thing. With excellent pacing and a sure sense of itself out of the gate, The Queen’s Gambit is a work of art—riveting, radiant, and simply spellbinding. Like Beth, it triumphs through its devotion to a love of the game."
        • The Queen's Gambit will be remembered as the final star-making moment for Taylor-Joy before her movie career skyrockets: "The story is literally about an ingenue rising to global fame," says Darren Franich. "But Taylor-Joy excels in the quiet moments, her eyelids narrowing as she decimates an opponent, her whole body physicalizing angry desperation when the game turns against her. The king might be in trouble. Fortunately, the queen has all the best moves."
        • The Queen's Gambit is like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel meets A Beautiful Mind: The Netflix limited series is, "in screen terms, something like a cross between The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel — a lovingly decorated period piece, stretching from the late 1950s through most of the ‘60s, concerning a young woman triumphing in what was then considered a man’s game — and A Beautiful Mind, as an attempt to concretely represent the workings of an unusual intelligence living way out in the abstract," says Robert Lloyd.
        • The Queen's Gambit is a shrewd study of genius: "It’d be easy for the show to indulge too much in Beth’s allure and make her some sort of Manic Pixie Dream Genius, and it doesn’t always resist the temptation," says Caroline Framke. "But more often than not, it dives deep enough into her psyche and reveals enough weaknesses that she’s never invincible or unknowable. She’s a mastermind, but also an angry obsessive with a healthy ego and a love for obliterating herself before anyone else can do it to her. She wants to win, but more than that, she wants some place — someone — to call home. When The Queen’s Gambit gives both Beth and Taylor-Joy the room to tap into the twin veins of her fury and longing, it’s the best kind of bildungsroman. What could’ve just been a clever show quickly becomes a portrait of a special, flawed person that reveres her fire as much as her brilliance."
        • The Queen's Gambit's opening episode has an enchanting, storybook feel, but it's downhill from there: "Gambit never quite gets back to the charm of its Dickensian opening chapter... and it gets thinner as it goes along," says Mike Hale. "Frank pulls off his combination of themes with a lot of old-Hollywood-style skill, but in the mix, neither the sports nor the personal-demons story line hits the levels of visceral excitement or emotional payoff that you might want. In the end, it was an admirable package that I wanted to love more than I did."
        • The Queen's Gambit ultimately doesn’t have enough to say about addiction, mental illness and the isolation of true genius to sustain seven long episodes: "Many of these problems would have been alleviated had Frank made The Queen’s Gambit as a film, or even done three or four episodes rather than seven," says Alan Sepinwall. "...A lot of this story’s flaws and superficiality only become obvious because of how long it lingers, while the parts that are excellent (Taylor-Joy’s performance, the technical mastery) wouldn’t be diminished in a more abridged version of the tale."
        • The Queen's Gambit is a winning combination of escapism and period drama: "The grueling world of competitive chess isn’t the most obvious setting for an escapist tale, but The Queen’s Gambit is a frequently transportive series, filled with lavish set pieces, gorgeous costuming, and all the 1960s pop needledrops Netflix money can buy," says Danette Chavez. "Its more straightforward pleasures are offset by producer/writer/director Scott Frank’s meditative—and just as meticulously detailed—approach to period drama. Bridging those two worlds is a masterful performance by Anya Taylor-Joy, who leads the cast as Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy driven as much by her innate talent as her trauma."
        • Marielle Heller on playing Beth's adopted mother: "In so many ways, Beth is the exact thing that Alma needs, and Alma is the exact thing that Beth needs - they just don't know it," she says. "They sort of become the love of each other's lives, and they provide something that doesn't look like a traditional mother-daughter relationship, but that is really what they each need."
        • How The Queen's Gambit made its chess scenes believable and exciting: Bruce Pandolfini, a longtime chess author and coach who consulted on the original novel and the Netflix series, and Michelle Tesoro, The Queen’s Gambit’s editor, were the two key figures in putting together those scenes. Pandolfini says the chess matches had to make sense, even the ones offscreen. “It’s one thing to have moves that don’t quite make sense in a novel,” Pandolfini says, “but onscreen, it has to be very clear.” Tesoro says it was important to switch up the visual focus of each match. “When I started the project, Scott was like, ‘Here’s a bunch of films I don’t want it to be like,’” says Tesoro. “Which was, obviously, all the films that are already out there. He didn’t want it to be like anything else.”
        • Anya Taylor-Joy says Beth Harmon is "the character that I've had the least amount of skin between": “I understood her so immediately, and she came forth to me so quickly that it was like, this is slightly harder to handle, because it means that when Beth has a bad day, I will have a bad day," she says. "And I have to learn how to say, ‘Okay, this is not mine, this is the character's.’” Co-creator Scott Frank adds: “She came to us exhausted. She was really worried because she was so tired, but her first take of her first scene, she just nailed it. I was so relieved. She instantly switched gears, and she could do that on set all the time. We could be talking and laughing, and then the camera could roll, and she could be devastated and in tears. She's a real pro.”
        • Taylor-Joy didn't know how to play chess before signing up for the role: "No, not prior to beginning this odyssey," she says. "I’m very grateful to say my knowledge of chess came from people that are revered as chess gods. I got infected with the chess bug. I have mad respect for the game."

        # TOPICS: The Queen's Gambit, Netflix, Allan Scott, Anya Taylor-Joy, Bruce Pandolfini, Michelle Tesoro, Scott Frank

      • Jessica Chastain reunites with Oscar Isaac in Scenes from a Marriage, replacing Michelle Williams
        Source: Deadline

        The two-time Oscar nominee is reteaming with her Julliard classmate and A Most Violent Year co-star in the HBO limited series adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s famous miniseries. She takes over the lead role from Williams, who had to exit over scheduling issues. The Affair co-creator Hagai Levi is behind Scenes From A Marriage. The limited series re-examines Bergman's iconic depiction of love, hatred, desire, monogamy, marriage and divorce through the lens of a contemporary American couple, played by Isaac and Chastain. This is the second limited series Chastain has joined in the past two months. Last month, she signed up to play country music legend Tammy Wynette in George & Tammy limited series from Spectrum Originals and Paramount Network.

        # TOPICS: Jessica Chastain, HBO, Scenes From a Marriage, Michelle Williams (actress), Oscar Isaac, In Development

      • A new reboot of New York Undercover "reflecting the current times" is poised to land at Peacock
        Source: Deadline

        Former The Chi showrunner Ayanna Floyd Davis is teaming with Dick Wolf on a reboot of his 1990s gritty Fox cop drama "described as re-examination of the original, reflecting the current times," per Deadline. "It is picking up 20 years after the end of the original series that changed the face of TV cop dramas." Floyd would serve as writer and showrunner. The original New York Undercover aired on Fox from 1994 to 1998, starring Malik Yoba and Michael DeLorenzo as undercover detectives. Wolf and Universal TV originally developed an updated take on New York Undercover during the 2018-19 broadcast development season for ABC, written by Ben Watkins, but the pilot was rejected. The potential Peacock reboot is "still in very early stages," reports Deadline, "and it is unclear yet whether it would feature characters from the original series."

        # TOPICS: New York Undercover, Peacock, Ayanna Floyd Davis, Dick Wolf, In Development, Revivals

      • CNN president Jeff Zucker's future is reportedly "in doubt"
        Source: The Wall Street Journal

        "CNN President Jeff Zucker survived plenty of corporate intrigue since telecom giant AT&T swallowed up the cable network’s parent company two years ago," reports The Wall Street Journal. "Now that is changing, leaving Mr. Zucker frustrated and his future at the cable news network in doubt. Mr. Zucker, who has overseen CNN for seven years, felt blindsided by a recent restructuring carried out by parent WarnerMedia, and has had friction with its chief executive, Jason Kilar, according to people familiar with the situation. The 55-year-old’s contract expires next year and he hasn’t committed to extending his deal in meetings with WarnerMedia brass and communications with CNN employees, the people say. Asked about his future in a town hall video chat on Wednesday, Mr. Zucker said he loves his job, but added, 'The industry is changing, our company is changing, so I have a lot to think about,' according to a recording of his remarks. He added, 'I’ll do that at the right time.'" Zucker says he won't make a decision until after the election. Zucker is one of the most influential TV executives in history, making Donald Trump the star of The Apprentice on NBC and providing Trump plenty of free airtime showing his rallies on CNN during the 2016 presidential campaign.

        # TOPICS: Jeff Zucker, CNN, Cable News

      • About 63 million watched the final presidential debate, down 14% from the first debate
        Source: Deadline

        The 63 million viewership is about a 14% dropoff from the 73.1 million who watched the first debate between President Trump and Joe Biden on Sept. 29. It also fell short of the final debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016, which drew 71.6 million. Meanwhile, Trump praised moderator Kristen Welker Friday while on the campaign trail: "I thought I got treated fairly by the anchor… Kristen, I was surprised. She’s been a little rough on me over the years...I thought Kristen did a very good job yesterday.”

        # TOPICS: Kristen Welker, Joe Biden, 2020 Presidential Election, Ratings, Trump Presidency

      • ABC adds six more Black-ish episodes to Season 7
        Source: Variety

        The backorder means Black-ish will have a full 21-episode season.

        # TOPICS: Black-ish, ABC, Cancelations, Renewals & Pickups

      • Grant Imahara honored with an educational foundation to mark what would've been his 50th birthday
        Source: Variety

        The late MythBusters star's family and friends came together to create the Grant Imahara STEAM Foundation, which will work to inspire and empower underserved youth to become active in science, technology, engineering, art and math. The foundation was announced Friday, which would've been Imahara's 50th birthday. Imahara died in July of a brain aneurysm.

        # TOPICS: Grant Imahara, MythBusters

      • GLOW's Shakira Barrera says Season 4 would've shown "women of color taking their power back"
        Source: Los Angeles Times

        Barrera explained to the Los Angeles why she and five other GLOW women of color -- Sunita Mani, Sydelle Noel, Britney Young, Kia Stevens and Ellen Wong -- decided to write an open letter complaining that the show relied on "existing stereotypes" while leaving its non-white cast members marginalized. Barrera said the producers responded positively to the letter. “If Netflix didn’t cancel us, you guys would have seen something amazing,” Barrera said. “You would have seen what a true ensemble, diverse show looked like.” Did Barrera worry about professional consequences for the letter? "Yes, 100%," she said. "When you are in an industry that values whiteness, it’s so difficult for you to navigate how to use your voice. You know you have one but you almost have gotten used to not using it. I think in this case, the beautiful part was that I didn’t have to do it alone. That also took a little bit of the danger off." Barrera added that she was thrilled to see the GLOW producers receptive to their ideas. "It was such a chilling moment: to have your executives — even though it was over Zoom — break down the entire Season 4 to the point where you couldn’t wait to get on set because you knew that these characters were going to be seen. It honestly gave me goosebumps," she said. When we were canceled, it felt like someone just slipped the carpet from underneath us. And we fell backwards and woke up in a strange dimension. To come back and take your power back, it’s exactly what GLOW is about. So we didn’t need to shoot anything. This was like Season 4. This was its own season; this was how it was supposed to be: The women of color taking their power back and showing us how to fight, how to lead first and tackle the issue and do it with grace. And do it together."

        # TOPICS: GLOW, Netflix, Shakira Barrera, Diversity

      • VH1 sets reunion specials for Tiffany “New York” Pollard's I Love New York and Hollywood Exes
        Source: Page Six

        The former Flavor of Love star will reunite with some of her suitors from her two-season 2007-09 reality show for I Love New York: Reunited, which Vivica A. Fox will host. Meanwhile, Page Six reports VH1 is also producing a reunion special for Hollywood Exes, which originally ran from 2012 to 2014 and starred Nicole Murphy (Eddie Murphy's ex-wife) and Shanna Moakler (ex-wife of Travis Barker). The I Love New York reunion special will air Nov. 23, followed by the Hollywood Exes special on Nov. 24.

        # TOPICS: Tiffany “New York” Pollard, VH1, Hollywood Exes, I Love New York, Vivica A. Fox, Reality TV

      • Lili Taylor joins Josh Brolin in Amazon mystery drama Outer Range
        Source: Deadline

        Taylor will play the wife of Brolin's rancher character, who is fighting for his land and family when he discovers an unfathomable mystery at the edge of Wyoming’s wilderness. Taylor's character is a woman of deep faith, which she finds tested as never before.

        # TOPICS: Lili Taylor, Amazon, Outer Range, In Development

      • Superman & Lois adds Degrassi: The Next Generation alum Stacey Farber in villain role
        Source: TheWrap

        Farber will play Leslie Larr, who may have ties to Jon Cryer's Lex Luthor.

        # TOPICS: Superman & Lois, The CW, Stacey Farber

      • South Park cardboard cutouts to again take over the Denver Broncos stadium
        Source: The Hollywood Reporter

        Comedy Central on Friday announced that a portion of Empower Field at Mile High will be filled with all new cutouts on Sunday, some from the recent "Pandemic Special." The Comedy Central show added cutouts for the Sept. 27 game vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

        # TOPICS: South Park, Comedy Central, Coronavirus, NFL

      • Netflix releases Dash & Lily trailer
        Source: YouTube

        The Nick Jonas-produced holiday romantic comedy series is based on the Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares YA novels. Dash & Lily premieres Nov. 10.

        # TOPICS: Dash & Lily, Netflix, Trailers & Teasers

    • Earlier news - posted 2 days ago
    • Earlier news - posted 3 days ago
      • Kristen Welker was the real winner of the final presidential debate
        Source: The New York Times

        The NBC News White House correspondent drew widespread and bipartisan praise from liberals and conservatives, including from President Trump himself. First presidential debate moderator Chris Wallace said he was "jealous" of how well Welker's debate went. “I would have liked to have been able to moderate that debate and to get a real exchange of views instead of hundreds of interruptions," he said on Fox News. Vice presidential debate moderator Susan Page, who like Wallace was criticized for failing to reign in the candidates, tweeted: "Kudos to @kwelkernbc for a job well done tonight, and a service to our nation." "In a high-stakes debut overseeing a presidential debate — taking charge of a candidate matchup that proved a bucking bronco for the previous moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News — Ms. Welker, an NBC anchor and correspondent, managed to restore order to a quadrennial institution that some believed could not be tamed,' says The New York Times' Michael M. Grynbaum. "No doubt, she benefited from Trump 2.0: A calmer president arrived onstage Thursday, a contrast with the candidate who derailed the proceedings in Cleveland last month. And she had a technological assist in the form of muted microphones, a novelty installed to keep the exchanges between Mr. Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr., from going from civics to chaos. But in a poised and crisp performance, Ms. Welker, 44, succeeded where Mr. Wallace was walloped. Battle tested by years of covering the Trump White House, she parried with the president and cut him off as needed; Mr. Trump, eager to shed voters’ memories of his unruly performance last month, mostly acquiesced. Ms. Welker, the first Black woman to moderate a general-election presidential debate since Carole Simpson of ABC in 1992, entered the evening facing an onslaught of attacks from Mr. Trump, who this week called her 'terrible.' His aides dredged up her parents’ political donations in an effort to accuse her of bias; a photograph of her with Barack Obama at a White House holiday party emerged on right-wing websites. (Her attendance at Mr. Trump’s equivalent party in 2017 went unmentioned.) Little of the pressure showed onscreen. Ms. Welker was polite but firm in guiding the discussion, offering chances for brief rebuttals but also taking control when the candidates threatened to go on a harangue, repeatedly urging, 'We need to move on.'" Vox's Dylan Matthews added: "Moderating a debate with as mendacious a liar as Trump is almost impossibly difficult, and Welker wasn’t perfect at holding him to account. But she did quite well overall, and managed to perform in a way that both Biden and Trump supporters agreed was fair — an almost miraculous achievement."

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        • Kristen Welker saved presidential debates, but the debate format still needs to change: "Now let us praise Kristen Welker, the NBC journalist who will, deservedly, be credited with saving the televised presidential debate format from its certain descent into hell with her capable, assured moderating skills on Thursday evening — and with some (alleged) help from a new but perhaps only theoretical mute button that turned out to be more threat than tool," says Hank Stuever. "(It didn’t seem to come with a finger willing to press it more than once or twice.) Welker won Thursday night’s final presidential debate the old-fashioned way, with her professional demeanor, tough questions and a determination, dang it, to get the leader of the free world to play by the rules. It was Welker’s good fortune (to say nothing of masochist viewers who tuned into the debate) that President Trump mostly complied for several stretches at a time. The belligerent, probably infectious chaos agent who ruined his first debate against Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Sept. 29 instead used Thursday’s debate to work on his trademark smirk and the chronic display of RSB (Resting Bitch Face) that he saves for those rare occasions when he is forced to listen rather than speak." Stuever adds: "As both a work of television and occasion to inform voters, debates are still the worst. It’s hard anymore to remember on a Friday what happened on a Tuesday, but one hopes that we’ll always remember how 2020 taught us that televised events should be malleable in format. There’s a real art to virtual connection and interaction — as seen with recent live award shows and the political conventions, and it’s too bad we didn’t get to try it in this election."
        • MSNBC's Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow say Trump owes Kristen Welker an apology after a week of attacking her: Trump described Welker in the days before the debate as “crooked,” “terrible,” a “radical left Democrat,” “totally partisan,” “totally biased,” “unfair” and a “disaster.” “Somebody owes our colleague Kristin Welker an apology,” Williams said at the conclusion of the debate. “She’s owed an apology by the president, who attacked her over and over and over again heading into this event tonight,” Maddow agreed. “Trying to work the refs, trying to intimidate her. Clearly Kristen Welker was not intimidated. She is owed an apology. But I think she is owed congratulations by the country. I think if there was a clear winner from this debate tonight, I would argue it was, in fact, Kristen Welker, who did an incredibly professional, cogent, coherent job.”
        • Welker may as well have been wielding Wonder Woman’s protective shield when she finally faced off with her tormentor: "The seasoned Washington reporter appeared unscathed by his attacks," says Lorraine Ali. "A picture of composure and professionalism, she clearly had no intention of being anyone’s scapegoat and Trump got the message. It was a drastic change of tone for the president who during the first debate bellowed over Biden and moderator Chris Wallace for 90 ear-bending minutes. This time around he’d perhaps been chastened by the scathing reviews of his performance or the poor ratings and poll numbers that followed."
        • Welker, who was good but not spectacular, was aided by the low bar set by Chris Wallace: "The most truthful, non-sarcastic, congratulations of the night probably should go to NBC News' Kristen Welker, who surely owes Chris Wallace an edible arrangement of some sort," says Daniel Fienberg. "Because even though anybody who watched the last 40 minutes primarily saw cross-talk, interruption and question evasion with none of the 'muting' promised by the Commission on Presidential Debates, the first 50 minutes were, indeed, pretty clean. I would say Welker was a good (not spectacular) moderator, but since Wallace was — sorry, sir — the low bar against whom all future debate moderators will be measured, she looked like a model of decorum and order. Welker stopped Trump when he tried to interrupt and several times when he started to be digressive. She attempted to be rigorous with Biden's requests for follow-up response time. And she even asked tough questions of both men, whether it was anything requiring Trump to speak in complete sentences and articulate plans for anything or pushing Biden to clarify his position on the 1994 Crime Bill and whether he did or didn't say he opposes fracking."
        • Voters finally got a debate that did what it was supposed to do: "Thursday’s event actually resembled a typical presidential debate from prior election seasons," says Tyler Hersko. "That’s not necessarily high praise, but after the thoroughly embarrassing affair that was the first Biden-Trump bout several weeks ago, expectations for Thursday’s event were rock bottom. Indeed, many of the issues that have plagued the 2020 election season, from the promotion of various conspiracy theories to incessant finger-pointing — Biden and Trump wasted too much time on arguing about which candidate was more paid off by foreign governments — and bizarre tangents — Trump claimed that only undocumented immigrants 'with the lowest IQ' show up for their immigration court hearings and also expressed concern that windmills were killing all of the birds — were front and center during Thursday’s debate. That said, most of the night’s topics were covered in sufficient detail, each candidate was given time to present their ideas to the audience, and Biden and Trump responded to one another without the event devolving into mind-numbing noise. If nothing else, at least voters got at least one 2020 presidential debate that did the thing it was supposed to do."
        • Trump likely benefitted from being aware of the mute button, which saved him from himself
        • There were no plexiglass barriers on the final debate stage in contrast to the vice presidential debate
        • Please don't let Trump's "good"/"go ahead" turn into the next "yanny"/"laurel"
        • This was likely Trump's final debate -- he probably wouldn't be president without them: "Across more than 20 debates in five years, Trump has redefined presidential debates, turning the relatively boring deliberations into confusing entertainment," says Matt Berman. "He very possibly wouldn’t be president without them: They’re the format that first put a celebrity on the same level as a handful of senators and governors and gave him the leeway to tell America that he was in control of our attentions now and would take things from there."
        • How the language of Fox News invaded the final debate: "During the final presidential debate, President Trump made reference to 'the laptop from hell,' 'AOC plus three' and 'Russia, Russia, Russia' — yes, said three times in a row," Elahe Izadi and Jeremy Barr write in The Washington Post. "The material was very familiar to — and maybe only familiar to — regular viewers of Fox News opinion hosts such as Sean Hannity." “I feel like he almost was speaking the language of Fox prime time,” Meet the Press host Chuck Todd said on NBC after the debate. “If you watch a lot of Fox prime time, you understand what he’s saying. If you don’t you have no idea.” Izadi and Barr add: "It was a point made over and over again across networks as political commentators and journalists wondered aloud whether Trump’s attacks on former vice president Joe Biden flew over the heads of many Americans who aren’t regular consumers of conservative television, radio and websites...The president borrowed from Hannity’s nightly themes and even copied the same phrases the opinion host uses on his daily radio and TV shows. Trump accused Biden of 'hiding in his basement,' something that Hannity viewers hear on a very regular basis — even as the former vice president has made more and more in-person campaign stops over the past few weeks."

        # TOPICS: Kristen Welker, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, Brian Williams, Chris Wallace, Joe Biden, Rachel Maddow, Susan Page, 2020 Presidential Election, Commission on Presidential Debates, NBC News, Trump Presidency

      • Lesley Stahl's unedited 60 Minutes interview with Trump was a disappointment: She let the president off easy
        Source: The New Republic

        "Holy smoke! When the president posted the raw video (Thursday) morning, three days before the 60 Minutes segment was set to air, I could scarcely contain my excitement," says Timothy Noah. "But the interview did not live up to its putative victim’s billing. Stahl announced at the outset, 'I’m not gonna fact-check you,' and she kept her word. She showed little evidence of adequate preparation. Though she occasionally challenged certain things Trump said, she demonstrated insufficient command of the facts, and of Trump’s past statements, to hold Trump properly accountable. I take no pleasure in writing this. We all have bad days. And Stahl has always been a hero of mine, going back to her beginnings, during CBS News’s glory days, as a bulldog reporter on the Watergate scandal. It’s doubtful she got taken by surprise. We all know Trump is a firehose of misinformation, and Stahl in particular has always been savvy about the ways presidents manipulate the press."

        # TOPICS: Lesley Stahl, CBS, 60 Minutes, CBS News, Trump Presidency

      • Quibi may have overvalued the star power of celebrities
        Source: Vulture

        Seemingly every big-name celebrity was attached to a Quibi show, from Dwayne Johnson to Steven Spielberg to Liam Hemsworth to Kevin Hart and Reese Witherspoon -- who reportedly earned $6 million to narrate a nature dosuseries. Even Chrissy's Court star Chrissy Teigen couldn't drive her nearly 33 million Instagram followers to subscribe to Quibi. Vulture's Josef Adalian says Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg may have misunderstood the value of celebrities these days. "Even if there may be some place for so-called 'premium' short-form, I still wonder if Katzenberg also fundamentally misread how folks under 35 — and maybe all of us — think of programming these days," says Adalian. "The idea that 'name' talent, either in front of or behind the camera, matters anywhere near as much today as it did even ten years ago may simply be wrong. Sure, celebrities still draw attention and bring eyeballs to projects, but we also live in a world where an Idaho skateboarder lip-syncing to 'Dreams' on TikTok can become a star overnight, inspire dozens of copycats, and put Fleetwood Mac back in the Billboard Top 10. Audiences will of course always crave movies as big as Avengers or TV shows as lavish as The Crown. But there is now a massive supply of traditional-length 'premium' TV programming and an even bigger array of massively compelling DIY short-form content on which audiences can feast. Katzenberg’s notion that he needed to bring his Hollywood wizardry to that latter category, when audiences seem quite happy with the no-frills versions of Quibi (TikTok, Snapchat Originals) that already exist, may well end up being his idea’s true fatal flaw. In that way, Quibi really was the New Coke of the streaming age: A product not enough real people wanted, a solution to a problem that didn’t really exist."

        ALSO:

        • Quibi was an old man's attempt at speaking his grandchildren's language: "By all reports (Jeffrey) Katzenberg, at least, sincerely believed in the promise of the galactically stupid idea of 'TV, but seven minutes long, and you can only watch it on your phone,'" says Albert Burneko. "It is not hard to imagine how a 69-year-old billionaire who made the bulk of his fortune betting on the production of entertainment for kids 30 years ago might come to genuine enthusiasm for this idea. If you close your eyes you can almost hear the pitch forming in your grandfather’s mind: Every time I see these kids, the kids, they’re always on the phones, staring at the phones, my gosh, you can’t even talk to them. What are they doing on the phones that’s so interesting? Is it the texting? Is it the, the YouTube? My gosh! They don’t even look up! So I says to myself, I says, 'To get to these kids, you gotta make something they can watch on the phones.'" At heart it was an old man’s attempt at speaking his grandchildren’s language; as such, they should have named it 'Intendo.' To the kind of very rich man given to understand that an idea is a billion-dollar idea if he first encountered it inside his own mind, this would have seemed a self-evidently ingenious business idea. And besides, look at all the stupid sh*t that comes out of the tech industry and makes people rich! But there’s another sad generation gap manifesting itself in Quibi’s crashing failure: It was bedeviled, from the beginning, by the very antiquated belief that in order for a startup business to succeed, it must actually succeed. Like, as a company that makes and sells a product, even! They dumped over a billion dollars into this thing, they built it at an absurd scale, they gave Quibi programming creators ownership of their shows instead of fashioning some flamboyantly evil legal framework for extracting even their own personal names from them, because they actually thought they were starting a company that would create and sell a good product and fill what they perceived to be an actual opening in the entertainment industry. Those dolts. Those absolute fools!"
        • Quibi was the perfect example of old media grift: "It took the best of modern user-generated content—some would say the worst—and packaged it in a way that looked and smelled Hollywood," says John Biggs. "The goal, obviously, was to beat TikTok and YouTube and every other service that lets you upload short videos and amass millions of followers and views. Imagine the frustrated movie executives watching 'OMG I TOLD MY HUSBAND I WAS PREGNANT WHILE WEARING A DINOSAUR COSTUME CAN’T STOP SHAKING' get its 4-millionth view and wondering why their big-budget movies and TV shows weren’t hitting. They had done cinema verite once before, with reality TV, right? Why couldn’t they get back some of that magic?...There is an uncrossable distance between the best TikTok video and the worst network TV show. Traditional media is regimented, controlled, and massaged into what some would call perfection and others would call pablum. Millions are spent on PR for stars, plastic surgery, and fitness regimens. Everything about Hollywood, the good and the bad, costs money. Quibi figured that if the kids could do it with a selfie stick and a ring light, the adults could do it way better. Quibi wanted to break with tradition—within reason. They had a billion and a half dollars—enough to make 130 episodes of Game of Thrones—and, in startup parlance, gave them a runway for a few years of cheap content. They apparently didn’t pay union wages—the short videos came in just below the union requirements for length—and they could grab rising and falling stars on the cheap. In short, they were doing what YouTubers did every day: rerun a little popularity through a machine that turns it into even less money. Unfortunately, the old methods that served them so well on backlots and Oscar parties just didn’t work when it came to bite-size garbage."
        • Quibi had more talent than it knew what to do with: "In recent weeks, as the writing on the wall got clearer and clearer, it’s been easy to mock the death of Quibi and its 'quick bites," says Caroline Framke. "But looking back over its programming, and the many people who now find themselves without jobs during an unprecedented moment of instability, it’s also sad and frustrating to realize how much talent and potential the Quibi experiment wasted along its way to irrelevance. When Quibi first launched, its slate looked like a grab bag of random attempts to catch people’s interest. And yet, looking past its splashier big ticket items — Liam Hemsworth in the plodding drama Most Dangerous Game, the stomach-turning Sophie Turner vehicle Survive, Chrissy Teigen entertaining petty squabbles on Chrissy’s Court — revealed some decent show concepts, were they fortunate enough to air on an actual television."

        # TOPICS: Quibi, Chrissy Teigen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Meg Whitman

      • Jimmy Kimmel's "pretty gross" interview with Blackpink was a masterclass in condescension
        Source: The Muse

        "On Tuesday, Jimmy Kimmel—once a gleeful misogynist on The Man Show, now the fully absolved comedian host of the late night television program, Jimmy Kimmel Liveinterviewed Blackpink, the biggest girl group on the planet that just so happens to be headquartered in South Korea," says Maria Sherman. "Kimmel’s segment is a masterclass in condescension; it might be the most atrociously American conversation that I’ve seen with a K-pop act to date. It is so bad, it is essentially a guide to 'what not to do' when interviewing an act from a non-Anglophonic country. Kimmel begins the conversation by saying, 'Do you know I speak Korean?' in clunky Korean as a joke, an icebreaker. Fine, but he repeats the bit throughout the Q&A, placing emphasis on different syllables each time. At first, it reads like a lazy joke on his meager language skills, but with each butchered repetition, the Korean language becomes the joke. After switching to English for foundational questions like, 'Are you able to leave your homes, or would you get mobbed by fans?' and 'Why did you decide to call the band Blackpink?' Kimmel decides to return again to language, speaking slowly and a little too loudly, as if interrogating a small child." Sherman adds: "Maybe the easiest solve is to simply treat K-pop musicians like all other musicians interviewed. Just a thought!"

        # TOPICS: Blackpink , ABC, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Jimmy Kimmel, K-Pop, Late Night

      • Apple TV+ announces the cast for trilingual series Pachinko
        Source: TVLine

        Former The Terror Showrunner Soo Hugh's adaptation of Min Jin Lee's acclaimed novel, to be told in Korean, Japanese and English, will star Min Ho Lee as an enigmatic outsider and merchant with ties to organized crime who embarks on an illicit romance with far-reaching consequences. He'll be joined by Jin Ha as Solomon, Minha Kim as Sunja, Anna Sawai as Naomi, Soji Arai as Mosazu and Kaho Minami as Etsuko. Production across multiple continents is set to begin on Oct. 26.

        # TOPICS: Pachinko, Apple TV+, Anna Sawai, Jin Ha, Kaho Minami, Minha Kim, Min Ho Lee, Soji Arai, In Development

      • Raising Hope creator Greg Garcia is returning to Fox with potential comedy Clive Kensington’s America
        Source: Deadline

        Garcia, who also created NBC's My Name is Earl, is teaming with his The Millers colleague Chadd Gindin documentary-style comedy revolving around Clive Kensington, "a critically unacclaimed shockumentarian, who investigates where our country is headed by spending each season embedded in a different part of the American Experience," per Deadline. "Up first is the American family, where Clive will finally answer the question we’ve all been asking, 'Family, are they worth it?'"

        # TOPICS: Greg Garcia, FOX, Clive Kensington’s America, Chadd Gindin, In Development

      • Christine Elise backtracks and apologizes after calling Jessica Alba's Beverly Hills, 90210 "no eye contact" claim a "f*cking lie"
        Source: E! Online

        Elise, whose last appearance on the Fox drama was four years before Alba's 90210 guest stint, has expressed regret for her comments on The Beverly Hills, 90210 Podcast accusing Alba of lying about being told not to make eye contact when she guested on the show in 1998. "That whole ‘don’t make eye contact’ (claim) is — I’m gonna call it what it is — it’s a f*cking lie," she said on the podcast. Elise later issued a statement on Instagram, saying of Alba: "First of all—I have never met her but have always admired her work. I am certain she is a lovely woman...Secondly, anyone who knows me at all knows that I swear with unapologetic abandon, so quotes read without tone of voice can be misinterpreted and seem more angry than they ever were." Elise added that what Alba said didn't reflect the set she worked on.

        # TOPICS: Jessica Alba, Beverly Hills, 90210, Christine Elise, Retro TV

      • Elizabeth Mitchell joins Outer Banks
        Source: Deadline

        The Lost alum will recur as Limbrey, "a compelling woman with a level of toxicity and menace underneath her seemingly courteous ways," according to Deadline. Mitchell's last major TV role was on The Expanse.

        # TOPICS: Elizabeth Mitchell, Netflix, Outer Banks

      • Fox News Outnumbered host Melissa Francis may be on her way out over a pay equality dispute
        Source: Los Angeles Times

        Francis hasn't been on Fox News since Oct. 7. A Fox News spokesperson wouldn't comment on her status, but said she was still an employee. One person close to Francis, however, tells the Los Angeles Times' Stephen Battaglio that she has been fired. "Francis had been working at Fox News without a contract for nearly a year," reports Battaglio. "She had filed a gender-based pay discrimination claim against the company that has been in arbitration, according to one person familiar with the proceedings. The complaint said Francis was underpaid compared with her male colleagues. A Fox News representative would not comment on the matter, saying it was confidential. Francis did not respond to a request for comment."

        # TOPICS: Outnumbered, Fox News Channel, Melissa Francis, Cable News, Pay Equality

      • Norman Reedus: The Walking Dead has us wearing contact tracers on set
        Source: Entertainment Weekly

        “We wear these little tracers in our clothes that will tell us how long we spend in proximity to another tracer,” says Reedus of his recent return to the AMC series, adding: "We're being super safe. There's a ton of rules now. Everybody's masked up or has shields on. I have a big scar on my face so that this mask doesn't work, so I wear the shield everybody else wears masks. “They take our temperature right off the bat. We get tested three times a week. We do the rapid testing.”

        # TOPICS: Norman Reedus, AMC, The Walking Dead, Coronavirus

      • Would The Office's Dwight Schrute be a member of the Proud Boys in 2020?
        Source: Gen

        "Given the chaos of 2020, it’s been harder to relax when I watch The Office," says Sarah Rosenthal. "Dwight’s worries about grandiose threats, emergency preparedness, and flashy displays of dominance seemed hilariously exaggerated in 2005. Now, his toxic masculinity doesn’t lend itself to humor in the same way. He’s an exaggeration of what was always there, simmering beneath the surface of our workplaces; he’s a man worried about others who don’t look or sound like him taking what he assumes to be his. The hum of energy he emits onscreen hits differently now. Yes, Dwight is a fictional character. His politics aren’t a direct corollary to Trumpism. And his character is just one of many aspects of The Office that make the show a product of the ’00s — Steve Carell has cited these elements as a reason why the show shouldn’t be rebooted in the way many other classic TV shows have. But I can’t help wondering what Dwight would look like in the year 2020. It isn’t difficult to imagine him getting fired for harassing women in the office or making professional decisions about co-workers based on race or ethnicity or sexuality. I suspect he’d vote for Trump or become a follower of QAnon. I fear he’d be one of the many who stock up on assault weapons after mass shootings. I wonder if he’d be one of the Proud Boys that President Trump told to 'stand back and stand by' in the first presidential debate."

        # TOPICS: Rainn Wilson, The Office (US), Proud Boys, Retro TV

      • John Cena sent Eric Andre to the hospital after a stunt gone wrong while filming The Eric Andre Show
        Source: People

        "John Cena did the stunt right, but we prepped for the stunt wrong," Andre explained to Jimmy Kimmel, showing him a clip of Cena throwing him into a bookcase. "That metal came over and clocked me in the head, and I got concussed," Andre explained of the scene. "I got concussed, and I went to the hospital ... immediately."

        # TOPICS: Eric Andre, Adult Swim, The Eric Andre Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, John Cena

      • Boardwalk Empire's Terence Winter is developing an NYPD "Mafia Cops" drama series
        Source: Deadline

        The Emmy-winning former Sopranos writer is adapting the 2003 book Friends of the Family: The Inside Story of the Mafia Cops Case telling the true story of a pair of NYPD detectives who secretly worked for the mafia. Former NYPD Detective Tommy Dades, who co-wrote the book with former Brooklyn prosecutor Mike Vecchione and David Fisher, will work on the untitled series with Winter. This is the second mob drama Winter has in the works.

        # TOPICS: Terence Winter, Untitled Terence Winter Mafia Cops Drama, Tommy Dades, In Development

      • Schitt's Creek cracks Nielsen's Streaming Top 10 for the first time in wake of its Emmy dominance
        Source: Variety

        For the week after its many Emmys at the Primetime Emmys, Schitt's Creek placed fifth on Nielsen's Streaming Top 10 list.

        # TOPICS: Schitt's Creek, Nielsen

      • Tyra Banks slams report she wants to ban Real Housewives from Dancing with the Stars
        Source: Page Six

        “This is 100 percent untrue,” her longtime publicist Elana Rose said of the OK Magazine report. “She’s a huge fan of the Housewives and everyone knows Tyra is a businesswoman first. As a businesswoman, why would she say anything against the Housewives? She has nothing to do with casting.”

        # TOPICS: Tyra Banks, ABC, Dancing with the Stars, The Real Housewives Franchise, Reality TV

      • Former MSNBC host Martin Bashir is "seriously unwell" with coronavirus complications
        Source: Deadline

        "We are sorry to say that Martin is seriously unwell with Covid-19 related complications," said a BBC spokesperson of Bashir, who currently works as BBC News' religion editor. "Everyone at the BBC is wishing him a full recovery. We’d ask that his privacy, and that of his family, is respected at this time.” The British journalist is famous for his interviews with Princess Diana and Michael Jackson. Bashir resigned from MSNBC in 2013 after getting suspended for suggesting on-air that someone should defecate in Sarah Palin's mouth.

        # TOPICS: Martin Bashir, MSNBC, BBC News, Coronavirus

      • The Voice contestants may be benefitting from the lack of a live studio audience
        Source: CNN

        "It's definitely one of our better singing vocal seasons, and a lot of us are wondering if that has something to do (with the fact that) there was no audience and maybe the singers could actually hear themselves better without the crowd," says executive producer Audrey Morrissey. "I'll tell you that the coaches commented that they felt they could hear the singing better, which makes sense because they didn't have the audience." ALSO: The Voice's return offers comfort food amid COVID uncertainty.

        # TOPICS: The Voice, NBC, Audrey Morrissey, Coronavirus, Reality TV

      • Watch Adele speak with an American accent in her SNL promos
        Source: YouTube

        Adele filmed her promos with Kate McKinnon and musical guest H.E.R.

        # TOPICS: Adele, Saturday Night Live, H.E.R., Kate McKinnon, Trailers & Teasers

      • Netflix's animated World War II drama The Liberator gets a trailer and premiere date
        Source: YouTube

        The animated series revolving around "a diverse, deeply brave crew of ragtag soldiers become some of the most heroic fighters of the European invasion in World War II" premieres Nov. 11.

        # TOPICS: The Liberator, Netflix, Trailers & Teasers

      • Showtime unveils The Reagans trailer
        Source: YouTube

        The four-part docuseries, premiering Nov. 15, will delve into Ronald and Nancy Reagan's time in the White House.

        # TOPICS: The Reagans, Showtime, Documentaries, Trailers & Teasers