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      • The Trump presidency was more like an antihero cable drama than a reality show
        Source: Politico

        "For years, struggling with how to think about this crazy presidency, people have compared the Donald Trump administration to reality TV," says Joanna Weiss. "The tropes showed up daily: the shameless overstatement, the manufactured conflict, the need for a winner and loser at the end of every news cycle. Trump was already a reality TV star, which meant he knew the tricks. And of course, this all was actually real life. It’s true that the Trump show has been a lot like television. But as an overall arc, these past five years were less like a reality show than a different genre entirely: a prestige cable drama, the kind built around a powerful antihero. The antihero show—of which HBO’s The Sopranos remains the shining example—has become its own kind of cliché over the past two decades. It revolves around a central figure, a singular agent of chaos: usually male, surprisingly charismatic, emotionally inaccessible, simmering with rage that sometimes bubbles to the surface, and all-too-willing to cross ethical boundaries. Think Walter White in AMC’s Breaking Bad, Don Draper in AMC’s Mad Men. (The list keeps growing: Kendall Roy in HBO’s Succession, Bobby Axelrod in Showtime’s Billions, Marty Byrde in Netflix’s Ozark.) The antihero embodies some blunt truths about humanity. He creates his own convenient code of ethics. He finds fissures in the system and sucks supporting characters into his maelstrom. He holds up a mirror to our frailties, while making us feel superior for being less venal than that. This was the real-life Trump who occupied the Oval Office. The lifelong political players who entered his orbit, with barely an exception, were marked and remade into Trumpians in the end. The Washington he blustered into wasn’t some utopia he sullied, but a flawed enterprise that he exposed for its many weaknesses. And watching him was, for many, an obsession. Over the past five years, Trump’s fiercest hate-watchers and biggest fans followed his moves and tweets the way addicted viewers do: incapable of looking away, driven to rehash and recount every sordid moment. The Trump drama played out over a few distinct seasons. Season One was a come-from-behind campaign story that ended with unlikely victory. Season Two showcased an accidental administration, with supporting roles for Sean Spicer, Steve Bannon and Anthony Scaramucci. Season Three centered on the Mueller Investigation. (Mid-series plots always tread water for a bit as the writers bide time ‘til the finale.) Season Four upped the dramatic ante with an election and a global pandemic. The comparisons are so eerily accurate that it’s tempting to look to TV for predictions about how this all ends." But how does it all end? Weiss thinks that Trump's post-presidency will end up playing out more like The Shield's acclaimed series finale. "He thought he’d beaten the system, but in fact, the system prevailed, chopping the flawed hero down into a bureaucratic also-ran," she says of Vic Mackey. The same can be said about Trump and the United States.

        # TOPICS: Trump Presidency, The Shield, Donald Trump

      • Joe Exotic fails to secure a Trump pardon
        Source: Newsweek

        On President Trump's final morning in office, the White House released a list of 73 people receiving pardons. But the Tiger King star, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was not on the list. Joe Exotic's attorneys submitted a 257-page formal application to the White House and were so confident that he would be pardoned that they had a stretch limo standing by on Tuesday along with a beauty crew. It's still not clear, though, if Trump will pardon any more people in the final hours of his presidency. ALSO: CNN's Jim Acosta reads a quote referring to Joe Exotic as a "dipsh*t" live on air.

        # TOPICS: Joe Exotic

      • Seth Meyers says "f*ck off" to Trump, warns that Trumpism could happen again
        Source: The Daily Beast

        The Late Night host began his Inauguration Eve "A Closer Look" segment on the end of the Trump presidency by pointing to the president's “meaningless, lie-filled farewell message” on Tuesday. “F*ck off, you don’t get to do that,” he said, according to The Daily Beast. “You don’t want to do any of the hard parts of leaving like gracefully admitting you lost and attending your successor’s inauguration, but you want us to watch your lie-filled 20-minute farewell speech, which I am certain you are reading for the first time?” Meyers then looked back at the first "incredibly stupid lie" of the Trump presidency: the size of his inauguration crowd. That lie, he said, paved the way to the "poisonous" lies about coronavirus and the 2020 election. “It’s not just that Trump inhabits an unhinged fantasy world, which he does,” he said, “or that he and his aides lie as easily as they breathe, which they do, it’s that the entire federal bureaucracy was dragged into defending a narcissistic president’s delusion. And anyone who refused to support the lie was punished.” Closing out his segment, Meyers warned that while the Trump presidency is just about finally over, “the corruption, the authoritarianism and the moral rot Trump exposed within the GOP and our system will remain and we can’t just let it go. We’ve got to fix it. And we have to hold accountable the people responsible for it, from the top all the way down. Otherwise, this four-year-long nightmare we’ve all lived through could very well happen again.”


        • Stephen Colbert looks back at the Trump era, and opts to celebrate the "heroes" worth "celebrating": “That’s you, the American people," Colbert said. "For all of his dangerous assaults on democracy, in the end democracy kicked his a** all the way back to Florida. You should be proud of yourselves.”
        • Jimmy Kimmel wonders if becoming president was worth it for Trump: "Six years ago, we were all perfectly fine to let him keep bumbling around New York, pretending to be a billionaire," Kimmel said, according to The New York Times. "He could have been hosting golf tournaments, making TGI Fridays commercials, playing this role he created of the wealthy tycoon. He could have bought a couple of new helicopters, a couple new wives, and we would have all just rolled our eyes and been like, ‘Oh, that’s Donald Trump.’ Probably would’ve landed a sweet gig as the cranky TV judge on some hooded celebrity pie-eating competition. That’s where Donald Trump belonged. But now, most of the country despises him; most of the world despises him. We found out he pays no taxes; he has no money; he is likely to face criminal charges in New York. Nobody will do business with him. Can’t host a golf tournament; can’t even operate a carousel in his hometown anymore. His wife hates him; his kids are screwed. He’s got to hole up in that Cheesecake Factory with a golf course in Florida he lives in for the rest of his life. He won’t be able to invite centerfolds up to his office anymore, and he’ll be generally thought of as the worst president in the history of the United States. So was it worth it? For him, it probably was, but it’s over now.”
        • Conan O'Brien presents the end credits for the Trump administration
        • James Corden bids farewell Trump with a Les Misérables parody

        # TOPICS: Seth Meyers

      • Fox News' ratings decline proves that closely aligning with Trump has consequences
        Source: Los Angeles Times

        "If there’s any question as to how the conservative news network became a legitimizer of Trump’s propaganda and deep-state fantasies, Fox News’ devolution has been televised," says Lorraine Ali. "The crown jewel of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, at least in the U.S., has propagated any number of the Trump administration’s most consequential and damaging falsehoods, many in the service of exonerating or supporting the president himself in a time of scandal or crisis. (Which, as we’ve all experienced firsthand, was essentially his entire term.) Staffer Seth Rich involved in DNC email leak! Immigrant caravans at the border riddled with MS-13 gang members! Hunter Biden’s laptop! COVID-19 is a hoax! Stop the steal!</i> But years of unquestioning support for the president, including sowing mistrust about anything that challenges the White House’s narrative, is beginning to have consequences. Fox News’ unholy alliance with Trump brought with it white supremacists, hateful militias and conspiracy theorists who believe the outgoing president is the only person standing between humanity and a nefarious ring of Satan-worshipping, cannibalistic pedophiles. The news organization’s ratings have been in decline since election day, a slide many attribute to competition from media sources even further to the right; on Tuesday, it laid off political director Chris Stirewalt and others. Now, as Trump leaves office, the cable news network that fueled his rise to power faces an ugly dilemma of its own making: continue to feed the monster it helped create or be destroyed by the monster’s wrath."


        • Fox News' early Arizona call on election night looks to have done major damage: "The Arizona call became a flash point among Trump supporters, some of whom threatened to abandon the network," reports The Washington Post's Sarah Ellison. "Indeed, as the president continued his baseless attacks on the election results, smaller outlets such as Newsmax cornered the market on the story and saw big increases in their audience, Murdoch, Fox News’s co-founder, has told colleagues that the way Fox handled the Arizona call caused reputational damage and cemented the view among some Trump supporters that the network is aligned against him. Even though Fox’s projection ended up being accurate, Murdoch has fretted that it was handled poorly."
        • Fox News fired political editor Chris Stirewalt's staunch defense of calling Arizona for Biden likely led to his firing: "Mr. Stirewalt appeared on Fox News several times on election night and the days afterward," reports The New York Times' Rachel Abrams and Michael M. Grynbaum. "He vigorously defended the network’s early call of Arizona, even as anchors like Martha MacCallum grilled him about the decision; other TV networks did not call Arizona for Mr. Biden until days later. On Nov. 4, asked on-air about the Trump campaign’s baseless claims of fraud, Mr. Stirewalt memorably replied, “Lawsuits, schmawsuits. We haven’t seen any evidence yet that there’s anything wrong. Mr. Stirewalt’s analysis bore out: Mr. Trump did not win Arizona and his team produced no credible findings of fraud. But Mr. Stirewalt’s defense of the Arizona call drew condemnation from Trump fans, and he soon disappeared from the network’s coverage; his last on-air appearance at Fox News was Nov. 16."
        • Why a Fox News-style cable news network can't succeed in Britain: "Though the UK media scene is defined in part by a freewheeling and often partisan tabloid press with its own share of conspiracy theories, its TV news channels largely frame their coverage down the middle, with broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV maintaining high levels of public trust," reports CNN's Julia Horowitz. "Rupert Murdoch's Fox News is no longer on air in the country after failing to generate a significant viewer base. A big factor in this is media regulator Ofcom, which enforces rules on impartiality and accuracy for all news broadcasters. Those who breach the rules can be censured or fined — putting pressure on TV channels to play stories fairly straight."
        • Greg Gutfeld is under consideration for his own Fox News late-night show

        # TOPICS: Fox News Channel, Chris Stirewalt

      • Bridgerton author says "it's crazy" seeing her books all over bestseller lists
        Source: Indiewire

        It's been a whirlwind few weeks for Julia Quinn, whose books inspired the Shonda Rhimes Netflix series that has inspires people to create TikTok musicals based on the show. The first Bridgerton book is No. 1 on The New York Times' e-book fiction bestseller list. “The New York Times list, at least, I’ve never had more than one book at a time on and right now there are three. Two of those books came out 21 years ago. And ‘The Duke and I’ actually is now two weeks at No. 1 — which is also new for me. I’ve hit No. 1 before once, but with romance, usually you you hit high and then you fade fast. So that’s also new,” Quinn tells IndieWire. “The USA Today list — right now I have 10 books on it, which is nuts. You know, I’m not a fast writer, so maybe some people who write really quickly can do that, but I sure can’t.”

        # TOPICS: Bridgerton, Julia Quinn

      • The CW app skyrockets to the top of the app store thanks to the "Netflix effect"
        Source: The Verge

        Fans of shows who've watched shows like Riverdale and All American on Netflix are turning to The CW's app to watch episodes shortly after they air.

        # TOPICS: The CW

      • She-Hulk adds Ginger Gonzaga
        Source: Deadline

        The Kidding alum has been cast as the best friend of Tatiana Maslany's Jennifer Walters on the Marvel Disney+ series.

        # TOPICS: She-Hulk, Ginger Gonzaga

      • Netflix confirms it's adding a streaming roulette feature
        Source: Gizmodo

        The new feature will allow Netflix to pick what browsing-averse viewers' watch based on their user preferences. “Our members can basically indicate to us that they want to skip browsing entirely, click one button, and we’ll pick a title for them just to instantly play. And that’s a great mechanism that’s worked quite for members in that situation,” Netflix COO and chief product officer Greg Peters said during an earnings Q&A. The new feature doesn't yet have a name.

        # TOPICS: Netflix

      • Peaky Blinders to end with Season 6
        Source: Variety

        The hit BBC period crime drama, shown in the U.S. on Netflix, will end after its upcoming sixth season, but creator Steven Knight has promised the story will “continue in another form.” The BBC revealed the news today in announcing that production on Season 6 had had resumed under strict COVID guidelines in the United Kingdom. Knight had previously told Entertainment Weekly in 2019 that he expected Peaky Blinders to make it to Season 7. But the pandemic delay on shooting Season 6 likely played a role in the decision to end the series. "Peaky is back and with a bang," Knight said in a statement. "After the enforced production delay due to the Covid pandemic, we find the family in extreme jeopardy and the stakes have never been higher. We believe this will be the best series of all and are sure that our amazing fans will love it. While the TV series will be coming to an end, the story will continue in another form.” It's unclear what the "another form" will entail, but Knight told EW in 2019 he was considering a movie. “Possibly,” Knight said at the time. “I’m ruling nothing out, and a film is certainly a strong possibility.”

        # TOPICS: Peaky Blinders, BBC, Netflix, Steven Knight, Cancelations, Renewals & Pickups

      • Fox News insisted its Seth Rich lawsuit settlement be revealed after the election -- and paid so much that it didn't have to apologize
        Source: The New York Times

        The cable news network's settlement with the Rich family over its role in repeatedly hyping the false claim that the late Democratic National Committee staffer was responsible for leaking DNC emails during the 2016 presidential campaign was revealed on Nov. 24, but was agreed to on Oct. 12, reports The New York Times' Ben Smith. "Fox’s decision to settle with the Rich family came just before its marquee hosts, Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity, were set to be questioned under oath in the case, a potentially embarrassing moment," reports Smith. "And Fox paid so much that the network didn’t have to apologize for the May 2017 story on But there was one curious provision that Fox insisted on: The settlement had to be kept secret for a month — until after the Nov. 3 election. The exhausted plaintiffs agreed. Why did Fox care about keeping the Rich settlement secret for the final month of the Trump re-election campaign? Why was it important to the company, which calls itself a news organization, that one of the biggest lies of the Trump era remain unresolved for that period? Was Fox afraid that admitting it was wrong would incite the president’s wrath? Did network executives fear backlash from their increasingly radicalized audience, which has been gravitating to other conservative outlets? Fox News and its lawyer, Joe Terry, declined to answer that question when I asked last week. And two people close to the case, who shared details of the settlement with me, were puzzled by that provision, too. The unusual arrangement underscores how deeply entwined Fox has become in the Trump camp’s disinformation efforts and the dangerous paranoia they set off, culminating in the fatal attack on the Capitol 11 days ago. The network parroted lies from Trump and his more sinister allies for years, ultimately amplifying the president’s enormous deceptions about the election’s outcome, further radicalizing many of Mr. Trump’s supporters."

        # TOPICS: Fox News Channel, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Seth Rich, Cable News, Legal

      • It took just five days for Fox News to essentially move on from the U.S. Capitol riot
        Source: Slate

        By Monday of last week, Fox News went from covering the U.S. Capitol siege to focusing its outrage on President Trump's deplatforming on social media. “This, to me, is a five-alarm fire for America," Brian Kilmeade said on Fox & Friends. "A five-alarm fire for America," writes Justin Peters of Kilmeade's words. "While the roughly concurrent deplatforming of the president of the United States and a microblogging app popular among right-wingers is an important news story under any circumstances, Kilmeade’s assertion seemed more than a little overheated considering the bloody, historic context in which the bans occurred. After all, it was mere days after a mob, convened and incited by Donald Trump, toted the Confederate flag into the U.S. Capitol and erected a gallows near the Capitol Reflecting Pool, while some in the mob chanted 'Hang Mike Pence!' This deadly riot was preceded by two months of lies about a “stolen” election, told by Trump and a cross-section of his enablers, as well as literally decades of scaremongering from Kilmeade’s employer about the character and intentions of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media. It’s true that other right-wing outlets have done more than Fox News to promote the stolen-election lie, but that hardly absolves the network; just because Fox hasn’t been the most dishonest network over the past two months doesn’t mean it still hasn’t been consistently dishonest for years and years. The actual five-alarm fire was one that Trump and Fox News had themselves built, stoked, and tended up until the day it nearly consumed the republic. Obviously, there can be multiple five-alarm fires raging at the same time—for more on this exciting prospect, please see my latest Chicago Fire spec script—but by any reasonable measure of newsworthiness, the siege of the federal legislature is clearly the fire that merits the most attention, especially from a flag-waving, law-and-order cable network such as Fox News. Right? Wrong! By Monday morning (last week), Fox News had all but moved on from the story of the Capitol riot, so eager was the network to get back to yelling about the suppressive left. Consigning the Capitol story to a series of passing references, for three hours Fox & Friends made a passionate case for the right of extremely online MAGA propagandists to be able to harass, incite, and misinform people free from any and all consequences." ALSO: Jake Tapper calls out Fox News hosts for promoting hte "Big Lie" of a stolen election.

        # TOPICS: Fox News Channel, Jake Tapper, Cable News, U.S. Capitol Takeover

      • Garth Brooks to perform at the Biden-Harris inauguration: "This is not a political statement, this is statement of unity"
        Source: ETonline

        "This is kind of how I get to serve this country," the country star said today about being invited by Jill Biden, adding: "I've played for every president there is, since Carter, with the exception of Reagan. This is an honor for me to get to serve... and it's one of the things that, if my family is around, no matter who the president-elect is, it's an honor to be asked." ALSO: Tony Goldwyn will host the inaugral's virtual parade, while Jon Stewart will make a cameo.

        # TOPICS: Garth Brooks, Joe Biden, Jon Stewart, Kamala Harris, Tony Goldwyn, Biden-Harris Inauguration

      • RuPaul’s Drag Race is expanding into Australia and New Zealand
        Source: Variety

        RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under will stream exclusively on WOW Presents Plus in the U.S.

        # TOPICS: RuPaul’s Drag Race, WOW Presents Plus, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, Reality TV

      • MTV cuts a 2005 Challenge episode from streaming that showed bullying
        Source: TMZ

        "Netflix left a controversial episode from one of MTV's most popular shows on the cutting room floor ... an episode infamous for some severe bullying," reports TMZ. "Here's the deal ... the streaming giant just added 2 seasons of MTV's Real World/Road Rules Challenge, but fans will instantly notice something's missing ... some behind-the-scenes clips featuring 3 female cast members going after another female contestant."

        # TOPICS: The Challenge, MTV, Reality TV

      • The Boys will adapt the comic's famous "Herogasm" arc
        Source: TheWrap

        The six-issue spinoff The Boys: Herogasm was a takeoff on comic book crossovers, featuring sex and drugs.

        # TOPICS: The Boys, Amazon

      • Amber Ruffin sings "White Supremacists Facing Consequences Fills Me with Joy"
        Source: The Mary Sue

        In Ruffin's first Peacock show since the U.S. Capitol siege, Ruffin and her writer Tarik Davis, sang a song in response to the schadenfreude of watching the insurrectionists getting arrested and kicked off of planes. “I am filled with joy, and a little bit of shame—but mostly so much joy,” they sang.

        # TOPICS: Amber Ruffin, Peacock, The Amber Ruffin Show, U.S. Capitol Takeover

      • Sam Esmail's Peacock Battlestar Galactica reboot may mix the binge and weekly release models
        Source: Indiewire

        "For me, it was like, ‘Let’s get in there and tell the right story and it will tell us how many episodes,'" Esmail tells Collider. "We may dump three episodes in a row because it’s a three-episode-long battle sequence that needs to be dropped in a row even though they’re three signifying chapters, and maybe each chapter is switching a point of view within that battle sequence. There may be a 20-minute episode that’s the backstory of one of the characters that gets dropped right after that." Esmail adds that before signing on for the reboot, he reached out to the original Battlestar Galactica reboot creator Ronald D. Moore, and they determined that Esmail's version won't be a reboot of Moore's version.

        # TOPICS: Battlestar Galactica (Peacock series), Peacock, Sam Esmail

      • The Bachelor's Matt James wants to "set the record straight": I do date Black women
        Source: People

        "People for some reason think I don't like Black women," he said on the Talking It Out with Mike & Bryan podcast. "The last women I've dated have all been Black women. I don't understand why that's so hard for people to understand. People should want you to be happy, regardless of if they're white, they're Black, they're Asian, whatever."

        # TOPICS: Matt James, ABC, The Bachelor, Reality TV

      • Mark Hamill expresses appreciation for The Mandalorian Season 2 finale director Peyton Reed
        Source: Entertainment Weekly

        Reed tweeted it "an honor and dream come true" to work with the Star Wars star. To which Hamill replied: "I am so grateful to have been given the unexpected  opportunity to revisit my character when he was still a symbol of hope & optimism. Your assured direction & kindness was a crucial element in the experience & means more to me than I can say."

        # TOPICS: Mark Hamill, Disney+, Star Wars: The Mandalorian, Peyton Reed

      • Check out the first trailer for Kenan Thompson's Kenan
        Source: YouTube

        The SNL star's long-awaited NBC comedy co-starring Don Johnson premieres Feb. 16.

        # TOPICS: Kenan, NBC, Trailers & Teasers

      • Queen Latifah's The Equalizer reboot unveils its official trailer
        Source: YouTube

        "I'm the one to call when you can't call 911," Latifah's Robyn McCall says in the trailer for the CBS crime drama premiering after the Super Bowl.

        # TOPICS: The Equalizer (2021 series), CBS, Trailers & Teasers

      • Young Rock trailer shows Dwayne Johnson's evolution from then to now
        Source: YouTube

        "Every hero has an origin story but not a full mustache at 15," NBC says of the comedy premiering Feb. 16.

        # TOPICS: Young Rock, NBC, Trailers & Teasers