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TV News Roundup: Jerry Seinfeld’s Netflix Stand-Up Special Sets Premiere Date

1 hour ago

In today’s roundup, Jerry Seinfeld announces his Netflix debut stand-up special, and “Real Housewives of New Jersey” lands a premiere date.

Dates

Jerry Seinfeld is making his Netflix debut on Sept. 19 with the original stand-up special “Jerry Before Seinfeld.” In the hour-long special, Seinfeld returns to The Comic Strip in New York City, the club that helped launch his career. Interspersed with new material, including legal pads with every joke he’s written since 1975 and childhood videos, Seinfeld will perform the jokes that put him on the comedy map.

Bravo Media’s “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” is returning for its eighth season on Wednesday, Oct. 4 at 9 p.m. Returning for Season 8 is Teresa Giudice, Melissa Gorga, Dolores Catania, and Siggy Flicker, who are joined by new housewife Margaret Josephs. The women are faced with new trials and tribulations that test their close friendship in the new season. The »


- Rebecca Rubin

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‘Web Therapy’ to Get British Remake by Channel 4, Stephen Mangan

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Channel 4 has announced a raft of new commissions, including a new comedy series from “Episodes” star Stephen Mangan that’s based on “Web Therapy” and a thriller from “Boardwalk Empire” staff writer Bash Doran.

Mangan will co-write and star in the British adaptation of the Emmy-nominated “Web Therapy.” Doran is writing period thriller “Jerusalem,” her first original for U.K. television. Channel 4 also announced a one-off documentary exploring gender fluidity and a four-part factual series featuring Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry. The four new commissions were announced Tuesday in Edinburgh on the eve of the Edinburgh Intl. Television Festival, which runs Aug. 23-25.

Mangan, who stars alongside Matt LeBlanc and Tamsin Greig in “Episodes” as a British sitcom writer whose show is horribly remade in the U.S., turns the tables with “Hang Ups.” He will co-write and appear in the new six-part half-hour sitcom adapted from “Web Therapy,” which »


- Robert Mitchell

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National Latino Media Council Vows ‘Militant’ Action Toward Big Four Networks, Sets Diversity Pact With CBS

2 hours ago

The National Latino Media Council is vowing to unleash a year of militant action in its quest to increase the representation of Latinos across the Big Four broadcast networks.

CBS Corp. has pledged to boost employment of Latino actors and creatives following an Aug. 17 meeting in Los Angeles. The gathering at CBS’ West Coast headquarters in Studio City included chairman-ceo Leslie Moonves; CBS’ newly appointed entertainment leaders Kelly Kahl and Thom Sherman; Thomas Saenz, chair of the Nlmc; and Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition. Nogales’ org is the most active of the 10 groups that comprise the Nlmc.

The Nlmc targeted CBS first among its broadcast peers because of what it viewed as the Eye’s poor track record in employing Latino actors, writers, directors, and producers. The group did a 10-year analysis of CBS’ statistics regarding Latinos and determined that the network’s track record was worse in the 2016-17 season than it »


- Cynthia Littleton

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‘Stranger Things’ Creators Want to End Series After Four Seasons

3 hours ago

Brothers Matt and Ross Duffer — creators of Netflix’s streaming hit “Stranger Things” — have done like “Game of Thrones’s” D.B. Weiss and David Benioff and slapped an expiration date on their popular series. During an interview with Vulture, the Duffer brothers explained that they envision “Stranger Things” ending after four seasons.

According to the brothers, Netflix has already renewed the series for a third season. But by the end of that season, the preteens of Hawkins, Ind., will be headed toward college.

“We’re thinking it will be a four-season thing and then out,” Ross said.

“We just have to keep adjusting the story,” Matt continued. “Though I don’t know if we can justify something bad happening to them once a year.”

Netflix declined to comment when reached by Variety.

While the news will undoubtedly disappoint some “Stranger Things” fans, they still have Season 2’s upcoming premiere to look forward to, which »


- Erin Nyren

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Dr. Phil’s Stage 29 Productions Inks First-Look Deal With CBS TV Studios, Names Julia Eisenman Head of Scripted TV

3 hours ago

Stage 29 Productions, led by Dr. Phil McGraw and his son Jay McGraw, has entered into a first-look development deal with CBS Television Studios, Variety has learned.

With this deal, Stage 29 will exclusively develop programming for new scripted dramas and comedies for broadcast and streaming platforms. The McGraws currently serve as executive producers of the hit CBS drama series “Bull,” which is based on Dr. Phil’s earlier career as a world-renowned trial sciences expert.

“I’m pleased to extend our long-standing relationship with our CBS family even further with this development deal,” Dr. Phil said.

In addition, Julia Eisenman will be joining Stage 29 as head of scripted television. She most recently served as senior vice president of development for EveryWhere Studios, where she oversaw development for the Lifetime Television movie “Who Killed Jon Benet?” and the Up Network TV series “Date My Dad.”

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Phil and »


- Joe Otterson

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Watch ‘Sesame Street’ Parody Luis Fonsi’s ‘Despacito’

3 hours ago

Justin Bieber was the first to have a hand in remixing Luis Fonsi’s summer jam “Despacito,” and now “Sesame Street” is taking a crack at it.

The latest “Sesame Street” production features Ernie parodying the hit single to be about his pal Rubber Duckie: “El Patito.” (“That’s Spanish for rubber duckie!”)

In the kid-friendly music video, Ernie sings, “Rubber Duckie, it is a connection/It doesn’t have to be a tubby session, ya/Take my day from zero to eleven, ya.”

He breaks out in Spanish for the chorus: “Oh, el patito, es mi favorito/Donde quiera que vaya hace su sonido/El patito es tu buen amigo/El patito.”

Bert starts off annoyed by the rendition (“Oh no, not this song again.”) but comes around at the end. “Hey! That song’s actually pretty catchy!” he admits.

The original music video featuring Daddy Yankee recently became the most-watched video on YouTube, as »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Eclipse Coverage Draws 5.1 Million Viewers to Cable News

4 hours ago

Cable news coverage of the total solar eclipse on Monday drew an estimated 5.1 million total viewers, according to Nielsen data.

The eclipse was at its peak from approximately 2-2:45 p.m. Et for most of the country. From 1-3 p.m. Et, Fox News led cable news coverage of the historic event in total viewers with 2.13 million, but was second in the key adults 25-54 demographic with 467,000 viewers. CNN was second in total viewers with 1.7 million, but first in the key demo with 567,000. MSNBC was third overall with 1.22 million viewers and 248,000 in the demo.

The eclipse was the first total solar eclipse to cross the United States since 1917. It was also the first to be visible from the mainland since 1979. A total blackout of the sun was visible for a few minutes along the 73-mile-wide “path of totality” that runs along a diagonal stretch of the country, starting in Oregon and ending in South Carolina.

“It »


- Joe Otterson

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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 Finale to Be Longest Episode Yet

4 hours ago

For many fans, the latest “Game of Thrones” episode, “Beyond the Wall,” was an emotional roller coaster. It’s teased deaths, major plots developments, and hinted at budding romances that left social media reeling.

Unfortunately, though, Season 7 is shorter than the usual 10 episodes, but fans can take solace in one thing: the finale, airing this Sunday, will be the longest episode of the HBO hit yet, clocking in at 79 minutes and 43 seconds, the networks confirmed on Tuesday.

Ravens tell us that the #GoTS7 finale will be 79 minutes and 43 seconds.

Watch “The Dragon and the Wolf” Sunday at 9Pm on @HBO. pic.twitter.com/zcCutpjqtp

Game Of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) August 22, 2017

HBO also revealed the episode’s name: “The Dragon and the Wolf.” The Season 7 finale will feature a meeting of the warring forces of Westeros, houses Lannister, Stark, and Targaryen, in order to discuss how to deal with the threat of a White Walker invasion, as »


- Matt Fernandez

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Endemol Shine North America Names Spike TV Vet Sharon Levy President of Unscripted, Scripted TV

5 hours ago

Endemol Shine North America has named Sharon Levy as its new president of unscripted and scripted television, the company announced Tuesday.

“Sharon is one of our industry’s most well-respected executives and brings with her a tremendous amount of experience developing and producing hits across a wide array of genres,” said Cris Abrego, chairman of Endemol Shine Americas and CEO of Endemol Shine North America. “We’re thrilled to have her joining our team here at Endemol Shine and leading our programming efforts going forward.”

Levy was most recently at Spike TV for 12 years, seven of which where spent as executive vice president of original series. During her seven years as executive vice president she oversaw the acquisition, creation and production of all entertainment throughout the network’s evolution. Levy transformed Spike’s programming lineup with hits such as “Ink Master,” “Bar Rescue” “Auction Hunters” and “Deadliest Warrior.”

“I’m truly excited to be returning to my »


- Joe Otterson

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‘American Horror Story: Cult’ Trailer Teases Consequences of 2016 Election

5 hours ago

The first official trailer for “American Horror Story: Cult” is here, giving us our initial looks at Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters’ characters, as well as the first real glimpse at how the horror anthology is taking on President Trump.

It may start off with the recognizable scene for many: a screaming Paulson in Michigan as newscasters announce that Donald Trump has won the 2016 election. But from Twisty the Clown to a child in danger, there’s a lot to dissect from there.

While Paulson’s character, Ally, is devastated by the election news, Peters’ character has a very different reaction, to say the least. With wild eyes and dyed blue hair, he screams as she rushes the TV.

Later, we find that Ally is going through some personal issues, probably in part due to the election results. “Since election night, it has all been getting so much worse,” she tells her therapist, played »


- Alex Stedman

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Fox News Leads Cable Coverage of President Trump’s Afghanistan Address

5 hours ago

President Donald Trump drew 10.1 million viewers on cable news during his address on the war in Afghanistan on Monday night, according to Nielsen data.

Trump’s speech aired from 9 p.m. Et until approximately 9:30. In that time frame, Fox News led all of cable news with 5.09 million total viewers with 1.22 million in the key adults 25-54 demographic. MSNBC was second in total viewers with 2.69 million but third in the demo with 569,000. CNN was third in total viewers with 2.35 million but second in the demo with 748,000.

In the 9 p.m. hour as a whole, Fox News led with 4.73 million and in demo with 1.12 million. MSNBC was second in total viewers with 2.91 million but third in the key demo with 622,000. CNN was third in total viewers with 2.5 million but second in the key demo with 790,000.

That is on top of the 17.5 million viewers the address drew across the Big 4 broadcast networks, according »


- Joe Otterson

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Allison Janney Jokes That Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Emmys Reign Will End This Year

5 hours ago

Emmy newcomers and vets mingled while toasting each other’s accomplishments at the Television Academy’s Performers Peer Group Celebration at the Montage Beverly Hills on Monday evening — presided over by academy governors Lily Tomlin and Patrika Darbo.

This Is Us,” which as a freshman series is up for 10 awards with nominations in numerous major categories, was represented by Chris Sullivan, Chrissy Metz, and Gerald McRaney, who are all up for awards. Susan Kelechi Watson also attended the event to support the show and her co-stars.

Metz revealed that she’s actually the calm one in her circle when it comes to Emmys preparations. “I never have identified with what I look like or what I wear because people judge me so quickly,” she said. “It’s not about what I’m wearing, it’s who I am.”

Metz said she can’t walk on the street anymore without being recognized, which »


- Erin Nyren

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MTV Video Music Awards Pre-Show to Feature Khalid, Bleachers, Lil Yachty and More (Exclusive)

6 hours ago

The MTV Video Music Awards are set to kick off on Aug. 27 with a pre-show concert to be broadcast live from the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.

Khalid, Bleachers, and Cardi B are due to take the stage at 3 p.m. Pt, two hours before the main event kicks off at 8 p.m. Et, while Lil Yachty will co-host the pre-show alongside MTV’s Terrence J, Charlamagne Tha God, and Gaby Wilson.

Bleachers will perform their track “Don’t Take the Money,” while Khalid will deliver a medley of hits, including “Location” and “Young Dumb & Broke,” and a rendition of Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow.”

The outdoor performance will be streamed live on MTV.com and on Twitter and continue throughout the multiplatform simulcast.

Among the artists on the bill for the primetime broadcast are Katy Perry, who also hosts; Kendrick Lamar; the Weeknd; Miley Cyrus; Ed Sheeran; Lorde; Fifth Harmony; Thirty Seconds to Mars; and Shawn Mendes. »


- Variety Staff

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Peter Tolan, Norman Lear Developing NBC Comedy With Production Commitment

6 hours ago

Peter Tolan and Norman Lear are developing a new comedy series with NBC, Variety has learned.

The network has given the new single-camera series, currently titled “Guess Who Died,” a pilot production commitment. Based on Lear’s personal experience of working well into his 90’s, the series is described as a humorous and inspiring look at the shared joys and challenges people experience at any stage of life.

Lear and Tolan will serve as executive producers and writers, with Brent Miller also executive producing. Lear’s Act III Productions and Tolan’s Cloudland Company will produce along with Sony Pictures Television. Cloudland is set up under an overall deal at Sony.

Lear is a television legend, having created, produced, and written classic shows such as “Good Times,” “Maude,” “The Jeffersons,” “All in the Family,” and “One Day at a Time.” He has been nominated for 11 Emmy Awards during his storied career, winning »


- Joe Otterson

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Industry Leaders, New York Legislators Urge Governor to Sign Diversity Tax Credit Bill

6 hours ago

Leaders of New York’s film and TV production community and local legislators called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign the TV diversity tax credit bill that would earmark $5 million in state incentives in an effort to open doors for more women and people of color as writers and directors.

Robin Thede, creator and host of Bet’s upcoming “The Rundown with Robin Thede” and “House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon were on hand for the news conference in Manhattan. Thede, Willimon and others made the case for implementing the tax credit to help spur more diverse hiring practices throughout the industry.

“I am this bill,” Thede said. “I am living proof that something like this would be beneficial for many people.”

Thede ranks as the first and only woman of color to head the writers room of a late-night TV series, from her tenure at Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.” She »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Lorde, Carly Rae Jepsen to Guest on Bleachers’ ‘MTV Unplugged’ (Exclusive)

7 hours ago

The long-running franchise “MTV Unplugged” returns on Sept. 8 with a performance by Shawn Mendes. It will be followed a week later with Bleachers in the headlining slot. Joining the Jack Antonoff-fronted band will be special appearances by Lorde and Carly Rae Jepsen.

The “MTV Unplugged” reboot tapes at venues the artists feel a connection to. In Bleachers’ case, New Jersey’s Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Bleachers’ latest album, “Gone Now,” was released on June 2 on RCA Records.

“’Unplugged’ was the first time I played the songs from ‘Gone Now’ live,” said Antonoff.  “I had just finished making the album and I immediately went into rehearsal, deconstructing the songs I had just produced to play live at ‘Unplugged.’  It was all months before the world heard it and we got to change the arrangements at my favorite venue in the world with a small room full of people who had no cell phones. I »


- Shirley Halperin

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Common to Lead Starz ‘Black Samurai’ Series From RZA, Jerry Bruckheimer

7 hours ago

Common is set to play the lead role in a new Starz series based on the “Black Samurai” book series with Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Jerry Bruckheimer executive producing, the network announced Tuesday.

The series, which is currently in development, will follow Robert Sand (Common), a highly-trained American Army Ranger whose life is transformed when he meets a legendary Japanese master who invites him to train as a samurai. After his beloved sensei and samurai brothers are killed by mercenaries, Sand is thrust on a worldwide journey of both revenge and self-discovery.

“We cannot wait for the world to meet Robert Sand – part Jason Bourne, part James Bond, and 100% the hero we need today,” said Carmi Zlotnik, president of programming for Starz. “‘Black Samurai’ promises to be an action-packed ride and with the Bruckheimer team, Common, RZA and Andre at the helm, we can feel certain this will be exceptional storytelling.”

Bruckheimer »


- Joe Otterson

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Peak TV Gives Way to More Actors-Turned-Producers

7 hours ago

Peak TV has yet to truly peak. In his most recent Television Critics Assn. press tour exec session, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf estimated that 2017 could see as many as 534 new original scripted television series air before the year’s end. That would represent an 18% increase from last year — and a 154% increase from 2009.

Landgraf tied the ever-growing number of television series to macroeconomic trends that have been decades in the making, as well as a “titanic struggle” between old-school media conglomerates and the emerging tech giants looking to eat their lunch.

But peak TV has also had more microeconomic effects than even Landgraf could count. Among them is the empowerment of on-camera talent. In a world of 534 call sheets, a different actor’s name tops each. More and more, those actors are leveraging the demand for lead performers to secure producing roles — and not just in name only.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has more leverage than most. Already »


- Daniel Holloway

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Remembering Jerry Lewis, the World’s First Rock Star of Imbecility

7 hours ago

Jerry Lewis, who died last week at 91, was hardly the first comedian to make people laugh by acting transcendently idiotic. The Marx Brothers took hilarious head-spinning dives into the outer limits of surreal silliness. So did Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello and the Three Stooges. But Jerry Lewis was the world’s first rock star of imbecility.

If you watch one of his comedy routines with Dean Martin from the ’40s and ’50s, you see something amazing. Martin, brandishing his sleepy-eyed cocktail-lounge machismo, was the straight man, and Lewis, flitting and prancing around him, was a one-man circus of slapstick brain damage — he jumped on people, he brayed out words in a mincing baby voice, he crossed his eyes and giggled at his own jokes, and every so often he slipped in a crack so smart that it let you know everything he was doing was a put-on. Yet it was Martin, the »


- Owen Gleiberman

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Fox 21 Television Studios Names Andy Richley Senior VP of Development

7 hours ago

Fox 21 Television Studios has named Andy Richley as the new senior vice president of development, Fox 21 announced Tuesday.

In this role, Richley will focus on the development of programs for cable channels and streaming services, as well as identify fresh talent and concepts for series from the studio. He will work closely with executives from all platforms and the agent community, and will drive projects through the development process, from inception through production. He will report to Fox 21 president Bert Salke

“Andy is someone we’ve known and have been interested in for some time,” Salke said. “His many years of work at Lionsgate speaks for itself and given how competitive the landscape has become, we feel extremely lucky to be working with Andy.”

Richley comes to Fox 21 Television Studios following a 12 year stint in development and programming at Lionsgate Television, having served the last 6 years as senior vice president. He »


- Joe Otterson

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