Jasika Nicole on ‘Underground,’ Representation and Rewriting History
A good character introduction is one of the greatest joys television can offer, and in the March 8 “Underground” season premiere, viewers were treated to two of them.
Harriet Tubman (Aisha Hinds) made her debut in a crackling action scene set to Beyonce’s “Freedom”: A confrontation with men hunting for fugitive slaves depicted a confident Tubman holding an ax in one hand and a shotgun in the other. Suffice to say that Tubman and her compatriot Rosalee (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) came out ahead in that encounter on “Underground,” a saga that interweaves the stories of a number of slaves, all of whom are linked to each other through the common goal of freedom.
A few scenes later, the escaped-slave narrative introduced the fictional Georgia (Jasika Nicole), a quieter but no less driven woman who runs a boarding house. Georgia is a resourceful and welcoming woman who hosts a sewing circle at her home — but don’t expect »
- Maureen Ryan
Andrew Garfield to Star as Afghanistan War Reporter in Indie ‘Black Lion’
Andrew Garfield will star as real-life Afghanistan War reporter Carlos Mavroleon in the indie “Black Lion” for Stay Gold Pictures, the company announced Tuesday. Garfield will also produce the film with Rupert Fowler and Daniela Taplin Lundberg, with Nicholas Mavroleon, Aidan Hartley, and Alessandro Camon as executive producers. The project is based off a pitch by Camon, who received an Oscar nomination in 2010 for co-writing the screenplay for “The Messenger.” Mavroleon was the Harvard-educated heir to an English/Greek shipping empire who decided to leave Wall Street behind and take on the most dangerous assignments in journalism. Also Read: Scarlett Johansson Defends. »
- Jeremy Fuster
'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' Remake Finds Director
Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson are attached to star on the new take on the 1988 comedy that starred Steve Martin and Michael Caine. The script features two women from different walks of life teaming up to con a tech prodigy out of his money.
Jac Schaeffer penned the script for MGM's new version.
Addison’s boarding marks a reunion of the key members behind the unmade comedy The Shower. Schaeffer wrote the script that told of baby a shower that gets upstaged by »
- Borys Kit
Fox Business Tops CNBC in Back-to-Back Quarters for First Time Ever
Fox Business Network picked up its first back-to-back quarterly victory over CNBC in Business Day viewers after beating its rival in the first quarter of 2017. Fox Biz averaged 212,000 total viewers, the most-watched quarter in the history of the network, compared to 183,000 for CNBC. “People are finding us. We have a sweet spot in that we are focused, pretty much entirely, on this intersection of politics and the economy,” Fbn host Trish Regan told TheWrap last year when the momentum was starting to build. Also Read: Has Fox Business Dethroned CNBC as New King of Daytime Cable Biz News? Among the. »
- Brian Flood
Rooney Mara Is Haunted by Casey Affleck in ‘A Ghost Story’ Trailer (Watch)
The clip is a meditative exploration that shows a distraught Mara dealing with the tragedy of her deceased spouse, often manifested as a simple ghost in a bed sheet.
“When I was little we used to move all the time,” Mara says. “I would write these notes, and I would fold them really small and I would hide them.”
“What did they say?” Affleck asks.
“They were just things I wanted to remember so if I ever wanted to go back, there would be a piece of me waiting,” Mara responds.
The film, which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, takes place almost entirely in a single house in Texas with a ghost wearing the bed sheet after Affleck’s character dies in a car accident. »
- Dave McNary
Andrew Garfield to Star in Afghanistan War Drama 'Black Lion'
Andrew Garfield is set to star in Black Lion, a movie drama about a true-life Afghanistan war correspondent.
The pic, in development at Stay Gold Features after it acquired the property, is based on the true-life story of Carlos Mavroleon, a British aristocrat who went from being a Wall Street trader to working as a war correspondent.
Black Lion portrays Mavroleon in global conflict zones and on a final assignment for 60 Minutes, where he was tasked with sneaking into Afghan tribal territories immediately after President Bill Clinton’s 1998 missile strikes against the Bin Laden camps.
Mavroleon was one of »
- Etan Vlessing
Fox News Has Best Quarter in Cable News History While CNN, MSNBC Show Growth
Fox News Channel finished the first quarter of 2017 with the highest-rated quarter ever in cable news history in 24-hour viewership, proving that the Trump era is resulting in must-see TV. Fox News finished No. 1 among all of cable in both primetime and total day viewership. The win gives Rupert Murdoch’s network 61-straight quarters as the top news network in both categories. Fnc’s “The O’Reilly Factor” had its highest-rated quarter ever and broke all previous records in cable news history for the most-watched show ever in any quarter. Fox News averaged 1.7 million total day viewers, compared to 823,000 for CNN. »
- Brian Flood
Chuck Barris Appreciation: Remembering the Goofy Producer With a Big Heart
Chuck Barris, the prolific producer who died March 21 at age 87, was a natural-born showman and entrepreneur. He had an irrepressibly raunchy and goofy sense of humor that was on display in his many successful TV series, from “The Dating Game” and “The Newlywed Game” to “The Gong Show” and “The $1.98 Beauty Show.”
Who else but Barris would take out an ad in Variety highlighting the fact that he’d had three shows canceled in six months? Who else would brag about his success with an ad headlined “We’re No. 1 Because We Work Harder” with a photo of the boss and his top execs at the beach?
He drew a fair amount of ridicule from industry colleagues later in life when he asserted in his 1984 memoir “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind »
- Cynthia Littleton
‘The Voice’ battle: Enid Ortiz vs. Valerie Ponzio with ‘Love Triangle’ for Team Blake Shelton [Poll]
The fifth of the nine battles on the March 27 episode of “The Voice” pitted two of Blake Shelton‘s artists — Enid Ortiz and Valerie Ponzio — against each other. For their battle song, Shelton chose “Love Triangle.” We didn’t see the full battle between these two on the show (it was posted in full online). Rather, there was just a short […] »
- Paul Sheehan
TLC to Revive ‘Trading Spaces,’ Animal Planet Takes Aim at ‘My Fat Pet’
TLC unveiled its plan to revive the show at the Discovery Communications upfront presentation Tuesday in New York, where the company unveiled a slew of new programs for core channels Discovery, Investigation Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, Science and Own. Among the new offerings that got a rise out of the upfront crowd was “My Fat Pet,” an Animal Planet series that vows to tackle obesity among cats and dogs.
Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav gave a shout-out in his opening remarks to TLC for its growth spurt during the past year. He credited TLC president Nancy Daniels with understanding the mood of the cabler’s largely female audience and the desire for a respite from the topsy-turvy world of politics and the edgier aspects of pop culture.
“TLC is Middle America,” Zaslav »
- Cynthia Littleton
Investigation Discovery Orders ‘The Von Bulow Affair’ Scripted True Crime Series From Ucp
Investigation Discovery is headed deep into scripted territory. The Discovery-owned network has ordered six-part true crime drama “The Von Bulow Affair” from Universal Cable Productions for a 2018 run on ID.
“Von Bulow” is among a whopping 660 hours of original programming that ID has on tap for the 2017-18 frame. The channel that has been the biggest success story in the Discovery family of the past seven years will also offer up its first scripted telepics and a range of docu series.
The channel that thrives on a diet of murder and mayhem has partnered with mystery writer James Patterson on an unusual initiative that will see Patterson write non-fiction books about murder cases covered in ID programming. ID will then turn those books into scripted productions. Patterson’s partnership with ID also includes the “Murder is Forever” true-crime series that debuts later this year.
The movies on deck are “Dating Game Killer,” the »
- Oriana Schwindt
Investigation Discovery to Revisit ‘Son of Sam’ Serial Killer Mystery in Docuseries
Investigation Discovery will dive deep into the serial killer known as Son of Sam in a new three-part documentary series, the cable network announced Tuesday. “Son of Sam: The Hunt for a Killer” will air in accordance with the 40th anniversary of the capture of the serial killer David Berkowitz. The docu-miniseries will track the parallel stories of a serial killer’s unsuspecting victims, while following the dedicated detectives who worked tirelessly to capture the man who left six young people dead, seven wounded, and countless families bereft. Also Read: Discovery Adds 'Cold Case Alaska,' 'Devil's Canyon' and »
- Linda Ge
Discovery Adds ‘Cold Case Alaska,’ ‘Devil’s Canyon’ and Yet Another Motor Monday Show
The Discovery Channel unveiled its full primetime slate for next season, including brand new series “Cold Case Alaska,” “Devil’s Canyon” and another show for Motor Monday, “Motorheads.” The male-centric cable network is bringing back 20 series, in addition to ordering 18 new ones. “Discovery Channel finished 2016 at the top of our game as cable’s #1 non-sports network in Men 25-54 with more Top 10 unscripted cable series than any other network,” said Rich Ross, Group President of Discovery, Animal Planet, Science Channel and Velocity. “I believe our upcoming slate of programming will continue to elevate the brand and deliver must-watch »
- Tony Maglio
TLC Resurrects ‘Trading Spaces,’ See Rest of Network’s Upcoming Slate
TLC is bringing back its famous home redecorating show “Trading Spaces” for its upcoming season, the network announced Tuesday along with the rest of its upcoming 2017-2018 slate. “Trading Spaces” ran from 2000 to 2008 and usually depicted two neighbors as they switch houses to redecorate a room in the other’s home with the help of one designer. They had two or three days (depending on the season) and a strict budget to adhere to. The show is coming back following a resurgence in the home decoration and renovation genre, with hits such as “Flip or Flop,” “House Hunters,” “The Property Brothers, »
- Carli Velocci
Billy Eichner Cast in ‘American Horror Story’ Season 7
The comedian is the newest star to come aboard Ryan Murphy’s anthology series, which switches up the cast each season, but also brings back returning players in new roles for each installment.
Details on Eichner’s character or storyline are being kept under wraps, staying true to “American Horror Story’s” secretive nature. The theme of Season 7 is also unknown at this point.
The funny-man has been cast in a heavily recurring role, and will appear in more than half of the episodes for Season 7, according to Deadline, who reports Eichner will play a close confidante of Paulson’s character and will mostly be wearing “mysterious tank tops.”
- Elizabeth Wagmeister
Former Fox News CFO Offered Immunity To Testify In Payments Inquiry – Report
The former chief financial officer of Fox News Channel, Mark Kranz, is said to have been offered immunity from prosecution by U.S. government attorneys looking into payments by the network and its parent, 21st Century Fox, to women who claimed to be harassed by Roger Ailes, the cable-news outlet’s former chief and leader, according to a report in The Financial Times.
Citing people briefed on the case, the Ft said Kranz and at least one other former executive have been offered immunity from prosecution by federal prosecutors looking into whether the media giant properly disclosed or accounted for financial settlements made to former Fox News employees who made claims of harassment. The Ft reported Kranz is among “multiple” people who have been subpoenaed in the matter, which first came to light in February at a New York State Supreme Court hearing involving Andrea Tantaros, who has sued Fox News over what she alleged was retaliation »
- Brian Steinberg
Bill O’Reilly Accused of Racism, Sexism Over Maxine Walters, James Brown Diss (Video)
Bill O’Reilly got himself in hot water on Tuesday after he joked on “Fox & Friends” that he “didn’t hear a word” of Democrat Maxine Waters’ speech against Donald Trump and the president’s staunchest supporters because of her “James Brown wig.” Waters, a longtime Democratic House representative from South Los Angeles, was shown on “Fox & Friends” calling out Trump supporters who consider themselves patriotic. Also Read: Maxine Waters Thinks President Trump Should Be Impeached Over Golden Showers (Video) “ fight against this president, and we point out how dangerous he is for this society and for this country, we’re fighting for the democracy, »
- Jeremy Fuster
Smurfette Images Removed From 'Smurfs' Posters in Israel
Israel's pious ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has long chafed at public displays of women, whether the images are of female public figures or ordinary women.
Now even animated characters appear to be a no-go.
The PR company promoting Smurfs: The Lost Village movie, which opens Thursday in Israel, says it has removed the images of Smurfette — the only female among the Smurf characters — from promo posters in the central Israeli city of Bnei Brak.
The Mirka'im-Hutzot Zahav company says it did so as not to offend the city's ultra-Orthodox residents.
The original poster shows Smurfette alongside friends Brainy, Clumsy »
- the Associated Press
‘Planet Earth II’: An Exclusive Look at This Season’s Filming Firsts
Hailed by Variety‘s Sonia Saraiya as “the most important program of our generation,” “Planet Earth II” took over three years to make, 40 countries to film in and 2,089 days to shoot. The final product features epic shots and never-before-seen animal behavior.
In advance of the March 28 release of its DVD and Blu-ray, the first natural history history TV series to do so in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, BBC Worldwide North America has shared an exclusive clip with Variety of some of the series’ “Filming Firsts.”
For instance, beetles make their way towards glowing mushrooms on screen thanks to new low light cameras. Railroad worms are revealed to be bioluminescent beetles with red and green lights on their bodies to help either hunt at night or deter predators.
In addition, the team visited the extraordinarily remote and uninhabited volcanic Zavodovski Island in the southern Atlantic Ocean, debuting footage of one of the largest penguin populations in the world »
- Dani Levy
See This ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ Reunion With Will Smith and Feel All Kinds of Nostalgia
This is the story all about how my life got flip-turned upside-down. And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, about how… a photo of the cast of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” made me feel all kinds of nostalgic. Alfonso Ribeiro, who played cousin Carlton on the long-running sitcom, posted a photo on his Instagram Monday showing a “Fresh Prince” reunion with the majority of the main cast. And seeing them all smiling together just makes us want to smile, too. “Always amazing to spend an afternoon with my Fresh Prince family,” he wrote. Always amazing to. »
- Carli Velocci
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