Remote Controlled: Ilene Chaiken Talks ‘Empire’ Spinoff: ‘You Might Hear Something in the Very Near Future’
Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front and behind the camera.
In this week’s episode, Variety TV reporter Elizabeth Wagmeister talks with “Empire” showrunner and executive producer Ilene Chaiken about the show’s chart-topping ratings, new characters being introduced (including Demi Moore), as well as the possibility of a spinoff.
“Empire,” which just kicked off the back-half of its third season this week, returned as the broadcast king, bringing in nearly 8 million viewers overnight.
Asked if she pays attention to numbers, Chaiken says, “You can’t get away from them. I’m certainly aware of them. I try not to pay attention to them because when your ratings are great, you celebrate them and say, ‘Our ratings are great and they’re the most important thing in the world,’ and then if you dip, you say, ‘Oh, I don’t care about ratings!’ We »
- Elizabeth Wagmeister
James Franco and Seth Rogen Set to Produce Kelly Oxford’s Totally Rad ’90s Teen Drama Series
Not much is known about the hourlong series other than it’s a teen show that’s set in the 1990s, according to Variety’s source. The duo will serve as executive producers on the project, along with Franco’s producing partner Vince Jolivette and Rogen’s frequent collaborator Evan Goldberg.
Franco and Rogen first met when they played outcast students on Paul Feig’s “Freaks and Geeks” alongside other future stars like Linda Cardellini, Jason legal, Martin Starr, John Francis Daley, Busy Philipps and Samm Levine. »
- Hanh Nguyen
Jake Gyllenhaal FaceTimes Ryan Reynolds on ‘Late Night’ to Prove They’re Actually Friends (Watch)
During Gyllenhaal’s appearance on “Late Night With Seth Meyers” on Thursday, Meyers questioned the pair’s friendship, claiming that people are “fascinated” by the fact that the pair could “actually be friends.”
“When you’re with contemporaries, you’re weirdly kept apart,” Gyllenhaal said. “I don’t know what it’s about but I guess you just are.”
But Gyllenhaal’s explanation was simply not convincing enough for Meyers — the only way to prove their friendship would be to get Reynolds on the phone. But after failing to reach him via FaceTime, Meyers conceded that this proves their non-existent friendship.
“You don’t know Ryan Reynolds,” Meyers teased.
But during a commercial break came a turn of events: When Meyers went backstage to deal with »
- Sarah Ahern
Lady Gaga Makes Entrance on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ Pranks Contestants (Watch)
But instead of a separate entrance, Gaga pretends to be one of the queens competing in the drag competition. She glides into the workroom with her face partially obscured by a headpiece.
“That a damn good Lady Gaga impersonator,” declares contestant Charlie Hides.
Gaga even recorded a segment as her male alter-ego “Ronnie,” before revealing her “true” self. “Ronnie” happens to be the name of one of her guard dogs.
Watch Gaga’s grand entrance here or above.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” moves from Logo to its sister network VH1 tonight, and will debut at 8pm. The show will also continue to air on the Lgbt-centric network.
- Lawrence Yee
‘Grace and Frankie’ Season 3 Review: Lily Tomlin Invents Geriatric Vibrators and the Series Has Never Been Better
By now, you know if “Grace and Frankie” is for you.
After two seasons of curiously addictive TV, it’s clear the talents of Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda are as undeniable as the show’s comedic and dramatic rhythms are challenging. You may love the cast, but find the storytelling uneven. You may want more comedy, more drama, or just more episodes — like the stars. But “Grace and Frankie” is exactly what it wants to be, whether you love it or remain oddly drawn to it, and Season 3 is all about being proud of that identity.
And to this critic, it should be.
The main thrust of Season 3’s first six episodes is unabashed openness: Grace and Frankie have started their own business, manufacturing vibrators for the elderly, and they’re not going to let social hang-ups about sex or ageist business practices get in their way. Grace’s »
- Ben Travers
‘Counterpart’ Exec Producer Amy Berg Departs After Season 1 Of Starz Series
Starz’s upcoming drama series Counterpart is making a change in the executive ranks between the first and second 10-episode seasons of its two-season straight-to-series order. Amy Berg (DaVinci’s Demons), who served as an executive producer on Season 1, has departed the series, which just wrapped shooting its first season in Los Angeles this week, in a mutual decision from all parties. Counterpart, from Mrc, Gilbert Films and Anonymous Content, stars J.K. Simmons… »
Is Grey's Doc Unsympathetic? When Did The Flash Meet Superman? Iron Fist Literally Stinks? And More Qs!
1 | Could Iron Fist‘s Danny have been any more inept, any slower, in convincing Joy and Ward of his identity? Also, after several days wearing the same dingy clothes — and that was on the heels of his long journey back to America — how riiiiipe was Danny smelling by the time Joy found him on her pristine office couch?
Related2017 Renewal Scorecard: What’s Coming Back? »
‘Talking Saul’ To Follow ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 3 Premiere & Final On AMC
AMC’s Talking franchise is revving up for a new season of Better Call Saul, setting series creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould and cast members Jonathan Banks and Rhea Seehorn for a post-premiere sit-down with Chris Hardwick on April 10. Talking Saul also will air after the season finale on June 12, with guest Tba. The Breaking Bad prequel is coming off a second consecutive Emmy noms for Outstanding Drama Series. Season 3 follows Jimmy McGill’s (Bob Odedkirk)… »
Tatiana Maslany Talks ‘Emotional’ End of ‘Orphan Black’
“Orphan Black” fans, known as the Clone Club, got a special treat at PaleyFest — a very early look at the Season 5 premiere, which won’t air until early June. The company had wrapped production on the farewell season a mere 36 hours earlier.
Tatiana Maslany remarked, “Every day was somebody’s goodbye. It was emotional. It was sad. It was awesome.” The company is tight-knit and Maslany was sincere when she talked about what she’d miss most. “The community, the Clone Club and the set — it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced,” she said.
One of the major storylines in the final season is longevity. Co-creator Graeme Manson noted, “John [Fawcett] and I knew that, in this feminist show, there’s a man at the top. Someone’s got to bring the man down. Think of the most evil patriarchal figure — the world’s oldest man. Westmoreland’s the top dog, like »
- Diane Gordon
House Intel Committee Gop Chair Cancels Obama Honchos’ Public Testimony On Russian Election Tampering
House Intel Committee’s top Dem on Friday blasted Gop chairman Devin Nunes after he cancelled Tuesday’s public hearing with members of the Obama administration. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates all had agreed to testify publicly before the committee on what they knew about Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. Nunes canceled the public hearing, and… »
Leah Remini To Reunite With Kevin James In ‘Kevin Can Wait’ Season Finale
Leah Remini is set to guest star in the season finale of CBS’ hit freshman comedy series Kevin Can Wait, a role that reunites her with her former TV husband Kevin James. The two previously starred together for nine seasons on CBS’ The King of Queens. In the two-part finale, Kevin agrees to come out of retirement briefly to reprise his undercover assignment in an ongoing police investigation where he and fellow cop Vanessa Cellucci (Remini) will, once again, pose as… »
Turkish Government Mulls Ban Of TV Dating Shows
Turkey's government is cracking down on regulations for matchmaking shows in the country with an eye to potentially ban the popular daytime programs altogether because they don't fall in line with Turkish traditions and customs. According to the country's Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus some of the dating shows, particularly those geared towards engineering a marriage, are "against our family values, culture, faith and traditions." "There are some strange programmes… »
‘El Chapo’ Univision-Netflix Series Casts Marco de la O as Cartel Head
The manhunt for Univision and Netflix’s “El Chapo” is over: Marco de la O will step into the lead role of infamous drug lord and prison escapee Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán for the upcoming original series about Guzmán. “El Chapo” will premiere in the U.S. on Univision on April 23; the network has also released a teaser, which you can watch above.
Based on the life story of one of the world’s most notorious criminals, the series will cover the three-decade span of El Chapo’s drug trafficking career, from 1985, when he was a low level member of the Guadalajara Cartel, to his ultimate downfall.
Rounding out the cast are Humberto Busto as Attorney Conrado Sol, a.k.a. “Don Sol” (an important political party figure); Juan Carlos Olivas as El Güero (Joaquín’s main partner); Alejandro Aguilar as Toño (Joaquín’s main assassin); Tete Espinoza as Chío (Joaquín’s lover); Rodrigo Abed as Amado »
- Oriana Schwindt
King of Queens Reunion! Leah Remini Joins Kevin Can Wait for 2-Part Finale
CBS is reviving King of Queens by way of Kevin Can Wait.
The plot of the arc finds James’ character agreeing to come out of retirement briefly to reprise his undercover assignment in an ongoing police investigation where he and fellow cop Vanessa Cellucci (Remini) will, once again, pose as husband and wife.
James and Remini spent nine »
Kevin Nealon Remembers Garry Shandling, One Year Later
Amid the crop of notable and creative entertainers who died last year, it did not go unnoticed that the world lost an inventive and trail-blazing comedian. Most remember Garry Shandling from his groundbreaking TV series, “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” or from his brilliant stand-up comedy. I met Garry 38 years ago, soon after arriving in Los Angeles to pursue my own career in comedy. I always admired his work ethic and hilarious point of view. He was an inspiration and mentor not just to me but to a large percentage of today’s most brilliant comedy writers and standups. In that spirit, I would like to be incredibly honest and authentic here about my friend Garry Shandling.
I think it was very, very difficult to be Garry. He was complex, at times neurotic, persnickety, high-maintenance, child-like, a perfectionist with the highest standards, and, since we’re being honest, he »
- Kevin Nealon
‘El Chapo’: Univision-Netflix Drama Series Sets Lead & Premiere Date
Stage and screen actor Marco de la O (Tanto Amor) will play drug kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán on El Chapo, the original drama series now set to premiere Sunday, April 23 on Univision. The series, which marks the first co-production between Univision’s Story House Entertainment and Netflix, is currently in production and will air in three separate cycles. It explores the life story of El Chapo, one of the world's most notorious criminals, over a span of three decades… »
‘Waco’: John Leguizamo Cast In Event Series From Weinstein TV
John Leguizamo has been cast opposite Michael Shannon and Taylor Kitsch in Waco, a six-part event series produced by Weinstein TV, set to air on Paramount Network in 2018. Production begins next month in Santa Fe, Nm. Written by John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle (No Escape) and directed by John Erick Dowdle, Waco tells the story of the 51-day 1993 standoff between the FBI, Atf and David Koresh’s spiritual sect, The Branch Davidians, in Waco, Texas, that resulted in a… »
The Wonder Woman Promo Trailer and Post for Justice League are Worth a Look
Yesterday we were treated to a Justice League teaser trailer which was actually pretty awesome. While movie footage was light we got another three minutes of behind the scenes coverage. This week we also got a chance to see Aquaman’s Justice League promos. Up next is Wonder Woman who obviously looks stunning. Gal Gadot was probably the brightest spot in Batman V Superman and I expect her to have an equally awesome impact on Justice League. Hopefully the solo Wonder Woman film is a success too. Anyway, Here’s the description for the full trailer when it comes out. Fueled by
- Nat Berman
Sharon Lawrence Joins Me, Myself & I CBS Pilot as Diner Boss in Year 2042
RelatedPilot Season: Scoop on Fall’s (Possible) New Shows, Who’s In Them
Penned by Dan Kopelman (Galavant), the single-camera comedy examines the life of one man, Alex Riley, over a 50-year span, focusing on three distinct periods — as a 14-year-old in the year 1991, as a 40-year-old in present day (played by SNL‘s Bobby Moynihan), and as a 65-year-old in 2042 (played by Larroquette).
Per our sister site Deadline, Lawrence will play Eleanor, who in 1991 was the unrequited love of Alex’s life, »
‘Sharp Objects’: Taylor John Smith Joins HBO’s Amy Adams Series
Taylor John Smith has been cast opposite Amy Adams in HBO's eight-episode drama series Sharp Objects, from Entertainment One and Blumhouse Television. Written by Marti Noxon based on the book by Gillian Flynn and directed by Jean Marc Vallée, Sharp Objects centers on crime reporter Camille Preaker (Adams), who lives an isolated life as she attempts to numb the pain of her past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psychiatric hospital, she's sent on assignment to her quaint… »
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