Sep 20, 2017
12:02 pm

For Viewers Who Still Aren’t Getting Enough of the Archie Universe Brought to Live Action on the Small Screen — Another Series Is on the Way (EW)

After the CW brought the comic book world of Archie to the small screen in the decidedly “not your parents’ Archie” live-action drama series “Riverdale,” now comes word that the network is developing a spinoff, “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”

The new series “reimagines the origin and adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror, the occult, and — of course — witchcraft,” EW.com reports. “Tonally in the vein of ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘The Exorcist,’ this adaptation finds Sabrina wrestling to reconcile her dual nature — half-witch, half-mortal — while standing against the evil forces that threaten her, her family and the daylight world humans inhabit.”

The project is being developed with a target of running as a companion to “Riverdale” during the 2018-2019 season.

The new project “takes its name and inspiration from the 2014 Archie comics created by Robert Aguirre-Sacasa, an executive producer on Riverdale,” the report notes, adding: “Sacasa will also write and executive produce on ‘The Chilling Adventures,’ alongside Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Jon Goldwater and Lee Toland Krieger, who is attached to direct should the project move forward.”

The character of Sabrina was previously portrayed by Melissa Joan Hart on the ABC sitcom “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.”

Sep 20, 2017
11:45 am

Why There’s a New Version of the Aflac Duck (TVWeek)

The familiar duck from the Aflac commercials is going a different direction as part of a new partnership between Aflac and Disney XD, with Aflac signing on as the sponsor of the channel’s new animated comedy-adventure series “DuckTales.”

The two companies have developed a co-branded commercial featuring an animated version of the Aflac duck set in the world of “DuckTales.” The custom spot starring the Aflac duck is set to premiere Thursday, Sept. 21, on “Good Morning America.”

In the meantime, the companies have released a very brief teaser clip providing a sneak peek at the new animated Aflac duck, which you can see along with additional details about the initiative and the new “DuckTales” series by clicking here.

Sep 20, 2017
10:54 am

Two-Time Oscar Winner Makes First Foray Into Television (TVWeek)

An actor who has two Academy Awards on his resume is putting his Hollywood heft behind a drama series that’s in the works at Hulu. The streaming service announced today that Sean Penn has joined Beau Willimon’s futuristic project “The First,” which is in the works from Hulu and Channel 4.

Penn has won two Oscars for lead performances, for “Mystic River” in 2003 and “Milk” in 2008, along with three other Oscar nominations.

“Though details about the role remain under wraps, this marks the acclaimed actor’s first foray into television,” Hulu said in today’s announcement, adding: “Set in the near future, ‘The First’ will follow the first human mission to Mars, exploring the challenges of taking the first steps toward interplanetary colonization.”

Created by Willimon, the show has a straight-to-series order from Hulu and Channel 4. Willimon executive produces alongside his producing partner Jordan Tappis under their Westward Productions banner.

Please click here for additional details in the announcement from Hulu.

Sep 20, 2017
9:59 am

Why Jimmy Kimmel Is Bashing a U.S. Senator (AP, ABC)

ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel singled out a U.S. senator in a tirade during his monologue on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” saying Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., “just lied right to my face” during an appearance on the show in which Cassidy vowed to fight for a health care overhaul that would pass the “Jimmy Kimmel test.”

“The phrase was coined by Cassidy after Kimmel announced in May that his baby son, Billy, had surgery for a birth defect and argued that all American families should be able to get life-saving medical care,” the AP reports.

Kimmel said a new health care measure co-sponsored by Cassidy falls short of passing the test, and urged viewers to call lawmakers to express their displeasure with the bill.

On Tuesday’s show, Kimmel said: “This new bill actually does pass the Jimmy Kimmel test, but a different Jimmy Kimmel test. With this one, your child with a pre-existing condition will get the care he needs if, and only if, his father is Jimmy Kimmel.”

The AP report adds: “Cassidy touted his Kimmel test in a May interview soon after the host’s announcement about his son, arguing that annual and lifetime caps on the amount spent on an individual’s health care was unnecessary. Kimmel later invited him on his show, where Cassidy reiterated his stance on spending caps and told the host he believed all Americans should have access to regular medical care.”

The Graham-Cassidy bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., “leaves the question of caps up to the states, which Kimmel said means ‘there will be lifetime caps in many states.’ Kimmel’s comments echoed a statement released Monday by a coalition of 16 patient groups, including the American Heart Association and the March of Dimes,” the AP notes.

Here’s Kimmel’s health care appeal from Tuesday’s show …

Sep 20, 2017
8:53 am

Key Player Returns to ‘Terminator’ Franchise (THR, TVWeek)

It has been 26 years since one of the most critically acclaimed action/science fiction movies of all time, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” marked the final appearance — until now — of Linda Hamilton as action heroine Sarah Connor. But after all this time, she’s coming back.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision reports that James Cameron, creator of the “Terminator” franchise, revealed Tuesday that Hamilton has signed on for the new “Terminator” movie that’s in the works from Skydance and Paramount. Cameron broke the news at an event celebrating the “Terminator” franchise.

Cameron, who launched the franchise in 1984 with “The Terminator,” knows a thing or two about hit movies and action/sci-fi franchises — his resume includes “True Lies,” “Titanic,” “Aliens” and “Avatar,” to name just a few. He said bringing Hamilton and her character back says a lot about the role of gender in action movies.

“As meaningful as she was to gender and action stars everywhere back then, it’s going to make a huge statement to have that seasoned warrior that she’s become return,” said Cameron.

He added: “There are 50-year-old, 60-year-old guys out there killing bad guys, but there isn’t an example of that for women.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger is on board too, with Cameron — Hamilton’s ex-husband — producing and “Deadpool’s” Tim Miller directing. The filmmakers are reportedly working on a new “Terminator” trilogy that essentially follows “Terminator 2” and overlooks the three subsequent sequels, 2003’s “Rise of the Machines,” 2009’s “Terminator Salvation” and 2015’s “Terminator Genisys.”

They’re also said to be looking for a new young female protagonist to move the franchise forward once Hamilton walks away from the role.

The next installment is expected in 2019.

Sep 20, 2017
7:44 am

Netflix Unleashes Bloody Trailer for ‘Marvel’s The Punisher’ (TVWeek, Netflix)

Some viewers may find it disturbing, but Netflix today released a blood-soaked trailer for “Marvel’s The Punisher” — the first official trailer for the eagerly anticipated original series.

Release dates have been obscured in promotional material for the project, but its release is anticipated later this year.

Here’s the clip …

Sep 19, 2017
4:07 pm

Fox Has Its Largest Drama Premiere Since ‘Empire’ (TVWeek, YouTube)

Some readers may dispute the network’s classification of the show as a drama, but Fox announced today that its new series “The Orville” gave the broadcast network its largest drama premiere since “Empire” in multi-platform viewers with 12.2 million viewers across platforms over a seven-day span.

Fox said the new space adventure series, created by and starring Seth MacFarlane, delivered the network’s largest L+7 premiere in a year and a half, and is the most-streamed new Fox fall premiere in two years.

“Marking the network’s largest drama debut in two and a half years, since ‘Empire’ (15.6 million viewers, 1/7/15), ‘The Orville’ posted a +44% lift in multi-platform viewers from Live +Same Day, according to Nielsen,” Fox said, noting that the stat excludes Super Bowl lead-outs.

Fox also noted that “The Orville” had TV’s highest-rated scripted series premiere in more than eight months, tying “The Mick” back on Jan. 1, 2017, with a 3.7/12 in L7, again excluding Super Bowl lead-outs.

Fox noted that it now has the top three scripted debuts of 2017, with “The Orville,” “24: Legacy” and “The Mick,” along with the last three scripted debuts to post above a 3.5 L+7 rating, with the same three shows.

Click here to get Fox’s full spin on the numbers for the series to date.

Sep 19, 2017
2:01 pm

Late-Night Talk Show Surges — Here Are the Numbers (TVWeek)

One of the flagship late-night talk shows on the broadcast networks is on a roll, with ABC announcing today that its “Jimmy Kimmel Live” hit a three-month high in total viewers during the week of Sept. 11. The network cites Nielsen Live+Same Day National Program Ratings for the week.

Averages for the week show NBC’s “Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” with a healthy lead, both in total viewers and in the key 18-49 demo, with “Kimmel” in second place in both metrics and CBS’s “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in third place with a week of encore programs.

Here are the numbers for the week of Sept. 11:

NBC’s “Fallon”: 2.517 million total viewers; 745,000 adults 18-49

ABC’s “Kimmel”: 2.172 million total viewers; 570,000 adults 18-49

CBS’s “Colbert” (repeats): 1.965 million total viewers; 411,000 adults 18-49

ABC notes that “Kimmel” was Wednesday’s most-watched late-night talk show that week, and outdelivered “Fallon” to rank No. 1 on Thursday both in total viewers and in the 18-49 demo. Wednesday’s show featured former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and 2017 U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens, with Thursday’s show featuring Stephen Colbert, Nina Dobrev and musical guest Dustin Lynch.

“During the week of September 11, 2017, ABC’s ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ grew over the prior week by 11% in Total Viewers (2.172 million vs. 1.955 million) to draw its biggest overall audience in more than 3 months — since the week of 6/5/17,” ABC announced. “In fact, excluding this year’s NBA Finals-led weeks, ‘Kimmel’ attracted its largest weekly audience of the summer.”

The announcement notes that “Kimmel” was re-titled on Tuesday (9/12/17), with that night excluded from the show’s average.

Sep 19, 2017
1:39 pm

Pop Star Who Died Last Christmas at Center of Showtime Project (TVWeek)

A well-known singer who was found dead on Christmas morning 2016 is the focus of a new feature documentary rolling out Oct. 21 on Showtime. The production, “George Michael: Freedom,” was filmed before Michael’s death from heart problems at age 53.

The star-studded project includes appearances by Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Ricky Gervais, Nile Rogers, Mark Ronson, Liam Gallagher, Mary J. Blige, Jean Paul Gaultier, James Corden and Tony Bennett, along with the original five supermodels from Oscar-nominated director David Fincher’s “Freedom! ’90” video: Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Tatjana Patitz and Linda Evangelista, who come together for the first time to discuss their experiences making the iconic music video.

Michael was reportedly heavily involved in the making of the Showtime documentary. Please click here to read more about the project in Showtime’s announcement, and to watch a teaser video.

Sep 19, 2017
1:21 pm

Fox News Hit With Lawsuit by Commentator Alleging Rape, Blacklisting (NY Times)

A new lawsuit filed Monday against Fox News accuses the cable channel of blacklisting a political commentator after she alleged that a longtime Fox anchor had raped her.

The New York Times reports that the suit was filed by Scottie Nell Hughes, who claims she was raped by Fox Business News anchor Charles Payne and then was retaliated against by Fox after she came forward with the rape allegation.

“Mr. Payne, the host of ‘Making Money’ on Fox Business, returned to the air this month after the network suspended him in July pending an investigation into his conduct,” The Times reports. “Upon his return, the network said that it had completed the investigation, which began after Ms. Hughes took her allegations to the network in late June.”

The report quotes a statement released Monday by Payne’s lawyer, Jonathan N. Halpern, in which he says his client ”vehemently denies any wrongdoing and will defend himself vigorously against this baseless complaint.”

The statement adds: “We are confident that when the evidence is presented in this case, Mr. Payne will be fully vindicated and these outrageous accusations against him will be confirmed as completely false.”

The report adds: “In her lawsuit, Ms. Hughes said that Mr. Payne had ‘pressured’ his way into her hotel room in July 2013 and coerced her to have sexual intercourse with him, even though she had refused his advances by telling him ‘no’ and ‘stop.’

“According to the suit, Ms. Hughes was ‘shocked and ashamed’ and did not immediately report the episode. She said that over the next two years she was forced to engage in a sexual relationship with Mr. Payne. In exchange, she said, she received career opportunities, including increased appearances on Fox News and Fox Business and the promise that Mr. Payne would help her land a contributor contract, a job that can pay several hundred thousand dollars a year. Ms. Hughes never became a paid contributor at either channel.”

Hughes is quoted saying in an interview: “In July of 2013, I was raped by Charles Payne. In July of 2017, I was raped again by Fox News. Since then, I have been living an absolute hell.”

Charles Payne (Twitter)

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