Apr 25, 2018
5:37 pm

Drama Series From Acclaimed TV Creator Canceled (Deadline, TVWeek)

A drama series from a television creator who has had his share of critical and popular success has come to an abrupt end after just one season. Deadline reports that HBO pulled the plug on Alan Ball’s “Here and Now,” which just wrapped its 10-episode freshman season on April 15. The show starred Tim Robbins.

The report quotes a statement from HBO that says: “After careful consideration we have decided not to move forward with a second season of ‘Here and Now.’ We thank Alan for his dedication to innovative storytelling, and we look forward to his next endeavor.”

Ball had a good run at HBO with “Six Feet Under,” which wrapped its five seasons in 2005 after racking up nine Emmys and three Golden Globes. He followed up on that success with “True Blood,” again on HBO, with the popular fantasy-horror show running seven seasons.

“In addition to a lukewarm reception from critics, ‘Here and Now’ also drew modest viewership for an HBO drama series, averaging 300,000-400,000 Live+same day viewers for the premiere telecast,” Deadline notes.

Apr 25, 2018
5:11 pm

Star of Drama Series Apologizes to Cast and Crew (TVWeek, Instagram)

One of the stars of a broadcast drama series issued a public apology to the cast and crew of the show after being reprimanded for incidents on the set. Clayne Crawford, who stars alongside Damon Wayans on the Fox procedural “Lethal Weapon,” took to Instagram Tuesday to provide details about the incidents and apologize for his role in them.

You can see Crawford’s full Instagram statement below. His apology followed reports that his behavior during the past season had put the show’s future in jeopardy.

Crawford explains in the statement that both incidents involved concerns about working conditions. In the first incident he clashed with a guest director and assistant director over conditions Crawford did not feel were safe. Following the conflict, Crawford says he met with Human Resources, completed “studio-appointed therapy” and compensated one of the parties with “a sizable portion of my paycheck.”

The second incident took place when Crawford was directing an episode of the show and a piece of shrapnel from an effect apparently hit one of the actors.

Here’s Crawford’s statement, posted Tuesday …

Apr 25, 2018
4:51 pm

Ripped From the Headlines: TV Series in the Works Based on Alleged Sex Trafficking Cult (THR, TVWeek)

Even as alleged members of Nxivm including “Smallville” actress Allison Mack face charges in connection with what prosecutors say is a sex trafficking cult, a television show about Nxivm is in the works, The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.

“File this under ‘that didn’t take long,'” Live Feed reporter Lesley Goldberg writes, adding: “Annapurna Television has optioned the rights to reporter Barry Meier’s 2017 New York Times exposé ‘Inside a Secretive Group Where Women Are Branded’ that explores the group fronted by [Keith] Raniere.”

We reported earlier today that actress Mack, known for her role as Chloe on “Smallville,” was just released on a $5 million bond as she remains under indictment for alleged sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy.

“A writer for the untitled project has not yet been determined, but Annapurna Television’s hope is to adapt the investigative report as a one-hour fictionalized scripted series inspired by actual events,” Goldberg notes. “A network is not yet attached.”

Apr 25, 2018
4:21 pm

Accuser Drops Rape Suit Against Russell Simmons (USA Today)

A lawsuit against Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, filed by a Los Angeles woman who alleged that Simmons raped her, has been dropped, USA Today reports.

“A federal court filing Wednesday says the two sides have agreed that the suit, filed in January, should be dismissed,” the story reports. “It says both will bear their own attorneys’ fees, but gives no other details on whether a settlement was reached.”

The report adds: “Jennifer Jarosik alleged Simmons raped her after trying to have sex with her when she visited his Los Angeles home in August 2016 for a meeting about a documentary she was making. She sued him for $5 million.”

Simmons has denied the allegation. The report notes that the suit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning Jarosik cannot refile.

“Over a dozen women have come forward with allegations against Simmons in recent months,” the report adds. “In March, an unidentified woman filed a $10 million lawsuit against the entrepreneur accusing him of rape.”

Apr 25, 2018
3:21 pm

Two L.A. TV Stations to Merge (LA Times, TVWeek)

Two television stations that have been competing for the same viewers in the country’s second-largest market announced plans today to merge.

“After clawing for seven years over the same turf, Southern California’s two large public television stations — KCET and KOCE — are merging to become a stronger voice in local broadcasting,” The Los Angeles Times reports. “The consolidation, announced Wednesday, will bring together two nonprofit organizations with separate strengths and programming philosophies. KCETLink Media Group, which runs the Los Angeles station, has long enjoyed a prominent profile in the community, but its 2010 decision to sever ties with the national Public Broadcasting Service proved to be a costly blunder.

“Orange County’s KOCE-TV picked up the PBS affiliation and its award-winning programming and branded itself as PBS SoCal. But over the years, it too has struggled to win acceptance and prime channel locations from pay-TV operators that would enhance its exposure and fundraising might. Both stations have been hampered by lingering confusion in the market about their roles and programming.”

Dick Cook, chairman of the KCET board, will become chairman of the combined organization when the deal closes this summer.

The Times quotes Cook saying: “This merger has been in the works for many, many years. There is a time and a place for everything, and this is the time, the right moment, for these two great institutions to come together.”

Please click here to read the full announcement from KCET and KOCE.

Apr 25, 2018
3:19 pm

The Hippest Novel of 1985 Is Being Adapted Into a TV Series (THR)

A 1985 novel that is notoriously hip — considered by many to be that year’s hippest novel — is being adapted into a TV series. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that Craig Wright is adapting “Less Than Zero” for Hulu.

The Bret Easton Ellis novel was made into a feature film starring Andrew McCarthy, Robert Downey Jr., Jami Gertz and James Spader in 1987.

“The reboot, which is in development, follows a college freshman who returns home for Christmas to spend time with his ex-girlfriend and his friend who struggles with addiction,” THR reports. “The Hulu take will explore the culture of wealthy, decadent youth in Los Angeles.”

Wright will pen the script and executive produce along with Ellis. The project comes from Fox 21.

Apr 25, 2018
1:59 pm

ABC Unveils Programming Lineup for May Sweeps — Including Two Series Finales (TVWeek)

ABC just took the wraps off a detailed lineup of prime-time programming to take the network through May 23 and cover the May sweeps period.

Among the highlights, the series finale of “Once Upon a Time” is scheduled for May 18, while “The Middle” will end its nine-year run with a special one-hour episode on May 22.

On May 21, the winners of “Dancing with the Stars: Athletes” and “American Idol” will be crowned.

The network released descriptions for all of its May sweeps programming in a detailed announcement that also features the complete schedule of special programs, including daytime and late-night. Please click here to see the full announcement.

Apr 25, 2018
1:09 pm

Actress Released on $5 Million Bond
(Variety, TVWeek)

A TV and feature film actress was released after being indicted April 19 on charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy in federal court in New York.

Variety reports that Allison Mack, best known to TV viewers for her role on “Smallville,” was released to serve home detention at her parents’ house in Los Alamitos, Calif., after her bail was set at $5 million. Mack’s mother, Melinda Mack, reportedly put up her home as collateral to help make bail.

As we reported previously, Mack, who played Chloe on “Smallville,” pleaded not guilty to charges that she helped recruit women into the cult-like organization Nxivm.

“The expectation is that Mack is cutting a deal with prosecutors to provide information against Nxivm founder Keith Raniere, who was arrested last month in Mexico and remains in federal custody,” Variety notes. “A bail hearing for Raniere is set for next week.”

Apr 25, 2018
1:07 pm

Golden Globes Tweak Their Rules — Did an HBO Show Trigger One of the Key Changes? (Deadline, THR)

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association issued a set of rules changes today ahead of the 2019 Golden Globe Awards, with one of the key changes apparently inspired by the HBO series “Big Little Lies.”

Most of the changes are “clarifications to the awards submission process, which will be added to the group’s guidelines,” Deadline reports. “Among the changes are clarifications in the Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television category, these coming after this year’s Globes (and 2017 Emmys) winner there, HBO’s ‘Big Little Lies,’ was renewed for a second season a couple of days before the Globes nominations were announced.”

The new guideline on submissions for limited series states that “a television limited series that is later renewed for an additional season shall be classified as a series or again as a limited series in that later season depending on the degree of continuity in theme, storyline, main characters and production supervision from the original limited series to the later year of the series.”

The Hollywood Reporter suggests that the new rule might be called “the ‘Big Little Lies’ rule.”

“That show was entered at the Globes [last year] as a limited series, but the very day after nomination voting ended, HBO revealed that it would be brought back for a second season, meaning it wasn’t a limited series after all, which irked many,” THR reports. “While the HFPA seems to recognize that there is very little that it can do to prevent that sort of situation from occurring again, it does seem to want to clarify — sort of — how the second season of a show like ‘Big Little Lies’ will be classified.”

Apr 25, 2018
11:59 am

NASCAR Star Launches TV Series (TVWeek)

One of the biggest stars of the NASCAR circuit in recent years has a TV series set to premiere June 2. DIY Network announced plans today for “Renovation Realities: Dale Jr. & Amy,” starring Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife, Amy Earnhardt.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., the son of seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt, recently retired from racing and is now a NASCAR analyst for NBC Sports. Amy Earnhardt is an interior designer.

In the new four-episode series, the couple “will transform a dilapidated 150-year-old historic home in Key West, Florida, into a gorgeous coastal retreat,” DIY said in today’s announcement, adding that the show “will showcase Dale Jr.’s love of home improvement and Amy’s design expertise as they overcome the trials of this massive renovation. Challenges include a crumbling foundation, rotted walls infested with termites and bees, and a major construction delay due to Hurricane Irma.”

Said Dale Jr.: “We saw this rundown old house in the Key West historic district — it was a cat sanctuary. It was the only house within blocks that was in this shape.”

Added Amy, “It’s a huge eyesore, but I have a vision for how we can bring it back to life.”

The announcement adds: “During the season, Dale Jr. and Amy will restore the neglected property to its original charm, from excavating faulty plumbing to whitewashing century-old bricks that will be used to build a bathroom accent wall. To create the perfect vacation home, the couple and their construction team will open the main level to provide a large entertaining space and will reconfigure the two-story floorplan to add a guest bedroom and two bathrooms. In addition, the backyard will be converted into an idyllic tropical getaway complete with an outdoor kitchen, dining area, pool and hot tub.”

Dale Jr. and Amy Earnhardt at work on their Key West fixer-upper (DIY)

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