Apr 28, 2017
1:57 pm

‘Roseanne’ Reunion Series Coming, With Many of the Key Players Already on Board (Deadline)

The key players from the ABC sitcom “Roseanne,” which was one of the biggest comedy hits of the 1990s, are getting back together for a new version of the show, Nellie Andreeva reports on Deadline.com.

“I hear an eight-episode limited series revival of the hit ABC blue-collar family comedy ‘Roseanne’ is in the works with the key cast members reprising their roles, including Roseanne Barr, John Goodman and Sara Gilbert, with Laurie Metcalf and others in the process of joining them,” Andreeva writes in an exclusive.

“The new installment is executive produced by the original series’ EPs Tom Werner, Barr and Bruce Helford as well as Gilbert and Whitney Cummings, with Helford and Cummings co-running,” the report adds. “The project is currently in the marketplace, with multiple networks bidding, including original ‘Roseanne’ home ABC, and Netflix, which has been staging reboots of classic sitcoms including ‘Full House’ and ‘One Day at a Time,’ along with new installments of cult favorites ‘Arrested Development’ and ‘Gilmore Girls.'”

Apr 28, 2017
1:44 pm

How a Writers Strike Could Help Trump — and Hurt Broadcast and Cable (Reuters)

Donald Trump may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of a writers strike in Hollywood, which is looking like a strong possibility.

“Late-night talk shows and topical satire, including NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live,’ will be the first hit if the Writers Guild of America (WGA) goes on strike next week in a stoppage that media analysts say could send viewers flocking irreversibly to streaming services,” Reuters reports.

“Contract talks are likely to go down to the wire this weekend to avert a strike by some 9,000 TV and movie writers should they fail to reach a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) by Monday night,” the report adds.

The story quotes Jonathan Handel, an entertainment lawyer and contributing editor for The Hollywood Reporter who wrote a book about the last WGA strike in 2007-2008, saying: “A strike of any duration will drive audiences off broadcast and cable platforms and onto digital.”

The report adds: “Neither side is commenting publicly on the talks, but any strike would quickly affect productions like CBS Corp’s ‘The Late Show,’ Comedy Central’s ‘The Daily Show’ and ‘Saturday Night Live,’ which rely on teams of writers to pen topical jokes. Trump and his aides have been a chief target of such barbs, including ‘Saturday Night Live’ impressions by Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy.”

Apr 28, 2017
1:11 pm

Head of Unscripted Exits Endemol Shine North America (Variety)

The president of unscripted at Endemol Shine North America is stepping down from the post. Variety reports that Eden Gaha, who has been closely involved in the “MasterChef” franchise, is exiting the company after joining in 2011.

“CEO Chris Abrego will continue to oversee the company’s unscripted team with Rob Smith as exec VP, head of unscripted and Michael Weinberg as senior VP of unscripted development,” Variety reports.

In a statement, Gaha said: “After 15 years in unscripted television, going from PA to President, it’s time for me to move on to the next challenge. While it’s difficult to say goodbye to such an incredible team at Endemol Shine, I’m excited by the opportunities that have come my way and look forward to soon sharing details of my new venture.”

Gaha was previously with Mark Burnett Productions, including a run as executive producer and showrunner on “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Apr 28, 2017
1:01 pm

Showtime Unveils Return Dates for ‘Ray Donovan,’ Final Season of ‘Episodes’ … and a Moody Look at the Town of Twin Peaks (TVWeek, Showtime)

Showtime, which rolled out a batch of programming announcements and teasers today, said its hit series “Ray Donovan” will return for season five starting Sunday, Aug. 6, and the fifth and final season of the comedy “Episodes” will bow Sunday, Aug. 20.

“Episodes” will also have a world premiere screening at the Tribeca Film Festival this Sunday, April 30, followed by a Q&A panel with creators David Crane, Jeffrey Klarik and series star Matt LeBlanc.

The pay cable net also unveiled some new teasers. Click here to see the teaser for “Episodes.”

Here’s a look at the town of Twin Peaks as Showtime continues to offer quirky teasers in anticipation of the 18-part David Lynch-directed “Twin Peaks” reboot …

Apr 28, 2017
11:57 am

Report: The Murdochs Are Looking for a Woman to Run Fox News (THR)

The Murdoch family, which controls the Fox News Channel, wants to find a woman to run the channel, according to sources cited in a report today by The Hollywood Reporter.

“Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan, CEO and co-chairman of Fox News parent 21st Century Fox, have quietly put out feelers for a new head of Fox News,” the story reports. “And the preference, according to two sources familiar with the Murdochs’ thinking, is that the new leader be female.”

[To read the TVWeek Open Mic essay by Chuck Ross from April 5 in which he proposes which woman should head Fox News, please click here.]

THR adds: “The move comes as pressure is building on Bill Shine, a 20-year Fox News veteran whom Rupert Murdoch elevated to co-president, with Jack Abernethy, of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network in the wake of the ouster of founding CEO Roger Ailes last summer. Shine runs the programming arm of the media empire, while Abernethy, also a longtime Fox News executive, runs the business side of the company, including ad sales, finance and distribution.”

The report also notes: “When Murdoch elevated Shine last fall, the move rankled some at Fox News, especially women, who saw Shine as complicit in the sins of the past. When new payouts to women who complained about [Bill] O’Reilly came to light April 1, that unease deepened, said one Fox News source. Shine was said to have been a staunch defender of keeping O’Reilly, with whom he worked for two decades.”

Apr 28, 2017
11:44 am

Heineken Teaches Pepsi a Lesson
(TVWeek, Adweek, Heineken)

A new spot from Heineken is being called the antidote to the recent PR disaster for Pepsi, which tried to show how politcally savvy it was by having Kendall Jenner join a protest and seemingly solve some of the nation’s political problems with a soft drink.

Pepsi wound up apologizing for the ad and pulled it from circulation, but you can read more about it by clicking here.

The new Heineken spot, which you can watch below, wades into similar political waters, but in a much different way and with generally well-received results. The Heineken approach is more personal, more stripped-down, and seemingly more reflective of how people really feel.

Adweek compared the two spots this way: “When Pepsi took on our differences, it brought us production value, storytelling and glamour — all that stuff Pepsi (and Heineken) is good at. So there’s a kind of respect in stripping things down and simply creating an environment that cultivates our natural inclinations — not just to distinguish ourselves but to unify. It feels less like creepy money guys on high, fetishizing what matters to us.”

Here’s the new Heineken spot …

Apr 28, 2017
11:31 am

Conservative Political Analyst Gets MSNBC Show (TVWeek)

A right-leaning political commentator who was part of the George W. Bush administration has a new daily show on MSNBC. The cable channel announced today that Nicolle Wallace will expand her role with NBC News to host a new program airing weekdays from 4-5 p.m. ET.

The show, which will be based in New York, will premiere in May.

Wallace was White House communications director under Bush and worked on his 2004 re-election campaign. In 2008 she was a senior adviser to the McCain-Palin presidential campaign. She’s a previous co-host of “The View” and has been a contributor and guest host on MSNBC and NBC News programs.

In announcing the show today, MSNBC said Wallace “will tackle the latest political developments and conduct interviews with leading newsmakers. MSNBC host and political correspondent Steve Kornacki will continue his presence in the hour, providing in-depth discussion and analysis. The broadcast builds on the momentum of MSNBC dayside (M-F 9am-5pm), which delivered the network’s biggest total viewer audience ever in the first quarter of 2017.”

Wallace will continue to be a frequent contributor to NBC’s “Today” show, where she will provide political analysis and special reports. In recent months she has been presenting the series “In Trump They Trust,” in which she travels the country to interview the voters who elected Donald Trump.

Said Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC: “Nicolle played a huge role for us during the presidential election and through the first 100 days. We’re thrilled she’s stepping into this spot with Steve at her side. Nicolle and Steve both distinguished themselves during the campaign with the smart insights our audience has come to expect.”

Added Wallace: “There’s never been a more exciting or stunning time in American politics, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have a daily conversation with our viewers about every dramatic twist and turn. I’m humbled by all of the opportunities MSNBC and NBC News have given me to report on the 2016 campaign and its ripple effects.”

Nicolle Wallace (NBC News)

Apr 28, 2017
9:31 am

ABC’s ‘Gong Show’ Revival Names Host (TVWeek)

ABC’s new reboot of the offbeat talent competition “The Gong Show” will be hosted by Tommy Maitland, a comedian who is a bit of a legend in his native U.K. but not exactly a household name in the U.S.

ABC announced the casting today. The show, executive produced by Will Arnett, premieres Thursday, June 22.

Maitland, 72, is coming out of retirement to host the show. Or, that’s the line. Maitland is rumored to be an alter-ego of “SNL” alum and “Austin Powers” star Mike Myers.

“When Will Arnett came to me and asked me to host ‘The Gong Show,’ I said, ‘I’m honoured at the request, but I’m retired,’” Maitland said in the announcement. “Then he told me how much I was being paid, in U.S. dollars, and I said, ‘I’m still honoured, but no longer retired.’”

Please click here for more about Maitland and details about the show in the ABC announcement.

Apr 28, 2017
9:27 am

Obama Scores Another $400,000 Speaking Fee, This Time From A+E Networks (NY Post)

Even as criticism poured in after Barack Obama agreed to a $400,000 fee for a speech to Wall Street bank Cantor Fitzgerald, the former president was at it again.

“Obama made another $400,000 on Thursday when he appeared at the A+E Networks advertising upfront at The Pierre Hotel,” The New York Post reports. “He was interviewed over 90 minutes at the Midtown Manhattan event by presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin in front of the cable network’s advertisers.”

“At the A+E event, Obama got a standing ovation when he entered the room,” The Post reports. “Asked about what he missed most about the White House, he said it was sitting on the Truman Balcony on summer nights and gazing at the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, a source in attendance said.”

A+E chief Nancy Dubuc hosted the event, organized by A+E Networks’ History Channel and billed as a History Makers lunch.

The report notes that Obama “told the crowd that in his three months out of office, he has not yet been behind the wheel of a car and he’s learning how to use the coffee machine in the Obamas’ new home in Washington, DC.”

Apr 28, 2017
9:01 am

Drama Series Renewed (TVWeek, Twitter)

A period drama that bowed earlier this year has been picked up for a second season. Amazon took to Twitter today to formally announce the renewal for the Christina Ricci series “Z: The Beginning of Everything.”

The show’s first season, 10 episodes, rolled out on Jan. 27. Along with Ricci, the series stars David Hoflin and David Strathairn.

Set in the 1920s, the show follows the exploits of socialite Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, played by Ricci, and her husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald (Hoflin).

Here’s Amazon’s Twitter announcement …

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