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TVBIZWIRE
May 26, 2016
4:21 pm
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HBO to Premiere New Drama Series, Three New Comedies This Fall (Deadline)

A high-profile drama series is back on track at HBO after shutting down production earlier this year. The premium channel confirmed that “Westworld” is headed toward a fall premiere, along with three new comedy series, Deadline.com reports.

Inspired by the feature film, “Westworld” has an order for 10 episodes. The project stars Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright. The high-octane producing team includes Jonathan Nolan, Jerry Weintraub, J.J. Abrams, Lisa Joy and Bryan Burk.

HBO also confirmed that the comedy “Divorce,” starring and executive produced by Sarah Jessica Parker, is set for fall with a 10-episode order.

The comedy “Insecure,” starring Issa Rae, has an eight episode order, and “High Maintenance,” starring Ben Sinclair, is set for six episodes.

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TVBIZWIRE
May 26, 2016
4:09 pm
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Signs Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Were Heading Toward a Split (E! News)

With celebrity couple Johnny Depp and Amber Heard now split up, the couple’s history is being dissected to unearth signs that they were headed for a split. A report by E! News says the signs have been there all along.

Among the hints noted in the report, the couple apparently had problems before the wedding. The report quotes an inside source saying early on: “Because of their strong personalities they do not always see eye to eye. They are both stubborn and overly dramatic, which doesn’t help when they disagree.”

Then there was that dog situation in Australia, culminating in a court-ordered apology video in which, the report says, “the couple sat stiffly side by side.”

Other signals have included Depp’s solo press tour for “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and Heard’s solo visit to the fashionable Met Gala. Additionally, the couple went “completely MIA as a couple,” the report notes.

Please click on the link to E! News near the top of this story for details.

TVBIZWIRE
May 26, 2016
3:44 pm
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NBC Takes a Shot at Reviving the Prime-Time Variety Show (Variety)

A new show premiering in less than a week is NBC’s latest attempt to revive the prime-time variety show. Variety Senior TV Editor Brian Steinberg reports that the show, “Maya & Marty,” has a lot going for it, notably its two talented co-hosts, Maya Rudolph and Martin Short.

The show also has “Saturday Night Live” guru Lorne Michaels overseeing the project, which premieres Wednesday, May 31, for a six-episode tryout.

Steinberg notes that projects like this were once commonplace on the big broadcast nets — back in an era when “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour” and “The Brady Bunch Hour” found their way to the air. But times have changed, and Steinberg calls the NBC project an “exploration of what for a younger generation of viewers will be a new frontier: a variety show, complete with special guests, singing and comic sketches.”

“Not everyone could hold their own under such circumstances, but Short and Rudolph can do more than just get laughs,” he notes. “They can sing and dance, too.”

Michaels concurs. “They just take the audience when they get out there, and they’re not getting off until they win,” he said.

Please click on the link near the top of this story to read Steinberg’s full analysis in Variety.

maya & marty-nbc

TVBIZWIRE
May 26, 2016
3:07 pm
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Bravo Adds Seven Projects to Its Development Slate (TVWeek)

Bravo Media has added seven new shows to its development slate, including a relationship series, a real estate competition and a game show. All seven projects are unscripted.

The new projects include “Employee of the Month,” which attempts to improve workers’ sales skills, and “Real Estate Wars,” pitting rival real estate agencies against each other.

Also on tap is “Look Who’s Hosting Live,” in which Andy Cohen gives celebrities a chance to host their own show. “State of Affairs” examines infidelity in relationships, and “Invitation Only” has participants gathering friends from different periods in their lives.

“Stripped” tests contestants’ materialism, and “I’d Kill for That” is a game show involving trivia questions along with other mental and physical challenges.

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TVBIZWIRE
May 26, 2016
11:49 am
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Turmoil at ‘The View’: Is Another Co-Host Headed Out the Door? (NY Post, TVWeek)

Another co-host on “The View” may be on the verge of becoming the next casualty. The New York Post’s Page Six reports that Michelle Collins appears to be on the chopping block.

The report quotes an unnamed source saying: “It’s no secret. They’re so disrespectful, they were even auditioning people for her job while she’s there.”

Collins, who became a permanent panelist on “The View” back in July, reportedly plans to announce her departure this summer. Reports also surfaced this month that Whoopi Goldberg, who has been on the show since 2007, is ready to leave the show.

Raven-Symone, meanwhile, is also believed to be headed out, after joining the show full time in June 2015.

Sunny Hostin, who has been a guest panelist and joined ABC News this year, is likely to move into a full-time slot on “The View” next season, the Post reports.

A rep for the show downplayed speculation about the lineup, telling the publication: “What else is new? People love to speculate about the co-hosts. … We’re lucky to have terrific guest co-hosts fill in when our talented co-hosts are busy with other projects.”

The rep also said: “Reports that Whoopi signed a new deal are false.”

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TVBIZWIRE
May 26, 2016
11:07 am
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Actor Who’s a Household Name Is Reportedly in Talks to Replace Michael Strahan on ‘Live’ (ET, TVWeek)

A well-known actor with a long resume on television and on film is said to be in talks for the co-host opening on “Live with Kelly.” “Entertainment Tonight” reports that Rob Lowe may have the inside track to replace Michael Strahan.

The news comes just a few weeks after Strahan’s exit from the show made headlines, many of them focusing on the less-than-smooth handling of the transition by ABC and the program — and on Kelly Ripa’s strong reaction.

The “ET” report cites a source saying ABC is interested in Lowe, whose Fox show “The Grinder” was recently canceled after one season.

“The network has been talking to Lowe’s reps again, the source says, having chatted with the actor about the highly coveted gig back in 2012, when ABC was looking for Regis Philbin’s replacement,” “ET” reports. “Lowe, 52, had impressed viewers at the time when he guest-hosted for two days. But the job, of course, ended up going to Michael Strahan.”

In an interview with “ET” on the set of his upcoming movie “How to Be a Latin Lover,” Lowe was upbeat about the possibility of a “Live” gig, saying: “I hosted it with Kelly and had the time of my life. I love her … I love being able to talk to an audience every morning like that and just being fun, counter-punching, being silly, and talking about cool stuff.”

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TVBIZWIRE
May 26, 2016
10:47 am
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‘Saved by the Bell’ Star Arrested (Time)

One of the stars of the popular early 1990s NBC comedy series “Saved by the Bell” was arrested Wednesday. Time reports that Dustin Diamond, who played Screech on the sitcom, was jailed in Wisconsin for alleged probation violation.

“Two officials at the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to Time late Wednesday night that Diamond was in custody, but could not provide any more details,” the story reports. “Diamond, 39, served three months in jail earlier this year for his involvement in a bar fight that resulted in a stabbing on Christmas Day [2014]. Jurors found Diamond guilty of carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct but not guilty of the felony charge of reckless endangerment.”

saved by the bell cast“Saved by the Bell” cast — Dustin Diamond
as Screech, top right

TVBIZWIRE
May 26, 2016
9:19 am
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Jennifer Aniston’s Mom, Model and Actress Nancy Dow, Dead at 79 (E! News, TVWeek)

Nancy Dow, a model and actress and the mother of former “Friends” star Jennifer Aniston, has died. Dow reportedly died Wednesday in Los Angeles at age 79.

Aniston confirmed her mother’s death in a statement provided to E! News, writing: “It is with great sadness that my brother John and I announce the passing of our mother Nancy Dow. She was 79 years old and passed peacefully surrounded by family and friends after enduring a long illness.”

Dow’s acting career included appearances in the 1960s as Athena on “The Beverly Hillbillies” and Tersa on “The Wild Wild West.” She was married to John Aniston, Jennifer’s father, from 1965-1980.

Dow published her memoir, “From Mother and Daughter to Friends,” in 1999, tracking her turbulent relationship with Jennifer Aniston.

nancy dow-nancy aniston-from mother and daughter to friends-book cover

TVBIZWIRE
May 26, 2016
8:31 am
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Amazon Announces a Slew of New Pilots, With Viewers to Decide Which Ones Get Picked Up — Lineup of Stars Includes Kelsey Grammer, Lauren Ambrose and David Arquette (TVWeek)

Amazon today took the wraps off the lineup of programs for its new pilot season, announcing the hour programs “The Last Tycoon” and “The Interestings,” along with six new children’s shows.

The kids lineup includes two shows aimed at preschoolers — “Jazz Duck” and “The Curious Kitty and Friends” — and four shows targeting kids 6-11: “Little Big Awesome,” “Morris and the Cow” and “Toasty Tales,” all of which are animated, along with the live-action “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.”

Talent featured in the new programs includes Matt Bomer, Kelsey Grammer, Lauren Ambrose, David Krumholtz, Jessica Pare, David Arquette, Thomas Lennon, Zoe Kravitz, Michael Pena and Erik Griffin.

Please click here for details on all the new shows.

Last Tycoon-Amazon“The Last Tycoon” (Amazon)

TVBIZWIRE
May 26, 2016
8:17 am
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Cable Channel to Roll Out New Lineup in June, Including Four New Original Series (TVWeek)

A new programming lineup, including four new original series and three returning shows, unspools next month at Investigation Discovery. The cable channel unveiled details and premiere dates for the new shows “American Monster” (June 1), “The Vanishing Women” (June 6), “I Am Homicide” (June 14) and “Your Number’s Up” (June 18).

Also on tap are new seasons of “The Perfect Murder” (Season 3, premiering June 1), “Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall” (Season 4, June 12) and “Deadly Sins” (Season 5, June 30).

Please click here for details on all of the new and returning shows.

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