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Netflix’s ‘Dear White People’ Creator Talks Picking Up Where the Film Left Off

1 hour ago

The cast and creative team of Netflix’s “Dear White People” turned out Thursday evening for the series’ premiere at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles. Creator/executive producer Justin Simien, director Barry Jenkins, and star Logan Browning were just a fraction of the stars who graced the red carpet.

Set within the posh, white-washed Winchester University, “Dear White People” explores racism — both systemic and overt — that takes place at the fictional Ivy League college, while also discussing identity politics and intersectionality. Based on the 2014 film of the same name, the show picks up right where the movie left off. According to Simien, there was “so much more to say and write” for the beloved characters.

“There was a lot of ‘Oh, I wish I had touched upon that!’ or wishing gone deeper into some plot lines after the movie wrapped,” Simien stated. “The series speaks to this time in a unique way. We »


- Arya Roshanian

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‘Roseanne’ Revival in the Works with Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Sara Gilbert

1 hour ago

A revival of the popular sitcom “Roseanne” is in the works with original cast members Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, and Sara Gilbert already on board, Variety has confirmed.

The project is currently being shopped to both broadcast networks and streaming services. The original series ran for nine seasons on ABC and was widely praised for its portrayal of working class Americans.

Revivals of old shows are all the rage of late. Fox debuted “24: Legacy” in January, while a new season of “Prison Break” began airing on the network in April. Last year, Netflix debuted a four-episode continuation of “The Gilmore Girls.” In addition, NBC is producing a new 12-episode run of “Will & Grace,” which will air during the 2017-2018 season, while Showtime is preparing to launch new episodes of David Lynch’s cult classic series “Twin Peaks.”

Deadline first reported this news.

More to come…

»


- Joe Otterson

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Netflix Targets Emmy Voters With 24,000-Square-Foot ‘Experiential’ Space in L.A.

1 hour ago

Netflix is trying to boost its chances of racking up Emmy Awards this year by inviting voters to a special, month-long immersive exhibition space in Beverly Hills.

The streamer’s “FYSee” — in a new kind of for-your-consideration stunt — will be a multilevel, 24,000-square-foot space. It will launch Sunday, May 7, with a private kick-off party. On Monday, May 8, Netflix will host a conversation with Kevin Spacey about the company’s first big original series, “House of Cards.” Season 5 of “Hoc” is set to debut May 30 on the service.

FYSee will be located somewhere in Beverly Hills; Netflix isn’t publicly disclosing the exact whereabouts. The space will be open by invitation only for industry professionals.

The company will keep FYSee for a full month. Netflix says it’s anchored by programming and storytelling installations for contenders such as “The Crown” (which won two Golden Globes) and “Stranger Things” (which won the SAG ensemble prize for drama series, among »


- Todd Spangler

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Remote Controlled: John Lithgow of ‘Trial and Error,’ ‘Superstore’s’ America Ferrera and Ben Feldman on Finding Laughs

2 hours ago

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’s executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum and TV critic Sonia Saraiya talk with the stars of NBC’s hilarious sitcom lineup: John Lithgow, of “Trial and Error,” and America Ferrera and Ben Feldman, of NBC’s “Superstore.”

In the first half of the podcast, Lithgow, who also starred in Netflix’s “The Crown” as Winston Churchill, discusses why he signed on for “Trial and Error” which he describes as parody of a true crime series — specifically, Netflix’s “Making a Murderer.”

Lithgow didn’t go looking for a sitcom. In his words: “This was the least looked-for job I ever took!” But the offer came while he was in the last stretch of his eight-month shooting schedule for “The Crown.” He took the call from “these two nutball »


- Sonia Saraiya

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‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Adds ‘Penny Dreadful,’ ‘Battlestar Galactica’ Vets to Cast

2 hours ago

CBS All Access’ “Star Trek: Discovery” has added five additional actors to its upcoming debut season. Among the new cast members are Shazad Latif of Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful” and Rekha Sharma of Syfy’s “Battlestar Galactica.”

The new cast additions are:

Shazad Latif (“Penny Dreadful”): Lieutenant Tyler, a Starfleet officer in the Federation. Rekha Sharma (“Battlestar Galactica,” “The 100″): Commander Landry, the security officer of the Starship Discovery. Kenneth Mitchell (“Jericho,” “The Astronaut Wives Club”): Kol, a commanding officer in the Klingon Empire. Clare McConnell (“Dim the Fluorescents”): Dennas, a leader in the Klingon Empire. Damon Runyan (“Suits,” “Supernatural,” “Gangland Undercover”): Ujilli, a leader in the Klingon Empire.

The new actors join a cast that includes “The Walking Dead” actress Sonequa Martin-Green, who will star as the lead lieutenant commander, plus James Frain as Spock’s father Sarek, Anthony Rapp as a space fungus expert, and »


- Daniel Holloway

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How ‘There’s… Johnny’ Series’ Cast and Creators Treated Johnny Carson’s Legacy With Reverence

2 hours ago

Tribeca audiences were transported back to the 1970s on Thursday night when Seeso’s “There’s… Johnny!” had its premiere screening.

Audiences got to see episodes one and four of the series about Andy, a young man from Nebraska, and Joy, a talent coordinator on the show, as

they work behind the scenes on “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.”

After the screening, stars Tony Danza, Ian Nelson and Jane Levy, creators Paul Reiser and David Steven Simon, and executive producer David Gordon Green spoke about bringing the seven episode series to life 17 years after it was conjured up by Reiser and Simon. The show, which is set in Los Angeles in 1972 and 1973, will premiere later this year.

Here are nine things we learned from the conversation about the series that, according to Simon, is not “That ’70s Show” with wacky Johnny

Carson clips.

1. Johnny Carson is played by Johnny Carson. Reiser »


- Addie Morfoot

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‘Vampire Chronicles’ Series in Development at Paramount TV, Anonymous Content

2 hours ago

Paramount Television and Anonymous Content have optioned the rights to 11 books from Anne Rice’s best-selling series “The Vampire Chronicles,” Variety has learned.

Christopher Rice, Anne’s son and four-time New York Times Bestselling author in his own right, will write the series and serve as executive producer alongside his mother, as well as Anonymous Content’s David Kanter and Steve Golin.

“It is undeniable that Anne Rice has created the paradigm against which all vampire stories are measured,” said Amy Powell, president of Paramount TV. “The rich and vast world she has created with ‘The Vampire Chronicles’ is unmatched and sophisticated with ’90s gothic undertones that will be perfectly suited to captivate audiences. The series is full of compelling characters led by Lestat, arguably one of the greatest original characters, literary or otherwise. We are thrilled to collaborate with Anne, Christopher, and the team at Anonymous Content on this epic series.”

The »


- Joe Otterson

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‘The Big Bang Theory’: Mayim Bialik, Melissa Rauch Reach New Deals

3 hours ago

The entire cast of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” is back under contract.

Stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch have finalized their deals with producer Warner Bros. Television to stay with the Chuck Lorre comedy for what is envisioned as its final two seasons, Variety has learned. According to insiders with knowledge of the negotiations, the deal will pay Bialik and Rauch $500,000 per episode for 48 episode. The deals are believed to include a separate development component for both actors.

A representative for Warner Bros. Television declined to comment.

CBS renewed “The Big Bang Theory” in March for two more seasons after finalizing deals with the show’s original five cast members — Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg — who are set to earn $900,000 per episode each. Those five actors each took a $100,000-per-episode pay cut from the $1 million that each had been earning in order to free up additional money for Bialik and »


- Daniel Holloway

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Lucky 8 TV Sets Overall Deal With Jason Bolicki, Hires Jessica Winchell Morsa as VP (Exclusive)

3 hours ago

Jason Bolicki, the veteran unscripted TV executive who recently launched production banner Exit Four, has signed an overall deal with his former employer Lucky 8 TV, Variety has learned exclusively.

Under the deal, Bolicki will develop and produce original content through Exit Four, with several projects already in development. During his tenure as vice president of development at Lucky 8, Bolicki oversaw and helped build the company’s slate of unscripted and non-fiction projects, which now encompasses more than 20 series for over a dozen major networks, including A&E’s award-winning “60 Days In,” new ID series “The Real Story with María Elena Salinas” and Own’s upcoming “Released.” Before joining Lucky 8, Bolicki developed and executive produced more than a dozen series and specials, including TLC’s “My Strange Addiction” and Diy’s “Made in Milwaukee.”

Concurrently, Lucky 8 has hired Jessica Winchell Morsa, who joins the company from MSNBC as vice president of content development. She »


- Joe Otterson

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TV Ratings: ‘Big Bang Theory’ Hits Series Low in Key Demo

3 hours ago

The Big Bang Theory” posted a new series low in the key adults 18-49 demographic on Thursday night, yet it remained easily the highest-rated show of the night in both the demo and total viewers.

The latest Season 10 episode of the megahit sitcom averaged a 2.4 rating and 12.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen data. That is down from the previous series low in the demo of a 2.5. That number could very well adjust up later today once the final figures come in, however.

A new episode of “The Great Indoors” (1.2, 6.5 million) aired after “Big Bang,” followed by “Mom” (1.3, 7.1 million) and “Life in Pieces” (1.1, 5.5 million). “The Amazing Race” (0.7, 3.9 million) closed out down slightly in the demo.

On ABC, “Grey’s Anatomy” (1.7, 6.9 million) returned from a two-week hiatus even with its last outing. “Scandal” (1.4, 5.3 million) stayed steady as well, while “The Catch” (0.7, 3.1 million) rose in the demo.

NBC aired a repeat of “Superstore” at 8 p.m »


- Joe Otterson

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Fox News Launches New ‘Specialists’ Show at 5 Pm

4 hours ago

Fox News Channel, working its way to build a new lineup in the wake of the departure of veteran Bill O’Reilly, said it would launch a new program at 5 p.m. featuring three anchors from different backgrounds.

Eric Bolling, Katherine Timpf and Eboni K. Williams will host “The Fox News Specialists,” which will air at 5 p.m. starting May 1. The show fills a slot that had previously housed “The Five,” a panel program that has been moved up to 9 p.m. as part of the changes related to the cancellation of the long-running “The O’Reilly Factor” at 8 p.m.

Each night, Bolling, Timpf and Williams will tap two guest experts to talk about the top stories and headlines of the day. .  The daily “specialists” will join the co-hosts to provide unique and unpredictable analysis on the stories trending in America.

“Eric, Katherine and Eboni’s diverse opinions and backgrounds will provide our audience with an »


- Brian Steinberg

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Fox News’ Bill Shine Comes Under Pressure Following Sean Hannity Tweets

4 hours ago

Bill Shine has long been given credit as being a driving force behind Fox News Channel. He was a longtime guiding hand behind veteran anchors like Sean Hannity and Greta van Susteren, and is said to be a key determinant of how the network’s anchors present the issues on air each broadcast day.

But now a series of press stories and fiery tweets from Hannity himself have put Shine in a spotlight he would probably like to avoid.

Sean Hannity, the only remaining Fox News primetime anchor who has ties back to the network’s earliest days, on Thursday used Twitter to vent his frustration about a New York magazine report suggesting that Shine, currently a co-president of Fox News, had sought public support from the Murdoch family, the controlling shareholders of Fox News parent 21st Century Fox. “Somebody High Up And Inside Fnc is trying to get an innocent person fired,” Hannity »


- Brian Steinberg

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MSNBC Sets Nicolle Wallace At 4 Pm Hour

5 hours ago

Nicolle Wallace has made a name for herself at MSNBC as a political analyst who comes with chops hard-won from the George W. Bush administration and the John McCain presidential campaign. Now, she will try to stand out hosting the cable-news outlet’s 4 p.m. hour.

The NBCUniversal-owned outlet said Wallace will help to expand a late-day block that focuses on politics. Her hour is followed by Chuck Todd’s “Mtp Daily,” Greta van Susteren’s “For the Record” and Chris Matthews’ “Hardball.” Wallace is expected to cover political developments and deliver interviews with newsmakers. MSNBC said Steve Kornacki will have presence in the hour, where he has recently held forth.

MSNBC said Wallace will continue to appear frequently on NBC News’ “Today” as a political analyst, and will contribute special reports to the show. She will also serve as a fill-in host for MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams.”

“Nicolle »


- Brian Steinberg

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‘Vice News Tonight’ Offers Voters’ View of President Trump’s First 100 Days

5 hours ago

When “Vice News Tonight” launches a special 50-minute show at 7:30 this evening dedicated to President Trump’s first 100 days in office, viewers might be surprised to find that the nation’s Commander-in-Chief doesn’t figure very prominently in it.

“You may hear a few of his words. You may see him in the background shot, but you are not going to see a lot of him at all,” says Josh Tyrangiel, executive vice president of content, news at Vice Media and the overseer of its weekday HBO evening news program, “Vice News Tonight,” in an interview. “Our show is about the impact of all that he’s done on people around the world.”

When Vice launched “Vice News Tonight” in October of last year, the company hoped to devise a product that gave a generation that laps up news headlines via social media on a second-by-second basis a good reason to sit down for a daily »


- Brian Steinberg

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Chaos at Fox News: One Week In, Culture Change Is on the Rocks (Column)

5 hours ago

Is this what implosion looks like?

In the week since Bill O’Reilly’s ouster from Fox News, the cable news network has struggled to stay on message. The Murdoch family has stated firmly that it is seeking a culture change. But the culture of Fox News seems quite resistant to changing — and the allegations keep piling up. In addition to a network-wide culture of sexual harassment that ended the Fox News careers of both Roger Ailes and O’Reilly, a racial-discrimination lawsuit against comptroller Judith Slater is gaining complainants and is similarly sordid in its details of harassment and employee exploitation. (Among other complaints, the black employees of Fox News allege that they were subjected to arm wrestling white employees for Slater’s amusement.)

But that’s just the legal mess. On-air and in public, the network’s image problem is also a mess. The promised culture change isn’t evident in what the network’s »


- Sonia Saraiya

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NBCUniversal Marketing Machine Starts Its Engine for 2018 Olympics

5 hours ago

It’s only 287 days until the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, but nearly 100 of the U.S. team’s top athletes have come together this week, from gold-medalist skier Lindsey Vonn to ice-skating phenom Ashley Wagner to snowboarding legend Shaun White.

But they’re not at the site of the 2018 Games, Pyeongchang, South Korea; they’ve assembled at a Los Angeles production facility. And though it’s a sunny spring day, they are surrounded indoors by snow, albeit the kind of faux flakes made of paper that are pumped into the air in order to evoke the winter wonderland in which they’ll assemble again less than 10 months from now.

Though this is not the actual Olympics, think of what NBCUniversal and the U.S. Olympic Committee have assembled here as a decathlon of a different kind: a gauntlet of 20 different promotional shoots primarily intended to service the vast array of programs and platforms where these »


- Andrew Wallenstein

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Netflix to Unleash Second German Original Production ‘Dogs of Berlin’

8 hours ago

Netflix has commissioned its second German production with “Dogs of Berlin,” created by writer-director Christian Alvart. The 10-part show will see Alvart serve as showrunner as well as writing, directing and producing all episodes through his Berlin-based production company Syrreal Entertainment.

Described by Netflix as an edgy modern crime drama, “Dogs of Berlin” sees two contrasting police detectives forced to team-up against their will. Finding themselves caught up in a territorial battle with the Berlin underworld, which makes them confront their own corruption and weaknesses, the pair must decide which side of the law they are really on. Syrreal CEO Siegfried Kamml will also produce.

“To develop a 10-episode show that combines innovative storytelling with complex and unique characters is incredibly exciting for me as an author and director,” Alvart said of his biggest project to date. “I wanted to tell the story of these ‘Dogs’ for quite some time and am very much looking forward to »


- Robert Mitchell

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‘Scandal’: Mellie Is Now President, but There’s Another Shake-Up in the White House

17 hours ago

Spoiler Alert: Do not read ahead if you have not watched “Scandal” Season 6, episode 12, which aired on Thursday, April 27.

Last week’s episode bid adieu to Elizabeth North, but this week’s wasn’t a somber funeral of any sort. “Scandal” raced ahead with more chaos at the hands of none other than Liz North’s killer, the Mystery Woman (Zoe Perry).

The Mystery Woman continued to threaten and frame just about everyone, and she confronted new president-elect Mellie (Bellamy Young) to demand that she wants the vice president spot vacated. But for who? Peus (David Warshofsky), of course.

Peus showed up at Opa to finally meet Olivia (Kerry Washington), who was in top form this episode. He told her that he wants to be vice president and she laughed in his face and kept up a tough front, but she later realized that if Jake (Scott Foley) doesn’t step down from his veep post, he »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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‘Z: The Beginning of Everything’ Renewed for Season 2 at Amazon

20 hours ago

Z: The Beginning of Everything” has been renewed for Season 2 at Amazon, Variety has confirmed.

The series stars Christina Ricci as a young Zelda Sayre, a Southern socialite who yearned to break free from her monotonous life in Montgomery. She gets her chance when she meets a young soldier named F. Scott Fitzgerald (David Hoflin), setting off one of the most famous romances of the twentieth century. It is based on the novel “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald” by Therese Anne Fowler.

The series also stars Jamie Anne Allman, David Strathairn, Corey Cott, Jordan Dean, Natalie Knepp, Christina Bennett Lind, and Holly CurranDawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin created the series and serve as executive producers. Ricci, Pamela Koffler, and Christine Vachon also executive produce, with Fowler producing.

The show received mix reviews upon its release back in January. It currently holds a 69% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety’s Maureen Ryan wrote in her review »


- Joe Otterson

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Writer and ‘Philbert’ Actor Trustin Howard Dies at 93

21 hours ago

Writer and actor Trustin Howard, also known as Slick Slavin, died on April 20 after complications from a fall. He was 93.

Born to poverty-stricken teenage parents in the slums of Chicago, Howard helped support his family from the age of 9 by performing on stage. By 15 years old, Howard’s career took off when he regularly performed at the Chicago Theatre, where he was introduced to the scene by his stage name Slick Slavin. He went on to perform at a variety of well-known nightclubs and theaters around the world, where he sang, played instruments, and did impersonations.

After serving in the Army, Howard returned to pursue a career as an actor, appearing in films such as “Philbert,” “Speed Crazy,” and “King Creole” alongside Elvis Presley.

Howard later made the transition from acting to writing, eventually becoming head writer of the talk show “The Joey Bishop Show.” He went on to write and produce several television specials, including »


- Sarah Ahern

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