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Donald Trump Animated Series From Stephen Colbert Headed to Showtime

1 hour ago

Donald Trump, the cartoon? Yes, it’s happening.

Showtime has greenlit an animated satirical series centered on the Trump White House, Variety has learned. The show hails from executive producer Stephen Colbert.

The untitled series will span 10 episodes, and will air this fall. Production will ramp up quickly and wrap close to the premiere date, in order to enable the show to stay relevant with current events and Trump’s continuing antics.

The series will revolve around the two-dimensional avatars of President Donald Trump and his family members. Described as a “fresh, cutting-edge comedy,” the series will present the “tru-ish adventures of Trump’s confidants and bon vivants — family, top associates, heads of government, golf pros, and anyone else straying into his orbit — intrepidly exploring their histories and their psyches, revealing insights into what makes them so definitively Trumpian.” According to Showtime, “it’s a workplace comedy where the office happens to be oval; it’s a »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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‘American Horror Story’ Season 7 Drops New Teaser, Poster (Watch)

2 hours ago

American Horror Story: Cult” released a chilling new trailer and poster teasing the show’s Season 7.

“You’ve been waiting for us,” American Horror Story tweeted regarding the teaser. Though the mysterious clip reveals very little, it flashes between a creepy clown and the cryptic text “Find us” followed by “Ahscult.com.” The official poster is captioned “Be of like mind,” and portrays a powdery-white woman with clown makeup. The top of her skull is removed, exposing a honey-comb brain riddled with bees, teasing the hive mind mentality for the season.

The official title and first teaser were released at San Diego Comic-Con last week, with FX projecting the teaser onto a wall of water behind the San Diego Convention Center.

Co-creator Ryan Murphy shared earlier the next installment of FX’s horror anthology was inspired by the 2016 presidential election. FX has renewed the show through Season 9.

Previously announced cast members include “American Horror Story” newcomers Lena Dunham »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Katy Perry to Host 2017 MTV Video Music Awards

2 hours ago

Katy Perry will host and perform at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, Variety has learned.

She is the first performer announced for this year’s awards, and is also one of the most-nominated artists with five nominations. The nominees were announced earlier this week.

“I’ve been training with MTV in zero gravity, eating astronaut ice cream, and I’m on a group text with Buzz Aldrin and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Come August 27th, I’ll be ready to be your Moonwoman! Brace for impact, kids,” Perry said in a statement, referencing the signature Vma trophy, the moonman statue.

“We’re thrilled to have global phenomenon Katy Perry as the host and a performer at the 2017 VMAs,” said Bruce Gillmer, head of music and music talent of Viacom’s global entertainment group. “She is at the forefront of music culture and the perfect person to anchor this year’s show, which »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Will Sean Spicer Really Be on ‘Dancing With the Stars?’

2 hours ago

Dancing With the Stars” has an eye on Sean Spicer — but the talks are so preliminary that it’s too early to tell if the former White House press secretary will actually make his way to the dance floor.

“Right now just talking,” a person close to the ABC show tells Variety of the prospect of Spicer joining the series. The insider stresses that there have been no firm discussions with Spicer regarding “Dancing With the Stars,” saying, “Nothing beyond talking about casting. We’re still so early in the process.”

The insider explains it’s so early in the casting process that there’s “no one we’re dying for right now.”

With “DWTS” heading into its whopping 25th season, our source jokes, “Honestly [we’re] running out of stars!”

Spicer resigned from his position as White House press secretary a week ago, after six months as the chief spokesperson for President Donald Trump’s administration. Press »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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‘NCIS: New Orleans’ Enlists Composer Tree Adams (Exclusive)

3 hours ago

NCIS: New Orleans” has tapped Emmy nominee Tree Adams as its new composer, Variety has learned exclusively.

Adams has previously worked on shows like “Californication,” “Lethal Weapon,” “Legends,” “In Plain Sight,” and “Franklin and Bash,” among numerous other film and television projects.

He has worked as a television, film and games composer for 20 years, having transitioned from a career as a touring musician. He spent 10 years on the road with his band The Hatters, touring extensively and playing with big names in roots rock and blues.

In June 2017, Watertower Music released Tree’s music as the Season 4 soundtrack to CW’s “The 100.” Also in 2017, Adams launched issue number one of his his graphic novel “Duskriders” with an accompanying soundtrack.

He is repped by Wme.

NCIS: New Orleans,” a spinoff of the long-running “NCIS,” is a drama about the local field office that investigates criminal cases involving military personnel in The Big Easy. The »


- Joe Otterson

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Mind the Gap: BBC Pay Crisis Shakes U.K. Television Industry

3 hours ago

The BBC lit a fire under the British television industry when it published the earnings of its top talent by name. The data dump revealed that two-thirds of BBC stars earning more than £150,000 ($195,000) are men. When it comes to age, the picture is even worse: Four times as many men over 50 fall in that salary bracket as women over 50. Ethnic minority stars are also severely underrepresented.

The BBC was forced to release the figures by the British government. Under pressure, director general Tony Hall pledged to give women equal pay and airtime by 2020 but said on July 23 that he would try to reach that goal even earlier after 40 senior female staffers, in an open letter, called on him to “act now.”

While many cheer Hall’s commitment, it’s questionable whether the rest of the industry will follow suit, despite the influence the BBC wields in the U.K. broadcasting landscape.

Ironically »


- Stewart Clarke

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Showtime Orders Boston-Set Drama Pilot from Ben Affleck and Matt Damon

4 hours ago

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are bringing their Boston pride to Showtime.

The cabler has picked up a drama pilot “City on a Hill” from the Oscar winners, who will executive produce the project.

Based on an original idea by Affleck and Chuck MacLean (“Boston Strangler”), who wrote the script, “City on a Hill” is a fictional account of what was called the “Boston Miracle.” In the early ’90s, corruption and racism was the norm in Boston, until an African-American district attorney from Brooklyn arrives in the city, advocating change. He forms an unlikely alliance with a corrupt yet venerated FBI veteran who is invested in maintaining the status quo. The two take on a family of armored car robbers in a case that eventually upends the city’s criminal justice system.

The pilot will be directed by Gavin O’Connor (“The Accountant”), who will serve as executive producer along with James Mangold (“Logan”) and Jennifer Todd (“Memento »


- Debra Birnbaum

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NBC Developing Black Female Mayor Drama With ‘Orville’ Star, ‘West Wing’ Writer (Exclusive)

4 hours ago

NBC is developing a drama series with Penny Johnson Jerald and Allison Abner among its executive producers, Variety has learned exclusively.

The series will be set in Baltimore and follows a newly elected African-American female mayor, her female chief of police, and district attorney as they work for the good of one of America’s most dangerous cities.

Abner and Jerald will both serve as executive producers on the project, with Abner also serving as writer. Tom Szentgyorgyi, who has written and produced for shows like “The Mentalist” and “NYPD Blue,” will also executive produce. Sheila Ducksworth and Lavern Whitt will also executive produce. Universal Television will produce.

Jerald will star in the upcoming Fox sci-fi series “The Orville” from Seth MacFarlane, set to debut in September. Her other acting credits include HBO’s Emmy-winning series “The Larry Sanders Show,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” and the ABC procedural “Castle.” She »


- Joe Otterson

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TV Ratings: ‘Big Brother’ Dips in Demo, Still Easily Tops Wednesday

4 hours ago

“Big Brother’s” Wednesday installment dipped slightly in the key demo this week, but was still the most-watched and highest-rated show of the night, according to Nielsen data.

Airing at 8 p.m., the CBS reality series averaged a 1.7 rating in adults 18-49–down approximately 10% from last week–and 6.3 million viewers.

At 9 on CBS, “Salvation” (0.6, 3.8 million) was down in both measures in its third week.

On NBC, “Little Big Shots: Forever Young” (0.8, 5.7 million) was even, as was “The Carmichael Show” (0.7, 3.3 million).

“MasterChef” (1.0,  3.5 million) was even on Fox, while “The F Word” (0.6, 2 million) was down in the demo.

ABC and The CW aired only repeats.

CBS won the night with a 0.9 and 4.5 million viewers. Fox was second in the demo with a 0.8 but third in total viewers with 2.7 million. NBC and ABC tied for third in the demo with a 0.6 each, but NBC was second in total viewers with 3.8 million. ABC was fourth in total viewers with 2.6 million. The »


- Joe Otterson

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Steven Mandala Named President of Univision Ad Sales and Marketing

4 hours ago

Steven Mandala, whose ties to TV ad sales go back to time he would spend as a boy making rounds with his father as he worked to sell commercials for ABC, is getting some hefty new responsibilities. Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications on Thursday named Mandala president of advertising sales and marketing, effective immediately.

Mandala, who has been with Univision as executive vice president of ad sales since 2012 – marking his second stint with the company – will  oversee advertising sales and marketing for Univision’s sundry media outlets, including the Univision Network, UniMás, and various cable networks including Galavisión and Univision Deportes Network, along with local media and digital properties. He will succeed Keith Turner, the TV-industry veteran who has announced plans to retire at the end of 2017, and will report to Tonia O’Connor, who was recently named Univision’s chief revenue officer.  

Mandala is the latest in a parade of new executives taking over the advertising-sales function »


- Brian Steinberg

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‘Angie Tribeca’ Renewed for Season 4 at TBS, ‘Animal Kingdom’ Renewed for Season 3 at TNT

5 hours ago

Angie Tribeca” has been renewed for Season 4 at TBS, while “Animal Kingdom” has been renewed for Season 3 at TNT, it was announced Thursday at the TCA summer press tour.

Rashida Jones plays the title role in “Angie Tribeca,” who is a detective in the Lapd. It also stars Hayes MacArthur, Jere Burns, Deon Cole, and Andree Vermeulen. The zany comedy series is executive produced by Nancy and Steve Carell along with Ira Ungerleider, who serves as showrunner. In addition, Bobby Cannavale will join the show in its fourth season.

The series has scored two consecutive seasons of growth among adults 18-49, including growing 13% for last year’s second season and another 8% for the just-completed third season. It also ranks as one of cable’s top 10 comedies for the quarter across all key demos. TBS has ordered 10 episodes for Season 4, which is slated to launch in 2018.

Animal Kingdom,” based on the 2010 Australian film of the same name, follows »


- Joe Otterson

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‘Wonder Woman’s’ Chris Pine, Patty Jenkins to Reteam on TNT Series ‘One Day She’ll Darken’

5 hours ago

After delivering a smash hit with “Wonder Woman,” director Patty Jenkins and star Chris Pine will re-team on the new TNT drama series “One Day She’ll Darken.”

TNT has given a green light a straight-to-series order with Jenkins attached to direct the pilot and potentially additional episodes. Pine is attached to star in all six episodes.

Sam Sheridan, author of “A Fighter’s Heart and The Disaster Diaries” is set to write the six-episode series, inspired by the autobiography of Fauna Hodel. The series is being produced by Turner’s Studio T, with Jenkins, Michael Sugar, Sheridan and Pine serving as executive producers. Plans are to shoot the show this fall.

“One Day She’ll Darken” tells the story of Hodel who was given away by her teenage birth mother to a black restroom attendant in a Nevada casino in 1949. As Hodel begins to investigate the secrets to her past, she »


- Justin Kroll

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‘America’s Got Talent’ Winner Grace VanderWaal to Return for Live Results Show (Exclusive)

6 hours ago

“America’s Got Talent” season 11 winner Grace VanderWaal is returning to the NBC show for the first live results episode on Aug. 16.

The 13-year old will be joined by other Agt graduates and success stories, including season 9 winner Mat Franco, who performs his Magic Reinvented show nightly at the newly renamed Mat Franco Theater at Las Vegas’ Linq Hotel & Casino; season 11 third place finisher Jon Dorenbos, a magician and NFL star who plays for the Philadelphia Eagles; and season 10 fan favorite Piff the Magic Dragon, whose magic show with canine companion, “Mr. Piffles,” earned a “Golden Buzzer” from guest Neil Patrick Harris and accolades from former judge Howard Stern, who calls the comic a “phenomenal talent.”

Piff, who currently has a residency at The Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, will be returning by “overwhelming demand,” an Agt spokesperson tells Variety. 

VanderWaal, whose video for her new song, “Moonlight” has surpassed 2 million views on YouTube since its July »


- Michele Amabile Angermiller

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Backstreet Boys, Florida Georgia Line Team Up for ‘Cmt Crossroads’

7 hours ago

Florida Georgia Line and the Backstreet Boys are partnering to perform their biggest hits on Cmt’s “Crossroads.”

The genre-blending collaboration will feature arrangements of Backstreet Boys’ tracks “I Want It That Way” and “As Long As You Want Me,” and Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise,” “H.O.L.Y.,”  and “God, Your Mama, and Me.”

The two groups teamed up earlier this year, performing together on the Academy of Country Music Awards. Fgl are currently playing select stadium dates on their The Smooth Tour 2017.

“It’s been really cool to collaborate with the Backstreet Boys in so many different ways this year,” said Fgl’s Brian Kelley. “And to be able to take our friendship — and smooth new dance moves — up a notch with this full-blown concert together is going to be epic.”

Added Backstreet BoysBrian Littrell: “Being such fans of each other, this is a really fun way for us to put our »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Comcast Unveils New Details for ‘Instant TV’

8 hours ago

Comcast executives offered more detail on a plan for a millennial-focused TV service that does not hinge on use of a set-top box.  Executives from the Philadelphia entertainment giant suggested during a call with investors that the service, known as “Xfinity Instant TV,” could be launched sometime in the second half of the year.

It’s not the first time Comcast has discussed the service, which has in previous reports been described as a package that might include local broadcast channels, a premium channel and DVR capabilities. Executives said Thursday that the company has been testing prices, but past reports have suggested a monthly fee of around $15.

The offering would pit Comcast against rivals like Dish, which offers the Sling skinny bundle, or At&T’s DirecTV Now – as well as a growing number of services that make TV content available to a generation eager to consume streaming video on demand with portable screens.

The »

- Brian Steinberg

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Tegna, TV One to Launch Daily Talk Show ‘Sister Circle’

8 hours ago

Tegna is stepping up the volume of original daytime programming for its TV stations with the September launch of a daily roundtable talk show “Sister Circle,” aimed at African-American women. Cabler TV One will also carry the show as part of its expanded morning news and lifestyle programming block.

Daytime TV vet Helen Swenson has been tapped as showrunner of “Sister Circle,” which bows Sept. 11 in tandem with another new Tegna production, “Daily Blast Live.”

“Sister Circle” will feature a panel of four women — Quad Webb-Lunceford (“Married To Medicine”), singer Syleena Johnson, sports reporter Rashan Ali, and standup comedian Kiana Dancie — discussing a range of lifestyle and relationship issues as well as topical subjects. The foursome will be joined by DJ Q, who will spin records and add a male perspective to the conversation.

The hourlong show will also blend in celebrity guests and expert commentary. It will air live in East Coast markets at 9 a »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Comcast Q2 Profit Rises Nearly 24% On ‘Fate of the Furious,’ Theme Parks

9 hours ago

Cable-and-entertainment giant Comcast Corp. said second-quarter profit rose 23.9%, driven in part by box-office performance of the film “Fate of the Furious” and activity at its theme parks, even as its cable service, the biggest in the nation, shed video subscribers.

The company said net income attributable to its operations rose 23.9% in the second quarter, coming to 52 cents per share, compared with $2.03 billion or 41 cents a share in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose 9.8% to $21.16 billion.

NBCUniversal overall revenues rose 17.3% to $8.33 billion. Filmed Entertainment revenue rose 59.6% to $2.2 billion, with revenue from current theatrical releases rising $837 million from $540 million on the strength of “Fate of the Furious,” the company’s most recently release in a long-running franchise. Revenue at NBCU’s theme-park operations rose 15.6% to $1.3 billion, due to higher attendance and more spending by customers.

Revenue at the unit’s cable networks rose 5.1%, to nearly $2.70 billion. Ad sales fell 0.9% due to ratings declines. Distribution »

- Brian Steinberg

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‘American Gods,’ ‘Grand Tour,’ ‘Lucifer’ Among Most Downloaded Shows From Amazon U.K.

12 hours ago

American Gods” is among the most downloaded shows on Amazon Prime Video in the U.K. this year, along with Starz pirate series “Black Sails,” U.S. network offerings “Lucifer” and “Parks and Recreation,” and animated children’s series “Peppa Pig,” the tech giant said. “The Grand Tour” also made the top 10, and the company has high hopes for the car show’s second season, as well as for other original programming in Europe and beyond.

Amazon released data on the popularity of its offerings in Britain ahead of Friday, its declared “Download Day,” when it expects more content to be downloaded and stored for offline viewing by customers than any other day of the year. The downloading feature, which the company introduced in 2013 and for Apple and Android phones and tablets in 2015, ahead of arch-rival Netflix, has been “one of, if not the most, successful features we have ever rolled out,” Prime »


- Stewart Clarke

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Telefonica Reverses Pay-tv Dip in Spain

13 hours ago

Madrid – Telefonica, Europe’s first telecom to move massively into scripted TV production, saw pay-tv subscribers increase at its Spanish operations in the run-up to the launch of its weighty slate of original TV series productions, which hit the market this September with “Velvet Collection.”

After dropping three consecutive quarters from a high point in June 2016 of 3.755 million, pay-tv subs at Telefonica España added 51,000 clients from April to June this year, increasing from 3.615 million at the end of March to 3.666 million on June 30.

The increase was fostered by new customers and migration from low-value options to the Fusion + Ocio bundle launched in April, which had 131,000 clients on June 30, Telefonica said in its second-quarter results announcement Thursday.

A quad-play offer of mobile and fixed telephony, broadband internet and TV, Fusion + Ocio is offered at prices ranging from €60 ($70) for 50Mb Internet speed to €72 ($84) for 300 Mb.

The big question for Telefonica and other telecoms pushing into original production will be »


- John Hopewell

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Sky to Launch ‘Simple and Affordable’ Ott Service in Spain

13 hours ago

Sky is streaming into the Spanish market. Issuing results Thursday, CEO Jeremy Darroch said the European pay-tv operator intended “to launch a simple and affordable Ott service in Spain.”

For the fiscal year ending June 30, Sky said it registered a 5% increase in revenues of £12.9 billion ($16.9 billion) but a 3% slip in Ebita profit of £2.1 billion, as the increased costs of Premier League soccer rights and other investments kicked in. Operating profit, at £1.5 billion, was down 6% year on year for the U.K.-listed company.

Sky also said it will boost its investment in Sky Originals by 25% to give it an edge over Amazon and Netflix. “Local dramas such as ‘Babylon Berlin’ in Germany, ‘Britannia’ in the U.K., and the return of the third season of Italian crime drama ‘Gomorrah’ illustrate our strength in local programming that other Svod providers cannot match,” the company said.

Sky has also entered its first co-production with HBO, a »

- Stewart Clarke

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