Despite the fact that there have been five Terminator movies, there hasn’t really been a good one since Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991. According to Deadline, James Cameron is looking to hand-hold a new — and allegedly final — installment of his landmark franchise into existence, and he is reportedly in early talks with Deadpool director Tim Miller to helm it. Cameron had no involvement with the Terminator movies Rise of the Machines, Salvation, or Genisys, and he didn’t contribute to the Fox TV series The Sarah Connor Chronicles, either. The director sold the rights to the brand before the first movie even came out and it has changed hands various times since then, but as Deadline reports, those rights revert back to Cameron in 2019. In the meantime, producer David Ellison is funding an exploratory effort through his Skydance banner, which includes reaching out to science-fiction authors for help fleshing out a story. When Cameron directs a movie, he writes it too, but it sounds like he’s assuming more of a guardian-angel role this time around. If a new Terminator does rise, it would be incredibly satisfying to see an actually good movie close out the franchise, but considering how things go in Hollywood now, a successful new Terminator likely wouldn’t be the last one by a long shot.
Sneaky Pete is making good on its second chance at life. The Bryan Cranston and Graham Yost–produced series was originally shot down by CBS, but then Amazon swooped in to save the day. Now, it’s getting picked up for a second season. The show — about a con man (Giovanni Ribisi) fresh out of prison who assumes the identity of his cellmate, the titular Pete, to avoid paying off a massive debt to a gangster (Cranston, who is also the Sneaky co-creator) — has been deemed eminently binge-worthy by Vulture, and according to Amazon, it debuted with the platform’s second-highest streaming numbers of any series to date behind The Man in the High Castle. So now you can watch and keep pondering whether or not Ethan Embry and Ribisi really do look alike.
On season 2 of UnREAL, the show within the show, Everlasting, put its first black suitor front and center — beating the real-life Bachelor to that same move. TVLine is now reporting that Caitlin FitzGerald will lead season 3 as the meta-program’s first-ever female suitor, Serena. Onscreen producers Rachel (Shiri Appleby) and Quinn (Constance Zimmer) are chasing bigger ratings, and they’ll likely have a whale of a time putting a woman in their crosshairs for the first time.
Ryan Murphy has committed to no sleep for something like the next three years. According The Hollywood Reporter, the megashowrunner has just snatched up the rights to Jeffrey Toobin’s book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President, and Variety subsequently confirmed that it will serve as a future season of American Crime Story. The idea of Murphy putting the salacious political circus that was the Monica Lewinsky scandal onscreen is so appropriate it’s almost as if Murphy went back to 1999 and told Toobin to write the book so he could develop it 18 years later. He’s the same author, of course, whose book The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson served as the foundation for the first season of Murphy’s breakout anthology project. THR reports that the Clinton/Lewinsky ACS is being fast-tracked, and that meetings are already taking place with actresses to fill out the roles of Lewinsky and Linda Tripp.
Remember, too, that there are already two seasons of Crime Story in development, one focusing on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the other on the 1997 murder of Gianni Versace at the hands of Andrew Cunanan. Although the tentatively titled Versace/Cunanan season will be filmed first, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said at a press conference last week that Katrina will run first in 2018 with the cycles airing six months apart. We will also soon see the debut season of Murphy’s next anthology series, Feud, on March 6, so FX is going to keep serving hot drama for years and years to come.
TV executives have been exhuming the rotting corpses of former hits for almost as long as there have been networks. Beyond the recent revivals of The X-Files, Arrested Development, Heroes, and Gilmore Girls, the 1980s and early 1990s saw broadcasters rushing to capitalize on boomer nostalgia with zombie versions of series that had been dead for decades, from Leave It to Beaver and The Brady Bunch to Get Smart and The Munsters. So NBC’s announcement Wednesday that it’s resurrecting Will & Grace for a “limited run” next season hardly qualifies as groundbreaking: Making money off the past is TV 101. Still, even if it’s not a revolutionary move, the W & G curtain call — if successful — could end up making a bigger splash than previous attempts to recapture past ratings glory. And best of all, the new economics of TV mean there’s probably not all that much risk to NBC’s bottom line if the show ends up tanking with viewers.
ABC Green-lights Another Shondaland Pilot, and Yes, It Involves Personal Intrigue and the Legal SystemBy Jordan Crucchiola
If watching so much Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, and The Catch has prevented you from experiencing human connection unless it’s brought to you by TV super-producer Shonda Rhimes then today is a good day. ABC has just ordered a pilot for an unnamed legal drama that will be penned by Scandal writer and producer Paul William Davies, and overseen by Rhimes and her Shondaland sister in arms, Betsy Beers. The show will focus on a collection of green lawyers who work on opposite sides of the system in the Southern District New York Federal Court. Some fight for the defense and others for the prosecution, but they’re all tackling cases with the highest of profiles that have the highest of stakes. Also, their personal lives intersect, and it feels reasonable to assume that means a lot of these people will be sleeping with each other. Rhimes’s next great industry challenge will presumably be getting Earth to spin more slowly so she can add another hour of programming to her TGIT lineup.
Jerry Seinfeld Signs Netflix Development Deal That Includes Stand-Up Specials and Original Comedy ProgrammingBy Jordan Crucchiola
Netflix is carving out a big space for Jerry Seinfeld. The comedian will be moving his series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee to the streaming service as part of a large overall deal that includes two stand-up specials by him as well as the development of scripted and non-scripted comedy content. Comedians In Cars has aired for nine seasons on the digital service Crackle, from Sony, and this will likely be a tough blow for the burgeoning original content provider. Season 10 will arrive on Netflix with a 24-episode order later this year, along with the first of Seinfeld’s comedy specials.
For the first time since the end of 7th Heaven in 2007, Jessica Biel is returning for a regular stint on TV. USA Network has ordered The Sinner, which Biel stars in and executive produces, to series. The crime thriller is the opening-act season for what’s been billed as an anthology series, and it follows a woman (Biel) who carries out an act of violence with no discernable motivation, as well as the investigator (played by Bill Pullman) who becomes dead set on figuring out why she did it. The Sinner, based on the book by Petra Hammesfahr, is the first show to get picked up by USA in 2017.
If there were a role Louis C.K. was born to play other than himself, it is definitely a tiny disgruntled cartoon police officer. According to The Hollywood Reporter, TBS has ordered ten episodes of The Cops, the animated series C.K. and Albert Brooks initially developed for FX early last year. Along with the network switch, The Office showrunner Greg Daniels will also be joining the show. The Cops stars C.K. and Brooks, or rather their vocal talents, as “two Los Angeles patrolmen trying their best to protect and serve, sometimes failing at both. Ride with them as they patrol one of the biggest cities in the world, then go home with them and be glad you're not married to either.” The series won't premiere until 2018, but at least now you've got a pretty good handle on The Cops' general premise.
James Cameron is about to put decades of on-the-job training to use. The innovative director behind such films as The Terminator, Aliens, and Avatar is bringing a docuseries about the history and evolution of sci-fi to AMC. James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction will use six installments to take on several of humanity's "Big Questions" and the way sci-fi has dealt with those issues throughout its development. Of the show, Cameron says, "With this series, we are going back to the origins of sci-fi, following the DNA of these ideas back to the source. Without Jules Verne and H.G. Wells there wouldn’t have been Ray Bradbury or Robert A. Heinlein, and without them, there wouldn’t be Lucas, Spielberg, Ridley Scott or me." James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction is set to debut some time in 2018, presumably with subsequent seasons dropping a timely once a decade or so thereafter.
Amy Sedaris is about to put a bevvy of her many talents to work. The comedian, actress, and crafts maven is getting her own format-blending comedy series on truTV. The untitled show promises to combine hospitality, variety, and talk-show formats, according to Variety. It'll also make good use of her homemaking skills, with each of the ten episodes focusing on a different topic like fish, wood, or grieving (one of these things ... ). According to Sedaris, the show will be like a live broadcast of her brain box. "I’ve been doing this show in my head for years. It will be terrific to get it on TV so I can free up some wiggle room up in my skull," she said. A noble pursuit, one in which we humble viewers are happy to be of service.
Looks like TV Land is committed to taking some big swings in the new year. Only this time, they'll be wielding a chainsaw while they do it. The network has ordered a ten-episode first season of Heathers, an hour-long scripted series inspired by the dark teen comedy of the same name. While based on the 1988 Winona Ryder film, TV Land's reboot will be formatted as an anthology series, and will feature a much more modern set of mean girls. Variety reports that the show will debut sometime in the fall of 2017, which gives you plenty of time to finally figure out, once and for all, what your damage is.
So you’re not going to get that Sky TV episode of Urban Myths about Michael Jackson, Liz Taylor, and Marlon Brando taking a road trip together. But according to The Hollywood Reporter, you can get a different dramatization of Jackson’s life on Lifetime, because the network has announced that it’s producing a biopic about the King of Pop. The tentatively titled Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland will focus on the last few years of Jackson’s life, and will be told from the perspective of his security team. Chad L. Coleman — who you know from all kinds of TV shows, including The Walking Dead and Arrow — will play bodyguard Bill Whitfield, and famous Michael Jackson tribute artist Navi will step into the titular role. Searching for Neverland actually has a fair amount of Jackson-adjacent personnel behind it. Executive producer Suzanne de Passe worked with the Jacksons and the Jackson 5 while she was a creative assistant to Berry Gordy at Motown, and it’s based off of the book Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days by Whitfield and fellow bodyguard Javon Beard.
Mike Judge to Develop Mike Judge Presents: Tales From the Tour Bus, a New Animated Series for CinemaxBy Jordan Crucchiola
Mike Judge has a long history developing adult-oriented animation for TV. He was responsible for Beavis and Butt-Head in the mid-90s, and co-created the Emmy-winning King of the Hill, which ran for more than ten years. Judge’s big project over the past few years has been the hit HBO series Silicon Valley, but Deadline reported today he will return to cartoons with Mike Judge Presents: Tales From the Tour Bus, a half-hour comedy series that illustrates the lives of various country-music figures. The show was picked up by Cinemax, making it the network’s first original comedy program, and the eight-episode run is slated to kick off later this year.
La La Land could be the gift that keeps on giving to Liongsgate, according to The Hollywood Reporter. After an enchanted festival run, a record-setting night at the Golden Globes, a viable path to top honors at the Oscars, and a ton of other award nominations, the co-president of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, Erik Feig, told investors on Tuesday, “If we want to do a stage show, we can do a stage show.” While not quite the prestige picture of Damien Chazelle's Hollywood darling, Feig cited the live adaptation of Step Up, which is currently active in Dubai, as a precedent for the possible business move. Of course, a screen musical moving to the stage is clearly not the most outlandish idea, but before you seize the impulse to roll your eyes or toss off another incarnation of La La Land as cashing in or a speeding train towards over-saturation, consider the casting possibilities. A broad complaint about the movie was its positioning of Ryan Gosling’s Sebastian as the hopeful “white savior” of jazz, but with the single stroke of not making Seb white a stage version could get started dancing on a less problematic foot. Look at that, La La Land 2.0 is already getting you excited for a better future.
Regina King is going to need a bigger desk to accommodate her bigger boss chair. The Emmy-winning actress, who has been riding a strong wave thanks to her work in ABC’s American Crime series, has just signed a two-year production deal with the network to develop content through her company Royal Ties, according to Deadline. King has been doing more and more behind-the-camera work lately, directing TV episodes for programs like Scandal, Animal Kingdom, The Pitch, and Greenleaf, and Royal Ties will have her working alongside her sister, Reina King, to produce new projects for ABC Studios. All hail the (King) queens.
Director Damien Chazelle and his La La Land star Ryan Gosling have already locked up their next project together. It’s an adaptation of the book First Man: A Life of Neil Armstrong by James Hansen, and according to The Hollywood Reporter the movie will focus on the years between 1961 and 1969 when NASA was working to put the first man on the moon. “The goal,” as THR says, “is to explore the sacrifices and the cost — on Armstrong and on the nation — of one of the most dangerous missions in history.” Right now the plan is for First Man to start shooting next year and, in addition to Chazelle at the helm, it will have a script from Josh Singer, who won an Oscar for co-writing last year’s Spotlight. Chazelle probably won't make this one a musical too, but the thought of Ryan Gosling tap dancing in space would really send us over the moon.
Sci-fi "It" guy Denis Villeneuve might be going after one of Hollywood’s white whales. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 director is in talks to bring his impeccable visual sensibilities to a remake of Dune. Last month, Legendary acquired the rights to develop film and TV projects based on Frank Herbert property, and they are clearly ready to get a jump on the remake by lining up interviews with directors brave enough to stare into the Dune abyss without being driven to madness. The movie turned out to be a fantastic failure for director David Lynch in 1984, then became a tepid SyFy channel series, and then a stalled theatrical endeavor for Paramount in the mid-2000s, when it gained and lost a pair of directors before slipping back into the ether. If Villeneuve can successfully shepherd this one to screen and deliver a good Blade Runner sequel, can someone just hand him an Alien movie right now? There might be a new kid on Ridley Scott’s block.
Captain on the bridge! Well, not actually captain, but according to Entertainment Weekly, the long-promised CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery has finally found its star in the form of Sonequa Martin-Green, who will lead the revival as a lieutenant commander. After extended production delays and the very public departure of its showrunner, Bryan Fuller, this is huge news for the series. Things are actually happening! Casting decisions are being made! Fans of AMC programming will recognize Martin-Green as Sasha Williams from The Walking Dead, which she’s been with since its third season. Discovery will be the first Trek series to feature a female African-American presiding officer in the lead role, and only the second Trek incarnation ever to be anchored by a woman. (High five to the pioneering Vice-Admiral Kathryn Janeway!) Additionally, EW reports that Martin-Green will continue to be a series regular on Walking Dead — making the universe a better place, one dead zombie at a time.
Movie studios are in full-tilt awards mode right now, meaning there’s a lot of money and time being invested in turning buzz around the year’s marquee film projects into actual hardware. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sent a few of those studios scrambling today when it announced that Moonlight and Loving will no longer be eligible in the Best Original Screenplay category, despite being recently recognized as such by the Writers Guild of America. According to Deadline, the two movies will now be considered in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, which opens up a big window for movies like Manchester by the Sea and La La Land — which are original works in the eyes of the Academy — that were previously staring down Moonlight as it gains more and more recognition throughout awards season. But where it’s good news for the critical darlings by Kenneth Lonergan and Damien Chazelle, it has to be a crestfallen moment for the people behind other adapted works like Lion, Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, and Sully, since Loving stands a chance at snapping up one of the precious five nominations slots, and Moonlight is all but guaranteed to do so. Between this and the announcement that the Academy disqualified three films from the Best Original Score competition, the Oscar powers are really making their presence known this year.
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