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Johnny Depp Casually Jokes About Assassinating Donald Trump, References John Wilkes Booth

The star of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is finding himself in more hot water than, well, an actual pirate in the Caribbean. While introducing his 2004 film The Libertine at the Glastonbury Festival in England, Johnny Depp asked the crowd, “Can we bring Trump here?” The crowd responded with a resounding “no.” Depp went on to say that he thinks the president “needs help.” But the 54-year-old actor did not slow his anti-Trump roll and added an extremely cringeworthy sound bite:

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  • Posted 6/19/17 at 9:00 AM

The Apple Phase of Peak TV Has Arrived. Maybe.

In the latest sign that the small-screen gold rush is far from over, on Friday Apple hired veteran Sony Pictures TV executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht for newly created positions heading up video programming for the Cupertino-based company. Staying true to form, the notoriously secretive Apple offered few details about exactly what its new execs would be doing, or exactly how broad the scope of their mission would be. But Eddy Cue, who runs all of Apple’s content stores, issued a statement that suggests Erlicht and Van Amburg weren’t recruited to come up with (relatively) small-ball fare like Planet of the Apps or even Carpool Karaoke. “We have exciting plans for customers … there is much more to come,” Cue teased. Translation: The Apple phase of Peak TV has arrived. Maybe.

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Barack Obama’s Gushy Video About Jay Z’s Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Might Have Revealed the Sex of Beyoncé’s Twins

In celebration of Jay Z’s induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, his friend and former president of the United States Barack Obama recorded a touching tribute to the rapper. In the video posted above, Obama highlighted the similarities the two share:

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After Backlash, Sony Modifies Its Plan to Make Clean Versions of Its Movies Available for Purchase

Sony Pictures is reconsidering a recently announced plan to make the “clean versions” of certain movies available for purchase by consumers. At implementation, the initiative included 24 movies — such as Big Daddy, Step Brothers, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, all of the Spider-Man movies, and Captain Phillips — in their broadcast TV or airline version” in order to attract a more family-friendly consumer base. According to Sony, the clean cuts were only available as bonus features when a user purchased the original theatrical versions on iTunes, Vudu, or FandangoNOW. But a backlash quickly ensued, with Seth Rogen tweeting, “Holy shit please don’t do this to our movies. Thanks,” and Judd Apatow expressing a similar sentiment on his own profile, “This is absolute bullshit and @sony and @SonyPictures is gonna get hell for FUCKING with our movies. Shove the clean versions up your asses!”

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How Safety Not Guaranteed Secretly Influenced the Next Five Years of Film

Five years ago, Safety Not Guaranteed, a movie by a first-time director and writer that cost less than a million dollars, debuted in nine theaters, where it made just shy of $100,000 in its opening weekend. While the film would end its theatrical run with just over $4 million, not a bad sum for a micro-budget indie, nothing about its humble origins — Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly adapted the story from a classified ad that ran in a 1997 issue of Backwoods Home Magazine — suggested that it would become one of the most influential films of the last decade.

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  • Posted 6/8/17 at 6:10 PM
  • Awkward

Jerry Seinfeld’s Reason for Not Hugging Kesha Is As Seinfeldian As You’d Expect

Things hit Seinfeld or even Curb Your Enthusiasm levels of awkward when Jerry Seinfeld repeatedly denied Kesha a hug while cameras were rolling on the red carpet of an event earlier this week. While we know Jerry’s eponymous character on Seinfeld usually had some sort of petty reason to wig out over a social interaction — from man hands to wearing the same dress over and over again — many of us were left wondering, “Hey, what’s wrong with giving beloved singer Kesha a hug? She doesn’t actually brush her teeth with Jack Daniels, you know?”

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Fantasy Boyfriends Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan Are Making Another Movie Together

Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan have found a pretty surefire recipe for success, and it is each other. Each of Jordan’s biggest successes have been with Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed, and the upcoming Black Panther, which will likely join that group next year), and Jordan has starred in all of the director’s feature films. Now Deadline is reporting that the lights-out pair will come together for a fourth time for Wrong Answer, and they’ll be working off a script from Ta-Nehisi Coates. The movie explores the true story of how educators in Atlanta gamed the No Child Left Behind standardized-testing system and ended up involved in a massive cheating scandal. Jordan and Coogler have had their eyes on developing the story for years, and now that it’s come around, the actor will play Damany Lewis, a middle-school teacher and athletics coach who taught underprivileged students that failed to meet the achievement benchmarks. In order to keep his school from shutting down, Lewis joined an organized effort to help cheat the test scores higher, and he was eventually convicted of racketeering alongside ten others. Lewis will serve as a consultant on the film, which is being produced in part by Brad Pitt through Plan B.

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  • Posted 5/31/17 at 6:10 PM

Netflix CEO Thinks They Should Be Cancelling More TV Shows

If Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings gets his way, the streaming giant may soon become a bit more ruthless when it comes to canceling shows. While Netflix has heretofore been known for almost always renewing series for at least two seasons — the recent axing of The Get Down was the outlier — Hastings told CNBC on Wednesday that he thinks the service has had too many successful series of late. “Our hit ratio is way too high right now,” Hastings said. “So, we’ve canceled very few shows … I’m always pushing the content team: We have to take more risk; you have to try more crazy things. Because we should have a higher cancel rate overall.” It’s not that Hastings wants Netflix to purposely make shows that are unsuccessful, though. His logic: By taking big swings, “you get some winners that are just unbelievable winners, like 13 Reasons Why. It surprised us. It’s a great show, but we didn’t realize just how it would catch on.”

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Millie Bobby Brown Could’ve Been Your X-23 in Logan

Millie Bobby Brown has already displayed her badass heroine chops as Eleven on Stranger Things, but there was another role with a different set of numbers that she was also keen on exploring outside of the Netflix universe. (Lots of silent and violent roles going around these days for girls, huh?) As revealed in a video interview with Variety, Brown explained that she auditioned for the role of X-23 in Logan, which she considered to be her best audition of all time despite the tense environment. “I went for Logan, I went for the little girl. It meant so much for me,” she said. “I was filming Stranger Things and I was like, This is going to be amazing, I’m gonna really prepare. I sat in my room reading the lines. Honestly, for me, I felt so — I felt an actor, in the audition room, hitting Hugh Jackman, and James Mangold sitting right in front of me.”

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  • Posted 5/26/17 at 2:13 PM

Turns Out Robin Wright Didn’t Really Get That House of Cards Raise She Demanded

Remember that great moment last year when Robin Wright talked about leveraging her popularity on House of Cards for a bigger paycheck? Speaking to an audience at the Rockefeller Foundation, Wright said, “I was like, ‘You better pay me or I’m going to go public.’ And they did.” It was an empowering message for women in entertainment and working women in general. Unfortunately, it sounds like Wright’s experience throwing an ultimatum at management didn’t actually pan out the way she thought it would.

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  • Posted 5/23/17 at 1:13 PM

The Ratings for Twin Peaks Weren’t Good. Who Cares?

The owls are not what they seem, and neither was viewer interest in a Twin Peaks revival — at least if Nielsen ratings are your metric for success. Per the ratings giant, Sunday’s quarter-century-in-the-making Twin Peaks: The Return attracted just 506,000 same-day viewers to Showtime via the network’s main linear channel. That’s on par with the 2014 premiere ratings for the network’s critically acclaimed drama The Affair, and better than the opening numbers for the dead-on-arrival Roadies (348,000) and Happyish (430,000). But it’s well below the initial tune-in for last year’s Billions premiere (900,000) or 2013’s premiere of Ray Donovan (1.4 million). What’s more, none of those other shows arrived on Showtime with the brand awareness of Twin Peaks, nor the years of prelaunch hype which has accompanied Peaks since the revival was announced in the fall of 2014. It’s a disappointing number for Showtime execs — but it’s not necessarily a disaster.

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Disney Eyes Another Oscar-Winning Director To Turn Pinocchio Live-Action

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag? One that’s drifting through the wind, wanting to start again — maybe this time as a real boy? Disney is reportedly eyeing American Beauty director Sam Mendes to take on the next movie in its live-action-remake machine: Pinocchio. According to Deadline, Mendes is in early talks to direct the movie, which will be written and produced by Chris Weitz. Mendes is coming off of directing the previous two James Bond movies, and was previously attached to a remake of James and the Giant Peach.

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  • Posted 5/17/17 at 11:44 AM

The New CBS Schedule Feels a Lot Like the Old CBS Schedule

Meet the new CBS schedule, pretty much the same as the old CBS schedule — at least in structure. While TV’s most-watched network is actually adding more new shows to its lineup this fall than any of its rivals — six, divided equally between comedy and drama — the framework of the lineup remains identical to this season’s model. There are still 8 to 10 p.m. comedy blocks on Mondays and Thursdays (with a drama at 10 p.m.); three straight hours of procedural dramas on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays; and Survivor, 48 Hours, and 60 Minutes back in their respective Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday slots. But while CBS is sticking to its reputation for stability, that doesn’t mean the network isn’t taking some chances, at least when it comes to comedy.

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ABC Is Expanding its Seattle Universe With a Grey’s Anatomy Spin-Off

It looks like ABC might be building up its answer to NBC’s Chicago universe of TV programming. The president of ABC Entertainment announced today that Grey’s Anatomy will be getting a spinoff set in a Seattle firehouse. The yet-to-be-titled show is getting a straight-to-series order, and promises to follow a group of brave men and women “as they risk their lives and their hearts both in the line of duty and off the clock.” Considering it’s a Shondaland production, both of these things are unsurprising. If NBC has Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago P.D., it seems reasonable to suspect that we’ll get a Shonda-sponsored Seattle P.D. before too long. If ABC really wants to be on-brand for the Pacific Northwest, though, they need to get Rhimes on a rom-dramedy called Seattle Coffee about a coffee shop where all the baristas are hooking up, and a salacious nighttime soap called Pike’s Place, centered around a queer female lead named Pike. You have your marching orders. Now go forth.

New Harassment Allegations Surround L.A. Reid’s Sudden Departure from Epic Records

Less than a week after L.A. Reid’s abrupt exit from Epic Records, new details have emerged about the label’s surprise shake-up. According to a new Billboard report, Reid left following a company inquiry into allegations from a female assistant who alleges the music exec harassed her. In a letter to Sony summarized by a Billboard source, the former assistant’s attorney outlines “alleged inappropriate remarks about her appearance and clothing and alleged propositions that caused her embarrassment and distress, making it impossible for her to continue working at the label.” The outcome of Sony’s investigation into the allegations is unclear, though one person close to Reid said the letters contain inaccuracies. Both parties declined to comment to Billboard. When announcing Reid’s departure, Sony released a concise seven-word statement, saying only, “L.A. Reid will be leaving the company.”

  • Posted 5/15/17 at 9:31 AM

Scream Queens Is Officially Dead at Fox

It’s official: Fox is done trying to scare up viewers for Scream Queens. The network confirmed Monday what had been obvious for months, namely that the Ryan Murphy–produced horror anthology wouldn’t be returning next season. The scrawled-in-pig’s-blood handwriting had been on the wall for the series since last fall. Despite a small, passionate core audience of viewers under 34, the series’ overall ratings were simply too low to justify renewal. Scream Queens didn’t do very well in the Nielsen ratings during its first season, and collapsed even further last fall, losing about half of its already small audience. Fox will still be in business with Murphy, however: The prolific producer is working on a new first-responder drama, 9-1-1, starring Angela Bassett. It’s expected to premiere in early 2018. What’s more, even if Scream Queens is now dead at Fox, the anthology nature of the series means it would be very easy for Murphy to resurrect the concept down the road, either at Fox or another network. In TV these days, just as in most horror movies, nothing is ever really dead. Case in point: Fox says it’s not yet ready to say 24: Legacy or Prison Break are done for. While the latter revival won’t be back next season, Fox says another round of Prison could be green-lit in the future. As for the new 24, despite disappointing ratings, Fox is planning to talk to co-creator Howard Gordon over the summer, before making any official verdict on the show’s fate.

  • Posted 5/15/17 at 9:00 AM

Fox Is Making a Big Sci-Fi Play This Fall

Fox is making a major bet on science fiction next season, rolling out a new fall schedule in which all three of its newcomers — two dramas and one comedy — feature supernatural elements. While the network has some conventional cop and doctor procedurals slated for early 2018, its fourth quarter will be devoted to launching a new Marvel-produced series connected to the X-Men universe (The Gifted); a Seth MacFarlane–created space adventure in which MacFarlane also stars (The Orville); and a paranormal comedy starring Craig Robinson and Adam Scott (Ghosted). And while Fox is being conservative by limiting its fall premieres to just three new shows, the network is being a bit more bold in scheduling, with tentpoles such as Empire, Gotham, and freshman hit Lethal Weapon moving to new time slots.

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  • Posted 5/14/17 at 8:00 PM

The 2016-2017 TV Season in 5 Really Depressing Charts

Almost every year since 2013, Vulture has published a chart illustrating the performance of veteran TV shows during the most recent season. We’ve labeled said charts “depressing” because they’ve consistently shown the vast majority of returning shows — whether they’ve been on the air for two years or two decades — losing ground in the key TV demographic of adults under 50. This season is no exception, and it’s arguably the most depressing year yet for those who follow network-TV trends. Last year, ten broadcast series were either up or flat versus the previous season. This season? Just one network series — ABC’s indestructible The Bachelor — has managed to increase its audience in the demo, with two others (CW’s Jane the Virgin and CBS’s Hawaii Five-O) remaining flat. Everything else on network TV got smaller.

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  • Posted 5/14/17 at 8:00 PM

TV Ratings Are Way Down, But Does It Even Matter Anymore?

Just a few years ago, a series such as CBS’s freshman comedy Man With a Plan (the one with Matt LeBlanc) would either be fighting for its life right now, or long dead. Its overall average audience (7.5 million viewers, including DVR replays) is smaller than any regularly scheduled scripted series the Eye network aired during the 2014–15 season. What’s more, compared to the show it replaced on Monday — the since-flown-to-CW Supergirl Man With a Plan has driven down CBS’s overall audience by more than 20 percent in its 8:30 p.m. time slot and reduced the network’s ratings among adults under 50 by a third. But not only is MWAP coming back for a second season, the network was so unconcerned with the aforementioned ratings, it renewed the show all the way back in March, along with similarly so-so performer Superior Donuts. CBS didn’t pick up these shows because they’re critically adored gems it hopes will find bigger audiences in years to come. Nor were the renewals symptomatic of some sort of underlying weakness at the network, since CBS remains TV’s most-watched network (by a lot). Instead, Man With a Plan and Superior Donuts — along with a slew of other similarly meh-rated shows across multiple networks — will return because of a much more fundamental shift in the TV landscape: In 2017, how a show does in the ratings is often no longer the deciding factor in determining whether it lives or dies.

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A New Mindy Kaling Show Gets a Pilot Order at ABC

Mindy Kaling is making her return to the traditional airwaves. Champions, a new comedy from Kaling and one of her Mindy Project co-producers, Charlie Grandy, has received a series order from NBC. The comedy follows a guy named Vince (Kaling’s erstwhile Mindy Project love interest Anders Holm), a gym owner cruising through life with no strings to tie him down. Vince lives with his brother, Michael (described as “a gorgeous idiot”), but their chill life is knocked off its axis when a high-school fling of Vince’s shows up at his door with his teenage son. Kaling will play said fling, Priya, in a guest-starring role, while Andy Favreau, J.J. Totah, Mouzam Makkar, and Nina Wadia also star in Champions, the closest thing to a Sliding Doors take on The Mindy Project that we’re likely to get, beyond that episode of TMP that was literally that.

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