Netflix user George Keritsis filed a class-action lawsuit against the streaming giant in a California court Wednesday, alleging that the company broke its promise of a lifetime-guaranteed subscription fee of $7.99 per month, reports THR. "For a period of time, Netflix solicited persons to subscribe to Netflix's streaming service by guaranteeing that Netflix would not increase monthly subscription prices as long as the subscribers maintained the subscription service continuously," states the complaint. "Netflix has broken its contract with these subscribers by unilaterally raising monthly subscription prices." Keritsis says that he signed up for Netflix with assurances from Netflix representatives that the fee wouldn't increase, and that he would continue to be grandfathered in under that original agreement even when Netflix would raise its prices. But then, Keritsis saw his price raise to $8.68 in October of 2012, and more recently — gasp! — to $9.99.
Nancy Grace is leaving HLN after 12 years, telling The Hollywood Reporter she'll depart the cable-news channel once her contract is up in October. The Batman v Superman star was HLN's most popular personality, though her ratings have declined since the salad days of the Casey Anthony trial. There's no official word on where Grace is going next, but she tells the mag her next stop will include "a very large digital component," though she "will always be wedded to a traditional platform — which is TV." If you miss Nancy Grace, do not fret: They say if you light a candle in the dark, walk up the stairs backwards, and say "tot mom" three times, she'll appear in your mirror.
In a long-gestating deal, Lionsgate has acquired Starz for $4.4 billion in cash and stock options. This means that Lionsgate, the studio behind major franchises like The Hunger Games and Divergent, will have a 16,000-title film and TV library, combined with Starz, which as of late has been expanding aggressively into original programming with shows like Outlander, Power, and Survivor's Remorse. The merger will give Lionsgate access to Starz's reach on TV (the Starz network has 24 million subscribers and the Starz Encore network has 32 million subscribers) as well as a streaming platform through the Starz app. Deadline and CNBC report that the merger was likely driven by John Malone, the majority shareholder of Starz who also sits on the board of Lionsgate, in order to give Starz the ability to better compete with premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
As part of its efforts to diversify in the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has promised to double the number of women and people of color in its ranks. The first step in that plan came Wednesday, when the Academy announced its new class, which is both larger and more diverse than ever before: Of the 683 new members — a list that includes boldfaced names like Idris Elba, Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson, and Emma Watson — 46 percent are women, and 41 percent are non-white. In a stroke, the Academy as a whole is now 27 percent female and 11 percent people of color — roughly similar to the demographics of an Android-fan convention in Montana.
According to Deadline, both Daniel Craig and Halle Berry have signed up for Kings, a romantic drama set amid the tense atmosphere of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Craig will play a white "loner" who lives in South Central, while Berry's "a tough, protective mother who looks after a group of kids." It'll be the English-language debut for Turkish director Deniz Gamze Erguven, whose Mustang was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year's Oscars. Kings is the second major L.A. riots movie in the works right now; American Crime's John Ridley is set to write and direct his own film about the riots. Is there room for both? Seeing as 2016 has already seen two critically acclaimed but wildly different O.J. Simpson projects, we'd say yeah, probably.
So, do you want to know what the U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union means for world financial markets? Or Scottish independence? Or the rising tide of right-wing nationalism both abroad and at home? No, you just want to know whether it's going to mess up your little tits-and-dragons show, don't you? Fine: The good news is that winter is still coming, whether Northern Ireland is in the EU or not. Some fans had feared the Brexit would prevent the show from subsidizing its production with grants from the European Regional Development Fund, but according to HBO, Thrones hasn't drawn from the fund for a few years now. As the network said in a statement, "We do not anticipate that the result of the EU Referendum will have any material effect on HBO producing Game of Thrones." That's not to say there will be no consequences entirely: The show had reportedly been scouting locations in Donegal in the Republic of Ireland for season seven, which will probably not happen if the border between the Republic and the North becomes a "hard" one again.
Hulu and Casual have been going out for a while now, and well, neither of them are getting any younger. And things are fine — really, they're fine! So why not take things to the next level? It doesn't have to be too much. Like, say, a 13-episode third season. That would be nice, wouldn't it? They don't have to spend the rest of their lives together or anything. Just a few more months of production, six-and-a-half hours of TV, then they'll see where they are after that and take things from there. Okay? Okay.
The producers of Mr. Robot finally stopped procrastinating, closed all their programs, and clicked "yes" on the latest system update. And what a surprise: It comes with two more episodes and an after-episode talk show! THR reports that USA has bumped up the second season of its buzzy drama (which premieres July 13) to 12 installments from ten, each of which will be followed by a new talk show called Hacking Robot. After-shows: doing for gerunds what TLC did for infinitives.
The internet and Netflix have officially converged, as Vine star Cameron Dallas is getting his own reality show on the streaming service. No longer will you have to stalk the 21-year-old's vast internet presence for updates on his fledgling multihypenate fame. Netflix's first-ever true reality show will take you behind Dallas's iPhone screen to explore "the stark contrast between his very public online persona and who he is in his personal life," so tweens worldwide will finally be able to prove that he's "not all selfies and Vine videos," mom! That's in addition to Netflix's upcoming show starring YouTube star Miranda Sings, who actually is all selfies and internet things, because she's an internet character. Be afraid, be very afraid.
Channing Tatum's newest project has a cheeky title: EW reports that the Magic Mike star's production company is "getting behind" the buddy-cop TV series Iron Fisting. The show — which is not to be confused with the upcoming Marvel series Iron Fist — purports to be an ’80s crime drama from Romania, in which two mismatched detectives attempt to protect Nicolae Ceaușescu's socialist paradise from the evils of capitalism. Iron Fisting is the brainchild of Animal Practice's Brian Gatewood and Alex Tanaka, with Documentary Now!'s Rhys Thomas set to direct, and A24 financing. Sounds like, in terms of development, this project is at third base.
Get Your Salmon Pants and Trust Funds, HBO’s Developing Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep Into a Comedy SeriesBy Jackson McHenry
Now we'll get to see what Gossip Girl would be like if it were less XOXO and more XXX. Deadline reports that HBO is developing Curtis Sittenfeld's novel Prep into a comedy series that follows a Midwestern girl who's trying to make her way through a New England boarding school. 30 Rock writer Colleen McGuinness is taking the lead on writing the adaptation, while Carolyn Strauss (who was involved in another show with catty rich people, Game of Thrones) is executive producing. Let's all gather at Fishers Island for a watching party? Oh, you don't have a place there? Oh, honey ...
Lynda Carter Will Fight for Our Rights and the Old Red, White, and Blue As the President on SupergirlBy Nate Jones
No matter what happens in November, there will be a female president on the CW this fall, as THR reports that former TV Wonder Woman Lynda Carter has joined Supergirl in a recurring role as the president of the United States. Executive producers Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti revealed in March that they would have included Carter's president for the series' first season if the scheduling had worked out, adding that the commander-in-chief was the "perfect role" for her. By the goddess Hera!
Kate Winslet Signs On for Woody Allen’s Latest Film, Going to Be Asked a Lot of Uncomfortable Questions at Cannes Next YearBy Nate Jones
Kate Winslet saw Kristen Stewart's Cannes experience and thought, I'll have what she's having. According to Variety, Winslet is in "final negotiations" to star in the next film by Woody Allen, whose Stewart-led Café Society opens July 15. As always, little is known about Allen's next project at this early date, except that it will apparently come out in 2017, and that a lot of people are going to have complicated internal debates about whether they should go see it.
Sony Is Making a New Animated Ghostbusters TV Show, Which We Now Must Distinguish From the Old Animated Ghostbusters TV ShowBy Jackson McHenry
If there's some IP / In your neighborhood / Who you gonna call? / TV executives! The big Ghostbusters reboot is only a few weeks away, but Sony is ready and waiting with a follow-up. Today, the studio announced plans for an animated Ghostbusters TV series (the studio had previously been developing a similar project as a film, but it's 2016, and TV is king). Titled Ghostbuster: Ecto Force and directed by Ivan Reitman (who helmed the original 1984 movie), the series is set in the year 2050. It bears no relation to the original animated Ghostbusters spin-off The Real Ghostbusters, except that it is also animated, also about people fighting ghosts, and also produced by executives looking to mine some of that sweet, sweet preexisting intellectual property. Ghostbuster: Ecto Force is aiming for a 2018 debut.
CBS is sending yet another signal it’s all in on All Access, the company’s bid to compete with Hulu, Netflix, and other subscription video services. Julie McNamara — a veteran TV development executive who’s had a hand in commercials and critical successes such as The Good Wife, Jane the Virgin, Elementary, and Desperate Housewives — has been named executive vice president of original content for CBS All Access, putting her in charge of all first-run programming for the service. CBS Corporation chairman Leslie Moonves has made no secret of his plans to produce original shows for All Access; an already announced reboot of Star Trek and a spin-off of The Good Wife are in the works, and he’s previously said the streaming network will run three or four exclusive series in 2017. But moving McNamara from her previous position as head of drama for CBS’s in-house studio suggests the start of an even bigger push to turn the streaming service into a serious SVOD (subscription video on demand) player.
You've likely seen the TV movie about the rise of the Jackson 5, now the end of Michael Jackson's legendary life is getting the TV treatment, too. J.J. Abrams's Bad Robot production company is teaming with PBS host Tavis Smiley and Warner Bros. Television to turn Smiley's new book, Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson’s Last Days, into a TV event series. The show doesn't have a network attached yet, but the book about Jackson's final months is set to be released tomorrow. It'll "examine the soaring highs and deep lows faced by the late pop star — his constant hunt for privacy in a life that was more public than almost any other, and the pressures he endured as someone whose fame made him socially fragile and almost unable to live." Smiley and Abrams are already adapting another of Smiley's books, Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Final Year, into a TV series. Here's hoping no one casts a white guy as MJ this time!
We'll have to be a little more patient before returning to the wonderful world of Legos. Warner Bros. has announced that The Lego Movie 2, which was originally supposed to hit theaters in May 2018, has now been pushed back nine months to February 2019. Fear not, though — we still have the spinoffs Lego Batman and Ninjago scheduled for February 2017 and September 2017, respectively. Until then, just mentally picture Chris Pratt in a florescent construction uniform. (Or, contrarily, re-watch the excellent "Everything is Awesome" performance at the Oscars.)
Summer television has just begun, but that doesn't mean that you can't start thinking about fall TV. The CW has released its fall schedule, staggering its shows out in October in order to avoid competing with the major broadcast network premieres in September. Freshman starters No Tomorrow, starring Joshua Sasse and Tori Anderson in an opposites-attract romantic comedy, will debut behind The Flash on Tuesday nights, and then time-traveling drama Frequency will use Arrow as its lead-in on Wednesdays. Elsewhere, Supergirl, which is also making its CW debut, will premiere first on Monday, October 10, with Jane the Virgin coming on a week later. The Vampire Diaries and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fill out Friday nights. Here's the full schedule for the premiere dates:
The fourth season of Orange Is the New Black is out today, and by the standards of many cable series, it’s already well on its way toward advanced television age – four full seasons of 13 hour-long episodes is a solid chunk of storytelling. How much more narrative can showrunner Jenji Kohan possibly wring from one building? HBO’s Oz ran for 56 episodes over six seasons; Fox’s soon-to-be-revived Prison Break ran for four network-length seasons (but, let’s be honest, we all know it went off the rails long before cancellation). Prison narratives might have a fairly short lifespan before they run out of new things to say.
But in spite of the track record of its forebears, Netflix has already renewed Orange Is the New Black — and not just for one season. Kohan has a deal in place to continue creating OITNB at least through season seven, which (depending on episode orders) could bring the series to over 90 episodes. If it were a network show in an older TV paradigm, OITNB would be well on its way to a sweet syndication deal.
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