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Meet the Real Artist Behind Lily Tomlin’s Paintings on ‘Grace and Frankie’

7 hours ago

Grace and Frankie” stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, but there is another star of the series whose face has never been seen onscreen. That person is Nancy Rosen, the real-life artist who provides all of the paintings on the series for Tomlin’s character, who is a painter and art teacher.

The Chicago-based Rosen has provided paintings for every season of the Netflix series, but her love of art goes back to her childhood. “I’ve been painting since I was five,” Rosen told Variety. “I didn’t have any choice about that. That’s just what it’s always been. It’s always made up my entire life. It’s kind of what wakes me up in the morning and I do every day.”

Rosen is an old friend of Robbie Tollin, an executive producer on the series. “Her and her family have been collecting my work since I was a little girl,” she »

- Joe Otterson

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TV News Roundup: ‘Kimmy Schmidt’ Season 3 Guest Stars, Mario Lopez to Host CBS ‘Candy Crush’ Show

8 hours ago

In today’s TV news roundup, Mario Lopez is set to host a new CBS game show based on the popular game “Candy Crush,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” guest stars for Season 3 have been announced and Adrien Brody joins the cast of “Peaky Blinders.”


Mario Lopez, who currently hosts the syndicated newsmagazine “Extra,” is slated to host CBS’ “Candy Crush,” a game show inspired by the app of the same name. “Candy Crush” is described as having similar elements to shows like “Fear Factor” and “Wipeout.” Production on the series began on today, and the premiere is set for July 9.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” has set its guest stars for Season 3, which debuts on Netflix on Friday, May 19: Laura Dern, Daveed Diggs, Rachel Dratch, Ray Liotta, Andrea Martin, and Maya Rudolph. Several of the show’s recurring guest stars will also be back, including Fred Armisen, Anna Camp, Mike Carlsen, Josh Charles »

- Emily Mae Czachor

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Jay Z, Weinstein Company to Make Trayvon Martin Film and Documentary Series (Exclusive)

8 hours ago

Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and the Weinstein Company are partnering on an ambitious series of film and television projects about Trayvon Martin, Variety has learned.

The indie label and the rap icon won a heated bidding war for the rights to two books — “Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It” and “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin.” The 2012 shooting of the 17-year-old Martin sparked a national debate about racial profiling and inequities of the criminal justice system that brought about the Black Lives Matter movement. The African-American high school student was killed by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old mixed race Hispanic man, who was a member of the neighborhood watch in his Florida community. He claimed he shot Martin, who was unarmed, in self defense after the two became involved in a physical altercation. Zimmerman’s acquittal on a second-degree murder charge inspired protests »

- Justin Kroll and Brent Lang

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MSNBC Programs Start Giving More Space to NBC News Logos

9 hours ago

It’s no secret that anchors and reporters from NBC News have had a greater presence on their parent company’s cable outlet, MSNBC. Now, the network is making sure that viewers know about it in no uncertain terms.

Since Saturday, MSNBC has featured the NBC News logo more prominently on its air, such as when MSNBC programs break for commercials, and on the primary set for the network’s daytime programs, which feature NBC News staffers like Andrea Mitchell, Katy Tur, and Kate Snow. During on-screen interviews between people in the company’s New York and Washington, D.C., studios the locations are now being identified as “NBC News – New York” and “NBC NewsWashington.” The NBC News logo has also been made an element in some scenic elements of the daytime sets, according to the network.

“As MSNBC’s dayside has made a strategic shift to breaking news coverage over the past year and half »

- Brian Steinberg

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Ahead of ‘Orphan Black’ Final Season, Show’s Producers Release Mobile Mystery-Puzzle Game for Clone Fans

10 hours ago

Sci-fi series “Orphan Black” will air its farewell season this summer. On Friday, the production company behind the show, Boat Rocker Media, is launching a mobile game to kindle excitement among Clone Club fans leading up to the series finale — and its creators believe the app will have a life that extends well beyond the TV run.

Orphan Black: The Game” is a turn-based adventure puzzle game retelling key plots points from seasons 1-4 in the form of what Boat Rocker calls “fever-dream worlds” with a nightmarish art style. Players control the clone sestras (played in the show by Tatiana Maslany) as they fight enemies, avoid traps and solve riddles. The game launches Friday, March 24, priced at $4.99 (U.S.) in Apple’s iTunes App Store. Initially, it’s available only for iOS.

“It was important that there was a mystery, conspiracy feel to the game,” John Fawcett, who co-created “Orphan Black” with Graeme Manson, said »

- Todd Spangler

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James Franco, Seth Rogen Developing ’90s Teen Drama at Hulu From Writer Kelly Oxford (Exclusive)

11 hours ago

James Franco and Seth Rogen are teaming up — this time, behind the camera.

The duo is developing a ’90s teen drama with author and social media personality Kelly Oxford, who is writing the script, Variety has learned exclusively.

Franco and Rogen will serve as executive producers on the project that is in early development, along with Franco’s producing partner Vince Jolivette and Rogen’s longtime collaborator Evan Goldberg. The hourlong series is currently untitled. Variety‘s source described the project as a teen show set in the 1990’s.

Funny enough, Franco and Rogen started working together on their own teen series in the ’90s, “Freaks and Geeks,” which was a comedy set in the ’80s.

To date, the pair has worked on a number of films together from “Pineapple Express” to “The Interview” to “This Is the End” and most recently, “The Disaster Artist,” which debuted at SXSW to rave reviews. The »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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John Singleton’s ‘Snowfall,’ ‘The Leftovers’ Panels Added to 2017 Atx Television Festival

13 hours ago

Panels for John Singelton’s upcoming FX drama “Snowfall” and Damon Lindelof’s HBO series “The Leftovers” have been added to the lineup of the 2017 Atx Television Festival, the festival organizers announced on Thursday.

“Snowfall,” which chronicles the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles in the early 1980’s, will be the festival’s opening night screening this year, followed by a panel discussion with producers and stars of the show. “The Leftovers” will hold a panel with executive producers Lindelof, Tom Perrotta, and Mimi Leder following the series finale on June 4, to discuss the creative collaboration that led to the show’s final season.

Atx will also hold their first-ever network presidents panel, featuring Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment; Craig Erwich, head of content for Hulu; Casey Bloys, president of HBO Programming; and Nick Grad, president of original programming at FX. In addition, FX’s Emmy nominated series “The Americans” will hold a panel with co-showrunners »

- Joe Otterson

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Keshet Studios Eyes ‘Thank You for Smoking’ TV Adaptation as L.A. Scripted Arm Hits High Gear

13 hours ago

Keshet Studios, the Los Angeles-based development arm of the Israeli powerhouse, is coming off its first full scripted development season with a trifecta of broadcast pilots and two cable series on the way.

TV biz vets Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan were recruited by Keshet in mid-2015 to focus on scripted development in the heart of the U.S. creative community. The pair have juggled a mix of home-grown development and projects that come through various channels of Keshet’s growing worldwide operation. Traugott is president of scripted for Keshet Studios; Kaplan is exec VP of scripted.

Traugott and Kaplan’s move to Keshet coincided with the industry’s increasing focus on fully packaged series projects being sent out for auction. The Los Angeles office is a lean operation with a handful of execs working with Traugott and Kaplan. But the ability to connect with the Keshet teams in Israel and London extends their talent-scouting ability and »

- Cynthia Littleton

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Eliza Dushku Joins CBS’ ‘Bull’ With Option to Become Series Regular in Season 2

13 hours ago

Eliza Dushku has joined the cast of “Bull,” which was just renewed Thursday for a second season on CBS, Variety has learned.

Dushku will appear in a three-episode arc this season on “Bull,” and has the option to be upped to a series regular in Season 2. She makes her debut on Tuesday, May 9.

Dushku will play J.P. Nunnelly, the savvy head of the best criminal defense firm in New York, who is hired by Dr. Jason Bull (Michael Weatherly) when a member of his Trial Analysis Corporation team faces prison time.

Known for her roles in “Dollhouse” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Dushku most recently appeared in the final season of “Banshee.” She also starred in the 2016 television movie “The Saint,” plus films “Bring It On,” “True Lies,” “This Boy’s Life,” “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” “Wrong Turn,” “Soul Survivors,” and “That Night.”

Led by “NCIS” alum Weatherly, “Bull »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ NatGeo’s ‘Genius’ to Premiere at Tribeca Film Festival’s TV Program

14 hours ago

The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival has set the lineup for its second annual TV festival, Tribeca TV. Five series, including Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and NatGeo’s Albert Einstein bioseries “Genius,” will have their series premieres, and events for 10 other shows will be held during the run of the Festival, from April 19-30.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” will screen its premiere, followed by a conversation with cast members Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Alexis Bledel, Samira Wiley, and Max Minghella. “Genius” will get a similar treatment, with an after-premiere panel featuring executive producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard as well as stars Emily Watson and Geoffrey Rush. USA’s anthology crime thriller “The Sinner,” starring Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman, will open at Tribeca TV as well and be accompanied by a discussion with Biel, Pullman, and director Antonio Campos. Comedy streaming service Seeso will debut the Tony Danza-starring “There’s…Johnny »

- Oriana Schwindt

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‘The Knick’ Not Moving Forward With More Seasons

15 hours ago

It’s the end of the road for “The Knick.”

The Cinemax medical drama from Steven Soderbergh will not return for a third season, sources tell Variety.

The Knick” last aired in December 2015, wrapping up its second season by seemingly killing off its main character, lead by star Clive Owen. However, Variety was first to report that a script and outline for Season 3 had been ordered with creators Michael Begler and Jack Amiel both set to return as executive producers and writers.

Insiders say that at one point, discussions were had for a double-renewal that would take the series through a third and fourth season, which would move to an entirely new time period with an entirely new cast, but set in the same hospital. The idea was for the show to have jumped 20 years ahead to the 1920’s for Season 3, and then jump forward another 20 years for subsequent seasons., showing »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister and Brent Lang

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‘Ink Master’ Renewed for Season 10 at Spike, Gets Female-Centric Special (Exclusive)

15 hours ago

Ink Master” has been renewed for Season 10 at Spike ahead of the Season 9 premiere, Variety has learned exclusively. In addition, the network has also greenlit a female-centric spinoff special titled “Ink Master Angels.”

Season 10, which has been picked up for 16 one-hour episodes, will go into production later this year and air on the rebranded Paramount Network in 2018. Season 9 is set to debut this June along with new episodes of spinoff series “Ink Master: Redemption.” “Ink Master Angels” will be a one-hour special that will feature four of Season 8’s top female competitors — Ryan Ashley, Kelly Doty, Nikki Simpson, and Gia Rose — as they travel the country competing against tattoo artists to see who has what it takes to beat them. The special will debut later this year.

“I’m so pleased to see ‘Ink Master’ reach a milestone tenth season as it continues to be a great ratings driver for the network,” said »

- Joe Otterson

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Erica Tazel on Moving From ‘Justified’ to ‘The Good Fight’ and Her Love of Christine Baranski

15 hours ago

After earning her Mfa from New York University and playing at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Erica Tazel made a splash in TV in a number of roles before becoming a series regular on “Justified” in 2010. After that, she portrayed Matilda in the 2016 remake of the miniseries “Roots.” Now she plays the founder of a law firm, alongside Delroy Lindo, who hires down-on-her-luck Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) in the CBS All Access series “The Good Fight,” which picks up a year after the final episode of “The Good Wife.”

What was it like going from “Justified” to “The Good Fight”?

On “Justified,” Rachel was in a very male-dominated world, which meant she had to be very strong and outspoken. With “The Good Fight,” I’m now in a position of power.

Were you a fan of “The Good Wife”?

I was a huge fan, and I’m in the Christine Baranski fan club. I »

- Sarah Ahern

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Mark Burnett, Roma Downey Developing Religious Drama ‘Messiah’ for Netflix

15 hours ago

Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are developing a scripted religious drama entitled “Messiah” for Netflix, Variety has confirmed. The project is in the very early development stages, but would be set in the modern day and tell the story of the world’s reaction to a man who appears to be performing miracles in the Middle East.

Burnett and Downey will exec produce along with Andrew Deane​. Michael Petroni is the creator of the series, and will also serve as an executive producer. Petroni’s previous credits include the creating the ABC drama “Miracles,” which starred Skeet Ulrich as an investigator working on behalf of the Catholic Church.

He also wrote the screenplay for the feature film adaptation of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” and the 2011 Anthony Hopkins exorcism horror-drama “The Rite.” Netflix is producing the series, while MGM Television, of which Burnett is the president, is »

- Joe Otterson

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TV Ratings: ‘Empire’ Returns on Par With Midseason Finale

16 hours ago

Fox’s “Empire” remains king, even if the viewing audiences it commands has shrunk a little. The midseason return of Cookie Lyon notched a 2.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic and an average audience of 7.89 million in Nielsen’s preliminary fast national ratings, right around where it left off in December (2.7 demo rating, 7.58 million viewers).

“Empire” lead-in “Shots Fired,” though, got off to a bit of a slow start, drawing a 1.1 demo rating and 4.67 million viewers. While a 1.1 demo rating isn’t even close to the worst debut an hourlong series has had this TV season, the “Shots Fired” premiere adds another data point to an emerging trend.

Shows like “Shots Fired” and ABC’s “American Crime” and “When We Rise” have made a splash in the industry by daring to tell complex, diverse, politically charged stories about serious issues facing American society on broadcast television, but viewers just don’t seem to be flocking to them: “Shots »

- Oriana Schwindt

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CBS Renews 18 Series, Including Freshman Shows ‘Bull,’ ‘Kevin Can Wait’

17 hours ago

CBS has renewed 18 shows for the 2017-2018 season, including freshman series such as “Bull” and “Kevin Can Wait,” the network announced on Thursday. Among those 18 are the previously announced renewals for “The Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS.”

The shows renewed to date include six comedies such as “Big Bang” and “Life in Pieces”; nine dramas including “Blue Bloods” and “Madam Secretary”; newsmagazines “48 Hours” and “60 Minutes”; and reality series “Survivor.” “Big Brother” was previously renewed for two more seasons back in August. In addition, five freshman shows are part of the network’s early renewals: dramas “Bull” and “MacGyver;” and comedies “Kevin Can Wait,” “Man With a Plan,” and “Superior Donuts.” Noticeably absent from the freshman renewals is the Joel McHale series “The Great Indoors.” The Allison Janney-Anna Faris comedy “Mom” was also renewed, less than a week after Variety exclusively reported that the show was nearing a pick up for a fifth season.

No »

- Joe Otterson

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James Corden Thinks Trump Wasn’t Asked ‘Right Questions’ During Election

17 hours ago

Imagine Donald Trump and James Corden battling it out in one of “The Late Late Show’s” signature rap battle segments, “Drop the Mic” … it might be a thing of beauty.

On the two-year anniversary of shooting his first ever “Late Late Show” episode, Corden took to the Paleyfest stage at the Dolby Theatre and told the audience exactly what he would have done had the President appeared on his show during the campaign.

“The thing is, he went round a lot of talk shows. And there was a thing that happened with Jimmy Fallon where he got quite a lot of criticism … but I felt like it was really unfair, because I don’t think that anyone asked him the right questions,” Corden explained. “I don’t think anybody took him to task or asked him the questions that needed to be asked, and answer for the things that he had done.”

Corden »

- Will Thorne

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TV Review: Sally Wainwright’s ‘To Walk Invisible’ on PBS Masterpiece

18 hours ago

In the flood of spring TV options, it would be easy for “To Walk Invisible” to get lost. It shouldn’t be. 

“To Walk Invisible” will no doubt be catnip to a few different subcategories of TV fans: Those who enjoy costume dramas, those who can’t get enough of films about creative types, those who simply appreciate well-made films with strong but subtly conveyed points of view, and those who enjoy the work of Sally Wainwright, the creator of “Happy Valley.”

For those who fall into all four groups, “To Walk Invisible,” which serves up an intense glimpse into the lives of the Brontë sisters, will fly by.

At the outset, it’s important to offer a warning that also applies to the great Netflix series “Happy Valley,” one of the finest offerings in all of television: The Northern accents of the characters take some getting used to. I’ve spent enough time in the U »

- Maureen Ryan

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Watch James Corden’s Message to His Hometown After London Terror Attack

19 hours ago

James Corden was born in London, raised just outside, and called the place home for most of his life before coming to America to host CBS’ “Late Late Show.” So when a terrorist attacked London on Wednesday afternoon, killing three people and injuring dozens of others, Corden began his show with a message to the people of his hometown.

It was a brief address, but heartfelt. “I know a lot of people in Britain watch this show; people from Britain work on this show,” he said. “Watching the news today, I felt a really, really long way from home. When something like that happens in your hometown, you don’t have a feeling of being glad that you’re so far away. What you feel is that you wish you could be there with loved ones to stand alongside them. London is a diverse and proud and brilliant city. And one thing is for sure, if »

- Oriana Schwindt

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How ‘Underground’ Scored That Angela Bassett Cameo

22 March 2017 8:00 PM, PDT

In this week’s episode of “Underground,” fans were treated to a flashback sequence that featured none other than Academy Award and Emmy nominee Angela Bassett, playing an early mentor to Ernestine. So how did Bassett end up on the Wgn America drama? All it took was a call from series executive producer and director Anthony Hemingway.

“The role was written with Angela in mind,” Hemingway told Variety. “Angela has been a fan of the show since day one. She comes to our premieres and events, and offers a lot of support. And I’m a friend of the family, her and Courtney B. Vance. It was easy to make the connection and make the call and present to her what this character was and why we saw her as this character. She brings so much gravitas and strength to any role that she does. It was just the right choice.” Hemingway »

- Joe Otterson

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