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Review: ‘Bet’s ‘Tales’ Flips the Narrative for a Fascinating Mirror-Universe Look at Police Brutality’

4 hours ago

The debut installment of Bet’s anthology series “Tales,” which aired Tuesday night, creates not just a story, but really, a whole world out of the lyrics of Nwa’s “F—k tha Police.” “Tales,” which will air through the summer, aims to do this for a variety of different rap songs, including Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen” and Notorious B.I.G.’s “I Got a Story to Tell,” in subsequent episodes.

But with “F—k tha Police,” a track whose trenchant lyrics about police brutality are as unsettlingly relevant today as they were in 1988, “Tales’” approach makes for an episode that feels like an installment of  “Black Mirror,” aligned with American racial history. Where Nwa presented a blistering recitation of the abuses committed by the police against black people, “Tales”’ “F—k tha Police” switches the races: Instead of an oppressed black underclass, the standalone episode imagines a world where it’s whites who live in “the »


- Sonia Saraiya

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TV News Roundup: LeBron James to Executive Produce NBA Documentary for Showtime

6 hours ago

In today’s roundup, Showtime announces an NBA documentary with executive producer LeBron James, and FX sets premiere dates for “You’re the Worst” and “Better Things.”

Development

Showtime announced a multi-part NBA documentary film with executive producers LeBron James, Maverick Carter, and filmmaker Gotham Chopra. The untitled three-part series examines the modern history and evolution of the National Basketball Association and the league’s impact on popular culture, and it is slated to premiere on Showtime in 2018.

Premiere Dates

Game Show Network announced the premiere of “Snap Decision,” a half-hour game show series hosted by actor and comedian David Alan Grier. “Snap Decision” will debut with four back-to-back episodes on Monday, Aug. 7 from 9-11 p.m. Et/Pt on Gsn, and then will move to its regular Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Et/Pt the following night, Aug. 8. The comedy game show asks, “What can you tell about a person just by looking at them?” with »


- Rebecca Rubin

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‘Pretty Little Liars’ Finale Is the Most Tweeted-About TV Episode of 2017

6 hours ago

In addition to finally resolving the mystery of who the mysterious A.D. was, the series finale of “Pretty Little Liars” also continued its reign as the queen of Twitter by becoming the most-tweeted about episode of television for 2017 so far.

The finale answered not only the question of who was terrorizing the girls as A.D. — Spencer’s heretofore-unheard-of twin sister Alex Drake — but also saw the final culmination of all the seasons-long drama between the Liars and their on-again, off-again boyfriends.

The finale, “Til DeAth Do Us Part,” generated more than 1.7 million tweets globally, but didn’t quite break the record for the most-tweeted “Pll” episode of all time — that title still belongs to the 2015 Season 6 mid-season finale, “Game Over, Charles,” which revealed the second incarnation of A to be Charlotte Dilaurentis alias CeCe Drake, Alison’s adoptive older sister.

The most tweeted-about moment of the series finale was, of »


- Erin Nyren

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Troian Bellisario Reveals ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Behind-the-Scenes Secrets — Plus, What’s Next?

7 hours ago

“Of course! Who doesn’t? Ask that of anybody on my show.”

That’s what Troian Bellisario told Variety a few weeks ago when asked if she wishes she were “A” — of course, that was before the series finale of “Pretty Little Liars” aired. (Spoiler alert: read here for more on that.)

Sitting down with Variety earlier this month for a shoot and interview, discussing her career plans after starring on the Freeform show for seven years, Bellisario took some time in the hot-seat to reveal 18 secrets about “Pretty Little Liars.”

Aside from giving her reaction when she found out the identity of “A,” Bellisario also shared what she’ll miss most about the show, her favorite memories, what she remembers about her audition, her favorite fan theories, and what she took from set — hint: a few items from Spencer’s wardrobe.

Bellisario has starred as one of the central Liars, Spencer »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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‘American Idol’: Who’s Back for ABC Revival (Exclusive)

8 hours ago

American Idol” is getting the band back together.

As producer FremantleMedia preps the upcoming 16th season of the revived series on ABC, it has quietly begun to draw a number of “Idol” veterans once again into the show’s orbit, Variety has learned.

Among the behind-the-scenes professionals returning for the ABC reboot are senior supervising producer Patrick Lynn; executive in charge in production Wylleen May; music supervisor Robin Kaye; and co-executive producer Megan Michaels Wolflick.

During its original 15-season run on Fox, “Idol” employed roughly 150 Los Angeles-based crew members. Lynn was among those who were with the program for the entirety of its run. May, Kaye, and Wolflick joined in subsequent seasons.

Musical director Rickey Minor is also set to return to the show, as Variety previously reported.

But several high-profile people long associated with the franchise are not as of yet involved in the reboot — including former executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick, neither »


- Shirley Halperin and Daniel Holloway

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MTV News Shifts Toward Video, Targets Younger Audience (Exclusive)

9 hours ago

MTV News is being restructured with an eye toward creating more video and short-form content for a younger audience, Variety has learned.

The move comes seven months after Chris McCarthy was named president of MTV, and on the heels of a reorganization of the network’s linear-programming department. The transition will see resources shift from long-form journalism to the development of short-form video pieces.

Among the most significant changes — MTV has reached an agreement with the Writers Guild of America East to represent MTV News staff members. As part of that agreement, MTV News is parting ways with fewer than a dozen staffers and several freelancers. The news division is in the process of hiring additional personnel to focus on video and short-form content.

Plans to reorganize the news division had been in the works prior to February, when the WGA East notified MTV that it would seek a contract on behalf of MTV News employees. MTV »


- Daniel Holloway

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TV Ratings: ‘World of Dance’ Ticks Up From Last Week

9 hours ago

This week’s episode of “World of Dance” improved slightly in the overnight ratings compared to last week, according to Nielsen data.

This week’s episode averaged a 1.9 rating in adults 18-49 and 7.7 million viewers, airing at 10 p.m. on NBC. Last week, the freshman competition series drew a 1.8 and 7.6 million viewers, meaning it ticked up 6% week to week in the key demo and 1% in total viewers.

Earlier on NBC, “America’s Got Talent” drew a 2.5 rating and 12.1 million viewers, airing from 8-10.

On ABC, a new episode of “The Bachelorette” (1.4, 4.8 million) ticked down slightly in total viewers compared to Tuesday’s episode. The final two episodes of “Downward Dog” aired at 10 (0.5, 2.2 million) and 10:30 (0.4. 1.8 million), both of which were down compared to last week’s episode. The series was cancelled last week.

Fox and CBS aired only repeats.

The CW aired a new episode of “iZombie” (0.3, 840,000), which was even with last week.

NBC »


- Joe Otterson

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Emilia Clarke on Being a Woman in Hollywood: ‘I Do Get Treated Differently’

9 hours ago

Emilia Clarke, Mother of Dragons, destine ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, and feminist.

Clarke opened up about experiencing sexism in Hollywood in a recent a Rolling Stone interview. She also spoke about her role on the HBO series “Game of Thrones” as Khaleesi, a dominant female character.

“I feel so naive for saying it, but it’s like dealing with racism,” she said. “You’re aware of it, and you’re aware of it, but one day, you go, ‘Oh, my God, it’s everywhere!’ Like you suddenly wake up to it and you go, ‘Wait a f—ing second, are you … are you treating me different because I’ve got a pair of tits? Is that actually happening?’ It took me a really long time to see that I do get treated differently. But I look around, and that’s my daily life.”

Even with her onscreen nudity, Clarke adds that she embraces Khaleesi’s character »


- Dixie Limbachia

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‘F Is for Family’ Renewed for Season 3 at Netflix

10 hours ago

The Netflix animated comedy series “F Is for Family” has been renewed for a third season.

The series was created by Bill Burr and Michael Price. Burr tweeted the news on Wednesday saying, “Really happy to announce there will be a season 3 of Fiff. Thanks to everyone for watching! @netflix #FIsForFamily #gaumontTV”

The series follows the Murphy family, an Irish-American clan living in the 1970’s, a time when political correctness was the last thing on people’s minds. Burr voices family patriarch Frank, while Laura Dern, Justin Long, Debi Derryberry, Haley Reinhart, and Sam Rockwell also provide voices on the series.

Burr also executive produces along with Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley and Price, who also serves as showrunner. Michael Lagnese and Victoria Vaughn from Wild West Television are co-executive producers on the series.

The series marks the latest collaboration between Netflix and Burr. The streaming service has run four of Burr’s stand up comedy specials, including »


- Joe Otterson

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Stephen Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ to Test Summer Friday Format

10 hours ago

Stephen Colbert will test a new way of greeting the weekend.

Producers at CBS’ “Late Show” will this week experiment with the program’s Friday broadcast by running a new opening and monologue,  then using the rest of the hour to call attention to highlights and segments from earlier in the week. A spokeswoman for the program called the maneuver an “experiment” and suggested the show could well go back to running an entirely new broadcast on Friday if circumstances warranted, or if the news of the day was compelling enough to require additional material.

“Late Show” typically tapes two episodes on Thursday afternoons, giving Colbert and his staff a little breathing room on Fridays. The spokeswoman, Lauren Kamm, said the same audience was likely to watch both tapings.

The effort should not come as a surprise to veteran “Late Show” observers. In recent months, Colbert and his team have updated repeats with new segments and fresh »


- Brian Steinberg

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‘Pretty Little Liars’ Creator Breaks Down Major ‘A’ Reveal in Series Finale (Spoilers)

11 hours ago

Spoiler Alert: Do not read ahead if you have not watched the “Pretty Little Liars” series finale, which aired June 27 on Freeform.

After seven seasons of whodunnit mystery, cliffhangers, and torment by “A,” the Liars finally found out the true identity of Rosewood’s villain … Spencer (Troian Bellisario) has a twin!

The identical twin with a British accent is named Alex Drake — A.D., get it? — and is Mary Drake’s (Andrea Parker) other daughter, who was sold as an infant upon birth so that Mary Drake could pay her way out of the Radley Sanitarium mental institution. Mary Drake sent her to a wealthy family in London, thinking she would have a great life, but instead, Alex ended up at an orphanage and never had a real family. Her lack of family, in comparison to Spencer’s seemingly “perfect” life, is what prompted her to take down the Liars.

Alex »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Netflix Developing New Installment of ‘Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City’

11 hours ago

Netflix is developing a new installment of “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City” with Working Title Television U.S. Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis are on board to revive the characters they played in Showtime and PBS adaptations of the landmark Lgbt-themed novel series in the 1990s.

Michael Cunningham (“The Hours”) has penned the first script for what is envisioned as a 10-part installment, although the project does not yet have a series order from Netflix. Maupin would return as an executive producer, and Alan Poul is on board to direct. Netflix declined to comment.

Prolific novelist Maupin launched the series that follows a colorful, diverse group of characters living in San Francisco as a newspaper serial in 1976. He has published nine novels in the “Tales” series, with 2014’s “The Days of Anna Madrigal” said to be the final edition of the book series.

“Tales” focuses on the residents of a boarding house at 28 Barbary Lane »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Beau Willimon Running Unopposed for WGA East Presidency

11 hours ago

House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon is running unopposed for the presidency of the Writers Guild of America East to succeed Michael Winship, who has opted not to run.

Willimon and five other incumbents won re-election to two-year terms for council seats last year. He was on the negotiating committee that reached an 11th hour deal with production companies on May 1.

“Should I be re-elected to Council, I plan to be very involved in the negotiating process,” he said last year. “Having worked for almost a decade with major film studios and having been at the forefront of launching streaming television, I have a unique on-the-ground perspective that I believe will be useful voice in making sure we remain strong as a union moving forward.”

Incumbent Vice President Jeremy Pikser and Secretary-Treasurer Bob Schneider are also running unopposed.

The 10 candidates for the six open Freelance seats are Amy Sohn, David Handelman, Stu Zicherman »


- Dave McNary

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TNT’s ‘Will’ Producer on Show’s Shakespeare Adaptation: ‘Theater Then Was Like Punk Rock’

11 hours ago

Olivia DeJonge isn’t just a cast member on TNT’s new series “Will.” To hear the actress tell it, she’s also the target audience for the program, which tells the story of William Shakespeare (Laurie Davidson), an English playwright of some renown in 16th century London, before he went on to write “Hamlet” and many other classic plays.

“I wasn’t even interested in the show, I wasn’t a Shakespeare fan,” she told Variety. But executive producer Craig Pearce “changed my mind on that, and I am excited to see him change the mind of every other young person who sees Will Shakespeare as a dusty old man.”

At Tuesday night’s premiere of the series, held at New York’s Bryant Park with an after-party at the nearby Bryant Park Grill, DeJonge says she was attracted to the contemporary, rebellious energy Pearce brought to the proceedings, especially »


- Michael Tedder

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Quiz: Which ‘Glow’ Character Are You?

12 hours ago

Last weekend, Netflix released “Glow,” a fictional look at the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. In the process, we got to know such characters as Ruth and Debbie — as well as their alter-egos Zoya the Destroyer and Liberty Belle — and saw them in action in the ring.

In honor of the show’s premiere, Variety has compiled a very scientific (not really) algorithm to determine which wrestler, or director or producer, you’re most like. Are you tough-as-nails like Cherry Bang, or softer like Carmen? Are you a “visionary” like Sam, or more of a follower like Justine? Take our quiz to find out! »


- Variety Staff

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Melanie Lynskey Joins Hulu’s Stephen King Series ‘Castle Rock’

12 hours ago

Melanie Lynskey has been cast in the upcoming Hulu Stephen King series “Castle Rock.”

Lynskey will play Molly Strand, a woman with a rare medical condition who’s barely scraping by as a real estate agent in a town where every third property is the site of someone’s worst nightmare.

Lynskey recently appeared in the Netflix series “Girlboss” and starred in HBO’s Duplass Brothers series “Togetherness.” She also had a recurring role on “Two and a Half Men” as the deranged neighbor Rose. She is repped by The Gersh Agency.

Lynskey is the latest casting addition to “Castle Rock,” which will also star André Holland, Sissy Spacek, and Jane Levy. The series is described as a psychological-horror drama set in the Stephen King multiverse, centered around the inhabitants of the fictional Maine town of Castle Rock, which figured prominently in several of King’s works.

Castle Rock” has landed a 10-episode first season order, with »


- Joe Otterson

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Fox News Signs Congressman Jason Chaffetz as Contributor

13 hours ago

Jason Chaffetz, the Republican Congressman from Utah, will join Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network as a contributor, the networks announced Wednesday.

Chaffetz is slated to step down as a lawmaker on June 30th. His new role is expected to commence on July 1.

Chaffetz has represented Utah’s Third Congressional District since November, 2008, and recently announced he intended to step down from his role.  He has served as the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and was a member of the House Judiciary Committee. He has also served on the Homeland Security Committee. He has drawn attention for his roles in several government investigations, including into the operations of the Secret Service, and the attack at Benghazi.  He had worked as a campaign manager and chief of staff to former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr.

Before his political career, Mr. Chaffetz  specialized in corporate communications and operated his own communications firm, Maxtera »


- Brian Steinberg

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‘Younger’ Boss Darren Star on Liza’s ‘Watergate-Level’ Lie, Season 4’s Extended Episodes

13 hours ago

Darren Star is ready for the fourth season of his hit TV Land comedy “Younger” to premiere. In fact, the show’s executive producer has been ready for quite some time, given that the network announced the renewal last June, just as the show was entering production on its previous season — a season in which Liza’s (Sutton Foster) secret about being a 40-something masquerading as a 20-something in the publishing world was revealed to her boyfriend, Josh (Nico Tortorella), as well as to her partner in a new millennial imprint, Kelsey (Hilary Duff).

All those twists will play out in season four, reveals Star.

“What the show’s about is how one relatively small lie can just metastasize and have big, big ramifications. And that’s the story of what’s happening here and what [will] continue to happen,” Star tells Variety. “Let’s just say, in Watergate it wasn’t about the break-in, it »


- Danielle Turchiano

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CBS News Will Launch Primetime Series ‘On Assignment’ from Streaming-Video Cbsn

14 hours ago

CBS News said it would launch a new, limited-run primetime TV series based on reports prepared in the style of its streaming-video news outlet, Cbsn. “Cbsn: On Assignment” will air on four consecutive Monday evenings starting July 31 at 10 p.m. eastern, and attempt to bring a more on-the-ground perspective to an audience more accustomed to CBS News mainstays like “48 Hours” and “60 Minutes.”

“The stories are intense, interesting and immersive,” said Mosheh Oinounou, the executive producer, in a prepared statement.

The maneuver aims to bolster Cbsn, a live-streaming outlet launched by CBS News in November, 2014. Once seen primarily as a vehicle for repurposing reporting done for “CBS This Morning” and “CBS Evening News,” CBS News has in recent months steadily introduced more original programming to Cbsn, including political-news programs lead by Elaine Quijano and Major Garrett. CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers, for example, has explored volatile suburbs around Paris and Brussels in the wake of terrorism for Cbsn »


- Brian Steinberg

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Oliver Stone’s ‘The Putin Interviews’ Picked Up Internationally, Including in Russia

14 hours ago

Oliver Stone’s televised interviews with Vladimir Putin will be seen in the Russian president’s homeland and in other countries around the world where broadcasters have snapped up the four-part series.

The Putin Interviews” went out on Showtime in the U.S. earlier this month over four nights and was simulcast on Sky in Britain and Germany. National Geographic has now taken rights across Southeast Asia and the Middle East, as well as for Belgium and the Netherlands. Channel One will show the interviews in Russia.

Im Global Television is distributing the series and has also sold it to Sbs in Australia. In Europe, Dr has it in Denmark, Iti in Poland, and Ftv in Czech Republic. In Spain, it will air on pay-tv, on the Movistar+ platform.

The Putin Interviews” was produced by Fernando Sulichin (“The Untold History of the United States”), New Element Media and Rob Wilson. The »


- Stewart Clarke

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