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SundanceTV Releases New Photos of ‘Top of the Lake: China Girl’

41 minutes ago

SundanceTV has released new photos of “Top of the Lake: China Girl,” the second season of the BBC Two and See-Saw Films’ miniseries.

The crime mystery premieres in September 2017 on SundanceTV in the U.S., and stars Elisabeth Moss, Nicole Kidman, and Gwendoline Christie.

Four years after the first season, Moss reprises her Golden Globe-winning role as Detective Robin Griffin as she returns to Sydney to piece together her life. She takes on a new case involving an unnamed Asian girl whose body washes up on Bondi Beach. There initially seems to be minimal hope of finding the killer, but upon further investigation, Robin realizes “China Girl” didn’t die alone. Meanwhile, Robin grapples with wanting to find the daughter she gave up at birth and dreading revealing the truth of her conception. Her quest to uncover “China Girl’s” identity brings her closer to secrets of the city and her own heart.

David Dencik »


- Rebecca Rubin

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The Long Legacy of Conservative Media’s Assault on Truth: Ailes, Stone, & Bannon (Column)

51 minutes ago

The death of former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes last week underscored what an epoch we are currently witnessing in modern newsmedia. Ailes’ creation, Fox News, sparked and facilitated a polarization in American media that is unparalleled to this day; Stephen Metcalf, writing in the New Yorker, posited that “Ailes did more to degrade the tone of public life in America than anyone since Joseph McCarthy.” Since his dismissal in July 2016, the network has been embroiled in sexual harassment and racial discrimination lawsuits as well as an ongoing FBI investigation.

More significantly, the network is in hot water with its viewership, too. After years of reigning as the #1 cable news source, in the last few weeks it lost ground to competitors CNN and MSNBC. And last week, for the first time ever, MSNBC took the top slot. MSNBC is not a perfect analogue to Fox News — MSNBC flirts with moderation, while »


- Sonia Saraiya

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Overseas Buyers Flock to L.A. Screenings to Sample Studios’ Offerings

1 hour ago

The 2017 broadcast upfront season will be remembered as the year international licensing deals tipped the scales on the fate of numerous series renewals.

Several dramas that were on the bubble from a purely ratings-based standpoint got a new lease on life in part because they rake in licensing money from overseas TV outlets. NBC’s “Blindspot,” “Taken” and “Timeless” were spared the ax at home because they’ve clicked overseas. The same goes for ABC’s “Quantico,” CBS’ “Elementary” and “Hawaii Five-0,” and Fox’s “Gotham” and “Lucifer.”

The growing importance of international revenue to the overall profitability of scripted series has only heightened the profile of the annual L.A. Screenings market. Dozens of TV buyers from around the world are converging on Los Angeles this week for a whirlwind of screenings and sales pitches on studio lots. The focus of the L.A. Screenings is still largely on the broadcast network TV shows that were »


- Cynthia Littleton and Stewart Clarke

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Fall 2017-18 Network TV Schedule

1 hour ago

Now that we know which shows survived the upfronts, here are the most interesting match-ups on the Fall 2017-18 TV schedule.

ABC will look to launch freshman drama “The Good Doctor” with Freddie Highmore at 10 p.m. on the back of perennial viewership powerhouse “Dancing with the Stars,” putting it up against NBC’s new military drama “The Brave.” Meanwhile, CBS is pairing “The Big Bang Theory” with sitcom “9Jkl” and “Me, Myself and I” with the sophomore season of “Kevin Can Wait.” Fox will move “Lucifer” to Mondays at 8 as the lead-in to the new Marvel series “The Gifted.” The CW will debut its own military drama, “Valor,” at 9 after “Supergirl” in the timeslot previously occupied by “Jane the Virgin.”

ABC is shifting a few of their comedies, moving “Black-ish” to Tuesdays ahead of the new comedy “The Mayor” from “Hamilton’s” Daveed Diggs, which will then lead in to the new one-hour dramedy “The Gospel »


- Daniel Doperalski

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L.A. Screenings: What Seven Major Studios Have on Tap

1 hour ago

Here’s what seven major studios have on tap during the annual TV market.

CBS Studios Intl.

Big bets are being placed on military dramas “Seal Team,” starring David Boreanaz, and “Valor,” featuring a fresh-faced cast. Summer series “Salvation” also has a military angle (albeit crossed with sci-fi), while both Jeremy Piven’s “Wisdom of the Crowd” and Alan Cumming’s “Instinct” mix crime solving and modern technology. The studio is light on laughs this year, with just one solo-produced comedy: “9Jkl,” based on the life of creator and star Mark Feuerstein.

Disney Media Distribution

Not just one but four new Marvel series will be on display, including the much anticipated “Inhumans” and the youth-skewing “Cloak & Dagger,” “New Warriors” and “Runaways.” And although it’s not based on a comic book, “Grey’s Anatomy” officially becomes a franchise, launching a new as-yet-untitled spinoff. Shonda Rhimes also makes her case with legal drama “For the People,” while »


- Geoff Berkshire

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Michael Strahan Sets Unscripted Development Pact With ITV America

1 hour ago

Michael Strahan’s Smac Entertainment has set an unscripted TV development deal with ITV America.

The deal calls for Smac to develop a range of projects for network, cable and streaming buyers.

Strahan and his producing partner at Smac, Constance Schwartz-Morini, are already in business with ITV on the NFL Network series “Take My Ride.” The companies are also collaborating on projects with Wiz Khalifa and on adaptations of existing ITV formats.

“Constance and I have an enormous amount of respect for the team at ITV America and the group’s spirit of creative risk, support and collaboration, which is key for us as producers and entrepreneurs.

Smac will be able to tap into ITV America’s portfolio of production banners that includes ITV Entertainment, Leftfield Pictures, Loud TV, Outpost Entertainment, Sirens Media, Diga, Gurney Productions, High Noon Entertainment, and Thinkfactory Media.

Strahan has become a ubiquitous presence in TV as a co-anchor of “Good Morning America,” an »


- Cynthia Littleton

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‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Star Elisabeth Moss Partners With BBC America for Typhoid Mary Series

1 hour ago

Handmaid’s Tale” star Elisabeth Moss has signed on to star in and executive produce a new BBC America limited series about the infamous “Typhoid Mary,” Variety has learned.

BBC America will partner with Moss and Annapurna Television on developing the period drama titled “Fever,” based on Mary Beth Keane’s novel of the same name. It tells the true story of Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant and cook who was the first known healthy carrier of typhoid fever. She became known as “Typhoid Mary” as she unknowingly spread the disease among several wealthy families in early twentieth century New York.

Moss acquired the original rights to Keane’s book and first sent the material Phil Morrison, who signed on as director and executive producer. Robin Veith is currently set to write the adaptation and will also serve as an executive producer alongside Moss, Morrison, and Annapurna’s Sue Naegle and Megan Ellison.

“I »


- Joe Otterson

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‘Bloodline’ Ep Talks Final Season Twists, Ben Mendelsohn’s Return, and ‘Intriguing’ Finale

1 hour ago

Will the secrets all come out?

Last season of “Bloodline” ended on as taut a cliffhanger as ever, with all the Rayburns’ secrets on the verge of being exposed. Desperate as ever to protect himself, Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz) ended up brutally murdering Detective Marco Diaz (Enrique Murciano), when he realized Marco had figured out that John (Kyle Chandler) had killed Danny (Ben Mendelsohn). Meg (Linda Cardellini) was on the verge of spilling all the family’s secrets to their mother (Sissy Spacey). And our erstwhile hero John Rayburn (Kyle Chandler), was running away from it all, driving away into the Florida darkness.

That this third season — which debuts May 26 on Netflix — would be the last came as a surprise to all involved, when Netflix made the announcement last fall. Here, executive producer Todd A. Kessler — who created and produces the drama along with Daniel Zelman and Glenn Kessler — tells Variety how that decision impacted the plans »


- Debra Birnbaum

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Trump’s Budget Calls for Elimination of Funding for Arts, Public Broadcasting

1 hour ago

President Donald Trump’s budget for the fiscal year 2018 calls for the eventual elimination of funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, a proposal that was expected and will likely lead to a furious round of lobbying to save the agency this summer.

The budget proposal calls for providing $29 million in funding “to conduct an orderly closeout of the agency beginning in fiscal year 2018.” That is just a fraction of the estimated $158 million outlay for the Nea this year.

Trump’s budget also calls for the elimination of funding for the Nea’s sister agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Also on the chopping block is funding for public TV and radio stations via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The Cpb received an advanced appropriation for its 2018 fiscal year, but the White House budget calls for canceling much of its $445 million in funding. It requests just $30 million to conduct “an orderly closeout” of Cpb funding »


- Ted Johnson

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‘Twin Peaks’ Posts Soft Ratings, Drives Record Showtime Streaming Sign Ups

2 hours ago

The long-awaited return of “Twin Peaks” may not have been a ratings breakout during its Sunday premiere, but the show will most likely see the lion’s share of its viewership in delayed viewing.

According to Nielsen data, the two-hour premiere averaged 506,000 viewers in its initial airing and a 0.2 rating in adults 18-49 in live-plus-same day viewing. That is of course a fraction of the 34 million viewers the initial series debut pulled in back in 1990, but that was also before the rise of cable, let alone streaming.

Showtime won’t be sweating those numbers, however. The premium cabler announced that Sunday was the single biggest sign up day for their Showtime streaming service ever. The show also generated 4.7 million total impressions on Twitter, trending both in the United States and worldwide and ranking number one in prime time among all series.  In addition, the show has already averaged 1.1 million viewers, when »


- Joe Otterson

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Amazon Orders ‘Hanna’ Series From NBCUniversal International Studios

2 hours ago

Amazon Studios has given a straight-to-series order to Hanna, adapted from the 2011 film directed by Joe Wright. The series hails from NBCUniversal International Studios.

David Farr, who wrote the feature film and as well as last year’s “The Night Manager” for the BBC and AMC, will write the new series. The Amazon drama is described as a high-concept thriller and coming-of-age drama which follows the journey of an extraordinary young girl as she evades the relentless pursuit of an off-book CIA agent and tries to unearth the truth behind who she is.

Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements will executive produce with Scott Nemes and JoAnn Alfano for NBCUniversal International Studios.

“From the moment JoAnn Alfano and I saw Hanna it was evident that the film would make an incredible TV series,” said Michael Edelstein, president at NBCUniversal International Studios. “Fortunately, David Farr felt there was more Hanna story to tell and wanted to revisit this extraordinary »


- Daniel Holloway

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TV Ratings: ‘The Bachelorette’ Season 13 Premiere Holds Solid on ABC

2 hours ago

The season premiere of “The Bachelorette” was steady enough to help ABC claim a win in the key demo on Monday night.

According to Nielsen data, the Season 13 opener of the reality series, which features the show’s most diverse cast ever, opened to a 1.8 rating in adults 18-49 and 5.7 million viewers. That was down slightly from the Season 12 premiere (2.0, 6.6 million) last May, but was still good enough to tie for second in the demo for the night, behind only “The Voice” (1.9, 9.5 million) on NBC.

Earlier on ABC, “Dancing With the Stars” (1.8, 10.4 million) was up in the demo from last week.

On NBC, “The Voice” was followed by the season premiere of “Running Wild With Bear Grylls” (0.9, 3.7 million), which was up from last summer’s premiere, but fell from the last original episode in September.

CBS aired the special “Princess Diana: Her Life, Her Death” (0.8, 6.1 million), followed by James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special” (0.7, 4.2 million »


- Joe Otterson

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ABC Marketing Exec Marla Provencio Wins PromaxBDA Lifetime Achievement Award (Exclusive)

3 hours ago

Longtime ABC marketing executive Marla Provencio will be honored with the PromaxBDA 2017 lifetime achievement award at the organization’s annual conference, Variety has learned exclusively.

The network announced in February that Provencio would leave her position later this year. “I am deeply honored to be the recipient of the 2017 PromaxBDA Lifetime Achievement Award from Promax,” said Provencio. “Being part of this creative community is a true privilege. Now, to be acknowledged by my peers is emotionally overwhelming. I am extremely grateful.”

PromaxBDA celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2016 and is a member association representing more than 10,000 companies and individuals from major media organizations, marketing agencies, research companies, strategic and creative vendors and technology providers around the globe. Previous award winners include NBC marketing executive John Miller, producer Brian Grazer, filmmaker Spike Lee, and actress Betty White.

“Throughout her 35+ year career at ABC, Marla has proven to be an inspiration to so many people in our industry not only »


- Joe Otterson

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Upfronts 2017: Grading the Networks’ Presentations

3 hours ago

Digital and cable fare mixed into many of this year’s presentations — but simple worked best. Here’s our take on how the networks impressed (or not) during Upfronts.

ABC

A-

The Disney network cut back on the anti-digital talk and focused on the shows it hoped to sell and the stories they were meant to tell.

ABC couldn’t send Jimmy Kimmel out to blast its audience of ad buyers as he has for years, owing to the late-night host’s desire to stay close to a newborn son and family. But it could dispatch “Goldbergs” mom Wendi McLendon-Covey to give out cookies to those assembled at New York’s David Geffen Hall. And that changed the tone of the proceedings.

Instead of hand-wringing over TV’s many technology and audience challenges, ABC dispensed comfort food: lively Shonda Rhimes dramas and the network’s trademark diverse-family comedies. Audiences warmed to Kyra Sedgwick’s mysterious “Ten Days »


- Brian Steinberg

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TV Targets Middle America With Little Risky Business

4 hours ago

More than ever, the razzle-dazzle served up at the annual upfront events in New York provides an opportunity for top brass to stand on a big stage and plead their case for the power of broadcast television.

There’s no disputing that the Big Four networks remain the tallest trees in what has become an overgrown forest of channels serving up original programming. But there is also no denying that the upfronts underscore how much the broadcast nets have had to trim their sails in recent years.

There was a palpable sense of caution in this year’s crop of new series. There’s no big-budget swing for the fences, few concepts that veer far from tried and true. The Big Four in the past few years have faced unusual struggles in recruiting top creative talent, primarily because so many are otherwise engaged in the Peak TV era.

Ambitions have been tempered this year by a host »


- Cynthia Littleton

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‘Chicago Justice’ Canceled After One Season at NBC

4 hours ago

Chicago Justice” has been canceled after just one season at NBC, Variety has learned.

The series from superproducer Dick Wolf  followed prosecutor Peter Stone (Philip Winchester), the ambitious Deputy Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau for the city of Chicago. The series also starred Carl WeathersMonica BarbaroJoelle Carter, and Jon Seda. In addition to Wolf, Michael S. Chernuchin, Matt Olmstead, Derek Haas, Michael Brandt, Arthur Forney, and Peter Jankowski serve as executive producers. Wolf Films produced in association with Universal Television.

The series was one of four “Chicago” shows produced by Wolf, along with “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med,” and “Chicago Pd.” All of the other three shows were renewed, as was Wolf’s other NBC series, “Law & Order: Svu.” This fall, NBC will air the first installment of the new Wolf-produced anthology series “Law & Order True Crime,” with Season 1 focusing on the case of the infamous Menendez brothers.

Justice »


- Joe Otterson

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Roger Ailes Leaves Long Shadow at Fox With Complicated Legacy

5 hours ago

Even some of Roger Ailes’ closest friends and admirers admit that the man routinely described as “larger than life” has left a complicated legacy.

There’s no disputing that Ailes, who died May 18 at 77, turned Fox News Channel into a political and cultural force, generating outsize profits for Rupert Murdoch’s empire along the way. But his personal indiscretions and attitudes shaped in the “Mad Men” era of workplace culture proved to be his professional undoing. The state of Fox News today, 10 months after Ailes’ abrupt exit, reflects the essential conflict of its founder. He was undeniably one of the most influential, innovative and successful media mavens of the past 50 years. He was also the highest-ranking media executive to have been taken down by a sexual harassment lawsuit.

“It’s all so complicated. Everything here was and is … as he was,” longtime Fox News anchor Shepard Smith said of Ailes during an emotional on-air tribute. Smith »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Roger Moore, James Bond Star, Dies at 89

5 hours ago

Roger Moore, the handsome English actor who appeared in seven films as James Bond — the most of any Bond actor — and as Simon Templar on “The Saint” TV series, has died in Switzerland after a short battle with cancer. He was 89.

His family issued an announcement on Twitter: “It is with the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated.”

With the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated. pic.twitter.com/6dhiA6dnVg

Sir Roger Moore (@sirrogermoore) May 23, 2017

Moore appeared in more official Bond pics than his friend Sean Connery over a longer period of time, and while Connery’s fans were fiercely loyal, polls showed that many others favored Moore’s lighter, more humorous take on 007.

In 1972, Moore was asked to join Her Majesty’s Secret Service »


- Carmel Dagan

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James Corden to Star in ‘Late Late Show’ Offshoot for Snapchat Shows (Exclusive)

5 hours ago

James Corden is coming to Snapchat Shows.

The messaging app’s growing roster of TV-style short-form series will be joined by “James Corden’s Next James Corden,” a six-episode satire of reality-competition shows launching this fall featuring the late-night host himself.

“The line between your television screen, your computer and your phone has never been more blurred,” Corden told Variety.

The series pretends that Corden is searching for a successor at “Late Late Show with James Corden,” so he decides to put a group of young potential replacements to the test.

The Corden project will mark the first collaboration between CBS and Snapchat for Discover, the content platform where Snapchat Shows can be found. NBCUniversal, Disney, Vice and MGM are among the other media partners Snapchat has brought in for original programming on Discover.

Corden’s Snapchat Show will also feature other familiar faces including bandleader Reggie Watts. Ben Winston and Rob Crabbe will serve as executive »


- Andrew Wallenstein

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Snapchat Shows: Inside the Plan to Reimagine TV for the Mobile Era

5 hours ago

When Elisabeth Murdoch said goodbye to the family business in the wake of the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal in 2014, there was considerable anticipation regarding her next career move. The safe bet was that she’d find something to do in the television industry, where she had cranked out global hit series formats from “MasterChef” to “Big Brother” for Shine Group, which she’d sold to her father for $675 million.

But when Murdoch resurfaced in 2015, she focused her programming savvy not on TV but on a single digital platform: Snapchat.

Her new venture, Vertical Networks, has produced only for the Venice, Calif.-based messaging app, and includes a trio of so-called Snapchat Shows, a short-form video format exclusive to the Snapchat platform. As Murdoch sees it, the seismic shift a new generation of younger viewers is making from TV to mobile can no longer be ignored.

Art Streiber for Variety

“I don’t think there are many other »


- Andrew Wallenstein

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