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Noreen Fraser, TV Producer, Crusader in Fight Against Cancer, Dies at 63

58 minutes ago

Noreen Fraser, a producer of television shows including “Entertainment Tonight,” ABC’s “Home Show,” and “The Richard Simmons Show” who devoted her life to raising money for cancer research, died on Monday in her Brentwood, California, home, surrounded by family, after a 16-year battle with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She was 63.

Fraser founded the Noreen Fraser Foundation in 2006 — its goal is to raise funds for translational research into women’s cancers, bringing treatments to patients more quickly — and was co-creator and co-producer of the “Stand Up to Cancer” telethon that aired in 2008. The telethons became an annual affair.

Fraser was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. She volunteered her time producing and directing short films focusing on cancer issues. As president and CEO of the Fraser Foundation, she summed up her commitment in a message on the Nff website in which she declared, “I have made cancer my business.”

The »

- Carmel Dagan

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Hollywood on Edge as AMPTP, WGA Point Fingers After Talks End

3 hours ago

Hollywood’s blood pressure is rising. The decision unveiled Friday night by the Writers Guild of America to seek a strike authorization vote, following two weeks of contract talks with the major studios and networks, has the industry on edge about the prospect of a work stoppage.

The WGA West’s board of directors is expected to vote Monday night on the negotiating committee’s request for a strike authorization vote. The WGA East’s governing council is expected to consider the matter on Tuesday. If approved, which seems likely lest the guilds’ leaders appear divided, the ballots could be out by next week. As of Monday, there was no date on the calendar for the sides to resume talks.

A strike authorization vote doesn’t mean the writers will immediately walk, but it does enable the boards of West and East to call for a strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers companies »

- Cynthia Littleton

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CBS Sets Season Finale Dates for ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ ‘NCIS,’ More

4 hours ago

CBS has announced season finale airdates for its primetime comedies, dramas, and unscripted series. Most fall into the traditional May finale mold, like “The Big Bang Theory” (recently renewed for two more seasons) and various “NCIS” franchises. But there are a few early birds, like “Macgyver” (April 14) and “2 Broke Girls” (April 17).

The Eye’s finale schedule runs thusly:

Friday, April 14

8:00-9:00 p.m.          “Macgyver” (Season 1 Finale)

Saturday, April 15

8:00-9:00 p.m.          “Ransom” (Season 1 Finale)

Monday, April 17

9:30-10:00 p.m.        “2 Broke Girls” (Season 6 Finale)

Friday, May 5

10:00-11:00 p.m.      “Blue Bloods” (Season 7 Finale)

Monday, May 8

8:00-8:30 p.m.          “Kevin Can Wait” (Season 1 Finale)

9:00-9:30 p.m.          “Superior Donuts” (Season 1 Finale)

Wednesday, May 10

9:00-10:00 p.m.        “Criminal Minds” (Season 12 Finale)

Thursday, May 11

8:00-8:30 p.m.          “The Big Bang Theory” (Season 10 Finale)

8:30-9:00 p.m.          “The Great Indoors »

- Oriana Schwindt

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TV News Roundup: Johnny Galecki Gets Science Channel Series, ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Ratings

4 hours ago

In today’s TV news roundup, Johnny Galecki will executive produce and star in new Science Channel series titled “SciJinks,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has a more-than-solid premiere on its new network, and more.


Science Channel has ordered eight 30-minute episodes of prank series “SciJinks” from “The Big Bang Theory” star Johnny Galecki. He will appear in and executive produce the series, which is scheduled to premiere in fourth quarter 2017. The series will use cutting-edge science as the foundation for outrageous stunts and practical jokes. Along with Galecki, each of the episodes will be guided by scientists, physicists, and Stem students. Galecki’s Alcide Bava Productions and A. Smith & Co. Productions will produce the series.

Own has ordered two new docuseries that will join its Saturday night programming line-up later this year. “Released,” produced by Lucky 8, features intimate, first-person narratives of formerly incarcerated men and women as they walk out of the prison doors for the »

- Sarah Ahern

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Miles Teller Cast in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Amazon Drama

4 hours ago

Miles Teller is hitting the world of streaming TV. Amazon Studios has cast Teller in drama series “Too Old to Die Young,” from “Drive” director Nicolas Winding Refn and scribe Ed Brubaker.

Teller will play Martin, a police officer entangled in the world of assassins. The series explores the criminal underbelly of Los Angeles by following killers’ existential journeys in becoming samurai. Refn will direct all 10 episodes, co-writing with Brubaker, who will exec produce. “Too Old to Die Young” is Refn’s first American TV project; Brubaker, a celebrated writer in the comics world, most recently was a supervising producer and writer on HBO’s “Westworld.”

This will be Teller’s first series regular role after starring in films like 2014’s “Whiplash” and last summer’s “War Dogs.” He has two features coming out in the latter half of 2017 — Lionsgate’s “Granite Mountain” and Universal’s Steven Spielberg-produced “Thank You for Your Service.” “I »

- Oriana Schwindt

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Hulu Sets Summer Premieres for ‘Difficult People,’ ‘Casual,’ Documentaries

4 hours ago

Hulu has released its summer slate, which includes three original documentaries and two original series.

Difficult People” Season 3 will premiere Tuesday, Aug. 8, and will find Julie (Julie Klausner) and Billy (Billy Eichner) remaining each other’s best friends while still their own worst enemies. John Cho will have a guest arc as Billy’s boyfriend.

The third season of “Casual” will premiere on Tuesday, May 23, and will follow the surprising consequences following Charles’ death and Valerie’s decision to move out, propelling the trio to rebel, explore different jobs, partners, and unfulfilled passions.

Batman & Bill” premieres Saturday, May 6. The documentary follows Bill Finger, the uncredited co-creator of the iconic superhero Batman. The film is directed and executive produced by Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce, and features principal subjects Marc Tyler Nobleman and Michael Uslan.

Becoming Bond” is a documentary-narrative hybrid that tells the true story of George Lazenby, a poor Australian car mechanic who landed the »

- Sarah Ahern

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‘True Detective’ Update: David Milch Set to Join Creator Nic Pizzolatto for Season 3

6 hours ago

True Detective” is coming back to life for a third season with a little help from HBO veteran David Milch.

Milch has been recruited to help “True Detective” creator Nic Pizzolatto chart the course for the third installment of the anthology series. Entertainment Weekly first reported the news of Milch’s involvement.

Sources cautioned that Milch and Pizzolatto’s collaboration is in the very early stages. Milch is a renowned writer, but also known for his unconventional working style. HBO likely felt his experience would be a good fit with Pizzolatto, who impressed with the first season of “True Detective” but struggled with the second installment. He’s said to have settled on a concept for Season 3 and has been working on scripts.

HBO declined to comment.

As Variety previously reported, HBO had been looking to make a change in the way the show is run, given the critical response to the second season, and »

- Joe Otterson

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TV Review: Bet’s ‘Rebel,’ From John Singleton

6 hours ago

Rebecca “Rebel” Knight (Danielle Moné Truitt), in the grand tradition of hardboiled private investigators, is an ex-cop with a past — a pro who got jaded because of one bad case, one tough story, one loss that was too much to handle. She can take on a room of guys twice her size armed with just her nightstick; she can sling innuendo-laced insults in the face of sexist, racist boors. But she can’t protect her brother from being killed by the same cops she works with — including her former partner and onetime lover, who fires the first shot.

Rebel” is a pulp detective story set in modern-day Oakland that hands the role of brooding private eye to a black woman. In its premise, it is brilliant; the random and awful violence that characterizes the genre is not out of place in Rebel Knight’s own life — and of course her life is punctuated by the lover who »

- Sonia Saraiya

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Hulu Gives Straight-to-Series Order to Sarah Silverman, Funny or Die

6 hours ago

Hulu has ordered 10 half-hour episodes of topical show “I Love You, America,” starring Sarah Silverman.

The series, from Funny or Die, will have Silverman discuss the current political and emotional landscape of the country. The episodes will be doled out on a weekly basis.

Though an avowed liberal, Silverman with this show is looking to connect with people who may not agree with her personal opinions through honesty, humor, genuine interest in others, and not taking herself too seriously. Keenly aware of the pitfalls of staying within one’s own political bubble, Silverman feels it’s crucial, now more than ever, to connect with un-like-minded people. She is teaming up with producers Adam McKay, Will Ferrell, and Funny or Die in creating a show setting out to expose the fact that we are all the same.

Silverman is also one of a plethora of comedians who’ve signed deals with Netflix to release their comedy specials. She »

- Oriana Schwindt

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Katie Cassidy Returning to ‘Arrow’ for Good as Black Siren

7 hours ago

Katie Cassidy is returning to “Arrow” in a big way.

The “Arrow” alum will be back as a series regular in Season 6, playing Black Siren. She will first appear in the final two episodes of the CW show in the current fifth season.

An original cast member of “Arrow,” Cassidy portrayed Laurel Lance/Black Canary for the first four seasons, before being killed off in the midst of Season 4. After she was killed, Cassidy signed a deal with the CW to appear across the DC universe portfolio of shows in a guest capacity — then she reappeared as Black Siren, the villainous Earth 2 version of Black Canary, in “Arrow’s” midseason premiere of Season 5.

Arrow” executive producer Marc Guggenheim commented on Cassidy’s return, saying in a statement: “One of the things that most excites us about ‘Arrow’ is that we go where the story takes us. Last year, the story took us to the tragic death »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Harry Connick Jr. Talk Show Renewed for Season 2 (Exclusive)

7 hours ago

Harry Connick Jr. is staying put in daytime. NBCUniversal Domestic TV and Fox Television Stations have renewed the syndicated daytime strip “Harry” for a second season this fall.

“I love my show! To continue sharing an hour every day with my audience is a great honor and thrill – can’t wait for season 2,” Connick said in a statement.

“Harry’s” viewership since its September premiere has been respectable, if not spectacular, averaging about 1.3 million viewers for the season to date in morning and early afternoon time slots. The show last week grabbed five Daytime Emmy Award nominations, including a bid for entertainment talk show host for Connick.

“Harry” has served up an upbeat blend of talk, comedy and variety segments along with music and performance segments highlighting the multifaceted host’s bona fides as an accomplished musician.

The show has been championed by the Fox O&O group as a different spin on the daytime talk show »

- Cynthia Littleton

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NBC Promotes Jenny Groom, Lesley Cerwin, Shelby Shaftel in Alternative-Programming Shuffle

7 hours ago

NBC has promoted three unscripted executives in a reorganization of its alternative-programming department.

Senior vice president of alternative programming and development Jenny Groom will take over as department head, reporting to Paul Telegdy, president of NBC Entertainment’s alternative and reality group. Lesley Cerwin, who had led publicity for the department, has been named senior vice president, current programming. And Shelby Shaftel has been promoted to vice president of programming and development.

Groom takes over the role that was made vacant last year when Meredith Ahr was named president of Universal Television Alternative Studio, a new NBC unscripted-production unit and part of Telegdy’s portfolio. She adds oversight of current programming to her role as development chief. Among the series she developed since joining NBC are “Little Big Shots” and “The Wall.”

“Jenny Groom has emerged as the natural leader for the NBC alternative programming team,” Telegdy said. “Her creativity and understanding of NBC’s audience have »

- Daniel Holloway

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NFL Owners Approve Raiders’ Move to Las Vegas

7 hours ago

The NFL is Sin City-bound.

On Monday, league owners approved a vote that will move the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas. NFL owners, who gathered at their annual meeting in Phoenix, were 31-1 in favor of the relocation.

The Raiders will remain in Oakland until a $1.9 billion stadium is built in Vegas. The new stadium will also be home to Unlv’s football program.

The Raiders have played in Oakland since moving from Los Angeles in 1995. They also played in the Bay area prior to moving to L.A. in 1982. Raiders owner Mark Davis had attempted to move the team back to Los Angeles last year by proposing a new stadium in Carson, but NFL owners opted for an Inglewood facility from Rams owner Stan Kroenke. The $2.6 billion stadium in Inglewood, set to open in 2019, will also host the Chargers, who recently moved from San Diego.

The Raiders will be the second professional sports team in »

- Variety Staff

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Matthew Morrison Joins ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ — See On-Set Pics and Video

8 hours ago

Matthew Morrison has been cast on “Grey’s Anatomy.”

ABC confirmed to Variety that the “Glee” alum is joining the medical drama in a guest role. However, the network kept details on his character and storyline under wraps.

Morrison was recently spotted in on-set pictures, which surfaced on a Twitter fan account this past weekend. In the photos, he’s filming with “Grey’s Anatomy” vet Justin Chambers, plus star and director Kevin McKidd. The images depict Morrison and Chambers on a street and near a cab.

Morrison also teased a new gig on his Instagram story, but did not specify the new show. He did say that he’d be playing a character named Dr. Paul Stadler.

Matthew Morrison's Ig story confirmed it's him in #GreysAnatomy episode 13.23!

He says he's playing Dr. Paul Stadler pic.twitter.com/ckaaz62r4G

— JustinChambersOnline (@JChambersOnline) March 25, 2017

“Actors Justin Chambers & Matthew Morrison with director Kevin McKidd on the set »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Fyi 2017 Slate Includes 5 Returning Shows, New Seasons of ‘Tiny House Hunting,’ ‘Food Porn’

8 hours ago

Fyi announced its 2017 programming slate on Monday. The announcement included nine new series including the house hunting and design shows “Prefabulous” and “Hunting Abroad,” as well as returning shows like Season 4 of “Tiny House Hunting” and Season 2 of “Food Porn.”

All of the shows announced focus on three core lifestyle genres: food, relationships and home. In addition to shows on its linear channel, Fyi also has several short form digital series, including “Married Life” and “Upgrade My Bae,” where couples get a chance to spice up their partner’s style by turning them into the fantasy “bae” they always dreamed of.

Over the coming months, Fyi will announce programming premiere dates for its 2017 roster. Check out descriptions for the new and returning shows below.

New Shows

“You Can’t Turn That Into a House”

Missouri-based brothers Taimoor and Rehan Nana, along with their partner and architect Kyle Davis, use their renovation skills to build amazing living spaces »

- Joe Otterson

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What Trump Could Learn From ‘Sesame Street’ (Column)

9 hours ago

It’s been frequently observed that Donald Trump, the former host of “The Apprentice,” ascended to the White House by using the rhetoric, logic, and naked shamelessness of reality television. But perhaps we should have been watching our “Sesame Street”: Trump is just a real-life version of a villain from a children’s story.

Sesame Street” made “Ronald Grump,” a rapacious, orange-wigged land developer, into their villain on three separate occasions — in the ’80s, when Grump tried to evict Oscar; in the aughts, when an “Apprentice”-inspired Grump heartlessly fired Elmo; and in the ’90s, for the show’s 25th anniversary special. (That last appearance is especially prescient; Grump, played by Joe Pesci, replaces his doorman with an automated system, hits on a reporter played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and is only defeated by a march of all of Sesame Street’s residents, led by Big Bird. It’s possible Trump has been using this episode as »

- Sonia Saraiya

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Reality Show Set in Wilderness Canceled, but No One Tells Contestants for Months

9 hours ago

London – The contestants of a British reality show that marooned them in the wilderness for a year as a social experiment have returned to civilization – only to discover the series was canceled several months ago and no one bothered to tell them.

The Channel 4 program, “Eden,” assembled 23 men and women and dispatched them to a remote corner of the Scottish Highlands, where they were told to set up a self-sufficient community. The group was cut off from any contact with the outside world, and had to “decide on their own rules and laws, build their own shelter, grow their own food and raise their own livestock,” according to a statement released when the show was first announced.

The year-long experiment was recorded by a four-strong crew as well as personal cameras and a fixed rig. Four episodes of the show – covering March, April and May – were broadcast last summer. But ratings slipped from 1.7 million to 800,000, leading Channel 4 »

- Leo Barraclough

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‘Scandal’ Celebrates 100 Episodes, Stars Talk Plot Twists and Surprising Deaths

9 hours ago

When the “Scandal” crew returned to PaleyFest to celebrate its upcoming 100th episode, the starts both teased the landmark ep and strolled down memory lane. Most of the show’s current cast attended the afternoon event at the Dolby Theatre: Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, Bellamy Young, Josh Malina, Darby Stanchfield, Jeff Perry, Scott Foley, Cornelius Smith Jr., Joe Morton, Guillermo Diaz, Katie Lowes, and George Newbern. After a screening of the show’s pilot episode to remind the audience how it all began, the cast got down to business.

“What can we expect in the 100th episode?” Goldwyn teased, “It’s insane. It’s a ‘what if?’ episode.” Goldwyn then pointed to Washington and said of the show’s longevity, “One of the reasons we maintain this sense of family is the woman sitting to my right. She’s the greatest team captain.”

But what do the actors think of the show’s never-ending twists? Perry »

- Diane Gordon

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Our Staff Picks: TV Shows to Watch the Week of March 27, 2017

9 hours ago

Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV.

Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s TV schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch it. This week, both NBC’s “Grimm” and Fox’s “Bones” sign off the air for good, while Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson returns to HBO with a new documentary. Plus, Selena Gomez makes her debut as an executive producer on a major series.

“Rock and a Hard Place,” HBO, Monday, 10 p.m.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is back on HBO…but not with “Ballers.” Yet. Instead, the pro-wrestler turned movie megastar is continuing his quest to take over all media with this new documentary. The film, in which Johnson appears and executive produces, follows life inside the Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation Boot Camp Program, a 16-week program for young criminal offenders, in »

- Joe Otterson

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‘Moonlight’ Director Barry Jenkins to Write, Direct ‘Underground Railroad’ Series at Amazon

10 hours ago

Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins will write and direct a one-hour drama series about the Underground Railroad currently in development at Amazon, Variety has learned. The series will be based on Colson Whitehead’s best-selling book, “The Underground Railroad.”

“Going back to ‘The Intuitionist,’ Colson’s writing has always defied convention, and ‘The Underground Railroad’ is no different,” Jenkins said. “It’s a groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation’s history while using the form to explore it in a thoughtful and original way. Preserving the sweep and grandeur of a story like this requires bold, innovative thinking and in Amazon we’ve found a partner whose reverence for storytelling and freeness of form is wholly in line with our vision.”

Published by Doubleday, “The Underground Railroad” has sold over 825,000 copies in the United States across all formats. An Oprah’s Book Club 2016 selection, New York Times bestseller, and the winner of the 2016 National Book Award »

- Joe Otterson

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