Because this is a television blog written by someone who happens to live in Houston, Texas, I am legally obligated to start today’s post by informing you, whether you live in Houston or not, that Houston Texan and Houston demigod J.J. Watt is going to host Saturday Night Live on February 1. The musical guest will be Luke Combs. RuPaul is set to host on February 8 (AND ABOUT DAMN TIME) with musical guest … oh God … Justin Bieber.
One last trip to the TCAs to catch up with TV news that has already broken. Let’s go!
Apple TV+ had its first real visit to the TCAs
Defending Jacob, based on the best-seller of the same name, will debut on April 24. It stars Chris Evans and Michelle Dockery as the parents of a boy who SORTA SPOILER ALERT! might have killed someone. The folks involved insist that even if you’ve read the book, there are surprises to be had in the eight-episode limited series. Just don’t go spoiling yourself by poking around on Google.
Amazing Stories will debut on March 6. Here’s your first look:
Central Park will debut in early summer 2020. The animated series from Loren Bouchard, the creator of Bob’s Burgers, follows the Tillerman family who lives in Central Park. There will be singing. Bouchard took some heat for casting men to voice female characters and thereby taking jobs away from women. He apparently cast Stanley Tucci and Daveed Diggs as female characters in this new series, just as he cast Dan Mintz and John Roberts as Tina and Linda on Bob’s Burgers. In this new series, Kristen Bell also plays a mixed-race girl, which he caught some guff for. He basically answered with a shrug.
Home Before Dark, a new mystery series based on the real-life young investigative journalist Hilde Lysiak, will premiere on April 3. A young girl moves from Brooklyn to a small lakeside town where she unearths a cold case that the entire town, including her father, wanted to stay buried. The series has been renewed for a second season ahead of the premiere.
Dear … will premiere on June 5. The biography series will profile Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Steinem, Spike Lee, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Yara Shahidi, Stevie Wonder, Aly Raisman, Misty Copeland, Big Bird and more.
Visible: Out on Television will premiere on February 14.
Trying, a British comedy about a couple struggling to have a baby, will debut on May 1.
Home, a documentary series about innovative houses, will debut on April 17.
Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth, a short film narrated by Meryl Streep, will premiere on April 17.
After being pulled from the schedule following sexual abuse allegations against one of the producers, The Banker has been returned to Apple TV+’s schedule in March. The wife of the central character, and the mother of the women who have claimed the producer (their half-brother) abused them, gave a statement to Deadline about the release of the movie and she is NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT: “I find every person involved in this film to represent vultures.” It goes downhill from there.
Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, the gaming comedy starring Rob McElhenny, has been renewed for a second season. In comparing Mythic Quest to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, McElhenny argues that the Sunny characters are cartoonish whereas the characters who populate Mythic Quest are real people. As for Sunny, McElhenny insists that they’ll keep making it “forever.”
And All the Rest
Apple TV+ signed Julia Louis-Dreyfus to an overall deal because, as Vanity Fair explains, they want some Emmys.
The Morning Show didn’t spill anything about season two, and as far as Steve Carrell is concerned, they are trying to sign him for another season, but it hasn’t happened yet. Jennifer Anniston won the SAG award for this series, by the way.
The Little America folks talked about their series, and how in the next season, they hope to go farther back in the past to tell immigrant stories. They also note that while the series doesn’t tackle politics directly, that telling immigrants’ stories, that by humanizing them, is a political act in and of itself. The series is receiving glowing reviews, by the way.
Meanwhile, while Apple TV+ was giving this presentation, that little bitch Disney+ paid to promote #DisneyPlus on Twitter to become a top trending topic.
The Thing About Harry will premiere on February 15. It is going to be the highlight of a block of Valentine’s Day programming, “Love However the FF You Want”
Motherland: Fort Salem will premiere on March 18.
The official description: “Set in an alternate, present-day America where witches ended their persecution 300 years ago by cutting a deal with the burgeoning U.S. government to fight for their country, “Motherland: Fort Salem” follows three young women from basic training in combat magic into terrifying and thrilling early deployment. In this world, the traditional roles of gender and power are flipped, with women on the front lines fighting looming terrorist threats that are strikingly familiar to our world, but with supernatural tactics and weapons.”
Siren will return on April 2.
grown-ish and Good Trouble have both been renewed.
Last Summer, a thriller from Jessica Biel’s production company, has been ordered to series. It stars Chiara Aurelia (“Tell Me Your Secrets”), Mika Abdalla (“Project Mc2”), Michael Landes (“The Liberator”), Froy Gutierrez (“Teen Wolf”), Harley Quinn Smith (“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”), Allius Barnes (“Unbelievable”), Blake Lee (“Fam”), Nathaniel Ashton (“Mr. Mercedes”) and Brooklyn Sudano (“Taken”).
The official description: “Last Summer is an unconventional thriller that takes place over three summers – ’93, ’94, ’95 – in a small Texas town when a beautiful and popular teen, Kate, goes missing and, seemingly unrelated, a girl, Jeanette, goes from being a sweet and awkward outlier to the most popular girl in town and, by ’95, the most despised person in America. Each episode is told from the POV of one of the two main girls (Jeanette and Kate), which will have the viewers loyalties constantly shifting as more information is revealed.”
Everything’s Gonna Be Okay is going to be rebroadcast on FX tonight.
The Party of Five finale will be a special 90-minute episode. It airs on March 4. The creator, Amy Lippman, discussed how the new version differs from the original, and how the parents being deported rather than killed, creates greater urgency.
Lifetime at the TCAs
The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel will premiere on April 11.
Surviving Jeffrey Epstein has been officially greenlit. It will be a four-hour documentary, and air sometime this summer.
The Ruby Landry series of V.C. Andrews novels will be turned into five movies: V.C. Andrews’ Ruby; Pearl in the Mist, All That Glitters, Hidden Jewel and Tarnished Gold.
Smart Justice, a true-crime series hosted by Elizabeth Smart, is in the works.
The official description: “Told through the eyes of America’s most renowned survivor Elizabeth Smart who overcame her own harrowing abduction when she 14, each special provides behind-the-scenes information on tragic crimes and features powerful and emotional breakthroughs as Elizabeth actively helps place victims on their journey to healing. Each hour-long episode of Smart Justice will present real case evidence, including police video, crime scene materials, interrogation tapes and courtroom footage, as well as interviews with the actual victims, family members and others who will offer their first-hand recollections of the crimes. As a survivor of trauma herself, Elizabeth will elicit new information on each case, as she takes viewers through all the twists and turns of these horrific stories.”
I Was Lorena Bobbitt, a biopic produced by Bobbitt, has been ordered.
Just a reminder, Supernanny is returning soon.
In Other TV News
Oh, this is interesting: The Walking Dead: World Beyond already has an end date. The series will only run for two seasons and 20 episodes.
Netflix has drastically recalculated what they consider a view: it used to be if a viewer watched 70% of a show or movie, but now it’s — and I’m not kidding — if a viewer watches for at least 2 minutes. Under this new metric, The Witcher was viewed by 76 million households in its first four weeks which, you know, OK. (By the way, I’ve watched it and though I’m not sure I liked it, I did binge the whole thing, so I’m in no position to criticize “Dipshit Game of Thrones” as someone accurately described it on Twitter.)
Game of Thrones was originally going to end with three movies, but then HBO decided they weren’t in the movie business (despite giving Deadwood and The Sopranos movies). OH WELL, WHATEVER.
Rob Lowe wore a generic NFL hat to the 49and Packers game, and then made fun of himself in the most delightful way:
”I LITERALLY love football! And teams. Every one of them! They are all wonderful! Go teams!”
-Chris Traeger pic.twitter.com/u9y6B4EkE6
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) January 21, 2020
Here’s why the Daytona footage was filmed on phones in Netflix’s Cheer. (And BY THE WAY, there’s a show you should binge. JERRY 4EVA.)
Hank Azaria has said he will no longer voice Apu on The Simpsons. What that means for the character going forward is unclear.
Last we left them, the Senate was voting on impeachment trial procedure and the Democrats’ perfectly reasonable requests that evidence and witnesses be included in the trial. The voting went well into the night last night, ending sometime after 1 a.m., and voting on strictly partisan lines to postpone discussing witnesses or evidence until after most of the trial has happened because that just makes good sense.
“It was a dark day and a dark night for the Senate,” Senator Chuck Schumer said at a news conference. “As a consequence, the impeachment trial of President Trump starts with a cloud hanging over it.”
IT’S A YAM SHAM.
Some highlights from yesterday’s proceedings:
As I noted yesterday, Schumer introduced amendments asking for evidence, and after each amendment was introduced, the House Managers would argue for an hour or so about why that specific evidence was needed. One of the House Managers, Rep. Val Demings, discussed how outrageous it was that some evidence was withheld from Congress that had been released elsewhere through FOIA lawsuits, FOIA standing for “Freedom of Information Act.”
“Lawyer lawsuits? We’re talking about the impeachment of a president of the United States, duly elected, and the members — the managers are complaining about lawyer lawsuits? The Constitution allows lawyer lawsuits. It’s disrespecting the Constitution of the United States to even say that in this chamber — lawyer lawsuits.”
Of course there is no such thing as a “lawyer lawsuit,” she was saying “FOIA lawsuit” and she wasn’t complaining about them existing, she was complaining that FOIA lawsuits have been more respected by the White House than Congress’ subpoenas. “FOIA lawsuits filed by third parties cannot serve as a credible alternative to congressional oversight.”
What I’m saying is that the White House lawyers are FUCKING IDIOTS.
Oh, and ask me if the White House doubled down on Sekulow’s nonsensical comments? Go ahead, ask.
Ueland came back to the press pen and said Sekulow did not mistakenly refer to a phrase from Rep. Val Demings, an impeachment manager.
“When you read the transcript it says ‘lawyer lawsuit,’” he said
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 22, 2020
But for me, the best moment from yesterday (at least of what I saw — I will admit that I did not watch all 12+ hours of coverage) was when Rep. Hakeem Jeffries explained to that dunderhead Jay Sekulow why they were there.
It’s only about 45 seconds and it’s worth watching the whole clip:
Hakeem Jeffries responds to Jay Sekulow who asked “why are we here?”:
“We are here, sir, because President Trump corruptly abused his power and then he tried to cover it up… That is why we are here Mr. Sekulow. And if you don’t know, now you know.” pic.twitter.com/SIxq5D9a3l
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) January 22, 2020
What is happening now: the opening arguments have begun. Each side has 24 hours to present their arguments spread over three days. While this is better than the originally scheduled two days, it still means these arguments could go well into the primetime hours.
What happens next: After the House Managers present their opening arguments, the White House lawyers and some private attorneys — a team that includes legal monsters Ken Starr and Alan “I Kept My Under On While Receiving a Massage From One of Jeffrey Epstein’s Sex Slaves” Dershowitz — will provide their opening arguments in defense of President Yam Sham.
After this, senators will be allowed 16 hours to ask questions of both sides, but only in writing. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will read the questions.
Only after that will senators vote to hear from witnesses or subpoena more evidence. SPOILER ALERT: They will not vote for either.
McConnell’s #ShamTrial strategy:
No documents or witnesses now. Maybe later.
No, you can’t have documents or witnesses now either. I never said you could.
You didn’t present documents or witnesses.
We can’t convict without the evidence I prevented you from presenting.
— Leah McElrath 🏳️🌈 (@leahmcelrath) January 22, 2020
They will then vote on whether to convict or acquit the President. (They will acquit him.)
IT’S A GOD DAMNED YAM SHAM.
- American Ninja Warrior has been renewed for a ninth season at NBC.
- Epix announced they are developing The Winter King, a series about King Arthur; A Column of Fire, an Elizabethan-era drama; and Gibson Station, an Edward Burns drama about twenty-somethings in the 80s.
- The Prince, an animated series about Prince George has been ordered at HBO Max.
- Liar’s Club, a one-hour dramedy/thriller, has been bought by TNT.
- Florida Man, an anthology comedy series, has been ordered at Quibi.
- Ultra Violet & Blue Demon has been given a pilot order at Disney+.
- Pose co-creator Steven Canals has signed an overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV.
- The Nate Bargatze comedy pilot is not going forward at ABC.
- Billy Eichner is going to play Matt Drudge on American Crime Story: Impeachment. Love it.
- Rosario Dawson will be the lead in DMZ on HBO Max.
- Vella Lovell has been cast in Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s LA Mayor series.
- Fiona Shaw is joining the BBC One series Baptiste.
Mark Your Calendars
- Miss Americana will debut on Netflix on January 31.
- Dispatches from Elsewhere will premiere on AMC on March 1.
- Gentefied premieres on Netflix on February 21.
- Altered Carbon will return on Netflix on February 27.
- Laurel Canyon will debut on Epix on May 31.
- Belgravia will premiere on Epix on April 12.
- Haunted in the Heartland will debut on Travel Channel on February 21.
- Unsung will return on TV One on February 23.
- Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier will premiere on Smithsonian on February 24.
- Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution will debut on Netflix on February 27.
- Here’s a bunch of stuff coming to Acorn TV.
Terry Jones, Monty Python‘s founder, writer, director, historian, and just all-around delight.
Michael Palin released a statement reading: ““He was far more than one of the funniest writer-performers of his generation, he was the complete Renaissance comedian. Writer, director, presenter, historian, brilliant children’s author, and the warmest, most wonderful company you could wish to have.”
Just heard about Terry J
It feels strange that a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm, should have faded so gently away…
Of his many achievements, for me the greatest gift he gave us all was his direction of 'Life of Brian'. Perfection
Two down, four to go
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) January 22, 2020
I loved him the moment I saw him on stage at the Edinburgh Festival in 1963. So many laughs,moments of total hilarity onstage and off we have all shared with him. It’s too sad if you knew him,but if you didn’t you will always smile at the many wonderfully funny moments he gave us
— Eric Idle (@EricIdle) January 22, 2020
A very fond farewell to Terry Jones: Not only 1/6 of the Pythons, Mr Creosote, Arthur Two Sheds Jackson, Dino Vercotti, Mandy Cohen, Prince Herbert, Cardinal Biggles & the Nude Organist, but also esteemed director of all time comedy classic; 'Life Of Brian'. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/PeBDlvGfsD
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) January 22, 2020
36 years ago I met Terry Jones. I was meant to interview him. I asked for tea, so he opened a bottle of Chablis & got me drunk. He was funny, brilliant and honest. He was irrepressible and is seen here repressing the very young me. Rest in Peace, Terry. You were an inspiration. pic.twitter.com/fNBJZwOFcX
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) January 22, 2020
David Osper, Producer of Road Rules and Ancient Aliens
Stumptown: Dex becomes friends with the owner of a male strip club. 9 p.m., ABC
Awkwafina is Nora from Queens: Does anyone else think it’s weird that Awkwafina, who is a bonafide award-winning movie star, is now doing a Comedy Central series? It’s like her career is moving in reverse. But hey, I’ll take it. Series premiere. 9:30 p.m., Comedy Central
Riverdale: Jughead has to pick a side. Winter premiere. 8 p.m. The CW
Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak: Hey, have y’all heard about this new flu that is starting to break out across China? And how it’s been found here in the States? No reason. Netflix
- Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Halsey, Leslie Jones, Claire Saffitz
- Late Night with Seth Meyers: Terry Crews, Philip Rucker, Carol Leonnig, Adam Marcello
- The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: John Mulaney, Fortune Feimster
- The Late Late Show with James Corden: Charlie Hunnam, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Elbow
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Colin Farrell, Dave Salmoni, the Weeknd
- The Daily Show: Kim Ghattas
- Conan: Steve Buscemi
- Lights Out with David Spade: Jessimae Peluso, Josh Wolf, Arielle Vandenberg
- Watch What Happens Live: Fortune Feimster, Margaret Josephs
- A Little Late with Lily Singh: Abigail Spencer, Rodrigo Santoro, Michael Palascak
|FOX||9-1-1: Lone Star