News, scoops, reviews and more from TV land.
Happy Mother's Day.
Oh, right. Almost forgot. NBC announced some new shows today.
First, the schedule, then -- of much greater importance -- the trailers. Keep an eye on these three newcomers, "State of Affairs," "Marry Me," and "Bad Judge." NBC's placed them in the strongest possible positions on the fall schedule.
Clips below. YOU be the judge. And a quick reminder, NBC does have a full slate of backups and midseason series. I'll get to those tomorrow.
8-10 p.m. — “The Voice”
10-11 p.m. — “The Blacklist” / “State of Affairs” (NEW, beginning Nov. 17)
8-9 p.m. — “The Voice”
9-9:30 p.m. — “Marry Me” (NEW)
9:30-10 p.m. — “About a Boy”
10-11 p.m. — “Chicago Fire”
8-9 p.m. — “The Mysteries of Laura" (NEW)
9-10 p.m. — “Law & Order: SVU”
10-11 p.m. — “Chicago P.D.”
8-9 p.m. — “The Biggest Loser”
9-9:30 p.m. — “Bad Judge” (“The Blacklist” beginning Feb. 5)
9:30-10 p.m. — “A to Z” (NEW)
10-11 p.m. — “Parenthood”
8-9 p.m. — “Dateline NBC”
9-10 p.m. — “Grimm”
10-11 p.m. — “Constantine” (NEW)
8-11 p.m. — Encore programming
7-8:20 p.m. — “Football Night in America”
8:20-11:30 p.m. — “NBC Sunday Night Football”
Marry Me Constantine The Mysteries of Laura State of Affairs
Robin Williams' return to network TV was for but one season, as it turned out. "The Crazy Ones" is done. CBS announced a handful of cancellations earlier today, but this is The One -- the one that's a big deal because of the cast (Sarah Michelle Gellar included) and because talents quite as giant as Robin Williams don't come around all that often ... but this clearly didn't catch.
Meanwhile, "The Mentalist" will be back next season. CBS announced the renewal of virtually its entire schedule recently, but this was noticeably -- ominously -- not included, which clearly meant one thing: There was a tough negotiation underway. And now, resolved.
Larry Wilmore -- the "senior black correspondent" at "The Daily Show" -- will be correspondent no more: Comedy Central has handed him Stephen Colbert's host gig, in a new show titled "The Minority Report with Larry Wilmore."
The show launches in January, and per Comedy Central, will be "a comedic look at news, current events and pop culture from unique perspectives not typically on display in late night television."
And so the guessing game of Who will Replace Colbert ends, and in the most logical way imaginable -- Wilmore, a gifted insider, gets the big job, just as Colbert before him did, and both with -- to use Comedy Central's words -- "unique perspectives" on the news.
Both are also -- besides performers -- writers, and Wilmore has an even more interesting part to his resume: he's an actor, who appeared memorably in "The Office" and elsewhere, and who is attached to Anthony Anderson's "Blacvk-ish" (he'll stay with the show for now.) He created "The Bernie Mac Show," and was a writer with "In Living Color."
Wilmore is also -- just to point out the obvious -- black in one of the whiter parts of TV, late night. As host, he'll join an army of one out there, Arsenio. Wilmore's subject is frequently race, and the manifold absurd ways it is channeled through American life and culture; there's no overt anger in his comedy, but the subtext is occassionally angry (as if it could be otherwise), so that'll be interesting to see how that will be applied in a full 30-minute show. It's not that Wilmore willl have enough material -- he'll have an endless supply -- but whether a.) he'll fill every show with it; or b.) branch off into other places as well. I hopefully speak for all late night comedy/talk show fans by suggestiong that Plan B sounds more promising...
By the way, Colbert's start date at "Late Night" has not yet been determined, but I think nothing should be read into the fact that Wilmore starts up in January when Stephen ends. David Letterman's last edition could be anytime after that point, although a sweeps period (February or May) would seem most likely and logical.
Meanwhile, back to Wilmore: He's a shrewd, understated and ironic comedian, and ... thoughtful, as if comedians are supposed to be "thoughtful." (Of course they are, from Louis C.K. to Stewart.)
Check out some clips; the first a radio interview with Leonard Lopate ... then, one from possibly his first TV appearance ... and his congressional correspondent's dinner performance. Together, they might give you the slightest flavor of what to expect, and he'll almost certainly channel parts of his "TDC" persona as well.
This promises to be a terrirfic show.
"Community," one of the most precocious comedies in TV history, will end its five-season run this May. The cancellation came suddenly, stealthily, and on the proverbial close-of-business Friday late afternoon. But not without warning. Cancellation -- or the potential thereof -- seems to have shadowed "Community" since the first season. This has to be disappointing for fans -- but especially for returning showrunner Dan Harmon who had expected a sixth.
Meanwhile, NBC has renewed "Hannibal."
There was a list of other NBC casualties, by the way ("Believe" and "Crisis"). Both of those had real promise, "Crisis" in particular, but they never caught fire.
But "Revolution" had once seemed like a charmed show, if not quite a hit its first season, and definitely not during the sophomore season, when numbers and buzz tailed off.
The fall network upfronts arrive next week and with them, plenty of new shows. But what looks interesting? In the interest of time — yours — I've put together a list of the 20 most intriguing new series. Each one of these has been ordered, and will arrive on a network near you sometime next year or early 2015. And in no particular order, let's take it away!
Think: Ellie Kemper, escapes doomsday cult...starts life over in NYC
Reason to get excited: Ellie, plus Robert Carlock and Tina Fey produce..
Reason not to: No reason except NBC has been all-thumbs when it comes to comedies. Could it actually thumb up this one too?
"The Slap," NBC
Think: Family drama based on Aussie drama./..about a man who slaps some other family's kid and...from there it starts...
Reason to get excited: Jon Robin Baitz is writing, producing.
Reason not to: Nothing comes to mind except maybe the fact that the cast still seems undetermined.
Think: LA cop on the trail of the Manson murders...
Reason to get excited: Two, great title and...David Duchovny stars.
Reason not to: Period drama overkill, and the demise of "Mob City" still fresh...
"Emerald City," NBC
Think: "Land of Oz. Really. The whole thing. With Dorothy too.
Reason to get excited: Oz.
Reason not to: It's a modern-day "reimagining," whatever that could possibly be, and believed to be for 10 episodes only — part of the new trend in TV not to over-commit when you are not over-certain. Plus, sounds violent.
"Mr. Robinson," NBC
Think: Craig Robinson, single-camera, as musician turned music teacher
. Reason to get excited: Robinson, and Greg Daniels, re-teaming...
Reason not to: Pilot has apparently had a muddied, confused past — Daniels is reportedly no longer even attached. So who knows.
"State of Affairs," NBC
Think: Kat Heigl, CIA attache, counsels prez.
Reason to get excited: The return of Kat.
Reason not to: The return of Kat. Plus that cliched title which indicates cliched dialogue, and cliched situations. But let's not judge a book by a tiny corner of its cover, OK people?
Think: Rainn Wilson as cranky detective in Portland...
Reason to get excited: Wilson. Plus Hart Hanson of "Bones," who produces.
Reason not to: Nothing immediately obvious — unless Fox has a hard time adapting the Leif G.W. Persson books (though Hanson has experience in this realm...) But Wilson in crime drama? Could take some getting used to.
Think: Hip-hop family empire...
Reason to get excited: Well, Terence Howard stars, Lee Daniels exec produces and so does Danny Strong (who does not star.) Pedigree!
Reason not to: It almost sounds more like a movie than a series. But a lot of networks apparently wanted this, so...
Think: Remake of "Broadchurch."
Reason to get excited: Good cast, headed by David Tennant and Anna Gunn
. Reason not to: Fraught tradition of American remakes of famous British series.
Think: "Origin" story of "Batman"
Reason to get excited: Anything "Batman" related has to be good, right?
Reason not to: This really is more the origin story of James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) which is interesting and important certainly, but...
Think: Ancient scroll stolen; master thief sprung from prison to find.
Reason to get excited: Don't think we've had an Egyptian — as in ancient — TV series in recent decades.
Reason not to: Fairly high concept. Will it be serious or ...camp...or just plain silly?
"Last Man on Earth," Fox
Think: Will Forte, must save human race. A comedy...
Reason to get excited: Forte, who was awfully good in "Nebraska," wasn't he?
Reason not to: It's midseason which means a bit of a wait.
Think: John Mulaney gets his own sitcom.
Reason to get excited: Martin Short also stars, as does another (like Mulaney) "SNL'er:" Nasim Pedrad.
Reason not to: Do comedies based on the single name of star ever work? (Oh, right, "Seinfeld." Never mind...)
Think: Zombie. Based on Chris Roberson/ Michael Allred comic book series, about med-student-turned zombie who eats brains,and then gains memories of brains, and then solves crimes....
Reason to get excited: I (heart) zombies. Plus Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero of "Veronica Mars" are writing.
Reason not to: Nothing comes immediately to my brain...Except of course possibly this: Eeeewwwwww
"The Whispers," ABC
Think: Alien force intent on destroying human race. Do NOT think classic '60s group of the same name...or recently canceled "The Neighbors."
Reason to get excited: Alien forces are always exciting,no? And Lily Rabe stars...
Reason not to: The aliens are (apparently) unseen — where's the fun in that?
"How to get Away with Murder," ABC
Think: Law prof and students, get entangled in a murder...
Reason to get excited: From Shondaland, who knows how to put the bubbles in soap; but biggest reason is star Viola Davis. And pretty good title too, no?
Reason not to: How many tricks does Shonda Rhymes have up her sleeve, anyway?
Think: Black family sitcom
Reason to get excited: Good cast (Anthony Anderson is headliner) and the concept seems to have promise (maybe because it's been done before), about cultural identity and assimilation.
Reason not to: Nothing comes to mind — ABC has done a good job of building new comedies (unlike NBC).
"Agent Carter," ABC
Think: Marvel, and "Captain America." This is about Peggy Carter — Hayley Atwell — set in '46.
Reason to get excited: Marvel has certainly kept things interesting at ABC, but Atwell makes this a probable keeper. She knows Peggy Carter better than anybody, after all.
Reason not to: "Agents of "SHEILD" also got a new season pickup this morning, but doesn't ABC — and Marvel — already have their hands full with this? After all, the first season was not the gang-buster they promised.
"American Crime," ABC
Think: Racially charged crime In California's Central Valley, with Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton
Reason to get excited: Sounds compelling, and not cheap crime procedural knock-off.
Reason not to: Also sounds like a monumental downer.
"Battle Creek," CBS
Think: Josh Duhamel, Dean Winters as cops in Battle Creek, Mi.
Reason to get excited: Vince Gilligan AND David Shore ("House") are producing this. Oh, and Mark Johnson.
Reason not to: Battle Creek? Wonderful city, of course. But a cop series? Set here? (Hey, why not.) Another question that occurred to me: The three showrunners are guys with their own visions and talents - Gilligan and Johnson have worked together (famously on a famous series) but Shore is pretty much been his own solo muse. How will they work together...and on what appears to be (superficial impression - we've seen nothing yet) on another procedural? At the very least, these questions will have interesting answers.
"I Wanna Marry Harry" -- a forthcoming cheesefest on Fox that promises to stir up old memories of awful reality series of yore, like "Joe Millionaire" -- has two Long Island women on the cast.
Quickly, the set-up: Twelve women travel to England where they are told they will meet Prince Harry, for a chance at romance, or at least a chance for a nice dinner...
In fact... oh come on... you know what happens: He's really not Harry, but a lookalike (Matthew Hicks, though you be the judge as to whether his looks are indeed alike). He sends one woman home each week. Presumably none of them catch on... Presumably... Arrives May 27 on channel 5. Be afraid, be very afraid.
The LIers are: Kimberly Birch (Malverne) and Jacqueline Conroy (Rockville Centre).
Damian Lewis -- who did a remarkable job on "Homeland" and has a best actor/drama Emmy to prove it -- has joined the cast of "Wolf Hall," based on the Hilary Mantel novel series and which should make a very big splash for PBS when it arrives via "Masterpiece Theatre" next year. Mark Rylance is already aboard, as is Jonathan Pryce, Joanne Whalley, Claire Foy and Mark Gatiss.
It's all based on the story of Thomas Cromwell (Rylance) who was chief minister to Henry VIII (Lewis) -- and who ushered in the Reformation (in essence, by abetting VIII's predilection for serial marriages...)
Filming has begun in England; this multi-parter arrives next year.
Lewis has kept busy since his run on "Homeland": He'll be in the miniseries "To Appomattox" -- not sure yet of the network berth as this is a "kickstarter" project -- and which has a heck of a cast; he'll play Sherman.
There are also a couple of interesting theatricals -- including a thriller with Gatiss (and Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris...) and: yet another big budget film on Lawrence of Arabia with Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson and James Franco...
A little bit of Long Island and a huge part of American history will launch PBS' fall season -- Ken Burns' "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History," which will of course begin with the story of Teddy... This is not some little exploration of the man, men, women and legends -- but rather a 14-hour, seven-night extravaganza. It all starts Sept. 14.
And we have a clip...
In a move almost certain to set off renewed speculation about where the "Today" show is going (and who's going there with it), the network just named Jamie Horowtiz senior vice president and general manager of the franchise. Horowitz is -- or was -- a very big deal at ESPN, probably the most successful TV brand in the world, where he launched many shows, and was a lion-tamer as well: He brought back Keith Olbermann, who presumably has been happy with the boss, now making the big move from Bristol, Connecticut to Manhattan.
The speculation? Oh, the usual stuff: Who will replace Matt Lauer, likely to leave at the end of his current contract? ("Likely" - but one never knows until one knows, and the ratings do appear to have stabilized, and with them, Matt...) Josh Elliott of course began his career at ESPN, and the advent of the Horowitz era is certain to set off some thinking that he might be here to bridge some sort of gap between sports - where Elliott is based now - and "Today." Of course, that may be "baseless" thinking... Elliott continues to dash any idea that he is destined for "Today."
But there's really one and only one job here -- to get "Today" back on top, and push "GMA" back to the place from whence it came (second). Horowitz certainly arrives on an interesting day, when NBCUniversal announced a $7-billion-plus multi-decade deal to air the Olympics; "Today" has long had a happy and symbiotic relationship with this enormous franchise...
Here's the top of the release:
Horowitz will lead the TODAY brand and drive greater integration and growth among all parts of the brand,...also explore new formats, such as extensions in digital, e-commerce, events and other opportunities to serve the audience beyond the day-to-day execution of the existing broadcast and digital platforms... "I am honored to join Deborah [Turness,NBC News president]'s team and help guide TODAY into the future," said Horowitz. "This is an exciting and invigorating opportunity, and I am humbled to work with one of the most indelible brands in television. I am also grateful to John Skipper and ESPN for the opportunities and support they have given me over the past eight years."
Didn't see this coming but... Terry Crews has been named host of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."
Crews -- a man with more careers than cats have lives -- as host? of "Millionaire"? (He replaces Cedric the Entertainer, who replaced Meredith Vieira, who is launching her own talk show in September...)
Why not! He was a gifted defensive end in the NFL (the Eagles, Rams and a couple of other...Read more »