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MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell Apologizes for Leaked Tirade

3 hours ago

MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell has issued an apology after a clip leaked of him verbally berating his staff while taping his nightly news show.

“A better anchorman and a better person would’ve had a better reaction to technical difficulties,” O’Donnell wrote on Twitter. “I’m sorry.”

Earlier on Wednesday, a series of clips obtained by Mediate show O’Donnell repeatedly cursing at his staffers for problems with his earpiece. The clips seem to be from the August 29 episode of “The Last Word,” which O’Donnell anchors for MSNBC.

In the clips, O’Donnell becomes visibly angry after complaining multiple times that he is hearing someone in the control room speaking about matters unrelated to that night’s show in his earpiece. At one point he slams his fists on his desk and is heard muttering “God dammit.”

He becomes more and more upset until finally standing up and screaming, “Stop »


- Joe Otterson

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Netflix Pulls Episode of Children’s Cartoon With Penis Drawing

3 hours ago

Netflix has pulled an episode of a children’s show “Maya the Bee” after what appeared to be a penis was spotted etched on a tree trunk in the background of a scene.

Screen caps of the tree with the phallic image made the rounds on social media earlier this week.

Chey Robinson, a concerned mother, appears to have been the first to share a clip from the show, writing on Facebook, “Please be mindful of what your kids are watching. I did Not edit any images whatsoever, this is ‘Maya the Bee,’ Season 1, Episode 35. I know I’m not going crazy and I know that something like this shouldn’t be in a kids’ show whatsoever. I’m extremely disgusted by it, there should be no reason my kids have to see something like this. I don’t know if they’re gonna do something about this or what, but »


- Erin Nyren

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TV News Roundup: Joe Bastianich Returns to ‘MasterChef Junior’

4 hours ago

In today’s roundup, Joe Bastianich will return as a permanent host to “Masterchef Junior” and Christian Drobnyk has joined National Geographic.

Casting

Former “MasterChef” and “MasterChef Junior” host Joe Bastianich will return as a permanent judge to Season 6 of “MasterChef Junior,” which will air during the 2017-18 season on Fox. Bastianich will also join chefs Gordon Ramsay, Christina Tosi and Aarón Sánchez on the “MasterChef” Season 8 finale Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. on Fox. Bastianich is a world-renowned restaurateur who co-owns 30 restaurants across the globe, including Michelin Star eatery Del Posto, Babbo, Osteria Mozza and Eataly in the Americas. He previously served as a judge on “MasterChef Junior” for its first three seasons and on “MasterChef” for its first five seasons.

Dates

Stage 13, a digital content brand under the Warner Bros. Digital Networks umbrella, announced that its new anthology series “Two Sentence Horror Stories” will premiere on Oct. 3 on go90, Verizon’s mobile entertainment destination. A »


- Erin Nyren

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‘Watchmen’ Pilot From Damon Lindelof Ordered by HBO

4 hours ago

HBO has ordered a pilot for “Watchmen,” the new drama series it is developing with “The Leftovers” creator Damon Lindelof.

The premium service has also committed to additional backup scripts for the series. HBO confirmed the pilot order and script commitment Wednesday, one day after Lindelof teased on Instagram that work had begun in the writers room on the project.

Watchmen” is based on the landmark DC Comics miniseries of the same name by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. The series, later collected as a graphic novel, was a serious-minded deconstruction of superhero comics loosely inspired by characters from the Charlton Comics library, which were owned by DC. Set in a universe in which the appearance of costumed heroes in the mid-20th Century had altered the course of history — leading to U.S. victory in Vietnam and a Nixon presidency that stretched into the mid-1980s — “Watchmen” followed a group of crimefighters investigating the murder of »


- Daniel Holloway

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Jemele Hill is a Fading Memory. Which Means Espn Lost a Big Opportunity

4 hours ago

Remember Jemele Hill?

Wipe the cobwebs from the darkest corner of your memory banks, and the name may sound vaguely familiar. She was well on her way to becoming a household name just last week, which in our hyper-speed news cycle, is about two or three eons ago. So you’re forgiven if you don’t remember.

Espn is probably hoping you don’t recall Hill, whose tweets calling Donald Trump a white supremacist prompted condemnation from a White House spokeswoman and a demand from the president himself on social media that the network apologize. The sports network issued a few statements making clear she had run afoul of employee guidelines but stopped short of punishing her, which only fueled the outcry from conservatives.

But it’s actually a shame that Hill is already fading from our collective memories — for her and for Espn itself. The network has mistaken what looked like adversity for what her controversy »


- Andrew Wallenstein

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‘The Punisher’ Unloads in First Trailer for Netflix Series (Watch)

4 hours ago

Netflix has released the first trailer for the television adaptation of Marvel’s “The Punisher.” What starts out as a sentimental montage of Frank Castle’s family turns into a bloodbath once his wife is shot and killed.

The Punisher” chronicles Castle (Jon Bernthal) exacting revenge on those responsible for the death of his wife and children. Now known throughout the criminal underworld as the Punisher, he discovers the truth about injustices that affect more than his family alone.

In the first look, Castle suits up in his notable skull vest to hit the town after uncovering a conspiracy that runs far deeper than New York. The trailer also hints at the comic-book characters origin story. “They killed my family to get to me,” he says. “I was a part of a covert CIA operation. The man in charge wants me dead. Homeland, the FBI, everybody’s a part of this.”

At »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Sound Teams Detail Aural Aspects of Five New TV Drama Series

4 hours ago

With all the talk about streaming platforms and pay cable providing the best content and grabbing the lion’s share of Emmy Awards during this era of Peak TV, traditional network shows sometimes tend to be overlooked. To remedy that omission, here are five greatly anticipated network programs that spare neither tools nor talent to deliver top-notch production values — in this case creating high-quality sound to support their equally excellent visuals. The sound pros here who push the envelope comment on their creative vision.

The Brave (NBC) 9/25

Building heart-pounding tension is key for this hour-long drama series that follows a group of soldiers who carry out dangerous missions behind enemy lines. Anne Heche stars as the head of their tactical command center.  “It’s a very unique environment where we wanted the sound perspective to be more vocalized rather than filled with the familiar sound effects you’ve heard in the ‘Bourne’ movies, for »


- Daron James

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‘Younger’ Season 4 Is Series’ Highest-Rated Ever in Delayed Viewing

5 hours ago

Younger” Season 4 was the highest-rated and most-watched installment of the TV Land dramedy to date, according to Nielsen data.

In Live+3 ratings, the series saw double-digit increases in multiple measures, including an averaging adults 18-49 rating of 0.72, up 32% from Season 2. In total viewers, it averaged 1.3 million viewers per episode, up 29% from last season. Similarly, the series was up 31% in adults 25-54, women 25-54, and women 18-49. “Younger” also saw 2.1 million full episode starts on TVLand.com and the TV Land app, the highest in-season consumption in series history.

Created by “Sex and the City’s” Darren Star, “Younger” stars two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, Debi Mazar, Miriam Shor, Nico Tortorella, Peter Hermann and Molly Bernard. The series was recently renewed for a fifth season on TV Land.

It follows Liza (Foster), a 40-year old woman who pretends to be 26 in order to get a job. Now working under the prickly Diana (Shor), Liza has to »


- Joe Otterson

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Hollywood Cashes in as Mobile Providers Ante Up to Hook Customers With Free Programming

5 hours ago

Consumers who line up for the new iPhone this week will once again get seemingly irresistible offers from the big carriers. But this time around, telcos have something more to offer than just lucrative trade-in deals and deeply discounted iPads: “Game of Thrones,” “Stranger Things” and other hot TV shows, for free.

Both At&T and T-Mobile are betting on the power of content to lure new subscribers to their services and keep iPhone upgraders from switching to the competition. T-Mobile announced an exclusive deal with Netflix earlier this month, and is offering free access to the video-streaming service to those who buy T-Mobile’s unlimited family plan.

“Free is our favorite price,” quipped T-Mobile chief operating officer Mike Sievert at last week’s Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference.

Christoph Hitz for Variety

At&T countered the move days later, expanding its existing HBO promotion to a larger number of its wireless customers. “It »


- Janko Roettgers

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Battle-Tested Michael Winship Wraps 10-Year Tenure as WGA East President

5 hours ago

Ten years ago this month, veteran news and documentary scribe Michael Winship was elected president of the WGA East’s governing council. A week later he was on a plane to Los Angeles, where the WGA East and WGA West’s joint contract negotiations with the major studios were turning ugly, setting the course for the 100-day strike that began on Nov. 5, 2007.

Winship’s tenure began with a trial by fire and comes to a close just a few months after another round of film and TV contract talks went down to the wire amid the specter of a crippling walkout by writers.

After serving five consecutive terms — making him the second-longest tenured president in WGA East history behind Herb Sargent — Winship formally hands the baton today to Beau Willimon, who ran for the office unopposed. Winship has earned the respect of industry writers for his steady and effective leadership of the Wgae. But »


- Cynthia Littleton

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‘I Mom So Hard’ Web Series Scores Pilot Production Commitment at CBS

5 hours ago

Popular web series “I Mom So Hard” is in development at CBS as a multi-camera comedy, Variety has learned.

The series has landed a pilot production commitment. Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley, who co-created the web series, will star in and co-write the series, which will see the two moms show how their friendship gets them through being wives and mothers. Michelle Nader will also serve as a writer on the series in addition to executive producing. Rob Thomas will executive produce under his Spondoolie Productions banner, with Danielle Stokdyk and Dan Etheridge also executive producing. Spondoolie Productions will produce in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Hensley and Smedley are repped by UTA, Management 360, and attorney Matt Feil. Nader is repped by ICM.

Hensley and Smedley began posting funny videos of themselves discussing motherhood and family life in 2016 on Facebook and YouTube. Their YouTube channel currently has over 58,000 subscribers and over 5 million video views, while »


- Joe Otterson

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Sam Waterston Returns to ‘Law & Order’ Universe

6 hours ago

Sam Waterston is returning to the world of “Law & Order.”

The actor is set to reprise his role as prosecutor Jack McKoy in a guest appearance on NBC’s “Law & Order: Svu” later this season. Waterston played McKoy for 16 seasons on the original “Law & Order,” last appearing as the character in 2010.

Waterston currently stars on Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie” alongside Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Martin Sheen.

“Law & Order: Svu” season 19 is scheduled to premiere Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. The air date for Waterston’s episode is not yet set. Dick Wolf, Michael Chernuchin, Mariska Hargitay, Julie Martin, Arthur W. Forney, and Peter Jankowski serve as executive producers on “Law & Order: Svu,” which stars Hargitay as Lieutenant Olivia Benson, Kelli Giddish as Detective Amanda Rollins, Ice-t as Sergeant Odafin “Fin” Tutuola, Peter Scanavino as Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr., and Raúl Esparza as A.D.A. Rafael Barba.

On »


- Daniel Holloway

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Emmys Announcer Jermaine Fowler Responds to Online Chatter: ‘Some People Are Going to Resist Change’

6 hours ago

The 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards made history in a lot of ways: for Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ record wins as a performer, for the first African-American female writer to win for comedy series (Lena Waithe), for the first African-American director to win for comedy series (Donald Glover) —  and for the first African-American announcer. “Superior Donuts” star Jermaine Fowler landed the coveted gig, thanks to his relationship with CBS, which broadcasts both his sitcom and this year’s Emmys.

“I grew up on television. It has a connection to me, and all of those people like Lorne [Michaels] and Don [Pardo] and Cicely Tyson and Julia [Louis-Dreyfus], they played a part in my life, so being a part of the Emmys was just the most exhilarating, full-circle thing that ever happened to me,” Jermaine Fowler tells Variety.

But his animated performance drew mixed reviews online, with some applauding his enthusiasm — while others found it a bit too exuberant. After »


- Danielle Turchiano

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ABC Developing Comedy About Undocumented Family With ‘New Girl’ Writer

6 hours ago

ABC is developing a comedy about an undocumented family with “New Girl” writer and co-executive producer David Feeney, Variety has learned.

Titled “Sanctuary Family,” the single camera comedy would follow a hard-bitten husband and empathetic wife who butt heads over the chaos created when they provide sanctuary for their undocumented nanny and her family. They come to learn, if their marriage survives, that the differences both families have aren’t as significant as their similarities.

Feeney will write and executive produce the project, with Christine Gernon also executive producing. 20th Century Fox Television will produce. Gernon previously directed several episodes of “New Girl,” and has also directed and co-executive produced the ABC comedy series “Speechless.” Her other directing credits include “Fresh Off the Boat,” “The Goldbergs,” “Superstore,” “Black-ish,” and “Absolutely Fabulous.” In addition to his work on “New Girl,” Feeney has written for and produced shows like “According to Jim” and “2 Broke Girls.”

Feeney »


- Joe Otterson

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NBC Sets First Streaming Pact for Original ‘Will & Grace’ Ahead of Series Relaunch

7 hours ago

NBC has set its first streaming deal for the original “Will & Grace” series, licensing eight seasons of the sitcom to Hulu with additional authenticated distribution on the NBC app and Mvpd platforms. The deal comes just in time to help promote the return of the sitcom on NBC later this month.

The sitcom that yielded 194 episodes from 1998 to 2006 will be available for streaming on Sept. 21, one week before the revival opens on NBC. The pact also covers the new episodes, which will be available for streaming shortly after each episode’s broadcast premiere.

The new-model “Will & Grace” is set for a 16-episode run and has been renewed for a second season. The original creative team of Max Mutchnick and David Kohan are shepherding the revival along with director James Burrows. Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes have returned that revolves around the relationship between a gay man and a straight woman and their friends »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Dick Wolf Drama ‘F.B.I.’ in the Works at CBS

8 hours ago

CBS is turning to “Law & Order” mastermind Dick Wolf as it searches for its next hit crime drama.

The network has given a series production commitment to a new drama with the working title “F.B.I.” about the inner workings of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Shooting is slated to begin next spring on a pilot, with subsequent episodes set to film in the summer. The series is planned to premiere in the 2018-19 season.

Wolf and Craig Turk will serve as executive producers with longtime Wolf collaborators Arthur W. Forney and Peter Jankowski. Universal Television, where Wolf is based, will produce the series with CBS Television Studios.

CBS is committing to 13 episodes for season one — an uncharacteristic move for the network, which rarely forges ahead on series without shooting a pilot first. The production commitment is tantamount to a straight-to-series order, which means that producers are moving ahead on casting »


- Daniel Holloway

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Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler Teaming for Netflix Comedy

8 hours ago

Natasha Lyonne will star in a Netflix comedy series from exec producer Amy Poehler, Variety has learned.

Netflix has ordered eight episodes. It follows a young woman named Nadia (Lyonne) on her journey as the guest of honor at a seemingly inescapable party one night in New York City. The eight-episode series is set to premiere on Netflix in more than 190 countries around the world.

The series is co-created by Lyonne, Poehler and Leslye Headland. Headland will serve as writer for the first episode and Lyonne and Headland will write for the series. The series is produced by Universal Television, Poehler’s Paper Kite Productions, Jax Media and 3 Arts Entertainment, with Brooke Posch serving as exec producer for Paper Kite and Dave Becky as exec producer for 3 Arts Entertainment. The series marks Lyonne’s second Netflix-starring role, as she’s a staple in the successful emsembler “Orange Is the New Black.”

“Natasha »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Former ‘Simpsons’ Composer Alf Clausen to Be Feted by Recording Musicians Association Fundraiser

8 hours ago

Erstwhile Simpsons composer Alf Clausen and California State Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon are the guests of honor at the 24th Annual Rmala Night fundraiser for the Recording Musicians Association Los Angeles Chapter. The event takes place Sunday, Sept. 24, at the Bel-Air Bay Club in Pacific Palisades.

Alf is a legend, and has been a huge part of the fabric of our community,” Rma national president Marc Sazer said of the selection of Clausen as an honoree. “I can’t think of anyone else that has scored a television show for 27 seasons with original music and a live orchestra.” Clausen was unceremoniously “fired” from Fox’s “The Simpsons” on Aug. 30, it was reported in Variety.

“He was a great choice for a number of reasons, one of which was the instant fame he achieved by being fired,” joked Sazer, a violinist. “We’re proud to have him in our midst, under »


- Paula Parisi

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Lindsey Graham Says Jimmy Kimmel’s Healthcare Talking Points Are ‘Absolute Garbage’

8 hours ago

Washington D.C. — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-s.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), the co-sponsors of the latest Gop legislation to repeal Obamacare, pushed back on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night attacks on the bill, and said that he should have called them before calling Cassidy a “liar.”

In an interview with NBC News on Wednesday, Graham said that while Kimmel is “funny” and a “decent fellow,” he “wished he would have called Senator Cassidy to ask him, ‘Is what I am reading true?’ Because he heard some liberal talking points that are absolutely garbage. He bought it hook, line and sinker.”

On his show on Tuesday night, Kimmel attacked Cassidy as a “liar” for coming on his show earlier this year and saying that he would not back any legislation that does not protect people with pre-existing conditions, or does not cover families who face healthcare emergencies. Kimmel drew attention earlier this year for delivering a monologue »


- Ted Johnson

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Sabrina the Teenage Witch Series in Development at CW From ‘Riverdale’ Team

9 hours ago

Sabrina the Teenage Witch could soon be returning to television.

The CW and Warner Bros. Television are developing a new one-hour drama based around the character for the 2018-2019 season, Variety has learned.

The potential series would be based on the Archie Comics series “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” which reimagines the origin and adventures of Sabrina as a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror, the occult, and witchcraft. The series is described as being tonally in the vein of horror classics like “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Exorcist,” and will see Sabrina wrestling to reconcile her dual nature as a half-witch, half-mortal  while standing against the evil forces that threaten her, her family, and the daylight world humans inhabit.

Should the project move forward, it would serve as a companion series to “Riverdale,” the dark reimagining of the Archie Comics that puts Archie and the rest of his high school friends at the heart of a »


- Joe Otterson

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