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Sean Penn to Star in Beau Willimon Sci-Fi Series ‘The First’ on Hulu
Sean Penn will be making his first foray into series television thanks to a starring role in “House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon’s upcoming sci-fi drama “The First.” The series, which will premiere on Hulu in the U.S. and Channel 4 in the U.K. and Ireland, follows the first human mission to Mars in the not-too-distant future. The character drama focuses on the astronauts who embark on the mission but also their families, loved ones and the people participating back on Earth. It also hopes to explore the challenges that go into interplanetary colonization. It was given a straight-to-series order on both. »
- Carli Velocci
Lee Daniels Developing Pair of Drama Projects at Fox with Julian Breece, Peter Mattei
Lee Daniels will executive produce two drama projects currently in development at Fox, Variety has learned.
The first project, titled “Victory,” is a one-hour drama set in the world of competitive gospel choirs. It tells the story of a prodigal son and a group of forgotten young people who must rise above their personal hardships to save a church and heal a broken community through the power of song. The project has received a put pilot commitment at the network. Julian Breece will write and executive produce, with Daniels also executive producing along with Pam Williams and Kevin Donahue. This marks Breece’s second collaboration with Daniels and Fox, having recently sold the drama project “Mason Dixon.” Breece most recently served as a co-producer on Beau Willimon’s new Hulu series “The First.”
Fox has ordered a script with a penalty attached for the the second project, “East of Hope.” The »
- Joe Otterson
‘The Deuce’ Renewed by HBO for Season 2
Created by David Simon and George Pelacanos, “The Deuce” premiered Sept. 10 on the premium service. Starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, the series tells the story of the rise of the porn industry in New York in the 1970s.
“We are thrilled to continue our creative collaboration with master storytellers David Simon and George Pelecanos,” said HBO programming president Casey Bloys. “Their unique gift for immersing the audience in their dark and edgy worlds brings a brilliant verisimilitude unlike any other. With the remarkably talented Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco leading an exceptional cast, we look forward to delving deeper as this captivating story evolves.”
“Everyone involved with this project is genuinely grateful to HBO for the chance to »
- Daniel Holloway
Ratings: ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Premiere Plummets 19 Percent From Last Year
ABC may have won Nielsen’s Mirrorball Trophy on Monday, but its “Dancing With the Stars” premiere performed nowhere near as well as last year’s. Still, the Disney-owned broadcaster topped primetime outright, though the network was inflated in Detroit by “Monday Night Football.” The preliminary numbers for the net could slip a bit (further) when finale averages are available. For now at least, ABC was first in ratings with a 1.4 rating/5 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and in total viewers with an average of 9 million, according to preliminary numbers. “DWTS” at 8 p.m. put up a 1.7/6 and 10.8 million. »
- Tony Maglio
‘Stranger Things’ Writer Justin Doble Inks Deal With Amazon Studios
Amazon announced Tuesday it closed an overall deal with Doble, who will be developing genre television projects exclusively for Prime. Doble’s other credits include working on Hulu’s “The Path” and AMC’s “Into the Badlands.” He began his career writing episodes of “Fringe” and “Almost Human.”
“We have long admired Justin’s ability to create stories and characters that stoke fans’ passion,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, »
- Carli Velocci
‘Game of Thrones’: Fifth Prequel Series in Development at HBO
A fifth “Game of Thrones” prequel series is in the works at HBO, Variety has confirmed.
Bryan Cogman, who has worked on “Game of Thrones” for since Season 1 as a writer and producer, has been tapped to pen a potential fifth prequel project for the network. It was previously known that four prequels were in development, though George R.R. Martin previously said that a fifth was also in the works. When Martin first spoke of the fifth writer being recruited, he said that apart from himself and “Thrones” experts Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson, “I don’t know anyone who knows and loves Westeros as well as he does.”
Among the episodes Cogman has written for the series are “Stormborn,” the second episode of Season 7, and “The Broken Man, the seventh episode of Season 6 which introduced the character of Lyanna Mormont.
- Joe Otterson
Jessica Biel on ‘The Sinner’s’ Surprise Success and Season 2 Plans
USA Network’s “The Sinner,” the small-screen adaptation of Petra Hammesfahr’s novel, has become the surprise hit of the summer. The drama has dominated ratings since its debut, taking the No. 1 slot in Live+7 numbers.
Even executive producer and series star Jessica Biel has been taken aback by just how strong a reception the show has seen. “Generally it never occurred to me that we’d have such great ratings,” Biel admits to Variety.
Biel thinks the show’s combination of high-caliber creative team and unique subject matter is what has led to the success. “It felt like something we’d never seen before,” Biel says. “The characters were an absolute dream for a creative and challenging experiment, and with a woman at the front of it all – and kind of an unlikable woman – it seemed like a good challenge and it seemed like something new.”
“The Sinner” was designed to be an eight-episode story that »
- Danielle Turchiano
Aflac’s Duck Takes Wing With Disney’s ‘Duck Tales’ in Ad Pact
“Duck Tales” fans should prepare to welcome another famous fowl to the cartoon clan of quackers who star in Disney’s revered animated series – for about 30 seconds, that is.
The Aflac Duck, that vociferous champion of insurance, will make an appearance in a commercial with Donald Duck and his nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie as well as the other mallards, ganders and geese that populate the animated adventure program. Disney recently revived the series, which previously enjoyed a heyday as a syndicated offering for kids between 1987 and 1990, on its Disney Xd cable outlet. The commercial, which will also be distributed via social media and in video on demand, will never appear within the show itself, said Jerry Daniello, senior vice president of integrated marketing at Disney ABC Television Group.
The team-up will mark the first time Aflac has aligned its popular duck with TV characters – real or animated, says Gail Galuppo, senior »
- Brian Steinberg
Once Upon a Time: Rebecca Mader to Return for Multiple Season 7 Episodes
Finally, the moment you were hoping would come (as a certain song goes) — Rebecca Mader is returning to ABC’s Once Upon a Time.
TVLine has learned exclusively that the onetime series regular is set to return for multiple Season 7 episodes. No further details could be confirmed at this time — including whether she again will be playing Regina’s sister Zelena aka the Wicked Witch.
“I am beyond thrilled to be returning to make magic with my beloved Once Upon a Time family,” Mader, who made her debut on the fantasy series midway through Season 3, tells TVLine. “I’m excited for this next chapter. »
America's Got Talent Season 12 Finale: Who Will Win? (And Who Should Win?)
IcymiLast Night’s America’s Got Talent Performances Recap
While I don’t think it’s possible to predict how all 10 of the remaining acts will fare — what do I look like, one of the Clairvoyants?! — I think it’s safe to guess which hopefuls will land in the final four:
4. Mandy Harvey: This 29-year-old deaf singer has consistently wowed the judges all season; putting her disability aside, Simon Cowell says she has a “current” sound, »
TV Ratings: ‘America’s Got Talent’ Season 12 Penultimate Episode Hits Multiple Highs
“America’s Got Talent” Season 12 continued its stellar ratings run on Tuesday, with the penultimate episode of the season hitting multiple highs.
According to Nielsen overnight data, “Agt” averaged a 2.9 rating in adults 18-49 and 14.3 million viewers for NBC. That is the show’s best rating in the key demo in over three years, since the June 2, 2014 episode (2.9). Tuesday’s episode was also the most-watched Tuesday installment of the show in six years, since July 5, 2011 (15.8 million). To top it all off, Tuesday’s episode was up by over 20% in both measures compared to last week.
Later on NBC, the Paley Center’s salute to “Will & Grace” earned a 1.2 rating and 5.3 million viewers.
ABC aired the season finale of “Somewhere Between” (0.4, 1.9 million) at 10 p.m., with the drama series drawing its biggest audience in total viewers since it premiered in July as well as being up in the key demo compared to last week.
- Joe Otterson
FX to Develop ‘Framed,’ Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s Crusade to Clear His Cousin’s Murder Conviction — Exclusive
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. believes his cousin Michael Skakel was wrongfully convicted and spent 11 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. His book “Framed” investigated who might have really killed 15-year-old Martha Moxley in 1975, and has now been optioned by FX Productions to be developed as a multi-part TV series.
Skakel was arrested in 2000 for the murder and was later convicted, before being released on $1.2 million bail in 2013 when a Connecticut judge found that he had not received a fair trial because his counsel was ineffective. But at the end of 2016, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 4-3 to reinstate his conviction.
A motion for reconsideration is now in the works, and Kennedy is optimistic that Skakel has a good chance of permanently going free. But he also believes a TV adaptation of “Framed” will expose the story to a wider audience, helping his case. “The more people »
- Michael Schneider
Vice Principals Season 2 Premiere Review and Recap
For anyone who hasn’t seen any of the episodes of “Vice Principals”, it’s an exceptionally funny sitcom on HBO starring Danny McBride and Walton Coggins as Neal Gamby and Lee Russell respectively. You might remember McBride from “Alien: Covenant”, “Eastbound & Down”, “This is the End”, and a string of other majorly funny fare. And, Walton Coggins is probably best known for playing the very colorful and brilliantly evil Boyd Crowder in “Justified”, and the sexy transsexual, Venus Van Dam, in “Sons of Anarchy”, as well as starring in “The Hateful Eight”, “The Shield”, “Django Unchained”, and more . Put
Vice Principals Season 2 Premiere Review and Recap »
- Gale Robinson
Ratings: Agt Hits 3-Year High
NBC’s America’s Got Talent on Tuesday night drew 14.3 million total viewers and a 2.9 rating, surging 23 and 26 percent from last week’s post-telethon outing to deliver its most-watched Tuesday telecast in six years while hitting a three-year high in the demo.
In a TVLine poll, 52 percent predict Darci Lynne Farmer will be named champion during tonight’s season finale, followed by Angelica Hale (16 percent) and Light Balance (9 percent).
RelatedAgt Finale (Night 1) Recap: Which Act Is Getting Your Vote?
Leading out of Agt, The Paley Center Salutes the Best of Will & Grace (5.3 mil/1.2) outrated the five Paley specials before it. »
Star Trek: Discovery's Jason Isaacs Explains That Sean Spicer Instagram: "I Only Said What a Million People Were Thinking"
Star Trek: Discovery star Jason Isaacs made headlines earlier this week when an Instagram of his criticizing Sean Spicer's appearance at the Emmys went viral. In the post, the Harry Potter alum described the former White House press secretary as a "poisonous purveyor of lies" with "the aura of a
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- Sadie Gennis
DWTS: Who Look Like the Favorites after the Premiere?
We’ve seen a good share of celebrities make a come back on stage by dancing their way into it in Dancing with the Stars. After 24 seasons, the show has come back for its 25th with a premiere that’s looking to be quite a good predictor of what’s to come in the season. We’ve all done it; we’ve all tried to predict who’s going to last in the show after seeing just the first episode. We’re guilty of that yet again after having seen the premiere last Monday, September 18. We’re giving you our top three favorites to last it
DWTS: Who Look Like the Favorites after the Premiere? »
- Jennifer Borama
‘Tales From the Tour Bus’ Review: Mike Judge’s Clever Cartoon is Outlaw Country’s ‘Drunk History’
“You don’t like country music, do you? You think it’s corny and twangy and kind of stupid? Well, you could be right, but it’s always good to keep an open mind.”
Like most fans of country music, Mike Judge is sick of people dismissing his musical genre of choice. A New Mexico native and consistent chronicler of working class folks from small American towns, it should come as no surprise to even casual fans that the “King of the Hill” creator has a penchant for musicians like Johnny Paycheck, Jerry Lee Lewis, and George Jones; so much so, he’s created a new, unique documentary series to honor their most madcap memories.
Though it’s unlikely to win over any of the haters Judge repeatedly alludes to, his latest primetime animated venture should entertain and inform devotees on the creator or country music.
Read More:The 10 Returning Shows »
- Ben Travers
‘Marvel’s The Punisher’ Trailer: Frank Castle Is Ready to Avenge His Family One Bullet at a Time
When “Marvel’s Daredevil” introduced Frank Castle in Season Two of the series, fans had every right to be skeptical. The violent, anti-hero of the comics had faltered in two previous big screen interpretations, but the third time was truly the charm. Jon Bernthal’s tortured and disgraced war hero blazed a bloody and bullet-ridden trail through Hell’s Kitchen, bringing along an intriguing mystery and backstory that eventually lured Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) onto his side.
It seemed like a no-brainer that Marvel and Netflix would give The Punisher his own series (can Elektra be next?), and the new series promises to dive deeper into what turned Frank Castle into The Punisher. According to the official synopsis, after exacting his revenge on those responsible for the death of his family, Castle uncovers »
- Jamie Righetti
Days of Our Lives: Chad and Abby are Happier Than Ever
Days of Our Lives fans are watching relationships crumble, some go strong, and others work on things a day at a time. Chad and Abby are happier than ever as they plan their new wedding. Their good place right now is really good, but we wonder how much longer that will last? There is a chance that there is a new Dimera that no one knows about coming to town soon, and that would mean Chad’s life changes dramatically. But will it change for the good or will it change for the worse? We just don’t know, but it might
- Tiffany Raiford
Jimmy Kimmel Skewers Senator Bill Cassidy Over New Healthcare Bill
Jimmy Kimmel just put Senator Bill Cassidy on notice. During Tuesday night's opening monologue on Jimmy Kimmel Live, he called out the politician for his proposed new healthcare bill (co-created by Sen. Lindsey Graham) which Kimmel says doesn't pass the hypothetical "Jimmy Kimmel Test."
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- Keisha Hatchett
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