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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: How the Creative Team Turned a Classic Novel Into a Modern-Day Thriller

14 minutes ago

On a frigid February day in Toronto, the parka-clad crew of “The Handmaid’s Tale” is trying to keep the flowers from dying.

The outwardly demure Handmaid Offred (Elisabeth Moss), clad in her red robe and white hat, is visiting an outdoor market. The wind is knocking down parts of the set and the frosty environment is threatening to kill off the lilies, which are periodically sheltered in a warm van.

Moss, who is number one on the call sheet of the Hulu drama, has bought donuts for the cast and crew in an effort to lift spirits on this chilly Monday.

“I learned from Jon [Hamm] on ‘Mad Men’ that you do have a responsibility as number one to not only be professional, but to be as positive as you can,” Moss says. Hence the treats for the crew, most of whom had also worked all day Sunday.

It’s a big commitment to take on the »

- Maureen Ryan

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‘Into the Badlands’ Renewed for Season 3 by AMC

51 minutes ago

AMC has renewed “Into the Badlands” for a third season.

The expanded 16-episode season is set to premiere in 2018. The renewal comes in the middle of the martial-arts drama’s second season, which is set to end May 21.

“‘Into the Badlands’ looks like nothing else on television, a literal high-wire act attracting passionate and dedicated fans by the millions,” said Charlie Collier, president of AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios. “Thanks to series creators and showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar, the terrific cast, led by Daniel Wu, the amazing martial arts team guided by the incomparable Master Dee Dee and fight directors Stephen Fung and Andy Cheng, and everyone else involved who brings this thrill ride to the fans.”

Into the Badlands” is averaging 2.1 million viewers ages 25-54, according to Nielsen live-plus-three ratings, making it the fourth most-watched returning drama on cable in the demo. Those numbers are thanks in part to the significant lead-in that the »

- Daniel Holloway

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Tucker Carlson Matches Bill O’Reilly Ratings in New Fox News Time Slot

51 minutes ago

Tucker Carlson’s 8 p.m. debut on Fox News on Monday night was good enough to come within striking distance of Bill O’Reilly’s last broadcast in the time slot on the network.

Carlson averaged 3.2 million total viewers in the hour, with 636,000 of those falling in the key adults 25-54 demographic. O’Reilly’s final broadcast on April 11 drew 3.6 million viewers with 634,000 in the demo. That means Carlson was down about 11% compared to O’Reilly in total viewers but was up slightly in the demo.

Compared to the final episode of “The Factor,” formerly “The O’Reilly Factor,” hosted by Greg Gutfeld on April 21, Carlson also improved in the time slot. Gutfeld drew 2.3 million viewers with 375,000 in the demo. That same night, Carlson drew 2.2 million viewers and 356,000 in the demo in his last outing at 9.

Carlson was also the number one cable news show in both metrics on Monday, and »

- Joe Otterson

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‘Powerless’ Pulled From NBC Schedule as DC Comedy Nears Cancellation

1 hour ago

It’s the end of the road for “Powerless” — well, almost the end of the road.

NBC has pulled the DC Comics comedy from the network’s schedule and has not yet determined where or when the final three episodes of the season will air, Variety has confirmed. While NBC is not deeming the series is officially cancelled, the writing is on the wall.

“Powerless” being yanked off air comes as network executives are determining which of their bubble shows will be cancelled or renewed for the 2017-2018 season.

More toc ome…



- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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With ‘Genius,’ National Geographic Channel Makes Big Play for Cable Primacy

1 hour ago

When Courteney Monroe joined National Geographic channel in 2012, the brand was in identity crisis.

National Geographic magazine — the yellow-bordered, perfect-bound monthly, famed for its prize-winning photographs and school-library ubiquity — was as serious-minded and mission-focused as ever. But its sibling U.S. cable network had gone rogue. A joint venture overseen by 21st Century Fox, the channel boasted a lineup of reality shows such as “Doomsday Preppers,” about people readying for the end of days, and “Rocket City Rednecks,” starring a group of Alabama Diy enthusiasts whose projects included a self-targeting anti-watermelon defense system.

Monroe was hired as the network’s chief marketing officer after spending 13 years at HBO. The product she was tasked with promoting was, by her own account, substandard.

“The content strategy that we were pursuing was discordant with the National Geographic brand,” Monroe says. “We were very focused on chasing the audiences of Discovery and History and other factual-entertainment channels in a volume game »

- Daniel Holloway

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Scott Baio Clarifies Erin Moran Comments, Says ‘Drug’ Quote Was Misreported

1 hour ago

Scott Baio is clarifying comments he made regarding the death of his former “Happy Days” costar, Erin Moran.

Moran died on Saturday. Baio appeared on “The Bernie & Sid” show Monday morning, saying he was “not completely shocked” by the news of her passing.

“I’m Ok, a little shocked but not completely shocked that this happened,” he said on the show. “My thing is, I feel bad because her whole life, she was troubled, could never find what made her happy and content. For me, you do drugs or drink, you’re gonna die. I’m sorry if that’s cold, but God gave you a brain, gave you the will to live and thrive and you gotta take care of yourself.”

Late Monday evening, Baio clarified those comments on his Facebook account, saying that at the time of the radio interview he didn’t know that Moran’s cause of death was due to stage IV »

- Lawrence Yee

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Fox Networks Group Launches Plus-Sized Streaming App in Asia

1 hour ago

Aiming to boost its share in a fast-growing entertainment market, Fox Networks Group (Fng) has launched a new plus-sized streaming app in Asia that combines the group’s linear channels with video-on-demand service for films, documentaries, TV series and live sports.

Designed from scratch, the Fox+ app allows users to watch shows at the same time as they are shown on Fng’s linear channels. Full seasons will be available, along with all previous seasons of back catalog. And as is de rigueur these days, the service is portable and works across multiple screens.

The app made its Asian debut in the Philippines on April 9. It is expected to launch next in small but wealthy, demanding and digitally savvy Singapore.

“Existing services may have the back shows, but not the new ones. Fox+ is about marrying the two together,” Fng’s Asia president Zubin Gandevia told Variety. He said that episodes will play at the same time »

- Patrick Frater

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DC Entertainment Launching Digital Service in 2018 With ‘Titans’ Series

1 hour ago

DC Entertainment is launching their own digital service, which will kick off in 2018 with a “Titans” series, Variety has learned.

The digital content hub is being set up with Warner Bros. Television. The platform will deliver “an immersive experience designed just for DC fans.”

In addition to greenlighting “Titans,” the digital service will also host Warner Bros. Animation’s “Young Justice: Outsiders,” the third season of “Young Justice,” which aired on Cartoon Network for its first two seasons.

The live-action “Titans” series “Titans” follows a group of young soon-to-be super heroes recruited from every corner of the DC Universe. The action-packed series revolves around Dick Grayson who emerges from the shadows to become the leader of a fearless band of new heroes, including Starfire, Raven and many others. The show will be written by Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns and Greg Berlanti, who will also executive produce with Sarah SchechterWeed Road Pictures »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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‘Bachelor’ Star Chris Soules Arrested for Leaving Scene of Deadly Car Crash

1 hour ago

The Bachelor” alum Chris Soules was arrested early Tuesday morning in Iowa following a deadly car crash, Variety has confirmed.

According to the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office, Soules, who starred on Season 19 of the hit ABC reality series, was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident — a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Soules, 35, was not charged with driving under the influence, although TMZ obtained court documents that indicate he was in possession of alcoholic beverage containers at the time of the collision.

Soules reportedly rear-ended a tractor with his pickup truck near Aurora in Buchanan County on Monday night around 8:20 p.m. According to local outlet Kwwl, both vehicles, going southbound at the time of the crash, ended up in roadside ditches. Soules allegedly fled the scene on foot, leaving his truck behind. The person driving the tractor was rushed to the hospital, where »

- Maane Khatchatourian

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Harry Styles to Perform Week-Long Residency on ‘Late Late Show’

1 hour ago

Harry Styles will appear in a week-long residency on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” in May, CBS announced Tuesday.

From May 15-May 18, Styles will appear in each episode of the late-night series, during which he will perform a new song off his self-titled debut album each night and join Corden for various segments. Styles returns to “The Late Late Show” with a tattoo of the show’s logo on his arm that he received during his Dec. 3, 2015 appearance, when he lost a game of “Tattoo Roulette.”

Styles is a former member of One Direction, but recently ventured out as a solo artist. Earlier this month, he appeared on “Saturday Night Live,” where he performed in multiple sketches and played his new songs “Sign of the Times” and “Ever Since New York.” He has also ventured into dramatic acting, and will make his feature film debut in the Christopher Nolan World War II film “Dunkirk” in »

- Joe Otterson

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TV Ratings: ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Even Despite Surprise Elimination

2 hours ago

Dancing With the Stars” stayed about even in the overnight ratings compared to last week, even though this week’s episode saw a couple get eliminated despite a perfect score from the judges.

The episode drew a 1.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 10.3 million viewers, airing at 8 p.m. That was down just slightly from last week’s episode, which drew a 1.8 and 11.2 million viewers. It represented a drop of approximately 7% in the demo and 8% in total viewers week-to-week. Nevertheless, it was still the number one show of the night in total viewers and number two in the demo.

Immediately after “Dancing With the Stars,” a new episode of “Quantico” (0.6, 2.9 million) was up significantly in the demo from last week.

On NBC, “The Voice” (1.9, 9.3 million) was the top-rated show of the night in the demo. “Taken” (0.8, 4.6 million) followed at 10 p.m.

CBS aired only repeats.

For Fox, the spring premiere of “Gotham” (0.9, 2.9 million) returned down in both measures »

- Joe Otterson

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Peabody Awards News Winners Include CNN’s Syria Coverage

3 hours ago

The Peabody Awards board of jurors announced the winners in the news, public service, radio/podcast, and web categories on Tuesday. The selections rounds out the final 30 winners of this years awards.

Among the winners were CNN for their coverage of the war in Syria, specifically “Isis in Iraq and Syria,” “Undercover in Syria,” and “Battle for Mosul.” Other winners include the NPR  podcast “Wells Fargo Hurts Whistleblowers” and the Kntv report “Arrested at School: Criminalizing Classroom Misbehavior.”

Peabody Award winners and finalists will be celebrated at a gala event on May 20 in New York. The event will be taped for a television special to air on both PBS and Fusion networks on June 2 at 9 p.m/8c. Rashida Jones, a previous Peabody winner for “Parks and Recreation” and current star of “Angie Tribeca,” will serve as host.

Read the full list of news, public service, radio/podcast, and web winners below with descriptions by the board »

- Joe Otterson

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Vivendi Vows to Continue Expansion in Italy, Despite Setbacks

3 hours ago

Rome – French media conglomerate Vivendi on Tuesday vowed to forge ahead with its ambitions to make Italy a central plank of its strategy to create a southern European media powerhouse, despite regulatory setbacks from Italian authorities and a rancorous dispute with leading commercial broadcaster Mediaset.

During the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Paris, Vivendi Chief Executive Arnaud de Puyfountaine said that Vivendi’s investments in Mediaset and in Telcom Italia, Italy’s top telco, were “crucial” to building a “Latin media powerhouse” combining content creation and distribution.

“Our ambitions in Italy remain unvaried,” de Puyfountaine said. He dismissed concerns that a ruling by Italian media regulator Agcom, which ordered Vivendi last week to cut its stake in one of the two companies in order to comply with anti-trust laws, would be an impediment.

De Puyfontaine called Telecom Italia, in which Vivendi is the top shareholder with a 24% stake, “a long-term investment” and noted that it serves »

- Nick Vivarelli

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‘The Detour’ Renewed for Season 3 at TBS

4 hours ago

TBS has renewed the Jason Jones-led comedy series “The Detour” for Season 3, the network announced Tuesday.

Created, written and executive-produced by Jones and Samantha Bee, the series also stars Natalie Zea, Ashley Gerasimovich, Liam Carroll and Daniella Pineda. Season 2 will end tonight with two back-to-back episodes.

“I hear from so many people who love ‘The Detour,’ even my hardcore comedy friends,” said Thom Hinkle, senior vice president of original programming for TBS. “Season Two has been so smart, hilarious and wrong. And from the early nuggets I’ve gotten from Jason and Sam, Season Three is going to be even more effed up.”

The series centers on a family of four led by Nate (Jones) and his wife, Robin (Zea). At the opening of the second season, Nate pursues a job opportunity and moves the family to New York City for a fresh start. Everyone is excited except for Robin, whose »

- Joe Otterson

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For Fox News, Road to Trust and Respect Seems Long

4 hours ago

The Murdoch family’s firing of Bill O’Reilly follows sexual harassment allegations that — depending on how you count — lasted either three weeks or 13 years. By either reckoning, the top executives at 21st Century Fox and Fox News took far too long to act.

It’s a testament to how much attitudes have changed over the past decade that the far more graphic allegations from accuser Andrea Mackris in 2004 — which included difficult-to-refute taped conversations — didn’t stick at first. It wasn’t until The New York Times uncovered evidence of a long-running pattern of settlements for harassment claims that O’Reilly began to feel the heat.

Can Fox News’ culture really change? The family at the top of 21st Century Fox wants it to — enough so that they’ve done the fraught and expensive work of firing O’Reilly and former Fox News boss Roger Ailes. But their intentions were mitigated by the announcement that Tucker Carlson — who »

- Sonia Saraiya

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Bill O’Reilly Firing Shows Fox News Can Have Zero Tolerance for Sexual Harassment

4 hours ago

Perhaps it’s a sign of the times: In the past, if a network engaged in a messy divorce with one of its top earners, investors might have grown skittish, but Wall Street is endorsing Fox News’ decision to jettison Bill O’Reilly over a series of sexual harassment allegations.

Shares of 21st Century Fox, the news channel’s parent company, climbed in the 24 hours after the sharp-elbowed talk-show host hit the curb, even though his ouster could lead to viewer defections and deprives the network of one of its biggest stars.

“It makes sense to take a near term hit for the benefit of the long-term integrity of the network,” said Anthony Diclemente, an analyst at Nomura Instinet. “We’re in an environment where corporate America realizes we can have zero tolerance for sexual harassment.”

Ho’Reilly’s fans may not agree. Throughout the scandal, “The O’Reilly Factor” continued to be a ratings juggernaut. Before »

- Brent Lang

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Keith Olbermann Details Feud With Bill O’Reilly, Warns of ‘Billo’ Comeback

5 hours ago

Don’t assume this is Bill O’Reilly’s Last Loofah.

Obviously, nothing would please me more than to be wrong about that. But everything from industry gossip to his own angry farewell statement to the tectonic changes in video news consumption implies that I’m not.

If he wants one, he’ll get another show.

About 15 months ago there was a rumor going around the news business that the younger Murdochs had reached the tipping point with Billo and would let him go, and that just as quickly one of the other cable news operations would pick him up. After the most successful sponsor boycott since the stampede away from Don Imus in 2007, that scenario seems less likely but hardly impossible. Imus himself was back on the fringes of cable within eight months, and two years after that he was doing his same old show on Fox Business Channel. That »

- Keith Olbermann

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Murdoch Family Rushes to Put Out Fires at Fox News

5 hours ago

Six years ago, as the Murdoch empire was battling the outcry in the U.K. over the phone-hacking scandal involving the company’s newspapers, a former senior Fox executive wondered aloud in a private conversation: “When will it all come out?”

The executive was referring to Fox News; he was certain there were things going on behind the scenes at the network’s midtown Manhattan headquarters that would spark a comparable level of public outrage once exposed.

It took about five years, a generational transition among the Murdochs and a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a fed-up female Fox News anchor to open the floodgates.

During the past 10 months, Fox News and parent company 21st Century Fox have been dragged across the Rubicon by a parade of scandals, settlements and legal actions that laid bare the ugly side of the hard-charging culture fostered by Fox News founder Roger Ailes. The April 19 firing of longtime Fox News star »

- Cynthia Littleton

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Disney Channel’s ‘Descendants 2’ Gets Mega-Premiere Across Five Networks

5 hours ago

Descendants 2” — the sequel to the hit Disney Channel Original Movie “Descendants” — is getting a massive boost for its summer premiere with a simultaneous debut across five different networks in Disney/ABC Television Group, including a primetime broadcast slot.

Descendants 2” will premiere on the Disney Channel, Disney Xd, Freeform, Lifetime and ABC on Friday, July 21 at 8 p.m. The TV movie will also be available on-demand and on those five networks’ digital platforms.

The announcement was made by Ben Sherwood, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, who said, “‘Descendants’ fans asked for more, and we’ve answered their call, with more ways to watch and more ways to engage with the next chapter in their favorite TV movie,” said Sherwood. “We’re combining the magic of Disney Channel content with the power and reach of our linear networks and digital platforms to ensure we’re everywhere our fans are all at the »

- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Apple Music Delays Launch of ‘Carpool Karaoke’ Series

13 hours ago

Apple is pumping the brakes on its own original-series version of “Carpool Karaoke,” the viral recurring sketch that originated with “The Late Late Show with James Corden.”

Originally scheduled to launch on Apple Music in April, the tech giant told Reuters on Monday that the debut has been pushed back to a still-to-be-determined date “later this year,” according to a statement the company issued that didn’t explain why the postponement was made.

CBS Television Studios, which is producing the series, also issued a statement. “We’re excited about our ‘Carpool Karaoke’ for Apple Music, and look forward to everyone seeing it later this year.”

As recently as February, Apple content czar Eddy Cue had been promoting the upcoming launch, sharing a trailer at an industry conference. Unknown is the fate of another original series, “Planet of the Apps,” that Apple had designated for spring.

“Karaoke,” will feature a unique pairing of celebrities in each episode, such »

- Andrew Wallenstein

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