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TV Notes (Streaming)
'Castle Rock' Renewed for Season 2 at Hulu
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter - Aug. 14, 2018

Hulu is going back to the land of Stephen King.

The streamer has handed out an early second-season renewal for Castle Rock. The news arrives as episode six (of 10) in the J.J. Abrams-produced anthology is set to bow Wednesday.

According to Hulu, Castle Rock became the most successful first-season original launch in terms of consumption and reach on the day of its July 25 premiere. The series also has the highest view-through rates for a Hulu original in its first and second week since its launch, the streamer says.

A timetable for Castle Rock's return, as well as an episode count and details on which castmembers will be returning for season two, have yet to be determined. Sources say season two could feature an entirely new cast. Andre Holland, Melanie Lynskey, Bill Skarsgard, Jane Levy and Sissy Spacek star in season one.

The psychological-horror drama is set in the King multiverse in Maine. King executive produces the series alongside Abrams and his Bad Robot topper Ben Stephenson. The drama hails from Warner Bros. Television, which also produced Hulu's other Abrams/King team-up, the limited series 11.22.63. Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason developed the project for TV and serve as showrunners and exec producers. They will return for season two.

"Each season is going to be its own self-contained story: beginning, middle and end," Thomason told The Hollywood Reporter. "But I think that just as the books do, we want to surprise viewers with the ways in which the stories intersect. Just as the places the characters pop up in very unexpected ways throughout the books, that's the kind of anthology that we would like to tell. One of the things about the King universe, or multiverse, is that some very strange things can happen when it comes to the ways that the stories unfold, and hopefully there will be surprises along the way in terms of how the anthology works in that way. It's pretty delicious that Kathy Bates played both Dolores Claiborne and Annie Wilkes, when you really think about that question in the movie adaptations. But I think that there's something for us about being faithful to the way that Steve does it in the books, that almost feels like the anthology format has already been laid out for us."

Castle Rock is part of a Hulu scripted originals slate that includes The Handmaid's Tale, Runaways, Catch-22, Shrill, The Looming Tower, The First, Into the Dark and Little Fires Everywhere, among others.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/castle-rock-renewed-season-2-at-hulu-1134563?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=THR Breaking News_2018-08-14 09:00:00_lgoldberg&utm_term=hollywoodreporter_breakingnews
 

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TV/Production Notes
Designing Women Reboot In the Works
By Michael Ausiello, TVLine.com - Aug. 14, 2018

EXCLUSIVE: Sony’s got Georgia on its mind. TVLine has learned exclusively that the studio is developing a reboot of the classic ’90s sitcom Designing Women, with the series’ original creator, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, shepherding the update. The project is expected to be taken out to the marketplace soon.

The news comes roughly one month before CBS is set to launch a revival of Designing Women‘s former time slot companion, Murphy Brown.

Designing Women debuted on September 29, 1986 and ran for seven seasons, before concluding on May 24, 1993. It centered on the lives of four women (played by Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Annie Potts and Jean Smart) who worked at Sugarbaker & Associates, a design firm in Atlanta Georgia. Meshach Taylor co-starred as eccentric assistant Anthony Bouvier. It’s not clear if any original cast members would appear in the new incarnation (Carter and Taylor died in 2010 and 2014, respectively).

Well publicized tensions between Burke and Bloodworth-Thomason led to the former’s exit at the end of Season 5. Smart departed alongside Burke and the pair were replaced in Season 6 by Newhart‘s Julia Duffy and Saturday Night Live‘s Jan Hooks. In its seventh and final season, Tony winner Judith Ivey replaced Duffy.

A Sony rep has yet to respond to TVLine’s request for comment.

https://tvline.com/2018/08/14/designing-women-reboot-linda-bloodworth-thomason/
 

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TV Notes (Streaming)
'Star Trek: Discovery' finds its Spock in Ethan Peck
By Patrick Ryan, USA Today - Aug. 14, 2018

Live long and prosper, Ethan Peck.

The up-and-coming actor has been cast as Spock in Season 2 of CBS All Access' "Star Trek: Discovery," returning early next year.

Peck, 32, the grandson of Oscar winner Gregory Peck, is best known for his roles in "Eden," "In Time" and TV's "10 Things I Hate About You." He follows in the footsteps of Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto, who played the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise in previous "Star Trek" incarnations.

"We searched for months for an actor who would, like them, bring his own interpretation to the role," executive producer Alex Kurtzman said in a statement. "An actor who would, like them, effortlessly embody Spock’s greatest qualities, beyond obvious logic: empathy, intuition, compassion, confusion, and yearning. Ethan Peck walked into the room inhabiting all of these qualities, aware of his daunting responsibility to Leonard, Zack, and the fans, and ready to confront the challenge in the service of protecting and expanding on Spock’s legacy."

Peck joins returning stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif and Anthony Rapp in the sci-fi series.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2018/08/14/star-trek-discovery-spock-ethan-peck/986461002/
 

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Nielsen Notes (Syndication)
‘Dr. Phil’ Hits 100 Straight Weeks as Top Talker
By Paige Albiniak, Broadcasting & Cable - Aug. 14, 2018

CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil marked a milestone in the week ending Aug. 5, notching 100 straight weeks, with two ties, as syndication’s top talker. That’s the first time any talk show has had a run that long at the top since Oprah Winfrey departed syndication in May 2011.

Talk is first-run syndication’s largest and arguably most competitive genre with 15 shows currently on the air.

Dr. Phil grew 4% to a three-week high 2.7 live plus same day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. The show was one of just three talk shows to improve during the week, even though it, like most of first-run, was in repeats on all five days.

Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Phil also led with a 1.1.

Back in households, Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Ryan slipped 5% to a 2.0 to take sole possession of second place for the seventh straight week.

Warner Bros.’ The Ellen DeGeneres Show climbed 7% to a 1.6 for third place.

NBCUniversal’s Maury and Steve each held steady at a 1.3 and a 1.1, respectively.

NBCU’s conflict talker Jerry Springer, which is out of production and headed to The CW in repeats, skidded 9% to a 1.0, tying fellow conflict show Steve Wilkos, which stayed at a 1.0, and two other shows: CTD’s Rachael Ray, which held steady and SPT’s Dr. Oz, which recovered 11%.

Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams held firm at a 0.9.

Warner Bros.’ Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen eased 11% to a 0.8. CTD’s The Doctors was in stable condition at a 0.7. NBCU’s Harry, which is nearing the end of its run, was flat at a 0.6, while Warner Bros.’ The Real regressed 17% to a 0.5.

CTD’s DailyMailTV registered a 10% decline to a 0.9 to lead the first-run rookies and posted a flat rate 0.5 among women 25-54

Twentieth’s Page Six TV revealed a 14% drop to a 0.6 and was unchanged at a 0.3 in the demo.

Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask held at a 0.5 and remained at a 0.2 among women 25-54.

And for the sixth straight week, ratings for Disney-ABC’s Pickler & Ben, produced by E. W. Scripps, were reprocessed and unavailable.

In the final week of a four-week trial for Warner Bros.’ viral video clip show The Hustle, the show averaged its fourth straight 0.5 rating/1 share household average on Fox-owned stations in eight metered markets with a second run at 7 p.m. on WNYW New York. Among households, The Hustle fell 29% from both its lead-in and year-ago time periods. Among women 25-54, The Hustle was off 25% from its lead-in to a 0.3 rating/2 share and down 40% from its year-ago time-period average.

Week one of a test for game show 25 Words or Less, hosted by Meredith Vieira, averaged a 0.6/2 on Fox-owned stations in nine metered markets, down 14% from its lead-in and on par with year-ago time periods. Among women 25-54, the show was even with its lead-in at a 0.3/2 but down 25% from last year.

And the first week of trial run for off-Snapchat dating series Phone Swap dialed in a 0.6/2 on Fox-owned stations in eight metered markets, down 14% from both lead-ins and year-ago time periods. The show also called up a 0.3/2 in the key demo, off 25% from both lead-ins and year-ago.

Back in among the nationally cleared veterans, CTD’s Judge Judy and Hot Bench were the only two courts to reach favorable verdicts.

Judy, which was entirely in repeats, edged ahead 2% for the week and 3% from last year to a seven-week high 6.4 to rank as syndication’s top-rated program in households. Hot Bench, which was in repeats on four of the five days, rose 5% to a 2.1 and was the third highest-rated show in daytime behind only Judy and Dr. Phil.

Warner Bros.’ People’s Court and Judge Mathis were flat at 1.4 and 1.0, respectively. Twentieth’s Divorce Court sagged 13% to a 0.7, matching its series low. Trifecta’s Judge Faith was flat at a 0.6.

Game shows were unchanged with the exception of CTD’s Jeopardy!, which weakened 4% to a 5.4, tying CTD’s Wheel of Fortune, which was flat. Debmar-Mercury’s game leader Family Feud remained at a 6.3, just behind Judge Judy, for a third straight week. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire banked a 1.5 for the third consecutive round.

Disney-ABC’s viral video strip RightThisMinute clocked an 8% advance too a 1.4. NBCUniversal’s off-net true crime strip Dateline spiked 8% to a six-week high 1.3.

CTD’s Inside Edition set the pace recovering 4% to a 2.8, while sister series Entertainment Tonight dipped 4% to a 2.6. Warner Bros.’ TMZ, NBCU’s Access and Warner Bros.’ Extra all held steady at a 1.2, 1.1 and 1.0, respectively. Trifecta’s Celebrity Page skidded 33% from a 0.3 to a 0.2.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory pulled back 2% but still led the off-network sitcoms at a 4.1. Twentieth’s Last Man Standing slumped 4% to a 2.3. Twentieth’s Modern Family faded 14% to a 1.9, matching its series low. SPT’s rookie The Goldbergs was unchanged at a 1.6 for a fourth straight week. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men remained at a 1.5, tying Twentieth’s Family Guy, which gained 7% to a 1.5. Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly moved down 8% to a 1.2, equaling its series low. Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls stood pat at a 1.1, while Twentieth’s The Cleveland Show climbed 1% to a 1.0, tying Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother and SPT’s Seinfeld, both of which were flat.

Warner Bros.’ rookie Mom remained at a 0.9 for a fourth straight week, while CTD’s fellow newcomer The Game scored a 0.4 for the fifth consecutive frame.

https://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/syndication-ratings-dr-phil-hits-100-straight-weeks-as-top-talker
 

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TV Notes (Cable)
Thomas Ravenel Leaves Southern Charm: ''They Took Advantage of Me''
By McKenna Aiello, Eonline.com - Aug. 14, 2018

After four years and five seasons, Thomas Ravenel is cutting ties with Southern Charm.

The reality TV star and former politician made the announcement on his private Twitter page Tuesday. The news comes three months after multiple women accused Ravenel of sexual assault, and in the midst of ongoing relationship drama with with on-again, off-again girlfriend Ashley Jacobs.

"I'm not doing the show anymore," he tweeted. "In the contract they have the right to fictionalize your story. They took advantage of me. I decided I've got too much to lose and informed them I'm not coming back."

Ravenel was not present for the Southern Charm season 5 reunion, which taped in June and aired last month, due to the investigation into the claims against him.

A statement from Ravenel's attorney read aloud at the reunion stated, "Along with Bravo, our client made the mutual decision not to attend today's reunion taping as there is a pending investigation. Our client is fully cooperating with authorities on that investigation. He expects to be completely vindicated once the investigation is concluded. He sends his best regards to his fans and his fellow castmates."

Meanwhile, Ravenel's girlfriend of more than a year also appears to have turned her focus toward the future. In an Instagram post shared hours ago, Ashley reflected on her "failures" and declared a new chapter in her life by deleting every single post from the past year.

"I am who I am today because of my failures," she wrote. "I am compassionate because I've failed. I am understanding because I've failed. I am more emotionally aware because I've failed. I'm smarter because I've failed. And I understand the values and beliefs of the things that matter in life because of those failures. So I would never take them back. I would never go back in time and change a single thing."

A source previously told E! News that Thomas and Ashley were frequently breaking up and getting back together.

"It's always up and down and they fight a lot," the insider said. "They find a way to lure one another back in."

Additionally, our source said Ravenel's former co-stars completely shunned him from their group for staying with Ashley as she sparred with the mother of his children, Southern Charm castmate Kathryn Dennis.

"The cast was very upset with Thomas and the situation surrounding Ashley, and cut him out of the group months ago after they stopped filming," the insider explained. "The majority of the cast was also disgusted by his behavior and the support he gave towards Ashley's actions. No one can believe he is staying in a relationship with Ashley and thinks it's disgusting."

A rep for Bravo could not be reached for comment.

(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

https://www.eonline.com/news/960169/thomas-ravenel-leaves-southern-charm-they-took-advantage-of-me
 

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Nielsen Overnights (Broadcast)
‘Bachelor In Paradise ‘Takes Monday Demos; ‘American Ninja Warrior’ Tops Total Viewers
By Lisa de Moraes, Deadline.com - Aug. 14, 2018

Featuring the Monday premiere of Bachelor in Paradise (1.3 rating in adults 18-49, 4.54 million viewers) and the return of The Proposal (0.6, 2.45M), ABC shared first-place status with NBC in the demo, marking that network’s first first-place finish, sans sports, since May 14.

From 8-10 PM BiP ranked as Monday’s top TV show, demo-wise, besting NBC’s American Ninja Warrior (1.0, 5.08M) in the demo while Ninja finished first in total viewers. BIP climbed compared to previous week’s season starter on Tuesday, in both metrics.

Following BIP, The Proposal (0.6, 2.45M) came back after one week off, matching the previous episode’s stats.

Ninja, was steady week to week, after which NBC’s Dateline (0.8, 4.38M) again led at 10 PM, securing NBC’s tie with ABC for the night.

CW Penn & Teller: Fool Us (0.5, 1.61M) led into an original and a repeat of Whose Line Is It Anyway? (0.4, 1.19M; 0.4, 1.03M).

CBS started at its strongest with its Mom repeat (06, 4.12M), ticked down with a rerun of Life in Pieces (0.5, 3.17M), even further with original Salvation (0.3, 2.62M), and recovered only slightly with Elementary (0.4, 3.48M).

NBC (1.0, 4.93M) tied ABC (1.0, 3.86M) for top spot in the demo, while besting ABC in total viewers. Fox (0.6, 2.55M) was next in line in the age bracket, while CBS (0.5, 3.41M) was No. 3 in overall audience. CW (0.4, 1.42M) followed.

https://deadline.com/2018/08/bachelor-in-paradise-american-ninja-warrior-datline-win-tv-ratings-1202445169/
 

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Technology Notes (Mobile)
Verizon’s 5G home internet launch will come with free YouTube TV or Apple TV 4K
By Natt Garun, TheVerge.com - Aug. 14, 2018

Verizon today announced that Google and Apple will be its first video streaming launch partners when the telecom’s 5G broadband service arrives later this year. It also revealed its fourth and final launch market, Indianapolis, which joins the previously announced Houston, Sacramento, and Los Angeles.

The announcement today confirms a previous rumor late last month; customers who sign up to Verizon’s 5G home internet service can choose to receive a free subscription to YouTube TV or an Apple TV 4K device (but not both.) In addition, they’ll also be able to access content from NFL, NBA, and news from Verizon’s own media network, Oath, reports Bloomberg. If you’re wondering whether you’ll find leftover content from the defunct Go90 app, don’t get your hopes up. When the app shut down in July, Verizon returned content distribution rights to partners including Vice Media, Complex Networks, and AwesomenessTV.

Pending no delays, Verizon will be the first telecom to launch 5G in the United States. Earlier this month, it unveiled the new Moto Z3 smartphone with a 5G Moto Mod designed to support the network when it becomes available. Other networks are also racing to roll out 5G to their customers, with Sprint today announcing it will release an unnamed LG device early next year to support the new high speed network.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/14/17690850/verizon-5g-network-youtube-tv-apple-tv-4k-google-indianapolis
 

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TV/Production Notes (Digital)
Ron Moore’s Apple Sci-Fi Series Casts Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Sarah Jones
By Joe Otterson, Variety.com - Aug. 14, 2018

Ron Moore’s upcoming Apple series is filling out its main cast.

Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, and Sarah Jones have all been cast in the series, which takes place in a world where global space race never ended. Kinnaman will play Edward Baldwin, one of the top NASA astronauts. Dorman and Jones have been cast as Gordo and Tracy Stevens, a prominent NASA couple.

The role keeps Kinnaman in the TV sci-fi space, with the actor recently starring in the first season of the Netflix series “Altered Carbon.” He is also attached to the Amazon series adaptation of the film “Hanna” in a lead role. He is also known for his roles on the shows “House of Cards” and “The Killing.” On the film side, he starred in “Suicide Squad,” “Child 44,” and the “RoboCop” reboot. He is repped by WME and Magnolia Entertainment.

Dorman currently stars in the Amazon series “Patriot,” the second season of which is set to debut this year. He previously starred in the Australian shows “Wonderland” and “The Secret Life of Us.” He has also appeared in films like “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “The Water Diviner,” and “Killer Elite.” He is repped by WME, Management 360 and Lichter Grossman.

Jones recently starred in the USA Network Western drama “Damnation” and also had a prominent role in the highly-regarded “LA Confidential” pilot at CBS earlier this year. Her other TV credits include “The Path,” “Texas Rising,” and “Alcatraz.” She is repped by UTA and Management 360.

The series is created, written and executive produced by Moore, along with Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi. Maril Davis serves as executive producer with Sony Pictures Television producing with Moore’s Tall Ship Productions.

Deadline first reported the three castings.

https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/ron-moore-apple-sci-fi-cast-joel-kinnaman-michael-dorman-sarah-jones-1202905125/
 

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TV Notes (Cable)
WWE Reality Show ‘Miz & Mrs’ Gets 14 More Episodes From USA Network
By Tony Maglio, TheWrap.com - Aug. 14, 2018

USA Network came to play: The NBCUniversal-owned cable channel has ordered 14 more episodes of “Miz & Mrs,” which follows WWE Superstars and real-life married couple Mike “The Miz” Mizanin and Maryse Mizanin. That’s a significantly larger number than the six half-hours originally ordered.

The reality show is produced by WWE and Bunim/Murray Productions. The announcement was made Tuesday evening on WWE wrestling show “SmackDown Live,” where Miz and Maryse work.

“One word about the renewal: AWESOME!,” said Miz.

“Thanks to all of the WWE fans out there who wanted a window to our crazy lives,” added Maryse. “Be careful what you wish for!”

“Miz & Mrs” gives fans an unfiltered look at the power couple’s lives as they adapt to becoming first-time parents while juggling their fast-paced lifestyle, a cross-country move from Los Angeles to Austin, and the intense demands of their WWE schedule, per USA’s description. From baby first-aid classes and pregnancy photo shoots to big showdowns at WrestleMania, “Miz & Mrs” proves that the outrageous in-ring personalities of The Miz and Maryse are no act.

“Miz & Mrs” was an instant hit for USA, becoming the cable channel’s most-watched reality show debut since 2011’s “Tough Enough.” That one was also a WWE series.

Gil Goldschein, Farnaz Farjam-Chazan and Russell Jay are executive producers for Bunim/Murray Productions, and Kevin Dunn serves as executive producer for WWE. The Miz and Maryse are also executive producers.

“Miz & Mrs” airs Tuesday nights after “SmackDown Live.”

https://www.thewrap.com/miz-mrs-14-more-episodes-usa-wwe/
 

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TV/Critic's Notes
Television's Reboot/Rebirth Mania
By Ed Bark, TVWorthWatching.com's 'Uncle Barky's Bytes' - Aug. 15, 2018

Your friendly content provider reviewed all of the following in their original incarnations. And now here they come again to offer another whack.

The oldest recently announced reboot/rebirth of them all is Shogun, one of my first big undertakings as a TV critic. Starring the then “King of the Miniseries,” Richard Chamberlain, as explorer John Blackthorne, it premiered on NBC in September 1980 as a five-part miniseries adapted from the bestselling James Clavell novel.

FX is resurrecting Shogun as a 10-part limited series that so far has no cast or air date. The network’s CEO, John Landgraf, says it will be FX’s “largest international scale production to date,” and that “the themes of an outsider encountering a new culture are as relevant today as then.”

The original received 14 Emmy nominations, including five for acting. It ended up taking home three trophies, among them the Emmy as that season’s best miniseries.

It’s doubtful that Chamberlain will have anything more than a cameo, if that, in the FX re-do. But Patrick Stewart, who dared to stay bald in 1987 when Star Trek: The Next Generation became one of the biggest and splashiest syndicated launches in TV history, will be returning with considerable gusto to the lead role of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard.

The new venue is CBS All Access, streaming arm of the CBS broadcast network. In announcing his re-emergence, Stewart, now 78, said he thought the series had “run its natural course” after a 2002 feature film subtitled Nemesis. But no. He lately terms it “an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him. Seeking out new life for him, when I thought that life was over.”

As with Shogun, there’s no air date yet, or announcements on whether some of Stewart’s old castmates also will be returning to Next Generation. CBS All Access already is equipped with the new Star Trek: Discovery, with a second season due in January of next year.

Let’s move on to HBO’s Deadwood, which also is being born again after three seasons and 36 episodes ended their run in 2006. HBO says it finally has all of the key cast members together for a Deadwood movie set to shoot in October with a hoped-for spring 2019 air date on the premium pay cable network.

Ian McShane, who will head the cast as heavily swearing Al Swearengen, will be 76 by the time shooting commences. So as with Stewart, there’s no time like the present to get these balls rolling again.

FX’s Fargo, which easily has had the least time off, also will be returning for a Season 4 that didn’t seem all that likely after the third season ended its run on June 21, 2017. Executive producer Noah Hawley, who has very ably followed in the footsteps of the Coen Brothers, had expressed reservations about doing another self-standing chapter within the Fargo universe. But FX needs product after seeing its main programming provider, Ryan Murphy, sign a new deal that will take all of his new projects to Netflix. Louis C.K.’s banishment after admitted sexual improprieties also created a cavity. So Hawley will be proceeding with a fourth season of Fargo starring Chris Rock and due sometime in 2020.

The setting is Kansas City, circa 1950, with Rock cast as the head of an African-American crime family that has reached an uneasy truce with an Italian gang.

“Together they control an alternate economy . . . of exploitation, graft, and drugs,” according to FX publicity materials. “To cement their peace, the heads of both families have traded their eldest sons.”

But “everything changes” when the head of the KC mafia dies while undergoing supposedly routine surgery.

A fifth big reboot isn’t firm yet but increasingly seems likely. Kelsey Grammer recently told Today that “we’re talking to some writers about” bringing back the critically lauded Frasier. He estimates the odds of returning as “probably about 40-60.” But Grammer insists that a reincarnation be set in a city other than Seattle, where it left off in 2004.

CBS’ much-anticipated continuation of Murphy Brown is coming this fall, with Candice Bergen again playing the title character. The network also is adding Magnum, P.I. to a reboot corral that already includes Hawaii Five-0, Macgyver and S.W.A.T. And The CW will be adding a new version of Charmed while returning its Dynasty re-do for Season 2.

Add ABC’s The Conners after its highly successful Roseanne reboot ran afoul of star Roseanne Barr’s Twitter feed. Otherwise, the TV networks are just brimming with new ideas. Sure they are.

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogPostDetails.aspx?postId=16878
 

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Technology/Business Notes (Analysis)
Netflix, Amazon Video, and Xfinity are accidentally re-creating cable TV
By Graeme Mcmillan, TheVerge.com - Aug. 13, 2018

And not to mention if you want all of these streaming services - because you like a show or two on one and another one or two on another and so on - you'll be paying what you used to for cable. Not to mention internet providers jacking up the prices of their services (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/34-hdtv-programming/1951113-hot-off-press-latest-tv-news-information-822.html#post56638800). When does the madness stop?
 

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And not to mention if you want all of these streaming services - because you like a show or two on one and another one or two on another and so on - you'll be paying what you used to for cable. Not to mention internet providers jacking up the prices of their services (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/34-hdtv-programming/1951113-hot-off-press-latest-tv-news-information-822.html#post56638800). When does the madness stop?
Get a Gmail account and use the unlimited address option to use the free trials many of these streaming services offer. Watch the shows you want and then cancel the service before the actual billing period starts. I do it all the time with Hulu, HBO, Starz, and many of the smaller genre-specific sites like Acorn, MHz, Walter Presents etc. You have to do a bit of research to see which subscribing method gets you the most trial time, it usually varies between 7 days and 1 month. Plus, using this method I've picked up 4 Apple TV4Ks for $105 a piece for myself and family when subscribing to DirecTV Now 4 times, a service I never even used.

There are ways to even the playing field and push back at the madness. :)
 

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And not to mention if you want all of these streaming services - because you like a show or two on one and another one or two on another and so on - you'll be paying what you used to for cable. Not to mention internet providers jacking up the prices of their services (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/34-hdtv-programming/1951113-hot-off-press-latest-tv-news-information-822.html#post56638800). When does the madness stop?
Sometimes you need to look at arm's length about what you're doing for entertainment. Right now I'm binging on Amazon since I was given a month free trial of Prime due to ordering an item over $100. I will cancel before the trial period is up. I may buy a month every now and then just to catch up. Showtime is raising their price and I have the Netflix 4 user to get 4K but I'm beginning to wonder how much that is worth since their programming is getting so mainstream and other services (like Amazon) aren't charging any extra for their shows in 4K. If you like stand up comedy in 4K (cheap to produce) then it may be your thing.


I just installed the Pluto TV (free ad driven service) app on my 4K Roku TV and they have a 4K channel.
 

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TV Notes (Cable)
‘Shooter’ Canceled After Three Seasons at USA Network
By Joe Otterson, Variety.com - Aug. 15, 2018

“Shooter” has been canceled at USA Network, Variety has learned.

The drama series is currently in the midst of airing its third season. Since Season 3 began back in June, the series has seen a steep fall off in its Live+Same Day ratings. This season is currently averaging a 0.2 rating in adults 18-49 and 738,000 viewers per episode, down over 40% in both measures from Season 2.

Sources say that Universal Cable Productions and Paramount Television, which co-produce the series, are said to be shopping the show for a potential fourth season. Discussions are said to be underway at Paramount Network, but a source with knowledge of the situation said that it is unlikely to land there.

The cancellation comes as USA is looking to bolster its originals lineup. The cabler ordered four projects to pilot back in April, including a cop drama starring Denis Leary and a drama series set in the Jason Bourne universe.

“Shooter” is based on the Stephen Hunter book series that follows the adventures of expert sniper Bob Lee Swagger, which inspired the 2007 film “Shooter” starring Mark Wahlberg. Ryan Phillippe stars in the show as Swagger, a highly-decorated veteran who is coaxed back into action to prevent a plot to kill the President. When Swagger’s former commanding officer Isaac Johnson (Omar Epps) solicits his expertise in a clandestine operation, Swagger discovers that he has been framed and must do everything in his power to protect his family and clear his name.

Wahlberg serves as an executive producer on the series via his Closest to the Hole Productions. Stephen Levinson of Leverage Entertainment and Lorenzo di Bonaventura also executive produce along with John Hlavin, who wrote the pilot. Phillippe is also a producer.

https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/shooter-canceled-usa-network-1202905972/
 

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TV Notes (Streaming)
Anne with an E Renewed for "Uplifting" With a U Season 3
By Lindsay MacDonald, TVGuide.com - Aug. 15, 2018

That precious little Anne with an E isn't going anywhere!

A Netflix and CBC original series, Anne with an E has been renewed for a 10-episode third season, which will begin filming this winter. Based on the original novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, this updated series tells the same coming-of-age tale we all know and love while also taking on timely issues like identity, prejudice, feminism, bullying, gender parity, diversity and empowerment.

Showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad) teased a big season for Anne, as she hits a big number in her life. "Our beloved Anne will be 16 years old when we return to this season full of romantic complications, bold adventures and dramatic discoveries," said Walley-Beckett. "I will explore important, contemporary themes that I hope will continue to resonate with, and inspire and uplift, our audience."

Season 2 ended with Gilbert (Lucas Jade Zumann) telling Anne (Amybeth McNulty) he planned to stay and work the farm with his family instead of leaving early for college, meaning there's still a chance those two crazy kids will get together. After all, it's hard to ignore that bit of foreshadowing when Gilbert asked whether Anne intended to follow in her teacher's footsteps and have a "tragical romance," to which Anne not-so-innocently responded, "Remains to be seen?"

Shipping it. Shipping it hard.

Season 3 is expected to premiere on Netflix in 2019.

https://www.tvguide.com/news/anne-with-an-e-renewed-season-3-netflix/
 

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TV/Production Notes (Cable)
CMT Orders ‘Racing Wives’ Unscripted Series; Renews ‘Music City’ For Season 2
By Denise Petski, Deadline.com - Aug. 15, 2018

CMT is ramping up its programming slate with an eight-episode order of Racing Wives, a female-driven hour-long unscripted series from Jenny Daly’s T Group Productions, and has renewed hit docuseries Music City for a 10-episode second season. Both shows will premiere early next year.

Set in Lake Norman, North Carolina, Racing Wives follows the never-before-seen private lives of women who are married to world famous race car drivers. It features sisters-in-law Ashley and Samantha Busch, married to Kurt and Kyle Busch who are each balancing family life with their own ambitions. Looking to take her rightful spot in the wives’ club is Whitney Ward Dillion, former cheerleader and now wife of Austin Dillon, who is torn between fitting in with her fellow wives while staying true to her best friend and cheerleader ride-or-die Mariel Lane. Also featured is Amber Balcaen, an aspiring NASCAR driver who is new to the racing community and left everything, including her boyfriend, back home in Canada to come to North Carolina to pursue her dream.

The series will be paired with Season 2 of Music City. The hit docuseries from The Hills creator Adam DiVello and Lionsgate follows a group of young adults entering the next chapter of their lives while chasing dream of success, fame and romance in Nashville. Season two will feature a shocking break-up, a wedding, a cutthroat Miss USA competition, unexpected friendships and new explosive rivalries. Returning are fledgling musician Kerry, and his wife, Rachyl, personal trainer Jackson, and his cousin, pageant queen Alexandra, as well as musicians Jessica and Alisa. New faces this season include Rachyl and Kerry’s old friend Jeremiah, Kerry’s new manager Tori, and Jackson’s childhood friend Stephen, who helps him navigate his relationships with girlfriend Baylee and Alexandra. Also entering the mix this season is Molly, Alexandra’s friend and instigator who voices a strong and loud opinion on everything and everyone she encounters.

The series greenlight and renewal come on the heels of strong growth for CMT, which is on track to earn its highest rated year since 2014. In Q3, CMT was among 10 channels in the Top 50 to show year-over-year growth in P18-49, according to the network, and is coming off six consecutive quarters of year-over-year growth among P18-49.

Racing Wives is produced by T Group with executive producers Jenny Daly, Rob Lobl, and Ben DeNoble

Music City is produced by Done and Done Productions in association with Lionsgate. Adam DiVello serves as creator and executive producer.

https://deadline.com/2018/08/cmt-orders-racing-wives-unscripted-series-renews-music-city-season-2-1202445598/
 

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Nielsen Overnights (Broadcast)
‘America’s Got Talent’ Doubles ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ Performance
By Tony Maglio, TheWrap.com - Aug. 15, 2018

NBC’s got “America’s Got Talent,” and that’s all it needed to completely dominate Tuesday. Last night, “AGT” actually doubled the ratings of ABC’s “Bachelor in Paradise,” leading NBC to an easy win.

Though ABC finished second in the key adults 18-49 demo, CBS was runner-up among total viewers.

NBC was first in ratings with a 1.7 rating/8 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and in total viewers with an average of 8.6 million, according to preliminary numbers. “America’s Got Talent” from 8-10 p.m. earned a 2.0/9 and 10.9 million viewers. “Making It” at 10 had a 1.0/5 and 4.2 million viewers.

ABC was second in ratings with a 0.9/4 and third in viewers with 3.6 million. “Bachelor in Paradise” from 8-10 averaged a 1.0/5 and 4 million viewers. “Castaways” at 10 got a 0.6/3 and 2.8 million viewers.

CBS, Fox and Telemundo tied for third in ratings, each with a 0.5/2. CBS was second in total viewers with 4.8 million, airing all reruns. Fox was fourth with 1.8 million viewers, and Telemundo was fifth with 1.3 million.

For Fox, “Beat Shazam” at 8 had a 0.6/3 and 2 million viewers. At 9, “Love Connection” got a 0.4/2 and 1.5 million viewers.

Univision was sixth in ratings with a 0.4/2 and in viewers with 1.2 million.

The CW was seventh in ratings with a 0.1/1 and in viewers with 553,000, running all repeats.

https://www.thewrap.com/americas-got-talent-bachelor-in-paradise-ratings/
 

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Technology/Critic's Notes (Ultra HD)
Amazon's Fire TV Edition is a cord-cutter's dream -- when Alexa works
By Jefferson Graham, USA Today - Aug. 15, 2018

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. — Amazon's Fire TV Edition, a $299 smart TV made by Toshiba, sounds like a cord-cutter's dream. Which it is. If you have an antenna. Cable and satellite subscribers will have to endure some hurdles.

The 43-inch console, which went on sale earlier this summer, is unlike any TV I've never seen. Want to choose a channel? It offers live video visuals instead of text, intermingles TV apps and shows with what's on now, and can be operated via voice through Alexa, Amazon's personal assistant. Sold exclusively online and at Best Buy, it has 4K resolution, and costs about $100 less than comparable sets from rivals.

But there are many growing pains to get it to what Amazon promises, and you may end up shelling out more.

The pitch is that instead of attaching a streaming player, like Roku or Amazon's Fire TV, to a set, you get an all-in-one TV, coupled with Alexa voice control. (Of course, beyond TV, you can ask Alexa all the usual things like the time, weather and to play a Willie Nelson playlist on Amazon Music.)

The wording on the box is that the TV plays "live over-the-air TV and your favorite streaming content," via voice command. There is no follow-up sentence that says, "If you have cable or satellite, Alexa won't initially be able to access or change channels."

How it works

The TV works best if you've cut the cord -- cancelled cable, dropped satellite TV, and mostly live off Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, and/or watch the local stations via an antenna.

To connect to the antenna, you go to the settings, and ask the set to find the local channels. This could take 10 to 15 minutes. With my setup, using a $90 Mohu antenna, I found 60 local channels, a mix of broadcast affiliates, PBS, Spanish language and networks devoted to old TV shows, like Buzzr and Cozi TV.

Once the stations are set, you can use your voice to open the channels, or ask Alexa to turn to the Channel Guide, which lets you see what's currently on.

However, iif you're one of the 63% of Americans still connected to pay TV, and want to have Alexa turn to channel 400, open up MSNBC's "Hardball" or an old movie on TCM. you've got your work cut out for you. You also don't see the cable shows in your TV interface mix of live TV and apps, because the cable box is on another input.

You can see the shows in the interface, and access them, via the cable alternatives like SlingTV, Hulu Live TV and PlayStation VUE. YouTube TV isn't available on the Fire TV, due to a corporate spat between Amazon and YouTube owner Google.

On the antenna, voice control didn't always work for me. Yes, I could ask Alexa to turn to NBC or CBS and it did so. But requesting PBS was an issue. There are multiple PBS stations via the antenna, and Alexa wasn't sure how to respond when I asked for the specific one, KOCE (in Los Angeles.) When I asked it to play the independent TV station KCET, it was also clueless. (I went into the channel guide and clicked it on with the remote.)

You could skip the antenna by choosing to watch a network show like NBC's "The Good Place" with ads from within the NBC app. If a show wasn't available in an app, like CBS's "The Big Bang Theory," and it wasn't live when you made the request, Amazon will take you to Prime Video, and encourage you watch it for a fee, by purchasing older episodes to rent. (Many shows are available without paying extra, like Frasier and Endeavor, as part of the $119 yearly Prime membership.)

Cable works effortlessly on the set, just like on other TVs, and one nice touch is that you can ask Alexa to switch the inputs to cable. ("Alexa, switch to HDMI 1.") To get Alexa to open cable channels with your voice, Amazon touts a "skill" that can be added to the Amazon Echo speaker to bring voice control, but it could cost you. My cable provider, Frontier Communications, told me my current box was out of date, and I would need a new one for Alexa, at a cost of $72 yearly. (I declined.) Amazon says Dish, DirecTV, Verizon and OpticHub have similar cable box/skill workarounds. The nation's largest cable operator, Comcast, does not offer the workaround.

(Amazon's recent new Fire TV Cube speaker sells for $119 and promises Alexa voice functionality for the TV. But the Cube cannot have Alexa change channels via voice with the TV antenna. It can via cable, if you have a supported cable box.)

Another workaround: ads for the set show consumers using the remote control to talk to Alexa. That's not how we do it with the Echo speaker--we talk directly to Alexa without a device in our hands. Amazon directed me to the Alexa smartphone app to enable a skill to send voice commands to the Echo speaker to control the TV. This worked great.)

Let’s face it, there’s a reason why this Amazon set is so cheap. It gives the world's largest e-tailer another vehicle in the home to sell you stuff, where you can do it from the confines of your couch, with fewer clicks than ever. This is a different user experience than rival smart TVs from LG, Samsung and Sony.

Amazon has your shopping history baked into the TV interface, so a quick re-order on coffee filters or razor blades is one-click simple. (And parents note that you’ll need to enable the parental controls in the settings section to put in safeguards against the kids going on a spending spree. Make that one of your first tasks.)

All that said, watching the Fire TV Edition is a fun, novel experience that with the visual mix of apps and live shows, brings you into the modern age of viewing. With all the TV apps available, you might not even want to plug in the antenna and watch live TV. (Many of the cable channel apps available require a cable subscription for viewing.)

The picture quality on the set isn’t what you’d get with a $1,000 TV model, but then, I never expected it would be. It was an improvement over my older 43-inch LG set, which wasn't 4K.

Kudos to Amazon for re-imagining the TV experience. Now if the e-tailer would just do a better job on informing the public about what they're really getting on the box, with clear messaging about why their cable lineup isn't voice enabled, and how to talk to the TV like we do now to the Echo speaker, the company might be onto something big.

Amazon also sells a larger, 50 inch model of the Fire TV Edition for $349.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2018/08/15/amazons-fire-tv-edition-cord-cutters-dream-when-works-advertised/978199002/
 

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TV Notes (Broadcast)
'Saturday Night Live': Featured Player Luke Null Exits
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter - Aug. 15, 2018

Saturday Night Live's annual cast changes have begun.

Featured player Luke Null has exited the NBC late-night sketch comedy series after a one-season run, sources confirm to The Hollywood Reporter. He will not return when the Lorne Michaels-created comedy returns in the fall for its 44th season. (NBC declined comment.)

Null first joined SNL in September, alongside fellow newcomers Chris Redd and Heidi Gardner. Their additions helped fill the voids created by the departures of Bobby Moynihan (who had been there for nine seasons), Vanessa Bayer (seven) and Sasheer Zamata (four), who left after the season 42 finale.

The 28-year-old Null is a musical comedian and improviser who came out of iO Chicago. His credits include 2011 feature The Heart: The Final Pulse.

SNL typically experiences some form of cast turnover every season. Null is the first to exit ahead of season 44. Watch one of his appearances, below.

NBC has not yet set a date for the iconic show's return.

Vulture was the first to report Null's exit.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/saturday-night-live-featured-player-luke-null-exits-1135253
 

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Technology Notes (Gaming)
Diablo III leaks for the Switch, out later this year
By Chaim Gartenberg, TheVerge.com - Aug. 15, 2018

It looks like Diablo III is coming to the Switch, according to a since-deleted post from Forbes that was spotted by Reddit user Riomegon.

The Switch port of the game is apparently going to be released as the Diablo III: Eternal Collection, a $59.99 bundle that will include both the Reaper of Souls and Rise of the Necromancer expansions, along with the other content and updates that Blizzard has released over the years. There are also apparently some Nintendo exclusive in-game items: a Ganondorf-styled cosmetic armor set, a Tri-Force portrait frame, a Cucco pet, and more.

Diablo III has been rumored to be coming to Nintendo’s latest console since February, when Blizzard first posted a short clip on Twitter of a Diablo nightlight getting switched off (get it?). Many took it as evidence that the company was working on a port. It’s a big deal, not just because of Diablo III’s enduring popularity, even years after its release on PC in 2012, but because, as noted by Polygon, it would mark the first time that Blizzard has released a game on a Nintendo console in over 15 years.

According to the leak, Blizzard is offering plenty of options for players to enjoy Diablo III’s dungeon crawling, with support for four players to play in local co-op on a single Switch, the ability to link up to four separate Switch consoles locally to play together, and support for the upcoming Nintendo Switch Online service to play online.

Diablo III for the Switch is said to be out later in 2018.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/15/17693840/diablo-3-switch-port-eternal-collection-2018-release-date-blizzard
 
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