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Technology Notes
Microsoft to permanently close all of its retail stores
By Chris Welch, TheVerge.com - Jun. 26, 2020

Microsoft is giving up on physical retail. Today the company announced plans to permanently close all Microsoft Store locations in the United States and around the world, except for four locations that will be “reimagined” as experience centers that no longer sell products.

Those locations are New York City (Fifth Ave), London (Oxford Circus), Sydney (Westfield Sydney), and the Redmond campus location. The London store only just opened about a year ago. All other Microsoft Store locations across the United States and globally will be closing, and the company will concentrate on digital retail moving forward. Microsoft says Microsoft.com and the Xbox and Windows storefronts reach “up to 1.2 billion monthly customers in 190 markets.”

The company tells The Verge that no layoffs will result from today’s decision. “Our commitment to growing and developing careers from this diverse talent pool is stronger than ever,” Microsoft Store VP David Porter said in a LinkedIn post on the move.

A source with knowledge of Microsoft’s retail operations told The Verge that this plan was originally in place for next year, but was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Microsoft’s Xbox Series X is launching this holiday, so it makes sense that the company had at least initially planned for the stores to make it that far. The dual-screen Surface Neo device that was also going to ship during the holidays has been delayed, though the Surface Duo is apparently still on track for this year. Still, if you were hoping your local Microsoft Store would be a surefire bet for a new Xbox, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

The big decision partially explains why Microsoft had yet to reopen a single store after they were all closed in light of the pandemic. Last week, Microsoft told The Verge that its “approach for re-opening Microsoft Store locations is measured and cautious, guided by monitoring global data, listening to public health and safety experts, and tracking local government restrictions.” At the time, the company declined to offer an update on when any stores might open again.

Since many Microsoft stores are in shopping centers and malls, the continued closure hasn’t stood out as unusual. In US states that are taking a cautious approach to restoring retail operations — to avoid a resurgence of the novel coronavirus — most malls remain closed. There have already been spikes of COVID-19 cases in regions with more relaxed guidelines, which has led Apple to re-close some stores where it had only recently welcomed customers back in.

In April, Microsoft outlined in a blog post how many retail store associates had shifted to remote work after their everyday jobs were sidelined. The company has continued to provide regular pay for team members through the pandemic. “Our retail team members will continue to serve customers working from Microsoft corporate facilities or remotely and we will continue to develop our diverse team in support of the overall company mission and objectives,” the company said in today’s update.

The Microsoft Store debuted in 2009 and closely adhered to Apple’s successful retail playbook. Each store is a showcase for the company’s Surface and Xbox hardware, plus a selection of third-party PCs. Employees were well-versed in all things Windows, and the company also offered in-store events, workshops, customer service, and repairs.

The stores were closed even before Microsoft’s latest hardware release cycle that included the Surface Book 3, Surface Go 2, Surface Earbuds, and Surface Headphones 2.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/26/21297400/microsoft-retail-stores-closing-cities-open
 

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Nielsen Overnights (Broadcast)
Friday Ratings: ‘Shark Tank’ Rerun Ties For Demos Win, Tops Audience Count
By Bruce Haring, Deadline.com - Jun. 27, 2020

On yet another rerun-heavy night, ABC’s Shark Tank repeat was the overall winner. Although it tied in the demo rankings with Fox’s WWE Friday Night SmackDown and a repeat of ABC’s 20/20 newsmag, Shark Tank had the largest P2+ at 3238 to take the crown.

The Shark Tank repeat had a rare event – an entrepreneur who turned down bids from several sharks. David Scharfman didn’t like the investment offers for his Just The Cheese company from Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary and Lori Greiner. The company produces bars that mimic the crunchy cheese from a grilled cheese sandwich. He was seeking $500,000 and offered 5% equity in return.

The ABC bandwagon continued rolling with a repeat episode of 20/20, which also scored an 0.5 with its show focusing on Kimberly Mays, a woman who was switched at birth.

WWE Friday Night SmackDown had a new slate that featured a tribute episode to The Undertaker,who is retiring from competition. The show came after a week that saw several WWE employees test positive for COVID-19, throwing its taping schedule off.

CBS ran the 47th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, which scored an 0.3 demo but had a respectable audience size.

NBC had a night filled with reruns, while The CW had a fresh Masters of Illusion at 8 PM hitting an 0.1, followed by a slate of reruns.

https://deadline.com/2020/06/friday-ratings-shark-tank-rerun-ties-for-demos-win-tops-audience-count-1202971864/
 

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TV Notes (Cable)
BET Renews ‘Twenties’ for Second Season
By R. Thomas Umstead, Multichannel News - Jun. 26, 2020

BET has renewed its freshman series Twenties for a second season, with the first season of the Lena Waithe-produced series airing on Showtime in July, the network announced Friday.

The series, which follows a queer black girl who is chasing her dreams of becoming a screenwriter in Los Angeles, featured such guest stars as Jenifer Lewis, Sean “Big Sean” Anderson, Rick Fox, Vanessa Williams, Seth Green, Iman Shumpert, Kym Whitley, Chuey Martinez, Marsha Thomason, and Nazanin Mandi during its first season.

“The first season of Twenties, led by the incredible Jonica T. Gibbs, Christina Elmore and Gabrielle Graham, was a joy to watch in every sense,” said Scott Mills, President of BET in a statement. “BET has always been about empowering and elevating black stories and we’re so excited to see where Lena Waithe and Susan Fales-Hill’s remarkable vision takes us in the second season.”

https://www.multichannel.com/news/bet-renews-twenties-second-season
 

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TV/Production Notes (Cable)
'D.A.R.Y.L.' Sequel Starring Tony Hale Among TNT, TBS Development Slate
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter - Jun. 26, 2020

EXCLUSIVE: It's been a wild few years at TNT and TBS.

The two basic cable networks, under Kevin Reilly, moved away from procedural fare like fan-favorite Rizzoli & Isles and multicamera comedies like Bill Lawrence's Ground Floor toward niche fare like Search Party and premium dramas like Snowpiercer.

Reilly spent years building up a comedy roster of ratings underperformers/critical darlings including The Detour and People of Earth. What remains, however, is a fraction of the scripted inventory the executive carefully curated.

While Reilly continues to oversee TNT, TBS and TruTV, his central focus is now on WarnerMedia's recently launched HBO Max as major conglomerates like Disney and Comcast have also shifted their priorities to streaming. After a string of cancellations (farewell, Angie Tribeca, Detour, People of Earth, The Last Ship) and moves of Search Party and TNT drama Raised by Wolves to HBO Max, rumors have swirled about what would become of the two basic cable networks.

Now, following rumors that TNT and TBS would both exit the scripted space and become homes for unscripted (The Misery Index), syndicated fare (Friends, Big Bang Theory) and sports (the NBA, NCAA, MLB), GM Brett Weitz is setting the record straight about the fate of both networks. In short, both networks will remain in the scripted space, though at a reduced volume of originals, and using series like the forthcoming Nasim Pedrad comedy Chad and second season of Snowpiercer as tentpoles.

Weitz additionally is revealing the next wave of scripted series in development at both networks. For comedy-leaning TBS, he's developing a sequel to 1985 sci-fi feature D.A.R.Y.L., starring Veep grad Tony Hale; and Space, a relationship comedy from Hilary Winston (Community). For TNT, the drama-focused cabler is prepping The Fall, from director Philip Noyce (The Bone Collector) and Liar's Club, a drama from exec producer Paul Giamatti described as Marvelous Mrs. Maisel meets Breaking Bad. (More details about all four projects are below.)

"Scripted originals are always going to be the destination play, the asset that brings consumers through the door — and you hope they stay," Weitz tells The Hollywood Reporter. "As you slice the pie, you begin to look at what's the full offering here? Look at the top shows are on basic cable — The Real Housewives, Dr. Pimple Popper — and you realize it would be great to have those assets to fill out your portfolio."

Weitz — Reilly's lone remaining lieutenant at the cable networks following the departure of head of scripted originals Thom Hinkle — said he met with top WarnerMedia brass after taking over TNT, TBS and TruTV to focus on areas where the three networks weren't and needed to be. From that, came an increased focus on unscripted originals.
"It becomes a real estate issue," he says. "When you think of primetime, we have [eventually] sports and originals and we're just changing the pace of scripted."

TNT and TBS are not alone in the reduced volume of scripted originals. Comcast-backed USA Network, too, has pulled back to focus on a similar scripted tentpole strategy as its long roster of scripted originals that once topped more than 12 now sits at around half that, with Brave New World now the cornerstone of streamer Peacock's national launch next month. FX, too, is seeing a number of its high-profile originals move its dedicated channel on corporate sibling Hulu.

Weitz is quick to admit the challenges of success on linear networks in the cord-cutting and streaming era. "I was going to have to cancel Search Party," he says of the comedy that launched its third season and first on streaming this week. "HBO Max scooped it up and gave it a second dose of life." (The series has already been renewed and filmed a fourth season for the streamer.)

Looking ahead, Weitz says he's looking for broad-skewing shows that play more toward the center of the country — (RIP, Rizzoli) — for TNT and TBS compared with the "coastal" content HBO Max has curated as part of its originals strategy. (HBO Max, like other streamers, targets kids and families with a wide swath of new and library content.) To that end, Weitz has decided to scrap the long-gestating drama Tell Me Your Secrets, starring Lily Rabe. While the entire series had been filmed and in the can for a few years, he said the thriller about three damaged people trying to start over (formerly titled Deadlier Than the Male) just "wasn't right" for TNT. (The series is not streaming on HBO Max and while it's produced in-house, has no plans to move to another network at this time.)

Weitz also hopes that TBS can be a home for dramas after a five-month flirtation with the idea of launching Snowpiercer on the network that's home to Tracy Morgan's The Last O.G. andanimated veteran American Dad. "That brand has a lot of elasticity; it can hold the right kind of dramas," he says, noting that action drama Obliterated — originally picked up with a 10-episode, straight-to-series order — is still in development.

The exec, who first joined TNT in 2008 as vp series development, is also looking at expanding Shaq Life into a larger franchise for the drama-leaning network that is also home to pro wrestling with AEW: Dynamite and its roster of syndicated movies like Black Panther. TBS will continue its course with syndicated favorites, movies, sports and an increase in unscripted fare. To that end, TBS recently greenlit Celebrity Show-Off, hosted by Big Bang grad Mayim Bialik, and Jason Sudeikis' Tournament of Laughs. Weitz is also optimistic that bubble comedies The Last O.G. and anthology Miracle Workers will return for additional seasons. As for TruTV, which Weitz inherited with Reilly after network president Chris Linn left a year ago as part of WarnerMedia's consolidation, he considers Impractical Jokers as the definition of the network's brand. "Those three make up a great whole," he said. "But individually, they're very different and attract very different consumers."

As for the future, Weitz is aware that basic cable's best days may already have come and gone, though he remains optimistic that networks like his will always have a place in the television ecosystem.

"When you start talking about the future and the SVOD platforms that are being built and curated, these take a long time to get to critical mass," he says. "[Basic cable is] never going to trend back up but great content will always bring the consumer in."

Here's a closer look at TNT and TBS' current development slate:

TNT

The Fall

Logline: A captivating paranoid thriller about a woman whose dark secrets start to unravel her seemingly perfect life. Inspired by the Albert Camus tale of the same name.
Writers: Jeremy Miller, Daniel Cohn (Entourage)
Studio: A+E Studios
Director: Philip Noyce (The Bone Collector)
Nonwriting producer: Ross Fineman

Liar's Club
Logline: Part comedy, part pulp thriller, Liar's Club tells the story of a woman leading two very different lives — one adorned in the trappings of Connecticut country clubs, and the other drenched in the murkiness of the underground gambling circuit in NYC. It’s Marvelous Mrs. Maisel meets Breaking Bad.
Studio: CBS Television Studios
Co-EP/writer: Amy Rutberg
EP: Christopher Silber (Elementary)
Nonwriting producers: Paul Giamatti, Dan Carey

TBS

Space

Logline: On the verge of a break-up, long-term couple Rob and Marin are granted the ultimate “space” to figure out their future when they suddenly begin jumping into the bodies of other couples. It’s a hilarious, romantic, oddly relatable Quantum Leap.
Studio: Sony Pictures Television
Writer: Hilary Winston (Community)
Nonwriting producers: Stoller Global Solutions
Director: Nick Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)

D.A.R.Y.L.
Logline: A half-hour comedy that picks up where Paramount's 1985 feature left off. What if a top-secret, 10-year-old human weapon grew up to be a 44-year-old guy just trying to keep up with a world that he was never designed for? And what if the story morphed from an '80s sci-fi adventure movie about a child with a computer in his skull … into a single-camera comedy starring Tony Hale? The boy everyone wanted ... has become the man no one needs ... in the TV adaptation nobody asked for.
Cast: Tony Hale
Studio: Paramount Television Studios
Writers: Jody Lambert (People Like Us), Matt Oberg (The Warren Klein Voicemails)

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/daryl-sequel-starring-tony-hale-tnt-tbs-development-slate-1300550
 

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TV Sports/Health Notes (Hockey)
The NHL has a plan to get back on the ice, but will it work?
By Richard Morin, USA Today/Arizona Republic - Jun. 27, 2020

In about two weeks, the NHL plans to move from Phase 2 to Phase 3 of their return-to-play protocol in hopes of finishing the 2019-20 season. And while the league seems confident in reaching its end goal of awarding the Stanley Cup, there still remains plenty of obstacles.

Players have had the ability to partake in voluntary workouts at their respective team's facilities during Phase 2 with on-ice groups consisting of no more than 12 players, double the initial maximum of six after the NHL loosened regulations beginning Tuesday.

The league's latest move toward a restart comes just days after 11 players were announced to have tested positive for COVID-19 among the 200 screened, according to figures released by the NHL on Friday.

Three of those players were with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization, forcing the team to shut down its facility on Friday. The Lightning re-opened their doors on Wednesday.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos echoed the thoughts of many regarding the NHL's current trajectory, tweeting an emoji of a thinking face in response to the report.

The NHL is frequently testing both players and staff and is expected to provide updates on positive tests going forward. But with a handful of players already infected, is the road really all that clear as the league progresses toward a de-facto training camp beginning July 10?

A significant percentage of the public is quick to write off any threat to players, suggesting they possess some sort of athletic shield that will prevent them from serious COVID-19 complications. And while there may be some truth to that, given their relative health and age bracket, what about older coaches and team staff? What about players with chronic health conditions such as former Coyotes forward Max Domi, a Type 1 diabetic, who now plays for the Montreal Canadiens?

Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews, who grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona is the only NHL player to be identified as testing positive for COVID-19. The news came last week in a report from the Toronto Sun, which added that multiple Coyotes players also tested positive for the virus.

The Coyotes could not confirm the report. The only confirmed case of COVID-19 connected to the Coyotes is the staff member who tested positive on June 13.

Still, given that Matthews has been staying at his Valley residence since the NHL's season pause, it is possible that Matthews planned to join the Coyotes' Phase 2 program had he not received a positive test.

Matthews' case also opens up a separate can of worms for the NHL, which will likely have to grapple with inevitable inconsistencies in terms of competitive balance if teams are able to return to play.

According to the NHL's Phase 2 guidelines, any symptomatic or positive-case player is deemed "unfit to play" and "his condition shall be treated as a hockey related injury for all purposes under the Collective Bargaining Agreement," according to the document released by the league.

The NHL also defers to CDC guidelines in the document outlining the discontinuation of isolation after a player tests positive. Essentially, any players who test positive are required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days if they do not show symptoms or they must test negatively on two separate respiratory specimens submitted at least 24 hours apart.

This opens up the possibility that players could miss significant portions of training camp or even games due to testing positive for COVID-19 or even potentially just being in contact with someone who did. Certainly any team missing a player – especially someone of Matthews' caliber – would be at a disadvantage.

With the NHL hoping to successfully implement a 24-team postseason format, the potential of volatility in competitive balance could threaten the integrity of the game as much as the situation already threatens the safety of players and staff.

Richard Morin covers the Coyotes and Diamondbacks for azcentral sports.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/2020/06/27/nhl-has-plan-restart-season-amid-covid-19-but-work/3273353001/
 

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TV/Health Notes (Broadcast)
‘The Bachelorette’ Set to Resume Production
By Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety.com - Jun. 26, 2020

EXCLUSIVE: “The Bachelorette” is heading back into production, Variety has learned exclusively.

While no exact start date set, the ABC reality dating show will be revving up imminently — with heavy-duty safety precautions placed on the production, due to concerns surrounding coronavirus.

“The Bachelorette” will mark the first major show to head back into production in the United States, following the industry-wide shutdown due to the pandemic.

Warner Horizon Unscripted confirms to Variety that the studio is preparing to begin production on “The Bachelorette” soon, and that the cast will begin traveling to an isolated location for the duration of production for health and safety reasons.

The entire season will be shot in a quarantined location with all cast and crew members living on-site. Everyone will be tested before they enter the location, and regular testing and temperature checks are expected. The protocols being put in place are said to be very strict and conservative.

“The cast will start traveling very soon because there has to be a quarantine period,” a person familiar with production explains.

The studio declined to offer any other details, including the location and start date. A source says the season will shoot in a private area in Southern California, but not in Los Angeles county.

An exact premiere date has not been set by ABC, but the network previously revealed that “Bachelorette” would air on Tuesdays this fall at 8 p.m.

Sources close to the show say that negotiations with unions to re-start production are still ongoing, along with other productions looking to get back to business after the COVID-19 shut-down. Unions are approving individual productions restarting on a one-by-one basis, and discussions are moving quickly enough that the team behind “Bachelorette” wanted to be ready for when they are given the greenlight.

Since “Bachelorette” has the ability to quarantine the entire cast and crew in an isolated location — unlike many scripted series that shoot on soundstage on studio lots — producers believe that risk is limited. The safety precautions put in place will be more vigorous than most other productions, just given the nature of the show.

“We obviously can’t shoot a dating show with people in close quarters where people aren’t cleared and we know everything is safe,” an insider says. “It will be a super safe paradise for everyone to shoot the show.”

No visitors will be allowed and no members of the press will be invited to set, effectively creating a bubble around “The Bachelorette” production.

“Health and safety of our crew and cast is the number one concern,” an insider explains, adding that there is always an on-set medic on “The Bachelor” franchise, even before the pandemic. “There is always robust care for our team, and that will be the case as they isolate and shoot the show. Production is going above-and-beyond the recommendations.”

Production on the show was halted in mid-March, right as shooting was set to begin. No major scenes were shot, other than a few moments with leading lady Clare Crawley. The production shut-down allowed time for re-casting, so some of Crawley’s originally-announced contestants have been removed, and new suits have been added. (Matt James, who was initially cast as a contestant for Crawley’s season, was selected as ABC’s first-ever Black “Bachelor,” and his season is expected to air in Jan. 2021.)

https://variety.com/2020/tv/news/the-bachelorette-set-to-resume-production-exclusive-1234691650/
 

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TV Notes (Streaming)
HBO Max Signs Wayans for Two New Specials
By Jon Lafayette, Broadcasting & Cable - Jun. 26, 2020

AT&T’s new streaming service HBO Max announced an overall deal with Marlon Wayans that includes an hour-long stand-up special and a multi-act special in which Wayans will serve as host.

HBO Max also has a first-look deal at Wayans’ future scripted and unscripted projects.

The first scripted project to be identified is Book of Marlon, a half-hour comedy built around a fictionalized version of his life. Book of Marlon is co-created by Rick Alverez, who will also co-write the pilot with Wayans.

“Marlon is a ‘triple threat’ with an impressive resume that speaks to his acting talent and comedy prowess” said Suzanna Makkos, executive VP of original comedy and animation for HBO Max. “We are thrilled to have his unique voice and comedic vision join our growing family of creators.”

"I'm excited to be in business with HBO Max. Rick and I have had a lot of success in the streaming space and are excited to work with a company that is equally excited to work with us” said Wayans. “We look forward to helping both brands grow rapidly and internationally. HBO Max is a great place to continue our mission of putting smiles on people’s faces."

Wayans and his production company Ugly Baby are repped by 3 Arts, WME and Lawrence Kopeikin and Kevin Yorn of Morris Yorn.

Previously, HBO Max has announced deals for specials from Chelsea Handler, Tracy Morgan, John Early, Rose Matafeo and Ahir Shah, on top of a slate of specials from Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco.

HBO Max also extended the availability of 10 films based on D.C. Comic Book characters. The movies include Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League, Wonder Woman and Suicide Squad.

https://www.nexttv.com/news/hbo-max-signs-wayans-for-two-new-specials
 

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Technology/Streaming Notes (Gaming)
Dr Disrespect is gone and Twitch won’t say why
By Jacob Kastrenakes, TheVerge.com - Jun. 26, 2020

Dr Disrespect disappeared from Twitch this afternoon, with his account vanishing from the site, leading to rumors that he had been banned. The disappearance comes two days after Twitch said it would begin issuing permanent suspensions for streamers as it cracked down on accusations of harassment and sexual misconduct.

Twitch would not confirm that it had banned Dr Disrespect, why he might have been banned, or whether he might be permanently banned. Twitch signed Dr Disrespect to an exclusive two year contract back in March for an undisclosed but “life-changing” amount of money. The streamer had also made a deal with a production company to create an animated TV series around his character.

Dr Disrespect, real name Herschel “Guy” Beahm, is famous for his exaggerated persona — he streams in character as a person who takes gaming to a certain extreme — and is among Twitch’s 10 most followed accounts, a list that includes several people (like Ninja) who no longer use the site.

The potential ban would be a huge statement from Twitch — should Twitch choose to confirm it. It would signal that the platform is going to start taking its streamers’ behavior both on and off stream more seriously, following a week of complaints about sexual harassment and assault.

Beahm doesn’t appear to have been among those who were accused of harassment or other misconduct, but he’s been a controversial figure in the past. Beahm was banned last year for streaming from a men’s bathroom at E3. In 2018, he was criticized for performing racist caricatures while streaming.

Twitch suggested that Beahm had violated the site’s community guidelines or terms of service in an email to The Verge but would not specifically say so. “As is our process, we take appropriate action when we have evidence that a streamer has acted in violation of our Community Guidelines or Terms of Service. These apply to all streamers regardless of status or prominence in the community,” a Twitch spokesperson said in an email.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/26/21304907/dr-disrespect-twitch-ban-no-reason-given
 

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TV Notes
On The Air
SUNDAY JUN. 28, 2020 Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)
From Zap2it.com's TV Grid

ABC:
7PM - America's Funniest Home Videos
(R)
8PM - Celebrity Family Feud: Cedric The Entertainer vs. Wayne Brady; The Hills: New Beginnings vs. Jersey Shore: Family Vacation
9PM - Press Your Luck: 4th of July Spectacular
10PM - Match Game (Thomas Lennon, Mary McCormack, Rick Fox, Caroline Rhea, Bob Saget and Padma Lakshmi)

CBS:
7PM - 60 Minutes
8PM - The BET Awards 2020 (Special, 3 hrs., LIVE)*
*
(simulcast on BET)

NBC:
7PM - Hollywood Game Night
8PM - The Titan Games
(R)
9PM - America's Got Talent (120 min.)
(R)

FOX:
7PM - Last Man Standing
(R)
7:30PM - Duncanville
(R)
8PM - The Simpsons
(R)
8:30PM - Bless the Harts
(R)
9PM - Bob's Burgers
(R)
9:30PM - Family Guy
(R)

THE CW:
8PM - DC's Stargirl
(R)
9PM - Penn & Teller: Fool Us
(R)

PBS:
8PM - Lucy Worsley's Royal Myths & Secrets - Queen Anne: The Mother of Great Britain
9PM - Grantchester on Masterpiece
10PM - Beecham House on Masterpiece

UNIVISION:
7PM - Aquí y Ahora
8PM - Movie: No Eres Tú, Soy Yo (2010)
10PM - Sal y Pimienta

TELEMUNDO:
7PM - Movie - The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
9:30PM - Movie: Ninja (2009)

NBCSN:
4PM - Trackside Live! (4 hrs., LIVE)
8PM - USA Cornhole Club Championship (120 min.)

BET:
7PM - Locked & Lit: Countdown To The BET Awards (Special)

HISTORY:
7PM - World War II: Race to Victory - Victory at Any Cost (120 min.)
(R)
9PM - World War II: Race to Victory - D-Day and Beyond (125 min.)

SCIENCE:
8PM - Lost Pyramids of the Aztecs (120 min.)
10PM - Lost Cities of the Amazon: Rise of the Superpower (60 min.)

SHOWTIME:
8PM - Black Monday
8:30PM - Black Monday
(R)
9PM - The Chi
10PM - Penny Dreadful: City of Angels (Season Finale, 65 min.)

STARZ:
8PM - Hightown
9PM - Hightown
(R)

TLC:
8PM - 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After? (120 min.)
10PM - sMothered

NAT GEO:
8:30PM - Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks (Season Premiere, 93 min.)
10:03PM - Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted (74 min.)

BRAVO:
9PM - Married to Medicine
10PM - Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen (Guests TBA)

GALAVISION:
9PM - Vecinos
9:30PM - Vecinos

HALLMARK:
9PM - Good Witch

HBO:
9PM - Perry Mason (67 min.)
10:07PM - I'll Be Gone in the Dark: Episode 1 (Premiere, 59 min.)
* * * *
11:06PM - Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

PARAMOUNT:
9PM - Yellowstone (63 min.)

TNT:
9PM - Snowpiercer
10:01PM - Snowpiercer
(R)

AMC/BBC AMERICA:
10PM - NOS4A2 (67 min.)

CNN:
10PM - CNN Special Report - Trump & The Law: After Impeachment (Special, 60 min.)

TBS:
10PM - Tournament of Laughs: And a Round of 32 We Go, Part 2 (60 min.)

ADULT SWIM:
Midnight - Robot Chicken - Max Caenen in: Why Would He Know If His Mother's A Size Queen
12:15AM - Robot Chicken: Petless M in: Cars are Couches of the Road


https://tvlistings.zap2it.com/?aid=gapzap
 

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On the other hand, "The Wiz" is how you do it right for race, as is "West Side Story". I actually like the new female Higgins. I just hate everything else about the show, including the choice of Magnum.
Two more examples of doing it right: Katee Sackhoff as Starbuck and Emily Hampshire as J. Goines! Both of which totally owned the part.
 

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TV/Production Notes (Cable)
'D.A.R.Y.L.' Sequel Starring Tony Hale Among TNT, TBS Development Slate
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter - Jun. 26, 2020

D.A.R.Y.L.
Logline: A half-hour comedy that picks up where Paramount's 1985 feature left off. What if a top-secret, 10-year-old human weapon grew up to be a 44-year-old guy just trying to keep up with a world that he was never designed for? And what if the story morphed from an '80s sci-fi adventure movie about a child with a computer in his skull … into a single-camera comedy starring Tony Hale? The boy everyone wanted ... has become the man no one needs ... in the TV adaptation nobody asked for.
Cast: Tony Hale
Studio: Paramount Television Studios
Writers: Jody Lambert (People Like Us), Matt Oberg (The Warren Klein Voicemails)

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/daryl-sequel-starring-tony-hale-tnt-tbs-development-slate-1300550

Dammit! When will Hollywood stop crapping on my childhood?! Everything I liked when I was younger seems to be getting bastardized into stupid comedies - including stuff that didn't start out as one. It's like all the young punks in the studio offices see everything made in the 70's and 80's as "hilariously campy" and therefore is ripe for mocking.


Please stop.


Technology/Streaming Notes (Gaming)
Dr Disrespect is gone and Twitch won’t say why
By Jacob Kastrenakes, TheVerge.com - Jun. 26, 2020

Dr Disrespect disappeared from Twitch this afternoon, with his account vanishing from the site, leading to rumors that he had been banned. The disappearance comes two days after Twitch said it would begin issuing permanent suspensions for streamers as it cracked down on accusations of harassment and sexual misconduct.

Twitch would not confirm that it had banned Dr Disrespect, why he might have been banned, or whether he might be permanently banned. Twitch signed Dr Disrespect to an exclusive two year contract back in March for an undisclosed but “life-changing” amount of money. The streamer had also made a deal with a production company to create an animated TV series around his character.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/26/21304907/dr-disrespect-twitch-ban-no-reason-given

I'm thinking that you should really know what you're getting into when you have a guy named "Dr. Disrespect" on your network.
 

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TV Sports/Health Notes (Hockey)
The NHL has a plan to get back on the ice, but will it work?
By Richard Morin, USA Today/Arizona Republic - Jun. 27, 2020
Eh.
Hockey in summer ?? ill $$bet it....but watch alot idk - the only ice i wanna see now is in my drinks.

I'm thinking that you should really know what you're getting into when you have a guy named "Dr. Disrespect" on your network.
Theyre all stupid like that.
Look all the places that hired then fired howard stern - i think they knew what they were getting when they hired him.
He had alot of goods riffs on that.

WNNNNBC. :D
 

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TV Sports/Critic's Notes (Football)
Cam Newton-New England Patriots union could be a match made in heaven
By Mike Jones, USA Today - Jun. 29, 2020

Bill Belichick just might have done it again: found a way to outfox his opponents with another low-risk, high-reward move that the rest of the league was afraid to make.

Cam Newton has a list of questions to answer, but if capable of doing so, New England’s acquisition of the former NFL MVP could look like a stroke of genius by year’s end.

This union, of course, comes as no surprise. Everybody and his brother started fantasizing about it when Tom Brady bolted for Tampa and the Carolina Panthers sent Newton packing in a seven-day span in late March.

It just made too much sense — for both sides.

Newton, the one-time face of the league, now sports a massive chip on his surgically repaired right shoulder. Belichick, meanwhile, enters the 2020 season with similar motivation.

Both have been counted out. Both have had their last rites read.

The Panthers wrote off Newton despite a body of work in nine seasons that included four playoff appearances, a trip to the Super Bowl and an MVP campaign.

The NFL world has discounted Belichick and his Patriots following Brady’s departure, disregarding his legendary résumé and six Lombardi Trophies.

Newton’s critics believe nine seasons of pounding have rendered his 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame virtually useless. The critics of Belichick and the Patriots eagerly anticipate their demise as younger, more explosive teams have overtaken them.

But here they stand — Newton and Belichick — both stubbornly embracing the next challenge rather than riding off into the sunset.

Both stand to reap handsome rewards for their patience.

Newton endured a three-month wait on the open market as coronavirus restrictions prevented him from visiting teams and taking physicals to prove the soundness of the shoulder and foot injuries that reduced his 2019 season to just two games.

But he couldn’t have asked for a better situation in a quarterback landscape that dramatically shifted this offseason.

Where else was he going to go? To the Chargers, whose coaches are high on Tyrod Taylor and used the sixth overall pick to draft Oregon’s Justin Herbert? Follow Ron Rivera to Washington, where ownership is heavily invested in second-year pro Dwayne Haskins? Las Vegas, to duke it out with Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota? Jacksonville, where a proven quarterback is needed, but Newton's style would’ve badly clashed with that of offensive coordinator Jay Gruden?

None of those rebuilding projects would have translated into the career revival that Newton both craves and is capable of achieving, if healthy.

New England, however, offers just about everything that Newton could ask for.

The wizardly offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who made guys like Jacoby Brissett and Tim Tebow (in Denver) look like playoff-caliber quarterbacks.

The three-headed rushing attack and collection of young, developing wide receivers.

The backing of a consistently formidable defensive attack and special teams unit.

A locker room full of leaders to lighten his load.

And most importantly, a head coach, who’s not afraid to defy conventionalism, take a chance on castoffs and reconfigure his team’s identity depending on roster strengths.

For Newton, the table essentially is set. He doesn’t even have to start Day 1.

Sure, as a fierce competitor, he will want no part of a backup role. And if you’re to believe the numerous workout videos that he has shared on social media, Newton is back to 100% and in great shape. But if his body requires a slower-than-anticipated reacclimation process, or if he needs more than training camp and preseason to become comfortable with New England’s playbook and terminology, the Patriots could rely on Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham for the first few weeks of the regular season.

It’ll be interesting to see how McDaniels tailors the offense to Newton’s strengths. In recent years, New England has shifted to being a more run-oriented team to ease pressure on the aging Brady. McDaniels’ emphasis on shorter passes and timing routes also will help lessen wear and tear on Newton’s shoulder while also protecting a body long subjected to abuse thanks to the quarterback’s fearless style of play.

Having played for four different coordinators in nine seasons, Newton has seen a lot. And a determination to prove his critics wrong will fuel his appetite while learning another system. At this point, Newton seemingly is poised to run an offense and pick his spots for off-script plays more judiciously.

If that happens, Belichick and the Patriots will be greatly rewarded for this gamble.

They’ve been here before of course, although not at the quarterback position. But Belichick has a long history of striking gold on reclamation projects. Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco, Corey Dillon, Aqib Talib, Wes Welker ... The list goes on.

Newton now has a chance to be next because Belichick has enough confidence in his own leadership, the Patriot Way and his staff’s ability to maximize the talents of players whom other teams were too scared to touch.

Belichick really has nothing to lose here. Financially, Newton’s reported deal of $7.5 million is a bargain. And when it comes to expectations, most had already written New England’s obituary for the 2020 season.

The Patriots already were prepared to navigate the year with the unproven Stidham and journeyman Hoyer. Why not see if Newton can regain his top-10 form and position his new squad for yet another AFC East title run?

The timing couldn’t be any more perfect.

Belichick and Newton wouldn’t have been right for each other back in 2011, or even 2015 when Cam was flashing his megawatt smile and doing his Superman flex after every big play. But now, a humbled and hungry Newton is primed to reinvent himself and extend his career. Now, Belichick has experienced the terrors that a scrambling quarterback can inflict on even the most formidable defense, and he’s ready to embrace the brand of football that is taking over the NFL.

The mastermind of roster architecture, Belichick spent the offseason retooling his team to better support the quarterback and compensate for whatever deficiencies Stidham and Hoyer exhibit. This squad certainly can pick up the slack for Newton’s superior talents.

So, New England doesn’t need Newton to be Super Cam as the Panthers and their talent-deficient squads did for all those years. If Belichick and Co. can simply get Cyborg Cam, the AFC East can be had.

The payoff for such a minimal investment could be great for all parties involved. A successful year could translate into a nice payday in 2021 and a lengthy second act for Newton, and for Belichick, this year could lay groundwork for the next chapter of the coach’s storied reign.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/columnist/mike-jones/2020/06/28/cam-newton-bill-belichick-new-england-patriots-ideal-match/3276946001/
 

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TV Sports/Business Notes (Golf)
Fox Sports ending $1.2 billion US Open golf deal
By Andrew Marchand, New York Post - Jun. 28, 2020

Fox Sports and the US Golf Association are ending their 12-year agreement worth around $1.2 billion that included the U.S. Open, The Post has learned.

There were seven years left on the contract between Fox Sports and the USGA.

Fox’s rights are expected to shift to NBC, which will produce this fall’s U.S. Open.

The original deal was for nearly $100 million per year.

The AP also reported news of the deal.

An announcement had been planned for Monday. NBC and Fox Sports were unavailable for comment Sunday night.

NBC will broadcast the US Open from Winged Foot on Sept. 17-20. That will avoid an issue for Fox, which has Sunday NFL on that day.

NBC had broadcast the US Open from 1995 to 2004.

While Fox improved its coverage after a slow start, it and the USGA reportedly had issues over the years of the contract. Besides the men’s US Open, Fox had broadcast the US Women’s Open and the Senior Tour.

The Golf Channel, which just had major layoffs in its Orlando-based staff, could possibly pick up more events. Like NBC, it is owned by Comcast.

FS1 was also part of Fox Sports’ golf coverage.

https://nypost.com/2020/06/28/fox-ending-1-2-billion-deal-with-golf-nbc-could-produce-us-open/
 

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TV Notes (Awards)
Complete 2020 BET Awards Winners List: Big Night For Roddy Ricch, Chris Brown
By Tom Tapp, Deadline.com - Jun. 28, 2020

The virtually-produced 2020 BET Awards on Sunday delivered a host of big names and surprises.

At the top of the show, Public Enemy joined forces with Nas, Questlove, Black Thought, YG and Rhapsody Team for a searing 2020 update of the P.E. classic “Fight the Power.”

And that was just the beginning. Alicia Keys performed a haunting rendition of “Beautiful Way to Die.” John Legend inspired with a powerful performance of “Never Break.” Megan Thee Stallion strutted her way through “Girls in the Hood.” Jennifer Hudson channeled Aretha Franklin in a performance that was followed by a new trailer for Respect. Lil Wayne paid tribute to Kobe Bryant. The multi-talented Wayne Brady honored the Little Richard. Michelle Obama even put in an appearance, presenting the 2020 Humanitarian Award to Beyoncé.

Drake led this year’s BET Awards field with six nominations, but took home only one statue. Megan Thee Stallion and Roddy Ricch each had five nominations. Megan Thee Stallion took home Best Female Hip-Hop Artist while Ricch was the biggest winner of the night, with three statues.

Below is the list of nominees and winners. [CLICK LINK]

https://deadline.com/2020/06/bet-awards-2020-winners-list-updating-live-1202972284/
 

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TV/Production Notes (Gaming)
‘Disco Elysium’ TV Series Adaptation in the Works From ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Producer
By Joe Otterson, Variety.com - Jun. 26, 2020

EXCLUSIVE: The hit video game “Disco Elysium” is getting the TV series treatment.

Indie game developer ZA/UM has partnered with the production company dj2 Entertainment to develop a series based on the game.

Based on the universe introduced in Robert Kurvitz’s 2013 novel “Sacred and Terrible Air,” the game follows a veteran detective with a mysterious past who must solve a crime that threatens to set powerful political factions into civil war.

“We’re so gratified at the response ‘Disco Elysium’ has received, and very happy to be teaming with dj2 to expand the franchise for other media and new audiences,” said Helen Hindpere, lead writer of ZA/UM.

“Disco Elysium” was first released in October 2019 on PC. The game has received widespread critical acclaim, including four wins at the Game Awards. Those include the best narrative and best independent game awards. It also won three BAFTA awards and was named one of the best games of the decade by Time Magazine.

No writer is currently attached, nor is a network or streaming service. dj2 is now meeting writers in anticipation of pitching the property later this year.

“’Disco Elysium’ is a phenomenal property with an expansive world and unlimited potential,” says dj2 CEO and founder Dmitri M. Johnson. “The dj2 team is truly thrilled about this extraordinary opportunity to be part of it all.”

With the deal, ZA/UM has signed with APA for representation. dj2 is also repped by APA and Brecheen Feldman Breimer Silver & Thompson.

Johnson was a co-producer on the hit film adaptation of “Sonic the Hedgehog,” which is the highest-grossing video game-based feature film of all time. The company is executive producing several television series now in development and is producing live-action adaptations of the video games “Sleeping Dogs” with Donnie Yen and “Echo” with F. Gary Gray’s Fenix Studios and Derek Kolstad writing.

https://variety.com/2020/tv/news/disco-elysium-tv-series-1234690455/
 

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TV Review (Streaming)
Netflix's The Baby-Sitters Club is feel-good fun
By Kristen Baldwin, EW.com - Jun. 29, 2020

"You try and make the world better your way and I'll do mine — and we'll still be best friends, okay?" This avowal from Dawn (Xochitl Gomez), an activist and one-fifth of a small-business enterprise called the Baby-Sitters Club, sums up the appeal of Netflix's heartwarming new kids' series. Based on Ann M. Martin's beloved book series about a group of friends in Stoneybrook, Conn., this latest adaptation brings The Baby-Sitters Club into the modern era without sacrificing the wholesome ideals at its core.

The premiere lays out the BSC's origin story, which hasn't changed from the books: Pragmatic and pushy middle-schooler Kristy Thomas (Sophie Grace) forms the club after her mom (Alicia Silverstone) can't find a sitter for her little brother David Michael (Benjamin Goas). Kristy recruits four of her friends — artistic candy addict Claudia (Momona Tamada), industrious Mary Anne (Malia Baker), Manhattan expat Stacey (Shay Rudolph), and Dawn — and after purchasing an "olden-times phone" (a.k.a. a landline) on Etsy, the club is in business.

The season 1 action will feel comfortably familiar to hardcore fans, as almost all of the first 10 episodes are based on the early books. The gang's adventures range from classic babysitter tropes ("Claudia and the Phantom Caller") to relatable tween drama about crushes and family frictions ("Boy-Crazy Stacey," "Claudia and Mean Janine"). Unlike the overly earnest 1990 HBO series and 1995 movie, this take on The Baby-Sitters Club — adapted for television by Rachel Shukert (GLOW, Supergirl) — actually allows the girls to have personalities. The young cast brings a non-cloying spunk to their performances — Tamada and Grace are standouts — and Gomez delivers Dawn's social-justice-themed dialogue with heartfelt frankness.

BSC (premiering July 3) offers some nods to older viewers, sprinkling in grown-up pop culture references (Did Alicia Silverstone just make a Handmaid's Tale joke? Why yes, she did!) and filling the mom and dad slots with parent-friendly actors. Royal Pains' charming nerdthrob Mark Feuerstein costars as Kristy's overeager soon-to-be stepdad, Watson Brewer, and The Good Place's Marc Evan Jackson is a dry delight as Mary Anne's fastidious, overprotective dad, Mr. Spier.

But Netflix's Baby-Sitters Club skews unabashedly young: Kids play Uno and tell each other corny-cute jokes ("Did you hear about the hungry clock? It went back for seconds!"), and all the puppy love is peck-on-the-cheek chaste. That isn't to say adults won't find the show enjoyable, especially since it portrays a Platonic ideal of modern childhood. Stoneybrook is a gentle world where kids aren't exposed to drugs or insta-nudes or cyberbullying, where girls of all backgrounds are encouraged to know their worth and taught to use their voices from a young age. If HBO's sex-soaked Euphoria depicted every parent's worst nightmare, consider BSC a sweet slice of TV heaven.

GRADE: B

https://ew.com/tv/tv-reviews/baby-sitters-club-netflix-review/
 

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Technology/Business Notes (Social Media)
Starbucks, Levi's, Diageo Join Facebook, Instagram Ad Boycott
By Abid Rahman, The Hollywood Reporter - Jun. 29, 2020

Starbucks, Levi's and global alcoholic drinks giant Diageo are the latest blue-chip companies to join the growing advertising boycott of Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram over the social media giant's handling of racism, violence and misinformation on its platform.

CNBC reports that Starbucks will pause advertising on "all social media platforms," but continue to post without paid promotion. “We believe in bringing communities together, both in person and online, and we stand against hate speech,” Starbucks said in a statement Sunday to CNBC. “We believe more must be done to create welcoming and inclusive online communities, and we believe both business leaders and policy makers need to come together to affect real change.”

Levi's tweeted, "Facebook must take actions to stop misinformation and hate speech on its platforms. It is an unacceptable affront to our values. We and @docKers are joining the #StopHateForProfit campaign and pausing all ads on @Facebook and @Instagram.

In a statement posted to Twitter, the British drinks company Diageo, the owner of the Smirnoff, Tanqueray and Johnnie Walker brands, said, "Diageo strives to promote diversity, including through our own marketing campaigns. From July 1, we will pause all paid advertising globally on major social media platforms. We will continue to discuss with media partners how they will deal with unacceptable content."

On June 17, a group that included the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense launched the #StopHateForProfit social media campaign that called on companies to suspend advertising on Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram for the month of July.

Since the launch of the campaign, outdoor clothing firms Patagonia, The North Face and Arc'teryx, outdoor equipment company REI, tech companies Dashlane and Upwork were amongst the first to say they will join the boycott. In the last week, Ben & Jerry's, Magnolia Pictures, Hershey's, Mozilla, Verizon, Coca-Cola, Honda and Unilever are among the big names to have joined the boycott.

Facebook has faced fierce criticism, externally and internally, in recent months for the misinformation and racist content spread on its platform, and in particular posts from President Donald Trump that have been widely condemned as dangerous or inciting violence. The company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg has remained firm that Facebook will not regulate online speech. "I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn't be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online," Zuckerberg said in an interview with Fox News last month. "Private companies probably shouldn't be, especially these platform companies, shouldn't be in the position of doing that."

Last Friday, as the ad boycott started to gain momentum, Facebook said that it will flag all "newsworthy" posts from politicians and political groups that break its rules, including those from Trump as well as banning posts that discourage voting with false claims.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/starbucks-levis-diageo-join-facebook-instagram-ad-boycott-1300845
 

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Technology/Business Notes (Social Media)
Starbucks, Levi's, Diageo Join Facebook, Instagram Ad Boycott
By Abid Rahman, The Hollywood Reporter - Jun. 29, 2020


On June 17, a group that included the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense launched the #StopHateForProfit social media campaign that called on companies to suspend advertising on Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram for the month of July.
Why just July? Is it OK to hate for profit during the other 11 months?
 

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TV Review (Streaming)
Jon Stewart’s political comedy Irresistible is telling the wrong truths for the moment
By Matt Patches, Polygon.com - Jun. 26, 2020

Jon Stewart has built a reputation as a truth-teller. Sixteen years of cracking open America’s political machine on The Daily Show, followed by a retirement dedicated to 9/11 first-responder advocacy, will do that. In the feature-length VOD movie Irresistible, written and directed by Stewart, he assumes the truth-teller role again, homing in on a hyper-local election to expose a system that’s shifted away from ideological debates to popularity contests. The satire is goofy and insightful. But unlike The Daily Show’s ripped-from-the-headlines comedy, or Stewart’s grim debut feature, the hostage biopic Rosewater, his second feature feels like it was broadcast from another galaxy, and is only now reaching our current Earthly conversation.

In a rut after the election of Donald Trump, Democratic political strategist Gary Zimmer (Steve Carell) is looking for a glimmer of hope. He finds it in Marine Colonel Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper), who, in a rousing viral speech, stands up to his local, right-leaning leaders to defend undocumented workers and impoverished people put out of work by a failing economy. Seeing the future of his party in this YouTube sensation, Zimmer descends on the Midwest in hopes of turning Jack into “a Bill Clinton with impulse control.”

He brings eight metric tons of latte-sipping, iPhone-tethering, Washington D.C. energy to the mom-and-pop-shop-filled town, and he also comes with a target on his back. When the Kellyanne Conway-esque Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne) catches wind of Gary and Jack’s mayoral campaign, she puts the full force of the RNC behind the incumbent, and focuses the 24-hour-news spotlight on everyone involved.

Irresistible is relentlessly earnest, suggesting the power of fresh-baked pastries can melt the heart of the most cold-hearted strategist. As Gary, Carell is a conniving Grinch who’s bound to learn a lesson by the time the credits roll. Though he swoops in with a tactician’s talons, ramping up media plans and even whisking Jack away for a quick Manhattan visit to rub shoulders with deep-pocketed donors, it doesn’t take long for the camaraderie of his ragtag campaign staff to make him question his fast-lane existence. If only he could find some Wi-Fi in this wacky little town!

Instead of aping the intensity of Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker’s legendary doc The War Room, or delivering the punchy breakdowns of The Big Short, Stewart concentrates on the human element. Jack’s supporters are quirky, the opposition is a caricature, and the media hyping up the showdown is the obstructive enemy. The choice makes it one big sitcom (complete with Office-ready campaign operatives played by Topher Grace and Natasha Lyonne). Stewart clearly did his homework — the movie feels like it’s being propped up by the last three years of Atlantic magazine cover stories — but the message lacks any sense of bite or power.

Gary’s arc is obvious yet satisfying, mostly thanks to his foil. Faith has the advantage of being even more cutthroat, and whenever they clash (or fall back into old romantic patterns), Stewart lets Irresistible explode into a true romp. The two gamble on their victories with highly sexual wagers. They bicker on MSNBC to the point of invading each other’s split-screen box. They death-stare each other down across Main Street. Byrne and Carell become a pair of political cartoons, in full control of their buffoonish behavior.

Cooper, always the sage, reels the film back in: On the campaign trail, Stewart gives Jack moments to opine on the American situation in a way that paints people like pawns. Why can’t politicians be honest with constituents? Why do we need the money, the ad campaigns, and the hoopla? As we know from the last few weeks of reality, widespread societal change is a bit more active than Stewart’s old-fashioned fantasy. But the filmmaker does have one trick up his sleeve: Jack’s daughter Diana (Mackenzie Davis), who despite being introduced with her hand up a cow’s butt, is a little more than the country bumpkin Gary assumes she is. The character gives the movie some surprising, satisfying twists.

Irresistible has the do-gooder soul of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and the gags of a seasoned, sophisticated comedian. But it might be a while before the film’s message and style clicks with viewers. In a moment of volatile government action, ideological polarization, the urgent Black Lives Matter conversation, and the unpredictable upheaval of coronavirus, Stewart has crafted a comedy that points fingers at both sides. The points are reasonable, but the takeaways are minimal, except for the fact that the visual of Carell cramped in a car parked outside a school in an effort to siphon Wi-Fi is very funny. With Irresistible, Stewart remains a funny truth-teller. He just isn’t telling the truths that are vital to this moment.

Irresistible is currently available for streaming on Amazon, Vudu, and other rental services.

https://www.polygon.com/2020/6/26/21304931/irresistible-review-jon-stewart-political-satire-movie-steve-carell-rose-byrne-chris-cooper
 
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