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Brooklyn 99 Is 'Ba-Ba-Ba-Back,' as Production on Season 8 Gets Underway
By Ryan Schwartz

At long last, the NYPD’s finest are back on the beat, as production on the eighth and final season of NBC’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine gets started.

Cameras began rolling on the final 10 episodes Tuesday, which are set to air after a longggg delay, as part of the 2021-22 broadcast-TV season. Melissa Fumero — aka Jake Peralta’s better-half Amy Santiago — was among the first to mark the occasion.

“Ba ba ba back in the Nine Nine!!!” she said enthusiastically. “Yesterday, I was so excited to be back at work, I forgot to take a pic to commemorate the occasion, so here’s a Day 2 pic!”

Fellow costar Stephanie Beatriz snapped a selfie inside Shaw’s Bar, back in Rosa Diaz’s signature leather jacket, while Joe Lo Truglio shared footage of his transformation into Charles Boyle. Joel McKinnon-Miller (aka Scully) also shared a video from the makeup chair, and posed for a masked photo with B99‘s director of photography Rick Page (see below).

http://instagr.am/p/CNYBzathXM0/
NBC announced in February that B99 would wrap its death-defying run with a shortened eighth season. At the time, executive producer Dan Goor released a statement, which read in part: “I’m so thankful to NBC and Universal Television for allowing us to give these characters and our fans the ending they deserve… Ending the show was a difficult decision, but ultimately, we felt it was the best way to honor the characters, the story and our viewers. I know some people will be disappointed it’s ending so soon, but honestly, I’m grateful it lasted this long. Title of my sex tape.”

The Andy Samberg-led sitcom first premiered on Fox in 2013, where it ran for five seasons before it was cancelled in 2018. Within less than 48 hours, NBC swooped in and rescued it. In addition to the COVID of it all, Season 8 was delayed when the first four scripts were scrapped in light of last summer’s nationwide protests against police violence following the horrifying murder of George Floyd. Soon after, Samberg confirmed that B99 was “taking a step back” as the cast, writers and producers contemplated “how you make a comedy show about police right now.”

B99‘s Season 7 finale, which featured the arrival of Jake and Amy’s firstborn Mac, aired April 23 of last year.

 

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Nielsen, TV Networks in Showdown Over Counting Viewers Amid Pandemic (EXCLUSIVE)

By Brian Steinberg

Sometimes, the simple act of counting can result in something much more complex.

Nielsen and the TV networks whose audiences it measures typically work hand in hand to tell the world about how many people watch some of the nation’s most-watched comedies and dramas. But this week, at least, they’re close to bearing arms against one another.

Nielsen has acknowledged it may not have been able to measure TV audiences during the coronavirus pandemic as closely as it might under normal circumstances, according to five people familiar with the matter, and executives at TV networks believe that has resulted in audience tabulation that could be as much as 10% below where it ought to be for many shows and dayparts — and even streaming activity — in 2020.

One TV executive says the discrepancies and the reasons behind them are “exasperating.” Working with the VAB, a trade organization that represents the big TV networks to advertisers and agencies, the networks have pressed Nielsen to release a public statement about 2020 ratings measurement, according to the people familiar with discussions. ViacomCBS is said to be particularly engaged in the matter. Nielsen, so far, has refused.

“We’ve got no comment on this,” says Sean Cunningham, CEO of the VAB, in a response to an email seeking information. Disney, ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal, Fox, WarnerMedia and Discovery declined to make executives available for comment.

“We have full confidence in the fidelity of our ratings estimates and are working alongside clients to help the industry understand the true impact COVID has had on audiences,” Nielsen said in a statement.

The issue comes to a boil as the nation’s big media companies prepare for the industry’s annual “upfront” market, when U.S. TV networks try to sell the bulk of their advertising inventory ahead of their next cycle of programming. Nielsen ratings are the bedrock of how TV networks and media agencies set prices, and many advertisers build out placement of their clients’ commercials by “mirroring” audience levels from the prior year.

This year, the TV networks don’t like what they see in their reflection.

At issue, according to some of the people familiar with discussions, are decisions by Nielsen to keep field agents from visiting the homes of participants in Nielsen’s measurement process. These people say Nielsen, citing a desire to keep agents from contracting any contagion, kept employees from ensuring technology was functioning properly. These people also suggest that some Nielsen households may no longer be reliable owing to deaths caused by the pandemic. Meanwhile, these people say, the networks aren’t getting the full credit they deserve for people who stream their favorite programs in non-linear fashion.

But others suggest the networks are simply trying to create a public source of blame for viewership problems they have suffered for the past several years. These people note that the pandemic wrought havoc on TV production schedules, forcing the networks to air more repeats, and to run sports games out of sync with traditional schedules. These people also note some familiar programs were made with noticeably lower production values, such as “at home” late-night shows that relied heavily on remote appearances by celebrities.

Little wonder, these people say, that viewers opted to engage more readily with a host of new streaming-video outlets.

“Over the course of the last year, COVID has disrupted lives, families, organizations and businesses. Nielsen is no different. We leaned in, kept the panel, our people and the ratings estimates safe and, like many of our clients, continued to operate. In early March we began our return to pre-COVID maintenance protocols and, in concert with local government guidance, resumed in-home field visits when it was safe to do so with the goal of returning to normal as quickly as possible,” Nielsen said, adding: “While we have always been in the field, our return to in-home visits will help maintain our representative measurement panel and allow us to continue” efforts toward building new systems to examine viewer activity across multiple screens.”

This isn’t the first skirmish between the networks and Nielsen in recent months. In July of last year, Nielsen reversed a last-minute decision to not implement a new measure of so-called “out of home” viewing — audiences watching TV in offices, bars, hotels and the like — even though the networks had sought it. Nielsen cited the pandemic’s effects on viewership in those venues as a reason to delay launch of the new system. The networks, which had already established ad deals with the new measurement involved, went ballistic, and even demanded a public apology. Media outlets and advertisers have increasingly found themselves at odds as new technology forces changes in the systems both sides have relied upon for decades.

Whether the measurement dust-up has any effect on the new upfront talks remains to be seen. Even the nation’s big media agencies are projecting increases in ad spending for 2021, citing a nation eager to move on from the pandemic – and hikes in activity from some of the businesses most affected by it, like movie studios and travel advertisers. Interpublic Group’s Magna, a large media buying unit, recently projected that overall U.S. ad sales would rise 6.4% to $240 billion in 2021, with national TV advertising set to increase 3.4%.

What may slow things down, however, are new complexities. Many of the big media companies are eager to sell ad inventory on new streaming services like Peacock, Tubi, HBO Max and Paramount Plus. They want to do so with hefty rates of increase attached, and it’s not clear whether Madison Avenue will consent to those conditions, even as audiences continue their move away from traditional TV — whether or not Nielsen offers the most granular picture of it.

 

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Aaron Rodgers has a crazy plan: QB explains how he could host 'Jeopardy!' full-time while still playing in NFL
The Packers quarterback wants to hold two full-time jobs and here's how he would make it work

By John Breech CBSSports.com
After hosting his first episode of "Jeopardy!" on Monday, Aaron Rodgers is slated to host the game show nine more times between now and April 16 when his guest hosting stint is scheduled to end. However, if it's up to Rodgers, that April 16 episode won't be his final one as host and that's because the Packers quarterback wants to be considered for the full-time job.
During an interview on Monday, Rodgers said he would absolutely take the permanent job if it was offered to him.
"I would love to be the host of 'Jeopardy!' yes," Rodgers told the Pat McAfee Show.
The fact that Rodgers was out campaigning to land the "Jeopardy!" job raised some eyebrows around the NFL and that's mostly because he already has a full-time job with the Packers. Although it might seem like Rodgers would have to retire from football if he wanted to host "Jeopardy!" that's actually not the case.
So how would that work?
Rodgers revealed his crazy plan during an interview with The Ringer: He would host the show AND play football.
"I don't think I'd need to give up football to do it," Rodgers said of hosting. "They film 46 days a year. I worked 187 this year in Green Bay. That gives me 178 days to do 'Jeopardy!' So I feel like I could fit 46 into that 178 and make it work. It would be a dream job for sure, and I'm not shy at all about saying I want the job. That's how I went into it. I want an opportunity to be in the mix."
Based on that math, Rodgers would still get 132 days off per year. It's probably also worth nothing that the quarterback's fiancée, Shailene Woodley, is completely on board with him potentially becoming the full-time host of the show.
The Packers quarterback is the fifth person to guest host "Jeopardy!" since former host Alex Trebek died in November. Besides Rodgers, the show has also been hosted by Ken Jennings, Mike Richards (executive producer of the show), Katie Couric and Dr. Oz.
"I feel like I bring something different to the stage," Rodger said. "I'm the youngest of any of the guest hosts, I'd be the youngest host of just about any major game show."
After Rodgers' guest stint is over, he'll be followed by Anderson Cooper, Savannah Guthrie, Mayim Bialik, "60 Minutes" correspondent Bill Whitaker and Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN.
Rodgers knows exactly who will be hosting going forward and he listed off a few things that set him apart from the others.
"I bring an audience from the NFL, and I feel like I appeal to nerdy people, too, because I was a nerd in high school and got caught in that weird phase of wanting to be a jock and an athlete and also really caring about getting good grades," Rodgers said. "And at the same time, there's not many bigger fans of the show than me. I've been watching it for years and years and years. I respect the show and appreciate the history of it, and also there's my background of stepping in for a legend and their footsteps. I feel like all that combined makes me a pretty good candidate."
If "Jeopardy!" producers asked him to retire from football, it doesn't sound like Rodgers would be willing to give that up. During an interview on Tuesday, the quarterback said he still has a lot of "passion and fire" for the game.
"I still love playing, and I don't want to [give up playing football]," Rodgers said on "Good Morning Football." "There is something interesting about walking away from the game at the height, you know. There's been many players who've done that. I mean, one of my favorite players growing up was Barry Sanders, and Barry rushed for over 1,000 yards in every one of his seasons and then just said, 'See ya.' That's not what I want to do. I want to keep playing, you know. I still have the passion and the fire, and this last season just reminded me and I think a lot of people that I can still play and still play at a really, really high level, and I feel like I can do this for a number of years moving forward."
Rodgers was widely praised for his first day of hosting on Monday and the best part might have been his reaction after a contestant took a shot at Packers coach Matt LaFleur near the end of the show. During Final Jeopardy, one of the contestants didn't know the answer, so he decided to ask a much more creative question, "Who wanted to kick that field goal?"
The contestant was referring to the field goal that LaFleur decided to kick with 2:05 left in the NFC Championship Game while the Packers were trailing by eight (the field goal cut it to five).
The best part is that Rodgers answered by taking a subtle jab at his coach, "That's a great question."
Aaron Rodgers has a crazy plan: QB explains how he could host 'Jeopardy!' full-time while still playing in NFL
 

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Just to keep the original template around for future use... 😉😹

TV/Nielsen Overnights
TV Ratings: 'NCIS' Nears Season Highs
By Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter - Apr. 7, 2021

NCIS approached its season highs on Tuesday, defying the usual spring downtown and leading a primetime sweep for CBS.

NBC's This Is Us, meanwhile, fell to same-day lows, and ABC's Pooch Perfect declined a good amount in its second week. On cable, Chad had a decent debut for TBS.

NCIS delivered 10.26 million viewers for CBS, just shy of its same-day season high of 10.35 million for the season premiere. Its 0.96 rating among adults 18-49 nearly tied the high of 0.97 for the Jan. 26 installment (a difference of about 13,000 people in the key ad demographic). FBI: Most Wanted (6.44 million viewers, 0.66) also reached a multi-episode high in the 18-49 demo, while FBI (8.07 million, 0.77 in 18-49) was even with its last airing.

This Is Us slipped to all time same-day lows of 4.53 million viewers and a 0.79 in adults 18-49. The shows around it, however — Young Rock (2.63 million, 0.51), Kenan (2.01 million, 0.39) and New Amsterdam (3.6 million, 0.44) — were fairly steady.

At ABC, Pooch Perfect declined by a sizable amount, dropping by 30 percent in adults 18-49 (to 0.42) and 32 percent in total viewers (to 2.82 million).

TBS' Chad was the top scripted show on cable Tuesday in adults 18-49 with a 0.22 (about 285,000 viewers) to go along with a total viewer tally of 708,000. The cable network says that including sneak peeks, 1.9 million people have watched the show thus far, making it the top scripted comedy on cable this season.

Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight topped cable in total viewers with 3.04 million, and History's The Curse of Oak Island led the 18-49 rankings with a 0.44.

Source: 'NCIS,' 'This Is Us': TV Ratings Tuesday, April 6, 2021 | Hollywood Reporter
 

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TV Notes (Broadcast)
'MacGyver' Canceled After Five Seasons at CBS
By Mona Khalifeh, ETOnline.com - Apr. 7, 2021

MacGyver is coming to an end after five seasons at CBS. ET has confirmed that the procedural reboot, which stars Lucas Till, Levy Tran, Henry Ian Cusick, Tristin Mays and more, will conclude with its series finale on April 30th.

The drama, a reimagining of the classic '80s series, premiered on Sept. 23, 2016 and has been a part of CBS' Friday night lineup ever since. Kelly Kahl, President of CBS Entertainment, said she was grateful to the writers, cast and crew for their work on the show.

"All of us at CBS are extremely grateful for the incredible work and dedication from Lucas and the rest of the cast, as well as Monica, the writers and the entire crew,” Kahl said. “The MacGyver team traveled far and wide to repeatedly save the world with little more than bubble gum and a paper clip and made this show distinctly their own. We’re gratified we get to give this dedicated and loyal fan base the opportunity to say goodbye to their favorite characters in the thoughtful manner this series deserves."

Monica Macer, the show's executive producer teased the "spectacular" final episodes the show has in store in the coming weeks and praised MacGyver's loyal fans for their devotion.

"Since coming on board to MacGyver last year, I have been amazed by the devotion and enthusiasm of this remarkable cast and crew, as well as the loyal fans," Macer said. "My gratitude goes out to Lucas, Tristin, Justin, Meredith, Levy and Ian, who put everything they have into our show, specifically for the fans. We can’t wait for them to see our spectacular final episodes and the adventures that still await for Mac and the team at the Phoenix."

MacGyver airs Fridays at 8:00 p.m. PT/ET on CBS.

Source: 'MacGyver' Canceled After Five Seasons at CBS | Entertainment Tonight (etonline.com)
 

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TV/Production Notes (Cable)
Madea Prequel Series Mabel in the Works at Showtime, From Tyler Perry
By Mona Khalifeh, ETOnline.com - Apr. 7, 2021

Allow her to reintroduce herself: Mabel, a series exploring the untold origins of Tyler Perry‘s Madea character, is being developed at Showtime, our sister site Deadline reports.

“Every great story has to start somewhere and every legend has a beginning,” reads the series’ official logline. “Long before she was the force of nature known as Madea she was a smart, fierce, irresistible, dangerous, crazy 20-something black woman named…Mabel Simmons. When she moved to Atlanta in 1972 she set the city – and the world – on fire!”

Mabel is created by Perry and Tim Palen, both of whom will also executive-produce alongside writers JaNeika James and JaSheika James.

Inspired by Perry’s mother and aunt, Madea was first introduced via Perry’s 2000 hit play I Can Do Bad All By Myself, before making the leap to the big screen in 2005’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman.

Always played by Perry in drag, Madea has gone on to appear in 10 other films: Madea’s Family Reunion in 2006, Meet the Browns in 2008, Madea Goes to Jail in 2009, I Can Do Bad All by Myself in 2009, Madea’s Big Happy Family in 2011, Madea’s Witness Protection in 2012, A Madea Christmas in 2013, Boo! A Madea Halloween in 2016, Boo 2! A Madea Halloween in 2017 and A Madea Family Funeral in 2019. She has also appeared in two of Perry’s television shows: House of Payne and Love Thy Neighbor.

Will you tune in to see how Mabel became the “force of nature known as Madea”?

Source: Madea Prequel Series ‘Mabel’: Tyler Perry Starring In Showtime Comedy | TVLine
 

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TV/Nielsen Notes (Cable)
Weekly Cable Ratings: Fox News Opens April in First Place
By R. Thomas Umstead, Multichannel News - Apr. 7, 2021

Fox News dominated the primetime and total day ratings charts during the first week of April, according to Nielsen.

Fox News averaged 2.1 million viewers for the week of March 29 to April 4, easily besting fellow cable news network MSNBC and TBS -- which carried late round coverage of the men’s college basketball tournament -- both of which tied for second place with 1.6 million viewers, said Nielsen.

ESPN, bolstered by the more than 4 million viewers who tuned into its April 4 Stanford-Arizona women’s college basketball tournament finals telecast, pulled into fourth place with 1.2 million viewers, followed by HGTV with 1.1 million watchers.

CNN fell to sixth place with 1 million viewers, followed by History (948,000 viewers), Hallmark Channel (833,000), Food Network (766,000), and TLC (755,000).

On a total day basis, Fox News led all networks with an average of 1.1 million viewers, followed by MSNBC (1 million viewers), CNN (816,000), HGTV (649,000) and ESPN (577,000).

Source: Weekly Cable Ratings: Fox News Opens April in First Place | Multichannel News (nexttv.com)
 

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TV/Production Notes (Analysis)
Are the Major Streaming Services Finally Running Out of New Shows?
After a pandemic year in which the production pipeline has slowed—and at times, halted—anecdotal evidence suggests that the long-anticipated content drought has indeed arrived
By Daniel Frankel, NextTV.com - Apr. 6, 2021

Consumption levels of streaming video entertainment have boomed amid the pandemic, while production studios have been slowed—and for a time, halted altogether. Pearl-clutching began almost a year ago suggesting that the major streaming services would run dry on new shows.

Based on a fair amount of anecdotal evidence, we might have arrived at that point.

According to Kasey Moore, founder and editor of the online guide What’s on Netflix, the number of original series episodes and movies debuting on Netflix this year through April 1 is down 12%, from 180 in 2020 to just 159 in 2021. New programming additions of all kinds for April on Netflix are down by more than half, from 83 in April of last year to only 40 for this month.

“It’s fair to say the content drought is here,” Moore tweeted.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw suggests plenty of other data points indicating slowdowns on other services.

HBO Max, for example, released the original series Generation in March. But its other new March releases consisted of a recut (Zack Snyder’s Justice League), two documentaries (Allen v. Farrow and Tina) and a theatrical title that was finished before the pandemic started, Godzilla vs. Kong.

By this time last year, Shaw noted, HBO had released new miniseries The New Pope and The Plot Against America, a new series, The Outsider, and new seasons of original shows Westworld and My Brilliant Friend. HBO does have new drama series Mare of Easttown, starring Kate Winslet, coming up on April 18.

Amazon Prime Video’s biggest March release was a title that Paramount unloaded amid theater closures, Coming 2 America.

And Hulu didn’t have any originals for March. Its biggest titles for the month were FX series Mayans M.C. and Fox-produced Aretha Franklin biopic Genius.

Looking around further, Peacock is debuting the original Ed Helms comedy Rutherford Falls in April. But otherwise, its big programming events seem to be WWE wrestling matches.

Disney Plus is launching David E. Kelley original series Big Shot on April 16. But otherwise, it has a National Geographic documentary on whales and some older movie titles (Night at the Museum, anyone?) lined up.

As Bloomberg noted, the pipeline for documentaries and animated shows seems to be robust. But English-language live-action titles are running predictably low. Streaming services continue to turn to foreign pipelines to find shows their audiences maybe haven't yet seen.

The No. 1 title on Netflix on Tuesday, for example is a 2020 English-language German sci-fi movie, What Lies Below.

The evidence of this predictable programming shortage isn’t all anecdotal. FX noted in late January that the number of original shows on broadcast, basic cable, premium cable and streaming dipped 7% in 2020 to 493 from their peak of 532 in 2019.

Source: Are the Major Streaming Services Finally Running Out of New Shows? | Next TV
 

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Obituary
Walter Olkewicz, Twin Peaks actor and Seinfeld cable guy, dies at 72
By Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com - Apr. 7, 2021

Walter Olkewicz, the veteran character actor known for his work on TV series including Twin Peaks, Grace Under Fire, and Seinfeld, has died at 72.

His son Zak Olkewicz, a screenwriter, confirmed to EW that his father passed away Tuesday morning. "He was a good man who pushed his love for creativity and the arts into everything he did," he said in a statement. "He handed that passion down to me, and I look forward to passing it on to the grandchildren he loved so much."

Olkewicz was perhaps most beloved by audiences for his work in the Twin Peaks universe. He played bartender and croupier Jacques Renault on the original series, which ran from 1990 to 1991, and reprised the role in the 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Olkewicz made his final screen appearance in the role in 2017, as part of the Showtime revival. It marked his first role in nearly 15 years.

He was also familiar to TV viewers for his portrayal of oil refinery worker Dougie Boudreau on the ABC sitcom Grace Under Fire. He recurred in the role for the show's first four seasons. And Seinfeld obsessives will recognize Olkewicz as Nick the cable guy, from the 1996 episode "The Cadillac."

Olkewicz was born May 14, 1948, in Bayonne, N.J. He made his screen debut in 1976's Futureworld and landed a more featured role in Steven Spielberg's 1979 war comedy 1941.

From then on, he worked steadily in film and television through the late '90s, when health complications prevented him from appearing on screen. Other notable film credits included Making the Grade, The Big Picture, Stuart Saves His Family, Par 6, and The Client.

But Olkewicz was most prolific in television. He had recurring roles on many short-lived series, including The Last Resort, Wizards and Warriors, Partners in Crime, and Dolly Parton's 1987-88 ABC variety show, Dolly.

He also made memorable guest appearances on shows such as Who's The Boss?, Night Court, Cheers, Taxi, Barney Miller, Married… With Children, Moonlighting, L.A. Law, The Rockford Files, Newhart, ER, Family Ties, Dharma & Greg, and Murder, She Wrote.

Oklewicz is survived by his son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren.

Source: Walter Olkewicz dead: Twin Peaks and Seinfeld actor dies at 72 | EW.com
 

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TV Notes (Streaming)
‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Renewed For Season 3 As Second Season Gets Teaser & Premiere Date On Paramount+
By Alexandra Del Rosario, Deadline.com - Apr. 5, 2021

Paramount+ has handed Star Trek: Lower Decks an early renewal for a 10-episode third season, before the animated series returns for its sophomore season this summer.

On Monday, during the First Contact Day virtual event, Paramount+ revealed that Star Trek: Lower Decks will return for Season 2 on Thursday, August 12.

Developed and created by Emmy winner Mike McMahan, Star Trek: Lower Decks shines a light on the support crew serving on one of Starfleet’s least important ships, the U.S.S. Cerritos, in 2380. Ensigns Mariner, Boimler, Rutherford and Tendi have to keep up with their duties and their social lives, often while the ship is being rocked by a multitude of sci-fi anomalies. The voice cast for the animated series includes Tawny Newsome, Jack Quaid, Noël Wells and Eugene Cordero. Dawnn Lewis, Jerry O’Connell and Gillian Vigman are also part of the cast.

‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 2 Teaser: Patrick Stewart Ponders The Final Frontier, Hints At A Familiar Character’s Return

The series is produced by CBS’ Eye Animation Productions, CBS Studios’ new animation arm; Secret Hideout; and Roddenberry Entertainment. Secret Hideout’s Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin, Roddenberry Entertainment’s Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth, and Katie Krentz (219 Productions) serve as executive producers alongside creator and showrunner Mike McMahan. Aaron Baiers serves as a co-executive producer. Titmouse serves as the animation studio for the series.

Paramount+ also treated First Contact Day viewers with a teaser trailer for Star Trek: Lower Decks season two. Watch it above.

Source: ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Renewed For Season Three By Paramount+ – Deadline
 

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TV/Business Notes
Peter Dunn, David Friend Out at CBS Television Stations
Investigation followed reports of "hostile work environment" in 'LA Times'
By Michael Malone, Broadcasting & Cable - Apr. 7, 2021

Peter Dunn, CBS Television Stations president, is leaving the company, as is senior VP of news David Friend. The two were put on administrative leave in January amid a third-party investigation into issues raised in reports in the Los Angeles Times.

“Peter Dunn, president of the CBS Television Stations, and David Friend, senior VP of news for the Stations group, will not return to their positions and will be leaving the company. On an interim basis, Bryon Rubin [chief operating officer, CBS Entertainment Group] will continue to run the Stations group while Kim Godwin [executive VP of news, CBS News] will continue her oversight of Stations’ news operations until new leadership is in place,” said CBS in a statement.

“The external investigation into CBS Television Stations management that is being conducted by Keisha-Ann Gray at Proskauer Rose remains ongoing,” the statement continued. “We are thankful to those who have shared their experiences and knowledge with the investigators thus far. CBS is committed to a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken when necessary.”

The Los Angeles Times detailed “a hostile work environment that included bullying female managers and blocking efforts to hire and retain Black journalists” within the group, and reported that CBS Television Stations’ acquisition of Long Island (NY) independent station WLNY resulted in Dunn getting membership to an exclusive country club on Long Island.

George Cheeks, president and CEO of CBS Entertainment Group, called it “an important step forward” for the corporation.

Source: Peter Dunn, David Friend Out at CBS Television Stations | Broadcasting+Cable (nexttv.com)
 

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Technology/Business Notes (Retail)
Best Buy’s new Beta program promises concierge tech support for $200 a year
By Taylor Lyles, TheVerge.com - Apr. 7, 2021

Best Buy is piloting a new paid membership service that would provide exclusive perks, including concierge-style tech support and exclusive pricing. The subscription service, which will cost $200 a year or $180 if you have a Best Buy credit card, bears similarities with Amazon’s Prime subscription as Best Buy looks to expand its services outside the sale of consumer tech products.

The new membership, called Best Buy Beta, grants members access to a slew of benefits, including free standard shipping, unlimited Geek Squad technical support, exclusive member pricing, and a 60-day extended return window. Best Buy confirmed that Beta members will also have 24/7 access to a concierge team, which they can contact by phone, email, chat, or through the Best Buy mobile app.

Best Buy already has a $200 membership program called Total Tech Support that provides similar services, but it will be unavailable in the pilot markets. In fact, based on how similar both services are, there’s a possibility that Best Buy will discontinue Total Tech Support.

Best Buy is not the first retail giant to roll out a service to compete with Amazon Prime. Last September, Walmart released its own subscription service for $98 a year, offering minimal benefits such as free delivery on orders over $35 and fuel discounts at select gas stations.

Best Buy is piloting the new Beta membership in three states: Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma, but the retailer says it plans to expand the annual subscription to select stores in Minnesota, North Carolina, and Tennessee sometime this month.

Source: Best Buy’s new Beta program promises concierge tech support for $200 a year - The Verge
 

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THURSDAY'S PRIMETIME/LATE NIGHT VIEWING OPTIONS are available by going to the Zap2It.com Programming Grid (TV Listings- Find Local TV Listings and Watch Full Episodes - Zap2it.com) and adjusting the 'Jump To' options to either 'Primetime' or '11PM'. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I got my butt kicked at Discus Golf at the Chandler Public Park by my father's retired senior citizen friends in 90 degree heat.🥵 But tomorrow is another day in sunny Arizona, and Pickeball is up next.😳😛
 

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AMP International Boards Sales On Western Thriller ‘Murder At Emigrant Gulch’
By Andreas Wiseman

EXCLUSIVE: London-based sales firm AMP International has boarded international rights to western-thriller Murder At Emigrant Gulch, which we revealed earlier this week.

The movie is set to star It Chapter Two and Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments actor Isaiah Mustafa, Golden Globe-winner Gabriel Byrne (In Treatment) and three-time Golden Globe-nominee Thomas Jane (Hung). The producers will handle North American distribution rights.

Set in 1882, the film will follow a former slave (Mustafa) who arrives in Emigrant Gulch, Montana, a desolate former boomtown now on the decline, looking for a place to call home. On that same day, a local prospector discovers gold – and is murdered. The sheriff (Byrne) arrests the town newcomer. But as the mystery of the prospector’s murder deepens, and the town’s earnest preacher (Jane) questions the accused man’s guilt, a clash between faith and the law threatens to tear the town apart.

The film is due to shoot in Montana this spring, we understand.

Richard Gray (Robert The Bruce) will direct Eric Belgau’s script. Producers are Richard Gray for Yellow Brick Films, Kelly Frazier for f8 Films, Robert Menzies for Zed Filmworks, Lisa Wolofsky for Wolfsky Productions and Anjul Nigam for Brittany House Pictures.

Exec producers are Carter Boehm, Julie Stagner for f8 films, William Lowery, and Courtney Lauren Penn and Thomas Jane for Renegade Entertainment.

 

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French Open Tennis Tournament Delayed One Week
By Tom Grater

The French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tennis events of the year, has been pushed back by one week in a bid to get more spectators through the doors.

The tournament will now run May 30 – June 13, with qualifying the week before. Organizers said the move would give them “more time to improve and should optimise our chances of welcoming spectators at Roland Garros”.

Last year’s French Open was delayed until September and took place with severely restricted crowds.

France is in the midst of a significant third wave of coronavirus which has sparked another national lockdown. Confirmed cases have dropped significantly in the last two days to under 10,000, but April 4 registered more than 66,000, the highest number this year. The country’s vaccine program has also experienced delays.

The UK’s major tennis tournament, Wimbledon, is due to run June 28 – July 11.

France is also due to be one of the host cities for the ‘Euro 2020’ football tournament, which runs June 11 – July 11 across Europe. However, organizers UEFA are mulling whether some cities should have their games taken away, with reports this week that Dublin may no longer be used because of its inability to guarantee fan numbers.

Doubt remains over the prospects for a physical Cannes Film Festival in July. This week, advertising festival Cannes Lions, scheduled to take place June 21 – 25, went online only due to ongoing pandemic challenges.

 

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Patricia Hodge Replaces The Late Diana Rigg On Channel 5/PBS Series ‘All Creatures Great & Small’
By Jake Kanter

All Creatures Great And Small has found its new Mrs. Pumphrey following the death of Diana Rigg last September.

Miranda and A Very English Scandal actress Patricia Hodge will step into the role for Season 2 of Channel 5 and PBS Masterpiece’s period drama, adapted from bestselling author James Herriot’s cherished collection of stories about a young country vet in 1930s Yorkshire.

Produced by Playground, Season 2 is currently shooting in the UK with other new cast including Dorothy Atkinson (Call the Midwife) as Diana Brompton, and James
Fleet (The Vicar of Dibley) as Colonel Merrick. Returning to the series are Nicholas Ralph, Samuel West, Anna Madeley, Callum Woodhouse, Rachel Shenton, Matthew Lewis, Cleo Sylvestre, and Kriss Dosanjh.

Playground CEO Sir Colin Callender said: “We were deeply saddened by the passing of Dame Diana Rigg who will always be a treasured member of the All Creatures family. Mrs. Pumphrey and her overly indulged Pekingese, Tricki Woo, are such iconic and cherished characters in Herriot’s world and we are delighted to welcome the wonderful Patricia Hodge.”

Executive producers are Colin Callender and Melissa Gallant for Playground, Louise Pedersen for All3Media International, Caroline Cooper Charles for Screen Yorkshire, and Rebecca Eaton and Susanne Simpson for Masterpiece.

Ben Vanstone (The Last Kingdom) remains lead writer and executive producer, Brian Percival (Downton Abbey) will return as lead director and executive producer, and James Dean (Liar) joins the production team as producer.

Sasha Ransome (Two Doors Down) will direct episodes three and four, while Andy Hay (The Last Kingdom) also returns as director for episodes five and six, as well as the Christmas special.

 

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‘MacGyver’ Stars Lucas Till And Justin Hires Bid Fond Farewell To Series
By Bruce Haring

Today’s announcement that the CBS crime drama reboot of MacGyver was closing out its run at the end of the month left fans and cast members with mixed emotions. Topping the list were series star Lucas Till and Justin Hires, who put out “thank-you” posts to capture their feelings in the moment.

Till left his message on Instagram, including Nellie Andreeva’s Deadline clip that broke the story of the series end.

“Where to begin? The past five years have been what I will look on later as THE most formative years of my life,” Till posted. “Lots of tough, lots of love. I made life long friends, actually no, family. I learned to push myself to new limits, breaking through and through and through. Was nervous to take up the mantle of an icon and you guys allowed me into your homes and accepted me. I’m like the Roger Moore of MacGyvers now thanks to your support. Lol.”
He went on to thank his coworkers.

“But this is also a love letter to my cast and crew, to those who have been with us since day 1 or day 1000, through those oppressive summer days in the Georgia heat, where the humidity envelopes you like a warm sweater to the below freezing winter days where the worst part about it is that no one believes you when you say it gets cold in Georgia. Lol. Through all the people who said we wouldn’t make it past the first 13, through all the tough times you guys always somehow brought so much joy into my life, helped me grow exponentially and you’ve shown me what it means to be a real cinema team. This format just doesn’t do enough justice for all that I want to say, so maybe this is the first of many blubbering messages, but thank you, my new family, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. All of you.”

 

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Jodie Turner-Smith Exits ‘The Witcher: Blood Origin’ Netflix Limited Series Due To Scheduling Issue

By Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Jodie Turner-Smith has departed Netflix’s six-part, live-action limited series The Witcher: Blood Origin. She was to play a lead, Éile, in the prequel to the streamer’s hit series The Witcher.

“Due to a change in the production schedule for The Witcher: Blood Origin limited series, unfortunately Jodie Turner-Smith will no longer be able to continue on in the role of Éile,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement to Deadline.

I hear the start of production for The Witcher: Blood Origin was pushed slightly, creating a scheduling conflict for the in-demand British actress.

Set in an elven world 1,200 years before the world of The Witcher, Blood Origin will tell a story lost to time – the creation of the first prototype Witcher, and the events that lead to the pivotal “conjunction of the spheres,” when the worlds of monsters, men, and elves merged to become one.

The role of Éile, which will now be recast, is an elite warrior blessed with the voice of a goddess, who has left her clan and position as Queen’s guardian to follow her heart as a nomadic musician. A grand reckoning on the continent forces her to return to the way of the blade in her quest for vengeance and redemption.

Declan de Barra serves as executive producer and showrunner of The Witcher: Blood Origin. Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, creator of The Witcher mothership series, executive produces. Andrzej Sapkowski, author of The Witcher book series the Netflix show is based on, serves as creative consultant. Jason Brown and Sean Daniel from Hivemind, and Tomek Baginski and Jarek Sawko from Platige Films are all executive producers.

Next up, Turner-Smith can be seen in A24’s After Yang opposite Colin Farrell as well as Amazon’s Without Remorse, opposite Michael B. Jordan. Both films are set for release in 2021. Turner-Smith will also star as ‘Anne Boleyn’ in a three-part mini-series for the U.K. broadcaster, Channel 5.

 

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Madea Prequel Series Mabel in the Works at Showtime, From Tyler Perry
By Andy Swift

Allow her to reintroduce herself: Mabel, a series exploring the untold origins of Tyler Perry‘s Madea character, is being developed at Showtime, our sister site Deadline reports.

“Every great story has to start somewhere and every legend has a beginning,” reads the series’ official logline. “Long before she was the force of nature known as Madea she was a smart, fierce, irresistible, dangerous, crazy 20-something black woman named…Mabel Simmons. When she moved to Atlanta in 1972 she set the city – and the world – on fire!”

Mabel is created by Perry and Tim Palen, both of whom will also executive-produce alongside writers JaNeika James and JaSheika James.

Inspired by Perry’s mother and aunt, Madea was first introduced via Perry’s 2000 hit play I Can Do Bad All By Myself, before making the leap to the big screen in 2005’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman.

Always played by Perry in drag, Madea has gone on to appear in 10 other films: Madea’s Family Reunion in 2006, Meet the Browns in 2008, Madea Goes to Jail in 2009, I Can Do Bad All by Myself in 2009, Madea’s Big Happy Family in 2011, Madea’s Witness Protection in 2012, A Madea Christmas in 2013, Boo! A Madea Halloween in 2016, Boo 2! A Madea Halloween in 2017 and A Madea Family Funeral in 2019. She has also appeared in two of Perry’s television shows: House of Payne and Love Thy Neighbor.

 

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TV Notes (Broadcast)
'MacGyver' Canceled After Five Seasons at CBS
By Mona Khalifeh, ETOnline.com - Apr. 7, 2021

MacGyver is coming to an end after five seasons at CBS. ET has confirmed that the procedural reboot, which stars Lucas Till, Levy Tran, Henry Ian Cusick, Tristin Mays and more, will conclude with its series finale on April 30th.

The drama, a reimagining of the classic '80s series, premiered on Sept. 23, 2016 and has been a part of CBS' Friday night lineup ever since. Kelly Kahl, President of CBS Entertainment, said she was grateful to the writers, cast and crew for their work on the show.



Source: 'MacGyver' Canceled After Five Seasons at CBS | Entertainment Tonight (etonline.com)
Kelly is a HE.
 
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