PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
The 1997 political satire Wag the Dog is getting a small-screen treatment for HBO, which is partnering with Barry Levinson and Robert De Niro. The series is “an ode to the classic film, but moving the weapons of mass distraction beyond politics and into business, entertainment, and yes, non-profits,” according to the network. Rajiv Joseph (Draft Day, Army of One) will pen the adaptation and exec-produce with de Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Berry Welsh via De Niro’s Tribeca Productions. Levinson will direct the series and exec-produce with Tom Fontana via their Levinson/Fontana Co. Jason Sosnoff also is an executive producer; David Brock will serve as consultant.
(The Social Network) is writing and will star in The Market, a comedy he’s developing with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions. Warner Bros. TV, home of Bad Robot, is the studio for the series, about a recent widower who moves to Pittsburgh to live with his adult son (Eisenberg). Both men simultaneously lose their jobs due to the changing American economy and are thrust into an unforgiving job market.
renewed its original non-fiction series Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter, produced in partnership with The Hollywood Reporter. The series will begin airing its third season on SundanceTV in the fall.
Montreal-based Attraction is changing up its business model and moniker to Attraction Studios, to unite the expanding resources of the content production and distribution companies it has acquired. While maintaining their respective brands, Attraction Images, CMJ Productions II Inc. and Attraction Distribution will operate closely together as part of the new entity.
AT THE UPFRONTS
New talent, new series and returning hits were on the menu at yesterday’s BET Upfront, held at the PlayStation Theater in NY. Additionally, sister net Centric is being refreshed to BET Her, targeting AA W25-54 and officially launching under its new moniker October 1, 2017.
Among new programming are comedy Divorce Saved My Marriage, from executive producer Kevin Hart; late-night news satire The Rundown with Robin Thede, starring the comedian and former head writer and contributor to The Nightly Show; BET’s Mancave, exec-produced by Steve Harvey, featuring no-holds-barred conversations between “five men brave enough to be honest and vulnerable”; game show Face Value, from Push It Productions and exec producer Wanda Sykes; BET’s first variety comedy showcase, from Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, 50 Central; and social experiment Love Room, which puts two strangers in a “full immersion” relationship for a week.
Upcoming miniseries include The Bobby Brown Story and Death Row Chronicles, focused on record label Death Row Records.
Original drama series The Quad, The Breaks and Hit the Floor will all be back, along with tentpole events BET Awards, BET Experience, BET Hip Hop Awards, Black Girls Rock!, Soul Train Awards, special editions of Lip Sync Battle and Soul Train Weekend.
BET parent Viacom isn’t hosting a big tent event, but CEO Bob Bakish and head of ad sales Sean Moran have been hosting a series of Upfront dinners with media agencies to relay the message that Viacom is bringing renewed energy and youth culture to marketers, connecting them to a youthful audience in a meaningful, data-driven way.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
unveiled a slate of six new and 18 returning unscripted series. New series include Bethenny and Fredrik Property Project (working title), which follows Bethenny Frankel and Fredrik Eklund, as they come together in new real estate and business ventures; Sell it Like Serhant, starring the leader of one of the top real estate teams in the US, Ryan Serhant (Million Dollar Listing New York); Relationshep, which follows one of Charleston’s most eligible and loveable singleton, Shep Rose; Southern Charm New Orleans, the latest stop for the popular franchise; Love Italian Style (working title), where relationship expert Diann Valentine takes five beautiful, eligible bachelorettes to Italy; and A Night With My Ex, which poses the question, What would you do if you had the chance to spend an entire night with your ex?
Joining the previously announced returns of scripted series Imposters and Odd Mom Out, as well as Top Chef and Million Dollar Listing New York, the net announced that summer will see the return of The Real Housewives of Orange County and Shahs of Sunset. Coming later are new seasons of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Flipping Out, Don’t Be Tardy, Married to Medicine, Below Deck, Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, The Real Housewives of Dallas, Inside the Actor’s Studio, Summer House and Vanderpump Rules.
will debut The Therapist on Monday, May 8 at 10:30p. Series centers on LA licensed therapist Dr. Siri Sat Nam Singh and some of the famous patients he sees, who this season include hip hop artists Freddie Gibbs, Waka Flocka Flame, Young M.A.and Dej Loaf D.R.A.M.
New episodes of Cartoon Network series Steven Universe return with a five-night event beginning Monday, May 8 at 7p.
will debut six-part docu-drama series Year Million on Monday, May 15 at 9p. Narrated by Laurence Fishburne, series explores what it will be like to be human approximately 1 million years into the future. Futurists, scientists, scholars and science fiction writers guide viewers through the latest advances in technology, ideas and innovations that likely will power the evolution of our species.
New ABC comedy Downward Dog will premiere in a special sneak peek on Wednesday, May 17 at 9:30p, following the season finale of Modern Family. The series, based on the web series of the same name, will move to its regular time period, Tuesday nights at 8p beginning May 23.
is stepping on the gas this spring with the premiere of new original series Speed Is the New Black, Wednesday, May 24 at 9p. Following young prodigy Noah Alexander and his team at elite automotive shop Classic Car Studio in St. Louis, series will feature the intricate builds including redesigns of classic cars from a 1962 Corvette to a 1990 Porsche 911.
stars Jonathan and Drew Scott will face-off in Galveston, TX, in a new season of the net’s real estate and renovation competition Brother vs. Brother: Jonathan vs. Drew. Premiering Wednesday, May 31, at 9p, the series arms the popular twins with $600,000 each and six weeks of time to purchase and transform drab waterfront homes into stunning vacation retreats.
and Fuse are teaming to advance the dialog of the issues highlighted in Show Me Democracy, the first film featured in Fuse’s recently announced documentary series “We The Dreamers.” Premiering this Saturday, April 29 at 9p on Fuse, Show Me Democracy follows seven St. Louis college students as they evolve into advocates and activists in the wake of the Ferguson uprising. The NAACP will serve as a resource for Fuse’s audience by providing additional information on the issues showcased in the documentary, as well as offering options for viewers to take action.
will be all over coverage of the celebrity and fashion elite converging at this year’s Met Gala. Beginning Monday, May 1, the network’s content will include behind-the-scenes prep moments, breakdowns of all the high-end style ensembles, interviews with fashion industry players and insider scoop from the after party. E!’s livestream on the E! News page on Facebook Live will run concurrently with the on-air broadcast to offer fans the ability to weigh in on all of the night’s interviews and most daring ensembles, and to participate in the panel discussion as it happens.
’s true-crime franchise Snapped launches its 20th season of mystery, murder and misconduct with Snapped Notorious: Scott Peterson, a two-part special premiering Sunday, May 7 at 6p. The special will focus on the infamous trial that led to Scott Peterson’s conviction for the murder of his wife and their unborn son and raises the controversial question: Was this an emotionally charged verdict?
US audiences will have the chance to see the Eurovision Song Contest, the longest-running annual international television song competition, for a second consecutive year. Logo, which carried the finale live last year, will do so again for the upcoming 62nd iteration of the contest on Saturday, May 13 at noon.
AWARDS SHOW WATCH
Asia Kate Dillon
, a series regular on Showtime’s Billions, will open the MTV Movie & TV Awards, and present the award for best actor in a movie. Dillon is the first gender non-binary identifying actor ever to be cast in a major television series. The awards will air live on MTV on Sunday, May 7 at 8p.
(Saturday Night Live, Scream Queens, New Girl) will be a series regular for season 2 of TBS comedy People of Earth, which premieres this summer.
is casting up for its upcoming scripted comedy series I’m Sorry. Appearing in the first season in recurring roles are Kathy Baker (Edward Scissorhands, The Ranch), Nelson Franklin (Veep), Judy Greer (Arrested Development), Jason Mantzoukas (The House, The League), Martin Mull (Veep), Lyndon Smith (Parenthood, Public Morals), Gary Anthony Williams (The Boondocks), and Steve Zissis (Togetherness). The series will also feature guest stints by John Ross Bowie, Lizzy Caplan, Jamie Denbo, Rebecca Henderson and Nick Kroll, among others.
(Homeland), Troy Garity (Ballers) and Jaina Lee Ortiz (Rosewood) snagged recurring roles opposite Ryan Phillippe in season 2 of USA Network’s Shooter.
greenlighted its first scripted original, The Chances, a dramedy about two deaf characters. The series is written, created, and starring Shoshannah Stern (Weeds, Supernatural, Jerico) and Josh Feldman, both of whom are deaf in real life. The six, 30-minute episodes, based on a series of shorts featured at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival’s Short Form Episodic Showcase, will premiere exclusively on Sundance Now.
This year’s Games for Change festival, advocating the use of digital games as drivers of social impact, is expanding its focus this year to include virtual reality. The VR for Change Summit will focus on advancing virtual technologies for positive change. In addition, tracks include “Civics & Social Issues,” “Games for Learning Summit,” and “Neurogaming & Health”. Actress Anjali Bhimani, the voice of Overwatch’s hero Symmetra, will be a keynote speaker – and they didn’t have to twist her arm to get her there. “Gaming has been a part of my life since I was a child playing D&D with my friends, and I feel like it was such a formative outlet for me and my creativity,” Bhimani tells Cynopsis. “Now that I am getting to participate in that world as a performer, I’m thrilled that so many advances are being made to make positive change in the world, and I love being able to be a part of that growth. Games for Change represents exactly what I want the world to be: a place where fun and progress meet, and creative entertainment combines with positive change.” Event takes place July 31-August 2 in NYC.
International announced new series Clickbait, which takes viewers down an Internet rabbit hole of music-inspired video content. Series showcasing the best of the web’s musical moments hand-picked by MTV, and is narrated by American comedian Akaash Singh. It begins premiering in select international markets on Monday, May 1.