PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
It’s a go for the third season of National Geographic series The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, after Nat Geo parent Fox concluded an investigation the company says “revealed no incidents of concern during any of our work with Mr. Freeman.” The status of the series was called into question in May after eight women accused Freeman of inappropriate behavior; Nat Geo halted preproduction at that time. New season is scheduled to premiere in 2019. Along with a season 3 renewal, Nat Geo also signed an exclusive first-look partnership deal with Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment to expand the series franchise by developing more nonfiction content.
The Jim Henson Co. optioned Susan Dennard’s book series The Witchlands, set in worlds where each member of the population is born with a magical skill set, to develop as a live-action series. Announcement came during a Dragon Con panel featuring Halle Stanford, Henson president of television and former Cynopsis Imagination Awards Luminary Award honoree.
Bohemia Group Originals optioned the seven novels in Susan M. Boyer’s Liz Talbot mystery series to develop for television. Set in South Carolina, the novels center on a 30-year-old mystery-solving, trend-setting woman.
Top 10 Weekend Domestic Box Office Estimates: August 31-September 3, 2018
Crazy Rich Asians (Warner Bros.) $22.1 million (week 3), cume $110.8 million
The Meg (Warner Bros.) $10.5 million (week 4), cume $120.5 million
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Paramount) $7.0 million (week 6), cume revenue $204.4 million
Searching (SGem) $6.1 million (week 2), cume $6.6 million
Operation Finale (MGM) $6.0 million opening weekend
Disney’s Christopher Robin (Buena Vista) $5.2 million (week 5), cume revenue $85.6 million
Alpha (Studio 8) $4.5 million (week 3), cume $27.5 million
The HappyTime Murders (STX) $4.4 million (week 2), cume
Blackkklansman (Focus Features) $4.2 million (week 4), cume $38.4
Mile 22 (STX) $3.6 million (week 3), cume $31.8 million
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
Justice Network is debuting a new lineup tonight (September 4) Shows include Cold Case Files, airing Mondays 5-9p; I Survived, Tuesdays 5-9p; Intervention, Wednesdays from 9p-1a; and World’s Most Evil Killers, Thursdays from 9-11p.
EstrellaTV’s late-night talk show Noches Con Platanito will premiere its new season tonight. Taped live in Burbank and hosted by Mexican comedian Sergio Verduzco, also known as Platanito, and his sidekick, actor-comedian David Villalpando, the show has been a consistent hit for the network.
Brady welcomes a visitor from his past when the third episode of season 2 of AT&T Audience Network’s Mr. Mercedes airs Wednesday, September 5 at 10p.
October 16 will be the premiere date for ABC’s The Conners, the net’s quick-turnaround Roseanne revival minus the show’s former namesake. ABC released a teaser and first-look photo of the series as the show rolls into production on the Warner Bros. lot. Teaser is set to Carly Simon tune “Anticipation,” and features an empty couch in the TV family’s dining room, devoid of characters or dialog. While details about the new show largely have been under wraps, star John Goodman recently told the UK’s The Sunday Times disgraced former star Roseanne Barr’s lead character will be dead.
Starz dropped key art for the upcoming season 4 of Outlander, which includes the tagline, “Brave the New World.” New season will drop November 4 at 8p; Starz already has ordered seasons 5 and 6.
Tonight’s (September 4) premiere of BET’s The Bobby Brown Story follows the success of the net’s The New Edition Story last year. Two-night autobiographical miniseries follows Brown’s marriage to Whitney Houston and his musical career, with Woody McClain reprising his role as Brown from last season’s ratings hit.
History will remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001 with new two-hour documentary 9/11: Escape From the Towers, premiering Tuesday, September 11 at 9p. Special interweaves stories of survivors from two floors of the World Trade Center. It’s produced by Arrow Media, with Sam Starbuck and Grace Chapman serving as exec producers and producer/director for Arrow Media, respectively.
Chinese regulators last Friday took steps to limit the number of online games and reduce screen time after the country’s leader Xi Jinping stated concern that game play was damaging children’s eyesight. The new regs throw a potential wrench in business in the world’s largest game market. Among the fallout: Chinese investment holdings firm Tencent, whose titles include the recent Monster Hunter: World, lost approximately $20 billion in market valuation on Friday.
Alan Tudyk (Suburgatory, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) has been cast as villain Eric Morden/Mr. Nobody in DC Universe’s upcoming live-action series Doom Patrol… Blake Jenner (Glee) scored a lead in Netflix thriller What If, also starring Renee Zellweger and Jane Levy.
Across the pond, Sophie Cookson (The Secret Service, Kingsman: The Golden Circle) will star as Christine Keeler in a limited BBC drama about the Profumo Affair slated to air in 2019… Will Arnett (Arrested Development) and Poppy Delevingne (Kingsman: The Golden Circle) are in for the second season of Sky drama Riviera, which airs on Sundance Now in the US… Anna Friel (Marcella), Sinead Keenan (Little Boy Blue) and Rosalind Eleazar (Howard’s End) will star in six-part ITV drama Deep Water.
FremantleMedia parent RTL will not pursue its plan to acquire Endemol Shine. The German media group was touted as one of the suitors for the owner of content including Big Brother and Black Mirror owner; however, CEO Bert Habets told Reuters RTL has “stepped out of the process.”
Ariana Grande will be back on the BBC later this year, a little more than a year after she headlined the One Love concert that honored those who died in the UK’s Manchester Arena bombing. TV special Ariana Grande At the BBC, presented by The Jump host Davina McCall, will be recorded live before an audience and include an interview with the pop star.
Gwyneth Hughes, writer of the BBC and HBO series The Girl, is the creator of the new Doing Money, a feature-length BBC drama about slavery in modern Britain. Project will star Anca Dumitra (Las Fierbinti) and Allen Leech (Downton Abbey)… in other BBC news, in the wake of the loss of The Great British Bake Off to Channel 4, the broadcaster ordered baking series Celebration from Hungry Gap Productions.
Over in the kitchen at UK’s Channel 4, the team is developing a remake of cooking format Family Food Fight, which was originally produced by Endemol Shine Australia for Nine Network. The series already has a US pickup, with Ayesha Curry set to host an adaptation for ABC.
UK broadcaster Channel 5 will escort back The Bachelor for another season, after the Viacom-owned network halted the series in 2012 after an initial two seasons.