PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
AMC greenlit two new series, thriller drama 61st Street, and comedy Kevin Can F**k Himself. Both series are produced by AMC Studios. 61st Street, which has been ordered as a two-season series with eight eps per season, is a courtroom drama that follows a promising black high school athlete who’s swept up into the infamously corrupt Chicago criminal justice system. Kevin Can F**k Himself probes the secret life of the sitcom wife, aiming to break TV convention and ask what the world looks like through her eyes.
Ava DuVernay will launch her second project based on a DC Comics property, DMZ, with HBO Max. The upcoming streaming service ordered a pilot adapted from the Vertigo imprint comic about a second American Civil War in the near future. DuVernay will direct, and her Array Filmworks will produce in association with Warner Bros. Television, with showrunner and exec producer Roberto Patino onboard to write the script.
Trevor Noah is developing an as-yet untitled comedy series for Quibi. Produced by Noah’s Day Zero Productions and Comedy Central Productions, series aims to give viewers an “unprecedented peek” at the comedian’s interactions with people he meets and places he visits while touring the globe.
Building off its global “Shore” franchise, MTV greenlit docuseries DJ Pauly D and Vinny’s Vegas Pool Party (working title). Slated to launch in 2020, series follows the dynamic duo as they take over Las Vegas and give their friends a shot at the Vegas life.
Universal TV is adapting Chelsea Handler’s memoir Life Will Be The Death Of Me as a series. Deal comes as Handler prepares to step back into stand-up in November as part of a continuation of her book tour. Her latest Netflix project, It’s Me Chelsea, was released on Netflix on September 13.
TNT renewed Claws for a fourth and final season. Since its launch in 2017, the Niecy Nash-starring series has amassed critical praise and a loyal fan following.
HLN acquired rights from Medstar Television to produce a new season of crime docuseries Forensic Files, slated for a premiere of February 2020. Featuring 16 new half-hour eps and produced in-house by CNN Program Development, Forensic Files II will showcase fresh cases, and feature the same format, title music and story type as the original. In light of the passing of the original series narrator Peter Thomas in 2016, a new narrator will be announced.
A handful of new projects are underway at Yap Films, the Toronto-based indie factual content producer. A key supplier of LGBTQ programming, Yap is producing for Canada’s OUTtv new series My Trans Journey, one-hour special Translating Beauty, and true-crime series Murder on the Fringe. Also upcoming are Construction Fails, featuring jaw-dropping mishaps from the world of construction, and Gangster Gold, about gangster Dutch Schultz, who buried a $50 million fortune somewhere in the US, but died before he could retrieve it.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
Public television series Playing by the Rules: Ethics at Work is back for a new season beginning this week on select public TV stations, including Thirteen in NY. New season presents investigations into the business practices of ride-sharing app Uber and sneaker giant Adidas.
Nat Geo WILD debuts its newest vet series, Dr. T, Lone Star Vet, on October 13 at 9p. Series follows Dr. Lauren Thielen as she leaves the Sunshine State and Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER to pursue Texas-sized dreams to lead her own exotic animal clinic.
The Life of Earth, which combines visuals, pioneering research and expedition footage to take viewers on a 4.5 billion-year journey, debuts on Smithsonian Channel on Sunday, November 3 at 9p. Revealing fresh evidence to age-old questions and offering a blueprint to future survival, series examines the earth’s past to help plan for its future.
Disney+ dropped a trailer for upcoming series Marvel’s Hero Project, which spotlights extraordinary and inspiring young people. The series is earmarked for a November 12 debut on the new streaming platform.
Lifetime this month is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its annual public affairs initiative Stop Breast Cancer for Life across the A+E networks portfolio. The campaign stretches across Lifetime, A&E and History, with a PSA featuring journalist and breast cancer survivor Robin Roberts, and stars of upcoming Lifetime film Patsy & Loretta – Megan Hilty and Jessie Mueller. Live PD’s Sargent Sean “Sticks” Larkin will be featured in a PSA airing on A&E and on the live show on October 18, the Live PD crew will discuss the importance of breast cancer awareness. American Pickers star Mike Wolfe, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor, is also featured in a new PSA that will air on History. In addition, every Sunday morning in October at 10a, Lifetime will air original movies centering on real-life stories of survivors and everyday heroes working to end breast cancer.
Ghosts of Sugar Land, a documentary short that follows a group of Muslim Americans in the suburbs of Houston as they trace the disappearance of a friend suspected of joining ISIS, debuts on Netflix October 16. Film premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was awarded the short film jury award, non-fiction.
Agatha Raisin & the Haunted House, a humor- and fright-packed holiday special and the latest in Acorn TV’s original series of movies based on the comedic mysteries by M.C. Beaton, debuts exclusively on Acorn TV on Monday, October 28.
Showtime Documentary Films announced its film The Kingmaker will open in theaters in NY and LA Friday, November 8. The company dropped a trailer for the project, from Emmy-winning director Lauren Greenfield and Greenwich Entertainment (Free Solo), which follows the indomitable character of Imelda Marcos.
A&E Network is looking in Low Places for its latest Biography subject – Garth Brooks, the best-selling solo artist of all time. Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On will premiere over two consecutive nights Sunday, November 24 and Monday, November 25 at 9p. Doc offers an intimate look at Brooks’ life and the moments that defined his career, and features interviews with Trisha Yearwood, Keith Urban and George Strait, among others.
Four-part documentary College Behind Bars premieres on PBS over two nights, November 25 and 26. Directed by Alfred I. Dupont and Lynn Novick (co-director of The Vietnam War) and exec-produced by Ken Burns, project is the result of filmmakers spending four years in maximum and medium security prisons in NY state and capturing the voices of a dozen incarcerated men and women struggling to earn degrees through the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI).
Ryan Reynolds-starring feature 6 Underground will debut on Netflix December 13. The Michael Bay-directed feature follows a team of six individuals from around the world, brought together by an enigmatic leader whose sole mission is to ensure that the actions of he and his fellow operatives will go down in history.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg assured employees the company would prevail against breakup attempts by Democratic Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren in a leaked audio transcript from July posted by The Verge, but noted it would “still suck for us” if Warren were to be elected and FB would have to mount a legal challenge. Warren fired back yesterday on Twitter, noting “What would really ‘suck’ is if we don’t fix a corrupt system that lets giant companies like Facebook engage in illegal anticompetitive practices, stomp on consumer privacy rights, and repeatedly fumble their responsibility to protect our democracy.”
In other portions of the audio, Zuckerberg said FB can do a better job than Twitter of keeping a social platform free of hate speech. “Twitter can’t do as good of a job as we can,” he said. “I mean, they face, qualitatively, the same types of issues. But they can’t put in the investment. Our investment on safety is bigger than the whole revenue of their company.”
CBS Digital is rebranding to CBS VFX. The division, whose effects work has appeared in Netflix’s G.L.O.W. and Orange in the New Black, NBC’s This is Us and CBS’ Hawaii 5-0 among others, also is expanding capabilities and will move to new digs at the CBS Studios facility. In addition to virtual production, CBS VFX recently created visual effects for Showtime’s Black Monday and ABC’s Modern Family and produced an Emmy-nominated Stranger Things VR experience.
The Bachelorette season 13, featuring Rachel Lindsay, sashayed onto Tubi yesterday (October 1). Season joins Tubi’s current offering of the franchise that includes the first seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, as well as the fifth season of Bachelor in Paradise.
Frndly TV, a live and on-demand TV streaming service tailored specifically to the family viewing audience, launches this week. At $5.99 per month, the service comprises content from 12 networks including BabyFirst TV, Game Show Network, Hallmark Channel, Outdoor Channel and The Weather Channel, with plans to expand to 20 channels during the next year.
New animated series Hero Elementary is set to premiere on PBS Kids in summer 2020. Centered on a team of super students called Sparks’ Crew and created for K4-7, series aims to provide kids with tools to solve problems by thinking and acting like scientists and igniting their natural curiosity and empathy. Along with the TV series, the Hero Elementary universe will include supplemental interactive digital components.
Season 2 of animated series Big City Greens premieres Saturday, November 16 at 9:30a on Disney Channel. Mischievous and optimistic 10-year-old Cricket Green who moves from the country to the big city with his wildly out of place family is the center of the comedic action.
Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Nickelodeon’s upcoming three-part limited series reboot of the ‘90s show that created horror stores from kids’ points of view, will world-premiere at Beyond Fest in LA ahead of its October 11 debut on the network.
Splash Entertainment is licensing six of its children’s series to streaming service Kidoodle.TV, beginning next month with Chloe’s Closet, Dive Olly Dive, I Got A Rocket, Hero 108, Pet Alien and ToddWorld.
Discovery launched My Town Discovery, an edutaining app for kids developed in partnership with game series My Town. App, which falls under Discovery’s extension #Mindblown, is designed for K4-12 and enables players to develop their own comprehensive and interactive community.
Tenderfoot TV is producing its first semi-scripted audio series, Radio Rental, which chronicles real-life Halloween stories set against the backdrop of a fictional world. Podcast, produced with Cadence13, will feature a known actor as a video store clerk who holds a secret VHS collection of horror stories and will be hosted by Tenderfoot TV co-founder and host Payne Lindsey.
Cornelius Smith Jr. (Scandal), Keeya King (Van Helsing) and J. Alphonse Nicholson (P-Valley) will recur opposite Octavia Spencer and Tiffany Haddish in upcoming Netflix limited series Madam C.J. Walker… Mary Kay Place and Elizabeth Rodriguez (Orange Is the New Black) landed guest roles in multiple eps of Showtime’s Shameless, which returns for Season 10 on November 10… Winston Duke (Black Panther) will topline Swagger, Apple’s new basketball-themed drama series… Starz cast Julia Goldani Telles (The Affair) as the lead in the third installment of The Girlfriend Experience… Nat Wolff (Stella’s Last Weekend) scored a role opposite Alexander Skarsgard in The Stand, CBS All Access’ adaptation of the Stephen King novel… Leah Gibson (Marvel’s Jessica Jones) and Carl Lundstedt (Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger) secured recurring roles opposite Josh Dallas on upcoming season 2 of NBC drama series Manifest.
Ken Burns’ acclaimed Country Music will be seen and heard outside the US. The multi-ep documentary sold to BBC (UK), SBS (Australia), Telefonica (Spain), DR (Denmark), NRK (Norway), RTE (Ireland), SVT (Sweden) and Emirates (Inflight), with more buyers on tap following its success on PBS in the US.
A week ahead of the season 2 premiere, BBC Two gave a greenlight to a third run for Sharon Horgan’s Motherland. In true Horgan style, the series, which stars Anna Maxwell Martin, Diane Morgan and Lucy Punch, dives straight into the unromantic aspects of parenthood.
Endemol Shine Group struck its first international deals for makeover series Your Home Made Perfect. Simpel Media, part of Endemol Shine Netherlands, and Endemol Shine France both been commissioned by to produce the series, which uses VR tech and visual effects to transform the homes of contributors.