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‘Scandal’ Season 7: Olivia Has Absolute Power, but Will it Corrupt Her Absolutely?

43 minutes ago

At the end of the sixth season of “Scandal,” Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) was in the power seat as the chief of staff to the first female president (Bellamy Young’s Mellie) and the new head of B613. And when the seventh and final season starts, Olivia is enjoying wielding her power, even though it may mean pushing aside those who have been closest to her.

“Olivia’s sitting in the highest seat,” said Washington during a set visit of which Variety was a part. “Anything that jeopardizes her ability to show up for the republic is potentially a problem. Relationships are not the most important thing right now, unless that relationship serves and enhances her ability to wield her power in the ways that she needs to.”

Olivia once wore a white hat as she fought to serve her clients, many of whom had been wronged by politicians or the system in general. Now »


- Danielle Turchiano

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Fox Developing Drama Based on Book ‘Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class’ (Exclusive)

1 hour ago

Fox has ordered a script for a drama series based on the book “Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class,” Variety has learned exclusively.

The book by Lawrence Otis Graham was a non-fiction piece in which Graham interviewed members of some of the most prominent black families in America. The series is described as a multi-generational family drama uncovering the lives of America’s black upper class by chronicling a dazzling Chicago dynasty with a dark secret threatening to rip it apart.

Wendy Calhoun will write the project and executive produce. Ben Silverman and Montrel McKay will also executive produce. 20th Century Fox Television will produce.

Should it move forward, “Our Kind of People” would be the latest Fox show to focus on wealthy black Americans. The network has found great success with “Empire,” which explores the drama inside of a multi-million dollar family-run record label headed by characters played by Terrence Howard and »


- Joe Otterson

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Nielsen Sues ComScore to Block New TV Audience Measurement Service

3 hours ago

Nielsen Holdings filed a lawsuit Friday seeking to block rival ComScore from offering a new service, Extended TV, that will provide TV audience data.

Nielsen alleges that the ComScore service will make use of Nielsen’s own People Meter data, violating an agreement between the two companies. Nielsen is seeking an injunction that would bar ComScore from launching the service.

The litigation marks an escalation of the bitter rivalry between the two audience measurement firms.

The groundwork for the dispute was laid back in 2013, when Nielsen acquired Arbitron. In order to preserve competition in the audience measurement business, the Federal Trade Commission approved a consent agreement requiring Nielsen to license People Meter data to ComScore, for the purpose of creating a “cross-platform” measurement service. Such a service would have to measure both TV and online viewership, Nielsen contends.

Nielsen alleges that ComScore’s new service, called Extended TV, violates that agreement. On »

- Gene Maddaus

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Lin Pictures Hires Tristar’s Lindsey Liberatore as Head of TV

4 hours ago

Lin Pictures has hired former Tristar Television executive Lindsey Liberatore as senior vice president of television, the company announced Friday.

In her new role, Liberatore will oversee all development and television operations for Lin Pictures. Prior to joining Lin Pictures, Liberatore was vice president of Sony Pictures Television’s TriStar label, which she joined in 2015 as an executive working in development and current programming. While at Tristar, Liberatore oversaw the Hulu series “Shut Eye” and worked on multiple projects for Amazon, including “Good Girls Revolt,” “The Last Tycoon,” and “The Interestings” pilot.

“I am excited that Lindsey is bringing her strong creative instincts and her love of working with great storytellers to Lin Pictures,” said Dan Lin, founder and chief executive of Lin Pictures. “She embodies the collaborative spirit of our company and is the perfect executive to lead our television business.”

Prior to her role as a studio executive, Liberatore »


- Joe Otterson

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TV Review: ‘Transparent’ Season 4 on Amazon Prime

4 hours ago

This year’s Emmy Awards provided a potent reminder of how fickle voters can be. After collecting multiple statuettes in key categories over its first few years, Amazon Prime’s “Transparent” got shut out in 2017. What once seemed as buzzy as a TV show can get has cooled off, as if the snubbed third season was indication of a show past its peak.

But diehard fans of Jill Soloway’s acclaimed dramedy can take heart in its fourth season: “Transparent” is as strong as it’s ever been, judging by the 10 episodes the streaming service released Friday.

A good chunk of this year’s episodes take the Pfefferman clan to Israel, where the baggage they unload doesn’t stop at Ben Gurion Airport. Three generations of Pfefferman get to squabble when Maura (Jeffrey Tambor) discovers the father (Jerry Adler, who played Hesh Rabkin on “”The Sopranos”) he was told had died is actually alive and very well »


- Andrew Wallenstein

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Espn Will Count Linear, Streaming Audiences as One

4 hours ago

As Espn viewers watch the kickoff to next week’s “Monday Night Football” game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals, Espn executives will be attempting a pivotal play all their own.

The Disney-controlled sports-media outlet will next week cease reporting separate live viewership figures for linear TV and streaming, and instead report them as a single number. Monday’s broadcast day will be the first on which Espn will offer a live “total audience” number that reflects both traditional TV watching as well as viewing via streaming services, executives said Friday. Espn and Nielsen, the media-measurement firm upon whose data the industry relies, will add to that number over the next few weeks, adding in viewing done on mobile screens as well as viewing done via “out of home” sources, like TVs in bars and hotels.

Viewers “consume our content on a wide variety of screens,  a wide variety of technologies,” said »


- Brian Steinberg

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Remote Controlled: ‘The Voice’ Coaches Preview ‘Lucky’ Season 13 — Plus Who’s Going to Win

5 hours ago

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In today’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum talks with the creative team of “The Voice” — executive producer Mark Burnett, host Carson Daly, and season 13’s coaches, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton.

This may be the reality series’ 13th season, but the team behind the show — which just won its fourth Emmy for reality-competition series — says they couldn’t feel more lucky. “Thirteen is officially my lucky number and always has been my whole life,” Burnett says. “It’s just a great show: part talent competition, part family sitcom.”

He calls Daly the “leader” — “Traffic cop might be a better analogy,” quips Daly.

But the two say the show succeeds because of the chemistry between all of the coaches, even »


- Debra Birnbaum

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Ron Perlman Talks About His Early Career, Taking on Makeup-Heavy Roles Like ‘Hellboy’

5 hours ago

Hollywood has long recognized Ron Perlman for being unrecognizable. Some of his most iconic roles — including “Hellboy,” “Quest of Fire” and the late-1980s CBS series “Beauty and the Beast” — required extensive, transformative makeup and prosthetics. The actor is returning to television, a medium he describes as “the one area where the storytelling is really rich, really deep and really human,” to join the Crackle drama “Startup” in the series’ second season, which premieres Sept. 28. Perlman’s initial break in the industry came not from television or film, but in the Tommy Tune-directed stage musical “Sunset,” which led to his first mention in Variety on Oct. 5, 1977.

What was it like auditioning for Tommy Tune?

I was wired early in my career for failure. So anytime anyone liked what I did, much less actually hired me, it was a shock. Tommy Tune was a singular validation that I had never experienced before.

What »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Telefonica’s Flagship Premium Series ‘The Plague’ Aims to Rewrite TV History

5 hours ago

Seville, circa 1580. Movistar Plus flagship series “The Plague” begins with the camera gliding near ground level alongside a doctor and a merchant who slop down a muddy lane past hovels and their soiled occupants. It is a shot of technical virtuosity, typical of the kinetic style of director Alberto Rodriguez, but more akin to the big screen than the small.

As the camera pulls back to reveal a shantytown outside a dazzling Seville, the viewer begins to realize the scale of “The Plague,” which makes its world premiere at Spain’s San Sebastian Film Festival later in September, the first TV series in the fest’s official selection.

With world sales rights handled by Sky Vision, “The Plague’s” scale also says much about the production and artistic ambitions of Movistar Plus, the pay TV unit of European telco giant Telefonica, whose 2016 revenues of €52 billion ($62.4 billion) were seven times that of Netflix ($8.83 billion).

Series creator Rodriguez and »


- John Hopewell

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TV Review: ‘Me, Myself & I,’ Starring Bobby Moynihan and John Larroquette

5 hours ago

In this ambitious sitcom, the audience is introduced to the same character in three different timelines — at three very different life stages. There’s 14-year-old Alex (Jack Dylan Grazer), 40-year-old Alex (Bobby Moynihan), and 65-year-old Alex (John Larroquette), all at transitional points in their lives — moving, divorce, retirement.

Structurally, it’s an interesting approach, but ultimately a flawed one. It’s hard to invest too much in any particular timeline when we can see the origins, or the end result, in one of the other timelines. The show has to work overtime to establish not just one but three settings, which inevitably doesn’t serve each. Plus, it is really hard to conceptualize how the show would continue to be interesting once we get to know more about Alex; how could anything in his 14-year-old life have dramatic stakes, if we already know what he’s like at 40?

In what is likely an attempt to mimic the »


- Sonia Saraiya

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Telefonica Shakes Up Europe’s Pay-tv Business With High-End Scripted Drama

5 hours ago

After more than two decades of talk about the convergence of entertainment and telecommunications, Spain’s Telefonica became Europe’s first telecom to launch a massive premium scripted drama slate. Telefonica premiered “Velvet Collection,” a romantic drama centered on a high-fashion house, on Sept. 7, via pay-tv platform, Movistar Plus.

Indeed, of national pay-tv players in Europe, only Sky in the U.K. may match Movistar Plus’ production volume as it unleashes three original series this year and plans on 10-11 in 2018.

Velvet Collection” is a sequel to TV series “Velvet,” which helped persuade Studiocanal buy into its producer, Madrid’s Bambu Producciones, and Netflix to commission from the shingle its first Spanish original series.

“The Zone,” a crime thriller from brothers Jorge and Alberto Sánchez-Cabezudo — creators of one of Spain’s very few pay-tv series, “Crematorium” — will bow in October. It is followed by “Spanish Shame,” a pioneering — for Spain — “Curb Your Enthusiasm”-style sitcom about a »


- John Hopewell

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TV Ratings: ‘Orville’ Suffers Heavy Drop in Move to Thursdays

6 hours ago

Fox’s “The Orville” saw a significant drop in both key ratings measures in its first airing in its regular Thursday timeslot, according to Nielsen data.

Airing at 9 p.m., the new sci-fi series drew a 1.1 rating in adults 18-49 and 4 million total viewers. That is a drop of 50% in the key demo and 39% in total viewers compared to the episode that aired this past Sunday after NFL football (2.2, 6.6 million).

Earlier on Fox, the season premiere of “Gotham” (1.0, 3.1 million) was down in both measures compared to last season’s premiere.

On CBS, the Season 3 finale of “Zoo” at 10 (0.5, 2.9 million) was up slightly in total viewers from last week.

For The CW, “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” (0.4, 1.6 million) was even at 8. “Whose Line Is It Anyway” (0.4, 1.2 million) was up in the demo at 9.

NBC and ABC aired only repeats.

Fox won the night in the demo with a 1.0 but was third in total viewers with 3.6 million. CBS »

- Joe Otterson

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Showtime Acquires Rights to Bill Clinton, James Patterson Novel ‘President Is Missing’

7 hours ago

The television rights to the upcoming Bill Clinton-James Patterson novel “The President Is Missing” have been acquired by Showtime with plans to adapt it into a series, the network announced Friday.

Set to be published in 2018, the book tells the story of a sitting U.S. president’s disappearance, with the level of detail that only someone who has held the office can know. Clinton and Patterson’s collaboration on the novel marks the first time an American President has ever co-authored a thriller. The rights were acquired by Showtime in a competitive situation, with many networks and streaming services trying to secure the rights. It is said that CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves’ longstanding relationship with both Clinton and Patterson was instrumental in bringing the project to Showtime.

Insiders say only certain parties were even granted meetings with the list of suitors ranging from Steven Spielberg and Peter Chernin to Justin Lin and »


- Joe Otterson

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Netflix Children’s Show Production Company Calls Penis Drawing ‘a Very Bad Joke’

7 hours ago

Following a social media uproar that prompted Netflix to remove an episode of the children’s show “Maya the Bee” that included a drawing of what appeared to be a penis in the background, the French production company behind the cartoon has apologized.

“An absolutely inappropriate image has been discovered in a four-second fly-by scene in one episode of the total of 78 episodes of the series,” Studio 100 said in a statement obtained by Variety. “The origin of this image obviously results from a very bad joke from one of the 150 artists working on the production.”

The vulgar image was discovered by U.S. viewers who shared screenshots of the questionable scenes on social media. Parent Chey Robinson’s Facebook post of the offending clip from Season 1, Episode 35 of the series was among the first to go viral.

“Please be mindful of what your kids are watching. I did Not edit any images whatsoever, this »


- Maane Khatchatourian and Elsa Keslassy

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Brian Strong Joins Fox Sports as Senior VP, Brand Communications

9 hours ago

Brian Strong has joined Fox Sports as senior VP, brand communications.

In his new role, Strong will be responsible for amplifying Fox Sports’ brand through the elevation of the company’s brand-storytelling strategy. He will lead entertainment, brand, and digital public relations through campaigns, special projects, and key sports and entertainment moments.

He will report to Terri Hines, executive VP, communications for Fox Sports.

Strong most recently worked at Nike, where he served as communications director on the global corporate and North America category communications teams. Working with the global team, he drove storytelling for the company’s corporate-brand narrative. On the North America side, he was responsible for strategic media relations work for the basketball, soccer, football and training categories.

Prior to joining Nike, Strong led his own independent communications consulting firm, the Strong Group, working with brands in the entertainment, art, publishing, beauty, and emerging-markets finance sectors. Previous stops include PR agencies Hl Group and »


- Daniel Holloway

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Deutsche Telekom Orders First Original, Culture-Clash Comedy ‘Germanized’

16 hours ago

Deutsche Telekom has greenlit “Germanized,” a culture-clash comedy series about a French village on the verge of bankruptcy that welcomes a German company and hundreds of German workers. It is the first original for the telco’s EntertainTV service.

Christoph Maria Herbst (“Stromberg”) and Roxane Duran (“The White Ribbon”) will star, with shooting slated for next spring ahead of a launch in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The French and German-language show hails from a Franco-German team. Franck Magnier and Alexandre Charlot (“Les Guignols de L’Info”), from the French side, and Thomas Rogel (“Heute Show”) and Peter Güde (“Stromberg”), from Germany, co-created the half-hour comedy. “Das Boot” producer Bavaria Fernsehproduktion, and Newen’s production company Telfrance will make the France-Germany co-production.

“After Uhd and the first exclusive series for EntertainTV, the next logical step is original productions,” said Deutsche Telekom’s Michael Hagspihl. “With our partners we have put together a strong team with stellar expertise in »


- Stewart Clarke

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Jimmy Kimmel, for Third Night in a Row, Urges Defeat of Gop Health Care Bill

18 hours ago

Jimmy Kimmel fired back at Republicans who have dismissed his criticisms of the Gop’s plans to repeal and replace Obamacare, once again using his monologue to urge viewers to call their senators to stop the pending legislation.

It was a the third night in a row that Kimmel has warned of a bill co-authored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-s.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

On Tuesday, he called Cassidy a “liar” for coming on his show earlier this year and vowing not to support any legislation that does not guarantee affordable health care to families, particularly those with children who have pre-existing medical conditions. Cassidy had said he would not support any bill that did not pass the “Jimmy Kimmel test.”

But the Graham-Cassidy legislation, Kimmel said, “most definitely does not pass that test.” He noted that it weakens protections for pre-existing conditions, and would allow insurance companies to once again impose lifetime caps, among »


- Ted Johnson

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TV News Roundup: Mark Hamill Among Trio to Join Cast of Netflix Series ‘Trollhunters’

23 hours ago

In todays’ roundup, Mark Hamill, Lena Headey, and David Bradley join the cast of “Trollhunters,” and “AMC Visionaries: Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics” gets a premier date.

Casting

Mark Hamill, Lena Headey, and David Bradley have been cast in Season 2 of Guillermo del Toro‘s animated Netflix series “Trollhunters.” Hamill will play an evil older brother to one of the Trollhunting team, Headey will play an evil sorceress, and Bradley will voice a mysterious figure with magical powers. The 13-episode second season of “Trollhunters” will premier on Netflix in late 2017.

David Lim has been upped to a series regular on the CBS’s upcoming drama series “S.W.A.T.” Lim portrays Victor Tan, a relatively new S.W.A.T. officer who made his name in the Hollywood division before advancing to the heights of the Lapd and Metro S.W.A.T. The series premieres on CBS on Nov. 2 at 10 p.m. Et/Pt.

Emma Kenney has been tapped to star in »


- Matt Fernandez

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‘America’s Got Talent’ Season 12 Closes Out With Impressive Ratings Growth

23 hours ago

“America’s Got Talent” season 12 aired its finale on Wednesday night, closing out the show’s highest-rated season ever in delayed viewing.

On a Nielsen Live+7 basis, “America’s Got Talent” averaged 15.7 million viewers per episode this season, up 14% from last summer. In the key adults 18-49 demographic, the show went from an average of a 3.1 rating last season to a 3.4 this season, again in L+7. Those numbers do not take into account this week’s episodes, which both saw substantial growth in Live+Same Day numbers from the previous week.

Tuesday’s episode this week drew a 3.0 rating and 14.7 million viewers, up 30% in the demo and 27% in total viewers from last week Tuesday (2.3, 11.6 million). Wednesday’s finale drew a 3.0 and 15.6  million viewers, up 43% in the demo and 35% in total viewers from last Wednesday (2.1, 11.6 million). The finale drew the show’s biggest demo rating for a Wednesday broadcast in six years and was the most-watched episode of »


- Joe Otterson

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Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg to Produce NBC Comedy Project From ‘Sausage Party’ Actress

21 September 2017 2:30 PM, PDT

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have signed on to executive produce a comedy project in development at NBC from “Sausage Party’s” Sugar Lyn Beard.

The currently untitled project would follow Dr. Olivia Boudreau, a 35-year-old hard-charging Doogie Howser-style prodigy, who has a complete breakdown in the operating room and loses her medical license. She is forced to move in with her estranged hippy mom and her mom’s two best friends, who team up to help get her back on her feet, while teaching her all the life lessons she missed by going to med school. If the project goes forward, Beard is attached to star.

Beard co-created the project with Guy-Endore Kaiser, with both serving as writers and executive producers. Rogen and Goldberg will executive produce under their Point Grey Pictures banner, with Point Grey’s James Weaver also executive producing. Sony Pictures Television will produce in association with Point Grey, which »


- Joe Otterson

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