Entertainment news: Hardwick commentary; Andrew Lloyd Webber no longer Really Useful; Picard makes it so again; Data is new VP; RIP Ellison, Ditko and others.

I’m still trying to get caught up on entertainment news.

Before we start I want to comment on the Chris Hardwick situation. In case you don’t know Chris Hardwick is the host of the “Talking Dead” after show for both “The Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead” on AMC. In the walking that off-season he also has his own show on AMC called “Talking with Chris Hardwick” in which he interviews a celebrity guest for a full hour. He is also occasionally hosted and after show for “Better Call Saul” titled “Talking Saul”. He also hosts the NBC primetime game show “The Wall”. He was the founder of the nerd culture website Nerdest.com in which he had a podcast for many years where he interviewed celebrities one-on-one.

Several weeks ago on the day of the season premiere of “Talking with Chris Hardwick” AMC pulled him off the air and canceled his appearances at San Diego Comic Con where he was set to host panel discussions with the stars of the Walking Dead franchise.

It was prompted by a blog post by his ex-girlfriend who, without naming him specifically, described an ex-boyfriend who is emotionally and physically abusive to her. She claimed that after their breakup he threatened and/or actually did try to ruin her career by blacklisting her and discouraging other people from hiring her. Given the hypersensitivity and zero-tolerance state of the #MeToo era we are living in he was guilty until proven innocent. I mentioned that she did not identify him by name but she described the ex-boyfriend as a media icon who started out with a famous online podcast and is now a comedian and talkshow host. And it was public knowledge that they had been a couple so it was obviously him.

Hardwick released a statement saying that it was a nasty breakup but denied any abuse allegations. AMC eventually said that Yvette Nicole Brown who is a frequent celebrity fan guest on the “Talking Dead” show would replace him at comic con and on the TV shows on an interim basis. She made it clear in tweets that she considered it “just filling in for a friend”. When it was announced that Hardwick was suspended I publicly speculated that Brown would be the only logical choice for a replacement. NBC commented that new episodes of “The Wall” would not start taping until September and they were taking a wait and see attitude.

Many genre TV shows have attempted to produce after-shows similar to “Talking Dead” including “Orphan Black”, “Game of Thrones”, and “Sons of Anarchy” but none have been successful because they’ve not been near the quality of those hosted by Hardwick. He is a credible super fan, he has a sensitive yet probing style of interview, his experience doing nerd-based stand-up comedy shines through in his approach to the interviews. There is lots of fan involvement with questions submitted via social media and a weekly question from a member of the studio audience. All of the above combines to make his shows a fun entertaining ride for fans of the series.

I was seriously bummed out that he was off the air because I’m a great fan of his. While there’s no excuse for the kind of abuse that women have suffered at the hands of media people and while I completely support the #MeToo movement, these cases need to be taken on a case-by-case basis. We live in a country founded on the principle of innocent until proven guilty. The current atmosphere makes it much too easy for a disgruntled person to completely destroy someone’s career over a mere accusation. Even if Hardwick is guilty of bad behavior, there are degrees of these things. There was no hint of multiple allegations and there were no details that suggested the kinds of extreme behavior alleged of people like Weinstein, Cosby, and Spacey. I really don’t believe everyone who’s experienced a bad relationship deserves to have their career destroyed.

Fortunately after an investigation by an outside firm, AMC has agreed to reinstate Hardwick as has NBC. Yvette Nicole Brown substituted for him at Comic Con. She also hosted a special edition of “Talking Dead” last week that was a preview of season nine of “The Walking Dead”. She announced that Hardwick would return next week to “Talking Dead” after the mid season premiere of “Fear The Walking Dead”. NBC also announced that he would return to “The Wall”. Last week he was also guest judge on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”. I never saw any news references about that episode or what NBC might’ve done had he not been reinstated. There is no way they could edit him out of the episode especially since the guest judge always gets the opportunity to hit the Golden Buzzer to advance one act to the next round. I suppose had the investigation revealed that the situation was serious, they would’ve had to run the show with some sort of disclaimer saying that it was taped before the allegations were made public.

We’ve seen some extremely high profile actors such as Johnny Depp continue with their career beyond serious allegations about their abusive behavior. I wondered if they’ve gotten more of a free pass because it didn’t reach the level of the big three (Weinstein, Cosby, and Spacey) and they had sufficient economic incentives to turn a bit of a blind eye to the allegations. While Hardwick is a very hot property right now, he doesn’t have the star power Johnny Depp.

I’m relieved to see that someone who is not a megastar like Depp can continue with their career despite previous mistakes. Don’t get me wrong… People need to be held accountable for their bad behavior. But we have a court of law and due process procedures to deal with these kinds situations. My hope is that once the backlog of unreported abuse two things will happen. First women will be empowered to seek legal remedies to the things that have happened to them with more confidence that their claims will receive serious consideration. And second, I hope that anyone who does behave badly is treated like a case-by-case basis and that any consequences of their behavior is proportional to the offenses.

Soapbox mode off…

I’m trying to catch up with my entertainment news.  This blog entry covers June 1 through the present. We’ve been so far behind that I haven’t bothered to include any of my usual links to spoilers from TV journalists Michael Ausiello or Matt’s Inside Line. The “spoilers” that they referenced had already happened however I think we’re getting close enough there’s some useful information in those links so we will start including them as I come across them.

In these links read about…

Article about special-effects on Game of Thrones.

Postmortem interview with actors from Westworld about the end of season 2 and a post credits scene.

Postmortem interview with producers of Handmaid’s Tale about the season finale and going forward.

Spoilers from Matt’s Inside Line dated July 26.

A behind-the-scenes look at auditions for Jeopardy.

What would’ve happened in season five of “The Last Man on Earth”.

Executives at CBS All Access discuss more Star Trek series, Twilight Zone reboot, Stephen King and other topics.

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated August 7.

Interview with ABC executive about the decision to cancel “Roseanne” and to go on with the spinoff series “The Connors”.

 

Not linked but still of interest…

We begin with 2 major deaths.

RIP famous sci-fi author Harlan Ellison who wrote the award-winning Star Trek episode “City on the Edge of Forever”, the film “A Boy and His Dog” and who edited and compiled the famous anthology series “Dangerous Visions”. Often quite outspoken and divisive among fans who either adored or hated him. He successfully sued several films for ripping off themes from his stories including Terminator which James Cameron admitted was an inspiration. He never wanted money in these lawsuits. He just insisted on being given credit for his ideas. He was 94.

RIP comic book artist Stephen Ditko who along with Stan Lee created Spider-Man, Dr. Strange and others. Age 90.

Jamie Lee Curtis is set to return in a new film of the long-running “Halloween” franchise.

The “Game of Thrones” prequel coming to HBO soon is set “thousands of years in the past” compared to the current series. Production starts in October.

John Lassiter cofounder of Pixar Animation is leaving as Disney Animation chief after allegations of workplace misbehavior.

Ryan Gosling will star as Neil Armstrong in an upcoming film titled “First Man”

RIP actress Eunice Gayson who was his first “James Bond girl” appearing in “Dr. No” and “From Russia with Love”. Age 90.

Actor Jeremy Renner suffered a broken arm during the filming of the film “Tag” about a bunch of grown men who still play tag with one another. He has recovered and is looking forward to appearing in Avengers 4.

RIP opera singer Neil Boyd who was the winner of season 3 of “America’s Got Talent”. He was 42 and had multiple medical problems.

Ewan McGregor will play grown-up Danny Torrence from “The Shining” in a new film titled “Doctor Sleep”.

Actor Hartley Sawyer has been promoted to series regular on CW network’s “The Flash”. His stretchy character Ralph Dibney has already been a relatively major character the past season.

Liza Minnelli disapproves of the upcoming biopic about her mother Judy Garland which will star Renée Zellweger

Jeremy Jordan who plays techno geek Winn Schott on Supergirl has been demoted from series regular to recurring character. It was his decision to step back from the role full-time.

Jason Ritter whose “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World” was canceled will be back on TV playing a superhero in Netflix’s family drama “Raising Dion”.

AMC theater chain has started a $20 per month subscription program to compete with MoviePass. Unlike MoviePass, it is good for premium showings such as IMAX and 3D but of course is limited to AMC theaters. Meanwhile MoviePass crashed on the opening day of the new Mission Impossible film causing its stock to plummet. At first they said they will no longer support big blockbuster films such as this and that price would go up from $10 per month to $15 per month. Now they say they are keeping me $10 per month but limiting use to three movies per month.

RIP graphic designer Richard Alan Greenberg who designed the title sequences of Alien, Superman, the matrix and others. Age 71.

When I heard that the AMC series “The Terror” had been renewed for a second season I couldn’t understand because the story at basically wrapped up. However similar to American Horror Story the new season will have a completely different setting and topic. This time much of it takes place in a World War II Japanese internment camp. So basically it’s a totally different show.

NBC has confirmed that there will be a two hour wrapup movie for its canceled time travel series “Timeless”. They say it was fan pressure that got the deal done.

Russell Crowe will play Fox News chief Roger Ailes in an upcoming Showtime series

RIP reality TV star Richard “Old Man” Harrison of Pawn Stars. Age 77

RIP actress Deanna Lund who appeared in the late 60s sci-fi series “Land of the Giants”. She was 81.

The Grammy awards is expanding the number of nominees in its major categories from 5 to 8.

RIP Joe Jackson father of Michael Jackson and his siblings and longtime manager of The Jackson Five. Age 89.

Actress Eileen Davidson is leaving the soap opera “The Young and the Restless” in her role as Ashley Abbott after 36 years.

RIP character actor Stanley Anderson who played the judge in the final episode of Seinfeld and played a general in Spider-Man. He was 87.

Showtime has ordered 10 episodes of a new series tentatively titled “Halo” based on the videogame.

RIP former MSNBC host Ed Schultz. Age 64 natural causes.

RIP actor Tab Hunter. He was a teen heartthrob in 1950s movies not later came out as gay and became an activist. Age 86

Release of the new Indiana Jones 5 film starring Harrison Ford has been pushed back to 2021.

Rapper Drake broke the Beatles record for having five simultaneous singles in the top 10 of the Billboard ranking by owning seven of the top 10 for one week. He also broke his own record for having 27 songs in the top 100 including all 25 from his recent album “Scorpion”. He also set an online record for 1 billion streams.

RIP Nancy Sinatra first wife of Frank Sinatra and mother of his children. Age 101.

The Walking Dead season 9 will have its first deaf character played by deaf actress Lauren Ridloff.

Nickelodeon has ordered 22 episodes of the 90s cartoon Rugrats. There will also be a new Rugrats movie.

Supergirl will have TVs first transgendered superhero played by trans activist Nicole Maines.

Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton and Colin Powell will guest star on the season premiere of Madam Secretary.

Production will begin this fall on a new Deadwood movie at HBO. Will premiere in the spring of 2019.

Veep is going back into production for its seventh and final season to premiere in spring of 2019 after delay for Julia Louis Dreyfus cancer recovery.

One of my favorite new documentary series “One Strange Rock” has been renewed for season 2 on National Geographic Channel. Check it out on demand.

YouTube has removed InfoWars videos and suspends live broadcasts from controversial Alt-Right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. He has also been suspended from posting videos and Facebook for 30 days. And also Spotify has removed many of his podcasts from their service. And also Apple has pulled his podcasts from iTunes.

Game show Beat Shazam pulled the episode featuring singer Demi Lovato after she was admitted to the hospital for an apparent drug overdose. She has canceled the remainder of her tour.

Headline “Andrew Lloyd Webber’s theaters no longer really useful”. But seriously folks… He is renaming his theater division “Really Useful Theaters” to just “LW Theaters” to distinguish between that and his other production company which handles his creative output which is called “Really Useful Group”. So I guess he’s still useful after all… Just not his theaters 🙂

Original MythBuster Adam Savage will host a new show featuring experimenting kids titled MythBusters Junior.

RIP William Loud the father of the first reality TV family on the PBS series “An American Family” in the early 70s.

Carrie Fisher will appear in Star Wars episode 9 by using unused footage from the previous two installments. Her family approves. Filming of living actors began in late July.

Fear The Walking Dead and Better Call Saul have both been renewed for seasons 5 by AMC.

The first season of Marvel’s Runaways which originally was released on Hulu is now going to air on Freeform channel. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy a teenage theme show such as this but it was really quite good. Highly recommended.

Octavia Spencer will play Madam CJ Walker in an upcoming Netflix miniseries.

Netflix hit “Stranger Things” season 3 is being delayed until summer of 2019. Producers and writers say they want to take the time to get it right and maintain the quality they’ve been delivering.

CBS president Les Moonves is the latest high-profile executive to be accused of sexual misconduct.

A prequel of the TV series “24”will tell the origin story of agent Jack Bauer. It’s under development at Fox.

Alan Alda has revealed that he has had Parkinson’s disease for three years.

Former Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat will produce a TV series “The Time Traveler’s Wife” for HBO based on the movie of the same name.

2001: A Space Odyssey is being re-released in IMAX in late August and will appear at the Indianapolis White River IMAX in the 70 mm film IMAX format the first week of September for a limited run. I’ve already got plans to see it. I’ve only seen it in a theater one time and that was in the small 2 screen cinema that used to be in Speedway shopping center. Really looking forward to seeing it and near Cinerama format and a decent sound system.

Former Star Trek Cmdr. Data Brent Spiner will guest star as the vice president in the next season reassuring role on Supergirl.

Skydance and Paramount are going to reboot Terminator with a mostly female cast.

Warner Bros. TV is in the early stages of rebooting the 80s and the sitcom ALF.

Steve Coogan and John C Riley play Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy is upcoming movie “Stan & Ollie”

Comedian Chris Rock will star in season 4 of Fargo as a crime boss in 1950s Missouri

FX has ordered a miniseries titled Shogun

American Horror Story has been renewed for season 10 ahead of its upcoming season 9 premiere.

Patrick Stewart is returning to Star Trek as Jean-Luc Picard for a new series being developed for CBS All Access

RIP James Bonner who featured on the TLC series “My 600 Lb. Life” found dead of a shotgun wound. Age 30.

RIP actress Charlotte Rae who played house mother Mrs. Garrett on “The Facts of Life”. She was 92. Meanwhile there are plans to reboot series in progress.

Robert Redford plans to retire from acting after his upcoming film “The Old Man & The Gun” but he says “never say never”.

Showtime announces that “Shameless” season 9 will have 14 episodes (up from the usual 10) but will be split into 2 groups of seven and winter blocks.

Showtime has announced that Homeland will end with season 8.

The final season of Netflix series House of Cards will premiere November 2

FX has acquired the cable broadcast rights to Mission Impossible: Fallout, Deadpool 2, A Quiet Place and other big films.

Ruby Rose who has appeared in “Orange is the New Black” has been cast as Batwoman in a crossover episode CW networks superheroe Arrowverse. She may end up getting her own standalone series.

The upcoming season of American Horror Story: Apocalypse will include lots of people from previous seasons among them AHS veterans Taissa Farmiga, Gabourey Sidibe, Lily Rabe, Frances Conroy and Stevie Nicks.

If you missed James Cordon’s “Carpool Karaoke” segment a few months ago where he visited London and toured Liverpool with Paul McCartney there is still time to catch it. There’s going to be a prime time one hour special with never before seen segments to air on CBS August 20 at 8 PM. The original segment on his show was phenomenal. It included a surprise concert in a local Liverpool pub that was enough to bring tears to the eyes of any Beatles fan. Highly recommended and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do in the one hour special.

TNT will have a new sci-fi drama “Snowpiercer” based on the 2013 movie about survivors in a frozen post-apocalyptic world who ride around on a super train.

Recently the home used for exterior shots of “The Brady Bunch” went up for sale at auction. It was purchased by cable channel HGTV. The starting bids began at $1.9 million but the actual selling price has not been disclosed. They outbid former *NSYNC member Lance Bass who was hoping to acquire the home. HGTV plans to restore it to its former 1970s glory. On the original show the interiors were shot on a soundstage so the inside of the house probably resembles nothing like what we saw on TV.

The producers of “This Is Us” say that the new season will be more “hopeful” now that they’ve put the Jack’s death story behind them. However it will flash back to his days in Vietnam so how hopeful could that be? Time to stock up on tissue before the September 25 premiere.

There will be a new Oscar category starting with the 2019 ceremony that will be for “Popular Film” so that films like Star Wars, superhero movies, and other blockbuster films will have a chance at recognition even if they aren’t rigidly worthy of the critical acclaim of the typical best picture. The move is being met with mixed reaction. Some are praising it while others say they are selling out and diminishing the value of an Academy award.

Former Friend David Schwimmer will have a recurring role in the upcoming season of Will & Grace as a love interest for Grace.

We previously reported the death of former Lois Lane in the Superman movies Margot Kidder. The corner has now ruled her death a suicide.

And we did it! I’m now all caught up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.