Entertainment news: RIP poker announcer Mike Sexton; The Walking Dead sets end date plus spinoff series; Oscar sets new diversity rules; and more

In case you missed it, scroll back through this blog a couple of entries to see my latest reviews most notably HBO Max sci-fi series “Raised by Wolves” which is awesome. Also Netflix’s sci-fi series “Away” starring Hilary Swank about the first mission to Mars. Phenomenal acting and character writing but absolutely atrocious plot holes and ridiculous bad science.

Last week we reported that David Benioff and DB Weiss who created and produced “Game of Thrones” were going to produce a series for Netflix based on the epic Chinese sci-fi trilogy “The Three Body Problem” written by Liu Cixin. I had heard wonderful things about the book and decided to check it out. I read the first book of the trilogy over a three-day period this week. It is everything wonderful that the reviewers claim it is. If you like old-school, hard science sci-fi then this is definitely worth checking out. Other reviewers are saying they haven’t seen anything like this since the days of Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke. I wholeheartedly agree. It is a story of alien first contact but is set against the background of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and early 1970s. We also fast forwards 40 years to our near future. I will be reading the other two books sometime soon. Author Liu Cixin as well as translator Ken Liu will serve as executive producers and consultants to the new Netflix series. No release date has been given but I can’t wait to see what they do with it. There is a Chinese animated version available but I don’t know if I can find a copy with English subtitles. Although I don’t usually do book reviews here, this one gets a strong rating of “Must-See” for any fans of hard sci-fi.

Finally we want to call to your attention a link at the bottom of the page talking about the Academy Awards new diversity rules for Best Picture eligibility. I’m all in favor of diversity both in front of and behind the camera and I agree that the Academy has had a bad record of overlooking outstanding performances by minorities. But setting up Affirmative Action style quotas rubs me the wrong way. The goal of course is to get more minorities represented in the awards but I think that the decision to cast a role in one race or another should not be motivated by trying to make the film Oscar eligible. Fix your nominating and voting procedures but don’t try to tell writers and directors how to cast their parts. Others will disagree with me. Read the article and decide for yourself.

Pandemic News

  • Derek Hough will replace Chief Judge Len Goodman on the upcoming season of ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars”. Goodman cannot travel from the UK because of pandemic travel restrictions. An NBC spokesman said this will not affect Hough’s role on a possible future season of “World of Dance” Hough was one of the original and most successful pros on DWTS winning multiple Emmys for his work. It will be great to have them back but I miss the fact we won’t get to see him dance. His sister Julianne also served as a DWTS judge for season 19-21. See the link below for more details. DWTS will return September 14.
  • Production has shutdown on the film “The Batman” because Robert Pattison has contracted Covid 19.
  • Jeopardy will return to the air beginning September 14 after a long pandemic hiatus. Jeopardy Champion Ken Jennings will join the show as a consultant and delivering video clues.
  • Michael Rooker of “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “The Walking Dead” is recovering from Covid 19
  • Amy Schumer reveals she has Lyme disease. Not really pandemic related but I put it here anyway.
  • An Elvis biopic that was shut down when Tom Hanks got Covid 19 has resumed production in Australia.

Renewals, Coming Soon, and Casting News

  • AMC announced that season 11 of “The Walking Dead” will be its last however it will be a supersize 24 episodes with the first 12 appearing in 2021 and the final 12 in 2022. There will also be 2 new spinoff series. One of them featuring Norman Redus and Melissa McBride a.k.a. Darrell and Carol scheduled for 2023. It there will also be another spinoff that is an anthology series. We still have “Fear The Walking Dead” as well as a new 2 season series “The Walking Dead: Worlds Beyond” coming soon. A feature film about character Rick Grimes is also in the works. The pandemic delayed season finale of season 10 will air October 4 followed by six bonus episodes in early 2021.
  • CBS hit sitcom “Mom” starring Allison Janney is losing its daughter. Anna Faris will not be returning for season eight as Christy. The character will be written out of the show and not recast.
  • After the failure of her “Suits” spinoff series “Pearson”, Gina Torres will be joining the cast of “911: Lone Star” for season 2.
  • A new version of “The Godfather Part III” will be coming to theaters in December with a different ending. The restored and edited version is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its original release. Poor Michael… He keeps trying to get out and they keep pulling him back in 🙂
  • “The Venture Bros.” has been canceled from Adult Swim anthology series after seven seasons.
  • The Masked Singer will have its first contestant that is a duet. “The Snow Owls” will compete as a single act and be eliminated and unmasked together.
  • Netflix has announced that season 6 of Lucifer its final season will contain just 8 episodes.
  • SNL has promoted Ego Nwodim to a main cast member. Previously had been a supporting player.
  • Showtime announced “The Chi” has been renewed for season 4.
  • Ellen DeGeneres daytime talk show will resume return Monday September 21. She says she will address the recent controversy over a “toxic work environment” that has been alleged by former employees and has caused a shakeup among her producers.
  • Today we introduce a new award. Usually we award “Chris Young’s Sure Sign of the Coming Apocalypse” but today we introduce “Chris Young’s Sure Sign that the Apocalypse May Be Ending” award. “Keeping up With the Kardashians” will come to an end in 2021 with season 20. There may be hope for us all 🙂
  • NBC Peacock streaming is going to reboot “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”
  • “Q” Returns to Star Trek! Well at least his voice. John de Lancie will supply the voice for his legendary character “Q” from the Next Generation in the upcoming episode of animated “Star Trek: Lower Decks”
  • Tracy Ellis Ross, Regina King, and Alfre Woodard will star in a one time event all-black reimagining of “The Golden Girls”.
  • Frozen’s Olaf will get his own animated short on Disney+ October 23 titled “Once upon a Snowman”.
  • Kevin Hart will host a new Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon. Rather than the all might Labor Day events that used to be hosted by Jerry Lewis this will be a two hour event streaming online October 24 at 8 PM. I never cared for the MDA Telethon because it was too much of a pity party that made parents feel guilty for having healthy children. There have always been questions about what percentage of the funds raised actually went to the charity. Records show it’s much less than most charities. My family and I always supported a local Muscular Dystrophy Family Foundation which was a United Way agency. Let’s hope this new telethon has a more positive approach.
  • Jay Leno will host a reboot of “You Bet Your Life” syndicated and produced by Fox owned TV stations. The game show was hosted in the 1950s by Groucho Marx.
  • Saturday Night Live will return October 3 live from studio 8H. During the pandemic they did taped episodes zoom style.

Miscellaneous News

  • HBO Max has extended its $12 per month discount offer to new and returning subscribers for up to one year.

In Memoriam

  • Mike Sexton former commentator World Poker Tour age 72 prostate cancer. This one is hard on me. Listening to his expert commentary really taught me a lot about the game of poker. I feel like I owe him a big debt. I haven’t watched the WPT in several years since it moved to Fox sports where the schedule wasn’t very regular. But he will be missed.
  • Diana Rigg who appeared in the 80s spy thriller TV series “The Avengers” and recently appeared in “Game of Thrones” age 82.
  • Actor Kevin Dobson who appeared in “Kojak”, “Knots Landing” and other shows age 77
  • Ronald Harwood Oscar-winning screenwriter of “The Pianist”. Age 85.
  • Ronald “Khalis” Bell cofounder of Kool & the Gang and songwriter of “Celebration” age 68
  • Peter Sova cinematographer on “Diner” and “Donnie Brasco” age 75.

Links of Interest

‘Dancing With The Stars’: The Inside Story Of How ABC’s Competition Format Is Waltzing Through The Pandemic
Oscar Shakes Up Best Picture Eligibility Standards; Strict New Diversity Requirements Take Full Effect In 2024

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