Entertainment News: Cancer Culture Commentary, Cancellations and Renewals, and more

Couple of quick comments about what I’ve been watching… Season 4 of Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale” just wrapped up with a shocking final episode. The season was a little bit uneven but overall a great watch. Also just started watching Marvel’s new series Loki which seems to be pretty good. And if you have access to Paramount+ we want to recommend sci-fi action-adventure movie “Infinite” starring Mark Wahlberg and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Lots of great car chases, gun battles, fight sequences, and a sci-fi plot that isn’t too difficult to follow.

Today’s opening comments are about the ridiculous level to which our cancel culture has taken over. We can applaud such issues as the publishers of Dr. Seuss books removing some of his lesser-known titles from publication because his depiction of Asian characters in a particular stereotypical way as well as depicting African characters as near monkeys is an now that I’ve election will close was that okay okay is okay appropriate move. But these issues are being taken to ridiculous extremes. For example there are protests that at a Disneyland attraction Prince charming is kissing an unconscious Snow White without her permission. What do they expect him to do? Let her lay there in a coma just because she can’t say “Yes please… Save my life?” Give me a break. One friend of mine pointed out she wanted to kiss the guy way earlier in the story.

We also have the case of 16-year-old American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy who dropped out of the show when he was among the top 5 finalists. A video clip surfaced showing him and his friends goofing around when they were 13. One of his friends, not him, had on a hood as he was imitating characters from the slasher film “The Strangers: Prey at Night”. Because the hood resembled a KKK hood, controversy arose claiming that he was condoning racism. In the first place it was not a KKK hood. Furthermore do you really believe that even if a 13-year-old was hanging out with his buddies and they did something racist that he was going to have the presence of mind to condemn them on video lest his future music career be ruined by associating with such people. While there doesn’t seem to be any indication that he was forced to quit, the fact that he and/or his advisors felt it was his best interest (or the best interest of ABC and the producers of American Idol) is just totally insane.

We also have the story of actor John Barrowman who plays iconic character Capt. Jack Harkness on the TV series Doctor Who and Torchwood. Allegations have arisen of sexual misconduct which have included things such as exposing himself on set. Like his character, Barrowman is a flamboyant character and his fans probably are not shocked that he would behave in such a manner no matter how inappropriate it was. The problem is it appears the allegations are from years ago. Producers warned him about the behavior and claim that it did not recur. While we aren’t defending his actions, he has continued to work in film and television for some time since these events occurred. But now he has been edited out of the new theme park experience called “Time Fracture” and an upcoming audio play from “Big Finish” has canceled an upcoming Doctor Who series featuring him and David Tennant. He didn’t sexually assault anyone. He didn’t use a position of authority to extort sexual favors out of his underlings. He behaved like an immature kid even though he is an adult. Should we destroy his entire career for such behavior?

Just before I was ready to post this blog comes the story of Ellie Kemper known for roles and “The Office” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”. She has been branded “KKK Princess” for appearing in a Missouri debutante ball when she was 19. She was dubbed “a racist beauty queen” by Internet trolls. She has apologized for her involvement with an organization that had “an unquestionably racist, sexist, and elitist past.” She also added “I was not aware of the history at the time, but ignorance is no excuse.” I would agree that ignorance is no excuse for the ignorant people were condemning her for participating in what seemed like an innocent event that for many people in many cultures in America as a rite of passage. We would guess that 90% of the people participating in such events had no idea the racist roots. Yet another case of a person being condemned for something they instantly did as a young person in a time and place that was not as allegedly “woke” as we are today.

And one more item… Just to prove you can never win the game in this current atmosphere. Lin Manuel Miranda is being criticized for his new movie “In the Heights” because dark skin Afro-Latinos only appear as background dancers and not in major roles. This man has done more for Hispanic and Puerto Rican culture in America than anyone in history and even his efforts don’t satisfy the critics. And if that wasn’t enough Rita Marino defended Miranda and then was criticized for being insensitive towards black Latinos and had to apologize. Will this ever end?

I’m finding I have zero tolerance for zero tolerance.

Pandemic News

  • A recent episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” was canceled because the comedian has tested positive for Covid. He is fully vaccinated and asymptomatic.
  • On June 15, live audiences returned to Stephen Colbert. Jimmy Kimmel hopes to have a right guardians by next month. Jimmy Fallon has had live audiences for several weeks now. No word on when Seth Meyers will follow.

Renewals, Coming Soon, and Casting News

There are lots of renewals and cancellations in the news this time. If you don’t see your show listed, check out these links from TVLine.

  • Broadcast Renewal Scorecard
  • Cable Renewal Scorecard
  • Streaming Renewal Scorecard
  • NBC has announced its next live musical will be “Annie Live!”
  • ABC has canceled “Call Your Mother” after one season. I follow this stuff closely and I never heard of it.
  • NBC has renewed “Law & Order: Organized Crime” for season 2.
  • NBC has announced there will be America’s Got Talent: Extreme spinoffs show that will feature nothing but daredevil acts. Simon Cowell will be one of the judges.
  • ABC has renewed a number of series “Home Economics”, “The Goldbergs”, “The Rookie”, “A Million Little Things”, and “The Conners”. Meanwhile they have canceled 5 series: Katie Sagal’s new series “Rebel”, “mixed-ish”, “For Life”, “American Housewife”, and “Call Your Mother”. ABC has also announced it has renewed “black-ish” for its 8th and final season.
  • NBC announced it will no longer be in the market for a new talk show for its 1:30 AM timeslot after ending “A Little Late with Lilly Singh” after two seasons. There has been a talkshow in that slot since 1988.
  • CBS announced that if “SEAL Team” and “Clarice” get renewed they will be moved to Paramount+ exclusively. Update: “Clarice” may be canceled after all as negotiations with Paramount and MGM a broken down.
  • Sports broadcaster Marv Albert will retire after the NBA playoffs. He is 80 years old and has been broadcasting for 60 years.
  • CBS has canceled “The Unicorn”, and “All Rise” after 2 seasons each. They have also renewed “B Positive” and “United States of Al” for a second season each. “Evil” will move to Paramount+.
  • NBC has renewed “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” for another five years.
  • Fox has renewed 911 and spinoff series 911 Lone Star for new seasons as well as “The Resident” and “The Masked Singer”
  • HBO Max is revising “Project Greenlight” which gives aspiring filmmakers and screenwriters the opportunity to produce a low-budget feature and it documents the process. This time it will be under the mentorship of Issa Rae.
  • Emily Wickersham were not return to NCIS in her role as Agent Bishop next season.
  • NBC stations announced that “The Kelly Clarkson Show” will take over this timeslot from Ellen DeGeneres in 2022.
  • NBC has canceled sci-fi series “Debris” after 1 season
  • Apple TV + has renewed “The Mosquito Coast” for season 2.
  • Showtime has renewed “City on a Hill” for season 3.
  • Netflix superhero series “Jupiter’s Legacy” will not return for season 2 which is very disappointing because it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger however Netflix has already ordered a spinoff series set in the same universe .
  • Milo Ventimiglia will have a recurring role in season 4 of “The Marvelous Mrs.Marisel”
  • Antonia Thomas a.k.a. Dr. Claire Browne is leaving “The Good Doctor”
  • Netflix fantasy series “Shadow and Bone” has been renewed for season 2.
  • Peacock has ordered a TV series “Ted” based on the Seth McFarlane movie of the same name.
  • Apple TV+ has renewed post-apocalyptic series “See” starring Jason Momoa for season 3 and announced season 2 will premier August 27.
  • Peacock has renewed “Girls5eve” musical comedy series for season 2.
  • NBC has canceled “Manifest” after 3 seasons. Producers are looking for a new home for the series.
  • Fox has canceled Dennis Leary sitcom “The Moodys” after two seasons

Politics and Showbiz

Miscellaneous News

  • CW network is expanding its primetime programming lineup to be a full 7 days per week this is the first time in its 27 year history going back to its roots UPN network and WB network.
  • Actor Billy Porter from “Pose” really are that he has been HIV-positive for 14 years.
  • The 2022 Oscars have been to raise a month and will air in March. Streaming movies which was scheduled for theatrical release will still be eligible as they were last year.
  • The USFL will attempt to come back in 2022 with Fox Sports.
  • When Marvel’s “Black Widow” comes to IMAX theater July 9 it will have 22 minutes of expanded IMAX coverage. They didn’t really say if it was shot with IMAX cameras or not but it will fill the IMAX screen.
  • Stephen Colbert had the highest-rated late-night talkshow in 2020-21 for the fifth season in a row.

In Memoriam

  • Gavin MacLeod star of “The Love Boat” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” age 90.
  • Charles Grodin actor of “Midnight Run” and “The Heartbreak Kid” age 86.
  • Lawyer F. Lee Bailey who served only O.J. Simpson defense team and other high-profile cases. Age 87.
  • Clarence Williamson III who played “Linc” on “The Mod Squad” Age 81
  • Ned Beatty, character actor who appeared in “Network” and “Deliverance” age 83
  • Actor comedian Paul Mooney who appeared in “Chapelle’s Show” age 97
  • Samuel E. Wright actor who voiced Sebastian in “The Little Mermaid” age 74
  • BJ Thomas singer-songwriter of “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” age 78
  • Frank Bonner who played Herb on “WKRP in Cincinnati” age 97
  • Buddy Van Horn director of “Any Which Way You Can” and stunt double for many Clint Eastwood movies. Age 92
  • Arlene Golonka, best known for her portrayal of waitress Millie on the classic CBS sitcom The Andy Griffith Show and its spin-off Mayberry R.F.D., Age 85
  • Robert Hogan character actor from “The Wire”, “Peyton Place”, and “Law & Order” age 87
  • John Paragon who played The Genie on Pee-wee’s Playhouse age 66

Links of Interest

Imagine the Hallelujah I Would Shout If People Understood “Hallelujah” and “Imagine”

Last night the nation witnessed a moving ceremony hosted by President-elect Biden and VP-elect Harris at the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the over 400,000 people who have lost their lives to the pandemic. This is my entertainment blog so I will refrain from making political commentary about that event. But I want to talk about the choice of music.

We were treated to a very moving rendition of the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah”. And as moving and has touching as the performance was, like most performances of that song it was completely inappropriate for the occasion.

Did you ever really listen to any of the words of the song other than the refrain “hallelujah”? It is not a hymn for a solemn occasion. It’s a song about a bad romantic breakup and a romantic rival. Listen to the damn words! What is God’s name does that have to do with honoring people who died in a pandemic or any of the other solemn occasions in which we’ve heard this song performed?

Can you imagine what Mr. Cohen might feel to have written such a beautiful song with a specific message in mind and then to hear that song performed by people who are clueless as to the meaning of the words he wrote.

By the way the version sung last night came from the Jeff Buckley version of the lyrics which is different from the original Leonard Cohen recording. I’ve heard the Cohen wrote as many as 80 versus but only recorded four of them. In live performances he used various versions of the lyrics.

While we’re on the topic of misuse of solemn songs let’s talk about John Lennon’s “Imagine”. While its message of peace, love, and understanding is indeed appropriate for many solemn occasions and has been appropriately used by performers during times of national tragedy such as 9/11, it surprises me the extent to which that song is used in a religious context and in a patriotic context.

Did you not listen to those lyrics said “Imagine there’s no heaven”, “Imagine there’s no countries… Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion too”, “Imagine no possessions.”

Is that patriotic? Is that a religious hymn? Is that appropriate in a capitalist economy?

Don’t get me wrong it’s a beautiful song. The message of peace, love, understanding, brotherhood of man… All very laudable goals. But on the other hand you could argue its communist, anti-capitalism, anti-consumerism, anti-religion. And people sing it like it’s a hymn.

Being wary of copyright infringement I will not reproduce the entire lyrics of the song is here but here is a link to another site that has the complete lyrics of these songs.

Read them. Words matter. Pay attention to them and use them appropriately.


Is Broadcast TV Dead? — Part 3 the 2020 Emmy Nominations

Last year I posted 2 blogs asking the question “Is Broadcast TV Dead”. I looked at the fact that little or no broadcast TV shows were nominated for other Golden Globes or Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Is Broadcast TV Dead?

Is Broadcast TV Dead? Part 2.

Today the Emmy nominations were announced. Here are the results.

Streaming 66 nominations. Premium Cable 30 nominations. Basic Cable 20 nominations. Broadcast TV 30 nominations.

Although that looks better than the Golden Globe Awards or the Screen Actors Guild Awards for which I previously reported, the Emmy awards have many more categories including guest actors and actresses as well as reality shows. Broadcast TV earned 18 of its 30 nominations in those categories. Keep in mind that streaming and premium services generally do not produce reality or competition shows. Broadcast TV was completely shut out from Made-For-TV Movies and Limited Series.

Broadcast shows were led by SNL 8, The Good Place 5, This Is Us 3, black-ish 2, How to Get Away with Murder 1, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Modern Family 1, other reality competition shows 4, variety shows 2.

NBC crushed the competition with 20 nominations, ABC had 6 and CBS and Fox had one each.

Showtime got a nomination for Don Cheadle as Lead Actor in a Comedy for “Black Monday” however all 31 other premium cable nominations went to HBO. Cinemax no longer produces original programming. Starz, The Movie Channel, and Epix were shut out.

Netflix crushed streaming competition with 36 out of 66 nominations. Hulu had 13. Amazon Prime had 10, eight of which were for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”. Disney+ add 2 for “The Mandalorian”. Apple TV+ had 5 for “The Morning Show”.

On basic cable, Pop TV had 5 nominations for Canadian produced show “Schitt’s Creek”. BBC America had 3 all for “Killing Eve”. FX 2, Bravo 3, VH1 had 2, Comedy Central 2, TBS 1.

I counted at least 4 series which were nominated in their final year: “The Good Place”, “Modern Family”, “Schitt’s Creek”, and “How to Get Away with Murder”.

TV ratings and award nominations do not seem to show any correlation. For example hit reality series “America’s Got Talent” did not get nominated. On the other hand most of you have ever heard of Pop TV and “Schitt’s Creek” yet it got 5 nominations.

Here is a link to the complete list of nominees provided by TV Line.

Here is a table I created summarizing the breakdown between streaming, premium cable, basic cable, and broadcast TV

Category Streaming Premium Basic Broadcast
Outstanding Drama 5 1 2 0
Lead Actor Drama 2 2 1 1
Lead Actress Drama 3 2 1 0
Supporting Actress Drama 3 3 1 0
Supporting Actor Drama 3 4 1 0
Guest Actress Drama 2 2 0 2
Guess Actor Drama 4 1 0 1
Outstanding Comedy 3 2 2 1
Lead Actress Comedy 3 1 1 1
Lead Actor Comedy 2 1 1 2
Supporting Actress Comedy 3 1 1 3
Supporting Actor Comedy 4 0 1 3
Guest Actress Comedy 2 1 0 3
Guess Actor Comedy 2 0 0 4
Limited Series 4 1 0 0
Made-For-TV Movie 4 1 0 0
Lead Actress Limited Series or Movie 4 1 0 0
Lead Actor Limited Series or Movie 3 2 0 0
Supporting Actress Limited Series or Movie 5 1 0 0
Supporting Actor Limited Series or Movie 3 3 0 0
Reality Show Host 1 0 3 2
Reality Competition Show 1 0 2 2
Variety Sketch Series 0 1 1 1
Variety Talk Series 0 1 2 2
Totals 66 32 20 28

So we ask again “Is broadcast dead?” The answer is “Probably not but it’s not looking good.” HBO and Netflix continue to broaden their nominations with Netflix surpassing HBO for the first time 36-31. If you want to watch the top award-winning TV shows you are going to have to pay for it.

Is Broadcast TV Dead? Part 2.

A few days ago after the Golden Globe awards I posted this blog asking the question “Is Broadcast TV Dead?” The reason I asked was that no broadcast TV shows were nominated let alone actually win. I made a chart breaking down the awards between streaming services, premium cable such as HBO, Showtime etc., basic cable such as FX, BBC America etc., and broadcast TV. The grand totals for the Golden Globes were as follows:

Streaming 31 nominations, 5 wins. Premium 18 nominations, 5 wins. Basic Cable 8 nominations, 1 win. And as mentioned Broadcast TV 0 for 0.

Last night the Screen Actors Guild awards were presented and the results were only trivially better. Broadcast TV only earned one nomination for Actor in a Drama Series for Sterling K. Brown in “This Is Us“. He lost to Peter Dinklage for “Game of Thrones“. Click here to see a complete list of nominees and winners. Here is a chart I put together showing how the nominations were split up among various kinds of media. A “w” in a column designates that’s the category for the winner.

Category Streaming Premium Basic Broadcast
Ensemble Comedy Series 3w 1 1 0
Ensemble Drama Series 3w 2 0 0
Actor Comedy Series 4w 1 0 0
Actress Comedy Series 4w 0 1 0
Actor Drama Series 3 1w 0 1
Actress Drama Series 4w 0 1 0
Actress Movie or Limited 3 1 1w 0
Actor Movie or Limited 1 3 1w 0
Totals 25 9 5 1
Wins 5 1 2 0

As you can see only one nomination for a broadcast TV show and it did not win. Nothing for a traditional live audience sitcom in the comedy category. Even basic cable was only represented by 3 networks with only 3 shows nominated.

The only conclusion that we can draw from this information is that if you want to see quality television, you are going to have to pay extra. So we have to ask the question: Is broadcast TV dead? If things don’t change they will be.

Is Broadcast TV Dead?

Those who have followed this blog in my postings on Facebook know that I used to post entertainment news about once a month but I been so tied up with other things in my life I haven’t had a chance to do that. Among the things I haven’t followed very closely for this year’s Golden Globe awards. When the awards aired last night on NBC I had not even looked at the nominations prior to watching broadcast. As I watched something disturbing became evident to me. Click here to see a complete list of nominees and winners. Here is a chart I put together showing how the nominations were split up among various kinds of media. The categories are Streaming: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple+. Premium: HBO, Showtime etc. Basic cable: FX, BBC America. Broadcast: NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX. A “w” in a column designates that’s the category for the winner.

Category Streaming Premium Basic Broadcast
Drama Series 2 2w 1 0
Musical or Comedy Series 4w 1 0 0
Limited or TV Movie 2 2w 1 0
Actress Limited or TV Movie 3 1 1w 0
Actor Limited or TV Movie 2 2w 1 0
Actress Drama 3w 1 1 0
Actor Drama 1 2w 2 0
Actress Musical or Comedy 4w 1 0 0
Actor Musical or Comedy 4w 1 0 0
Supporting Actress 3w 2 0 0
Supporting Actor 2 3w 0 0
Grand totals 31 18 8 0
Winners 5 5 1 0

As you can see not a single nomination for a broadcast TV show. Nothing for “This Is Us” or any other broadcast drama. Nothing for a traditional live audience sitcom in the comedy category. Even basic cable was only represented by 2 networks FX and BBC America with only 3 shows nominated: Fosse/Verdon, Pose, and Killing Eve. Streaming services and premium cable split the wins at 5 each but streaming was nominated nearly 2 to 1 over premium cable.

The only conclusion that we can draw from this information is that if you want to see quality television, you are going to have to pay extra. So we have to ask the question: is broadcast TV dead? If they don’t change they will be.