TV Talk

What Will Amazon's Acquisition of MGM Mean for Bond, Rocky, and Silence of the Lambs?

Alexa, order more popcorn and a new Snuggie: MGM's 4,000 film titles and 17,000 TV episodes join the Prime family. Plus, The Lives of the Mayfair Witches lead cast, Barry Jenkins attached to True Detective, and more top TV and streaming news.

by | March 18, 2022 | Comments

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Could a 007 series happen now that Amazon holds MGM’s stake in the James Bond franchise? Will Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling work together again now that the tech company is boss? Amazon’s acquisition of MGM could mean a lot of exciting new content for Prime Members. Squid Game and WandaVision score big in the Critics Choice Association’s Super Awards for genre television, Barry Jenkins will executive produce on True Detective season 4, The White Lotus star Alexandra Daddario will lead Anne Rice’s The Lives of the Mayfair Witches, the author’s Interview with the Vampire also adds a major role, trailers released for Ms. Marvel and The Boys, and more of the week’s biggest news in TV and streaming.


Amazon Completes Its $8.5 Billion Purchase of MGM

Poster for No Time to Die

(Photo by ©MGM/©Danjaq)

Amazon’s pursuit of the intellectual property of nearly century-old MGM, first announced last May, has been completed: let the new (old) remakes, reboots, and reimaginings begin!

With more than 4,000 movie titles and 17,000 TV episodes, MGM is rife with IP, now giving Amazon access to such classics as the Rocky movie franchise, Silence of the Lambs, MGM’s share of the James Bond franchise, Legally Blonde, RoboCop, Thelma & Louise, and TV series like The Handmaid’s Tale, Survivor, Shark Tank, the Real Housewives franchises, and Survivor.

“MGM has a nearly century-long legacy of producing exceptional entertainment, and we share their commitment to delivering a broad slate of original films and television shows to a global audience,” said Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios in a statement on Amazon’s news blog. “We welcome MGM employees, creators, and talent to Prime Video and Amazon Studios, and we look forward to working together to create even more opportunities to deliver quality storytelling to our customers.”

But, assuming that the U.S. government officially signs off on the deal (it hasn’t yet; European regulators have), what, specifically, projects can we expect to see from the merger of the IP assets?

Could a 007 TV series finally happen? (Let the wish lists of TV Bonds pepper social media).

Could Thelma and Louise skip that dive into the Grand Canyon and instead live on to a series, or limited series-length, adventure?

And what about series versions of Legally Blonde, RoboCop, or Rocky and Creed?

The Silence of the Lambs

(Photo by Orion courtesy Everett Collection)

And then there’s the Silence of the Lambs situation. CBS’ Clarice series, because of the hinky rights situation for the characters of Lambs author Thomas Harris’ books, was not allowed to mention the name “Hannibal Lecter.” The show’s lackluster ratings got it booted from CBS to Paramount+ for a second season, which was then cancelled before it was ever produced.

But now, perhaps, that those complicated rights issues could possibly make Hannibal – one of the all-time great characters in movie and TV history (as NBC’s Hannibal series proved) – fair game for storytelling with Clarice Starling in a series or limited series format, could Amazon give a new Lambs-themed project a go?

One thing’s clear even as we await the many complicated rights issues to shake out: Even if Amazon doesn’t redo a single MGM property, Prime Video subscribers just got a whole lot more binge-watching opportunities on their screens.

On Friday, Amazon Studios Senior Vice President Mike Hopkins told staffers in a town hall meeting that MGM Chief Operating Officer Christopher Brearton, motion picture group chairman Michael De Luca and worldwide television group chairman Mark Burnett would join his team, according to a report from THR.

Squid Game and WandaVision Lead 2nd Annual Critics Choice Super Awards Winners

The Critics Choice Association announced the winners of the second annual Critics Choice Super Awards, honoring the most popular, fan-obsessed genres across movies and television, including Superhero, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Horror, and Action.

Netflix’s Squid Game and the Disney+ hit WandaVision led the TV winners with three honors each. The rest of the TV winners (with winners acceptance speeches videos here):

Squid Game (Netflix)

Lee Jung-jae – Squid Game (Netflix)

HoYeon Jung – Squid Game (Netflix)

WandaVision (Disney+)

Tom Hiddleston – Loki (Disney+)

Elizabeth Olsen – WandaVision (Disney+)

Yellowjackets (Showtime)

Hamish Linklater – Midnight Mass (Netflix)

Melanie Lynskey – Yellowjackets (Showtime)

Station Eleven (HBO Max)

Daveed Diggs – Snowpiercer (TNT)

Mackenzie Davis – Station Eleven (HBO Max)

Kathryn Hahn – WandaVision (Disney+)

NEW TRAILERS: Ms. Marvel: Meet Marvel’s First Muslim-American Superhero

The release of Ms. Marvel’s first official trailer proves fans have good reason to be excited about Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), the Jersey girl who’s a comic book stan and superheroine herself. Premieres June 8 on Disney+. (Read more: “Everything We Know About Ms. Marvel.”)

More trailers and teasers released this week:

Gaslit is the limited series that spotlights the role of Martha Mitchell – the wife of one of Richard Nixon’s best friends and most trusted advisors – in the Watergate scandal. Stars Julia Roberts and Sean Penn. Premieres April 24. (Starz)
• The Man Who Fell to Earth is a remake of the David Bowie gem, this time starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Naomie Harris, and Jimmi Simpson, and Showtime has released the first five minutes of the series. Premieres April 24. (Showtime)
• Tokyo Vice is Michael Mann’s crime drama, based on journalist Jake Adelstein’s 2009 book of the same name about the dark and dangerous work of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. Stars Ansel Elgort and Ken Watanabe. Premieres April 7. (HBO Max)
• We Own This City is The Wire creators David Simon and George Pelecanos’ limited series exploration of corruption within the Baltimore PD. Stars Jon Bernthal, Jamie Hector, Josh Charles, Treat Williams, and Domenick Lombardozzi. Premieres April 25. (HBO)
• The Pentaverate is Mike Myers’ comedy series about a secret society of five men has been working to influence world events for the greater good since the Black Plague of 1347. Myers will be playing eight characters, Jeremy Irons is the narrator, and Ken Jeong, Jennifer Saunders, Keegan-Michael Key, and Debi Maxar also star. Premieres May 5. (Netflix)
• Candy is the miniseries about real-life axe murderer and Texas housewife Candy Montgomery (Jessica Biel), who killed her friend and neighbor. Also stars Melanie Lynskey, Raul Esparza, Timothy Simmons, and Pablo Schreiber. Premieres May 9. (Hulu)

• The Boys season 3 trailer has all the sex, violence, and other naughty behavior you’ve come to expect, but now with the much-anticipated presence of new cast member Jensen Ackles as Soldier Boy. Also stars Karl Urban and Laurie Holden. Premieres June 3. (Prime Video)
• Barry season 3 finds Bill Hader’s hitman-turned-wannabe actor attempting to untangle himself from the world of contract killing and fully immerse himself in acting. But getting out is messy. While Barry has eliminated many of the external factors that pushed him towards violence, he soon discovers they weren’t the only forces at play. What is it about his own psyche that led him to become a killer in the first place? Also stars Henry Winkler, Stephen Root, Anthony Carrigan, Glenn Fleshler, and Sarah Goldberg. Premieres April 24. (HBO)
• I Love That for You is a comedy series, based on the real-life experiences of star and childhood leukemia survivor Vanessa Bayer, about Joanna Gold, who dreams of becoming a host at a home shopping channel, meet her idol, fall in love, and move away from her parents. Also stars Molly Shannon and Jenifer Lewis. Premieres May 1. (Showtime)

Read more: Everything We Know About The Boys Season 3

Our Great National Parks is an epic five-part series, narrated by President Barack Obama, that invites viewers to celebrate and discover the power of our planet’s greatest national parks and wild spaces. Premieres April 13. (Netflix)
• They Call Me Magic is the four-part docuseries about Los Angeles Laker legend Magic Johnson, with his full participation and interviews about his basketball and entrepreneurial careers. Premieres April 22. (Apple TV+)
• One Perfect Shot is the Ava DuVernay-created series that gives filmmakers like Patty Jenkins, Aaron Sorkin, Kasi Lemmons, Jon M. Chu, Malcolm D. Lee, and Michael Mann the chance to step into some of their most iconic shots and explore them for viewers. Premieres March 24 with all six episodes. (HBO Max)
• The Kardashians … they’re baaaack, now on Hulu. Premieres April 14. (Hulu)

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CASTING: Alexandria Daddario Will Lead AMC’s Anne Rice Adaptation The Lives of the Mayfair Witches

Alexandra Daddario

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

The White Lotus star Alexandra Daddario will play the lead in AMC’s Anne Rice adaptation The Lives of the Mayfair Witches, playing  Rowan, a neurosurgeon who has to deal with her fate as the heir to a family of witches. (Variety)

And more Anne Rice casting news at AMC: Eric Bogosian (Succession) will play Daniel Molloy, the investigative journalist who lands the titular chat in the cable network’s adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. In the 1994 movie adaptation of Rice’s novel, a younger version of Molloy was played by Christian Slater. The seven-episode first season of the series is scheduled to premiere later this year.

The Vampire Diaries Paul Wesley has been cast as Captain James T. Kirk on Paramount+’s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. The show, which premieres on May 5, stars Anson Mount as original USS Enterprise Captain Christopher Pike. Wesley’s Kirk doesn’t join the series until its already announced and in production season 2. (TVLine) 

Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp is starring in another spinoff series … this time on TV. Depp will revisit his role as Johnny Puff, the arctic bird in the short film Puffins, from the 2019 movie Arctic Dogs. In the 18-episode spin-off series Puffins Impossible, Johnny Puff becomes a heroic warrior bird who leads a pack of fellow arctic birds on adventures. (Variety)

Laysla De Oliveira (Locke & Key) will star opposite Zoe Saldaña in the upcoming original series Lioness, from Academy Award–nominee Taylor Sheridan. De Oliveira plays Cruz Manuelos, a rough-around-the-edges but passionate young Marine recruited to join the CIA’s Lioness Engagement Team to help bring down a terrorist organization from within. Saldaña plays Joe, the station chief of the Lioness program tasked with training, managing and leading her female undercover operatives.

Peacemaker and Suicide Squad director James Gunn will guest star on the upcoming third season of HBO Max’s animated Harley Quinn series (one of the funniest comic book series in TV land), portraying himself, as the filmmaker of a movie about Thomas Wayne, Batman’s dad. (Slashfilm)

Saturday Night Live vet, and Supermarket Sweep host and Our Flag Means Death star Leslie Jones has joined the season 2 cast of 50 Cent’s Starz drama BMF. She’ll play federal Agent Tracy Chambers, who’s a no-nonsense, tough agent who’s spent years on the street dealing with equally tough, and dangerous, drug dealers. (Deadline)

Neil Gaiman and his book Anansi Boys

(Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage; William Morrow)

Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys series at Amazon Video has rounded out its cast members: Jason Watkins will play Grahame Coats, a successful theatrical agent; Fiona Shaw is Maeve Livingstone, a retired dancer and widow of famed comedian Morris Livingstone who suspects her late husband’s agent, Grahame, of embezzling from them; CCH Pounder will play Mrs. Higgler, the matriarch of her clan, an old family friend of lead character Charlie (Malachi Kirby) who knows the secrets Charlie’s father has been keeping from him; L. Scott Caldwell is Mrs. Dunwiddy, the 104-year-old woman who knows all the local secrets; Joy Richardson is Mrs. Bustamonte, Mrs. Dunwiddy’s sidekick; and Lachele Carl will play Miss Noles, the youngest of the Floridian Weird Sisters, who also pickles a mean cow’s foot.

IMDb’s coming-of-age series High School casts newcomers Railey and Seazynn Gilliland as series leads, portraying the high school versions of co-creators and platinum recording artists Tegan and Sara Quin. Actress and producer Clea DuVall (Argo) is also co-creator and executive producer. Cobie Smulders and Kyle Bornheimer will guest star as the twins’ parents.

The BBC’s upcoming drama Best Interests will star Michael Sheen and Sharon Horgan as parents who face some impossible choices in the drama when their daughter develops a life-threatening illness and her doctors think it’s best to allow her to die. The parents disagree, which begins a complicated legal fight and an exploration of the rights for children and the disabled community in England. (THR)

Sean Astin (Stranger Things) will guest star in the new season of Young Rock, playing Dwayne Johnson’s childhood nemesis, Julian Echo, now a chiropractor who holds a grudge against Dwayne and accuses the now superstar of trying to kill him when they were younger, and shares this information just as The Rock is about to compete in the Presidential election. (Variety)

Game of Thrones alum and current Belfast Oscar nominee Ciarán Hinds will co-star with Charlie Cox in the Netflix spy drama Treason, playing the boss of Cox’s MI6 spy. (Deadline)

Scott Bakula, whose Quantum Leap is being remade at NBC, is returning to the network himself in the drama pilot Unbroken, about warring ranch families who live on the central coast of California.

Gillian Jacobs, Corey Stoll, and Corey Michael Smith will co-star in Transatlantic, a Netflix World War II limited series, about the 1940 refugee crisis in France. (Deadline)

Arrow star Katherine McNamara will star in another show at The CW: Walker: Independent, the Walker prequel spin-off set in the 1800s and featuring McNamara as Bostonian Abby Walker. When Abby’s husband is murdered as they make their way towards the West, she detours to Texas. (Deadline)

Killing Eve star Jodie Comer will star in Big Swiss, HBO’s upcoming Adam McKay limited series drama about a woman who anonymously transcribes the sessions of a sex therapist, but then becomes obsessed with one of the patients and starts an affair with one of them. The series is based on an upcoming novel of the same name by author Jen Beagin. (Deadline)

Amy Sedaris and Scrubs and The Middle alum Neil Flynn will guest star as the parents of Busy Phillips’ Summer on the second season of Peacock’s Girls5Eva. (Deadline) 

Geena Davis and Skyler Astin have been cast in the untitled CBS drama pilot about an attorney mother who asks her private investigator son to work as her in-house P.I.

Chris Sullivan has his This Is Us follow-up lined up: He’ll star in the ABC comedy pilot The Son in Law, playing a divorced, middle-class plumber with a 21-year-old daughter who falls in love, but has a tough time trying to impress his potential in-laws. (Deadline)

Juliette Lewis (Yellowjackets) has joined the cast of Hulu’s Chippendales limited series Immigrant. She’ll join star Kumail Nanjiani in the series, playing a Chippendales groupie who becomes the assistant to a Chippendales choreographer played by Murray Bartlett. (TVLine)

PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT: True Detective Season 4 Is in the Works with Barry Jenkins

Barry Jenkins

(Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)

Season 4 of HBO’s True Detective is in the works with Barry Jenkins executive producing, THR reports. With the working title of True Detective: Night Country, the new season of the crime-story anthology series is being written by Issa Lopez, who will direct the pilot and serve as executive producer.

Netflix has added Servant of the People back to U.S. viewers’ queues. The political comedy series launched Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s political career, and was previously available on Netflix until 2021. In it, Zelensky played a teacher who unexpectedly became president when he became a viral video sensation complaining about corruption. Former actor and comedian Zelensky ran for president of Ukraine in 2019, after naming his political party after the series.

HBO Max is developing a Harley Quinn spin-off series, called Noonan’s, that will feature Kite Man buying the bar that’s a favorite hangout of Gotham City’s more villainous citizens. Harley Quinn co-creator Patrick Schumacker said the spin-off would be sorta like “Cheers for supervillains.” (Slashfilm)

The Afterparty creators Phil Lord and Chris Miller are teaming up with It Happened in L.A.writer Michelle Morgan for Western, a scripted comedy pilot ordered by IMDb TV. The series is set in the 1800s and follows a high-society woman who travels to the West to find a husband, only to arrive and find out she’s been catfished by a teen boy. (Variety)

Gabriel Iglesias will become the first comedian to sell out Dodger Stadium, and the performance, on May 7, will be taped for Netflix Is a Joke programming.

Shelter, Harlan Coben’s YA action-thriller, has been ordered to series at Amazon. Co-produced by MGM Television and Amazon Studios, the series is based on Coben’s  New York Times bestselling Mickey Bolitar trilogy about high school junior Mickey Bolitar as he navigates his new life with a mom in rehab, a dead father, an annoying aunt, and a new school in New Jersey with a camel as its mascot. Jaden Michael (Colin in Black and White) plays Mickey, who, to add to his woes, fears he’s being haunted by a ghost who tells him his dad isn’t dead, makes a new friend who then goes missing, and finds he’s in real danger if he doesn’t find out the truth about his dad and his MIA friend.

Netflix and Dr. Seuss Enterprises have made a deal to bring five new animated preschool series and specials to the streaming network: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; The Sneetches; Wacky Wednesday; Horton Hears a Who!; and Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose.

Selena Gomez and Vida creator Tanya Saracho are developing 15 Candles, a 16 Candles-inspired comedy series inspired by the John Hughes teen comedy classic movie from 1984. The Peacock series’ story will revolve around “four young Latinas starting high school as they overcome their feelings of invisibility while exploring what it means to leave childhood behind through the lens of the traditional female coming-of-age rite: the quinceañera.” (Deadline)

Tireless civil rights leader and two-time presidential candidate the Reverend Jesse Jackson is going to be the subject of two documentaries: one feature-length theatrical release, and one limited release docuseries. Jackson and his family will participate in the projects, with his son, Yusef D. Jackson set to co-executive produce alongside Peabody Award winner, director Shola Lynch (Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed). (Deadline)

Netflix announced the upcoming series Kung-Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight, with Jack Black reprising his role as the Kung-Fu Panda, Po, in the CG animated series. The story: “a mysterious pair of weasels set their sights on a collection of four powerful weapons, Po must leave his home to embark on a globe-trotting quest for redemption and justice that finds him partnered up with a no-nonsense English knight named Wandering Blade. Together, these two mismatched warriors set out on an epic adventure to find the magical weapons first and save the world from destruction — and they may even learn a thing or two from each other along the way.”

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