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American Horror Story Theme, American Crime Story Casting, Benedict Cumberbatch, Outlander, and More TV News

by | February 16, 2017 | Comments

This week in TV news: American Horror Story season 7 theme, the Grammys gets viewership bump, peep a trailer for the full-length version of Carpool Karaoke, Benedict Cumberbatch, American Idol revival, Outlander, and other developments.

Ryan Murphy Reveals Political Theme of Next American Horror Story, Casting of American Crime Story Versace Edition

American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy revealed to Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen that season 7 will revolve around the 2016 election. When asked if now-President Donald Trump would be represented, Murphy replied, “Maybe.”

He also revealed that Darren Criss (Glee) has been cast as Andrew Cunanan for the third installment of American Crime Story. Cunanan murdered celebrated fashion designer Gianni Versace in 1997. Murphy said that Edgar Ramirez (The Girl on the Train) will play Versace.

Previously announced, an upcoming season of the Emmy Award–winning anthology series will dramatize the events surrounding the Monica Lewinsky–Bill Clinton scandal. Murphy told Cohen that he will cast an unknown as Lewinsky and has spoken to Sarah Paulson about appearing as Linda Tripp, who revealed the affair.

The second season of American Crime Story will be about Hurricane Katrina, and Annette Bening has been cast as former Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco for that.

Grammys Viewership Rises

Last Sunday’s Grammy Awards brought redemption in the form of a gold-clad Beyoncé, Adele’s selfless reverse-Kanye moment, endless underboob, and, for CBS, a 4-percent rise in viewers. The 59th annual awards, hosted by late night host James Corden, brought in 26.05 million viewers, Deadline reported.

American Idol May Get More Moments Like This

Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Ryan Seacrest - American Idol finale (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

American Idol may live to see another day. THR reports that the long-running singing competition is in talks to move to NBC, after wrapping its 15th — and so-called final — season on Fox just last year. Producing company FreemantleMedia has been searching for a new home for the show, hosted by Ryan Seacrest and judged by a rotating cast of music artists and influencers.

Starz News: Outlander Season 3 Update, Kenneth Lonergan Heads to Howards End

Outlander, the Starz series starring Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan and based on Diana Gabaldon’s novels, will return for season 3 in September, the network announced this week. The 13-episode season will have a later start than previous seasons of the cult hit. The network also announced that production will begin on the series in March in South Africa and that the show will participate in San Diego Comic-Con.

In more Starz news, the network is teaming up with the BBC to produce a four-part miniseries version of the E.M. Forster novel Howards EndManchester by the Sea director Kenneth Lonergan will adapt the book for TV. Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter) will appear as elder sister Margaret Schlegel, Matthew Macfadyen (Ripper Street) as Henry Wilcox, Tracey Ullman (The Tracey Ullman Show) as Aunt Aunt Juley, and Julia Ormond (Incorporated) as ailing Ruth Wilcox. Newcomers Philippa Coulthard (The Catch) and Joseph Quinn (Dickensian) have been cast in the roles of Helen Schlegel and Leonard Bast. Rosalind Eleazar (National Treasure) will play Jacky, and Alex Lawther (Imitation Game) will play the Wilcox sisters’ younger brother Tibby. A 1992 feature film adaptation of the novel starred Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, Anthony Hopkins, and Vanessa Redgrave.

Casting News: Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Shahi, Edward James Olmos, Octavia Spencer, and More

Benedict Cumberbatch on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" (Theo Wargo/Getty Images for NBC)

Benedict Cumberbatch will produce and star in a TV film version of the Ian McEwan novel A Child in Time, which focuses on a children’s author coping with the death of his daughter. The movie will air as part of Masterpiece in the U.S. and on BBC One in the U.K.  [Variety]

  • Battlestar Galactica alum Edward James Olmos will star in FX’s Sons of Anarchy spin-off Mayans, led by SoA showrunner Kurt Sutter. [Variety]
  • Genevieve Angelson, who starred in the short-lived Amazon show Good Girls Revolt, has landed her next role in the NBC comedy Happy Peppers. The series, from Will & Grace creator Max Mutchnik, stars Angelson as a grad-school dropout trying to find herself — on her brother’s couch. [THR]
  • Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) will host Saturday Night Live on March 4 — she could be two-time Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer by then. [Deadline]
  • Person of Interest star Sarah Shahi will star as an ex-detective working on a VR project in the NBC thriller pilot Reverie. [THR]
  • All’s fair in love and rose ceremonies as ABC finally casts its first African-American lead in The Bachelorette. Rachel Lindsay, who is currently vying for Nick Viall’s heart on The Bachelor, will not make it to the altar this season; instead, she’s set to become lucky Bachelorette number 13. [THR]

Princess Diana Documentary Coming to ABC

HRH Princess Diana and HRH Prince Harry in 1991 (David Cannon/Allsport)

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash on August 31, 1997, ABC plans to air a two-night documentary miniseries about the People’s Princess this August. The project is a co-production of ABC and People Magazine. [Deadline]

Nick Cannon Exits America’s Got Talent

Nick Cannon arrives for America's Got Talent 2015 (Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)

Nick Cannon left his hosting post at America’s Got Talent this week after NBC allegedly threatened to fire him, Deadline reports. On his Showtime stand-up special, Cannon made a racial joke aimed at AGT and NBC. He later wrote to his fans on Facebook: “I find myself in a dark place having to make a decision that I wish I didn’t have to, but as a man, an artist, and a voice for my community I will not be silenced, controlled or treated like a piece of property.”

Carpool Karaoke Trailer Released

Carpool Karaoke is going big! The series, a full-show version of the popular Late Late Show sketch, will be hosted by James Corden (who else?) and will stream on Apple Music. The promo is set to a Metallica track and features cameos by Will Smith, John Cena, Ariana Grande, Billy Eichner, Seth MacFarlane, Michael Strahan, Chelsea Handler, Alicia Keys, and more.

Selena Gomez Turns Pain into Art

Selena Gomez, Los Angeles, 2016 (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Selena Gomez is using personal experience to fuel the new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Gomez is producing the Y.A. show, which focuses on a teen suicide. Earlier this year, Gomez took a three-month break from work to get a better handle on her own mental health issues stemming from a 2014 lupus diagnosis, according to Vanity Fair.


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