This week’s TV Talk roundup looks at some bad news about one reboot (The Last Airbender creators are no longer involved with Netflix’s live-action adaptation) and some good news about another (Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are attempting to get a series made out of Morgan Cooper’s viral video that reimagines The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as a drama). There’s also new late-night shows coming to Peacock courtesy of some familiar faces, a Netflix comedy special starring Trump impersonator Sarah Cooper, and a TV titan dies at 97.
(Photo by Nickelodeon)
Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the creators of the much-loved Nickelodeon animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, have announced that they have severed involvement with Netflix in regards to a live-action adaptation of the show. Konietzko shared the news in an Instagram post while DiMartino offered more details on his website by saying that “in a joint announcement for the series [in 2018], Netflix said that it was committed to honoring our vision for this retelling and to supporting us on creating the series. And we expressed how excited we were for the opportunity to be at the helm. Unfortunately, things did not go as we had hoped.”
More from Netflix this week:
(Photo by Mindy Tucker)
Trump-skewering TikTok star Sarah Cooper will have her own Netflix special this fall. It’s directed by Natasha Lyonne, who executive produces along with Maya Rudolph.
(Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
Get ready for some more tracking shots on streamers. Martin Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions has signed a multi-year first-look deal with Apple TV+, which will include film and television productions. The channel is currently working with the acclaimed director on Killers of the Flower Moon, a film starring Scorsese regulars Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. (DiCaprio’s Appian Way, which is co-run by Jennifer Davisson, also has a deal with Apple TV+).
More from Apple TV+ this week:
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NBCUniversal’s new streaming service Peacock is getting into the topical late-night show game with two upcoming shows.
The first, which stars Late Night with Seth Meyers breakout Amber Ruffin and is called The Amber Ruffin Show, will launch in September and currently has a nine-episode order. Ruffin is executive producing the series along with Meyers, Mike Shoemaker, and fellow Late Night writer and frequent on-screen commentator, Jenny Hagel.
Ruffin told journalists attending the show’s all-virtual Television Critics Association summer press tour that “the show will be a half-hour, late-night show and it’ll mostly feel like a late-night show except there will never be a guest. Well, as of now, we will not have guests. You never know who’s gonna stop by. New York’s a big city. But I guess we will write as much as we can all week and then the four things we like the most, that’s what we’ll do.”
But fans of Late Night who have come to enjoy Ruffin (and Hagel’s) commentary in segments like “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell” should not worry, as she will still be involved with that show.
Peacock’s other new after-hours series involves bringing back a late-night veteran: Larry Wilmore. The Daily Show and Nightly Show alum will host a still-untitled weekly series that the press release promises will see him having “real discussions with high profile people from all different backgrounds including sports, politics and entertainment.”
“The show is basically about where we’re going to have that kind of ‘conversation’ that we’ve been saying that we want to have,” Wilmore told journalists attending his virtual panel. “So we’re going to have some interesting people in the show, and we’re also going to cover the election. I felt like I got cheated the last time during the last election [because The Nightly Show’s last episode aired August 18, 2016]. So it’ll be fun to cover that, and just weigh-in on the important issues in the culture right now.”
He also said that the show isn’t going to steer away from topical, yet sensitive, issues like race, explains that “we’re definitely going to cover race, but we’re not going to be … obsessed with it.”
The series has an 11-episode order so far and also launches in September.
More from Peacock this week:
Greg Peters/©Universal courtesy Everett Collection
(Photo by Clockwise from top left: Angela Bassett Courtesy / D'Andre Michael; Joe Morton Courtesy / Benjo Arwas; Oprah Winfrey Courtesy / Harpo Inc., Ruven Afanador; Courtney B. Vance Courtesy / Matthew Jordan Smith; Susan Kelechi Watson Courtesy / Kate Szatmari; Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter Courtesy / Dario Calmese)
Angela Bassett, Joe Morton, Phylicia Rashad, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Courtney B. Vance, Pauletta Washington, Susan Kelechi Watson, and Alicia Garza, Oprah Winfrey will star in the HBO special event Between the World and Me, based on the New York Times bestseller of the same name by author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates.
The special will combine elements of the novel’s original 2018 Apollo Theater stage adaptation, will again be directed by award-winning director and Apollo Theater Executive Producer Kamilah Forbes, and will include readings from Coates’ book. The HBO production will also incorporate documentary footage from the actors’ home lives, archival footage, and animation. Currently in production under COVID-19 guidelines, the special debuts this fall on HBO and will also be available to stream on HBO Max.
Media tycoon Sumner Redstone, who, with his family, was the majority voting shareholder of ViacomCBS — and, before that, the executive chairman of both CBS and Viacom — has died at age 97. In his obituary on the mogul, CNN media critic Brian Lowry writes about Redstone’s infamous cantankerous personality — “I have no intention of ever retiring, or of dying,” Redstone once said in an interview — as well as his long, public battle to control his legacy and his feuds with members of his family.