TV Talk

Donald Glover Explains Why He’s Ending Atlanta After Season 4

The FX series returns for season 3 in March. Plus, Alien, Barry, and Yellowstone prequel series updates and more of the week's top TV and streaming news.

by | February 18, 2022 | Comments

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Donald Glover and the Atlanta crew met up with journalists this week to preview the highly anticipated new season due in March. Noah Hawley’s Alien series will begin production in 2023, according to FX chief John Landgraf during the network’s Television Critics Association executive panel. Plus, news from HBO on Barry’s upcoming new season, ViacomCBS announces 1932, the second Yellowstone prequel after 1883. Plus, new trailers, casting and development updates, and more of the week’s biggest news in TV and streaming.


Donald Glover Ending Atlanta After Season 4: ‘I Think It Ends Perfectly’

Atlanta season 3 key art poster

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 Atlanta series creator (and star, writer, and director) Donald Glover had wanted the FX series to end sooner than its just-announced season 4 final season. No, it’s not because Glover has a deal to create content for Amazon. He’s choosing to end his Emmy- and Peabody-winning series simply because he’s told the story he wanted to tell, and it’s time for the show to end, Glover said during a virtual Television Critics Association session on Thursday..

“To be honest, I wanted to end it after season 2, and I think we had talked about that for a minute,” Glover said. “Death is natural … I feel like when the conditions are right for something, they happen, and when the conditions aren’t right for it, they don’t happen. I don’t feel any sort of longevity. I feel like the story was always supposed to be what it was, and the story, it really was us. Everybody in that writers’ room, everybody on set, it really was what we were going through and what we talked about, and that’s the only way I like to make things. I think it ends perfectly.”

Glover added, “And Amazon didn’t have anything to do with that. We had been planning that for a while. I’ve done television now for almost two decades, so I’m just, like, I like things ending.”

Atlanta season 3 and season 4 were shot back-to-back, largely across Europe during the pandemic, and both will air this year. Season 3 premieres March 24, and the final run of episodes will premiere in the fall.

Season 3 finds Earn (Glover), Darius (LaKeith Stanfield), Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), and Van (Zazie Beetz) experiencing the musical success they’ve been seeking and on tour in Europe.

There’s No Ripley in Noah Hawley’s Alien Series

ALIEN 3, the alien, Sigourney Weaver,

(Photo by ©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett C)

Earlier in the day CEO John Landgraf confirmed there will be no Ripley in Noah Hawley’s upcoming Alien series, because the series is set at the end of the current century, before she was born. He also noted that production on the series begins in 2023. His full comments on the new series as it relates to production on season 5 of Hawley’s Fargo:

“We will actually be shooting Fargo [season 5] before Alien even though we have more scripts for Alien at the moment than we do with Fargo. Noah is writing both right now. So, I’ve got scripts for both shows coming in, but I’ve only got one for Fargo. I’ve seen five for Alien.

Alien takes place before Ripley. It actually takes place it’s the first story in the Alien franchise that takes place on Earth. So, it takes place on our planet right near the end of this century that we are currently in right now, so about 70 odd years from now … so Ripley won’t be a part of it. Neither will any of the other characters from Alien other than the alien itself. But Noah has this incredible ability and I think you’ve seen it with Fargo to both find a way of being faithful, of showing fidelity to an original creation like the Coen brothers movie or in this case Ridley Scott’s movie and James Cameron’s follow up, Alien but then also to bring something new to the table that represents both a, kind of, extension and reinvention of a franchise at the same time, and I think he’s done a masterful job with Alien just as he did with Fargo.

“So, what I can tell you is that there are some big surprises in store for the audience. So, I hope they will feel like it’s faithful to a franchise that they love, but I also hope they will feel that it’s a really brave and original reinvention of that franchise. And setting it on Earth is really, really interesting because that means we also have to think forward about the future of the planet in terms of its environment, its governance, its technology — a lot of things — and create and design and version of the planet in the future, which, of course, a lot of people have done, but I think Noah wants to do it in a distinctive and original way. So that’s what I can tell you.”

In other FX news from TCA:

• The network’s ambitious upcoming slate, with a rundown presented by Landgraf, includes 19 new series (including the previously announced Justified limited series, a remake of Shogun, the Sex Pistols scripted drama Pistol, series adaptations of the books Kindred and Fleishman Is in Trouble, and the Steve Carell comedy limited series The Patient, from The Americans creators Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg) and 11 returning shows (including Dave, Fargo season 5, and installments of Ryan Murphy’s American Stories series about John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife Carolyn Bessette, and one about the late NFL star and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez.
• Olivia Colman will lead the cast of FX’s joint limited-series production with the BBC of Great Expectations. Production has begun in London on the six-episode project, which also stars Fionn Whitehead, Ashley Thomas, Shalom Brune-Franklin, Johnny Harris, Hayley Squires, Owen McDonnell, and Matt Berry.

Bill Hader in Barry season 3

(Photo by Merrick Morton/HBO)

And more from the rest of the week at TCA:

• HBO confirmed the return of Barry, the Bill Hader dramedy that finally earned co-star Henry Winkler an Emmy. The eight-episode third season returns on April 24.
• The limited series The Time Traveler’s Wife, starring Theo james, Rose Leslie, and Desmin Borges, will premiere in the spring.
• We Own This City, the limited series about the fall of the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force, debuts on April 25. The series comes from The Wire producers David Simon and George Pelecanos.
• George Carlin’s American Dream, a new docuseries about the late comedian, will premiere on HBO in May.

Another Yellowstone Spin-off, More 1883, Part of ViacomCBS Rebranding to Paramount Global

Sam Elliott and LaMonica Garrett in 1883

(Photo by Emerson Miller/Paramount+)

ViacomCBS announced it has rebranded itself as Paramount Global in an effort to capitalize on its most recognized name and to emphasize its streaming business, Paramount+, which now has 32.8 million subscribers. With a goal of reaching 100 subscribers by 2024, the company is focusing, of course, on content, new and existing, and among its biggest plans are all things Taylor Sheridan, the creator of the Paramount+ megahit Yellowstone. Season 5 of Yellowstone will be a supersized 14 episodes, premiering this summer and split into two halves. Sheridan’s second Yellowstone prequel series (after the current hit 1883) will be titled 1932, and will premiere this year. Another new Sheridan-created series, Tulsa King, starring Sylvester Stallone as an Oklahoma mob boss recently released from prison, will premiere this year on the Paramount Network before moving to Paramount+. Sheridan will also create Land Man, starring Billy Bob Thornton, based on the “Boomtown” podcast, as a crisis manager for an oil company in West Texas, where “roughnecks and wildcat billionaires” are shaping modern-day climate, economies, and politics.

And, back to the Yellowstone universe, while 1932 will revolve around John Dutton Sr., the father of Kevin Costner’s Yellowstone character, and a second season of 1883 has been ordered, a third (so far) Yellowstone spin-off, 6666, is being planned for later this year or possibly early 2023. That series will likely revolve around Yellowstone’s Jimmy (Jefferson White) and be set at the famous Texas ranch.

The very busy Sheridan is also working on a second season of his Jeremy Renner family crime drama Mayor of Kingstown.

Halo season 1

(Photo by Paramount+)

Among the other content announcements from Paramount this week:

• Paramount+ also ordered another Taylor Sheridan drama: Lioness, produced by Nicole Kidman and starring Zoe Saldaña as a CIA chief who trains and leads other agents who are trained to assassinate the world’s most dangerous terrorists.
• A second season of the videogame adaptation Halo was ordered before the first season even premiered (March 24)
• Paramount+ ordered a SEAL Team movie.
• Paramount+ ordered a Teen Wolf sequel movie.
• The library of South Park will move from HBO Max to Paramount+, beginning in 2025.
• Beavis and Butt-Head will return with new episodes this year, on Paramount+.
• CBS will air a version of MTV’s The Challenge starring former players from Survivor, Big Brother, and The Amazing Race.
Paramount+ has renewed The Real World Homecoming, which this time will reunite the cast of The Real World: New Orleans from 2000.
• RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Starsand Queen of the Universe were also renewed at Paramount+.
• Paramount+ is going to offer Showtime in a bundle – $12 with ads, and $15 without ads.
• Paramount+ ordered a new Dora the Explorer animated series for 2023 and a live-action Dora movie.
• The streaming service also ordered three new SpongeBob SquarePants movies.

NEW TRAILERS: Our Flag Means Death: Taika Waititi Is Blackbeard the Pirate

Our Flag Means Death is the period comedy, sort of based on the real-life story about Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby), an aristocrat who left his swank life behind to become a pirate. Taika Waititi stars as Blackbeard. Also stars Kristian Nairn, Rory Kinnear, Nat Faxon, Fred Armisen, and Leslie Jones. Premieres March 3. (HBO Max)

More trailers and teasers released this week:
• Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls is a new reality competition series from superstar Lizzo, in which 10 fierce women try to prove theu’re bad-ass enough to join the iconic singer on a global stage. Premieres March 25. (Prime Video)
• The Boys Presents: Diabolical is the unhinged, eight-episode animated anthology series featuring untold stories from The Boys universe, with a deep bench of voice talent that includes Nicole Byer, Frances Conroy, Chris Diamantopolous, John DiMaggio, Caleb McLaughlin, Retta, Kevin Michael Richardson, Awkwafina, Michael Cera, Don Cheadle, Chace Crawford, Kieran Culkin, Giancarlo Esposito, Kumail Nanjiani, Justin Roiland, Seth Rogen, Andy Samberg, Ben Schwartz, Christian Slater, Kevin Smith, Kenan Thompson, and Aisha Tyler. Premieres March 4. (Prime Video)
• Pieces of Her is a thriller series, based on author Karin Slaughter’s book of the same name, about Andrea, a young woman who figures out her mother has been keeping secrets when the two of them are caught in a deadly mass shooting and her mom eliminates the threat. Stars Toni Collette, Bella Heathcote, and Omari Hardwick. Premieres March 4. (Netflix)

• Chip n Dale: Rescue Rangers is the hybrid live-action/CG animated action comedy about the titular pals who are living amongst cartoons and humans in modern-day Los Angeles, but their lives are quite different now. It has been decades since their successful television series was canceled, and Chip (voice of John Mulaney) has succumbed to a life of suburban domesticity as an insurance salesman. Dale (voice of Andy Samberg), meanwhile, has had CGI surgery and works the nostalgia convention circuit, desperate to relive his glory days. When a former castmate mysteriously disappears, Chip and Dale must repair their broken friendship and take on their Rescue Rangers detective personas once again to save their friend’s life. Also stars Will Arnett, Eric Bana, Dennis Haysbert, Keegan-Michael Key, J.K. Simmons, and Chris Parnell. Premieres May 20. (Disney+)
• Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. is a docuseries about the bizarre case of New York celebrity restaurateur Sarma Melngailis who met a man named Shane Fox on Twitter in 2011 and began to drain her restaurant’s funds and funneling the money to Fox after he cons her into believing he could make her dreams — from expanding her food empire to making her beloved pitbull immortal — a reality, but only if she continues to obey his every request without question. A few years later the couple, now married and on the lam after stealing nearly $2 million from the restaurant and its staff, are found holed up in a Tennessee motel by law enforcement. Their undoing? A charge for a Domino’s pizza that Fox ordered under his real name, Anthony Strangis. Premieres March 16. (Netflix)
• The Larry David Story is a two-part documentary about the man who’s kept us laughing for more than 20 years now just by being Larry David (well, an exaggerated version of him, anyway). Premieres March 1 (HBO Max)
• Windfall is a Hitchcockian thriller about a rich couple who arrive at their vacation home and find that it’s being robbed. Stars Jesse Plemons, Lily Collins, and Jason Segel. Premieres March 18. (Netflix)
• The First Lady is the anthology series that tells the stories about America’s First Ladies, starting with Emmy and Tony winner Viola Davis as Michelle Obama, Oscar and Emmy nominee Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford, and Emmy winner Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt. Premieres April 17. (Showtime)

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CASTING: Keri Russell Will Star in Netflix Political Thriller The Diplomat

Keri Russell

(Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media)

Emmy-nominated The Americans star Keri Russell will lead the way in another political-themed thriller: Netflix’s eight-episode drama The Diplomat from The West Wing and Homeland writer Debora Cahn. Russell stars as Kate Wyler, the titular career diplomat who, after getting a high-profile job which turns out to be a bad fit for her, has to deal with problems it creates in her marriage and her political future. The star will also serve as an executive producer on the series. (TVLine)

Quentin Tarantino will narrate the first season of Showtime’s upcoming anthology series Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, which stars his Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill star Uma Thurman. (Deadline)

Amanda Seyfried will star opposite Tom Holland in the Apple TV+ series The Crowded Room, playing a psychologist trying to juggle being a single working mom and the toughest case of her career. Akiva Goldsman is writing and executive producing the anthology series.

Amy Schumer, Regina Hall, and Wanda Sykes will share duties as hosts of the Oscars ceremony on March 27 on ABC.

Olivia Munn and Jessie T. Usher

(Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Global Citizen VAX LIVE; Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

Olivia Munn (above left), Danny Ramirez, Loan Chabanol, Embeth Davidtz, and Jessie T. Usher (above right) have joined the cast of the six-episode Tales of the Walking Dead anthology series that debuts this summer on AMC and AMC+.

Oscar Isaac and Zoe Kravitz will make their debuts as Saturday Night Live hosts, with Isaac hosting on March 5 with musical guest Charli XCX, with Kravitz hosting on March 12 with musical guest Rosalía.

Singer and songwriter JoJo will join All American in the recurring role of a pop star who’s been famous since she was a child, and who decides to work with Layla (Greta Onieogou) on her next album. (Deadline)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine alum Melissa Fumero will star in the Netflix comedy Blockbuster with Randall Park. They will employees at the last remaining Blockbuster store in America, where they’re friends, and maybe more.

Paul Reiser will take over the role of the hack writer of a 1990s sitcom in Hulu’s Reboot, about the cast of the sitcom, the fictional Step Right Up, who get back together for a reunion, and have to deal with problems they never resolved when they worked together previously. Reiser takes over the role Michael McKean played in the pilot. The series also star Keegan-Michael Key, Judy Greer, Johnny Knoxville, and Rachel Bloom.

PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT: ‘No Sopranos Prequel for You!’ HBO Tells Fans

As much as we all loved that Super Bowl commercial with The Sopranos stars Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler (directed by series creator David Chase), HBO exec Casey Bloys says we shouldn’t expect that prequel series that’s been rumored since Chase signed a five-year first-look with his old cable network and talked about possible reuniting with Sopranos writer Terence Winter on a spin-off set in the late 1960s, early 1970s timeframe. “I don’t think David has any interest in doing anything more with The Sopranos. The Sopranos is a terrific and classic show. I don’t think there’s any reason to open that back up. I think maybe the Super Bowl ad … was an indication that someone’s going back. As far as I know, I don’t think he has any plans to do that,” Bloys told Deadline.

Peacock has given a straight-to-series order to the true crime limited drama A Friend of the Family, the harrowing true story of the Broberg family, whose daughter Jan was kidnapped multiple times over a period of years by a charismatic, obsessed family “friend.” Anna Paquin, Jake Lacy, Colin Hanks, and Lio Tipton star in the stranger-than-fiction tale.

Fox is developing an animated comedy series adaptation of Berkeley Breathed’s iconic comic strip Bloom County, with Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist Breathed set to co-write and executive produce the story that revolves around a collapsed lawyer, a lobotomized cat, and a penguin in briefs and fruit headwear living in the world’s last boarding house in the world’s most forgotten place deep in the dandelion wilds of FlyWayWayOver country.  Or, “today’s America at a glance,” Fox calls it.

As per GLAAD’s annual Are We on TV report, LGBTQ representation on broadcast TV reached an all-time high during the 2021-22 season with a 2.8 percent increase, as 11.9 percent of the 775 series regular characters in scripted primetime broadcast series were LGBTQ+.

Apple TV+ has ordered a new unscripted event series The Dynasty, about the New England Patriots dynasty, from Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries. The 10-episode series is based on Jeff Benedict’s New York Times bestselling book of the same name.

Showtime has announced the second season of the analogy series Super Pumped, and the season will tell the story of Facebook, based on an upcoming book by Super Pumped: Uberauthor Mike Isaac. Billions executive producers Brian Koppelman, David Levien, and Beth Schacter are producing and showrunning the second season.

When Roy Kent (Ted Lasso’s Brett Goldstein) met the original Grouch:

The story of Anna “Delvey” Sorokin has been told in many places, including most recently in Netflix’s scripted drama Inventing Anna, from Shonda Rhimes. Up next: a docuseries from Bunim/Murray that will follow Sorokin’s future, after jail and with the intention of trying to get the real scoop on what motivates her and what she hopes for her future.

Maria Taylor and Lorne Michaels are producing an eight-episode NBC Sports series called The History of the Black Quarterback, a passion project for Taylor, who is an executive producer on the project, which will air on Peacock during the week of the 2023 Super Bowl.

TelevisaUnivision Inc., the world’s leading Spanish-language media and content company, has announced ViX, the first global large-scale streaming service created specifically for the Spanish-speaking world. ViX will offer more than 50,000 hours of Spanish-language content across genres, including original series and movies, live sports, and live news, on two tiers: a free AVOD product, ViX, launching on March 31, with 100 EPG channels and vast-content VOD experience, and an SVOD option, ViX+, with premium content, including “ViX+ Originals” and exclusive soccer, set to launch in the second half of 2022.

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