Our roundup of the biggest TV stories of the week begins with more fallout from the final season of Game of Thrones. Plus, castings, development deals, and a failed effort to get Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens cancelled.
Despite being considered a favorite to nab an Emmy nomination for lead actress in a drama series for her role as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones, Lena Headey made headlines earlier this week for admitting that she’d hoped for “a better death” for her character.
“Obviously you dream of your death,” she told The Guardian. “You could go in any way on that show. So I was kind of gutted. But I just think they couldn’t have pleased everyone. No matter what they did, I think there was going to be some big comedown from the climb.”
A few days later, she told fans at a German convention that she’d filmed a scene where her character suffered a miscarriage, something she thought “would have served her differently,” she said.
The miscarriage scene would’ve been epic 😢 pic.twitter.com/gSZxUiukIa
— ꧁ mae ♥ kween Lena꧂ (@bb_cersei) June 15, 2019
“It was a really traumatic, great moment for Cersei, and it never made it in and I kind of loved doing that because I thought it would have served her differently,” she said.
It would’ve been hard to devise an ending that pleased everyone, even for a series as near-universally beloved as Game of Thrones, but the final season certainly did not perform as anyone expected: Season 8 was the drama’s first-ever Rotten season with a 58% score on the Tomatometer.
And reentry into the post-Thrones world has coincided with major changes for many of the creatives involved: Star Kit Harington checked into a treatment center to “work on some personal issues” in late May, People and other outlets reported at the time. And creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss parted with their manager of 20 years, Guymon Casady, per Deadline.
Headey wasn’t the only actor to take issue with their on-screen death; Conleth Hill, a.k.a. Varys, told Entertainment Weekly that he had a “mixed” reaction when he first received the scripts for season 8, and he was inconsolable finding out how his character would die.
“I took it very personally. I took it as a person, not as an actor or an artist. You can’t help feeling that you failed in some way, that you haven’t lived up to some expectation that you didn’t know about,” he said, adding, “At the time, nothing could console me. I kept thinking: ‘What did I do wrong?’ There wasn’t any pre-warning. All these famous stories about [actors on Thrones] being taken out for a meal or being phoned at the very least [to notify them that their character was being killed off]. This was just reading cold hard copy.”
Nathalie Emmanuel also spoke out about her character’s death — which drew ire from audiences who noted that the series killed off the lone woman of color remaining in season 8.
“It’s safe to say that Game of Thrones has been under criticism for their lack of representation, and the truth of it is that Missandei and Grey Worm have represented so many people because there’s only two of them,” she told EW. “So this is a conversation going forward about when you’re casting shows like this, that you are inclusive in your casting. I knew what it meant that she was there, I know what it means that I am existing in the spaces that I am, because when I was growing up, I didn’t see people like me. But it wasn’t until she was gone that I really felt what it really, truly meant — until I saw the outcry and outpouring of love and outrage and upset about it, I really understood what it meant,” she added.
Emmanuel will next appear in Hulu series Four Weddings and a Funeral, scheduled for July 31, and voices the character “Deet” in Amazon Prime Video’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, coming August 30.
In fact, a number of Game of Thrones stars are briskly moving forward with exciting new roles and projects: Iain Glen, a.k.a. Jorah Mormont, is set to play Bruce Wayne on the second season of DC Universe’s Titans, while Jerome Flynn, a.k.a. Bronn, has landed a pivotal role in Amazon’s adaptation of Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower to a streaming series, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has booked a new FX pilot called Gone Hollywood about the disruptive ascent of a group of Hollywood agents.
And earlier this month, Bandai Namco Entertainment announced the upcoming video game title Elden Ring coming from Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin and Dark Souls video game creator Hidetaka Miyazaki. Fans of Martin’s unfinished Song of Ice and Fire book series, upon which Game of Thrones is based, wasted no time in blaming the video game for the delay of the sixth and seventh books, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.
ARE THE LAST TWO BOOKS HIDDEN IN THIS GAME?
— Joker Profile Pic (@jokerprofilepic) June 10, 2019
Netflix’s new crime drama anthology, Criminal, has recruited David Tennant and Hayley Atwell for its first season. Each of the 12 episodes of the series will take place entirely in police interrogation rooms, and will tell stories set in France, Germany, Spain, and the U.K. — told in their native languages and written and directed by talent from their respective countries.
Other new TV trailers this week:
Demi Moore will join USA Network’s adaptation of the Aldous Huxley novel Brave New World. Moore will play “Linda,” the brash, hard-living mother of John (Alden Ehrenreich), USA Network announced. The Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle actress was most recently seen on TV as Claudia in Fox series Empire. The series also recently added The Originals star Joseph Morgan, Pitch’s Kylie Bunbury, and Killjoys’ Hannah John-Kamen.
Julie Andrews will voice the mysterious gossip writer Lady Whistledown in Shonda Rhimes’ new period drama for Netflix, the streamer announced on Twitter. The series is based on the best-selling Bridgerton novel series by Julia Quinn, and is set in Regency London high society.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar replaces Anders Holm to star in ABC’s latest black-ish spin-off, mixed-ish, as the father of Tracee Ellis Ross’ Rainbow Johnson. Holm appeared in the original pilot. And yes — it’s a prequel, if you were wondering how that works, considering Ross and Gosselaar are only a year apart in age. Tika Sumpter plays his on-screen wife and Bow’s mother, and Arica Himmel plays young Bow Johnson.
House and Once Upon a Time star Jennifer Morrison has been cast in a “substantial” recurring role in season 4 of NBC’s This Is Us, according to TVLine. While details surrounding her character are being kept under wraps, the site reports the role is “major.”
Guests for the upcoming 11th season of Jerry Seinfeld’s Netflix talk show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee include Ricky Gervais, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx, Seth Rogen, Martin Short, Matthew Broderick, and more.
Michelle Forbes and Patrick Fugit have joined the cast of USA Network’s Bourne TV series Treadstone, created by Heroes’ Tim Kring. The series, which stars Mamma Mia 2’s Jeremy Irvine, “explores the origin story and present-day actions of the infamous covert program that uses behavior modification protocol to turn recruits into nearly superhuman assassins. The first season follows sleeper agents across the globe as they’re mysteriously “awakened” to resume their deadly missions.”
Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson will host HGTV’s new iteration of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which will premiere on the network in 2020.
The core cast is already on board for Fox’s meta revival of Beverly Hills, 90210, but another familiar face has joined the series. Christine Elise, who played Brandon’s crazy ex-girlfriend Emily Valentine on the original series, will guest star in multiple episodes of BH90210 as a heightened version of herself. The reboot is a mockumentary starring the original cast members as they attempt to reboot their popular teen soap, and premieres Aug. 7.
Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lola Kirke, Judd Hirsch, Jonathan Pryce, John Magaro, and Ben Schentzer will star in the pilot for the new FX series Gone Hollywood, which follows a group of talent agents in 1980 who leave an established company to form their own. The series will mix real-life entertainment figures and events with its fictional protagonists. Neslon Franklin, Sarah Ramos, Eric Lange, Peta Sergeant, and Jeremy Shamos will recur in the series.
In a fun moment on the internet this week, The Guardian reported that 20,000 people signed a petition that calls for Netflix to cancel Neil Gaiman’s heavenly comedy Good Omens, which stars Michael Sheen as angel Aziraphale and David Tennant as demon Crowley, who are trying to stop the Apocalypse. The series is also Certified Fresh at 83% on the Tomatometer. Only one problem: It’s an Amazon Prime Video title. Much glee ensued.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) June 19, 2019
This is so beautiful… Promise me you won't tell them? https://t.co/thYTOG7GBE
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) June 19, 2019
— Prime Video (@PrimeVideo) June 20, 2019
Saskia Schuster, head of comedy at British broadcaster ITV, announced that she will no longer allow all-male writer’s rooms on the series she orders.
“The first thing I did was I changed my terms of commissioning,” she said, the BBC reported. “I won’t commission anything with an all-male writing team.”
Schuster is the founder of Comedy 50:50, an initiative to achieve gender balance in comedy representation.
FX’s upcoming adaptation of comic book series Y: The Last Man, titled simply Y, has found a new showrunner: Eliza Clark. The playwright has worked on TNT’s Animal Kingdom, AMC’s The Killing, and more. Her appointment comes following the exit of original showrunners Michael Green and Aida Croal, who exited two months ago when the network decided to retool the series. Based on the comic series by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, Y takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where one single male remains and stars Barry Keoghan as the titular character, along with Imogen Poots, Lashana Lynch, Juliana Canfield, Marin Ireland, and Amber Tamblyn.
.@Lin_Manuel will make his feature film directorial debut with an adaptation of "Tick, Tick…Boom!" Tony Award winner Steven Levenson will adapt the screenplay from the original stage show written by late "Rent" creator Jonathan Larson pic.twitter.com/kcMeBQ2xJD
— See What's Next (@seewhatsnext) June 19, 2019
Netflix has hired Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda to direct a film adaptation of the musical Tick, Tick, Boom, marking the Broadway star’s directorial debut.
Wrestling is coming to Netflix in the form of a new film called The Main Event, which will star real-life pro wrestlers Kofi Kingston, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, and Sheamus in a film about an aspiring pro wrestler competing to become the next WWE superstar.
Woody Harrelson is set to executive produce and star in the new limited series The Most Dangerous Man in America, about the 1970 prison escape of Timothy Leary and the ensuing manhunt. Luke Davies, who co-created Hulu’s recent Catch-22 adaptation, will adapt the book The Most Dangerous Man by Mill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis as well as serve as executive producer.
Yellowstone co-creator Taylor Sheridan will develop The Last Cowboy, an unscripted series based in the world of professional reining for Paramount Network. Along with the series, Sheridan is also launching a reining event called “Run for a Million,” the sport’s first-ever, arena-based competition with a $1 million purse. The event will take place on August 15-17, 2019 at the South Point Arena and Equestrian Center in Las Vegas and will feature in The Last Cowboy‘s series finale.
The latest big name star to sign on for Jeffrey Katzenberg’s short-form streaming service is Tyra Banks, who is producing and will star in a show called Beauty. The series will serve “as a mirror for us to question societal standards that have defined us – going deep to boldly tackle compelling topics head on in every episode, making you question everything you ever thought was beautiful… nothing will be off limits.”
Janet Mock has signed a deal with Netflix to develop TV series and films, making her the first out transgender woman with such a platform. According to Variety, she’ll continue writing and directing on FX’s Pose while creating programs for Netflix “that employ and highlight communities that have historically been ignored by Hollywood.”
Showtime has ordered a new comedy series called Back to Life from the producers of Fleabag. Created by and starring Daisy Haggard, the series follows a woman who returns to her small coastal hometown after 18 years in prison.
Attention all adventurers: National Geographic and the producers behind The Amazing Race are now casting for their global reality competition for $1,000,000. Race to the Center of the Earth will pit four teams of three people against each other in an “extreme non-elimination competition series” as they try to be the first to reach a remote location with a million-dollar prize. Think you’ve got what it takes? Apply at the show’s website.
The confirmation you Angel fans have been waiting for… the cast is reuniting at #NYCC19 to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Angel, and they have a message for Y-O-U.
— New York Comic Con (@NY_Comic_Con) June 18, 2019
The cast of the WB supernatural drama Angel is set to reunite for a panel celebrating the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off’s 20th anniversary this fall. Charisma Carpenter, James Marsters, J. August Richards, Alexis Deinsof, and Amy Acker announced via an Instagram video that will all attend a panel at New York Comic-Con. There’s still no word on whether David Boreanaz, who played the titular character, will participate.