TV Talk

Chernobyl Emmy Winner Johan Renck To Direct on Dune Prequel Series

HBO Max ordered Dune: The Sisterhood straight to series. The Walking Dead spin-off loses Melissa McBride. New trailers include The Essex Serpent and Hacks season 2, and more top TV and streaming news.

by | April 30, 2022 | Comments

In TV and streaming’s biggest news this week, HBO Max’s Dune prequel series hires an Emmy winner to direct its first two episodes. Plus, The Walking Dead Daryl and Carol spin-off series loses Carol, James Corden reveals his departure of The Late Late Show in 2023, Warner Bros. Discovery announces that TBS and TNT will no longer develop scripted series as part of the newly merged company’s cost cutting, trailers for Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston–starring limited series The Essex Serpent and season 2 of Hacks, and more.


TOP STORY

Dune: The Sisterhood Hires Johan Renck To Direct First Two Episodes

Director Johan Renck

(Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO)

Emmy Award-winning Chernobyl director Johan Renck will direct the first two episodes and executive produce Dune: The Sisterhood (working title). The series, ordered straight-to-series at HBO Max, will serve as a prequel to the films, the first of which, Dune, was released in October last year and garnered six Academy Awards, including Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The series description: “Set 10,000 years before the ascension of Paul Atreides, Dune: The Sisterhood follows the Harkonnen Sisters as they combat forces that threaten the future of humankind, and establish the fabled sect known as the Bene Gesserit.” In the 2021 film, Rebecca Ferguson (pictured below) played Lady Jessica, an acolyte of the Bene Gesserit and mother of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet).


DUNE, Rebecca Ferguson

(Photo by ©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Renck won two Emmys as director and an executive producer for the HBO limited series Chernobyl, which earned a total of 19 Emmy Award nominations and 10 Emmy wins and is Certified Fresh with a 95% Tomatometer score. He began his career directing music videos for top artists, including David Bowie’s final two videos “Blackstar” and “Lazarus.” His debut film Downloading Nancy premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival, which he followed with Swedish limited series The Fat And The Angry. Renck directed the pilots for Vikings, Bloodline, and Shut Eye, as well as episodes of Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Halt and Catch Fire, and Bates Motel. He directed all episodes and co-produced the BAFTA-nominated limited series The Last Panthers starring John Hurt and Samantha Morton. He is currently finishing sci-fi feature film Spaceman, starring Adam Sandler, Carey Mulligan, and Paul Dano.

Diane Ademu-John will serve as writer, showrunner and executive producer. Three-time Academy Award nominee Denis Villeneuve, Academy Award-nominated writer Jon Spaihts, Scott Z. Burns, Mark Friedman and Matthew King will executive produce with Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt and Kim Herbert for the Frank Herbert estate. Kevin J. Anderson will co-produce.

The series is co-produced by HBO Max and Legendary Television with Legendary also producing the film franchise.

Renck is repped by CAA, Black Bear Pictures, Casarotto Ramsay, and attorney Warren Dern.


Melissa McBride Leaves The Walking Dead Daryl and Carol Spin-off Series

Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead(Gene Page/AMC)

(Photo by Gene Page/AMC)

As if the impending end of The Walking Dead wasn’t sad enough, now one of our all-time favorite TWD actresses and her character won’t return for a planned spin-off series. Melissa McBride, one of only two remaining original cast members, has exited the spin-off series that would have paired her Carol Peletier with the only other original cast member whose character appears in current episodes: Norman Reedus’ Daryl Dixon.

Because of a change in the filming location — the untitled Carol and Daryl spin-off will now be set and filmed in Europe — McBride will no longer continue with the series, as “relocating to Europe became logistically untenable for Melissa at this time,” TWD network AMC said in a statement.


Norman Reedus in The Walking Dead, Season 11

(Photo by Josh Stringer/AMC)

The spin-off, announced in 2020, will continue with the focus solely on Daryl, though no details about what his new adventures will be. It’s scheduled to film this summer in Europe and premiere in 2023. The original series will conclude this fall with the final eight episodes, after 11 seasons.

Two other spin-offs have been announced: Tales of The Walking Dead, an anthology series with standalone episodes and arcs, focusing on some new and some existing characters, and Isle of the Dead, starring Lauren Cohan’s Maggie and Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan. The series, set in a crumbling New York City filled with zombies and danger, has added another star: Deadline reports Friday Night Lights alum Gaius Charles will play Perlie Armstrong, who is “confident, ruthless, and unyielding in the pursuit of what he believes is justice” … he is “a family man, devoted to building a safe world for his wife and daughters.”


NEW TRAILERS: The Essex Serpent: Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston Pursue a Mythical Snake

The Essex Serpent, a limited series starring Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston, is based on Sarah Perry’s bestselling novel of the same name that follows London widow Cora Seaborne (Danes), who moves to Essex to investigate reports of a mythical serpent. She forms a surprising bond of science and skepticism with the local pastor (Hiddleston), but when tragedy strikes, locals accuse her of attracting the creature. Premieres May 13. (Apple TV+)

More trailers and teasers released this week:

• The Porter is an eight-part limited series set in the early 1920s and inspired by real events, starring Aml Ameen, Ronnie Rowe Jr., Mouna Traoré, Loren Lott, Olunike Adeliyi, and Alfre Woodard, that follows train porters Junior Massey (Ameen) and Zeke Garrett  (Rowe Jr) and their friends and families as a tragedy on the job sets them on starkly different paths to better lives – and on a direct collision course with each other. Premieres May 6. (BET+)
• Our Father is a documentary feature about the shocking case of a fertility doctor who committed dozens, at least, of cases of fraud, by inseminating his patients with his own sperm – without their knowledge or consent. Premieres May 11. (Netflix)
• Hacks season 2 picks up after Deborah (Emmy winner Jean Smart) loses her residency in Vegas, and hits the road with Ava (Hannah Einbinder) to hone her new act on audiences across the country. Also star Kaitlin Olson, Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Jane Adams, Christopher McDonald, Paul W. Downs, Poppy Liu, Rose Abdoo, and Mark Indelicato, with guest stars Laurie Metcalf, Ming-Na Wen, Susie Essman, Margaret Cho, and Devon Sawa. Premieres May 12. (HBO Max)
• The Circle season 4: more catfishing, more drama, more money and surprises await as a new set of contestants compete in challenges to earn the ultimate cash prize as top influencer. Hosted by Michelle Buteau. Premieres May 4. (Netflix)


Chip ’n Dale: Rescue Rangers, the cheeky, hybrid live-action/CG animated action-comedy, sees Chip and Dale living amongst cartoons and humans in modern-day Los Angeles. 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. Premieres May 20. (Disney+)
• Breeders season 3 continues the comedy and drama of the story of modern parenthood with 10 new episodes with stars Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard. Premieres May 9. (FX)
• The Pentaverate is a Netflix conspiracy theory comedy series featuring Mike Myers playing eight different characters. Premieres May 5. (Netflix)
• Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known is a documentary featuring the original cast of the Tony-winning musical Spring Awakening as they reunite in a one-night only concert to benefit The Actors Fund. Premieres May 3. (HBO)

For all the latest TV and streaming trailers, subscribe to the Rotten Tomatoes TV YouTube channel.


CASTING: James Corden Leaving The Late Late Show

The Late Late Show host James Corden, who’s hosted the CBS late-night series since 2015 and created the Carpool Karaoke feature that has been spun off as a standalone series, has announced he’ll leave the series in the summer of 2023.

Adrien Brody has joined the cast of Poker Face, the Rian Johnson mystery series that already stars Natasha Lyonne, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Benjamin Bratt, Stephanie Hsu, and David Castañeda. (Deadline)

Tony Award winners Laura Benanti and Robert Sean Leonard are joining the season 2 cast of HBO’s The Gilded Age, along with Christopher Denham, Rebeca Haden, David Furr, Ben Lamb, Nicole Brydon Bloom, Matilda Lawler, Dakin Mathews, and Michael Braugher. The packed cast of Tony winners includes Christine Baranski, Cynthia Nixon, Audra McDonald, Nathan Lane, Michael Cerveris, Katie Finneran, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Debra Monk, Donna Murphy, and Kelli O’Hara. (Deadline)

Paramount+ has ordered a sequel to the 2018 Waco series, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Waco tragedy in 2023. American Tragedies: Waco – The Trials, will star John Leguizamo, J. Smith Cameron, and David Costabile, and will cover the aftermath of the tragedy at the Branch Davidians compound, the legal dramas, and how to events helped spark the Patriot movement in America. (Deadline)

Schitt’s Creek star Emily Hampshire has joined the cast of Zoe Lister-Jones’ Roku Channel comedy Slip. The very busy Hampshire is also working on a remake of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman  with Norman Lear, and stars on the Epix horror drama Chapelwaite and The Rig on Amazon. (Deadline)

Roy Kinnera, David Gyasi, and Ato Essandoh have joined star Keri Russell, Rufus Sewell, and Ali Ahn in the Netflix political thriller series The Diplomat. (THR)

Gilmore Girls star Kelly Bishop will return for the fifth and final season of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, reprising her role as matchmaker Benedetta.

Steven Pasquale, Stephanie Szostak, and Tony Curran have joined the cast of David E. Kelley’s eight-episode  Peacock drama The Missing, based on Israeli crime writer Dror A. Mishani’s international bestselling novel The Missing File. Kelley is the showrunner and EP of the project about a detective who begins to doubt his own humanity when a case he’s working takes some bad turns. (Deadline)

Station Eleven star Danielle Deadwyler will star in the HBO drama Demimonde, the first series J.J. Abrams has created since The Fringe on Fox. The story revolves around a woman (Deadwyler) who is separated from her husband and daughter in a scientific accident; she must unravel a conspiracy to find and reunite with her family on another world. (THR)


PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT: No More Scripted TV for TBS and TNT 

Daveed Diggs and Sheila Vand in Snowpiercer Ep 101

(Photo by Justina Mintz/TNT)

As part of cost-cutting plans after the recent Warner Bros. Discovery merger, TBS and TNT will stop making new scripted series. TBS has just three original comedies remaining on its schedule, including Miracle Workers, Chad, and American Dad!; the network just canceled the Tracy Morgan series The Last OG. The drama-focused TNT has just two scripted series: Animal Kingdom, which will end after its sixth season, which premieres in June, and Snowpiercer. The company currently has no plans to make changes to the orders for the remaining series, but the “T’Nets” – TNT, TBS, and truTV – are expected to be part of Warner Bros. Discovery’s goal to cut $3 billion from its budget. (Variety)

Apple TV+ has landed an untitled Michael J. Fox documentary film from Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim. Apple Original Films has the rights to the movie, which is now in production in New York, Los Angeles, and Vancouver. The doc will focus on multiple Emmy winner Fox’s TV and movie success, of course, and on his fame and personal life. A huge part of the movie will also be his diagnosis, at 29, with Parkinson’s disease, which sparked his creation of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which has raised, in 18 years, nearly $1 billion, and is annually ranked as one of the best, most accomplished charities.

Peacock is developing The Wolves of 125th Street, a comedy about three Black best friends who open a cannabis dispensary in Harlem, and hire formerly incarcerated neighbors. The series was created by Insecure writer and actress Grace Edwards and Tina Fey. Edwards previously worked with Fey as a writer on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Mr. Mayor. (Deadline)

HBO Max is developing the comedy Motherland Bounce, based on the story of Nissim Black, the former gangster rapper who became one of the most famous Israeli hip-hop stars. The Gilded Age executive producer and director Salli Richardson-Whitfield will direct and serve as EP. (Deadline)

HBO is adapting Dave Eggers’ 2013 dystopian novel The Every, about an Amazon-like company, as a TV series, produced by former Veep EP Rachel Axler. The Every becomes the biggest. Most beloved, monopoly in the world. (Deadline)

The New York Times Presents docuseries will next focus on Elon Musk and car technologies in The New York Times Presents: Elon Musk’s Crash Course. Which will air on FX and Hulu on May 20.

CBS will air the 49th annual Daytime Emmys ceremony on June 24, live from the Pasadena Civic Center in Pasadena, CA.

Paramount + will exclusively premiere the movie Jerry & Marge Go Large, starring Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening, on June 17. The original movie is inspired by the true story of retiree Jerry Selbee (Cranston), who discovers a mathematical loophole in the Massachusetts lottery and, with the help of his wife, Marge (Bening), wins millions and uses the money to revive their small Michigan town.

Peacock has announced the comedy series Bupkis, starring Pete Davidson. The straight-to-series order landed the comedy at Peacock after a “highly-competitive” bidding war, and will find the Saturday Night Live star starring as a fictionalized version of himself – combining “grounded storytelling with absurd elements from the unfiltered and completely original worldview for which Pete is well known” – in a story he will also write and executive produce, alongside Lorne Michaels.

HBO Max has ordered Noonan’s, a 10-episode animated spin-off of animated DC gem Harley Quinn, revolving around Kite Man (voiced by Matt Oberg). The lovable loser and his new squeeze Golden Glider moonlight as criminals to support their foolish purchase of Noonan’s, Gotham’s seediest dive bar, where everybody knows your name, but not necessarily your secret identity. Harley Quinn EPs Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, and Dean Lorey created Noonan’s, and will EP along with Sam Register and Quinn star Kaley Cuoco. The third season of Harley Quinn will premiere this summer.

Hulu has acquired the streaming right to the Emmy-winning comedy Schitt’s Creek. Beginning October 3, all six seasons of the series will available on Hulu.

BravoCon, the Bravo dan convention, will return to New York City’s Javits Center, Oct. 14-14, after being canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic.


Dexter Edition of Classic Board Game Clue Let’s You Channel Your Dark Passenger

CLUE: Dexter

The coolest new TV-themed board game Clue: Dexter brings the world of Showtime’s serial killer to your living room without — ahem — all the messy slicing and dicing.

Here’s the product description:

“Cops, donuts – sometimes blending in is just that easy. Dexter Morgan’s the kind of guy who shows up at work with a dozen hot honey glazed, and none of his colleagues have the first clue that there’s a charming, disarming serial killer in their midst. Just another day for the Miami-Metro Police Department. But before the uncannily talented Blood Spatter Analyst can settle into his lab, Dexter catches the buzz of a murder spree that has the precinct on high alert (and the buzz isn’t coming from his pager). In this suspenseful twist on the classic mystery game, the quick moving squad of investigators from Showtime’s award-winning TV drama are on the case of a homicidal maniac, and their own homicidal maniac might well beat them to it. It’s up to you to help them catch the killer terrorizing Miami!

Clue: Dexter puts players hot on the trail of murderous minds at work.”


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