HBO Max strikes again in the streaming wars — this time in a deal with big Bad Robot. Plus, Disney+ gears up fans for at-home Star Wars Day, Peacock unleashes an ostentation of originals teaser trailers, The Americans Matthew Rhys resurfaces as Perry Mason, and more of the week’s top TV news.
HBO Max has ordered three series from J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot:
HBO Max is WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer offering debuting in spring 2020 with 10,000 hours of content anticipated at launch. The streaming service will bring together titles from HBO, a robust slate of new original series, third-party licensed programs and movies, and selections from WarnerMedia’s library including Warner Bros., New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes, and more.
Star Wars TV fans will get a double dose of celebration on May the Fourth Day this year, as Disney+ will release the docuseries Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, as well as the series finale of the beloved Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series.
The eight-part Mandalorian documentary is executive producer Jon Favreau’s chance for fans to get a deep dive behind-the-scenes of the drama that became an instant hit when it was released last year, thanks in large part to the wildly popular Mandalorian character officially known as The Child, unofficially known as Baby Yoda. Each installment of the docuseries explores a different area, via interviews, never-before-seen footage, and roundtable conversations hosted by Favreau. Specific topics include the filmmaking process, the legacy of George Lucas’ Star Wars, how the cast brought the characters to life, the series’ groundbreaking technology, and connections to Star Wars characters and props from across the galaxy.
Also on May 4: Disney+ ends seven seasons of The Clone Wars with the finale of the series that leads into the action of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
Unless you’re a Comcast customer, the new Peacock streaming service is officially still a few months away for you. But Comcast customers got the chance to sample Peacock’s offerings this week, and let’s just say this: if it’s been your fondest TV fantasy to have access to dozens of seasons of Dick Wolf’s Law & Order franchise, you’re going to want to get access to Peacock ASAP.
For now, select Comcast customers — Xfinity Flex and Xfinity X1 households — can access the free, ad-supported version of Peacock, with catalog shows like Law & Order: SVU, 30 Rock, and Parks and Recreation, and movies like Jurassic Park. The full Peacock lineup, with news, late-night shows, and original series, will be available to all subscribers on July 15.
— Peacock (@peacockTV) April 15, 2020
But one catch: most of that original content isn’t going to debut until 2021. A handful of new series will hit Peacock screens this year, though, including the rebooted versions of Saved by the Bell and Punky Brewster, featuring many of the original stars of those shows.
As part of its soft-launch day, the Peacock Twitter account gave everyone a peek with teasers of their new offerings, including Saved by the Bell, Punky Brewster, the Psych 2: Lassie Come Home movie; the dramas Angelyne, Intelligence,The Capture, and Brave New World; new episodes of the comedy A.P. Bio; and the animated series Madagasgar: A Little Wild.
Rotten Tomatoes and Peacock are both owned by NBCUniversal.
Speaking of streaming services, Quibi hasn’t released its first-week subscriber numbers yet, but it did confirm that the app has been downloaded 1.7 million times. CEO Meg Whitman also said the service, which was originally envisioned as a provider of 10-minute-and-under content that people would watch on their phones when they were outside their homes, will speed up their plans to make the content available to watch on their TVs at home, given the current, and likely continuing, shelter-in-place pandemic orders.
Read More: The Best Quibi Shows to Stream Now
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BBC kids channel CBeebies has tapped Venom star Tom Hardy to read a selection of six new stories for U.K. children (and no doubt their mums) who tune in to watch Bedtime Stories from Monday, April 27 through Friday, May 1. Having first appeared in 2016, Hardy is the program’s most popular Bedtime Stories reader, with one million requests on BBC iPlayer. Hardy, joined by his French bulldog Blue, first will read “Hug Me” by Simone Ciraolo, then “Under The Same Sky” by Robert Vescio and Nicky Johnston, “There’s a Tiger in the Garden” by Lizzy Stewart, “Don’t Worry, Little Crab” by Chris Haughton, and finally, on Friday, “The Problem With Problems” by Rachel Rooney and Zehra Hicks. With luck, CBeebies will put the videos on its YouTube channel for everyone to enjoy.
Anthony Michael Hall and Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad star Mark Margolis will guest star on The Blacklist. Margolis will debut in the May 1 episode, while Hall will play the estranged brother of Diego Klattenhoff’s Ressler in a multi-episode arc that kicks off on April 24. (ET.com)
Saturday Night Live star Bowen Yang will star opposite Sunnyside star Joel Kim Booster in the Quibi series Trip, a romantic comedy set on Fire Island in New York and inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. (Deadline)
With the finale of the penultimate season of Better Call Saul on tap for April 20, Saul star Bob Odenkirk has launched a production company, Sal-Gold Pictures, and signed a first-look deal with Sony. Here’s hoping this won’t eliminate the possibility that BCS will be followed by a sequel about Cinnabon manager Gene.
Before Zoom, there was Zoom, the beloved PBS kids show from the ’70s and a ’90s revival that is having another comeback. Thanks to ’90s Zoom-er Pablo Velez, who now works for WGBH in Boston, Project #ZOOMIntoAction has gathered nearly two dozen alums from the shows who will make new content for Zoom fans, including, of course, an intro, or re-intro, to the trademark Zoom language, Ubbi Dubbi. (Slate)
Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, who’s been battling stage four pancreatic cancer since last year, will release a memoir – The Answer Is …: Reflections on My Life – on July 21, the day before his 80th birthday. “I want people to know a little more about the person they have been cheering in for the past year,” Trebek says.
American Idol will continue, live, despite social distancing. The top 20 contestants will perform from remote locations, while judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan weigh in with their assessments from their homes. (Variety)
TVLine reports that Grey’s Anatomy’s season 16 finale, or rather the finale that would have aired if drama’s season hadn’t been shorted because of the pandemic, was going to include an event that would have led to the death of a “major” character.
Rashida Jones will executive produce and star in Filthy Animals, a Quibi animated series about Sunny Day, a smart 12-year-old girl who befriends Cruz, a “selfish, renegade, messy, suave” cat. The ‘toon will come from Robot Chicken producers Stoopid Buddy Stoodios. (THR)
Jersey Shore stars DJ Pauly D and Vinny Guadagnini will host Revenge Prank with DJ Pauly D and Vinny, an MTV series in which the subjects of Internet pranks get revenge on those who got them. (Deadline)
When ESPN televises the first remote NFL Draft April 23-25, the network will be using more than 180 feeds to share the action with ABC and the NFL Network. (The Washington Post)
Netflix is developing All of Us Are Dead, an adaptation of an animated Korean Web series called Now at Our School, about a group of students who get trapped inside their school when a zombie apocalypse breaks out.
Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Documentaries is partnering with National Geographic Documentary Films to produce an upcoming documentary about chef and humanitarian José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen. As a food-focused first responder in times of global emergencies, Andrés and his org has dished up an incredible 16 million meals, including during the coronavirus pandemic.
Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and series writer Greg Murray are creating a high school drama at Quibi. Based on the 2008 play Good Boys and True, the series is a “suspenseful drama about class, sexuality and identity which explores the dark side of privilege … (following) six people drawn together by a disturbing videotape that surfaces on the campus of the elite preparatory academy St. Joe’s School for Boys in the fall of 1988.” (Variety)
Guy Fieri will host a three-episode, quarantine edition of his Food Network series Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives beginning on April 24. Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives: Takeout will find Fieri virtually connecting with several chefs from his past DDD adventures, as they walk him through making dishes like tamales, chicken Parmesan, and dumplings.
Netflix has released a teaser for its interactive special Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy Vs. The Reverend, which will premiere on May 12. Daniel Radcliffe, Amy Sedaris, Fred Armisen, Chris Parnell, Jack McBrayer, and Johnny Knoxville are among the guest stars who will help Kimmy thwart an evil plan by Jon Hamm’s Reverend, while viewers will help decide who she helps once again take down the man who kidnapped her amongst his many misdeeds.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend — an all-new interactive special premieres May 12
Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski, Carol Kane, and Jon Hamm return — plus Daniel Radcliffe joins in on the fun as you get to decide how the story ends! pic.twitter.com/HU2tjF8xY2
— See What's Next (@seewhatsnext) April 15, 2020