Tuesday’s TV news comes loaded with exciting casting and renewal news from the winter portion of the biannual Television Critics Association press tour, where Amazon shared casting news for Lord of the Rings and Comedy Central gave an early renewal to Awkwafina’s new biographical comedy series, and Starz had a non-answer about an Outlander sequel.
Elsewhere in the TV-verse, The CW announced that it is making series based on some fan-favorite characters (and actors!) and Netflix gave us some more of stalker Joe in You.
After renewing a baker’s dozen of series last week, The CW has announced that two new shows will be joining its docket — although their titles and characters will be familiar to many avid TV watchers.
Superman & Lois will star Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch as, respectively, the Man of Steel and the fierce investigative journalist who works with him at his day job. The actors already appeared as Clark Kent and Lois Lane on The CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths massive crossover events this winter and should not be confused with Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher, who played the dynamic reporting duo in ABC’s similarly titled 1990s drama Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
And Supernatural’s Jared Padalecki has ensured he will have no gaps in his resume, jumping from that show’s 15-season run to star in The CW’s Walker. A re-imagining of the Chuck Norris series Walker, Texas Ranger, this version finds hero Cordell Walker as a widower and father returning home to Austin after being undercover for two years. He attempts to reconnect with his two kids, navigate family strife and solve his wife’s increasingly mysterious death.
Other new series announced on Tuesday include Paramount Network’s Mayor of Kingstown, a scripted drama from Taylor Sheridan that follows a family that works as the power brokers between the politicians and prison system in a small Michigan town, and Amazon’s Jack Reacher based on Lee Child book series.
During its TCA press day, Amazon released the names — though no character details — of 15 actors joining its eagerly-anticipated Lord of the Rings TV series. They include Counterpart’s Nazanin Boniadi and Mindhunter’s Robert Aramayo.
Amazon Studios co-head of TV Vernon Sanders said that they’ve had the first table read and production begins begins in February. For more details about the show, see Rotten Tomatoes’ “Everything We Know About The Lord of the Rings Amazon Series.”
Amazon also announced that Meagan Good, Grace Byers, Jerrie Johnson, and Shoniqua Shandai will star in an as-yet-to-be-titled series from Girls Trip’s Tracy Oliver. The single-camera comedy will follow four black women who are friends from their college days at NYU as they navigate sex, relationships, and chasing their dreams. Pharrell Williams and Mimi Valdés are executive producing along with Oliver, Amy Poehler, Dave Becky, and Kim Lessing.
Malcolm D. Lee, who directed Girls Trip, will direct the first two episodes.
Other casting news from TCA include news that Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra will star in Amazon’s Citadel, and Method Man has joined Starz’s Power sequel, Power Book II: Ghost, which will also star Mary J. Blige.
Netflix’s stalker thriller You has been renewed for a third season, welcoming back Penn Badgley as the dangerous Joe and Victoria Pedretti, who played his season 2 obsession, Love. Co-creators Sera Gamble and Berlanti are returning as executive producers and she will continue to serve as showrunner.
Also, in conjunction with the show’s TCA panel, Comedy Central has renewed biographical comedy Awkwafina is Nora from Queens ahead of its premiere on January 22.
Will there be a spin-off to hit Outlander? Starz president and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch teased during his TCA panel that “we think there’s a lot of room in the Outlander universe to have the story extensions or spins or sequels.”
He said that, although “we continue to look at that with our partners at [studio] Sony,” he had no stronger comment right now.
Also, John Wick fans will have to wait a bit longer to see Starz’s related series The Continental. Hirsch said that show probably won’t come out until after the fourth film is released next year.
He also stressed that the previously announced sequel to the Showtime dramedy Weeds is still very much in production and studio Lionsgate is putting together a group of people to work on it.
On Tuesday, Amazon Studios announced that it had signed an overall deal for television with Plan B Entertainment. The company, which is headed by Brad Pitt and co-presidents Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, will produce the new Amazon Original series Outer Range, created by Brian Watkins, and is also working with Amazon Studios and Legendary Television to develop Paper Girls, a dramatic series based on Brian K. Vaughan’s best-selling graphic novel.
Plan B is also producing The Underground Railroad, creator Barry Jenkins’ upcoming new historical drama based on the Colson Whitehead book. Amazon executives said during the channel’s TCA press day that Jenkins is currently in production on the series and it should premiere later this year.
Amazon also announced that it has signed an overall deal with Steve McQueen, which includes the filmmaker’s Last Days, a new series about people who are dispatched to space.
Also on Tuesday, the Paley Center for Media released its list of panels for the fan-centric PaleyFest, which will run March 13 to 20 at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre.
“It’s an honor to be invited to PaleyFest and join other filmmakers and talent in celebrating great television programming. It is especially exciting to be representing our Disney+ series, The Mandalorian, at the closing night presentation,” Jon Favreau, executive producer and creator of The Mandalorian, said in a statement.
More details and ticket information is available at paleyfest.org.
Speaking of The Mandalorian, the series’ breakout star The Child — aka Baby Yoda — is coming to Build-A-Bear workshops. CEO Sharon Price John announced the deal during a presentation on Tuesday at the ICR Conference in Orlando, Florida, Business Insider reported.
“I’m excited to share we will be one of the first companies to provide the digital and internet phenomenon who is trending higher than all the presidential candidates combined,” John said.