This week in TV news, David Chase stirs up a Sopranos storm and FX makes a clown of Zach Galifianakis. Plus, Netflix acquires The Blacklist, Showtime makes Ray Donovan changes, and Breaking Bad brings back the Blu-ray barrel!
David Chase responds to Sopranos chatter.
On Wednesday, the internet went into full-on tizzy mode over the Vox article that definitively declared Tony Soprano as not dead after years of speculation. Since then, Chase has responded that Tony Soprano is not-not dead. “To simply quote David as saying, ‘Tony Soprano is not dead,’ is inaccurate,” a representative of Chase’s said in a statement. “There is a much larger context for that statement and as such, it is not true. As David Chase has said numerous times on the record, ‘Whether Tony Soprano is alive or dead is not the point.’ To continue to search for this answer is fruitless. The final scene of The Sopranos raises a spiritual question that has no right or wrong answer.” And so, while The Sopranos has been over for seven years, it’s clear that its final question will live on and on. See Vox’s response to Chase here.
FX orders clown comedy from Louis C.K. and Zach Galifianakis.
FX has given a 10-episode order to Baskets, a comedy pilot by Louis C.K. (Louie), Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), and Jonathan Krisel (Portlandia). Galifianakis will play Chip Baskets, who after studying at a prestigious clown conservatory in Paris, can only land a gig at the local rodeo in his hometown of Bakersfield, CA. “Zach Galifianakis, Louis C.K. and Jonathan Krisel have created an absolutely brilliant show,” said FX’s Eric Schrier. “To say Zach’s portrayal of the lead character Chip Baskets is hilarious/unique/riveting/fascinating would be an understatement. We can’t wait for the world to meet him.” Production for Baskets will begin next year for a 2016 launch. It marks the first project under FX Productions’ overall deal with Louis C.K.’s Pig Newton production company.
The Breaking Bad barrel is back.
It’s a big week for Breaking Bad fans. First, the show swept the Emmys, taking the statues for Best Drama, Lead Actor, Lead Actress, and Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. And now, IGN has reported that the Breaking Bad barrel is back. AMC and Sony Home Entertainment are re-releasing Breaking Bad: The Complete Series on Blu-ray, which comes in a nifty commemorative “barrel” and includes all 62 episodes of the series, 55 hours of special features, and a two-hour documentary. This time around, the collection — in addition to a Los Pollos Hermanos apron, a 16-page collectible booklet, and a commemorative Breaking Bad challenge coin designed by Gilligan himself — also includes a preview of Better Call Saul on a 4GB flash drive that looks like a matchbook. The Breaking Bad barrel is available for pre-order on Amazon now and will ship Oct. 28.
Netflix acquires Blacklist for $2 million an episode.
Deadline.com reported the biggest deal in per-episode TV-streaming history this week, sharing the news that Netflix will acquire the NBC hit series The Blacklist from Sony Pictures TV for $2 million an episode. Rumors have it that Netflix will start streaming season one next weekend, and that future seasons should be available shortly after each Blacklist season finale. According to Entertainment Weekly, Sony TV will also sell the series to broadcast and cable networks for syndication. Season one of The Blacklist is Certified Fresh at 82 percent, and season two will return to NBC on Sept. 22.
Ray Donovan showrunner Ann Biderman is stepping down.
A week after the news that Showtime is renewing Masters of Sex and Ray Donovan for third seasons, the word is out that Ray Donovan showrunner Ann Biderman will not be helming season three. Ray Donovan writer/exec producer David Hollander is expected to take Biderman’s place as showrunner, with Biderman sticking around as a creative consultant. Changes in showrunner won’t impact the remainder of the current season, which is already finished with shooting and currently in post-production. Season two is currently 78 percent on the Tomatometer.