Now that Amazon has assimilated MGM, is it time to again contemplate a 007 series? Plus, AMC and Norman Reedus plan a Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! TV show, Neil Gaiman announces big stars added to The Sandman adaptation on Netflix, a new Cobra Kai IV trailer teases a returning villain, the CW requests a Powerpuff pilot do-over, and more of the week’s top TV and streaming news.
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If ever there were a time to expect nearly 60 years of James Bond on the big screen would finally lead to a 007 TV series, it’s now. With this week’s announcement that Amazon would shell out $8.45 billion for MGM and all the movie and TV series that come with it, one of the studio’s signature properties — 27 Bond films — could also potentially become one of its most exciting TV projects.
In the time of ongoing streaming wars, when streaming networks need not just original programming, but also fully stocked inventories of legacy TV series and movies to tempt consumers to pony up yet another monthly fee for entertainment, buying an existing library can instantly mean both. IP, intellectual property, as always, is the name of the Hollywood game.
Last week’s ATT divestiture of WarnerMedia that led to a $43 billion merger with Discovery means HBO, HBO Max, CNN, TBS, Animal Planet, HGTV, Food Network, Discovery Channel, among others networks, and Warner Bros. Pictures are going to be a part of one company that has not yet be named. All that programming under one umbrella, which aside from the TV series you already know — Friends, The Sopranos, The Big Bang Theory, and all the other big titles TV fans clapped together their hands for when HBO Max launched — will also include the programming of Shark Week, Puppy Bowl, the Property Brothers, and Guy Fieri. Plus the merger also brings together DC Comics TV shows and movies, like the great Harley Quinn series, and Harry Potter and The Matrix movies, as well as Rick and Morty and other Cartoon Network and Adult Swim programs.
The Amazon-MGM merger adds movies like the Rocky, Legally Blond, and RoboCop franchises to Amazon, and also potentially adds 17,000 MGM TV episodes from series like Shark Tank, The Real Housewives franchise, and The Handmaid’s Tale to Amazon Prime Video, plus all the spin-offs, reboots, remakes, movies, and documentaries they could spark.
But those migrations from networks to streaming services aren’t all going to happen immediately, and some maybe never. Bravo, for instance, has its own streaming home on Peacock, so the Housewives may continue to make their bedazzled presence known there for now, and Emmy winner The Handmaid’s Tale has yet to finish out its original run on Hulu (though author Margaret Atwood’s sequel novel, The Testament, could become an Amazon movie or series). As for a Bond TV series, MGM has floated the idea for years, only to have the family of the movies’ famous producer, Cubby Broccoli, to reject 007 on TV. Plus, famed MGM movies like The Wizard of Oz and Singin’ in the Rain were sold to what is now WarnerMedia years ago, meaning the Discovery-WarnerMedia merger will benefit from those films instead of Amazon.
But the bottom line, TV fans: when these supermergers and their complicated streaming rights issues finally shake out, you’re gonna need a comfier couch for a lot more viewing. And a much bigger entertainment budget.
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The Walking Dead’s signature rebel is producing a TV series about a group of movieland’s most famous on-screen rebels. TWD star Norman Reedus, under his bigbaldhead production company’s deal with AMC Studios, is developing a series adaptation of Russ Meyer’s cult classic movie Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, the 1965 exploitation movie about go-go dancers on a kidnapping-and-murder spree through the California desert. The series, with the full support of Meyer’s estate, will “pay homage” to the movie, but will expand its focus on the kick-ass women who were flying in the face of cultural conventions at the time.
“I’ve been watching Russ Meyer’s film since I was a kid, wearing my Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! shirt to school,” Reedus told Deadline. “It’s safe to say I’m beyond inspired by Russ’ style of filmmaking, and I am over the moon excited for the opportunity to reimagine this story for the modern world.”
More trailers and teasers released this week:
• The Mysterious Benedict Society is an adaptation of Trenton Lee Stewart’s series of books about four children tasked with saving the world from a global crisis known as “The Emergency.” Stars Tony Hale in a double role. Premieres June 25. (Disney+)
• Apocalypse ’45 is a powerful documentary that honors the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II with new footage and voices of 24 men who recount the end of the war: the last months of the battle in the Pacific in 1945. Premieres May 27. (Discovery+)
• Animal Kingdom Season 5 picks up with the family in chaos as they seek revenge and look for a new leader to emerge, while flashbacks reveal the rise of the late Smurf. Stars Shawn Hatosy and Finn Cole. Premieres July 11. (TNT)
• Love, Victor, the GLAAD Media Award-nominated spin-off of the Love, Simon movie, returns for Season 2 as Victor has come out to his parents and takes his relationship with Benji public, neither of which proves to be as easy as they hoped they would be. Stars Michael Cimino and Nick Robinson. Premieres June 11. (Hulu)
• Dave, returns for Season 2 with his continuing quest for superstardom … if he can avoid causing an international incident first. Starring Dave “Lil Dicky” Burd. Premieres June 16. (FXX)
• In the Dexter limited series reboot, it sure looks like Dexter Morgan, a.k.a. Jim Lindsay is a popular man about his new hometown. If only his neighbors knew …. Michael C Hall returns as the transplanted serial killer this fall. (Showtime)
• False Positive is a film about a couple (Ilana Grazer and Justin Theroux) who finally get pregnant after a long struggle with fertility, only to start suspecting something sinister is afoot with their fertility doc (Pierce Brosnan). Also stars Gretchen Mol and Sophia Bush. Premieres June 25. (Hulu)
• Penguin Town is a docuseries about a bunch of ornery penguins who stir up trouble on the beaches of Cape Town every summer while looking for their love matches. Narrated by Patton Oswalt. (Netflix)
• Evil Season 2, the horror series from The Good Wife’s marrieds Robert and Michelle King, moves to a new streaming home for its sophomore season. Stars Michael Emerson, Christine Lahti, Katja Herbers, Mike Colter, and Aasif Mandvi. Premieres June 20. (Paramount+)
• Fresh, Fried & Crispy is the reality series with YouTuber Daym Drops, who has earned more than 250 million views of his food reviews, travels all around the country to find the best unknown fried dishes coming from the streets, fancy restaurants, and home kitchens, from extra crispy pork chops in Birmingham to deep fried Oreos in San Diego. Premieres June 9. (Netflix)
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Neil Gaiman dropped a blog post to announce additions to the cast of the Netflix adaptation of his comic book series The Sandman: Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Death), Mason Alexander Park (Desire), Donna Preston (Despair), Jenna Coleman (Johanna Constantine), Niamh Walsh (Ethel Cripps in the 1920s and ‘30s), Joely Richardson (Ethel Cripps in the present da), David Thewlis (John Dee), Kyo Ra (Rose Walker), Stephen Fry (Gilbert), Razane Jammal (Lyta Hall), Sandra James Young (Unity Kincaid), and & Patton Oswalt (narrator Matthew the raven). Previously announced cast includes Tom Sturridge (Dream), Gwendolyn Christie (Lucifer), Sanjeev Bhaskar and Amid Chaudry (Cain and Abel), Charles Dance (Roderick Burgess), Vivienne Acheampong (Lucienne), and Boyd Holbrook (The Corinthian).
Chris Noth has joined the HBO Max Sex and the City reboot series And Just Like That … where he’ll reprise his role as Mr. Big, a.k.a. Mr. Carrie Bradshaw.
Jesse Plemons will star opposite Elizabeth Olsen in Love and Death, the HBO Max miniseries about the true story of two church-going couples, enjoying small-town family life in Texas, until somebody picks up an axe and swings it at one of the others. Plemons plays Allan Gore, whose wife, Betty, was murdered by her best friend Candy (Olsen), when Allan and Candy started an affair.
And another true crime casting at HBO Max: Parker Posey will play prosecutor Freda Black in the streaming channel’s limited series The Staircase, about accused wife killer Michael Peterson (Colin Firth). Toni Collette, Juliette Binoche, and Rosemarie DeWitt also star.
Grammy-nominated rapper Jeremiah will play Elijah, a member of the CBI in Starz’s Power Book IV: Force, the Power spin-off focusing on Joseph Sikora’s original Power series Tommy Egan, who has left New York to move his considerable skills to life in Chicago.
More action for the Windy City: Shameless star Jeremy Allen White will star in the FX comedy pilot The Bear, about a chef who returns to his hometown of Chicago to run his family’s restaurant.
AMC’s upcoming Ultra City Smiths, which features stop-motion baby dolls in the half-hour story of adults who are trying to solve the disappearance of a famous wealthy citizen of the fictional Ultra City has announced a group of new voice cast, including Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Alia Shawkat, Tim Meadows, Terry O’Quinn, Debra Winger, Luis Guzmán, and Tom Waits as the series narrator. Previously named cast includes Jimmi Simpson, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, John C. Reilly, Bebe Neuwirth, Jason Mantzoukas, Damon Herriman, Melissa Villaseñor, Kurtwood Smith, and Tim Heidecker.
(Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb; Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
FX has cast the two leads of its new adaptation of the James Clavell novel of Shogun, the epic set in feudal Japan and unfolding the clash of two ambitious men and a female samurai. Cosmo Jarvis (Raised by Wolves) will play an English sailor shipwrecked in Japan, while Hiroyuki Sanada (Army of the Dead) plays a powerful lord with dangerous enemies. Lady Mariko, the samurai with shady family ties, has yet to be cast. (Variety)
Eight new episodes of Celebrity IOU will find sibling superstars Drew and Jonathan Scott helping famous types renovate special properties for loved ones. Sledgehammer swingers will include Josh Groban, Kevin Hart, LeAnn Rimes, Darren Criss, Howie Mandel, Ali Wong, Kim Kardashian and Kris and Kendall Jenner, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
The new love of Lily Collins’ Emily in season 2 of Netflix’s Emily in Paris will be played by Katy Keene star Lucien Laviscount. The actor will play Alfie, whose contentious early relationship with Emily blossoms into romance later in the season.
Amazon has added Sophie Okonedo and Tobias Menzies to the Season 2 cast of anthology series Modern Love, which already features Gbenga Akinnagbe, Minnie Driver, Lucy Boynton, Kit Harington, Garrett Hedlund, Aparna Nancherla, Anna Paquin, and Miranda Richardson.
Hacks star Christopher McDonald has joined Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn’s Marvel series Secret Invasion on Disney+. Deadline reports he’ll play a new character whose identity is being kept under wraps for now.
(Photo by (c)Buena Vista courtesy Everett Collection)
Disney+ is developing a live-action Hocus Pocus 2 movie that will feature the return of original stars Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker. The sequel to the 1993 movie about the Sanderson sisters is set to premiere in 2022.
Celebs signing overall deals this week: Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding and his Long House Productions signed a two-year first-look TV and movie development and production deal with SK Global; Empire creator Lee Daniels signed a multi-year overall deal with 20th Television that includes ABC’s fall remake of The Wonder Years and a series adaptation of Waiting to Exhale in development; and next Batman movie star Robert Pattinson has signed a first-look deal with Warner Bros. that includes films and Warner Bros. Television and HBO Max.
And from Batman to Batgirl: THR reports Bad Boys for Life directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah will direct a Batgirl feature for HBO Max, with a script written by Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey and The Flash). The movie will focus on the Barbra Gordon Batgirl, the daughter of Gotham City police commissioner James Gordon.
The CW did not pick up its pilot for Powerpuff, a series about the adult Powerpuff Girls. The remake of the Cartoon Network series was deemed not quite right, so the network will try to rework it with writer Diablo Cody and the four leads, Chloe Bennet, Dove Cameron, Yana Perrault, and Donald Faison. In other CW upfront news, the network will begin programming Saturday nights; its three new series for 2021-22 season are a remake of The 4400, an adult version of the beloved Nickelodeon game show Legends the of the Hidden Temple, and Killer Camp, a game show that’s part summer camp, part murder mystery, for cash. Midseason series will include the All American spin-ff All American: Homecoming and Naomi, the DC Comics drama about the titular comic book-loving teen superhero (played by Power and Army Wives alum Kaci Walfall), executive produced and written by Emmy winner Ava DuVernay (When They See Us) and Arrow writer Jill Blankenship.
Showtime has ordered the new anthology series Super Pumped, from Billions showrunners Brian Koppelman and David Levien executive producing and Beth Schacter (Soundtrack) writing. The first season is based on Mike Isaac’s bestselling book Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber., and Emmy winner Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Trial of the Chicago 7) will play Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO who was ultimately ousted in a boardroom coup.
Nominations for the 48th annual Daytime Emmy Awards were announced, and ABC’s General Hospital, one of just four daytime soaps on the networks, leads nominees with 21. Days of Our Lives (NBC) and CBS’ The Young and the Restless have 11 each, and CBS’s The Bold and the Beautiful has nine. The late Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek received a posthumous nod as Outstanding Game Show Host and Larry King, who died earlier this year, received a nomination as Informative Talk Show Host. The Daytime Emmys will air on CBS and stream on Paramount+ on June 25 (8 p.m.). The full list of nominees is here.
Oscar-nominated filmmaker R.J. Cutler’s (The War Room) all-access documentary about Martha Stewart will stream on Netflix. Variety reports Cutler shopped a sizzle reel that won over Netflix, and the documentary will likely include everything from multimedia mogul Stewart’s early life as a babysitter for Mickey Mantle’s children to her infamous prison sentence.
Food Network host Guy Fieri has signed a contract extension with the cable network for three years and a reported $80 million. Fieri’s mega-popular series Diners, Drive-Ins and Divesbrought in more than $200 million for Food Network last year, and Fieri raised an incredible $25 million for restaurant workers who were laid off from their jobs during the pandemic.
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Elizabeth Banks is executive producing and starring in Red Queen, a futuristic drama about an America where democracy is replaced by a group of superpowered humans who rule over those with no powers (literally and figuratively). The series, adapted from author Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling book of the same name, is in development at Peacock.
Person of Interest and Helstrom co-executive producer Amanda Segel will write the Game of Thrones spin-off 10,000 Ships, reports Deadline. The series, one of three GoT spin-oofs HBO has planned, will revolve around warrior queen Princess Nymeria and her crew, who landed in Dorne after being defeated by the Valyrians in the Second Spice War.
Blumhouse TV has secured the rights to adapt Battlesea Poltergeist, the number one podcast worldwide, as a scripted series called Blumhouse’s Ghost Story, as well as a companion unscripted series. The BBC podcast tells the story of the longest documented poltergeist ever (12 years) and is at the center of Blumhouse TV’s plan to launch a franchise of ghost stories. (THR)
Schitt’s Creek creators Eugene and Dan Levy are releasing an official coffee table book on the series, packed with photos, behind-the-scenes memories, and, best of all, a complete guide to David Rose’s memorable sweater collection. Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: The Story of Schitt’s Creek will be released on Oct. 26. (EW)