This week in TV news, we learn that Zachary Quinto is going to Hannibal in season three. Plus, HBO closes in on its standalone service, Judge Judy closes a five-year contract, Maggie Smith clears the air about Downton Abbey, and FXX doubles down on Man Seeking Woman!
Entertainment Weekly reports that Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, Heroes) will have a guest role in season three of Hannibal in “at least one episode.” Quinto, who is currently starring as the notorious slapper in NBC’s The Slap, will play a patient of Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson). The role will reunite Quinto with Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller, who was a writer on four episodes of Heroes. The new season is expected to air on NBC this summer. Season two is Certified Fresh at 100 percent and won the 16th Annual Golden Tomato Awards for Best Returning Series and Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Series.
HBO’s over-the-top service, which will be called HBO Now, is reportedly coming in April. According to International Business Times, HBO is in talks to partner on the service with Apple, where HBO Go is already available to subscribers. Expected to launch with the Apr. 12 premiere of Game of Thrones, HBO Now has no firm date yet. In a statement Wednesday, HBO said, “We know there’s great anticipation around our standalone streaming service. And when we have details to share, we will do so.” One detail people are anxious to learn is the cost for the OTT service, though the scuttlebutt around the industry is that cord-cutters will pay $15 a month.
After the word spread that Dame Maggie Smith was ending her Downton Abbey run with season six, Smith’s reps said that the the Dowager Countess’ remarks had been misinterpreted by reporters. Smith originally told The Sunday Times that “I can’t see how [the show] could go on,” adding, “I mean, I certainly can’t keep going. To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now.” Smith was joking and, according to Milk Publicity, “has always been on the record as saying she’ll be with the show for as long as the show runs.” Season five of Downton just finished this week on PBS and is Certified Fresh at 79 percent. Season six will air in the UK later this year.
Man Seeking Woman, the first original comedy series to debut on FXX, received a season two pick-up this week. Based on Simon Rich’s short story collection, The Last Girlfriend on Earth, the surreal half-hour comedy starring Jay Baruchel and Eric André will return with 10 new episodes in 2016. In a statement from FX Networks, series creator Rich said, “Working on Man Seeking Woman has been the creative highlight of my life. I’m so grateful to John Landgraf and his team for believing in us and I can’t wait to get back to work.” Season one is Certified Fresh at 81 percent and airs Wednesdays at 10:30 pm on FXX.
Judge Judy Sheindlin, whose reported salary is a whopping $47 million a year, has extended her contract with CBS TV Distribution through the 2019-2020 season. Known for such snappy sayings as “Beauty fades; dumb is forever” and “If it doesn’t make sense, it’s not true,” Judge Judy brings an average of 10.3 million weekly viewers to her syndicated show, which has been the number-one court show for 969 consecutive weeks. Famous for negotiating her own contracts, Sheindlin is one of the highest paid personalities on television and has no known agent or manager. When her contract is up, she will be 78.