Being a working mom is no cakewalk -- something that both Jennifer Lopez and Felicity Huffman can easily attest to.The two discussed the trials of dealing with mommy guilt while on the set during Variety's Actors on Actors. Huffman asked Lopez her strategies -- and she had plenty.Watch the clip above.The two-part fourth-season premiere of Variety Studio: Actors on Actors airs June 12 and June 19 on PBS SoCal. Presented by Shopbop/East Dane, the full-length videos will also be available to stream on Variety.com."        Links: http://variety.com/video/jennifer-lopez-felicity-huffman-working-mothers/
     Writer Beau Willimon’s name has become synonymous with cynical dramas that plumb the depths of the U.S. political system. They include his 2008 play “Farragut North” (and its big-screen adaptation, “The Ides of March”) and Netflix’s cerebral thriller “House of Cards,” which put the streaming service on the map, thanks to the irresistible combination of Willimon’s adroit prose and Kevin Spacey’s powerhouse performance as a Machiavellian lawmaker who manages to maneuver himself into the White House. “House of Cards” was the first web-based original series to earn major awards recognition, with Spacey and co-star Robin Wright both winning Golden Globes for their roles as the show’s scheming central couple. Willimon’s first mention in Variety came courtesy of a 10-minute play he wrote in 2001 about the events of 9/11, “Never Never Land.”Do you remember seeing your name in Variety?I do. I believe it was the first time I’d ever seen my name in print, and it was thrilling.Who were your heroes and mentors?My chief mentor was a playwright named Eduardo Machado who had accepted me into his graduate playwriting program at Columbia University. He was the first person to take a chance on me, and had he not, I don’t know if I would’ve had the courage to pursue writing as a career.How did “Never Never Land” come to be?I was in London for a playwright’s conference at the Battersea Arts Centre. While I was there, 9/11 happened. I couldn’t get back to New York because all flights had been canceled. As part of the conference, we were slated to do the first 24-hour plays in England. This was four days after 9/11. I couldn’t get that day off of my mind, so that’s the subject I tackled.What was it about?[It] started off with a dream where the two actors I was working with, each was one of the towers. A plane flew into one, and you saw the tower buckle over (portrayed by a person) and crumple. Then the character wakes up from the dream and instantly calls his girlfriend back in New York. He’s in London and feels the need to tell her about this dream and feels so helpless that he can’t get back to her. I was ... trying to make some sense of the senseless and failing to.How did it shape your career?I think for a writer, everything they write plays a role in who they evolve into. I don’t know if I can draw an easier direct link other than to say, tackling a difficult subject, putting it up in front of a bunch of strangers, and contending with the consequences of that is something that you devote your life to as a writer. This was a visceral version of that.What did you learn from the experience?Trust. I was tackling a very difficult subject, just days after the event. It was scary, and I had to place it in the hands of a director and some very courageous actors who were willing to tackle it with me. Without them, there would’ve been no play. Their fearlessness set me at ease, and allowed me to trust not only in myself, but in my collaborators. That is a crucial thing to learn when you’re someone who writes for the performative arts.Are you still in touch with any of those collaborators?I am not. In terms of the actors and the directors, I haven’t seen them since. I hope they’re all off doing wonderful things. They were so talented, and I’m sure they’re all doing wonderful work, wherever they are.Have you revisited the project since then?I haven’t thought about that play in quite some time. I think that if I looked at it again, I would probably be deeply embarrassed. Anything I wrote at 23, I can’t imagine was all that good. But that really isn’t the point for something like the 24-hour plays. One of the great things about [them] is an immediacy. Oftentimes, to write a play takes months or years. And then to go in rehearsals — there’s a lag time. What the 24-hour plays allowed all of us to do is respond to something in the moment, which is something theater can do that really no other medium can.What do you know now that you wish you’d known back then?To eat more vegetables."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/tv/features/house-of-cards-creator-beau-willimon-1201783903/
     Orange Is the New Black stars Taylor Schilling, Natasha Lyonne, Kate Mulgrew, Taryn Manning and Michael Harney gathered at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills on Thursday to look back on last season before the upcoming season 4. Show creator and executive producer Jenji Kohan was set to attend, but wasn't present at the event. The cast was, however, tight-lipped about the upcoming season.We never know what's coming, said Lyonne about Kohan's writing.It's unclear whether Lyonne returns for this season, given her character's early exit in the last season. Also to be determined is whether Piper continues withher Felonius Spunk business as a panty entrepeneur.I think that Piper took that dynamic and enjoyed it, so I think it continues on, said Schilling.I love it when letting go of all preconceptions and all ideas for the actor and for the characters as to what may or may not happen. It's exciting to have such a turn like the one this season, she added. The stories that Jenji and team give me are such concrete ways to externalize what's happening inside her.The show hits home for Selenis Leyva, whose character, Gloria, has a trans-phobic outburst towards Sophia Burset, played by transgender actress Laverne Cox.For me it was really difficult. I have a transgender sister and I've always been a supporter, an ally of the LGBT community, and more so because of what's happening, she said.There's not a day that goes by that I don't fear for my sister.The fact that Jenji and her team were able to write the character of Sophia so beautifully says a lot about the care that these women put into these storylines. It started a lot of conversations, which is also beautiful, she added.Working on a show like this doesn't bring about the same pressures that other shows have, like who has the bigger boobs or who looks better in the pencil skirt. But rather it's about a band of misfits that have a lot of mutual respect for each other and the hard work.It's heavenly to go on set and it be about the art. I'm obsessed with all of the people on the show and each one of them makes me want to be better, said Leyva.Orange Is the New Black season 4 premieres June 17 on Netflix."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/tv/vpage/orange-is-the-new-black-season-4-updates-1201784200/
     Craig Ferguson hosted NBC's second annualRed Nose Day telecast, held at Universal Studios Stage 1 lot on Thursday, and there was no shortage of laughter and applause from the live studio audience as they satfront row to all of the action.Well, I got my first call, a boastful Mila Kunis remarked to husband Ashton Kutcher, sparking laughs from the audience. The actress sat on the first rotation of celebrity panelists.That's right! Energy people, energy! she yelled while leavingthe stage.The Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki had his share of fun with the audience as well, throwing his red nose into the crowd;Ravi Patel andYvette Nicole Brown took selfies throughout the show; and Lamorne Morris gave the crowd a slight scare when he jumped up from his seat and yelled to his caller jokingly: Who is this?!Ferguson busteda few dance moves whilePaul Shaffer and the Red Nose Orchestra jammed out to Ain't Too Proud to Beg and Happy. He also threw in a few light-hearted jokes of his own.Are you all the press? askedFerguson, pointing to the section of journalists. I can tell. I feel judged.Do you have a prompter or should I start making up shit, he joked before going back on air.The live tapingfeatured a mixture of comedy sketches, musical performances and short docu-videos featuring celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Jack Black, and Ludacris spotlighting challenges children face around the world.Elton John and Blake Shelton also performed during the event.(Pictured:Paul Telegdy, NBC Entertainment president of alternative and late night programming; Craig Ferguson; Doug Vaughan, NBC Entertainment executive VP of special programs and late night programming)"        Links: http://variety.com/2016/tv/vpage/red-nose-day-mila-kunis-craig-ferguson-ashton-kutcher-1201784225/
     Paula Kerger’s 10th year as the CEO ofPBS hasn't been a quiet one. Already the public broadcaster said goodbye to one flagship series, “Downton Abbey,” and entered into shared custody of another, “Sesame Street.” It announced plans for a new channel devoted to children’s programming, and rolled out a new streaming-video platform to incentivize viewer donations. All this in a presidential-election year — a time when, recent history suggests, PBS is especially likely to be turned into a political football.Against that backdrop, Kergeris tasked with guiding the public broadcaster through the same shifting media landscape that commercial television companies must navigate. But because of PBS’ unique business model and the challenges baked into it, Kerger, who joined PBS in 2006 and is the longest serving chief executive in its history, must innovate in unique ways — as she has had to do throughout her anniversary year.“Ten years ago, the big breaking news was ‘Desperate Housewives’ was going to be offered up on iTunes for $1.99,” Kerger says. “It just seemed like such a big, different, weird idea.” Since then, change has not just continued — it’s quickened its pace. “When I travel around, people ask me, ‘Wow, things have changed so much. Do you think the pace of change is going to slow down?’ And it feels like every year it accelerates more and more. This past year it feels like things have really accelerated.”The last decade has seen television transformed by digital media, with large swaths of viewers migrating from linear telecasts to digital and delayed viewing. A PricewaterhouseCoopers survey in December found that 78% of people subscribe to at least one streaming-video service — and projected that the percentage of consumers who planned to continue their cable subscriptions could drop by as much as 20% in 2016.In the face of that change, PBS has found a digital foothold. Its general-audience and kids apps have been downloaded more than 39.5 million times. PBSKids.org accounted for 47% of all time spent watching children’s videos online in March, according to comScore. And multichannel network PBS Digital Studios has amassed more than 8 million YouTube subscribers, 80% of whom, according to PBS, are under the age of 34.“I've known all the presidents of PBS back to Larry Grossman, and they've all been different, says Ken Burns, the documentarian whose relationship with PBS spans almost 40 years. I would say unhesitatingly and without a doubt, Paula's the best of them all.Burns’ 2014 series “The Roosevelts” was the vehicle for another ambitious digital play. PBS made the entire 14-hour series available to stream on the same night as the first episode’s broadcast premiere. The series went on to rack up 1.85 million digital views within one month. Burns calls the streaming strategy hugely significant to the success of the series.But as PBS pushes into digital, it risks being accused of trying to bypass its member stations. Digital platforms give programmers direct access to consumers. They also disturb existing ecosystems. In public television, PBS relies on programming fees from local stations, which in turn rely on the status of being their regions’ conduits to PBS programming as they solicit financial support.A former executive at New York’s WNET, Kerger has experienced the PBS-member station relationship — and its tensions — from both sides.“I think that she has been particularly good at working with local stations, says Burns. Previous PBS leaders paid little attention to local stations except for the big ones, like Boston or New York. But she's out there all the time. I've bumped into her on the road in Oklahoma. She and I share a mutual friendship and respect for the guy who runs Arkansas.Kerger points to Passport, a streaming service introduced in December, as an example of how local stations are being integrated into digital initiatives.“The only way you can get this is through your station, Kerger says. We don't even offer it up. If you called us to try to get the service, I would point you to a local station. PBS is also encouraging stations to make their own locally produced programming available on Passport.The debut of Passport presaged a busy year for Kerger. PBS bid farewell in March to “Downton Abbey,” the British-import drama series that was the most watched show in PBS’ history and ended with its season-six finale.Less ceremonious was the change in the broadcaster's 47-year relationship with Sesame Street. In January, under a deal made last year with producer Sesame Workshop, HBO became the first-run home of the landmark children's series. New episodes will migrate to PBS at the end of an exclusive nine-month window for HBO.Kerger acknowledges the void left by “Downton,” which brought in millions of viewers who otherwise might not have tuned in to PBS. “Looking for ways that we can have other great dramas continuing to have a place on Sunday nights is obviously something that we need to stay focused on,” she says.But “Sesame Street” is a different matter.“I have to say that I don’t know that ‘Sesame’ had that kind of impact, because it stayed on public television — it’s in the same timeslot,” Kerger says. “I’m surprised when I talk to people how many people don’t realize that it’s also on HBO.”Of the deal itself, she says, “I would have hoped that we could have looked at a different broadcast window.”Because of its close association with the PBS brand, “Sesame Street” has come into play when PBS — specifically funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides ample financial support to PBS — has been the subject of political debate. In 2012, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned on a plan to defund public broadcasting — prompting accusations in the press and on social media that Romney was trying to kill Big Bird. Though no such plan has been floated in the current election cycle, House Speaker Paul Ryan has in the past included defunding the CPB as a piece of his proposed federal budget.As the “Sesame Street”-HBO deal came together, Kerger and PBS executives consulted with members of Congress about possible fallout.“How this could play out, particularly in a complicated election year, I can’t guess,” she says. “It hasn’t yet. As you well know, we were part of the last presidential debate and that was not a place I ever want us to be again.”Meanwhile PBS is continuing to push aggressively in original programming for kids and adults. In January it debuted “Mercy Street,” its first American-produced drama in more than a decade, using “Downton Abbey” as a lead-in for the first few episodes. A second season is already in the works and slated to premiere next year. In news and nonfiction programming, PBS announced in January a partnership with NPR on election coverage and a 2017 premiere for Burns’ next series “Vietnam.” And bolstered by the success of series such as “Odd Squad” and “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” PBS has introduced plans to launch a new broadcast channel devoted full-time to kids programming.“In households where you have kids who are at risk, a huge number of those kids are watching primetime television, and there really isn’t an option for them for kids programming,” Kerger says. “We’re hoping that by being accessible to parents between the hours of 6 and 10 in particular, that we’ll be picking up more kids that could benefit from the content that we produce.”The new channel is set to launch in the fourth quarter of 2016. Which means that Kerger’s 10th year running PBS isn’t going to quiet down any time soon."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/paula-kerger-pbs-1201783219/
     Mike Barnett, a founder of hit vocal group The Lettermen, diedFriday at his homein Camarillo, Calif., after suffering from heart problems. He was 89.Born Roy Barnett in Oakland, Calif., hebegan singing and dancing in Las Vegas shortly after World War II. He was cast in the chorus as well as specialty spots in many shows in hotel casinos and backed femaleheadliners like Ann Sothern. He used the name Mike Barnett professionally.His wife Elaine came up with the nameThe Lettermen for a vocal trio in 1957; the group worked for 13weeks in comedy writer Sid Kuller's Jewish spoof of the Broadway smash hit My Fair Lady and called it My Fairfax Lady at Billy Gray's Bandbox. They later worked in a second Kullerparody of the movie Baby Doll, in the same theater.By August of 1957, after the last revue closed, Barnett set out to re-establish his group so he called upon two solo singers in Hollywood: an Oakland High School friend Dick Stewart and TonyButala.The Lettermen opened in 1958 at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, as a headlining act in a record-breaking revue entitled Newcomers of 1928 which starred PaulWhitman, Buster Keaton, Rudy Vallee, Harry Richman, Fifi D'Orsay and Billy Gilbert.A few months later, Barnett left the group to become a lighting director for moviesand television, earning anEmmyaward for best lighting in 1979, for aTV production of Kaufman  Hart'sYou Can't Take it With You, starring Art Carney and Jean Stapleton."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/mike-roy-barnett-the-lettermen-dies-dead-1201784659/
     NBC's Red Nose Day special was filled with celebrity comedy sketches from the cast of The Walking Dead spoofing Star Wars to Sarah Silverman's outlandish jokes. Check out a roundup of some of the night's funniest spoofs and skitsbelow.The Walking Dead Cast Spoofs Star Wars Holiday SpecialThe Walking Dead stars Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus dreamed up the perfect spoof for Thursday's Red Nose Day show.After a long day on set dealing with so much blood, gore and horror, the two zombie fighters sought something that would bring sweetness, light into the world. In comes The Walking Dead's remake of 1978's Star Wars Holiday Special.Cast mates Steven Yeun, Melissa McBride, Josh McDermitt, Ross Marquand, David Morrissey and Christian Serratos joined forces with special guest stars Jeff Goldblum, Dax Shepard, Yvette-Nicole Brown and Chris Hardwick for the special, which included a 16-minute drum solo courtesy ofMcBride,and both Shepard and Hardwick's takes on Han Solo.But, in the end, Lincoln and Reedus' elaborate event doesn't fall through. We ain't doing that, Reedus says to his costar.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciAoTZwqWQ0Key and Peele Go Homeless for Red Nose DayAmong the Red Nose Day comedy sketches was also a video featuring Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele competing over who could give the most money to support children for the fundraiser. After emptying their bank accounts, selling their homes and other amenities, the comedy duo still isn't satisfied.I wish I could give my blood, said Peele. I wish I could give my soul, Key responded.The end of the sketch finds the duo homeless and eating out of the trash as their on-screen spouses walk by unfazed.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4206WJR-YxoMargot Robbie Spoofs The Big Short Bathtub SceneMargot Robbie also made an appearance, poking fun ather famous bathtub scene from Adam McKay's The Big Short.So a lot of people have been asking what Red Nose Day is about, and it seems for reasons that are very hard to understand that the best place for me to answer this is in the bathtub, Robbie jokes. It has everything to do with raising money and making people laugh, and it has absolutely nothing to do with bathtubs, shampoo, conditioner, soap, champagne or nudity.Sarah Silverman's Red Nose Day PitchesSarah Silverman gave a mouthful during her Red Nose Day sketch.In a mock pitch meeting to offer ideas for the charity fundraising day, Silverman alluded to Hitler, corrupt CEOs, prostitutes in concentration camps and alcoholism, to name a few.Three people are watching Red Nose Day and they're playing strip poker and they're totally naked. Think family friendly, interrupted the fake network executive. Oh, they are a family. It's a mom, a dad and like a teenage son. I should've mentioned that, finished Silverman.NBC's Red Nose Day special premiered Thursday night, raising more than$30 million to aid children living in poverty.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cWGxkraRXs"        Links: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/walking-dead-red-nose-day-1201784426/
     Chelsea Handler's new Netflix talk show, Chelsea, has parted ways withits showrunner/executive producer, Bill Wolff, Variety has confirmed.Wolff is not expected to be replaced. Sources tell Variety thatHandler, whohas always been involved in the show's creative process, will continue to lead the show.Handler's show debuted just three weeks ago to mixed reviews, with Variety'sMaureen Ryan writing, Unless it gets sharper and funnier or begins to offer something more than a puffy celebrity hang, it’s hard to make the case that it’s a necessary addition to the talk-show scene.I’m grateful that Bill was part of the pioneering effort to get Netflix’s first talk show off the ground,” said Handler.“I am excited for Chelsea as she continues to produce her singular vision for a television talk show, said Wolff. My friends at Netflix provide the foremost platform in developing ambitious and compelling creative content.Chelsea, the streaming service's first-ever talk show, airs three days a week (Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays), and features a mix of celebrity interviews andfield pieces.Wolff previously served as an executive producer of The View, but exited the ABC daytime talk show after a tumultuousyear at the helm.His departurewas first reported by Deadline."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/bill-wolff-chelsea-handler-netflix-1201784870/
     Homeland will be back to home base for season 6.The upcoming season of the hit Showtime series, which will be set in New York after spending the last season in Berlin, will tackle the U.S. presidential election.The entire season will take place between election day and inauguration day. It's an interesting time; a transition and transfer of power is happening, showrunner Alex Gansa said while kicking off the show's Emmy campaign on Wednesday at a For Your Consideration panel.In that 72 days, we're hopefully going to tell an interesting story, he continued. Whether the president is male or female, it's going to be a very interesting character.After tiptoeing around the issue for months, Gansa also confirmed that Rupert Friend's character, Quinn, will return following last season's cliffhanger that left his fate up in the air.Rupert will be back, but not the same, he said. How we're dramatizing Peter Quinn is still undecided at this moment.Friend speculated that tough-as-nails Peter might change into someone with a softer side, a character he said he would be very excited to play.Claire Danes, Miranda Otto and Homeland executive producer/director Lesli Linka Glatter were also at the panel and discussed how real life imitated the show. The Showtime series was filming in Berlin when the Paris and Brussels attacks occurred.Some adjustments were made to the storyline in order to reflect the November 2015 Paris attacks. Glatter, who directed many of the episodes, said they altered the dialogue in a scene with Saul (played by Mandy Patinkin) at the end of the season and that Allison, Otto's character, mentions the Paris tragedy.Gansaalso expressed reservations about writing another storyline about a terrorist attack.We're back in the city where 9/11 happened, he said. The easy thing to do would be another big terrorist attack in New York, but I think that's bad karma. We're going to tell a different story.Gansa said the situation in Europe was surreal while they were filming.Everyone who worked on the show did some soul-searching. We wondered what message we should put out into the world, something we still struggle with, especially bringing 'Homeland' back to the States for next season.As a person making entertainment, do we want to create something that doesn't exists? he added, referring to the possibility of writing a storyline about ISIS or Al-Qaeda cells in the U.S.Danes said she initially worried that playing a character like Carrie Mathison would feel exploitational.Friend, on the other hand, said he didn't consider the ramifications of this part.Whether I agree with it socially or politically, that's not on my radar, he said. My job is to play this part. It's not something I concern myself with.Homeland returns for season 6 this fall."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/homeland-season-6-presidential-election-peter-quinn-back-1201783448/
     Fox Broadcasting has named Craig Kurland executive vice president, business affairs, the network announced Thursday. Kurland joins the broadcaster from sister studio 20th Century Fox Television.Kurland, who is based in Los Angeles, will report directly to Fox Television Group chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman. He will oversee legal and business affairs for Fox Broadcasting.Since 2013, Kurland served as senior vice president, business affairs for 20th Century Fox Television. In that role, Kurland's duties included negotiating key business terms for all forms of development and production, program license, talent deals, rights, and format deals, as well as writer-producer agreements on all pilots and series produced by the company.Prior to joining 20th Century Fox Television, Kurland served as senior vice president, broadcast network and studio business affairs for NBC Universal Television. There he oversaw all negotiations involving development and production agreements for NBCU’s series, mini-series and movies-for-television, as well as license agreements. He also managed the business affairs department. Kurland joined NBCU in 2001 as director, program and talent contracts. He went on to be promoted to director of business affairs in 2003, then vice president, business affairs, one year later.He previously worked at Troop Steuber Pasich Reddick  Tobey; Dewey Ballantine LLP; and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley  McCloy"        Links: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/fox-broadcasting-craig-kurland-1201783744/
     HBO has slated drama Westworld for a fall premiere, following delays that temporarily halted production on the series earlier this year. The network has also set comedies Divorce, Insecure, and High Maintenance to debut in the fall.As Variety first reported, HBO shut down production of Westworld in January after the project fell behind schedule --previously having been slatedto wrapproduction two months prior. Filmingresumed three months later.No specific premiere date has yet been set for any of the shows.Production delays on Westworld were among a series of recent hitches in HBO's scripteddevelopment that preceded this week'sdeparture of Michael Lombardofrom his role as programming president of the network. Miniseries Lewis  Clark, from producers Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, suspended production in August and was put into redevelopment. HBO suspended drama series Utopia from David Fincher that same month, and later scrapped plans for comedy Brothers in Atlanta from Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, after the laffer was previously given a series order.This week, HBO tapped development executive Casey Bloys to succeed Lombardo as programming president.Based on the film by Michael Crichton, Westworld stars Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright in a dark drama about the dawn of artificial intelligence. The series hails from Bad Robot Productions, Jerry Weintraub Productions and Kilter Films in association with Warner Bros. Television. Jonathan Nolan serves as executive producer, writer and director on the project, with Lisa Joy writing and executive producing. J.J. Abrams, Jerry Weintraub and Bryan Burk also executive produce.Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker returns to the premium cabler to exec produce and star in Divorce, a half-hour comedy series centering around Frances, a woman who suddenly begins to reassess her life and her marriage, and finds that making a clean break and a fresh start is harder than she thought. The show also stars Thomas Haden Church, Molly Shannon, Talia Balsam, Tracy Letts, Sterling Jerins and Charlie Kilgore. The pilot episode was written by Sharon Horgan and directed by Jesse Peretz. The 10-episode series was created by Horgan and executive produced by Paul Simms, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sharon Horgan, Alison Benson and Aaron Kaplan.Half-hour comedy series Insecure, starring Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis and Lisa Joyce, looks at the friendship of two black women and their uncomfortable experiences and racy tribulations. Created and executive produced by Rae, the eight-episode show is also executive produced by Prentice Penny, Melina Matsoukas, Michael Rotenberg, Dave Becky and Jonathan Berry. Larry Wilmore serves as a consultant.Six-episode comedy series High Maintenance follows a Brooklyn pot dealer (Ben Sinclair) who delivers to clients with neuroses as diverse as the city. The half-hour laffer was created and written by the married duo of Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair, and executive produced by Blichfeld, Sinclair and Russell Gregory."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/westworld-set-for-fall-premiere-at-hbo-1201783829/
     Lifetime's Project Runway franchise has landed a mega-renewal with six seasons ordered across the flagship show and its spinoffs,Variety has confirmed.Project Runway has been renewed for three seasons (Season 16 through 18), Project Runway All Stars has been renewed for two (Season 6 and 7) and Project Runway: Junior has been picked up for its third season.The monster deal comes as The Weinstein Co., which is behind the Project Runway franchise, is backshopping for an investor for its TV division. A deal of this size would help ensure a steady stream of revenue for the next few years, which would help make the company more attractive to a potential buyer.In addition to the Project Runway renewals -- which were first reported by Deadline -- Lifetime has also picked up a new reality fashion projectfrom Weinstein Co., titled Fashion Inc. Theseries is described as the Shark Tank of the fashion world. Set in New York City's fashion district, the show features fashion and beauty entrepreneurs who are competing to land funds from a panel of expert investors to helpgrow their companies.A reality TV veteran, Project Runway is still bringing in viewers, years down the road. The fashion-design competition show wrapped up its fourteenth season in November of last year, bringing in over 2.5 million viewers for the finale.Runway is also an Emmy staple, having been nominated for best reality competition series every year since 2005 when it was first eligible. (The show launched on Bravo in 2004, before moving over to Lifetime in 2009.) Hosts Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn have also been nominated in the hosting category numerous times, and won in 2013.Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/project-runway-renewal-3-seasons-lifetime-weinstein-company-1201783833/
     While season six's big cliffhanger left many fans furious, The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus says to be prepared for even more drama in season seven.Trust me. I think probably the planet is going to explode, said Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon, on Entertainment Weekly Radio. That’s my feeling. It’s so good. Every time we go on a promotional tour talking about what’s going to come, we all say 'Oh my God, it’s amazing. I can’t wait for you to see it.' But it continually surprises me how this show grows and is put together and the execution of it – no pun intended. It blows my mind. It just continually reaches a new plateau every single time, and this is the highest plateau we’ve ever been. So just wait. It’s worth the wait, trust me.When asked just how many times fans have approached him about who died at the hands of Negan during the season 6 finale, Reedus said: Probably about a zillion times. Like, all the time.But if he were left in the dark, just like fans are, he probably wouldn't want to know what happens.I don’t like spoilers, to be honest, I don’t want people to tell me the ending to the movie when we sit down in a movie theater. I don’t like them, so I don’t do them. I like the enthusiasm behind everyone wanting to know, but it’s a good feeling to have that enthusiasm, so let’s hold onto it, he added.Reedus is thankful that he doesn't have to get the brunt of both happy and disgruntled fans. Scott Gimple and Robert Kirkman, on the other hand, probably face inquisitive minds far more often than Reedus.Those poor guys, laughed Reedus. That’s another level of 'What the f--k?' Those guys get hammered. Me, I can be like, 'Oh, it’s great!' I can kinda get away with it because I don’t write it and I don’t know everything that is going to happen, but those poor guys. They bust their ass to give you this entertainment and pour their hearts on the line and then they just get 'What the f—k, Scott Gimple? How could you do this to me!'Although it's been a few months since the season finale, fans are still talking about Lucille and Negan's victim, theorizing about who gets annihilated. But all this verbosity is simply flattering to Reedus.They’re still talking about it, said Reedus. The fact that people are still talking is a huge compliment to how that episode was executed and the acting in it and the writing of it. That’s a good thing. Talk sometimes its good. I know we all have phones and everything is instant gratification now. I get it. I like that too. I like the controversy, to be honest. For that many people to be that invested in that show and freaking out, I think it’s great.Reedus will be starring in AMC's reality series Ride with Norman Reedus, which premieres June 12.The Walking Dead season 7 will premiere later this year."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/the-walking-dead-norman-reedus-season-7-neegan-amc-1201783825/
     Michael Bloom has left IMG to join TBS and TNT as senior vice president, unscripted series and specials. In his new role, Bloom will oversee creative development and production of unscripted content for TBS and TNT. He will report to TBS and TNT president Kevin Reilly.We have ambitions to inject some different thinking in the unscripted arena,” said Reilly. “I've known and worked with Michael for years and I'm looking forward to what comes from having his tremendous energy and relationships aimed at that target.Bloom takes over for David Eilenberg, who left Turner Broadcasting in March to become president of ITV Entertainment.Bloom was key in developing eLeague, an e-sports co-venture between Turner and WME-IMG, which will premiere its first television competition Friday on TBS. He most recently served as senior vice president of IMG’s Original Content group.Prior to joining IMG, Bloom worked with AMC as a development consultant, helping to develop that network's first unscripted series The Talking Dead and Comic Book Men. He previously served as senior vice president, original programming for Fox Sports Media, and helped launch Fox Sports 1 in 2011.He began his career in 1990 at MTV, where he focused on creating on-air and off-air marketing opportunities for advertisers."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/tbs-tnt-name-michael-bloom-svp-unscripted-series-and-specials-1201783870/
     Katie Couric, director Stephanie Soechtig and Epix have all issued statements after their gun violence documentary Under the Gun came under fire from pro-gun groups over the editing of a particular scene.The film received criticism over a segment in which Couricasks members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?” In the footage shown in the film, her question appeared to be received by blank stares and an 8-second silence. However, audio acquired by conservative site Ammoland seems to indicate that there was no pause and the crowd responded to Couric's question immediately.Soechtig said of the editing choice: “There are a wide range of views expressed inthefilm. My intention was to provide a pause fortheviewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presentingthefacts on Americans' opinions on background checks. I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way.”Couric, who is executive producer on the film, stated the following:I support Stephanie's statement and am very proud ofthefilm.Epix also expressed support for Soectig in a statement: 'Under the Gun' is a critically-acclaimed documentary that looks atthe polarizing and politicized issue ofgunviolence, a subject that elicits strong reactions from people on both sides. Epix stands behind Katie Couric, director Stephanie Soechtig, and their creative and editorial judgment. We encourage people to watchthefilm and decide for themselves.The documentary premiered at Sundance earlier this year and was aired by Epix on May 14. Variety's review called the film an essential primer on the rise of gun violence in the U.S. With this follow-up to the food-industry takedown 'Fed Up,' director Stephanie Soechtig again proves her knack for crafting advocacy docs that resonate."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/under-the-gun-criticism-editing-katie-couric-epix-1201783885/