NBC gets the 30 Rock gang back together to support its fall lineup, Michael Keaton plays a doctor fighting in the opioid crisis in an upcoming series, 95% Certified Fresh HBO vigilante series Watchmen will be free to stream online, and more of the week’s top news.
Throw some snacks in the Funcooker, because the 30 Rock cast is reuniting as their TGS characters for a night of fun to promote NBC’s fall lineup. Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer, Jane Krakowski, and other cast-to-be-named-later will reunite for a July 16, one-hour event that will find Liz Lemon, Jack Donaghy, Tracy Jordan, Kenneth Parcell, and Jenna Maroney celebrating the shows NBC hopes will earn even a fraction of the fan and critical love 30 Rock – which won 16 Emmys – earned during its 2006-13 run on the network.
The 30 Rock Upfront special will feature guest appearances from talent from many stars from the NBC Universal universe, and will highlight new and returning programming from NBC, Telemundo, USA, Syfy, E!, Bravo, and more, including new, sports, and entertainment.
The special replaces NBC Universal’s traditional Upfront event, which takes place in New York every year as advertisers are shown the new fall programming. COVID-19 derailed those plans for all the networks in 2020, so now home viewers get a first peek at the new shows — without, sadly, the traditional photo op with Chris Meloni or the cast of This Is Us afterwards.
On the plus side, you get to watch on your couch, snug in a Slanket, with a giant chunk of night cheese. So there’s that.
Showtime’s big-budget, big-cast adaptation of former FBI head James Comey’s 2018 book A Higher Loyalty just got a late November, two-night airdate, surprising TV insiders who were certain the cable network would drop the Jeff Daniels (who plays Comey)/Brendan Gleeson (as Donald Trump) drama before Election Day.
The four-hour special, based on Comey’s bestseller with more than a year of additional interviews, was adapted and directed by Billy Ray (Captain Phillips and Shattered Glass), and is “the story of two powerful figures, Comey and Trump, whose strikingly different personalities, ethics, and loyalties put them on a collision course … [the story] takes us on an insider’s journey down the corridors of power, where decision-makers struggle to apply old norms to a dramatic new paradigm in the face of Russia’s deep and unprecedented penetration into American politics, with our nation’s rule of law hanging in the balance. Each character’s actions in these historic months made the careers of some, destroyed the careers of others, and helped shape the incendiary political landscape we live in today,” as per Showtime’s description.
Other cast members of the all-star cast include Holly Hunter as former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, Michael Kelly as former FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Jonathan Banks as former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, Oona Chaplin as former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, Peter Coyote as Robert Mueller, as well as William Sadler and Richard Thomas.
#Watchmen begins in Tulsa, 1921 and explores the legacy of systemic racism in America. We’re proud to announce @HBO will make all nine episodes available for free this weekend on https://t.co/dvMR4HmhIR and On Demand, and will air a marathon of the series tomorrow at 1PM ET. pic.twitter.com/UBDLR3OYIV
— Watchmen (@watchmen) June 18, 2020
Exactly what kind of Emmy Awards he’ll host remains a mystery, but late-night host Jimmy Kimmel is definitely on board as the host – and executive producer – of the Emmy Awards, marking his third time leading the telecast. We also know the show will air September 20 on ABC, though location and how much, if any, of the television event about television will be virtual are questions yet to be answered.
“I don’t know where we will do this or how we will do this or even why we are doing this, but we are doing it, and I am hosting it,” Kimmel said.
The Television Academy also announced this week that the Creative Arts Emmys ceremonies will take place virtually across several nights in September, and that the Outstanding Comedy and Drama Series categories will now have eight nominees each, to account for an uptick in the number of series submitted for each.
The Politician season 2 stars Ben Platt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Judith Light, and Bette Midler. The new season premieres on Netflix on Friday, June 19.
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Michael Keaton will play the lead in the eight-episode Hulu opioid crisis drama Dopesick, in his first regular TV role since 2007. The limited series, based on author Beth Macy’s bestselling book of the same name, will be directed by Barry Levinson, with Danny Strong as writer and showrunner. Keaton, who is also an executive producer, will play Samuel Finnix, an old-school doctor who approaches his practice with kindness and compassion, but “finds himself embroiled in Big Pharma’s deadly secret,” as per Hulu.
Bette Midler, Issa Rae, Dan Levy, Kaitlyn Dever, and Sarah Paulson will star in Coastal Elites, a remotely shot HBO special written by Paul Rudnick and director Jay Roach. The special, shot completely during the quarantine and scheduled to air in September, follows characters in New York and Los Angeles as they have meltdowns and breakthroughs while dealing with coronavirus and politics in a pandemic world.
Will & Grace star Debra Messing will star in the Starz comedy East Wing, based on the mother of actress and writer Ali Wentworth, East Wing’s co-creator with Liz Tuccillo (Sex and the City). Wentworth’s mother was the White House social secretary during the Ronald Reagan administration, which is when the series is set. Messing will play Hollis Carlisle, a hostess extraordinaire who juggles her threatened husband, rebellious children, Nancy Reagan’s Chief of Staff, and a crippling social anxiety disorder. Wentworth will also be on-screen as Hollis’ best friend, who is jealous of her success.
Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon has signed a direct animation deal with Fox that includes a series commitment for a new ‘toon from the Community creator. Harmon is also at work on season five of his Adult Swim hit, after Rick and Morty’s fourth season aired its finale on May 31.
Amazon has given a series order to an autism-themed dramedy from Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights and Parenthood). Katims, who has a 23-year-old son on the spectrum, wrote the pilot and will serve as showrunner of the half-hour series, which stars Rick Glassman, Sue Ann Pien, and Albert Rutecki, who identify as being on the autism spectrum, alongside Joe Mantegna, Sosie Bacon, and Chris Pang.
Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Kane Brown, Lil Wayne, Wayne Brady, Summer Walker, and Megan Thee Stallion are among the performers for the BET Awards, which will air on BET, and for the first time, CBS, on June 28.
Bestselling author James McBride is adapting his own novel, Deacon King Kong, as a TV series. The book, published in March, was named as a selection to Oprah’s Book Club this week, and follows the consequences for a deacon in Brooklyn who kills a local housing project drug dealer in 1969. Winfrey said of the book, “In a moment when our country roils with righteous anger and grief, Deacon King Kong reminds us that when we come together as a community in compassion and empathy, our love triumphs.”
HBO Max has greenlit 10-Year-Old Tom, an adult animated series about a boy who’s constantly disappointed by the adults in his life. The series is from The Life and Times of Tim creator Steve Dildarian and Adult Swim vet Nick Weidenfeld.
AMC has signed a deal to air the recent hit British limited series The Salisbury Poisonings in the fall. The four-night event tells the fact-based story of Salisbury, the British city that faced a terrifying drama in 2018 when it was revealed the town had been exposed to a deadly poison, a half a teaspoon of which could kill 20,000 people. Just when the citizenry thought they were out of the woods, a perfume bottle full of the nerve agent was found. Anne-Marie Duff (Sex Education) and Rafe Spall (Trying) star in the miniseries.
Oscar-winning Hair Love director Matthew A. Cherry has signed a multi-year first look deal with Warner Bros. Television Group to create series and long-form programming for broadcast, cable, and HBO Max. Cherry, who won the Best Animated Short Film Oscar for his animated story about a father trying to style his daughter’s hair for the first time, has directed episodes of Black-ish, Mixed-ish, and The Unicorn.
Amazon will stream the upcoming voting rights documentary that features Stacey Abrams, and looks at the issue of voter suppression across the U.S. The untitled doc is directed by Liz Garbus (What Happened, Miss Simone?) and Lisa Cortés (The Apollo).
After San Diego Comic-Con premieres its at-home event in July, DC Comics is offering fans of its TV properties DC FanDome, a 24-hour virtual event where fans can hear from the casts and creators of series like Harley Quinn, Batwoman, Lucifer, Pennyworth, and Superman & Lois. Programming will include panels, screenings, never-before-seen footage, cosplay, fan art, and a special DCKidsFanDome area.
If you’re flummoxed about the many different HBOs you may have access to – HBO, HBO Now, HBO Go, HBO Max, etc. – you are not alone, and this handy chart may help. Or at least make you feel better about being confused.
— Shira Ovide (@ShiraOvide) June 17, 2020