TV Talk

Green Lantern: Finn Wittrock Will Star in the HBO Max Series as the DC Universe Hero

Plus: Elizabeth Olsen makes her next move, Dick Wolf remains a busy man, a first look at Ewan McGregor in Halson, and more big headlines from the world of TV and streaming.

by | May 7, 2021 | Comments

This week’s crop of huge TV headlines comes with a little something for everyone: For the comics-obsessed, we finally know who will lead HBO Max’s big-budget Green Lantern series; fashionistas get their first look at Netflix’s stylish Halston; Law & Order fans get a double dose of new Dick Wolf; and Broadway lovers starved for live theater will be treated to a live recording of one of the Great White Way’s biggest hits of recent years.

Finn Wittrock Will Play Guy Gardner, the Titular Hero of HBO Max’s Green Lantern Series

Finn Wittrock

(Photo by Amy Sussman/FilmMagic)

American Horror Story and Ratched star Finn Wittrock has signed on to be the headline star of HBO Max’s upcoming Green Lantern series, playing Guy Gardner, a.k.a. the Green Lantern.

Greg Berlanti (Arrow), Marc Guggenheim (Arrow), and Seth Grahame-Smith (The Lego Batman Movie) are writing the story, and Grahame-Smith will also be the series showrunner. The official description: “Green Lantern reinvents the classic DC property through a story spanning decades and galaxies, beginning on Earth in 1941 with the very first Green Lantern, secretly gay FBI agent Alan Scott, [to] 1984, with cocky alpha male Guy Gardner and half-alien Bree Jarta. They’ll be joined by a multitude of other Lanterns, from comic book favorites to never-before-seen heroes.”

Wittrock, a frequent collaborator of Ryan Murphy, is scheduled to return for Season 2 of Murphy’s Ratched if the show returns for a sophomore season, but reports that Murphy has agreed to allow Wittrock’s job on Green Lantern to take first priority. Green Lantern is scheduled to begin production this year, and will be the most expensive production of Berlanti’s prolific career.

Wittrock will also be seen in the recently completed 10th season of American Horror Story, opposite Amanda Seyfried in the big-screen drama A Mouthful of Air, and in the Ben Affleck thriller Deep Water.

Gardner’s first comic book appearance was in 1968, and the character was set to star in a Justice League of America TV series in a 1997 pilot starring Matthew Settle that never made it to series status.

Amazon’s IMDB TV Announces a Slate of Original Programming, Including New Dick Wolf Drama On Call

Dick Wolf

(Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images)

Dallas, Mad Men, 24, Lost, White Collar, Boston Legal, Little House on the Prairie, Greek, Ugly Betty … IMDB TV’s free streaming TV classics have been one of the true sanity-saving pleasures of the pandemic. And now, the ad-supported service (which is owned by Amazon), is getting into the original programming game.

As announced via a Newfront presentation this week, IMDB TV will launch its first slate of new original series, which will include a half-hour drama from Law & Order creator Dick Wolf. On Call will revolve around a pair of police officers in Long Beach, California, with each episode tracking them as they answer a radio call and respond to a new incident.

Also upcoming on IMDB TV: three unscripted series. Luke Bryan: My Dirt Road Diary is a five-part series following the country music star; a true-crime docuseries called Bug Out, about the world of exotic insect smugglers and the federal agents on the trails; and Bravo interior designer Jeff Lewis’ first original streaming home design series, with his celebrity clients and personal on full display.

IMDB TV has also greenlit High School, based on the bestselling memoir of the same name from musicians Tegan and Sara Quin. The coming-of-age dramedy will be executive produced by the Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling Quin twins and Clea DuVall, who will also write and produce multiple episodes.

As for the scripted series in the development stage at IMDB TV, Primo is author Shea Serrano and producer Michael Schur’s coming-of-age comedy about a Mexican-American teen raised by his single mom and five uncles, and inspired by New York Times bestseller Serrano’s own life. Blessed and Highly Favored is a satiric, but sincere comedy about a young woman who returns to her Dallas hometown as a first-time pastor to compete with the local megachurches; Greek Candy is a family comedy co-written by CSI: New York star Melina Kanakaredes and inspired by her Greek family and the decades-old chocolate factory they operated in Akron, Ohio;  and The Pradeeps of Pittsburgh, PA, a comedy about an Indian family and the two years of experiences that led them “to the brink … and their present immigration woes.” It’s written by Vijal Patel (The Middle and Black-ish), and inspired by his own experiences, and directed by Michael Showalter (Search Party).

NEW TRAILERS: Ewan McGregor Builds a Fashion Empire and Parties (Hard) at Studio 54 in Netflix Miniseries Halston

Halston is the limited series that follows the legendary fashion designer (Ewan McGregor) as he leverages his single, invented name into a worldwide fashion empire in ’70s and ’80s New York, during the Studio 54 era. Also starring Vera Farmiga, Kelly Bishop, Rory Culkin, and Bill Pullman. Premieres May 14 (Netflix)

More trailers and teasers released this week:
• Tuca & Bertie returns with Season 2 on Adult Swim, after cancellation at Netflix. Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong return to voice the titular BFFs, while recent Oscar nominee Steven Yeun returns as Bertie’s boyfriend, Speckle. Premieres June 13 (Adult Swim)
• Among Rick and Morty’s Season 5 adventures: trying to stop a giant insect from destroying the Golden Gate Bridge. Stars Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer, and Sarah Chalke. Premieres June 20 (Adult Swim)
Stranger Things Season 4 teases 11 … in lockdown. Stars Millie Bobby Brown. The season is currently in production (Netflix)
• Rugrats, the Nickelodeon classic animated series about Tommy Pickles and his fellow baby friends, is back with new episodes! Stars E.G. Daily, Nancy Cartwright, Cheryl Chase, Cree Summer, Kath Soucie are reprising their original series roles, as well as Michael McKean, Tony Hale, Natalie Morales, Anna Chlumsky, Timothy Simmons, and Nicole Byer. Premieres May 27 (Paramount+)
• In Treatment, Season 4, finds multiple Emmy winner Uzo Aduba taking care of her therapy patients, but wondering who will take care of her, especially when a certain man returns to her life. Also stars Joel Kinnaman, John Benjamin Hickey, and Anthony Ramos. Premieres May 23 (HBO)
• The Kominsky Method returns for its third and final season with Morgan Freeman playing … Morgan Freeman. Stars Michael Douglas, Sarah Baker,  and Kathleen Turner. Premieres May 28 (Netflix)
• High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America is a four-part food/travel docuseries that ventures from Africa to the deep South and follows food writer Stephen Satterfield as he meets the chefs, historians, and activists who are keeping centuries-old traditions alive. Premieres May 26 (Netflix)
• Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten is a documentary that looks back at the explosion of violence when the once prosperous neighborhood known as “Black Wall Street” was destroyed by a mob of white attackers, with hundreds of Black-owned businesses and homes in the Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma, burnt to the ground, killing an estimated 100-300 Black residents and leaving an estimated 10,000 Black residents homeless in 1921. Premieres May 31 (PBS)
• Heels is a drama about a pair of brothers who are also pro wrestling rivals. Stars Stephen Amell and Alexander Ludwig. Premieres August 15 (Starz)
• Leverage: Redemption finds original cast members returning, but with a new leader, played by Noah Wyle. Stars Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, and Aldis Hodge. Premieres July 9 (IMDB TV)
• In The Republic of Sarah a town in New Hampshire declares itself independent from the rest of the United States. Stars Stella Baker. Premieres June 14 (The CW)

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CASTING: Elizabeth Olsen Is Playing a Real Killer in HBO Max Crime Miniseries Love and Death

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in WANDAVISION

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.)

Elizabeth Olsen (WandaVision) will star in HBO Max’s true crime limited series Love and Death, playing Candy Montgomery, whose extramarital affair in small-town Texas led to the murder of her romantic rival. David E. Kelley will write the project, which will be directed by Lesli Linka Glatter (Homeland). The story is inspired by the book Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs” and a collection of articles from Texas Monthly.

As if we weren’t excited enough about the third season of HBO’s Succession, the show’s getting two more new cast members: Alexander Skarsgård and Adrien Brody. Emmy winner Skarsgård will play Lukas Matsson, a tech CEO who will factor into the Roy family’s civil war, while Oscar winner Brody will play a billionaire investor/activist named Josh Aaronson, who also becomes a key figure when Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Logan (Brian Cox) Roy go head-to-head in the new season. Hope Davis and Sanaa Lathan were previously announced as new members of the already stellar cast.

Vanessa Lachey (Call Me Kat) has been cast as the first female lead of an NCIS series. She’ll star in NCIS: Hawaii, which CBS gave a straight-to-series order. She’ll play Jane Tennant, the special agent in charge of the NCIS Pearl Harbor office. She’s also a single mom who’s succeeding in a male-dominated environment, juggling her duty to her country and her family.

Oscar winner Taika Waititi will play Blackbeard the pirate in the HBO Max drama Our Flag Means Death, the six-episode comedy series based on the true story of Stede Bonnet, a rich guy who gave up his privileged lifestyle to become a pirate and wreak havoc with the infamous Blackbeard.

Janeane Garofalo will have a recurring role on the upcoming second half of Season 5 of Showtime’s Billions, where she’ll play Winslow, the hip owner of a cannabis corporation. (Deadline)

Tom Cavanagh and Carlos Valdes are leaving The Flash on The CW. Valdes’ exit will come at the end of Season 7, but Deadline reports Cavanagh’s departure will come as a “surprise” in an upcoming episode.

Keep It podcast host Aida Osman and rapper KaMillion will star in Issa Rae’s HBO Max pilot Rap Sh*t, a comedy about two high school friends who have been estranged since they finished school, but reunite to form a rap group. (Deadline)

Luke Evans (The Alienist) will star in Apple TV+’s Echo 3, a 10-episode thriller about Amber Chesborough, a young scientist who goes missing from near the Colombia-Venezuela border. Her husband and brother (Evans) use their military experience to try to find her. The series is based on the novel When Heroes Fly by the late Amir Gutfreund, and Oscar winner Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) will be showrunner on the project.

Harold Perrineau

(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Lost alum and Claws star Harold Perrineau will star in the EPIX horror series From, about a creepy town in the Midwest where the citizens are trapped in by a dangerous forest and its creatures that come out at night. Perrineau will play Boyd Stevens, the town sheriff, whose strict rules have kept the people together, even as he has been searching for an escape route himself. (Deadline)

Rosemarie DeWitt has been cast in the HBO Max limited series The Staircase, where she will play the sister of Kathleen Peterson (Toni Collette), whose author husband, Michael Peterson (Colin Firth), is accused of murdering her. The drama is based on the true story that is followed in the Netflix docuseries The Staircase. The project reunites DeWitt and Collette, who also played sisters in the Showtime drama United States of Tara. (Deadline)

NBC’s Night Court reboot/sequel pilot that will be executive produced by The Big Bang Theory star Melissa Rauch will star… Melissa Rauch. She will play Abby Stone, the daughter of the late Harry Stone (the late Harry Anderson). Abby follows in her dad’s footsteps as a judge in Manhattan’s night court, where, like her dad, she is surrounded by quirky co-workers, including her dad’s old pal, former night court prosecutor Dan Fielding (John Laroquette, who reprises his role from the original 1984-92 NBC sitcom).

Ali Wong has joined the cast of the Amazon series Paper Girls, playing “Adult Erin,” the woman 12-year-old Erin Tieng (Riley Lai Nelet) grows up to become. When the two Erins finally come face-to-face, they are forced to confront the gap between their childhood hopes, dreams, ambitions and the reality of their grown-up life. Based on the graphic novel series by Brian K. Vaughan and artist Cliff Chiang, Paper Girls follows four young girls who, while out delivering papers on the morning after Halloween in 1988, become unwittingly caught in a conflict between warring factions of time-travelers, sending them on an adventure through time that will save the world.

Ken Jeong will star in the Amazon dramedy Shoot the Moon, produced by Daniel Dae Kim, about the son of Korean immigrants who’s looking to revamp his life when his marriage and career fall apart. The series is loosely based on Paul Bae, a comedian, podcast host, and former youth pastor whose life was shaken up by divorce and a new belief in atheism. (Deadline)

Saturday Night Live has announced the host and musical guest lineup for the rest of Season 46: Keegan-Michael Key, one of the stars of the upcoming Lorne Michaels-produced Apple TV+ series Schmigadoon!, will host on May 15, joined by musical guest “Driver’s License” singer Olivia Rodrigo, from High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. And for the season finale on May 22, Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit) hosts, with musical guest Lil Nas X.

PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT: More Law & Order, Tig Notaro Gets Animated, And Vikings Creator Takes on Billy the Kid

Tig Notaro

(Photo by Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage)

Emmy and Grammy-winning comedian Tig Notaro is returning to HBO this summer with the first-ever fully animated stand-up special. The special is written by Notaro, and executive produced by Notaro and Ellen DeGeneres.

Yep, Dick Wolf is going back to the Law & Order well again, with Law & Order: For the Defense, an NBC drama that will revolve around a criminal defense firm. “The series will put the lawyers under the microscope, along with the criminal justice system, with every week delivering the promise of a contemporary morality tale,” according to the network. Carol Mendelsohn (CSI) will be the showrunner for L & O: FTD, which was given a straight-to-series order by the network.

EPIX has greenlit Billy the Kid, an eight-episode series about the titular outlaw and gunslinger who played a pivotal role in the Lincoln County Way. Vikings creator Michael Hirst will write and executive produce the project.

Apple TV+ will air the live filmed production of Tony Award winner Come From Away later this year. The musical tells the true story of 7,000 passengers stranded in a small town in Newfoundland after the Sept. 11 attacks and welcomed and housed by the town’s citizens. The cast of the Broadway show, which was closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic, will return to their roles for the live production, set to be filmed this month. Tony winning director Christopher Ashley will direct the live capture production.

Come from Away

(Photo by heo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

The Television Academy has announced seven series for Television Academy Honors recognition this year, “programs across numerous platforms and genres that elevate complex issues facing society”: I May Destroy You, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, For Life, I Am Greta, Little America, The Social Dilemma, and Welcome to Chechnya.

Showtime is developing a drama series that seeks to be the ultimate on-screen telling of the story of the Prohibition era battle between gangster Al Capone and lawman Eliot Ness, a story previously told in the 1959 Untouchables TV series with Robert Stack, the 1987 The Untouchables movie with Robert De Niro and Kevin Costner, and 1993 TV series starring William Forsythe and Tom Amandes. Showtime’s series will be based on the 2018 book Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago by Max Allen Collins and A. Brad Schwartz. Alex Kurtzman (Clarice and Star Trek: Picard) is producing the project, while Ben Jacoby (Newsflash) will write the potential series. (Deadline)

Apple TV+ has picked up the Tom Hanks sci-fi movie Finch (previously titled Bios), in which Hanks plays a robotic engineer who is one of the few survivors of an apocalyptic solar event, and creates a robot who will be able to take care of his dog, Goodyear, after his death. The movie, like another Hanks movie, Greyhound, was originally planned for a theatrical release. (THR)

And another one: Apple TV+ has also ordered the dramedy Hello Tomorrow! starring The Morning Show’s Billy Crudup. Crudup, who will also serve as an executive producer on the series, will play Jack, a talented and ambitious salesman whose unshakeable faith in a brighter tomorrow inspires his coworkers, and revitalizes his desperate customers, but threatens to leave him dangerously lost in the very dream that sustains him in the 10-episode series in a retro-future world.

Among this year’s Peabody Awards nominees: Euphoria, Ted Lasso, I May Destroy You, Never Have I Ever, Small Axe, The Good Lord Bird, and Crip Camp. Read the complete list here.

Amazon is adapting From Now, the QCode podcast series that stars Richard Madden and Brian Cox, as a series. The Game of Thrones and Succession stars, who will executive produce the TV series, star in the podcast as identical twin brothers separated by time. The story chronicles the aftermath of their reunion when astronaut Edward’s (Madden) spacecraft suddenly reappears in Earth’s orbit after having gone missing 35 years earlier, and Edward emerges looking the exact same age as when he left.

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