TV Talk

Jordan Peele's The Twilight Zone First Trailer Is Here and More TV News

Plus, The Haunting of Hill House creator signs new Netflix deal, Empire star Jussie Smollett's future with show in question, and The Walking Dead hits ratings low.

by | February 21, 2019 | Comments

This week’s biggest TV news includes a Twilight Zone trailer, Walking Dead ratings, updates on the assault case involving Empire star Jussie Smollett, and more.


TOP STORY

Jussie Smollett’s Empire Future in Doubt; Police Claim Actor Staged Attack Due to Salary

EMPIRE: L-R: Jussie Smollett in the "Pride" episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Oct. 10 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Chuck Hodes/FOX

(Photo by Chuck Hodes/FOX)

20th Century Fox has been forced to reassess after the arrest of Empire star Jussie Smollett.

On January 29, reports emerged that Smollett, who plays golden-voiced Jamal Lyon on the drama series, had been hospitalized after a seemingly racist and homophobic assault. Less than a month later, Smollett turned himself in to Chicago police after being charged with a felony for filing a false report for the incident, which police now allege the actor planned himself because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”

The actor earns $65,000 per episode, according to The Huffington Post. By comparison, the higher end of the TV star salary spectrum includes the cast of CBS’ juggernaut sitcom The Big Bang Theory, who each earn around $1 million per episode. Rachel Brosnahan, award-winning star of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, recently renegotiated her contract to earn around $300,000 an episode beginning with the comedy’s third season. The lower end of TV contracts will see supporting leads with no other major credits make around $30,000 an episode, according to a 2017 report.

While Fox initially made multiple statements in support of Smollett and reiterating that he was not being written off the series, it has changed course following the actor’s arrest.

“We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process,” a statement provided to the Huffington Post said. “We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”

Here’s a timeline of how the investigation of the incident evolved:

Tuesday, Jan. 29: Reports emerged that Smollett had been the victim of a hate crime in the early morning hours in which two men in masks poured bleach on him, tied a noose around his neck, and shouted that he was in “MAGA country.”

Wednesday, Jan. 30: Police were seeking two persons of interest in the alleged assault and battery of the actor. Additionally, Smollett’s music manager Brandon Z. Moore said he was on the phone with his client during the incident and overheard part of the attack.

Thursday, Jan. 31: Chicago police said that Smollett refused to turn his cell phone over to detectives and declined to provide phone records for the investigation.

Friday, Feb. 1: Smollett released a statement thanking his fans for their “outpouring of love and support” in the wake of the incident.

Saturday, Feb. 2: Smollett performed a sold-out show at Los Angeles’ Troubadour nightclub, during which he told fans he fought back against his attackers, and that “I’m gonna stand strong with y’all. I had to be here tonight. I couldn’t let those [attackers] win. I will always stand for love.”

Thursday, Feb. 14: Chicago police arrest the two persons of interest in the case, and also say local media reports that the attack was a hoax are unconfirmed. Earlier that morning, Smollett gave his first media interview following the incident on Good Morning America, where he told Robin Roberts he was “pissed off.”

Friday, Feb. 15: The two suspects were released without charges after being held and questioned for 48 hours.

Saturday, Feb. 16: Police said the investigation had “shifted,” and a police source said that the two men told police that Smollett paid them to help orchestrate the attack. Smollett denied the new information.

Wednesday, Feb. 20: Surveillance video appeared that reportedly showed the brothers linked to the attack purchasing the items used in the alleged assault. Smollett was officially charged with making a false police report. The felony disorderly conduct charge could come with up to three years of prison time.

Thursday, Feb. 21: Smollett turned himself in to police and was released on $100,000 bond. A bond proffer (read the full document) filed by prosecutors during the actor’s bond hearing revealed that Smollett paid the brothers $3,500 with a backdated personal check.


First Trailer for Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone Remake Released

Streaming service CBS All Access has finally released a full — albeit incredibly mysterious — trailer for Jordan Peele’s reimagining of the classic sci-fi series The Twilight Zone, which debuts on April 1. While it only revealed a few clues about some of the episodes’ storylines (including that Adam Scott’s character will have significant experiences with the number 1015, Sanaa Lathan’s character is dealing with something that goes “backwards,” and Kumail Nanjiani’s character accidentally changes or erases something in his life), it did show the first footage of many of the series’ biggest guest stars (including Tracy Morgan, Greg Kinnear, John Cho, Steven Yeun, Allison Tolman, and more).

Yes, the iconic score is included too.


The Walking Dead Hits a Ratings Low

Samantha Morton as Alpha - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead is still one of the biggest shows on television, but the series hit its all-time ratings low with season 9’s 10th episode on Sunday, February 17. The episode, “Omega,” earned just 4.54 million viewers and a 1.7 rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic, its lowest-ever outing.

The episode also ended up with a season-low 76% Tomatometer score, based on critics’ reviews. “As a means of establishing the character of Alpha, the harsh and violent new antagonist and leader of the Whisperers, ‘Omega’ is bluntly effective. As an episode of The Walking Dead, it’s pretty thin gruel,” Alex McLevy wrote for AV Club.

Don’t worry too much, though — it’s still the top-rated non-sports cable show on television.


Casting Update: New SNL Hosts, Gotham Alum’s New Role, Lost Boys TV series, and More

Saturday Night Live will welcome People magazine’s reigning Sexiest Man Alive on March 9 when Idris Elba hosts the sketch comedy series for the first time. The week before, March 2, former SNL writer John Mulaney will host. Mulaney’s musical guest will be country star Thomas Rhett, while Elba’s will be singer Khalid.

Gotham star Robin Lord Taylor, a.k.a. Cobblepot/Penguin, is joining season 2 of Lifetime-turned-Netflix drama You. According to Deadline, he’ll play Will, a “thoughtful, personable, and highly intelligent guy who marches to the beat of his drummer” and occasionally “deals with unsavory sorts as part of his job,” and who “gets trapped in a bad situation.”

The CW is remaking ’80s vampire classic The Lost Boys as a TV series, and has cast former Teen Wolf star Tyler Posey in the pilot, which will be directed by Catherine Hardwicke. According to Entertainment Weekly, he’ll play Michael, one of two brothers who moves to the town of Santa Carla, California, after the sudden death of his father. Per EW, Michael is the “elder brother, whose life plans are uprooted when he learns he has the same genetic weakness that killed his dad.”

Other casting news includes Sophia Bush in a mysterious role on Jane the Virgin’s final season, Rachael Leigh Cook as Reid’s new love interest in the final season of Criminal Minds, Alicia Witt in the final season of Orange Is the New Black, and Ryan Devlin’s return to Veronica Mars in Hulu’s upcoming new season of the series.


Upcoming Reboots and Revivals

PSYCH: THE MOVIE -- Pictured: (l-r) Dule Hill as Gus Guster, James Roday as Shawn Spencer -- (Photo by: Alan Zenuk/USA Network)

Psych is coming back — again. The cult-favorite USA series, which ran from 2006-2014, returned in late 2017 with a feature-length installment. The network announced last week that another film featuring the series’ original stars will air before the end of 2019.

Nickelodeon is rebooting its 1990s sketch comedy series All That, which will be executive produced by original star Kenan Thompson, who has gone on to become SNL‘s longest-tenured cast member ever. Netflix has announced a sequel to its viral hit rom-com The Kissing Booth, with original stars Joey King and Jacob Elordi returning.


Deals, Deals, Deals

The Haunting of Bly Manor teaser art (Netflix)

Netflix has signed The Haunting of Hill House creator Mike Flanagan and partner Trevor Macy to a deal that will see the pair develop and produce new series for the streaming service. The deal also includes an anthological-style second season of their hit horror series, which will be called The Haunting of Bly Manor and, according to THR, will be inspired by Henry James’ short story The Turn of the Screw.

Neil Gaiman is teaming up with The Jim Henson Company for a reimagined version of 1987 series The Storyteller. The new version will “create a mystical world combining various fairy tales and folklore” for what Gaiman calls “the binging kind” of modern TV viewer. Gaiman, who will write and executive produce, said in a statement, “Part of what fascinates me about The Storyteller is the stuff that we don’t know,” he said. “Who was the Storyteller, why was he telling these stories, was he a goblin, what kind of creature? What I’d love to do is an inside story that’s as long as the outside story. We’re going to find out a lot about who the storyteller is, we’re going to find out things we don’t even know that we don’t know. We’re going to begin in a Northern kingdom where stories are forbidden and where the act of telling a story is liable and can get you imprisoned or executed. If you put a storyteller into that situation, things would need to start getting interactive.”

Oscar-winning production company Fabula (behind Jackie, Neruda, No, The Club, and more) has teamed up with global producer and distributor Fremantle (American Gods, My Brilliant Friend, The Young Pope) for a deal that includes their current collaboration, the eight-part Spanish-language series La Jauria.

Tag Cloud

chucky FXX RT21 action-comedy biopic based on movie dragons latino Winners Super Bowl ratings Martial Arts Kids & Family marvel comics marvel cinematic universe Apple TV Plus cars FX toronto ABC hidden camera unscripted target critics Christmas Mystery anthology The CW a nightmare on elm street Drama Mindy Kaling aliens Holidays Classic Film festival 72 Emmy Awards live event Interview Avengers Television Academy rom-coms Black Mirror black Pet Sematary Action remakes Premiere Dates Best and Worst TCA Awards Bravo wonder woman Animation GLAAD classics Comic Book composers rt archives Cannes DirecTV Fox Searchlight Amazon Prime Video Nominations 2021 MTV Musicals Comic-Con@Home 2021 Polls and Games spanish Discovery Channel foreign Starz binge richard e. Grant criterion diversity young adult President ITV directors universal monsters TruTV IMDb TV scene in color TV movies A24 Amazon screenings Amazon Prime docuseries TV One fresh cancelled TV series DC Comics Crunchyroll hispanic heritage month Columbia Pictures Film Festival lord of the rings free movies USA Network Black History Month indiana jones Trailer First Reviews Schedule blaxploitation Anna Paquin popular History Walt Disney Pictures Music Disney streaming service Rom-Com talk show disaster franchise GoT technology BBC America Showtime Netflix Shudder what to watch Marvel Studios anime Emmys indie Heroines Paramount Plus CW Seed 93rd Oscars cats Hallmark NBA zombie know your critic pirates of the caribbean sequels dreamworks finale ABC Family concert Hulu mockumentary scary movies Thanksgiving transformers spider-verse dark Warner Bros. Paramount comic book movies animated emmy awards Film Freeform TV renewals The Walt Disney Company Peacock The Purge 45 biography Reality Competition Masterpiece NBC italian nature HBO Max First Look all-time 24 frames San Diego Comic-Con Epix science fiction parents thriller NYCC TCM video RT History medical drama social media witnail Tubi historical drama TIFF natural history casting game show Women's History Month Sundance Now adenture IFC Spectrum Originals AMC 2020 The Walking Dead Rocketman Year in Review art house PBS Chernobyl Toys live action toy story Pixar independent Teen Rock Nat Geo DC streaming service Pop TV space VOD Podcast DGA YouTube Nickelodeon Shondaland batman Universal Pictures singing competition Countdown prank Pacific Islander stand-up comedy Pirates The Academy HBO Go Crackle Lifetime Christmas movies movie comic mission: impossible japanese DC Universe crime canceled sag awards venice Mary Tyler Moore renewed TV shows films reviews The Witch king kong Adult Swim Legendary ESPN 2019 Ghostbusters vs. Oscars Tumblr legend hist comic book movie Quiz green book harry potter Mary poppins Biopics Universal rt labs critics edition cancelled VH1 posters Dark Horse Comics mutant 99% Video Games Comics on TV TNT mcc feel good Turner Classic Movies Sneak Peek Sony Pictures reboot spy thriller travel Winter TV television YouTube Premium YA Cartoon Network Academy Awards Apple TV+ kong OneApp E3 Trivia Awards Tour crime drama Emmy Nominations dc doctor who ID debate nbcuniversal police drama Pride Month APB hollywood twilight war Ellie Kemper spider-man adventure LGBTQ TCA Winter 2020 Food Network strong female leads Ovation zombies slashers A&E archives superhero LGBT Holiday PlayStation true crime theme song BAFTA GIFs new york book Watching Series cinemax Marvel Television Reality WGN Fantasy sitcom 73rd Emmy Awards Pop Superheroes Hallmark Christmas movies aapi Apple political drama crossover Logo Lifetime Hear Us Out die hard adaptation stop motion Binge Guide serial killer Sundance Valentine's Day cops australia werewolf Image Comics ghosts Writers Guild of America Western TCA 2017 Paramount Network spinoff scorecard miniseries royal family rt labs PaleyFest Star Wars Disney razzies Fox News worst movies basketball politics docudrama Broadway rotten American Society of Cinematographers OWN Baby Yoda Comedy Central video on demand fast and furious Grammys dramedy HBO heist movie streaming Summer Marvel Spring TV Wes Anderson discovery godzilla 2018 Star Trek Neflix Tokyo Olympics 2017 comiccon Mary Poppins Returns FX on Hulu period drama Syfy spanish language critic resources slasher Chilling Adventures of Sabrina gangster cartoon crime thriller Extras 21st Century Fox spain Spike Infographic 20th Century Fox Turner 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards series Marathons WarnerMedia Fall TV 90s Captain marvel Acorn TV 007 2015 Tarantino japan Disney Plus saw new zealand stoner BBC worst Britbox zero dark thirty Country TBS Photos women BET children's TV halloween tv TV Musical supernatural Superheroe Vudu romantic comedy CNN IFC Films E! high school sports genre Family robots USA X-Men festivals vampires movies Awards teaser Certified Fresh documentaries new star wars movies trailers olympics MCU CBS Endgame joker Opinion Alien kids Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt south america Mudbound FOX cancelled television streaming movies french Arrowverse book adaptation suspense Horror Trophy Talk 4/20 halloween romance psycho dexter james bond YouTube Red El Rey ViacomCBS AMC Plus mob news award winner sequel superman cooking Netflix Christmas movies TCA cults ABC Signature deadpool SundanceTV football blockbuster name the review cancelled TV shows golden globe awards BBC One facebook Rocky Song of Ice and Fire Election elevated horror Travel Channel quibi SXSW boxoffice MSNBC CMT rotten movies we love SDCC game of thrones documentary comics kaiju 1990s international satire Amazon Studios Disney+ Disney Plus Stephen King BET Awards See It Skip It laika Tomatazos child's play scary Creative Arts Emmys VICE golden globes psychological thriller tv talk hispanic obituary Set visit The Arrangement Comedy jamie lee curtis blockbusters TV Land Cosplay comic books 2016 Elton John monster movies National Geographic versus screen actors guild Disney Channel Esquire Lucasfilm asian-american king arthur Sundance TV Box Office TLC Red Carpet sopranos Calendar telelvision Instagram Live black comedy revenge canceled TV shows breaking bad nfl Character Guide 71st Emmy Awards comedies Sci-Fi best Brie Larson boxing Funimation christmas movies Television Critics Association dogs New York Comic Con dceu jurassic park CBS All Access Exclusive Video Lionsgate justice league