Tag: Television

Dogg's dinner? Snoop and 'homegirl' Martha Stewart make dinner party TV

No Comments

The rapper and the doyenne of domesticity will host new unscripted show for VH1, which will see the pair hosting dinners attended by celebrity guests

Dogg's dinner? Snoop and 'homegirl' Martha Stewart make dinner party TV
Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg: joint dinner party – with joint being the operative word. Photograph: Chris Pizzello/AP

In what’s surely one of the unlikeliest pairings to ever grace the small screen, Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg have been brought together to co-present VH1’s new unscripted series, Martha & Snoop’s Dinner Party.

The weekly series, of which a full season has been commissioned, according to the Hollywood Reporter, will see the two throw a joint dinner party each episode with surprise celebrity guests.

VH1 describes the 10-episode series as a “half-baked evening of cocktails, cooking, conversation and fun where nothing is off limits”.

In a statement, Stewart also hinted that show will have a competitive element, saying that it “will redesign the traditional food competition shows in a new, different and very funny way”.

Martha & Snoop’s Dinner Party marks the duo’s first collaboration, but the pair have been featured together before.

Most recently, they competed on ABC’s gameshow $100,000 Pyramid. The two also took turns mocking Justin Bieber on a Comedy Central’s roast, (“I taught Snoop that the most important thing in business is diversification,” Stewart joked during the show); while Snoop Dog once appeared as a guest on Stewart’s now defunct talk show, Martha.

“My homegirl Martha and I have a special bond that goes back,” said Snoop Dogg, in a statement.

The show is set to debut this fall. The guests have yet to be announced.

Teachers, doctors and funeral directors to do battle for place at Proms

No Comments

BBC announces the names of five amateur ensembles who will compete in the inaugural Great Orchestra Challenge


Teachers, doctors and funeral directors to do battle for place at Proms
Orchestras will be mentored by double bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku, with the series airing on BBC2 and BBC4. Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi for the Guardian

The BBC has announced the names of five amateur ensembles who will compete in the inaugural Great Orchestra Challenge to win a place at the Proms – with teachers, doctors, social workers, students, a cheesemaker, a funeral director and a lupin grower among their number.

The conductor Paul Daniel will judge the orchestras for the series, to be shown on BBC4, with the final airing on BBC2.

He said: “I’ll be looking for the orchestra that goes beyond technical excellence. They’ll have to capture the spirit and excitement of British amateur music, they have to really engage us musically and emotionally and connect with their audience.”

The winning ensemble will appear on stage at BBC Proms in the Park, in Hyde Park in London.

Teachers, doctors and funeral directors to do battle for place at Proms
Conductor Paul Daniel will judge the contest. Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

One of the orchestras was established 125 years ago by men working in the Colne Valley textile industry. The Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra remains at the heart of the close-knit village community, population 6,000.

A more recent creation is the London Gay Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1996.

The other contenders are the North Devon Sinfonia; the Stirling Orchestra, formed in 1983, which includes students from Stirling University as well as a horse riding coach and a microbiologist; and the Birmingham-based People’s Orchestra, which boasts a particularly large wind section and10 saxophones.

The orchestras will be mentored by the double bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku and the four-part TV series, presented by Katie Derham and beginning at the end of August, will follow the groups as they prepare for concerts.

The Exorcist TV remake promises to turn heads

No Comments

After the Fox show was unveiled at Comic-Con, a poster has been released showing the possessed girl with her head twisted 180 degrees

The Exorcist TV remake promises to turn heads
Devil of a part: Linda Blair in the 1973 film The Exorcist Photograph: Allstar/Warner Bros

A TV adaptation of The Exorcist moved closer as the producers released new artwork on Thursday.

The new poster, first reported by Entertainment Weekly, features an allusion to the original film with a silhouette of a young girl with her head twisted in reverse.

The Fox TV show will be an adaptation of the original 1971 William Peter Blatty novel of the same name.

Fox released a trailer for the new show at last week’s Comic-Con. The show’s creator Jeremy Slater, the writer of last year’s lackluster Fantastic Four, and the cast were also at Comic-Con to answer fan questions.

Actor Ben Daniels will play Father Marcus Brennan on the show. As a fan of the original, he was skeptical about joining the cast but he assured fans at Comic-Con: “It’s not a remake of the original movie. It lives in the real world.”

The original film adaptation is widely regarded as one of the greatest horror films of all time, and it has had a significant influence on pop culture. It is one of the highest-grossing films in history and was nominated for 10 Academy awards.

While the book and film were based on a true story of a 1949 exorcism in St Louis, the TV show follows two priests and a suburban Chicago family who are experiencing what they fear is a demonic presence in their home.

The show is set to debut on Fox on 23 September.

Want that Old Thing Back? Notorious BIG lyrics inspire forthcoming TV show

No Comments

Think BIG, about a teenager struggling to provide for his two young children, hopes to hypnotize viewers with a script based on the late rapper’s songs

Want that Old Thing Back? Notorious BIG lyrics inspire forthcoming TV show
Notorious BIG: experiencing life after death. Photograph: Everett Collection / Rex Feature

“It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up magazine.” Almost 20 years after his death aged 24, Notorious BIG is still renowned as one of the greatest MCs of all time. Now his lyrical prowess has been confirmed by the BIG news that a new TV show will be made based on his songs.

It’s a juicy prospect, and Variety reports that cable network TBS is developing a show called Think BIG, about an inner-city teenage boy struggling to provide for his two young children – or, as Biggie may have put it: “Take a better stand / Put money in my mom’s hand / Get my daughter this college plan, so she don’t need no man.”

Think BIG will be made in partnership with New York-based media company Mass Appeal, Bystorm films and Voletta Wallace, mother of the Notorious BIG (whose real name was Christopher Wallace). It’s not the first time the rapper’s lyrics have been used to illuminate 21st-century events: on Wednesday, analysts from Credit Suisse used Mo Money, Mo Problems to illustrate the difficulties excessive stimulus has created at the Bank of Japan.

Think BIG is the first of a range of shows the graffiti magazine and record label-turned creative consultancy and media company Mass Appeal will make for TBS. Also on the slate is an animated show called Storyville, which will feature celebrities regaling viewers with 10-minute anecdotes exposing, says Variety, “the absurdity of celebrity life in all its glory”. The show will be broadcast on the network’s festival and social media platforms this fall, but the network has provided a taste in which Questlove discusses his feud with Patti LaBelle.


Big day for The Night Manager as it sweeps up 12 Emmy nominations

No Comments

BBC enjoys 22 different nominations including nods for Luther, Sherlock, and War and Peace

Big day for The Night Manager as it sweeps up 12 Emmy nominations
To prepare for the role, Tom Hiddleston shadowed the night manager of the Rosewood Hotel in London. Photograph: PR

The BBC’s slick adaptation of John le Carré’s thriller The Night Manager has swept the Emmys, earning Tom Hiddleston his first nomination for his portrayal of the ruthless Jonathan Pine.

The six-part series, adapted by David Farr and brought into the world of modern warfare, was showered with 12 nominations, including best limited series. Hiddleston picked up a nomination for best actor in a limited series, pitting him against fellow Brits Idris Elba for Luther and Benedict Cumberbatch for Sherlock.

To prepare for the role, Hiddleston, 34, spent his nights shadowing the night manager of the five-star Rosewood Hotel in London. Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman picked up supporting actor nominations for their roles as heartless arms dealer Richard Roper and incorruptible intelligence agent Angela Burr who pursues him relentlessly.

The show’s Emmys success matches its critical reception; it was described by the Guardian as “the BBC’s glossiest, smartest, most indecently entertaining Sunday night drama in ages”.

The Emmy nominations proved an overall triumph for the BBC which received 22 different nominees. As well as The Night Manager, shows such as Luther, which has long been a favourite at the awards with eight previous nominations under its belt, Sherlock and War and Peace ensured that British television held its own at the esteemed American television awards.

The Sherlock Christmas special – The Abominable Bride – and Luther will go head to head in the outstanding television movie category.

ITV’s Downton Abbey, beloved by Brits and Americans, was granted a last hurrah for its final season, with 10 nominations including best drama and best supporting actress for Maggie Smith.

Overall, this year’s Emmy nominations proved that Game of Thrones still dominates the TV landscape, even after six series, picking up 23 nominations – just one short of the record 24 nominations it received last year.

Newer additions to the nominee roster this year included the gripping dramatisation of the OJ Simpson trial, The People v OJ Simpson which received 22 nominations. Cuba Gooding Jr, who played OJ, and Sarah Paulson, who played prosecutor Marcia Clark, are among the nominees from the series, which is the first since ER in 1995 to take more than 20 nominations in its first season.

After Viola Davis became the first black woman to win a best actress Emmy last year, and made a stirring speech about the lack of opportunity for black actors on television, this year’s nominations were a showcase for diversity. Three of the nominees for best actor – Courtney B Vance, Elba and Gooding Jr – are black; and Black-ish, a celebrated American sitcom about an African American family, received its first Emmy nomination. Overall, 18 actors from ethnic minorities received nominations across 16 acting categories.

Spy drama The Americans, which stars Welsh actor Matthew Rhys as a Russian spy living undercover in the US, picked up nominations in all the major categories including outstanding drama series, best actor for Rhys, best actress for Keri Russell and best writing for the final episode in the season.

Beyoncé, never one to be left out of any awards ceremony, picked up four nominations for her visual album Lemonade.

Anton Yelchin, Star Trek actor, dies in car accident at age 27

No Comments

The rising star – best known for playing Chekov in the new films – was found dead in his driveway early on Sunday morning

Anton Yelchin, Star Trek actor, dies in car accident at age 27

Anton Yelchin, a charismatic rising star best known for playing Chekov in the rebooted Star Trek films, has died at the age of 27. He was killed in a traffic accident early on Sunday morning, his publicist, Jennifer Allen, confirmed.

Yelchin’s friends alerted police when he failed to turn up to a rehearsal scheduled to start on Saturday evening. They then discovered the actor in his driveway at around 1am. No other vehicles are thought to have been involved and the cause of death is being reported as accidental. Jenny Houser, a spokeswoman for the LAPD, told the Hollywood Reporter: “It appears he momentarily exited his car and it rolled backward, causing trauma that led to his death.”

Yelchin was an actor whose stock-in-trade was sweetness and even naiveté: his career began young, in small films and TV series, before he broke out in 2006 with crime thriller Alpha Dog and the following year as Robert Downey Jr’s troubled pupil in Charlie Bartlett. In 2011, he starred opposite Felicity Jones in Like Crazy, a transatlantic romance that won both audience and jury awards at the Sundance film festival, as well as playing Mel Gibson’s son in Jodie Foster’s The Beaver.

But it was as mathematical brainbox Pavel Chekov in the new set of Star Trek films that Yelchin first came to mainstream attention. In JJ Abrams’ critically and commercially successful 2009 Star Trek, and the 2013 followup, the actor won acclaim for an innocence and humour that characterised many of his roles. A third film, Star Trek: Beyond, is due out in July.

Abrams posted a photo of a handwritten note via the Twitter account of his production company, Bad Robot. He paid tribute to Yelchin’s “kind … brilliant … funny” nature.

Paramount Pictures, the studio behind the franchise, said that they joined “the world in morning the untimely passing of Antony Yelchin. As a member of the Star Trek family, he was beloved by so many and he will missed by all. We share our deepest condolences with his mother, father and family.”

His Star Trek co-star, John Cho, tweeted that he was “in ruins” at the news of Yelchin’s death.

Despite his age, Yelchin had managed to carve out a career that balanced blockbusters with credible independent movies. Speaking to the Guardian in 2009 to promote the sci-fi movie Terminator Salvation, Yelchin said: “What I watch and what I work on are different.”

His own taste veered more towards the films of directors such as Michael Haneke, Lars von Trier and Pedro Almodovar, as well as Martin Scorsese and Jim Jarmusch, in whose 2013 vampire romance Only Lovers Left Alive Yelchin went on to take a role.

The star of that film, Tom Hiddleston, said he was “absolutely devastated” to hear the news of the death of “such a gifted, natural actor [and] a deeply kind man”.

An only child, Yelchin was born in Russia in 1989. His parents were professional figure skaters who moved the family to the United States when Yelchin was a baby. Yelchin’s family has requested privacy at this time.

Tributes to the actor began appearing on Twitter shortly after reports broke. Anna Kendrick called his death a “huge loss”, while Matt Lucas called it “dreadful news” and Kevin Smith described it as “so damn sad”.

Like Crazy director Drake Doremus has also shared his memories of working with Yelchin. “Anton was one of a kind,” he told Variety. “Such an old soul who was one of the most sincere but also funniest people I have ever met. Anton changed my life in so many ways and I’ll never forget him.”

Earlier this year, Yelchin won much acclaim for his role in ensemble horror Green Room, opposite Patrick Stewart and Imogen Poots. The film’s director, Jeremy Saulnier, described his lead as “such a dedicated, generous and hyper-smart young man”.

Amongst Yelchin’s upcoming projects was Baseballissimo, a sports comedy set in Italy during the second world war. Its writer and Yelchin’s co-star, Jay Baruchel, wrote of his shock and sadness over the sudden loss of someone he “call[ed] my friend for the better part of the last decade”.

Yelchin was also due to take a voice part in Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming TV series Trollhunters. The director said the actor was “a great creative partner and artist”.

Among the other Hollywood stars who took to Twitter to pay tribute were Captain America actor Chris Evans, who said he was “devastated” by Yelchin’s death. He was joined by Spider-Man actor Dane DeHaan and Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, who said he was “utterly heartbroken”.

Gary Barlow teams up with BBC for Take That talent show Let It Shine

No Comments

Graham Norton and Mel Giedroyc will present Saturday night contest seeking stars for stage show

Gary Barlow teams up with BBC for Take That talent show Let It Shine
Gary Barlow is teaming up with hosts Graham Norton and Mel Giedroyc for BBC talent show Let It Shine. Photograph: Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns

The BBC has turned to Gary Barlow in its hunt for the next Saturday night hit as he attempts to find a new Take That to take part in a Mamma Mia-style stage musical.

Let It Shine will be presented by Graham Norton and The Great British Bake Off’s Mel Giedroyc.

With distinct echoes of BBC1’s Andrew Lloyd Webber shows such as I’d Do Anything – also fronted by Norton – the new show will put together a group to join new stage show The Band, featuring the music of Take That.

The musical has been created in association with Barlow and his Take That bandmates Mark Owen and Howard Donald.

The BBC will hope it will help fill the hole left by another of its Saturday night talent shows, The Voice, which it lost to ITV.

BBC1 has struggled to come up with new Saturday entertainment formats, with flops including celebrity gymnastics show Tumble and big-budget adventure gameshow Prized Apart.

Culture secretary John Whittingdale has criticised BBC1 for not being distinctive enough. It remains to be seen if the Barlow show will pass this test.

It is at least not a bought-in format, like The Voice, which prompted much criticism of the BBC by MPs, and will be made in-house by BBC Studios.

It may also attract some of the criticism levelled at Lloyd Webber’s Saturday night shows for BBC1, which also included Any Dream Will Do and Over The Rainbow.

Critics said the BBC was serving Lloyd Webber’s commercial interests by devoting a sizeable chunk of its Saturday night schedule to a programme about one of his shows.

Actor and theatre director Kevin Spacey was among the most prominent critics, saying the Lloyd Webber shows unfairly distorted the West End theatre market.

“I felt that was essentially a 13-week promotion for a musical – where’s our 13-week programme?” Spacey said in an interview in 2008 in which he said they were “crossing the line” and “unfair”.

Unlike the Lloyd Webber shows, the Take That musical will start out as a touring production. The BBC has no commercial stake in the stage show.

Contestants do not have to be lookalikes to have a hope of winning because the show is a story which features Take That songs, rather than the story of Take That.

The show may also pose a few interesting diversity questions for the BBC, including whether women can take part (the band is expected to be all-male).

Barlow said: “Back in 1989, we were just a group of normal guys from Manchester who came together to become Take That.

“The secret to our success was that each of us brought something different to the group and that the five of us had real chemistry.”

He added: “Now with Let It Shine we’re looking for people from all walks of life to form another unique group who can recreate that magic.

“If you think you’ve got what it takes, we want to see it.”

Over eight weeks of competition, Barlow and three mentors will be looking for talented individuals to form a new group exuding Take That’s showmanship and stage presence.

Co-presenter Norton said he was looking forward to helming the forthcoming series.

“The combination of the BBC, everyone’s favourite band and Saturday nights made this an offer I simply couldn’t refuse,” he said.

Norton added: “If I wasn’t a part of Let It Shine I know I would be watching it at home – this way I just get the best seat in the house.”

Giedroyc, who will soon be back on screen co-hosting The Great British Bake Off with Sue Perkins, said Let It Shine will be “utterly spectacular”.

“This show brings together so many of the things I love – singing, dancing, Gary Barlow and Graham Norton. What’s not to love?”

Giedroyc continued: “I can’t wait to meet the singers and see the performances which I know will be utterly spectacular.

“If you know someone who’s got the moves, whether they already sing in the shower or on the stage, we want to see them.”

Charlotte Moore, BBC controller of TV Channels and iPlayer, said: “BBC1’s new Saturday night show will bring families together to celebrate Britain’s love of musical theatre, combining singing, performance and dance in a hotly contested search to find a new group.

“Masterminded by Gary Barlow, our hosts will guide viewers through eight weeks of unmissable competition, all to win a dream place in a new stage show.”

BBC reduces Glastonbury TV coverage

No Comments

Corporation to broadcast Adele, Muse and Coldplay’s sets in full on BBC2, but cuts back its overall televised coverage

BBC reduces Glastonbury TV coverage
BBC2 is to air Adele’s Glastonbury set in full. Photograph: Michel Porro/Getty Images

The BBC has indicated it will cut the number of hours it will devote on its main TV channels to Glastonbury, this year featuring Adele, Coldplay and Muse.

It said on Monday it would devote more than 25 hours of coverage across BBC2, BBC4 and on BBC1’s Friday evening magazine show, The One Show.

It means viewers will have about five hours less to watch than in the previous two years, when the BBC put 30 hours of music across its four TV channels, from BBC1 to BBC4. Its youth-orientated channel BBC3 has since been closed as a TV channel and is now online only.

The BBC later said the amount of TV airtime being devoted to the event was still being finalised. It said its coverage will also be available online and on interactive TV via the red button, as well as on BBC radio.

Coverage will include live streams from six key music stages with a presenting lineup including Jo Whiley, Mark Radcliffe, Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq, Greg James, and Radio 2 DJ and new Top Gear presenter, Chris Evans.

Announcing its plans on Monday, the corporation said the new BBC Music app would give users “access to more Glastonbury than ever before, allowing them to personalise their journey according to their personal preferences”.

The four-day festival, which will also feature PJ Harvey and Jeff Lynne’s ELO, begins on 22 June. BBC2 will play host to the headliners on the main Pyramid stage, broadcasting Muse, Adele and Coldplay’s sets in full.

Bob Shennan, the controller of Radio 2 and 6 Music, who is also the director of BBC Music, said: “Glastonbury promises to be a magical weekend especially this year with so many homegrown performers including Jeff Lynne, Adele, Muse and Coldplay.

“If you can’t make it to Worthy Farm, BBC Music will bring you the cream of the festival, whether you’re at home or on the move.”.

Last year, just under 19 million people saw some of the BBC’s coverage, with an audience of 1.8 million tuning in to Lionel Richie’s Sunday afternoon legends slot which will this year be filled by Lynne’s return as ELO.

BBC4 will feature acts including Foals, New Order, PJ Harvey and Earth, Wind and Fire. The BBC will also broadcast more than 60 hours of content across its various radio stations.


Showtime lands Purity miniseries starring Daniel Craig

No Comments

With a fifth outing as James Bond looking unlikely, the actor has signed on for a new 20-episode series based on a dense novel by Jonathan Franzen

Showtime lands Purity miniseries starring Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig is heading to the small screen. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

Showtime will screen the new hotly anticipated limited series Purity, which stars Daniel Craig. An adaptation of the acclaimed Jonathan Franzen novel, it received multiple high-profile bids from Netflix, FX and more.

The cable network will screen 20 episodes of the show. According to Variety, the deal is a lucrative one for Craig.

The actor has yet to confirm whether he’ll return to play James Bond. Purity will mark his first major television series since the BBC epic Our Friends in the North in 1996 – and his first stateside show.

Todd Field (In the Bedroom, Little Children) will write and direct all 20 episodes. Oscar winner Scott Rudin (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Social Network, Moneyball) is the producer.

Franzen’s novel received great acclaim upon its publication last year, with the Guardian’s reviewer hailing its “delicious observations about contemporary life [and] the breathtaking scope of its ambition”. Its plot includes the titular character’s search for her father and her connection with the boss of a WikiLeaks-esque site.

Showtime president and CEO David Nevins praised Franzen’s book as “an epic American novel that pulses with the energy of a psychological thriller … Purity promises to be the kind of taut, long-form, serialized storytelling that is the best of premium television, and is precisely what we at Showtime aspire to deliver.”

As for returning to the Bond franchise, Craig said during the press rounds for Spectre that he’d had enough, and would “rather slash my wrists” than play the role for a fifth time. “If I did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money,” he told Time Out.

Production on Purity begins in 2017. No premiere date has been set for the series, which will air over the course of two-year period.

Franzen’s 2001 novel The Corrections came near to being adapted for the small screen as well, with film-maker Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) tapped to direct a cast that included Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ewan McGregor. HBO, however, reportedly passed on the project in 2012, after part of the pilot had been shot.

Snoop Dogg lambasts Roots remake: 'I can't watch it'

No Comments

Snoop Dogg says he is sick of films and TV shows that depict historical racial abuse against African Americans when they are still ‘taking the same abuse’

Snoop Dogg lambasts Roots remake: 'I can't watch it'
Snoop Dogg arrives at the premiere of Coach Snoop. Photograph: Jerod Harris/Getty Images

The remake of Roots has gained widespread critical acclaim – but not from Snoop Dogg, who posted a short video on Instagram on Monday criticising the show, and suggesting that African Americans should not watch it.

In the video, the rapper said that he was fed up with watching films and TV shows that depicted the abuse of black Americans. “12 Years a Slave, Roots, Underground, I can’t watch none of that shit,” Snoop Dogg said, also taking aim at the Steve McQueen-directed Oscar-winning film and the WGN TV series about slaves in Georgia escaping via an underground railroad, which was recently renewed for a second season.

“They just want to keep showing us the abuse that we took hundreds and hundreds of years ago,” said Snoop Dogg. “But guess what – we’re taking the same abuse. Think about that part. Why don’t y’all go and make a muthafuckin’ series about the success that black folks is having?”

The rapper is at least leading by example, with a current web series on AOL called Coach Snoop, which follows the Snoop Youth Football League. Snoop Dogg set up the league with the aim of getting inner-city children aged between five and 13 involved in football, and is its coach and commissioner.

Roots, meanwhile, revisits one of the most successful shows in US television history for the Black Lives Matter era. British actor Malachi Kirby stars as enslaved Gambian warrior Kunta Kinte in the first episode, which aired in America on Sunday. The show is executive produced by LeVar Burton, who played Kunta Kinte in the original 70s miniseries, which was based on the book by Malcolm X biographer Alex Haley.

Snoop Dogg concluded that he would not watch Roots, and advised his fans to avoid it. “Let’s create our own shit based on today, how we living and how we inspire people today. Black is what’s real. Fuck that old shit.”