GEEK ALERT! UPFRONTS 2013: SyFy Announces Fall 2013 Programming Slate, 14 Scripted Series In Development

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Quick and dirty, here, folks. Just got this press release and we wanted to get it up as quickly as possible.

What should be noted is that there are only two new scripted series coming this fall, however, this is not particularly surprising.  SyFy tends to premiere new shows all throughout the calendar year as opposed to the major networks.

Also of note, if you’ll recall, we posted a piece from last year regarding the dozen or so scripted series that SyFy was developing.  As you read further, you’ll notice that eight of them are not mentioned in SyFy’s press release.  Here is the list of shows that were in development last year at SyFy that we have no word on as of yet, but appear to have been shelved.  We’ll keep you posted:

UPFRONTS 2012: SyFy Announces 2012 – 2013 Schedule, 12 New Scripted Series In Development

  • Rewind  Rewind revolves around a team of military field operatives and civilian scientists who must use untested technology to travel back in time to alter events and change the future — and avoid a devastating terrorist attack. Shane McRae stars as Sean Knox, ex-Special Forces who ranks as a field operative in a special division of the Department of Homeland Security.
  • The Adjustment Bureau  In this drama, based on the hit movie starring Matt Damon, guardian angel-type agents work to keep the world according to The Plan. They create everything from plane crashes to coffee spills in order to steer people to realize their true destiny. But there is one thing the operatives and their Chairman can’t control — free will.
  • Grave Sight   From the best-selling author of True Blood, this Charlaine Harris book series follows Harper Connelly – a young woman with a unique gift. After being struck by lightning as a teenager, Harper can sense the location and last memories of dead people. She teams up with her protective stepbrother, Tolliver Lang, to help find a missing teenage girl — only to uncover a network of lies and murders throughout a small town in the Ozarks.
  • Untitled Booster Gold Project  Based on the best-selling DC Entertainment Comic, this is the story of a washed-up athlete from the future who travels back to the present in hopes of becoming the greatest superhero of all time. But instead of chasing criminals, his main priority is chasing fame and money. Booster Gold discovers that being a hero takes more than just a megawatt smile.
  • Seeing Things  Based on the comic Grey Legion from Platinum Studios, after a cop meets his violent demise, he returns as a ghost to close his last case. But the only person who can help him is a socially awkward man who is realizing for the first time that his hallucinations may not be all in his head.
  • Defender  In the aftermath of an intergalactic war between humans and transhumans, the starship Defender, populated by a combustible mix of former enemies, is sent on a seemingly simple goodwill mission, which turns into a fight for their lives and for the safety of the Universe at large.
  • The Family  For generations, an alien family has hid amongst humans in plain sight using their advanced intellect to carve out a life for themselves as their family grew. But when the family patriarch that kept peace amongst the factions dies, a war begins to brew with some members believing the time has come to reveal themselves, and their superior power, to the inferior human race.
  • One Mile Straight Down  When a powerful earthquake hits California and opens up a chasm bigger than the Grand Canyon, it reveals an enormous hidden ocean lying deep beneath the earth’s crust. Billionaire adventurer James Exeter works with the government to take an advanced nuclear submarine down to explore it and discovers more than he ever could have imagined.

Via Press Release:

SYFY UNVEILS NEW QUARTERLY MULTIMEDIA EVENTS “RINGWORLD,” “HELIX,” “DOMINION,” “UNBREAKABLE” AND “OPPOSITE WORLDS”

OSCAR-WINNER JAMIE FOXX TO EXECUTIVE PRODUCE, WRITE AND DIRECT HORROR ANTHOLOGY SERIES

UPCOMING REALITY SERIES JOE ROGAN QUESTIONS EVERYTHING, COSWORLD AND FANDEMONIUM

NBC Universal LogosNEW YORK – April 10, 2013 – Syfy and Chiller President Dave Howe today unleashed the imagination of the advertising community by announcing an original programming slate featuring Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx (Ray, Django Unchained) executive producing, writing and directing a horror anthology series, a trio of new reality series – Joe Rogan Questions Everything, Cosworld and Fandemonium – and 19 scripted and reality development projects, including The Jim Henson Creature Shop, a creature competition program.

Howe further announced a groundbreaking strategy of major quarterly multiscreen events showcasing new high concept programs, including Ringworld, a miniseries based on Larry Niven’s classic novel; Helix, an epic thriller from Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald D. Moore; the scripted series Dominion (working title) from Sons of Anarchy writer Vaun Wilmott; Opposite Worlds, a real life Hunger Games-type competition, and Unbreakable, an unscripted program testing contestants through mental and physical extremes.

In making the announcement, Howe said: “This upfront season, we’re embarking on a bold and ambitious new programming strategy that further reinforces Syfy as the premier destination for high-concept, boundary pushing entertainment experiences. Building on the transmedia sensation Defiance, Syfy will create and deliver buzzy and highly social event programming every quarter that will stand out in the marketplace. These interactive tent-poles embrace the second screen experience our unique and valuable Igniter viewers now expect, and deliver greater and deeper partnership opportunities for our advertisers’ brands. Going forward Syfy is committed to delivering innovation through smart, upscale, aspirational original content, backed up by the scale and gender balance of a top 10 network.”

Bolstering its powerhouse scripted programming lineup, Syfy announced that the five-episode series from Jamie Foxx will join Defiance, Warehouse 13, Being Human, Haven and the upcoming Helix from Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica). Syfy will also begin production on the pilot of High Moon, from Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies), based on John Christopher’s best-selling novel The Lotus Cave.

Said Mark Stern, President, President, Original Content, Syfy, and Co-Head, Original Content, Universal Cable Productions: “By shattering the boundaries of conventional storytelling, Syfy has become synonymous with provocative, quality television. Each year, the bar for success is raised by the expectations of our audience – and ourselves. We’re always reaching for greater imaginative heights. These new creative alliances, with this illustrious roster of award-winning talent, underscores Syfy’s commitment to bringing our viewers the very finest programming.”

New original scripted development projects – including 8 from Universal Cable Productions — will include No Place from Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future), Clandestine from Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead) and Sojourn from Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity). These will expand the existing development slate highlighted by Proof, produced by M. Night Shyamalan (After Earth), the British cult favorite Blake’s 7, directed by Martin Campbell (Casino Royale), and Dominion from Defiance director Scott Stewart and writer Vaun Wilmott (Sons of Anarchy).

From MGM Television and Universal Cable Productions (UCP), Syfy announced that it is developing miniseries based on Larry Niven’s award-winning novel Ringworld, as well as Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, from executive producer Michael DeLuca (The Social Network) and UCP.

Previously, Syfy announced it is developing Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle from Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions, writer/executive producer Frank Spotnitz, Headline Pictures and FremantleMedia International; Stephen King’s Eyes of the Dragon, from UCP and Ostar Productions, and Darkfall, from UCP and Jim Henson Productions, as long form productions.

Building on Syfy’s hit reality programming like Face Off and Ghost Hunters, new unscripted series will range from Fandemonium, a dizzying ride into the fan girl and fan boy cultures, Cosworld, which follows the country’s hottest cosworld players, and Joe Rogan Questions Everything, an investigative series hosted by Joe Rogan (Fear Factor).

Among the unscripted shows in development is a paranormal project with Meat Loaf; The Jim Henson Creature Shop, a creature competition program from Jim Henson Studios; Unbreakable, based on The Death Race, an extreme endurance race held annually in Vermont, along with current reality pilots such as Opposite Worlds, in which twenty people live in two distinctly different worlds – the Past and the Future.

Syfy further announced that upcoming second screen initiatives will be included in Helix, where viewers can use Syfy Sync to gain real-time access to the research lab depicted in the series through a two screen experience called “Access Granted”; for Unbreakable, viewers will be able to Skype with contestants via a Facebook App to predict who’ll win each week’s challenges; Google Plus Hangout Chats with the cast of Fandemonium; the Cosworld cast vlogging to share fantasy secrets with fans, and viewers will have the ability to select alternate endings for Jamie Foxx’s horror anthology series.

In delivering valuable viewers to its programming, Syfy’s Igniters drive consumer behavior and new products through social media. Compared to viewers of the top 10 cable networks*, Igniters are:

· 62% more likely to be “Super Influential” video game consumers

· 40% more likely to have friends ask their advice before buying electronics

· 32% more likely to keep up with the latest advances in auto technology

· 32% more likely to have people copy what they do/wear

· 24% more likely to have family/friends ask for and trust their advice on soft drinks

· 16% more likely to recommend vacation travel to people

· 14% more likely to see movies opening weekend

*based on Simmons/MRI data

A global brand, Syfy is currently available in 60 countries, reaching nearly 145 million households.

NEW REALITY SERIES

Joe Rogan Questions Everything (working title) – Premieres Tuesday, July 16 at 9PM — Life-long unexplained paranormal mystery-addict Joe Rogan ventures into unknown worlds and untapped territories to search for answers to life’s most startling theories. Having explored these questions for years on his podcast, Joe now takes his journey to the next level, traveling the country and knocking on any door necessary to find the truth. In his own unique and inquisitive style, Joe will stop at nothing to quench his curiosity for the unknown. Production company: A. Smith & Co. Executive producers: Arthur Smith, Joe Rogan, Kent Weed, Frank Sinton, Michael Braverman, Tod Mesirow, Barry Bloom, Jeff Sussman and Chandra Keyes.

Cosworld (working title) – Premieres Tuesday, August 27 at 10PM– Cosworld is a tantalizing six-episode docuseries that lifts the veil on the imaginative world of cosplay competition. The series follows some of the hottest cosplay stars as they make a splash at comic book conventions around the country. The show dives deep into their lives, following their process as they create extravagant and visually arresting costumes each week. These individuals will constantly defy odds and race against the clock to transform themselves into amazing fictional characters that push the boundaries between fantasy and reality, all in hopes of impressing the convention judges to win a cash prize and the chance to become a cosplay legend. Production company: 51 Minds, an Endemol Company. Executive producers: Mark Cronin, Courtland Cox and Dave Caplan.

Fandemonium (working title) – Premieres Fall 2013 — From the producer of Jersey Shore comes Fandemonium – a six-part docuseries that celebrates the incredibly unique, often misunderstood, and infinitely fascinating fan girl and fan boy culture. Living together in an LA apartment complex, a tight-knit group of pop culture-obsessed fans continue to find their place in the world and flourish, thanks to their passions and personalities. Whether it’s being first in line for the latest blockbuster, making a lasting impression upon getting the chance to meet their heroes, or just figuring out how to balance their passions with making a living – when these friends get together, it’s flat out Fandemonium. Production company: 495 Productions. Executive producer: SallyAnn Salsano.

NEW SCRIPTED SERIES

Untitled Jamie Foxx Project (five episodes) – Premieres October — Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx will executive produce, write and direct this half-hour, horror anthology — in the vein of Tales from the Crypt/The Twilight Zone – which tells creepy morality tales addressing themes such as envy, jealousy and superficiality. Troy Miller (Flight of the Conchords, Brand X) will serve as executive producer through his production company Dakota Pictures. Writers on the project include Foxx, Mike Ferris (Terminator: Salvation) and John Pogue (Army Wives, Everwood). Writer Jeff Stilson, Jaime King and Julie Yorn will also serve as executive producers. Studio: Universal Cable Productions.

Helix — A team of scientists investigate a possible disease outbreak in an Arctic research facility and find themselves trying to protect the world from annihilation. Co-executive producer & writer: Cameron Porsandeh. Executive producers: Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), Steven Maeda (Lost, CSI: Miami), Lynda Obst (Contact). Production company: Lynda Obst Pictures & Tall Ship Productions. Studio: Sony Pictures Television.

NEW SCRIPTED PILOTS

High Moon — High Moon is an imaginative, out-of-this-world series exploring what happens when the countries of Earth establish colonies to mine the Moon’s resources and discover a new form of life. Chaos erupts in a genuinely emotional, humorously thrilling and always unexpected fashion as the people of the Moon race to uncover this life form’s powerful secrets. Co-executive producer/writer: Jim Danger Gray (Pushing Daisies, Hannibal). Executive producer/writer: Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies). The pilot is written by Gray from a story by Fuller and Gray. Executive producers: Cary Granat & Steve Granat of Reel FX and Don Murphy & Susan Montford of Angry Films (Real Steel, Transformers). Studio: UCP.

NEW LONG FORM DEVELOPMENT

Ringworld — In Ringworld, based on the Hugo Award-winning novel by Larry Niven, a hastily-assembled team of explorers travels to the farthest reaches of space to investigate a mind-blowing alien artifact called Ringworld – an artificial habitat the size of one million Earths. As they crash land on this enormous structure, they discover the remnants of ancient civilizations, technology beyond their wildest dreams, mysteries that shed light on the very origins of man and, most importantly, a possible salvation for a doomed Earth. Adapted by writer Michael Perry (The River, Paranormal Activity 2), Ringworld is being developed as a four-hour mini-series Syfy event. The project is a co-production of MGM Television and Universal Cable Productions (UCP), with MGM as the lead studio. Executive producers are William S. Todman and Edward Milstein.

Childhood’s End — Based on the Arthur C. Clarke novel, the story follows a peaceful alien invasion of Earth by the mysterious Overlords, whose arrival ends all war and turns the planet into a near-utopia. Childhood’s End will be executive produced by Michael DeLuca (The Social Network) with Universal Cable Productions serving as the studio.

NEW SCRIPTED SERIES DEVELOPMENT

No Place — The residents of a high-tech gated community arise one day to find themselves cut off from the rest of reality. Outside the walls of Paradise Hill is…nothing. Now the neighborhood must figure out how to survive as resources dwindle and tensions rise. Writers: John Brancato & Mike Ferris (Terminator Salvation, The Game). Executive producers: Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke, Brancato and Ferris. Circle of Confusion will also produce the project with David Alpert (The Walking Dead) and Rick Jacobs as executive producers. Matt Hawkins and Marc Silvestri serve as executive producers for Top Cow. Studio: Fox Television Studios.

Dominion (working title) – In this series (formerly called Legion), 20 years after evil angels descended from heaven to lay waste to the human souls they felt God had favored over them, a reluctant “savior” must arise to protect Vega, the last remaining stronghold of humanity. The savior has more to fear than just angels, as the elites of this new society conspire to gain power for themselves. Writer/CO-EP: Vaun Wilmott (Sons of Anarchy). Director/EP: Scott Stewart (Defiance). EP: David Lancaster. Studio: Sony Pictures Television. Based on the feature film “Legion'” produced by Bold Films.

Orion –In this space opera Orion, an adventurous female relic hunter, tracks down valuable artifacts while trying to piece together her past. Set amidst an intergalactic war pitting humans against a terrifying alien race, Orion must decide whether to use her abilities to save herself or commit to the cause and unearth long hidden artifacts that could free all of humanity from a horrible fate. Executive producers/writers: Ron Milbauer & Terri Hughes Burton (Alphas). Co-executive producers: George Krstic & Ryuhei Kitamura. Supervising producer: F.J. Desanto. Studio: UCP.

Sojourn — The first detective ever in space is tasked with investigating a murder on a starship — headed to colonize another planet – and instead becomes embroiled in a vast conspiracy involving a mysterious terrible crime dating back to the original launch of the ship 50 years ago. Writer: Phil Levens (Smallville). Producer: Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity). Studio: Lionsgate.

Clandestine – After a clan of bandits are nearly destroyed and left for dead by Coalition forces, they take refuge in the nearest safe haven, a derelict Coalition starship floating in space. Once onboard, they masquerade as Coalition officers while continuing their criminal ways – until they stumble upon a shocking realization about the true nature of the Coalition. Writers: Todd Stashwick & Dennis Calero. Executive producers: Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead) and John Shiban (Hell on Wheels). Studio: UCP.

Infinity — When an alien armada is sighted in the region of Pluto, the Earth government turns to a young billionaire industrialist — who has the only ship ready for interstellar travel — to greet the aliens and avoid a catastrophe. Powered by secret alien technology discovered on Earth in the 1960’s, the ship engages in a firefight that sends them spinning through a wormhole into an uncharted region of space. Lost in the universe, the team struggles to survive as they encounter new planets and alien species, searching for a way back home. Writer: Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Lost). Producer: Berman/Braun Television. Studio: Universal Television.

Silver Shields — When his father is slain by assassins connected to the government of the large nearby city of Pont Royal, farm boy Caymer journeys there to continue his father’s legacy as a member of the local police force — and to solve the mystery of his father’s death. He discovers that his simple country view on life is at odds with the big city, filled with orcs and other magical creatures. Executive producer/writer: Robert Hewitt Wolfe (Alphas). Producer: Aaron Kaplan. Studio: UCP.

Shelter – A massive meteorite is headed toward Earth, forcing 30,000 hand-picked humans to live underground in a government funded shelter in order to start a new society. What begins as a Utopia quickly succumbs to the old human faults and jealousies as certain members of society create alliances to gain favor and power. Meanwhile things on the surface are not what they seem. Humans slowly realize that this event may have been fated and the survivors meant for a greater purpose in rebooting life on Earth. Executive producer/writer: Bruce Joel Rubin (Deep Impact) and co-executive producer/writer Ari Rubin. Studio: UCP.

Untitled Alfonso Moreno Project — After a meteorite strikes a plane, the only two survivors find themselves sleepwalking and waking up with no memory of their actions. On the run from the government, they must figure out what happened to them and prove their innocence. Executive producers: Alfonso Moreno (NCIS) & Ross Fineman (Lights Out). Studio: Fox Television Studios.

LONG FORM SCRIPTED DEVELOPMENT

Eyes Of The Dragon – Based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel. A kingdom is in turmoil as the old king dies and his successor must battle for the throne. Pitted against an evil wizard and a would-be rival, Prince Peter makes a daring escape and rallies the forces of good to fight for what is rightfully his. Writers: Michael Taylor (Defiance, Battlestar Galactica) and Jeff Vintar (I, Robot). Executive producers: Michael Taylor and Bill Haber. A production of Universal Cable Productions and Ostar Productions.

Darkfall – When, without warning, modern forms of power and technology become a thing of the past, Los Angeles, and the world at large, becomes a place where magic rules and life as we know it is turned upside down. Writers: Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris (Kung Fu Panda, Sleeper Cell). A production of The Jim Henson Company and Universal Cable Productions.

NEW REALITY SERIES DEVELOPMENT

Opposite Worlds — Opposite Worlds is based on the mega-sensation Latin American reality series, Mundos Opuestos, in which twenty people from all walks of life are mixed together in two opposing teams that live in two distinctly different worlds – the Past and the Future. The Future is a Utopia where every wish can be granted with a push of a button; the Past is a constant struggle for survival. Each week, players compete in a series of challenges to determine who lives in the Past and who lives in the Future, and fight to be the last man standing. Production company: Smart Dog Media. Executive producer: Craig Plestis. Format devised by Canal 13, Sergio Nakasone, Juan Pablo Planas and Veronica Ruaro.

Unbreakable — Based on The Death Race, an extreme endurance race held annually in Vermont, Unbreakable sets to test competitors’ inner resolve to persevere through mental and physical extremes. Nothing is as it seems in this competition, where contestants must navigate through a seemingly natural but altered environment full of obstacles and challenges. Testing each individual’s spirit to its limit, the contestants will either self-eliminate or fall by the wayside, until only one will remain to conquer all. Production company: Pilgrim Studios. Executive producers: Craig Piligian and Joe Desena

The Jim Henson Creature Shop – For generations the craftsmen at The Jim Henson Creature Shop have brought to life imaginative, lovable and memorable characters that have enthralled audiences around the world. Now, aspiring creature makers will have an opportunity to win the job of a lifetime – an apprenticeship with the Creature Shop. Teams of amateur creators will face off to build elaborate and awe-inspiring creatures, ranging from animatronic monsters and fantastical puppets, to life-like beasts and beyond! Creations are judged by Brian Henson – son of Jim Henson and Chairman to the Henson empire – along with top industry experts. Executive producers: Brian Henson (The Jim Henson Company) and Joseph Freed.

Meat Loaf Rocks the Paranormal (working title) — Meat Loaf Rocks the Paranormal features rock legend Meat Loaf and his colorful but divided family of skeptics and believers. Unlike the typical family vacation, Meat Loaf, his two daughters and rock star son-in-law Scott Ian of Anthrax travel to America’s most haunted and famous locations to settle the family’s paranormal debate. Production company: Thinkfactory Media. Executive producers: Adam Reed, Adam Freeman and Leslie Greif.

The Gadget Show – Based on the popular UK series, The Gadget Show previews and reviews the latest technological gadgets fit for mass consumers. Traveling around the globe, the show’s gadget-obsessed hosts highlight the coolest tech trends, world premiere inventions and engineers of the future. Mixing in-studio segments with out-in-the-world product testing, the hosts perform adrenaline-fueled stunts to determine the quality of the hottest new devices about to be put on the market. Production company: All3Media America/North One Television. Executive producers: Stephen Lambert, Eli Holzman and Ewan Keil.

Dead Famous (working title) — When celebrities pass before their time, questions are often left unanswered with their loved ones and fans. Dead Famous sets out to find answers to those questions and to provide closure via a LIVE séance, led by a medium and with friends, family and paranormal investigators in attendance. Leading up to the séance, the Dead Famous host will visit the celebrity’s private locations and collect personal items which will then be used to help make contact. Production company: Smart Dog Media. Executive producers: Craig Plestis, Guiliana Rancic and Colet Abedi.

Graveyard Shift — Graveyard Shift follows Josh Gates as he journeys alongside people whose extreme jobs and bizarre lives start after the sun goes down. Whether holding the night guard position at a notoriously haunted graveyard in Baltimore, installing neon lights in the most extreme skyscraper in the Chicago skyline, or journeying through mysterious underground tunnels with a city’s public works department, Gates will battle his fears and imagination while venturing to places where few dare to go. Production company: Discovery Studios. Executive producers: Josh Gates, Eddie Barbini, and Gary Shapiro.

Make Me a Millionaire Inventor — Based on the British series, Make Me Millionaire Inventor follows a team of engineers and scientists as they hunt through the U.S. Patent Office for the best inventions — never made — to make inventors’ dreams come true. The show will pick different patents each week and track down the original inventors to surprise them with the offer of a lifetime: a chance to finally bring their idea to fruition. The team will then coach the inventors as they prepare to pitch a working prototype to industry pioneers – in hopes of making the most important sale of their lives. Production company: Objective Productions/Kalel Productions/All3Media America. Executive producers: Nick Parnes, Andrew O’Connor and Eli Holzman.

Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in more than 98 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. NBCUniversal is owned by Comcast Corporation. (Syfy. Imagine greater.)

HBO: April Return Date Set For Season Two Of ‘Veep’

veep

Via Press Release:

EMMY®-NOMINATED HBO COMEDY SERIES VEEP,

CREATED BY ARMANDO IANNUCCI AND STARRING EMMY®-WINNER

JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS, RETURNS FOR SECOND SEASON APRIL 14

 ——–

Armando Iannucci, Christopher Godsick And Frank Rich Executive Produce

——–

hbo_logoblueWith midterm elections looming, Vice President Selina Meyer is scoring higher ratings than the president in several popularity polls, which she hopes will boost her influence and help her curry favor with the chief executive. But as she knows all too well, even the most banal action can set off a ripple effect that has unexpected, far-reaching – and often disastrous – consequences.

The Emmy®-nominated comedy series VEEP kicks off its ten-episode second season SUNDAY, APRIL 14 (10:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO. Created by Armando Iannucci (Oscar® nominee for co-writing “In the Loop”), the show stars Emmy®-winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, who becomes vice president, only to discover The Job is nothing like she expected, but everything she was warned about.

VEEP follows the whirlwind day-to-day existence of Vice President Meyer as she puts out political fires, juggles a busy public schedule and demanding private life, and defends the president’s interests, even as she tries to improve her dysfunctional relationship with the chief executive.

The returning ensemble cast of the show also includes Tony Hale (“Arrested Development”) as Gary, Vice President Meyer’s right-hand man; Anna Chlumsky (“In the Loop”) as Amy, her chief of staff; Reid Scott (“My Boys”) as Dan, an ambitious political aide; Matt Walsh (HBO’s “Hung”) as Mike, Vice President Meyer’s weathered spokesperson; Timothy C. Simons (“Days Together”) as Jonah, an enterprising but annoying White House liaison; and Sufe Bradshaw (“Overnight”) as Sue, Vice President Meyer’s executive assistant.

Guest stars on the new season include Gary Cole (HBO’s “Entourage”), as Kent Davison, the president’s new senior strategist, Kevin Dunn (HBO’s “Luck”) as Ben, the president’s chief of staff, and Jessica St. Clair (“Bridesmaids”), as Dana, Gary’s new girlfriend.

Upcoming episodes:

Episode #9: “Midterms”

Debut: SUNDAY, APRIL 14 (10:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT)

Other HBO playdates: April 14 (midnight), 16 (12:30 a.m.), 17 (9:30 p.m.) and 18 (10:30 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: April 15 (8:30 p.m.), 16 (11:00 p.m.), 17 (11:35 p.m.) and 20 (1:15 p.m., 8:30 p.m.)

Fresh off successful campaign appearances for midterm elections, Selina sees an opportunity to expand her role, but must first curry favor with Kent Davison, the president’s icy senior strategist. Meanwhile, there are new developments in the staff’s personal lives.

Teleplay by Will Smith; story by Armando Iannucci & Will Smith; directed by Christopher Morris.

Episode #10: “Signals”

Debut: SUNDAY, APRIL 21 (10:00-10:30 p.m.)

Other HBO playdates: April 21 (midnight), 23 (12:30 a.m.), 24 (9:30 p.m.) and 25 (10:45 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: April 22 (8:30 p.m.), 23 (11:00 p.m.), 24 (11:15 p.m.) and 27 (1:45 p.m., 8:30 p.m.)

Selina attends a pig roast in North Carolina as part of the president’s “Listen to Rural America” initiative. Dan takes up Pilates to get face time.

Teleplay by Simon Blackwell; story by Simon Blackwell & Armando Iannucci; directed by Chris Addison.

Episode #11: “Hostages”

Debut: SUNDAY, APRIL 28 (10:00-10:30 p.m.)

Other HBO playdates: April 28 (midnight) and 30 (12:30 a.m.), and May 1 (midnight) and 2 (10:30 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: April 29 (8:30 p.m.) and 30 (11:00 p.m.), and May 1 (12:30 a.m.) and 4 (2:00 p.m., 8:30 p.m.)

As a hostage crisis in Uzbekistan heats up, Selina and Secretary of Defense General Maddox have trouble getting on the same page at their joint appearance at the Marine Corps Base at Quantico. Sue testifies at a congressional hearing on governmental efficiencies; Dan and Gary jockey for the Veep’s ear.

Teleplay by Sean Gray; story by Armando Iannucci & Sean Gray; directed by Chris Addison.

Episode #12

Debut: SUNDAY, MAY 5 (10:00-10:30 p.m.)

Other HBO playdates: May 5 (midnight), 7 (12:30 a.m.), 8 (9:30 p.m.) and 9 (10:30 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: May 6 (8:30 p.m.), 7 (11:00 p.m.), 8 (11:40 p.m.) and 11 (4:15 p.m., 8:30 p.m.)

Selina is rankled when the White House releases an unflattering photo of her. Mike and Kent bond over sailing; Jonah gets an executive parking space; Sue has a job interview. Selina takes steps to keep her staff happy as they prepare for her appearance at the Vic Allen dinner.

Written by Simon Blackwell & Armando Iannucci; directed by Chris Addison.

TBS: ‘Cougar Town’ Renewed For Season Five

Cougar-Town-season-4-banner

Via Press Release:

Break Out the Wine – TBS’s “Cougar Town” is Coming Back for Season 5

#cougartownrenewed

Cougar-TownTBS has renewed its hit original comedy Cougar Town, produced by ABC Studios and starringCourteney CoxChrista Miller, Busy Philipps,Dan Byrd, Ian Gomez, Josh Hopkins and Brian Van Holt. The network has ordered 13 episodes for season five, which is expected to launch in 2014. Cougar Town joined the TBS lineup in January for the show’s fourth season. It currently airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. (ET/PT), with the season finale slated for April 9.

Cougar Town has been everything we hoped it would be: a smart, big-hearted, laugh-out-loud comedy that shines a bright light on the TBS brand,” said Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). “This season, the brilliant cast and immensely creative production team on Cougar Townhave crafted their best episodes yet, and we couldn’t be happier inviting them back for more.”

Cougar Town centers on the “cul de sac crew,” a tight-knit group of friends who keep things funny while supporting each other through the challenges and pitfalls of life – with a little dysfunction and a whole lot of wine. Courteney Cox stars as Jules Cobb, a recently remarried mom who is never far from her wine and her friends, including her new husband, Grayson (Josh Hopkins); her under-achieving ex-husband, Bobby (Brian Van Holt); her next-door neighbor and confidante, Ellie (Christa Miller); her feisty protégé, Laurie (Busy Philipps); and Ellie’s loveably average husband, Andy (Ian Gomez). They are frequently joined by Jules’ 21-year-old son, Travis (Dan Byrd), who tends to be far more mature than anyone else in the group.

Cougar Town was co-created by executive producer Bill Lawrence (ScrubsSpin City) and consulting producer Kevin Biegel (Scrubs). Courteney Cox and David Arquette also serve as executive producers.

Cougar Town Ratings

Since launching its fourth season on TBS Jan. 8, Cougar Town has averaged 2.8 million viewers,1.7 million adults 18-49 and 812,000 adults 18-34 in Live + 7 delivery. The show ranks as TBS’s top original primetime series ever with adults 18-49 and total viewers. As part of Cougar Town‘s successful transition to cable, new episodes on TBS are drawing an audience whose median age is seven years younger than the show’s last season on broadcast.

Connect with TBS’s Cougar Town

Website: http://www.tbs.com/show/cougar-town
Twitter:
 http://twitter.com/CougarTownTBS  | #CougarTownTBS
Facebook:
 http://www.facebook.com/CougarTown

About TBS

TBS is basic cable’s reigning champion among young adults in primetime. Available in 100 million households, TBS features original primetime comedy series like Cougar TownMen at Work,Sullivan & Son, King of the NerdsWho Gets the Last Laugh? and Deon Cole’s Black Box, as well as the Emmy®-winning late-night series CONAN, starring Conan O’Brien. TBS also features an outstanding slate of contemporary comedies, such as The Big Bang Theory and Family Guy, along with blockbuster movies and championship sports. In addition, TBS produces special live comedy events, like the star-studded comedy festival held each year in Chicago.

TBS is part of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company. Turner Broadcasting creates and programs branded news; entertainment; animation and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

Connect with TBS

Website: http://www.tbs.com
Pressroom:
 http://tbsnewsroom.com
Facebook:
 http://www.facebook.com/TBSveryfunny
Twitter:
 http://twitter.com/TBSveryfunny | http://twitter.com/TBSPR

tbs-logo

HBO Cancels ‘Enlightenment’ After Two Seasons, Lies And Claims, “It Was A Very Difficult Decision”

enlightened

The funniest part about the cancellation of the critically-acclaimed crapfest that nobody watched known as Enlightened (because the critics are always smarter than the audience), is that every single outlet covering the end of this stupid show cites the biggest lie told to date this year by a television network:

“It was a very difficult decision.  We’re proud of the show and we look forward to working with Mike White and Laura Dern in the future.”

That was from HBO’s press statement. Liars.  No one except the most pretentious pseudo-intellectuals could tolerate this stupid show for more than five minutes.  For crap’s sake, even the title was pretentious.

Just tell it like it is, HBO; this show was a dead-bang loser and you lost money on it.

Netflix Announces Date For ‘Arrested Development’ Season Four Premiere

arrested-development

Via Press Release:

Netflix To Launch New Season Of Arrested Development On May 26

Highly-Anticipated Fourth Season Launches with 15-Episodes (Not a Typo)

Twitter Pitch: We’ve made a huge mistake. There are actually 15 NEW episodes of #ArrestedDevelopment launching on @Netflix May 26

Apr 4, 2013

Netflix_LogoBEVERLY HILLS, Calif., April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Netflix will premiere its highly-anticipated fourth season of Arrested Development on Sunday, May 26, 2013. All 15-episodes of the Emmy® Award-winning comedy from series creator/executive producer Mitchell Hurwitz will be available for members to watch instantly at launch.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101014/SF81638LOGO)

Arrested Development will be available to all Netflix members instantly at 12:01 AM PDT in territories where Netflix is available – U.S., Canada, the UK, Ireland, Latin America, Brazil and the Nordics.

Arrested Development is now widely viewed as one of the top TV comedies of all time and Mitch Hurwitz is bringing it to Netflix in a brand new way, crafted for the on-demand generation that has come to discover the show in the years since it last appeared on TV,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix. “The highly anticipated return of this show is sure to make history all over again.”

“Ted said that?  Wow. Well don’t print this obviously, but he’s going to be immensely disappointed.  In truth we are doing something very ambitious that can only be done with Netflix as partners and on their platform.  Finally my simple wish for the show is coming true: that it be broadcast every second around the clock to every television, computer or mobile device in existence,” said series creator and executive producer Mitch Hurwitz.

Arrested Development centers around Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) and his eccentric family comprised of his son George Michael (Michael Cera), his father George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), his mother Lucille (Jessica Walter), his brothers George Oscar Bluth II (Will Arnett), Buster Bluth (Tony Hale) and sister Lindsay Funke (Portia de Rossi), and Lindsay’s husband Tobias (David Cross) and their daughter Maeby (Alia Shawkat).

Mitchell Hurwitz, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Jim Vallely and Troy Miller are executive producers on Arrested Development, and it is produced by Imagine TV and 20th Century Fox Television for Netflix. Arrested Development has garnered accolades from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmy®), AFI, the Golden Globes, Producer’s Guild Awards, Screen Actor’s Guild, the Television Critics Association and the Writer’s Guild, among others.

About Netflix, Inc.

Netflix is the world’s leading Internet television network with more than 33 million members in 40 countries enjoying more than one billion hours of TV shows and movies per month, including original series. For one low monthly price, Netflix members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments. Learn more about how Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is pioneering Internet television at www.netflix.com or follow Netflix on Facebook and Twitter. Netflix’s original series include the political drama “House of Cards,” which stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright; “Hemlock Grove,” Eli Roth’s murder mystery series based on Brian McGreevy’s gripping novel of the same name; Jenji Kohan’s upcoming series “Orange is the New Black,” which stars Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon and Jason Biggs; and the second season of “Lilyhammer,” which stars Steven Van Zandt.

SOURCE Netflix, Inc.

OBITUARY: Preeminent Film Critic Roger Ebert Dies At Age 70

After a long bout with cancer that returned in December, iconic Chicago Sun-Times film critic, Roger Ebert, has passed away.  I’m not going to say a lot about this, I’m simply going to re-post the piece that the Sun-Times did on him, but what I will say is that I personally, from a professional standpoint, wasn’t a fan Ebert’s review process.  I found his standards for criticism to be incredibly inconsistent from film to film and when he gave Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith three and half stars, I officially started taking his reviews with a grain of salt.  It was one of those deals where I respected him but he wasn’t my go-to for judging the merits of a film.

That being said, there’s no one more iconic in the world of film criticism than Roger Ebert was with his ability (together with his cross-town rival and friend, the late Gene Siskel) to criticize films in a non-pretentious way (something that The Hollywood Reporter or the New York Times might want to try) in a manner that made understanding the intricacies of modern cinema accessible to the average film-goer, much like I and many other web-based critics do today.  Ebert was literally the world’s first citizen-critic; a blogger before the Internet was even a glint in anyone’s eye.

From a nostalgic perspective, as a kid growing up in the 1980s, I looked forward to he and Gene on At The Movies and then later on Siskel & Ebert & The Movies and the weekly discussions the two would have about the latest films hitting the theaters.  And, yes, they were discussions, not arguments, not mean-spirited verbal sparring, just discussions between two friends who both shared the same level of passion for cinema… even if they didn’t always agree.

And the best part was that all of us got to join in on the fun.

Goodbye, Roger and God bless.  You will be greatly missed.

From The Chicago Sun-Times:

Roger Ebert dead at 70 after battle with cancer

BY NEIL STEINBERG nsteinberg@suntimes.com April 4, 2013 2:32PM

ebertUpdated: April 4, 2013 9:17PM

Roger Ebert loved movies.

Except for those he hated.

For a film with a daring director, a talented cast, a captivating plot or, ideally, all three, there could be no better advocate than Roger Ebert, who passionately celebrated and promoted excellence in film while deflating the awful, the derivative, or the merely mediocre with an observant eye, a sharp wit and a depth of knowledge that delighted his millions of readers and viewers.

“No good film is too long,” he once wrote, a sentiment he felt strongly enough about to have engraved on pens. “No bad movie is short enough.”

Ebert, 70, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, and who was without question the nation’s most prominent and influential film critic, died Thursday in Chicago.

“We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away,” said his wife, Chaz Ebert. “No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition.”

He had been in poor health over the past decade, battling cancers of the thyroid and salivary gland.

He lost part of his lower jaw in 2006, and with it the ability to speak or eat, a calamity that would have driven other men from the public eye. But Ebert refused to hide, instead forging what became a new chapter in his career, an extraordinary chronicle of his devastating illness that won him a new generation of admirers. “No point in denying it,” he wrote, analyzing his medical struggles with characteristic courage, candor and wit, a view that was never tinged with bitterness or self-pity.

On Tuesday, Ebert blogged that he had suffered a recurrence of cancer following a hip fracture suffered in December, and would be taking “a leave of presence.” In the blog essay, marking his 46th anniversary of becoming the Sun-Times film critic, Ebert wrote “I am not going away. My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers hand-picked and greatly admired by me.”

Always technically savvy — he was an early investor in Google — Ebert let the Internet be his voice. His rogerebert.com had millions of fans, and he received a special achievement award as the 2010 “Person of the Year” from the Webby Awards, which noted that “his online journal has raised the bar for the level of poignancy, thoughtfulness and critique one can achieve on the Web.” His Twitter feed had more than 840,000 followers.

Ebert was both widely popular and professionally respected. He not only won a Pulitzer Prize — the first film critic to do so — but his name was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005, among the movie stars he wrote about so well for so long. His reviews were syndicated in hundreds of newspapers worldwide.

The same year Ebert won the Pulitzer — 1975 — he also launched a new kind of television program: “Opening Soon at a Theater Near You” with Chicago Tribune movie critic Gene Siskel on WTTW-Ch. 11. At first it ran monthly.

The combination worked. The trim, balding Siskel perfectly balanced the bespectacled, portly Ebert. In 1977, the show, retitled “Sneak Previews,” moved to PBS for national distribution, and the duo was on its way to becoming a fixture in American culture.

“Tall and thin, short and fat. Laurel and Hardy,” Ebert once wrote. “We were parodied on ‘SNL’ and by Bob Hope and Danny Thomas and, the ultimate honor, in the pages of Mad magazine.”

His colleagues admired him as a workhorse. Ebert reviewed as many as 306 movies a year, after he grew ill scheduling his cancer surgeries around the release of important pictures. He eagerly contributed to other sections of the paper — interviews with and obituaries of movie stars, even political columns on issues he cared strongly about on the editorial pages.

In 1997, dissatisfied with spending his critical powers “locked in the present,” he began a running a feature revisiting classic movies and eventually published three books on “The Great Movies” (and two books on movies he hated). A second column, his “Movie Answer Man” allowed readers to learn about intriguing details of cinema that only a Roger Ebert knew or could ferret out.

That, too, became a book. Ebert wrote more books than any TV personality since Steve Allen — 17 in all. Not only collections of reviews, both good and bad, and critiques of great movies, but humorous glossaries and even a novel, “Behind the Phantom’s Mask,” that was serialized in the Sun-Times. He even wrote a book about rice cookers, “The Pot and How to Use It,” despite the fact that he could no longer eat. In 2011 his autobiography, “Life Itself,” won rave reviews. “This is the best thing Mr. Ebert has ever written,” Janet Maslin wrote in The New York Times. It is, fittingly enough, being made into a documentary, produced by his longtime friend, Martin Scorsese.

Roger Joseph Ebert was born in Urbana on June 18, 1942, the son of Walter and Annabel Ebert. His father was an electrician at the University of Illinois, his mother, a bookkeeper. It was a liberal household — Ebert remembers his parents praying for the success of Harry Truman in the election of 1948. As a child, he published a mimeographed neighborhood newspaper and a stamp collectors’ newspaper in elementary school.

In high school, he was, as he later wrote, “demented in [his] zeal for school activities,” joining the swim team, acting in plays, founding the Science Fiction Club, co-hosting Urbana High School’s Saturday morning radio program, co-editing the newspaper, being elected senior class president.

He began his professional writing career at 15, as a sportswriter covering the high school beat for the News-Gazette in Champaign-Urbana.

Ebert went on to the University of Illinois, where he published a weekly journal of politics and opinion as a freshman and served as editor of the Daily Illini his senior year. He graduated in 1964, and studied in South Africa on a Rotary Scholarship.

While still in Urbana, he began free-lancing for the Sun-Times and the Chicago Daily News.

He was accepted at the University of Chicago, where he planned to earn his doctorate in English (an avid reader, Ebert later used literary authors to help explain films — for example, quoting e.e. cummings several times in his review of Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking “2001: A Space Odyssey.”)

But Ebert had also written to Herman Kogan, for whom he free-lanced at the Daily News, asking for a job, and ended up at the Sun-Times in September 1966, working part-time. The following April, he was asked to become the newspaper’s film critic when the previous critic, Eleanor Keen, retired.

“I didn’t know the job was open until the day I was given it,” Ebert later said. “I had no idea. Bob Zonka, the features editor, called me into the conference room and said, ‘We’re gonna make you the movie critic.’ It fell out of the sky.”

Ebert’s goal up to that point had been to be “a columnist like Royko,” but he accepted this new stroke of luck, which came at exactly the right time. Movie criticism had been a backwater of journalism, barely more than recounting the plots and stars of movies — the Tribune ran its reviews under a jokey generic byline, “Mae Tinee.” But American cinema was about to enter a period of unprecedented creativity, and criticism would follow along. Restrictive film standards were finally easing up, in part thanks to his efforts. When Ebert began reviewing movies, Chicago still had an official film board that often banned daring movies here — Lynn Redgrave’s “Georgy Girl” was kept off Chicago screens in 1966 — and Ebert immediately began lobbying for elimination of the censorship board.

He had a good eye. His Sept. 25, 1967, review of Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in “Bonnie and Clyde” called the movie “a milestone” and “a landmark.”

“Years from now it is quite possible that ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ will be seen as the definitive film of the 1960s,” he wrote, “showing with sadness, humor and unforgiving detail what one society had come to.”

It was. Though of course Ebert was not infallible — while giving Mike Nichols’ “The Graduate” four stars in the same year, he added that the movie’s “only flaw, I believe, is the introduction of limp, wordy Simon and Garfunkel songs.’’

Ebert plunged into what turned out to be a mini-golden age of Chicago journalism. He found himself befriended by Mike Royko — with whom he wrote an unproduced screenplay. He drank with Royko, and with Nelson Algren and Studs Terkel. He wrote a trashy Hollywood movie, “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls,’’ for Russ Meyer, having met the king of the buxom B-movie after writing an appreciation of his work.

In later years, Ebert was alternately sheepish and proud of the movie. It was the first “sexploitation” film by a major studio, 20th Century Fox, though Time magazine’s Richard Corliss did call it one of the 10 best films of the 1970s.

It was not Ebert’s only foray into film writing — he was also hired to write a movie for the Sex Pistols, the seminal British punk band in the late 1970s.

Eventually, Sun-Times editor James Hoge demanded that Ebert — who took a leave of absence when he went to Hollywood to write “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” — decide between making films and reviewing them. He chose newspapering, which increasingly became known because of his TV fame, which grew around his complex partnership with Gene Siskel on “Sneak Previews.”

“At first the relationship on TV was edgy and uncomfortable,” Ebert wrote in 1999, after Siskel’s untimely death, at 53. “Our newspaper rivalry was always in the air between us. Gene liked to tell about the time he was taking a nap under a conference table at the television station, overheard a telephone conversation I was having with an editor, and scooped me on the story.”

In 1981, the program was renamed “At the Movies” and moved to Tribune Broadcasting. In 1986, it became “Siskel & Ebert & The Movies” and moved to Buena Vista Television, and the duo began the signature “thumbs up, thumbs down” rating system that Ebert invented.

“When we left to go with Disney . . . we had to change some things because we were afraid of [violating] intellectual property rights,’’ he said. “And I came up with the idea of giving thumbs up and thumbs down. And the reason that Siskel and I were able to trademark that is that the phrase ‘two thumbs up’ in connection with movies had never been used. And in fact, the phrase ‘two thumbs up’ was not in the vernacular. And now, of course, it’s part of the language.”

“Two thumbs up” became their registered trademark and a highly coveted endorsement that inevitably ran at the top of movie advertisements.

After Siskel died in 1999, Ebert auditioned a number of temporary co-hosts and settled on Sun-Times colleague Richard Roeper in 2000. At its height, “Ebert & Roeper,” was seen on 200 stations. Ebert’s cancer forced him off the air in 2006.

“Everyone keeps asking me for my favorite Roger Ebert story, or the one thing about him most people might not have known. Here’s the thing: Roger Ebert has already told all the best Roger Ebert stories in far better fashion than I ever could,” said Roeper, who continued the show after health troubles forced Ebert from the airwaves, until both men quit in 2008 after a contract dispute.

“And whether you ‘knew’ him only through his reviews or his Twitter feed or his blog, or you were lucky enough to have been his friend for many years, with Roger, what you saw and heard was the 100 percent, unvarnished, real deal,” Roeper said. “There was no ‘off camera’ Roger. He was just as passionate, smart, stubborn, genuine and funny behind the scenes as he was in the public eye. He was a great writer and an even better friend.

“They can remake movies, but no one will ever be able to re-create or match the one and only Roger Ebert.”

All that need be mentioned of Ebert’s social life was that in the early 1980s he briefly went out with the hostess of a modest local TV show called “AM Chicago.” Taking her to the Hamburger Hamlet for dinner, Ebert suggested that she syndicate her show, using his success with Siskel as an example of the kind of riches that awaited. While she didn’t return his romantic interest, Oprah Winfrey did follow his business advice.

In his memoir, Ebert writes of a controlling, alcoholic, faith-obsessed mother whom he was frightened of displeasing. “I would never marry before my mother died,” he wrote. She died in 1987, and in 1992 he got married, for the first time, at age 50, to attorney Chaz Hammel-Smith (later Chaz Hammelsmith), who was the great romance of his life and his rock in sickness, instrumental in helping Ebert continue his workload as his health declined.

“She fills my horizon, she is the great fact of my life, she is the love of my life, she saved me from the fate of living out my life alone,” he wrote.

In addition to his TV and newspaper work, Ebert was a fixture at film festivals around the world — Toronto, Cannes, Telluride — and even created a festival of his own, The Overlooked Film Festival, or just “Ebertfest,” which he began in Champaign in 1999 and dedicated to highlighting neglected classics.

Between 1970 and 2010, Ebert made yearly visits to the University of Colorado’s springtime Conference on World Affairs, where he has presented frame-by-frame critiques of classic movies to enraptured audiences.

He had also used the conference to speak on a variety of subjects, from his romantic life to his recovery from alcoholism — he stopped drinking in 1979 — to the problem of spam email. In 1996 Ebert coined the “Boulder Pledge,” considered a cornerstone in the battle against spam.

“Under no circumstances will I ever purchase anything offered to me as the result of an unsolicited e-mail message,” Ebert wrote. “Nor will I forward chain letters, petitions, mass mailings, or virus warnings to large numbers of others. This is my contribution to the survival of the online community.”

Not only was Ebert eager to correspond with and encourage skilled movie bloggers, but he also put his money where his mouth was, investing early in the Google search engine and making several million dollars doing so.

Ebert received honorary degrees from the American Film Institute, the University of Colorado and the School of the Art Institute. He is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and was honored with a sidewalk medallion under the Chicago Theatre marquee.

He first had surgery to remove a malignant tumor on his thyroid in 2002, and three subsequent surgeries on his salivary gland, all the while refusing to cut back on his TV show or his lifelong pride and joy, his job at the Sun-Times.

“My newspaper job,” he said in 2005, “is my identity.”

But as always with Roger Ebert, that was being too modest. He was a renaissance man whose genius was based on film but by no means limited to it, a great soul who had extraordinary impact on his profession and the world around him.

“Kindness covers all of my political beliefs,” he wrote, at the end of his memoir, “Life Itself.” “No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”

Survivors, in addition to his wife, include stepchildren Sonia and Jay, and grandchildren Raven, Emil, Mark and Joseph.

TNT’s Summer Schedule: Premiere Dates For ‘Falling Skies,’ ‘Rizzoli & Isles,’ ‘Major Crimes,’ ‘Franklin & Bash,’ More…

fallingskiesseason3

Via Press Release:

TNT ANNOUNCES 2013 SUMMER PREMIERE DATES LINEUP INCLUDES FOUR NEW SERIES AND FIVE RETURNING HITS

tnt_logo2TNT is going to ramp up the drama this summer with a spectacular lineup of original series, including four brand new shows and five returning favorites. Set to launch new seasons this summer are the hit series Falling SkiesRizzoli & IslesMajor CrimesPerception and Franklin & Bash. New series joining them in the lineup include King & Maxwell; the unscripted competition series The Hero and 72 Hours; and the docu-drama procedural Cold Justice (working title).

“Even as we expand TNT’s lineup of original series to a year-round model, summer remains a big season for us and a great opportunity to introduce new series,” said Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). “This summer, we’re bringing our viewers a broad range of exciting dramas on TNT, from our tent-pole scripted dramas Falling Skies and Rizzoli & Isles to our newest crime drama King & Maxwell, starring Jon Tenney and Rebecca Romijn, to new unscripted dramas like The Rock’s action reality show The Hero and Dick Wolf’s compelling new unscripted procedural Cold Justice. They all deliver on TNT’s promise of smart, entertaining storytelling featuring a wide range of engaging personalities.”

The following is TNT’s summer slate of original series, including premiere dates. Hi-res photos are available for download from TNT’s online pressroom at http://tntnewsroom.com.

The Hero – New Series – Premiere: Thursday, June 6, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT)

Hero-Dwayne-JohnsonDwayne “The Rock” Johnson headlines this epic new competition series that will bring nine ordinary people together and assign them various missions testing their brains, their brawn and even their morality. The show will challenge the competitors to prove they’ve got what it takes to be heroes, pushing them to the limits to see what they are willing – and able – to overcome, undergo, or sacrifice for the sake of their fellow contestants. Through the show’s unique interactive digital platform, viewers will be polled each week to determine the contestant they consider to be the most heroic. The competition will then climax with viewers voting to determine who deserves the grand prize and the title of “The Hero.” The Hero is executive-produced by Electus (Ben SilvermanChris Grant and Jimmy Fox); 5×5 Media (part of the Electus studio system led by Craig Armstrong and Rick Ringbakk); Charles Wachter; Dwayne Johnson; and Dany Garcia. The series was created by Armstrong and Ringbakk of the Emmy®-winning 5×5 Media (SurvivorFashion Star, TBS’s King of the Nerds), along with Wachter (Fashion StarFood Revolution) and Electus’ Silverman (Fashion StarThe Biggest LoserThe Office).

Connect with TNT’s The Hero

Website: http://www.theherotnt.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheHeroTNT
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheHeroTNT | #TheHero

72 Hours – New Series – Premiere: Thursday, June 6, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)

72-Hours-med (1)Each week, this action-packed, white-knuckle competition series hosted by Brandon Johnson drops three new competing teams of strangers into the wilderness with only a single bottle of water and a GPS tracking device. The competitors have just three days to find a hidden briefcase full of cash. Along the way, they must survive treacherous terrain and battle the elements to be the first to locate $100,000. 72 Hours comes to TNT from Lighthearted Entertainment (Extreme Makeover), with Howard Schultz (The Moment of Truth), Rob LaPlante (The Apprentice) and Brady Connell (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) serving as executive producers.  Jeff Spangler serves as co-executive producer.

Connect with TNT’s 72 Hours

Website: http://www.tntdrama.com/series/72-hours
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/72HoursTNT
Twitter: http://twitter.com/72HoursTNT | #72HoursTNT

Falling Skies – Season 3 – Two-Hour Premiere: Sunday, June 9, at 9 p.m.(ET/PT)… Regular Timeslot: Sundays at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)

Falling-Skies-medBasic cable’s #1 summer drama among key demos tells the extraordinary story about life and survival in the wake of a catastrophic alien invasion. Noah Wyle stars as a college professor who becomes an unlikely resistance leader in this gripping series from DreamWorks Television and executive producer Steven SpielbergMoon BloodgoodWill PattonDrew RoyMaxim Knight and Connor Jessup also star. In the third season of Falling SkiesGloria Reuben is set to guest-star in a multiple-episode arc as Marina Perlata, an aide to Wyle’s Tom Mason. In addition, Robert Sean Leonard is slated to guest-star as Roger Kadar, an obsessive but gifted scientist who runs the local power grid and lives underground with his pet rats, earning him the nickname “The Rat King.” In addition to Spielberg, Falling Skies is executive-produced by DreamWorks Television heads Justin Falvey and Darryl FrankRemi Aubuchon and Greg Beeman also serve as executive producers.

Connect with TNT’s Falling Skies

Website: http://www.fallingskies.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fallingskies
Twitter: http://twitter.com/FallingSkiesTNT
YouTube: http://youtube.com/FallingSkiesTNT
Tumblr: http://fallingskiestnt.tumbler.com
Falling Skies app: Available for iOS and Android platforms

Major Crimes – Season 2 – Premiere: Monday, June 10, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)

Major-Crimes-medTelevision’s favorite squad of detectives has entered bold new territory with this hit crime drama that ranked as basic cable’s #1 new series of 2012. The elite team of Major Crimes is back, headed by two-time Oscar® nominee Mary McDonnell as Los Angeles Police Captain Sharon Raydor, GW Bailey as Lieutenant Provenza, Tony Denison as Lieutenant Andy Flynn, Michael Paul Chan as Lieutenant Mike Tao, Raymond Cruz as Detective Julio Sanchez, Kearran Giovanni as Detective Amy Sykes, Phillip P. Keene as tech expert Buzz Watson and Jonathan Del Arco as Dr. Morales. Graham Patrick Martin returns as Rusty Beck, a homeless teen and material witness taken in by Captain Raydor, and Robert Gossett guest-stars as Assistant Chief Russell Taylor. This season, Nadine Velazquez joins the ensemble as Deputy District Attorney Emma Rios.Major Crimes focuses on how the American justice system approaches the art of the deal as law enforcement officers and prosecutors work together to score a conviction. The series is produced by The Shephard/Robin Company and Walking Entropy, Inc., in association with Warner Bros. TelevisionJames Duff, Greer ShephardRick Wallace and Michael M. Robin serve as executive producers.

Connect with TNT’s Major Crimes

Website: http://www.tntdrama.com/series/majorcrimes
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MajorCrimesTNT
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MajorCrimesTNT | #MajorCrimes
YouTube: http://youtube.com/MajorCrimesTNT
GetGlue: http://getglue.com/tv_shows/major_crimes

King & Maxwell – New Series – Premiere: Monday, June 10, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)

"King & Maxwell" - Pilot - 3 Sean & Michelle are released# 1 Jon Tenney as Sean King # 2 Rebecca Romijn as Michelle MaxwellThis brand new private-eye drama features Jon Tenney and Rebecca Romijn as bestselling author David Baldacci‘s popular characters Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. These two aren’t your typical private investigators. Both are former Secret Service agents, and their unique skills – not to mention their razor-sharp chemistry – give them a leg up on conventional law enforcement. Maxwell is a former Olympic athlete who uses her brains, beauty and Beltway connections to solve cases. King’s career in the Secret Service ended when the presidential candidate he was assigned to protect was assassinated, sending him on a downward spiral. Today, King has added a law degree to his arsenal of skills, allowing him to navigate the system in ways a typical private investigator never could. Along the way, King and Maxwell clash over everything, from her garbage-strewn car to his love of wine over beer. King & Maxwell also stars Michael O’Keefe and Chris Butler as F.B.I. Special Agents Rigby and Carter, who clash with King and Maxwell over their less-than-legal methods. This series is being produced by CBS Television StudiosShane Brennan (NCIS: Los Angeles), Grant Anderson (Third Watch); and Chris Downey (Leverage) serve as executive producers, with Karen Spiegel as producer and Baldacci as series consultant.

Connect with TNT’s King & Maxwell

Website: http://www.tntdrama.com/series/king-and-maxwell
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KingAndMaxwell

Rizzoli & Isles – Season 4 – Premiere: Tuesday, June 18, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)

Rizzoli-Isles-medOne of cable’s Top 3 shows for three consecutive years, Rizzoli & Isles will return this summer with Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander as Boston’s top crime-solving duo. Harmon is Jane Rizzoli, a tough-as-nails Boston police detective, and Alexander is Maura Isles, a smart, impeccably dressed medical examiner from a privileged background. Despite being complete opposites, the two women share an offbeat chemistry, an authentic and deep friendship and a unique working relationship that together, helps them to solve the most complex murder mysteries in the city of Boston. Rizzoli & Isles also stars Lorraine BraccoLee Thompson Young, Bruce McGillJordan Bridges and Brian Goodman. Developed for television by executive producer Janet Tamaro and developed characters created by best-selling crime novelist Tess GerritsenRizzoli & Isles is produced for TNT by Warner Horizon Television, Janet Tamaro’s Hurdler Productions and Bill Haber’s Ostar Productions. Tamaro and Haber serve as executive producers.

Connect with TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles

Website: http://www.tntdrama.com/series/rizzoliandisles
Facebook: http://facebook.com/rizzoliandisles
Twitter: http://twitter.com/RizzoliIslesTNT | #RizzoliandIsles
YouTube: http://youtube.com/RizzoliIslesTNT
Tumblr: http://rizzoliandislestnt.tumblr.com
GetGlue: http://getglue.com/tv_shows/rizzoli_isles

Perception – Season 2 – Premiere: Tuesday, June 18, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)

Perception-medThis fascinating series features one of the most unique crime solvers on television, an eccentric neuroscience professor who is recruited by the FBI to help solve complex cases. Emmy® and Screen Actors Guild Award® winner Eric McCormack stars as Dr. Daniel Pierce, who possesses an intimate knowledge of human behavior and a masterful understanding of the way the mind works. Although Pierce’s mind may be brilliant, it’s also damaged as he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Rachael Leigh Cook co-stars as FBI agent Kate Moretti, Pierce’s former student who has recruited Pierce to consult on cases. Also starring are Arjay SmithKelly Rowanand LeVar Burton. In addition, season two will feature special guest star Scott Wolf (Party of FiveVEverwood) as Donnie, Kate’s soon-to-be ex-husband.  Perception was created by executive producer Ken Biller and co-executive producer Mike Sussman, with McCormack serving as producer. The series comes to TNT from ABC Studios.

Connect with TNT’s Perception

Website: http://www.tntdrama.com/series/perception
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PerceptionTNT
Twitter: http://twitter.com/PerceptionTNT | #PerceptionTNT
YouTube: http://youtube.com/PerceptionTNT
GetGlue: http://getglue.com/tv_shows/perception

Franklin & Bash – Season 3 – Premiere: Wednesday, July 24, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)

Franklin-Bash-medThis buddy lawyer series stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer as two young, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants street lawyers who cause a seismic culture clash when they join a legendary, button-down law firm. This season, Heather Locklear joins the Franklin & Bash cast as Rachel King, a beautiful and brilliant trial lawyer and the firm’s newest partner. Malcolm McDowell returns as Renaissance man Stanton Infeld, the brilliant and eccentrically spontaneous patriarch of the law firm. Also starring are Reed DiamondDana Davis and Kumail NanjianiFranklin & Bash is produced by Four Sycamore ProductionsLeft Coast Productions and FanFare Productions in association with Sony Pictures TelevisionJamie TarsesKevin Falls, Matthew McGuinness and Bill Chais serve as executive producers.

Connect with TNT’s Franklin & Bash

Website: http://www.tntdrama.com/series/franklinandbash
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FranklinBash
Twitter: http://twitter.com/FrankandBashTNT
YouTube: http://youtube.com/FranklinBashTNT
GetGlue: http://getglue.com/tv_shows/franklin_bash

Cold Justice (working title) – New Series – Premiere: Tuesday, Aug. 27, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)

Cold-Justice-medTNT’s new unscripted procedural drama follows two top-notch female investigators as they dig into small town murder cases that have lingered for years without answers or closure. Kelly Siegler, a Texas prosecutor for 21 years who has successfully tried 68 murder cases, and Yolanda McClary, a crime scene investigator who worked more than 7,000 cases in her 26 years in the Las Vegas Police Department, are putting their vast knowledge and experience to work helping local law-enforcement officers and families of violent-crime victims get to the truth. With a fresh set of eyes on old evidence, superior interrogation skills and access to advanced DNA technology and lab testing, Siegler and McClary are determined to bring about a legal and emotional resolution. Taking on a different unsolved crime each week, they will carefully re-examine evidence, question suspects and witnesses, and chase down leads in order to solve cases that would have otherwise remained cold indefinitely. TNT has ordered eight episodes ofCold Justice, which comes to the network from Wolf Films and Magical ElvesCold Justice is executive-produced by Emmy® winners Dick Wolf (Law & OrderChicago Fire), Dan Cutforth & Jane Lipsitz (Top ChefFashion Star), Tom Thayer (HitchcockBury My Heart at Wounded Knee) and Kathryn Vaughan (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition).

Connect with Cold Justice

Website: http://www.tntdrama.com/series/cold-justice
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ColdJusticeTNT

About TNT

TNT is television’s destination for drama. Seen in 99 million households and ranking among cable’s top networks, TNT is home to such original drama series as Rizzoli & IslesFalling SkiesDallas,Major CrimesPerceptionFranklin & Bash and the upcoming King & Maxwell. The network also features dramatic unscripted originals like Boston’s Finest and the upcoming 72 Hours and The Hero. In addition, TNT is the cable home to popular dramas like CastleThe MentalistBones and Supernatural; primetime specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards®; blockbuster movies; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR, the NBA and the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

TNT is part of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company. Turner Broadcasting creates and programs branded news; entertainment; animation and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

Connect with TNT

Website: http://www.tntdrama.com
Pressroom: http://www.tntnewsroom.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TNTWeKnowDrama
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TNTweknowdrama | http://twitter.com/TNTPR
Mobile: http://www.tntdrama.com/mobile
TNT app: Available for iOS and Android platforms

CBS: ‘NCIS’ Renewed For 11th Season

Via Press Release:

CBS ANNOUNCES NEW CONTRACT EXTENSION FOR “NCIS” STAR AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER MARK HARMON; “NCIS,” TELEVISION’S #1 SERIES AND A GLOBAL LEADER, IS RENEWED FOR 2013-2014 SEASON

CBS-LogoFebruary 2, 2013 – CBS announced today a new contract extension for NCIS star and executive producer Mark Harmon, and that the U.S. and global ratings phenomenon NCIS has been renewed for the 2013-2014 season.

“In a world gone niche, NCIS keeps getting bigger, and Mark Harmon continues to define the role of leading man on the #1 show on television,” said Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation.  “NCIS is the type of franchise every company wants in today’s global content ecosystem – high-quality storytelling that generates passionate viewers and drives revenue on every conceivable platform.”

Currently in its 10th season, NCIS continues to hit ratings milestones.  This season, for the first time ever, it ranks as television’s #1 program (ahead of Sunday Night Football).  NCIS is averaging 21.48 million viewers, up +7% over last year and is the highest-rated drama among adults 25-54 (5.9/15), while averaging 4.2/12 in adults 18-49.  The series delivered its second-largest live plus same day audience on Jan. 15, averaging 22.86 million viewers.  That total soared to 25.36 million viewers with L+3 day lift, marking the first NCIS broadcast to deliver more than 25 million viewers with live plus 3-day lift or live plus 7-day lift.

 NCIS is also an international hit, licensed in more than 200 markets.  It is the #1 series on M6 in France, the #1 U.S. series on Rai2 in Italy and the #2 U.S. series overall, the #1 U.S. series on TV3 in Sweden, the #2 U.S. series on LaSexta in Spain, the #2 U.S. drama on Network Ten in Australia and the #3 U.S. series on Sat1 in Germany.

In domestic syndication, NCIS is broadcast on USA Network and ranks as cable’s #1 off-network drama.

NCIS premiered on CBS in 2003-2004. Since its debut, NCIS’s ratings have steadily climbed, finishing 2008-2009 ranked fifth among all primetime programs.  During the 2009-2010 season it became the #1 drama/scripted program on television, and has remained the #1 drama ever since.

NCIS stars Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Cote de Pablo, Sean Murray, Pauley Perrette, Rocky Carroll, Brian Dietzen and David McCallum.  Gary Glasberg, Chas. Floyd Johnson, Mark Horowitz, Mark Harmon, Shane Brennan, George Schenck, Frank Cardea and Donald P. Bellisario are executive producers for Belisarius Productions in association with CBS Television Studios.

Mark Harmon is represented by Paradigm and attorney Barry Axelrod.

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Cinemax: ‘Banshee’ Renewed For Season Two

Banshee

Via Press Release:

CINEMAX RENEWS ACTION SERIES BANSHEE FOR SECOND SEASON

cinemax-logoLOS ANGELES, Jan. 29, 2013 – CINEMAX has renewed the action series BANSHEE for a second season, scheduled to debut in 2014, it was announced today by Kary Antholis, president, HBO Miniseries and CINEMAX Programming. The show is currently in its first season, with episodes debuting Friday at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT).

Executive produced by Jonathan Tropper, David Schickler, Peter Macdissi, Alan Ball and Greg Yaitanes, BANSHEE stars Antony Starr (“Rush”) as Lucas Hood, an ex-con and master thief who assumes the identity of the sheriff of Banshee, Pa., where he continues his criminal activities, even as he’s hunted by the shadowy gangsters he betrayed years earlier. Scripts for the first season are conceived and written by Tropper and Schickler.  Writers John Romano (“Monk”), Evan Dunsky (“Two and a Half Men”), and Doug Jung (HBO’s “Big Love”) join Schickler and Tropper for season two.

Also starring in season one of the series are: Ivana Milicevic (“Charlie’s Angels,” HBO’s “Mind of the Married Man”), Ulrich Thomsen (“The Celebration”), Frankie Faison (“The Good Wife,” HBO’s “The Wire”), Hoon Lee (“Premium Rush”), Rus Blackwell (“Burn Notice,” HBO’s “Recount”), Matt Servitto (HBO’s “The Sopranos”), Demetrius Grosse (“Justified”), Trieste Kelly Dunn (“Brothers and Sisters”), Ryann Shane (“Blue Bloods”), Daniel Ross Owens (“Prison Break”), Lili Simmons (“Fat Kid Rules the World”) and Ben Cross (“Star Trek,” “Ben-Hur”).

The ten-episode first season of BANSHEE, which began Jan. 11, has inspired critical raves, with the Hollywood Reporter calling it “taut, entertaining and smart,” and the Wall Street Journal describing the show as “enticing” and “indisputably satisfying.”

For more on the series, visit cinemax.com/banshee, facebook.com/cinemax, twitter.com @Cinemax #Banshee and youtube.com/Cinemax.