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Ian McKellen Wants to Play Gandalf on Amazon’s TV Series: ‘He’s Over 7000 Years Old, So I’m Not Too Old’

2 hours ago

Amazon’s upcoming “Lord of the Rings” television series is one of the most highly anticipated projects currently in development, with the streaming giant already signing off on a multi-season commitment. While the story for the series has not been confirmed, Ian McKellen is more than eager to step back into the wizardly shoes of Gandalf.

Read More:‘Lord of the Rings’ TV Series in the Works at Amazon, Which Wants the Precious All for Itself

British television personality Graham Norton recently brought up the new “Lord of the Rings” series to McKellen during an interview on his BBC Radio 2 talk show (via Digital Spy). When asked if it would be annoying to see another actor take on his iconic role, McKellen responded, “What do you mean, another Gandalf?”

“I haven’t said yes because I haven’t been asked. But are you suggesting that someone else is going to play it? »

- Zack Sharf

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‘The Ranch’ Review: One Last Season with Danny Masterson is Too Many, So Here’s What Happens and What’s Next

2 hours ago

In case there’s any confusion over the matter, Danny Masterson is in every episode of “The Ranch” Season 4. Despite a highly-publicized controversy that ended in the series regular being fired from Netflix’s Emmy-winning sitcom, that decision took place after filming had been completed on “Part 4.” The new episodes that were released Friday, December 15 are just like the first three seasons: Masterson, as the older brother, Jameson “Rooster” Bennett, is heavily integrated into every half-hour installment.

So fans have a choice to make: Watch “The Ranch” and try to overcome the building rage of watching an alleged rapist goof around or skip 10 episodes and pick the show back up once Masterson is gone for real.

Read More:The Best TV Performances of 2017

For many, this isn’t much of a choice. With so many truly excellent TV shows out there, “The Ranch” isn’t exactly at the top of many Netflix subscribers’ must-see list. »

- Ben Travers

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Jodie Foster Reprises Her Oscar-Winning ‘Silence of the Lambs’ Role to Take Down Donald Trump — Watch

3 hours ago

Jodie Foster finally returned to acting for the first time since 2013’s “Elysium” by making a surprise appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” in which she stepped back into the shoe’s of her most iconic character: Clarice Starling.

Read More:‘Black Mirror: Arkangel’ Trailer: Jodie Foster’s Season 4 Episode Gives New Meaning to Helicopter Parenting

Colbert debuted a Donald Trump-themed parody of Jonathan Demme’s “The Silence of the Lambs” during the December 15 episode, and Foster actually appeared as Clarice. The FBI agent needed Hannibal Lecter’s help to figure out how deep Donald Trump’s ties go with Russia. It only makes sense Hannibal and Trump are old friends.

Foster has stopped taking screen roles in recent years in favor of the director’s chair. Her last directorial effort, “Money Monster,” played the Cannes Film Festival in 2016, and she’s directed episodes of Netflix series »

- Zack Sharf

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HBO Documentary President Sheila Nevins Steps Down After 38 Years, 32 Emmys, and Over 1,000 Films

3 hours ago

Sheila Nevins has announced she is stepping down from her role as president of HBO Documentary Films, a position she has held for the last 38 years. The 78-year-old has produced over 1,000 non-fiction films during her time at HBO, earning a record 32 Emmy Awards. Her projects have also earned 26 Oscars and 42 Peabody Awards. She was the recipient of the TV Academy’s lifetime achievement award in 2005.

Read More:Sheila Nevins’ 5 Rules for Getting Ahead in a Man’s World

“There’s something exciting about leaving a job,” Nevins told The New York Times about her departure. “I can’t explain it. I have deprived my life of a life. All I did was work. I was, like, born at HBO and I don’t have to die there. If I stayed any longer, I probably would have died at my desk. I just regret that there’s so little time left. »

- Zack Sharf

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Cannes’ Historic First Television Festival Opens in April 2018 With ‘The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair’

5 hours ago

The first-ever Cannes International Series Festival, also known as Canneseries, is set to launch on April 4, 2018 at the Palais des Festivals. The festival has announced that its inaugural edition will open with the world premiere of “The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair,” starring Patrick Dempsey, Kristine Froseth, and rising indie star Ben Schnetzer. The series pilot is directed by “Black and White in Color” helmer Jean-Jacques Annaud.

“The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair” tells the story of Harry Quebert (Dempsey), a literary icon who suddenly finds himself indicted in the cold-case murder of a girl who has been missing for many years. The MGM Television-backed series is based on the bestselling European novel by Joël Dicker and consists of 10 episodes. “Harry Quebert” will premiere in the U.S. on Epix and in France on TF1 in 2018. »

- Zack Sharf

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David Boreanaz, Primetime’s Most Valuable Player, Has Another Hit With ‘Seal Team’ — Ratings Watch

20 hours ago

David Boreanaz is once again proving his primetime power. Fresh off a 12-season run on the Fox staple “Bones,” Boreanaz didn’t miss a beat: His new CBS drama, “Seal Team,” has already been given a full 22-episode first season order, and is shoo-in for a sophomore renewal.

Not many performers can brag about starring in back-to-back-to-back hits, which makes Boreanaz a TV heavy hitter on par with stars like Ted Danson and William Shatner — the rare actors who have enjoyed multiple hits on unrelated shows. Boreanaz, of course, top-lined the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” spinoff “Angel” for several years (and 110 episodes) before moving on to 246 episodes of “Bones.”

Seal Team” stars Boreanaz as Jason Hayes, the leader of the Tier One team, a group deployed on clandestine missions worldwide at a moment’s notice. The show has been consistently making the top 25 ratings among both adults 18-49 and total viewers. »

- Michael Schneider

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‘Live Pd’: Secrets Behind A&E’s Addictive Cop Show, and How It Almost Goes Off the Rails Each Week

23 hours ago

There’s nothing quite like “Live Pd,” the hit A&E series that follows cops and sheriffs — live, in real time, as they patrol various cities and counties across the country. The series began as an eight-episode experiment, for two hours a week, back in October 2016. But as it turned into a sensation, A&E kept expanding the show’s footprint.

Now, “Live Pd” airs twice a week, on Friday and Saturday nights, for three hours both evenings (from 9 p.m. to midnight). And other than a brief five-week hiatus in September, it’s been on the air for most of the year.

“It is by far the most frustrating, challenging, and gratifying program that I have ever been involved with,” said executive producer Dan Cesareo, whose Big Fish Entertainment is behind the series. “No two nights are the same. You could have a great show one night, where we »

- Michael Schneider

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Netflix’s ‘A Christmas Prince’ Is Just the Start of the Streaming Giant’s Quest for Christmas Dominance

23 hours ago

If you haven’t watched Netflix’s “A Christmas Prince” yet, then you’re missing out. It’s not that the movie is really all that good. It’s Ok, but we’ll get back to that in a second. What matters is that this fairy tale rom-com has helped Netflix begin its mission: to steal Christmas from cable networks.

While networks like Lifetime, Freeform, Up, and Ion have been cranking out some holiday rom-coms and programming, Hallmark is the undisputed leader of Christmas fare. The channel began its new original Christmas movies back in October, ruled over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, and is still making a splash with yuletide movies like “The Christmas Train” and “Switched for Christmas.” »

- Hanh Nguyen

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‘The X-Files’ Season 11 Review: Mulder and Scully Return, and The Results Are Genuinely Exciting

15 December 2017 2:18 PM, PST

When “The X-Files” returned to Fox in January 2016 after lying dormant for years, no one was really quite sure what to expect. After all, sometimes when a beloved franchise dusts itself off for a new run of episodes, it works. But sometimes, the end result is best described as, well, dusty — which was the case with Season 10 (or, if you like, a special Fox “event series”), a mixed bag of episodes which reunited stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny with creator Chris Carter, but at best was clumsy and at worst a pale echo of the once-great drama.

In reviewing the Season 10 cliffhanger finale, “My Struggle II,” IndieWire noted that if the show had ended there forever, it would have been a real tragedy for the show’s legacy. However, the season overall was enough of a disappointment to leave us nervous about what would happen when Fox (inevitably) greenlit a follow-up season. »

- Liz Shannon Miller

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RuPaul is Heading to Sundance for a ‘Drag Race’ Retrospective, Cementing Icon Status Across Industries

15 December 2017 12:50 PM, PST

RuPaul is heading to Park City this winter, and it’s not to shoot a special ski bunny episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” It’s an odd couple pairing for the indie film community and the person who brought drag into the mainstream more than once, proving that even the most devout cinephiles love their reality television — as long as it’s paired with a fabulous dash of biting satire. RuPaul has two Emmys for his role hosting “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” which he executive produces with Sundance regulars Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato of World of Wonder productions.

According to Deadline, RuPaul will host an official “Drag Race” retrospective to celebrate the show’s impact and commemorate its forthcoming tenth season. The event is being billed as, “RuPaul’s Drag Race: A Retrospective of the Cultural Phenomenon.” In addition to the panel, RuPaul will present the Next Innovator Award, »

- Jude Dry

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‘Ultimate Beastmaster’ Review: This Insane Obstacle Course Competition is Netflix’s Best Alternative to the Olympics

15 December 2017 11:00 AM, PST

One of the thrills of watching sports, either in person or on TV, is recognizing that everyone taking part is capable of things that you fundamentally are not. Sometimes it’s throwing a baseball at speeds that would get you booked for reckless driving. Other times, it’s running so fast that you can pose for a picture while beating all of your peers. In Season 2 of the Netflix series “Ultimate Beastmaster,” one of those feats is leaping between giant treadmills suspended ten feet in the air.In that way, “Ultimate Beastmaster” is crafted as unabashed TV comfort food. Following in the well-established vein of other televised obstacle course spectacles, it’s similar enough to “American Ninja Warrior” (even using the same director, Patrick McManus) that anyone stumbling across it on Netflix would be forgiven if they thought that this might be the same show that’s been a staple »

- Steve Greene

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‘The Crown’ Ratings: According to Nielsen, an Older, Upscale Female Audience Binged Season 2

15 December 2017 9:42 AM, PST

Netflix continues to refuse to share its ratings data, but Nielsen is moving forward with data of their own, reporting that the first Season 2 episode of awards contender “The Crown” averaged nearly 3 million viewers within the first three days of availability (December 8 to 10).

Taking all 10 episodes into account, within the first three days, “The Crown” averaged nearly 1.3 million viewers P2+ watching and close to 600,000 adults 18-49 viewers.

According to Nielsen’s Svod Content Ratings, “The Crown” skews older than some of Netflix’s other offerings and is also among the streamer’s most upscale shows. Per the ratings service, half of “The Crown” audience was over 50 — outside of the adults 18-49 demo that advertisers covet (something the ad-free Netflix doesn’t need to worry about). Two-thirds of the audience within the first three days were over the age of 35.

Read More:Netflix’s ‘Ozark’ Was Most Popular Streaming Show This Summer, »

- Michael Schneider

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Guillermo del Toro Originally Pitched ‘Trollhunters’ As a Live-Action Drama Like ‘Stranger Things’

15 December 2017 9:21 AM, PST

It may seem like Guillermo del Toro is up to a lot of different things at once. But while his current projects may seem to verge wildly at the moment, from the award-nominated fantasy film “The Shape of Water” to the Netflix/Dreamworks Animation series “Trollhunters,” there is one common element — one which unites those projects as well as much of his past work.

“I’m a guy that’s been doing fairy tales all his life,” del Toro told IndieWire. “It can be ‘Shape of Water,’ it can be ‘Pacific Rim,’ it can be [‘Trollhunters’]. It can be Pan’s Labyrinth. There is that thruline.”

While the intention might be the same, we do see variations in del Toro’s approach to making film and television. For example, the second season of “Trollhunters,” which premieres Friday on Netflix, is far less adult than some of his other work, even though »

- Liz Shannon Miller

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Lili Reinhart Defends Controversial ‘Riverdale’ Striptease: ‘It Was Supposed To Make You Uncomfortable’

15 December 2017 6:45 AM, PST

The CW’s “Riverdale” is one of TV’s most talked about series, but one scene in the Season 2 episode “Chapter Twenty-One: House of the Devil” caught most fans off guard. The Archie Comics adaptation has always pushed the envelope with the edgy reimagining of the classic comic, but a striptease scene involving 16-year-old Betty Cooper has given fans pause.

In “House of the Devil,” Betty (Lili Reinhart) helps her boyfriend Jughead (Cole Sprouse) throw a retirement party for his father, who has decided to leave behind his biker gang, The South Side Serpents. Jughead had previously joined the gang during his father’s stint in prison. Worried about her boyfriend’s safety and wanting to be a part of his world, Betty decides to join the gang herself. Her initiation? A pole dance at the gang’s bar hangout.

Read More:Dylan Sprouse on His Killer New Role, Life After Disney, »

- Jamie Righetti

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‘Gunpowder’ Review: Kit Harington Needs a Dragon’s Fire to Spark This Handsome Historical Yarn

15 December 2017 5:30 AM, PST

Gunpowder” invites a lot of comparisons to “Game of Thrones.” Much of the three-hour series is spent watching Kit Harington swing his sword around, sport period garb while walking through castles, deliver stirring motivational speeches, and recruit an army to defend his fellow men from persecution. Future generations can look at .gifs of a grimacing Harington and guess, “‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘Gunpowder’?”

As fun as that sounds, the limited series deserves slightly more respect than such frivolity implies. It’s an earnestly made, well-told, true story about a group of 17th century Catholics who rebelled against a Protestant king that saw their faith as a threat and wanted them eliminated. Dragons do not belong here, nor should one wish for them to fly in and set the world ablaze.

But while “Gunpowder” tells its story clearly and respectably — previously unaware British viewers will see Guy Fawkes Day differently — its »

- Ben Travers

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The Best Podcasts of 2017: A Tribute

14 December 2017 4:00 PM, PST

It seems like we always start any podcast story with the same general idea: It’s impossible to fully keep up with the massive amount of quality podcasts that spring up on a regular basis. For every well-established favorite that’s still producing some of the best stories in the world on a regular basis, there are a handful of upstart projects worthy of time and consideration.

So, making a list of the 50 best episodes of the year is, as always, a futile task. As we’ve documented throughout the year, there are hours upon hours of innovative, entertaining programming being offered up every day. Even in monthly installments, highlighting the gems of the podcast world is tricky.

Read More:The 50 Best Podcast Episodes of 2017

Back in June, when we selected the top 50 at the halfway point of the year, that list could easily have sustained through the final six months »

- Steve Greene

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‘Black Mirror’ Is Coming True at a Chinese Company That Rates People’s ‘Social Credit’

14 December 2017 2:07 PM, PST

In yet another case of life imitating art, a Chinese “super app” called Alipay is now assigning users a three-digit score that works as “credit for everything in your life.” Known as Zhima Credit, it ranges between 350 and 950 and is meant to assess people’s worth on a wide-ranging scale — not unlike what we saw in “Nosedive,” the first episode of “Black Mirror” season three. Wired has a lengthy writeup on Zhima Credit, a project of the company Ant Financial meant to serve as a “credit system that covers the whole society.”

“Zhima Credit is the embodiment of personal credit,” reads the signup text. “It uses big data to conduct an objective assessment. The higher the score, the better your credit.”

Read More:‘Black Mirror’ Trailer Is Gloriously Bleak and Twisted, Finally Reveals Season 4 Premiere Date – Watch

Ant Financial CEO Lucy Peng has said that Zhima Credit “will ensure that »

- Michael Nordine

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Net Neutrality Killed, But The Fight To Save Netflix, Twitter and Facebook Isn’t Over Yet

14 December 2017 11:28 AM, PST

The FCC just voted 3-2 along party lines to dismantle the set of protections that go by the shorthand “net neutrality,” and it’s bad news for consumers, media-lovers, and small internet businesses alike.

Completely reversing all of net neutrality is a huge departure from what consumers are used to, and in the long run the consequences could be absolutely disastrous. But there’s a lot of confusion and a lack of clarity about how the demise of net neutrality will happen and hurt individuals.

Although the Commission just voted to kill the rules, the internet won’t immediately be split into tiered bundles today or even this year. If it net neutrality does end up doomed, the reality of “how” is slower, more complicated, and more insidious than that. But the good news is, it still may not be doomed at all. Here’s the reality of whether we’ll get there, »

- Kate Cox

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Disney/Fox Deal: How The Battle to Beat Netflix Starts Today, What Happens to the Fox Network, And Other Burning Questions

14 December 2017 9:59 AM, PST

Rupert Murdoch is cashing out. The idea of 21st Century Fox being consumed by Disney in a $52.4 billion all-stock deal has shocked Hollywood, where industry players never thought they’d see the powerful Fox behemoth be largely consumed, rather than do the consuming. But as one insider noted, Murdoch is looking toward his final legacy — and turning in his chips while the getting’s good.

“Rupert is 86. He’s looking toward setting up [his family],” one observer said. The industry is rapidly changing, and as the Disney deal currently values the 21st Century Fox assets at more than $66 billion, it’s probably never going to get better than that. Fox shareholders, including the Murdochs, could hold around 25 percent of a new mega-Disney, which will now be supremely positioned to face off with Netflix and other giants in the new media landscape.

The Murdochs got their start in the newspaper business, so it »

- Michael Schneider

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‘The Simpsons’ Producers on How They Predicted Disney Would Buy Fox 19 Years Ago

14 December 2017 9:04 AM, PST

The Disney-Fox merger is one of the biggest industry stories of the year, and it turns out “The Simpsons” saw it coming 19 years ago. The show has always managed to predict the future, be it Trump’s presidency or the FIFA corruption scandal, and it appears Matt Groening and company somehow knew their series would one day be owned by Disney.

Read More:Disney/Fox Deal: How The Battle to Beat Netflix Starts Today, What Happens to the Fox Network, And Other Burning Questions

In the 1998 episode “When You Dish Upon a Star,” Homer becomes the personal assistant to Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger after they leave Hollywood behind and move to Springfield. When Ron Howard comes to visit the actors, Homer pitches a time-tralveing robot movie. Later in the episode, Howard is seen pitching Homer’s script to 20th Century Fox, and the sign in front of the studio lot »

- Zack Sharf and Michael Schneider

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