Sunday, January 28, 2018

Screengrab: Joe Adalian and I Talk TV, Every Tuesday Morning on KCRW

You may have noticed last year that Joe Adalian and I ended our KCRW podcast, "The Spin-Off," which we recorded at least once, or sometimes twice, a month. The show was always sporadic, and ultimately had sort of run its course. But out of the ashes of "The Spin-Off" came something more regular: "Screengrab," a weekly segment that airs on Tuesday mornings at 8:45 a.m. on KCRW during "Morning Edition." Not only does that give us an on-air slot for the first time, but podcast listeners can still subscribe (at iTunes, Stitcher or anywhere you download podcasts) and download the show each week to listen on their leisure.

It's still Joe and I talking TV, but in bite-size form, and focusing on one major topic per week. The frequency actually allows us to talk about news as it happens, and there's no shortage of things to talk about these days.

On last Tuesday's episode, we talked about the evolving nature of streaming comedy in light of recent cancellations:
Sorry, fans of 'Lady Dynamite' and 'One Mississippi.' Both shows were cancelled recently--the first on Netflix and the latter on Amazon. They join the likes of also recently cancelled comedies 'Difficult People' on Hulu and 'I Love Dick,' also from Amazon. Though these shows all had critical acclaim and niche fan bases, they clearly weren't getting enough eyeballs to keep their respective studios happy. In the old days of streaming, almost everything would get a second or third season, but now, as the streaming networks all have a massive amount of content, they don't need to hang on to dead weight.

Listen below!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Backstage At The SAG Awards 2018

Another year in the press room at the SAG Awards — check out IndieWire's full coverage here. Most of the film winners didn't bother to come back stage, but TV was in full force, as always. Above, Allison Janney — who won the supporting film actress award for "I, Tonya," but TV can still claim her as one of its own. A few more pics from backstage:

Nicole Kidman, best supporting actress in a TV movie or limited series, for "Big Little Lies"

Gary Oldman, Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for “Darkest Hour”

Sterling K. Brown, outstanding drama actor for "This Is Us"

The cast of "This Is Us," best drama ensemble

The cast of "Veep," best comedy ensemble

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Scenes From The Women's March 2018 In Downtown Los Angeles

We had to miss last year's Women's March, as I was flying to the Sundance Film Festival that day. With no Sundance for me this year, we weren't going to miss it again. Maria, the Blogger Kid 2.0 and I all donned our "Feminist" t-shirts (thanks to "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"), the kid made a sign ("Women and Immigrants Make America Great"), and we took the Metro Gold Line from Highland Park to Little Tokyo.

And what we saw was as inspiring as we hoped. Women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. Amazing young girls marching together, chanting. Men and boys showing their support. People of all walks of life marching together. Some highlights:

These girls may have been our favorite of the entire march.

"Worst 'Black Mirror' ever."

Good use of cheetos.

More amazing young women.

Loved seeing this female cop talking to these young girls about using their voices.

Another great scene: Women with "Love Trumps Hate" signs surround a few awful hatemongers in the crowd.

Ten more months. Ten more months.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hummus The Hits: Choice Cuts 2017, Part 4

In no particular order, I've selected the favorite tracks from 2017's playlists for our sixteenth annual Choice Cuts end-of-year mix. Here are the final five:

18. The Game — Gabriel Garzón-Montano

Have a heart like a tangerine!

19. Holding On — The War On Drugs

Hold on to the past, or find a way to move on? The War on Drugs gives us a lot to chew on here.

20. Quiet — MILCK

An anthem for #MeToo and Time's Up, and also for anyone looking to find their voice.

21. May I Have This Dance (Remix) — Francis and the Lights feat. Chance the Rapper

Come for Francis and the Lights' Phil Collins/Genesis vibe, mixed with Chance's mellow rap, but stay for their dancing in the video.

22. This Song — RAC

Wrapping up the 2017 Choice Cuts, Rostam's back -- along with the high energy of a RAC mix.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hummus The Hits: Choice Cuts 2017, Part 3

In no particular order, I've selected the favorite tracks from 2017's playlists for our sixteenth annual Choice Cuts end-of-year mix. Here are the next five:

13. Land Of The Free — Joey Bada$$

Joey Bada$$ is a bad ass, and "Land of the Free" is the perfect example of that. "The first step in the change is to take notice/ Realize the real games that they tried to show us/ 300 plus years of them cold shoulders/ Yet 300 million of us still got no focus/ Sorry America, but I will not be your soldier/ Obama just wasn't enough, I just need some more closure/ And Donald Trump is not equipped to take this country over/ Let’s face facts 'cause we know what’s the real motives."

14. So Tied Up (feat. Bishop Briggs) — Cold War Kids

Cold War Kids' Nathan Willett and Bishop Briggs go toe-to-toe, and I'm here for it.

15. Solo Si Es Contigo — Bombai feat Bebe

We heard this catchy tune non-stop while driving through Spain over the summer, and it became a must to include on this mix.

16. Ran — Future Islands

Future Islands boasts the best 1980s combined synth/bass/drum sound of 2017.

17. Fool — Fitz and The Tantrums

The Blogger Kid 2.0 couldn'y get enough of this song for a period of time in 2017, and it's not hard to see why: it's boppy, poppy fun.

Final picks tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Hummus the Hits: Choice Cuts 2017, Part 2

In no particular order, I've selected the favorite tracks from 2017's playlists for our sixteenth annual Choice Cuts end-of-year mix. Here are the next six:

7. The Gold — Manchester Orchestra

A beautiful song, and it's all about that harmonic chorus one minute in.

8. Noise Pollution (Feat. Mary Elizabeth Winstead & Zoe Manville) — Portugal. The Man

Everyone was all about Portugal. The Man's "Feel It Still" this year, but "Noise Pollution" was the much more interesting song — especially the vocals by Zoe Manville and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. This song takes on all the lies and propaganda coming out in the new, polluted environment. A year later, it's only worse.

9. Silence — Marshmello feat. Khalid

Khalid boasts so much soul for a singer so young. Add in Marshmello's signature drops, and this is a killer track.

10. The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness — The National

The National: dad rock at its finest.

11. Good Woman — Jade Bird

Rock on, Jade Bird!

12. Hard to Say Goodbye — Washed Out

The perfect song to simultaneously groove out on and also tap into your inner ennui.

More tomorrow!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Hummus The Hits: Choice Cuts 2017, Part 1

In no particular order, I've selected the favorite tracks from 2017's playlists for our sixteenth annual Choice Cuts end-of-year mix. Here are the first six:

1. Empires On Fire — BANNERS

This should be the theme song of 2017 — and on, as we continue to do very little to solve our climate change problem. Of course, it could double as an anthem to describe all of the horrible things happening right now under the Trump administration. Our empire is on fire, indeed.

2. Look At What The Light Did Now — Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White

There's something hypnotic and fascinating in the contrast between Matthew E. White's gruff vocals and Flo Morrisey's high-pitched response. I love how Matthew throws to Flo with a simple, "Flo?"

3. Stardust — Ásgeir

This is one where I already loved the light, Icelandic pop of Ásgeir. Add in the video, which seems straight out of a Wes Anderson film, and I love it even more.

4. First Time — Kygo & Ellie Goulding

A deeply personal song by Kygo, as voiced by Ellie Goulding.

5. Bike Dream — Rostam

Great track by Rostam about a complicated love affair, and breaking barriers along the way as he naturally sings about being gay and in love.

6. Never Give Up On Me — MisterWives

Catchy power pop from MisterWives, with a song that should have been a big hit.

More tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Three Best Celebrity Sightings at This Year's Golden Globe Awards

For the third year in a row I had the opportunity to sit at one of the press tables at the Golden Globe Awards, and although we're in the back, it's the perfect vantage point for celebrity sightings. As everyone rushes down to their tables, they pass right by us. The problem is people move so fast that you miss most great shots — but these were my three favorites from this year: The Rock, Tom Hanks and the one and only Tommy Wiseau.

Friday, January 5, 2018

End of Year Round-Up: My Favorite IndieWire Stories From 2017

It was my first full year at IndieWire (having joined in April 2016), and I'm proud to say the site is humming along nicely -- and ended the year with its most-read month (December) in IndieWire historu. I went through and selected some of my favorite stories fron 2017. Read 'em below.

Jimmy Kimmel: Here’s What Fueled His Reluctant Transformation into the Nation’s Moral Conscience (Oct. 4)

The 20 Best TV Spin-off Series of All Time, Ranked (Sept. 27)


Chuck Lorre on Following Up ‘Mom’ With a Pot Comedy, and How Making a Single-Camera Comedy Is Torture (Sept. 6)


The 15 Greatest TV Presidents of All Time, Ranked (Aug. 22)


How Netflix Has Ignited TV’s Talent War — and Network Fears — By Stealing Away Shonda Rhimes (Aug. 14)


As Disney Cuts Ties With Netflix, the Real Battle for Streaming Supremacy Begins (Aug. 8)

The 20 Best HBO Series of All Time, Ranked (July 25)


‘Game of Thrones’: Where to Find The Real-Life Staircase to Dragonstone in Spain (July 17)


How Donald Trump and James Comey Destroyed the Way Film and TV Depict the FBI and CIA (June 29)


‘Power’: When Starz Began Targeting African-American Viewers, It Paid Off With More Ratings and Subscribers (June 23)

Jim Carrey on The Perils of Standup Comedy In Our Outrage Culture — IndieWire’s Turn It On Podcast (June 7)


‘Transparent’ Star Jay Duplass on Why He Loves Acting More than Directing, and His Disgust for Superhero Movies (June 6)


Netflix and Bill Nye Aren’t Censoring His Old TV Show – Sorry, Conspiracy Theorists, Here’s What Really Happened (June 5)


The Mystery of Why Top TV Producers Shonda Rhimes, Greg Berlanti and Chuck Lorre Haven’t Won an Emmy (May 30)


These Are the 100 Most-Watched TV Shows of the 2016-17 Season: Winners and Losers (May 26)


‘The Bachelorette’ Rachel Lindsay Gets Grilled By Comedian Paul Scheer And Tells All — IndieWire’s Turn It On Podcast (May 24)


Women Leads on TV Decline As Networks Discover White Dudes in Crisis (May 19)


‘Downward Dog’ Creator Shares His Diary on How This Unlikely Show Ever Got Made (May 16)

‘American Gods’ Producers and Stars on How A Nudity Gender Equality Mandate Led to So Much Penis — IndieWire’s Turn It On Podcast (May 12)


Alex Jones Is Too Crazy For TV: Why Shows Can’t Pull Off Conspiracy-Theorist Characters (April 21)


‘Tales from the Crypt,’ David Chase Miniseries, ‘MTV Unplugged’ and More: A Status Check on Shows in TV Purgatory (April 14)

Trevor Noah Isn’t Angry with Donald Trump, and That’s Why Millennials Are Flocking to ‘The Daily Show’ (April 4)


‘Black-ish,’ ‘Insecure,’ and Others Aren’t Just ‘Black Shows,’ As Nielsen Study Proves (March 17)


Jimmy Kimmel Producers Reveal Oscars Secrets – What You Didn’t Know Happened Behind the Scenes (Feb. 27)

Joel McHale’s ‘The IT Crowd,’ Scott Baio’s ‘Rewind,’ and More TV Cancellations Before Their Premiere
(Jan. 5)

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

KCRW's The Business End of Year Wrap Up: 2017 Was Groundbreaking, and 2018 Promises More Shake-Ups

'Tis the season... for our annual recap of the Year in Entertainment Biz Headlines over at KCRW's "The Business." The Hollywood Reporter's Matt Belloni and I join host Kim Masters for our usual roundup of what happened over the past year -- and what's coming next: The fall of Harvey Weinstein and everything after. The Mouse ate the Fox as streaming TV gets bigger than ever. Major departures at multiple studios. Soul searching in the stunt community. Kim, Matt and Mike tackle it all on this year’s mega banter.

Listen below!

Monday, January 1, 2018

What They Said in 2017: Sterling K. Brown, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, RuPaul, Danny Trejo and More

One of the great things about covering the TV biz is all the interesting writers, producers, stars and executives you get to speak to throughout the year. I combed through some of my IndieWire pieces to come up with some of the most interesting things people said to me in 2017:

“I thought that diminished the show,” "Moonlighting" creator Glenn Gordon Caron  said of turning down lucrative merchandising deals at the time. “I look back on that and think, what a fool!”

“The fact that we have flat-earthers is evidence of two things: that we live in a country with free speech and we live in a country where our educational system has failed us,” said Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

"If you go an extended period of time without seeing a reflection of yourself, it’s easier to believe you’re invisible and of minimal value," said Sterling K. Brown. "I want everyone to know that they are seen, appreciated, and their story is being told.”

“I think the world is getting better despite some evidence to the contrary," "The Good Doctor" creator David Shore said of his show's success. "We are watching a character that we’re not used to seeing on TV and we are relating to him.”

“The fact that I would have eyelashes and makeup and pretty hair and a manicure — I’d never been considered in that way — to tell you what that meant to me. I’m always thinking, ‘You gotta lose 50 pounds, no one’s going to consider you for this or that.’ And then this role came along, and on top of it all, she’s funny," actress Ann Dowd said of her role on "Good Behavior."

"This guy is, like, Marlon Brando good," Ryan Murphy said of Sterling K. Brown. "This guy has huge, huge depth of talent, and on top of that, he’s charismatic and good looking, and sexy.”

“How is that not somebody who’s gay?” "Will & Grace" co-creator Max Mutchnick said of Vice President Mike Pence.

“We’re in a very dangerous, very degraded moment in time where the values that everybody who came before us fought and died for are all being tromped upon,” Ron Perlman said. “For no good end except power and greed.”

“I like to think of myself as the king of streaming,” joked Paul Reiser, who had shows on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu this fall. “And then I still need my son to show me how to watch these things. But the point is, I am the king.”

"Now people have to cobble together a career or a salary through four jobs where one job used to pay," Nick Kroll said of the modern economics of being a comedian. "But the reality means there’s a lot more people working and making a living doing the thing they’ve always wanted.”

“I’m fascinated by writers," said Kyra Sedgwick, who played one on "Ten Days in the Valley." "They’re such weird creatures!”

"In this day and age and this show, our goal is to never just brutalize people and leave them brutalized," "This Is Us" creator Dan Fogelman said of his emotional drama. "It may happen in an episode from week to week, but it’s not our long-term plan. Our belief is even in tragedy, despair, loss, there’s a way to come through it."

“It’s kind of a nutso world right now,” said "The Opposition" host Jordan Klepper. “Everybody is fighting. All we know right now is that we’re angry. Even when the country seems to be agreeing on something what the news becomes is how angry everybody is on the agreement. Boy, this is only going to get more tumultuous and you can feel more addicted to this news cycle right now. It can get pretty overwhelming.”

“I’ve had a number of people murdered in my family and I know the pain of it,” said Robert F. Kennedy, who is adapting a TV project based on his cousin, whom he believes was wrongfully convicted of murder.

“Distractions will be the new norm,” said CBS marketing president George Schweitzer. “We just have to live within this world. This is survival of the fittest in the entertainment marketing business. Everyone’s competing for leisure time attention. Bring it on."

 “I wanted to make sure we weren’t ‘Slapsgiving’ it,” "You're The Worst" creator Stephen Falk said, explaining why he didn't produce a "Sunday Funday" episode this season/ “We were getting to the point where it felt a little stunty. We said we were going to make it the last one and we did. I think it’s easy money now that if we get a Season 5 that, like Freddy or Jason, there will be a new beginning.”

“It’s so slow,” "Young Sheldon" executive producer Chuck Lorre lamented about the difference in producing a single-camera show. “A dinner scene where the family is sitting around the table having dinner, that’s maybe four pages long. It takes as long as it takes us to shoot an entire episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ in front of an audience. It’s unbelievably, torturously slow. When the camera moves from one place to another, you start thinking about alternate lifestyles for yourself, and maybe I should pick up a hobby… I’m brand new, and still learning about this.”

“I truly believe at some point everything will be the way it’s supposed to be," Faith Evans said when asked whether she thinks the mystery of her husband Notorious B.I.G.'s murder will ever be solved. "If it’s not meant for the LAPD to finally resolve this and say this is what happened, then it’s not meant to be. All we can do is pray that one day they do.”

“Our show is the voice of the 21st century,” RuPaul said of his Emmy-winning "RuPaul's Drag Race." “What’s happening politically in our country is people trying to hold on to the 20th century. The kids who watch our show are future forward thinkers.”

"I always try to get some time with Jessica Walter, who plays Lucille Bluth, because right when she starts saying Buster’s name in her passive aggressive degrading tone, it’s just like a Pavlovian response,” "Arrested Development" star Tony Hale said about getting back into character years later.

“Nobody wants to see me get naked and say bad words,” Kellie Martin said of playing a straight-laced character on "The Guest Book." “People feel like they know me in a strange way, like they grew up with me or they went to high school with me!”

“There isn’t a Plan B for that,” PBS president/CEO Paula Kerger warned if public broadcasting is defunded.

"Lock him up!" Matt Groening led the crowd at Comic-Con in a chant during "The Simpsons" panel.

“I’ve told everybody since the show ended, I’ve been on the record saying I have every desire and intention to make a ‘Chuck’ movie," said star Zachary Levi. "I just got to wait on the right time for it. I do believe whole-heartedly there will be a day when it happens.”

“He has a standing ‘yes’ no matter what when he calls,” Danny Trejo said of his relationship with filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. 

“I come from knowing my lines and the perfect scene, and none of those tools worked in the ‘Black Market’ world," Michael K. Williams said of hosting the Vice channel docuseries. "I had to let go of all of that and be Mike. Mike is not the most educated person in the world. When I let that go, that fear of looking ignorant in this world, I got to learn.”

“The language is horrendous, but it’s not as damaging as watching a terrible Disney show,” Matt Walsh said of when he'll introduce his kids to "Veep."

“Ultimately the network’s largest fears won out and they decided not to air it,” Jerrod Carmichael said of NBC's decision to pre-empt an episode of "The Carmichael Show" about a shooting.

“In this day and age of opposition research, we have to be buttoned up and squeaky clean," said Vice boss Shane Smith. "At some point there has to be a backlash. Everyone goes after everybody. It becomes mud slinging.”

“People are worried that she’s going to die, but just as worried that if she’s there, how corrupt is she?” "Better Call Saul" star Rhea Seehorn said of fan theories about her character Kim’s fate.

“I watch it and think, if Hillary [Clinton] were president, this would be a very entertaining and intelligent show,” writer Julie Plec said of "The Handmaid's Tale." “Donald Trump is president, and I want to vomit. It’s so harrowing in the context of the reality we live in. The speculative fiction feels so presently of today in a way that it absolutely wouldn’t have if Hillary were president.”

“What Kathy Griffin did, whether you like it or not, is a piece of political art,” said Javier Grillo-Marxuach (“The Middleman,” Netflix’s upcoming “The Dark Crystal”). “For politically conscious art it was fairly mercenary and kind of banal but she did it, and we have to defend her right to do that. Or we will not be able to do much more milk-toast crap that is much less defensive than what she did.”

"The President of the United States has not lost his job for committing numerous crimes, and admitting to having sexually assaulted women,” said "House of Cards" creator Beau Willimon in June. “The double standard is that the person who bears the most responsibility, the leader of the free world, should be held to the highest standard and that seems to be the only person not losing his job!”

"When Trump got elected, almost all of the ideas that Mark and I had immediately dropped off the table,” Jay Duplass told IndieWire at a SAG-AFTRA Foundation panel. “We were like, ‘everything has changed.’ Humor has changed. Impulse has changed.”

Margo Martindale, who plays the Russian handler, Claudia, on "The Americans," has a specific request for her character before the show ends: “I want to slit one more person’s throat!”

"The Bachelorette" Rachel Lindsay on why she ignores commenters on social media: “I don’t care. I don’t know you!”

"American Gods" co-creator Bryan Fuller on how actor Mousa Kraish, who plays the Arabic god Jinn, wound up with a rather hefty prosthetic penis:  “We got on the phone and said, our intention was to do a beautiful love scene between two men, and he was like, ‘OK, as long as its not exploitational, and as long as you give me a beautiful cock.’ The funny part was somehow the visual effects guy got it in his head that it’s an 11-inch cock… We sent this 11-inch cock to Mousa with a note – ‘How’s it hanging?’ – expecting him to be like, ‘Jesus Christ!’ But his only response was, ‘It looks good, but should be darker!'”

Ron Howard on why it took "Genius" for him to finally direct for TV: “Nothing came along that I thought I could really lend myself to and make a difference.”

“I had written off network TV,” Jenna Elfman said. “I told my agents not to come to me with another network show. I work really hard and I do my best to promote the shows. I feel like mostly I do a good job. In any other field that would give you job security. Sometimes it’s like it doesn’t matter.”
“It’s one thing to be an idiot and not know what you’re talking about,” Chelsea Handler said of her right, as a celebrity, to discuss politics. “But if you’re informed and have an opinion, why would I not talk about politics?”

“There are moments where it’s genuine disbelief,” Trevor Noah said of his incredulousness over the past year. “I know, for all intents and purposes, hypocrisy is dead. Hypocrisy is not the tool it once was. Shame is not something you can use to smother the flame of a hypocrite anymore.”

“We piggyback on the work of real journalists,” former "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" executive producer Jo Miller said. “Sometimes we’ll fill in some gaps where there hasn’t been coverage, but we couldn’t do our work without journalists. We’re commentary and point of view, but we’re not a newsroom.”

Dan Harmon on the delays in getting a third season of "Rick and Morty" on the air: “If Justin were here he’d agree. He and I would go, ‘Yeah, we fucked up,’ and it’s hard to put your finger on how we fucked up. ‘Rick and Morty’ keeps taking longer and longer to write, and I don’t know why.”

Bryan Tyree Henry, on how he bonded with pal Sterling K. Brown by borrowing his shaver: “He went and got clippers, and we’ve been best friends ever since. Once you shave a guy’s face, man, you’re best friends after that.” 
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