The Big Bang Theory is poised to get a second spinoff / Warner Bros. Discovery unveils "Max" / Harry Potter TV series is officially happening
PLUS: HBO orders Game of Thrones prequel series A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight.
The Big Bang Theory is poised to get a second spinoff
Warner Bros. Discovery announced at its Max press event that The Big Bang Theory co-creator Chuck Lorre is developing a new comedy series in The Big Bang Theory universe. The news comes amid talk that the first spinoff, Young Sheldon, may end next year with Season 7. "No further details were disclosed, with sources indicating that the project is very early in the development process, and it has not been determined yet what character(s) it would center on," reports Deadline's Nellie Andreeva. Young Sheldon currently ranks as the most-watched comedy on broadcast among total viewers in its current sixth season.
It's official: New "Max" streaming service combining HBO Max and Discovery+ to launch on May 23
Warner Bros. Discovery announced that the new rebranded streaming service will average more than 40 new titles and TV show seasons every month. “Max is the one to watch,” Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said on stage at the Max Day event on the Warner Bros. lot. Max will be available in three different versions, the first two of which align with the existing HBO Max pricing. Max Ad-Lite is $9.99/month or $99.99/year. Max Ad Free is $15.99/month or $149.99/year. And Max Ultimate Ad Free is $19.99/month or $199.99/year. The Max Ultimate tier will have an expanded catalog of content available in 4K UHD. Why drop HBO from the HBO Max title? “We all love HBO, and it’s a brand that has been built over five decades” to stand for “edgy, groundbreaking entertainment for adults,” explained JB Perrette, president and CEO of global streaming and games for Warner Bros. Discovery. “But it’s not exactly where parents would most eagerly drop off their kids. And yet Warner Bros. Discovery has some of the best-known kids’ characters, animation and brands in the industry. Not surprisingly, the category has not met his true potential on HBO Max.” Whereas HBO Max's tagline was "Where HBO meets so much more," Max's tagline is "The one to watch."
Harry Potter TV series is officially happening at Max
At the Max Day announcement, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav confirmed plans for a live-action TV series based on controversial author J.K. Rowling’s beloved book series — with Rowling on board as an executive producer. David Heyman, who produced all eight feature films, is in talks to produce the TV series. Here’s how the series is described by Max: “The stories from each of Rowling’s Harry Potter books will become a decade-long series produced with the same epic craft, love and care this global franchise is known for. The series will feature a new cast to lead a new generation of fandom, full of the fantastic detail, much loved characters and dramatic locations that Harry Potter fans have loved for over 25 years. Each season will be authentic to the original books and bring Harry Potter and these incredible adventures to new audiences around the world, while the original, classic and beloved films will remain at the core of the franchise and available to watch globally.” Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO, HBO and Max Content, said of the Harry Potter reboot: “We are delighted to give audiences the opportunity to discover Hogwarts in a whole new way. Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon and it is clear there is such an enduring love and thirst for the Wizarding World. In partnership with Warner Bros. Television and J.K. Rowling, this new Max Original series will dive deep into each of the iconic books that fans have continued to enjoy for all of these years.”
HBO and Max content chief Casey Bloys declined to comment on J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans controversy when asked how they may affect the ability to find talent for the series: ““No, I don’t think this is the forum,” Bloys said, according to Variety. “That’s a very online conversation, very nuanced and complicated and not something we’re going to get into. He added: “Our priority is what’s on the screen. Obviously, the Harry Potter story is incredibly affirmative and positive and about love and self-acceptance. That’s our priority — what’s on screen.”
The Conjuring series is in the works at Max
Peter Safran, the co-head of Warner Bros. Discovery's DC Studios, will serve as executive producer as he did with the horror franchise’s films. James Wan, who directed the first two Conjuring films and produced seven of the eight movies in the franchise, is in talks to serve as executive producer. No plot details are available at the moment. Max says only that the TV project will “continue the story established in the feature films.”
HBO orders Game of Thrones prequel series A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight
The prequel series based on George R.R. Martin’s Dunk and Egg books is officially moving forward at HBO, Warner Bros. Discovery announced at its Max press conference. Here's the official logline: "A century before the events of ‘Game of Thrones,’ two unlikely heroes wandered Westeros… a young, naïve but courageous knight, Ser Duncan the Tall, and his diminutive squire, Egg. Set in an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living memory, great destinies, powerful foes, and dangerous exploits all await these improbable and incomparable friends.” Martin will serve as writer and executive producer along with Ira Parker, who was a co-executive producer on Season 1 of House of the Dragon. House of the Dragon's Ryan Condal and Vince Gerardis will also serve as executive producers.
Matthew McConaughey says his and Woody Harrelson's Apple TV+ series will be titled Brother from Another Mother
Their new series is a “heartfelt odd couple love story revolving around the strange and beautiful bond” between the longtime friends and True Detective co-stars. “It’s called Brother from Another Mother," McConaughey told Kelly Ripa on her Let's Talk Off Camera podcast. ALSO: McConaughey suggests he and Harrelson are related.
Ariana DeBose returning as Tony Awards host
"I was honored to serve as host last year and even more so to be asked back!" DeBose said in a statement. "So looking forward to celebrating this incredible season and the people who make the work happen. Here's to adding some uptown flavor to the magic of the Tony Awards." Executive producers Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss cheekily added: "Ariana will host and dance and sing, we're so thrilled she's back to do the thing."
CBS picks up Josh Duhamel-hosted Buddy Games reality competition series
For the past 20 years, Duhamel has reunited with childhood friends for one weekend a summer, during which they compete in a variety of competition-style games. That led to Duhamel writing and directing the 2020 film Buddy's Games, his directorial debut. Now Buddy Games will become a CBS reality competition. Produced by Bunim/Murray Productions and CBS Studios, Buddy's Games will bring together six teams of four best friends from different backgrounds giving them the same opportunity: live together at an adult summer camp, compete in challenges and see how strong their bonds really are.
Octavia Spencer to host Lost Women Of Highway 20 for Max and Investigation Discovery
The Oscar winner’s true-crime series will examine the story of the crimes that happened on a desolate stretch of an Oregon highway, including a number of girls and women who went missing between the late 1970s and early 1990s.
Turns out HBO's Succession has played a role in Rupert Murdoch's life
When Murdoch and fourth wife Jerry Hall finalized their divorce in 2022, part of the settlement was that Hall couldn’t give story ideas to the writers on Succession, reports Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman, who adds: "According to another source, Lachlan (Murdoch) told Rupert that James (Murdoch) was leaking stories to the writers of Succession, HBO’s acclaimed drama about a Murdoch-like media dynasty. (The person close to Lachlan denies Lachlan told Rupert this.)"
Harvey Keitel joins Peacock’s The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Keitel will co-star with Jonah Hauer-King, Anna Próchniak, Melanie Lynskey and Jonas Nay on the Peacock and Sky adaptation of Heather Morris' novel of the same name. The limited series “is inspired by the heart-breaking true-life story of Lale and Gita Sokolov. Lale (Hauer-King) arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942, and shortly after arrival, he was made one of the tätowierer (tattooists), charged to ink identification numbers onto fellow prisoners’ arms. One day, he meets Gita (Próchniak) when tattooing her prisoner number on her arm. They experience love at first sight, and so begins a life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable, and human story. Under constant guard from a volatile SS officer Baretzki (Jonas Nay), Lale and Gita became determined to keep each other alive.” Keitel will star as Lale 60 years after the events at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Sylvester Stallone inks deal with Amazon
Amazon Studios has signed a first-look deal with the actor, writer and filmmaker and his company Balboa Productions to write, direct, produce, and star in film and television projects, both scripted and unscripted. “Sylvester Stallone is an undeniable Hollywood legend who has created some of the most timeless and iconic characters of our generation. As an actor, writer, director, and producer, he has defined his own epic brand of storytelling and inspired people all over the world,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon and MGM Studios. “We are excited to continue our relationship with Sylvester and Balboa Productions to bring even more of his exciting creative vision to our global audiences.”
TLC will test whether love really is the universal language with dating series Love & Translation
The series will bring three American men and 12 international women together on a remote paradise island — none of the women speak English and none of the men speak other languages. Watch the teaser.
Magnolia Network expanding the Fixer Upper franchise with The Hotel, starring Chip and Joanna Gaines
The Gaineses will star in Fixer Upper: The Hotel, in which they’ll renovate a historic building in downtown Waco to open Hotel 1928, a new boutique hotel just a few blocks from Magnolia Market at the Silos. Watch the teaser.
Max and Cartoon Network greenlight an animated take on the classic tale Peter & the Wolf, featuring Bono's artwork
The short film will feature "music and narration by Gavin Friday, and artwork based on original illustrations by Bono," per Deadline. "The short film, slated to premiere later this year, transforms Sergei Prokofiev’s symphony into a contemporary piece that touches on themes of growing up, loss, courage, transformation, and our relationship with nature. The project was originally developed in 2003 by Gavin Friday and Bono in support of Irish Hospice Foundation, a national charity supporting those facing dying, death and bereavement."
Alexander the Great is getting the Netflix docudrama treatment
"Following on from the success of shows such as The Last Czars and African Queens, the streamer has over the past year been developing a big-budget retelling of the life of one of world history’s most notorious figures, which currently has a working title of Alexander the Great," reports Deadline's Max Goldbbart. "A crew of more than 100 people have been filming on-and-off in Morocco since last summer on the hybrid docudrama, which will feature both documentary and scripted elements. British indies Tailfeather Productions and Lion TV are attached the series and Tony Mitchell (Miss America) is showrunner, we understand."
Vanderpump Rules' Tom Sandoval apologizes to Ariana Madix after affair
The reality star shared a statement late last night on Instagram addressing the end of his nine-year relationship. "I want to first and foremost apologize to everyone I've hurt through this process," he began. "Most of all, I want to apologize to Ariana. I made mistakes, I was selfish, and made reckless decisions that hurt somebody I love. No one deserves to feel that pain so traumatically and publicly." His post came hours after Sandoval submitted to a wide-ranging interview on Howie Mandel's podcast. ALSO: Jax Taylor and Brittany Cartwright are officially returning to the Bravo universe with exclusive Watch With specials on Peacock.
Paramount+ and Formula 1 form a promotional partnership
In a first of its kind deal for Formula 1, the 2023-2024 racing season will include Paramount+ branding on racetracks, digital sponsorships and plans for Paramount+ series, movies and characters “taking center stage inside Fan Zone areas.”
Discovery orders Survive the Raft, a social experiment reality series
Coming to Max in July, the nine-episode Survive the Raft "was inspired by Mexican anthropologist Santiago Genovés’ 1973 behavioral study that observed whether humans from diverse cultures and backgrounds could set aside their differences and work together during a 101-day voyage on the Acali," per Deadline. "Produced near Panama’s Pearl Islands, the series follows nine contestants who set sail on the Acali II for twenty-one days to test whether personal interest will sabotage the team’s chance to win a fortune together. With each successful mission, the team earns money towards a communal cash pot that will be divided equally by those who make it to the end. Every week, participants are tasked with completing physical and intellectual challenges designed to disrupt and divide the group. At the end of each episode, the crew of the Acali II are given the option to continue as a group, or swap one of their own for a new participant. Will the good for all outweigh the good for one?"
DC's Creature Commandos unveils its full cast, including David Harbour, Zoe Chao, Alan Tudyk and Indira Varma
James Gunn’s first animated series within the new DCU timeline will also star Maria Bakalova, Steve Agee, Frank Grillo and more. They join Sean Gunn and Viola Davis.
Cecily Strong agrees SNL is like an ex-boyfriend: "I have to admit, it's hard for me to watch the show right now"
Strong tells Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live she's been avoiding watching Saturday Night Live since her exit at the end of last year. Confirming she'll be "back for the 50th" anniversary of the series, Strong added: "It's just such a big part of my life and there's so many people that I love there. So I feel like I would just be in a swamp of sadness, just my heart would break. So I gotta keep my distance."
Eric Andre's 40th birthday party took place over 12 hours, featuring BDSM, a Prince impersonator, strippers and a petting zoo
About 3,250 people bought tickets last weekend to Andre's 40th birthday party at the Knockdown Center in Queens. Andre, "a comedian known for his sensational, chaotic antics, had a 40th birthday party that was as weird and epic as you'd expect — and then some," reports Buzzfeed News' Kenneth Bachor. "On the surface, it could be described as The Eric André Show come to life, with throngs of costumed revelers and special guests that included some characters you might recognize from social media, like Crackhead Barney and Spider Cuz, along with performances from various comedians, including Felipe Esparza and Ardie Fuqua, rappers JPEGMafia and Zelooperz, and a DJ set from Peanut Butter Wolf. The night was laid out as a fully immersive experience, as if one were stepping into André’s brain. One TikTok account described it as a 'fever dream.'"
Extra renewed for Season 30
“At a time when syndicated shows seem to be dropping like flies, it’s a pleasure to be bringing this first-run, day and date staple back to our stations,” said Frank Cicha, executive VP of programming for Fox Television Stations. Billy Bush has hosted Extra since 2019.
Grogu lands a Google Easter egg
An animated version of The Mandalorian character appears in Google Search.
Karl Urban teases Jeffrey Dean Morgan's The Boys Season 4 mystery character
"Coming soon …ish," he captioned an Instagram photo of him and Morgan in front of a Cadillac.
Elon Musk: Twitter will change BBC’s label of “government-funded media” after the broadcaster objected
Musk made the announcement during a wide-ranging and intense interview with the BBC in which he said his pain level from running Twitter had been “extremely high” but that the business was now “roughly breaking even.”
Peacock will be available on the Metaverse
The NBCUniversal-owned streaming service and Meta Platforms Inc. announced today that Peacock will be available on the Meta Quest lineup of virtual reality headsets, starting today.
Ana de Armas gets intense in her first SNL promo
Watch her and Chloe Fineman brainstorm ideas for her first time hosting.
HBO releases the first teaser for The Sympathizer
Robert Downey Jr. plays multiple roles in the limited series adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The Sympathizer follows a half-French, half-Vietnamese communist spy, played by Hoa Xuande, during the final days of the Vietnam War and his resulting exile in the United States.
Watch Jodie Foster and Kali Reis in the True Detective: Night Country teaser trailer
The crime anthology series' long-awaited return does not yet have a premiere date.
Peacock teases John Wick prequel series The Continental
Even though Mel Gibson stars in the three-part limited series, he's missing in the first look. The Continental premieres in September.
Gremlins: Secrets Of The Mogwai gets a premiere date and teaser
The animated prequel series to the iconic film franchise will premiere on May 23, Max's launch day.
Kate Winslet clings to power in HBO's The Regime trailer
Premiering April 12, The Regime “tells the story of one year within the walls of the palace of a modern European regime as it begins to unravel.”
The Penguin reveals first footage, 2024 release date
The first look at the eight-episode The Batman spinoff series starring Colin Farrell was unveils as part of Warner Bros. Discovery's Max Day press event. The Penguin is expected to premiere next year.
The Great's Season 3 trailer shows Catherine and Peter in marriage counseling
Elle Fanning's Catherine and Nicholas Hoult's Peter are finding out the hard way that marriage is hard work in Season 3 of their period Hulu series. The Great returns May 12.
The Muppets Mayhem rocks out in its official trailer
Disney+'s new Muppets series will drop all 10 episodes on May 10.
Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge gets an official trailer
Ashley Graham hosts the HGTV and Max Barbie renovation reality show, tied to Greta Gerwig's upcoming Barbie movie.
Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes go On the Road in the Max trailer for their SmartLess documentary
SmartLess: On The Road, based on their hit podcast, debuts May 23 with the launch of the rebranded Max.