Disney earnings call unlocks a treasure trove of Disney+ info (and speculation), TV-turned-movie stars return to TV, the latest trailers, casting and development updates, and more of the week’s top TV news.
Sure, The Mandalorian gets a lot of credit for helping Disney+ draw more than 28 million subscribers since the streaming service launched in November, but let’s be honest: it’s been all about Baby Yoda love.
That’s why, when Disney CEO Bob Iger hinted during the company’s financial earnings call earlier this week that it’s possible that The Mandalorian spin-offs could be on the way, we had just one reaction: oh please, oh please, oh please let The Incredible Adventures of Baby Yoda be among them!
There is, of course, a chance that The Child will be trained and is ultimately intended to become the Mandalorian the show’s title refers to, but that’s speculation – there are a number of places creator Jon Favreau could go with this money maker.
And, oh, has there been money — nearly $4 billion of it, in fact. While the company attributed an operating loss increase from $136 million to $693 million in its Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in part to costs associated with the launch of Disney+, the launch also resulted in an increase of revenues from $918 million to $3.9 billion — looks like that $6.99 monthly subscription fee has reconfigured the world economy.
The Mandalorian season 2 will premiere in October, Iger confirmed, while he also revealed when we’ll see new series: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, with Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan returning to the title roles they played in the Marvel movies, premieres in August, while WandaVision, a miniseries starring Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda/Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany as Vision, premieres in December. Both MCU series are to be set in the MCU after the events of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame big-screen movie.
There’s also, of course, the upcoming Loki series on Disney+, with Tom Hiddleston reprising his Marvel movie role as the titular baddie and Owen Wilson joining the fun as … as … well, no one, including Iger, is disclosing that information just yet.
Speaking of those upcoming Marvel series…
Oscar, Emmy, and Tony winner Viola Davis will end her run on the Shonda Rhimes ABC drama How to Get Away with Murder this spring, but she’s already created her next big TV project. Davis will be an executive producer and star as Michelle Obama in First Ladies, Showtime’s upcoming anthology series that will tell the personal and political stories of our most interesting presidential wives.
In addition to Obama, the first season of the series, created by author Aaron Cooley, will also include installments about Eleanor Roosevelt and Betty Ford. Cooley will write the series and also serve as an executive producer, alongside Oscar winner Cathy Schulman.
In more examples of why TV is where it’s at, a pair of former tube actors-turned-movie stars are headed back to the big screen.
Parks and Recreation and Avengers: Endgame alum Chris Pratt is set to star in and executive produce the conspiracy thriller The Terminal List. Teaming with his Magnificent Seven director Antoine Fuqua, Pratt would play Reece, a Navy SEAL who is the sole survivor of an ambush on his team during a covert operation. With a fuzzy memory of the attack and concern that he was responsible, Reece returns home and finds out there are some surprising, sinister forced behind the attack. No network is yet attached to the project, which is an adaptation of a novel by Jack Carr and planned as a multiple-season drama.
Meanwhile, Welcome Back Kotter and In a Valley of Violence star John Travolta will co-star with Kevin Hart in the Quibi series Die Hart, a comedy-action story in which Travolta plays an action star school instructor who has to teach a fictionalized version of Hart how to play an action movie star.
Gray’s Anatomy and Bridget Jones’s Baby star Patrick Dempsey will star in and executive produce Ways & Means, a CBS pilot about a congressional leader who has lost faith in the political world, and partners with a member of the opposing party to try to “save American politics.”
The Night Manager star Tom Hiddleston will play the lead in the 10-episode Netflix political thriller White Stork. He’ll star as James Cooper, a man running for a seat in British parliament, whose campaign and personal life might be destroyed if a series of secrets from his past becomes public.
Linda Hamilton will play the recurring role of General McAllister, a high-ranking military official who secretly runs an alien-huting op in Syfy’s upcoming Resident Alien series. (Deadline)
J.K Simmons and Bruce Dern will play warring brothers George Zax, the head of a family-owned pharmaceutical company, and Frank Zax, the black sheep of the family, on the upcoming fourth and final season of Amazon’s drama Goliath, starring Billy Bob Thornton.
Zach Gilford, Kate Siegel, Hamish Linklater, Annabeth Gish, Henry Thomas, Michael Trucco, Rahul Abburi, Crystal Balint, Matt Biedel, Alex Essoe, Rahul Kohli, Kristin Lehman, Robert Longstreet, Igby Rigney, Annarah Shephard, and Samantha Sloyan will star in Midnight Mass, the next Netflix project from the creator of The Haunting of Hill House creator Mike Flanagan. The new series is about “an isolated island community experiences miraculous events — and frightening omens — after the arrival of a charismatic, mysterious young priest.”
The 100 star Lindsey Morgan will star with Supernatural’s Jared Padelecki in Walker, the network’s Walker, Texas Ranger reboot. She will play Walker’s partner, Micki, an Army vet and former cop. (Variety)
The Originals alum Charles Michael Davis will join the cast of NCIS: New Orleans, playing new agent Quentin Carter, who transfers to the Big Easy office at Special Agent in Charge Pride’s (Scott Bakula) request. Davis will debut in the March 8 episode. (TVLine)
Sanaa Lathan and Lior Raz will star in the Netflix thriller Hit and Run, about an ex-special forces soldier who hunts down his wife’s killers. Raz is also a co-creator on the series. The cast also includes Gregg Henry, Kaelen Ohm, Moran Rosenblatt, and Gal Toren.
Jennifer Esposito has signed on to play lifestyle brand mogul Talia Mallay in Shonda Rhimes’ upcoming Netflix series Inventing Anna. The 10-episode drama, based on a New York magazine article about Anna Delvey, a German heiress accused of being a con woman, also stars Julia Garner as the titular Anna, Laverne Cox, Anna Deavere Smith, Jeff Perry, and Terry Kinney. (Dateline)
Jon Bernthal, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Richard Thomas are joining Viola Davis and Sandra Bullock in the untitled Netflix drama adapted by Christopher McQuarrie from the British miniseries Unforgiven. Bullock plays a woman who gets out of prison after serving a sentence for a violent crime, and tries to reunite with her younger sister.
The twin sons of Superman and Lois Lane have been cast for The CW’s upcoming Superman & Lois drama. Jordan Elsass (Tell Me Your Secrets) will play the kind-hearted Jonathan, while Alexander Garfin (The Peanuts Movie) will play the more temperamental Jordan. Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch will play the legendary parents. (Dateline)
Jeanne Tripplehorn has joined the cast of The Gilded Age, Julian Fellowes’ upcoming HBO period drama. She’ll play an art expert who is snubbed by high society because of rumors about her past.
West Duchovny, the daughter of Tea Leoni and David Duchovny, will co-star with Jordana Spiro and Josh Andres Rivera in HBO Max’s coming-of-age drama pilot Vegas High, about a woman caught between her Mormon faith and the flashy Vegas lifestyle. Duchovny plays Paige, a young woman who is the president of the Mormon Church’s youth group. (Deadline)
O’Shea Jackson has replaced an injured Winston Duke in the Kevin Durant–produced Apple TV+ basketball drama Swagger. Jackson will play a former star player who’s now a youth coach. (Variety)
Emmy-winner Billy Porter has taped a guest appearance on Sesame Street, wearing his instantly iconic tuxedo dress.
Real-life couple Cobie Smulders (Stumptown, The Avengers) and Taran Killam (Single Parents) will play a pair of movie superheroes who hope Bart won’t spoil the plot of their new film on the March 1 episode of The Simpsons. (TVLine)
Good news: a slew of classic TV shows will stream for free on IMDB TV. Bad news: there will be ads. Still, it’s an interesting lineup for the Amazon-owned service, whose new licensing deal with Disney means access to shows including Desperate Housewives, White Collar, The Glades, and My So-Called Life, which are available now, and, in the comings months, Lost (May 1), Malcolm in the Middle (June 1), Ally McBeal (April 1), Army Wives, Boston Legal, L.A. Law, St. Elsewhere, Roswell (the original series), Revenge, and Ugly Betty. (THR)
Warner Bros. Pictures and HBO Max have formed a new film production company that will focus on creating eight to 10 movies per year, to stream on HBO Max. Most of the movies will be original, with a few acquisitions, and the first one is expected to premiere on HBO Max this year.
After her Golden Globe- and SAG-nominated performance in the Netflix drama Unbelievable, Toni Collette will return to Netflix for Pieces of Her, an adaptation of a novel by Karin Slaughter. The eight-episode thriller revolves around Laura (Collette), whose past comes back to haunt her and her daughter when a trip to the mall results in a terrifying violent event that puts Laura’s freedom at risk.
Fleabag creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge is an executive producer and will guest star on Run, an HBO comedy series starring Merrit Wever. Wever’s Ruby sees her boring life upended when she receives a text from her college boyfriend (Domhnall Gleeson), who asks her to meet him in New York City and take off on a cross-country adventure. The series premieres April 12.
Adam Sandler has signed a deal with Netflix to make four more movies for the streamer via his Happy Madison Productions, including an animated movie Sandler will star in, write, and produce.
HBO Max has picked up the documentary On the Record, after executive producer Oprah Winfrey and Apple TV+ stepped away from the project, which features several women sharing their accusations of sexual harassment and assault by Def Jam music executive Russell Simmons. The Sundance doc, which was originally set to premiere on Apple TV+, is the first documentary acquisition by HBO Max.
Among The CW’s pilots for next season: a TV version of Lost Boys, the 1987 Kiefer Sutherland–Jason Patric movie, created by Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas, and Maverick, a political drama from producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (The O.C.). (THR)
Disney+ announced season 2 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series will revolve around the East High School drama students’ production of Beauty and the Beast. Season 2 is scheduled to premiere in the last quarter of 2020.
Tyler Perry is rebooting his series House of Payne for BET, with original stars LaVan Davis, Cassi Davis Patton, Lance Gross, Demetria McKinney, China Anne McClain, Larramie “Doc” Shaw, Keshia Knight Pulliam, and Allen Payne all set to return. BET will also be the home of a new Perry comedy, Tyler Perry’s Assisted Living, about a man who moves his family to a small Georgia town to help his grandfather operate a run-down home for senior citizens. Both shows will debut this summer. (Deadline)
Megan Thee Stallion and The Good Place star Jameela Jamil will be judges on HBO Max’s voguing reality series Legendary, in which teams (called “Houses”) will compete in fashion and dancing battles to win cash and trophies.
Hulu has acquired the worldwide rights for the Sundance horror film Bad Hair, the second movie directed by Justin Simien (Dear White People), while Amazon Studios bought Sylvie’s Love, a Sundance love story film starring Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Eva Longoria, Aja Naomi King, Wendi Mclendon-Covey and Jemima Kirke. (THR)
The Lena Waithe–produced Sundance flick The 40-Year-Old Version has been picked up by Netflix. The comedy stars Radha Black (Empire) – who won the Sundance Film Festival Directing Award for the movie – as a 40-year-old struggling artist. Netflix will stream the movie later this year, after its theatrical release.
The Bachelor’s hometown dates may be coming to your hometown. The Bachelor Live on Stage tour will launch on Feb. 13 in Mesa, Arizona and visit 65 cities with a two-and-a-half-hour show that will find 10 female contestants trying to impress a pre-selected local bachelor at each stop. Hosted by former TV contestants Ben Higgins and Becca Kufrin, the stage show will feature elements from the TV series, including group dates and, of course, rose ceremonies.