Disney+ will expand its fantasy offerings with a Percy Jackson series, more The Mandalorian season 2 cast revealed, the vampire Lestat and his Anne Rice–invented cohorts get a lair at AMC, fall TV plans begin trickling out, CBS All Access orders a new Star Trek series based on Captain Christopher Pike’s early Enterprise adventures (and including young Spock), and more in the week’s top TV news.
Rick and Becky Riordan announced on Twitter that his book series about the adventures of young demigod Percy Jackson will be adapted to series for Disney+.
Pssst. Hey, demigods . . . pic.twitter.com/7ep4aeyS3I
— Rick Riordan (@rickriordan) May 14, 2020
The author also suggested that the Disney+ adaptation would be closer to the books, writing on Twitter: “Hey Percy Jackson fans, for the past decade, you’ve worked hard to champion a faithful on-screen adaptation of Percy Jackson’s world. Some of you have even suggested it would be a great series for Disney+. We couldn’t agree more! We can’t say much more at this stage but we are very excited about the idea of a live-action series of the highest quality, following the storyline of the original Percy Jackson five-book series, starting with The Lightning Thief in season one. Rest assured that Becky & I will be involved in person in every aspect of the show. there will be much more news in the future, but for now, we have a lot of work to do! Buckle up, demigods. It’s going to be a fantastic, exciting ride!”
Logan Lerman (pictured above) portrayed the teen hero in two 20th Century Fox feature film adaptations of the book series, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, but the Disney+ series is expected to skew younger to be more in line with the books.
In other Disney+ news:
Temuera Morrison has rejoined the Star Wars universe, reprising his role as Boba Fett from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (and Star Wars video games) for the upcoming second season of The Mandalorian. Morrison also played Boba Fett’s father Jango in 2002 film Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. Boba Fett’s appearance was teased in season 1, though THR reports his role will be a small one in The Mandalorian, which is scheduled to return in October.
Katee Sakhoff (Battlestar Galactica), who voiced Mandalorian warrior Bo-Katan Kryze in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, will play the live-action version her character in The Mandalorian season 2, Deadline reports.
Disney+ will also premiere Hamilton, the film of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical, on July 3.
The film “is a leap forward in the art of ‘live capture’” which transports its audience into the world of the Broadway show in a uniquely intimate way,” according to the streamer. “Combining the best elements of live theater, film, and streaming, the result is a cinematic stage performance that is a wholly new way to experience Hamilton.
The movie is produced by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, as well as Jeffrey Seller and Thomas Kail, who directed the Broadway show. Kail also directed the film.
The AMC Networks just bought a whole boatload of new source material for possible future projects at its networks. The company has purchased the rights to bestselling author Anne Rice’s major literary works, including The Vampire Chronicles series and The Lives of the Mayfair Witches series.
Together, the books in those series – which includes Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, The Queen of the Damned, and The Witching Hour – have sold more than 150 million copies worldwide.
AMC’s networks, including AMC, BBC America, and streaming services Shudder, Sundance Now, and Acorn TV will all have access to Rice’s works for series and movies, with Anne Rice and her son Christopher Rice serving as executive producers on all of the projects.
“It’s always been my dream to see the worlds of my two biggest series united under a single roof so that filmmakers could explore the expansive and interconnected universe of my vampires and witches,” Anne Rice said in a statement. “That dream is now a reality, and the result is one of the most significant and thrilling deals of my long career.”
The complete list of the works included in the AMC deal: Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, The Queen of the Damned, The Tale of the Body Thief, Memnoch The Devil, The Vampire Armand, Pandora, Vittorio the Vampire, Blood and Gold, Prince Lestat, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis, Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat, The Witching Hour, Lasher, Taltos, Merrick, Blackwood Farm, and Blood Canticle.
Interview with the Vampire was previously adapted to film by director Neil Jordan and starred Tom Cruise (pictured) as the vampire Lestat and Brad Pitt as Lestat’s protégé Louis. The film has a 62% Tomatometer score and 86% Audience score. A Queen of the Damned adaptation, which starred late actress and singer Aaliyah, didn’t fare as well, with a 17% Tomatometer score and 66% Audience score.
With a return date for TV production still up in the air, so are much of the networks’ fall season plans. But we do know some of the new programming we’ll see next season, including Call Me Kat, the Fox comedy starring Mayim Bialik as a woman who spends her life savings to open a cat café in Kentucky, which will premiere at midseason on Fox. The network also picked up L.A.’s Finest, the Bad Boys spin-off starring Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union, from Spectrum, which will air on Fox Monday nights in the fall, while a pair of series the network had planned to air this summer — Filthy Rich (pictured), a soapy satire about a Southern mega-church–owning family that stars Kim Cattrall and Gerald McRaney, and Next, an A.I.-themed thriller starring Mad Men alum John Slattery — will now be held for the fall schedule. Both of those series have completed production on their entire first seasons, making them coronavirus-proof for fall.
CBS also announced its first three new series for next season:
The CW announced that it has has pushed its new season to January 2021, but revealed that its fall TV schedule will have “mix of original and acquired scripted series and alternative programming,” including Swamp Thing, which previously streamed on DC Universe; Tell Me A Story, previously a CBS All Access title; Coroner, which aired in Canada; U.K. title Dead Pixels; returning CW series Pandora, The Outpost, and Two Sentence Horror Stories; and “alternative series” Masters Of Illusion, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Penn & Teller: Fool Us, and brand-new series World’s Funniest Animals.
Four new CW series are announced for the season starting in January:
CBS All Access has ordered Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which will focus on the years Captain Christopher Pike helmed the USS Enterprise. Three Star Trek: Discovery season 2 actors will reprise their roles: Anson Mount as Captain Pike (pictured), Rebecca Romijn as Number One, and Ethan Peck as Science Officer Spock.
“The series will follow Captain Pike, Science Officer Spock and Number One in the decade before Captain Kirk boarded the U.S.S. Enterprise, as they explore new worlds around the galaxy,” CBS All Access said in a statement.
Akiva Goldsman wrote the series premiere based on the story by Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman, and Jenny Lumet. Strange New Worlds is the fourth Star Trek series in the franchise developed for CBS All Access after Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and upcoming animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks. A CG-animated Star Trek series aimed at younger audiences is also in the works for Nickelodeon.
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Netflix has made a deal for two movies that will star Reese Witherspoon. In Your Place or Mine, she will play a woman who pursues a lifelong dream while her male best friend agrees to keep an eye on her teenage son. Witherspoon, via her Hello Sunshine production company will produce the movie along with Jason Bateman and Michael Costigan’s Aggregate Films, and screenwriter/director Aline Brosh McKenna. Witherspoon will also star in and produce The Cactus, an adaptation of Sarah Haywood’s bestselling novel about a woman whose life is changed dramatically by an unexpected pregnancy at age 45. (Deadline)
Will Forte and James Brolin are attached to star in the eight-episode Netflix adaptation of the DC Comics drama Sweet Tooth. The live-action series is produced by Robert Downey Jr. and his producing partner and wife Susan Downey, and revolves around a half-deer/half-boy who leaves his family in the forest to examine the outside world, where he finds it in an apocalyptic state. Christian Convery (Beautiful Boy), Nonso Anozie (Game of Thrones), and Adeel Akhtar (The Big Sick) star with Forte, while Brolin will serve as the series narrator.
Hilary Duff will be the star of an in-development spin-off of the TV Land comedy Younger. Sex and the City creator Darren Star is creating the series, which will revolve around Duff’s book editor character Kelsey. The new series may air on Paramount Network or another network or platform. (THR)
Sarah Silverman and Seth Rogen will star in Santa Inc., an HBO Max adult animated series set at the North Pole at Christmas, where Candy Smalls (Silverman) tries to become the first female Santa Claus. Rogen is also a producer on the series, which is created by Shrill creator Alexandra Rushfield.
Jerry Bruckheimer is developing a TV series adaptation of the movie franchise National Treasure for Disney+. No cast attached yet, but Bruckheimer, who also produced the Treasure films, has confirmed the series cast will be new (that means no Nic Cage).
Food Network star Guy Fieri, who has already raised an incredible $20 million to help restaurant employees out of work because of the coronavirus shutdown, is going to raise some more via a nachos-making contest with Bill Murray. On May 15 at 5 p.m., Fieri and Murray will face off in The Nacho Average Showdown, on Food Network’s Facebook page. Carla Hall is the host, and Shaquille O’Neal and Terry Crews will judge the event, which will add more funds to Fieri’s Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (RERF) and put more $500 grants in the hands of restaurant workers across the country. (EW)
Ryan Murphy announced via Instagram an American Horror Story spin-off called American Horror Stories. The new show will feature one-hour, contained stories, and will apparently feature some AHS stars who participated in a Zoom reunion with Murphy, including Sarah Paulson, Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Denis O’Hare, Angela Bassett, and Dylan McDermott.
There’s a Tiger King sequel on the way at Netflix, but Joe Exotic is being dethroned for the follow-up. Instead, THR reports the new episodes will revolve around the story of Vegas showmen Siegfried & Roy, whose long-running act was ended after Roy – Roy Horn – was mauled by one of the duo’s tigers in 2003. Horn and Siegfried (Fischbacher) had reportedly been working on a movie about their careers, but Horn died on May 8 from coronavirus complications.
Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence is teaming with HBO Max for a remake of the 1986-91 ABC high school comedy Head of the Class. The streaming service has order a pilot and five scripts for the series, which starred WKRP in Cincinnati alum Howard Hesseman as a teacher who tried to make sure a group of gifted students balanced grades with emotional development and outside interests.
Netflix has acquired the rights to The Girls of Summer: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and How It Changed the World, the book by New York Times reporter Jere Longman, to adapt as a movie. The book tells the story of the 1999 U.S. women’s soccer team, which defeated China to win the World Cup.
Ridley Scott, who directed the iconic “1984” Super Bowl commercial for Apple that introduced the first Macintosh computer, has signed a first-look TV deal to create projects for the company, via his Scott Free Productions. Scott Free is behind TV projects including The Good Wife, The Good Fight, and The Man in the High Castle.
Ridley Scott is also re-teaming with Tom Hardy and Steven Knight for a second Charles Dickens adaptation with FX and BBC. Following last year’s A Christmas Carol adaptation, Scott and company will next produce a six-part limited series of Great Expectations, Dickens’ 1861 book about orphan Pip, for FX and BBC.
Sofia Coppola is developing an adaptation of the 1913 Edith Wharton novel The Custom of the Country as a limited series for Apple TV+. The book, which has never been adapted for a screen project, revolves around a young Midwestern woman named Undine Spragg, who tries to marry into New York society, but then spends the rest of her life trying to climb social ladders around the world.
ABC will follow the season finale of American Idol in May 17 with Taylor Swift City of Lover Concert, which was filmed last year in Paris, and featured performances of songs from her seventh studio album, Lover. The special will be available on May 18 on Hulu and Disney+.
Game of Thrones star Hafthor Björnsson, who played Ser Gregor Clegane (aka, The Mountain) on the HBO series, will star in a new reality series called Beat the Mountain. Strong men from around the world will compete for the chance to compete against Björnsson, who recently set the world deadlifting record (1,104.52 pounds). No network is attached to the series yet. (THR)
HBO Max announced the second wave of original programming it will launch in June, and it includes Adventure Time: Distant Lands – BMO, the first of four hour-long breakout specials resurrecting the Emmy and Peabody award-winning animated series Adventure Time, on June 25. Other original series to be launched include Expecting Amy (July 9), a three-part documentary series following Amy Schumer on her comedy tour as she experiences a difficult pregnancy; and season 2 of the DC Universe favorite Doom Patrol (June 25), following the adventures of Cliff Steele/Robotman (Brendan Fraser), Larry Trainor/Negative Man (Matt Bomer), Rita Farr/Elasti-Woman (April Bowlby), Jane/Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero), and Victor Stone/Cyborg (Joivan Wade).
The Roots founders Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter have signed a three-year first-look deal with Universal Television to create scripted and unscripted programming across all platforms, via their Two One Five Entertainment company. The deal expands their relationship with Universal, as The Roots continue their gig as the house band for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where Questlove is also the show’s musical director. Two One Five has already produced music-themed programming like the docuseries Hip Hop Songs That Shook America and the documentary feature Black Woodstock.
Whether we want it or not, TV is giving us a second scripted series shot from castmates’ homes and totally coronavirus-themed. On the heels of the announcement of Jenji Kohan’s Social Distance, Freeform is planning Love in the Time of Corona, a scripted comedy about people trying to find love during quarantine, whether its roommates who decide to take their relationship in a romantic direction or a woman who begins to regret her decision to quarantine with her ex. The series will debut in August, and comes from The Fosters producer Joanna Johnson.
Peacock, the NBC Universal streaming service, is launching a month-long variety series, The At-Home Variety Show, that will be introduced by Seth MacFarlane. Featuring celebs like, Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Hart, Amy Poehler, Chris Meloni, D’Arcy Carden, and Elizabeth Banks, the show will raise funds for Feeding America, Americares and the United Way. The At-Home Variety Show launches on May 18, and will stream every weekday for the first weeks on Peacock, which is currently available for Xfinity X1 and Flex customers. The 10-minutes episodes will also be available on Peacock’s YouTube and Facebook pages.
Investigation Discovery is making its popular IDCON fan convention virtual this year, with IDCON: Home Together, a free Zoom event on May 21 (6-8 p.m. ET) during which fans are “welcome to pour their favorite beverage, cuddle up with their cat and join ID for a network fan event that takes you behind the scenes of your favorite TV channel – right from the comfort of your own couch.” Though the event is free, fans are encouraged to make donations to nonprofits supported by the network, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) , and One Love. Sign up for the event is at IDCON2020.
And another TV fan fest going virtual this year: the ATX Television Festival. ATX TV … From the Couch will take place online June 5-7 and include panels with casts from The Bold Type, New Amsterdam, Nancy Drew, Scrubs, and Cougar Town, plus conversations about “Physical and Mental Health,” “Election Year Issues,” “Latinx Representation,” and “Creating During a Pandemic.” More panels will be announced in the coming weeks, and fans can register HERE.