‘Norman Lear: A Life on Television’ Special to Air on CBS (TV News Roundup)

Just days after the death of legendary TV producer Norman Lear at age 101, the new entertainment special “Norman Lear: A Life on Television” will air on CBS this Friday at 8 p.m., in addition to streaming on Paramount+.

The hourlong special, presented by “Entertainment Tonight,” will feature new interviews with Jimmie Walker of “Good Times” and Mackenzie Phillips of “One Day at a Time,” along with other stars of the comedies Lear created. An interview with Lear and “Entertainment Tonight” host Kevin Frazier to celebrate Lear’s 100th birthday a few years ago will also be featured. In the interview, Lear discussed his lengthy career in depth.

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As a screenwriter and producer, Lear produced, wrote, created and developed over 100 shows, including “Sanford and Son,” “All in the Family” and “One Day at a Time” for CBS.

In other TV roundup news:

FIRST LOOKS

NBC has released a teaser trailer for Season 3 of “La Brea,” premiering on Jan. 9.

Per the series description, “La Brea” centers on “an epic family adventure after a massive sinkhole opens in Los Angeles pulling people and buildings into a mysterious and dangerous primeval land where they have no choice but to band together to survive.”

The description for the first episode of Season 3, entitled “Sierra,” reads: “After the clearing’s destroyed in a dinosaur attack, the Survivors must find a new home to live. Gavin discovers a clue about where Eve has gone, but tracking the lead down results in more tragic consequences.”

The series stars Eoin Macken, Zyra Gorecki, Chiké Okonkwo, Rohan Mirchandaney, Lily Santiago, Josh Mckenzie, and Jon Seda, with Nicholas Gonzalez, Jack Martin, Veronica St. Clair, Tonantzin Carmelo and Natalie Zea.

Watch the teaser below.

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Apple TV+ has released first look images from “Constellation,” a new psychological thriller drama with Noomi Rapace and Emmy nominee Jonathan Banks. The eight-part series will debut on Feb. 21, 2024, with its first three episodes. Following the premiere, one episode will be released weekly through March 27.

Rapace stars as Jo, an astronaut who has returned after a disaster in space to find key parts of her life missing. “The action-packed space adventure is an exploration of the dark edges of human psychology, and one woman’s desperate quest to expose the truth about the hidden history of space travel and recover all that she has lost,” the release states.

James D’Arcy, Julian Looman, William Catlett, Barbara Sukowa and Rosie and Davina Coleman round out the cast.

Produced by Turbine Studios and Haut et Court TV, the series is directed by Oscar nominees Oliver Hirschbiegel and Joseph Cedar and Emmy winner Michelle MacLaren, who executive produces with Rebecca Hobbs and co-executive producer Jahan Lopes for MacLaren Entertainment. David Tanner, Tracey Scoffield, Caroline Benjo, Simon Arnal, Carole Scotta and Justin Thomson also executive produce. Harness executive produces through Haunted Barn Ltd. “Constellation” was shot principally in Germany and was Series Produced by Daniel Hetzer for Turbine Studios, Germany.

See first look images below.

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Keeley Hawes and Rose Leslie are set to star in Masterpiece’s “Miss Austen,” adapted from Gill Hornby’s bestselling novel.

From BAFTA-winning writer Andrea Gibb, the four-part series “takes a literary mystery — Cassandra Austen notoriously burning her famous sister Jane’s letters — and reimagines it as a fascinating, witty and heart-breaking story of sisterly love, while creating in Cassandra a character as captivating as any Austen heroine,” according to the release.

Hawes and Leslie are joined by Patsy Ferran, Jessica Hynes, Mirren Mack, Phyllis Logan, Kevin McNally, Max Irons, Alfred Enoch, Calam Lynch and Liv Hill. Production began filming in November in the U.K., with Stella Merz producing. The series is co-production of Bonnie Productions and Masterpiece in association with the BBC and Federation Stories. Hawes, Gibb and Aisling Walsh executive produce.

See first look images below.

MASTERPIECE
“Miss Austen” Rose Leslie as Isabella, Keeley Hawes as Cassandra Austen, Mirren Mack as Dinah and Jessica Hynes as Mary Austen (Robert Viglasky Photography)
MASTERPIECE
“Miss Austen” Keeley Hawes as Cassandra Austen (Robert Viglasky Photography)
MASTERPIECE
“Miss Austen” Keeley Hawes as Cassandra Austen (Robert Viglasky Photography)

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Nebula has released the trailer for Season 8 of “Jet Lag: The Game,” premiering Dec. 13 on the indie streamer. One week after first airing on Nebula, episodes become available on YouTube.

Season 8 will feature series newcomer Michelle Khare, host of “Challenge Accepted,” as a guest contestant. The travel game brings competitors back to the U.S. after seasons in Europe, Japan and New Zealand. Khare joins regular competitors Sam Denby, Adam Chase and Ben Doyle.

Khare told Variety, “I have spent the last month meticulously studying every detail of these three men. I know their max vertical jumps, top moving speeds, and most of all — star signs.”

The trailer shows the contestants traveling from Alaska to Florida to Idaho, competing in teams against one another to secure coveted tickets for various forms of transportation. Khare is teamed up with Denby, racing against Chase and Doyle. “Race from snow to sunshine,” the trailer teases, calling this season “Arctic Escape.”

Watch the trailer below.

DATES

“Feud: Capote Vs. The Swans,” the second installment of Ryan Murphy’s anthology series, will premiere on Jan. 31, 2024, at 10 p.m. ET on FX with its first two episodes. A special director’s cut of the first episode will be available on FXX. All episodes will stream on Hulu the following day, including the director’s cut.

Based on Laurence Leamer’s book “Capote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era,” the series will come to Star+ in Latin America and Disney+ in all other territories.

Tom Hollander portrays acclaimed writer Truman Capote, who surrounded himself with a group of high profile women that he nicknamed “The Swans.” The series will trace the downfall of Capote after an excerpt of his book “Answered Prayers” was published in Esquire, exposing the Swans’ most intimate secrets.

The series also stars Naomi Watts, Diane Lane, Chloë Sevigny, Lee Radziwill, Demi Moore, Molly Ringwald, Treat Williams, Joe Mantello and Russell Tovey. Jon Robin Baitz wrote “Feud: Capote Vs. The Swans” for television, with Gus Van Sant, Max Winkler and Jennifer Lynch directing. Murphy, Alexis Martin Woodall, Baitz, Van Sant, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Watts, Eric Kovtun and Scott Robertson executive produced. The series is produced by 20th Television.

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The CW’s new original series “Wild Cards” will premiere on Jan. 17, followed by the Season 3 premiere of “Family Law.”

Starring Vanessa Morgan, Giacomo Gianniotti and Jason Priestly, “Wild Cards” is a “crime-solving procedural with a comedic twist that follows the unlikely duo of a by-the-book, sardonic cop and a spirited, clever con woman,” according to the release. Creator Michael Konyves executive produces the show, along with pilot director James Genn, Shawn Piller, Lloyd Segan and writers Alexandra Zarowny, James Thorpe, Noelle Carbone and Morwyn Brebner. From Blink49 Studios, Front Street Pictures and Piller/Segan in association with The CW for commissioning broadcaster CBC in Canada, the series is produced by Charles Cooper and Virginia Rankin. Fifth Season handles international distribution.

“Family Law” Season 3 chronicles Jewel Staite’s Abby and her dysfunctional family while they help other dysfunctional families, on top of navigating their own personal dramas. Produced by Seven24 Films and Lark Productions for Corus Entertainment’s Global, creator Susin Nielsen executive produces the series, along with Lark’s Erin Haskett and Seven24’s Jordy Randall and Tom Cox. David Valleau produces, with Andy Mikita serving as executive producer. Entertainment One holds international distribution rights to the series.

DEVELOPMENT

STX Entertainment has come to a deal with Nadya Tolokonnikova, the artist, activist and creator behind the feminist protest art collective Pussy Riot, to develop a limited scripted series adapted from her upcoming memoir.

This will be the first scripted project on Pussy Riot that comes with the full support of Tolokonnikova. Per the series’ description, “It will explore the story of how a young girl from Siberia took on the world’s most powerful dictator – the origins and formation of the art collective; the actions of Nadya and fellow young women against Putin in Moscow; their arrest after the famous ‘Punk Prayer’ action; their trial, conviction, and jail sentence; and the protests they conducted at the Sochi Olympics after their release.”

Tolokonnikova said, “I was a broke 20-year-old artist studying philosophy; he was one of the most powerful, wealthy and dangerous men on Earth. In 2011 I went against him, damn the consequences. After years of imprisonment, harassment, attacks, trauma I am ready to share this story. My dream is to see my country peaceful, democratic and diverse, where gay people are not being stoned to death. Is it too much to ask? Does it make me an extremist? Today I’m on Russia’s most wanted list, labeled as a foreign agent, and recently was arrested in absentia by Russian court. My relatives and friends had been poisoned, my government wants me dead, but I don’t regret anything. If Pussy Riot’s story can inspire a new generation of rebels, it was all not in vain.”

Sophie Watts executive produces the series alongside Robert Simonds and Sam Brown of STX, as well as John Caldwell.

PARTNERSHIPS

Mattel has announced a multi-year licensing deal in partnership with Amazon MGM Studios to create and sell co-branded dolls and collector sets inspired by MGM Television’s Netflix series “Wednesday.”

The co-branded “Wednesday” products will be released in 2024 through the Monster High and Little People Collector properties, respectively, combining the characters with Mattel’s existing toys.

The “Wednesday” dolls and collector sets are slated to become available in 2024 through the “Wednesday” storefront on Amazon, in addition to other retailers.

EXECUTIVE NEWS

Dick Clark Productions is expanding its talent division with two new appointments. Sara Kantathavorn is joining the company as senior vice president, talent strategy and Jeremy Lowe has been promoted to vice president, talent and partnerships. Lowe and Kantathavorn will work closely together in their new roles.

“Sara’s experience leading talent teams and strategy coupled with Jeremy’s enthusiasm and passion for artist discovery make for a winning combination,” said Jay Penske, CEO, chairman and founder, Penske Media and CEO, Dick Clark Productions. “Talent will always be at the core of everything we do at DCP.”

Kantathavorn was previously head of global talent development at Apple Music. Lowe most recently served as executive director, marketing and talent partnerships at Dick Clark.

Some of Dick Clark Productions’ shows include “Golden Globe Awards,” “Billboard Music Awards,” “Academy of Country Music Awards,” “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest,” “Streamy Awards,” “American Music Awards” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” among other titles.

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Zaid Al-Asady is joining Peacock as executive vice president, brand creative and marketing, a newly created position at the company. Al-Asady will report to chief marketing officer Shannon Willett.

Al-Asady will helm efforts related to brand positioning, strategy and design identity for the streaming service. Additionally, he will oversee Peacock’s social team and be in charge of driving the Peacock brand in the sports sector.

“Zaid is an accomplished storyteller who masterfully balances highly strategic thinking with creative execution in all aspects of his work,” said Willett. “His remarkable achievements throughout a diverse career make him the perfect addition to our leadership team, as we continue to craft and elevate the Peacock brand vision.”

Al-Asady previously served as vice president of creative at the heath-tech platform Noom.

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Fandom has appointed Jason Tollestrup as vice president of revenue and strategy operations. He will develop and implement strategies across all of the company’s owned and operated channels and platforms, which include Fandom.com, Gamespot, TVGuide.com and Metacritic.

Based in Washington D.C., Tollestrup will report to Fandom’s chief revenue officer Jeremy Steinberg.

“Jason is joining Fandom at an exciting time. We’re ramping up efforts to help brands create impactful fan strategies utilizing our valuable insights and targeted data to reach fans authentically where they’re at,” Steinberg said in a statement. “With Jason’s addition to our team, I’m confident that Fandom will accelerate in 2024 and beyond.”

Tollestrup spent over a decade at the Washington Post, where he most recently served as vice president of programmatic strategy and yield. He has also held senior roles at BlueVolt and serves on the board at PreBid.

SPECIALS

“M*A*S*H: The Comedy That Changed Television,” a new two-hour special that celebrates the landmark television sitcom, will premiere Jan. 1 on Fox.

Directed by John Scheinfeld, who also serves as executive producer, the special contains interviews with original cast members Alan Alda, Gary Burghoff, William Christopher, Jamie Farr, Mike Farrell, Wayne Rogers and Loretta Swit. Series executive producers Gene Reynolds and Burt Metcalfe are also featured as interviewees. Along with Scheinfeld, Andy Kaplan executive produces the special.

“In these intimate, highly personal remembrances, the creation and evolution of the show’s iconic characters are revealed, alongside rare and never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage, photos and stories,” reads the press release. “With unique experiences, observations and memories from 11 seasons of ‘M*A*S*H,’ this special will make audiences laugh, touch their heartstrings, and leave them on a nostalgic high while celebrating the sustained brilliance of the iconic sitcom.”

“’M*A*S*H’ is not only a great television series, it is a cultural phenomenon. It has made multiple generations of viewers laugh, cry and think, often in the same episode,” said Scheinfeld and Kaplan in a joint statement. “We are excited to team with Fox to create this unprecedented window into an innovative television classic.”

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ABC and Dick Clark Productions have announced that Rita Ora will join Ryan Seacrest to co-host “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2024.” They will lead the countdown to midnight live from New York City’s Time Square.

Elsewhere, on the west coast, Jeannie Mai will co-host the party in Hollywood. In the Atlantic Time zone in Puerto Rico, multi-hyphenate artist Dayanara Torres will return to co-host the Spanish-language countdown at the Puerto Rico Convention Center at Distrito T-Mobile.

“Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2024” airs live on ABC on Sunday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. ET. This New Year’s Eve will be the 52nd iteration of the longstanding celebration.

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Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott will host HGTV’s “White House Christmas 2023,” showcasing what the country’s most well-known house looks like for the holidays. The hour-long special premieres on Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. ET.

First Lady of the United States Jill Biden will lead Drew and Jonathan Scott on a tour of the White House, which is decorated by more than 300 volunteers from across the U.S. and White House residence staff. The theme, “The Magic, Wonder, and Joy of the Holidays,” will be brought to life with over 142,425 holiday lights, 98 Christmas trees, 33,892 ornaments and 22,000 bells, along with holiday decor ideas for fans to recreate at home.

The special will feature every component of the festive holiday displays on the tour, including the Gold Star Tree honoring fallen service members, the ground floor corridor filled with letters to Santa to be sent to the North Pole and the official White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room. Drew and Jonathan Scott will assist the carpentry shop and volunteers assemble the Advent calendars on display in the East Room, with Jonathan Scott also assisting in decorating the rooftop tree above the East Entrance.

“After working on this show in some capacity for almost two decades, I can tell you that this year’s decorations are some of the most whimsical and magical that I have ever seen,” Loren Ruch, head of content at HGTV, said in a statement. “Everyone will love watching the White House come to life for the holidays, so it’s a wonderful time to bring the whole family together for an extra special viewing experience.”

AWARDS

Crunchyroll has announced the categories for the eighth annual Crunchyroll Anime Awards, taking place in Tokyo on Saturday, March 2. Voting will be driven by anime fans from around the world.

Three new categories have been added this year: Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Slice of Life.

“Anime is a dynamic art form, offering an adventure for every kind of fan, and we are honored to celebrate the creative talent behind the medium that is captivating viewers around the world,” said Rahul Purini, president of Crunchyroll. “From the depth of artistry, nuanced storytelling, and pure joy that anime brings to so many, we look forward to gathering again in Japan to honor the best of anime this year.”

Other categories featured at the Crunchyroll Awards include Anime of the Year, Best Action, Best Animation, Best Anime Song, Best Character Design, Best Comedy, Best Continuing Series, Best Director, Best Drama, Best Ending Sequence, Best Fantasy, Best Film, Best Main Character, Best New Series, Best Opening Sequence, Best Original Anime, Best Romance, Best Score, Best Supporting Character, Best Voice Actor Performance and “Must Protect At All Cost” Character.

The nominees will be announced on Jan. 17, selected by the international group of 2024 Anime Awards judges.

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The Television Publicity Executive Committee (TPEC) has announced that submissions for its Second Annual TPEC Awards, which honors the best TV publicity campaigns in the business, will open Dec. 11.

New categories this year include Outstanding Campaign for a Television Movie, Outstanding Campaign for a Limited or Anthology Series, Outstanding Campaign for a Talk Show and Outstanding Campaign for a Game Show.

“The enthusiastic response to our first-ever awards earlier this year reinforced our commitment to celebrating the fantastic work done throughout the year by our talented membership,” said Dustin Smith and Wendy Zocks, TPEC co-chairs. “We are excited to expand our categories in the second year to embrace more of our colleague’s programming publicity efforts, and to spotlight the up-and-coming publicists who are already impacting our industry.”

Here is the full list of categories:

Campaign of the Year
Outstanding Campaign for a Returning Drama
Outstanding Campaign for a Returning Comedy
Outstanding Campaign for a Returning Unscripted Series
Outstanding Campaign for a Television Movie, Limited or Anthology Series
Outstanding Campaign for a New Drama
Outstanding Campaign for a New Comedy
Outstanding Campaign for a New Unscripted Series
Outstanding Campaign for an Animated Series (Adult & Children)
Outstanding Campaign for a Children’s Series
Outstanding Campaign for a Television Movie (NEW)
Outstanding Campaign for a Limited or Anthology Series (NEW)
Outstanding Campaign for a Talk Show (late night/daytime/syndicated) (NEW)
Outstanding Campaign for a Game Show (primetime/daytime) (NEW)
PR Rising Star (NEW)
Lifetime Achievement Award for Program Publicity (Ben Halpern Award)

INITIATIVES

Veteran TV producer Chuck Lorre has pledged $10 million to support research education at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles through his foundation The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation.

The $10 million will go towards funding scientific/research learning experiences for high school and college students from under-resourced communities throughout Los Angeles who aim to pursue careers in the sciences and medicine. In honor of Lorre’s donation, the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles established the Chuck Lorre Research Scholars Program (CLRSP). The program gives Los Angeles area college students ten weeks of hands-on laboratory research experience and mentorship from the program’s director, a staff member of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

As per the press release’s description, in addition to the research structure, “students will also have the opportunity to co-author scientific papers, network with other researchers at events and speaker seminars, and attend a national research conference to gain experience in professionally presenting their research accomplishments.”

“When students are fully immersed in research, they can suddenly imagine a future in STEM where they can pursue their dreams,” said Lorre. “That is what inspired me to establish this program.”

LAUNCHES

Fuse Media has partnered with India-based OTT app aggregator Tata Play Binge to launch its streaming service Fuse+ in India.

This will make the Latino-owned media company’s Fuse content available to Indian audiences. The company previously announced new endeavors in diversity and inclusion with the launch of its Latino Vibes FAST Channel and LGBTQ+ FAST channel OUTtv.

“With a programming slate that serves as an entertainment destination for so many viewers, partnering with Tata Play Binge was a natural fit for Fuse Media as we continue our global expansion,” said Miguel Roggero, Fuse Media chairman and CEO. “Fuse+’s library is made up of vibrant, culturally diverse stories, and we’re thrilled to introduce our empowering original programming to Indian viewers.”

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