LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - BBC America and BBC One have ordered a new hourlong paranormal series, "The Living and the Dead," created and written by "Life on Mars" co-creators Ashley Pharoah and Matthew Graham.
The six-episode drama is set in Somerset, England in 1888, a land and a community on the edge of monumental change, on the great hinge between ancient traditional ways and an industrial, scientific future. A land of ghosts and myths, poltergeists and demons -- if there was ever a time for those ghosts to rise out of the ground, this would be that time. At the heart of this small community is Nathan Appleby, a reluctant gentleman farmer who is obsessed with proving the existence of the afterlife. This complex and compelling man will investigate hauntings, paranormal happenings, and ghostly visitations, encouraged by the Society for Psychical Research. But as these terrifying investigations become ever more frequent and ever more scary, Nathan starts to see and hear disturbing things that he simply cannot have imagined. Will Nathan's interest in the occult begin to threaten his family, his livelihood and even his sanity?
Pharoah and Graham said of the project: "We are as excited about this show as anything since 'Life On Mars' and 'Ashes to Ashes' -- we want it to be moving, tender, sensual... and very, very scary."
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Five hundred and twenty-two episodes of "The Simpsons" shown over 278 continuous hours? Don't have a cow, man!
When 21st Century Fox's general-entertainment outlet FXX unspools every "Simpsons" half-hour ever made (plus the 2007 movie) starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, it would seem to offer an overwhelming task: How can a viewer immerse himself or herself in such a torrent of content and yet pause to note some of the nuances in the stream?
Your answer is here. While bingeing on Bart, Lisa and Maggie in such amounts could make the average couch potato feel as if they've been drizzled in butter, cheese and bacon, the simple fact is the series has its Easter eggs and special moments that everyone should at least try to note. Below, a small sampling:
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - FX is gearing up for Halloween and has set an Oct. 8 premiere date for "American Horror Story: Freak Show," the next installment in creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's horror miniseries.
The network has also released a video that cryptically teases the circus-themed new season.
The show stars Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Michael Chiklis and Angela Bassett. This season, it is set in 1952 and takes place in the quiet, sleepy hamlet of Jupiter, Fla. -- or at least it was tranquil until a troupe of curiosities arrives just in time for a strange emergence of a dark entity that savagely threatens the lives of townsfolk and freaks alike.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - NBC's "Today" has its "Orange Room," and ABC's "Good Morning America" has its "Social Square." Now "The View" is getting similar treatment.
ABC said the late-morning talk show would add an "on camera social media station" when its new season debuts Monday, September 15, part of a near-wholesale makeover taking place at the show in the wake of the departure of its co-creator, Barbara Walters. While longtime host Whoopi Goldberg remains, the network has opted to remake the rest of the panel, with Rosie O'Donnell returning to the show to create a "chemistry" the network said will be "both electric and undeniable."
As part of the proceedings, the show will get a new studio and set, and the show will have a new color scheme and logo- the first time it will have a significantly new branding mark since it launched in 1997.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Someday, you might be able to sit down to watch Netflix's "House of Cards" with a virtual-reality helmet strapped to your head, to see around corners and experience the political machinations in a 3D environment.
Or maybe not.
Whether VR is the future of entertainment -- or just a passing fad -- Netflix is among those tinkering with the technology.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Comcast has found a new bundling model for pay TV: The cable giant is delivering an 80-channel package over Internet-based networks for free with the price of room and board for college kids, available across multiple devices.
The Xfinity On Campus service is designed to expose a younger generation -- which has a lower tendency to subscribe to cable TV and a higher proclivity to watch web video than their elders -- to the joys of Comcast's video services. The goal: to get them habituated to pay television so they'll want to subscribe after they graduate.
The service is included with the price of room and board for students this fall living in on-campus housing at five schools: Bridgewater College, Drexel University, Emerson College, Lasell College, and the University of Delaware. In addition, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of New Hampshire will be testing the program this fall.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Julianne Hough is returning to the "Dancing with the Stars" ballroom as the fourth judge in season 19, ABC announced Thursday. She will judge alongside Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli when the series returns on Monday, Sept. 15.
"I'm so excited to be back with my 'Dancing with the Stars' family again on a regular basis. I've always aspired to be an all-around entertainer, whether I'm acting, dancing or singing, and I'm thrilled for this opportunity that will allow me to continue all of those pursuits," Hough said. "Derek and I just finished our Move Live on Tour, which reminded me how much I miss the interaction with the dance fans that have been so supportive of me in my career. I am warming up the paddles and the sass, and I'm ready to have fun in this new role."
The twelve professional dancers competing this season include Mark Ballas, Cheryl Burke, Witney Carson, Artem Chigvintsev, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Tony Dovolani, Allison Holker, Derek Hough, Keo Motsepe, Peta Murgatroyd, Emma Slater and Karina Smirnoff. The pros will be paired with a new cast of celebrities to be announced on "Good Morning America" on Thursday, Sept. 4.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - FX has renewed "The Strain" for season two, FX announced Tuesday. The 13-episode second season will debut in summer 2015.
"We've never had any doubts about 'The Strain,'" said John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions. "Working with Guillermo del Toro, Carlton Cuse, and the brilliant cast led by Corey Stoll has been everything we had hoped it would be and more. It is thrilling when you have a show that is a creative and commercial hit, which is a rare accomplishment in this increasingly crowded marketplace. We look forward having it on FX for as long as Carlton, Guillermo and Chuck Hogan need to tell this epic tale."
"The Strain" is the No. 1 new series on cable in the adults 18-49 demo, and FX's first attempt to air an original series during Sunday's crowded primetime lineup. The show also touts the most-watched series premiere in FX history with 12.7 million total viewers, and is the first drama series produced solely by FXP (FX Productions).