LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - For starters, "Constantine," the TV show derived from DC's "Hellblazer" comics, is better than "Constantine," the 2005 movie starring Keanu Reeves, which amounts to damnation with faint praise. Matt Ryan is certainly appealing as the doomed-to-hell exorcist/demonologist, and the concept is perfectly positioned as a companion to NBC's "Grimm," premiering right before Halloween, no less. That said, the series -- adapted by Daniel Cerone with an assist from genre specialist David S. Goyer -- nearly chokes on its mythological mumbo-jumbo, and frankly, yelling at demons in foreign tongues seemed a whole lot scarier back when "The Exorcist" first turned heads.
Like all good demon fighters, Ryan's Constantine is plagued by a dark past, haunted by the 9-year-old girl he couldn't save, sentencing his own soul to hell. When introduced, in fact, he's checked himself into an asylum, only to wearily -- and wisecrackingly -- rejoin the battle against demons visiting Earth, who manifest themselves by inhabiting unsuspecting folk.
Constantine has a few nondescript helpers in this endeavor, the most interesting being an angel ("Lost's" Harold Perrineau, saddled with "Rosemary's Baby" eyes) who speaks to him mostly in cryptic riddles. There's also the little matter of the woman he's trying to save in the premiere, who has inherited a legacy from the father she never met, a man who Constantine knew.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Doubling down on two TV trends -- mining nostalgic movies for TV source materials and the new fall shows' infatuation with romantic comedies -- ABC has given a put pilot with a heavy penalty to a half-hour comedy anthology series based on the raunchy Tom Hanks comedy "Bachelor Party."
The project, which hails from Small Dog Picture Co. and the Walcott Company in association with 20th Century Fox Television, plans to examine relationships and the institution of marriage through the lens of three couples: one about to get married, another recently divorced and a third just falling in love. They will experience the trial-by-fire that is the modern day, co-ed bachelor/bachelorette extravaganza.
"Bachelor Party" is co-created by JJ Philbin and Josh Malmuth, with Philbin executive producing and Malmuth co-executive producing. Additional executive producers are Jason Winer, Max Winkler, Jake Johnson and Renate Radford, with Mary Lee serving as producer. Winer and Winkler will alternate directing duties in series. Schedule permitting, Winer will direct the pilot.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Binge-watching is a relatively new TV-viewing behavior that has the viewer making an active choice to watch a series hour after hour after hour. Now PBS appears to have cracked the nut on getting people to do it with a TV network more firmly in control of the process.
PBS' recent broadcast of "The Roosevelts," an epic 14-hour series, reached more than 33.3 million viewers who tuned in to local PBS stations to watch the Ken Burns-helmed series, according to Nielsen live-plus-seven data released Wednesday by the network. The numbers are surprising because PBS ran the series in primetime over seven consecutive nights, from Sunday, September 14 to Saturday, September 20 , demanding a significant time commitment from viewers.
PBS typically sees its highest program ratings for drama series, said Beth Hoppe, the network's chief programming executive and general manager of its general-audience programming, but getting these sorts of numbers for a non-fiction series with TV viewing as fragmented as it has become "is unheard of" - and executives believe the availability of the series on new-tech platforms like the web, Roku and elsewhere helped.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - FX has announced that it is not moving forward with a third season of "The Bridge," the crime drama starring Diane Kruger and Demian Bichi.
The series, developed by Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid, explored the explores the tensions on the U.S.-Mexico border centering on two cops from each country (Kruger and Bichir) working to catch a serial killer.
"We thank our partners at FX for their tireless efforts in developing and launching 'The Bridge' with us. From its fresh, unique voice to its deep and diverse ensemble cast, this is a series that we are all very proud of," said Shine America, which co-produced the series, in a statement.
**DISCLAIMER: Video contains strong language.**
Did you catch Hannibal Buress’s standup set at the Trocadero last week? You’d probably remember if you’d been there. Because the rising comic took some time in the middle of his Philly show to aggressively go after one of the city’s legends, Bill Cosby, repeatedly accusing the TV icon of being a rapist.
The majority of Buress’s diatribe can be seen in the rough video above. Warning: The profanity is pretty thick, making the clip NSFW.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - For a show that started its life in orbit, "The 100" clearly isn't content just to go around in circles. In fact, this CW sci-fi drama earns points strictly for forward momentum, launching into its second season featuring a fast-evolving narrative, with the space-faring human population returning to Earth and facing a new set of problems. Not everything works, and the performances remains a trifle uneven. But with so many post-apocalyptic cliches being juggled simultaneously, it's certainly a watchable and ambitious undertaking, albeit one whose main job will be to defy gravity by not yielding too much of "Arrow's" lead-in.
Just to recap, nearly 100 years after nuclear near-annihilation, thousands of survivors have stayed alive aboard the Ark, a collection of linked-together space stations. But with the system failing, those in charge first decided to jettison 100 youthful prisoners down to the planet's surface (hence the name), testing its viability before risking a full-scale re-colonization.
Season two begins with the Ark having sent the rest of its inhabitants back to solid ground, which is now teeming with disparate groups of survivors, most instantly recognizable to anyone who has consumed more than a dollop of science fiction. They range from scarred, primitive brutes nicknamed "Grounders" who occupy the Eden-like setting (OK, Vancouver) to a seemingly idyllic haven of refined survivors beneath the surface, led by a president (Raymond J. Barry) who gives off a creepy vibe despite his reassuring words.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "Saturday Night Live" has found a new cast member in its writing staff.
Leslie Jones, who has been a writer for the show since early this year, is joining the cast, a rep for the show confirmed on Monday. She'll begin in this role starting with this week's Jim Carrey-hosted episode.
The comedian was a contender in the search for a new cast member last fall. The spot went to Sasheer Zamata, but producers decided to bring Jones on as a writer.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Bethenny Frankel, the Bravo reality star-turned-media powerhouse, is returning to the show that catapulted her career, as the cabler has confirmed that she will be back on "The Real Housewives of New York City" for season seven.
The new season will follow Frankel and returning cast Carole Radziwill, Heather Thomson, Kristen Taekman, LuAnn de Lesseps, Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan.
"Bethenny is one of the most popular Housewives in the history of the franchise, and I couldn't be more excited she is coming home to Bravo!," said Andy Cohen, host and executive producer of "Watch What Happens Live" and executive producer of the "Real Housewives" franchise.