HBO has unveiled its promo for Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, which unveils on April 27 (see below). The new weekly satire current events show from the former The Daily Show With Jon Stewart correspondent (and stand-in host) will …
HBO will debut its latest Bruce Springsteen documentary, Bruce Springsteen’s High Hopes, at 9:30 PM on April 4. The half-hour docu, from Grammy- and Emmy-winning filmmaker Thom Zimny, chronicles the making of Springsteen’s 18th studio album and it premieres two days before the start of his North American tour. The album reached No. 1 in 20 countries with its January release, including the U.S. The film features behind-the-scenes studio and rehearsal segments, exclusive E Street Band tour footage and interviews with Springsteen and album collaborator Tom Morello, guitarist for Rage Against the Machine. The two explain how Morello brought a distinctive twist to Springsteen’s material. He joined Springsteen and the E Street Band on tour in Australia in 2013 and the two began collaborating on ideas that would make their way onto the album.
EXCLUSIVE: For years, I’ve been writing about all the futility involved in attempts to bring the life of iconic civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr to the screen. So here’s a big one. I’m hearing that David Simon, the architect of the HBO series The Wire, Homicide and most recently Treme, will spearhead the HBO six-hour miniseries adaptation of America: In The King Years, based on the celebrated book trilogy by Pulitzer Prize-winner Taylor Branch. Just as will happen with the Ava DuVernay-directed Selma, Oprah Winfrey will be backing this project as well in a producing capacity.
Winfrey’s Harpo banner originally set up the three books at HBO in 2010 with the plan that it would be overseen by The Kentucky Cycle playwright Robert Schenkkan. While I’ve been trying to confirm the Simon part to no avail at HBO for weeks, I’m told reliably that Simon has assured Branch that he is taking on the project, which instantly becomes a beachhead project for HBO, covering King and his relationships with Lyndon Johnson, John F and Robert Kennedy, as well as the freedom rides, the Birmingham and Selma campaigns, and the poor people’s march on Washington that he was organizing when he was killed in Memphis. It is the perfect venue to tell the story of King’s long struggle.
I’ve heard that Simon will write at least the first episode, as well as the bible for the entire mini. He and Treme co-creator Eric Overmyer will see the entire mini through completion. This is a broad canvas, spanning Branch’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Parting The Waters, as well as Pillar Of Fire and At Canaan’s Edge.
HBO‘s Looking has been a growth story, and now the gay-themed freshman dramedy has been given a second-season renewal. It comes after a third consecutive week of series highs posted by the ensemble comedy this past Sunday when it drew 519,000 viewers at 10:30 PM, up 54% from the series premiere five weeks ago. Including encores, Looking averaged 749,000 viewers on Sunday, with its episodes attracting gross audience of 2 million viewers season to date. Despite Looking‘s soft ratings start last month, HBO brass were encouraged by the attention the show had been getting as they consider a show being part of the cultural conversation as important (and sometimes even more important) than ratings. As Looking‘s current HBO companion, Girls, has proven, the two are very much related, with the buzz surrounding Looking bringing more and more eyeballs.
HBO has finalized a deal for a second-season pickup of offbeat medical comedy Getting On, starring Laurie Metcalf, Alex Borstein, Niecy Nash and Mel Rodriguez. The order is for six episodes, matching the size of Getting On‘s first season. HBO brass had been high on the show, an adaptation of the BBC series, and had been looking to renew it contingent of sorting out budget issues. Well received by critics, Getting On was a modest ratings performer but also was a word-of-mouth success as it didn’t get a big marketing push at launch. It is unclear what the renewal will mean for CBS comedy pilot The McCarthys, which cast Metcalf as the female lead in second position while the HBO comedy’s fate was still up in the air.
After his successful TV debut with Netflix’s House Of Cards, David Fincher is spearheading the U.S. adaptation of another British series, this time at HBO. The pay cable network, which aggressively pursued House Of Cards when it was shopped, has teamed with Fincher for Utopia, a drama series project based on the Channel 4 series created by Dennis Kelly and produced by Kudos. Fincher is set to direct the adaptation, which will be written by Gillian Flynn, reteaming with Fincher whose upcoming feature Gone Girl is based on her novel. Both Gone Girl and Utopia are in the thriller genre. The series revolves around the die-hard fans of an iconic, underground graphic novel who are suddenly launched into their own pop-culture thriller when they learn that the author has secretly written a sequel. Unfortunately, the new manuscript is much more than just a book and those on the hunt for it suddenly find themselves in a game of shifting loyalties, conspiracy and shocking twists as the true meaning of the book is slowly revealed (watch a trailer for the original series below).
HBO Gives Series Order To Comedy Pilot ‘The Brink’ Starring Jack Black & Tim Robbins, From Jay Roach & Jerry Weintraub
EXCLUSIVE: In a very quick turnaround, HBO has given a series order to The Brink, its comedy pilot starring Jack Black and Tim Robbins, directed by Jay Roach and executive produced by Jerry Weintraub. Written by former Weeds executive producer Roberto Benabib and his brother Kim Benabib, The Brink is an epic dark comedy focusing on a geopolitical crisis and its effect on three disparate and desperate men: U.S. Secretary of State Walter Hollander (Robbins); Alex Coppins (Black), a lowly Foreign Service officer; and Zeke Callahan (Pablo Schreiber), an ace Navy fighter pilot. These three compromised souls must pull through the chaos around them to save the planet from World War III. Aasif Mandvi, Maribeth Monroe, Geoff Pierson, Esai Morales and Eric Ladin co-star on the series, executive produced by Roberto Benabib, Weintraub and Roach. Kim Benabib and Susie Ekins co-executive produce.
This marks the first HBO series for Weintraub and Roach, who both have deals with the pay cable network and established relationships there. Weintraub executive produced HBO Films’ Emmy-winning movie Behind The Candelabra, while Roach directed and exec produced the Emmy-winning HBO movies Game Change and Recount.
The Brink’s road to HBO’s primetime started with an email Weintraub received while in Europe, which contained the Benabibs’ script. “I read it and I fell in love with it,” he said. When he came back to Los Angeles, Weintraub had lunch with Roach about a movie project where Roach mentioned that he had been looking to do a half-hour comedy. Weintraub ran to his office and brought Roach The Brink script. Joking that Roach “is famous for taking three years to make up his mind” on anything, Wentraub heard from the director the very next day. “He calls me and he says, ‘I’m in, the script is too good’.”
Art Directors Guild Awards: ‘Her’, ‘Gravity’, ‘The Great Gatsby’ Win Top Film Prizes; HBO Cleans Up On TV Side; Martin Scorsese Honored
Her, Gravity and The Great Gatsby were the big winners on the film side at tonight’s ADG Awards at the Beverly Hilton. “I didn’t know if we were making a fantasy or a period film in the future,” Her production designer K.K. Barrett in accepting the award. “Spike Jonze told me, ‘Who are we to question what anybody else feels is real.’” Looking around the room, I believe in all your realities.”
Related: WGA Awards: ‘Captain Phillips’ & ‘Her’ Win Top Film Awards
Said production designer Andy Nicholson from the podium: “Gravity was an incredibly long and tough journey for my crew. None of this would’ve been possible without the artistic vision of Alfonso Cuaron.”
Martin Scorsese scored points in the room as he accepted the guild’s prestigious Cinematic Imagery Award, presented by his Wolf Of Wall Street stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. “How does one even separate cinema from PD? You can’t,” he said. “We have images in our mind, pictures in our head, but yours are the ones I look to to get those images on the screen. You’ve never let me down. This [award] is for you.”
HBO cleaned up on the TV side, with Game Of Thrones, Behind The Candelabra and Veep all picking up trophies during the 18th annual Art Directors Guild Excellence in Production Design Awards. The show was hosted by Owen Benjamin, a comic and regular on the TBS comedy Sullivan & Son.
Here is the complete list of winners. Read on for the recap of our live blog.