It’s Thursday, and my retirement investments are a combination of index funds and Kylie Jenner lip kits.
Hello from Los Angeles, where the rising TV tide eventually threatens to drown us—but in the meantime, we’re looking ahead to new seasons of American Horror Story and The Crown.
HITTING THE PEAK-TV BUFFET
This week, I drove 40 miles out of the city to visit the set of a cable show that used to shoot right in Hollywood—until Netflix took its studio space. The soundstage land-grab is a physical manifestation of what’s happening in the entertainment business, as new players Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Apple, and Facebook engage in what FX Networks chief John Landgraf called a “titanic struggle” for audience attention, in remarks he made at the close of the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday. Landgraf, the “designated oracle of the TV industry,” per Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva, revealed that some 342 scripted TV series have aired so far in 2017, up from 325 over the same period last year. All that new production is leading to an epic battle for talent, Landgraf said. As if to underscore his point, at the exact time of Landgraf’s address at the Beverly Hilton, Netflix dropped news of a new Western anthology it’s making with Joel and Ethan Coen and Megan Ellison’s Annapurna. “We are streaming motherfuckers!” the Coens said in a statement. As VF.com’s Yohana Desta notes, the timing of the announcement was especially cheeky, considering that FX is home to Fargo—a series inspired by the Coens’ 1996 movie. It may be a great time for talent like the Coens—and their agents—but it is hard not to wonder where this sprawling TV buffet eventually leads for overstuffed audiences. I’ll let you know as soon as I finish gorging on these Emmy screeners.
GOD SAVE THE QUEEN
VF.com’s Yohana Desta e-mails:
Queen Elizabeth II is back. Netflix has released a trailer for the second season of its visually arresting royal series The Crown, which is set for a December 8 release. This time around, the queen (played by Emmy nominee Claire Foy) is firmly settled into her royal title, but is still dealing with the ever-changing political circus around her. “I’ve been queen barely 10 years and in that time, I’ve had three prime ministers,” she declares at one point. “Not one has lasted the course.” The trailer also gives us a glimpse at Prince Philip (Matt Smith), who is still cavorting around behind the queen’s back, untamed and free. We get a first peek at Michael C. Hall’s take on J.F.K. as well, and Jodi Balfour as the elegant Jackie O. When you’re done with the trailer, take a look at some brand-new stills of the series, which start with the royal couple sharing a warm and cozy moment, before revealing the fractured relationship beneath the surface.
MAGIC IN THE MAKING
VF.com’s Hillary Busis e-mails:
Naturally, Daredevil star Charlie Cox gets recognized in the gym—though not necessarily for the role you would assume. “This big, very muscular guy was staring at me with that look, trying to figure out where he knew me from,” he recently told V.F. contributor Jennifer Still. “Then, in this very thick Russian accent, he goes, ‘I know you. . . . You’re Tristan!’” The rogue Russian was referring not to Cox’s Marvel superhero, but his character in the a much lower-profile project: Stardust, a good-natured Neil Gaiman adaptation that came out 10 years ago today. Here, Cox and Still explain the magic that gave this family-fantasy flick its unlikely staying power; a resemblance to The Princess Bride, a canny but purehearted story line, and Robert De Niro—or Bob, as he insisted Cox call him—all had a role to play.
VF.com’s Katey Rich e-mails:
Do you really want to know how many calories are in that toddler-sized bucket of popcorn sitting next to you as you watch Wonder Woman? Soon you may not have a choice—the F.D.A. is aiming to include movie theaters alongside restaurant chains in an effort to disclose calorie counts on menus nationwide. The National Association of Theatre Owners is fighting back—how else are they going to sell you on a tray of nacho cheese?—and making a pretty bold claim in the process. As noticed by The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner, N.A.T.O. takes particular issue with the F.D.A. claim that movie theaters attract “sedentary people.” Presumably a partnership with SoulCycle that allows you to sweat while you watch wouldn’t keep the F.D.A. at bay . . . but it’s not the worst idea, right?
THE HORROR, THE HORROR!
VF.com’s Laura Bradley e-mails:
As American Horror Story: Cult nears its September 5 premiere, we decided to take an in-depth look at what we know so far about the anthology’s mysterious next installment. As usual for the Ryan Murphy universe, teasers have been plentiful and evocative, but concrete answers seem to be few and far between. Thankfully, we do know a few tidbits—especially after a Television Critics Association panel on Wednesday, where actresses Sarah Paulson, Adina Porter, Alison Pill, and Billie Lourd revealed details about their characters. Paulson and Pill play a married couple; Porter’s character, Beverly, is a broadcast journalist; and Lourd’s character, Winter, is more emotional and “human” than her old Scream Queens role. But all that pales in comparison to one fan theory, which speculates that Cher may be joining this season in a guest role. Unlikely? Yes. But it could happen!
That’s the news for this sultry Thursday in L.A. What are you seeing out there? Send tips, comments, and Peak TV self-care strategies to Rebecca_keegan@condenast.com. Follow me on Twitter @thatrebecca.
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