EXCLUSIVE: Grace and Frankie may have suspended production on its seventh and final season because of the coronavirus crisis, but the Emmy nominated Netflix comedy is back this week with a special live treat for fans and a spotlight on seniors in need during these troubled times.
The Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin-led series will be having an online table read this Thursday to help Meals On Wheels COVID-19 relief program, I've learned – though you can make donations right now via the link here.
While other shows have taken a similar digital approach in recent weeks, the long running Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris showrun series is adding some originality. The April 9 presentation will feature an episode from the yet unaired seventh season, as well as a live Q&A afterwards moderated by Kauffman.
Along with Oscar winner Fonda and Oscar nominee Tomlin, fellow G&F cast members Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, June Diane Raphael, Brooklyn Decker, Baron Vaughn and Ethan Embry will be participating in the reading of the Kauffman and Morris-penned “The Fallout” episode on Thursday.
Starting at 5 PM PT/8 PM ET, the whole shindig can be seen live and direct on the Netflix is a Joke YouTube page LINK HERE on April 9.
“While we’re sitting here afraid, unsure and isolated, we wanted to come together and do some good,” Kauffman told me of the decision to take the show online in a new form and with a peek into the future.”
“All we’ve got is time on our hands and technology at our fingertips,” the Friends co-creator added as production on Season 7 was temporarily suspended late on March 12 as restrictions on large gatherings tighten in the City of Angels. “So we decided to use both of those assets to raise money for Meals on Wheels, which brings food to food-insecure and isolated seniors. They are among our most vulnerable right now and need our help.”
“Our cast is all in and super excited,” Okay Goodnight founder Kauffman also says of her superstar packed team. “And Netflix and Skydance have been particularly supportive. As far as giving the fans a peek into Season 7, we figured more people would tune in to new content and it would, hopefully, be a draw for fans of Grace and Frankie. The hope is: more eyes, more money raised for Meals on Wheels.”
Produced by Skydance Television, which launched in 2013, Grace And Frankie was one of the first original series for Netflix. Though in a pause period right now, like everyone else in Tinseltown the seventh and final season is still set to premiere next year, which will make the series the longest running comedy in the streamer's history.
As of last night, there are 6360 confirmed case of the coronavirus in L.A. County and 147 deaths....
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? drama Quiz will be revealed to AMC viewers on Sunday May 31.
The network will launch the series, which is produced by The Crown producer Left Bank Pictures and is a co-production with British network ITV, over three weeks with the second and third episodes airing June 7 and June 14 respectively. The full series will be available to binge on AMC Premiere from May 31.
This comes after ITV revealed that it will air the three-part drama on April 13.
Quiz, directed by Stephen Frears A Very English Scandal and written by James Graham Brexit: An Uncivil War, tells the story of how Charles and Diana Ingram attempted an 'audacious heist' on the quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Major Ingram Matthew Macfadyen, his wife Diana Sian Clifford and an accomplice, Tecwen Whittock Michael Jibson, who was sitting in the audience, were accused of cheating their way to a million pounds on the popular game show. The couple stood trial for conspiring by coughing during the recording to signify the correct answers to the multiple-choice questions posed to the Major by host, Chris Tarrant Michael Sheen.
Aisling Bea, star of Hulu's This Way's Up, plays ITV Entertainment boss Claudia Rosencrantz and Catastrophe star Mark Bonnar plays Paul Smith, Chairman of Celador Television and creator of Millionaire.
Creator James Graham told Deadline earlier this year, “It's quite easy to make TV people look pretentious and smug on TV, but that's the trope. They just run around in suits and they're really metropolitan and cutting and smug, and I don't think that's very interesting. So, I tried to humanize them and make them people with vulnerabilities and doubts and uncertainties and desires like everyone else.”
Graham added that one of the things that fascinated him was that he didn't think there were any bad guys in Quiz. “To this day, Paul Smith still believes that they are guilty, and he believes that very passionately. Whether it was the coughing, whether it was something else, he's convinced that people came into the thing that he created, sold around the world, and that these people are trying to destroy that. So, he feels that very keenly. And I think if you represent that honestly and sincerely, then he might be wrong, but he believes it. Similarly, the Ingrams are a normal people who go through this extraordinary story where they're thrown into the limelight. They're made an international laughing stocks, and they're on trial for their freedom. They may get sent to jail if they're found guilty. You try and create three-dimensional people,” he added.
Quiz is produced by Left Bank Pictures and...
On news broadcasts and cable news channels, the company will reduce commercial loads to allow for more programming. On the entertainment front, late night shows as well as unscripted series on Bravo, E! and USA, will all feature extended episodes and bonus content in lieu of some commercial pods.
NBCUniversal will reduce advertising loads across its networks and add more entertainment and news content as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues, and as families quarantine at home.
“Now, people all across America are turning to us more for the content that comforts them and connects them to the outside world,” writes NBCUniversal ad sales and partnerships chairman Linda Yaccarino in a blog post Monday afternoon. “At the same time, some marketers across every industry have asked to pause their advertising plans or shift their messages, and they're looking for ideas, tools, and strategies from their most trusted partners. So, in light of everything we're seeing and hearing, we want to do what's right for our audiences and marketers.”
On the broadcast news shows and the company's cable news channels MSNBC and CNBC, the company will reduce commercial loads to allow for more news and information programming.
On the entertainment front, late night shows The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen now originating from the hosts' homes, as well as unscripted series on Bravo, E! and USA, will all feature extended episodes and bonus content in lieu of some commercial pods.
Some of the company's channels will also launch family movie nights, with sponsored but commercial-free airings of films.
Late last month the advertising research firm Magna Global predicted that the U.S. TV ad market would fall by 13 percent in 2020 due to the fallout from the pandemic, calling the situation “totally unprecedented.” The travel, restaurant and movie sectors in particular have pulled back ad spend.
In addition, NBCUniversal finds itself in the position of having to fill many hours of programming that had been set aside for coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which have since been postponed until 2021.
Yaccarino also writes that the company will be engaging in outreach to companies and waiving fees “to allow companies to reach their customers directly in their homes and generate much-needed sales.” That will include access to remote production teams, brand assets, talent, translation services, and editing services, which can all be used to create new campaigns even as most people are staying home.
The company also released new research on Monday outlining the increased media consumption during the last few weeks. The research found that digital and linear TV viewing is up, gaming is up significantly, and that streaming services are seeing subscription gains, while...