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April 15, 2014

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Craig Ferguson on Stand-Up, Theme Shows and Sitting Out the Late-Night Wars

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 18th 2011 11:30AM
'Craig Ferguson: Does This Need to Be Said?' on Epix
Craig Ferguson has said it before, and he's sticking with his story: He is definitely not interested in starting or participating in another Late Night War.

"In order for there to be a war there would have to be something here that I was desirous of capturing. And there isn't," he told me yesterday.

On 'The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson' every weeknight, he gets to dance to a modified 'Doctor Who' theme, banter with a robotic sidekick and pull out naughty puppets whenever he wants. And his improvisational monologue and casual, off-the-cuff interview style has drawn raves. Of all the late-night hosts, Ferguson seems to be the most comfortable in his own hosting skin.

Calling in to promote his new stand-up special, 'Craig Ferguson: Does This Need to Be Said?', which premieres on the EPIX network Saturday at 8PM ET, we talked about the way he writes stand-up, his love of dancing to Britney Spears, and how he really sees himself. But first, there was a need to congratulate him on a big event in his life.

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Development Roundup: Fox Nabs TV Version of Will Smith's 'Hitch,' Epix Scraps Nashville Drama and More

by Jean Bentley, posted Oct 6th 2010 5:30PM
Will SmithUsually projects go from TV to the big screen -- see: 'The A Team,' 'Jackass 3D' (and that's just this year) -- but occasionally a successful film will spawn a TV show -- see: 'Friday Night Lights,' 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer.' According to Deadline Hollywood, that's the case with Will Smith's hit 'Hitch.'

The 2005 film, about Smith's kinda-smarmy but ultimately charming date doctor, is being turned into a TV series by Smith's production company, Overbrook Entertainment. 'The Proposal' writer Pete Chiarelli will write the script for the one-hour show.

Smith has tried to bring the movie to the small screen before -- it was adapted into a half-hour comedy for CBS three seasons ago, but ultimately didn't make it to air.

In other TV development news ...

Premium cable channel Epix has scrapped plans for its first scripted series, 'Tough Trade.' The Nashville-set drama revolved around three generations of a Nashville music dynasty, and a pilot was shot nine months ago. Industry sources are questioning whether Epix is ready to produce its own scripted series. [Deadline]

WEtv is adding to its reality show ranks by ordering a new series about working mother/stand-up comedian Tammy Pescatelli. The network is expected to launch the six-episode show alongside a Joan and Melissa Rivers reality show in January. [The Hollywood Reporter]

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Oliver Stone Signs TV Deal With Epix

by Chris Harnick, posted Apr 30th 2010 12:01PM
Oliver StoneAcademy Award winner Oliver Stone is coming to television -- again.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the acclaimed filmmaker and writer Bruce Wagner have signed a development deal with Epix. The duo's first project is the one-hour scripted drama 'Still Holding,' based on Wagner's novel of the same name.

Epix is a premium TV service run by Viacom, Lionsgate and MGM.

Epix said 'Still Holding' will explore "the colliding worlds of three disparate people in Los Angeles, and the violent consequences of love and betrayal, of holding on and letting go." Stone and Wagner will serve as executive producers on the series. They previously worked together on the 1993 ABC mini-series 'Wild Palms.'

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David Cross: 'Arrested Development' Movie "Not Going to Happen"

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 7th 2010 4:51PM
David Cross from his special 'David Cross: Bigger and Blackerer'Fans of 'Arrested Development' might not be too happy with David Cross after they read this interview. Why? Because he has doubts that an 'AD' movie is ever going to come to pass.

"(I)t's not going to happen," Cross told me the other day when I spoke to him about his new stand-up special, 'David Cross: Bigger and Blackerer,' which premieres on the new cable channel Epix on Saturday (Friday night) at midnight ET.

"Way too much time it's been (since the show ended)," he told me. "I mean, there's so many people involved. Everyone's doing their own thing, you know. And everybody's aged. It's just not going to happen. I'm sure I speak for everybody when I say we'd love for it to happen, we'd love to work on it, but just I don't think... not going to happen."

In the special, which Sub Pop will release on DVD in June, Cross talks about all his usual hot points: religion, the health care debate, politics... and airplanes. If you don't get Epix, the channel is providing a free pass to see the special online. The first thing I was curious about: the pre-teen kid who came out and did a piece of his act at the start of the special.

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T Bone Burnett to Executive Produce Epix's 'Tough Trade'

by Michael D. Ayers, posted Dec 2nd 2009 11:00AM
Veteran musician/producer T Bone Burnett is getting into the television game. According to a press release, recently launched cable network Epix announced that Burnett will serve as an executive producer for their original series 'Tough Trade.' Specifically, Burnett will lend his sharp ear and work as a music supervisor, as well as creator of original pieces for the show.

As previously reported, 'Tough Trade' promises to follow the exploits of a three generation, dysfunctional country music family. The plot is said to center around the family's last hope-the black sheep of the family, who was once a budding country star but is finding new success as an alt-rock heartthrob.

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Lucas Black, Cary Elwes Join Epix's 'Tough Trade'

by Gary Susman, posted Nov 30th 2009 12:30PM
If you want to get the folks in the heartland to subscribe to your new premium cable channel, what better way than to expose the dark, seamy underbelly of the country music industry?

Okay, we don't see the logic either, but that's what Epix, the month-old premium channel on Verizon FIOS systems, is doing. Two weeks ago, the channel announced a pilot for its backstage-country soap 'Tough Trade,' which will star Sam Shepard as the patriarch of a Nashville music family. Now comes news that the cast is being rounded out by Lucas Black and Cary Elwes (pictured, right).

'Tough Trade,' created by 'Weeds' producers Jenji Kohan and Chris Offutt, centers on the Tuckers, a music-biz clan, described alliteratively by the Hollywood Reporter as "a Nashville music dynasty whose penchant for drink, debauchery and divorce has left it on the verge of bankruptcy." Shepard will play father to Elwes, both of whose characters are respected country music figures. Black will play Elwes' son, a talented guitarist who's avoiding the family business, choosing instead to sell illegal ammunition.

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Halloween type movies you can see for free

by Nick Zaino, posted Oct 23rd 2009 5:01PM
Halloween movies: Return of the Living Dead 3It's the season for scary movies - bad scary movies, good scary movies, campy scary movies, any kind of scary movie. And depending on what cable company you subscribe to, there are plenty of free offerings right now on demand.

FearNet is the obvious go-to place for freebies, although it has its detractors hanging around this blog. One of the best choices available now is Return of the Living Dead III. Unless you're a hardcore horror geek, you may not know this one. And the plot -- a young couple near a military base are torn apart when she becomes one of the living dead -- may not sound exciting. But the first zombie onscreen is convincingly freaky, and the surprise ending is actually kind of a surprise.

FearNet also has Severed Ties, in which a severed arm comes back to life as a reptilian killing machine. And who doesn't like a good Garrett Morris/Oliver Reed team-up? And there are a couple of bigger movies, like Brian DePalma's Body Double and Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses, and Sleepaway Camp II and III, featuring Pamela Springsteen (Bruce's sister).

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Lewis Black on his new special, The Daily Show, and the Root of All Evil

by Nick Zaino, posted Sep 4th 2009 11:16AM
Lewis BlackFor thirteen years, Lewis Black has been ranting and raving as a correspondent for The Daily Show, venting about all things political and pop cultural. For much longer than that, he's been a an actor, a playwright, and stand-up comedian, playing clubs and theaters everywhere around the country.

He taped his latest special, Stark Raving Black, earlier this month in Detroit for a fall release in theaters October 8th before it heads to a new premium HB cable channel called Epix, where it will debut December 5. (Black also filmed a documentary about his transition from a writer to a comedian - he's unsure where that will end up). And Big Bang Theory fans will be happy to know he'll be doing a cameo on the show September 28. I spoke with him by phone last week.

Why release the new special theatrically?

In order to... I think... I've got no idea. Everyone around me seemed to think it was a smart idea. Why not? I'm interested in seeing how that works and if it does work. It's another way to reach people.

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