What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:26 AM 9/19/2017

by THR Staff

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Emmys hangover: Was Stephen Colbert's Sean Spicer stunt wry and clever or just cheap and opportunistic? Plus: Matthew Vaughn's 141 minute Kingsman sequel meets critics, Jennifer Lawrence addresses the backlash to mother! and Jordan Klepper is ready to take on the alt-right. — Matthew Belloni, Erik Hayden and Jennifer Konerman

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  • Spicer Stunt Divides Hollywood

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    Stephen Colbert's Sean Spicer cameo at the Emmys, to put it mildly, sharply divided Hollywood. And while the awards show is already in the rear view mirror, the incident opens up an ongoing debate about Trump. Here's two ways of looking at the stunt: 

    Reading #1: Colbert wasn't giving Spicer a pass, he was skewering the insecurity of Trump (and himself). That's the rationale put forward by an anonymous Emmy insider to The New York Times: "A person familiar with the planning of the Emmy program said on Monday that Mr. Colbert and his staff regarded Mr. Spicer’s appearance as both a joke at the expense of Mr. Trump and a way to poke fun at Mr. Colbert, too ... Just as Mr. Trump had been thin-skinned in employing a spokesman to exaggerate the size of his inaugural crowd, this person said, Mr. Colbert was mocking himself by using Mr. Spicer to overstate the size of his viewership."

    Reading #2: The selfies, the attention and the joke itself gave Spicer a pass for his repeated falsehoods. That's the rationale of the many bold-faced Twitter names (Seth Rogen, Jason Isaacs, Jenny Slate, Alyssa Milano and many more) that have pointed to the reaction of the joke, and the setting, as "normalizing" the Trump team's inaccurate statements. Isaacs went further, deeming Spicer the "thuggish face of Orwellian doublespeak." 

    Also: James Corden is now walking back a smiling photo with Spicer at an afterparty. As the Times quoted him on last night's Late Late Show, Corden offered this in his defense: "Anyone ever have that feeling when you get a little drunk and then wake up the next morning and think, ‘Oh, God, who did I kiss last night?’ It’s a bit like that ... To be fair, everyone was kissing ass last night, I just happened to kiss the biggest one there."

    Elsewhere in TV...

    CBS' Emmys nearly miss all time low in ratings. The show's updated ratings haul have it averaging 11.4M viewers for the night, up incrementally from 2016. In the key demo of adults 18-49, the show did bottom out, slipping 10 percent from a 2.7 rating to a 2.5 rating.

    + Michael O'Connell writes: That's good news after overnight 8.2 rating among metered market households had it down another 2 percent from the previous year. That means that the final tally for the 2017 Emmys avoids the all-time low 11.3M viewers that tuned in during 2016.

    CBS wins bidding showdown for Australia's Network Ten. Creditors rejected a counter offer by billionaire shareholders Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon, paving the way for finalization of the deal next month.

    ^Netflix's Narcos: Pablo Escobar's brother speaks out. Seth Abramovitch writes: The former "chief of the hitmen" says the streaming network sent him "a long letter to threaten us" over his demand of $1 billion for IP violations: "If we don't receive it, we will close their little show." Full story.

    ► Fox News taps Laura Ingraham to host new show. The 10 p.m. show, The Ingraham Angle, will debut Oct. 30, and is part of a larger shuffle of the network's scheduling stemming from the recent cancellation of Eric Bolling's 5 p.m. show, The Fox News Specialists

    ABC's The View co-host Jedediah Bila exits show. The conservative-leaning co-host is leaving the program she joined last year. She and the network didn't offer a reason for the decision. ABC has a shortlist of potential candidates to replace Bila.

    E! ends Mariah Carey docuseries. Mariah's World, which ran eight episodes, will not be returning for a second season. The first season launched in December to 2.2M viewers, but the season finale drew just 510,000 viewers.

    HBO greenlights first Scandinavian original series. HBO Europe has ordered its first-ever Scandinavian original series, ordering Gosta, an eight-episode drama, from Swedish director Lukas Moodysson, who will write and direct all eight episodes of the series.

    In THR, Esq: Fox Business host Charles Payne accuser says she was raped. Political commentator Scottie Hughes has come forward as the source of a previously filed harassment report against Payne, now saying in a lawsuit that Payne raped her in 2013 and her invitations to appear on Fox shows "increased dramatically" after the assault. Details

  • 'Kingsman' Sequel: Too Much?

    Giles Keyte/Twentieth Century Fox

    When does a good thing become too much of a good thing? When is enough enough? Chief critic Todd McCarthy answers those questions about the Kingsman sequel in his review: 

    That's the main question hovering over Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the spirited continuation of Matthew Vaughn's disarmingly clever 2015 introduction of the bespoke-suited British secret agent that, as with many successful series before it, has already begun to err on the side of overkill with an unnecessarily long 141 minutes.

    Still, this fleet-footed, glibly imaginative international romp stays on its toes and keeps its wits about it most of the time, with entertaining and pointedly U.S.-friendly cast additions that should provide an uptick from the $414M raked in worldwide by Kingsman: The Secret Service.

    + Early takes: The Guardian: "reaches new heights of skyscraping silliness." NYDN: "overkill is the order of the day - and it takes a toll." Village Voice: "The movie has its moments, but the bloat and the blandness take their toll."

    Elsewhere in film...

    Jennifer Lawrence addresses mother! backlash. After getting a rare F CinemaScore grade, the actress tells EW: "The people who love it love it and want to see it another time. The people who don’t like, absolutely despise it ... There is no middle ground."

    ► Elisabeth Moss to star in women's rights drama Call Jane.The Handmaid's Tale actress has signed on to star in the '60s-set drama to be directed by Simon Curtis. The film focuses on the true story of a network of suburban women who provide safe abortions for women.

     WGA West elects David A. Goodman president. Running unopposed, Goodman received 1,952 votes and will succeed Howard Rodman as president. Also running unopposed, Marjorie David was elected vice president with 1,962 votes.

    ^Jessica Chastain's Woman Walks Ahead, reviewed. Susanna White's film tells the story of Caroline Weldon (Chastain), a painter who travels to South Dakota to do a portrait of Sitting Bull. The takeaway: "A very odd couple's meeting of minds on the Great Plains."

    + Early takes: IndieWire: "a paint-by-numbers biopic." Screen Daily: "a sturdy, well-crafted film." The Guardian: "a sturdily liberal portrait."

    ► Blake Lively sight thriller unveils trailer. Marc Foster directed and co-wrote the Open Road Films title, about a blinded woman who finds out the "disturbing reality" of her marriage. Watch.

     Alicia Vikander's Tomb Raider reboot unveils first look. Ahead of today's release of the first trailer for the movie, the poster and short teaser have arrived, showing what makes Vikander different from the previous big-screen incarnation of Lara Croft. The photo.

    Column: "How MoviePass wooed me back." Patrick Ryan writes in USA Today: "The biggest drawback of MoviePass is that the card only covers one person, meaning that each member of a family or group needs a subscription in order to get the one-a-day deal."

    ► Annette Bening to get BAFTA career retrospective. The Oscar-nominated actress will discuss her craft and career at one of its popular "BAFTA A Life in Pictures" events in London next month. Details.


  • Jordan Klepper Takes on Alt-Right

    Photographed by Aaron Richter

    Comedy Central's The Opposition With Jordan Klepper, which debuts Sept. 25, finds the host aiming to showcase the roots of the absurdity of the day's news by assuming an Alex Jones-esque persona, Lacey Rose writes in a new profile.

    What else we're reading...

    "Will Bill O’Reilly’s latest Killing book climb the charts?" Alexandra Alter notes: "This year ... might spell the end to Mr. O’Reilly’s run as the author of one of the industry’s most popular and lucrative nonfiction franchises." [The New York Times]

     "Is Netflix helping or hurting stand-up?" Jesse David Fox notes: "Money used to define how Netflix specials looked: like they had a production budget previously only offered to the biggest comedians." [Vulture]

    "Have we reached peak Hans Zimmer?" Jordan Hoffman notes: "The #stopHansZimmer hashtag was created after the composer was brought in to provide the music for Blade Runner 2049, with critics claiming he’s too dominant." [The Guardian]

    "Facebook's reckoning draws nearer." Alexis Madrigal writes: "Sooner or later, the company will be forced to take on the responsibilities that come with being the world's dominant news distributor." [The Atlantic]

    "The original shock of Rolling Stone." Amanda Petrusich writes: "In the nineteen-sixties, Jann Wenner’s insistence on rock music’s significance and import - its relevance to the Zeitgeist, its abundance - was a lunatic gesture." [The New Yorker]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Kumail Nanjiani obsessed with bad reviews." [Jimmy Kimmel Live!]

    + "John Cleese DGAF about death because the best people are dead." [Tonight Show]

    Today's birthdays: Alison Sweeney, 41, Jimmy Fallon, 43, Paul McGuigan, 54, Jeremy Irons, 69, James Lipton, 91.