What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:14 AM 10/2/2017

by THR Staff

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What's news: SNL returned for season 43, and Baldwin's Trump enough was enough to keep the ratings (if not quality) momentum going. Plus: It has led the September box office to a record high and more broadcast TV reviews are in. — Matthew Belloni and Jennifer Konerman

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Death toll rises after music festival shooting. Police investigated an active shooter situation at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas last night that continued into the early hours. Dozens of patrol vehicles descended on the Strip near the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino after authorities received reports of an active shooter. 

Around 1:30 a.m. local time, police said the gunman was dead and said he had killed more than 20 people, with 100-plus injured, but by 3:45 a.m the death toll rose to more than 50 and more than 200 injured. The police have now identified the victim. More details

+ Jason Aldean responds: The country singer, who was performing at the festival when the shooting happened, wrote: "My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night."

  • 'SNL's' "Nasty" Return

    Screengrab/'Saturday Night Live'

    Saturday Night Live is back with season 43, kicking off its new year with Trump's "nasty" call to San Juan's mayor, Ryan Gosling "saving jazz" and a subtle political statement onstage. Some takeaways: 

    "At least the season premiere amused Ryan Gosling." THR's TV critic Daniel Fienberg writes: "The kindest thing I can say about Saturday night's 43rd SNL premiere is that host Ryan Gosling seemed consistently amused. ... This wasn't a promising return."

    Alec Baldwin's Trump vs. Puerto Rico. Saturday's episode opened like this: Taking a phone call from San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz (Melissa Villasenor), Baldwin's Trump said he knows things there are "despacito," but he wants to take care of "America first." "Wait — you do know we're a U.S. territory, don't you?" said Cruz, shocking Trump (and perhaps many Americans). 

    Jay-Z performs in Colin Kaepernick jersey. Musical guest Jay-Z made a statement while performing his song "Bam," wearing a custom black jersey with "Colin K" on the back and the number 7, standing in solidarity with the athletes taking a knee.

    Ratings: A strong return for SNL after record year. Airing live in all U.S. time zones, the show averaged just over 7M viewers and a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49. Those figures both represent declines of a little more than 15 percent from the prior opener — no surprise given last year's presidential election cycle.

    + Michael O'Connell adds: SNL will likely reap considerable lifts from time-shifting. And while it may not hit the highs of the previous year, Saturday's numbers still represent the show's second most-watched premiere since 2010.

    Elsewhere in TV...

     TV Planner: What's ahead this week. TRL and Once Upon a Time reboot, Marvel launches The Gifted, and Scandal returns for one last wild ride. Details.

    ► Fox News' Sean Hannity sets Trump interview. Wednesday's exclusive, pre-taped interview will feature a studio audience who will also the president questions after his chat with Hannity. 

    ► Jerrod Carmichael and 20 TV ink overall deal. The studio behind his critically acclaimed (and now canceled) comedy Carmichael Show has signed the writer/producer/actor to a deal to develop new projects alongside his longtime producing partner Ari Katcher. 

    R.I.P, Monty Hall. The playful host of Let’s Make a Deal known for his charity work died this weekend of heart failure at the age of 96. Full obit

    ^HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, reviewed. After six years, one of TV's greatest comedies returned last night, writes chief TV critic Tim Goodman. The takeaway: "It's only one episode, but it's pretty good."

    CBS' Wisdom of the Crowd, reviewed. Jeremy Piven stars in CBS' noxious new drama, which premiered last night, about how turning crime-solving over to the internet would be a great idea. The takeaway: "Disagreeable."

    + Fox's Ghosted and ABC's The Mayor, reviewed. Fox's Adam Scott/Craig Robinson supernatural comedy and ABC's hip-hop/political comedy, both debuting this week, have potential in a fall of weak broadcast offerings. The takeaway: "Few initial laughs, but worth sampling."

    Friday ratings: Marvel's Inhumans opens soft. The comic book drama averaged a 0.9 rating among adults 18-49 and 3.8M viewers. Expectations for the series weren't high. Marvel's latest TV effort has been eviscerated by critics since its soft Imax launch. 

    + Fall's worst-reviewed show? Inhumans currently has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 4 percent, and critics across the board are panning the show. THR's Daniel Fienberg wrote: "Marvel's latest venture (on ABC) combines poorly developed characters, confusing superpowers and lovely Hawaiian scenery into a leaden dud."

    TGIF: Hulu adds Boy Meets World, Home Improvement. The streaming service has acquired exclusive U.S. SVOD rights to more ABC sitcoms including Dinosaurs. The deal fleshes out Hulu's earlier acquisition of the libraries of a number of memorable TGIF shows, including Full House

    ► Hulu's Locke and Key adds Danny Glover. The Lethal Weapon favorite has joined the cast of Carlton Cuse's adaptation of the IDW graphic novel that will also star newcomer Jack Mulhern.

    Critic's take: Apple's steep learning curve. The guess is that Apple will certainly be a major player that dramatically alters the landscape of the television industry. But that doesn't mean that its early-days learning curve won't be unexpectedly more difficult than first assumed.

    Rep Sheet Roundup: New Girl’s Lamorne Morris has signed with UTA. … Singaporean investment company Temasek has acquired a stake in CAA. … Beast filmmaker Michael Pearce has signed with WME, as have The Defiant Ones’ co-writer Doug Pray and The Mermaid co-writer Lu Zhengyu. … Ballers staff writer Chloe Domont has signed with Verve. … Kodachrome cinematographer Alan Poon has signed with GershMore here.

  • 'It' Leads Record September Box Office

    Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

    Hollywood and theater owners are collectively breathing a sigh of relief after September revenue reached records highs in North America, following a wretched summer, Pamela McClintock reports: 

    The recovery is thanks in large measure to New Line and Warner Bros.' It. To date, the horror blockbuster has grossed $291.2M domestically, becoming the first September title in history to cross $200M, much less approach $300M. Domestic revenue between Sept. 1 and Sept. 30 clocked in at an estimated $700M or more, up a hefty 19 percent from September 2016 and 14 percent from the previous record set in 2014, according to preliminary estimates from comScore.

    It continued to defy expectations over the weekend. In its fourth outing, the film is estimated to have narrowly edged out Tom Cruise's American Made and holdover Kingsman: The Golden Circle. (The final order will be determined later this morning.)

    After It, the Kingsman sequel, from 20th Century Fox, is the second-biggest September earner in North America with $66.7M to date. The question now is whether the box office can recover enough to match last year's record $11.4B in domestic revenue.

    Elsewhere in film...

    ► Entertainment Stocks: The haves and have-nots. As gaming and digital media soar, cord cutting and lackluster box office contribute to a cloudy future for traditional film and TV companies. 

    ► Flatliners started weekend with 0 score on Rotten TomatoesThe remake of Joel Schumacher's 1990 film hit theaters Friday and with 20 reviews, claimed a zero score on Rotten Tomatoes. It now has soared to 3 percent, but critics skewered the reboot, calling it everything from "artless" to "meh." THR's review: "As daffy as the original and a lot less fresh."

    Sony plans Men In Black spinoff from Iron Man writers. Matt Holloway and Art Marcum are attached the pen the script for the new film that will focus on new characters (and likely not starring Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones). Steven Spielberg is set to executive produce. 

    San Sebastian: Disaster Artist takes top prize. James Franco’s Room-inspired film was awarded the Golden Shell at the San Sebastian International Film Festival on Saturday. The fest's top honor was awarded by jury president John Malkovich.

     Zurich: Rob Reiner's Shock and Awe gets standing ovation. The filmmaker also received thunderous applause at the Zurich International Film Festival world premiere of the real-life drama, which tells the story of the journalists who questioned the Bush government's WMD rationale for war in Iraq.

    Updated! Oscar standingsTHR's awards columnist offers his assessment of 14 categories in the race in light of the New York Film Festival. Frontrunners for best picture include Battle of the Sexes, Dunkirk and The Big Sick. Feinberg Forecast.

  • Camille Paglia on Hugh Hefner's Legacy

    Robert Mora/Getty Images

    Pro-sex feminist, cultural critic and author Camille Paglia discusses why Hugh Hefner's art of seduction is needed today and how Gloria Steinem is not a role model for young women. An excerpt: 

    On Playboy's cultural impact: "Hugh Hefner absolutely revolutionized the persona of the American male. ... Hefner re-imagined the American male as a connoisseur in the continental manner, a man who enjoyed all the fine pleasures of life, including sex. Hefner brilliantly put sex into a continuum of appreciative response to jazz, to art, to ideas, to fine food."

    On Hugh Hefner's personal legacy: "What has completely vanished is what Hefner espoused and represented — the art of seduction, where a man, behaving in a courtly, polite and respectful manner, pursues a woman and gives her the time and the grace and the space to make a decision of consent or not.  ...Instead, what we have today, after Playboy declined and finally disappeared off the cultural map, is the coarse, juvenile anarchy of college binge drinking, fraternity keg parties where undeveloped adolescent boys clumsily lunge toward naive girls who are barely dressed in tiny mini skirts and don't know what the hell they want from life."

    On the Playboy Bunny costume: "Feminists of that period were irate about it — they felt that it reduced women to animals. It is true it’s animal imagery, but a bunny is a child's toy, for heaven's sake! I think you could criticize the bunny image that Hefner created by saying it makes a woman juvenile and infantilizes her. But the type of animal here is a kind of key to Hefner's sensibility because a bunny is utterly harmless."

    What else we're reading...

    Graydon Carter remembers S.I. Newhouse, Jr. "With his passing, at the age of 89, so goes the last of the great visionaries of the magazine business." [Vanity Fair]

    "Why the '90s was Hollywood’s fairytale decade." Rebecca Nicholson writes: "Smart, self-aware and groundbreaking, the cinema of the 1990s is worth getting nostalgic over. No wonder studios are so keen to resurrect it." [The Guardian]

    — "Baldwin's Trump bit doesn't work anymore." Matthew Desem writes: SNL leaders "seem to have realized that the president’s incompetence, racism, narcissism, and near-biologically-impossible stupidity have gotten a lot less funny since the show’s last season ended on May 20." [Slate

    What's ahead this week...

    Monday: MTV's TRL returns with new hosts and a new look; the Chadwick Boseman-starring biopic Marshall premieres in L.A. 

    Tuesday: Blade Runner 2049, starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, celebrates its Los Angeles premiere; David Oyelowo and NFL Hall of Famer Warren Moon host GEANCO’s Annual Hollywood Gala. 

    Wednesday: Hillary Clinton continues her book tour, stopping by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. 

    Thursday: Shonda Rhimes' Scandal kicks off its final season on ABC. 

    Friday: Debra Messing receives a star on the Walk of Fame. 

    Today's birthdays: Camilla Belle, 31, Kelly Ripa, 47, Terence Winter, 57, Lorraine Bracco, 63, Sting, 66.