What's news: Louis C.K.'s commercial prospects appear to be dismal after a New York Times report arrives. Plus: Disney has a new hope for its next Star Wars trilogy in Rian Johnson, TV executives share when (and why) they decide to renew limited series and Michael B. Jordan is planning his directorial debut. — Erik Hayden
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Early Thursday, Louis C.K.'s I, Love You Daddy premiere in N.Y. was canceled. Then a New York Times report dropped accusing the comedian of masturbating in front of multiple women:
+ The story: Chicago comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, comedians Rebecca Corry, Abby Schachner and C.K. collaborator and onetime friend Tig Notaro all spoke on the record to the Times for the story, with Notaro supporting the claims made by the women.
+ FX's "review." The network, where C.K. has had an overall deal, stated: “We are obviously very troubled by the allegations about Louis C.K. published in The New York Times today. The network has received no allegations of misconduct by Louis C.K. related to any of our 5 shows produced together over the past 8 years. FX Networks and FXP take all necessary actions to protect our employees and thoroughly investigate any allegations of misconduct within our workplace. That said, the matter is currently under review.”
+ HBO cuts ties. “Louis C.K. will no longer be participating in the Night of Too Many Stars: America Unites for Autism Programs, which will be presented live on HBO on November 18,” a rep said in a statement. “In addition, HBO is removing Louis C.K.’s past projects from its On Demand services.”
+ Movie done. The Orchard has dropped plans to release C.K.'s I Love You, Daddy in the wake of the claims. The dark comedy had been set to hit select theaters Nov. 17.
Elsewhere in TV...
► Matthew Weiner accused of sexual harassment by former Mad Men writer. Kater Gordon, who won an Emmy for her writing on the AMC series, alleges to The Information that while working together late one night, Weiner told her that she owed it to him to let him see her naked.
► CBS' Colbert addresses Louis C.K. cancellation on Late Show. “For those of you tuning in to see my interview with Louis C.K. tonight, I have some bad news," Colbert said in his monologue. "Then I have some really bad news." Watch.
► Disney plans live-action Star Wars series. There are scarce details about the show but CEO Bob Iger confirmed the space opera is getting the TV treatment set to debut on Disney's digital streaming service. The still-untitled service is set to launch in 2019.
+ Additionally, Iger revealed that new TV series based on the 2001 Pixar film Monsters Inc. and the Disney Channel film franchise High School Musical also will debut on the Disney streaming service.
► ESPN undergoes another round of layoffs. The layoffs will hit employees after Thanksgiving in various divisions, including on-air talent and executives, and are expected to number 100. ESPN currently has about 8,000 employees.
► Sony TV shopping Good Girls Revolt revival. The studio, whose TriStar Television banner produced the series, is shopping a revival of the 1960s-set feminist drama. A new network is not yet attached as Sony TV is prepping a new pitch for the show. Amazon, which canceled the series mere weeks after its premiered, is said to be interested.
^TV executives explain when its best to renew limited series. THR polled 17 network toppers (as part of our semi-annual executive survey) to find out when it makes sense to turn a limited series into an ongoing franchise. Their answers shed light on the creative and business process of going beyond the book (in the case of 13 Reasons Why and Big Little Lies). The results.
► Bravo extends Andy Cohen deal to 2020. The Watch What Happens Live host has extended his overall deal at the NBCUniversal cable network. As part of the pact, Cohen he will host the late-night series as well as other specials.
► Netflix enlists Ellen Page to star in comic adaptation. The actress has become the first person cast in Netflix's anticipated live-action adaptation of Dark Horse Comics' The Umbrella Academy. The 10-episode drama is set to launch in 2018.
► SyFy casts Benedict Wong in comic adaptation. The Doctor Strange actor is among the group cast in the graphic Deadly Class. The pilot is described as a coming-of-age journey set against the backdrop of the late '80s.
► R.I.P., John Hillerman. The actor, who made a career out of playing snooty types, including Tom Selleck's fastidious estate caretaker Jonathan Quayle Higgins III on Magnum, P.I., died Thursday. He was 84. Full obit.
► Rep Sheet: Gina Rodriguez has dropped both her agency (APA) and management company (Primary Wave). A source says that she is now taking meetings with other agencies. Meanwhile, Terry Crews has fired WME after sexual assault claim was made against agent Adam Venit.
The news that director Rian Johnson is staying in a galaxy far, far away after Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a surprise on a number of levels, and one that suggests that Lucasfilm is learning from mistakes made over the past couple of years, Graeme McMillan writes:
While both Lucasfilm and Disney have made attempts to expand Star Wars outside of the "Skywalker Saga" movies with Rogue One and the upcoming young Han Solo movie Solo, neither of those have had the scope or ambition of this new move, as they have been tied to existing characters and concepts … and yet, this new trilogy news is still likely to cause less anxiety amongst studio executives.
The difference, at least as far as that last point goes, is that Johnson is a known quantity to Lucasfilm in terms of being a creative partner. Indeed, although the movie has yet to be released, even trailers teasing his work on Last Jedi have prompted a level of excitement amongst fans and executives alike that rival that for J.J. Abrams' The Force Awakens back in 2015.
It's not just that Johnson loves Star Wars, and has a particular affinity for the original movies — the same could be said for everyone the studio has partnered with since the franchise relaunch — but that the helmer has demonstrated quite how well he plays within the studio's sandbox and works with the various other entities involved in the maintenance and creation of the larger franchise.
+ Johnson's reaction? The director tweeted: "Obviously I hope you like The Last Jedi. But man now I REALLY hope you like The Last Jedi."
Elsewhere in film...
► EuropaCorp CEO steps down. Following the box office disappointment of Valerian, Marc Shmuger is stepping down as EuropaCorp CEO at the end of the year. Company founder Luc Besson will retake the helm.
► Michael B. Jordan plans directorial debut. The Creed actor will direct the adaptation of David Barclay Moore's The Stars Beneath Our Feet, which he will also produce. The project was developed by WME-IMG's Endeavour Content.
► Marvel unveils new look at Black Panther. Character posters for next year's comic book film have debuted across multiple accounts on Twitter, showcasing the ruling class of Marvel's fictional African nation of Wakanda. The photos.
► Daddy's Home 2, reviewed. Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell team with Mel Gibson and John Lithgow for this sequel in theaters today. The takeaway: "A lousy movie made worse by resonance with real-world events."
^The Documentary Roundtable. THR gathered seven nonfiction filmmakers — Evgeny Afineevsky, Greg Barker, Yance Ford, Matthew Heineman, Amanda Lipitz, Brett Morgen and Peter Nicks — for a discussion about the social impact of their films and how they earn their subjects' trust. Full feature.
► Trailer: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams in Game Night. In the first look at the Warner Bros film, viewers get a glimpse at the twists centered around a group of couples whose game night becomes a murder investigation. Watch.
► Pottersville, reviewed. Michael Shannon plays an accidental Bigfoot impersonator in Seth Henrikson's debut comedy. The takeaway: "A good-hearted but overly broad and underwhelming debut."
► R.I.P., Craig T. Rumar. The talent agent, who represented Sylvester Stallone in negotiations for Rocky and handled Arnold Schwarzenegger's deal for Conan the Barbarian, has died. He was 85. Full obit.
► Home news: THR expands Roundtable franchise to live events. Editorial director Matthew Belloni and executive editor features Stephen Galloway are for the first time inviting an audience of insiders and awards voters to see an intimate discussion among male and female actors. Details.
Anatomy of a Contender: Greta Gerwig discusses going from indie star to director of a semi-autobiographical film, which currently sits at 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and pulled in $375,612 in just four theaters over its opening weekend, Mia Galuppo writes. Full feature.
What else we're reading...
— "Netflix originals that don’t get to the theater." Glenn Kenny watches less celebrated original films: "I’m hoping things look up in 2018. Eighty movies is a lot, and if too many are like these, I may lose my faith in cinema on any screen." [New York Times]
— "When Hollywood decided Mel Gibson was safe again." Erich Schwartzel, Ben Fritz write: "Talent agents, stars and studio chiefs are trying to discern the half-life of the radioactivity now tainting other disgraced figures." [Wall Street Journal]
—"Taylor Swift ditches tabloid drama on most intimate LP." Rob Sheffield's review of Reputation: "Sixth album shows the darker, deeper side of the pop mastermind." [Rolling Stone]
— "The digital ruins of a forgotten future." Leslie Jamison's feature: "Second Life was supposed to be the future of the internet, but then Facebook came along." [The Atlantic]
— "Impossible things I've seen computers do in network crime dramas." Keaton Patti's Shouts & Murmurs piece: "Bring down a serial killer by e-mailing him a JPEG of a bullet, and leave a coherent YouTube comment, among other feats." [New Yorker]
What else we're seeing...
+ "Jay Pharoah has met both Obama and Trump." [Late Show]
+ "Mark Wahlberg was peer-pressured into scuba diving in a shark tank." [Late Night]
+ "Josh Hutcherson does a great Seth Rogen impression." [Jimmy Kimmel Live]
Today's birthdays: Zoey Deutch, 23, Taron Egerton, 28, Walton Goggins, 46, Ellen Pompeo, 48, Hugh Bonneville, 54, Sinbad, 61, Roland Emmerich, 62.