What's news: Will Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One open big enough stateside to justify its $175 million budget? Plus: YouTube may be betting on Jake Paul, Gwyneth Paltrow raises $50 million more for Goop and Adam Sandler is teaming with Jennifer Aniston at Netflix. — Erik Hayden
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YouTube viewers could soon be getting an even bigger dose of Jake Paul, Natalie Jarvey reports:
The at-times controversial vlogger is developing a talk show with YouTube Red, sources familiar with the project say. Although YouTube Red doesn't have traditional programming blocks, the project is expected to have a late-night variety show feel.
Gavin Purcell, the showrunner on Sarah Silverman's Hulu talk show I Love You, America, has been tapped to executive produce the pilot, which could be shot as early as May, according to sources. Full story.
Elsewhere in TV...
? Chinese streaming giant makes U.S. market debut. iQiyi, the video streaming service that has been compared to Netflix, fell in its stock market debut Thursday. That gave it a valuation of about $11 billion, according to Bloomberg data.
? Ren & Stimpy creator's alleged harassment, predatory behavior detailed. Two women are claiming in a new exposé by BuzzFeed News that John Kricfalusi pursued them as teenagers.
? NBCUniversal inks Chelsea Handler to overall deal. Under the multiple-year pact, Handler will create and develop scripted and unscripted programming for NBC's Universal Television and its unscripted counterpart.
? Annapurna TV inks Michael Showalter to overall deal. The comedy vet, who co-created hits such as TBS' Search Party and Wet Hot American Summer, has inked a multiple-year, first-look deal to produce, write and direct new projects.
? HBO unveils Westworld trailer. The second season of the series from showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy premieres on April 22, promising to expand on the very elaborate narratives. Watch.
? IFC renews Brockmire for two seasons. The cabler is renewing the Hank Azaria comedy ahead of its season two debut on April 25. In addition, the channel said that Documentary Now! won't return for its third season until 2019.
^The CW's Arrow says goodbye to series regular. Willa Holland, who has played Thea Queen/Speedy for six seasons, has exited the Greg Berlanti-produced DC Comics drama. Her last episode aired Thursday night.
? Fox News' advertiser boycott. Nutrish, a pet food company, e-commerce company Wayfair and travel website TripAdvisor have all committed publicly to stop advertising on Laura Ingraham's Fox News show following a remark on Twitter about Parkland student David Hogg.
? Amazon drama Homecoming enlists Sissy Spacek. The Oscar winner has boarded the Julia Roberts series in a recurring role in the political thriller. The show is based on the Gimlet Media fictional podcast of the same name.
? Freeform's Paul Feig comedy finds cast... The Feig-produced comedy Girls Code has cast its leads: Sophia Di Martino and Kirby Howell-Baptiste will star in the women-in-the-workplace comedy.
? ...and cancels Beyond. The younger-skewing, Disney-owned cable network has canceled the Tim Kring-produced series after two seasons. The decision comes a week after the sci-fi drama wrapped its second season.
? USA, Syfy promotes Tracy St. Pierre. The highly respected PR veteran has been upped to senior vp communications for both NBCUniversal-owned cable networks. She will manage program publicity and awards.
? R.I.P., Suzanne Patmore Gibbs. The executive, who helped launch Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy and Lost for Touchstone TV, ABC Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television, died suddenly Thursday. She was 50. Full obit.
Also: Kathy Griffin to play Kellyanne Conway. Kate McKinnon is about to have some competition for TV's best Kellyanne Conway impression: Kathy Griffin is set to debut her take on the pundit in an hourlong Comedy Central special from The President Show next week. Details.
Too many non-essential nods? It becomes a challenge to sit back and enjoy Ready Player One when there are so many references to catch, argues Andy Crump:
In the dystopian future of Ready Player One, everyone and their aunt is plugged into the OASIS, a VR sandbox where participants can do anything and look like anybody.
They can ski down pyramids disguised as Ryu from Street Fighter; they can visit a planetary casino and roll dice in the form of Jason Voorhees; they can visit room 237 in the Overlook Hotel with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The possibilities are as endless as they are banal. Full column.
Elsewhere in film...
? Box office: Ready Player One could cross $50M. The $175 million sci-fi film is pacing slightly ahead of tracking and has a shot at passing $50 million in its U.S. debut, according to early Thursday returns.
? Avengers: Infinity War sets China release date. The film, directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, will unfurl in the Middle Kingdom on May 11, two weeks after its North American debut on April 27.
? AMC Theatres eyes $2B-plus London IPO for Odeon unit. The exhibition giant has started work on a potential London stock market listing of the Britain-based European cinema chain it owns, Reuters reported Thursday, citing sources.
? Being shopped: the next big Stephen King adaptation? James Wan, the director and producer behind The Conjuring horror movies, and Roy Lee, one of the producers behind the adaptation of King’s It, are tackling the adaptation of King’s 1987 science fiction-horror novel.
? Netflix enlists Jennifer Aniston for Adam Sandler film. The comedy, Murder Mystery, follows a New York City cop (Sandler) as he finally takes his wife (Aniston) on a long-promised European trip. The script comes from White House Down writer James Vanderbilt.
^Tyler Perry's Acrimony, reviewed. Opening today, Taraji P. Henson plays a woman determined to get revenge on the husband she thinks betrayed her in the thriller. The takeaway: "if the audience's cackling at a public screening is any indication, word of mouth will be less than stellar."
? Annapurna heist film adds stars. Evan Rachel Wood, Gina Rodriguez, Richard Jenkins and Debra Winger will lead the feature from indie filmmaker Miranda July. The yet-to-be titled project is the latest collaboration from Annapurna and Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment.
? New Line's Melissa McCarthy crime film adds cast. Margo Martindale, Bill Camp and Brian D’Arcy James have joined the cast of The Kitchen, the adaptation of the DC/Vertigo female-fronted crime comic book series.
? Amber Heard joins dystopian L.A. drama. The actress will star alongside All the Money in the World actor Charlie Plummer in Gully, an indie directed by prominent music video director Nabil Elderkin. Romulus Entertainment is producing.
Also: Gwyneth Paltrow raises $50 million more for Goop. The lifestyle brand said that with an influx of cash from a recent Series C round, Goop will be expanding internationally to service the 35 percent of its readership that is based outside the U.S. Details.
Stage acting doesn't get any better than Glenda Jackson's performance as the autocratic nonagenarian in Edward Albee's Three Tall Women, David Rooney writes:
On Broadway for the first time in 30 years (23 of which she spent as a member of British Parliament), the two-time Oscar winner shows no trace of rustiness in a characterization of such diamond-hard ferocity you dare not take your eyes off her.
It's an almost ridiculous luxury that in Joe Mantello's crystalline production of this brittle but moving play about death and self-knowledge, two such accomplished actors as Laurie Metcalf and Alison Pill become supplementary dividends. Full review.
What else we're reading...
— "Cynthia Nixon goes after New York’s tax breaks for movies." Ed Kilgore notes: "Is she exposing corporate welfare or biting the hand that feeds?" [New York]
— "TV revivals for the #MeToo era." Rebecca Keegan writes: "Two groundbreaking shows about women in the workplace return - and this time they won’t just be about white women." [Vanity Fair]
— "Tabloid mogul visited Trump to woo Saudis." Six contributors on this story: "A dinner at the White House helped David J. Pecker, whose company owns The National Enquirer, showcase his connections." [New York Times]
— "HQ Trivia is now one giant native ad." Alyssa Bereznak writes: "Recent games that featured Nike and Ready Player One show how the app has matured." [The Ringer]
— "Silicon Valley strikes out into new territory." Rachel Syme writes: "Can the show’s fifth season take on the tech industry’s biggest problems?" [New Republic]
What else we're seeing...
+ "David Hogg reacts to Laura Ingraham's apology." [CNN]
+ "John Bolton's terrifying ideas sung by Michael Bolton." [Late Show]
+ "Helen Hunt updates us on the Mad About You reboot." [Late Late Show]
+ "Sean Penn recalls working with Steve Bannon on 1990s film." [Conan]
Thirty years ago today...
+ Tim Burton's Beetlejuice hits theaters. Original review: "The film is colorful, delightfully deranged and endlessly inventive." [THR Archives]
Today's Birthdays: Norah Jones, 39, Céline Dion, 50, Piers Morgan, 53, Ian Ziering, 54, Paul Reiser, 61, Eric Clapton, 73, Warren Beatty, 81.