The Weekender: Amid an advertising boycott, embattled Fox News host Laura Ingraham says she's taking a pre-planned vacation. Plus: The Roseanne revolution, Steven Spielberg's sci-fi phases, Marc Maron in conversation and a new appreciation of Andre the Giant. — Erik Hayden
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The wild success of Roseanne cannot be stressed enough. In a climate where TV reunions, particularly on the sitcom front, are a popular way to cut through the clutter, Barr's show did one better, Michael O'Connell writes:
+ Who watched: The hourlong opener took a 5.1 rating among adults 18-49 and 18.1 million viewers in one night alone. Time-shifting has already driven the episode to 21.9 million viewers and a 6.1 rating after only three days of additional viewing.
+ Ad $$$: Those numbers should see advertising rates climb for the upcoming return. These episodes were already able to command a strong $175,000 for 30-second spots, and the unexpectedly strong ratings will drive that number even higher.
+ Already renewed: As for season two, there is no immediate word whether the network plans to have it ready for fall, but sources say the order has been increased from nine episodes to 13. Full ratings story I No Trump callouts? I More bizarre tweets.
Elsewhere in TV...
? Fox News' Laura Ingraham to take off time amid ad boycott. Ingraham lost eight corporate advertisers on Thursday and 10 more on Friday, including major brands like Hulu, Honda and Expedia. She plans to take next week off for a pre-planned vacation.
? Amazon developing A League of Their Own series. Mozart in the Jungle's Will Graham and Broad City's Abbi Jacobson are exec producing the half-hour comedy based on the Geena Davis and Tom Hanks feature.
? HBO's True Detective director exits. Season three director Jeremy Saulnier, set to split directing duties for the entire run with show creator Nic Pizzolatto, has left after the first two episodes. Prolific TV helmer Daniel Sackheim is filling the void.
? CW moves Life Sentence from schedule. The series, starring Pretty Little Liars alum Lucy Hale, could only muster a 0.1 rating among adults 18-49 and 400,000 on its highest-ranking Wednesday night.
? Netflix titles leaving in April. Tomorrow Apollo 13, The Shawshank Redemption, The Whole Nine Yards, Cool Runnings, The Pursuit of Happyness and Wild Wild West leave. Also leaving the streaming service at the beginning of the month are four Batman films. Full list. I What's arriving.
? R.I.P., Howard G. Malley, who won an Emmy and a pair of MTV Music Awards for producing the video material for the charitable We Are the World project. He was 72. Full obit.
In THR, Esq: New Bill O'Reilly lawsuit update. Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, Andrea Mackris and Rebecca Diamond — three women who settled misconduct claims against the former Fox News host — are now seeking permission to add 21st Century Fox to a lawsuit. Details.
As the big-budget Ready Player One opens, it's becoming clear that there are two sci-fi Steven Spielbergs, Graeme McMillan writes:
A contrast in approaches — from cerebral to heartfelt, perhaps, or artistically curious to crowdpleasing — plays out across Spielberg’s multiple returns to the genre throughout his career.
It’s not a binary conflict, with a project being one thing or another; the two 1990s Jurassic Park movies have elements of technical innovation and intellectual questioning amongst the sentiment and scares that dominate the movie, just as Minority Report works as both multiplex friendly action procedural and commentary on the dangers of blind trust in technology and/or authority figures. Full column.
Elsewhere in film...
? Lakeith Stanfield in talks for rom-com. The Get Out actor is joining Gina Rodriguez in the Netflix rom-com Someone Great. Jennifer Kaytin Robinson wrote and will direct the feature.
? Colin Trevorrow to direct Jurassic World 3. The helmer is currently working with Pacific Rim: Uprising scribe Emily Carmichael on the script for the feature, which was announced last month and given a June 11, 2021 release.
? Kate McKinnon's new movie. The Saturday Night Live star is in talks to join Danny Boyle’s untitled comedy for Universal. Richard Curtis wrote the script, which is musically themed and set in the 1960s or '70s.
? Universal promotes Kathleen Gallagher. For a newly created role, Gallagher was named executive vp and managing director for North America at Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, replacing Dick Longwell as he retires.
Also: Marc Maron, in conversation. The comic and character actor reflects during an Awards Chatter podcast on his complex youth that led him to comedy, his rollercoaster career and the Critics’ Choice and SAG award noms for his first major acting gig. Listen.
Ahead of HBO's Andre the Giant doc, executive producer Bill Simmons talks about the challenges of bringing the life story of André René Roussimoff to the screen:
"When I started 30 For 30 with Connor [Schell], we made a list of 12 can't-miss docs and Andre was on that list," Simmons tells Ryan Parker of his former ESPN series. "We ended up making half the list and there were others we couldn't make for a variety of reasons — Andre's being one of them — because the WWE didn't do anything with other entities then."
"In 2015, we [at HBO] tried to convince Vince McMahon to do it. The WWE had their network and created a lot of content, but they also saw the big picture and they saw the value that this is with HBO. And then it unfolded and worked out." Full story.
What else we're reading...
— "How network TV can survive the streaming age." Josef Adalian writes: "the successes of recent weeks show that networks need to aim for the watercooler with event programming. Not to be confused with buzzy shows." [New York]
— "Cuba Gooding Jr: 'I had 10 years in the wilderness.'" Steve Rose's profile: "Life was all private jets and limos after his Oscar win. Then came a decade of bad roles and flop films." [The Guardian]
— "The struggle never ends for Paper Boi." Miles Surrey writes: "The more success the rapper at the heart of Atlanta finds, the more obstacles arise - and Brian Tyree Henry is playing the show’s Sisyphus masterfully." [The Ringer]
— "Kate Mara takes on another political death." The actress "talks about playing Mary Jo Kopechne in the political drama Chappaquiddick, Kevin Spacey and her new series by Ryan Murphy." [New York Times]
— "Jesus wears Balmain jeans." Booth Moore "goes behind-the-scenes with the costume designer of Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert, starring John Legend, Alice Cooper and Sara Bareilles." [Pret-a-Reporter]
— "Listening to M.I.A., finally." Spencer Kornhaber writes: "The excellent documentary Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. clarifies what the controversial pop star was fighting for all along." [The Atlantic]
— "South Asian actors are taking over TV." Sulagna Misra notes: "This pilot season, there’s a major boom in South Asian representation." [Vanity Fair]
35 years ago today...
+ Monty Python's The Meaning of Life hits theaters. Original review: "Unbelievably crass. And extremely funny." [THR Archives]
Today's birthdays: Kate Micucci, 38, Ewan McGregor, 47, Tony Cox, 60, Rhea Perlman, 70, Christopher Walken, 75, William Daniels, 91.