What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:11 AM 9/18/2017

by THR Staff

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Happy Monday: Despite Netflix spending $6B on programming, Hulu walked away with a top honor and Emmy buzz. Plus: Stephen Colbert's Sean Spicer stunt had everybody talking, HBO's Westworld and FX's Feud were snubbed and, at the box office, mother! got an "F" CinemaScore. — Matthew Belloni and Erik Hayden

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Hulu shocks Netflix, Amazon with first Emmy wins. Michael O'Connell writes: Game of Thrones may now have a bigger Emmy obstacle than the exhaustive production schedule that kept it from being eligible for the 2017 ceremony. The TV Academy is quite fond of a new drama.

Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale walked away with both the top drama nod and a relative sweep in other key categories — including writing (Bruce Miller), directing (Reed Moreno), supporting actress (Ann Dowd) and a best lead actress trophy for star Elisabeth Moss. It may not have been this Emmys' winningest TV series (winning one fewer than Saturday Night Live), but it's clearly gained a lot of favor among voters and momentum is on its side. Hulu's big night.

+ Program wins (two or more): Saturday Night Live, 9, Big Little Lies, 8, The Handmaid's Tale, 8, Stranger Things, 5, The Night Of, 5, Veep, 5, Westworld, 5, 13th, 4, Last Week Tonight, 4, Samurai Jack, 4, Hairspray Live, 3, RuPaul's Drag Race, 3, The Crown, 3, Atlanta, 2, Black Mirror: San Junipero, 2, Born This Way, 2, Dancing With the Stars, 2, Feud: Bette and Joan, 2, Master of None, 2, O.J.: Made in America, 2, Planet Earth II, 2, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week, 2, This Is Us, 2.

+ Network wins: HBO, 29, Netflix, 20, NBC, 15, Hulu, 10, ABC, 7, FX Networks, 6, Fox, 5, Adult Swim, 4, CBS, 4, A&E, 3, VH1, 3, Amazon, 2, BBC America, 2, ESPN, 2, National Geographic, 2. Full winners list.

NBC's This Is Us hopes dashed. Scott Feinberg writes: NBC hoped that, with This Is Us, the highest-rated new show on television and one equally embraced by the critical community, it would claim network TV's first drama series award since 24 in 2006. While that didn't happen, The Peacock Network still had a banner night, winning best variety sketch series (Saturday Night Live, for its most relevant season ever, took home a variety series award for the first time since 1993) and best reality-competition program (The Voice, for the second year in a row and third time in four years). Full analysis.

Ratings are on track for another low. Michael O'Connell notes: The Emmys are becoming a tougher sell for viewers. For another year, initial ratings for the TV awards are down — this time slipping to an all-time low. Adjustments could put the total audience ahead of the previous year's low, but the 8.2 overnight rating among metered market households is down another 2 percent from the previous year. Early ratings. 


Alec Baldwin: "I suppose I should say at long last, Mr. President, here is your Emmy."

David Mandel: "I'm out of a job. I guess we all are. So if anyone hears of anything, I'm looking for movie work but I'll do television."

Lena Waithe: "Give women of color a seat at the table - and if you do that, you get one of these!" 

Sterling K. Brown: "When I think about it, like Walter White held this joint? Dick Whitman held this joint?"

Jackie Hoffman: "Damn it, damn it!"

How was Stephen Colbert as host? Daniel Fienberg writes: Stephen Colbert was an above-average host, but definitely nothing better. Like so many hosts, he nearly vanished after his early segments, with only a funny bit with Jimmy Kimmel after their variety/late-night loss coming across as truly memorable (and marking the only time anybody referenced the envelope screw-up at the Oscars). Colbert disappeared and that still couldn't prevent the show from threatening to run long. TV review I Monologue transcript. 

About that Sean Spicer cameo. Chris Gardner notes: Following the show as Spicer joined the stream of Emmy guests making their way to the L.A. Convention Center for the official Governors Ball after party, Spicer couldn’t walk two feet without being besieged by more photo requests. (J.J. Abrams walked nearby without incident.) As for how his appearance came together, Spicer said it was quite simple. "I had a conversation with Stephen [Colbert] and his executive producer," he explained. "They came up with a concept, and I thought it was kinda funny. I said I’d be there." Full story. 

Who got snubbed this year? Hilary Lewis writes: Westworld was tied with Saturday Night Live for the most Emmy noms this year, with 22 each, but while SNL won multiple high-profile prizes on Sunday's ceremony, Westworld failed to win any of the night's televised awards. Ryan Murphy's Feud, which scored an impressive 18 Emmy noms, was also shut out in the major televised categories. Fellow limited series Fargo received 16 nominations and none at the televised ceremony. Full snubs list.

What happened on the red carpet. Booth Moore writes: This year's Emmys showed us that it's never been a better time for American designers on the red carpet thanks to a crop of new talents reinvigorating older fashion houses like Calvin Klein and Oscar de la Renta, or starting their own (Prabal Gurung, Rosie Assoulin), and turning to Hollywood to tell their stories. Style reviewBest dressed I Exec red carpet photos I red carpet photos I Party diary

  • Box Office: 'mother!' Sharply Divides

    Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

    Paramount always knew that Darren Aronofsky's mother!, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, would provoke strong responses, but the studio surely never imagined what happened this weekend, Pamela McClintock writes: 

    The elevated psychological horror-thriller received an F CinemaScore from U.S. moviegoers. Only a dozen or so movies have been slapped with the failing grade in modern times. In most cases, those films, hobbled by poor word of mouth, were never able to bust out of detention and clear more than $15M, if that, at the domestic box office.

    mother! received the grade on Friday as it opened in theaters across North America after making high-profile stops at the Venice and Toronto film festivals. It opened to a dismal $7.5M from 2,368 theaters, the worst wide launch of Lawrence's career. While mother! has divided critics, there were enough good reviews to garner the $30M movie a 68 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

    Meanwhile, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema's It continued to make history in its second weekend, declining a scant 51 percent to $60M from 4,103 theaters, the biggest sophomore outing ever for a horror title. Full weekend wrap.

    Elsewhere in film... 

    Toronto film festival unveils honors. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri got a major boost for its Oscar prospects on Sunday, where it received the top audience prize. I, Tonya was the first runner-up. Other wins.

    + How the fest shifted the awards landscape. Scott Feinberg writes: This year, I would put my chips on Guillermo del Toro's otherworldly The Shape of Water (Fox Searchlight), which came to Toronto with great buzz after its world premiere at Venice and screenings at Telluride. It was shown three times at the massive 1,561-seat Elgin Theatre and was the talk of the town.

    How Studiocanal ended up with two movies about the same thing. The French production powerhouse’s sailing biopic The Mercy was announced with much fanfare in 2015, but when the film hit delays and another similar project appeared on the horizon, studio execs did something very unusual - they bought it.

    ^The Wife, reviewed. Glenn Close plays the wife of a Nobel-winning writer (Jonathan Pryce) in Bjorn Runge's adaptation of the 2003 Meg Wolitzer novel. The takeaway: "An extraordinary performance lifts an ordinary movie."

    + Early takes: Indiewire: "Glenn Close is exquisite in this literary drama." Screen Daily: "Glenn Close’s seething but self-possessed performance could conceivably gain her entry onto this year’s awards circuit." The Guardian: "Close gives arguably her best ever performance."

    Critics pick the best of Toronto, Venice, Telluride. THR's on-site team of critics selected Guillermo del Toro's latest fantasy, Greta Gerwig's debut behind the camera and a Tonya Harding biopic as among the best world premieres. Full list. 

    Cambodia selects Angelina Jolie film for Oscars. First They Killed My Father was a passion project for Jolie, who holds dual citizenship in Cambodia and adopted one of her children from there. The film could compete in the foreign-language category. 

    R.I.P., Harry Dean Stanton. The character actor with the world-weary face who carved out an exceptional career playing grizzled loners and colorful, offbeat characters in such films as Paris, Texas and Repo Man, has died. He was 91. Full obit.

    + Stephen Dalton writes: The hugely respected cult actor was a master of minimalism whose soulful hangdog style graced a long list of prestige screen credits from Hitchcock to Coppola, Scorsese to Lynch. An appreciation.

  • New Tabloid TV Wars

    Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images (Levin)

    Starting today, two well-known newspapers are making the leap to TV to try and disrupt the gossip television space, Jeremy Barr writes: 

    Page Six, produced by the New York Post and Endemol Shine, and Fleet Street brand Daily Mail TV, co-produced by Dr. Phil's production company Stage 29 Productions, are premiering today and looking to compete with TMZ.

    "We wouldn't have started down this path if we didn't think we could do something that stood out, and if we didn't think there was a space in the market for our unique brand of storytelling," said New York Post CEO and publisher Jesse Angelo, who also executive produces the show. 

    While TMZ doesn't have a new show to launch on Monday as Page Six and Daily Mail debut, it has a trick up its sleeve: One-time White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci will be hosting TMZ on TV and co-hosting TMZ Live with Levin. Asked how the one-day appearance came together, a rep for The Mooch replied with one word: "Effortlessly." Full story. 

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Netflix's Narcos location manager killed in Mexico. Veteran manager Carlos Munoz Portal was shot and killed while scouting locations for season four of the series. He was found in a vehicle hit with multiple gunshots. The motive of the shooting is unclear.

    FX's The Strain wraps series. Showrunner Carlton Cuse talks about avoiding a completely bleak ending as well as what's next for the prolific producer: "We felt like there had to be some glimmer of hope at the end."

    Starz' Outlander's latest turn. Executive producer Ron Moore as well as stars Caitriona Balfe and Tobias Menzies break down all the major events from the latest episode of season three. Spoilers here. 

    ^Netflix's Jerry Before Seinfeld, reviewed. The comedian returns to his stand-up roots in a breezy Netflix comedy special, premiering on Tuesday. The takeaway: "He's still master of his domain."

    BBC orders adaptation of J.K. Rowling novel. Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger will return for a third story in The Strike Series, based on J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike crime novels written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

    Fox plans True Lies reboot. The network has handed out a sizable put-pilot commitment to a reboot of the 1994 action drama. Arrow exec producer Marc Guggenheim will pen the script for the potential drama. James Cameron is attached as an exec producer.

    Bravo scraps Tina Brown-Anna Wintour series. The cabler has abandoned plans for a six-part limited series centering on two of publishing's biggest names. The plan was for the scripted drama to be based on Thomas Maier's award-winning book Newhouse.

    Freeform cancels Stitchers. The Disney-owned younger-skewing cable network has ended the sci-fi procedural after three seasons. The Jeff Schechter-created series was produced in-house.

    What else we're reading...

    "This year's Emmys didn't even pretend not to be political." Lorraine Ali notes: "We may not have our first female president, but female-driven narratives dominated nominations across top categories." [The Los Angeles Times]

    "Rolling Stone, once a counterculture bible, will be put up for sale." Sydney Ember writes: "After 50 years, the magazine founded and nurtured by Jann Wenner is bowing to the pressures of a troubled industry." [The New York Times]

    "Has Megyn Kelly's star already been eclipsed?" Sarah Ellison writes: "NBC’s $17 million anchor will begin her turn at the 9 A.M. hour of Today later this month, but some are already managing expectations." [Vanity Fair]

    "Darren Aronofsky, shock artist." Abraham Riesman's conversation: "The auteur talks Mother!’s metaphors, torturing Jennifer Lawrence, and the movie’s grisly ending." [New York]

    "The false prophets of protest music." Spencer Kornhaber notes: "Members of Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, and Cypress Hill team up for political rock that seems immediately obsolete." [The Atlantic]

    Today's birthdays: Patrick Schwarzenegger, 24, Billy Eichner, 39, Jason Sudeikis, 42, James Marsden, 44, Jada Pinkett Smith, 46, Aisha Tyler, 47.