Home #Hwoodtimes Apple TV+ and HBO Max Announce New Series; YouTube Drama “Step Up”...

Apple TV+ and HBO Max Announce New Series; YouTube Drama “Step Up” Revived by Starz

Friday, May 29, 2020


“The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour,” originally a summer series, concluded in 1974 after the couple divorced. Following short-lived variety hours hosted by Sonny Bono on ABC in the fall of 1974 and Cher on CBS from 1975 to 1976, the now divorced couple reunited for “The Sonny and Cher Show” in February 1976. But the magic was gone and it only lasted for two seasons…TV movie “The Survival of Dana, starring Melissa Sue AndersonRobert Carradine and Talia Balsam, aired in 1979…Short-lived ABC comedy “Semi-Tough, based on the film of the same name and starring David HasselhoffBruce McGill and Markie Post, launched in 1980. Only 4 episodes aired…In the specials department was “Big Bird in China” on NBC in 1983…On CBS in 1985, Bob Keeshan (aka “Captain Kangaroo”) hosted primetime special “How to Be a Man.” It featured Hal Linden, Scott Baio, Gary Sandy, Howard Hesseman, Susan Anton, John Denver, Mary Cadorette and NFL great Phil Simms…“The Twilight Zone” director John Landis was found innocent of involuntary manslaughter in death of actor Vic Morrow and two child actors during filming in 1987“Lost” on ABC concluded season four in 2008 with Michael (Harold Perrineau, in his final appearance) trying to neutralize the explosives on the boat as the “Oceanic Six” moved closer to rescue.

“Yankee Doodle Dandy, starring James Cagney in his Oscar-winning role as George M. Cohan, opened in New York City in 1943…“Sister Act, starring Whoopi Goldberg, was released in 1992…“Hope Floats,” starring Sandra Bullock opened in 1998.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young released their first album in 1969…”Brown Sugar” by The Rolling Stones led Billboard’s Hot 100 list in 1971…Diana Ross’ “Love Hangover” topped the Billboard ranking in 1976…Tina Turner’s album “Private Dancer” was released in 1984.

Celebrity Birthdays:
“General Hospital” actor Anthony Geary is 73; Two Jackson sisters — Rebbie (70) and LaToya (64) share a birthday; composer Danny Elfman is 67; actor Ted Levine (“Monk”) is 63; actress Annette Bening is 62; actor Rupert Everett (“My Best Friend’s Wedding”) is 61; singer Melissa Etheridge is 59; “The Facts of Life” star Lisa Whelchel is 57; actress Laverne Cox (“Orange is the New Black”) is 48; singer and former “America’s Got Talent” judge Mel B is 45; former NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony is 36.

-Did You Know?:
Sonny and Cher reunited as guests on “Late Night With David Letterman”on NBC on Nov. 13, 1987. When Letterman threw a surprise and asked the couple to sing together, they did a rendition of “I Got You, Babe.” For a look, click here

Programming Insider by Marc Berman


Apple TV+ Orders Limited Drama “Heddy Lamarr”
Streamer Apple TV+ 
has given a straight to series order to “Hedy Lamarr,” a new eight-episode limited series from Eneavor Content that was originally in development at Showtime starring and executive produced by Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman” franchise), and written and executive produced by Sarah Treem (“The Affair,” “House of Cards,” “In Treatment”). Gal Gadot will also play the lead role.

The logline: Hailed as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” Hedy Lamarr was first exalted and iconized, then destroyed and eventually forgotten by American audiences, all the while keeping her brilliant mind active through a series of inventions, one of which became the basis for the spread spectrum technology we use today. The series will follow the incredible life-story of Hollywood glamour girl, spanning 30 years from Hedy’s daring escape from pre-war Vienna; to her meteoric rise in the Golden Age of Hollywood; to her fall and eventual disgrace at the dawn of the Cold War. An epic tale of an immigrant woman both ahead of her time and very much victim to it.

In addition to Gadot and Treem, “Hedy Lamarr” will be executive produced by Emmy and BAFTA Award-winner Warren Littlefield (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) and Katie Robbins (“The Affair”). Gadot and Varsano will produce through their production company, Pilot Wave. Adam Haggiag (“Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story”) and Alexandra Dean (“Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story”) will serve as co-producers, with Hedy Lamarr’s children Anthony Loder and Denise Deluca consulting on the series.

HBO Max Greenlights “Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020”
HBO has ordered “Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020,” which will explore tried-and-true themes of classic teen movies through the totally unique lens of a world turned upside down by the global pandemic. The cast, featuring a diverse group of super talented student actors with compelling backstories, will play seniors from the same high school and while the pandemic may have shut down their school, the drama and romantic intrigue live on.

The series is inspired by Tony Award winning actress Laura Benanti’s (“My Fair Lady” and “She Loves Me” on Broadway, “Younger,” “Supergirl,” “Nashville”) online movement #SunshineSongs, in which she offered to be an audience for the students around the country whose spring musicals were cancelled because of COVID-19. The hype from HBO Max: This television event will give students the opportunity to sing and dance like the stars they are, from the safety of their homes.

“Homeschool Musical: The Class of 2020” is executive produced by Laura Benanti along with Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey, and Tom Campbell for World of Wonder Productions (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”), and Leland (Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”) will write and produce the original songs and score.


YouTube Drama “Step Up” Revived by Starz 
Drama “Step Up,” which is inspired by the film franchise and aired on YouTube for two seasons, has been revived by Starz. The now upcoming third season, titled “Step Up: High Water,” will consist of 10 episodes, which will bring back several characters from the show’s first two seasons, while “expanding the scope and storytelling.” Additionally, Tricia Helfer (“Lucifer”) has joined the cast as a character named Erin.

Step Up” the series centers on Sage Odom (Ne-Yo) as the legendary founder of Atlanta’s famed High Water Performing Arts School and Collette (Naya Rivera), his partner in High Water and in life. The upcoming season will see Sage, Colette and their relationship challenged as they face criminal charges, financial ruin and powerful political enemies who want to destroy Sage and High Water.

The series also stars Petrice Jones, Faizon Love, Marcus Mitchell, Jade Chynoweth, Carlito Olivero, Terrence Green, Eric Graise and Kendra Oyesanya.

HGTV Renews “Home Town” for Season 5
HGTV’s “Home Town,” which features home renovation experts Ben and Erin Napier, has been renewed for a 16 episode fifth season. Set in Laurel, Mississippi, “Home Town” showcases Ben and Erin as they use their artistic vision and genuine passion for restoration to turn worn properties into treasured homes for families.

In the upcoming 90-minute fourth season finale on Monday, June 8, at 9 p.m. ET, the Napiers will revisit the renovation for Hollywood actor Richard T. Jones and his wife, Nancy, from this season’s premiere episode. After the home was destroyed by a tornado, Ben and Erin repair the damage and reimagine the home with a new backyard.

The new season of “Home Town” is slated to premiere in early 2021.


“To the Point With Eric Mitchell” – Summer and Fall TV Preview – Click here


The CW will air music collaboration special “Iconic: TLC” on Monday, June 1 at 8 p.m. ET. Hosted by Jordin Sparks, the hour features four artists performing TLC’s biggest hits who will be connected by video chat to watch the incredible at-home performances. TLC will then select one of the artists to collaborate with a final performance. Music fans can hear all the exclusive songs on iHeartRadio stations across the country the following day, Tuesday, June 2.

Discovery Channel will air a new two-hour installment of  “American Chopper” on Tuesday, June 9 at 9 p.m. ET. In the special, motorcycle builders Paul Teutul Sr., owner of Orange County Choppers, and Paul Teutul Jr., owner of Paul Jr. Designs, find out that the original Orange County Choppers building is going to be torn down. They revisit the shop to pick up a few items that were left behind and reminisce on the past. Overcome by the history of the building, Paul Jr. jumps on the opportunity to ask his dad to build a bike together. Paul Sr. agrees to the build and the two set out to work on a custom chopper for one of the largest distributors of exterior and interior building products.

Docuseries “The Thomas John Experience” will premiere on CBS All Access on Thursday, June 4. In the show, psychic medium Thomas John journeys across America using his ability to connect unsuspecting everyday people with those on the other side. The logline: Whether he’s behind the wheel of a rideshare in Chicago or grabbing a bite to eat in Los Angeles, Thomas’ powerful readings offer insight and closure, resulting in emotional and heartwarming reunions between the living and the dead.

PBS is celebrating LGTBQ+ Pride Month with the launch of “Prideland, a new one-hour special and short-form digital series following host and actor Dyllón Burnside (“Pose”) on a journey across the South. The six-episode short-form series launched on PBS Voice, a new documentary-focused YouTube Channel by PBS Digital Studios.  A one-hour companion special, also hosted by Dyllón Burnside will premiere on Friday, June 12 at 9:00 p.m. ET on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS Video App. “Prideland” addresses how the LGBTQ+ experience is as diverse and varied as the individuals who comprise it.

Series premieres: “Central Park” on Apple TV+; “Space Force” on Netflix…Season finales: “Defending Jacob” on Apple TV+; “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on VH1…“Ramy” returns for season 2 on Hulu…CBS offers special “Haircut Night in America”…For the listing of available programs for Friday, May 29, click here