Cate Blanchett to co-produce detention centre drama

«Name the quiz-show host who broke her wrist and had to step aside from presenting duties?» If you answered Jennifer Byrne, well done, you’ve progressed to the next round. As a result of a tumble while walking her dog, Byrne is taking two weeks off from SBS’s revival of Mastermind. From this week, Marc Fennell will add Mastermind duties to his day job on The Feed. “You could say I’m a bit ‘visually alarming’ at the moment, which could distract contenders,” Byrne said referring to injuries on her face and wrist. “Importantly, my dog Riley and I are back on good terms.”

Picard returns on Amazon

In a sign of the growing cross-polination of broadcast TV and global streaming behemoths, the new, untitled Star Trek series, starring Sir Patrick Stewart and focusing on Captain Picard’s post-Starfleet career, will stream locally on Amazon Prime Video. Under the agreement between Amazon and CBS Studios, episodes will stream on Amazon within 24 hours of US broadcast. “We are thrilled beyond measure to have (Stewart) back in command, bringing the optimistic messages of Star Trek to audiences around the world,» says executive producer Alex Kurtzmann. Stewart will be joined by Alison Pill (The Newsroom), Harry Treadaway (Penny Dreadful), Isa Briones (American Crime Story: Versace), Santiago Cabrera (Salvation) and Michelle Hurd (Blindspot) in the series.

Murphy Brown bows out …

After much fanfare, the reboot of newsroom sitcom Murphy Brown has come to an inauspicious end. CBS has blamed poor ratings, the Candice Bergen-starring show having finished in 65th place among broadcast shows in the under 50s demographic in US ratings. There are many theories for its failure to fire, from the show’s avowed anti-Trump leanings to its reliance on nostalgia for the original, which aired from 1988-1998. The revamped version aired on Ten last year.

But sitcom genre powers on

Murphy Brown may be dead, but the sitcom isn’t, NBC having commissioned four new ones for its 2019-20 schedule. Bradley Whitford will play a former music professor who gets involved in a small-town’s choir in Perfect Harmony. Sunnyside is about a New York councilman who seeks redemption by helping immigrants deal with citizenship. Fran Drescher (The Nanny) teams with Steven Weber (Wings) in Indebted, about boomerang parents who unannounced move back in with their son and daughter-in-law. In The Kenan Show, Saturday Night Live alumna Kenan Thompson will play a «super dad» to his adorable girls while simultaneously balancing his job and a father-in-law, played by Andy Garcia, who «helps in the most inappropriate ways”.




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