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Extra: “The Farm” goes to Greece, Hungary; 1091 takes “The Ringmaster”



The Farm goes local for Greece and Hungary

NENT Studios UK has signed two deals for reality format The Farm (pictured) with Greece’s Antenna and Hungary’s TV2.

Already in pre-production for TV2, the celebrity VIP version of The Farm will air over the fall. Antenna has yet to announce a date for its Greek debut.

The Farm sends a group of men and women to live on a farm without running water, electricity or mobile phones. The contestants take part in challenges and every week someone is evicted. The format is produced in isolation, with the entire crew quarantined together.

The format has also been re-licensed in Denmark on TV2 for its fifth season, while Nelonen in Finland will be filming a second VIP season with celebrities this August.

Originally created by NENT Studios-backed prodco Strix, the format is long-running in Norway and Sweden, with a 16th season airing on TV2 in Norway this summer, produced by Strix Sweden, while casting has begun for a 14th season on TV4 in Sweden, produced by Strix Sweden.

1091 takes The Ringmaster doc

Indie film distributor 1091, formerly known as The Orchard, has acquired the U.S. and Canadian digital distribution rights to  Molly Dworsky and Dave Newberg’s feature-length documentary The Ringmaster. 

The documentary follows the attempts of Las Vegas filmmaker Zachary Capp to bring world fame to a small Minnesota town chef Larry Lang’s beloved onion rings, and includes interviews and cameos from rockers KISS and Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis.

1091 plans to release the film this fall. The Ringmaster is a Capp Bros. Production, in association with Asteroid and Space Metals Recovery.

The deal was negotiated by The Film Sales Company’s Andrew Herwitz and Lucas Verga.

France’s TF1 premieres Good Singers

Commerical TV channel TF1 in France is in production on the singing entertainment series Good Singers. 

Based on Global Agency’s Is That Really Your Voice?, the format sees a celebrity jury determining whether someone has singing talent based on appearance and speaking voice only.

Hosted by TV personality Anthony Lambert, the first episode of the weekly French prime time show will bow on July 17.

Two teams will compete over the course of four rounds, and in order to win money for charity the celebrity judges must identify the talented singers.

Discovery Finland gets Connected

Armoza Formats, part of ITV Studios, has announced that its docu-reality series Connected has been commissioned by Discovery Finland, which moves the series from MTV3 in Finland.

The series will be produced by ITV Studios Finland and will air in spring 2021 on Discovery and its streaming service Dplay.

The deal brings the fifth season of the series to air in Finland, and will follow lifestyle coach Martina Aitolehti, social media influencer Sara Sieppi, YouTube artist Tuure Boelius and singer-songwriter Leo Stillman as they receive cameras and film their lives.

Connected was created by Koda Communications and has previously aired in 13 countries, including the US, Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway.


Family Guy EPs Discuss Stewie’s ‘First’ Words: What Is He in Denial About?




Sunday’s Family Guy premiere attempted to answer a question fans have been asking since 1999: Who can understand Stewie?

The issue arose after Stewie loudly dropped the F-bomb in the middle of church. It was a natural response to hearing that Chewy Chips Ahoy cookies weren’t being served at coffee hour, but the time and place (and pretty much everything else) made it a less-than-ideal first word.

Upon realizing that she was the one who taught Stewie that word in the first place, Lois went on a journey of self-reflection — but we’re a little more concerned with the how of it all. As Brian asked his young companion, “I don’t get it, Stewie, you’ve been talking forever. Why did everyone suddenly understand you now?” It’s a fair question, but as the show’s executive producers explain, it’s probably not worth much thought.

“This episode showcases Stewie’s first word in the traditional sense that parents always document: the first word they understand,” EPs Rich Appel and Alec Sulkin tell TVLine. “Otherwise, yes, it’s Stewie’s 1,345,693th word.”

Following the F-bomb debacle, Stewie uttered his second word: “Mommy!” And although he wasn’t willing to perform like a trained seal for Lois’ “friends” on Instagram, the moment suggested that Stewie might not hate his mother as much as he once did.

“Like most of the big babies who write for Family Guy, Stewie is in denial about how much his mommy means to him,” Appel and Sulkin explain. “Please don’t tell our mommies.”

Sunday’s premiere also featured a delightfully twisted throughline about Caillou, brought on by Lois bingeing the French-Canadian cartoon in the hopes of proving that it taught Stewie how to swear. Giving all the credit to writer Patrick Meighan, the EPs tell us, “You can always tell whose kids on staff force them to watch cartoons that… try their patience.”

Did Sunday’s premiere answer your question(s) about Stewie, or did it just leave you more confused than ever? Grade the episode below, then drop a comment with your full review.

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Marvel lied to you about the Avengers




Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t generally regarded as one of the best entries in the MCU, but it has its strong points — including the closing moments of the film, when the Hulk commandeers an Avengers Quinjet and heads off for parts unknown. He later turns up on Sakaar, where he’s seen in Thor: Ragnarok as a sort of gladitorial all-star who battles all contenders for the amusement of the planet’s citizens under the direction of the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum).

It’s basically the MCU’s version of the classic Planet Hulk storyline from the comics, and a turn of events that fans had long been clamoring for. It also wasn’t initially supposed to be that way. As Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige later admitted, when Ultron was made, the MCU braintrust had no idea where Hulk would end up — but they explicitly told Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon that he wouldn’t be going to space. “If you go back and look at that shot of the movie, he’s in the sky. It’s blue sky,” explained Feige. “In the movie, it’s, ‘We lost the signal out by the Caspian Sea.’ Or something like that, it was all earthbound.”

Here’s one case when it seems safe to assume that most Marvel fans forgive the studio for lying to them — their change of heart gave us Thor: Ragnarok, after all.

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John Oliver on Republican SCOTUS Push: ‘It’s Not Democracy. It’s a F—ing Travesty’ (Video)




John Oliver returned with a new “Last Week Tonight” after a month-long hiatus, and delivered a rousing screed that lasted for most of the episode. The topic: Donald Trump’s attempt to fast-track Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court right before the election even though he and the Republicans in the Senate don’t represent a majority of the American people.

“If, and almost certainly when, Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court, the impact could be dire. In recent years, key cases have been decided by just one vote. From upholding the Affordable Care Act, to preserving DACA, to striking down an incredibly restrictive abortion law,” Oliver said.

“Should those issues come before the court again, they could now easily go the other way. And there is clearly no point holding on to hope that conservatives might choose to respect the precedent they set by refusing to even consider Merrick Garland in an election year, because that was always in bad faith.”

The problem, Oliver said, is that Republicans are clearly defying the will of the people with a far-right pick like Barrett. Oliver notes that polling shows clear majority preference for liberal causes like abortion rights and Medicare-for-all and the elimination of the Electoral College.

“This has been a very dark week for a lot of people. The Supreme Court is about to lurch to the right for the foreseeable future. And if things seem hopeless right now it’s because, to be completely honest, they basically are,” Oliver said.

“This is a pivotal moment. And while we got here a little bit by bad luck and bad timing, we also got here through diligent effort by Republican leadership and, crucially, some very big systemic problems that just have to be addressed. So tonight, let’s talk about that. Specifically, how the f— we got here and what the f— we can possibly do next.”

Oliver continued on from there by going in-depth on “the deeply undemocratic nature of America’s institutions.” “Last Week Tonight” then played a few videos of Republican senators claiming to have a “mandate” to do what they’re doing with Amy Coney Barrett.

“Let’s talk about that mandate, because neither the presidency nor the Senate are nearly as reflective of the will of the American people as they are suggesting there,” Oliver said. “First, take the White House. A Democrat has won the national popular vote in four out of the last five elections, but we’ve spent 12 of the last 20 years with a Republican in office. And that is because the Electoral College, with its winner-take-all approach in most states, can distort the will of the majority.

“On top of which it grants disproportionate power to less populous states, which tend to be rural and more conservative. Something which is even more pronounced in the Senate where there are 15 states representing 38 million people that have 30 Republican senators. Even though that is less than the total population of California, which has just two Democratic ones. And that’s before you even get into the fact that places like Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., where the populations are largely black or Hispanic, don’t have representation in the Senate at all.”

Oliver then dropped a pretty interesting bit of information: “The Senate gives the average Black American only 75 percent as much representation as the average white American. And the average Hispanic American, only 55 percent as much.”

When you consider how the Republicans have such a dramatically unfair and undemocratic advantage, Oliver said, it makes the current political situation in the United States seem even more ridiculous.

“When Barrett is confirmed, a president who lost the popular vote will have picked a quarter of the federal judiciary and a third of the Supreme Court. And his choices will have been rubber stamped by a Senate Republican majority representing 15 million fewer people than the Democratic minority,” Oliver said.

“And if that sounds absurd to you, it’s because it clearly is. Especially when those courts have allowed Republicans to set wildly unpopular policy that wouldn’t actually pass muster with voters.”

All is not lost yet, of course, Oliver said. Maybe the Democrats could take both the Senate and the presidency despite the system being “rigged” in favor of Republicans and Trump’s hope that SCOTUS will keep him in office if he loses the election.

“Let’s say for the sake of argument Democrats do manage to sweep the upcoming election. The biggest mistake will be to think that that has in itself fixed everything or, indeed, anything,” he said. “Because there is no point getting power unless you then willing to be bold enough to use it to make significant structural change.”

So what do the Democrats need to do? According to Oliver, there are a few things: abolish the Electoral College, or bypass it; expand the Supreme Court; make Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico states; abolish the filibuster.

Oliver acknowledged that “court expansion could open the door to a never-ending cycle of both parties doing it, which could permanently destabilize one of the bedrock institutions of American governance.” But he pointed out once again, to end the segment, that these moves would just be the start of a very, very long fight.

“Because the unavoidable truth here is that the system is already rigged,” Oliver said. “And it’s rigged in a way that has allowed a party without popular support to drastically reshape an entire branch of government for the foreseeable future by appealing almost exclusively to white voters in some of the least populous regions of the country. That is not a mandate and it’s not democracy. It’s a f—ing travesty.

“We are at the end of a generational battle, and the heartbreaking thing is, we lost. And that hurts. It’s gonna hurt for a long time for a lot of people in ways that could take a while to fully comprehend.’

But Oliver isn’t being fatalistic about it.

“The next battle has to start right now, and it will be long. We didn’t get here overnight and we won’t get out of here overnight, but we must be willing to fight tirelessly, and with every tool and tactic at our disposal.”

You can watch this entire segment from this week’s episode of “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” in the video embedded in this article, or on YouTube right here.

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