The women of ‘Impeachment: American Crime Story’: Where are they now?
This is the Los Angeles Times’ newsletter about all things TV and streaming movies. This week, we ask where the women of ‘“Impeachment” are now, endorse Season 2 of an L.A.-set gentrification comedy and recount “The Game’s” nine lives. Scroll down!
Welcome to Screen Gab, the newsletter for everyone who’s wondering what MSNBC will look like this time next year.
As our own Stephen Battaglio reported on Tuesday, anchor Brian Williams is leaving NBC News after 28 years — and leaving MSNBC with yet another significant hole to fill in its rotation. “Another,” you ask? That’s because Rachel Maddow, host of the cable channel’s progressive flagship, is expected to depart her show next year to take on other assignments at NBC News.
As programming headaches go, losing half your prime-time lineup in such a short span is pretty high up there. Despite reports that former John McCain advisor Nicolle Wallace is the favorite to replace Maddow, for example, it’s unclear whether the popular “Deadline: White House” host, who has a school-age son, would want to sacrifice her evenings to the news. And there have been few signs thus far that wonky, bespectacled “All In” host Chris Hayes — a tonal match for Maddow, who joined the network in 2008 as the coolheaded counterpart to firebrand Keith Olbermann — is seen as her heir apparent.
Solving the Williams conundrum may be no easier. The former “NBC Nightly News” anchor, who came to MSNBC news digest of the Trump years, will not be an easy act to follow. (In truth, he was better suited to the patter of the panel show than the stentorian delivery of the nightly report.) Managing to keep the conversation light yet dignified in an era of very bad news is a task for professionals only.and proceeded to turn his late-night posting, “The 11th Hour,” into a folksy, often wryly funny
Wherever MSNBC lands, it will almost surely mean shining a larger spotlight than ever on its supporting cast — or an as-yet-unknown star. Will Joy Reid follow Williams’ lead and overcome past controversy to move into a later slot? Will onetime Trump target Ali Velshi parlay the openings into a move off the weekends? And how will the network utilize reporters such as Katy Tur and 2020 “chartthrob” Steve Kornacki, who are familiar faces associated not with opinion but news?
If you want a horse race worthy of “Succession,” listen to Maddow: Watch this space.
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Streaming recommendations from the film and TV experts at The Times
Boyle Heights remains the backdrop for Season 2 of Netflix’s sharp and thoroughly Angeleno half-hour comedy “Gentefied,” despite rapid gentrification — i.e. the annoying proliferation of ramen shops and electric scooters. The Morales family is still fighting to keep their taco shop, Mama Fina’s, afloat, but a greedy landlord and skyrocketing property values are making it more difficult by the day. Plus, they now have a bigger problem on their hands: Pop (Joaquín Cosío) is facing deportation after being detained by ICE during a routine traffic stop in Season 1. Series creators Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez pit realism against humor, ratcheting up the tension and the comedy over eight episodes as Erik (Joseph Julian Soria), Ana (Karrie Martin) and Chris (Carlos Santos) struggle to keep their familial bonds intact ... and their own dreams alive. Crisis can tear a community and family apart or bind them together tighter than ever. Which one will it be for the folks of “Gentefied”?
When “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” (Bravo) premiered late last year, it needed only three words (“smells like hospital”) to become an overnight sensation. So it’s quite the blessing, for those of us still in withdrawal from an eventful season of “Beverly Hills,” that the newest addition to the reality TV juggernaut continues to raise the Rocky Mountain-high bar in its sophomore run. All eyes, of course, are on cast member Jen Shah, who was arrested during filming on charges of fraud and money laundering. But “Salt Lake City’s” pleasures run deeper than the usual schadenfreude. Its flaring tempers and petty disagreements are inflected by multilayered differences of faith and race/ethnicity, and as a result its exploration of power and privilege taps richer veins than sports cars, glam squads and square footage (though there’s plenty of that, too). Whether it’s gourmet queen Heather Gay extricating herself from Mormonism, rumors of bad behavior by Pentecostal church leader Mary Cosby, or Meredith Marks’ televised shabbat, the series’ embrace of belief might even be called a kind of profundity: At the risk of sounding too in thrall to its highbrow/lowbrow charms, it might be the most illuminating portrayal of the American religious marketplace currently on television. —Matt Brennan
Everything you need to know about the film or TV series everyone’s talking about
More than six years after ending its nine-season run, “The Game” (Paramount+), a comedy about the players on a fictional pro football team and their significant others, is kicking off — again.
The series, which began in 2006 as a spinoff of the CW comedy “Girlfriends,” has already been through its share of upheaval, with two networks, a cancellation and several cast changes — including the departure of its two original leads — under its belt.
Created by Mara Brock Akil, the original “Game” starred Tia Mowry-Hardrict as Melanie Barnett, an aspiring doctor who put her plans for medical school on hold to support her boyfriend, Derwin Davis (Pooch Hall), a star receiver for the San Diego Sabers. The show had a loyal following but struggled in the ratings during its initial seasons. Although Akil reportedly offered to revamp the show to make it more compatible with the network’s youth-oriented programming, the network pulled the plug in 2009.
Less than two years later, the series was revived by BET, which was seeking quality scripted shows for its audience. With the original cast intact, the show premiered in 2011 to record viewership, only to be disrupted when Mowry-Hardrict and Hall left to pursue other projects. Akil brought on two new cast members — “Insecure’s” Jay Ellis as a cocky No. 1 draft pick and Lauren London as a former child star — but the series lasted just two more years, ending in 2015.
“The Game’s” latest iteration, which premiered Thursday, features a mostly new cast and a different setting, moving from San Diego to Las Vegas. Returning are Wendy Raquel Robinson as savvy sports agent Tasha Mack and Hosea Chanchez as her son, star quarterback Malik Wright. In the reboot, Mack has become successful enough to travel by private jet, while Wright eyes an ownership stake in his new team, the Las Vegas Fighting Fury — which plays in ViacomCBS Stadium, a blunt (and indelicate) plug for Paramount+’s parent company. New cast member Adriyan Rae stars as Brittany Pitts, a daughter of two former “Game” characters — retired football player Jason Pitts (Coby Bell) and his wife, Kelly (Brittany Daniel) — who shuttles between the Vegas nightlife scene and the world of pro football.
It’s a mixture of nods to the original and fresh material that the streamer is hoping will (re)capture the magic and score, in “The Game’s” 10th season, with old fans and new viewers alike. —Greg Braxton
A weekly chat with actors, writers, directors and more about what they’re working on — and what they’re watching
We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you this important bulletin: “The Envelope” podcast is back! Which means a whole new season of intimate stories and delicious behind-the-scenes details from the team that brought you news-making hits such as “Kate Winslet talks about the ‘mythical place’ that is Wawa” and “Josh O’Connor slams proposed disclaimer on ‘The Crown.’” Before their interviews with the A-list actors, directors and showrunners behind your favorite films and TV shows return on Nov. 30, hosts Mark Olsen and Yvonne Villarreal graciously agreed to give us a sneak peek at the new season. Listen to the trailer today, and follow wherever you get your podcasts. —Matt Brennan
First things first. You have to answer the most important question of all, at least in the world of Screen Gab: What have you watched lately that you can’t stop talking about?
Olsen: That would be “Bergman Island” (VOD), the English-language debut of French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve. The story of a couple, both filmmakers, on a writing retreat to Fårö, the Swedish island where Ingmar Bergman lived and worked, the film is a subtly enchanting examination of how working lives and personal relationships inform identity and sense of self. Also, for anyone who was a fan of Vicky Krieps in “Phantom Thread,” this is the biggest dose of that sweet Krieps energy since then. Vulnerable and incisive, it is definitely one of my favorite films of the year.
Villarreal: My favorite part about Sundays is my “Insecure” text thread with friends. I’m still in denial that this is the final season, but the journey has been a satisfying one so far — even when it holds the mirror too close to the fumbles of adulthood.
Tell us one podcast guest you’re excited about and why.
Olsen: For as long as Kirsten Dunst has been in the public eye, there is still something very enigmatic and unknowable about her, a hiding-in-plain-sight quality that I find extremely compelling. Her performance in Jane Campion’s new film “The Power of the Dog” (streaming on Netflix on Dec. 1) really captures everything I like about Dunst as a performer. As a woman who becomes increasingly isolated on her new husband’s ranch in 1920s Montana, it stands tall alongside some of my other favorite roles of hers, in Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette” and Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia.”
Villarreal: I’m in the middle of prepping for my conversation with Jennifer Coolidge, who rightfully garnered much critical attention for her role in HBO’s “The White Lotus.” She delivered a poignant and wounded comic performance — particularly while sharing scenes with “Insecure’s” Natasha Rothwell — as a fragile, wealthy woman struggling to cope with her mother’s recent death. What I want to know is who makes her laugh. And I learned while reading up on Jennifer that some of the interiors in Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled” were filmed at her New Orleans home, which now has me longing for an HGTV series about her space — so I hope I can persuade her to give it some thought.
You’ve both been podcasting from home since the start of the pandemic. Are there any funny behind-the-scenes stories or memorable disasters you’re ready to talk about?
Olsen: Fairly early in the pandemic I was thinking we’d do a session as audio-only and wasn’t particularly presentable, and so of course everyone else on the virtual call wanted to do cameras-on. My colleague Jen Yamato said it’s the only time she has ever seen me without a collared shirt. So I quickly learned a lesson: Always be camera-ready.
Villarreal: I’ve had more than a few oh-my-God moments in my short career as a podcast host. During my conversation with Anya Taylor-Joy for “The Queen’s Gambit,” which took place early one morning, I lost my train of thought while asking a question because my upstairs neighbors were getting ... quite amorous. I was sure Anya could hear it through the Zoom, though she swore she couldn’t. But the story I most cherish is the time I spoke with Brian “F— off” Cox from “Succession.” Noisy helicopters in my neighborhood disrupted our talk, and I apologized to Brian. And he responded with something like: “Oh, that’s quite all right, I was worried it was my stomach doing that.”
Times staffers chew on the pop culture of the moment — love it, hate it or somewhere in between
Throughout this season of “American Crime Story” (FX), which concluded Tuesday, we’ve brought you deep dives into the women swept up in the saga of Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Here’s our guide to where the key figures are now, when you’ve finished bingeing the episodes piled up on your DVR.
Hillary Clinton: Ran for president in 2016 as the first female presidential nominee for a major political party. Despite receiving more votes overall, Clinton lost narrowly in the electoral college to a reality-TV star named Donald Trump. She now hosts a podcast.
Linda Tripp: Tripp remarried in 2004 and, with her husband Dieter, opened a German-themed Christmas store called the Christmas Sleigh in Middleburg, Va. Until the end of her life, she maintained that she was a whistleblower who had been unfairly vilified for her role in the impeachment, which she described as “a real high-tech lynching” in a rare public appearance in 2018. Tripp died in April 2020 of pancreatic cancer. A tell-all book called “A Basket of Deplorables: What I Saw Inside the Clinton White House” was published posthumously last year.
Monica Lewinsky: Lewinsky spent the first few years post-scandal trying to pay off legal bills and remake her public image. She sat for a blockbuster interview with Barbara Walters, sparking a craze for her Club Monaco lipstick, and became a spokesperson for Jenny Craig, sold a line of handbags at Henry Bendel, hosted a short-lived dating show called “Mr. Personality” and appeared in an HBO documentary. She received a master’s degree from the London School of Economics in 2006 and spent the next eight years out of the public eye. Since reemerging in 2014, she has worked as a Vanity Fair contributor, public speaker and activist. She also started a production company called Alt Ending, and has a first-look producing deal with 20th Television.
Paula Jones: In 1999, Clinton paid $850,000 to settle Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit; Jones reportedly received just $200,000 of that money. In 2000, Jones defended her decision to pose in Penthouse as a divorced single mother with bills to pay: “I thought it was the best thing to do for me and my children. Of course the money had something to do with it,” she said. Like Lewinsky, Jones also wound up in a reality show, duking it out with disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding in the notorious program “Celebrity Boxing.” In 2016, she endorsed Trump for president and was invited by the campaign to attend the second presidential debate along with other Bill Clinton accusers, including Juanita Broaddrick. Jones recently denounced her portrayal in “Impeachment” as inaccurate and cartoonish.
Juanita Broaddrick: Like Jones, Broaddrick reemerged in 2016 during Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House. “I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Ark. Attorney General raped me. I am now 73 … it never goes away,” she tweeted in a message that went viral. She attended the second presidential debate that year and defended Trump from criticism over his remarks on the “Access Hollywood” tape. In the wake of #MeToo, some liberals, including New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg, have reconsidered Broaddrick’s claims against Bill Clinton and come out in support of her. Broaddrick is active on Twitter, where she shares right-wing memes about vaccines and supposed election fraud. She has also defended conservative men accused of sexual misconduct, including Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Ann Coulter: Coulter leveraged her role in the Paula Jones lawsuit to become one of the most prominent — and controversial — conservative media pundits in the country. She has written more than a dozen books, many of them bestsellers, and is known for her particular animus toward immigrants, refugees and Muslims. Despite — or perhaps because of — her willingness to say utterly indefensible things, she remains a fixture on political talk shows, including “Real Time With Bill Maher.” Once a Trump fan, largely because of his hardline stance on immigration, she recently denounced him as “abjectly stupid.” —Meredith Blake
The TV shows and streaming movies to keep an eye on in the coming week
Fri., Nov. 12
“Mayor Pete” (Amazon). Buttigieg, who else?
“Red Notice” (Netflix). Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds run and jump.
“The Shrink Next Door” (Apple TV+). Businessman Will Ferrell is in a toxic relationship with psychiatrist Paul Rudd for 30 years.
Sun., Nov. 14
“Adele One Night Only” (CBS). The broadcast network singing special lives on.
“The Freak Brothers” (Tubi). Weed-centric cartoon finds 1960s underground comics heroes Rip Van Winkled into the present day, losing “Furry” from their moniker in their process. With Woody Harrelson, Tiffany Haddish, John Goodman and Pete Davidson.
“Yellowjackets” (Showtime). Girls soccer team crashes in the wilderness, things get all “Lord of the Flies.” Twenty-five years later, they are Melanie Lynskey, Christina Ricci, Tawny Cypress and others, still sorting it out.
Tues., Nov. 16
“Simple as Water” (HBO). Displaced Syrian families seek stability in Megan Mylan’s documentary.
Wed., Nov. 17
“Marvel’s Hit-Monkey” (Hulu) Japanese macaque out for revenge. Jason Sudeikis, Olivia Munn, George Takei. Animated, obviously.
“Tiger King 2” (Netflix). You can mistreat animals, hire someone to commit murder, wind up in jail and someone will still put you in a docuseries.
Thurs., Nov. 18
“The Sex Lives of College Girls” (HBO Max). They do have them. Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble mount a comedy true to its title.
“Star Trek: Discovery” (Paramount+). Fourth season. Sonequa Martin-Green’s Michael Burnham is now your captain.—Robert Lloyd
Want to know more about one of the filmmakers we’ve interviewed? Need a new show to binge now that your fave is done for the season? If you have a question about TV or streaming movies for the pop culture obsessives at The Times, send it to us at email@example.com and you may find the answer in next week’s edition.
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