HBO Max to Bow Dark Comedy Series ‘Two Weeks to Live’ Nov. 5

HBO Max will be the exclusive U.S. streaming home to the British dark comedy “Two Weeks to Live,” launching all episodes Nov. 5.

The Max Original stars Emmy Award nominee Maisie Williams in her first role after “Game of Thrones” and BAFTA winner and Emmy nominee Sian Clifford (“Fleabag”).

The series currently airs on Sky in the United Kingdom.

“Two Weeks to Live” tells a comic tale of love and revenge born from a seemingly harmless prank that goes terribly wrong. Kim Noakes is an early 20-something oddball who, since the murder of her father, has been sequestered away in the wilderness with her doomsday-prepping mother for most of her life. Feeling compelled to go on a belated coming-of-age adventure, Kim sets out to find her dad’s killer and along the way ropes mismatched brothers Jay and Nicky into her scheme.

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The series also stars Taheen Modak,  Mawaan Rizwan, Jason Flemyng, Sean Pertwee and Thalissa Teixeira.

Premiere Digital Appoints Andrew Buck EVP

Premiere Digital, the media services, distribution and technology solutions company, has appointed Andrew Buck EVP, based in Toronto.

Buck will be responsible for expanding the company’s distribution services and SaaS tools on a global level, including Storefront, the company’s flagship platform for managing global content and a SaaS tool that provides monitoring to both content owners and digital retailers around content avail management.

He reports to Michele Edelman, head of growth.

Most recently, Buck was CEO of Toronto- and Los Angeles-based Juice Worldwide — a company he co-founded in 2004 to focus on the digital distribution of film, TV and music content across the world’s top OTT platforms. As CEO for nearly 16 years, Buck was involved in all aspects of the company, from business development to sales and marketing, resulting in its 2015 acquisition by Los Angeles based Vubiquity, and then again in 2018 by Amdocs. As part of the newly formed Amdocs Media Division, Buck continued on as CEO of Juice until 2020.

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“Having a world-class team to expand our products and services is top priority,” said Edelman in a statement. “I could not be happier to have Andrew on the team as he brings a wealth of industry knowledge and relationships. As our company continues to hit a high note, continuing to expand our presence was critical and Andrew checked all the boxes.”

Over the last few months, Premiere has announced a number of expansion plans. In addition to hiring Buck, the company announced the acquisition of Stamford, Conn., based CMI and has established a presence in London with the addition of former Sony Pictures exec Abigail Hughes, VP of growth, EMEA.

Netflix to Make Content Based on ‘Assassin’s Creed’ Game Franchise

Netflix has entered into an agreement with Ubisoft to develop content based on the video game franchise “Assassin’s Creed.”

The first series in development is slated to be a genre-bending live action adaptation. Ubisoft Film & Television’s Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik will serve as executive producers.

Under the agreement, Netflix and Ubisoft will tap into the video game’s stories with “global mass appeal” for adaptations of live-action, animated, and anime series, according to Netflix.

“For more than 10 years, millions of fans around the world have helped shape the ‘Assassin’s Creed’ brand into an iconic franchise,” said Jason Altman, head of Ubisoft Film & Television, Los Angeles, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to create an ‘Assassin’s Creed’ series with Netflix and we look forward to developing the next saga in the ‘Assassin’s Creed’ universe.”

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“We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft and bring to life the rich, multilayered storytelling that ‘Assassin’s Creed’ is beloved for,” said Peter Friedlander, VP, original series, Netflix, in a statement. “From its breathtaking historical worlds and massive global appeal as one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy.”

Since it first launched in 2007, the “Assassin’s Creed” series has sold more than 155 million games worldwide.

Netflix’s ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ Top Rising Show, ‘Emily in Paris’ Top Binge on TV Time Charts

Netflix’s “The Haunting of Bly Manor” was the top rising show while the service’s “Emily in Paris” was again the top binge on the TV Time charts for the week ended Oct. 11.

Top rising show “The Haunting of Bly Manor” comes from “The Haunting of Hill House” creator Mike Flanagan and is the next chapter of “The Haunting” anthology series set in 1980s England. After an au pair’s tragic death, Henry Wingrave hires a young American nanny to care for his orphaned niece and nephew who reside at Bly Manor with the estate’s chef, groundskeeper and housekeeper. But all is not as it seems at the manor, and centuries of dark secrets are waiting to be unearthed in this chilling gothic romance. The show, which debuted Oct. 9, also took the silver on the binge chart.

Created, written and executive produced by Darren Star (“Sex and the City”), “Emily in Paris,” which was the top binge for a second consecutive week, follows Emily (Lily Collins), an ambitious 20-something marketing executive from Chicago, who unexpectedly lands her dream job in Paris when her company acquires a French luxury marketing company. The series debuted Oct. 2.

TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the service. The weekly “Binge Report” ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the app in a given day. The “Shows on the Rise” chart is calculated by determining the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a given program. The network displayed is the network where the show first aired (e.g. “Friends” on NBC).

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Top Binge Shows Week Ended Oct. 11 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Emily in Paris” (Netflix) — 7.90%
  2. “The Haunting of Bly Manor” (Netflix) — 4.20%
  3. “How to Get Away With Murder” (ABC) — 2.29%
  4. “Modern Family” (ABC) — 1.96%
  5. “Lucifer” (Netflix) — 1.68%
  6. “The Boys” (Amazon) — 1.62%
  7. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — 1.55%
  8. “The Office” (NBC) — 1.46%
  9. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.32%
  10. “The 100” (The CW) — 1.32%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended Oct. 11 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “The Haunting of Bly Manor” (Netflix) — 97.5%
  2. “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” (AMC) — 78.4%
  3. “Al Nadam” (Al Jadeed) — 68.8%
  4. “The Walking Dead” (AMC) — 62.4%
  5. “Haikyu!!” (Tokyo Broadcasting System) — 55.1%
  6. “Jujutsu Kaisen” (MBS) — 50%
  7. “Emily in Paris” (Netflix) — 42.6%
  8. “Good Morning, Veronica” (Netflix) — 36.9%
  9. “Supernatural” (The CW) — 32%
  10. “Riverdale” (The CW) — 29.8%

Chelsea Handler Stand-Up Special to Stream on HBO Max Oct. 22

Chelsea Handler makes a return to stand-up comedy after a six-year hiatus with HBO Max’s Chelsea Handler: Evolution debuting on the streamer Oct. 22.

During the hourlong special, Handler will share experiences about her family, friendships, and her first foray into therapy — where she unearthed why everyone on this planet annoys her so much. Handler reflects on her personal journey toward self-awareness, assisted by her reliable companion — cannabis.

A six-time No. 1 New York Times bestselling author, Handler filmed the special this summer from her home state of New Jersey on the heels of her most recent bestselling memoir, Life Will Be the Death of MeThe special was filmed in front of a live audience following social distancing and safety protocols.

Netflix streamed its first talk show in 2015 with Chelsea Handler, which lasted two seasons.

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Apple TV+ Orders Docuseries ‘The Supermodels’

Apple TV+ has ordered “The Supermodels,” a docuseries that will feature interviews with Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington, who will revisit their iconic modeling careers and the ’90s fashion scene.

From Imagine Documentaries, the project will be directed and executive produced by two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple (American Dream; Shut Up and Sing; Harlan County, USA) and executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, along with Campbell, Crawford, Evangelista and Turlington.

“The Supermodels” travels back to the 1980s, when four women from different corners of the world united in New York. Their prestige was so extraordinary that it enabled the four to supersede the brands they showcased, making the names Naomi, Cindy, Linda and Christy as prominent as the designers who styled them. Today, the four supermodels remain on the frontlines of culture through activism, philanthropy and business prowess. As the fashion industry continues to redefine itself — and women’s roles within it — this is the story of power and how four women came together to claim it, paving the way for those to follow.

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The docuseries, which is produced under Apple’s exclusive first-look agreement with Imagine Documentaries, will also be executive produced by Sara Bernstein and Justin Wilkes.

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Apple TV+ is available on the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac, select Samsung and LG smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, as well as at tv.apple.com, for $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. The Apple TV app will be available on Sony and Vizio smart TVs later this year. For a limited time, customers who purchase a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch can get one year of Apple TV+ for free. This special offer is good for three months after the first activation of the eligible device. For more information, visit apple.com/tvpr.

Docs on Current Events, Issues Added to PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel

PBS Distribution in October will be adding a number titles focusing on current events and issues to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel, including Frontline: America Unprotected: The Medical Supply Crisis, Latino Vote: Dispatches From the Battleground, Frontline: Race, Poverty and the Pandemic, Frontline: Battle for Hong Kong and Frontline: Amazon Empire — The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos.

The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Frontline: Race, Poverty and the Pandemic, which premiered Sept. 9, covers the effects of George Floyd’s death beneath the knee of a police officer, which has sparked grief and rage in the streets of Minneapolis and across the country. Jelani Cobb, a historian, professor of journalism at Columbia University and writer at The New Yorker examines a connection between George Floyd’s death and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 deaths among African-Americans. Cobb helps put this volatile moment in context, explaining why we’ve reached a boiling point, and what he says needs to happen now. Cobb describes how the relationship between black Americans and the police has become a “barometer” for race relations in the country, drawing on his years of covering explosive tensions that he says are “overwhelmingly” in response to an issue of police use of force. “Once you looked at the way that policing functioned, it was almost an indicator of the way lots of other institutions were functioning in those communities,” he says. This time — as the nation battles a highly infectious outbreak — the outrage is spreading in a way that seems different, he says.

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Frontline: Battle for Hong Kong, which premiered Sept. 9, covers the unrest in Hong Kong. In 2019, a controversial extradition bill that would allow criminal suspects to be sent for trial in mainland China sparked a massive and unprecedented pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. At the start, the vast majority of protesters were peaceful, but a few tried to take on the police. The documentary traces what happened next. With remarkable access, the program follows five young protesters through intense and escalating clashes with Hong Kong’s police. The protesters say they’re fighting for their freedom against the communist government of China, which is due to take complete control of Hong Kong in 2047. China, meanwhile, says the protestors are “radicals,” “thugs” and “separatists.” The film tells the story of the eight-month, youth-driven pro-democracy movement through the eyes of the protesters. They are transformed — and, in some cases, radicalized — by their experiences. As the program unfolds, viewers meet Momo, a nurse in her late twenties; Vincent, a high school student who grew up in mainland China; Lomi, a researcher; Li, a young man who is married with a daughter; and Agnes, a veteran pro-democracy protestor. Through the stories of these five young people, the documentary explores the aims and motivations of the protesters. Amid concerns about China’s growing influence in Hong Kong, the extradition bill (which was eventually withdrawn) struck a nerve. Ultimately, the film sheds new light on what both the movement and the authorities’ response to it portend for Hong Kong’s future.

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Frontline: Amazon Empire — The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos, which premiered Sept. 9, covers the rise of the tycoon. Amazon’s Bezos built a business empire that is unprecedented in the history of American capitalism — delivering endless products, entertainment services and technology innovations to customers with just a click of a button. But what is the cost of Amazon’s convenience? The documentary examines Amazon and Bezos’ ascent to power — and his ability to shape everything from the future of work, to the future of commerce, to the future of technology. From award-winning filmmakers James Jacoby and Anya Bourg (The Facebook Dilemma), the documentary draws on interviews with current top executives and former insiders, as well as regulators and critics, raising tough questions about Bezos and the empire he built. Through these interviews, Jacoby and Bourg’s investigation presents an inside look at who Bezos is, and how he transformed a tiny company run out of a garage into a staple of American consumerism that critics contend is willing to dominate the market at all costs.

Frontline: America Unprotected: The Medical Supply Crisis, which premieres Oct. 7, explores questions around readiness for the epidemic. Why was the U.S. left scrambling for critical medical equipment as the coronavirus swept the country? With the Associated Press the documentary investigates the fragmented global medical supply chain and its deadly consequences for Americans.

Latino Vote: Dispatches From the Battleground, which premieres Oct. 7, explores how voters in Nevada, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania could very well determine the next American president. One of the top priorities on both sides of the political divide is to engage Latino voters. Projected to be the largest voting-eligible ethnicity in the country, Latino voters are often sought after by both Republicans and Democrats as if they are a monolith. With both younger Latinos and new citizens joining the ranks of registered voters across the country, the growing magnitude of this cross-section of the electorate has clear political implications for the 2020 presidential election. But trying to woo voters based on their cultural similarities without factoring in their complex and varying individual interests could prove to be a losing game plan. Following activists, organizers and others who are working to maximize Latino turnout in their local communities while simultaneously devoting their efforts to COVID-19 relief as the pandemic surges, the program delves into the high-stakes fight to activate Latino votes in these battleground states and give voices to newly registered Latino voters themselves about what the galvanizing issues are for them.

Netflix to Bow ‘Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness’ Anime Series Based on Games

Netflix in 2021 will release an original anime series, “Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness,” based on the “Resident Evil” games.

The horror-action series, centered on the stories of the two popular characters, Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, will be produced and supervised by Capcom’s Hiroyuki Kobayashi, who is responsible for bringing out numerous titles in the “Resident Evil” series.

TMS Entertainment, which has birthed various anime series, will produce the series, while Quebico, led by Kei Miyamoto, the producer of Resident Evil: Vendetta, will be in charge of 3DCG animation production.

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With the first game released in 1996 on Sony PlayStation, the “Resident Evil” series is nearing its 25th anniversary.

HBO Max, Amblin Ink Deal for Series Inspired by ‘Rashomon’

Amblin Television and HBO Max have entered into a deal to develop a show inspired by the acclaimed Akira Kurosawa film Rashomon.

Oscar nominees Billy Ray (Captain PhillipsThe Hunger GamesThe Comey Rule) and Virgil Williams (MudboundA Journal for Jordan) will be writers on the series.

The series will not be an adaptation but will retain the key plot device of the Kurosawa film — a drama centering around a grisly sexual assault and murder, and the unraveling mystery seen through multiple characters’ competing narratives — to explore the themes of truth and subjective point of view, in a modern setting, according to a press release. Each episode will present the perceived truth of an individual character — putting each, in turn, at the center of the story and telling the events surrounding the murder from their unique, self-serving point of view.

Amblin Partners’ co-presidents of television Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey (The AmericansHaunting of Hill House) will executive produce, along with Mark Canton (Power300) of Atmosphere Entertainment, Leigh Ann Burton of Opus7 Entertainment, and David Hopwood (Den of ThievesImmortals). Todd Cohen, SVP of television development, will oversee the day-to-day development of the project for Amblin, with Frank and Falvey.

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In 2018, Amblin announced that they had secured the blessing of the Kurosawa family to create a new series inspired by the iconic 1950 film, after Burton and Canton approached them.

“I am delighted to work with Amblin Partners and HBO Max to reimagine Rashomon for today’s audience,” Hisao Kurosawa said in a statement. “I am excited to see my dad’s vision through this inspirational story kept alive and made accessible to a new generation,”

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“Truth has become increasingly fractured in this age of cable news and social media’s ‘say it and it’s true’ culture,” Frank and Falvey said in a statement. “Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece was not just a murder mystery; it was a revolution in storytelling, as cinema’s most impactful and influential early exploration of subjective points of view and flawed narration. Seventy years after the film’s release, the legacy of Rashomon is indisputable and its central themes more relevant than ever. Our series will honor the impact of the original work and explore the age-old concept of objective truth versus subjective perspective in our modern times.”

“It takes a lot of hard work to make the stars align and I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to create an original take on Rashomon — a masterpiece from a true genius of cinema — for new audiences, with the full support and blessing of the Kurosawa family,” Canton said in a statement. “Not only that, but to be doing so in partnership with my friends and colleagues at Amblin Television, as well as the brilliantly talented Billy Ray and Virgil Williams, is truly the convergence of hard work and good fortune that every producer hopes for.”

“We are excited to work with Amblin Partners and our incredible writing team. Everyone involved understands the caliber and cache of Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon and his legacy,” Burton said in a statement.

“Our partnership on Rashomon is based on our mutual pledge to make every single episode, every scene, and every character of this show a loving homage to Kurosawa’s talent as an artist. That’s our true north,” Williams and Ray said in a statement.

Patricia Arquette to Star in ‘High Desert’ on Apple TV+

Apple TV+ has ordered the half-hour comedy “High Desert,” produced by Apple Studios and starring Academy, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood,” “Escape at Dannemora,” “The Act”), who will also executive produce.

The project reunites Arquette with Ben Stiller (Escape at Dannemora), who will direct the first episode and executive produce through Red Hour Films alongside Nicky Weinstock. Molly Madden and Tom Lassally executive produce on behalf of 3 Arts Entertainment.

“High Desert” follows Peggy (Arquette), a former addict who decides to make a new start after the death of her beloved mother, with whom she lived in the small desert town of Yucca Valley, Calif., and makes a life-changing decision to become a private investigator.

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The series is created and written by Nancy Fichman (“Nurse Jackie,” “Damages”), Katie Ford (Miss Congeniality) and Jennifer Hoppe (“Grace and Frankie,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Damages”), who will also serve as executive producers.

“High Desert” marks Apple’s second partnership with Arquette and Stiller following the series order for “Severance,” an upcoming workplace thriller starring and executive produced by Arquette and Adam Scott, and directed and executive produced by Stiller. Arquette and Stiller both received Emmy Award nominations for their most recent collaboration: the limited series Escape at Dannemora, for which Stiller won the DGA Award and Arquette won Golden Globe, SAG and Critics Choice Awards.