Maya Rudolph Comedy Series ‘Loot’ to Bow on Apple TV+ June 24

The Maya Rudolph comedy series “Loot” will premiere on Apple TV+ June 24.

Starring and executive produced by Emmy Award winner Rudolph (“Saturday Night Live,” “Bridesmaids”) and from Emmy Award-winning creators Alan Yang (“Little America,” “Master of None”) and Matt Hubbard (“30 Rock,” “Forever”), the 10-episode workplace comedy will debut globally with the first three episodes followed by one new episode weekly, every Friday.

In addition to Rudolph, the “Loot” ensemble cast is led by stars Michaela Jaé Rodriguez (“Pose”), Ron Funches (“Undateable”), Nat Faxon (“Married”) and Joel Kim Booster (‘Sunnyside”).

In “Loot,” billionaire Molly Novak (Rudolph) has a dream life, complete with private jets, a sprawling mansion, and a gigayacht — anything her heart desires. But when her husband of 20 years betrays her, she spirals publicly, becoming fuel for tabloid fodder. She’s reaching rock bottom when she learns, to her surprise, that she has a charity foundation run by the no-nonsense Sofia Salinas (Rodriguez), who pleads with Molly to stop generating bad press. With her devoted assistant Nicholas (Kim Booster) by her side, and with the help of Sofia and team — including mild-mannered accountant Arthur (Faxon) and her optimistic, pop-culture-loving cousin Howard (Funches) — Molly embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Giving back to others might be what she needs to get back to herself.

The project marks the second collaboration between Apple TV+ and Yang following the the three-time Independent Spirit Award, BAFTA and NAACP Image Award nominated anthology series “Little America.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

 

FilmRise Picks Up FAST Rights to Canadian Series ‘Kim’s Convenience’

FilmRise, the New York-based film and television studio and streaming network, has acquired multi-territory, ad-supported digital linear (FAST) rights to the critically acclaimed Canadian comedy series “Kim’s Convenience” from Canada-based Thunderbird Entertainment.

The deal gives FilmRise exclusive FAST (free ad-supported streaming) rights to all five seasons of the series, which it will program across its existing FAST Channels as well as allow for the creation of dedicated marathon FAST channels of the series across the United States, Latin America, German-speaking Europe, French-speaking Europe, Italy and Spain. FilmRise plans to offer the series on FAST linear streaming channels on IMDb TV, Pluto, The Roku Channel, Samsung TV+ and the FilmRise Streaming Network, among others.

Originally broadcast on CBC starting in 2016, the series made its international debut on Netflix in 2018. 

Based on Ins Choi’s award-winning play of the same name, “Kim’s Convenience” depicts the Korean-Canadian Kim family who runs a convenience store in Toronto. During its five season run, the series was the winner of multiple Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Comedy Series, Foreign Drama of the Year at the Seoul International Drama Awards (2019), Members’ Choice Series Ensemble Award for Best cast at the 2017 Toronto ACTRA Awards (Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists).

The comedy stars Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (“The Mandalorian”), Andrew Phung (“Run the Burbs”) Andrea Bang (“A Million Little Things”), Jean Yoon (“The Voyeurs”), Simu Liu  (Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), and Nicole Power, who stars in “Strays,” which is the spin-off series from “Kim’s Convenience” that premiered in September 2021 on CBC.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“As the FilmRise Streaming Network continues to grow, so does our approach in acquiring programs featuring unique stories from people of diverse backgrounds,” Max Einhorn,  SVP of acquisitions and co-productions for FilmRise, said in a statement. “‘Kim’s Convenience’ has had a huge impact on a wide range of viewers, and we are thrilled to bring this culturally relevant series for free to streaming audiences worldwide.”

“Kim’s delightful characters and beloved stories brought love and laughter into the hearts of many during its five seasons,” Richard Goldsmith, president of global distribution and consumer products at Thunderbird Entertainment, said in a statement. “Through our partnership with FilmRise, we are thrilled that new audiences internationally will have the opportunity to connect with and enjoy the heart-warming and hilarious experiences of the Kim family.”

Apple TV+ Picks Up Two More Seasons of Sitcom ‘Mythic Quest’

Apple TV+ has announced a season three and four pickup of the sitcom “Mythic Quest,” from creators Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Megan Ganz.

“Mythic Quest” follows the team behind the biggest multiplayer video game of all time. In addition to McElhenney, who stars as the fictional company’s creative director, Ian Grimm, the ensemble cast includes Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham, Danny Pudi, Imani Hakim, Charlotte Nicdao, Ashly Burch, Jessie Ennis and David Hornsby, who also executive produces. Additional cast members include Naomi Ekperigin, Caitlin McGee, Humphrey Ker, Chris Naoki Lee and Jonathan Wiggs.

The series is produced for Apple TV+ by Lionsgate, 3 Arts Entertainment and Ubisoft Film & Television.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Just like critics and audiences all over the world, we fell in love with Rob and his team’s sharp writing and full of heart, relatable characters that make up the world of ‘Mythic Quest,’” Matt Cherniss, head of programming for Apple TV+, said in a statement. “We can’t wait for viewers to see what’s in store in the upcoming seasons of this brilliant workplace comedy.”

HBO Max Picks Up Exclusive SVOD Rights to ‘The Middle’

HBO Max has secured U.S. SVOD streaming rights to all nine seasons of the family comedy “The Middle,” with a total of 215 episodes available now.

Two-time Emmy winner Patricia Heaton stars in this single-camera comedy about raising a family and lowering your expectations. Middle-aged, middle class, and living in the middle of the country in Orson, Ind., Frankie Heck (Heaton) is a harried wife and mother of three who uses her wry wit and sense of humor to get her family through each day intact. Frankie works as a dental assistant, and her unflappable husband Mike is manager at the local quarry and her sardonic partner in the daily grind that is raising their family. Between juggling shifts and picking up fast food to be eaten in front of the TV, Frankie and Mike raise their kids — popular slacker Axl, optimistic, awkward Sue, and odd, eccentric Brick — with love, humor and solid midwestern pragmatism.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In addition to Heaton, the comedy stars Neil Flynn as Mike, Charlie McDermott as Axl, Eden Sher as Sue and Atticus Shaffer as Brick.

Debuting in 2009, the series won the esteemed Humanitas Prize in 2016 and was also nominated for multiple Critics Choice Awards throughout its run.

Produced by Blackie and Blondie Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, “The Middle” was created and executive produced by Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline.

Rose Byrne, Seth Rogen to Star in Comedy Series for Apple TV+

Apple TV+ will launch a new comedy series, “Platonic,” starring Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen.

The series will be co-written by Nick Stoller and Francesca Delbanco (“Friends From College”) and will be produced for Apple by Sony Pictures Television.

“Platonic” reunites Byrne and Rogen with director Nick Stoller following their collaboration on the “Neighbors” films.

The 10-episode, half-hour comedy explores the inner workings of platonic friendship. A pair of former best friends who met in their youth (played by Byrne and Rogen) reconnect as adults and try to mend the rift that led to their falling out. As their friendship becomes more consuming, it destabilizes their lives and causes them to reevaluate their choices.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In addition to writing, Stoller will direct. Rose Byrne, Seth Rogen and Conor Welch will serve as executive producers.

Apple TV+ is available at $4.99 a month with a seven-day free trial.

Complete ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Collection to Bow on DVD Nov. 10

Schitt’s Creek: The Complete Collection will come out DVD Nov. 10 from Lionsgate.

The irreverent character-driven comedy centers on the reversal-of-fortune story of the once filthy-rich Rose family. Suddenly finding themselves broke, the Roses are forced to rebuild their empire in Schitt’s Creek, a small town they once purchased as a joke. As the seasons go on, we see the family thrive in a place they begin to call home, ready to take their personal relationships, business pursuits and, for some, exit strategies, to the next level.

The show received 19 Emmy nominations during its run, with 15 for its sixth season, setting a record for most nominations for a comedy series in its final season. At the 2020 ceremony, “Schitt’s Creek” became the first Canadian show to win the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, for its sixth and final season. In doing so, it also became the first ongoing series to sweep all four acting categories — Eugene Levy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, Catherine O’Hara for Lead Actress, Daniel Levy for Supporting Actor, and Annie Murphy for Supporting Actress — plus the awards for writing and directing, en route to nine total wins (it also won for Casting and Contemporary Costumes).

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The cast also includes Chris Elliott, Emily Hampshire, Jenn Robertson, Sarah Levy and John Hemphill.

DVD special features include deleted scenes, bloopers, featurettes, outtakes, “Behind the Episode” segments, and “A Schitt’s Creek Farewell” documentary.

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.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

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.

HBO Max to Stream Comedy Central’s ‘The Other Two,’ ‘South Side’ and ‘Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens’

The upcoming seasons of the comedies “The Other Two” and “South Side” from Comedy Central Productions are joining HBO Max as new Max Original series, while the channel’s “Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens” will also find a home on the streaming service.

The first seasons of “The Other Two” and “South Side” will land on the platform in 2021 followed by new seasons to stream exclusively as Max Original series.

“The Other Two,” created by former “Saturday Night Live” co-head writers, follows two millennial siblings as they navigate their teenage brother’s rise to internet fame and “South Side,” shot on location in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, is a comedic look at two friends, ready to take one world, once they stop working at the local rent-to-own.

As part of the deal, HBO Max has become the exclusive streaming home to the semi-autobiographical comedy “Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens,” from Awkwafina. Season one is available to stream now on HBO Max. Season two will premiere and air in its entirety on Comedy Central next summer before becoming available on HBO Max.

“These ground-breaking and hilarious programs are cultural touchstones and we are excited about the diverse group of comedic voices they will bring to HBO Max. We know our audiences will want to watch again and again,” Michael Quigley, EVP of content acquisitions at WarnerMedia, said in a statement. “We are strategically thinking of the fans first, and adding these exceptional series to our portfolio allows us to introduce these standout comedies to new viewers on HBO Max.”

“Comedy Central Productions’ deal with HBO Max is emblematic of our studio production strategy to maximize the value of our content by selectively working with third parties while prioritizing franchise IP for our own platforms,” Keyes Hill-Edgar, chief operating officer of ViacomCBS Entertainment and Youth Brands, said in a statement. “As we shift our strategy and double down on adult animation, topical shows and scripted movies — we are excited to supercharge our studio sales business and continue these great series with HBO Max.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“The Other Two” features Cary, an aspiring actor and his sister Brooke, a former professional dancer, who try to find their place in the world while wrestling with their feelings about their 13-year-old brother Chase’s sudden rise to internet fame. Created by former “Saturday Night Live” co-head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, the series stars Drew Tarver, Helene Yorke, Case Walker, Ken Marino and Molly Shannon. Executive producers are Lorne Michaels, Kelly, Schneider, Andrew Singer and Tony Hernandez. The series is produced by Comedy Central Productions, Jax Media and Broadway Video.

Follow us on Instagram

“South Side” follows two friends who just graduated from community college and are ready to take over the world. But until they do, they’re stuck working at Rent-T-Own. Shot on location in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, the show offers an authentic look into what life on the South Side is all about. Created by Diallo Riddle, Bashir Salahuddin and Sultan Salahuddin, the comedy stars Sultan Salahuddin, Kareme Young, Chandra Russell and Lil Rel Howery. Executive producers are Michael Blieden, Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin. The series is produced by Comedy Central Productions.

“Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens” features Awkwafina (Nora Lum) as Nora Lin in a scripted series based on her real-life beginnings in Queens, N.Y. Raised alongside her cousin by her dad and grandma, Nora leans on her family as she navigates young adulthood in outer borough New York City. Created by Awkwafina and Teresa Hsiao, the series also stars Lori Tan Chinn and BD Wong.  The series is executive produced by Nora Lum, Karey Dornetto, Lucia Aniello, Teresa Hsiao, and Peter Principato and Itay Reiss of Artists First.

Netflix Rolling Out Seven Classic Black Sitcoms From 1990s and Early 2000s

Netflix is rolling out seven Black sitcoms from the 1990s and early 2000s on its service in the coming months: “Sister Sister,” “Moesha,” “The Parkers,” “Girlfriends,” “The Game,” “One on One” and “Half & Half.”

“These shows made us laugh, and cry, and sing along with those catchy theme songs,” wrote Bradley Edwards, manager of content acquisition, and Jasmyn Lawson, manager of Strong Black Lead, in a company blog. “And mostly importantly, we felt like we saw ourselves on screen — in some cases for the very first time. Every week we were able to tune in to see people, families and friends that looked like us and characters whose everyday ups and downs reflected Black life in an authentic way.”

The shows have been on top of members’ wish lists, they wrote.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“From the first days of Strong Black Lead in February 2018, our comment sections have been filled with members asking about this kind of classic Black content,” they wrote. “So we worked with our content team to make it happen — starting in 2019 with classic Black films like Love & Basketball, B*A*P*S, and Love Jones. The conversation on social media was larger than we could have ever anticipated. And once we had the wish list of series from our members, we were excited to discover they were available.

“We want to give each its due so we’re staggering the release of these beloved series to ensure our members have time to enjoy them.”

“Moesha” will bow Aug. 1, followed by the first three seasons of “The Game” on Aug. 15. “Sister Sister” arrives on Sept. 1, with “Girlfriends” launching on Sept. 11 to mark the 20th anniversary of its premiere. “The Parkers” debuts on Oct. 1, followed by “Half & Half “and “One on One” on Oct. 15.

Follow us on Instagram

“The goal of Strong Black Lead is to celebrate and lift up Black Hollywood,” they wrote. “These trailblazing shows are a huge part of that story. From the classic clown funeral episode of ‘The Parkers’ to Moesha’s mind-tripping meet-up with Brandy, we’re thrilled that our members can now enjoy these amazing classics.”

A Casualty of Streaming Wars, ‘Friends’ Sees Spike in Disc, Digital Sales

“Friends” is giving the transactional side of the home entertainment business a very happy new year.

The landmark sitcom that helped birth the TV DVD category nearly two decades ago is once again a top DVD and Blu-ray Disc seller — and this time the sales boost is also being felt in digital sales, commonly known in the industry as “electronic sellthrough.”

The catalyst: the disappearance of “Friends” from its longtime exclusive on-demand home, the Netflix subscription streaming service. With streaming wars accelerating, AT&T, which owns the Warner Bros. studio that produced “Friends,” made plans for the show to come off Netflix once the license expired Dec. 31, 2019, and reappear on its own streaming service, HBO Max, which is launching in May 2020.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In the meantime, “Friends” is only available for on-demand viewing on disc and for digital purchase or rental — and that’s led to a significant spike in sales.

Jeff Brown, EVP and GM of Television and Animation for Warner Bros.’ home entertainment division, said sales began to rise shortly after the announcement in July 2019 that “Friends” would be leaving Netflix at the end of the year.

Through the end of 2019, he said, sales of the season and complete series sets more than tripled. And since the official departure of “Friends” from Netflix on Jan. 1, Brown said, sales have spiked even higher, on both physical and digital formats.

Follow us on Twitter

“Not bad for a 20-year-old TV show,” Brown said. “The discs really started selling well in the summer, when we announced the show was coming off Netflix and we launched a 25th anniversary promotion — but the digital really took off after the first of the year, once the show was off Netflix.”

The top seller is the complete series set, which Warner re-released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD in September. The package contains 10 seasons’ worth of shows, or a total of 236 episodes. On Amazon, the complete series set retails for $69.99 on DVD (40 discs), and $109.16 on Blu-ray Disc (21 discs).

Bundles of all 10 seasons also are available digitally through other retailers, like Apple iTunes and Walmart’s Vudu. They, too, are leading sales.

Individual season sets are also available for purchase on disc and through digital retailers, including Amazon Prime. DVD season sets sell for $13.19 on Amazon, with digital season sets going for $19.95. Consumers who want digital versions also can buy individual episodes at $1.99.

Follow us on Instagram

During the five months in which “Friends” is absent from the streaming world, Brown said, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will mount a “robust” promotional campaign he hopes will drive sales even higher.