Kanye West, HBO sitcom star? It almost happened. Long before the notorious moment he grabbed the microphone from Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards or celebrated the birth of his daughter with reality-TV scion Kim Kardashian the hip-hop icon headlined a comedy pilot from Curb Your Enthusiasm executive producer Larry Charles.
The sitcom was shot in 2007 but quickly fell by the wayside after an executive shuffle at HBO. Later that year, West's mother, Donda, died, and the superstar departed on a global concert tour, leaving the TV project behind. It was all a distant memory until this summer, when clips from the pilot started popping up — first on YouTube, and then at a comedy show in Brooklyn, where a bootleg copy of the entire episode was screened.
Dog with a Blog
He may not have opposable thumbs, but Disney Channel's Dog With a Blog has a second season. The sitcom returns on Friday, Sept. 20 at 8:30/7:30c with an all-new episode. Stars G Hannelius, Blake Michael, Francesca Capaldi, Beth Littleford, Regan Burns and Mick the dog will host Disney Channel's primetime lineup that night, starting at 8/7c.
It's time for a reality-TV reality check. Even top executives and producers admit that the genre has become tired — an overload of singing battles, food challenges, screaming housewives and dating competitions. "We've been in a huge reality drought," says Greg Goldman, the new president of Studio Lambert USA, which produces Undercover Boss.
The broadcast networks continue to coast on the enduring success of veteran franchises like Survivor, but they're not minting many new hits. In cable, the success of docuseries like the Real Housewives franchise and Love & Hip Hop has led to a glut of such shows.
But a shake-up may finally be on the way. CBS recently named a new head of reality TV, Chris Castallo, while Fox is looking to fill the top job in its alternative department (which infamous reality kingpin Mike Darnell vacated at the end of July). There's also a new head of unscripted TV at AMC, while TruTV and A&E, both big reality networks, have new bosses.
Matt Damon's Elysium mission will eventually take him to FX. The cable network has acquired the commercial TV rights to last weekend's box office champ, continuing its streak of buying most of this summer's biggest releases.
Elysium joins a roster of movies at FX that also includes...
As hit animated pre-school series Doc McStuffins returns for a second season on Sept. 6, Disney Channel and Disney Junior are sending out "The Doc Mobile," a 27-foot Airstream trailer, to promote the show around the country. The Airstream will encourage good health and nutrition, allowing kids to ...
Netflix has acquired the rights to Marco Polo, the upcoming 13th century-set series about the legendary adventurer. The drama, from the Weinstein Company and Electus, had previously been set up at Starz.
Starz first announced Marco Polo at the January 2012 Television Critics Association press tour, but the project...
As the president of alternative programming at Fox, Mike Darnell developed a well-earned reputation as a showman with a wicked mind. "I usually like to take a pitch and twist it into something more evil or more dangerous," says Darnell, who was once called "Fox's Point Man For Perversity" by the New York Times.
Darnell, the man behind some of the most notorious reality series and specials on television over the past two decades, left Fox at the end of July. He's now moving on to Warner Bros. Television Group as president of unscripted and alternative TV.
It's the end of an era for Fox, which meets reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour on Thursday without Darnell for the first time in decades. Network execs are still mulling Darnell's replacement. (Among names that have been rumored for the job: National Geographic Channels CEO David Lyle and president Howard T. Owens; Sharon Levy, Spike TV's executive vice president of original series; and Nigel Lythgoe Productions president Kary McHoul; among others).
American Idol was easily the biggest hit on Darnell's watch, but we all know the ins and outs of that show. Now that he's exiting Fox, we asked Darnell to recount the rest of his greatest reality hits — and misses.
Lisa Kennedy Montgomery
Former MTV VJ Kennedy, now a Los Angeles radio DJ, still has fond memories of her 1992-1997 stint at the cable channel. That's why she subtitled her new memoir, The Kennedy Chronicles (out Tuesday), The Golden Age of MTV Through Rose-Colored Glasses. "The MTV studio was where you wanted to be," she says.
But one of her most vivid memories is of simulating oral sex with a microphone while standing next to NYC's then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani during the 1994 Video Music Awards. Kennedy says she did it in order to win over a hostile audience — and it almost worked.
Grunkle Stan, Dipper and Mabel Pines will be back to explore the mysterious world of Gravity Falls for a second season. Disney Channel has renewed the hit animated series, created by young animator Alex Hirsch.
Gravity Falls — a mix of Twin Peaks, The X-Files, Lost and the animated feature Monster House, wrapped in a comedic, irreverent bow — features the voices of Hirsch, Jason Ritter, Kristen Schaal and Linda Cardellini.