News Briefs: HBO Is Bringing Back Project Greenlight With Ben Affleck and Matt Damon

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ROUND 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO

... HBO is bringing back the documentary series Project Greenlight after a nine-year absence. The series, which premiered on HBO in 2001 and details the search for a first-time director who will go through the entire filmmaking process on camera, will once again be executive-produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. The press release announcing its return cites technology having finally caught up with the concept as the reason the series is making a comeback, but I have a feeling it's also about Starz's new unscripted series The Chair, which comes from former Project Greenlight EP Chris Moore and follows two first-time directors as they go through the experience of bringing their first feature film to the big screen. [HBO via press release]


BUSINESS TIME

... And for his next trick, escape artist and magician Robert Gallup will attempt to make people care about the History Channel! Gallup will stage a two-hour live-stunt titled Houdini Live (it'll air as a companion piece to Adrien Brody's upcoming Houdini miniseries), during which he will attempt to free himself from straitjackets, handcuffs, and shackles while also chilling at the bottom of a rock quarry that's ALSO full of active explosives. What a show-off. [THR]

... Jerry Seinfeld is giving Lorelai Gilmore a run for her money. Crackle has ordered four more seasons (that equates to 24 new episodes) of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, in addition to the two already planned for later this year.  [Vulture]

... Bravo announced today that the twelfth season of Top Chef will be set in Boston, where I assume the competition will involve nothing but Boston Cream Pies. If that turns out not to be the case, I think the contestants should riot, dump tea in the harbor, scream "How do you like them apples?" and then all head over to Cheers and get wasted. This is probably why I'm not in charge of Top Chef. [Bravo via press release]

... Cedric the Entertainer is stepping down from his role as host of the syndicated game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire. I know what you're thinking and it's, "that's show's still on?" Well, apparently, yes it is. And Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) is poised to take over Cedric's soon-to-be-empty spot, for reasons I do not fully understand. [Deadline]



CASTING NEWS

... Zoe Jarman, who plays the naive receptionist Betsy Putch on The Mindy Project, will not be returning to the comedy for Season 3. She's been asked to guest-star, but one has to wonder what the hell is going on at Shulman & Associates and/or Fox that they wouldn't want the lovable Betsy to return. Putch was one of only four original cast members remaining on the show (the others being Mindy Kaling, Chris Messina, and Ed Weeks, obviously). [TV Line]

... Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap) has been cast in AMC's Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul. McKean is the first "new"—as in non-Breaking Bad—cast member to be announced; he'll play Dr. Thurber, an attorney who's "restricted by an unusual affliction." Do you think that's code for "addicted to meth"? [Deadline]


REQUIRED READING

... Who doesn't love Mad Men's Pete Campbell? Wait, let me rephrase that. Who wants to learn more about the actor who plays Mad Men's Pete Campbell? Screw it, just read this awesome article and you can thank me later: "43 Things You Learn About Vincent Kartheiser by Hanging Out With Him" [Vulture]


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... Syfy is developing several new projects, including Sharknado 3, a series from the producers of Orphan Black, and several shows based on graphic novels. Plus, Tricia Helfer has joined the cast of the network's upcoming miniseries Ascension!


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