News Briefs: NBC Has Ordered a Maya Rudolph Variety Show (Really!)

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VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE 

... Maya Rudolph and Lorne Michaels are teaming up again, but this time it's for a variety show. Apparently, after Up All Night was finally allowed to die, Rudolph was fielding offers from approximately a million people, and she was like "Y'all junk! I want my own variety show!" So naturally, NBC was like, "YES! US! WE'LL DO IT! WE WANT IT. WE HAVE NOTHING ELSE. OMG. PLEASE. WE'LL GIVE YOU THE FINEST MUFFINS AND BAGELS IN ALL THE LAND. P.S. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT MURDER, SHE WROTE? NEVERMIND. VARIETY SHOW IT IS!" And that's how Maya Rudolph landed a new variety show pilot that will air as a special sometime during the upcoming Winter Olympics. [Deadline]


BUSINESS TIME

... Netflix has decided to submit Orange Is the New Black as a drama series for the Golden Globes and the Emmys in 2014. The series has never been a straight comedy, but calling it a drama feels like the equivalent of pulling out of your local 5K to run the Boston Marathon with a broken leg. It's not that OITNB isn't good or even award-worthy, but why would you willingly enter the deeper and more difficult race if you didn't have to (this actually explains a lot about me)? Especially one that already includes House of CardsMad Men, and the final season of Breaking Bad? [EW]

... Speaking of Orange Is the New Black, Laura Prepon will now appear in four episodes of Season 2 to more thoroughly tie up her story, as opposed to the single episode she was slated for. [BuzzFeed]

... Nickelodeon has picked up 40 episodes of the series Go Viral from Ryan Seacrest's production company, which means Seacrest is now infecting the children of our species. It's a half-hour game show in which kids compete in challenges based on viral videos (I feel really bad for anyone who has to do this). As our lovely editor Jen put it: Just bring back Double Dare. [Nickelodeon via press release]

... Gideon Raff, who created the series formerly known as Homeland, and Tim Kring, who created Heroes, are teaming up for a new project. The pair have inked a deal with USA Network for a six-episode drama that's set in Jerusalem and titled Dig. It's an archaeological thriller (I bet you never thought those two words would be paired together, eh?) that was developed by an Israeli production company, and it's the first Israeli-made drama to be sold directly to series for American audiences. The show will film entirely in Jerusalem's Old City and is set to premiere in late 2014. [Variety]

... Listen up, chumps, I appreciate that y'all have made the effort to watch The Originals, which hit a series high last night with 2.38 million tuning in for the series' darkest outing yet, but we need to chat about Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The series only drew 6.6 million viewers this week, which is a shame because it was a hoot and a half over there on ABC. But that means those two shows together only account for 8.98 million viewers, which begs the question: What are the rest of you watching at 8pm on Tuesdays? And don't you dare say Dads. [TV Line]

... Tim Gunn has landed his own no-Heidi-Klum-allowed reality series on Lifetime. Under the Gunn is a new fashion competition show that features Project Runway alums Mondo Guerra, Anya Ayoung-Chee, and Nick Verreos as mentors, as well as designer Rachel Roy, celeb stylist Jen Rade, and Marie Claire’s senior fashion editor Zanna Roberts Rassi as judges. The first 13-episode run will premiere January 16. [Variety]

... Tales from the Darkside, the 1980s horror anthology created by George A. Romero, is being redeveloped... at The CW? No wait, actually that could work. Especially once you realize that Joe Hill—a.k.a. Joseph Hillstrom King, as in Stephen King's offspring—is writing the pilot and the project is being produced by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, two of the brilliant men behind Sleepy Hollow (and also Fringe). Yes, add in a few good-looking, but mostly indistinguishable young actors and this sounds like a winner. [EW]

... Bravo announced today that we'll be enduring at least another two years of Watch What Happens Live, as host Andy Cohen has signed a new deal with the network. Said deal also includes a first-look development agreement with Cohen's new production company. And in case you were worried, he'll still be around to host as many Housewives reunion specials as you can stomach (for me, that number is zero). [Bravo via press release]

... MTV is retooling The Real World now that it's officially reached "grandparent" age in TV years. The show will returning to San Francisco for Season 29, and producers have decided they really want an on-screen murder this year, so they'll be invited the exes of the seven roommates to live in the house, too! The new season is being called Real World: Ex-Plosion, because MTV is clever. And possibly also psychic, because you just know someone is going to blow some shit up. [THR]

... Discovery and the comedy website Funny or Die are working on a sports docu-series that will premiere in 2014. The project is still untitled, but it stars Mike Barwis, a strength and conditioning coach in Detroit, who will train a different pro athlete every week. The pilot features Tyrann Mathieu of the Arizona Cardinals, a.k.a. the Honey Badger. [Variety]

... NBC is bringing back Last Comic Standing, which is a thing that NBC does when NBC has nothing else to air. [Deadline]


CASTING NEWS

... Matthew Perry will reconnect with Courteney Cox in an upcoming episode of Cougar Town. Most sites would have used this news to bait you with a "Friends reunion" headline, but here at TV.com, we're like Friends? That show was garbage! Haha J/K could we BE any more kidding? (Yes, we could be. Who knows.) [TBS via press release]

... Aisha Tyler has joined Ryan Murphy's new HBO pilot Open. She'll guest-star as Monica, a happily married nurse with a modern take marriage. [TV Line]

... All right, which one of you was it? I'm not angry, I just want to know who thought we all needed see Jeff Probst in the buff on Two and a Half Men. [Today]


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