John Oliver Finds Jay Leno’s Call for Late-Night TV ‘Civility’ a Tad Hypocritical (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

John Oliver torched Jay Leno Sunday after the ex-“Tonight Show” host called for a return to “civility” on late-night talk shows. There was just one problem there: Leno had a never-ending string of Monica Lewinsky jokes back in the ’90s, and some of them definitely crossed into the “slut-shaming” category.

“Those jokes have not dated well in any sense of the word,” the “Last Week Tonight” host said on his show last night.

Like the time when Leno revealed a new “Dr. Seus” book, “The Slut in the Hat.” Yeah, the replacement for The Cat was Lewinsky. That’s gross, Jay.

Oliver countered that with his own Dr. Seuss spoof, “Oh, the Places You Can Go F–k Yourself, Jay Leno.” The weekly HBO show then rolled an excellent new interview between Oliver and Lewinsky.

Also Read: Angry Jay Leno Interrupts Jimmy Fallon’s Monologue to Get a Few Things Off His Chest (Video)

Earlier in the cable talk-show’s main segment, Oliver slammed Fox News Channel anchor host Tucker Carlson for the way he shrugged off blowback to resurfaced crude comments he made years ago on a shock-jock radio show.

“One day you’re having dinner with your family imaging everything is fine, the next your phone is exploding with calls from reporters,” Carlson had addressed the backlash on his own show last week.

“First of all, no one having dinner with Tucker Carlson has ever imagined everything was fine,” Oliver said. “Most people’s answer to the question, ‘If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead’ is ‘Tucker Carlson, dead.’”

Also Read: John Oliver Shreds HBO Parent AT&T During Robocalls Takedown (Video)

If you’re thinking at this point that Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin got off scot-free last night, you’d be wrong.

Watch the video above.

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John Oliver Blasts Jay Leno’s Scolding Of Late-Night TV For Lack Of “Civility”

Read on: Deadline.

John Oliver savaged Jay Leno’s call for more civility in late night TV on Last Week Tonight.
Last week, Leno stopped by NBC’s Today show and said he did not miss hosting a late-night show because “everything now is, if people don’t li…

‘Wonder Park’ Film Review: Original Animated Film Thrillingly Celebrates Youthful Imagination

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

If there’s one thing kids like, it’s amusement parks. If there’s two things, it’s amusement parks and animated movies. And if there’s three things, it’s amusement parks, animated movies and a surprisingly mature message about not letting debilitating mental health issues get in the way of your creativity. At least, that’s what can be gleaned from “Wonder Park,” a clumsy but amiable kids movie with a streak of sincerity that stretches further than the Wonder Park itself.

“Wonder Park” stars Brianna Denski as June, a young girl who spends her off hours — which seems to be most hours — concocting an elaborate, fictional amusement park with her mom, voiced by Jennifer Garner. (Because, in movies, Jennifer Garner is practically everyone’s mom.) Their creation, Wonder Park, is a gigantic feast for the senses, with amusingly stomach-churning rides that literally toss you across the park, or come to life underneath you and fly around magically.

June and her mother fill the house with clockwork miniatures and complicated blueprints, but then her mom gets deathly ill and has to go away to a special hospital. (Never mind what she’s got, how curable it is, or how far away she’s going.) So June decides to put away all her amusing things and instead devote every waking minute to taking care of her dad (Matthew Broderick), because in her head he’s more accident-prone than Wile E. Coyote.

Watch Video: ‘Wonder Park’: A Magical World Comes Back to Life in First Teaser

Eventually, June is so far down this compulsive rabbit hole that she runs away from her summer camp to head back home and stop dad from (presumably) burning the whole house down, but along the way she wanders into the real-life Wonder Park, populated by all the mascots she invented with her mom, like responsible warthog Greta (Mila Kunis), safety inspector porcupine Steve (John Oliver), technician beavers Gus (Kenan Thompson) and Cooper (Ken Jeong), and sleepy greeter bear Boomer (Ken Hudson Campbell).

That’s a heck of a lot of legwork to get to the film’s core premise — a little girl wandering into her own fantasy land — only to find that it’s been overrun by her adult anxieties run amok. The whole park has been infested with Chimpanzombies who want to destroy every monument to June’s relationship with her mother, just like June wanted to throw Wonder Park away in a fit of maladaptive grief. Now it’s up to June and her animal friends to overcome their fears and to find a way to save the park and, by extension, June’s creative spirit.

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“Wonder Park” is hardly the first movie to explore the unfortunate side-effects that growing up can sometimes have on someone’s psyche, but it’s nowhere near as disturbing as “Return to Oz” nor nearly as trite as “Christopher Robin.” Because the story in “Wonder Park” is original, the filmmakers don’t need to subvert any beloved childhood icons in order to tell it. It takes longer to set up the characters and their world, but once we’re there, we can enjoy them without any cognitive disconnect. This is simply “Wonder Park,” and “Wonder Park” is an enjoyable kids flick with decent intentions and some delightful imagery.

Indeed, the park itself is a genuine treat. The various rides and lands, many of which would be physically impossible to re-create on even the most unlimited budget, are sure to fire up the imagination of young audiences. The filmmakers seem to have a genuine respect for the artists who spend their whole lives developing complex, richly themed attractions that excite the mind, and they certainly had fun coming up with wild new examples to surreptitiously enjoy on-screen.

Also Read: Marvel to Develop Animated Series for Disney+ Based on ‘What If’ Comics

The characters are simplistic creations, mostly boiling down to simple character traits, but for the most part they’re all personified individual aspects of June’s own personality, so it’s hard to complain. In particular, Wonder Park’s lead designer Peanut (Norbert Leo Butz) hits close to home for June. He’s spent his whole career assuming that June’s mother’s voice was his voice of inspiration, and without it, he thinks he can never create again. To convince him to start creating again, June will have to convince herself to start creating again.

The world of “Wonder Park” is thrilling, and the message is unusual for a kids movie, but admirable. It’s the clutter that gets in the way of the movie’s excellence. The complicated first act stops more than it starts, and gets tiresome after a while, and the bizarrely complicated rules of Wonder Park itself — which involve a magic pen, magic whispers and a magic delegation of authority — distract from the film’s simple fantasy of visiting the best amusement park ever, and from the simple message about the importance of staying motivated in the wake of tragedy, depression, grief and loneliness.

Instead of an instant classic, we get a noble effort. We need more of those. This is a bright and earnest attempt to craft an on-screen fantasy for modern kids, with a practical moral that anyone could appreciate.



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John Oliver Shreds HBO Parent AT&T During Robocalls Takedown (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

John Oliver tackled the “bulls–t” that is robocalls on Sunday, when he also used the topic as an opportunity to fire a few (more) shots at HBO’s new parent company, AT&T. The FCC still got the worst of it last night.

The “Last Week Tonight” host has had it up to here (we know, that idiom doesn’t really work in print) with robotic spam calling — and studies show it’s only going to get worse as we become even more reliant on mobile communication.

“We can’t go back to the days where everyone would just shout their message into a jar, and then mail that jar across the country,” Oliver said. “That was a terrible system, as it was only marginally more accurate than having AT&T now.”

Also Read: The ‘First Thing’ Bob Greenblatt Wants to Accomplish at HBO? ‘Not Undo’ Richard Plepler’s Momentum

Rut-roh, AT&T owns HBO — and all of the rest of Time Warner — these days.

“Oh! You like that business-daddy?” Oliver tweaked his new parent company. “Johnny’s acting up again!”

“I’m gonna get some spicy jars in the mail about that,” he said.

Also Read: New HBO Boss Bob Greenblatt Doesn’t Know if Doing 2 ‘Game of Thrones’ Spinoffs Is Feasible – Let Alone One

A little later in the segment, which had a big payoff at the very end, Oliver ripped AT&T’s cell service again.

“Oh that’s right — you’ve inherited a problem child,” he said after. “Let’s dance.”

Oliver closed the evening by revealing the robocall he set up to harass all five FCC commissioners. It was super-easy, he said, and yes, it involves bagpipe music.

Watch the video above.

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John Oliver Mocks Ivanka Trump Claim Daddy Uninvolved With Jared Security Clearance

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With Exit of HBO and Turner Chiefs, AT&T Tries to Fix What Ain’t Broken (Analysis)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

HBO and Turner are two of television’s greatest success stories. But at a corporate town hall meeting last June, longtime AT&T executive John Stankey, the new leader of both, made it clear he wanted more.

Promising “a tough year,” he said HBO’s castle keep of Emmys for shows like “Game of Thrones” wasn’t enough. He said viewers need to watch the premium network for “hours a day,” as the New York Times reported.

It sounded like a repudiation of the quality-over-quantity formula that has made HBO the envy of most networks. Stankey said on stage that HBO makes money — “just not enough.”

HBO’s chief, Richard Plepler, pushed back: “Oh, now, now, be careful,” he told his new boss, according to the Times.

Also Read: ‘Game of Thrones’ Final Season: HBO Reveals 20 New Character Photos – and 20 Custom Emojis

On Thursday, Plepler announced his exit in a press release that included promises of a smooth transition and positivity from both him and Stankey. Soon after came reports that David Levy would also exit as president of the Turner division, which includes networks from TBS to TNT and Cartoon Network to Turner Classic Movies and truTV.

The departures came a day after the Wall Street Journal reported that former NBC entertainment president Bob Greenblatt was in talks with AT&T’s WarnerMedia to head up a combined HBO and Turner, under Stankey as chief executive of WarnerMedia. The new combined organization would reduce redundancies, but also combine two very different entities.

CNBC reported that Plepler wanted more autonomy — to keep doing the job he has done successfully for over a decade — but that Stankey “was effectively running HBO.”

WarnerMedia has declined to comment.

Also Read: Richard Plepler to Exit as HBO Chairman and CEO

The question now is whether the moves will finally yield “enough” money to justify fixing TV empires that don’t appear to be broken.

HBO has thrived in ratings and awards since Plepler greenlit his first show, “True Blood,” which debuted in 2008. Subsequent successes included “The Pacific,” “Big Little Lies,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Veep.” He also gave John Oliver his acclaimed show.

An HBO representative told TheWrap that Plepler has no set end date, but it’s probably “several” weeks away. He will not make the move when the company moves into its new building in the Hudson Yards area of Manhattan in late April or early May.

There’s also no word on when Levy might exit Turner, where he’s served as president since 2013 and built into a ratings stronghold. TBS wrapped 2018 as the sixth most-watched cable channel, followed by TNT.

Also Read: David Levy to Exit as Turner President as Part of WarnerMedia Shakeup

AT&T first announced in October 2016 that it intended to buy Time Warner, now known as WarnerMedia. An appeals court on Thursday allowed the merger to go forward.

But that town hall last June provided an early indication that the one-time phone company wanted to increase revenue by focusing on the screen in your hand, not the one in your living room. “It’s not hours a week, and it’s not hours a month. We need hours a day. You are competing with devices that sit in people’s hands that capture their attention every 15 minutes,” Stankey said, according to the Times.

The question is whether Thursday’s moves mark the end of an era, when Sunday nights on HBO have felt like the openings of big-budget blockbusters, Oscar contenders or Broadway plays.

As Stankey outlined in June, his plan wasn’t just to entertain viewers, but to mine their data, as the Times quoted him saying: “Why are more hours of engagement important? Because you get more data and information about a customer that then allows you to do things like monetize through alternate models of advertising as well as subscriptions, which I think is very important to play in tomorrow’s world.”

Gone are the days when Tony Soprano — whom Plepler quoted in his goodbye message Thursday — was enough.

Also Read: AT&T Posts Record DirecTV Now Losses, Misses Q4 Revenue Estimates Despite WarnerMedia’s Strength

Stankey is thinking about “tomorrow’s world” of tracking what you watch, and regurgitating your desires through targeted programs and advertising.

The days of data mining may also replace the days of Plepler mining authors and journalists for good ideas for prestige programming.

“For authors of high-end fiction and nonfiction, HBO is one of the last games in town,” Frank Rich, a former New York Times columnist executive producer of HBO’s “Veep” and “Succession,” told the Times in a 2012 profile of Plepler.

In his statement on Thursday, Stankey heaped praise on Plepler. “Richard is one of the most successful executives in our industry and I have been fortunate to have his support over the last months,” he said. “His vision, energy and passion helped to elevate HBO’s brand to what it has become today. Richard’s impact to our business and on the passionate viewers of HBO’s enduring programming will continue to be felt for years.”

The next version of HBO, whatever it is, will face a slew of new competitors which are themselves deciding whether to focus on prestige programming, round-the-clock eyeball suckage or some combination of the two. They include Netflix, Amazon and new, big-spending streaming services from Disney and whatever Apple eventually unveils.

Perhaps one of them will hire Plepler.

Tony Maglio, Jennifer Maas, Tim Baysinger and Reid Nakamura contributed to this story.

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John Oliver Rips Psychics and ‘Sophisticated Manhattan Sex Monster’ Matt Lauer for Believing Them (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

John Oliver really, really doesn’t like psychics. So much so, in fact, he went on a 20-minute rant about the profession during Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight,” in which he told viewers that the psychic industry pulls in $2.2 billion a year and that one recent poll shows four in 10 Americans believe in what he calls a scam — including, apparently, Matt Lauer.

Oliver cut to an old clip of the now-ousted “Today” show host receiving a reading from “Hollywood Medium” Tyler Henry, which Lauer seems to genuinely believe he is connecting with his dead father from beyond the grave through the psychic.

“It’s clear that Matt Lauer is touched there — and this time he didn’t even have to pressure a subordinate into doing it,” Oliver jokes.

Also Read: John Oliver Compares Brexit ‘Disaster’ to Will Smith’s Genie in Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ (Video)

“Look, maybe Tyler Henry genuinely accessed the after-life, an action that would fundamentally change our understanding of everything on earth,” he continued. “Or maybe he just Googled ‘Matt Lauer dad’ and hit the f–king jackpot. So to recap, hot reading: researching people beforehand, the even lazier skill than cold reading, which basically involves indiscriminately shouting the names of dead Irishmen in a hotel ballroom. And what’s surprising is, whichever technique Tyler used, Lauer fell for it. And he is smart, he’s a sophisticated manhattan sex monster. But he fell for it.”

He fell for it so much so that Oliver then showed a clip of Lauer telling his co-hosts he went home and cried over the reading.

“Wow, everything about that is a little strange, not least the fact that it is weird to envision a scenario in which something happened at the ‘Today’ show offices, and then Matt Lauer was the one who went home and cried,” Oliver added.

Also Read: Stephen Colbert Calls Out John Oliver’s Suddenly Gray Hair: ‘You’re Decaying’ (Video)

And then — just because Oliver really wants to take down these self-professed mindreaders — he showed a bunch of “clips of psychics f–king up.” But honestly that was just because “it’s really funny.”

Watch the video above.

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John Oliver Compares Brexit ‘Disaster’ to Will Smith’s Genie in Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Great Britain is set to leave the EU next month, and John Oliver has returned to television to try to prevent this Brexit “disaster.”

“Things look dire here” the “Last Week Tonight” host said on Sunday’s Season 6 premiere. Everyone his HBO comedy show highlighted seems to agree this exodus was not well thought out and could create serious problems for many Brits.

“Normally for people to be that certain that something will be a disaster, they need to see Will Smith in blueface,” Oliver quipped, throwing up a photo of Smith’s blue Genie in the upcoming live-action “Aladdin.”

Also Read: ‘Aladdin’: Here’s the First Full Look at Will Smith’s Genie (Video)

That wasn’t Oliver’s only punchline that borrowed from our world of movies and television.

A little later during the segment, Oliver singled out Parliament member Boris Johnson, who he said is “What would it look like if Gordon Ramsay was tumble-dried on High.”

That one was also accompanied by a perfectly timed picture. Yes, Oliver is a “MasterChef” of whipping up perfect analogies.

Also Read: Relax, Everyone – Will Smith Says His ‘Aladdin’ Genie Is ‘Gonna Be Blue’

Watch Oliver’s third (per his show’s own count) takedown of Brexit via the video above.

And then immediately find a way to watch UK series “Gogglebox.” You’ll a) get what that is and b) be hooked once you consume Oliver’s Sunday segment in full.

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John Oliver: Donald Trump Hits Omelette Bar After Declaring National Emergency

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John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight made its raucous return to HBO on Sunday night after a three-month hiatus, quickly bringing viewers up to speed on all the news the show had missed:
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Stephen Colbert Calls Out John Oliver’s Suddenly Gray Hair: ‘You’re Decaying’ (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Maybe never debut a new look at “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” A more salt than pepper John Oliver learned that important lesson on Monday night.

“I know your work is incredibly hard, because look at what it’s doing to you,” Colbert greeted his suddenly gray guest. “You’re decaying. You’re decaying before our very eyes.”

“You had jet-black hair the last time I saw you,” the CBS host continued. “You looked like you were in a K-Pop band the last time I saw you.”

Also Read: Stephen Colbert Hijacks Gayle King’s Ralph Northam Interview (Video)

That latter punchline is a callback to Oliver’s opening joke of the panel segment. The entire visit between the two hosts who both got their starts on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” is worth a watch.

“The key thing with decaying is not to start from a particularly attractive point,” Oliver quipped back. “That really knocks the edge off.”

“When you just salt-and-pepper this up a bit, [people] go, ‘Oh, I guess he’s just more tired than he was before,’” the HBO personality continued. “‘He always seemed exhausted, even when he had no reason to be.’”

Also Read: Liam Neeson Cancels ‘Colbert’ Plans After Racial Assault Comments

Colbert tried to make things OK between the two friends, saying Oliver looks “very distinguished.” Sure …

Watch the video above.

Season 6 of Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” starts Sunday at 11/10c on HBO.

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John Oliver Previews Sixth Season Of ‘Last Week Tonight,’ Weighs In On Show Format, HBO Relationship

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Endeavor Content Hires Tim Robinson as COO

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Endeavor Content has hired Tim Robinson as its new COO, in which he will assist in the company’s domestic and international growth strategy, Endeavor announced Tuesday.

In the newly created role, he will also oversee the company’s overall operations, which include business affairs, finance, HR and corporate development.

Most recently, Robinson served as COO of talent management and production company Avalon (“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” “Catastrophe”). Before then, he was interim COO of Vertical Networks, Elizabeth Murdoch’s digital content studio.

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During his television career, Robinson also assisted in building Shine Group (“MasterChef,” “Biggest Loser”) into an international business of 27 companies. His roles at Shine included COO of Shine Australia and Deputy CEO of Metronome Group in Stockholm, as well as global COO of Shine Group in 2012. He also previously worked in business affairs at Celador (“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”) and was a partner at media law firm, Sheridans. Robison will be based in Los Angeles.

“I am very excited to join the brilliant team at Endeavor Content and help them build a new platform for creative talent to develop, own and profit from their best ideas,” Robinson said.

Also Read: Mark Shapiro Promoted to President of Endeavor

“Tim’s track record of leading media companies during their most pivotal stages of growth, his international background, and overall reputation within our industry makes him the ideal individual to help lead Endeavor Content as it continues to evolve. This hire underscores our commitment to providing a best in class experience to artists, content creators, and our partners,” Endeavor Content Co-Presidents Chris Rice and Graham Taylor added.

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Late-Night TV’s 12 Best and Biggest Viral Videos of 2018 (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

TheWrap has compiled a list of the 12 biggest and best viral videos from late-night TV in 2018. There were some superheroes, the best “Carpool Karaoke” segments of the year, plenty of Mean Tweets, and enough Trump commentary to last us a li…

Bryan Cranston Saves Christmas From Bryan Cranston in Stephen Colbert’s ‘Santa Fight’ (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

First, let’s get this out of the way for everybody: Bruce Lee died in 1973. Sorry for the spoiler alert from Stephen Colbert’s kids-pitched Christmas movie, “Santa Fight: Saving the Holiday From Atnas,” but it’ll help save viewers from shock when Bryan Cranston breaks the bad news.

OK, so maybe none of that makes much sense — but it is exactly what one gets when letting kids pitch a holiday film. In a video posted to YouTube on Saturday, the “Late Show” borrowed the minds of eight young children in an attempt to create a new Christmas classic. And with Cranston, Laura Linney, Nick Kroll, Rachel Dratch and John Oliver on board, we nearly got one.

We don’t want to give too much more away for our readers, but the general conceit of the movie is that Santa Claus (Cranston) has an evil twin brother Atnas (“Santa” spell backwards, also played by the “Breaking Bad” alum) who wants to give all the best toys to the kids on the “Naughty” list. Meanwhile, Mrs. Claus (Linney) and the Elves (Dratch and Oliver) are pretty pissed at the good St. Nick — something about Santa always leaving his wife on Christmas Eve, plus the conditions of his workshop. We guess? We’ll be honest, it’s not entirely clear what’s up Noel and Tiny Tinsel’s jingle bells.

Also Read: Santa Drops the C-Word on ‘South Park’… And It Wasn’t ‘Christmas’ (Video)

Anyway, it all results in a Santa Fight — may the jolliest one win.

Watch the video above, which is packed like Santa’s sack with great callbacks to the brainstorming sesh.

Feature-length, please.

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Will Smith, Trevor Noah And John Oliver Appear In YouTube’s Rewind Video Celebrating 2018

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