NBCUniversal Pulls Trump Campaign’s ‘Insensitive’ Immigration Ad After Backlash

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NBCUniversal has decided to pull a controversial immigration-themed ad from the Donald Trump campaign after a wave of criticism.

“After further review we recognize the insensitive nature of the ad and have decided to cease airing it across our properties as soon as possible,” NBCU said in a statement. The ad ran during Sunday night’s Green Bay Packers-New England Patriots NFL game, ahead of Tuesday’s midterms elections.

The 30-second spot alluded to the caravan of Central American migrants that is making its way towards the U.S.-Mexico boarder. It also references Luis Bracamontes, an undocumented immigrant who was convicted of murdering two sheriff’s deputies in California in 2014, tying him to the thousands of migrants that are fleeing Central America.

Also Read: ‘Morning Joe’ Says Trump Privately Admitted Birther Attacks Were Wrong: ‘Racism in His Mind Works’

The caravan is still hundreds of miles away of the U.S.-Mexico boarder, currently somewhere near Mexico City according to the Washington Post. The ad plays up the “threat” of immigrants coming into the U.S., which Trump has made a major part of his campaign speeches ahead of Tuesday.

Hollywood stars including Judd Apatow and Debra Messing criticized the network’s decision to air the ad.

Messing, who stars on NBC’s “Will & Grace,” wrote: “To our @willandgrace fans–I want you to know that I am ashamed that my network aired this disgusting racist ad. It is the antithesis of everything I personally believe in, and what, I believe, our show is all about. @nbc”

“So @nbc and @Comcast aired that racist Trump caravan commercial during the football game,” wrote Apatow. “Who made that decision? How did they decide it was ok? I am disgusted that you would air that after @cnn refused to air it because it is explicitly racist. Shame on you. @NBCNews”

Also Read: ‘Watergate’ Director Says John McCain Used His Film to Send a Message About Trump

To our @willandgrace fans—I want you to know that I am ashamed that my network aired this disgusting racist ad. It is the antithesis of everything I personally believe in, and what, I believe, our show is all about. @nbc pic.twitter.com/CLinZKHB47

— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) November 5, 2018

So @nbc and @Comcast aired that racist Trump caravan commercial during the football game. Who made that decision? How did they decide it was ok? I am disgusted that you would air that after @cnn refused to air it because it is explicitly racist. Shame on you. @NBCNews

— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) November 5, 2018

Also Read: Michael Cohen: Trump Called Black People ‘Too Stupid’ to Vote for Him During 2016 Campaign

The ad was previously deemed too racist for CNN to air, which the network said on its official public relations Twitter account on Friday. “CNN has made it abundantly clear in its editorial coverage that this ad is racist. When presented with an opportunity to be paid to take a version of this ad, we declined. Those are the facts.”

CNN has made it abundantly clear in its editorial coverage that this ad is racist. When presented with an opportunity to be paid to take a version of this ad, we declined. Those are the facts. ????

— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) November 3, 2018

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Donald Trump’s Race Baiting Ad Gets Yanked By NBCUniversal Amidst Backlash

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Just hours after airing an incendiary Donald Trump campaign ad on Sunday Night Football last night, NBCUniversal has had a sharp change of heart  – or at least discovered it might want to have a heart.
“After further review we recognize the…

Will & Grace spend a rainy day exploring their unresolved emotional past

Read on: The A.V. Club.

The strength of Will & Grace is the strength of Will and Grace. Now having spent decades together, the two are like an old married couple, and straight-up life partners. It’s nice when an episode like “Who’s Sorry Now?” plays to that strength. …

‘Will and Grace’ Creators and Stars Look Back on Groundbreaking Show’s 20th Anniversary

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

When “Will and Grace” premiered 20 years ago, Debra Messing was nervous. “When we came on, we knew that we were trying to do something risky,” she says. 

Messing remembers thinking that audiences wouldn’t be ready for a sitcom featuring a gay lead and a gay supporting character, and that there was a good chance NBC would pull the show after three episodes. Her co-star Eric McCormack, on the other hand, was much more confident, she says.

“I distinctly remember after the pilot, sitting with Eric in the double chair on the set in front of the TV, and him turning to me and saying, ‘I think we’re going to be around for a long time.’ And I turned to him and I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Yes,’” Messing said.

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Looking back 20 years later, McCormack was right. After a successful eight-season run on the Peacock Network, “Will and Grace” returned in 2017 with Season 9 — it was one of the first series to be brought back in a TV landscape now teeming with revivals and reboots — getting critical acclaim and a renewal for Season 10, which premieres Oct. 4, and Season 11, which will air in fall 2019.

To celebrate 20 years of Will, Grace, Karen and Jack, TheWrap caught up with creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan and stars Messing and McCormack to look back on early nerves, favorite moments from the original, and how the show has grown up.

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TheWrap: When the show premiered, what set it apart from the rest of NBC’s lineup?

Max Mutchnick: Well I think the thing that made it stand out from the night it originally was programmed, I think that the unique thing about it on that night was it was the only show that was good. We were actually programmed originally on a Monday night on a thing… that the marketing department had created at NBC and I always found it a little bit insulting to everybody. You know, to women, to gay people, just kind of across the board, to the intelligence of America. And we were in there as a girls’ television show, and it just, it never felt right. I thought we were just a good comedy that was in the brand of NBC and so we should be treated like everybody else.

David Kohan:  I mean the other thing, obviously, was the subject matter and just how good these actors were. The show had two gay leads, which was novel, and just the skillset of these particular actors seemed special.

MM: From the week that we shot the pilot, it was very clear to everyone involved that we were dealing with a cast that was exceptional. We didn’t see that coming. We didn’t realize how fantastic they would be as a foursome, as an ensemble.

DK: Those four together, and also in these particular roles. Yes. Everybody fed off of everybody else, everybody felt kind of challenged, they had to be at their best because the person next to them was so good. And they liked each other, so there’s a genuine chemistry that sort of translated on the screen because it was present off-screen.

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MM: And something that people don’t know is that the four of them say a prayer before every show, that only the four of them know what that prayer is. And they have done that now for 20 years. It’s kind of amazing if you’re privileged enough to be backstage behind the curtain before they’re introduced to the audience, to see the way that they huddle, they stand, the four of them face each other, their foreheads kind of lean into one another and they hold hands. And they say this thing, and they still do it. It’s still sacred to them. And they’ve done it in good times and in bad times. And it really speaks to what David is saying, the [closeness] of the four of them. 

Debra Messing: Well, I think the most obvious thing, was that we had a male lead, leading character, that was gay. And a supporting character that was gay. But the leading character I think was the most revolutionary. Ellen [DeGeneres] obviously was the pioneer for that, but she had come out in her real life and then, unfortunately, fans of the show weren’t ready for the character to be gay and the show ended up going off the air. So when we came on, we knew that we were trying to do something risky. We didn’t know if it was going to be accepted or not. I distinctly remember after the pilot, sitting with Eric in the double chair on the set in front of the TV and him turning to me and saying, ‘I think we’re going to be around for a long time.’ And I turned to him and I said, ‘Really?’ And he said ‘Yes.’ And I did not have that confidence. I really felt like there was a very good chance that we would be, you know, pulled off the air after, you know, three episodes. Because, you know, half the cast — the characters were gay. And happily, that didn’t happen… I think really it’s a testament to the writers because the writers… created four characters that were compelling and funny and charming and you know, they didn’t make it about being gay. You know, the sexual identity was just a fact and it was really just about four friends living their lives. So the writers allowed the audience to fall in love with the characters and once they did, then the writers were able to write more, you know, gay-specific comedy that perhaps would have been too radical in the first few episodes. 

Eric McCormack: Well I mean, you know, the obvious answer is ah, there were two gay characters, and that was very much what the show was about. What the framework, though, was very much the same and that’s what mattered to me. I know for myself in the early ’90s I was all about “Seinfeld,” “Mad About You,” and eventually “Friends.” That Must-See TV thing had become so dominant, and I just wanted in. By ’96, ’97, I was auditioning all the time. And when I read this script I thought, well here’s an amazing thing. They’ve written something that just begs to be a Must-See show and has the feel the tone, and yet it’s glaringly different, because of the premise. And I think that was the thing. And I know initially NBC almost kind of wanted to soft-pedal it, they didn’t want to say, ‘Hey! Come be gay with us on Monday night!’ It was not that, but we, as a show, were not apologetic. That very first scene — I remember seeing it on the page, and I remember the first time we did it — I don’t think the audience knew what they were going to see. And it was great. We were on the phone. She was in her apartment, and I was sitting in the now-iconic apartment, and we were watching, I think we were watching ER together, and she says something about George Clooney and I said ‘yeah, me too.’ And it was such a big laugh because I don’t think that studio audience was aware that that’s what they were about to see. And so from scene one, moment one of the pilot, we said, ‘Hey, you’re gonna get this tone, you’re going to get this familiar territory, except this is [different]’… We shot that pilot in about two and a half hours, it just zipped by, and didn’t change a word. It was just there on the page and felt very special. 

Also Read: ‘Will and Grace’ Finale: Creators Talk Where They’re Going in Season 2 – and 3, for That Matter

So Debra and Eric, what do you remember about first meeting everyone? Was there an immediate connection? 

DM: You know, it was really pretty immediate. I think when we read… the pilot for the first time and we met each other for the first time, and we realized that, you know, that we really respected each other and appreciated each other, I think that started us off on the right foot. And then I think, you know, pretty immediately in rehearsals, we were all singing show tunes at some point. And it became clear that all of us actually got our start in the theater. And I think that’s the defining thing about our cast. We all started on the stage, we all come from, you know, that collaborative way of working and it was like a similar vocabulary and a similar work ethic that we recognize in each other.

EM: That was kind of a magical thing. I think we were and still are very different people — we live very different lives. Unlike a lot of casts that live out of each others’ lives outside of the camera. We just, we lived on that stage, and we were four goofy-ass children on that stage, we still are. But we don’t necessarily see each other a lot outside. So there was a kind of, almost an unspoken understanding of, this is precious, let’s not mess with this, when we’re here, this is our fan box and let’s have fun… Deb and I from the beginning, it was just like bang. That was it. We knew we’d found our dance partner, and that’s never changed. 

Watching old episodes back, a lot of the storylines are still very relatable — like trying to find an affordable apartment in NYC, for example. Looking back with a 2018 lens, do you find anything less relatable now? 

DK: From the initial thing, the things now are, getting older. Dealing with you know, not being you know, for jack, it’s not being the young hot sought-after guy. It’s easing into a different phase in your life. Dealing with divorces. Dealing with you know where you are right now and making peace with your lot in life. Which are themes that we didn’t really deal with back then. But we as writers we all find ourselves in those positions, and we write about the stuff that we know about, the characters happen to be our age basically, so these are the themes that are more central to our lives, and consequently more central to the lives of the characters. 

MM: [It’s] much more interesting to write the show with grown-ups. We enjoy that we get to advance them. And because the actors are really comfortable with who they are right now, it’s a pleasure.

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DM: Well I think the thing that stands out to me the most is how our lives have changed with technology. When we first got on the air, Will and Grace used an answering machine. And that was often an important part of the storytelling, you know. We would run home and there would be an important message from someone we were dating, or, you know, a message was accidentally erased, and obviously now, with cell phones — because we didn’t have cell phones 20 years ago — that I think is the thing that really makes the show feel anachronistic when you watch the old episodes. One of the things that was really exciting about coming back was ‘Oh, okay. Now we’re in the world of swipe left, swipe right dating. And so what will that be like for these people?’ So I think that was the thing that stands out the most for me.

EM: Well there’s no chance I would ever have the haircut that I had in the pilot again. I just wouldn’t let that happen, and hopefully people who love me wouldn’t let that happen either. The biggest one for me is that — I mean, I was raised on sitcoms, I couldn’t wait to find one that I could be on. Jim Burrows directs those are real fantasies of mine. And yet, when I go to Will, it took me awhile. I think Sean [Hayes] was Jack like, from moment one, and Debra pretty much found it. Megan [Mullally] and I took a little bit longer, but I really wasn’t comfortable with who Will was until much later in Season 1, sort of the beginning of Season 2. I think it’s cause initially, they were almost afraid to write him, cause he had to sort of carry this mantle of proud gay man but not effeminate… that gay man down the street you didn’t realize was gay, kinda. And it was — I was afraid to bring too much neuroses to him, and a lot of his humor was sort of that straight man response humor. So when I look at that first season, I see an actor still trying to find it. By the first episode of Season 2, I knew — not only did I have better hair — but I knew how to be Will. And so that’s the biggest takeaway for me when I look back. 

What are some of your favorite scenes or episodes from the show’s original run? 

MM: I think, you know, a standout for us has always been the [NOTE: Season 3] episode titled “Lows in the Mid-Eighties” and that would be a two-part episode about Will coming out to Grace and telling her that he was gay. That’s informed a lot of what the show is now.

DK: You know, let’s see. Yeah, “Lows in the Mid-Eighties” is a big one for me, but there, you know, there was something also about… [the water bra episode, titled “Das Boob”], for example, when you realize… that physical comedy was going to play a role in this, which we didn’t even necessarily consider as much… And also early on in that season, the season where Karen and Jack first met, it wasn’t necessarily that we even thought that the secondary characters were going to have a relationship and a life of their own, but we put them in a scene and saw the chemistry between the two of them and thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be an element.’ So it was those origins, the genesis episodes, you know, that these were foundational for physical comedy, these were foundational for the relationship between Jack and Karen, and that’s why they were important to me.

Also Read: ‘Will and Grace’ Revival Renewed for Season 3, NBC Adds to Season 2 Episode Order

DM: One of my favorite scenes was the exploding water bra in the art gallery with Eric. That whole episode I think was definitely in my three, four episodes of all of them. And another favorite episode was doing the flashback episode when Will and Grace were dating in college. And the scene in the kitchen where he tells her he’s gay. And you know, I’m wearing that horrible bi-level wig and he’s wearing a mullet, and everything about it was just really, really fun. 

EM: Oh, man. The hard part is we always give the same answers to questions like that because we can’t remember everything, you know? And then once in a while, I’ll see something on television — there’s an episode I’ve never seen repeated that I love. I don’t know why they haven’t shown it, but I haven’t seen it. And it’s called, ‘A Buncha White Chicks Sittin’ Around Talkin’.’ And it was just the four of us, there [were] no guest stars, and Debra and I were sitting on a therapist’s couch for the whole episode. You never see the therapist, you never hear the therapist. We just — it’s Deb and I working out our s— as roommates. And it’s just before we got to the whole trying to have a baby thing. And I love that. I just loved that episode, and I don’t think we ever made a mistake. It was like doing a play, it was very natural… Comedically, there was a moment [in another episode] where I was being bullied at work by the same guy that used to bully me on the schoolyard. He comes into the office when I’m putting on hand lotion and he says, ‘Are you lotioning?’ And I say ‘I was not lotioning!’ and at that moment my hands hit the desk and I smacked down and smashed my head. Comedically, that’s my favorite moment in the first few seasons. 

In the pilot, there’s a conversation between Will and Grace, and Will tells Grace not to worry because the movie of her life is still only at intermission. How did that inform the show’s initial run? With the revival, do you feel like you’re back from intermission? 

DK: Now, it’s not about so much the desperation to change your life or to make it or to figure out what your purpose is. It is more understanding where you are and finding what’s important about it and what’s good about it.

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How have Will and Grace grown up? 

DM: I think she’s just grown into a very just a confident, autonomous woman. When we met her, you know, she was ambitious — like she still is — and she was determined — and that’s still the case — but back when we met her she was really, really focused on finding, you know, her husband. Finding like, who’s the guy, who’s the guy that, you know, that she’s going to love and be with forever and have a baby with? And that’s just not a focus any more for her. I think that she has a very very successful work life, and she has a very rich personal life with her friends. And, you know, this year you see her dating and the way she’s dating is a completely different Grace. You know she really just, you know, she wants things to be clear, she wants things to be — she doesn’t want to waste her time. And I think that she’s grown into being a feminist. I think she’s really fine not being a mother, and I think she’s fine not being married, and she is happy with her life exactly the way it is. 

EM: Well I think his natural desires sort of became the show’s mantra, which is that… it’s one thing to show someone who looks like Debra Messing not getting married for a while, like, okay, at some point you can’t believe it. But we had a gay man at the center, and it became political as well as personal after a while. It’s like, we can’t keep having him not find love when clearly we’ve set him up — it’s one thing for Jack; Jack only wants to sleep with guys and not settle down, but Will clearly wants to settle down. It’s one of the key things that we showed America. Here’s a different kind of gay man: this one doesn’t march in a parade, this one actually wants to buy the house beside you and raise kids and be your neighbor. And that was political in and of itself… And yet, here we were not settling him down. So we had to eventually have him find some love…. He found it with Bobby Cannavale, so to — obviously we couldn’t afford to bring Bobby back for more than one episode, but that was also a political decision, particularly on Max Mutchnick’s part to say, I don’t want to say that a man, a successful gay man in his late forties, has to be in a partnership to be perceived as successful personally. And so we created Will last year as a guy who’s been through that. He’s been through his own divorce, and was okay with it, and was looking forward to dating some younger men, and to being himself. And I think that’s been our political statement this year, was him, is as much as we never want to lose the neuroses of anybody searching for love, we don’t make that his dominant gene. His dominant gene is I’m proud of who I am, and the right one will come along. And comedically I prefer that. Whenever we have a new character on the show because we have to have a partner, it just changes the makeup of the show… I love that there’s a certain confidence to Will despite the fact that he’s older. 

These interviews were edited for length and clarity. 

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Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Honey, the guest stars are home!

Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon joined fellow guest stars Minnie Driver and Matt Bomer on the “Will and Grace” set in an adorable photo, along with series regular stars Debra Messing, Eric McCormack and Sean Hayes. The photo, which was shared on Twitter to welcome the guest stars to the show, was accompanied with the caption, “All our gay dreams are coming true!”

Bomer will play a smooth-talking, self-satisfied TV news anchor who dates Will, and Driver will return as Lorraine Finster, Karen (Megan Mullally)’s nemesis and stepdaughter. Karen finds Lorraine at the strip club she works at to try and get more money in her divorce settlement.

Also Read: Must-See TV Reunion: David Schwimmer to Recur on ‘Will & Grace’ as Debra Messing’s Love Interest

Bronze medalist Rippon will make a cameo as himself.

It was also previously announced that “Friends” star David Schwimmer will recur on the upcoming season as Grace’s love interest.

Creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan write and executive produce with director James Burrows. “Will & Grace” is produced by Universal Television.

See the photo below.

All our gay dreams are coming true! ???? Welcome to #WillAndGrace @MattBomer, @Adaripp, and @driverminnie!
????: @DebraMessing pic.twitter.com/FbtcoKBKc1

— Will & Grace (@WillAndGrace) August 28, 2018

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‘Searching’ Film Review: John Cho Searches the Web for Missing Daughter

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Our chronic dependence on electronic devices and their ubiquitous availability have fully seeped into contemporary narrative: Since the audience navigates their daily conundrums and mundane tasks aided by screens, so do many characters in television and film. Today it’s not rare to see a text bubble pop up in a movie to let us in on a conversation happening via instant messages or for a Skype call to be a relevant plot point.

In first-time director Aneesh Chaganty’s groundbreaking digital mystery “Searching,” however, this practice is maximized to previously untapped extremes. Computer interfaces stop being a storytelling accessory; instead, they offer the entire field of vision. The silver screen mirrors the leading man’s desktop — and later all other gadgets used during his mission — as if connected via HDMI cable.

Saturated green pastures and an idyllic blue sky in the opening shot announce we are in the Bliss default wallpaper of early 2000s Microsoft’s Windows XP. This is the Kim family’s computer where their precious memories are stored. Irreplaceable photographs, videos of momentous occasions, treasured recipes, and email exchanges are arranged in a poignant montage that leaps around between three accounts: David Kim (a heroic John Cho), Pamela (Sara Sohn, “Sense8”), and their daughter Margot (played as a teenager by Michelle La).

Watch Video: John Cho Hunts for Missing Daughter in Suspenseful First Trailer for ‘Searching’

Intercutting a myriad of clips with supporting visuals and fitting excerpts for this introductory segment is a phenomenal editing feat from Nick Johnson and Will Merrick — their work throughout is exemplary — resulting in a concise conduit to dispatch exposition. Before “Searching” has hit the five-minute mark, we’ve already learned that Margot has been taking piano lessons since she was a young child; that her mother battled cancer, went into remission, relapsed, and, alas, passed away; and that David is silently struggling to attain closure.

Without warning, Chaganty negates any prospects of viewers interpreting technology as mere utilitarian instruments; their humanistic value always takes the spotlight. “Searching” is not interested in the machines and networks for their own sake, but observes the jubilation, anxieties, aspirations, and deviant behavior channeled through them. Screens here are an extension of the human psyche, and thus the film’s design avoids gimmicky simplicity.

Self-appointed “Father of the Year” David is under the likely inaccurate impression that he and Margot, now 16, enjoy an above-average relationship sustained by honest communication. They chat multiple times a day and watch “The Voice” together, but they never openly touch on the shared loss that has caused an unuttered fracture between them. Each mourns alone under the same roof.

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It’s only when Margot goes missing following a late-night study session that the emotionally anesthetized parent reckons with the cruel realization that he ignores most aspects of his child’s life. At this point we switch to Margot’s laptop (a MacBook), which she left behind and is David’s sole portal into her social habits and, potentially, information on her whereabouts. Detective Dad deciphers passwords to access vital social media accounts, alarmingly unveiling the picture of a lonely girl concealing plenty of cryptic secrets. Margot, as he knew her, doesn’t match her online persona.

“Define ‘friends,’” one forthright adolescent requests of David during his amateur investigation, not an unfounded inquiry considering how superficial bonds born on the internet tend to be. Count how many Facebook contacts you’ve actually met in person and how many of those qualify as more than acquaintances.

Diligently working on the case, Detective Vick (Debra Messing, in a rare movie role) functions as David’s sounding board and unfaltering ally, even when desperation sets in and the once understated man is overrun with paranoia. Revealing anything more would spoil the engrossing process for the carefully planted details to blossom into mind-blowing revelations.

Also Read: Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Who Is America?’ Characters Have Been Skulking Around Online for Months

Still, an unsurprising outcome is how Cho’s heartfelt and wide-ranging performance transcends the intricate mechanics of this software-operated piece. Too often relegated to enliven supporting characters with his charismatic presence, the actor makes the most of this opportunity to display the subtlety of his skills as a father turned vigilante. Messing, who carries the second-most substantial part, plays a stoic variation on her turn in the crime comedy “The Mysteries of Laura”; she is ultimately convincing, even if one-note.

With the exception of the perplexing visual artificiality of multiple broadcast news videos in the third act — as opposed to the organic stylization of interactions meant to look like webcam footage — the execution in “Searching” is an anomaly in its inventiveness to find solutions that can keep us engaged in spite of the claustrophobic set-up.
Chaganty and co-writer Sev Ohanian refrained from facilitating a cautionary tale centered on the unspeakable dangers that lie ahead with every click. Their approach concentrates on experiences that are collectively understood in relation to modern artifacts and how they transform our codes of conduct.

Early on in “Searching,” self-doubt is implicit in a close-up of David typing and deleting a message for Margot about her mother. His face is not on camera, but the space bar moving back and forward is enough for us to understand. Similarly, the notion that an exclamation point can be misconstrued as anger makes for a comedic yet telling observation about our online language rules.

Unavoidably, “Searching” might prompt concerned adults to closely monitor their teens’ activity on popular websites and even beyond that. Nonetheless, one can hope for an outcome in which, rather than inspiring anyone to implement surveillance as a preemptive measure, this exceptionally astute suspense flick can persuade us to uphold compassionate dialogue as the best analog safety feature.

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Neil Patrick Harris, Kevin Bacon Remember Producer Craig Zadan: ‘He Had Music and Dance in His Soul’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Neil Patrick Harris, Kevin Bacon and Debra Messing were among the Hollywood stars who paid tribute to Emmy-winning producer Craig Zadan on Tuesday night.

Zadan, who was behind the productions of numerous Academy Awards telecasts, TV projects and Broadway musicals, died at the age of 69 due to complications related to shoulder replacement surgery.

“He’s been a friend my entire adult life, championed me to host the Oscars, brought musical theatre back to TV. A wonderful, kind spirit,” Harris wrote on Twitter in remembrance.

Also Read: Craig Zadan, Emmy-Nominated Oscars Producer, Dies at 69

The “How I Met Your Mother” star became the first openly gay man to host the Academy Awards in 2015.

“He had music and dance in his soul. And when people are dancing and singing the world is a better place. RIP Craig and Cut Loose!” tweeted Bacon, who had his breakout role in Zadan’s 1984 hit “Footloose.”

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Along with his producing partner, Neil Meron, Zadan produced the Oscars telecasts from 2013 to 2015, earning an Emmy nomination for the show all three years.

The duo was also behind the Oscar-winning film adaptation of “Chicago,” Broadway revivals of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and “Promises, Promises,” as well as the NBC musical drama “Smash.”

Zadan, alongside Meron, was also the producer of NBC’s recent string of live musicals, including “The Sound of Music,” “Peter Pan,” “The Wiz,” “Hairspray” and this year’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.” They were next set to produce the live adaptation of “Bye Bye Birdie” starring Jennifer Lopez.

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Messing credited Zadan and Meron for being “responsible for one of the most meaningful professional experiences in my career. They brought the magic of Broadway to prime time television with SMASH, and for 2 years I felt like I was living in a dream.”

NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt officially announced the news of Zadan’s passing in a network statement earlier on Tuesday, saying: “It is with profound sadness that I am announcing the passing of my dear friend and colleague Craig Zadan, who died of complications following shoulder replacement surgery.

“On behalf of his life partner, Elwood Hopkins, and his producing partner, Neil Meron, we are stunned that the man behind so many incredible film, theatre, and television productions — several of them joyous musicals — was taken away so suddenly.

See the social media tributes below.

I’m stunned and saddened the unexpected passing of Craig Zadan. He’s been a friend my entire adult life, championed me to host the Oscars, brought musical theatre back to TV. A wonderful, kind spirit. My sincere condolences to his family and his partner, Elwood. #RIP pic.twitter.com/BWLDmViJar

– Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) August 22, 2018

Wow so sad to hear about Craig Zadan. He had music and dance in his soul. And when people are dancing and singing the world is a better place. RIP Craig and Cut Loose!

– Kevin Bacon (@kevinbacon) August 22, 2018

This is so heartbreaking. ??’”A wonderful man and a brilliant producer. https://t.co/eCWj9P7aET

– Katie Couric (@katiecouric) August 22, 2018

Rest in peace to Tony Nominee, Producer Craig Zadan https://t.co/DXQIy5XNNF

– The Tony Awards (@TheTonyAwards) August 22, 2018

Annie, The Music Man, Promises, Hairspray… Craig, you were there with me from the beginning. This is a true loss not only for me, but for the world. Rest in peace, sweetheart. pic.twitter.com/tl2rEtMNBM

– Kristin Chenoweth (@KChenoweth) August 22, 2018

I am devastated by the news of the passing of my dear friend and film, tv & Broadway producer, @craigzadan. My life and career were forever changed by the opportunities he and his producing partner, @neilmeron, provided me over the years. I will miss him, dearly. pic.twitter.com/SoPSZCCrkE

– Sean Hayes (@SeanHayes) August 22, 2018

Shocked and saddened by the news of the passing of @craigzadan. A wonderful producer and even better friend. Thanks for sharing your art with the world Craig.

– Lance Bass (@LanceBass) August 22, 2018

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NBC Upfront: 9 Things Scene and Heard at Big Radio City Music Hall Sales Pitch

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The 2018 broadcast upfronts are officially upon us, and NBC just wrapped its big Radio City Music Hall sales pitch to potential advertisers. There was a little something for everyone — especially if you’re between the ages of 18 and 49.

NBCUniversal began its annual event with a star-studded musical parody. Unfortunately, not everybody (TheWrap included) got to see it from never-ending line down 50th Street. More on that in a bit.

The suite of networks spent the next 120 minutes or so showing off new series like “Abby’s” (pictured above) “New Amsterdam,” “The Titan Games,” “Deadly Class,” “Treadstone,” and “Very Cavallari,” to name just a handful.

Read on below for 9 things we observed from the beginning of a very long week in New York City.

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Blurred Lines
The long, snaking line to enter NBC’s upfront was a disaster this year. This reporter showed up around 10 a.m., which should have afforded plenty of time to get in and comfy for the 10:30 event, but many of us didn’t even enter the building until about 45 minutes later.

All of that line-cutting straight out of 30 Rock certainly didn’t help — but that sort if thing is to be expected in this business, we suppose.

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U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
TheWrap found its seat in time to see the gold medal-winning U.S. Women’s Hockey Team rise from a hydraulic platform beneath the stage.

Yes, the PyeongChang champs got both the pageantry and the standing ovation they deserved — it would be the only such upright applause of the morning. (To be fair, a standing O is not a standard response for performances — but patriotism changes everything.)

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Warm Open
The Peacock opened its upfront presentation Monday with a pre-taped sketch of NBC stars like Kristen Bell, Sean Hayes, Jimmy Fallon, Ted Danson and (as much as they tried to stop her) Debra Messing singing a parody song about the dog and pony show, set to “Mamma Mia!”

It was a decent-enough bit that CEO Steve Burke admitted was some “shameless self promotion” for the upcoming Universal Pictures sequel. Burke then got right down to rattling off all the reasons why the network and its studio are still No. 1, including its ratings, the Olympics, and how prepared NBC is for the changing landscape of broadcast TV.

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Wristbands Not Explained to Half of Us
We were all given digital wristbands upon entering the aforementioned terrible line. Apparently, they were used to vote on a choosing a new televised category for the upcoming People’s Choice Awards.

Unfortunately, a number of us were never told that nor asked to vote. NBC probably gave up on that notion at 10:30 a.m. when the show was supposed to start and half their audience was still on 50th Street.

Those actually connected to whatever scary tech this was saw their bracelets alternate light-up colors as an interactive(ish) part of the rest of the program. Ours just sat there on our wrists, (appropriately) dead.

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“Happy” Was Kinda Sad
Though the Syfy series “Happy’s” animated pre-taped bit fell a bit flat (it wasn’t bad, just maybe not for this audience), stars Chris Meloni and Patton Oswalt were well-received by the media buyers and advertisers in attendance.

After the comic called out his actor friend for a particularly rough teleprompter read, the good sport Meloni’s face glowed redder than the upholstered Radio City Music Hall seat cushions.

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“Late Night,” Early Morning
The crowd at Radio City Musical Hall was anything but tough when “Late Night” host Seth Meyers took the stage to deliver a monologue filled with cracks about the Peacock.

The quips included references to the network’s 11th hour “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” pickup one day after its Fox cancellation. (“I have to say, for NBC this upfronts week got off to a dramatic start when NBC picked up ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ after Fox canceled it. Yeah, fantastic news for a great show. But it still feels a little bit like NBC is Fox’s deadbeat friend. ‘Hey, uh, you gonna finish that? Can I have it?’”) Meyers also referenced the recently released report about NBCU’s investigation into ousted “Today” show host Matt Lauer. (“It’s not surprising for NBC to be dramatic, we are home to the No. 1 drama on television. A show that each week gives us twists and turns, heartbreaking reveals, and this season the departure of a once-beloved character. I’m talking of course of, ‘This Is the Today Show.’”)

Get even more punchlines here.

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First Upfront, Simon?
“America’s Got Talent” reigning champion Darci Lynne Farmer brought out her Simon Cowell puppet for a short (non-singing) ventriloquism skit, which was used to intro the real-life Cowell. The “American Idol” alum lingered on stage for way too long and fell flat in his presentation — though he did deliver a solid Paula Abdul joke early on.

“After 18 years of being on TV, I’m now a puppet,” Cowell said. “Now I know how Paula felt.”

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Well, the Bass Works
NBCUniversal ended its annual upfront presentation with a loud-as-hell “World of Dance” performance. Holy bass — we’d say the speakers work, Radio City audio guys.

Each of the show’s judges got their turn on stage, with Jennifer Lopez headlining the extended routine and landing the biggest reaction from those in attendance (who hadn’t walked out yet to save their ears). Yes, J. Lo’s reception was even bigger than the one for a shirtless Derek Hough.

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The Rock Doesn’t Rock the House
Apparently unable to attend today’s pitch, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sent in a pre-taped video package from Los Angeles promoting his large-scale upcoming NBC competition series, “The Titan Games.”

We suppose that was nice and all, but c’mon man: Ronda Rousey made it.

Also Read: Simon Cowell to Bring ‘America’s Got Talent: The Champions’ Edition to NBC This Winter

OK, Fox: You’re up next.

Check back with TheWrap soon for more upfronts news, including Fox’s pitch from the Beacon Theater.

Jenny Maas contributed to this report.

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‘Will and Grace’ Finale: Creators Talk Where They’re Going in Season 2 – and 3, for That Matter

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(Spoiler alert: Do not read ahead unless you have seen Thursday’s season finale of “Will & Grace.)

“Will & Grace” just aired its second Season 1 finale. Wait, it’s clear we’re referencing the final episode of the freshman installment of NBC’s revival, right? OK, good.

Thursday’s season-closer ended with a real jaw-dropper: Will’s (Eric McCormack) mother and Grace’s (Debra Messing) father hooked up and announced they are getting married, all in one episode. Which means the two BFFs are about to become brother and sister. Yeah. Ew.

Oh, and Jack (Sean Hayes) got engaged to his new boyfriend he literally just met on a trip to Ibiza, Spain, while Karen (Megan Mullally) ended her long-running affair with her lover (Alec Baldwin) to put her marriage first.

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But TheWrap decided to focus on the real ick factor here in particular when asking Max Mutchnick and David Kohan — the co-creators and showrunners of NBC’s old/new hit — why they went with this family affair for a cliffhanger.

“The idea was that they had both sort of come to this point in their lives where they were very sanguine about where they were and what their life was,” Kohan said. “And Grace had made her peace about being single, being content with her lot. And Will recognized the folly of trying to really quickly rush into a relationship under the wire. And they had both gotten to the point where, ‘Hey things are good.’ And then suddenly circumstances conspire to show them maybe they shouldn’t be so sure of themselves.”

Those circumstances are Grace’s widower father Martin Adler (Robert Klein) and Will’s widow mother Marilyn Truman (Blythe Danner) making with a very fast engagement soon after sleeping together for the first time. And they actually say they are tying the knot because they don’t want to end up like their children, who are co-dependent and alone. Ouch.

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So Will and Grace are left with the awkward realization that, not only will they become siblings, but the choices they have made are what led their parents to this decision.

“They are accused of being too incestuous,” Kohan said. “And what happens now that they are literally incestuous? That’s the big question we land on.”

A question they have plenty of time to answer.

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“Will & Grace” was picked up for Season 2 before the revival premiered at the start of the 2017-2018 TV season, and the Peacock recently granted it a third season and upped the episode count for the sophomore installment.

But just because Kohan and Mutchnick have been given a long timeline to work with, that doesn’t mean they are filling it out.

“Things happen during the course of a season that I mean, yeah we might have an idea or we might have in the back of our minds something that we want two years down the road,” Kohan said. “But we also know that things happen during the course of a season. Relationships are made or moments sort of coalesce around something that we didn’t foresee, that move the show in a different direction. So to be married to a certain way to go or a certain way to end it — it’s written in pencil.”

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“One of the things that we’re so lucky to have on the show is a room full of very brilliant writers that we collaborate with every week,” Mutchnick added. “And so getting all of those opinions in when story camp starts is going to pave the way to the first episode of Season 2 — or 10, depending on what you want to call it.”

Kohan said they have a “few things” in the works now, but “everything is on the table.” “Because any place that you land is viable if you get it there authentically and if you get it there entertainingly,” he added. “So where we want to end up is up for debate.”

“If we get through it one year at a time, it’s better that way,” Mutchnick added. “And what Season 3 gives us is almost an emotional cushion.”

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