Jussie Smollett’s Upcoming ‘Drop the Mic’ Episode Pulled Following His Arrest

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TNT has dropped an upcoming episode of “Drop the Mic” featuring Jussie Smollett following the “Empire” star’s surrender to Chicago PD early Thursday morning on charges of filing a false police report.

“We are pulling the episode in the interest of not being exploitative of an incredibly sensitive situation,” a TNT spokesperson said in a statement to TheWrap on Thursday. “We are holding on airing his episode for now and we are replacing it with the Raven Symone vs Ron Funches and Joey McIntyre vs Joey Fatone episode.”

On the now-shelved “Drop the Mic,” Danielle Brooks, who plays Taystee on “Orange Is The New Black,” faced off against Smollett in a battle and “American Idol” star Clay Aiken took on “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Sharknado” star Ian Ziering.

Also Read: How Police Busted Jussie Smollett

“Drop the Mic” executive producer and head writer Jensen Karp added in a tweet: “We had an episode of Drop The Mic this season with Jussie that you’ll now (correctly) never see, but sadly it will shelve @clayaiken, WHO WAS A VERY GOOD RAPPER (at least for now).”

Representatives for Smollett did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

This morning, Chicago PD held a press conference to give an update on Smollett’s case following his arrest. Chicago PD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the “Empire” star staged the Jan. 29 attack — which he initially reported as a “hate crime” — because he was “dissatisfied with his salary,” and sent the letter threatening himself to Fox, the “Empire” studio.

Also Read: Fox Says It Is ‘Considering Our Options’ After Jussie Smollett Arrest

Commander of Area Central Detectives Edward Wodnicki then gave a breakdown of the timeline and evidence that led to Smollet’s arrest, including a $3,500 check police say Smollett used to pay brothers Olabinjo (“Ola”) and Abimbola (“Abel”) Osundairo to fake the assault.

Chicago PD released Smollett’s mug shot in conjunction with the press conference. Smollett’s bond hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. CT on Thursday.

Fox said in a statement after the press conference: “We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”

See Karp’s tweet below.

We had an episode of Drop The Mic this season with Jussie that you’ll now (correctly) never see, but sadly it will shelve @clayaiken, WHO WAS A VERY GOOD RAPPER (at least for now)

— Jensen Karp (@JensenKarp) February 21, 2019

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Kevin Reilly Talks ‘Snowpiercer’ Problems, Blames Original Showrunner’s Lack of TV Experience

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Turner boss Kevin Reilly addressed the troubled production of TNT’s upcoming “Snowpiercer” adaptation during the Television Critics Association press tour on Monday.

The adaptation of the Bong Joon Ho’s 2014 film was picked up more than a year ago, but has been derailed by behind scenes the drama, including director and showrunner changes. The upcoming series still does not have a premiere date, nor has it shown any footage.

“We had a pilot that was really promising with some creative people behind it,” Reilly said Monday. “In that case it was a filmmaker who hadn’t really done television before; mounting a series was a different order.”

Also Read: Turner Sports Signs Multi-Year Deal With Alliance of American Football

Josh Friedman wrote the pilot and was set to serve as showrunner, but was replaced by “Orphan Black” co-creator Graeme Manson in February, a decision the network attributed to creative differences. (In a tweet shortly after he departed, Friedman wrote that he “was fired from Snowpiercer in the same phone call I was told it was picked up.”)

Months later, Friedman went after Manson on Twitter, writing that he is “either an idiot, a coward, or a vichy motherf–er.” He continued: “If you’re asked to rewrite someone or take over their show it seems like good sense and good karma to reach out to that person first and a) find out what the circumstances of their departure are and b) thank them for doing the work you’ll be profiting from.”

Following Friedman’s exit, Scott Derrickson exited the project due to a “radically different vision” from Manson, and was replaced by James Hawes.

Also Read: ‘Howard the Duck’ Animated Series Set at Hulu as Part of Multi-Show Deal With Marvel TV

On Monday, Reilly praised Manson for taking over “Snowpiercer” and called him “a consummate professional” and said he “built off the template of what we had.” He said he’s seen all the episodes and that the network is just figuring out the best time to air it. “I’m very excited about it.”

The series is based on Bong Joon Ho’s film of the same name, about a ginormous train that circles the frozen wasteland the earth has become and houses what is left of the human race. While the train moves, its inhabitants struggle with the same political and culture issues the world has dealt with for centuries, including social injustice, class warfare and the fight for survival.

Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs, Mickey Sumner, Susan Park, Benjamin Haigh, Sasha Frolova, Katie McGuinness, Alison Wright, Annalise Basso, Sam Otto, Roberto Urbina, Sheila Vand and Lena Hall make up the cast.

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Emily Deschanel Joins TNT’s ‘Animal Kingdom’ in First TV Role Since ‘Bones’ Ended

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Emily Deschanel has joined the fourth season of TNT’s drama “Animal Kingdom” in her first TV role since “Bones” ended, TheWrap has learned.

Deschanel has signed on as a recurring guest star, playing Angela. Here is the official character description for the part: Recently released from prison, Angela is Julia’s (Pope’s deceased twin sister) former best friend, a recovering junkie who arrives at the Cody house trying to snake her way back into the family’s  good graces. She’s a survivor, scrappy, manipulative and an addict. Angela’s history as Julia’s drug buddy gives her power, as she tries to seduce Pope (Shawn Hatosy), is hated by J (Finn Cole) and under suspicion by Smurf (Ellen Barkin).

The part marks Deschanel’s first TV role since she and David Boreanaz-led “Bones” wrapped its 12-season run on Fox in March 2017.

Also Read: ‘Mortal Engines’ Star Leila George Joins TNT’s ‘Animal Kingdom’ Season 4 (Exclusive)

“Animal Kingdom” was renewed by TNT for Season 4 last July, midway through the series’ third season. Based on the 2010 Australian film of the same name, “Animal Kingdom” stars Barkin, Hatosy, Cole, Ben Robson, Jake Weary, Molly Gordon and Carolina Guerra.

As TheWrap previously reported excluively, “Mortal Engines” star Leila George has also signed on for a recurring part on Season 4 of the drama.

Deadline first reported Deschanel’s casting.

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Sarah Aubrey Named Head Of Original Content For WarnerMedia’s New Streaming Service, Brett Weitz Upped To GM For TNT & TBS

Read on: Deadline.

On the heels of being named Head Of Content & Strategy For WarnerMedia’s New Streaming Service, Kevin Reilly has made his first hey executive appointment, naming longtime close associate Sarah Aubrey as Head of Original Content for the platform.

TNT’s Sarah Aubrey to Head Originals for WarnerMedia’s Upcoming Streaming Service

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Kevin Reilly is building out the team for WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service, naming TNT executive Sarah Aubrey to serve as head of originals.

“I’m naming my longtime colleague Sarah Aubrey to Head of Original Content, reporting to me,” Reilly said in a memo to staff. “In this position Sarah will oversee all original series and feature films for the new service.” Meanwhile, TBS’ Brett Weitz has been promoted to general manager of both TBS and TNT. Last month Reilly was given creative oversight of the upcoming streaming offering, being named as chief creative officer.

Also Read: Turner’s Kevin Reilly to Lead Content for WarnerMedia’s Upcoming Streaming Service

WarnerMedia is expected to debut its streaming service in Q4 2019, offering three levels of subscriptions: An “entry-level movie-focused” package, a “premium service” with original programming and blockbuster movies and a third service that bundles content from the first two, plus a library of WarnerMedia and licensed content. Pricing for the tiers was not specified.

Aubrey most recently was executive vice president of originals at TNT, first joining in 2015. She has worked very closely with Reilly as they built up TNT’s scripted fare into an awards player, most recently with “The Alienist,” and helped to launch the Chris Pine-fronted “I Am the Night,” which is executive produced by “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins. For Weitz, the promotion adds TNT to his purview after serving as exec vice president of programming at TBS .

Read Reilly’s full memo to staff below:

Today I am very pleased to announce two key executive moves to position us moving forward.

First relating to the new WarnerMedia streaming service, I’m naming my longtime colleague Sarah Aubrey to Head of Original Content, reporting to me. In this position Sarah will oversee all original series and feature films for the new service.

Sarah will collaborate closely with her counterparts across Turner, HBO and Warner Bros. as we prepare for launch later this year and soon build out a new slate of distinctive originals for the service. In addition, Sarah will continue to oversee her existing pipeline of TNT dramas during this transition.

Sarah and I have had a close working relationship since we collaborated on Friday Night Lights at NBC. She was one of my first recruits to join me at Turner, and her stellar evolution of the TNT brand as well as her reputation as a talent-friendly executive with great taste and finesse underscores the values we’ll prioritize on this new platform.

Secondly for Turner, Brett Weitz is being promoted to General Manager of TBS and TNT, reporting to me. In his new role Brett will oversee all scripted, and unscripted programming, as well as manage the networks’ scheduling, marketing and business affairs in close collaboration with Michael Quigley, Michael Engleman and Sandra Dewey.

The reinvigoration of the TBS brand under Brett’s leadership could not have delivered better results. From assembling a top-notch team to fostering relationships with established and emerging creative partners, Brett built TBS into a true force in original comedy with a series of ratings successes and awards.

Brett and I have established a shorthand and deep level of trust over the past four years and David and I are fully confident this level of execution will continue for both TBS and TNT.

Please join me in congratulating both Sarah and Brett!


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Turner Sports Signs Multi-Year Deal With Alliance of American Football

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

NFL fans won’t have to wait for long after Super Bowl LIII to get a new football fix.

The newly-formed Alliance of American Football launches its first season on Feb. 9, and Turner Sports announced on Thursday that they’ve signed a multi-year, cross-platform partnership with the league that will include live event coverage extending across a combination of Turner Sports platforms TNT and the B/R Live streaming service.

TNT will exclusively televise one Alliance regular season game and one playoff game each season throughout the length of the agreement, with additional regular season games available weekly via B/R Live.

Also Read: Charlie Ebersol to Launch Own NFL Alternative, Undercut Vince McMahon’s XFL by 1 Year

“Our focus has always been, and will always be, to create an Alliance of players, fans and the game. Joining forces with world-class partners like Turner Sports allows us to keep our mission moving forward and reach thousands of sports fans across their Turner family of platforms,” Alliance’s co-founder and CEO Charlie Ebersol said in a statement. “Turner’s focus on providing high-quality live event programming and their commitment to digital with B/R Live, fits seamlessly into our distribution model, and ultimately offers fans the opportunity to watch more football.”

Also Read: ESPN’s ’30 for 30′ Short ‘Strike Team’ Recalls How US Marshals Lured Fugitives With NFL Tickets

Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports, added: “We’re looking forward to this exciting partnership with The Alliance — including working closely with its leadership team of Charlie Ebersol, Bill Polian, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu — and share the enthusiasm and forward-thinking vision being applied to this newly-formed league.

“This is a true partnership and The Alliance will have our full support in the distribution of its live game coverage and content across the Turner Sports portfolio.”

TNT will kick off it’s Alliance coverage on with Salt Lake Stallions vs. Birmingham Iron on Saturday, Feb. 16, leading into NBA All-Star Saturday Night – and will conclude with one Alliance playoff matchup in April.

Also Read: Super Bowl LIII: Here’s Every Ad That Brands Have Dropped So Far Before the Big Game (Updating)

Before then, B/R Live will launch the inaugural season of The Alliance with a special program available Saturday, Feb. 9, introducing fans to the league including some of the top moments from the preseason.  B/R Live’s game coverage will begin Saturday, Feb. 23, with the Arizona Hotshots vs. Salt Lake at 3 p.m. ET.

Also Read: ‘This Was the XFL’ Director on How League Was ‘Crucified’ Before It Debuted

The Alliance features eight teams with 52-player rosters playing a 10-week regular season schedule beginning Feb. 9 on CBS, followed by two playoff rounds and culminating with the championship game at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas on April 27.

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‘Mortal Engines’ Star Leila George Joins TNT’s ‘Animal Kingdom’ Season 4 (Exclusive)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Leila George has been cast in TNT’s “Animal Kingdom” in a recurring role for the upcoming fourth season.

George will play Janine on the drama, the character is described as “a street savvy, scrappy survivor. Janine is a nihilist who doesn’t expect to live past 30. She runs with a small crew of men a few years older than her, vets and surfers who steal to support their vagabond life on the road. She realizes very quickly that they are the ones who should be proving themselves to her.”

George, daughter of actors Vincent D’Onofrio and Greta Scacchi, most recently starred in Universal’s “Mortal Engines” adaptation and previously starred in James Franco’s “Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?” remake for Lifetime.

Also Read: Ridley Scott Sci-Fi Series ‘Raised By Wolves’ Gets Straight-to-Series Order at TNT

She is next set to appear alongside Ethan Hawke, Dane DeHaan and Chris Pratt in D’Onofrio’s directorial debut “The Kid” for Lionsgate.

“Animal Kingdom” was renewed by TNT for Season 4 last July, midway through the series’ third season. Based on the 2010 Australian film of the same name, “Animal Kingdom” stars Ellen Barkin, Shawn Hatosy, Ben Robson, Jake Weary, Finn Cole, Molly Gordon and Carolina Guerra.

George is represented by ICM, Silver Lining Entertainment and United Agents in the UK.

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‘Raised By Wolves’: Principal Cast Set For Ridley Scott’s Sci-Fi Drama For TNT

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Raised by Wolves has its regulars. Seven actors have been cast alongside Travis Fimmel in Scott Free Productions’ straight-to-series sci-fi drama for TNT, which will mark Ridley Scott’s TV helming debut. Rounding out the principal group are Amanda Coll…

‘Snoop Dogg Presents The Joker’s Wild’ & ‘Drop The Mic’ Move To TNT, Will Encore On TBS

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Turner has announced a premiere date for the new seasons of unscripted series Snoop Dogg Presents The Joker’s Wild and Drop the Mic, confirming that both TBS shows will move to sister TNT. Both are set to return January 23, and will encore the fo…