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TCA Winter Press Tour 2019 – Showtime and A Critic Turned Executive Producer
February 6, 2019  | By Roger Catlin
 

PASADENA, CA – Showtime had a number of announcements in the early days of the TV Critics Association (TCA) winter press tour in Pasadena...

The next TV series role for Bryan Cranston, his first major role since Breaking Bad, will be in Showtime’s legal thriller Your Honor, a limited series coming next year from Robert and Michelle King, the team behind The Good Wife and The Good Fight. Also part of the project is Peter Moffat, originator of The Night Of on HBO. Production begins this fall in New Orleans on Your Honor.

A contemporary sequel of The L Word is on its way, 15 years after the original first premiered. Several original stars, including Jennifer Beals, Katherine Moennig (right), and Leisha Hailey (right), will return, joining a new ensemble reflecting today’s LGBT community in Los Angeles, said Showtime entertainment co-president, Gary Levine.

“We’re going into production this summer, aiming for a premiere toward the end of this year,” he said.

Series creator Ilene Chaiken will return, alongside showrunner Marja-Lewis Ryan.

Another comeback, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, is a continuation of the Penny Dreadful story set in 1930s Los Angeles from original creator John Logan. Paco Cabezas (Into the Badlands) will direct.

Also upcoming is an untitled pilot from Gael Garcia Bernal and Jonás Cuarón (Gravity), a thriller concerning an undocumented Mexican-America family.

There was a tantalizing look at just the makeup involved in turning Russell Crowe into Roger Ailes for the limited series The Loudest Voice about the creation of Fox News that will also star Naomi Watts, Sienna Miller, Annabelle Wallis, and Seth MacFarlane.

The eighth and final season of Homeland has been bumped from June to fall because of “production demands of our international locations,” Levine says. But he added, “Having now read the first few scripts, I can tell you it will be a breathless, surprising, and moving ride to its conclusion.”

The Affair will also end its run this year, but with an apparent time jump. Levine mentioned “surprising developments in the life of Cole and Alison’s daughter, now grown and played by Oscar winner Anna Paquin.” Jennifer Jason Leigh will also be a recurring cast member, he said.

A 10th season will come for Shameless even after the departure of Emmy Rossum at the end of the current season, he said.

The fourth season of Billions starts March 17 while the second season of The Chi (left) April 7.

Upcoming documentaries include the four-part Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men starting May 10, XY Chelsea about Chelsea Manning on June 7, and a documentary series, Shangri-La, on the producer Rick Rubin shot on location in his Malibu studio, debuting later in 2019.

Finally, there was City on the Hill, a crime drama set in 1980s Boston starring a much older-looking Kevin Bacon (top) as a corrupt, older FBI veteran, and Aldis Hodge (top) as a reform-minded new district attorney.

Shooting wouldn’t begin until the day after the press session, but Bacon called the series “reminiscent of the movies that I loved in the ’70s from Scorsese and Sidney Lumet.”

There’s a lot on television, Bacon said, but “nothing that quite felt like this.”

City on a Hill starts on Showtime June 16.

******

Once not long ago, Carina Adly MacKenzie sat among the reporters at the TV Critics Association press tour.

This week she sat facing them, as one of the executive producers of the CW series Roswell, New Mexico (below).

“I’m making up snarky tweets right now that I would be writing about these things that I’m saying if I was sitting there,” she told her former colleagues. “I’m, like, counting white people on this panel, because I want to go home and write a think piece.”

It was weird, in a word.

MacKenzie is the rare TV writer who went from recapping shows for sites like Zap2It.com to writing for the small screen.

“I will be completely honest. From the day that I signed my deal with Warner Brothers, I’ve been thinking about today,” she said. “I’ve been nervous for today for a really long time. This is the 12th outfit I’ve worn today.”

MacKenzie says she never listens to colleagues now who tell her not to listen to critics or that she doesn’t need to read the reviews.

“I loved being a critic,” she says. “I think that it’s a really important part of the art and a part of the dialogue.”

Besides, she says, “I can’t just like roll my eyes and be like, well, that person doesn’t know what they’re talking about, because they do know what they’re talking about. They taught me what I know.”

MacKenzie began her TV career working with her current co-executive creator Julie Plec on The Originals, the spin-off of a show she used to recap, The Vampire Diaries.

“She was blogging for Zap2it at the time,” Plec recalls. “And her first day on set was, you know, as would be with anybody, a little daunting.”

Luckily, Michael Trevino, Tyler Lockwood on The Vampire Diaries, helped show her around. And now he’s part of the cast of Roswell, New Mexico, the remade series that stars Jeanine Mason, the winner fifth season So You Think You Can Dance winner-turned-actress.

The new version makes a lot of comparisons between contemporary undocumented immigrants along with UFO aliens.

And despite growing up in Greenwich, MacKenzie learned something about being "the Other" when growing up.

“My mom’s Egyptian. I grew up raised Muslim in Connecticut,” she says. “I was the blonde, blue-eyed girl who was going to Islamic school on Sundays.”

The terror attacks of 9/11 occurred when she was 14, and she says,  “I was first introduced to true hatred in a way that I had never experienced it before. And I was hearing it from people who didn’t know that they were talking about me. And so it’s a little bit of a story about passing, about looking like not looking like the enemy that people are looking for. And I wanted to make sure that I could tell the story that I could relate to.”

Roswell, New Mexico airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on the CW.

 
 
 
 
 
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