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TV News Roundup: Bill Maher Hosting Specials on Democratic, Republican Conventions; Nick Zano Cast in ‘Legends of Tomorrow’

Bill Maher will host special live shows around the Republican and Democratic conventions; Nick Zano joins “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” and “MADtv” returns with a new slate of comics in Wednesday’s TV round-up.

CASTING

Nick Zano has been cast as a series regular in Season 2 of The CW’s “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Variety has confirmed. He’ll play Dr. Nate Heywood, a historian whose grandfather was the hero known as Commander Steel, a member of the Justice Society of America. In the comics, Nate becomes a hero in his own right and takes the name Citizen Steel, paying homage to his grandfather’s legacy by becoming a member of the JSA. The news was first reported by Variety’s sister site Deadline.

Courtney B. VanceToby Jones, and Bradley Whitford have joined the cast of TNT drama pilot “Civil.” Directed by Allen Coulter and written and executive-produced by Scott Smith, “Civil takes place in the wake of a hotly contested Presidential election, as America finds itself plunging uncontrollably into a modern day Civil War. In addition, Brian D’Arcy James will guest-star in the pilot, which also stars Enrique Murciano in a lead role.

Anna Gunn is joining season 2 of “Shades of Blue” as a dirty cop-turned-Machiavellian politician. The official description for her yet-to-be-named character is as follows: “A city Councilwoman on the rise and primed for a run at the Mayor’s office, she’s the former protégée of Wozniak (Ray Liotta) who used to be part of Harlee’s (Jennifer Lopez) dirty crew of cops. She’s a chameleon who rose up the ranks of the NYPD to Captain and then launched a political career fueled by her charisma and the fact that she is as comfortable at a blue-collar bar as she is at the Governor’s mansion.”

Amazon has cast multi-platinum recording artist Dwight Yoakam in its original series “Goliath” (formerly known as “Trial”). Yoakam will play Wendell Corey, who heads the giant aerospace company defended by powerful law firm Cooperman McBride, Borns Tech. “Goliath” will premiere on Amazon Prime Video this fall, and stars Billy Bob Thornton, William Hurt, Olivia Thirlby, Maria Bello and Molly Parker. The series is written by David E. Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro.

DATES

“Real Time with Bill Maher” will cover the Republican and Democratic conventions with four live half-hour editions, HBO announced Wednesday. Maher’s special shows will report on the Republican convention on Wednesday, July 20 and Thursday, July 21, and the Democratic convention on Wednesday, July 27 and Thursday, July 28 at 11 p.m. each night. Maher will be giving a rapid response to that evening’s events, and each show will also feature three in-studio panel guests. The show will also air its regularly scheduled programming on Friday of both weeks at 10 p.m. on HBO.

“MADtv” returns to television with an all-new cast of comedians Tuesday, July 29 from 9-10 p.m. on The CW. New comics will include Carlie Craig, Chelsea Davison, Jeremy D. Howard, Amir K, Lyric Lewis, Piotr Michael, Michelle Ortiz and Adam Ray.

Bravo peers into the looking glass in the new special “Before They Were Housewives” to explore the inside story of Luann de Lesseps on Wednesday, June 22 at 10 p.m. Tracing Lesseps’ long rise from humble beginnings to the “Real Housewives,” the show takes viewers deeper than ever before into the Countess’s past. The special airs after an all-new episode of “The Real Housewives of New York City.”

USA Network will premiere Mr. Robot Decoded,” a one-hour special that explores the authenticity and societal impact of “Mr. Robot,” on Monday, June 20 at 11:05 p.m. The special features commentary and interviews with “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail, along with cast members Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Portia Doubleday, and Carly Chaikin, along with journalists, filmmakers and tech experts.

ACQUISITIONS 

RLJ Entertainment’s Athena brand has acquired the electronic-sell-through (EST), subscription video on demand (SVOD), and home video rights in North America to the new music documentary Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music from Higher Ground LLC.

Produced in association with the late music producer Sir George Martin, and the filmmakers Show of Force, LLC, the eight-part series features more than 150 exclusive and original interviews with artists such as Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Roger Waters, Joni Mitchell, Roger Daltrey, Linda Perry, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Annie Lennox, Dave Stewart, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Rosanne Cash, Steven Van Zandt, Billy Idol, Beck and RZA.

EXECUTIVES
Ryan Pinette has been elevated to SVP, production and operations, Bravo & Oxygen Media. Pinette will continue to oversee all aspects related to the production of original series and specials for Bravo and expands his role to Oxygen’s growing slate of original programming including the recently announced series “Strut,” “Last Squad Standing,” “The Battle of the Ex Besties,” and “Unprotected.”
SPORTS
Al Michaels, Dan Patrick, Rebecca Lowe, Liam McHugh and Carolyn Manno will serve as hosts for NBC’s coverage of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They join Bob Costas, NBC’s primetime Olympics host for the 11th time, and Ryan Seacrest, who will host NBC’s late night show from Rio. Michaels will serve as a host during NBC’s daytime coverage on weekdays and weekends.  Patrick and Lowe will work across both NBC and NBCSN.  McHugh and Manno will handle NBCSN hosting duties. The Opening Ceremony is Friday, August 5 on NBC.

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