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10 Big Takeaways From TCA Week 2: ‘Karate Kid’ Series, ‘Everwood’ Reunion, CBS Diversity Woes

The Television Critics Association (TCA) summer press tour has rolled through its second week, with PBS, CBS, The CW, NBC, and YouTube Red all offering journalists first looks at their upcoming series.

With the end of the tour approaching on Aug. 9, take a look at some of the biggest stories to come out of the bi-annual event this week.

1.”Washington Week” host and “Washington Post” reporter Robert Costa had the distinction of taking the stage just moments after Anthony Scaramucci had been fired by President Donald Trump after less than two weeks on the job. Costa said that with Gen. John Kelly taking over as chief of staff, stability may finally be coming to the Trump White House. “I’ve known Kelly. I’ve covered Gen. Kelly,” Costa said. “He’s someone who doesn’t really align with the Jared Kushner wing of the White House, the more moderate wing. He doesn’t have a close link to Bannon and the populist nationalists in the administration, the hardcore Trump group. So he may be able to balance.” (Read the full story here)

2.NBC head Bob Greenblatt surprised the crowd by announcing that the revival of “Will & Grace” has not only been picked up for a second season before the first season has even premiered, but that the first season will now be 16 episodes instead of 12. The hotly anticipated revival will reunite original cast members Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, and Megan Mullally, who will also all be back for Season 2. Original series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan will serve as showrunners and executive producers on the revival series. James Burrows, who directed the entire eight-season run of the original “Will & Grace,” is back as director and executive producer on the revival. (Read the full story here)

3. “This Is Us” Season 2 will feature a major guest star: Sylvester Stallone. Series creator Dan Fogelman announced onstage that the “Rocky” star would be joining the series to play himself opposite Justin Hartley’s character as a co-star in his new film within the series. Fogelman told reporters that Stallone is only currently booked for one episode, but “It’s a big part,” he said. (Read the full story here)

4. NBC is launching a new initiative to bring more female directors to the network. “Female Forward,” which will be spearheaded by NBC President Jennifer Salke in partnership with Lesli Linka Glatter, will give 10 female directors an opportunity to shadow up to three episodes of an NBC series and receive an in-season commitment to direct at least one episode of that series. (Read the full story here)

5. Newly-minted CBS heads Kelly Kahl and Thom Sherman were grilled about the network’s lack of diversity, both in front of and behind the camera. The executives also faced tough questions regarding the departure of “Hawaii Five-O” actors Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park, who left the show after CBS TV Studios did not meet their demands for equal pay with stars Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan. “We love both those actors and did not want to lose them,” Kahl said. “We made very, very strong attempts to keep them and offered them a lot of money to stick around.” (Read the full story here)

6. CBS All Access is bolstering its slate of original series with orders for three new shows. The streaming service has picked up the drama “Strange Angel”–which boasts Ridley Scott as an executive producer–as well as the comedy ““No Activity” from Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and Funny or Die. Finally, the streaming service ordered “$1,” a mystery-thriller set in a small rust belt town in post-recession America. (Read the full story here)

7. While The CW is no doubt hoping for some nostalgia points for their upcoming reboot of “Dynasty,” the cast and creators told the audience that the new series will differ from the original in several key ways. Among them, the show will introduce new characters, prominently feature LGBT characters, and will feature career-oriented women. (Read the full story here)

8. The cast of the beloved CW series “Everwood” reunited onstage, with several participants getting visibly emotional during their panel. One particularly touching moment saw Vivien Cardone recalling when co-star Treat Williams helped her get over her homesickness, telling her, “My family is not with me either, so if you’ll be my temporary daughter, I’ll be your temporary dad.” (Read the full story here)

9. GLAAD sponsored a panel that featured “Transparent” actress Alexandra Billings, “Orange Is the New Black” star Laverne Cox, “Transparent” creator Jill Soloway, and “Danger and Eggs” creator Shadi Petosky discussing transgender trends on television. The panelists shared moments of both positive and negative representations of trans people in the media they recall from their own lives, and called on more diverse portrayals of the trans community. (Read the full story here)

10. YouTube Red will launch a sequel series to the classic film “The Karate Kid” featuring original film stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprising their roles. The 10-episode series is expected to launch on the service next year. “We are targeting an 18-49 audience with this,” said Susanne Daniels, global head of content for YouTube. “That is a part of an evolving strategy for YouTube Red.” (Read the full story here)

 

 

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