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4 Things We Learned From TCA: Day 2

Day two of the 2018 Television Critics Association summer press tour was anything but dull.

A+E Networks left the room stunned with the panel for “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes with Tom Arnold,” while also demonstrating the creepiness of social media for the new drama series “You.” Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav also hinted at the company’s potential future in streaming, and John Cleese was delightful while promoting his BritBox “Hold the Sunset.”

Here are four things we learned from Thursday’s sessions:

1. Tom Arnold is mad as hell and he isn’t going to take it anymore. The actor and comedian made a fiery appearance in support of his upcoming Viceland series “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes with Tom Arnold” in which he pledged to continue hunting for damning audio evidence of Trump’s misdeeds until he gets him to resign the presidency. Arnold also called out “The Apprentice” creator Mark Burnett and WME’s Ari Emanuel, claiming that they have helped cover up Trump’s treatment of women and minorities throughout his career.

2. The Lifetime series “You,” which was preemptively renewed for a second season, will explore the dark side of society’s addiction to social media. “It’s really, really hard not to have a social media footprint,” showrunner Sera Gamble said. “Even if you’re not on social media, you probably have friends that are.” Lifetime drove that point home when they displayed selfies of various journalists in the room on massive screens.
3. Discovery Communications’ acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive turned out to be the forerunner of the current media M&A mania. On Thursday, CEO David Zaslav sent a clear signal about where he sees the future of the now combined company. “Eventually we’re going to go direct to consumer,” Zaslav said during his first TCA appearance in years. He also chimed in on Disney’s bid for 21st Century Fox, saying, “When you get one of the great leaders of our industry, Rupert Murdoch, saying he’s going to sell 21st Century, at first we were surprised, but then we said with the competition from Amazon, Apple, Netflix, the competitive nature of that side of the business has really changed.”

4. Appearances by actors via satellite are usually underwhelming. Not so with John Cleese for “Hold the Sunset,” his return to BBC comedy, during BritBox’s panels. The Monty Python veteran had the day’s best one liners, such as “The closer you get to death, the more you don’t give a fuck.” He even drew laughs when, after the video feed cut out at the end of the panel, Cleese could be heard saying, “Can I go now?”

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