Magic Johnson Docuseries Ordered at Apple TV Plus (TV News Roundup)

Magic Johnson
Courtesy of Apple

Apple TV Plus announced a four-part docuseries about two-time NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson coming to the streaming service at a date still to be announced.

The docuseries will explore Johnson’s accomplishments on the court and off, as well as his global impact, through never-before-seen footage and interviews with Johnson and those in his inner circle. Unnamed “heavyweights in business and politics” will also appear, per the streamer.

In addition to becoming a five-time NBC champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, Johnson changed the conversation around HIV when he announced his positive status in 1991.

The docuseries does not yet have a title, but it has already set its creative team: director Rick Famuyiwa, editor Dirk Westervelt and cinematographer Rachel Morrison. It will be produced by New Slate Ventures and XTR Production ​in association with H.Wood Media and Delirio Films.

Also in today’s TV news roundup:


Magnolia Network elevated Lauren Frasca to senior vice president of content and strategy and Sarah Kuban to senior vice president of content and special projects, Variety has learned exclusively. In their new roles, Frasca and Kuban will oversee all content production and development efforts for the joint-venture with Chip and Joanna Gaines, reporting directly to global president Allison Page. Frasca’s previous role at the company was vice president of content, and she worked on such series as “Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines,” “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” “For the Love of Kitchens” and “Super Dad.” She joined in 2019 after working at Facebook’s Creative Shop Studio team. Kuban was formerly the vice president of content at Magnolia and spent the past 12 years developing programming for HGTV and DIY, including “Windy City Rehab,” “Stone House Revival,” “Restoring Galveston” and “Rock the Block.” Magnolia Network will make its linear debut on Jan. 5.


PBS released a sneak peek at “The Oratorio: A Documentary with Martin Scorsese,” which airs Nov. 5 at 9 p.m. and streams simultaneously on PBS’ digital platforms. The documentary reflects on the one-night-only performance in 1826 at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral (which happens to be Scorsese’s home church in Little Italy) that marked the arrival of Italian opera in the New World. The famed filmmaker hosts, while the doc features interviews with opera theater director Claudio Orazi, musicologist Francesco Zimei, music director and organ master Jared Lamenzo, and church parishioners Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan. “The Oratorio: A Documentary with Martin Scorsese” is written and directed by Alex Bayer, Jonathan Mann and Mary Anne Rothberg. Rothberg and Mann also serve as producers with Bayer as the editor. It is produced by Provenance Productions. Watch the clip below.


ABC is in development on drama “Candygram” from writers and executive producers Katie Stone and David Daitch. The series follows a street smart local as she finds that the CIA needs her when they set up shop in her hometown, Las Vegas. Though her methods provide new challenges for the station chief and his team, they work towards the goal at hand together: real life spy craft. Derek Kolstad, Laura Lewis, Christy Thornton and Stephanie Noonan also executive produce and 20th Television produces. Daitch and Stone’s writing credits include “Splinter Cell,” “Shooter,” “Call of Duty,” “Interceptor” and “Adversaries.” Daitch and Stone are repped by APA, Management 360 and Ashley Silver at Brecheen, Feldman, Breimer, Silver & Thompson.


Ariana Grande, Adrien Brody, Blxst and Ty Dolla $ign will appear on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” while Serena Williams and J. Balvin will be on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Kumail Nanjiani and Jonathan Majors will be on “Late Night With Seth Meyers.” “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” will feature Billy Porter and Annaleigh Ashford. Jack McBrayer, Alexandra Shipp and Angels & Airwaves will be on “The Late Late Show with James Corden.”