We’ll have more details later, but the CW has announced the two-hour premiere of the first ever “Guys and Girls” 20th cycle edition of America’s Next Top Model on Friday, August 2 (8:00-10:00p.m. ET).
(SYFY) Syfy will celebrate Independence Day by taking viewers into a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity when the channel presents its traditional The Twilight Zone marathon. The iconic series from mastermind Rod Serling will air Wednesday, July 4 from 8AM through 6AM on July 5th (ET/PT).
(Esquire) Esquire Network will debut on Monday, September 23, 2013.
The network will kick off primetime with a two-hour special that commemorates Esquire magazine’s landmark 80th anniversary, timed to coincide with the October debut of the magazine’s anniversary issue. The original Esquire 80th Anniversary Special (WT) will look back at the social, political and cultural forces that shaped our lives over the last eight decades – told through the lens of the magazine, its stories, images and covers.
The network is announcing production on two new original series, Brew Dogs (WT) and Horse Players.
For Brew Dogs (WT), produced by Custom Productions and Redtail Media, Scottish “beer evangelists” James Watt and Martin Dickie travel across America with a vital mission: to prove that the drink of the masses doesn’t need to taste mass-produced. In each episode of the 6×60 series, James and Martin, who own the UK’s fastest-growing brewery, visit a different American beer town, celebrate distinctive craft beers and create their own locally-inspired draft.
Horse Players, a 7×60 series produced by Go Go Luckey for Esquire Network, takes place in the high-stakes world of professional horse race handicapping, where the only thing bigger than the bets are the characters placing them. From Churchill Downs to Saratoga to Santa Anita, each episode follows a group of handicappers as they travel the country in search of instant riches – and compete for the title of America’s top handicapper.
Said Esquire Network general manager Adam Stotsky, who made today’s announcement, “As Esquire magazine reaches such a significant milestone, it only seems fitting that Esquire Network kick off by celebrating the rich legacy of this iconic brand. And we will build on this unparalleled 80 year history with a new primetime lineup featuring compelling original programming that hits on the wide-ranging interests, aspirations and passions of men today.”
“Additionally,” said Laura Molen, Executive Vice President, Cable Advertising Sales, NBCUniversal, “Esquire Network is providing advertisers with an opportunity not currently offered by a television network to reach today’s educated, upscale man across multiple platforms.”
The 80th anniversary special joins a growing pipeline of original programming, including previously announced series Knife Fight, an underground cooking competition hosted by Ilan Hall; The Getaway, exploring the world’s most amazing cities through the eyes of a revolving cast of travel-loving celebs; How I Rock It, a look at style in all its forms, hosted by NBA superstar Baron Davis; Risky Listing, a docuseries set in the exclusive, intensely competitive world of New York nightlife real estate; and American Field Trip (WT)), a trip across the country with photojournalist Matt Hranek, in search of people, places and objects that embody the timeless American spirit.
(Animal Planet) Live Action! Animal Planet’s hit series Call Of The Wildman returns this summer for a second “snapperlicious” season with 20 brand-new episodes, featuring the bare-handed, backwoods, animal-trapping skills of “Turtleman” Ernie Brown, Jr. Now busier than ever, Turtleman and his crew of backwoods buddies, including banjo-toting Neal James, are back to protect Kentucky homes and businesses from new and even wilder varmints including coyotes, llamas, venomous snakes, pigeons, skunks, raccoons and even bulls! And with winter quickly approaching, a little cold weather isn’t going to stop this turtle team from seeking out critters in new and exotic locations.
Ernie and Neal are the ultimate turtles out-of-water, expanding their live-action repertoire across state lines to Texas and out of the country for their first international animal rescue. For the past three decades, Turtleman has been diving into Kentucky’s murkiest ponds in search of feisty snapping turtles capable of biting through bone. Accompanied by his canine companion, Lolly, and armed with country wits as sharp as the steel blade he carries, aptly named “Thunder,” Turtleman has the uncanny ability to catch monster-snapping turtles and other pesky critters with his bare hands and return them unscathed into the wild. No job is too tough or dangerous for Turtleman, and his years of bonding with wild animals allow him to use his animal instincts to save them.
Series Airs Sundays, at 9 PM (ET/PT)
Call Of The Wildman: 12 Angry Pigeons*
> Sunday, July 7, at 9 PM (ET/PT)
The old Marion County courthouse is in the process of being converted into a heritage center, but workers are finding themselves cleaning up bird droppings instead of working on the building itself! Team Turtle is out to uncover the hiding spot of these unpleasant birds and relocate them for good. The live action continues when caretaker Libby discovers a critter burrowing under the foundation of her 19th century log cabin. It’s a race against the clock for Turtleman as he rushes to safely remove this critter and get out in time before the entire building collapses!
Call Of The Wildman: Savage Stowaways*
> Sunday, July 14, at 9 PM (ET/PT)
A houseboat on Cumberland Lake is being closed for the winter, but to owner Kathy’s surprise, it’s a huge mess! It’s a unique call for Turtleman and Neal as they help Kathy remove the mess-making critters and save them from being trapped in the boat all season. In addition, snapping turtles in a pond are getting stuck in cooling pipes, which endangers a local distillery’s production. It’s up to Turtleman to safely remove and relocate these snappers to a pond that doesn’t serve in the bourbon-making process.
Call Of The Wildman: The Bull and the Beautiful*
> Sunday, July 21, at 9 PM (ET/PT)
It’s live action for Turtleman when he sets out to help former client and farmer Cole Henson with yet another nuisance call. After splitting her bull from the herd, Cole was surprised to discover her prized bull was lost in the pasture. The clock is ticking as Team Turtle along with Cole’s help tries to locate the bull before it terrorizes the neighborhood’s cattle. Then, Kentucky’s infamous Waverly Hills Sanatorium is a hot bed for paranormal activity…and ghostly varmits. When uninvited critters crash the owner’s nightly paranormal tours, Team Turtle is called in to solve the mystery and discover what has been disturbing the dead.
> Sunday, July 28, at 9 PM (ET/PT)
With winter quickly approaching, a little cold weather isn’t going to stop Team Turtle from seeking outcritters in new and exotic locations. Ernie, Neal and Lolly hit the road and head to Texas to expand their liveaction repertoire. Once there, Turtleman relocates a rattlesnake that is taking over a business. Then, Turtleman must catch a feisty freeloader going through the garbage of a barbeque joint before the situation gets even messier!
(ID) For most people, their wedding day ignites dreams of a bright future and the hope of fading into the sunset with the one they love. But for some brides and grooms, the reality of “til death do you part” hits come sooner than expected. Narrated by Emmy Award-winner Marlo Thomas, Happily Never After tells the true stories of people who meet untimely ends on or around their wedding days. Leading viewers through these tales of romance, sex, greed and betrayal is Dr. Wendy Walsh, a clinical psychologist and relationship expert. As this new series suggests, perhaps love found is not always happily ever after.
HAPPILY NEVER AFTER
Season 2 Premieres Saturday, June 15 at 9 PM E/P
(Showtime) Set in the sprawling mecca of the rich and famous, Ray Donovan does the dirty work for LA’s top power players. The new one-hour series stars Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominee Liev Schreiber in his first lead television role as the go-to-guy who makes the problems of the city’s celebrities, superstar athletes, and business moguls disappear. This powerful drama unfolds when his father, played by Oscar winner Jon Voight, is unexpectedly released from prison, setting off a chain of events that shakes the Donovan family to its core.
(ID) When blind passion poisons the well of love, fiery relationships can turn cold real fast. Told partially through each woman’s own point-of-view, this new series follows a tumultuous romance that tests all the limits of love and devotion. Poisoned Passions details salacious stories of star-crossed lovers – women who fall in love with the wrong guy and learn the hard way that, in their cases, love does not conquer all.
New Series Premiere Saturday, June 15 at 10 PM E/P
(ID) Stylish and irreverent, Pretty Dangerous documents the thrilling true stories of women who, under the guise of love and seduction, conned their partners out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Each episode exposes not only the femme fatales, but also their foolish, unsuspecting victims. Featuring revealing interviews with a string of infamous ‘bad girls’ currently incarcerated on charges of insurance fraud, entrapment, theft and murder, this dramatic new series takes a mischievous look at the extremes both gold-diggers and fools will go to in their thirst for money and love.
(PCM) Having a baby is an intense emotional journey for any woman, but everything is heightened when mothers and their teenage daughters find themselves pregnant at the same time, as TLC explored in last year’s hit special. Now, returning as a series, MY TEEN IS PREGNANT AND SO AM I offers a captivating look inside as families struggle to deal with two generations of women sharing this life-changing experience together. And as their bellies grow, so does the tension. Through tears and turmoil, joy and heartbreak, these mothers and daughters have nine months to fight through their battles and learn to lean on each other while they come to terms with their extraordinary new lives.
(PCM) The new season of the NBC hit talent competition series “America’s Got Talent” will premiere tonight at 9/8c! We recently had a chance to chat with veteran America’s Got Talent judge Howie Mandel and one of this year’s newest judges Mel B!
Q: Going into the new season with a comedian winning last year kind of breaking that streak of singers and musicians, how do you think that will change the dynamic of the show this season?
HOWIE MANDEL: Truth be told, you know in – Season 2 was won by Terry Fator who was a – you know, a ventriloquist. And, I think the heart and soul of our show is that we are the last bastion of variety you know. And we truly have variety. And this year with the advent of adding two more judges, great judges, Mel – and I’m not saying that because she’s on the phone, but an international superstar in her own right, and Heidi, an international marketer and fashion icon, and that has made it harder for acts to get through because now we need three yes instead of just two. And they have just raised the level of I guess maybe the audience at home seeing what they what they can do and get away with, and they don’t have to be just that traditional singer or that traditional dancer. They can do absolutely anything. And I don’t know if it was about a comedian last year as much as it was about people who – like even people like Horse who – not that that’s a great talent, but the fact that he had the nerve to get up and call what he did, getting kicked in the scrotum. Talent – people will show up and do everything. So we had more dangerous acts, more exciting acts, more a wacky acts, and more brilliant, you know, classic talent than we’ve ever had before.
MEL B: But I do think it’s harder for comedians because the bar’s been set so high. And, I think it’s terrifying for a comedian because that audience is huge and they have to make us laugh and the audience laugh, and it doesn’t always go to plan. Really it doesn’t. I will imagine that it’s really terrifying.
HM: I will tell you that, you know – and to her credit, Mel B this year, we’ve had a couple of comedians on, and if they don’t rise to the occasion, she pulls no punches in telling them. “I’m going to tell you why I don’t like you; because you’re not funny,” and she’s right, but that’s what you want from a judge, you know. And it’s just really interesting watching people perform. She’s – so there’s that element that I don’t know that was there before. Just the brutal honesty with a lot of experience.
Q: In what ways do you both feel that like having four judges now this season is going to kind of spice up the judging table a little bit?
MB: I think it really has, because you know we’re four different people. We’ve all come from different backgrounds and we’ve all experienced a lot in our own professional career. So sometimes, we all agree when the act is amazing. Sometimes we – well more often than not, we actually disagree. But, we’ve all got valid points because our opinions are coming from a place of professionalism. So I find that really interesting, and I’ve learned a lot off these other three judges, especially you Howie because I sit next to you. So it’s really – I think it’s a really, really interesting dynamic and definitely the viewer is going to agree with two or more of us of what we’re actually saying.
HM: I personally was concerned, and I thought, “Maybe this is going to be too much.” And as it works out, it actually heightened the value of people that go through to even Las Vegas. And I think I said it before and I’m repeating myself, but the fact that they have to get three yes’s to say – to go through. Two and two doesn’t get you – is virtually a no so you need three yes’s. So, you have to appeal to three people. And our four people on the panel come from not only four different you know worlds of entertainment, but like from all over the world. And as Howard keeps saying, you know, we want to find an international star. We don’t want to just find somebody that wins America’s Got Talent and get the million dollars and ends up at Radio City Music Hall. We want to find somebody that’s going to be an international star. And I think that this addition of these extra two judges from all over the world is going to send us in that direction.
Q: Are there any other changes in either production or maybe the way the rounds are going? Anything like that?
HM: he biggest changes I could see just offhand and haven’t thought of it; we’re going to send 55 people to the live shows. Obviously, the live show is going to be on a real stage that means so much more than any of these other challenge shows has ever meant before. Because even when you said you’re going to Hollywood, you were going to a sound stage. And even last year we were going to Newark and were going to a theater. But to be able to perform live on Radio City Music Hall meaning so much.
Q: Howie, why did you come back again? What was a particular reason?
HM: I would come back as long as they continue to have me. I cannot – I love this. I love watching – and have sympathy as a fellow you know performer for anybody that’s willing to get up and put themselves out, and anybody who’s creative, and anybody who’s original, and anybody – I just love the energy and watching somebody get on stage and trying to entertain. You know, and talent is subjective. You know just because you can be doing great even if you’re an act that plays a stadium and 20,000 people are there; there’s probably two million people in that city that chose not to buy the ticket. So there is something for everyone. And I love being there, and I cannot believe that this is even a job. You know, I got into this business to try to garner an audience and make a career of it. And then when I wasn’t working, like the rest of the world, you sit at home in your underpants and you judge. That’s what people are doing. You know, you go, “I don’t like this. I’m going to turn the channel. That’s not funny. That doesn’t sound good. I don’t like this music. Turn this off. Let’s watch this.” That’s what they do. And then all of the sudden in this millennium or this – in the last few decades, this has become a job where they give you a pair of pants and a paycheck and they – and if you have some credibility behind you and years of being in the business, hopefully you have constructive criticism as to why you don’t think this is worthy of seeing anymore of it, so I just love it. And when I’m not doing that, I go to clubs and I watch people, and I watch TV 24 hours a day. I watch things that aren’t even in English. I’m just fascinated by people trying to entertain.
Q: Mel, you’ve judged on Australia’s The X Factor, now you’re on America’s Got Talent. When you look over the talent, how do you think The Spice Girls would’ve done in one of these competitions?
MB: Oh, God knows. I have no idea. I mean the good thing about America’s Got Talent is that it’s not a singing show. It’s a complete variety show. So I mean we harmonized well as five girls and we definitely have some things that everyone – I’m not quite sure how it would rank considering that there’s not just singers there. There’s dancers. There’s magic acts. There’s snakes. There’s danger acts. So I’m not quite sure how we would do. Hopefully we would do well, but I mean we started out 20 years ago, so you know…
HM: You would know. I think they would do well. I’m telling you – and the reason is, and these the things we look for. At their time, it was original. It wasn’t only four hot women singing and dancing, but there was a message. You know, that message was girl power. A big part of America’s Got Talent obviously, America votes. And a big part of the voting community are young girls who watch the show and are inspired and watching dreams come true. I they would’ve really touched a nerve and done really well.
MB: You know what? Going into this, I really thought that singers were going to have it like easy because all they have to do is stand there and belt out their voice. But I think it’s really equal across-the-board. I mean, who’d thought that I would love watching some ducks on stage as much as I would love watching an opera singer? I mean, it really is like a case of if you’re entertaining, you’re going through to the next level.
Q: Howie, do you want to comment on that?
HM: But I do think that – you know, and we say it over and over again as judges. I think as a singer, you do have an advantage, but the beauty of America’s Got Talent is because it’s a variety show, I think we as judges keep hammering it home to the audience to go, “All right. So this guy came out and he’s got an acoustic guitar. He’s a good looking guy. He’s got a great voice.” You want to see him. You like the sound of his voice. And, he’s singing a song that’s already been made popular by somebody else. What about this guy that’s been working for ten years in his basement and he’s come up and he’s doing something that you’ve never seen before? You’ve never heard before? And, it’s just amazing. I hope the audience takes that into consideration over what is – can be perceived as something easier or more normal. I mean, you could see a singer/song writer around a campfire. You could see them on a cruise. You could see them in a club.
Q: So Howie had mentioned the girl power element, and I’m just interested because you know obviously The Spice Girls sort of coined that whole idea and kind of paved the way for female performers. And Mel B, you as well performed in the Vagina Monolog, so I’m just wondering, you know, how important was the idea of girl power and empowering female performers to you as a judge and what were the implications for the show for the audience?
MB: Well I mean I think between me and Heidi, we kind of root for the girls to be extra-specially good because we’re all about supporting women. And, I’d love you know a woman or a girl group to actually win this season. You know, that’s just where I come from, and Heidi’s the same. She’s all about creating that girl that’s extra confident and you know knows herself and is not shy or ashamed, or embarrassed of who she is. And we’ve seen a lot of really talented women on this stage. You know, we’re done with all our auditions so now we’re going to go into boot camp and I’m worried because of the 300, 400 people that we’ve seen, we have to whittle it down to like 40 or 50 people or acts, and it’s going to be so, so, so tough because we’ve had an equal amount of lady talent and boy talent, and everything else in between. So it’s going to be really hard.
MB: I think what you see is what you get with us on camera, and then off camera we have even more fun sometimes because we can say totally inappropriate things to each other that wouldn’t be that appropriate for the family show of AGT. But I mean I think all of us as judges are very, very honest, and I sit next to Howie and he has me cracking up every five seconds, and that’s what I really respect about all four of us. We all hold our own and we’re just all very honest. And, we all think differently sometimes.
HM: You know, I think she said the key word, and the key word is respect. And, we respect each other and each other’s opinion though we don’t agree and there’s times where we really – and we’re all four very strong-minded, opinionated people and we’ll fight for what we think is right and honestly think sometimes the other person’s wrong. And it could get heated. But at the end of the day, we respect each other and enjoy working with each other. So as she says, what you see is what you get, but that doesn’t mean we all, you know, agree, which I think makes for good television and good criticism, and it’s good for the acts to hear different opinions and different sides.
Q: I know Howie, you were involved in a lot of standup comedy, and Mel you’re performing on stage, so do you have empathy towards the people that come on stage and display those talents to you?
HM: I do. You know, I really do because I think – and I’m not saying – I am saying it because I’m one and I do it. I think that being a stand-up comic is probably one of the hardest things in the competition in as far as America’s Got Talent because in order to achieve what you’re trying to achieve, you need to elicit more from an audience than any other act. If you sing a song, they’re looking for a hand at the end of the song. If you do a magic trick, you’re looking for a ta-da at the end. If you do anything else, you’re just looking – you need to – if you’re standing up there and doing stand-up comedy, you need to hear laughter, which is a tough emotion to elicit from strangers you know every 30 seconds. Because if it’s quiet in the room, regardless of how funny you think you are, it’s not working. So, I do have a lot of empathy. They have a tough job. And then when they go on after the end of these 14 hours days and they follow something atrocious or we’re just really tired, or the whole audience is tired, or it’s hot in the room, I have so much empathy because it’s really hard to do well. And even at this point in my career where I feel like I – you know, I make a living at stand-up comedy, there are nights where you know things don’t go my way and it’s not always my fault. So I have empathy for anybody that gets up there and is willing to put themselves out like that and – but I try to remove myself from what’s happening in the room and hear it for what it is. And we have a lot of great comedy this year. Even more than last year, and I think Tom Cotter inspired that from last year.
MB: But I – just to add to that. I definitely think that it’s an experience to get up on there and actually be critiqued and learn what did work and what didn’t work because it’s not always going to go your way unless you’ve completely got your act – whether it be a singing act, whether it be a danger act and so rehearsed and so specific on point that it’s not going to be able to go through. I mean, we’ve had people that have just crumbled. We’ve had people that have just succeeded like beyond, and it’s all about preparation I think. And, obviously being extremely, extremely talented. And it is quite daunting. But at the same time, I like it when I can feel that – those people’s nerves. I can feel the anticipation of, “Can I do it? Can I deliver?” I find it really exciting.