Small screen: Olympics ratings earning bronze; OJ Simpson gets gold at TCAs
The Rio Olympics may be a hit with Leslie Jones, but not for the rest of America. The opening ceremony attracted 26.5 million viewers on August 5; which, while still a huge number, is down 35% from 2012s London ceremony, watched by a whopping 40.7 million people. Ratings for NBC have generally underperformed all week even though Sunday’s Michael Phelps/Simone Biles/Katie Ledecky trio did help. Everyone’s just waiting for more women’s gymnastics, right?
Still, it wasn’t a horrible week for comedienne Jones, who was invited to the Olympics after live tweeting a series of reaction videos for the events. Jones deserves a gold medal for making headlines this year; first for starring and for dealing with racist trolls in the controversial Ghostbusters remake. Still, who’s Rio gonna call?
The Olympics aren’t the only competition going on this week, though. The People Vs. OJ Simpson took home gold at this year’s Television Critics Association awards ceremony and claimed three medals – I mean, awards, dominating every other program. Black-ish won big even if the show’s creator Kenya Barris doesn’t want to talk about it. Plus, Netflix’s The Get Down is finally here, and it’s – well, it’s something.
Network: The people love OJ Simpson. FX’s The People Vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story took home three awards at the TCA Awards, including the top prize of Program of the Year. It was the only show to walk away with more than one award, taking Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials and Individual Achievement in Drama for Sarah Paulson. The awards were hosted on August 6 by Jane the Virgin’s Jaime Camil.
Black-ish took home the prize for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy. The ABC sitcom, renewed for its third season, won its only nomination and is currently up for three Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series. “So, the white guy is accepting for Black-ish,” joked Jonathan Groff, the show’s executive producer. “Look how far we’ve come as a people.”
Maybe not far enough, according to the show’s creator. Kenya Barris said earlier at the TCA summer press tour that he was tired of talking about diversity and stated questions about diversity are “crowding the conversation.” “It doesn’t matter who’s watching our show,” he said. “The fact is they’re watching it.” Barris would rather focus on the show’s portrayal of a modern American family regardless of race. He cited that the majority of the show’s audience is white with only twenty-three% of viewers being African American. “I will be so happy when diversity is not a word,” he said.
In lighter news, The Simpsons will air its first ever hour-long episode, featuring the voices of Taraji P. Henson and Keegan-Michael Key. The episode, which seems like it might poke fun at Henson’s Empire features the two stars voicing a rapper (Key) and a music mogul’s ex-wife (Henson). The episode will air in January as part of the show’s twenty-eighth season.
Online: Here’s the low down on Netflix’s new 70s musical drama The Get Down; it’s messy, it’s cheesy, it’s inconsistently toned and executed, but it’s wild, and it’s streaming on Netflix on August 12. The show, which suffered two years of unexpectedly troublesome and expensive production, has been getting mostly positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics highlighting its passion for hip-hop, sometimes at the expense of clear narrative. Starring a large cast that includes Shameik Moore, Jaden Smith and Giancarlo Esposito, the first six hours are available to watch with the next six on the way.
In its fifth season, The Mindy Project will recast the titular character as a white man. No, that isn’t a joke – well, it is a joke, but it’s also actually happening. Mindy Kaling, the star and executive producer, is pitching a script where her character wakes up one day as a white man and explores how differently she would be treated in the world. Though the idea hasn’t been greenlit by Hulu yet (the show jumped to Hulu after FOX cancelled it after three seasons), Kaling brought up the idea at the TCAs, showing some confidence it would be created. And, let’s face it, we’d watch that.
ABC Digital has picked up the critically acclaimed web series American Koko, produced by Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s production company JuVEe Productions. The series was originally created by Diarra Kilpatrick and published on her YouTube channel, which has taken the videos down. Kilpatrick previously received the Best Web Series Award from the American Black Film Festival for the show.
Cable: Snoop Dogg is ready to hit the kitchen. VH1 picked up a series starring the rapper alongside legendary homemaker Martha Stewart that features the duo preparing meals for other celebrities. Say no more, I’m sold.
In casting news, Corey Reynolds will join season four of Showtime drama Masters of Sex. He will play a recurring role as husband of Niecy Nash, who was previously announced to play a recurring role. This will be a reunion for the pair, who formerly costarred on HBO comedy Getting On as siblings-in-law.