ABC’s venerable variety-show format gets good judges and talent for its opener, but Mike Myers’ performance-art host, Tommy Maitland, adds nothing, Daniel Fienberg writes in his review:
Tommy Maitland is a reasonable enough simulacrum of a human. Tommy Maitland adds almost nothing to the pleasure of watching the Gong Show premiere, which otherwise is at least moderate. Fortunately, Tommy Maitland doesn’t exist.
I get completely why Mike Myers would think that hosting The Gong Show as a latex-entombed relic of British game shows past was a performance-art hoot. And I get completely why ABC would be willing to let Myers do whatever the heck he wanted in exchange for hosting The Gong Show.
Having now proven his ability to host the show incognito, a gimmick original host Chuck Barris surely would have appreciated, my advice/hope going forward would be: Don’t. Stop. Move on.
+ Early takes: USA Today: “the new version feels just a little more hollow and heartless.” L.A. Times: “It’s just as crass and unsophisticated as the original.” Washington Post: “a dank and shticky amateur talent show.” New Yorker: “a kind of admirable oddity — an elaborate private joke.”
Elsewhere in TV…
► ABC moves Shondaland’s Still Star-Crossed to Saturdays. Just three episodes in, the summer series has moved from its Monday night post-Bachelorette slot. The period drama’s ratings languished out of the gate, posting just a 0.5 rating among adults 18-49 and only 2.3M viewers.
► Freeform scraps plans for Greek reunion. The TV film was supposed to pick up five years after the end of the series, with the original cast reuniting at the reunion. The movie was set to be timed to the holidays.
► Hulu says Alexis Bledel will return on Handmaid’s Tale. The Gilmore Girls actress, who recurred in the first season, has signed on to return as a series regular for season two. Production on the 13-episode second season begins this fall.
► HBO, John Oliver sued by energy company. The defamation lawsuit claims Last Week Tonight created a “villainous” portrait of conservative coal baron Robert Murray, who alleges his reputation was harmed. Details.
^CBS sends Stephen Colbert to Russia. The host is in the country on assignment for a future broadcast of his series. The Late Show is in repeats Thursday and Friday, no doubt coinciding with his trip. Colbert did, however, post a photo and note.
► Sony TV renews overall deal with Shawn Ryan. In a big sign of support for the independent studio, the Timeless co-creator Ryan and his MiddKid banner has inked his third straight three-year overall deal with the company.
► Fox sets fall schedule. Starting Tuesday, Sept. 26, the network will roll out the bulk of its fall lineup, with Seth MacFarlane dramedy Orville getting a preseason NFL push before its official debut Sept. 28.
► MSNBC recruits conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. The commentator is joining MSNBC’s Saturday morning lineup, a move that is sure to raise eyebrows at the network and among its left-leaning fans.
Trailer watch, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later. Find out what kind of people the Camp Firewood staff have blossomed into in the first look at the Netflix sequel series, which drops in August.
► Showtime’s Shameless enlists Jessica Szohr. The Gossip Girl grad has booked a season-long recurring arc on the dramedy starring William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum.
► CBS’ Alan Cumming drama adds Supergirl grad. Sharon Leal has joined Instinct, which centers on a former CIA operative (Cumming) who is lured back to his old life by an NYPD detective. The series is slated to premiere midseason.
ALSO: Johnny Depp’s new controversy is a Trump assassination joke. “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” he asked at the Glastonbury Festival on Thursday. The question drew loud cheers and boos from the crowd as Depp shrugged. “I want to clarify, I’m not an actor. I lie for a living,” he continued. Video.