Some good news to start today's newsletter. The iconic and hugely influential TV writer-producer Norman Lear is celebrating his 100th birthday.
Lear is responsible for shows like All In The Family, Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons, One Day At a Time, Sanford & Son, Mary Hartman Mary Hartman, The Facts of Life, Silver Spoons, and many more. He also has film credits including Fried Green Tomatoes and The Princess Bride.
His work, particularly the sitcoms he produced in the 70s, were focused heavily on the progressive politics of the era and the uncomfortable bristling of opinions between progressive and conservative views.
Marking his birthday, Mr Lear has penned an opinion-piece for the New York Times as he reflects upon his own life and the concern he has for the state of democracy in the United States.
Reaching my own personal centennial is cause for a bit of reflection on my first century — and on what the next century will bring for the people and country I love. To be honest, I’m a bit worried that I may be in better shape than our democracy is.
Here's to 100 more, Mr Lear!
The John Lasseter redemption arc
The biggest story in TV and film this year is the release of an Apple TV+ animated film called Luck. If you are seeing the posters around and think it looks a lot like a Pixar movie, there's a good reason for that. It is masterminded by former Pixar chief John Lasseter.
Lasseter got bounced from Pixar amid the rise of #metoo. It seems he really enjoyed hugs from staff.
When Skydance CEO David Ellison was looking to invest in his newly formed Skydance Animation, he immediately hired the now-available Lasseter to run it.
One could argue that Pixar no longer shines as bright as it once did. Is that because Lasseter is no longer guiding the ship? Will he be able to turn Skydance Animation into the powerhouse animation brand that Pixar still maintains?
And less-interesting-a-question for consumers, but still highly important for those working in animation: If Luck and the next film (which is reportedly quite a lot better) Spellbound do drive excitement from audiences, will they be willing to look the other way on the formerly cancelled head of the studio?
RIP Tony Dow. Actually dead today.
It is sad that the passing of Tony Dow is now in the shadow of yesterday's dumb media blunder proclaiming his death, but the former Leave It To Beaver actor has died.
As an actor, following the end of his time on Leave It To Beaver, he stayed busy appearing on shows like My Three Sons, Dr Kildare, Mr Novak, Lassie, The Mod Squad, Emergency!, Knight Rider, and The Love Boat.Of course, he returned for the Beaver revival Still The Beaver (also known as The New Leave It To Beaver) which ran for four seasons.
Later in life Dow took on work as an episodic director, working on series including: Harry and the Hendersons, Coach, The New Lassie, Babylon 5, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
RIP Tony Dow - actually, this time.
- No, Stranger Things producers are not retroactively going back to edit scenes in former seasons of the show. Despite what TikTok claims. Read: Deadline
- iCarly has been renewed for a third season on Paramount+. Read: thefutoncritic
- Seth Meyers has COVID, so has cancelled the next week of shows of his talk show. Read: The AV Club
- Expensive new mega reality format Million Dollar Island has been dumped by the US ABC network ahead of going into production. It was just too dang expensive. Maybe they just need a cheaper island? Read: Deadline
- Netflix's limited series about the Thai Cave Rescue titled Thai Cave Rescue will debut Sept 22. Read: TV Insider
- 27 fan theories about Homer Simpson. Read: Bored Panda
- The ousted former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo is taking his questionable journalistic ethics over to NewsNation. Read: THR
- Spotify has seen an increase of both paid subscribers and monthly active users. 188m people now pay for the service. Seems like that Joe Rogan-driven boycott didn't really move the needle all that much. Sorry Twitter. Read: The Verge
Documentary The Princess debuts August 13 on HBO.
Sylvester Stallone Amazon Prime Video series Samaritan debuts August 26.
John McAfee is the subject of new Netflix doco Running With The Devil. It debuts August 24 on Netflix.
Never Have I Ever returns for season 3 on August 12 by way of Netflix.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio debuts on Netflix this December.
Sharon Horgan's Bad Sisters debuts August 19 on Apple TV+.
Enjoy your Thursday. Tomorrow brings Friday and the Friday newsletter(s).