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This Week in TV: A Guide to New and Returning Series


This Week in TV: A Guide to New and Returning Series

NBC's "Trial and Error"

Kristin Chenoweth goes on 'Trial' for NBC as THR highlights the must-see new and returning shows.

In a landscape littered with more than 500 scripted originals and another 700 reality and docuseries, figuring out what to watch is no easy task.

Here, in a bid to navigate the Peak TV waters, The Hollywood Reporter picks the most anticipated new and returning shows on broadcast, cable and streaming. Bookmark THR's handy guide for key premiere — and series finale — dates.) That said, here's what to watch for the week of July 16-22 as the summer programming lull continues.

On broadcast …

The second season of NBC's wacky fun anthology Trial and Error returns with Kristin Chenoweth stepping in for John Lithgow as the season's defendant with the same small-town legal team of lovable losers working to get her off the hook.

Airs: Thursday, July 19 at 9 p.m. (NBC)

On cable …

FX goes back to the '80s with the second season of John Singleton's drug drama Snowfall. This year, the series starring Damson Idris puts a larger focus on the crack cocaine outbreak.

Airs: Thursday, July 19 at 10 p.m. (FX)

On streaming …

While there aren't any big streaming scripted launches this week, Netflix returns to the gridiron with season three of college football docuseries Last Chance U. This year, the series moves from East Mississippi Community College to Kansas' Independence Community College as the latter's team, the Pirates, is fresh off its first winning season in a decade. The docuseries was originally inspired by a GQ magazine feature

Streams: 12:01 a.m. PT, Friday, July 20 (Netflix)

And in case you missed it …

Sacha Baron Cohen's surprise comedic satire series Who Is America? bows Sunday, July 15, at 10 p.m. on Showtime. The comedian can thank many of his victims for the free PR.

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BBC Offers First Look at Doctor Who’s New “Companions” in World Cup Halftime Teaser


BBC Offers First Look at Doctor Who's New "Companions" in World Cup Halftime Teaser

Jodie Whittaker as 'Doctor Who'

Incoming time lord Jodie Whittaker was seen with her new trio of friends in the 50-second teaser.

Doctor Who fans across the world on Sunday got their first glimpse of the Time Lord’s new companions in a specially filmed preview of the new series, due to air this fall on BBC America.

The 50-second teaser debuted during halftime of the World Cup final between France and Croatia, which aired in the U.K. on BBC One.

Last summer, the BBC used another major sporting event, Wimbledon, to announce the first-ever woman to play the lead role on Doctor Who’, Jodie Whittaker. The actress was already familiar to U.K. audiences for her role on ITV’s Broadchurch (coincidentally written by new Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall).

Whovians, as fans love to call themselves, were treated to seeing the new Doctor’s new “friends” (a term the new production team seem to be favoring over the more well-established “companions”) in action during the World Cup preview.

Seemingly now adopting Flash-like superpowers, the Doctor (Whittaker) swooshed in and around Bradley Walsh (Law & Order U.K.), Tosin Cole (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Mandip Gill as new characters Graham, Ryan and Yasmin, respectively. With no dialogue present, Whittaker’s Time Lord stole a sausage from Ryan’s breakfast, swapped Graham’s newspaper for The Beano (a children’s comic and another U.K. institution) and replaced a missing pizza for Yasmin — all oblivious to the Doctor's presence and actions. The brief preview ended with Whittaker smiling to camera.

Sadly, for Whovians, there was no first look at the Doctor’s iconic time-traveling ship, the TARDIS, which is also expected to undergo a regeneration with its leading lady.

For more footage from the forthcoming series itself, all eyes now turn to San Diego Comic Con, where a special Doctor Who panel, featuring Whittaker and Chibnall, is set to take place later this week.

Season 11 of Doctor Who will open with a feature-length episode, followed by nine 50-minute instalments, in the fall on BBC America. Chris Chibnall (Broadchurch) is head writer and executive producer, while Matt Strevens (Tin Star) and Sam Hoyle (Broadchurch) are exec producers for BBC Studios and Ben Irving (Paddington, Paddington 2) is exec producer for BBC One. BBC Studios is the international distributor.

Doctor Who is a BBC Studios production for BBC One and a BBC America co-production.

Doctor Who
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Prosecutors File Notice of Appeal in ‘Bachelorette’ Contestant Assault Case


Prosecutors File Notice of Appeal in 'Bachelorette' Contestant Assault Case

Lincoln Adim

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The Bachelorette
The Bachelorette
Bachelor Nation
Bachelor Nation

The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office is attempting to take Lincoln Adim, who left the ABC show in week six, back to court to make him wear a GPS monitor.

The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office is looking to make a former contestant of this season's Bachelorette, Lincoln Adim, wear a GPS monitoring device.

After Boston Municipal Court Judge Mark Hart Summerville allowed the Bachelorette season 14 contestant to withdraw a guilty plea on one count of indecent assault and battery on Friday, the DA's office filed a notice of appeal, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed Saturday with the DA's office.

Massachusetts law requires that defendants convicted of indecent assault and battery wear a GPS monitor, but the judge never imposed one when Adim, 26, initially pleaded guilty in May. The DA's office is arguing that under Rule 29(a)(1) of the Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in Commonwealth v. Grundman, the sentence could be revised.

The Supreme Court case noted that sentences like Adim's “may be corrected … by resentencing the defendant to include the GPS monitoring condition within sixty days from when the sentence was imposed.”

After Judge Sumerville vacated Adim's guilty plea and the DA filed the notice of appeal, the case is scheduled for further hearing on July 27.

Former Bachelor contestant Ashley Spivey was the first to report the news in a thread on Twitter.

The case involving Adim, one of the 28 men in Becca Kufrin's cycle of The Bachelorette, stems from a May 2016 incident in Boston, where Adim allegedly groped and assaulted an adult female on a cruise ship, according to the Suffolk DA.

Adim was convicted on May 21, just one week before The Bachelorette's fourteenth season began, and sentenced to one year in a house of correction. That sentence was suspended for a two-year probationary period.

Warner Bros. Television, which produces the ABC show, denied any knowledge of the case, though the studio says that it employs a third party to conduct background checks. "The report we received did not reference any incident or charge relating to the recent conviction — or any other charges relating to sexual misconduct. We are currently investigating why the report did not contain this information, which we will share when we have it," the studio said in a statement to THR.

Adim lasted only six weeks on the show, which is currently down to its final four contestants. The next episode airs Monday.

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Yvette Nicole Brown Set as Interim ‘Talking Dead’ Host Amid Chris Hardwick Investigation


Yvette Nicole Brown Set as Interim 'Talking Dead' Host Amid Chris Hardwick Investigation

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Chris Hardwick
Chris Hardwick
Fear the Walking Dead
Fear the Walking Dead

Brown will also host 'The Walking Dead Season 9 Preview Special' on August 5.

Yvette Nicole Brown will be filling in as an interim guest host of The Walking Dead Season 9 Preview Special and The Talking Dead as AMC continues to investigate former Talking Dead and Walking Dead specials host Chris Hardwick, a network spokesman said Friday.

The Preview Special will air August 5, while The Talking Dead will return after the premiere of Fear the Walking Dead on August 12.

The change-up comes after Hardwick was accused of sexual assault and emotional abuse by actress and former girlfriend Chloe Dykstra in a Medium post in June. Soon after, AMC announced it would be investigating Hardwick's conduct and pulling the comedian and host's talk show, Talking With Chris Hardwick, which was set to return days later.

Mentions of Hardwick were also scrubbed from the site he co-founded, Nerdist, and he stepped down from Comic-Con hosting duties for AMC and BBC.

Brown is a frequent guest host on The Talking Dead and has hosted several AMC after-show programs including Talking Preacher. (On The Talking Dead, she was particularly known for her binders of notes.) The comedian and host, who has been a favorite on social media to replace Hardwick in his Walking Dead hosting roles, is also set to fill in for Hardwick at Comic-Con, where she will moderate panels for both Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead on Friday, July 20.

"I will say this once. I am filling in for a friend, which I have done before. I am not jockeying for a job," Brown wrote of the Comic-Con news on Twitter. "I have enough of my own. It is my prayer that God's Will is done in the midst of this process & that everyone is okay. My character is known & sound. Nothing has changed."

Hardwick has denied all claims of sexual assault, though he has said of his relationship with Dykstra, "our three-year-relationship was not perfect."

Chris Hardwick Fear the Walking Dead
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‘Handmaid’s Tale’: 9 Burning Questions For Season 3


'Handmaid's Tale': 9 Burning Questions For Season 3

THR looks beyond June (Elisabeth Moss) and her next steps, considering the future of the Hulu drama.

[This story contains spoilers for the season two finale of Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, "The Word."]

"Blessed be the fight."

That's the phrase that best defines what's ahead when The Handmaid's Tale returns for its third season, according to several people in the know: star and executive producer Elisabeth Moss, as well as creator and showrunner Bruce Miller, just to name two.

The Hulu drama, currently nominated for twenty Emmy Awards, stands ready to plunge headlong into a fight between those in power within Gilead, and those in resistance within Gilead. June, formerly known as Offred, stands firmly on the second side of the battle line — and the result, at least according to what Moss tells The Hollywood Reporter: "She is no longer alone. She has an army, and she's going to fight."

June's intentions for the future are known — active resistance against Gilead, while simultaneously seeking to save her daughter Hannah (Jordana Blake) and others still at the mercy of this fascist regime — but many questions about the future of the show remain in place, such as…

1. What does Serena have left?

Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) finally spoke out against the men in charge of Gilead in the season finale, and she lost a finger for it. The physical damage is nothing compared to the wounds she sustained when June ran away with her infant daughter, who still retains the name given to her by Serena, Nicole. Given her own role in Nicole's escape, not to mention her shifting attitudes toward Gilead, one has to wonder if Serena's finally about to turn her back on the nation she helped create. She stands out as someone with very little left to lose. Might her arc in season three center on escaping Gilead? In that regard, Bruce Miller offered an ominous response: "That would be interesting to watch, wouldn't it?"

2. What horrors will Commander Waterford unleash next?

Fresh off his Emmy nomination, Joseph Fiennes spoke with THR and wondered about that very question. Without revealing too much, here's what Fiennes offered about his predictions for Fred's future: "It's going to be interesting going into the aspect of a loss of a child, potentially. I think that has massive ramifications for both the Waterfords emotionally, and for Fred in terms of the hierarchy, because it's such a big thing to be a commander with a family and a child, and to have that ripped away."

3. How can both Fred and Nick survive for much longer?

Given the precarious way in which both men ended the season — with Nick (Max Minghella) keeping Fred on lockdown, hand hovering near the gun on his hip — it's very hard to see how they get out of their current dilemma. Handmaid's has a way of clawing its way out of close corners, so one imagines both characters will still be in the mix for some time yet, especially given what Moss told THR about June's resources now that she's seeking to lead a rebellion against Gilead — a list of resources that very much includes Nick himself.

4. What's the extent of the Martha network?

The season finale's climactic final act was only possible thanks to the extensive work of the Marthas who risked life and limb to safe June and her baby, a group that includes Rita (Amanda Brugel). According to Moss, a big part of why June chose to stay behind was realizing the Marthas were such an organized unit, one that could prove quite useful in the effort against Gilead. With any luck, season three will see a huge rise in prominence for Rita, as well as other members of the Martha community, including Dr. Hodgson (Karen Glave), the neonatologist who tried to save baby Angela in "Women's Work."

5. Speaking of baby Angela…

…or "Charlotte," as her birth mother would prefer, what's going to happen to Janine (Madeline Brewer) in light of the season finale's events? There's little doubt that June would want to reach out to Janine as she seeks to find ways to fight back — but for all of her tremendous qualities, Janine isn't exactly the most subtle person on the show. Exactly how Janine continues to factor into the series remains as much of a question as any.

6. Aunt Lydia isn't dead, right?

That's one question we can consider answered: Ann Dowd will return to The Handmaid's Tale for its third season, as confirmed by Bruce Miller. "When I sent her the script," he tells THR, "I sent her an email along with it where the subject line was, 'No, Aunt Lydia's not dead.'" So no, she's not dead, but she's certainly going to be filled with even more righteous fury than usual whenever she recovers from the knife wound and huge fall she sustained in the finale.

7. Where will Emily turn up next?

She's not only the woman responsible for nearly killing Aunt Lydia, but also the woman currently responsible for caring after June's infant daughter. This latest escape from Gilead looked as sure a bet as any featured in The Handmaid's Tale thus far, but who's to say that Emily (Alexis Bledel) and baby Nicole will make it to safety after all? Here's hoping they show up next in Little America, both because poor Emily needs a break from the endless barrage of misery, and also because her interactions with Luke (O-T Fagbenle) and Moira (Samira Wiley) would be a guaranteed boost for all three characters' season three arcs.

8. What's up with Commander Lawrence?

Bradley Whitford's unhinged commander was largely responsible for Emily's escape, and June knows all about it. It's a good bet that June and Lawrence will cross paths again in the season ahead, potentially as allies, but the possibility exists for something a bit murkier. As Miller describes Lawrence: "He seems a little gone, with a glint in his eye. So that makes him very tough to predict, what he's going to do. He can be helpful, or not so helpful. That's the kind of character we like, someone who is interesting and consistent, but in the end, unpredictable in some really basic and important ways."

9. When will it end?

As it stands, The Handmaid's Tale already has one full season under its belt beyond the story scope of the original work of Margaret Atwood — even though Miller and the creative team insist that the feeling of "Atwoodness" remains a north star for the series. But the way in which the finale ends, keeping June in Gilead despite the apparent opportunity to escape, does leave one to wonder when exactly this story will end. Don't expect the third season to be the final act of the Hulu drama, even though Miller insists he's very much keeping the inevitable closing act in mind.

"When we get to the end of Handmaid's Tale," he says, "I want it to be a beautiful piece of fiction, like the book, that you put a little bow around and you can put it on your shelf next to the book, and that it feels like a story well told from beginning to end. Going beyond that time? I'm not interested. I'd like it to be something as close to finished and feel like a complete piece of work as possible."

Keep checking for more coverage.

The Handmaid's Tale
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‘Pose’ Renewed for Season 2 at FX


'Pose' Renewed for Season 2 at FX


The drama features the historically largest cast of trans actors portraying trans characters.

FX is going back to the ball.

The basic cable network has handed out a second season renewal for dance musical drama Pose. The show, from co-creators Ryan Murphy and Steven Canals, will return for its sophomore run in 2019. An episode count has not yet been determined.

“Ryan Murphy has once again revolutionized television with Pose, an incredibly engaging story of creativity, courage, compassion, love and family at a pivotal time in our culture,” said FX CEO John Landgraf. “As television critics have universally acknowledged, there is simply nothing like Pose on TV, so effortlessly excelling on every creative level and earning a place in television history for its infectiously inclusive spirit. We are honored to partner with our producers Ryan, Brad Falchuk, Steven Canals, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Alexis Martin Woodall and Sherry Marsh, and the incredible cast and crew to continue this groundbreaking journey that is Pose.”

The renewal comes as Pose has two episodes remaining in its eight-hour freshman run. The series, which has drawn impressive reviews, made history with primetime's largest cast of transgender series regulars portraying transgender characters as well as the largest recurring cast of LGBTQ characters ever for a scripted series. The show also recently made history when Janet Mock became the first trans black woman to direct a primetime drama. Mj Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, Hailie Sahar and Angelica Ross star alongside Evan Peters, Kate Mara, James Van Der Beek, Billy Porter, Charlayne Woodard and newcomers Ryan Jamaal Swain, Dyllon Burnside and Angel Bismark Curiel.

The drama, which is set in the 1980s, explores the New York ball scene as well as issues including HIV/AIDS and the class system during the rise of the luxury Trump-era world. Pose hails from FX Productions and Fox 21 TV Studios.

“Ryan Murphy and his talented collaborators Brad Falchuk, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Steven Canals, Alexis Martin Woodall and Sherry Marsh have truly outdone themselves with this triumphant show that is as universal in its themes of love and family as it is specific and important and one of a kind,” said Fox Television Group chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman. “We are so proud of what they’ve achieved and grateful to John and FX for their steadfast belief in the series.”
The news comes as Murphy exited his longtime home at 20th Century Fox TV for a $300 million deal with Netflix. He will remain involved with Pose as an exec producer.
The series is part of an FX lineup that also includes dramas Taboo, Legion, Snowfall, Trust, Fargo and Murphy-produced American Horror Story, American Crime Story and Feud. Next up for the channel are Mr Inbetween and Sons of Anarchy spinoff Mayans MC.
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‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Creator Bruce Miller Defends Divisive Finale


'Handmaid's Tale' Creator Bruce Miller Defends Divisive Finale

"I hope for people, it's infuriating in a good way," Bruce Miller tells THR about the latest turn in the Emmy-nominated drama.

[This story contains spoilers for the season two finale of Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, "The Word."]

For anyone left feeling frustrated over the final scene of The Handmaid's Tale season two finale, showrunner and creator Bruce Miller welcomes you to the club.

The season finale, called "The Word," ends with Offred (Elisabeth Moss) making the shocking decision to stay behind in Gilead in the face of her best chance at escape yet. What's more, she chooses to entrust her infant daughter Holly (renamed "Nicole," as a tribute to Yvonne Strahovski's Serena Joy) to Emily (Alexis Bledel), while remaining in Gilead in order to find her older daughter, Hannah (Jordana Blake).

The twist paves the way for a third season in which fans can expect a more rebellious Offred than ever before. "Blessed be the fight," is how Miller describes the tone of season three. But many critics were displeased with the finale and Offred's decision in particular, with THR's Dan Fienberg describing the episode as "an ungainly mixture of fan service and fan alienation."

For his part, Miller tells THR that he has heard the reactions loud and clear, and with one exception ("Vanity Fair said that the finale was ridiculous; that one hurt my feelings!"), he not only understands the frustrations, but shares them.

"I like the fact that people are frustrated," he says, responding to the critical reaction to the finale. "I was frustrated. You want her to make a different decision. I love the fact that June does things that we disagree with, that she's driven by her emotions and her brain and her strategy and all of those things, but in different measure than we are. So, I'm glad that people are annoyed by what she did, and have questions about what she did, and I think the reviews help me kind of see how people feel about it because I know how I feel about the moment, but you can't really tell how people are going to react until you get there."
"The thing that was encouraging," Miller continues, "is it seems like the conversations that the critics were having and people were having on social media were all the conversations we had in the writing room. We went back and forth on all these things, too. They're preaching to the choir."

Miller, speaking with THR moments after The Handmaid's Tale officially received 20 nominations for the 2018 Emmy Awards ("Being recognized by your peers is a special feeling that I don't think I appreciated until it happened," he says), explains the reasons for Offred's choice as having roots in the full season's arc.

"She spent the whole season regretting that she had to carry one child out and leave one child behind, and then as soon as she got to the point where that child in her belly was not in her belly anymore, and she could actually hand it off to another human, there's an opportunity to go back and save the first one," says Miller. "Until that baby's born, you can't separate yourself. If the baby's getting out, so are you. But as soon as that was not true, she realized that the thing that was pulling her all season towards Hannah, was that she would not be able to live with herself if she left."
"So, those big decisions and the big things that happen in the finale, it's always great when people are interested and frustrated and screaming at their TV and all those kind of things," he continues. "It's not a show that you can say is enjoyable all the time. A lot of times, it's a tough, tough world, and she has to make tough decisions, and it's infuriating. But I hope [for] people, it's infuriating in a good way, an entertaining way, not in a 'what the hell did Bruce Miller do to me' way."

Miller acknowledges that what many Handmaid's viewers "really want is to have [Offred] just be happy and sitting on a porch with her husband and child, and it's more complicated than that." When countered with the notion that many viewers would be perfectly happy watching a 13-episode season in which the Emmy-nominated Elisabeth Moss does little more than happily sit on a porch with her family, Miller laughs and concedes the point: "Totally. That's the feeling, that in some ways, the reward is so delicious when you get it. [When we get there], it's kind of like you've earned boredom. You've earned a little bit of peace. I definitely think you're feeling that when you watch the show. It's just like, 'God, can she just get a fucking break?' And when she does, it's going to be incredibly wonderful."

"But here," he continues, "I think she, for the first time, is making her own decision about what to do. Most of the rest of the time, she's in a lot of ways been ferried around, even at the beginning of the season. She's kind of ferried around as a handmaid doll that's moving from place to place. She doesn't have so much agency, and here, she makes her first big choice about where to go."

Sound off with your reaction to the season finale in the comments below, and keep checking for more coverage.

The Handmaid's Tale
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Emmys: Megan Mullally Disappointed in ‘Will & Grace’ Comedy Series Snub


Emmys: Megan Mullally Disappointed in 'Will & Grace' Comedy Series Snub

Megan Mullally on 'Will & Grace'

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Emmy Awards
Emmy Awards
Emmy Awards

The actress on Thursday nabbed her eighth supporting nomination for playing Karen Walker on the NBC sitcom.

Will & Grace nabbed five 2018 Emmy nominations for its revival season, including best supporting actress for Megan Mullally, who plays standout Karen Walker on the NBC sitcom. And despite having eight nominations and two wins to her name, Mullally was surprised by the Thursday morning honor.

"I really wasn’t expecting anything this year, just because there are 500 scripted shows on television," the actress tells The Hollywood Reporter. "It’s not like back in the day. The first time we did this show, there was network television and HBO and that was about it, so the field was a little narrower."

During its original eight-season run, the hit NBC comedy averaged 10 nominations per year. The Emmy darling earned consecutive noms when it competed from 1999 through 2006 and the only two years the sitcom didn't nab a best comedy series nomination were its first and last years of Emmy competition, in 1999 and 2006. Of its total 16 Emmy wins, Will & Grace won the top award for best comedy in 2000.

"I'm surprised the show wasn't nominated [this year]," Mullally admits. Will & Grace was beat out by newcomers Barry, GLOW and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; the similarly revived Curb Your Enthusiasm; and returning comedies Atlanta, Black-ish, Silicon Valley and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Another curveball was that Mullally's co-stars Eric McCormack and Debra Messing, along with supporting actor Sean Hayes, were also snubbed. "I was very surprised. Obviously, I feel everyone should be nominated. It’s weird. But that does happen. There’s no rhyme or reason — who knows?," she adds.

Indeed, Will & Grace competed during a different era in its original run. Which is why the show's return amid Peak TV is nothing short of a "miracle," according to Mullally.

"It’s thrilling that the show came back. It’s insane," she says of Will and Grace returning, and then getting renewed through season 11, with the show set to return in the fall. "Traditionally, that is not supposed to happen. Everyone is really appreciative. Last year, we had a lot of fun and I was very excited that the writers wrote a couple of really great episodes for Karen. Everyone always says that they love each other, but at this point, we all actually do love each other because it’s been 20 years."

The revival season ended with Karen breaking off an affair with her lover, played by guest star Alec Baldwin, and choosing to make her marriage to Stanley Walker (who has never appeared on the show) a priority. Mullally reveals, however, that when the show returns, Karen will be changing her relationship status to single.

"Stanley is divorcing her — it's not Karen's choice," she says, teasing what's to come. "Can you imagine? You think it’s bad now? Wait until she gets divorced, all hell breaks loose."

The pending divorce gives Baldwin the opportunity to reprise his guest-starring role as her lover, Malcolm Widmark. The pair ended last season with a memorable no-contact sex scene, a sequence that co-creator Max Mutchnick called "some of the funniest" of the entire series.

"Alec is returning," says Mullally of her scene partner, who also picked up an Emmy nomination on Thursday for his role impersonating President Donald Trump on NBC's Saturday Night Live. (Karen's other scene partner, Molly Shannon, nabbed the one guest star nomination for Will & Grace.) "I don’t know if that’s going to be a permanent deal, but Alec is at least coming back for a minute. I do happen to know that because we’re shooting that episode this week."

And while Mullally wishes for a world where Karen and Malcolm could run off together, their upcoming sequence is only a couple of episodes. "Karen Walker and Malcolm Widmark are a great TV couple together — I also really, really love working with Alec. He’s a total pro and he’s the fucking funniest person. He’s only here for two days. So we rehearse one day and then we shoot it the next day," the actress says.

As for Mullally, she hopes to keep playing Karen Walker for another 20-plus years. "I’ve always been really open about that," she says. "I want to run the show into the ground, to the point where when the show comes on, people are throwing things at the television. That’s how long I want to do it."

Emmy Awards Emmy Awards Emmy Awards
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THR’s TV Critics Debate the Highs and Lows of the 2018 Emmy Nominations


THR's TV Critics Debate the Highs and Lows of the 2018 Emmy Nominations

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Emmy Awards
Emmy Awards
Emmy Awards
Emmy Awards

Daniel Fienberg and Tim Goodman discuss Netflix's dominance, whether 'The Americans' received enough love and why it's past time for the academy to go to 10 nominees per field.

Daniel Fienberg: Emmy nomination morning and the opportunities for both outrage and joy are myriad.

Let's begin with the good news/bad news for FX's The Americans, since I know that was the show that both of us were watching for with some intense interest, to see if its final season would offer a breakthrough with Emmy voters. The answer? Kinda? But mostly not? The Americans did get a drama series nomination, and stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys were nominated, but other than that, the only recognition the show received was for writing and a digital short of some sort. Are you going to emphasize your happiness or anger, Tim?

Tim Goodman: Anger. Because this was such a no-brainer for the series and lead actor nominations (and for writing), that the only thing taking the minimal amount of effort or interest were directing and supporting categories, which the TV Academy totally screwed up. I will say upfront here, before we go on and on, that I know we're not supposed to get upset about awards shows, that trusting Emmy voters to do the right thing is a dubious proposition, but damn. This is what we do for a living. If we didn't care then we'd be robots. And it's frustrating to see so much go wrong and so much that could easily have been avoided (more on that later). But The Americans absolutely had to have a directing nomination — hey, the series finale would have been a nice choice — and not seeing Noah Emmerich and Holly Taylor get noticed, at a bare minimum, is galling.

DF: I agree that Emmerich and Taylor are large and galling absences, and that Ozark getting two directing nominations and The Americans getting none is borderline absurd. This was the last chance for Emmy voters when it comes to The Americans and they did the bare minimum. On the scale of annoyance, do the handful of major nominations at least make that less embarrassing than Better Things only getting nominated for Pamela Adlon as lead actress, but not for series or direction or writing? I get that a writing nomination would have brought collaborator Louis C.K. into the fold, too, but I'm just so frustrated by the excessive recognition of the lame Curb Your Enthusiasm comeback season, when Better Things was so much, well, better.

TG: I hate to say it because Curb is a series I've long loved, but that was pure Emmy rubber-stamping right there. Ridiculous. And since you've given me the opening I need, I'll take it: The TV Academy saw fit to nominate eight comedies, but not Better Things (among others!). The time for the TV Academy to have 10 nominees in every category is long overdue to the point of embarrassment. If this doesn't happen for next year, there's no hope. If you can go eight, you can go 10. I can fill 10 in every single category in my sleep. In the Peak TV era, anything less than 10 nominations as a standard is proof that the TV Academy is asleep or indifferent to the changes in its own industry. To me, nothing is more imperative for that organization than making that rule change immediately. Would we still have snubs? Sure — because this is the Platinum Age of television. But you and I would be a lot happier right now if there were four other nominees in most of these categories. Until then, grumble, grumble.

You had mentioned One Day at a Time and Dear White People in the comedy series category and we both agreed that The End of the F***ing World was more than worthy. I had hoped for something like You're the Worst or newcomer Get Shorty and the dark-horse Detectorists, but hell, the point is that with a couple of the actual nominated series having what you defined as "down seasons" then the whole field was wide open. And yet, not.

DF: I do feel like celebrating that our long Modern Family national nightmare is over, insofar as Modern Family is no longer an outstanding comedy series nominee despite, as you say, eight nominee slots in that category. This proves that Emmy voters are capable of reversing their instinctive rubber-stamping sometimes, even if they require 10 years to do so. I'd emphasize that The End of the F***ing World was nominated for cinematography and One Day at a Time was nominated for, um, editing. Dear White People, unfortunately, was completely shut out despite Netflix's overall juggernaut status, which also somehow failed to get Alison Brie a lead actress in a comedy nomination even though GLOW was nominated for series. We should touch on that Netflix milestone before we go any further. With 112 nominations, Netflix was the year's most nominated network, ending an epic HBO run. Do you view this as deeply meaningful, inevitable or both?

TG: I'd say it was probably overdue. And inevitable. Netflix just has more volume. And they have plenty of good series that, in the past, could have received even more nominations, so that's the overdue part. But yeah, inevitable. Unfortunately, this will probably convince HBO's new overlords that making the channel more "broad" is a good thing when it's not. That disaster is also probably inevitable.

DF: In recent years, Netflix has begun to play the Emmy game more and probably better than anybody else, and yet if you look over its slate, there are so many great things that still got entirely or partially left out, from the aforementioned End of the F***ing World and Dear White People and the weirdly miscategorized "limited series" American Vandal to the baffling exclusion of Bojack Horseman in animated fields every year. The amazing thing is that this feels like just the tip of the iceberg for Netflix. It's pushed even more dramatically into unscripted spaces this year and it hasn't even begun to compete in the movie category. Let's go back to acting, where after the Americans supporting players, the biggest absence to me feels like J.K. Simmons for Counterpart. Without going into the Detectorists' stars who were never going to be nominated, whose absence are you annoyed by and whose presence are you excited by?

TG: Well, I've just been drumming my fingers on my desk ready to address the snub of both Counterpart, easily one of the best dramas of the year (and I would vehemently argue that it was second best to The Americans), and its star, Simmons. Both exclusions are just egregiously wrong, period. Possibly — possibly — "understandable" in the first instance because Starz has difficulty getting its best work nominated, but absolutely embarrassing in the second instance. Simmons should have been a slam dunk. James Franco is the clear and obvious snub in the lead actor category, as The Deuce is arguably the biggest snub in totality of these Emmys. Again, there are only six nominees in this category and four of them are from two of the same shows (Westworld and This Is Us). The system is broken.

DF: I feel like The Deuce may have been punished for #MeToo accusations against Franco, just like Transparent dropped off the radar entirely and Better Things was probably dinged for C.K. Punishing Maggie Gyllenhaal, just super in The Deuce, because James Franco may or may not allegedly be a sex pest feels wrong to me. It also feels wrong to me — in a very different way — that this past season of Westworld got lead performance nominees for Ed Harris and Evan Rachel Wood, since really only Thandie Newton (nominated in supporting) and Jeffrey Wright actually feel like leads to me. And that's not getting into my general distaste for the show at this point. Has your chilling on The Handmaid's Tale had a similar effect on your perception of all of the acting nominations it received? I was so pleased to see Yvonne Strahovski get a nomination and Alexis Bledel and Ann Dowd are both great, but Joseph Fiennes getting a nod for periodically furrowing his brow feels a step too far even to me.

TG: I don't think Emmy voters have been voting with their conscience on these things. I really don't. I think not putting Better Things into other major categories had nothing to do with C.K. — it had to do with Emmy voters making bad decisions, same as the across-the-board blunder for The Deuce. Transparent likely dropped off the radar because it's simply not that good anymore. As a fan of Westworld, I actually agree with most of your actor annoyance. Harris should have been supporting, easy. But by the end of the season I think Wood, Newton and Wright were legit leads (which makes Newton's situation interesting). Yes, the Fiennes inclusion is particularly egregious for Handmaid's Tale but I don't have any problems with all the other actors there — though the 10 nomination thing would make that easier to swallow (as it would having the series itself nominated, actually, especially with The Deuce and Counterpart missing). You must have some simmering actor annoyances yet to be addressed. Just a wild guess.

DF: I think we've actually covered most of my biggest acting annoyances, though surely Alec Baldwin's presence ticks me off. Come on, folks! It's a bad Trump impression that he's been phoning in for months. I think even he's sick of doing it at this point and if he beats Louie Anderson again, I'm going to be irate. And Larry David definitely didn't deserve this particular nomination. And enough with the William H. Macy nominations when Emmy Rossum has never gotten a single one. But I'd honestly like to concentrate on all the acting nominees I'm happy for. It's better for my gout. So, yay for Sandra Oh! (Jodie Comer should have been nominated, too.) Yay for Ted Danson! (Kristen Bell should have been nominated, too.) Yay for Zazie Beetz! (Lakeith Stanfield should have been nominated, too.) Yay for Kenan Thompson, the heart and soul of Saturday Night Live! Yay for Donald Glover and Bill Hader both picking up nominations for acting, writing, directing, guest acting and eventually for producing. Who are your acting yays, Tim? Try it! It's liberating!

TG: Are you saying I can't circle back to Simmons? Or Laura Linney? Emmerich? Chris O'Dowd? Ray Romano? Is no one surprised about Emilia Clarke? What about your Halt and Catch Fire actors and actresses? Dan, I've still got a boil going. At least let me be well and truly annoyed about Comer getting snubbed. That feels particularly "American" in the oversight. Super happy for Oh, the first Asian-American female lead in a drama nominee. And yet, Comer is also the lead. Perhaps more room is necessary? I hear that's a thing. Anyway, I'm actually really happy that Tatiana Maslany is nominated again. Role of a lifetime. I don't know — I'm happy for all those who got in, probably. There's your liberation.

DF: Vanessa Kirby! Cameron Britton! Betty Gilpin! Alex Borstein! My college classmate John Legend! I'm just saying there's a lot to be happy about. And, yes, I've definitely heard somebody theorizing on the need for more nominations in the future, though I've already been lost in a nomination wormhole all morning. I think it's important to find things to be annoyed by both above the line and below. Like how AMC's The Terror did not get a single nomination? They shot that thing in a bathtub in Budapest and it felt like it was actually shot in the Arctic Circle and it should have been a lock for sound and costuming nominations at the very least. How was there not a way to recognize Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor's score for The Vietnam War? And yet I can also find little notes of happiness in something like the song nomination for Big Mouth or the deserved return of The Daily Show With Trevor Noah to the variety talk series category. What else is annoying you or making you happy?

TG: Why the hell was The Vietnam War not nominated for documentary? Ridiculous. It got a documentary directing nom and was easily one of the best documentaries in years. But, sigh, I'm running out of rage. I have enthusiasm for lots of nominees, Dan. I really do. I'm going to save my last bit of optimism and enthusiasm for this point, however: Next year all of this will be so much more accurately representative, richer and fulfilling when we're congratulating the TV Academy for expanding to 10 nominees across all categories. It'll be glorious, Dan.

DF: As God is my witness, I hadn't noticed that The Vietnam War was lacking an overall documentary series nod. Sigh. That's proof that we could do this all day, but I see our editor getting antsy in the cubicle next door, so that's probably a wrap on our Emmy nominations rantings and ravings!

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