‘Squid Game’ Makes Emmys History As First-Ever Non-English Drama Series Nominee

Netflix’s “Squid Game” continues to make history. The brutal South Korean drama about class, power, wealth and kiddie games has just landed an Emmy nomination for outstanding drama — making it the first-ever non-English language show to receive a series nod by the Television Academy. “Squid Game” earned a total of 14 Emmy nominations, including Lee Jung-jae for lead actor, Jung Ho-yeon for supporting actress, Park Hae-soo and Oh Yeong-su for supporting actor and Lee You-mi for guest actress.

Until this year, non-English projects have never won — or have even been nominated in — a major category at the SAG Awards, Golden Globes or the Primetime Emmys. But that has changed this year, as “Squid Game” already has been nominated at the SAG Awards for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series and by the Globes for best drama.

Hwang Dong-hyuk created the series for Netflix; the first season starred Lee Jung-jae (who plays Gi-hun), Park Hae-soo (Sang-woo) and Jung Ho-yeon (Sae-byeok).

And in the win column, the show received SAG Awards honors for male actor (Lee) and female actor (Jung). Lee also won the Independent Spirit Award for male performance in a new scripted series, and drama actor at the Critics Choice Awards. (Additionally, O Yeong-su won at this year’s untelevised Golden Globes for supporting actor in a drama.)

Other wins have included breakthrough series (long form) at the Gotham Awards, as well as “bingeworthy show of the year” at the People’s Choice Awards, and best actor (Lee) and best foreign language series at the Critics Choice Awards. Next up, “Squid Game” is nominated for program of the year, outstanding achievement in drama and individual achievement in drama (Lee) for the Television Critics Association awards, which will be announced next month.

In almost every instance, “Squid Game” has made history. For the Globes, O was the first Korean-born actor to win the award.

“Squid Game” dominated the fall TV conversation, leading Netflix’s Top 10 chart in the U.S. for 24 days and hitting No. 1 in 94 territories. According to the streamer, the show attracted 1.65 billion hours of viewing in the first 28 days after its Sept. 17 premiere.

Hwang is now at work on Season 2 of “Squid Game”; he recently told Variety’s Kate Aurthur that the show’s Season 1 ending allowed for a continuation: “There are very small loose knots throughout the first season, so to speak, things that I didn’t conclude, and put in little rooms for further expansion.”

Hwang also confirmed that Lee will be back, as will Lee Byung-hun, who plays the sinister Front Man who oversees the games.

Meanwhile, the “Squid Game” franchise has also expanded to the reality competition “Squid Game: The Challenge,” which the streamer announced last month as “the biggest reality competition series ever.” In the series, just like on the drama, 456 players will compete in a series of games — in this case, for the chance at winning $4.56 million.

Source: Variety

Disney+ Has Edited Scenes In #FalconAndWinterSoldier To Censor Blood

Disney, its streaming service, and more mature content have been hot topics as of late. Whether it’s the new parental controls because of the Netflix Marvel series bringing their TV-MA rating to Disney+, or a darker MCU outing in Moon Knight finally seeing the light of day, a contingent of parents is worried about their kids falling into mature content on the largely kid-friendly service.

That is not to say the service has lacked any brutal violence or mature themes. Across the MCU, Star Wars, and elsewhere in the Disneyverse, there have been instances of some pretty shocking/adult sequences. Even Disney+ original series like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier have featured shots and scenes that would fall into the more adult bucket

TFATWS specifically saw a man beat someone to death with one of the most iconic symbols in Marvel history, which came alongside a number of instances featuring blood and violence. Despite this, in an unprecedented move, Disney has gone back and edited the patriotic series to remove one of its darker scenes.

Brought to the attention of The Direct by Caleb Steel, eagle-eyed Reddit user u/MooninMoulin noticed that Disney has edited/censored The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, switching out a couple of bloody scenes with more family-friendly edits. 

The first of these comes from the death of Hydra scientist Wilfred Nagel in Episode 3 of the series. Where there was once blood painted on Nagel’s face and shirt, there is now nothing. Also, instead of Nagel’s eyes remaining open, confirming his death, they are now closed.

Another altered shot focuses on a bounty hunter who, in the original edit, gets a pipe stabbed into her shoulder after Bucky Barnes throws it in her direction, thus pinning her to a shipping container. However, in the new version, that pipe bounces off the goon and goes flying, no longer piercing her flesh and the steel door behind her. 

Source: The Direct

The Fresh Prince Reboot’s Lead Star On How His Approach Will Differ From Will Smith’s

Once the Bel-Air teaser dropped, fans seemed to be intrigued to learn more about the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot. The show definitely looks like it’s going to have a different vibe, as the teaser’s underwater scene is proof enough of that. But when it comes to a reboot of a beloved show, the cast must try to fill tremendous shoes, which is especially true for drama’s lead star. And the drama’s lead actor, Jabari Banks, had to fill the shoes of Hollywood superstar Will Smith. Banks was fully aware of this, and he recently explained how and why his approach will differ from the King Richard star’s.

On the surface, the Emancipation alum’s involvement in the show seemed to signal that the final product would be closer to the 90s sitcom. But that’s far from the case. Just like many of us, Banks grew up watching the original series, but it won’t really inform his version.. The up-and-coming star opened up to Entertainment Weekly about giving the beloved character an appropriately fresh take:

I remember watching The Fresh Prince and realizing what TV was for the first time. Like, ‘Oh, this is entertainment!’ … The show molded me. And growing up, people always told me I resembled Will and his energy… When I got the call, they said, ‘This isn’t Will Smith, superstar.’ They weren’t going for that. And so when they chose me, it took me a couple of weeks to realize that they chose me for me — for what I do.

Thankfully, the producers wanted Jabari Banks to give his interpretation of the iconic character. Emulating Will Smith could yield some mixed results, which is what the creatives likely knew. The team’s words surely eased the pressure on the theater grad, which should allow him to bring his own skills and experiences to the already established character. Given the reboot’s dramatic take, Banks’ Smith will likely be much more than the funny playboy of the classic sitcom.

Of course, there were questions as to whether he could handle being the series’ lead actor, given his minimal acting experience. The unsureness was eased once the pilot was filmed, though. While speaking with EW, producer T.J. Brady called the performer “a star” based on the episode’s first cut.

Once the show got the green light, things seemed to move quite quickly for the Fresh Prince revamp. When the Bel-Air fan film initially went viral back in 2019, it had devoted fans quickly pushing for a revival. But things didn’t really pick up until Will Smith got involved to help get the show made. Fast forward to two years later, and the first season is in the works with a two-season order, despite some shakeups. Additionally, Smith is on board as a producer, which should help to maintain some creative continuity. But of course, it’ll be great to see a new spin on the premise, and Jabari Banks has the tools to make a serious splash.

Bel-Air is set to premiere on Peacock on Feb. 13, 2022. Until the reimagining debuts, you can watch all six seasons of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on HBO Max.

Source: CinemaBlend

NBCU’s Peacock Pins WWE Network Exclusive U.S. Streaming Rights In Five-Year Deal, Beginning March 18th

NBCUniversal’s Peacock soon will be the only place to watch WWE Network in the U.S.

WWE and NBCU reached a multiyear agreement giving Peacock exclusive streaming rights to WWE Network for American viewers. The over-the-top wrestling entertainment service’s existing U.S. subscribers (about 1.1 million in total) will be migrated over to Peacock Premium, where they’ll continue to get access to WWE Network but will pay 50% less per month while getting full access to the version of the Peacock Premium tier with ads.

Peacock will launch WWE Network on March 18, 2021, when Peacock will begin the rollout of more than 17,000 hours of WWE Network new, original, and library programming (both on-demand and on a new 24-hour channel).

The NBCU streamer will have all WWE live events — for no additional charge — including WrestleMania and SummerSlam, with Fastlane the first event to stream on Peacock on Sunday, March 21. (WWE fans who would prefer to order events via traditional pay-per-view will still have that option.)

WWE Network will be available on Peacock Premium (which includes ads) for $4.99 per month, half the price of WWE Network’s current $9.99/month pricing. The no-commercials Peacock Premium Plus plan, which costs $9.99/month, also will include WWE Network.

The companies plans to share details of how existing WWE Network subscribers in the U.S. will be switched to Peacock (e.g., whether they will be automatically subscribed to Peacock) in the next few weeks. Nothing will change for WWE Network subscribers outside the U.S.

Financial terms of the Peacock-WWE Network pact were not disclosed. “We feel great about the financials. Otherwise we wouldn’t have done the deal,” said Nick Khan, WWE’s president and chief revenue officer, who joined the company last August from CAA. “To have WrestleMania in particular — which is our Super Bowl — available [for no extra cost] on Peacock is quite different from other models you’re seeing.”

For Peacock, the WWE Network is “a transformative addition,” said Rick Cordella, Peacock’s EVP and chief revenue officer. “We have a lot of data that shows live events and sports drives a lot of user acquisition,” he said. “The bet is that there exists a much larger total available audience [for WWE programming] than is on WWE Network today.”

WWE and NBCU (and its predecessors) have been partners for more than 30 years. “Monday Night Raw” on USA, the first regular cable program from the wrestling-entertainment company, debuted in 1993. “WWE has always tapped into the cultural zeitgeist with spectacular live events and larger-than-life characters, and we are thrilled to be the exclusive home for WWE Network and its millions of fans across the country,” said Cordella.

In the third quarter of 2020, WWE Network had average paid subscribers of 1.6 million, down about 60,000 from the prior quarter but an increase of 6% year over year — marking the service’s first annual growth since Q1 of 2019. The entertainment company originally launched WWE Network in February 2014, when it ended its traditional pay-per-view events business.

Starting in 2022, WWE will produce “one signature documentary annually” for the WWE Network on Peacock. Also available on WWE Network are about 100 hours of original series like “Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions,” “Undertaker: The Last Ride” and the recently premiered “WWE Icons”; in-ring shows like NXT, NXT UK and WWE 205 Live, as well as replays of “Raw” and “SmackDown”; WWE Network archives, including every WWE, WCW and ECW pay-per-view event in history; and documentaries including “WWE 24,” “WWE Untold” and “WWE 365.”

Peacock, which NBCU launched nationwide in July 2020, attracted nearly 22 million user “sign-ups” in its first six months of wide release, according to the company. Eligible customers of Comcast Xfinity X1 and Flex and Cox’s Contour — a total of about 24 million households — get Peacock Premium included at no additional cost.

Peacock’s content lineup includes a slate of originals, libraries of TV shows — including all episodes of “The Office” and “Yellowstone” — and films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination, and other studios. In addition, the OTT service provides news, sports, late-night, Spanish-language, and reality from across NBCUniversal.

Peacock Premium now offers more than 47,000 hours of programming. NBCU also offers a free, ad-supported version of Peacock with a trimmed-down bucket of content.

Source: Variety

Apple announces Fitness Plus (virtual workouts) for Apple Watch Series 6, delivering breakthrough wellness and fitness capabilities; will research with UC Irvine (UCI) in health studies

Apple is launching a new subscription service for virtual fitness classes called Fitness Plus, the company announced during its presentation today. The service integrates with iPhones, iPads, and the Apple TV, but Apple says it’s built for the Apple Watch. Access to the service will cost $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year, and you’ll get three months free with the purchase of a new Apple Watch. It also comes bundled as part of Apple’s new Apple One subscription. Apple says Fitness Plus will be available before the end of the year.

Many of the workouts require just a set of dumbbells or no equipment at all, Apple says, which should give you the flexibility to do them wherever’s convenient for you. There are 10 different workout types available, including cycling, treadmill, yoga, core, strength, rowing, and HIIT routines, and there’s a program built in for absolute beginners. You can select workouts based on their duration, and Apple says it plans to add new workouts every week.

Apple is joining forces with researchers to conduct three health studies that include using Apple Watch to explore how blood oxygen levels can be used in future health applications. This year, Apple will collaborate with the University of California, Irvine, and Anthem to examine how longitudinal measurements of blood oxygen and other physiological signals can help manage and control asthma.

Source: The Verge