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TV News Dump: ‘Ray Donovan’ Canceled, Viola Davis to Play Michelle Obama, and More

  • It appears that Showtime is going into what pro sports franchises call “a rebuilding year.” We already knew Homeland was set to end after its fast-approaching eighth season, and we recently learned that Shameless was going to wrap up with its eleventh this summer. Now comes the news that Ray Donovan has made his last moral compromise, and the cliffhanger that recently ended Season 7 will have to serve as series finale. Of the network’s best-known recent series, only Billions remains standing, though critically adored The Chi, Kidding, and On Becoming a God in Central Florida are all set to return, with new shows Halo, Mr. Ripley, Rust, and a reboot of Penny Dreadful on the way. (THR
  • Speaking of Showtime, the premium network has given a series order to Shonda Rhimes’ First Ladies, an anthology series that will explore the lives of presidents’ wives such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford, and Michelle Obama, who will be played by Rhimes favorite Viola Davis, fresh off her oft-nominated turn on Rhimes’ How to Get Away with Murder. No word on who’s playing the other first ladies, but if anyone other than Mena Suvari plays Hillary Clinton, I’m rioting. (THR)
  • Chris Pratt, who parlayed his run on Parks and Recreation into A-list status as the lead of the colossal Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World franchises, is coming back to television. Pratt and producer/director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) are teaming on a series adaptation of the Jack Carr novel The Terminal List, a “conspiracy thriller” about a Navy SEAL facing questions after his entire platoon is ambushed on a covert mission. The series is being produced by MRC Television; no network or streaming service is yet attached. (Variety)
  • When Fox sold its TV studio and its top scripted outlet (FX) to Disney, it was widely assumed that the broadcast network would double down on reality content like megahit The Masked Singer. That prediction is proving accurate, as Masked Singer judge Ken Jeong has signed on to executive produce and host the musical game show I Can See Your Voice. Based on a South Korean show, I Can See Your Voice finds contestants guessing if singers will be good or bad without actually hearing them sing. (THR)
  • The show will be produced by the newly-formed Fox Alternative Entertainment. Allison Wallach, who headed reality studio Jupiter Entertainment (Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda and other shows for Oxygen and Investigation Discovery), will run this division, so look for Wives with Knives: Miami on Fox next fall! (THR)
  • And finally, FX’s long-gestating adaptation of Brian K. Vaughn’s brilliant comic Y: The Last Man has suffered yet another complication, as series lead Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk) is no longer with the show. While producers are recasting his character, Yorick, the show’s other cast — which includes Lashana Lynch, Imogen Poots and Diane Lane — is expected to remain the same. FX is still hoping for a 2020 debut for the show. (EW)