This Week in TV:
A&E gives Bates Motel a season 3 renewal; Conan books shows at Comic-Con 2015; Syfy announces a zombie series titled Z Nation from Sharknado producers; and the Weinstein Company announces production is underway on the Netflix original series Marco Polo, which also has landed a full cast.
Bates Motel will remain open for business following its May season 2 finale, as A&E announced a season 3 renewal for its flagship drama earlier this week.
As the network's highest-rated drama, the renewal for Bates is certainly far from surprising. Even in its 10pm timeslot, the show has continued to post solid viewership numbers, especially in the coveted 18-49 demo, making the decision to bring the troubled Bates family back for another run a very easy one for A&E.
Said A&E executive vp and general manager David McKillop:
“The incredible writing team and talented 'Bates Motel' cast has made this series one of the most compelling original dramas on television. The brilliant twists and turns of the past two seasons keep its loyal fanbase coming back for more. We are so proud of the show.”
Bates Motel surely has some more surprises in store for viewers this season, so be sure to tune in to A&E every Monday @10pm as season 2 comes to its end on May 5, 2014.
Known for taking Conan on the road at least once a year, TBS and late night host Conan O'Brien booked a residency this week at Comic-Con 2015 and will broadcast the show July 8-12.
Team Coco will be setting up shop in the Spreckels Theater for the annual event, marking the fifth straight year the show has traveled away from Los Angeles. Last month, Conan taped four shows in Dallas to coincide with the NCAA college basketball Final Four and National Championship game. The show has also broadcast from New York and Chicago in previous years.
We're not sure what O'Brien has planned for the Comic-Con crowd, but considering he's as big a fan of genre movies and TV shows - like The Walking Dead - as many who will be in attendance are, it would be safe to expect some fun segments based around some of the convention's most anticipated panels and geek culture in general.
Conan airs every Monday-Thursday @11pm on TBS. You can also see O'Brien host the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday, April 13.
Syfy showed it plans to continue its successful relationship with Sharknado producers The Asylum this week by ordering a 13-episode first season of a new zombie drama titled Z Nation from the B-movie specialists.
Set three years after a mysterious zombie outbreak has decimated the country, the series will follow a team of everyday heroes whose mission is to transport the only known survivor of the plague from New York to California, where the only functioning viral lab is believed to exist. Hailing from Eureka producer Karl Schaefer and the good folks at The Asylum, the show is described as "an action-horror series that depicts the epic struggle to save humanity after a zombie apocalypse."
In making the official announcement earlier this week, Syfy senior vp of programming, Chris Regina, said:
" 'Z Nation' will take viewers where no zombie has gone before. [The show adds] a sense of hope to the horror of the apocalypse - our everyday heroes take the fight to the zombies. It'll be an epic journey unlike anything you've seen before."
While we would expect these bold claims of originality to come from the network, it's hard to see this series as anything but a well-timed attempt to piggyback on the success of AMC's monster hit, The Walking Dead. However, taking the massive amount of zombie genre lovers out there into account, maybe there is room for one more undead drama on TV.
We'll see if Z Nation has anything fresh to offer to the zombie genre when it premieres this fall on Syfy.
After announcing plans for a Marco Polo series two months ago, the Weinstein Company and Netflix revealed this week that production is underway on the new show with its cast in place.
Originally in the works at Starz, Marco Polo will tell the story of the renowned explorer and his epic global adventures (as you probably surmised). The 10-episode first season will shoot on location in several countries, including Italy, Kazakhstan and Malaysia. However, much of the season will likely take place in China, where Polo spent 17 years of his life while carrying out special missions during the Mongol Empire's invasion of the country.
Created by John Fusco and Harvey Weinstein, the series will star Benedict Wong (Dirty Pretty Things), Zhu Zhu (Cloud Atlas), Tom Wu (Skyfall), Remy Hii (Better Man), Rick Yune (Olympus Has Fallen), and 23-year-old Italian actor Lorenzo Richelmy as Marco Polo.
Said Weinstein about the show:
"Television audiences today are more discerning than ever before both in terms of character and the scope of the worlds those characters live in. We are proud to present a series that rivals some of the most successful films we’ve ever made. Marco Polo is a figure all have heard of, but few truly know, and we are excited to introduce him to the world. And we are shooting all over the world. From the sweeping vistas of Kazakhstan which act as backdrop for the wars and conquests of Kublai Khan to the intimate moments within the alleys and canals of Marco’s hometown of Venice, Italy, this is spectacle in the truest sense of the word."
With its global cast and apparently large budget, Marco Polo could be the epic series that the streaming service is missing. We'll be excited to see it premiere on Netflix in late 2014.
Source: Weinstein Company