This Week in TV:
Togetherness earns a season 2 renewal from HBO; Katie Holmes joins the season 3 cast of Ray Donovan; the BBC launches a digital content platform to test new ideas; TV and radio talk show pioneer Joe Franklin passes away at the age of 88; and CBS' Criminal Minds spinoff casts Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) as one of its leads.
HBO renewed the family dramedy Togetherness for season 2.
The comedy from brothers Jay and Mark Duplass about two very different couples living under the same roof is just three episodes into its eight-episode rookie season, but after averaging 2.6 million viewers across multiple platforms for those episodes, HBO decided to pull the trigger on the renewal early.
Critical scores have also been high for the show, which has been praised for offering a fresh, and often funny perspective on modern family life and marriage.
Togetherness season 1 continues next Sunday, February 8 with "Houston, We Have a Problem" on HBO.
Showtime's hit drama Ray Donovan added Katie Holmes to its season 3 cast.
According to the network (via The Wrap), Holmes will appear in a "major guest starring role" as Paige, a shrewd, chic businesswoman who is also the daughter of a billionaire movie producer named Andrew Finney (played by the recently cast Ian McShane). Along with McShane, Holmes is expected to be featured in the majority of season 3's 12 episodes as the Finney family recruits Ray (Liev Schreiber) to clean up a potentially disastrous mess.
Already one of Showtime's biggest hits with fans and critics, Ray Donovan appears to be returning strong in its third season with a solid and well-rounded cast of guest stars.
Ray Donovan season 3 is currently in production in Los Angeles. We'll let you know when a premiere date is announced.
Source: The Wrap
The BBC launched a digital platform that aims to serve as a testing ground for new ideas called BBC Taster.
The site features a wide array of ideas that basically act as pilot pitches for potential projects and shows. Site visitors are encouraged to try the ideas - which are described as "early experimental concepts from across TV, radio and online" - and give them a rating, telling the network where audience interests lie before a project goes into production.
Content currently on the site includes Kneejerk, an improv comedy that uses social media to poke fun at trending topics; Who's In Today, a backstage look at celebrities and newsworthy personalities visiting the BBC; and "Your Story," an online tool that creates personalized news timelines by interweaving BBC archived news events with a user's own life story.
Check out BBC Taster to try, rate and share its new ideas.
Source: BBC Taster
Television and radio talk show pioneer and host Joe Franklin passed away at the age of 88 after a long battle with cancer.
Credited with creating what has become the modern talk show, Franklin began his television career in 1950 with The Joe Franklin Show, which lasted for 43 years on New York-based network affiliate stations. He later joked about having interviewed more than 300,000 guests during that span, a list that included Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol and President John F. Kennedy.
Franklin, who continued to work in radio until earlier this month, was honored by The Museum of Television and Radio late in his career. He will be remembered for his distinctive voice and jumpstarting the careers of many notable stars, as he gave the likes of Woody Allen, Julia Roberts, Robin Williams, John Belushi, Richard Pryor, Andy Kaufman and Barbara Streisand their first television exposure.
R.I.P. Joe Franklin (born Joseph Fortgang; March 9, 1926 - January 24, 2015).
In the potential series - which is currently in the pilot stage at the network - Gunn will star opposite Gary Sinise as Ally Lambert, an international law expert who is an indispensable part of a FBI team that handles cases involving U.S. citizens overseas. In the procedural that will follow that elite team of specialists, Sinise will play Jack Garrett, a 20-year veteran of the government bureau.
Best known for her role as Skyler White on AMC's Breaking Bad, Gunn is coming off a starring role on FOX's short-lived crime drama Gracepoint, where she also played an investigator. Interestingly, Sinise has also been cast in the detective/crime-solver mold in recent years, as he played Detective Mac Taylor for nine seasons and 197 episodes on another CBS spinoff, CSI: NY.
At this point, the Criminal Minds spinoff seems to be shaping into another generic network procedural, but considering many of CBS' other crime spinoffs have been successful, we'll just have to wait and see how audiences respond to this series - if it makes it that far.
We'll pass along the latest on CBS' Criminal Minds spinoff as it comes in.