HBO Renews VEEP and SILICON VALLEY

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HBO has officially renewed two of its comedy series, VEEP and SILICON VALLEY, for their seventh and fifth seasons, respectively.

VEEP has been a terrific success story for HBO, garnering 11 Emmys, with a record five wins for star Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the best lead actress in a comedy series category. The series also won the Emmy for best comedy series two years in a row. SILICON VALLEY, meanwhile, has won two Emmys.

One big piece of news accompanying the renewals is the fact that T.J. Miller won’t be returning for SILICON VALLEY for the new season as he will depart the show once the current season ends.

Both shows are in the middle of airing their currect seasons, which wrap on June 25. Both shows will return in 2018.

GAME OF THRONES Season 7 Preview: Surrounded by Enemies

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Cersei Lannister is surrounded by her enemies when GAME OF THRONES returns for its seventh season. With her husband and children dead, Cersei has taken over the Iron Throne.

But one has to assume that she will not hold it for long. Daenerys is approaching King’s Landing (finally!) and she is determined to take the throne that she believes is hers. In the North, Jon Snow has been recently crowned King of the North — but is he a contender for the Iron Throne as well?

Daenerys’ armies are clashing with Lannister soldiers in a new and longer preview for season 7, while we catch up with our various players. Littlefinger continues to scheme with Sansa, while Ayra is just trying to make her way home.

With only two shortened seasons remaining before GAME OF THRONES is finally done, the new season looks like it will be full of epic battles. After all, all the pieces on the board are moving towards one place and one final battle.

GAME OF THRONES returns for its new season on July 16 on HBO.

THE WIZARD OF LIES Preview: Robert De Niro Plays Bernie Madoff In the HBO Film

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Richard Dreyfuss took his turn playing Bernie Madoff on ABC and now Robert De Niro is stepping into the role for HBO. THE WIZARD OF LIES is based on the book of the same name by Diana Henriques and looks at how the fallout from Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme affected both the victims and Madoff’s family.

Michelle Pfeiffer stars as Bernie’s wife, Ruth Madoff, and Alessandro Nivola stars as Madoff’s older son Mark Madoff, who committed suicide.

THE WIZARD OF LIES will premiere on May 20 on HBO.

GAME OF THRONES Teaser Trailer: The Rivals for the Iron Throne

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A teaser preview for the upcoming season of GAME OF THRONES doesn’t really seem to contain much new footage from the season itself, but it does set up the three primary rivals for the Iron Throne.

In King’s Landing we have Cersei, who has lost her children and taken over the throne as the last of her late husband’s family. In Winterfell there’s Jon Stark, who has retaken the North and might be seeking the title of ruler of Westeros (particularly since, as fans found out, he has a more legitimate claim than we had suspected). Finally there’s Daenerys, who, last we saw her, was finally headed for Westeros proper.

Jon may not have been specifically seeking the Iron Throne when we last saw him, but both women are clearly desperate to rule, so throwing him into the mix makes things even more complicated (particularly since he and Daenerys are actually related).

Then, of course, there’s the one rival who threatens them all: the Night King.

GAME OF THRONES returns for its new season on July 16 on HBO.

THE LEFTOVERS Third and Final Season to Debut in April 2017

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HBO has announced that THE LEFTOVERS will return for its third and final season of eight episodes in April 2017. Created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta, the drama series focuses on the ways ordinary people react to inexplicable events, following the lives that were forever changed when 140 million people inexplicably vanished from the face of the earth.

The cast of season three includes Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Amy Brenneman, Kevin Carroll, Christopher Eccleston, Scott Glenn, Lindsay Duncan, Regina King, Jovan Adepo, Janel Moloney, Margaret Qualley, Jasmin Savoy-Brown, Liv Tyler and Chris Zylka. Filmed on location in Texas and Australia, season three is executive produced by Damon Lindelof, Tom Perrotta, Mimi Leder, Tom Spezialy, Gene Kelly, Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey.

THE YOUNG POPE Teasers: Not Your Average Pontiff

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Jude Law is set to star in THE YOUNG POPE, a new limited series debuting on HBO in January. Law is Lenny Belardo, aka Pius XIII, is the first American Pope in history. The College of Cardinals executive a simple but effective media strategy to get him elected, but the new Pope proves himself to be mysterious and contradictory.

The first part of the ten-episode limited drama series debuts Sunday, January 15 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), and the second part the next night, Monday, January (9:00-10:00 p.m.), followed by other episodes subsequent Sundays and Mondays at the same time, exclusively on HBO.

The cast also includes Silvio Orlando as Cardinal Angelo Voiello, the Vatican’s Secretary of State; Scott Shepherd as Cardinal Andrew Dussolier, Lenny’s best friend and a fellow orphan-turned-cardinal; Cécile de France as Sofia Dubois, the Vatican’s director of marketing and communications; Javier Cámara as Monsignor Bernardo Alonso Gutierrez, the Spanish-born master of ceremonies of the Vatican; Ludivine Sagnier as Ester Aubry, a chaste beauty with an unshakable faith in God, who is married to a Vatican Swiss Guard; Toni Bertorelli as Cardinal Caltanissetta, who is an expression of the strongest powers and secrets of the Vatican; and James Cromwell as Cardinal Michael Spencer, Lenny’s mentor and one of the most influential cardinals in the Vatican.

Read on below for spoilers from HBO:

Episode #1: “First Episode” (Sunday, January 15)
Newly elected Pope Pius XIII (Jude Law), a.k.a. Lenny Belardo, defies expectations as he settles in at the Vatican to begin his reign. The youngest and first American pope in history, Lenny’s ascension was orchestrated by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Voiello (Silvio Orlando), who mistakenly believed the young pope would follow his lead on policy and protocol. Instead, Lenny shuns Voiello and tasks his confessor, Don Tommaso (Marcello Romolo), to share details on the private thoughts and motives of those in his inner circle. Meanwhile, as Cardinal Spencer (James Cromwell), Lenny’s onetime mentor, stews about being passed over as pontiff, the new pope flies in Sister Mary (Diane Keaton), who raised him since he was delivered to an orphanage at seven, to serve as his chief advisor. While Sister Mary urges Lenny to put aside dark memories and focus on leading his billion followers, the young pope shows no inclination towards making himself available, either to the College of Cardinals or to the masses.

Episode #2: “Second Episode” (Monday, January 16)
Sofia (Cécile De France), the Vatican’s marketing director, receives a surprise directive as Lenny (Jude Law) prepares for his first public appearance. While the cardinals await an audience with their new pope, Sister Mary (Diane Keaton) catches up with Lenny’s childhood friend Andrew Dussolier (Scott Shepherd), another orphan-turned-cardinal. Lenny reaches out to Cardinal Spencer (James Cromwell) to take over a high Vatican post, but the meeting doesn’t go as he hoped. Ester (Ludivine Sagnier), wife of a Swiss Guardsman, eagerly joins the throng of followers in St. Peter’s Square on the night of Lenny’s first public homily as Pope Pius XIII.

Episode #3: “Third Episode” (Sunday, January 22)
Baffled by the pope’s intentions and desperate to retain control in the Vatican, Voiello (Silvio Orlando) considers his options in the face of public reaction to Lenny’s (Jude Law) speech. In a press conference, Sister Mary (Diane Keaton) outlines the pope’s policy towards questions and concerns from the media. Elder Cardinal Caltanissetta (Toni Bertorelli) enjoins Spencer (James Cromwell) to put his resentment aside and accept Lenny’s offer. Moved by Lenny’s message, Ester (Ludivine Sagnier) is summoned by Valente (Ignazio Oliva), the pope’s aide, to meet her pontiff. Gutierrez (Javier Cámara) finds that his shared confidences with Lenny are jeopardized by a secret.

Episode #4: “Fourth Episode” (Monday, January 23)
Tonino (Franco Pinelli), a rural shepherd, appeals to the Vatican to recognize his miracle-working stigmata. Lenny (Jude Law) councils a nun whose sister is gravely ill in Sri Lanka. Ester (Ludivine Sagnier) is torn by a threat from Voiello (Silvio Orlando) and her devotion to the pope. Lenny makes a bold decision regarding a sex-abuse case in New York, deciding to send an unlikely envoy. A visit from the prime minister of Greenland (Carolina Carlsson) stirs Lenny’s musical sensibilities.

Episode #5: “Fifth Episode” (Sunday, January 29)
Voiello (Silvio Orlando) orchestrates a scandalous scenario designed to cripple the pope. Lenny (Jude Law) decamps with old friend Andrew Dussolier (Scott Shepherd), both in the present and the past. As his ornate papal tiara arrives, Pius XIII decides the time has come to address the College of Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel.

Episode #6: “Sixth Episode” (Monday, January 30)
Nine months after being elected, Lenny (Jude Law) has a testy first meeting with the Italian prime minister (Stefano Accorsi), a progressive at odds with Pius XIII’s uncompromising vision of the church. Newly minted Cardinal Gutierrez (Javier Cámara) reluctantly moves out of the Vatican for his new assignment abroad. After a brief reunion with the faithful in Honduras, Dussolier (Scott Shepherd) assumes his new duties as Prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy, but is thrown by Lenny’s strict guidelines towards prospective priests. Voiello (Silvio Orlando) is questioned about the disappearance of Tonino (Franco Pinelli), who is looking to break from the church. Ester’s (Ludivine Sagnier) miracle comes true.

HBO Announces Premiere Date for BIG LITTLE LIES

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HBO has confirmed the February debut date for BIG LITTLE LIES, with the seven-episode limited drama series scheduled to debut Sunday, February 19 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO.

Based on Liane Moriarty’s bestselling book of the same name, “this subversive, darkly comedic drama tells the tale of three mothers of first-graders whose seemingly perfect lives unravel to the point of murder.” Starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgard, Laura Dern, Adam Scott, Zoe Kravitz, James Tupper and Jeffrey Nordling, BIG LITTLE LIES is directed by Jean-Marc Vallée from scripts by David E. Kelley.

HBO Announces Premiere Dates for GIRLS, LAST WEEK TONIGHT and CRASHING

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HBO has confirmed the February premiere dates for new seasons of GIRLS and LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER, and the new comedy series CRASHING.

GIRLS returns for its sixth and final season on Sunday, February 12 (10:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT). Created by and starring Lena Dunham, the Emmy®-winning comedy series is a comic look at the assorted humiliations and rare triumphs of a group of girls in their 20s.

LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER returns for its fourth season Sunday, February (11:00-11:30 p.m. ET/PT). Presenting a satirical look at the week in news, politics and current events, as well as addressing broader issues, the Emmy®-winning show is the only weekly news-oriented comedy series to be presented on Sunday night.

The comedy series CRASHING debuts Sunday, February 19 (10:30-11:00 p.m. ET/PT). The show was created by and stars Pete Holmes as a standup comic who discovers that his wife is unfaithful, leading him to reevaluate his life amidst the New York City comedy scene. Artie Lange, Lauren Lapkus and T.J. Miller also star. .

HBO Renews WESTWORLD, DIVORCE and INSECURE

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HBO has announced season renewals for three of its shows: WESTWORLD, DIVORCE and INSECURE.

“I am thrilled to announce the pickup of our three fall series, all of which have distinctive, original voices,” said Casey Bloys, president, HBO Programming. “Critics and viewers alike have welcomed WESTWORLD and INSECURE, as well as the return of Sarah Jessica Parker to the network after 12 years with DIVORCE.”

Season-to-date, WESTWORLD is averaging a gross audience of 11.7 million viewers, outperforming GAME OF THRONES and TRUE DETECTIVE during similar times in their first seasons. DIVORCE and INSECURE are averaging 4.4 million and 3.2 million viewers, respectively, on par with other HBO half-hours like VEEP and Girls.”

THE YOUNG POPE to Debut on HBO in January

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HBO has confirmed the debut date for the ten-episode limited drama series THE YOUNG POPE, with the first part scheduled to debut Sunday, January 15 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT, and the second part the next night, Monday, January 16 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT, followed by other episodes subsequent Sundays and Mondays at the same time.

Directed by Paolo Sorrentino, THE YOUNG POPE “tells the story of Lenny Belardo, aka Pius XIII, the first American Pope in history. Young and charming, his election seems to be the result of a simple yet effective media strategy on the part of the College of Cardinals. But appearances can be deceptive – above all, in the place where people have chosen the great mystery of God as the compass guiding their existence. That place is the Vatican and those people are the leaders of the Church. And Pius XIII proves to be the most mysterious and contradictory of them all. Shrewd and naïve, ironic and pedantic, primeval and cutting-edge, doubting and resolute, melancholy and ruthless, Pius XIII tries to cross the endless river of human solitude to find a God he can give to mankind. And to himself.”

Jude Law stars in the title role; Diane Keaton stars as Sister Mary, a nun from the U.S. now living in Vatican City. The cast also includes Silvio Orlando, Scott Shepherd, Cécile de France, Javier Cámara, Ludivine Sagnier, Toni Bertorelli and James Cromwell.

(Note: disregard the date in the video below, that’s for the UK audience)