Thursday, September 3, 2020

Shaquille O’Neal Re-Ups With Turner Sports In Multiyear Deal

The big man has a big new deal. Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal has inked a multiyear contract renewal with Turner Sports to continue on its NBA coverage.

The 15-time All-Star who won three titles with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers and another with the Miami Heat is expending his role to include TNT’s Tuesday night Inside the NBA and NBA on TNT coverage. He also will serve as an executive producer for a number of projects with Turner Sports’ Bleacher Report, among other duties.

O’Neal, who joined Turner Sports in 2011, also will appear on NBA TV and contribute to NBA.com. His NBA TV airtime will include new show The Business of Basketball, which is in development with more details TBA. He also reached a development deal with WarnerMedia entertainment networks as part of the new portfolio-wide agreement.

“Turner Sports is family to me – even you, Chuck – and I’m looking forward to working alongside my talented colleagues as we create many more Shaq-tastic moments in the years to come,” O’Neal said with a nod and wink at his Turner Sports colleague Charles Barkley.

Said Jeff Zucker, Chairman of WarnerMedia News & Sports. “Shaq is so critical to our success & such a huge part of the heart & soul of our coverage. We are lucky to be able to have him as part of our family every single day, and I am personally so thrilled to see that continue for a long time to come.”

"Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" Returns To Production For Season 2

ABC’s rebooted Who Wants to Be a Millionaire was one of the last nonscripted shows to finish production before the COVID-19 production shutdown in March.

Host Jimmy Kimmel and the production team shot eight episodes of the game show the weekend of March 14 without an audience to get in under the wire.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire now is back for a second Kimmel-hosted season on ABC, and it officially went back in production last week.

The show is shooting in Los Angeles with a minimal crew and without an audience. Rigorous health and safety protocols are in place that adhere to all state and local requirements as well as union and industry guidelines for production.

Celebrity contestants, playing for charity, who appeared on the first season of the reboot included Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet, The Last Man on Earth’s Will Forte, Flipped‘s Kaitlin Olson and CNN’s Anderson Cooper. They were handed a new “Ask the Host” lifeline given the lack of an audience.

Season two will also feature frontline workers and others severely affected by COVID-19.

The show is produced by Sony Pictures Television’s Embassy Row, Kimmelot and Disney’s Valleycrest Productions. It is expected to air on Sunday nights as part of ABC’s fall schedule.

ABC Matchmaking Comedy In The Works With Nisha Ganatra

ABC has put in development a single-camera matchmaking comedy from The High Note and Late Night director Nisha Ganatra and ABC Signature, where Ganatra is under an overall deal.

Written, directed and executive produced by Ganatra through her Ladies’ Car Productions, the Untitled Matchmaking Comedy revolves around an unlucky-in-love romantic and her no-nonsense mom who butt heads as they run the most successful matchmaking service in Little India.

ABC Signature, part of Disney Television Studios, is the studio.

Ganatra most recently directed Focus Features’ dramedy The High Note starring Tracee Ellis Ross and Dakota Johnson. Before that she helmed the film Late Night starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling.

After graduating from NYU, Ganatra was working as an indie filmmaker — her first movie was the 1999 Chutney Popcorn — when she was brought in as a main director alongside creator Jill Soloway and a consulting producer on the first season of Amazon’s Transparent, sharing in the series’ Golden Globe win and its Emmy nomination for best comedy. That launched a career of a TV director for Ganatra, who served as co-executive producer/director on Better Things with Pamela Adlon and co-executive producer/director on You Me Her. Her extensive TV directing credits before she segued to features with Late Night include the TNT pilot Highland and episodes of Girls, Dear White People, Future Man, Mr. Robot, Shameless, Married, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Last Man On Earth, Fresh off the Boat, Love, and Black Monday.