HBO has announced an Aug. 18 premiere date for “The Righteous Gemstones,” the latest series from the team of UNC School of the Arts alumni behind “Eastbound & Down” and “Vice Principals.”

The half-hour series, which was filmed in Charleston, S.C., is a dark comedy about a decadent family of televangelists running a megachurch. Danny McBride is one of the stars, and fellow UNCSA alums David Gordon Green and Jody Hill are among the executive producers.

John Goodman stars as the patriarch of the family, with McBride and Adam Devine as two of his sons vying for power within the organization.


CNN is paying tribute to history of American cinema in a new six-part series starting tonight. “The Movies” debuts at 9 p.m., with actors, directors, critics and film historians discussing the power of film on popular culture. The two-hour installments, which will air weekly, are broken down by decades, looking at the most influential films of each period.

Tonight’s premiere looks at the films of the 1980s including “Raging Bull,” “Back to the Future,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “Do the Right Thing,” “E.T.: The Extraterrestrial” and “The Breakfast Club.”


A promising new project from a UNCSA alumnus has been put on hold.

A remake of “Alien Nation” was being developed by Jeff Nichols, a UNCSA alum known for such films as “Mud” and “Loving.” He had been signed by Fox to write and direct the project back in 2016.

The story is set in a near-future where a spaceship of alien refugees arrives on Earth and the inhabitants are assimilated into our culture, becoming a new immigrant class that is mistreated by some and exploited by others.

It started as a 1988 film and a year later became a series on Fox, which was followed in the 1990s by several TV-movies. Michael Shannon, a frequent collaborator of Nichols and former recipient of the RiverRun International Film Festival’s emerging master award, had been mentioned as a possible cast member to play an alien who is the first Newcomer detective in the LAPD. The role was played by Mandy Patinkin in the 1988 film and Eric Pierpoint in the 1989 TV series.

But following Disney’s recent acquisition of Fox, the studio has “paused” development of the new version. According to the Hollywood Reporter, “The project, with its timely themes mixed with ever-popular cop and sci-fi tropes, will very likely be revisited down the road in some capacity.”


Stand-up comedian Lil Rel Howery will star in his first HBO special, to air later this year. The hourlong stand-up performance will be recorded this month in Los Angeles. Jerrod Carmichael, a Winston-Salem native who worked with Howery on “The Carmichael Show” and later produced his short-lived sitcom “Rel,” will be one of the executive producers.


Anthony Mackie, who attended UNCSA’s high school drama program before hitting it big in “The Hurt Locker” and the Marvel superhero movies, is featured on the cover of the new issue of Men’s Health.

In the article, he discusses his career, his friendship with fellow Marvel stars Paul Rudd and Chris Evans, and (spoiler alert for people who still haven’t seen “Avengers: Endgame”) his potential future as the new Captain America, after the original Cap (Evans) passed the shield on to him at the end of “Endgame.”

“It’s funny, because I feel like my friends are way more excited than I am, because I know the amount of work that has to go into it,” he says. “They’re just excited to say that I have to buy drinks now. But I definitely wouldn’t call it a burden. I would more so call it an opportunity.”


The fifth and final seasons of two shows are coming to home video on Tuesday, and will also be available in complete-series sets being released the same day.

The fifth season of “Gotham” is the final story arc of the series about young Bruce Wayne as he builds toward his eventual identity as the crime-fighting Batman. The cast includes Chris Chalk, a UNC-Greensboro alumnus, as Lucius Fox, one of Bruce’s most trusted confidantes. Early seasons included Jada Pinkett Smith, a UNCSA alum, as one of the crimelords behind the rampant crime and corruption in Gotham.

“Broad City” is a quirky Comedy Central series about two dysfunctional best friends in New York, played by Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson and based on their earlier independent web series. The two-disc Season Five set has outtakes and deleted scenes; the 11-disc complete series set has a disc of bonus features, including set tours, featurettes, interviews and more.

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Tim Clodfelter writes about television for the Winston-Salem Journal. Contact him at 336-727-7371 or

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