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Fred Rogers documentary coming to HBO; Apple strikes deal with Kevin Durant

The Program Guide highlights recent programming announcements from various networks and online video platforms in the U.S.

Traditional TV

* DHX Media Ltd. struck 10 new distribution deals for "The Deep," which was commissioned by ABC Australia earlier this year. New deals for the season 3 of the family series have been struck by DHX Media with CBBC (UK), SUPER RTL (DE) and others, in addition to previously announced deals with Netflix Inc. and Family CHRGD, DHX Media said Dec. 12.

* AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.'s WE tv (US) announced the expansion of its "Marriage Boot Camp" franchise with a new version, "Marriage Boot Camp: Hip Hop Edition." Produced by ThinkFactory Media Inc. and premiering Jan. 10, 2019, the new version will feature couples from among hip hop's elite, AMC said Dec. 11.

* "Won't You Be My Neighbor?," a documentary film directed by Morgan Neville about American minister, puppeteer, writer and producer, Fred Rogers, will debut Feb. 9, 2019, on HBO / Cinemax (US). The documentary will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and partner streaming platforms, HBO said Dec. 10.

* Katz Networks will relaunch Court TV, a new 24/7 network devoted to "legal reporting and expert analysis" of trials and court cases, according to a Dec. 10 news release.

* Roku Inc. said Dec. 10 it will kick off a "Stream-a-thon" week during the holiday season, delivering a selection of shows and premium TV to Roku users for free. The stream-a-thon will begin Dec. 26, and users will be able to choose and watch seasons and movies from networks including Adult Swim (US), Food Network (US) and HGTV (US).

* AMC-owned cinema distributor Fathom Events launched its new Fathom Affinity Network and partnered with Faith Content Network to reach "nearly 800 churches nationwide" to provide faith and inspirational content to underserved audiences. The first title distributed via this network will be in early 2019, the company said Dec. 10. Under the deal, Faith Content Network will manage church network bookings and ticket sales among others, while Fathom Events will provide content licensing and a marketing toolkit and oversee content delivery.

* Filmmaker and comedian Steve Burrows wrote and directed "Bleed Out," a documentary investigating the American healthcare system, debuting on HBO on Dec. 17. The documentary will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and partner streaming platforms, HBO said Dec. 7.

* Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (US) acquired the rights to Almost Never Films Inc.'s holiday feature "Last Vermont Christmas." The film stars Erin Cahill and Justin Bruening, Almost Never Films said Dec. 7.

* Carnival Corp. & PLC announced the second season to "La Gran Sorpresa," produced in partnership with Univision Communications Inc. The season will begin with a one-hour Christmas special airing Dec. 22 on Univision (US), Carnival said Dec. 6.

* HBO Films released "Icebox," a drama film centered on the current U.S. immigration system through the eyes of Óscar, a 12-year-old school boy from Honduras. HBO said Dec. 7 "Icebox" will be available for free streaming through Jan. 10, 2019. The film is written and directed by Daniel Sawka.

SNL Image

Source: HBO

* Discovery Inc. will release a miniseries exploring murder cases in Lake Erie, "The Lake Erie Murders." The first program, "The Lake Erie Murders: Who Killed Amy Mihaljevic?," will premiere Dec. 30 and will air subsequently for four weeks of stand-alone episodes beginning Jan. 6. Discovery said Dec. 6 that it will release four additional closed cases of young girls and women who were murdered around the lake, with episodes being released weekly.

* Discovery's TLC (US) will bring "Dr. Pimple Popper" back on the channel with new episodes featuring dermatologist Dr. Lee. The series, produced by Ping Pong Productions for TLC, will premiere Jan. 3, the company said Dec. 6.

* The Travel Channel (US)'s new series "Lost Gold" will premiere Jan. 14. The series will follow brothers Josh and Jesse Feldman as they seek out America's missing treasures, according to a Dec. 6 news release.

* MTV (US) will reimagine "Celebrity Deathmatch," which will be available as a weekly series in 2019. Artist Ice Cube will star and executive produce the series alongside Jeff Kwatinetz through his production company Cube Vision Inc. Eric Fogel will also return to executive produce the series, MTV said Dec. 5.

* Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies Inc. will release 14 films for the "TCM Big Screen Classics" event. The lineup for the films, which span across seven decades, includes "The Wizard of Oz," "My Fair Lady," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Ben-Hur," "Lawrence of Arabia," "The Godfather Part II" and "When Harry Met Sally," according to a Dec. 5 news release. All films will be presented in their original aspect ratio.

* China's Tencent Pictures partnered with Paramount Pictures Corp. on films including "Transformer" spinoff "Bumblebee" and the highly anticipated sequel to "Top Gun," which will be released in the summer of 2020. "Bumblebee" will be released Dec. 21 in North America and Jan. 4, 2019, in mainland China, according to a Dec. 5 news release.

* HBO and Rai - Radiotelevisione Italiana Spa renewed "My Brilliant Friend" for a second season. Casey Bloys, president of HBO Programming and RAI CEO Fabrizio Salini, said Dec. 4 that the second season will be based on the book "The Story of a New Name," the second book in a four-part series authored by Elena Ferrante.


* Netflix original anime, "Aggretsuko," which premiered in April, is rounding out the year with a new holiday special "Aggretsuko: We Wish You a Metal Christmas," which will premiere on the streaming giant's platform Dec. 20, according to a Dec. 11 news release.

SNL Image

"Aggretsuko: We Wish You A Metal
Source: Netflix

* Streaming platform Netflix ordered a scripted drama series based on the life of Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla, E!Online reported Dec. 12. "With this series, viewers will finally get the full history of Selena, our family, and the impact she has had on all of our lives," Selena's sister Suzette Quintanilla said.

* In more Netflix news, the company said Dec. 10 that it acquired rights to "Fyre," a documentary film about a luxury music festival planned by Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule, which never happened. The Netflix Original documentary will release globally Jan. 18, 2019. The documentary is written and directed by Chris Smith.

* "Roma," directed and written by Alfonso Cuarón, will be released in over 100 theaters in the U.S. and more than 500 theaters globally in over 40 countries on Dec. 14, Netflix said Dec. 7. "Roma" premiered earlier this year at the Venice Film Festival.

* Netflix on Dec. 6 said it entered into a multiyear overall deal with Chris Nee. Under the deal, Nee will write and produce new animated and live-action series for preschool and all audiences exclusively for Netflix.

* Netflix entered into a multiyear first look deal with American filmmaker Chris Columbus and his 1492 Pictures partners, Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe. Under the deal, the streaming giant will get a first look at any feature film that Columbus and his partners want to produce, Netflix said Dec. 5.

* American basketball player Kevin Durant will executive produce "Swagger," a drama series ordered by Apple Inc. and based on Durant's early life in Washington, D.C., Variety reported Dec. 4. Reggie Rock Bythewood will serve as the show's writer, director, executive producer and showrunner.

* Netflix commenced principal photography for "Dhaka," an action-adventure feature film starring Chris Hemsworth. The film is being produced by Anthony and Joe Russo and Mike Larocca under their AGBO Films banner, according to a Dec. 4 news release.

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